Alan MacLeod

Online Censorship of Ukraine Dissent Is Becoming the New Norm

Big Tech and the corporate media are ushering in an ominous era of intense censorship over Ukraine.
A Ukrainian serviceman walks past the Antonov An-225 aircraft destroyed during fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces, at the Antonov airport in Hostomel, outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

By Alan Macleod | MintPress News

Mountain View, California – Google has sent a warning shot across the world, ominously informing media outlets, bloggers, and content creators that it will no longer tolerate certain opinions when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Google AdSense sent a message to a myriad of publishers, including MintPress News, informing us that, “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.” This content, it went on to say, “includes, but is not limited to, claims that imply victims are responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim-blaming, such as claims that Ukraine is committing genocide or deliberately attacking its own citizens.”

This builds on a similar message Google’s subsidiary YouTube released last month, stating, “Our Community Guidelines prohibit content denying, minimizing or trivializing well-documented violent events. We are now removing content about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine that violates this policy.” YouTube went on to say that it had already permanently banned more than a thousand channels and 15,000 videos on these grounds.

Journalist and filmmaker Abby Martin was deeply troubled by the news. “It is really disturbing that this is the trend that we are on,” she told MintPress, adding:

It is a preposterous declaration considering that the victim is whoever we are told by our foreign policy establishment. It really is outrageous to be told by these tech giants that taking the wrong side of a conflict that is quite complicated will now hurt your views, derank you on social media or limit your ability to fund your work. So you have to toe the line in order to survive as a journalist in alternative media today.”

The most prominent victim of the recent banning spate has been Russian state media such as RT America, whose entire catalog has been blocked throughout most of the world. RT America was also blocked from broadcasting across the U.S., leading to the network’s sudden closure.

“Censorship is the last resort of desperate and unpopular regimes. It magically appears to make a crisis go away. It comforts the powerful with the narrative they want to hear, one fed back to them by courtiers in the media, government agencies, think tanks, and academia,” wrote journalist Chris Hedges, adding:

YouTube disappeared six years of my RT show, “On Contact,” although not one episode dealt with Russia. It is not a secret as to why my show vanished. It gave a voice to writers and dissidents, including Noam Chomsky and Cornel West, as well as activists from Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter, third parties and the prison abolitionist movement.”

Smaller, independent creators have also been purged. “My stream last night on RBN was censored on Youtube after debunking the Bucha Massacre narrative… Unreal censorship going on right now,” wrote Nick from the Revolutionary Black Network. “My video ‘Bucha: More Lies’ has been deleted by YouTube’s censors. The Official Narrative is now: ‘Bucha was a Russian atrocity! No dissent allowed!’” Chilean-American journalist Gonzalo Lira added.

Other social media platforms have pursued similar policies. Twitter permanently suspended the account of former weapons inspector Scott Ritter over his comments on Bucha and journalist Pepe Escobar for his support for Russia’s invasion.

Those views are certainly currently in the minority, with testimonies from locals pointing the finger at Russian forces, who have carried out similar acts during other conflicts. Yet even the Pentagon has refused to categorically conclude Russian culpability without a full investigation.

Beyond Bucha, where the line is in terms of accepted speech is being kept vague, leading to confusion and consternation among independent media outlets and content creators. “This is going to limit reporting on the Ukraine crisis because people are going to be scared,” Martin said. “People [in alternative media] are going to opt to not publish or not report on something because of fear of retaliation. And once you start to get demonetized, the next fear is that your videos are going to get blanket banned,” she added.

While support for Russia has essentially been prohibited, glorification of even the most unsavory elements of Ukrainian society on social media is now all-but-promoted. In February, Facebook announced that it would not only reverse its ban on discussing the Azov Battalion, a Nazi paramilitary now formally incorporated into the Ukrainian National Guard, but also allow content praising and promoting the group – as long as it was in the context of killing Russians.

Facebook and Instagram also instituted a change in policy that allows users to call for harm or even the death of Russian and Belarussian soldiers and politicians. This rare allowance was also given in 2021 to those calling for the death of Iranian leaders. Needless to say, violent content directed at governments friendly to the U.S., such as Ukraine, is still strictly forbidden.

The Media Demands More Censorship

Leading the campaign for more intense censorship has been corporate media itself. The Financial Times successfully lobbied Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch to delete a number of pro-Russian streamers. The Daily Beast attacked Gonzalo Lira, going so far as to contact the Ukrainian government to make them aware of Lira’s work. Lira confirmed that, after The Daily Beast’s article, he was arrested by the Ukrainian secret police.

Meanwhile, The New York Times published a hit piece on anti-war journalist Ben Norton, accusing him of spreading a “conspiracy theory” that the U.S. was involved in a coup in Ukraine in 2014, while claiming that he was helping promulgate Russian disinformation. This, despite the fact that the Times itself reported on the 2014 coup at the time in a not-too-dissimilar fashion, thereby incriminating its own previous reporting as Russian propaganda. If referencing The New York Times’s own previous reporting becomes grounds for suppression, then meaningful online discourse is under threat. As journalist Matt Taibbi wrote last week, the West is in danger of establishing an “intellectual no-fly zone,” where deviating from orthodoxy will no longer be tolerated.

The invasion of Ukraine has also raised a number of troubling questions for Western anti-war figures: How to oppose Russian aggression without providing more political ammunition to NATO governments to further escalate the conflict? And how to critique and highlight our own governments’ roles in creating the crisis without appearing to justify the Kremlin’s actions? Yet this new perilous media environment raises a further quandary: How to express views online without being censored?

Google’s new updated rules are vaguely worded and open to interpretation. What constitutes “exploiting” or “condoning” the war? Does discussing NATO’s eastward expansion or Ukraine’s aggressive campaign against Russian-speaking minorities constitute victim blaming? And is referencing the seven-year-long civil war in the Donbas region, where the UN estimates that over 14,000 people have been killed, now illegal under Google’s policy of not allowing content about Ukraine attacking its own citizens?

For some, the answer to at least some of these questions should be an emphatic “yes.” On Thursday, journalist Hubert Smeets attacked longtime anti-war activist Noam Chomsky, explicitly accusing him of blaming President Zelensky and Ukraine for its fate. Chomsky has previously described Russian actions as incontestably “a major war crime, ranking alongside the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Hitler-Stalin invasion of Poland in September 1939.” Yet he has also for years warned that NATO actions in the region were likely to provoke a Russian response. If Google and other big-tech monopolies decide an intellectual giant like Chomsky’s voice must be suppressed, it will mark a new era of official censorship not seen since the decline of McCarthyism.

Old Propaganda, New Cold War

The United States was allied with the Soviet Union during World War II. However, as the Cold War began to set in, so did attacks on dissenting voices. The postwar anti-communist push began in earnest in 1947, after President Harry S. Truman mandated a loyalty oath for all federal employees. As a result, the political beliefs of two million people were investigated, with authorities attempting to ascertain whether they belonged to any “subversive” political organizations.

Those in positions of influence were most aggressively vetted, leading to purges of academics, educators, and journalists. Many of the most celebrated individuals from the world of entertainment – including actor Charlie Chaplain, singer Paul Robeson, and writer Orson Welles – had their careers destroyed because of their political beliefs. “Socialism was canceled, dissent was canceled after World War Two,” Breakthrough News host Brian Becker recently said, warning that this new Cold War with Russia and China could usher in a new McCarthyist era.

The old Cold War against Russia ended in 1991. However, the new Cold War arguably started 25 years later with the electoral victory of Donald Trump. On November 8, 2016, the Clinton campaign alleged that the Kremlin had used social media to spread fake news and misleading information, leading to Trump’s victory. Despite the lack of hard evidence, corporate media immediately took up Clinton’s message. Only two weeks after the election, The Washington Post published a report claiming that hundreds of fake news websites had pushed Trump over the line and that a credible group of nonpartisan expert researchers had created an organization called “PropOrNot” to track this effort.

Using what it called sophisticated “internet analytics tools,” PropOrNot published a list of over 200 websites that they claimed were “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.” Included on the list were publisher WikiLeaks, Trump-supporting websites like The Drudge Report, libertarian ventures such as The Ron Paul Institute and Antiwar.com, as well as a host of left-wing websites like TruthoutTruthdig, and The Black Agenda ReportMintPress News was also featured on the list. While there were some obviously fake-news websites included, the political orientation of the list was obvious for all to see: this was a catalog of outlets – right- and left-wing – that was consistently critical of the centrist Washington establishment.

A sure sign that you are reading Russian propaganda, PropOrNot claimed, was if the source criticizes Obama, Clinton, NATO, the “mainstream media,” or expresses worry about a nuclear war with Russia. As PropOrNot explained, “Russian propaganda never suggests [conflict with Russia] would just result in a Cold War 2 and Russia’s eventual peaceful defeat, like the last time.”

Despite the blatantly shoddy list, one that even included the websites of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, The Washington Post’s article went viral, being shared millions of times. PropOrNot’s list was subsequently signal-boosted by hundreds of other outlets. And despite calling for McCarthyist investigation into and suppression of hundreds of outlets, PropOrNot categorically refused to reveal who they were, how they were funded, or any methodology whatsoever.

It is now almost certain that it was not a neutral, well-meaning independent organization but the creation of Michael Weiss, a non-resident senior fellow of NATO think tank The Atlantic Council. A scan of PropOrNot’s website showed that it was controlled by The Interpreter, a magazine of which Weiss is editor-in-chief. Furthermore, one investigator found dozens of examples of the Twitter accounts of PropOrNot and Weiss using the identical and very unusual turn of phrase, strongly suggesting they were one and the same. Thus, claims of a huge [foreign] state propaganda campaign were themselves state propaganda.

The reaction to this crude “propaganda about propaganda” campaign was both swift and wide-ranging. In early 2017, Google launched Project Owl, a massive overhaul of its algorithm. It claimed that it was purely a measure to stop foreign fake news from taking over the internet. The main outcome, however, was a catastrophic, overnight collapse in search traffic to high-quality alternative media outlets – drops from which they have never recovered. MintPress News lost nearly 90% of its organic Google search traffic and Truthout lost 25%. Websites that were not on PropOrNot’s list also suffered devastating losses. AlterNet experienced a 63% reduction, Common Dreams 37% and Democracy Now! 36%. Even liberal sources only moderately critical of the status quo, such as The Nation and Mother Jones, were penalized by the algorithm. Google search traffic to alternative media has never recovered and has, in many cases, gotten worse.

This, for Martin, is a sign of the increasingly close relationship between Silicon Valley and the national security state. “Google willingly changed their algorithm to backpage all alternative media without even a law in place to mandate them to do so,” she said. Other social media juggernauts, such as Facebook and YouTube rolled out similar changes. All penalized alternative media and drove people back towards establishment sources like The Washington PostCNN and Fox News.

The consequence of all this was to retighten the elite’s grip over the means of communication, a grip that had slipped owing to the rise of the internet as an alternative model.

The “Nationalization” Of Social Media

Since 2016, a number of other measures have been taken to bring social media under the wing of the national security state. This was foreseen by Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who wrote in 2013, “What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first.” Since then, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM have become integral parts of the state apparatus, signing multibillion-dollar contracts with the CIA and other organizations to provide them with intelligence, logistics and computing services. Schmidt himself was chairman of both the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, bodies created to help Silicon Valley assist the U.S. military with cyberweapons, further blurring the lines between big tech and big government.

Google’s current Global Head of Developer Product Policy, Ben Renda, has an even closer relationship with the national security state. From being a strategic planner and information management officer for NATO, he then moved to Google in 2008. In 2013, he began working for U.S. Cybercommand and in 2015 for the Defense Innovation Unit (both divisions of the Department of Defense). At the same time, he became a YouTube executive, rising to the rank of Director of Operations.

Other platforms have similar relationships with Washington. In 2018, Facebook announced that it had entered a partnership with The Atlantic Council whereby the latter would help curate the news feeds of billions of users worldwide, deciding what was credible, trustworthy information, and what was fake news. As noted previously, The Atlantic Council is NATO’s brain-trust and is directly funded by the military alliance. Last year, Facebook also hired Atlantic Council senior fellow and former NATO spokesperson Ben Nimmo as its head of intelligence, thereby giving an enormous amount of control over its empire to current and former national security state officials.

The Atlantic Council has also worked its way into Reddit’s management. Jessica Ashooh went straight from being Deputy Director of Middle East Strategy at The Atlantic Council to Director of Policy at the popular news aggregation service – a surprising career move that drew few remarks at the time.

Also eliciting little comment was the unmasking of a senior Twitter executive as an active-duty officer in the British Army’s notorious 77th Brigade – a unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations. Twitter has since partnered with the U.S. government and weapons manufacturer-sponsored think tank ASPI to help police its platform. On ASPI’s orders, the social media platform has purged hundreds of thousands of accounts based out of China, Russia, and other countries that draw Washington’s ire.

Last year, Twitter also announced that it had deleted hundreds of user accounts for “undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability” – a statement that drew widespread incredulity from those not closely following the company’s progression from one that championed open discussion to one closely controlled by the government.

The First Casualty

Those in the halls of power well understand how important a weapon big-tech is in a global information war. This can be seen in a letter published last Monday written by a host of national security state officials, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA directors Michael Morell and Leon Panetta, and former director of the NSA Admiral Michael Rogers.

Together, they warn that regulating or breaking up the big-tech monopolies would “inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to … push back on the Kremlin.” “The United States will need to rely on the power of its technology sector to ensure” that “the narrative of events” globally is shaped by the U.S. and “not by foreign adversaries,” they explain, concluding that Google, Facebook, Twitter are “increasingly integral to U.S. diplomatic and national security efforts.”

Commenting on the letter, journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote:

[B]y maintaining all power in the hands of the small coterie of tech monopolies which control the internet and which have long proven their loyalty to the U.S. security state, the ability of the U.S. national security state to maintain a closed propaganda system around questions of war and militarism is guaranteed.”

The U.S. has frequently leaned on social media in order to control the message and promote regime change in target countries. Just days before the Nicaraguan presidential election in November, Facebook deleted the accounts of hundreds of the country’s top news outlets, journalists and activists, all of whom supported the left-wing Sandinista government.

When those figures poured onto Twitter to protest the ban, recording videos of themselves and proving that they were not bots or “inauthentic” accounts, as Facebook Intelligence Chief Nimmo had claimed, their Twitter accounts were systematically banned as well, in what observers coined as a “double-tap strike.”

Meanwhile, in 2009, Twitter acquiesced to a U.S. request to delay scheduled maintenance of its app (which would have required taking it offline) because pro-U.S. activists in Iran were using the platform to foment anti-government demonstrations.

More than 10 years later, Facebook announced that it would be deleting all praise of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani from its many platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp. Soleimani – the most popular political figure in Iran – had recently been assassinated in a U.S. drone strike. The event sparked uproar and massive protests across the region. Yet because the Trump administration had declared Soleimani and his military group to be terrorists, Facebook explained, “We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its leadership.” This meant that Iranians could not share a majority viewpoint inside their own country – even in their own language – because of a decision made in Washington by a hostile government.


In this light, then, Google’s message to creators about victim-blaming Ukraine or trivializing and condoning violence is a threat: toe the line or face the consequences. While we continue to consider tech monopolies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook to be private companies, their overwhelming size and their increasing proximity to the national security state means that their actions are tantamount to state censorship.

While fake news – including that emanating from Russia – continues to be a genuine problem, these new actions have far less to do with combatting disinformation or denial of war crimes and far more to do with reestablishing elite control over the field of communication. These new rules will not be applied to corporate media downplaying or justifying U.S. aggression abroad, denying American war crimes, or blaming oppressed peoples – such as Palestinians or Yemenis – for their own condition, but instead will be used as excuses to derank, demote, delist or even delete voices critical of war and imperialism. In war, they say, truth is always the first casualty.

39 comments

  1. Truth is treason in the Empire of Lies.

    It’s full on dystopia time. I came to the realization today that the world that will be, is being determined right now with the players CURRENTLY in power. The Globalists, which include the entire Washington establishment, the EU and NATO are so deep in it now. the consequences already so great, the arrogance so monumental, that they going to take this whole nightmare over the edge before any intelligent or reasonable players can intervene to stop it. The worse things go, the more committed and desperate they will become.

    This is it my friends, no getting out of this box, not anymore.

    1. yeah, like there is a country where if ye call a WAR a, well, WAR, ye get 15 years in prison. very orwellian, methinks….

  2. The Biden admin. is maintaining a vigorous misinformation campaign, so wants to block out those who contradict it. Ukraine, formerly part of the Soviet Union, has been an independent country for some years. (This wouldn’t be true if Russia didn’t agree to it.) There has been a years-long conflict between the people of Ukraine – those who want to align with the West/NATO vs. those who want to maintain their alliance with Russia. Putin had stepped back and sought the intervention of international (not just US/UK) diplomatic teams to work toward a resolution. Biden came into office determined to wage war.

  3. Considering all facts detailed in this article, I’m surprised I actually received it. In light of Obama’s most recent rant on “misinformation”, it brings these points ever more in the open. Keep up the good work!

  4. This article is noise, observing standard operating procedures not worth noting as a polemical point.

    What can’t seem to happen is access to the real reporting work on the ground, because these days real work is guaranteed to get you murdered, thanks to U.S. program of descriminate “smart” targeting of civilian infrastructure and “embedding” reporters with invading units. It’s our 800 lb guerrilla style of warfare that seeks total domination of the “theater” by land, sea, air, and mind. The POTUS just announced 30 B in new short-term proxy contracts. Business is booming haha kill me.

  5. Those now announcing a new norm of censorship with the war in Ukraine apparently have been self-censoring in regard to the new abnormal which began with the covid coup and war of bioterror.

    Perhaps that’s due to failure to fight the permanent class war waged against us with such weapons as MIC-developed digital platforms like Google and Facebook/Meta, now instrumental in a worldwide war, including that in Ukraine, to move all us untermenschen into a 4th industrial revolution, beyond the digital (c)age, whereby our perceptions no longer need to be controlled because human resources will have been replaced by robots.

    Meanwhile, captive audiences are to be entertained by benevolent billionaire despots like Elon Musk, transhumanist extraordinaire, taking over Twitter to restore free speech (will that come with an upgrade to Neuralink?).

    1. One need not wait for Neuralink. Electromagnetic radiation or direct energy weapons have been indiscriminately applied against targeted individuals throughout the globe for decades. The Los Angeles Times columnist, Jean Guerrero, addressed the experiences of her father as a target in “Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir” which was published in 2018.

      The fact that alternative media have yet to properly address this issue simply shows its own duplicity & self-censorship.

      1. Yes. And along with the weaponization, that we are now immersed in electromagnetic toxification is one major source of disease and devolution which effectively has been censored.* Typically, we’re conditioned to dismiss such areas of science and technology (R&D of which takes place behind the scenes, as with DARPA) as tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory, even when, for instance, one can look into the sky and see chemtrails, while (related) weather weaponization has likewise been around for decades (e.g., Operation Popeye during the war in Vietnam, SE Asia). Yet the thought control blinds us, just as the official narrative of 9/11 brainwashed us to deny basic physics of free-falling twin towers of the WTC (and WTC #7) indicative of controlled demolition, not collapse from planes.

        *‘Deadly Rainbow: Will 5G Precipitate the Extinction of All Life on Earth?’
        https://www.transcend.org/tms/2020/07/deadly-rainbow-will-5g-precipitate-the-extinction-of-all-life-on-earth/

      2. I also did a quick search for a harrowing full video of congressional hearings, with which you may already be familiar, related to MK-ULTRA and mind control experiments, including electronic weaponry, but was unable to locate it (down the memory hole?). However, this more recent presentation of Dr. James Giordano, The Brain Is the Battlefield of the Future, provides enough idea of some of the present Frankenscience:
        https://www.expandingawarenessrelations.com/tag/directed-energy-weapon/

    2. One need not wait for Neuralink. Electromagnetic radiation or direct energy weapons have been indiscriminately applied against targeted individuals for decades. The Los Angeles Times correspondent, Jean Guerrero, in 2018, published “Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir” in which she addressed the experiences of her father as a target.

      The alternative media have yet to address the abuses of targeted individuals & would do well to acknowledge the self-censorship that is exercised by the issues they too choose to ignore.

  6. Why the fuss? All we need to know is that we are at with EastAsia. Now please go about your business.

  7. Fascinating that the government forces that cannot shut down QAnon and other supporters of the insurrection have mobilized all their influence to shut down dissent about the Ukraine war.

    Logical conclusion: they are either “neutral” about a right-wing takeover here, or support it.

    Trump, of course, can instantly reverse himself on NATO, and most of his procession will follow.

    Will be interesting how Musk comes down on all of this. Will he un-deplatform (is that a new word?:-) anti-war comments?

  8. Hate to break it to all the Trump haters with TDS, but the media IS the enemy. He was talking about the corporate/mainstream/establishment media, as am I. These lying propagandists are as pro-war as John Bolton! Now what these jerks are doing is blatantly saying that any opinions or even facts in that oppose corporate/establishment lies & propaganda will be banned. Who needs this garbage? Much better to eliminate the corporate/establishment media altogether and start over.

    “How to oppose Russian aggression without providing more political ammunition to NATO governments to further escalate the conflict? And how to critique and highlight our own governments’ roles in creating the crisis without appearing to justify the Kremlin’s actions?”

    Simple: As an American, you condemn Russia’s invasion once, then move on to condemning and discussing the U.S. sponsored coup, U.S.-led NATO expansion, etc. No legitimate reason to talk about Russia or Putin being evil, because neither is as evil as the U.S. and because we don’t live in Russia and need to focus on our own country. No legitimate reason to continually condemn Russia’s invasion, because while no invasion of another country is ever justified, Russia had a host of legitimate grievances that led to its invasion. A mere one-sentence mention that the invasion was wrong because all invasions are wrong before condemning the U.S. & NATO is sufficient.

    “The old Cold War against Russia ended in 1991. However, the new Cold War arguably started 25 years later with the electoral victory of Donald Trump.”

    You’ve got to be kidding. The new cold war started almost immediately, as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed and NATO continued to exist instead of being disbanded. Russiagate was merely a continuation of the new cold war, which previously included NATO expansion eastward, the 2014 U.S.-led coup in Ukraine, and the oppression & killing of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine after the coup.

    “Since 2016, a number of other measures have been taken to bring social media under the wing of the national security state.”

    As much as I hate the founding genociders/land theives/slave owners, this is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. Social media is the current town square, and First Amendment protections should absolutely apply. The whole idea of the First Amendment was to prevent the government from interfering with free speech. Putting social media under a tyrannical government agency like the deep state could not be more antithetical to the First Amendment. Just like the propaganda machine that’s called the media, social media companies like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are the enemy. Regular people have some responsibility here, as they’ve gotten themselves addicted to social media. This addiction needs to be broken; people should get back to living actually instead of virtually, and stop exposing themselves to all this propaganda.

    “While fake news – including that emanating from Russia – continues to be a genuine problem …”

    Really? Exactly what fake news from Russia are we exposed to? That’s a problem in Russia, not here.

    1. why, Jeff! pro-trump. ye say, and pro- environment, ye said prior. i envy thee not , yer’s must be a complicated life to keep all teh lies straight…

      1. @arvo
        I’m not pro-Trump, very far from it. My point was that when trump said that 2+2=4, all the TDSers would say that it didn’t. Just because Trump is a horrible pig doesn’t mean that he doesn’t tell the truth sometimes. In fact, saying true things that are not allowed to be said in public by high officials is one of the main reasons that the establishment hates him so much. But none of that changes the fact that he’s a racist, sexist, misogynist, boorish lout (to channel my inner Gore Vidal) and I can’t stand him.

    2. Jeff you write:

      “ How to oppose Russian aggression without providing more political ammunition to NATO governments to further escalate the conflict? And how to critique and highlight our own governments’ roles in creating the crisis without appearing to justify the Kremlin’s actions?”

      It may be simpler than you think if impact of Globalization and what stems from it namely American, EU as well as in Russian and Chinese elites’ complete disregard of welfare of people they rule over.

      Any attempts to explain and judge wars in terms of nationalism and geopolitics leads to factual as well moral confusion.

      There are no good guys and bad guys, no higher or lower moral grounds no notions of legality or illegally among criminal elites in this perpetual conflict as all of them want to use us, abuse us, and discard us in war time as much as in peace when we are no longer needed as pawns in global oligarchs game of thrones.

      What we can do on the left is to attack our own western powers for their genocide enabling lies, warmongering, robbery of national treasury and distortions of brutal reality of war and in most part let people of China or Russia etc., or even Ukraine to do the same regarding their own master elites they know best.

      It ain’t easy or safe to do so while inevitably being called enemy of nation state. But that has always been the historical legacy of the left as we have always condemned all sides of wartime slaughter.

      Hot as well cold War is our real enemy while global elites create, organize and fund circumstances promoting aggression, division among people along whatever historical and modern lines of suspicion and hatred elites alone concocted as much today like in the past. They all commit supreme crimes of aggression toward people.

      For example modern Ukrainian nationalism was created not in Ukraine but in Vienna by Austro Hungarian imperial security services to oppose Russian influences and to control and conflict Ukrainians with other national movements of empire like Hungarian and Polish based independence movements. Ukrainian nationalism was directly founded on ethnic hatred of Russians, Poles, Hungarians (and Jews as A-H empire was antisemitic) and had no popular appeal in Ukraine.

      In fact today there is no existential conflict between elites of east and west. The effectively empty, toothless sanctions against Russian oligarchs, who actually got richer, as well as phony oil and natgas sanctions that are being circumvented by western global corporates proved.

      Oligarchs of the world share the same ideology, they are all imperialists, globalists out of mere necessity of capitalist competitive playbook of relentless accumulation, concentration and monopolization of capital (material and human) and stemming from that political control.

      Of course that objective cannot be achieved without clashes of their spheres of influence and that is what exactly lies underneath global conflicts erupting as hot proxy wars long before and after self dismemberment of Soviet Union by their own political elite.

      Those proxy wars in Vietnam, Korea, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan etc., or now Ukraine are no different. These are not our wars to engage in, we are as, Luxemburg put it, simply political or economic and military cannon fodder to be sacrificed in the war among titans of imperial globalization.

      1. @Kalen
        We basically agree, though thinking that geopolitics doesn’t exist is delusional. Aside from that, your response doesn’t contradict anything I said. The most important thing here for Americans is to focus on the U.S. government, not Russia or Putin. We are in a very small minority now, just like those of us opposing the Vietnam war were at the beginning. Hopefully, that will change.

  9. It is very noble cause to call for unity among alternative media in a face of New McCarthyism and it is true they are deliberate targets of US psychological warfare, so is entire population.

    However the fact is that there is at least a decade of sharp disunity among those outlets. Disunity as much not related political outlook or opinions or even interpretation of facts which is natural and should be encouraged but sadly the fissure is about their attitude to free speech and fundamental freedoms of media.

    And that critical split is very dangerous destructive to Fundamental value of relentless uncompromising search for truth in which those independent media used to have huge advantage over corporatist MSM and social media by design engaged in corporate and government propaganda.

    The biggest contribution to why is, amid slow economic collapse in last almost 20 years in US, slow increase in direct or indirect corporate funding for those nominally called independent or alternative media.

    The direct founding when amid of collapsing viewer/reader supports some formerly poor but highly credible independent media outlets chose corporate financing based expansion of their studios and payroll or indirect corporate founding when foundations supporting those media were “hijacked” themselves and began to accepted grants from other highly dependent on corporations or governments funds or foundations.

    Those media became 5th column of truly independent and truly alternative media landscape and caused confusion and clear, rare before, fundamental ideological conflicts among editorial boards and what’s worst splitting among editors/management and supporters of those media on the left and right of the political spectrum leading in some case to complete media demise or takeover by corporate outlets.

    The other factor in disunity of fundamental values of so called independent media is desperate self enslavement by corporate fascists of security state running giants of social media and dependency on monetization of content. Formerly fiercely radical educational mission not driven by popularity of subjects among readership started instead to fish for clicks, votes and subscriptions kowtowing to most broad “expectations” instead of telling what needs to be said. Independent media used to shape public opinion now many downgraded that vital mission.

    It was bad before tsunami of worse totalitarian censorship even hit. After that publishing on corporate social media is the same as putting censors on editorial boards.

    The other reason maybe genuine confusion and succumbing to western psychological warfare and brainwashing unable to properly analyze what use to be Cold War geopolitics in the era of full globalization that one way or another drives internal and international conflicts of 21st century.

    One way or another near Orwellian censorship by Silicon Valley propaganda industrial complex that is being escalated in last six and especially last three years will significantly suppress independent media reach in Times when pseudo left promote imperial globalization.

    1. Are you teaching or making a point? Not sure. Reading your comments is like chewing gum–the sweetness leaves after time.

      1. My entire comment is quite bitter simply because it is depressing to watch during last two decades leftist and independent media in large part corrupting and self destructing even before recent unprecedented corporate censorship. And that explains a lot the reasons why those attacks of free speech went so far so fast.

    2. @Kalen
      Taking corporate money doesn’t explain what happened to Pacifica and Democracy Now! They didn’t take any corporate money that I know of. What they did do was get into the stupid identity politics a few years before Trump got elected, and it was all downhill from there. After the election of Trump they all got TDS and started parroting the establishment line of Russiagate, which led to other bad reporting.

      I don’t know what caused their decline, but the real independent media is now limited to podcasts such as Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp, Breaking Points, Grey Zone, etc. It’s harder than it used to be to find independent honest reporting or even commentary, but it is out there.

      1. @Jeff

        Money does not explain everything but ignoring money makes any understanding of what happens to nominally independent media Impossible.

        Is that coincidence that just as 2008 market crash was happening DN moved from old fire station into new big studio in Manhattan while Amy Goodman herself mentioned on air that the move was financed with involvement of Goldman Sachs. And then desperately ran almost non stop membership drives selling herself for $2000 diners. Who among her independent audience could afford it? . And why suddenly so much money was needed? Before she usually asked for $10-20$ a month at best. Perhaps huge monthly loan payments were due?

        Also her initially supportive attitude and coverage of Assange and Wikileaks persecution since 2008 slowly drifted into MSM propaganda territory of condemnation as she bought a lie about Assange alleged rape that never happened and ignored his journalistic persecution as she dismissed clear threat of Julian extradition to US to be prosecuted for .. doing journalism and hence his stay in foreign embassy to avoid it. Is that coincidence or shadow of corporate supported woke cult?

        Today when there is hard proof of FBI orchestrated attack on Assange and his journalism Goodman totally dismissed the hard facts as she stays silent while Julian is being tortured and murdered.

        Out of many, another example was her drifting out of leftist support. For example in 2009 I believe, for three days DN broadcast and website ignored 250,000 strong general strike and street protests lead by trade unions against Wall Street hedge funds taking over Puerto Rico sovereign debt and consequently destroying country public sector jobs including schools while a Puerto Rican was her co anchor so she knew what was going on. And when later she mentioned the event after protests ended she downplayed and dismissed it as nothing with no serious followup. US MSM ignored PR completely. Was that coincidence that Goldman Sachs Hedge Funds were involved as well ?

        Anti Libyan and anti Syrian stand clearly defined DN as apologists for wars of US empire and its corporate backers while for two decades Ami was champion of opposition to US imperial colonial projects all over the world including East Timor where she went herself to report on US backed war MSM wouldn’t even touch.

        It was a big change and money was involved.

      2. @Kalen
        I didn’t know about the Goldman Sachs or high priced dinners issue. So maybe Goodman was corrupted by money just like the rest. Jimmy Dore claims that Goodman basically ran Pacifica, so that would explain its downfall also. I have a Pacifica radio station in my city that I’ve been listening to since the early 1980s, formerly religiously (so to speak). I stopped listening to it shortly after they started Russiagating. These were my main sources of news & political information, and now they’re gone. Really sad.

  10. In hindsight, the Ukrainians were pretty dumb for not moving the AN-225 outside of Ukraine and keeping it there. There was no way it wasn’t a target; if the Russians had left it alone, the Ukrainians would definitely have shipped weapons with it.

  11. I can only keep repeating this over and over again:
    You have been warned to stay clear of proprietary systems and privately owned software. Richard Stallman has tried to get people to understand what a “free” internet must look like and you chose to ignore it.
    Even worse, by using these platforms you delivered data to help create new ways of manipulating public opinion, while making yourself dependent on the income granted by those giants.
    And as if that wasn’t bad enough, many so called alternative news outlets, were never actually reporting, but only commenting news from MSM. That is a valuable service, but still not really “on the ground” work.
    My (extremely faint) hope is, that some might finally try to use open source software on decentralized systems to reach their audience, but who am i kidding…

  12. In the context of Russian imperialism, considering Putin’s dictatorial control over any and all media, the closure of all western media offices in Russia, the closure of all small independent media publications since the beginning of the war on Ukraine, and the law that allows the Kremlin to jail anyone stating anything not in line with official propaganda for up to 15 years, it is not simply false, but exceedingly cynical to describe the western media response to Russian-inspired lies as censorship.

    1. E.g.,

      “Putin has made an art of strategic omission; during the conflict, he has only taken this to new extremes through heavy-footed censorship. As a result of a new law that makes spreading false information (which in practice means going against the government’s preferred narrative) punishable by up to 15 years in prison and other media supression, independent outlets have been shuttered, Western journalists have fled, and many social media platforms have been blocked. The Kremlin-controlled story is the only one most people see, leaving nothing and no one to contend with its narrative of Russian heroism in the face of Western oppression and Nazism in Ukraine.”

      “Life Behind Russia’s Veil of Misinformation”

  13. The parroting of Russian propaganda is not dissent, since propaganda is not information at all but rather an attempt to obfuscate it.

    Further, ‘dissenting’ does not necessarily mean right or truthful. You still have to make a convincing argument for your opinions regardless of the size of your listeners (which probably explains why left-ish Neo Progressive demagogues and propaganda buffs spend more time on decrying (imagined, delusional) ‘censorship’ than on simply fact-checking their Russian Propaganda sources).

  14. If we are to understand the magnitude of what is being done to us, we need to recognize the Mainstream Media Propaganda Machine as the first privately owned, for-profit version of Josef Goebbels’ Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.

    It is no coincidence MMPM’s existence dates neither from the probable Reichstag-Fire-rerun of 9/11, nor from the obvious anti-Working-Class weaponization of the Covid pandemic. Instead it seems to have originated from the open-armed embrace with which the U.S. government and its Nazi-minded owners granted sanctuary to entire legions of Nazi war criminals after V-E Day.

    Ostensibly this was to utilize the blood-drenched Nazis’ morally imbecilic science and technology, but I cannot doubt it was just as often intended to vex the Soviets by protecting maximum numbers of Hitler’s mass murderers from proper Red Army justice — perhaps even to preserve these vile sadists as a special U.S. reserve to be mobilized for suppressing domestic humanitarian rebellion.

    Thus the transformation of the United States from the genocidal inspiration of German Nazism to the Third Reich’s anointed successor actually began in 1934, with the Roosevelt Administration’s refusal to prosecute the Bankers’ Plot traitors for their attempted pro-Nazi coup.

    While censorship in one form or another has always plagued USian journalism, the first undeniable evidence of the MMPM as an already-omnipotent Goebbels’ legacy probably did not become apparent even to members of the working press until the aftermath of 22 November 1963 and the Warren Report controversy.

    Google “Censorship: Lessons from Nader and a Knoxville Atrocity” for a description of how managing editors throughout the nation were apparently functioning as government agents by closely interrogating their staffs about our acceptance or rejection of the Warren Report.

    Those of us who dared express reservations about the Warren Report were publicly shamed in our newsrooms and thereby implicitly threatened with loss of careers if we would not agree to support its findings.

    That’s why our Masters’ newest, most radical escalation of censorship comes as no surprise to those of us Marxian enough to have recognized computers not as the “liberators” we were assured they’d be, but rather as the ultimate in the Ruling Class technology of enslavement.

    Therefore, just as Goebbels’ ministry was to the Third Reich, the MMPM is now quite brazenly our Masters’ ultimate zero-tolerance opinion-monitor and mind-warping device – its product a magnitude of Madison-Avenue-inspired, Nazi-perfected psychological warfare against which there is literally no Working Class defense.

    Formerly hidden behind a tsunami of pseudo-humanitarian deception that conned too many of us into unabashed “sharing” of ourselves with the USian equivalent of a new Gestapo, the Internet and all its derived “social media” are now openly serving the malevolent purpose for which our Masters designed them.

  15. There have been many who claimed that 9/11 was an orchestrated event for the sole purpose of increasing “security” powers of our government in league with the corporate elites. The massive increase of militarizing our local police forces with their ever increasing massive budgets would lead us to believe this is not just conspiracy theory. The same strategies are playing out in our social media platforms, as now even the most basic of journalism avenues have been completely obliterated.

  16. Apart from McLeod’s focus on censorship, he goes about it in a very bs way. In no way has Pepe Escobar “supported” Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and there is NO PROOF that the fraud and likely op Gonzalo Lira is or was in Ukraine, let alone arrested. (Why the hell had Lira, who has praised the torture and murder of Allende supporters, received so much attention, when Julian Assange needs it more now than ever and virtually nobody mentions him, including McLeod?) This isn’t the first sus article Mc Leod has produced, so wt-?

  17. Great article!
    Very depressing, but I would rather know then not.
    Thank you .
    It is almost incomprehensible to realize just how evil our government actions and the parasitical elite controlling them and everything else are .And scary that neither have even a passing acquaintance with boundaries or truth.
    It’s a hard decision to either laugh or just cry.
    But thank gawd for articles like this that try to keep American citizens awake.

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