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December 21, 2022

But, wait, there’s more! Installment #8 from the “Twitter Files” dropped on Tuesday, and these just keep getting worse. This one specifically deals with the relationship between Twitter and...(drum roll, please)...the Pentagon. This installment, called “TWITTER AIDED THE PENTAGON IN ITS COVERT PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN,” comes to us courtesy of investigative journalist Lee Fang. He could have truthfully added to that headline “AND LIED ABOUT IT FOR YEARS.”

This is what Fang was able to put together after having access to Twitter’s internal communications for just a few days last week, and since a Twitter attorney conducted the document search, he knows he might not have seen absolutely everything, even given Elon Musk’s pro-transparency stance. “I signed/agreed to nothing,” Fang tweeted. “Twitter had no input into anything I did or wrote.”

We now know, through executives’ own communications, that Twitter directly assisted the Pentagon’s 'influence operations' specifically in “an online psychological program aimed at shaping opinion in the Middle East and beyond.” The Pentagon had reportedly promised to shut down covert state-run propaganda programs such as this. And representatives of Twitter had maintained –- even under oath before Congress –- that they’re not involved in this. They pledged, under oath, “to rapidly identify and shut down all state-backed covert information operations and deceptive propaganda.”

“But behind the scenes,” Fang tweeted, “Twitter gave approval & special protection to the U.S. military’s online psychological influence ops. Despite knowledge that Pentagon propaganda accounts used covert identities, Twitter did not suspend many for around 2 years or more. Some remain active.”

The Pentagon seems to have, at some point, wanted to cover its tracks. As Twitter attorney Stacia Cardille said in a communication sent to Jim Baker and one other official, the Pentagon wanted a SCIF [“Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility,” or secure reading room] and might have wanted to retroactively classify its social media activities “to obfuscate their activity in this space, and that this may represent an overclassification to avoid embarrassment.”

If the DoD was concerned about embarrassment, their faces ought to be really red right now.

According to Fang, executives at both Twitter and Facebook were invited to meetings that were so sensitive, they were held in a SCIF.

Fang tweeted, “Twitter actively assisted CENTCOM’s [U.S. Central Command’s] network going back to 2017 and as late as 2020 knew these accounts were covert/designed to deceive and manipulate the discourse, a violation of Twitter’s policies and promises. They waited years to suspend.”

And there’s this: “Twitter’s comms team was closely in touch with reporters, working to minimize Twitter’s role. When the WashPost reported on the scandal, Twitter officials congratulated each other because the story didn’t mention any Twitter employees & focused largely on the Pentagon.” Communications specialist at Twitter Katie Rosborough wrote to assure their lobbyists and lawyers that the WAPO piece was almost entirely about Facebook, not Twitter, and it didn’t tie in Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko.

Lee Fang was a great choice to report on this particular Twitter File, as he had recently investigated a “close collaboration between DHS and the private sector,” including monthly meetings with Twitter’s Vidaya Gadde (“exited” by Musk) “to discuss censorship plans.” A Microsoft exec (who was also a former DHS official, surprise) texted Department of Homeland Security director Jen Easterly this chilling observation: “Platforms have got to get comfortable with government. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain.” This came in late October; we had the story. Anyway, that was Lee Fang, and here is another write-up on it from TOWNHALL.

Fang wrote: “How disinformation is defined by the government has not been clearly articulated, and the inherently subject nature of what constitutes disinformation provides a broad opening for DHS officials to make politically motivated determinations about what constitutes dangerous speech.”

And this, in his conclusion: DHS “is attempting to make an end run around the First Amendment by exerting continual pressure on private sector social media firms.”

TOWNHALL provided a good summary, but here’s Fang’s full report on the DHS and social media, in THE INTERCEPT.

That was almost two months ago, and he had already uncovered a lot about government teaming with social media. Now here’s his full report on the PENTAGON and social media AFTER being granted access to Twitter’s internal communications. For when you have time, these both really are must-reads if you want to see how U.S. government censorship works, not just here, but globally.

Still, Installment #7, from Michael Shellenberger, deserves more discussion, because 1) it deals specifically with monitoring American citizens –- the FBI’s specialty –- and 2) there are some big updates...

Now that we know the FBI paid Twitter and other social media platforms millions of dollars to censor a legitimate news story, the Biden laptop story, Elon Musk is demanding answers from California Rep. Adam Schiff, who currently heads –- only for a few more days, thank heavens –- the House Intel Committee, tweeting: “As (outgoing) Chair of House Intelligence, did you approve hidden state censorship in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States @RepAdamSchiff?”

Dave Rubin posted a hilarious tweet about this, saying that since the government was PAYING Twitter to censor people, Elon might actually have a way to make Twitter profitable!

At this writing, there’s been no response from Schiff.

Oh, and guess who else has been implicated in the censorship of the laptop story? George Soros. “First Draft News, a now-defunct nonprofit that left-wing billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation funded, played a key role in Twitter’s preparation to shut down the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020...” And never fear, First Draft News is coming back, no doubt funded again by Soros, as the more ominously-named Information Futures Lab.

That nugget is part of a report from the DAILY CALLER NEWS FOUNDATION that goes on to talk about that infamous “tabletop exercise” called “The Burisma Leak,” which was “to shape how the media covered the eventual leak of the Hunter Biden laptop story and the way social media platforms covered it.” That was hosted by the Aspen Institute in September 2020. They knew what was coming in October and were gearing up.

In case you wonder about the political slant of this invited group, it included Vivian Schiller (who organized the event), the former CEO of NPR; the former head of news at Twitter; the former general manager at THE NEW YORK TIMES; the former chief digital officer at NBC NEWS, the head of security policy for Facebook/Meta; plus the top national security reporters for the NYT and WASHINGTON POST.

The Aspen Institute is described here as “a left-leaning think tank funded by massive philanthropic organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation” that “runs the Commission on Information Disorder, an anti-disinformation project that’s drawn ire for its alleged far-left partisanship.” (“Alleged”? I love unintentional humor. But the term “information disorder” is too scary to be funny.) “The commission has urged social media platforms to censor accounts it considers misinformation ‘superspreaders’ through demonetization, the removal of what it considers inaccurate posts, and penalties for offending users.”

The NEW YORK POST is doing some outstanding reporting on this, which is no surprise considering they broke the original, scrupulously accurate story censored by Twitter. Here are a couple of good pieces…

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  • Robert Hillman

    12/22/2022 04:36 PM

    How can the Pentagon and CENTCOM not be guilty of breaking Posse Comitatus federal law? Has the Constitution or an Act of Congress "expressly authorized" the use of military resources for this purpose of colluding with Twitter and other firms?