Censorship Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi: Orwell Was Right

From free speech to "spheres of influence" to our passion for endless war, we've become the doublethinkers 1984 predicted

By Matt Taibbi / Substack

This weekend I re-read 1984, a book I tend to reach for when I get Defcon-1 depressed about the state of the world. Deep in the novel, Winston ponders the intricacies of doublethink:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them… To forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again… that was the ultimate subtlety.

In the last weeks, Russia took an already exacting speech environment to new extremes. A law was passed that would impose 15-year prison sentences for anyone spreading “fake news” about the Ukraine invasion; access was cut to Facebook and Twitter; stations like Echo Moskvi and TV Rain as well as BBC Russia, Radio Liberty, the New TimesDeutsche WelleDoxa, and Latvia-based Meduza were effectively shut down; Wikipedia was threatened with a block over its invasion page; and national authorities have appeared to step in to prevent coverage of soldiers killed in the war, requiring local outlets to use terms like “special operation” instead. The latter development is connected to the state media regulator, Roskomnadzor, issuing a remarkably desperate dictum requiring news outlets to “use information and data received by them only from official Russian sources.”

Russia also appears in the middle of a general crackdown on local media, not so much because those outlets are dissenting, but because they’re more likely to provide indirect evidence of war failures or the effect of sanctions. The desperation to control news has grown to the point where Russian diplomats in foreign countries are pressuring state outlets in countries like Iran to stop using the term “war” to describe what’s going on in Ukraine.

On the flip side, a slew of actions have been taken to crack down on “fake news” and “misinformation” in the West. The big one was the European Union banning RT and Sputnik:

Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube also cut access to all Russian state media, because the EU sanctions also required that internet platforms delist any RT or Sputnik content, even from individuals. The statute reads, “As regards the posts made by individuals that reproduce the content of RT and Sputnik, those posts shall not be published, and if published, shall be deleted.”

Other governments across the West, from Australia to Canada, have taken similar actions. In the U.S., Google and YouTube disallowed Russian state media ads (following a request by Senator Mark Warner) and demonetized “a number of Russian channels,” including RT but also many non-Russian individuals, before proceeding to demonetize all individual Russian content creators, even the individuals opposing the invasion. Even DuckDuckGo, the speechier, more pro-privacy alternative to Google, announced it was de-ranking “sites associated with Russian disinformation.” A growing list of Westerners have seen accounts frozen for supposed parroting of Russian talking points or “abusive” commentary.

YouTube flagged [*An earlier version of this story inaccurately used the term “banned”] Oliver Stone’s documentary Ukraine on Fire, while Netflix is going so far as to shelve a production of Anna Karenina. In what might have been the craziest move of all, Meta reportedly followed up a decision to un-ban the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion with a mind-blowing decision to alter its hate speech policies to “allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion,” according to internal emails seen by Reuters.

One would hope there would be at least a few Americans left who’d hear about Russia barring the BBC and Voice of America and at least recognize the sameness of the issue involved with banning RT and Sputnik. Or, seeing how pathetic and manipulative it is for Russians to prevent reporting on war casualties, we’d recall the folly of the ban we had for nearly twenty years on photographs of military coffins, or the continuing pressure on embeds to avoid publishing images of American deaths from our own war zones. We should be able to read that Twitter and Facebook are cracking down on the “fake accounts” spreading “misinformation” that “Ukraine isn’t doing well” and notice that Russia’s measures against “fake news” and “disinformation” about its own military failures — though far more draconian and carrying much more severe penalties — are rooted in the same concept.

We don’t, however, because we long ago reached the doublethink phase predicted by Orwell, where most of the population is conscious of double standards but ignores them effortlessly. A healthy person should be able to be horrified by what’s happening in Russia and also see a warning about the degradation that ensues from using “pre-emptive” force, or from trying to control discontent by erasing expressions of it. But years of relentless propaganda have trained Americans to doublethink their way out of such insights. Cornel West just laid all of this out in an interview with the New Yorker:

Everybody knows if Russia had troops in Mexico or Canada there would be invasions tomorrow. [Biden] sends the Secretary of State, telling Russia, “You have no right to have a sphere of influence,” after the Monroe Doctrine, after the overthrowing of democratic regimes in Latin America for the last hundred-and-some years. Come on, America, do you think people are stupid? What kind of hypocrisy can anybody stand?

That doesn’t mean that Putin is not still a gangster—of course he is. But so were the folk promoting the Monroe Doctrine that had the U.S. sphere of influence for decade after decade after decade after decade, and anybody critical of you, you would demonize. Yet here are you, right at the door of Russia, and can’t see yourself in the mirror. That’s spiritual decay right there, brother, it really is.

We’ve been trained to rage against this thinking. We even have our own borrowed Newspeak word for the offense: Whataboutism. The offender supposedly does a bait-and-switch, distracting with charges of hypocrisy without refuting the actual argument. But a Soviet giving a professionally two-faced answer to questions about Gulags by saying, “And you lynch blacks” isn’t the same as the much more serious thing West is talking about. Lying to others is shameful, but lying to ourselves and not even realizing it, that’s hardcore spiritual decay. We’re being driven faster toward the cliff-edge of this moral insanity with each new act of mass forgetting.

The ideal citizen of Orwell’s Oceania bubbled with rage a mile wide and a millimeter deep and could forget in an instant passions that may have consumed him or her for years. We just did this, with a pandemic that had the country steaming with indignation until it was quietly declared over the moment Putin rolled over Ukraine’s borders. We switched from “the pandemic of the unvaccinated” to “Putin’s price hikes” in a snap. National outrage moved a few lobes over with zero fuss, and now we hate new people; instead of “anti-vax Barbie,” we’re barring Russian and Belarussian kids from the Paralympics.

It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? – 1984

A heartbeat ago politicians and pundits all over were denouncing Canadian trucker protests over reports of swastikas. “Conservative Party members can stand with people who wave swastikas,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This was despite the fact that even Snopes concluded the photographed “swastikas” weren’t expressions of neo-Nazi sentiment, but protesters comparing Justin Trudeau’s government to Nazis.

Now the swastika in the Ukrainian context has been un-banned by Facebook, you can buy Azov Battalion mugs and t-shirts on Amazon, and we have headlines like “Are there really neo-Nazis fighting for Ukraine? Well, yes — but it’s a long story.” In an effort to argue that Putin is worse than Hitler, we have people like Atlantic Council senior fellow Anders Aslund saying “Hitler had more arguments for his attack on Poland,” and former U.S. Ambassador and Stanford professor Michael McFaul saying on live TV that Hitler “didn’t kill ethnic Germans, German-speaking people.”

This isn’t to say the Russian propaganda about “deNazifying” Ukraine should be taken seriously, but it’s amazing, isn’t it, how quickly our conventional wisdom changes its stance even toward something like neo-Nazism — an absolute one day, an Amazon impulse buy the next.

Just a few days ago, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was hot for Poland to send MiG fighter jets to Ukraine. “That gets a green-light,” Blinken said. White House spokesperson Jen Psaki, when asked if Putin wouldn’t consider delivering jets to Ukraine an act of war, answered sharply, “First of all, there’s already a war going on in Ukraine.”

Then Poland called America’s bluff and said it was happy to send the planes, provided they were delivered through Germany by way of the U.S. Blinken immediately reversed course and said transporting the jets that way lacked a “substantive rationale.” We were reminded that “the transfer of combat aircraft could be mistaken for an escalatory step” and that Putin had said he would consider such a delivery an… act of war.

Moral panics erase memories. It’s their primary function. 9/11 wiped the national hard drive of everything from the third degree to My Lai to Operations Phoenix and Condor to the Church Committee to the School of the Americas to countless other shameful episodes, and the lessons learned from them. The Trump-Russia scandal blotted out Snowden, made the spooks the good guys again. 2016 rehabilitated neoconservatives, now reinvented as never-Trumpers, cleaning away the shame of Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, etc.

The “misinformation” panic wiped out the WMD fiasco, restoring honor to credentialed press. The DNC leak erased “Collateral Murder.” After George Floyd we hated cops, after January 6th we loved them. Ukraine now is openly being sold as a blue-pill cure for everything that went wrong during the War on Terror, including the recent defeat in Afghanistan. “Realism” is in disgrace, and “leadership,” “regime change,” and the “universal appeal of freedom” are back, only this time their primary backers are the upper-class cosmopolitan Democrats who marched against the simplistic “freedom against evil” plot neoconservatives tried to sell them twenty years ago.

We’re at the end of a twenty-year cycle that has taken what was once the oppositional-skeptic portion of the American population and seen them rallied behind the people they once hated the most. This has been accomplished by keeping us in a rage that always escalates and is never watered down by contradictions, thanks to mastery of “reality control” via “an unending series of victories over your own memory.” 

The relentless parade of panics listed above (just a small sample; we’ve had dozens just in the last few years) makes those victories easy, and every time we switch targets, from Russians to neo-Nazis to cops to transphobes to insurrectionists to the unvaccinated to truckers and back to Russians again, the Church of Forgetting picks up new converts.

When I first read 1984, it was difficult to imagine how Emmanuel Goldstein could be a villain for “advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought” or for “demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia.” Now free speech and peace advocacy are universally understood to be stalking horses for fascism. Anyone who advocates those things is a lesser or greater Goldstein, from Snowden to Jeremy Corbyn to Glenn Greenwald (just christened “right wing” by the Washington Post). Even I’ve been turned into a mini-Goldstein of sorts. Like Goldstein, every one of us is suspected of being under the protection of “foreign paymasters,” mainly for refusing to forget certain things:

The machine in which Orwell’s poor nebbishy Winston toiled worked tirelessly to create a language using terms from which “all ambiguities and shades of meaning had been purged,” paring the lexicon until a heretical thought would be “literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.”

Once Russia invaded Ukraine the cultural vocabulary was whittled to one compound thought, approximately this: Putin is the ultimate evil, we hate him, war is good, and peace undesirable, even if necessary. Social media is now packed with what Orwell called bellyfeel agreement on these points, “a blind, enthusiastic acceptance” for the escalation rhetoric coming from the likes of old neocon warriors like Anne Appelbaum and Lindsay Graham and David Frum, who’s reprising his “Axis of Evil” performance by endlessly hammering at the singular evil of Putin.

It’s all yet another expert wiping away of memories, with Liz Cheney, the daughter of Frum’s old cohort in the White House, papering over the “Freedom Fries” and “looks French” era by denouncing the “Putin wing of the GOP.”

There’s a real tragedy unfolding on the other side of the earth. I don’t want to make light of it. But another of 1984’s predictions was a future where war would become a “purely internal affair,” where even when there’s real fighting going on in a faraway land, the real target is always the domestic population, whose memories and doubts and distracting emotional attachments are the real threats and must be constantly policed. It’s all coming true, with forever war and slogans like #CloseTheSky demanding primacy in our thoughts, and we’re asked to forget as patriotic duty. It isn’t. Never give up memories, no matter how hard you’re pushed.   

Matt Taibbi
Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Divide, Griftopia, and The Great Derangement, is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2007 National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary.

74 comments

  1. Good one here, by Gilad. Not something Scheer or Taibbi would be interested in, most likely:

    Putin and the War in Ukraine
    by Gilad Atzmon / March 13th, 2022

    President Vladimir Putin is not a military general. He is a modernist leader, a trained spymaster and strategist who understands that war is a continuation of politics by other means (Clausewitz). Accordingly, if we want to grasp Putin’s motives we should refrain from trying to assess Russia’s military campaign in terms of ‘strict military objectives.’ We should instead look at the military campaign as a political instrument that is set to mobilize a global and regional geopolitical shift and on a mammoth scale.

    It is clear that Putin’s army is doing its best to avoid civilian casualties. It uses siege tactics as opposed to the barbarian American ‘Shock and Awe’ doctrine. Furthermore, the Russian military works hard not to dismantle the Ukrainian military. Instead it encircles cities and is cutting out the Ukrainian army in the East and South of the country. The Russian military has dismantled Ukraine’s ability to regroup, let alone counter attack. Western military analysts have agreed that clear evidence of the Ukrainian army’s growing disability is that Ukraine’s army didn’t manage to seriously damage the 60 km Russian convoy on its way to Kyiv despite the fact that the convoy stood still for more than 10 days. In the last 24 hours, Russia has made it clear to the West that any Western military supply to Ukraine will be treated as a legitimate military target. In other words, the elite Ukrainian army in the East is now a defunct military force; it can defend the cities, it can mount guerrilla attacks on stretched Russian military logistics but it cannot regroup into a fighting force that can alter the battleground.

    […]

    The main question is how is it possible that our Western political and media elite are clueless about Putin and Russia’s moves? How is it possible that not one Western military analyst can connect the dots and see through the fog of this horrid war? The reason is obvious: no gifted people see a potential career in military or public service these days. Gifted people prefer the corporate world, banks, high tech, data and media giants. The result is that Western generals and intelligence experts are not very gifted. The situation of our Western political class is even more depressing. Not only are our politicians those who weren’t gifted enough to join the corporate route, they are also uniquely unethical. They are there to fulfill the most sinister plans of their globalist masters and they do it all at our expense.

    I have little doubt that an experienced politician like Angela Merkel wouldn’t have let the Ukraine situation escalate into a global disaster. She, like Putin, was properly trained for her job, understanding the deep distinction between strategy and tactics. She, like Putin, was trained to think five steps ahead. As far as I can tell there is no one in the West who understands Putin, who can read his mind. Instead they attribute to the Russian leader psychotic characteristics in a desperate attempt to hide the depth of the hopeless and tragic situation the West inflicted on itself and on Ukraine in particular.

    Meanwhile Putin is taking the most spectacular measures to protect his life and his regime. We in the west find it ‘laughable,’ but Putin knows very well that the only way the West can deal with its own incapacity is to eliminate him and his regime one way or another.

    1. Have noticed the same. The few real military experts (such as Scott Ritter and Colonel Douglas McGregor) willing to speak out see a frustratingly clear outcome (yet face the Ire of State Media, CIA propagandists since abolition (“modernization”) of our main anti-domestic propaganda Smith Mundt Act in 2013-4). They are of course dismissed as Putin Puppets. Militarily they are correct, but Biden is sacrificing Ukraine for typical US “nation building”, massive arms shipments (along with banking, all that is left of the US economy), and Propaganda. It is difficult for Putin to spare Ukrainian Russians in the East and South (the area he must control first), before taking the gloves off to exterminate NAZIs in the West.

      Biden in particular has been busy in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution, by which the US put puppet Yushchenko in power in 2005 (Biden and cronies pushed the NAZI “nationalists” forward as a thorn in Russia’s side, elevating Bandera (a NAZI but not Ukrainian) to “Hero of Ukraine”). The West of Ukraine, includig Kiev, is mostly NAZIs, with Galicians in power there. After stealing most of the loan money and being on the hook for usurious interest, Biden and Yushchenko (who received only 5% of the vote when he reran in 2010), were upset with the Election of Yukovych, almost as corrupt (with the Podesta group and Paul Manafort ‘helping’ him), who played the EU and Russia against each other and raised per capita GDP in Ukraine to a peak in 2013. Biden and cronies executed the Maidan Coup to perfection (Ukrainian per capita GDP dropped 50% in 2015, 2016).
      Putin took Crimea in response but refused the Donbas (he wants Ukraine to remain heavily Russian, while Biden wants Russian genocide in Ukraine); Putin wants Ukraine to remain half Ukrainian Russians to buffer NATO adventurism. Biden ‘cleverly’ forced Putin’s hand with the 14,000 killed in the Donbas (over 80% Ukrainian Russians, mostly civilians), and the steady drip-drip of US weapons. Clearly Biden has control of European “poodles” and many other US vassal states. Putin has an allegiance with China, which has not yet been tested.
      So many excellent (many banned) in-depth video explanations for the crisis: Oliver Stone’s “Ukraine on Fire” (available on several sites), the Everlasting Present (related by same people)

      ukrainegate.info

    2. On social media, I regularly find expressions that Putin is a ‘madman’ or an ‘evil madman’, that his “military measures” represent an “unprovoked invasion…” (Biden). People are convinced of all kinds of atrocities committed by the Russian army without much evidence or context. Pushing back against this narrative is almost impossible because so many people, not just Americans, are convinced of this narrative. If leadership believes its own lies, then no space for diplomacy and negotiated peace can ever be found.

    3. @Paul+Haeder,
      “Gifted people prefer the corporate world, banks, high tech, data and media giants.”
      Only in a world where sociopathy, whether ingrained or trained, is considered a “gift”
      “Not only are our politicians those who weren’t gifted enough to join the corporate route, they are also uniquely unethical.”
      I suggest that we need more politicians who aren’t “gifted” enough in the corporate sense – but who are ethical – they are out there, we just choose not to vote for them

      1. He’s making a comparison and constrast. The point is that Amerikkkaaa is vapid, and I, being a college part-time faculty and activist and journalist who also has done social work with people who are homeless and with I/DD, as well as subbing in K12, and traveling the world my whole life, I can say, that those coming out of universities are in most cases colonized by their own faux exceptionalism. And, to be truthful, Gilad isn’t a ground-truther like myself, who also organized part-time faculty in WA state and even that disasterous place, Georgetown. I’ve spoken with the criminal Jeff Bezos, and I have been with greenie types, such as Nick Hanauer, and to be truthful, they are warped by money, by their own hubris, and they are damaging the world every nanosecond they live.

        I know local politicians — I was a beat reporter for newspapers in NM, TX, AZ, WA and OR — and many have worked hard to do public service; however, the system is broken, bound to fail, and is mired in stupidity and corrupted by FIRE and Chamber of Commerce mentality, and all the terrible folk who believe in the dollar, the almighty pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, and dog eat dog as the third way. So, yes, indeed,, all those corporate money men and women and lawyer class (sic) and MBA cons in our government have turned USA into a high end bribery and murder incorporated factory.

    4. The brainwashing techniques have been perfected and the double think triple and quadruples. It’s hard not imagine this is part of some great game played by the invisible hand of the owners of most everything, according to an undisclosed plan possibly culminating I’m radical depopulation through war, famine and disease and tla total monopoly on the public sphere. I sure hope prayer works because because I can’t defend against the brave new take over.

    5. @Paul+Haeder
      OK, so you post a good analysis by Gilad Atzmon, but in your preface to it, you had to denigrate Bob Scheer and Matt Tiabbi, two of the very few real journalists left in the U.S. You are a perfect example of what some of my friends call the constant infighting of the left. You should really rethink your lefter-than-thou attitude. It serves no purpose other than inflating your ego, and it’s totally counterproductive, making enemies where you should have allies. You often make good points, but then seriously detract from them by statements like your preface to Atzman’s column. How about just making the good points?

    6. no, the reason isn’t lack of gifted people; it’s that it’s too dangerous to speak out, gifted people are the ones who reminded Blinken that sending jets to Ukraine is ww3. Again, don’t confuse the propaganda with reality. Now, I DO have to wonder what our negotiators think, have they drunk the kool-aid? Ever try to negotiate with a mad person? The CIA was pushing on in Ukraine, and US negotiators refused to listen to Putin’s reasonable concerns; that is moot now. Putin knows he has to establish facts on the ground as US/Ukraine still refuse do talk.

      1. @ScottinDallas
        I don’t know about that. I’ve worked with politicians on campaigns and have lobbied a tiny bit. My impression is that these people aren’t the best and the brightest, with unusual exceptions of some local politicians.

    7. It maybe much simpler than what you suggest, Paul.

      Putin and Xi have aligned and for different reasons but both want the Eurodollar not be the world reserve currency of the world. Putin’s invasion therefore is only a tactic in the struggle to end the Eurodollar suzerainty of exchange in world commerce. Xi is playing his part by providing Russia an outlet to sell its commodities to other nations that also at minimum want clip the Eagle’s wings.

      The US on the other hand has opted to not keep its eye on the prize -Asia – but to punish Putin for daring to stand up against the US. Biden is also providing to his donor base the quid of the quid pro quo to his donor base: defense industry, energy and finance industry.

      1. FDR: Simple, and, well, complicated. I know Scheer commentators are stuck in fixing capitalism and loving the USA for its, well, you know, a great country if you take away its leaders, policy makers, politicians, MIC, and, hmm, a lot of others. Who are the deplorable people Hillary smeared her mouth with? Well, her gang of thieves, murderers, rapists, kidnappers. You know what I am talking about.

        So, here, Peter, whose work will NOT be featured on this old fashioned thinkers’ digital frame. Good luck.

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-russia-proxy-war-advancing-agenda-great-reset/5774987

        What’s next?
        In the shadow of The Great Reset 2.0, the Russia – Ukraine war – preparations for the next stage are being planned and already carried out.

        Things happen in warp speed, so that the infamous UN Agenda 2030 may be completed by 2030, before everyone wakes up. For example, WHO was not an original UN agency, but created in 1948 by the Rockefeller Foundation to become a World Body to control the world population’s health. Rockefeller “managed” (money buys everything) to have WHO incorporated as the international health agency of the UN body.

        For Rockefeller, an alleged eugenist, controlling the world’s health is an asset. He, at that time was also the owner of Standard Oil, the globe’s largest hydrocarbon giant, and literally the monopoly on oil and gas.

        This led Rockefeller and Co. to decide converting the so far mostly plant-based pharmaceuticals into petrochemical-based medication; more profitable and better controllable.

        Today, in the shadow of the war, WHO is being groomed to become the world’s unique watchdog over people’s health. If the plan goes through, there will be a Pandemic-Treaty, under which WHO would have by 2024 full control over matters of health, above every nation’s sovereignty.

        WHO would decide what is a pandemic (potentially every flu can be a pandemic), when there is a pandemic, and when governments have to vaxx their citizens. See this: Dr. Astrid Stuckelberger, a former WHO insider, exposes the criminal monopoly (see this and this).

        This plan is currently being discussed in several extra-ordinary World Health Assemblies, where usually countries’ health ministers decide.

        However, this Health Treaty would be such a monstrous plan, that it should at least be ratified by each sovereign country’s parliament – because, if it would go through, it would annihilate every nation’s sovereignty.

        While the WHO’s health tyranny is being prepared, the world economy is being further devastated by the Ukraine – Russia war, the smoke-screen for the behind-the-scene-activities, and consequential energy shortages, particularly in the west.

        There will be supply chain disruptions – already now evident, using the pretext of the Canadian, US and Australian trucker strikes – i.e., Freedom Caravans. These Freedom Caravans are showing the world a lesson of bravery against tyranny, especially the one in Canada. They have brought the world’s attention to the globally perpetuated lie and crime on humanity – the forced vaccination – and other covid-denigrations, like the useless and poisonous mask wearing – and that especially on children.

  2. Good stuff here, again, not on the agenda of Scheer and Taibbi:

    https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/03/12/678431/Zionism-and-Ukraine

    The Jewish identity of Ukraine’s President Zelensky, has been used by many in the West, to cover NATO’s manifest alliance with Neo-Nazi battalions in the war against Russia.

    But it’s not just NATO that’s working with these Neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine. Israel is arming, and its military personnel are even fighting alongside explicitly Neo-Nazi units The Zionist regime has supplied arms to the Ukraine military including the Nazi Azov battalion which traces its antecedents to Nazi collaborators in the 1939-45 war.

    Azov Battalion members have been photographed toting Tavor rifles built by Israeli Military Industries a subsidiary of Elbit Systems. In February 2016 it was revealed that Elbit Systems would be part of a group investing in Ukraine’s defense establishment.

    Haaretz newspaper revealed in 2018 that A Ukrainian military training school website indicates that training there is provided by former IDF officers and that its instructors were trained by Israelis… It notes that the school trains units of the National Guard, whose members include Azov militiamen. Odessa in southern Ukraine has been referred to at the ‘Gates of Zion’. Both Leon Pinsker founder of ‘Lovers of Zion’ a forerunner of the Zionist movement and the revisionist Zionist leader Vladimir Jabotinsky, hailed from Odessa. Jabotinsky historically supported the Ukrainian nationalists including their leader Symon Petliura.

    Zionist sources today credit Petliura with responsibility for the deaths of 50,000 Jews in the pogroms in the 1920s. But Jabotinsky maintained that Petliura was not an anti-Semite, even going so far as to state: “When I die, you can write on my grave: ‘This was the person who signed an agreement with Petliura'”.

    1. I mean the US and UK fought WITH the Commie Russians and Chinese; convenient allies is nothing new. We fought the NAZIS and brought them back in Operation Paperclip. Don’t hate the playah, hate the game.

      1. @ScottinDallas
        I always say that the Nazis didn’t lose WWII, Germany did. The Nazis just moved to the U.S. and Soviet Union. The difference is that the Soviet Union didn’t tolerate their ideology, whereas it’s in line with a lot of U.S. ideology.

  3. Isn’t it funny how our actions, as mirrored by another country, seem as horrible as they look? We have been putting up with these same kinds of limitations on free speech and a free press for years, but they look pretty bad when 👿 Russia 👿 does them!

  4. Outstanding piece Matt, I’d forgotten what you are capable of producing.

  5. Again, another piece of faultless yet highly selective analysis citing ‘1984’.

    We are failing to process *all* of the clues Orwell bequeathed to us to help prevent humanity drifting into a *global* totalitarianism and are simply ignoring some of them because they don’t fit with our conditioned biases.

    We really open our minds and imaginations and stop being so hypocritical in our interpretations – especially when they’re staring us in the face…

    “When we can cut man from his own past, then we can cut him from his family, his children, other men… If you’re a man, you’re the last man. Your kind is extinct. We are the inheritors. Do you understand that you’re alone? You are outside of history. You unexist”. Orwell, ‘1984.’

    ‘Early Warning Signs of Fascism: The #MeToo Truth of Nr5 Rampant Sexism’ (2020) https://wp.me/p94Aj4-1Y2

    Feedback and questions welcome.

    Johnny McNeill
    #GaslightingGilligan (© 2017) 
    Twitter: @GasGilligan (*free download*)

  6. I don’t know if “We the People” are guilty of factual and moral tunnel vision and have forgotten that since World War Two US foreign policy has resulted in the deaths of millions abroad, created “failed states” in the Mid-East, murderous dictatorships in Latin America, and caused the forced migration of tens of millions into Europe and the US from the “global south”. Perhaps our “authoritative media” is the guilty party. They have the megaphone, and it’s the only narrative we’re allowed to hear. The fact that the only platform available for real journalists like Chris Hedges and Glenn Greenwald was RT, which was just shut down, and now have to appear on Tucker Carlson to express their views speaks to how insane and proscribed the “news” has become.

  7. Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery.

    Yes, Orwell did indeed nail it. I live this dystopia each and everyday and often think of myself as Winston in my very own living dystopian novel. To be a sane and mentally free man amidst this insanity and brainwashing becomes more difficult each and every day. I coach myself to accept it…to acknowledge it’s existence but to live in the moment and not dwell on this terrible reality. But that is easier said then done.

    1. @JustAMaverick,
      ” I coach myself to accept it…to acknowledge it’s existence but to live in the moment and not dwell on this terrible reality. But that is easier said then done.”
      That, it seems to me, is the problem – too many of us “coach (ourselves) to accept it” I do hope it comes to a point where it is too hard for you to accept it, I have come to that place myself …

    2. @JustAMaverick
      I will never accept it, but at some point I stop arguing or even fail to argue at all about issues like this or COVID-19 vaccines, because there’s no point, and because I admittedly don’t want to ostracized, despite the fact that I’ve always kind of been the weird outsider, even in radical communities like Earth First! and the punk rock scene. We can’t undo years of massive, omnipresent, and sophisticated propaganda and brainwashing by correcting some misconceptions and stating a few true facts. This is the balancing act some of us are now forced to make, just like a dissenter in Nazi Germany (except that we won’t probably be killed, at least not yet).

      I have a small number of friends who are still rational and with whom I can still discuss issues even where we disagree, but the vast majority of even my punk rock friends — a group that ALWAYS opposed authority and never believed the government or large corporations (admittedly now all aging and mostly old) — have become just more brainwashed sheep falling for establishment lies and propaganda. Pretty discouraging, hard to see any light at the end of this tunnel.

  8. Mass hysteria has taken over the world and led by the USA against all things Russian. The one that pushed my over the edge was banning Russian bred cats from competitions. My mind can envision that this hysteria could have been channeled to end all wars once and for all by their respective nations. It appears that will not be the choice. Instead the calls for more war intensify. And meanwhile exponential climate catastrophe looks to kill all of us. Mass hysteria is nothing but crazy given our possible extinction which may come sooner than one thinks.

    1. @Schrodinger’sCat
      Unnamed sources said that Russian cats are the ones who got Russia to invade, with help from Russian musicians and disabled athletes. That’s why they’ve been banned from competition and playing. 🙂

  9. Ironically itself an example of Orwellian, down-the-memory-hole thought control, asTaibbi’s criticism faithfully follows the disconnected exercise of doublethink in failing to find any continuity between here-today, gone-tomorrow two minute hate targets, as from anti-vax to anti-Russian cues. As if the extraordinary powers of the war state now performing some of its usual crackdowns on sedition and enemies of the casus belli aren’t extending the emergency powers of the biosecurity state’s war on mis-, dis-, mal-information and domestic terrorists as defined by the Department of the Homeland.

    But to see the seamless logic at work requires eyes for the war on humanity, the Great Reset, of which war in Ukraine is a strategic part. And most of the not-so independent press remains blind to such ‘conspiracy theory’ of Big Brother. Meanwhile, death tolls from bioweapons passing for vaccines in the Newspeak of the new abnormal continue to mount in both Eurasia and Oceania, beyond those in Ukraine, even as fake news and numbers of casualties there overshadow the culling of the herds captive to each side of global totalitarianism.

  10. It is obvious that Washington and Kiev have won the information war and Russia’s countermeasures close off and protect her information space. Any semblance of truth is the loser. During the Vietnam War in 1965, there were teach-ins all across the country so that university students could be informed of a more accurate narrative. This effort did not go far and by 1967, anti-war effort faced genuine hostility, censorship, and even danger as most Americans were convinced that someone was going to march down Main Street and tell them to do God knows what. Sometime around 1970, however, somehow the narrative changed and the public ceased its support of the war. The War on Iraq showed the same. I don’t know how long it will take Americans to figure out that President Biden and his neocons are frauds and their lying is marching us towards possible WW III.

    1. @Ted+Tripp,
      “This effort did not go far and by 1967, anti-war effort faced genuine hostility, censorship, and even danger ..”
      Ask MLK about that, oh wait, you can’t …

  11. You really have to hand it to Poland for exposing the hypocrisy of our State Dept / Military — inducing an amazing (and confusing) about face. But is there really that much difference between a Stinger and a plane, politically ? Suggests transfers are fine as long as done without public traceability …

  12. “There’s a real tragedy unfolding on the other side of the Earth.” Do you mean in Yemen? 377,000 dead since 2015. Or maybe Afghanistan, an unfolding catastrophe since Biden stole over 7 billion from that country, a brazen theft that amounts to a war crime. But perhaps you meant Ukraine, where it’s the US versus Russia, with Ukraine the first battle field, in a war the US wanted, and finally got.

    1. @TimN
      Yeah, that’s the one quibble I have with this column. Taibbi is really good and this is an excellent piece, but he like everyone else in the West obviously feels the need to strongly condemn Putin and Russia. If you’re American, all you should say about this is that you oppose the invasion and that Russia was wrong to invade, then move on to criticizing the U.S. for the types of things that you mentioned. What the U.S. has done in just the past 20 or so years is way worse than this invasion.

      1. the invasion is utterly regrettable, that we sort of forced Putin to invade by refusing to talk/listen/consider his reasonable demands, which are basically to enforce Minsk2, ABM treaty, and our promise not to move NATO East is the issue. Zelensky also recently said he planned to take back Crimea, (they voted 97% to join Russia; it wasn’t an “invasion”) and seek NATO missiles and Nukes. And, those curious Pentagon funded Bio-Labs. We forced his hand, that it came down to war is a tragedy.

      2. @ScottinDallas
        Yeah, all that too. I’m anti-war and always oppose anyone invading anyone else, but I don’t know what Russia was supposed to do at this point.

        What do you make of the entire western world losing its mind over this? Not a peep about all the U.S. invasions, both direct and by proxy, over the past 20 or so years, which included destroying entire countries and stealing oil, and which were halfway around the world from the U.S., but they want to utterly destroy the Russian economy over this invasion? Am I missing something here, or was everyone in the West given some mind-altering obedience drug and I didn’t get any?

  13. Yeah, the reflection in the mirror is ugly…
    Is it the same folks who believe the faucipharmagates narrative and warmaking on humanity that now believe and push the ukraine good russia bad narrative? Same percentage of manipulated humans whose minds are made up by outer influences, bullies, really? Who remains connected to the Source and Sacredness of Life on earth? 10% ? I believe its more, judging by thousands in the streets demanding freedom, personal sovereignty n freedom for all. Momentum demands 51%, according to some, in order to turn the tide on annihilistic insanity. Keep the faith, stay free, as Russell Brand says, and spread the word…Peace is “in” 🕊️🌏🕊️🌏

    1. no, you’re too far; look, Corona-virus presented a real threat, that threat was unknown, and frankly, remains unknown. Further, there may well be some other virus, fungus, bacteria that presents a serious health risk. Even if you suppose it came from a lab and had been tested, we still didn’t really know how it would act, and if it would mutate and become more severe. People certainly over-reacted, especially in hind-sight, but your conclusions are too wild, too conspiratorial of be of any value or merit.

      In most arguments there is a middle that is being excluded; go there, for it’s in the details, the nuance where the truth lies. Covid restrictions WERE a drill, and, that’s fine. We’ve learned a lot, saw where we over-reacted, and we can adapt. I don’t agree with compulsion, and there are many more issues beyond that. And, again, such and even greater restrictions may be worth taking in the future. With Covid we were flying blind.

      With Ukraine, it’s very different. We know the CIA toppled the Ukrainian gov’t, we know about Maidan, we know about the Azov battaliions, the killing of 14,000 ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine in flouting Minsk2; we know the US unilaterally broke ABM treaty under W Bush, and we broke our promise/warning not to move NATO East. But, all this nuance is lost in our coverage today. No where is it discussed. In that there are lessons on Covid, the media should avoid censorship, and should seek out nuance in it’s messaging. But, you need to do the same. Much of the opposition was stupid, ivermectin doesn’t treat Covid, (extensive tests have demonstrated such) again, the partisan nature of that should be a clue, partisan news sources are a cesspool. You get half the picture. In Ukraine more than Hunter Biden had their hands in the CIA pie, more than just Democrats, GOP too, partisan critiques don’t seek to fix the problems, they just want THEIR hands in the pot. So, when you think it’s the other side, you’ve fallen into the trap Matt and Orwell are warning about. You’re still their little pawn.

      1. @ScottinDallas
        I agree with just about everything you wrote, with one major exception: “ivermectin doesn’t treat Covid, (extensive tests have demonstrated such).”

        Really? What tests would those be? The only “extensive” tests are the ones where the results won’t be released until this fall. (As a side note, notice how it is taking years to get results on ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19, yet the vaccines were available in record time, literally 5-10 times faster than any previous vaccine. Gee, I can’t imagine that’s because the pharmaceutical companies can’t make any money from selling ivermectin because it’s generic, but they’re making the fortune of their lifetimes from selling their vaccines to the government; and because the vaccines were only approved on an emergency basis, and one of the requirements for that is that there are no effective treatments.)

        Mexico is a poor country that can’t afford the vaccines. It’s been treating its people with ivermectin and reports very good results. Do you claim that the Mexican government is lying about this? If so, what is your evidence to support that claim?

      2. dude, it’s not worth a shit, and has been tried and tested. Again, getting good results when less than 1% are serious is dubious, it’s not so easy for science to separate coincidental with causal; sorry, you really aren’t very equipped for this. Dewormer doesn’t treat viruses, they’re entirely different kingdoms. Anti-biotics don’t treat viruses. different kingdom. Anti-fungal agents don’t treat viruses, different kingdom. Animal, plant, fungal, bacterial, viral, different kingdoms, different functional metabolism; no, you’re in a partisan cesspool. Again, you don’t understand science is slow and plodding; that’s part of the process.

      3. @ScottinDallas
        OK, now you’re quickly losing all credibility on this. In the first place, don’t play the adult in the room with me. You clearly don’t know more about this than I do — in fact, you clearly know far less — and your response is not at all responsive to my questions or points. Second, ivermectin is NOT primarily a de-wormer, so you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about regarding this, and you’ve been brainwashed by establishment/corporate propaganda. Ivermectin is primarily a human drug for fighting parasites.

        If you can’t directly respond to comments, points, or questions, I suggest that you keep quiet. You just made a fool of yourself here by acting superior (you’re not), spewing false corporate/establishment propaganda, and stating all sorts of irrelevancies.

  14. Matt, this is one of the most perverse commentaries on 1984 ever published. Orwell was writing about Soviet leaders, like Putin today, who were the enemies of truth. Putin literally called the “war” he is waging a “special operation” (does that ring any bells?) and he is punishing those in the media who dare to call it otherwise. Also, Orwell fought in the Spanish civil war in opposition to Franco, a brutal dictator, much like Putin. Which side do you think he would pick in the current conflict? There is nothing clever in your false comparison to the western response. It is simply perverse. Propaganda on stilts.

    1. @Marc Rotenberg,
      “Which side do you think he would pick in the current conflict? ”
      Which set of lies do you think he would pick? Is only one side lying? Or are both sides using the same set of linguistic shenanigans each to his own ends? I think which side he would fight on is a different issue, and frankly irrelevant to the issue at hand
      I think Taibbi’s piece is spot on – best one I have seen from him in a while ….

    2. No, Marc, you’re still stuck in the partisan cesspool. Orwell saw in Spain that both sides devolved to become the same thing, brutal thugs who used partisan calls to divide and destroy. It’s such a corrosive force, it’s blotted understanding or even the ability to perceive half the problem in your brain. Both Parties are bought and sold by the same parties, don’t fall for the lip service/sales pitch.

  15. As well as 1984 – I have thought that Huxley’s Brave New World is an excellent “companion piece”, being just as, if not more so, an apt description of our times – the ability to classify a population into various strata for purposes of running a smooth. “efficient” society – and pacify any rumblings of discontent with “soma” …. So what is the soma of our day – drugs, alcohol, “social” media with its “likes”, retweets, selfies?

    1. @SH
      Don’t go too far with the anti-drug angle. Anti-drug prohibition sucks and prudes who force their crap on others are a-holes. Beer is the only good reason to have civilization!

      I realize that alcohol and drugs cloud the mind, and that if you want to expand your consciousness it’s best to avoid them. But in this Puritanical society, I think we should STFU about anti-drug or -alcohol messages.

    2. it’s been oft said that Orwell focused on the Gov’t angle, Huxley on the Corporate angle; they’re working together unless we find a way to elect candidates with integrity. You got me on how we do that?

      1. To Scott,
        How to elect candidates with integrity – seems to me the best way to do that is to support and vote for ’em in large numbers – they are out there and have been for decades – I have voted for them since ’96 – the problem is they are with a 3rd party and “everyone knows”, of course, that “3rd parties can’t win” – which is the biggest lie out there ’cause any candidate on a ballot can win if enough people vote for ’em. … but it seems to be sufficiently convincing because I am still waiting for enough folks to join me …

  16. Niko and Jim Gala have said it all from my perspective. I shall only add that the “war at home” began decades ago and has
    culminated in the manufactured pandemic and the subsequent
    shredding of the Constitution.
    Noam Chomsky stated long ago that the main enemy of the US
    government is the domestic population. The coup against it has
    been accomplished – hopefully not for good. OF

    1. @Olenka Folda ,

      So which pandemic was “manufactured” and by whom? We still don’t know where the virus came from – so do you want to say that the 6 million dead from it including almost a million in the US, is a made up figure, or, conversely that it is real but desired by those who wish to use it to gain absolute control over our lives?

      1. @SH
        I think it’s pretty clear that COVID-19 came from the lab in Wuhan. There’s no evidence that it was released on purpose, so it was almost certainly an accidental leak. They shouldn’t be doing this kind of stuff (gain of function research, biological warfare, etc.) in labs to begin with, that’s the problem.

      2. To Jeff,
        I think it entirely possible that it was a lab leak – no other source has been identified – they were batting around various corona viruses including engineering chimeras and apparently their safety protocols weren’t quite up to snuff – I remember messaging someone in ’20 saying that I thought folks on both sides of the Pacific knew more than they were saying – and we were funding it … probably with “good intentions” in pursuit of a SARS vaccine – but fooling around with the building blocks of life, in self replicating organisms, when we don’t really know what the hell we are doing, is, to me, the height of hubris – “shucks, let’s tweak this here and there, and see what happens!” And they were using “humanized mice” – so if it did come from an animal, it may well have been a lab mouse …

  17. Despite what Mr. Taibbi and Twitter-sphere may wish you to believe, as of March 14, 2022, 11am CST, Ukraine on Fire has not been “banned”. The documentary, Executive Produced and featuring interviews by Oliver Stone, as of March 14, 2022, 11am CST, is still available on YouTube.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHH10jIRJmQ

    YouTube has apparently flagged the movie as not appropriate for all viewers, similar to what they do for what they deem “adult” content, so you have to sign in to a Google/YouTube account and check a “I understand and wish to proceed” box to view the movie.

    It’s ironic that those who claim to detest censorship, rather than providing the link to the correct information, are themselves limiting viewership of Ukraine on Fire by re-tweeting false information.

    As of March 14, 2022, 11am CST, Ukraine on Fire is still on YouTube.

    1. @Sheldon Gitis,
      “YouTube has apparently flagged the movie as not appropriate for all viewers, similar to what they do for what they deem “adult” content, so you have to sign in to a Google/YouTube account and check a “I understand and wish to proceed” box to view the movie.

      LOL! which viewers is it “not appropriate for”? What a great way to gather more detailed information about those who want to see that “other side” – Big Brother is watching ….

      1. Are you saying, now that I’ve watched Ukraine on Fire on YouTube, Google has placed me in some sort wrong-thinker database and Big Brother is tracking me? Are you saying no one should watch the documentary on YouTube for fear of being targeted by some sort of police state?

        If in fact there is some sort of wrong-thinker database being compiled of all those who watch the movie, wouldn’t the best way to thwart the Big Brother effort be to multiple the already more than 300,000 views on YouTube as many times as possible ?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHH10jIRJmQ

        Can’t Big Brother track everyone with a Google or Facebook or Reddit or this or that account regardless of whether or not they watch this or that video? Anyone who’s really that worried about being tracked, probably shouldn’t be on the internet, or should have the know-how to make their internet activity indecipherable.

        I think YouTube uses some sort of automation, where after certain number of viewers flag any video as “inappropriate”, regardless of content, it triggers the strange “Sign in to confirm your age”
        “This video may be inappropriate for some users” message. The “Sign in to confirm your age” message seems like a IT industry joke to me, designed perhaps to appease the idiots who think they can somehow be shielded and shield others from whatever it is they deem obscene. Has Google confirmed the age of all the more than 1.5 billion Gmail users? I doubt it. My guess is there are millions of 13-year olds and younger who can figure out how to set up a Google account without using their real name and birth date, or using the name and birth date of some other person over the age of 18.

      2. So if enough “viewers” flag something as “inappropriate” – inappropriate in what way for whom, by the way – one has to sign in to see it – but as i recall when I have been asked to sign in, it didn’t indicate it was an age issue – I don’t have a Google, or FB, or any of those other “accounts” – and in case you haven’t figured it out – it isn’t about “tracking” it’s about gathering personal information – if it’s just about age, why wouldn’t my date of birth be quite sufficient info?

        You are correct – no doubt my info is out there – but I do not wish to deal with Google, et.al any more than I have to – as far as the video itself is concerned, is there no other way to see it besides U-tube? Is it shown but demonetized? And as to the subject material – I suspect it has been covered in other venues, including this one –

        I have been able to see other stuff on U-tube – without signing in, anything on Google i have to “sign in” to, i can go without …

      3. All power to you if you’re not among the more than 1.5 billion with a Gmail account, and the billions of others with accounts on the other monopolistic platforms. But for those more than 1.5 billion who have used Gmail or posted a YouTube video, not watching a movie that interests you simply because an algorithm has been gamed by those who want to restrict viewership seems kind of stupid to me.

        You are correct, there are other informative videos on YouTube that do not require signing in to a Google account.

      4. To Sheldon,
        I suspect you and I would disagree on what is “stupid” in a number of areas – what makes you think the “algorithm” is set up to “restrict” viewers, and who said I was particularly interested in seeing that video …

  18. If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

    — Malcolm X (December 13, 1964 at the Audubon Ballroom, New York City)

  19. Oh, censorship by another name, by any means necessary — Wonderful writing about a terrible outcome of stupidity of the Amerikkkaaan’t mind: https://dissidentvoice.org/2022/03/artistic-freedom-censorship-counter-revolution-and-cuba/

    A shameful “petition” has been issued, under the auspices of PEN-International and Human Rights Watch (HRW). See here.

    The document purports to be a defense of beleaguered Cuban artists and creative performers against a government that “fears and condemns” artists. Under the cover of lies and half-truths trumpeting supposed “repression” and “censorship” in socialist and revolutionary Cuba, the campaign effort — with such well-endowed and well-established sponsors — has managed to gather some 300 prominent artists and performers, including some outstanding figures such as Isabel Allende, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Meryl Streep. All the more pity!

    The “petition” is shameful because it consciously omits any reference to the US government’s economic war of asphyxiation against the Cuban state and government. Because it consciously ignores the longstanding subversive programs sponsored by the US government that includes extensive efforts to recruit agents and operatives on the ground, including a tiny layer of creative artists willing to play their supine, illegal part in the ongoing US economic and political war to bring down the Cuban Revolution…constant for over six decades now. Denouncing the unchanged US policy of counter-revolution and “regime change” in Cuba — with its ongoing ugly, brutal, and bloody history — is the only acceptable framework to have any serious, honest, and objective assessment of how the Cuban government and society defends itself from that war.

  20. Good one here:

    https://dissidentvoice.org/2022/03/business-as-usual-facebook-russia-and-hate-speech/

    Seedy, compromised and creepy, the surveillance machine of Facebook, now operating under the broader fold of its parent company Meta Platforms, is currently giving out the very signals that it was condemned for doing before: encourage discussions on hating a group and certain figures, while spreading the bad word to everyone else to do so.

    The Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin, and Russians in general emerge as the latest contenders, the comic strip villains who those in the broadly designated “West” can now take issue with. According to a Meta spokesperson, the Russian attack on Ukraine had made the company make temporary “allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’” Cryptically, the same spokesman goes on to say that, “We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.” Meta gives us no guidelines on what would constitute a “credible call”.

    Twitter has also permitted posts openly advocating homicide and assassination. US Senator Lindsey Graham was caught up in the bloodlust of permissiveness, using the platform to ask whether Russia had its own Brutus. “Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?” The only way to conclude the conflict was “for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.”

  21. Imagine if a smart person like myself — journalist, educator, magazine article writer, poet and fiction writer — (emphasis on the last point) were to do some thought experiments, and attempted to post those on FU Book/Meta CIA CVerse. You know, arrest, try and convict and put on death row all those war criminals in political office, out of political office, in the Offensive Weapon Industry, in the Repo and Foreclosure Industries, in all the Cancer Causing Industries, all the armed despots in county departments of the Sheriff Office, all the way through to the Nazis in USA military, Ukraine, everywhere.

    Or, maybe detailed descriptions of what we might do to the 3,000 billionaires and the 36 million millionaires if they do not comply.

    RIght, you get it. Not just deplatformed and banned, but jack-booted thugs of the government issue variety kicking in my door.

    https://dissidentvoice.org/2022/03/business-as-usual-facebook-russia-and-hate-speech/

    Twitter has also permitted posts openly advocating homicide and assassination. US Senator Lindsey Graham was caught up in the bloodlust of permissiveness, using the platform to ask whether Russia had its own Brutus. “Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?” The only way to conclude the conflict was “for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.”

    The cartoon villainy approach of the Meta group also has precedent. In July 2021, the policy on incitement and hate speech was eased with specific reference to Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei. The firm decided to permit posts featuring “death to Khamenei”, or videos of individuals chanting the phrase for a two-week window. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai wrote pointedly at the time that this permission was “a bizarre choice that highlight’s Facebook’s power and often confusing content moderation rules.”

    The Russia-Ukraine policy is only startling for being an open admission to a practice that Facebook has embraced for years. With the company’s astronomical growth, accusations about how it utilises hate speech and deceptive content have reached a crescendo without deep effect. Mock efforts have been taken to deal with them, never deviating from the firm’s market purpose.

    1. I got 30 days in FB jail for saying, “Americans are dumb, they regularly vote against their own best interests.” and 30 another time when explaining the angry Arab reaction to a US bombing; “Muslims are crazy, they don’t like bombs dropped on them. they’re just irrational that way” you know; hate speech. Meanwhile calls to Nuke the Middle East, Mecca, Riyadh are all ok. FB is really dumb

  22. Really funny to see various people in this comments section riding Taibbi’s coattails, specifically using the comments section as a way to try and promote their own material – in particular this Paul Haeder guy needs to get a life LMAO Maybe turn off the screen and touch grass for a bit buddy.

    “Imagine if a smart person like myself — journalist, educator, magazine article writer, poet and fiction writer — (emphasis on the last point)”

    LOL “smart person” No, you just come off as a self-obsessed asshole, which is probably the reason why you’re turboposting in the comments section of someone else’s article page.

  23. I don’t always agree with Matt on certain subjects, but this column is right on. I was once banned for 29 days from Facebook for calling someone a mildly derogatory name. Does this new tack of theirs mean I can now attack someone provided that they are Russian? This is insane.

  24. typical anti-intellectual false equivalence from tiabby—only following USA censorship of Russian media did Russia reciprocate and threaten with penalties for their ubiquitous fake news—not simply fake but fundamentally racist

  25. whether Orwell was correct or not is irrelevant according to Horkheimer/Adorno, Zygmunt Bauman, Alan Bloom (The Closing of the American Mind) and Neil Postman who wrote, “Americans do not converse they entertain each other. americans do not exchange ideas they exchange images. the problem with americans is not Orwellian it is huxleyan: americans love their oppression”

  26. You cannot buy Azov battalion mugs and t-shirts from any site on Amazon. Substack are lying.

  27. What Orwell didn’t foresee was the further step of Big Brother media turning people against each other, splitting them into two factions, as being a more effective form of propaganda. They simply blame each other for everything. Of course, the important things – war is peace and health industry profits – are still controlled across the full spectrum.

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