HomeArticleMore Escalations In Online Censorship

More Escalations In Online Censorship

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YouTube has been deleting videos disputing the US government narrative about Russian war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine, validating concerns we’ve discussed previously that Silicon Valley platforms would begin censoring anyone who challenges the authorized version of events in this war.

“By the way, my video ‘Bucha: More Lies’ has been deleted [by] YouTube’s censors,” reads a recent tweet by Gonzalo Lira.

“My stream last night on RBN was censored on Youtube after debunking the Bucha Massacre narrative,” Revolutionary Blackout Network reports.

It would seem that this clears up what YouTube meant when it said last month, “Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events. We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy.”

There has as yet been no investigation into what happened in Bucha by any international body and there are plenty of arguments to be made questioning aspects of the Official Story that westerners are being aggressively force fed by the narrative control machine of the US-centralized empire. Which would mean that YouTube is defining “well-documented” as “unproven assertions by the US government.”

YouTube is also demonetizing content that is more broadly critical of the US/NATO/Ukraine side of the war.

“Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war,” a notice that’s being sent to users reads. “This pause includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

And can I just add here that as a survivor of rape and abuse it makes me want to scream my fucking throat out to see phrases like “victim blaming” used to suppress speech criticizing the unipolarist geostrategic agendas of the most powerful and destructive government on earth. It’s extremely obnoxious how common this disgusting power-serving line has become.

It’s probably also worth noting at this point that YouTube is owned by Google, which is a US military contractor and which has been inseparably intertwined with US intelligence agencies from its very inception.

The radius of what these government-tied oligarchic Silicon Valley megacorporations deem worthy of censorship has been getting wider and wider with every major news story: from eliminating Russian trolls, to thwarting domestic extremists, to protecting election integrity, to stopping Covid misinformation. Now they’re just openly saying they’re censoring those who disagree with the world’s most powerful government about a war. The excuses change from day to day, but the only constant is that we’re always told the solution is more internet censorship.

https://twitter.com/InfraHaz/status/1514440017917222915?s=20&t=C6H8asmREF1wNqSwbQ0mnA

The Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch has also jumped aboard this latest censorship escalation, banning multiple accounts for voicing wrongthink about Ukraine in response to an inquiry by Financial Times as to why it’s permitting “pro-Kremlin falsehoods” on the platform. The Financial Times inquiry followed a report tattling on those accounts by the Soros and Omidyar-funded Tech Transparency Project.

Financial Times writes the following:

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Twitch said it would move to “prohibit harmful misinformation actors from using our service”. But a report from the Tech Transparency Project detailed multiple accounts pushing pro-Kremlin falsehoods, such as claims the invasion was “de-Nazifying” Ukraine and a Russian “special operation”. Other streams peddled falsehoods about “biolabs” being set up in the war-torn country.

 

Twitch banned several accounts cited in the report and was investigating several more, it said, after being presented with the findings on Wednesday.

Twitter, another massive platform with ties to the US government, has also seized the moment as an opportunity to ratchet up the censorship of empire critics. Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter has been banned from the platform for simply tweeting criticisms of the establishment Bucha narrative; his account was suspended for one such criticism, the suspension was reversed upon review by Twitter, and then his account was again shut down for another such criticism he’d made days earlier. Journalist Pepe Escobar, who has been openly sympathetic to the Russian side of the conflict, was banned for saying that Azov neo-Nazis would be be “disinfected” with a “certified highway to hell thermobaric flamethrower.”

This dramatic uptick in censorship of political speech is happening against the backdrop of Elon Musk’s shenanigans about potentially buying Twitter in full, which has sent mainstream liberals into a tizzy over fears that speech on the platform would become less restricted due to statements Musk has made about opposing online censorship. I have a hard time imagining that the richest man in the world would actually do anything to protect free speech, but the horror with which imperial narrative managers are reacting to the faintest hint of that possibility is very revealing:

https://twitter.com/MaxBoot/status/1514570168730636290?s=20&t=wdJSujOEZMGxKgM1gdMoPQ

I might not necessarily agree with everything that’s been said by everyone who’s had their voices silenced in this latest ramp-up of online censorship, but I do strongly believe that only the worst and/or most deluded among us support their silencing. Under no possible framing is suppressing criticism of the mightiest power structure of all time a reasonable or acceptable thing to do.

I mean we’re already at a point here where the arguments for censorship don’t even make sense, when you look at them. When we were told people like Alex Jones and conspiracy circles like QAnon needed to be censored because they incite violence and harassment I didn’t agree with it, but at least the arguments about the need to prevent violence technically made sense. When we were told Covid skeptics need to be censored I didn’t agree with it, but at least the argument that people were dying as a result of being misinformed about a deadly virus technically made sense.

But what exactly is the argument for censoring wrongthink about the Ukraine war? Even if we pretend that everything they’re saying is 100% false and completely immoral, so what? What harm is being done? Does a Ukrainian drop dead every time someone says they don’t believe Russia committed war crimes in Bucha or Mariupol? Does Putin get magic murder powers if enough social media users say they support his war? Do liberal faces melt off their skulls if they accidentally see an RT headline?

Of course not. There’s no sensible argument that this new escalation in censorship is saving lives or that it’s being done for the good of the public. It’s being done to protect the interests of the powerful, plain and simple. It’s being done to prevent people from thinking unauthorized thoughts about a proxy war that was deliberately provoked to advance US strategic interests. And it’s being done to expand the radius of internet censorship for its own sake.

It’s not healthy to seek control over what people say and think. Free speech is important not because it makes people sad when they don’t get to say what they want, but because the free exchange of ideas and information is how we collectively bring awareness to problems, change minds, stir the zeitgeist, and, if necessary, organize mass resistance.

And that’s exactly why the powerful work to prevent the free exchange of ideas and information. If people are permitted to stand at the center of a digital public square and send an unauthorized idea or piece of information viral if it resonates with others, that is a direct threat to status quo power structures. It’s not about saving Ukrainians, ending Covid misinformation, preventing violence, or any of the other excuses they’ve been rolling out since 2016. It’s about censoring the internet.

The advent of the internet gave the powerful the ability to propagandize the public far more rapidly and efficiently than they previously could, but it also brought on the risk of a democratized information space where the public can collectively figure out together that they’re being subjected to tyranny and deceit and decide to put an end to it. Herding the public onto these giant monopolistic platforms that are working in greater and greater intimacy with the empire is how our rulers have chosen to address this dilemma.

The idea is to keep the vast propagandizing power of the internet open while forcing its democratizing power closed, thereby keeping the balance of power tilted far toward the empire managers while manipulating us into believing this is all happening for our own good. But that’s all it is: manipulation. Psychological manipulation at mass scale, for the benefit of the powerful. That’s all this has ever been.

____________________

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Latest comments

  • I have said from the beginning of this, steep trend toward crude and open censorship, that these are private companies they can (and obvisouly will) refuse to publish whatever they want….and 99% of the people still dont get the point………”you have nothing to lose but your chains”

  • The covid censorship was/is done to “protect the interests of the powerful” too — pharma.

  • You people just don’t seem to get it !

    The Rothschilds OWN the $US and the EURO !

    They also OWN the media and have financed EVERY major war and terrorist group for at least the last 250 years !

    The Rothschilds are now under seige from Russia and there is NOTHING they won’t do to save the Rothschilds EMPIRE !

    NOTHING !

  • “Do liberal faces melt off their skulls if they accidentally see an RT headline?”
    Lmao … Got me again.

    • A night walk through the slums of one of China’s designated Tier 3 cities, Zhouzhou, a backwater hell-hole if ever there was one.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WupCdHiTlGE
      Now compare and contrast with a night walk through a Tier 1 city, Guangzhou.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH-ZrSgHml0
      Hardly seems equitable to me, this preferential treatment China’s gives to the cities it likes. Hardly meets the communist ideal, it seems to me.
      Too funny, and too sad. China will be destroyed, I believe, because the United States will not be able to gaze for much longer at how happy, healthy, peaceful, quiet, clean, green, abundant and aesthetically pleasing China is becoming to the eye.
      We sick and ugly Americans will simply not be able to bear it.*
      And 5,000 year old China was just getting started, that’s the tragedy of it all.
      *Once we’re made aware of it. And we will be. Censorship and propaganda can only do so much in this regard. Word of mouth alone will overcome it.

      • The West wants to destroy China to hide its own inadequacies. Who knows what secret military tech China have, I doubt the ‘Generals’ in the West do, they are likely playing with fire that could even topple them from global boss bully status.

  • If smart informed people stopped using Twitter etc, the idiots left on Twitter wouldn’t have anyone to argue with. Simple stuff. Many of you seem to be addicted to online abuse.

  • Spot on, as usual, Caitlin! Thanks again for being such a reliable source of common sense and straight talk, both of which are unfortunately increasingly out of fashion in these troubled times. Keep it up!

  • Have you looked into Panquake, being created by Suzie Dawson?

    I am curious about your thoughts. I have donated to support it’s creation.

    Do you think it can work to prevent censorship and empower people?

  • At 68 I alternate between elated morning optimism and wide-awake-at-night pessimism. I look for signs of the ‘revolution’ in every dark corner. I stopped believing US and therefore, Australian propaganda in 1972. The year I joined the Australian Regular Army. To say I was ill-informed and uneducated was a fair bet but soon after joining I realised that our army was a con job, a work for the dole scheme, that the officers I met were as clueless as anyone else. The NCO’s all claimed that they ‘worked’ for a living, unlike the officers.
    If ‘we’ were so good, how did the Viet Minh and North Vietnam win?
    I was prematurely retired within 17 months of joining, as ‘Retention in the Armed Forces not in the Interest of Those Forces’. I tended to ask a lot of questions and quite a few of them were ‘Contrary to Good Order and Military Discipline’, and ‘Provocative’.
    I have never stopped asking questions or challenging the official narrative. I take in the propaganda, reverse it 180 degrees and more or less arrive at the truth as I see it. I also believe in the dictum ‘follow the money’.
    I consider myself an instinctive anarchist. I have a need for information to assist my decisions. I have not had a Covid vaccine as I could not find any credible information that said that an mRNA jab was the way to go.
    The Ukraine war is complex and yet so simple – but finding that enlightening information is complex in that we are living under a censorship that leads us in one US-centric direction.
    The Russia/China-US/Nato economic war is at present being fought in Ukraine and the propaganda wants to blind us with atrocities real or planned.
    I admire Caitlin’s drive in analysing and looking through and beyond the information and not getting bogged down in the minutiae of the conflict. Strategic as opposed to tactical.
    Thank you Ms Johnstone for keeping your head above the parapet and taking the hits.

    • I copied, pasted and saved your post because it so perfectly describes my own (vaguer) thinking about the state of the world and the organizations that influence so much of what happens in the world. Thanks!

    • Ah! But, is Russia already onside with NATO? Have you flipped that one around yet? China being the mutual target. It’s a postulation from ‘Gaslighting Gilligan’ (Ex Army Sargent) website/blog that that has me curious at the least.

  • Twitter censors have been busy, to Scott Ritter and WarGonzo you can add Russians With Attitude, Pepe Escobar and Spriter99880. They all gave good on-the-ground analysis of what was happening and it certainly didn’t agree with the mainstream media.

    There is a faint hope Musk does something to help, but otherwise people just move from platform to platform. Twitter & Facebook are too ‘old’ now, people have realised what they are.

    GFPS, make sure you’re around when Putin flattens 404, breaks the Yank’s Petrol-dollar rort so they actually have to work for a living, and separates Europe from America. Then the Chinese will rise and take over, and you will regret everything.

  • Media is a circus. A circus full of evil clowns.

    I have my own take on censorship and Musk which you can read on my website.

  • On Tucker Carlson’s show this week, he ran a segment on Canada’s apparent effort to “license” journalists and journalism organizations. If you don’t have your government-granted license, you can’t practice journalism – seems to be the thrust or the goal. They can demonetize “uauthorized” journalism organizations.

    If there is any truth to this, this news moves to the top of our chilling Orwellian list of New Normal developments. Somehow I don’t think Caitlin would be granted her journalism license in Canada. And if she is making any money off her important work, they would try to shut down this revenue stream.

    P.S. The Covid mandates could be “justified” by the claim they “save lives.” But one could also even more convincingly argue that these mandates killed and harmed people. So those criticizing these mandates aren’t trying to harm people, they are trying to save people. Just because Fauci says these “misinformation” specialists are killing children and grandmothers doesn’t mean he’s right. In fact, if he says it, we can be damn sure it’s a lie.

    • “If you don’t have your government-granted license, you can’t practice journalism”
      Incorrect. Canada’s news organizations are going broke; they’ve already pulled coverage from small communities. Most Canadian news these days comes from American outlets. The government is trying to save the Canadian journalism industry by funding/subsidizing it.
      .
      No one is being demonetized. But it’s controversial, because it gives established news orgs an edge, b/c it’ll help them pay their journalists.
      .
      It brings some fear with it, though. The government might feel entitled to revoke a news org’s funding if they paint a sitting government in a bad light. I hope for the best, plan for the worst, and listen to the Canadaland podcast.

      • I tried to qualify my summary of the journalism “licensing” story in Canada because I haven’t looked into it myself. This said, I saw enough to decide that this is a coming thing and the first steps of this initiative seem to be unfolding. Kind of like the move to ban cash will be a process.

      • Canada’s news organizations are going broke because like in every other Western country, they spend their time lying to people (last example was the Freedom Convoy) and a majority don’t believe them and won’t pay for their shit. So what does the government do? Instead of allowing free market and free speech and let the best ones win, it will step in and sponsor the news, like in every other Western country. And what do you think it will do with people who go against its narrative? Ask Twitter… And you know that!

        • @BillRiceJr: This was for Rocky Raccoon above but you stepped in before it posted :o)

          • I used to own a newspaper and have worked at several. They are all going broke. If they did real investigative journalism, they’d have far more readers. “The truth” actually sells. There’s a market for it. Tucker Carlson challenges the narrative every night and he has the No. 1 news talk show in America. Zero Hedge has tens of millions of readers and calls “BS” on ever authorized narrative.

            • This said. Corporate Advertisers will boycott sites that challenge the narrative. Which his another “tell.”

              • Yes, this is why the news side of an organization should be firewalled from the business side, like it used to be. Informing us by providing public interest news is the price corporations are supposed to pay to use _our_ public airwaves.

        • Where do I start…
          “news organizations are going broke because … they spend their time lying to people”
          No, they’re going broke b/c of stupid plans to make news profitable. Supplying news to the public was the price corporations paid to use public airwaves. For decades, American news was firewalled from the business side of an organization. Now those firewalls have fallen, and corporate middle managers are desperate to please their bosses by monetizing news. They cut costs which hurts journalism. That mindset has infected Canada, with Conservative governments cutting funding to the CBC. That’s why local news is mostly American-sourced national and international news, with feel-good human interest stories, and garbage like reporting social media controversies, celeb rivalries, and viral videos.
          .
          “Instead of allowing free market and free speech and let the best ones win”
          Always trust an American to go full-American, even a so-called freethinking American. As I explained above, news shouldn’t be part of the market. News is in the public interest. It shouldn’t be expected to turn a profit. Also, Canada has reasonable limits on speech, which is how an adult handles a room.
          .
          “last example was the Freedom Convoy”
          The so-called Freedom Convoy can kiss my entire ass in every way an ass can be kissed. Like, I’m sorry they don’t know how elections work, but they can’t just request Parliament be dissolved, then “take over” until the next election. Even bloodless, that’s called a coup.
          Basically, the charlatans who planned the Freedom Convoy fooled a bunch of suckers (who, jawdroppingly, weren’t aware trucks had to be refueled) into driving to Ottawa with promises to reimburse their costs, and then stole the donations. Million$ are unaccounted for, and the POS white supremacist ringleaders face charges. The situation was so ridiculous that I that wrote a couple songs about it. Couldn’t resist working it into my art.

          • @Moonraccoon: Where do I start? First I’m not American. Second: the press has always lied to people. Back in the XIXth century, Mark Twain already said, “if you don’t read the newspaper, you’re not informed, if you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed” and there’s the famous story of Randolph Hearst: “Furnish the picture and I’ll furnish the war”.
            Thanks to alternative voices nowadays, a lot of people know better and stop buying the mainstream shit.
            Your version of the Freedom Convoy is as dishonest as possible. You know perfectly well that this all started because of the illegal imposition of mandates on people. You just can not, in a non-corrupt democracy, force people to inject themselves with an experimental drug that’s only been “authorized in case of emergency” as opposed to approved – to make a long story short because there’s volumes to write about the $cience behind all that scandalous government overreach vs the real danger of Covid for Average Joe, i.e. virtually zilch with the average death age being beyond average life expectancy at 82 yo.
            And you know perfectly well that the money that has disappeared in the Freedom Convoy saga has been frozen by GiveSendGo at the call of the Canadian government.
            And you should check the difference between a coup and a demonstration.
            You are obviously a propagandist troll.

            • Glib quips aren’t arguments; they never give the entire picture, even if the person you’re quoting is respected.
              .
              “illegal imposition of mandates” Arguing ‘illegality’ outside of a court is as foolish as entirely trusting or entirely distrusting journalists.
              .
              “in a non-corrupt democracy” Large, non-corrupt human communities don’t exist. You know they don’t, so don’t argue as if they do.
              .
              “frozen by GiveSendGo” The Convoy raised $24m in donations. Of that, GiveSendGo raised $12m. Currently, $4.25m of the donations raised by GiveSendGo is being held by a payment company. The rest—$7.75m—is missing. Thanks for the info, CBC.
              .
              “virtually zilch with the average death age being beyond average life expectancy”
              We know that risk of death increases with age. We also know it’s _not_ “virtually zilch” in the young.
              COVID deaths under 65yo: 11% in high income countries, 37-40% in upper-middle income countries, ~54% in lower-middle income countries, and there’s no data for low income countries.
              But that’s just deaths. There are fates worse than death, like survivors with organ and brain damage. ~52% of surviving ICU COVID infections die within a year (https://gizmodo.com/many-severe-covid-19-survivors-go-on-to-die-within-a-ye-1848144418).
              Based on the claims from people who had COVID and claim everyone should just “get it and get it over with”, yes, brain damage tracks.

    • Dick Durbin Wants to Stop You From Being a Journalist
      by Jim Naureckas FAIR

      Sen. Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.), writing in the Chicago Sun-Times (“It’s Time to Say Who’s a Real Reporter,” 6/26/13), says it’s time to stop letting just anyone call themselves a journalist.

      Everyone, regardless of the mode of expression, has a constitutionally protected right to free speech. But when it comes to freedom of the press, I believe we must define a journalist and the constitutional and statutory protections those journalists should receive.

      By this he means, basically, that the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press probably don’t apply to you:

      Not every blogger, tweeter or Facebook user is a “journalist.” While social media allows tens of millions of people to share information publicly, it does not entitle them to special legal protections to ignore requests for documents or information from grand juries, judges or other law enforcement personnel.

      Otherwise, Durbin suggests, we’ll be in the absurd position of giving First Amendment protection to just anyone:

  • I’ve been amusing myself lately with Facebook lately by turning the comments filter back and forth between “recommended” and “all”. It’s been very interesting to see which comments come and go.

    With Twitter (web), I’ve also been turning the “all” switch off and on. Also educational.

    This is all very disturbing. Opinions and statements of fact are disappearing. Most people would call it “Russian propoganda” and ignore it. So it’s not shielding anyone from the truth. The only purpose I can see is to isolate people who suspect with the official narrative, so that they will feel like a lone crazy, and get in line with the program.

    • And most people wouldn’t be able to identify Russian propaganda any more than they can identify Western propaganda, because they don’t use their brains or take the time to think about it. They are too lazy and too overwhelmed.

  • It’s unbelievably hard to defend speech we don’t agree with. I think Caitlin’s point about “What harm is being done?” would be more solid if Twitter weren’t a user-functionally stateless platform. There are many strengths to social media platforms being stateless, such as war crimes reporting, but a weakness is in users who propagandize. One of the biggest being the genocide promoted on⁠—and therefore promoted by⁠—Facebook (“Facebook Admits It Was Used to Incite Violence in Myanmar” – NYT).
    Certainly, our right to swing an arm ends at anyone else’s nose*. IMO a reasonable extension of that is our right to speak ending at some point between the word and the harm it would bring upon others. Free speech, yes; free speech absolutism, no.
    I saw Ritter defended online as “questioning” the narrative, but he wasn’t. He was stating as fact things he hadn’t proven. Ritter isn’t a rando with an ignorant opinion; he has experience, so he’s an informed opinionator. But here he’s guessing just as much as the US State Department is, the latter of which Caitlin rightfully demonized in “US Officials Admit They’re Literally Just Lying To The Public About Russia”.
    I don’t know how to square this circle. We can try different approaches, but no one has the right answer. We merely have ‘probably not the worst answer’.

    • Ritter has been right far more often than wrong, and I notice you say “stating as fact things he hadn’t proven” without citing any examples. Twitter is not “functionally stateless” it is functionally acting as a state propagandist. and btw the State department isn’t “guessing” it is lying, day in and day out.

      • “Twitter is not “functionally stateless””
        You misquoted me. I said “user-functionally stateless” in which the hyphenation is a key component. Twitter simply functions internationally. We need no passport; we pay no tax, no long-distance calling fees. We can communicate with anyone, regardless which country they live in (don’t @ me about N Korea; you know what I mean).
        .
        “it is functionally acting as a state propagandist”
        More finely, you mean a U.S. propagandist. Agreed. But outside of violence, Twitter is state-agnostic. I could tweet my butthole if I wanted to (I don’t want to), despite my exposed butthole being extremely unwelcome in most dwellings on the planet (I admit that’s an assumption). Almost anywhere, adults on Twitter can see as many LGBTQ expressions of affection as they want, express any religious heresy they like, if they take sensible digital precautions, regardless of their local laws; aren’t we lucky Twitter’s authority chooses to stand aside regarding non-violent moral content.

        • Can you give any specific examples of Ritter ‘stating as fact things he hadn’t proven’?

          • I’m glad you asked, b/c I can. One of the tweets Ritter was suspended for began, “The Ukrainian National Police committed numerous crimes against humanity in Bucha”. You can see the screenshotted tweet here in Anya Parampil’s tweets:
            https://twitter.com/anyaparampil/status/1511768607977525248/photo/1
            .
            As Caitlin wrote, there has not yet been an independent investigation, therefore we shouldn’t consider it a statement of fact. Ritter is renown, so when he makes a claim, it matters. He’s not an easily-dismissed nobody like you or me—his claims have weight. In his other controversial tweets, IMO he qualifies his suspicions in a responsible manner (or at least more responsible than the one I quoted).

            • Going by that tweet alone, Ritter does indeed seem to be offering unproven claims as fact, which is rather out of character, as you imply. I’m going to watch a video with him, George Galloway, Chris Hedges, and Jill Stein soon – maybe he has more to say about these Ukrainian National Police crimes. As you say, even if he has some evidence, they’re hardly proven, but that seems no reason for banning and censoring him, when similarly unproven claims about Russian atrocities are a dime a dozen, and often made by persons of equal or greater renown.

              • He says, ~46:50, a Ukrainian Police commander was ordering the police to shoot people in Bucha. I don’t know if that checks out.
                https://youtu.be/-9tB59pJXJY?t=2810

                • Thanks for the link. He’s certainly passionate. If he heard an officer order his troops to shoot, it seems to me that’s exactly what he should have tweeted. Would the average reader see it and think “that sounds like a war crime”? Maybe not, but others would (or should). Am I wrong to think he editorialized by making that judgement and declaring a crime?

                  • Perhaps he, or someone else, had already tweeted about that police commander. It’s hard, at least for me (a non-Twitter user), to know the context from a screenshot of one tweet. It does seem out of character for Ritter to just make accusations like that without at least mentioning whatever evidence he knew of.

    • Caitlin’s question about “What harm is being done?” is more credible than the doubtless certainty that mass murder is required immediately.

      There is no comparison between Ritter’s opinion and US State Department opinion that it propagandized.

      No one will ever see anything exactly the same way as another person does.

      For example, Ritter saw no evidence that Iraq had weapons justifying the invasion and destruction of Iraq by George W. Bush.

      But Ritter’s observation has been corroborated.

      Bush, for example, has never provided any evidence that anyone has ever seen justification for the atrocities he visited on Iraq, and thus he has no credibility.

      It is a judgement of credibility and motive that distinguishes the relative worth opinions about things factual.

      • “Ritter saw no evidence that Iraq had weapons”
        Agreed. U.S. action against Iraq was no only unjustified but illegal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_the_Iraq_War)…
        …except an illegal act isn’t reeeeeally illegal if no one will hold you to account. Accountability is why Dubya and Cheney don’t travel to Europe.
        .
        “Ritter’s observation has been corroborated” (which observation?; can’t tell when you reference Iraq and when you reference Ukraine)
        About there being no WMDs in Iraq? Yes, even the US agrees there were none.
        About war crimes committed by non-Russians? Not from what I’ve seen, because talking head opinionators prove nothing. As Caitlin herself mentions in OP, “There has as yet been no investigation into what happened in Bucha by any international body.” Until that happens, we should believe no one’s claim about who did what, including Ritter’s.

        • There’s a difference between believing and disbelieving claims – which is everyone’s choice -and banning a guy for expressing an opinion – and even if the event has not been independently investigated because the Brits opposed it – which tells a lot -, there’s a strong case that discovering on 2 April something that hadn’t been mentioned by the mayor in his 31 March speech reeks of false flag – while the guys in the USG, starting with Jen Psaki, get away with lying through their teeth all day on that platform. The stench of hypocrisy in this whole censorship business makes the air so unbreathable that it’s about time the Guinness Book of Records created a section for it!

          • “there’s a difference between believing and disbelieving claims…and banning a guy for expressing an opinion”
            Agreed, there is. But as I said, Ritter isn’t a rando tweeter expressing an ordinary opinion like you or me. He’s a guy with real credentials. When he talks, it matters. On this, he doesn’t have any proof yet, because no one does.
            Since his opinion is assumed to be an informed opinion, he was irresponsible to assert as fact, “The Ukrainian National Police committed numerous crimes against humanity in Bucha,” when, as Caitlin said in OP, “There has as yet been no investigation into what happened in Bucha by any international body”.
            It might indeed be a false flag. But anyone who currently claims it as an indisputable fact is lying. I hope we find out soon.

    • A jury of the public can decide if Ritter’s claims are believable or not. But we can’t decide if we can’t read his comments. Ritter now can’t debate anyone on Twitter as he is not allowed to debate. The people who are afraid to engage in debate are the ones we all must know couldn’t win any fair and open debate.

      • “Ritter now can’t debate anyone on Twitter as he is not allowed to debate.”
        Disagree. A cancelled account would be disabling to a Twitter rando like you or me, but to a renown voice like Ritter, he knows enough people that he could start a new account, reach out to his contacts, and be instantly re-platformed.
        You can argue that he loses his built-in audience, and I counter that he doesn’t have a right to keep it. Depending where he is, were he removed from a public square for denouncing, say, the Holocaust, he’d be charged (I’m not American and I don’t care about American laws). He’s free to return to the square to speak, but he lost the audience he attracted on the day before. The public is better informed about his intent, and he’s aware that Holocaust-denial is a crime (hate speech, death threats, etc, are crimes).
        .
        “A jury of the public can decide if Ritter’s claims are believable or not.”
        Never trust authority. Trust mobs even less.

        • That’s not the question. You know perfectly well that anybody can say on Twitter without any more evidence that the Russians did it and they won’t get banned, no matter how famous they are. Is Adam Schiff banned from anywhere for saying that Trump colluded with Russia even now that this has been debunked by Mueller? Of course not! I could multiply the examples. The number of lies the NYT has got away with is phenomenal, from “Russian disinformation” to claims by sources “who spoke on condition of anonymity” It beggars belief! Twitter bans people who question the USG official narrative, period, especially if they’re credible. And Ritter is not the kind of guy to claim things lightly. The rest is pretexts, excuses, casuistry, sophistry, window-dressing, smoke and mirrors… Empire of Lies. And you know it.

          • Amen on the lies the NY Times has gotten away with – same with the lies ALL of the “Public health authorities” have gotten away with (IMO) .. Or, to be more precise, pronouncements that have never been challenged.

            • “Amen on the lies the NY Times has gotten away with”
              I hear you, but remember that Caitlin has used NYT to support her arguments in at least one recent essay (“Re-Visiting Russiagate In Light Of The Ukraine War” https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2022/03/28/re-visiting-russiagate-in-light-of-the-ukraine-war/). Are we disbelieving institutional news simply because it’s institutional news? Isn’t that as foolhardy as default belief?
              It’s hard to know what to believe.

          • “You know perfectly well that anybody can say on Twitter without any more evidence that the Russians did it and they won’t get banned, no matter how famous they are.”
            Yes. If you allow me to explain, you just made my point.
            .
            Ritter’s credentials mean he isn’t a rando tweeter. He isn’t you or me just expressing an ordinary opinion. His opinion matters. So, with this, he’s being irresponsible when he declares his opinion as fact. Ritter has no proof yet, because no one does. Remember, amongst his more reasonable tweets, was also “The Ukrainian National Police committed numerous crimes against humanity in Bucha”. That one sentence was bullshit he pulled out of his ass, then he built upon it by calling the American president a war criminal (usually true, but it wasn’t a great move to include that here). He’s an expert who knows better than to do that. IMO that declaration of false-fact by an expert was why he caught a suspension.
            .
            As Caitlin said in OP, “There has as yet been no investigation into what happened in Bucha by any international body”. Until that happens, nothing is believable. Really, you’re either making assumptions or using your imagination, trying to confirm what you already believe.

            • Sorry but I’m not making your point since what I said was just the contrary: if Ritter, without any more proof, had said that the Russians had committed war crimes in Bucha, he wouldn’t have been banned by Twitter. And I insist: you know it.

  • I am trying to figure out who and how are hoping to profit from this.
    My best guess at this time is that they want to hush us into going back to working for the dying economic model till death do us part.
    The cheerleaders for the war in Ukraine must be getting paid well hence they want it to continue.
    Basically, it’s working for them, and if you don’t like it just shut up and go back to work. Don’t forget the 4th covid shot before you show up to work for the MIC in person. Seems the MIC finally destroyed our economy and has monopoly on the job market.

  • Fascists censor free speech. Nazis burned books. The west is quickly becoming a fascist state and danger to freedom everywhere.

    • The Azov Battalion and similar fascist gangs have become freedom fighters. How long before the Empire and its mouthpieces explicitly declare that Fascism is Freedom?

      • Fascism is of course Freedom, because you are free to remain silenced by the so called “social media” platforms for fascist speech.

      • Except of course in the US and vassal Natostan where fascism is all bad and Antifa brown shirts are the second coming. Contrary to the second coming though, which famously is white and streaks the sky, anti-fascism fascism isn’t white but fifty shades of grey.

    • It’ll be free speech for the ruling elite, hyper controlled speech for everyone else.

  • It seems a normal thing for the perpetrator to get more care, sympathy and understanding than the victim. A serious flaw in our society. Yet I also absolutely detest the victim mentality that had gripped western society. It is never your fault but because of something else. We are all victims of our own actions. The devil made me do it.

    • The genius of US propaganda though is to always find a good reason to do the most cruel things, which is why they’re the good guys (TM). If they cut your throat, it’s to help you breathe better.

    • So you support censorship, then? Opposing censorship is not a sign of “victim mentality”. It is the rational response to state forces attempting to silence the voices of the people, to lie, cheat, and steal, and to perpetuate wars and violence with impunity.

  • The article is 100% spot on. And the travesties described herein form several big steps backward as we the people strives, unwittingly, to make ‘1984’ a reality. Silencing voices is the most basic weapon of totalitarian regimes.

    • No, its a load of shit from a Putin chode sucking sack of moronic shit. No wonder you like it. Birds of a fascist feather fascist together

      • You are a truly sick asshole. What a filthy comment.

        • 100% agree. A troll among trolls.

      • @GET FUCKED, PUTIN SCUM: do you know that curing impotence is possible nowadays? And having a tiny dick is not as big a problem as you were led to believe. A lot of people have learnt to live with it without feeling this urge to insult everybody all the time.

  • In a country where everyone has either left or been drafted into military service, you cannot really be accused of killing civilians, can you?

    • The US interpretation of the Geneva Conventions makes armed civilians without uniforms Unlawful Combatants.

      Armed civilians in opposition to US soldiers during the occupation of Iraq were found to have no rights under the Conventions, so claimed the US.

      Zelenskyy gave Ukrainian defenders weapons without uniforms, and so left them without protections afforded by the Geneva Conventions.

      So, following the interpretation of fascist USA, murder of unlawful combatants is not a crime but a legal response to a crime.

  • “But what exactly is the argument for censoring wrongthink about the Ukraine war? Even if we pretend that everything they’re saying is 100% false and completely immoral, so what? What harm is being done?”
    Excellent point. This round of censorship does not make sense even in their own terms.

  • “Corporatism” is rule by corporations, and is also known as “fascism”.

    “Fascism” gets a (well deserved enhanced) bad rap due to its association genocide.

    Fascism and genocide are much more potent together because censorship can conceal genocide, but both fascism and genocide can be practiced independently of each other.

    The use of the term Fascism should not be reserved for instances of simultaneous occurrence with genocide.

    The Corporate practice of censorship is fascism.

    The United States of America is a fascist state, given the U.S. Constitutional legal status granted to corporations as persons.

    Corporate censorship is fascism

    • Not sure I agree. Perhaps fascism was termed in Italy as the merger of the state and business interests, but today the fascism seen throughout Europe is the racist, populist, knuckle sandwich variety. Today, liberals call anyone to their left fascist. Trump is one. The term has almost lost it’s meaning, like terrorist. The big tech censorship is not corporate in origin, but rather from government pressure.

      • So you exempt the US from being classified as fascist.

        You do not see corporate and government collaboration.

        Americans do not like to see the obvious.

        I call American behavior in this regard “Not See-ism”.

    • This is about as stupid as comments come, but you almost got the point. This dumb fuck is a fascist clown simping for Putin bc it’s profitable for her dumb dick self

      • Here’s an idea. Why don’t YOU get fucked yourself. Go wank in front of a mirror to turn yourself on with your own image.

      • It’s perfectly obvious that you, GFPS aka Joe Biden, are off your Alzheimer’s meds again.

        Take pill and chill.

  • Soon it’ll be forbidden to say there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when the US invaded, or that Western nations engaged in slavery. After all, even if there weren’t and they did, it’s surely anti-Empire propaganda to point it out.

    • Nice false equivalence, you fucking moron. There weren’t any WMDs, there was a massacre by Russia tho and you simple minded Putin sextoys are just getting fucked so hard by his propaganda you believe him. Pathetic

      • False? Think about it, didn’t the same organizations that told you Iraq had WMD’s also tell you that the Russians committed a massacre, despite firm denials from both of those governments? Couldn’t they be wrong about two things?

      • If those presenting evidence that queries Russian massacres are censored, the remaining evidence is going to be one-sided.

  • OK, Caitlin, tolerance is not just a river in Africa. Just because Elon is rich (OK, filthy rich) doesn’t mean he’s pro censorship:
    Musk claimed in a Twitter post that Starlink had “been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources.”

    “We will not do so unless at gunpoint,” he pledged. “Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.”

    … I think a big part of online censorship is simply power for its own sake, weasel functionaries exercising the only influence they can have by trying to stop the influence of others, an unintended consequence of which is that their censorship becomes so ludicrous even the sheeple notice. And I’m still amazed at my naivete but trying to censor the internet seems like trying to stop a swarm of locusts with a picket fence.

    • As one of, if not the most powerful oligarch of his time once said:

      “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”
      – Andrew Carnegie (“takes one to know one”, right?)

      • “…just watch what they do”…like buying Twitter.

    • Speaking of my naivete, I’m a Wikipedia binger and the opening line on their Bucha page is
      “The Bucha massacre was the killing and abuse of Ukrainian civilians by Russian Armed Forces during the fight for and occupation of the Ukrainian city of Bucha amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
      … and let me just type out that my line about censorship and picket fences is really just whistling in the dark.

        • Suck another conspiracy you absolute fucking clown. The founder of wiki doesn’t set the content standards and hasn’t for over a decade. Hahahahahahah omfg y’all are such fucking simps for Putin fascism

          • this internet censorship business is trickier than I thought ….

            • Internet censorship works like this – stooges of the establishment get to say what they want, no matter how offense, while anyone opposed gets censored, blocked or only heard in echo chambers and controlled ops.

          • wiki’s obviously controlled ops. You’d have to have a lobotomy to believe otherwise. Ah, I see…….

  • Well done, as usual, Caitlin. As you well understand, there is a compelling reason for this increasingly tight noose the Empire of Lies has around our “free speech” neck, which is that the totally corrupt political/electoral system the d (I just call them the thieves) have established, with the help of both political parties, cannot remain in place if the people know and understand the truth. If enough people ever figure out (and I have almost given up on that happening) that their declining standard of living (and in increasingly large numbers, precarity) is due to the fact that both political parties have betrayed the people and, rather than serving us, are aiding and abetting the 1% loot us and our Country and is not the fault of the “other party”, the corrupt system of bribery will come tumbling down. That, of course, is why the US and its Britain vassal has been subjecting Julian Assange to a slow and painful death for the last decade. And yet, the majority of the people, who seem to have the attention span of a chicken, still don’t get it. I don’t know what percentage of the people even now support Assange, but I would be surprised to learn that it is more than 10% or so. Unless people wake up to these facts, I see no chance of effective change. As you and others have pointed out, we are already in a situation where any person who has any meaningful ability to inform the people of the truth is viciously attacked by the government and shut down by its Silicon Valley agents.

    Please keep telling the truth. Many of us are grateful to you for doing so.

    • Cry some more, call lies the truth some more. Whine some more about those evil demonrats….all while you suck the fascist dick of the GOP, ya fucking forgot your clown shoes this morning

      • You sure are a living ad for the Democratic party. Class and distinction :o)

      • is that you Robyn?

      • cocaine’s a hell of a drug

  • well , we should not be surprised, after all false flag events are a common tactic now days particularly in Ukraine, this is quite obvious, and becomes more obvious as time goes on. The Ukrainians have much to gain by commiting false flag incidents, especially when public interest begins to wane .

    • …unlike US oil companies and arms dealers, right?

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