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Highly-Cited ‘Hamilton 68’ Russiagate Tracker Is Total Hoax: Taibbi

Highly-Cited ‘Hamilton 68’ Russiagate Tracker Is Total Hoax: Taibbi

Out of the caterwaul of cries proclaiming that Russian collusion, and Russian influence operations, were the only reason Donald Trump won the 2016 US election (a hoax funded and promoted by his opponent, Hillary Clinton), a website which claimed to track said Kremlin efforts sprung forth, and was used to justify baseless allegations;

Hamilton 68: a widely-cited, (indirectly) state-sponsored propaganda tool.

The website claims to monitor a secret list of Twitter accounts which they accused of Kremlin control, however it’s impossible to verify their claims as the group has never disclosed their methodology.

Former FBI counterintelligence agent and “disinformation” expert Clint Watts, the spokesman for Hamilton

As Matt Taibbi notes via Racket:

Hamilton 68 was and is a computerized “dashboard” designed to be used by reporters and academics to measure “Russian disinformation”. It was the brainchild of former FBI agent (and current MSNBC “disinformation expert”) Clint Watts, and backed by the German Marshall Fund and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan think-tank. The latter’s advisory panel includes former acting CIA chief Michael Morell, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former Hillary for America chair John Podesta, and onetime Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. –Racket

And now, Taibbi has torn Hamilton 68’s ‘black box’ asunder after reviewing the latest batch of “Twitter Files.”

As Taibbi notes via Racket:

Ambitious media frauds Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair crippled the reputations of the New Republic and New York Times, respectively, by slipping years of invented news stories into their pages. Thanks to the Twitter Files, we can welcome a new member to their infamous club: Hamilton 68.

If one goes by volume alone, this oft-cited neoliberal think-tank that spawned hundreds of fraudulent headlines and TV news segments may go down as the single greatest case of media fabulism in American history…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Capsule Summaries of all Twitter Files Threads to Date, With Links and a Glossary

Capsule Summaries of all Twitter Files Threads to Date, With Links and a Glossary

For those who haven’t been following, a compilation of one-paragraph summaries of all the Twitter Files threads by every reporter. With links and notes on key revelations

It’s January 4th, 2023, which means Twitter Files stories have been coming out for over a month. Because these are weedsy tales, and may be hard to follow if you haven’t from the beginning, I’ve written up capsule summaries of each of the threads by all of the Twitter Files reporters, and added links to the threads and accounts of each. At the end, in response to some readers (especially foreign ones) who’ve found some of the alphabet-soup government agency names confusing, I’ve included a brief glossary of terms to help as well.

In order, the Twitter Files threads:

  1. Twitter Files Part 1: December 2, 2022, by @mtaibbi

    TWITTER AND THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY

    Recounting the internal drama at Twitter surrounding the decision to block access to a New York Post exposé on Hunter Biden in October, 2020.

    Key revelations: Twitter blocked the story on the basis of its “hacked materials” policy, but executives internally knew the decision was problematic. “Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?” is how comms official Brandon Borrman put it. Also: when a Twitter contractor polls members of Congress about the decision, they hear Democratic members want more moderation, not less, and “the First Amendment isn’t absolute.”

    1a. Twitter Files Supplemental, December 6, 2022, by @mtaibbi

    THE “EXITING” OF TWITTER DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL JIM BAKER

    A second round of Twitter Files releases was delayed, as new addition Bari Weiss discovers former FBI General Counsel and Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker was reviewing the first batches of Twitter Files documents, whose delivery to reporters had slowed.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

THE TWITTER FILES: Clandestine Government Agency Edition

THE TWITTER FILES: Clandestine Government Agency Edition

After writing quite the pre-Christmas reflection Friday, night, Journalist Matt Taibbi has decided to grace us with a Christmas Eve edition of THE TWITTER FILES – which he says details “Twitter’s relationship to other government agencies – including some that don’t like to see their name in print much.”

Continued;

2. It didn’t refute allegations. Instead, it decried “conspiracy theorists” publishing “misinformation,” whose “sole aim” is to “discredit the agency.”

3.They must think us unambitious, if our “sole aim” is to discredit the FBI. After all, a whole range of government agencies discredit themselves in the #TwitterFiles. Why stop with one?

4.The files show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government – from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA.

5.The operation is far bigger than the reported 80 members of the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), which also facilitates requests from a wide array of smaller actors – from local cops to media to state governments.

6.Twitter had so much contact with so many agencies that executives lost track. Is today the DOD, and tomorrow the FBI? Is it the weekly call, or the monthly meeting? It was dizzying.

7.A chief end result was that thousands of official “reports” flowed to Twitter from all over, through the FITF and the FBI’s San Francisco field office.

8.On June 29th, 2020, San Francisco FBI agent Elvis Chan wrote to pair of Twitter execs asking if he could invite an “OGA” to an upcoming conference:

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The ‘Twitter Papers’ Reveal the Totalitarians Among Us

The ‘Twitter Papers’ Reveal the Totalitarians Among Us

I admit to being skeptical of Elon Musk as a free speech hero. He has moved from one US government-subsidized business to another on his path to becoming the world’s richest person. But there is no denying that his release of the “Twitter Papers” this past weekend, which blew the lid off government manipulation of social media, has been a huge victory for those of us who value the First Amendment.

The release, in coordination with truly independent journalist Matt Taibbi, demonstrated indisputably how politicians and representatives of “official Washington” pressed the teams that were then in charge of censorship at Twitter to remove Tweets and even ban accounts that were guilty of nothing beyond posting something the power-brokers did not want the general public to read. Let’s not forget that many of those demanding Twitter censorship were US government officials who had taken an oath to the US Constitution and its First Amendment.

It is important to understand that both US political parties were involved in pushing Twitter to censor information they didn’t like. There is plenty of corruption to go around. However, as the Twitter Papers demonstrated, vastly more Tweets were censored at the demand of Democratic Party politicians simply because Twitter employees on the censorship team were overwhelmingly Democratic Party supporters.

Perhaps the most damning piece of evidence released in this first installment of the Twitter Papers was a series of Tweets from the Biden 2020 campaign to its contact inside Twitter asking that the social media censor them. An internal Twitter document shows that the censor team “handled these,” meaning censored them.
…click on the above link to read the rest…

Greenwald Drags MSM Journos For ‘Hive-Mind’ Hackery Over Taibbi-Twitter Bombshell

Greenwald Drags MSM Journos For ‘Hive-Mind’ Hackery Over Taibbi-Twitter Bombshell

Update: Glenn Greenwald sums it up perfectly in an epic Twitter thread:

Click on any of the above tweets to read the rest.

*  *  *

On Friday night, veteran journalist Matt Taibbi released the first installment of “The Twitter Files” – evidence of Twitter’s interference in the 2020 US election provided by new owner Elon Musk.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Be it Resolved: Don’t Trust Mainstream Media

Be it Resolved: Don’t Trust Mainstream Media

My opening remarks for the Munk Debates in Toronto tonight

Tonight at the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, I’m teaming up with The War on the West author Douglas Murray in the prestigious Munk Debates. Our opponents are Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author and New Yorker staff writer, and Michelle Goldberg, MSNBC contributor and columnist for the New York Times. The subject tonight: “Be it resolved: Do not trust the mainstream media.”

You can probably guess which side I’ll be arguing. Below, a transcript of my opening remarks (you’ll receive this as the event begins). More on the event after its completion. Thanks to everyone for being patient this week as I prepared.

Be it resolved: don’t trust mainstream media.” My name is Matt Taibbi, I’ve been a reporter for 30 years, and I argue for the resolution. You should not trust mainstream media.

I grew up in the press. My father was a reporter. My stepmother was a reporter. My godparents were reporters. Every adult I knew growing up seemed to be in media. I even used my father’s TV mic flag as a toy. I’d go in the backyard, stand with my back to the house, and play “live shot”:

Chet, I’m in Norwell, Massachusetts, where firefighters are battling a three-alarm blaze…

I love the news business. It’s in my bones. But I mourn for it. It’s destroyed itself.

My father had a saying: “The story’s the boss.” In the American context, if the facts tell you the Republicans were the primary villains in this or that disaster, you write that story. If the facts point more at Democrats, you go that way…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

YouTube Censors Reality, Boosts Disinformation: Part 1

YouTube Censors Reality, Boosts Disinformation: Part 1

YouTube censored this site for accuracy, yet new news today underscores that they continue to hype fake news.

As subscribers by now are aware, I’m very upset about YouTube’s recent decision to censor a factually accurate video about “rigged election” comments produced for this site by Matt Orfalea. The company has given Matt a strike and labeled his/our work “misinformation,” an insult I’ve decided not to take lying down. I’m going to search for new ways to embarrass the company until they reverse their decision. As it happens, today offers an excellent opportunity.

CBS This Morning today came out with a story claiming they obtained a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop, sent for an “independent forensic review,” and determined it “appears genuine.” This follows up confirmation from The New York Times back on March 16th, and more importantly, the exhaustive earlier work of Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger confirming key emails in his book, The Bidens.

Matt did an exceptional job back in March in the video above, compiling clips of people who went on air and with absolute certainty proclaimed the laptop “a lie,” “altered or fake,” “pure distractions,” and of course, “RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION.”

Whether or not you thought the actual content of the story was important, the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop affair was a crossroads moment in the history of modern censorship. YouTube played a major role in this event.

This was a case in which major news media — including CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and countless other outlets — actively embraced disinformation, in the form of a group letter from 50-plus former intelligence officials saying the laptop story (they referred to a “laptop op”) had the “classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Anthony Blinken Raises The Pucker Factor On Dissent: Taibbi

Anthony Blinken Raises The Pucker Factor On Dissent: Taibbi

After publishing “On John Lennon’s Birthday, a Few Words About War” last night, old friend and former Moscow Times editor Matt Bivens* and I discovered we’d written on the same topic.

You can find Matt’s excellent essay here.

He notes a big thing I missed. A series of ominous statements was buried in Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s recent joint press conference with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, trumpeting the “tremendous opportunity” the Nord Stream blasts afforded to remove “the dependence on Russian energy.”

A few public figures questioned those comments, but Blinken said something else that was worse. The relevant passage:

I also made clear that when Russia made this move, the United States and our allies and partners would impose swift and severe costs on individuals and entities – inside and outside of Russia – that provide political or economic support to illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory…

We will hold to account any individual, entity, or country that provides political or economic support for President Putin’s illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory.  In support of this commitment, the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce are releasing new guidance on heightened sanctions and export control risks for entities and individuals inside and outside of Russia that support in any way the Kremlin’s sham referenda, purported annexation, and occupation of parts of Ukraine.

There’s no way to know what a State Department official might believe meets the definitions of “political support,” support “in any way,” the “Kremlin’s sham referenda,” or any of a half-dozen phrases in that passage. This is why the negative precedent of government watch lists after the PATRIOT Act was important…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Washington Post Dabbles in Orwell

The Washington Post Dabbles in Orwell

In scrubbed piece about Edward Snowden, the Bezos Post offers a preview of how history will be re-written

Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship on Monday to Edward Snowden, a former security consultant who leaked information about top-secret U.S. surveillance programs and is still wanted by Washington on espionage charges.

The story added:

Snowden’s disclosures, published first in The Washington Post and the Guardian, were arguably the biggest security breach in U.S. history. The information revealed top-secret NSA surveillance as part of a program known as PRISM and the extraction of a wide range of digital information.

Snowden is America’s most famous revealer-of-secrets, and the way he’s talked about has evolved to an extreme degree in less than a decade, showing how quickly a story about security overreach can be flipped into an argument for more vigilance. The press, which once worked with Snowden in its proper role as a bulwark against government excess, is effectively an arm of the state now, as is shown again in this absurd episode.

This article began as an aggressive rewrite of history and the Post’s own views, but underwent numerous alterations after it attracted criticism online yesterday.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Activism Uncensored: The Freedom Convoy

Activism Uncensored: The Freedom Convoy

Fringe Minority, Eh? TK Partners News2Share take a balanced look at the Canadian protests

In the above video, TK Partners News2Share do a fantastic job of doing what the conventional press mostly hasn’t done with the “Freedom Convoy” story, asking the right questions about who’s participating, what their concerns are, and how the event is being received on the ground.

As Ford Fischer demonstrates in his narration, the protesters are a mix of people who see themselves as politically liberal, and politically conservative. There are some whose objections seem to be purely about mandates. “I’m double-vaccinated,” says one speaker. “To think… I will show my papers to buy a sandwich? Hell, no!”

For others, the issue is the vaccine itself:

“They said, ‘Get your booster…’ If it doesn’t work once, it doesn’t work twice, maybe it’ll work the third time. You know who does that? Gamblers. People who play blackjack!”

The scenes outside the Super Bowl, meanwhile, look quite different. Although trucker protests have gathered steam in too many countries around the world to count by now, the U.S. version has so far failed to produce the large numbers Canadians have seen. The News2Share footage also shows a crowd that looks and sounds different from the ones in Ottawa.

Stories like the Freedom Convoy are exactly why we like the idea of having Ford and his shooters just let the cameras run for a while at heavily covered events. The idea is to let audiences watch longer pieces of footage with minimal contextualization, so they may draw their own conclusions. Hopefully, News2Share’s pictures from Ottawa and L.A. shed some light.

An earlier version of this story contained an extraneous quote at the bottom of the page. TK apologizes to readers, and to News2Share, for the error.

Another All-Time Media Faceplant

Another All-Time Media Faceplant

After the Biden administration and the press wrongly predicted a Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 16th, they kept compounding the error in spectacular fashion

“It was a joke, you idiots.”

If cluelessness can be art, American journalists unveiled their Sistine Chapel this week, in a remarkable collection of misreports and hack stenography surrounding a predicted invasion of Ukraine.

The mess began last Friday, February 11th, when National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan gave an address warning American citizens to evacuate Ukraine. “If a Russian attack on Ukraine proceeds, it is likely to begin with aerial bombing and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians without regard to their nationality,” he said. “I will not comment on the details of our intelligence information,” he added, before doing just that: “I do want to be clear: It could begin during the Olympics,” i.e. before the Beijing games end on February 20th.

Around the time of Sullivan’s comments, American reporters began telling audiences a curiously detailed story about upcoming Russian invasion plans. PBS NewsHour’s Nick Schifrin cited “three Western and defense sources” in saying Vladimir Putin had already made up his mind to invade. He then cited six sources — “US and Western officials” — who told him the U.S. expected an invasion of Ukraine the following week. These voices left little to the imagination, saying the invasion would be a “horrific, bloody campaign,” with two days of aerial bombardment, followed by electronic warfare and possible regime change:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Great International Convoy Fiasco

The Great International Convoy Fiasco

As America puts the Canadian Prime Minister’s unmentionables in a vice over a truck protest, it’s clearer than ever: the world’s leaders have forgotten how to govern

The White House issued a statement Friday, after Joe Biden chatted with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

The two leaders agreed that the actions of the individuals who are obstructing travel and commerce between our two countries are having significant direct impacts on citizens’ lives and livelihoods… The Prime Minister promised quick action in enforcing the law, and the President thanked him for the steps he and other Canadian authorities are taking to restore the open passage of bridges to the United States.

Translation: Biden told Trudeau his testicles will be crushed under a Bradley Fighting Vehicle if this trucker thing is allowed to screw up the Super Bowl, or Biden’s State of the Union address. Trudeau’s own statement that day came off like the recorded video message of a downed pilot:

I’ve been absolutely clear that using military forces against civilian populations, in Canada, or in any other democracy, is something to avoid having to do at all costs.

An anxious Trudeau promised to deploy law enforcement in a “predictable, progressive approach” that would emphasize fines and other punishments. Because demonstrators will see that the “consequences” for those continuing to engage in “illegal protests” are “going to be more and more extensive,” he said, “we are very hopeful” that “people will choose to leave these protests peacefully.”

Switching gears just a bit, he then added, “We are a long way from ever having to call in the military.”

Such a move, he said, would only be a “last resort.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Folly of Pandemic Censorship

The Folly of Pandemic Censorship

As the latest anti-Substack campaign shows, more and more people are forgetting why free speech works

Earlier this week, in the latest in a series of scolding campaigns, a Britain-based group called the Center for Countering Digital Hate gave a sneak peek at a research report on Substack to The Guardian and The Washington Post. Both outlets came out with their scare pieces this morning. From The Guardian:

A group of vaccine-skeptic writers are generating revenues of at least $2.5m (£1.85m) a year from publishing newsletters for tens of thousands of followers on the online publishing platform Substack, according to new research…

Imran Ahmed, chief executive of CCDH, said companies like Substack were under “no obligation” to amplify vaccine skepticism and make money from it. “They could just say no…”

The Post, citing “some misinformation experts say” — the pandemic version of “people familiar with the matter” — added:

These newer platforms cater to subscribers who seek out specific content that accommodates their viewpoints — potentially making the services less responsible for spreading harmful views, some misinformation experts say.

If these stories sound familiar, it’s because this same Center for Countering Digital Hate two years ago tried to pull the same stunt with The Federalist, using NBC to ask Google to crack down on them. Humorously, and typically — this happens a lot with these stories — that effort ended in fiasco. The piece NBC ended up writing boasting of the success of its “Verification Unit” in getting the site demonetized, entitled, “Google bans two websites from its ad platform over protest articles,” turned out to itself be misinformation. The Federalist was never banned, only warned, and the issue was its comments section, not its articles. Google had to issue a statement:

Twitter avatar for @Google_CommsGoogle Communications @Google_Comms

The Federalist was never demonetized.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

2021 Year in Review: Crisis of Authority and the Age of Narratives

Every year, friend-of-the-site David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year is no exception. Poignant and delightfully acerbic when necessary, considering the troubling times. As with past years, he selected Peak Prosperity as the site where it is published in full. It is longer than our usual posts, but worth the time to read in full. This is Part 1.

Introduction

Dave: You do lack self control, but I learned and laughed making my way thru this.

~ Larry Summers (@LHSummers), former Secretary of the Treasury

I’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. What began more than a dozen years ago as a synopsis of the year’s events in markets and finance for a few friends morphed beyond my control into a Year in Review (YIR)—an attempt to chronicle human folly and world events for the entire year. It captures key moments before they slip into the brain fog. The process of trying to write a coherent narrative helps me better understand WTF just happened and seminal moments that catch my eye.

By far my favorite end-of-year recap for the last ten years. Finished it yesterday. Once again David hasn’t disappointed. He’s on my I want to go to dinner with list.

~ Jim Pallotta (@jimpallotta13), money manager and former owner of Boston Celtics

I’m game, Jim, even if it’s just a pretzel, nachos, and a brewski. The title, “Crisis of Authority,” is a double entendre. On the one hand, previously trusted authorities that we relied on to better understand the world are long gone. Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Tim Russert have been replaced with Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Brian Stelter. Oops. Scratch Chris Cuomo..

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Meet Jed Rakoff, the Judge Who Exposed the “Rigged Game”

Meet Jed Rakoff, the Judge Who Exposed the “Rigged Game”

“We have mass incarceration for the poor, and it’s totally hands-off for the rich, and that’s pretty hard to stomach.” Justice Jed Rakoff on his new book, and his famous challenge to the system

Jed Rakoff

On November 27, 2011, a federal judge named Jed Rakoff threw out a $285 million regulatory settlement between Citigroup and the Securities and Exchange Commission, blasting it as “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest.” The S.E.C. and Citigroup were stunned. Expecting to see their malodorous deal wrapped up, the parties were instead directed “to be ready to try this case” the following summer.

Try a case? Was the judge kidding? A pattern had long ago been established in which mega-companies like Citigroup that were implicated in serious offenses would be let off with slaps on the wrist, by soft-touch regulators who expected judges to play ball. These officials in many cases were private sector hotshots doing temporary tours as regulators, denizens of the revolving door biding time before parachuting back into lucrative corporate defense jobs. A judge who refused to sign the settlements such folks engineered was derailing everyone’s gravy train.

Citigroup had replicated a scheme employed by numerous big banks of the era, helping construct a “born to lose” portfolio of rotten mortgage securities to be unloaded on customer-dupes, who were unaware the bank intended to bet against them. A similar case involving a Goldman, Sachs deal called “Abacus” had concluded the previous year with a hefty fine, but, infamously, no admission of wrongdoing.

In the Citigroup version, the bank earned $160 million in profits, customers lost $700 million, and the S.E.C. wanted to impose a $285 million fine…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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