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Managing Chaos: Adventures in Alternative Media. Greg Guma

Managing Chaos: Adventures in Alternative Media. Greg Guma

An eye-witness account that explores the unique, tumultuous history of Pacifica radio and alternative media in America.

After an eclectic career, Greg Guma discusses the evolution of radio and television, the impacts of concentrated media ownership, the rise of the alternative press, his own work in Vermont — before and during a progressive revolution that changed the state’s power structure, and decades later, how he managed the original listener-supported radio network.

Weaving together an intimate chronicle of what he saw as Pacifica Radio’s first post-revolution CEO and episodes from his earlier life as a reporter, editor and activist, Guma explores the challenges of maintaining democratic institutions in a culture of distrust and polarization, of striking the delicate balance between truth and advocacy, observation and participation, and of managing conflicts with persuasion instead of force. 

Managing Chaos is a media saga, a personal story, and a cautionary tale.

…a skilled writer who has immersed himself in Vermont life and politics for decades.  — Sasha Abramsky

…the first executive in Pacifica who has been willing, and able, to share his experiences…. They ought to be required reading for all PNB and LSB members.  —  Nalini Lasiewicz

Excerpts from the Book

“The deeper I looked the more convoluted and intractable the problems appeared: Charges and counter-charges of secrecy, waste, racism, sexism, harassment and violence, turf battles over local fiefdoms, manipulation, and alleged fraud. It seemed like a fratricidal war with no end in sight. 

“It reminded me of how easily reality can be blurred by misinformation. That July, Jeff Ruch, the director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, had issued a relevant assessment of a much larger and even more dysfunctional organization. ‘The federal government,’ he concluded, ‘is suffering from a severe disinformation syndrome.’

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

YouTube Removes 35,000 EU Videos for “Misinformation,” Enhances Content Censorship Ahead of 2024 Elections

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

YouTube has (“voluntarily” or otherwise) assumed the role of a private business entity that “supports elections.”

Google’s video platform detailed in a blog post how this is supposed to play out, in this instance, in the EU.

With the European Parliament (EP) election just around the corner, YouTube set out to present “an overview of our efforts to help people across Europe and beyond find helpful and authoritative election news and information.”

The overview is the usual hodgepodge of reasonable concepts, such as promoting information on how to vote or register for voting, learning about election results, etc., that quickly morph into yet another battle in the “war on disinformation.”

And what better way to “support” an election (and by extension, democracy) – than to engage in another round of mass censorship? /s

But YouTube was happy to share that in 2023 alone, it removed 35,000 videos uploaded in the EU, having decided that this content violated the platform’s policies, including around what the blog post calls “certain types of elections misinformation” (raising the logical question if some types of “election misinformation” might be allowed).

As for who is doing this work, YouTube suggests it is a well-oiled machine hard at it around the clock, and “at scale” – made up of “global teams of reviewers” and machine learning algorithms.

The blog post first states that one of the goals of YouTube’s efforts is to help users “learn about the issues shaping the debate.” But then in the part of the article that goes into how the platform is “dealing with harmful content,” it at one point starts to look like the giant might be trying to shape that debate itself.

“Our Intelligence Desk has also been working for months to get ahead of emerging issues and trends that could affect the EU elections, both on and off YouTube,” reads the post.

In case somebody missed the point, YouTube reiterates it: “This helps our enforcement teams to address these potential trends before they become larger issues.”

And while machine learning (aka, AI) is mentioned as a positive when it comes to powering YouTube’s ability to censor at scale, later on in the post the obligatory mention is made of AI as a tool potentially dangerous to elections and democracy.

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

The Golden Age of Disinformation Has Only Just Begun

The Golden Age of Disinformation Has Only Just Begun

The world has become increasingly interconnected and interdependent, and the opportunities for misinformation have become almost limitless.

Disinformation is all about power, and because of the harmful and far-reaching influence that disinformation exerts, it cannot achieve much without power.

As a tool for shaping public perceptions, disinformation can be used by authoritarian regimes and democracies alike. The dissemination of false information is not a new practice in human history. However, over the last few decades, it has become professionalized and has taken on exorbitant proportions at both national and international levels.The Origins of Disinformation

Disinformation can be understood as misleading information, intentionally produced and deliberately disseminated, to mislead public opinion, harm a target group, or advance political or ideological objectives.

The term disinformation is a translation of the Russian дезинформация (dezinformatsiya). On Jan. 11, 1923, the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided to create a Department of Disinformation. Its mission was “to mislead real or potential adversaries about the true intentions” of the USSR. From then on, disinformation became a tactic of Soviet political warfare known as “active measures,” a crucial element of Soviet intelligence strategy involving falsification, subversion, and media manipulation.

During the Cold War, from 1945 to 1989, this tactic was used by numerous intelligence agencies. The expression “disinformation of the masses” came into increasing use in the 1960s and became widespread in the 1980s. Former Soviet bloc intelligence officer Ladislav Bittman, the first disinformation professional to defect to the West, observed in this regard that ”The interpretation [of the term] is slightly distorted because public opinion is only one of the potential targets. Many disinformation games are designed only to manipulate the decision-making elite, and receive no publicity.”

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

UN Official Condemns Health “Misinformation,” Advocates for “Digital Integrity Code”

Under the guise of combating disinformation, the UN advocates for stricter censorship with its new Code of Conduct for Information Integrity.

The United Nations continues with an attempt to advance the agenda to get what the organization calls its Code of Conduct for Information Integrity on Digital Platforms implemented.

This code is based on a previous policy brief that recommends censorship of whatever is deemed to be “disinformation, misinformation, hate” but that is only the big picture of the policy UN Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications Melissa Fleming is staunchly promoting.

In early April, Fleming gave a talk at Boston University, and here the focus was on AI, whose usefulness in various censorship ventures makes it seen as a tool that advances “resilience in global communication.”

A piece on the Boston University Center on Emerging Infectious Diseases site first asserts that AI had a “major role” in helping spread misinformation and conspiracy theories “in the post-pandemic era,” while the UN is described as one of the institutions that have been undermined by all this, while “working to dispel these narratives.”

(The article also – helpfully, in terms of understanding where its authors are coming from – cites the World Economic Forum (WEF) as the “authority” which has proclaimed that “the threat from misinformation and disinformation as the most severe short-term threat facing the world today”).

You will hardly hear Fleming disagreeing with any of this, but the UN’s approach is to “harness” that power to serve its own agendas. The UN official’s talk was about AI can be used to feed the public the desired narratives around issues like vaccines, climate change, and the “well-being” of women and girls.

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

The Day We Stopped Trusting Media

The Day We Stopped Trusting Media

Imagine future election campaigns

One of the first posts in this newsletter’s Shrinking Trust Horizon series was about how “deep fake” technology will make fake images, videos, and audio recordings almost indistinguishable from the real thing. This will kill millions of modeling and acting jobs, while weaponizing audio and video in all kinds of disturbing ways.

That day has apparently arrived:

Baltimore high school teacher arrested over deepfake audio of principal

A Maryland high school teacher has been arrested for allegedly using AI to deepfake a bogus recording of his principal making racist comments.

Dazhon Darien, 31, is accused of creating the hoax audio of Pikesville High School Principal Eric Eiswert.

Mr Eiswert was placed on leave and had police outside his home amid death threats he received over the fake clip.

Mr Darien was held at an airport after a security check over a gun in his bag found an arrest warrant against him.

He faces charges of stalking, theft, disruption of school operations and retaliation against a witness.

Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Myriam Rogers said the school, as well as the Baltimore County Police Department, launched an investigation on 17 January when they were made aware of the voice recording.

Detectives requested a forensic analysis of the audio, which found it was not authentic.

In the recording, Mr Eiswert’s deepfaked voice is heard making disparaging comments about black students’ test scores, black teachers and Jews.

Police believe Mr Darien, the Baltimore-area school’s athletic director, made the recording to retaliate against Mr Eiswert because he was pursuing an investigation into potential mishandling of district funds.

Mr Darien had authorised a payment of nearly $2,000 (£1,600) to his roommate, falsely claiming the roommate was an assistant coach for the Pikesville girls’ soccer team, reports the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

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

The Lancet Publishes CDC Studies on Misinformation, Hoping You Forgot The Lancet and CDC Spread Pandemic Misinformation

The Lancet Publishes CDC Studies on Misinformation, Hoping You Forgot The Lancet and CDC Spread Pandemic Misinformation

Censorship academic Claire Wardle helps guide the journal’s descent into authoritarian, censorship hell.

Medical authorities and like-minded charlatans address public failure with several strategies. One method is to deny error, feign outrage at critics pointing to the screwup, and shroud yourself in the holy mantle of science. When caught lying about the science on masks and the possibility he funded a lab accident in Wuhan, Anthony Fauci famously deployed this strategy by first denying what he had said, and then striking back at his critics, “Attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science.”

The second strategy science academics and kindred con artists deploy is to ignore their blunder, blunder onward while feigning expertise, and hope the public has the mental capacity of goldfish who forget their entire world every 15 minutes. After being humiliated several times for publishing COVID misinformation, The Lancet has landed on this second tactic, inverting reality to assert authority on misinformation—the very same topic they fucked up in the recent past.

But a few were not fooled. The Lancet’s announcement that they were publishing two papers warning about medical misinformation set off howls of laughter and merry disbelief on social media.

“You guys may want to sit this one out,” quipped conservative commentator, Tracy Beanz.

“Misinformation you say?” tweeted another, linking to news deriding a bogus study by a company called Surgisphere that the Lancet was forced to retract.

“By publishing falsehoods like the surgisphere fraud and the Lancet commission whitewash of lockdown failure and harms, the @Lancet was among the worst contributors to public misinformation during the covid era,” tweeted Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya.

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

Orwellian Sydney Police: We Will Be the “Source of Truth”

Sydney residents question the implications of centralized truth and censorship in the wake of a government’s push to police online discourse.

Offering a fresh perspective on the fallout of a recent Sydney stabbing attack, residents have expressed their anger and mistrust toward the police who have insisted they alone should be the arbiter of truth in this incident. These sentiments stem from a press briefing given by New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb last Thursday.

Webb, who was sharing information about a 16-year-old male being accused of terrorism following the stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel of Christ The Good Shepherd Church, asserted that the police will be the utterly reliable source of updates. She warned against “misinformation,” but decided not to elaborate on what she was alluding to.

“I also want to stress that there is misinformation being communicated across social media, and people should not share any of that information,” Webb said. “The source of information should be from police and law enforcement authorities. And if people have concerns they should check our websites, our socials, and any other direct news from law enforcement about current information. If we have current credible information about any risk or threat to the community, we will let them know, we will share that with the community. But please be assured that police will be the source of truth and not social media and misinformation.”

This attempt by the Australian police to monopolize control over the narrative of the incident has raised concerns among the online community about censorship, especially as the government has been pressuring online platforms to censor in recent days. The government has even gone as far as telling people to report their fellow citizens’ speech to the country’s chief censor.

More Details Have Come to Light About Feds’ Surveillance of Everyone That Watched Certain YouTube Videos

Recently, it came to light that US courts are issuing orders to YouTube (Google) to hand over user information – a previously unreported form of dragnet investigation. And now additional details about the practice are emerging.

Forbes broke the story last month after seeing documents that showed a court order covering all YouTube users who watched certain videos over a period of time. Personal data required by law enforcement in these cases was very detailed.

Regarding Google users – that’s information from their Google accounts (name, address, phone number and records, online payments history, IP address, etc…), while everybody else visiting URLs listed in the order had their IP addresses surrendered.

A one-year gag order made sure Google could not make any of this publicly known, and now we’re hearing about it because that time period has expired.

However, the actual documents that the original article was based on were not published at that time; now, reports say they have been made available on the Bluesky platform.

The order covers the first 8 days of 2023, and three apparently obscure and in and of themselves harmless YouTube videos (the target of the investigation was a person suspected of illegal activity, while the video’s URLs were “exchanged” during communication between undercover investigators and their target).

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

 

Canadians Are F**ked: Secret RCMP Report

Canadians Are F**ked: Secret RCMP Report

A previously secret (and still heavily redacted) RCMP report warns the Canadian government to expect civil unrest once citizens realize how totally screwed the economic situation is, the National Post reports.

The coming period of recession will … accelerate the decline in living standards that the younger generations have already witnessed compared to earlier generations,” reads the “Whole-of-Government Five-Year Trends’ report for Canada- of which the aforementioned heavily redacted version was made public thanks to an ‘access of information’ request filed by Matt Malone, an assistant professor of law at British Columbia’s Thompson Rivers University, and an expert in government secrecy.

“For example, many Canadians under 35 are unlikely ever to be able to buy a place to live,” the report continues.

According to the report, labeled as “special operational information” and originally intended to be distributed only within the RCMP and among “decision makers” in the federal government, trends are in motion “that could have a significant effect on the Canadian government and the RCMP.”

The authors warn that Canada’s current situation “will probably deteriorate further in the next five years,” and that in addition to worsening living standards, Canada faces unpredictable seasonal catastrophes, including wildfires and flooding.

Another major theme of the report is that Canadians are set to become increasingly disillusioned with their government, which authors mostly chalk up to “misinformation,” “conspiracy theories” and “paranoia.” -National Post

“Law enforcement should expect continuing social and political polarization fueled by misinformation campaigns and an increasing mistrust for all democratic institutions,” reads one of the report’s “overarching considerations,” the Post reports.

“Erosion of Trust”

“The past seven years have seen marked social and political polarization in the Western world,” reads part of the first sentence of a heavily redacted section, entitled “erosion of trust,” with the remainder deleted by government censors – who also eliminated most of a section warning about “paranoid populism.”

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

Telling the Truth About Our Future

Energy Aware II

Renewable energy is a poor substitute for fossil fuels. That’s because renewables are a diffuse form of energy and produce power only about one-third of the time.

That doesn’t stop renewable energy true-believers from trying to bend the laws of physics to tell a story that’s not true. EROI** (energy returned on energy invested) was used in this way by Murphy et al in 2022 and more recently, by Delannoy et al in late 2023.

Louis Delannoy and twenty-one co-authors proclaimed the good news in November that there is now a consensus that renewable energy is cheaper and more efficient than fossil fuels.

“The EROI of fossil-fueled electricity at point of end use is often found to be lower than those of PV, wind and hydro electricity, even when the latter include the energy inputs for short-term storage technologies.”

Emerging consensus on net energy paves the way for improved integrated assessment modeling

That’s not true. There is great uncertainty about EROI and a range of net energy values for every type of energy source. It’s a blunt instrument at best. It requires knowing an unknowable array of complex inputs and outputs to be anything more than a high-level guess.

First, let’s examine the easy part of their statement—“including storage technologies.” Lazard’s latest data shows that wind and solar are the most expensive forms of electric power once backup storage is included. Cost and EROI are not the same thing but they are related so it’s a red flag that Delannoy et al’s statement may be untrue.

The reference for their claim is a 2020 paper by one of the co-authors about modeling carbon emissions in California that included simulations for future solar PV EROI California is not the world, forward modeling is not historical data, and solar PV is not the renewable universe.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

UK’s “Online Safety Act” OFFICIALLY grants MSM permission to publish lies

UK’s “Online Safety Act” OFFICIALLY grants MSM permission to publish lies

Welcome to the UK where it’s now official government policy that you CAN’T publish “misinformation”, but The Guardian, the BBC, Disney and Netflix CAN.

Yes, it’s true – the recently signed “Online Safety Act” brands the publication of “false information” a criminal offense punishable by up to a year in prison…

…unless you’re an MSM outlet, when it’s totally fine.

Think even the corrupt & bloated criminal class that rules over us would never dare be that blatant?

Take a look at section 179 making it illegal to publish false information with intent to cause harm:

…and then look at section 180, which exempts all MSM outlets from this new law :

…and that’s without even getting into OfCom’s “select committee”, or how they choose to define “misinformation” (s. 152)

Welcome to the modern definition of “freedom of speech”, where the MSM are directly and explicitly permitted to “knowingly publish false information with intent to cause non-trivial harm”, and you can be sent to jail for a year for calling out their lies.

Oh, and it looks like our friends across the pond might not be far behind. The Big Tech Senate hearings started yesterday, and social media executives are already throwing their support behind the new “Kids Online Safety Act”.

With the EU’s own Digital Services Act coming into force later this month, and all the focus on “misinformation and disinformation” at Davos two weeks ago, we can see the real crackdown on internet free speech is about to kick into gear.

Good times.

For a more in-depth break down of what exactly the “Online Safety Act” is and how it works, you can read our article from last September.

Logically.AI of Britain and the Expanding Global Reach of Censorship

Logically.AI of Britain and the Expanding Global Reach of Censorship

Brian Murphy, a former FBI agent who once led the intelligence wing of the Department of Homeland Security, reflected last summer on the failures of the Disinformation Governance Board – the panel formed to actively police misinformation. The board, which was proposed in April 2022 after he left DHS, was quickly shelved by the Biden administration in a few short months in the face of criticism that it would be an Orwellian state-sponsored “Ministry of Truth.”

In a July podcast, Murphy said the threat of state-sponsored disinformation meant the executive branch has an “ethical responsibility” to rein in the social media companies. American citizens, he said, must give up “some of your freedoms that you need and deserve so that you get security back.”

The legal problems and public backlash to the Disinformation Governance Board also demonstrated to him that “the government has a major role to play, but they cannot be out in front.”

Murphy, who made headlines late in the Trump administration for improperly building dossiers on journalists, has spent the last few years trying to help the government find ways to suppress and censor speech it doesn’t like without being so “out in front” that it runs afoul of the Constitution. He has proposed that law enforcement and intelligence agencies formalize the process of sharing tips with private sector actors – a “hybrid constellation” including the press, academia, researchers, non-partisan organizations, and social media companies – to dismantle “misinformation” campaigns before they take hold.

More recently, Murphy has worked to make his vision of countering misinformation a reality by joining a United Kingdom-based tech firm, Logically.AI, whose eponymous product identifies and removes content from social media. Since joining the firm, Murphy has met with military and other government officials in the U.S., many of whom have gone on to contract or pilot Logically’s platform.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Inside the UN Plan to Control Speech Online

Inside the UN Plan to Control Speech Online

A powerful United Nations agency has unveiled a plan to regulate social media and online communication while clamping down on what it describes as “false information” and “conspiracy theories,” sparking alarm among free-speech advocates and top U.S. lawmakers.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) outlined a series of “concrete measures which must be implemented by all stakeholders: governments, regulatory authorities, civil society, and the platforms themselves.” in a 59-page report released this month.

The approach includes the imposition of global policies, through institutions such as governments and businesses, that seek to stop the spread of various forms of speech while promoting objectives such as “cultural diversity” and “gender equality.”

In particular, the U.N. agency aims to create an “Internet of Trust” through a focus on what it calls “misinformation,” “disinformation,” “hate speech,” and “conspiracy theories.”

Examples of expression flagged to be stopped or restricted include concerns about elections, public health measures, and advocacy that could constitute “incitement to discrimination.”

 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies remotely during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election," in Washington on Nov. 17, 2020. (Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies remotely during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election,” in Washington on Nov. 17, 2020. (Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images)

Critics have warned that allegations of “disinformation” and “conspiracy theories” have increasingly been used by powerful forces in government and Big Tech to silence true information and even core political speech.

Just this month, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee released a report blasting the “pseudoscience of disinformation.”

Among other concerns, the committee found that this “pseudoscience” has been “weaponized” by what lawmakers refer to as the “Censorship Industrial Complex,” the goal of which is to silence constitutionally protected political speech, mostly by conservatives.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XXIX–Are We Being Duped Regarding Global Warming?


Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XXIX

August 17, 2021

Tulum, Mexico (1986) Photo by author

Are We Being Duped Regarding Global Warming?

Today’s contemplation was prompted by an email my mum sent me. As she closes in on 80, I find that she’s becoming a bit more open-minded about things but remains somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to global warming/anthropogenic climate change. We periodically share thoughts on the state of the world, especially politics, and I think I’ve almost got her convinced to abandon her faith/trust in government…

Anyways, here is the comment about global warming she forwarded to me and my relatively quick response (typed up while I was engaged in replacing a floor/foundation for one of our greenhouses — I never considered a decade ago when I installed the first greenhouse, of three, that the mini-garden ties I was using to terrace our backyard would decay/rot so quickly so I am replacing them with concrete blocks and putting in a patio stone floor so that my eldest daughter who has taken over the greenhouse can have many years of use with it, hopefully). I have added some minor supplemental thoughts (in italics) and supporting links to a few sources (see endnotes).


Comment:

With global warming having become as much a political issue as a scientific inquiry, I went from wondering whether mankind might really be influencing the climate to someone questioning a science I do not understand. I am now worried we are being duped by people with an agenda, like keep the money gravy train running. No one has yet explained to my satisfaction the big ice age followed by warming then a mini-ice age, followed by warming, all before mankind was a significant presence on earth and did nothing but have a few campfires.

Response:

That human activity has an impact on our environment and ecological systems, I have little doubt. How could almost eight billion of us and our resource demands not? Especially the so-called ‘advanced’ economies[i]. There is growing evidence that shows that our industrial civilisation has surpassed several planetary biophysical limits and likely overloaded a number of the planet’s compensatory sinks due to the vast amounts of waste material produced in its quest to procure the minerals and energy that our tools require for their manufacture and pollutants produced through their use.[ii]

The issue with the focus on global warming/climate change/carbon emissions is multi-faceted —such stories are never as simple as we’re led to believe. Geologic history shows pretty clearly that the planet’s climate changes and probably most significantly as a result of the sun’s cycles.[iii]

Is human activity exacerbating natural cycles? Quite possibly[iv]. Is it as catastrophic as painted by some?[v] Only time can truly tell since modelling of complex systems is fraught with difficulties.[vi] One minor variation of one of many variables that are used to create future predictions can shift the eventual outcome significantly.[vii] Of course, humans don’t like uncertainty (which is really all that can be provided about the future — probabilistic scenarios that may or may not occur — no matter how complex one’s predictive model is) so we cling to and tend to believe forecasts that are at their root uncertain; their potential accuracy matters not.[viii]

One of the other complications of the narrative is that our ruling class always leverages crises to their advantage. Always. I have little doubt that the hyper focus on climate and carbon emissions is being used to pursue the ruling class’s primary motivation: control/expansion of the wealth-generating systems that provide their revenue streams.[ix]

The ‘problem’ of climate change is always presented with ‘solutions’ but those ‘solutions’ do not address carbon emissions in the least; in fact, there’s a good argument to be made that they actually increase them.[x] Much as the ruling class manufactures consent for any policy that the masses might question/reject (almost always via significant propaganda campaigns), they have created a narrative that is designed to persuade people to believe something that is increasingly being shown to be completely false and little more than marketing/sloganeering.[xi]

These ‘solutions’ also, conveniently, increase the revenue streams of the ruling class via taxes and complete replacement/overhaul of virtually all important technology (e.g., ‘renewable’ energy, electric vehicles, etc.). Scratch even gently below the surface of the ‘clean/green’ energy story and you discover it’s all basically bullshit.[xii] These technologies not only are not sustainable because of their dependence upon finite resources (including very much on the fossil fuel platform itself), but their production is hugely ecologically destructive. We are being sold a load of crap on various fronts so that the sociopaths that ‘control’ our world can profit. This being said, we do face some significant environmental and resource depletion challenges.

Probably the most dire predicament we face is ecological overshoot — too damn many people (especially living in ‘advanced’ economies) for a planet with finite resources.[xiii] The constant push for growth (which really is just to prolong/support the gargantuan Ponzi that our financial/economic/monetary systems have become) is the exact opposite of what we likely need to be doing; as is the push to ‘electrify’ everything.[xiv] The unfortunate thing for the future is that any species that overshoots its natural carrying capacity has only one way to be rebalanced: a massive die-off.[xv] When that occurs (and how it unfolds) is anybody’s guess…

As much as we tend to believe we understand our world and its complexities, I would contend we do not; at least, not very well. To compensate for this uncertainty we have developed all sorts of psychological mechanisms that lead us to believe particular narratives with some ‘certainty’. The beginning of a recent paper that challenges the mainstream story surrounding ‘renewable’ energy (that has been presented as a panacea for reducing carbon emissions; although I would argue Peak Oil is a more troubling issue in the energy needs of industrial civilisation[xvi]) is pertinent to this idea: “We begin with a reminder that humans are storytellers by nature. We socially construct complex sets of facts, beliefs, and values that guide how we operate in the world. Indeed, humans act out of their socially constructed narratives as if they were real. All political ideologies, religious doctrines, economic paradigms, cultural narratives — even scientific theories — are socially constructed “stories” that may or may not accurately reflect any aspect of reality they purport to represent. Once a particular construct has taken hold, its adherents are likely to treat it more seriously than opposing evidence from an alternate conceptual framework.”[xvii]


[i] https://archive.globalpolicy.org/social-and-economic-policy/the-environment/general-analysis-on-the-environment/45393-how-much-of-the-worlds-resource-consumption-occurs-in-rich-countries.html; https://www.livescience.com/20308-greedy-nations-top-resource-users-earth.html

[ii] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0921800914001323; https://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/1259855.full; https://ideas.ted.com/the-9-limits-of-our-planet-and-how-weve-raced-past-4-of-them/; https://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2015-01-15-planetary-boundaries—an-update.html

[iii] https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/how-does-sun-affect-our-climate; https://phys.org/news/2017-03-sun-impact-climate-quantified.html

[iv] https://sciencing.com/what-human-activities-affect-the-carbon-cycle-12083853.html; https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth103/node/680; https://phys.org/news/2010-12-human-affect-carbon.html

[v] https://www.populationconnectionaction.org/2021/08/12/ipcc-catastrophic-climate-change-is-coming/; https://www.npr.org/2021/08/09/1025898341/major-report-warns-climate-change-is-accelerating-and-humans-must-cut-emissions-; https://mahb.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/deepadaptation.pdf

[vi] https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/complexsystems/introduction.html; https://wtf.tw/ref/meadows.pdf

[vii] https://issues.org/climate-change-scenarios-lost-touch-reality-pielke-ritchie/?fbclid=IwAR1dbpSNqPXWr9QyfC-fDzlWrvfswO3LLZKj08szexcCb_7h7uRW2j7Qv54

[viii] https://www.amazon.com/Future-Babble-Pundits-Hedgehogs-Foxes/dp/0452297575

[ix] https://www.counterpunch.org/20 , 15/10/06/yes-there-is-an-imperialist-ruling-class/; https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_globalelite07.htm

[x] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2012/jan/09/wind-turbines-increasing-carbon-emissions; https://www.amazon.com/Life-after-Fossil-Fuels-Alternative/dp/3030703347; https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/opinion/mondaycop22-lower-co2-emissions-with-lower-carbon-solar-energy/

[xi] https://www.amazon.com/Manufacturing-Consent-Political-Economy-Media/dp/0375714499; https://www.amazon.com/Propaganda-Edward-Bernays/dp/0970312598; https://planetofthehumans.com; https://www.brightgreenlies.com

[xii] https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/environmental-impacts-renewable-energy-technologies; https://www.e-education.psu.edu/eme807/node/715https://www.nap.edu/read/12619/chapter/7; https://www.altenergymag.com/article/2015/08/the-dark-side-of-renewable-energy-negative-impacts-of-renewables-on-the-environment/20963/; https://www.routledge.com/Environmental-Impacts-of-Renewable-Energy/Spellman/p/book/9781482249460; https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/the-environmental-impact-of-lithium-batteries/

[xiii] https://www.pnas.org/content/99/14/9266; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/319810.Overshoot

[xiv] https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/our-economy-is-a-ponzi-scheme-8fc56b9e594f; https://eand.co/how-the-economy-became-one-giant-ponzi-scheme-4ac84bf18738; https://moneyweek.com/economy/global-economy/601657/why-our-economy-is-a-giant-ponzi-scheme

[xv] https://thesenecaeffect.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/humans-in-ecological-overshoot-collapse-now-to-avoid-a-larger-catastrophe/; https://www.earthovershoot.org/who-we-are/frequent-questions.html; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overshoot_(population)

[xvi] https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/29458/peak-oil-decline-coronavirus-economy/; https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/has-peak-oil-already-happened/; http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph240/liegl1/

[xvii] https://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/14/15/4508/htm?fbclid=IwAR2ISt5shfV4wpFEc8jxbQnrrxyllyvZP-xDnoHhWrjGTQRIqUNfk3hOK1g


The Westminster Declaration

“Open discourse is the central pillar of a free society”

We write as journalists, artists, authors, activists, technologists, and academics to warn of increasing international censorship that threatens to erode centuries-old democratic norms.

Coming from the left, right, and centre, we are united by our commitment to universal human rights and freedom of speech, and we are all deeply concerned about attempts to label protected speech as ‘misinformation,’ ‘disinformation,’ and other ill-defined terms.

This abuse of these terms has resulted in the censorship of ordinary people, journalists, and dissidents in countries all over the world.

Such interference with the right to free speech suppresses valid discussion about matters of urgent public interest, and undermines the foundational principles of representative democracy.

Across the globe, government actors, social media companies, universities, and NGOs are increasingly working to monitor citizens and rob them of their voices. These large-scale coordinated efforts are sometimes referred to as the ‘Censorship-Industrial Complex.’

This complex often operates through direct government policies. Authorities in India[1] and Turkey[2] have seized the power to remove political content from social media. The legislature in Germany[3] and the Supreme Court in Brazil[4] are criminalising political speech. In other countries, measures such as Ireland’s ‘Hate Speech’ Bill[5], Scotland’s Hate Crime Act[6], the UK’s Online Safety Bill[7], and Australia’s ‘Misinformation’ Bill[8] threaten to severely restrict expression and create a chilling effect.

But the Censorship Industrial Complex operates through more subtle methods. These include visibility filtering, labelling, and manipulation of search engine results. Through deplatforming and flagging, social media censors have already silenced lawful opinions on topics of national and geopolitical importance. They have done so with the full support of ‘disinformation experts’ and ‘fact-checkers’ in the mainstream media, who have abandoned the journalistic values of debate and intellectual inquiry.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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