There is a line I keep seeing repeated on social media. It goes something like this: “They are allowed to decide what is acceptable to post and what is not. It’s free, after all.” Things like that may make snappy and snarky comebacks to people complaining about internet censorship. Only it isn’t true. Not by a long shot.
“Uncountable are the editorials in every American and European newspaper and magazine of note adding to this vocabulary of gigantism and apocalypse, each use of which is plainly designed not to edify but to inflame the reader’s indignant passion as a member of the “West,” and what we need to do. Churchillian rhetoric is used inappropriately by self-appointed combatants in the West’s, and especially America’s, war against its haters, despoilers, destroyers, with scant attention to complex histories that defy such reductiveness and have seeped from one territory into another, in the process overriding the boundaries that are supposed to separate us all into divided armed camps.” — Edward Said, 2001
The ruling class of the U.S./NATO empire justifies the heinous actions of its military forces, the brutality of its internal police states, and the cruelty towards the poor of its neoliberal economic deprivation by claiming that everything it does is necessary to combat some grand evil. Whether this evil is Islam, or communism, or the very presence of opposition to Washington’s war narratives, the threat is portrayed as being so all-encompassing and enormous that it should solely occupy our political concerns.
Whenever I hear about an instance of imperialist online censorship, or a short-term plan by a ruling class technocrat to further the erosion of free speech, I wonder: what’s the endgame of this? How far do these oligarchs plan to take their campaign to control the flow of information and suppress dissent? Because the destabilizing events the U.S. empire has undergone during the last year is small compared to what the climate’s meltdown will ultimately do to the capitalist world; as professor Jem Bendel concluded in his 2018 paper Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy, at this point in the deterioration of the climate we need to view “collapse as inevitable, catastrophe as probable and extinction as possible.”
“You have this completely clueless, out of touch elite amassing more and more power and making decisions that are deeply destructive to the state but ultimately I think self-destructive. So I don’t see them stopping, I don’t see them responding in a rational way and I think that the country is headed for some very serious unrest.” — Chris Hedges
“Your communications, as they happen largely today, don’t actually take place between you and the person that you are talking to. They happen between you and Facebook, who then provides a copy of it to the person you are talking to, or you and Gmail, who then gives a copy of it to the person that you are talking to and every time these transactions occur through these service providers, they keep a record of it.”
with Chris Hedges
RT America on Nov 3, 2018
Richard Walker, Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses his new book, Pictures of a Gone City: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity in the San Francisco Bay Area with journalist Chris Hedges. The book reveals Silicon Valley’s tech giant elitism, its role as a symbol of new capitalism, and the dark world of underpaid workers who lack security and rising homelessness.
Updated: Aug. 15, 2018
Facebook Taps Militarist Think Tank Atlantic Council to Police its Content (Pt 1/2)
TheRealNews on Aug 11, 2018
From Alex Jones to alleged Russian trolls, major internet companies are increasingly policing content on their platforms. Max Blumenthal of the Grayzone Project says the partnership between Facebook and the Atlantic Council highlights “the merger of the national security state and Silicon Valley.”
The New York Times screamed its headline — “In 1997, Apple was 90 Days from Going Broke. On Thursday [Aug. 2, 2018], it became the first publicly traded American company to be valued at… $1,000,000,000,000.” The first trillion dollar company!
There was something quite odd about the very welcome news that some Google employees were objecting to a military contract, namely all the other Google military contracts. My sense of the oddness of this was heightened by reading Yasha Levine’s new book, Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.
by Marc Eliot Stein
World Beyond War
June 9, 2018
In early April, more than 3100 Google employees signed a letter that begins with the words “Google should not be in the business of war”. The letter is a response to the company’s participation in a new US Department of Defense artificial intelligence program called Project Maven, which it describes as a “customized AI surveillance engine” designed to interpret visual images from drones, and concludes with a powerful request from Google employees to their management:
At the end of the 1970s, when I first started using and investigating digital media, it quickly became apparent to me, that what became the World Wide Web, was very much a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it afforded independent journalists and investigators, a vehicle for reaching a public outside the control of corporate/state media and whose only parallel lay back in the 17th century, with the invention of the printing press and moveable type, broadsheets and later the so-called Penny Dreadfuls. Sold on street corners and in coffee houses, and produced in literally hundreds of small printing shops, they challenged the status quo in ways previously impossible. Often banned and their writers/publishers thrown in jail under the then new sedition laws, they heralded the arrival of modern capitalism.