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3 Ways Facebook Is Increasingly Becoming An Arm Of The US Government

Facebook has lately announced a series of major steps it would take to combat fake news and the global spread of misinformation that it says could influence elections, but the more we learn about just who it is Facebook is partnering with in this endeavor, the clearer it becomes that these initiatives are not at all designed to foster independent thought and discourse, but to ultimately ensure that public online discourse doesn’t stray too far from official state narratives.

Mark Weisbrot, a co-director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, recently slammed Facebook’s decision to work with US government-funded organizations as “Orwellian” — especially given the fact these organizations themselves “specialize in overseas propaganda.”

Thus while claiming to fight Russian, Iranian, and other propaganda these very groups will strictly enforce an official establishment Washington and NATO view of world events.

Here are 3 extremely worrisome Facebook initiatives to which the public should pay close attention, and which suggest the social media giant is increasingly becoming a censorship arm of the US government and its allies…

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Facebook’s Partnership with US state-funded think tanks

Last Wednesday Facebook announced it would work with two US government-funded think tanks in order bolster the social media giant’s “election integrity efforts” around the globe.

The new partnership with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has been described by Reuters as an initiative to “slow the global spread of misinformation that could influence elections, acknowledging that fake news sites were still read by millions”.

But both the IRI and NDI are funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which has since its late Cold War era founding defined itself as a “soft power” wing of the US government abroad focused on “democracy promotion”.

Journalist Max Blumenthal recently described the NDI as “a taxpayer funded organization that has interfered in elections, mobilized coups, and orchestrated public relations campaigns against nations that resist Washington’s agenda.”

Max Blumenthal explored the National Endowment for Democracy’s machinations in recent history and today in a mini-documentary entitled, “Inside America’s Meddling Machine”

This is tantamount to Facebook relying on the US government to interpret what is “fake” news and what is not.

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Facebook’s close ties to NATO and US allies

Another think tank, The Atlantic Council, has since last May been directly advising Facebook on identifying and removing “foreign interference” on the popular platform through its Digital Forensic Research Lab, or “DFR Lab”. The Atlantic Council is funded by NATO and European governments and Gulf monarchies.

Previously Mark Zuckerberg indicated the need for an outside source that could identify “foreign influence” bent on malicious intent through specialized geopolitical expertise.

Supposedly the whole partnership is aimed at bringing more objectivity and neutrality to the process of rooting out fake accounts that pose the threat of being operated by nefarious foreign states. Yet as a Reuters report confirmedFacebook is itself a top donor to the Atlantic Council, alongside Western governments, Gulf autocratic regimes, NATO, various branches of the US military, and a number of major defense contractors and corporations.

A partial list of top Atlantic Council funders and DFR lab associates. 

The Atlantic Council has frequently called for things like increased military engagement in Syria, militarily confronting the “Russian threat” in Eastern Europe, and now is advocating for Ukraine and Georgia to be allowed entry into NATO while calling for general territorial expansion of the Western military alliance.

Further it has advocated on behalf of one of its previous funders, Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and gave a “Distinguished International Leadership” award to George W. Bush, to name but a few actions of the think tank that has been given authorization to flag citizens’ Facebook pages for possible foreign influence and propaganda.

Quite disturbingly, this is Mark Zuckerberg’s “neutral” outside “geopolitical expertise” he’s been seeking.

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Facebook has set up a “War Room” ahead of the November midterm elections

Facebook announced last Wednesday that it plans to set up a “war room” at its Silicon Valley campus to prevent potential foreign election meddling during the midterms.

“We are setting up a war room in Menlo Park for the Brazil and US elections,” Facebook elections and civic engagement director Samidh Chakrabarti said, according to the AFP. He added, “It is going to serve as a command center so we can make real-time decisions as needed.”

A “command center” in a “war room” to make “real-time” decisions huh?… And Facebook says it will gain help from artificial intelligence software to prevent fake posts by those pesky Russians to boot.

The “war room” will further include assistance from the aforementioned NATO-funded DFR Lab, which is to help in flagging posts which could have a malevolent foreign power behind them. All of this should translate into very real concern for the potential of political censorship of American citizens in the name of protecting against foreign election meddling.

Early this year The New York Times reported that in order to combat the “discord” allegedly sewn by Russians, most of which the Times story admitted happened after the election, Facebook hired a fleet of people to review content, added to its security team, and hired counterterrorism experts and recruited workers with government security clearances.

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What’s the ultimate aim here? 

The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Richard Stengel, a former TIME editor, told an audience at a CFR event in late April called “Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News” that governments “have to” direct “propaganda” toward their own populations.

Notably CFR members are also typically a who’s who among the leadership of above-mentioned organizations like the NED, IRI, NDI, and the Atlantic Council.

These are the types of people looking to “guide” Facebook on flagging disinformation. See what they have to say in their own words:

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Underworld

Havana Syndrome again? CIA officers are mowed down by a mysterious disease

A CIA officer in Moscow experienced symptoms of the so-called “Havana syndrome” in 2017. This became known to The New York Times with reference to sources in diplomatic circles.

CIA officer Mark Polimepulos, who helped lead covert operations in Russia and Europe, complained about the manifestation of mysterious symptoms. According to the newspaper, in December 2017, he felt severe dizziness, which later developed into a prolonged migraine, forcing him to retire. At that time, Polymerpoulos was 48 years old.

It is noted that such a case was not the only one. Similar symptoms were experienced by the staff of the American ambassadors in Cuba and China in 2016-2018. However, the exact number of cases and the place where this happened is not named. It is alleged that the US diplomats have tried to influence in a similar way around the world.

At the same time, the US State Department was unable to establish an unambiguous reason that caused the “Havana syndrome.” Among other things, it was assumed that the diplomats may have been exposed to an unidentified sound effect.

In 2017, it was reported that, beginning in late 2016, American diplomatic officials and their relatives in Cuba began to complain of symptoms such as hearing loss, nausea, headaches and balance disorder. 

The Associated Press received audio footage of the attack and described the harassing sounds as “the high-pitched sound of crickets combined with fingernails scratching on a board.” Then the American government suggested that Russia or China could be the culprit.

Many victims are still undergoing rehabilitation. Specialists from the University of Pennsylvania performed magnetic resonance imaging and revealed visible changes in the structure of the brain in the diplomatic missions.

Differences were found in 23 men and 17 women who complained of health problems while on diplomatic duties in Havana. Scientists have yet to figure out what causes the unusual symptoms.

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Underworld

How Russia and the United States nearly started a nuclear war in 1995

The Norwegian meteorological rocket incident remains the only time in history that the Russian president has activated his nuclear briefcase.

On January 25, 1995, Doomsday could have come in the world: the Russian Federation was preparing to launch a nuclear strike on the United States. How did it come about that the states that left the confrontation of the Cold War in the past and had just normalized relations with each other found themselves on the verge of mutual destruction?

The beginning of the war?

The cause of the crisis was an ordinary Norwegian meteorological rocket. Its launch from the small island of Anneia at 7 am local time (10 am Moscow time) towards Spitsbergen caused a stir in Russia. 

Black Brant XII.

Black Brant XII. Legion Media / ZUMA Press

Equipped with scientific equipment to study the aurora borealis, the Black Brant XII was similar in size to the nuclear-powered American Trident D-5 ballistic missile, intended for launch from submarines. In addition, it flew along a trajectory along which, as the Russian Defense Ministry believed, American missiles would fly in the event of a nuclear war. 

In December 1994, Norway informed 28 states, including Russia, about the planned launch, but did not give a specific date, limiting itself to specifying the period: from January 15 to February 10 of the next year. Due to bureaucratic delays, this information did not reach the Russian Missile Warning System, which sounded the alarm.

Decisive minutes

An emergency meeting with the country’s top political and military leadership was convened in the Kremlin. Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Kolesnikov and President of the Russian Federation (as Supreme Commander-in-Chief) Boris Yeltsin had three strategic missile forces control terminals activated – the so-called nuclear suitcases.

Vladimir Sayapin / TASS

The military believed the lone missile could have been fired to create an electromagnetic pulse that knocked out Russian radars and communications systems. Following it, a massive blow could be expected.

For several tense minutes, as leaders watched it flight, it was decided whether Russia would launch a nuclear strike against the United States. 

“Little is known today about what Yeltsin said at the time, given that it could have been some of the most dangerous moments in the entire history of the nuclear era,” The Washington Post journalist, David Hoffman wrote three years after the incident : “They make it clear that the Cold War nuclear readiness system continues to operate, and how catastrophic its consequences could be, despite the fact that the feud between the great powers is already over.”   

The situation was discharged only when it became clear that the rocket had gone towards Spitsbergen (not far from which it fell into the ocean). The nuclear cases have been deactivated. Russian President Boris Yeltsin (center) and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev (right).

Russian President Boris Yeltsin (center) and Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev (right). Igor Mikhalev / Sputnik

The incident with bringing Russia’s Strategic Nuclear Forces to combat readiness, soon became the property of the world community. When, four years later, the Norwegians were about to repeat their launch of Black Brant XII and reported this to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the US additionally warned all key Russian military departments about it through their channels. As a result, this time there were no unpleasant surprises. 

Source: rbth.com

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Underworld

Germany conducted exercises in case of nuclear war

Bundeswehr / Birthe Brechters

The Bundeswehr with partners in the North Atlantic Alliance ( NATO) trained in operations in a nuclear war.

The German army, together with Italian, Belgian and Dutch colleagues, conducted exercises in the event of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons.

The location of the exercise “Steadfest Noon” was chosen airbase “Nörfenich”, where the tactical squadron of the Luftwaffe 31 “Boelcke” is located. Together with the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr, the air forces of other NATO countries, in particular, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, took part in the exercises.

According to a report by Bild, the exercise scenario involved training procedures for safely removing nuclear weapons from storage, delivering ammunition and installing them on aircraft. The training flights took place without nuclear weapons, and in parallel with the aviation exercises at the Büchel airbase, where the tactical squadron of the Luftwaffe 51 Immelman is located, the Resilient Guard air defense systems were trained to protect the airfield from air attacks.

The training sites for the Luftwaffe of the Bundeswehr were not chosen by chance, since the Nörfenich airbase is a reserve storage site for the B61, a hydrogen bomb that forms the basis of nuclear weapons of the US strategic nuclear forces. 

Some of this ammunition is stationed at NATO bases in Europe. The exact number of hydrogen bombs that are stored at European sites and which ones are not reported. In Europe, the B61 is carried by Panavia Tornado fighter-bombers (pictured) and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters.

Recall that the B61 thermonuclear bomb is the main weapon of the US strategic nuclear forces, although it entered service in 1968. Since 2012, a new guided version of the B61-12 has been under development, which will replace all B61 and B83 bombs that have been in service since 1983. It can be used both on strategic bombers and tactical aircraft. About two billion dollars were spent on the development of the 12th modification of the aerial bomb.

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