Journalist Matt Taibbi runs three tracks and ties them together in what could be one of the most stunning releases of internal Twitter communications to date.
This 17th tranche of "Twitter Files" exposing censorship and corruption at the company pre-Elon Musk's takeover sees Taibbi not only expose shocking Atlantic Council's attempts to silence tens of thousands of Twitter users, it sees him shed light on federal government attempts to shut down hundreds of conservative and libertarian Twitter handles, as he correctly follows the corrupt, anti-constitutional origins of these federal gnats – origins that, personally, touch a nerve, because I’ve been writing about these origins for years.
First, there are Taibbi’s potent tweets about the Atlantic Council, the internationalist, so-called “non-governmental organization” that actually has many big-government ties. It also has connections to Crowdstrike Founder Dmitri Alperovich (Crowdstrike being the “computer security” firm that got the DNC computers instead of the FBI getting them after the DNC email leak in 2016, upon which the firm recklessly claimed the data was hacked – a claim that former NSA Technical Director William Binney easily refuted by noting the data transfer speed required an internal connection, meaning that the data most likely was leaked by an internal source) and even has financial ties to Burisma, the state-established Ukrainian energy corporation that employed Hunter Biden.
Taibbi’s second tweet in the thread on Tranche 17 is stunning, comes with an attached screenshot of the received email in question, and sees the journalist note:
“On June 8, 2021, an analyst at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab wrote to Twitter: ‘Hi guys. Attached you will find… around 40k twitter accounts that our researchers suspect are engaging in inauthentic behavior… and Hindu nationalism more broadly.’”
And in his next tweet, Taibbi reveals that these targets of “inauthentic behavior” – whatever that means – were found to be “full of” conservative Americans:
“DFRLab said it suspected 40,000 accounts of being ‘paid employees or possibly volunteers’ of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But the list was full of ordinary Americans, many with no connection to India and no clue about Indian politics," Taibbi reports.
So it appears that the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab was about as believable as the Crowdstrike gang was in its claims regarding the DNC emails.
Some of those targeted by this internationalist behemoth offered some choice words, which Mr. Taibbi also provided in his Twitter thread:
“’I have no connection to any Hindu folks... Just a Reagan Republican here in CT,’ replied ‘Bobby Hailstone.’ ‘A Hindu nationalist? I’ve never even been out of this country. Let alone the state of NJ,’ said ‘Lady_DI816.’ ‘These people are insane!’ said ‘Krista Woods.’”
Taibbi observes that, to their credit, Twitter’s Yoel Roth and others communicated with each other about how sketchy this Atlantic Council claim was, but the organization’s move is an indication of just how intense was the big-government attack on conservative speech.
And that was just one facet of the attacks.
Taibbi’s March 2 Substack piece, entitled, “The Original Sin of the ‘Anti-Disinformation’ Movement” offers a shocking look at the state-sponsored attempt to shut down Twitter users and remove posts, and this is where MRCTV readers might see numerous terms and names about which we have been reporting since 2016.
In fact, it would be wise to start with some of what we have been discussing here at MRCTV.
Recall that I often have written about the “Portman-Murphy countering Foreign Propaganda Act,” a bill introduced in March of 2016, and used in tandem with the salacious and baseless claims of “Russian Hacking of the DNC” and “Russian Hacking of Hillary” and “Russian Collusion with Trump” that government apparatchiks and media propagandists chanted throughout that summer and into the winter.
The act claimed the power to shovel $150 million over two-years into the coffers of US media that helped the government “fight foreign propaganda.” In other words, it helped fund US propaganda. And it was a particular kind of propaganda – the kind that typical “Deep State figures” who already had displayed a predilection for creating anti-Russian, anti-Trump fiction really, really liked.
Taibbi shows readers how the Portman-Murphy Act was connected to an almost simultaneously issued March, 2016 Obama Executive Order, establishing that was called the “Global Engagement Center” (GEC), and a bit of digging shows us that this, itself was an Obama spin on something he started in 2011 with an earlier E.O. As the official GEC website reveals:
“GEC’s founding traces back to 2011 and Executive Order 13584, which established within the Department of State the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) for the purpose of ‘supporting agencies in Government-wide public communications activities targeted against violent extremism and terrorist organizations.’ Executive Order 13721 in 2016 transformed the CSCC into the Global Engagement Center but left its counterterrorism mission largely unchanged.”
Which isn’t really true – at all.
As Taibbi notes, when Portman-Murphy was rolled into the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bankroll permitting the GEC to begin a two-year propaganda campaign against innocent American – and others, worldwide -- was laid out.
Obama signed the original executive order in March of 2016, but it wasn’t until after Donald Trump’s election that a bipartisan pair of Senators — Ohio’s Rob Portman and Connecticut’s Chris Murphy — put GEC into the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, enshrining both its mission and its budget in law.
‘SECTION 1287, GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT CENTER’ of the NDAA said the Secretary of State shall ‘establish within the Department of State a Global Engagement Center’ that would ‘integrate interagency… efforts to track and evaluate counterfactual narratives abroad that threaten... national security interests’ [emphasis mine]. The careful language about a center ‘within’ State obscured a key truth about GEC, which is that it’s not a sub-agency of State at all, but an ‘interagency’ group whose original partners included the FBI, DHS, CIA, the Office of the President, and multiple DOD entities, including DARPA, Special Operations Command (SOCOM), U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), and others.”
I repeatedly have written about Portman-Murphy, noting that after its initial two-year funding run, it fell into disfavor with the Trump Administration, but was revived in 2019, something Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) proudly explains on his own tax-funded website, adding:
“Murphy and Portman introduced the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, which was signed into law in December 2016. The law improved the ability of the United States to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation by establishing the Global Engagement Center (GEC), which is charged with leading the U.S. government’s efforts to counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.”
So, as I tried to warn people at the time, the feds literally used hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to “study” and “fight” what they simply called “disinformation”, and then to create propaganda and attempt to silence civilians from all over the planet. And it's still happening thanks to former Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Murphy.
“GEC’s ‘Chinese’ list included multiple Western government accounts and at least three CNN employees based abroad. ‘Not exactly Anderson’s besties, but CNN assets if you will,’ quipped Twitter’s Patrick Conlon. ‘A total crock,’ added Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth."
And now we can think about how it might feel to have many of the United States government’s most powerful spy agencies focused on portraying innocent people as malefactors and trying to censor them. It’s an age-old problem, going back to the Sedition Act of 1798, when President John Adams got pals in Congress to write a statute allowing the feds to punish people who criticized Adams, while allowing criticism of his nemesis, then Vice President Thomas Jefferson.
But this contemporary version was underhanded, often hidden, and done through an agency that STILL exists.
As Taibbi writes at Substack:
“It permeates the entire ‘disinformation studies’ complex, which is constantly discussing the ‘impact’ of disinformation on, say, the 2016 election, but often stops short of quantifying that impact or even identifying what the disinformation was. The notion that people voted for Donald Trump because they were ‘misinformed’ or manipulated by Russians is a fantasy, a mental self-defense mechanism for people who are unable to face the more obvious real-world reasons.”
And, about Portman-Murphy and the GEC, Taibbi adroitly concludes:
“If ‘disinformation studies’ has an original sin, this is it.”
The pushback will be up to us.