Censorship Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi: PayPal’s IndyMedia Wipeout

A series of moves against media outlets by PayPal shows the next step in speech control: confiscation. Why won't the company answer questions?

By Matt Taibbi / Substack

In the last week or so, the online payment platform PayPal without explanation suspended the accounts of a series of individual journalists and media outlets, including the well-known alt sites Consortium News and MintPress. Each received a variation of the following message:

Unlike many on the list, Consortium editor Joe Lauria succeeded in reaching a human being at the company in search of details about the frozen or “held” funds referenced in the note. The PayPal rep told him that if the company decided “there was a violation” after a half-year review period, then “it is possible” PayPal would keep the $9,348.14 remaining in Consortium’s account, as “damages.” 

“A secretive process in which they could award themselves damages, not by a judge or a jury,” Lauria says. “Totally in secret.”

Consortium, founded by the late investigative reporter Robert Parry, has been critical of NATO and the Pentagon and a consistent source of skeptical reporting about Russiagate, as well as one of just a few outlets to regularly cover the Julian Assange case with any sympathy for the accused. Ironically, one of the site’s primary themes involves exploring disinformation emanating from the intelligence community. The site has had content disrupted by platforms like Facebook before, but now its pockets are being picked in addition. 

This episode ups the ante again on the content moderation movement, toward the world hinted at in the response to the Canadian trucker protests, where having the wrong opinions can result in your money being frozen or seized. Going after cash is a big jump from simply deleting speech, with a much bigger chilling effect. This is especially true in the alternative media world, where money has long been notoriously tight, and the loss of a few thousand dollars here or there can have a major effect on a site, podcast, or paper.

As MintPress founder and executive director Mnar Adley points out, the current era of content moderation — characterized by private platforms either overtly or covertly working with government to identify accounts for censure — really began with PayPal’s historic decision in 2010 to halt donations to Wikileaks. In that case, PayPal acted after receiving a letter from the State Department claiming the site’s activities were illegal. 

“PayPal banning donations from WikiLeaks really set up the blueprint for today’s censorship,” Adley says. 

Lauria believes PayPal is basing a potential claim on his company’s funds on a list of restricted activities in its service agreement that includes providing “false, inaccurate or misleading information.” He notes, of course, that “false” is “what they think is false, that is,” which is troubling for a pair of big reasons. 

One is the ongoing possibility of government or law enforcement involvement in fact-checking decisions, as PayPal announced just last year it would be cooperating with authorities in a content moderation campaign. The other is that the thread connecting the recent affected accounts — which include the former RT contributor Caleb Maupin and the host of the Geopolitics and Empire podcast Hrvoje Morić, among others — is that they’re all generally antiwar voices, who’ve been critical either of NATO or of official messaging with regard to the Ukraine conflict. 

Alan McLeod of MintPress is one of the writers who received the notice about improper “activity” in his account. He assumed at first there had to be a mistake. 

“The claim that my activity is ‘inconsistent’ with their user agreement is complete nonsense because I literally haven’t used my PayPal account since at least August of 2021,” he says. “I actually assumed [the suspension] was because it’d been inactive for too long.”

McLeod’s most recent article is entitled, “The NATO to TikTok Pipeline: Why is TikTok Employing So Many National Security Agents?” In it, he laid out a long list of “former spooks, spies, and Mandarins” hired by TikTok:

While simultaneously being the Content Policy Lead for TikTok Canada, Alexander Corbeil is also the vice president of the NATO Association of Canada, a NATO-fundedorganization chaired by former Canadian Minister of Defense David Collenette… Another NATO-linked new recruit is Ayse Koçak, a Global Product Policy manager at the company. Before joining TikTok last year, she spent three years at NATO…

If this is what qualifies as “false, inaccurate, or misleading information,” while CNN, MSNBC, and Fox’s daily rollout of ex-military analysts with undisclosed lobbying tiesis upheld as the unobjectionable truth, it’s more or less finita la commedia for independent media. “I guess writing about big social media outlets being staffed with former NATO officials might be controversial,” McLeod quipped. 

The experience of MintPress exemplifies the logistical Whac-a-Mole controversial publishers have to play now in order to survive as businesses. In addition to the PayPal ban — which hit McLeod, Adley, and one other former Mint contributor, forcing the company to stop paying its writers via the platform — MintPress last month saw two of its fundraising campaigns on GoFundMe shut down. According to Adley, the outlet was able to receive about 90% of donations across a two-year campaign before they were abruptly cut off. At least GoFundMe didn’t try to keep “damages,” as several thousand dollars earmarked for MintPress were instead returned to donors.

Adley believes the chief crime of MintPress is that it exists as an alternative to monolithic messaging surrounding issues like Ukraine. Moreover, she believes it’s in trouble with PayPal not for being false, but precisely for printing true uncomfortable things, like McLeod’s NATO-to-TikTok story, or Dan Cohen’s recent piece about the 150-odd Western public relations firms working with Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry. Several of these MintPress pieces about Ukraine have gone viral in recent weeks. 

“We name the names, we break through the propaganda, we show the profiteers,” Adley says. “There’s so few of us left that do that, and I think that’s why we’ve become a target.”

As is the case with a lot of these accounts, MintPress falls out of the mainstream on whole ranges of issues. It’s come under heavy fire for its coverage of Syria, for instance. A lot of political moderates will struggle to connect with its point of view. This however is the whole point of alternative media, whose brief is to explore themes the traditional press won’t or can’t. If traditional news consumers feel comfortable reading them, these sites probably aren’t doing their jobs correctly. Censorship of them is especially concerning if law enforcement plays any role, since these are among the last media concerns to evince any skepticism about national security messaging. Unfortunately, there is reason to suspect this is the case. 

On July 26th of last year, PayPal announced a new partnership with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to “fight extremism and hate through the financial industry and across at-risk communities.” In describing the arrangement, PayPal talked about a third actor — the government:

PayPal and ADL have launched a research effort to address the urgent need to understand how extremist and hate movements throughout the U.S. are attempting to leverage financial platforms to fund criminal activity. The intelligence gathered through this research initiative will be shared broadly across the financial industry and with policymakers and law enforcement.

While companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter at least occasionally explain why prominent accounts have been suspended, neither PayPal nor the ADL will comment about how suspensions and confiscations of companies like MintPress and Consortium fit into their efforts to head off “criminal activity.” I reached out this week not just to the media relations offices of PayPal and the ADL, but to figures quoted in last year’s announcement, including ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt and PayPal Chief Risk officer Aaron Karczmer, getting no response anywhere. 

The ADL’s silence is particularly galling because some of the suspended accounts have written extensively about neo-Nazi movements not just in Ukraine, but in the U.S. and in other countries, including Russia. McLeod only just recently published a thread on the Nazi symbols worn by soldiers on both sides of the Ukraine conflict:

Is the ADL really interested in suppressing these voices? Why will they not answer questions on this front? At the very least, the ADL and PayPal should both explain the nature of their relationship to “policymakers” and “law enforcement.” Are they getting recommendations on whom to suspend from authorities? How do they identify sites for censure? So long as PayPal takes money from customers without guaranteeing they will explain suspension or confiscation decisions, or at least deigns to answer media queries about its decisions, media outlets should probably think twice about using their services. 

PayPal was sued earlier this year by three other account-holders for similar freezing of accounts without explanation. One of the original complainants was Chris Moneymaker, winner of the 2003 World Series of Poker, who claimed PayPal placed a hold on $12,000 of his money (the firm ultimately returned the funds, according to Bloomberg). The litigation involving the other complainants is still pending. PayPal meanwhile has periodically cut off other controversial media outlets, on both the left and the right. A former Infowars employee named David Knight, for instance, saw his independent broadcast show cut off last year, ironically after he broke with Alex Jonesover the Stop the Steal issue

All of this is going on at a time when the Biden administration just announced the formation of a dystopian “Disinformation Governance Board,” preposterously headed by a bubbly former Kennan Institute fellow, Nina “The Singing Neoliberal” Jankowicz. In a detail Jonathan Swift couldn’t have written better, Jankowicz — who once cited the author of the greatest news hoax of our generation, Christopher Steele, as an expert on the “evolution of disinfo” — last year put out a video of herself as the “Mary Poppins of Disinformation.” In it, she sang a variation of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” featuring lines like:

They’re laundering disinfo and we really should take note

And not support their lies with our wallet voice or vote…

As many have pointed out, this is a literal nanny singing about the joys of the nanny state, in a song that includes lines about using the “wallet” to starve speech. There’s a fine line between parody and horror, and we’re tumbling fast to the horror side.

Matt Taibbi

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

30 comments

  1. The ADL’s focus has remained on the surge of anti-Jewish rhetoric – and violence – of recent years, often prompted by (one-sided) anti-Israel rants. That said, there is no question that we’ve been seeing a surge of political censorship since Biden took office. One would need to be very naive about today’s Democrats to be surprised.

  2. This is not the first time PayPal has been involved in censorship. After Amazon/Bezos, PayPal/Musk was the second to deplatform WikiLeaks and go after Assange

    The Real Crime of Julian Assange

    Timing is telling. It may be the strongest evidence of the concerted effort to take down WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. The collateral murder tape was released on April 5, 2010. The rest of the Iraq War Logs were released in October 2010. The result on the part of the government and the media echo chamber ran the gamut from nothing to thankfulness and affirmation to the call for hanging of a traitor. Manning was arrested because he could not keep his mouth shut and since he was in the military under a different legal system, if you can call it that, he was subjected to what seemed more like a Stalin era show trial.
    In August 2010 WikiLeaks published internal documents from the collapsed Icelandic bank Kaupthing actually resulting in the arrest of some of the officials involved. To my knowledge they are the only banksters arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced for financial crimes committed during the 2007-2010 financial rape and pillage of the 99% and their countries. These actions by the government of Iceland were the direct result of popular outrage and a change in government. Michael Moore humorously relates some of what happened in his movie “Where To Invade Next” but there was little coverage of those events in the media in the US. The crimes exposed in the war logs were the crimes of “little people” and few were reluctantly charged and convicted for those crimes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaupth ing_Bank
    On Nov. 29 2010, well after the publication of the war logs, Forbes published an interview with Julian Assange. In the interview Assange reveals that WikiLeaks has massive amounts of documents from the business sector revealing illegal activity. Such activity as led to the conviction of the banksters in Iceland he said they would begin to release them in early 2011. Among those soon to be published was said to be a copy of the hard drive of the CEO of a major too big to fail bank speculated by Time Magazine to be The Bank of America. When asked of the significance of the documents, Assange said they could take down a big bank or two. The price per share of B of A stock dropped by 2/3 at the end of 2010 and began a dramatic quintupling of price in 2012-2018 after Assange was safely in asylum. I am sure there are other factors in that stock fluctuation but the WikiLeaks documents were probably a major part of it. https://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2010/11/29/an-interview-with-wikileaks-julian-assange/#d3566172c27c
    I imagine the concern that spread across the financial community on Wall Street caused many nightmares and much indigestion. The response was immediate. On Dec. 1, 2010 Amazon, that served as the host for WikiLeaks’ web site kicked that dangerous publisher out of its service. Most of Amazon’s profits come from government contracts including with the CIA. It is curious that more than 4 months after the release of the Afghan War Logs but only 2 days after the Forbes article, Amazon chose to follow the desires of the US state and kick WikiLeaks off of its web servers. WikiLeaks quickly found other hosts among the Scandinavian countries including Iceland. Problem solved. On Dec. 2, 2010 PayPal, started by Musk & Thiel, refused to allow their services to be used to donate to WikiLeaks. https://www.wired.com/2010/12/paypal-wikileaks/
    On Dec. 3, 2010 Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Western Union followed suit. WikiLeaks had quickly been left to wither in a financial desert. All these financial institutions cited pressure from the US government as the reason for their actions. The US government probably had been pressuring these same companies since the war logs were released and before to no avail, yet within days of the publication of the Forbes interview these institutions responded in unison to financially eviscerate WikiLeaks. https://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2010/12/07/visa-mastercard-move-to-choke-
    On Dec. 10, 2010 Assange was arrested in London on an Interpol warrant issued by Sweden. Assange had been in Sweden to arrange for the hosting of WikiLeaks’ site on a secure bank of underground vaulted servers. WikiLeaks staff probably knew that having Amazon as a host was problematic and had been searching for another host for a while. While released on bail, in January of 2011 CBS News filmed an interview with Assange conducted by Steve Kroft. During the interview Assange was asked about the financial crime documents that WikiLeaks were going to release. It is the only time during the interview that Assange appeared flustered. He did not reveal anything about those documents during the interview.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/julian-assange-the-2011-60-minutes-interview/

    While Assange was out on bail in London, he participated in a public discussion that I saw on Free Speech TV or LinkTV. During the question and answer segment a person from the audience asked about the business documents that were supposed to be released in early 2011. Assange’s response was that he was not at liberty to discuss that issue and added that the audience could imagine why. He was not at liberty to discuss some business documents but he was at liberty to discuss classified documents from the most powerful military state with multitudes of secret enforcement agencies like the CIA and FBI? Assange is a brave man obviously but he was more afraid of B ofA than The CIA or a drone attack? I imagine that Assange, various others and families were threatened with death if the business documents were released and WikiLeaks responded that if anything whatsoever happened to those threatened, the documents would be released. Everybody involved knew that there was no way that any government, corporation or agency could stop the release of the documents. They would have been stored securely in many places away from WikiLeaks and there may even be paper copies stored in strategic places. Stalemate accomplished or as said during the Cold War, mutually assured destruction.
    Enter Ecuador and the asylum granted, or should we say, forced on Assange. Assange’s son and the mother of his son were already underground either in a witness protection like program or just hidden there is little information that I could find on that, but I am sure the deep state knew where they were and wanted to keep them safe. The discussions that preceded the granting of asylum by Ecuador were in secret and will probably never be known barring a whistleblower. The reason to make sure Assange was in a safe and well surveilled space was so no “patriotic” loose cannon could take him down. The Ecuadorian Embassy was considered safer and more reliable politically than jail. Seven years in an Embassy is easier to accomplish with death threats against family than seven years in prison on questionable charges. Seven years later, 2019, was when the statute of limitations on financial crimes committed in 2009 and before have expired.
    Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, had a reputation as a defier of American imperialism and Wall Street and was considered part of what was called the “Pink Tide” of social reform in South America. All were incorrect or if at one time correct were no longer. At least since 2012 Rafael Correa has been a neoliberal of the first order. This I know after living in Ecuador for 6 years and talking with the top law students here. There is a plethora of oppressing laws and economic policies that have been enacted during his administration.
    To support this part of the argument, I will have to give a little history. In 1999 Wall Street attacked the Ecuadorian currency, the Sucre, and crashed the economy. In response Ecuador wisely abandoned the Sucre and took the US dollar as their currency. Wall Street does not attack the USD as that is where they hold their assets. Ecuador used gold and oil revenues to purchase hard currency for circulation and created bookkeeping currency by counterfeiting it just like BofA and the rest of the private banks in the US do. The central bank also payed public employees and contractors by transferring money digitally into their accounts just like the Federal Reserve transfers money. Using money created in this manner the government of Ecuador stimulated the economy at 4-7% annually for 14 or more years. It spent much of it on increasing infrastructure, especially roads, water and hydroelectric plants and production. When I came here in 2014 I was reminded of the massive amounts of infrastructure building and general construction that I witnessed in California in the 60s.
    The political and economic waters of the US are crystal clear compared to murky waters of Ecuador so through chance or fate I met a person who was a former employee of the IRS and the Ministry of the Environment. She is very smart and ethical, so ethical that she was denied promotion because her personality profile test showed her unable to be cruel enough for the job. Because of her inside view I learned that among the first things Rafael Correa did was to pass a law forbidding the Central Bank of Ecuador from printing money. I could give many more examples to prove that from the start of his presidency, Rafael Correa was a minion and mercenary of Wall Street and no socialist.
    Here again timing is telling. When Assange was, illegally evicted, he is a citizen, from the Ecuadorian Embassy into the custody of the British police, the probable financial crimes revealed in the Wikileaks trove of documents had passed their statute of limitations. So even if there are financial crimes revealed ever, no one is going to be prosecuted, fined or sent to jail. Thus it will be business as usual on Wall Street and their scrotums can relax and they can continue bribing legislatures to make what was once illegal, legal. They will continue torturing and imprisoning Assange. The .00001% want to make sure that potential whistleblowers will quell their consciences and not risk releasing sensitive information and publishers will hesitate to publish what the whistleblowers release.
    The international finance connection with the asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy is most evident in timing. On the very HOUR of the day of the ejection from the embassy the IMF made available 4.5 billion dollars to the Ecuadorian government. Several years before Ecuador had eliminated all IMF debt. It had created most of the money that it needed digitally just like the Fed so did not really need IMF private banksters’ money. The money loaned by the IMF has not been spent into the economy which is still declining. And on that same day Ola Bini a friend of Assange who was in Ecuador was arrested by the Ecuadorian government and kept in custody without charge for over 2 months. I could go on and on providing evidence to support this argument. On an upbeat note that the international banksters are not in complete control an Icelandic court found Visa guilty of illegally blocking payments to WikiLeaks. So little Iceland is the only country to be brave enough to face up to the banksters and hold them to the rule of law.
    https://grapevine.is/news/2019/04/25/valitor-sentenced-to-pay-1-2-bill

    1. @Anti..

      Thanks for comprehensive review.

      I heard rumors for years about Assange and his lawyers negotiating Assange “situation” while he was being blocked in Ecuadorian embassy. Especially there were rumors of Clinton negotiations about Podesta emails as bargaining chip.

      I did not like that and while I understood human tragedy of Assange it was clear to me that if true his understandable desperation made him to potentially self compromise as independent and objective source of information and making Wikileaks potential a tool of political or corporate spying, revenge or profit.

      The much stronger charge I made against Greenwald when instead releasing Snowden files to Wikileaks in its entirety he chose to sell it to The Intercept_ (he called hosting) and release bit by bit like a tabloid to gain more clicks and money for his oligarchic boss.

      Glenn and I conducted a sort of polemic in comments section of The Intercept before I was banned few months later . My main charge was that such leaky slow release of Snowden data would legitimately expose Greenwald to criticism of opportunism, manipulation or becoming manipulated himself as he himself arbitrarily chosen order, subjects and scope of heavy edited data releases. I also worried about possible “disappearing” of unpublished Snowden archive.

      While at the time Greenwald was also hunted by FBI there was no comparison with Assange. He was continuously being psychologically tortured while Glenn landed not in detention but cushy job at The Intercept_ and safely moved in with his partner in Brazil until Bolsonaro stooges threatened him. Was there some deal struck? I am quite sure of that especially because just few years ago however incomplete Snowden files disappeared from public domain of The Intercept_.

      I was also waiting for Wikileaks Bankers files and was disappointed when they were not released in their entirety but only minute snippets while in the same time huge CIA Vault 7 programs documentation and spying tools were revealed by Wikileaks.

      Julian Assange becomes reluctant martyr of investigative journalism and free speech as he is being tortured and slowly murdered by US imperial state and its vassals regardless whether or not he tried to make obviously botched deal with gangsters of ruling banking oligarchy.
      Perhaps we will never learn what’s really happened.

      1. There is no perhaps about it. The public will remain in the dark like mushrooms and shoveled manure to keep us fed. The 99% must be controlled. Those that believe we live in a democracy must be appeased but not informed.

      2. What is sad also is that I sent that analysis, as easy as it was to do, to several jounalists including Matt and no response. I respect Matt’s work but we need to understand how deep the tentacles of the vampire squid reach. The banksters are desperate to remain out of sight. Banksters are behind the Maidan coup and Russia is fighting for survival just as in WWII. I do not condone it but I understand it a bit.
        I am a bankrupt former pizza man living on my SS in Ecuador. I am computer semi-literate. If I could put that analysis together, how much better could have Matt or Caitlin.

      3. To Kalen,
        Well unless i am mistaken, the Podesta e-mails were released?
        But I agree – whatever happened to the rest of the Snowden files? what does Glenn have to say about that? Is he still holding them to hang over the US and others head?
        Ironically, it appears Snowden made the better choice, going to Russia – while Assange trusted another country, subject to Western threats and bribery to shield him …

        I wonder if Assange/Wikileaks has any bargaining power once he is shipped over here …

      4. One can never go wrong in certain left corners criticizing Glenn Greenwald.

  3. Thanks Matt . It’s an obvious cause of concern especially if these tech companies not only turn on independent writers, but independent readers too, farther down the line.

  4. Remembering the crazed unfair insidious brutality on citizens of the TV hearings of the McCarthy witch hunt frames this news about the power of private jefes to eliminate voices of facts and truth and financially punish alternatives to the corporatized mainstream media propagandized version profoundly disturbs. There has to be, must be some avenue of legal redress. PayPal ‘s phony claim of “damages” is utter BS nonsense. And no sane, rational, objective person could think and respond otherwise.

  5. OK, but who’s surprised? … just because the govt and big tech do it to us with impunity, doesn’t mean it’s OK for us to do it to each other … I sincerely hope CONSORTIUM NEWS Editor Joe Lauria gets his money back … and in the meantime, maybe he’ll give some thought to permitting civil, non-rabid expressions of informed free speech on his platform as well … last month I attempted to post a carefully-documented, 500-word, profanity-free piece on the CONSORTIUM NEWS website that was critical of Chris Hedges’ selective silence on key working class issues these past two years, but my comment was blocked …  and although I found another comment on that page that was actually longer than my piece, I immediately shaved it down to 350 words and gave it another try, but it was blocked again … so I waited another 24 hours, hoping my comment would be approved … and only then did I send an email to “the editor” politely requesting an explanation on why my comment was blocked from public view … that was 10 days ago and I still have not received a reply … I actually find little personal rejections like this by like-minded people on the progressive left to be as demoralizing as Matt’s story here about PayPal’s brazen abuse of power … I miss the pre-pandemic Chris Hedges … he’s said many awesome, memorable things that helped me understand and accept our current predicament … but when he suddenly broke form and refused to comment on major news issues when the lockdowns were declared, I took note and immediately sought release by expressing my disappointment through independent media … ironically, YouTube did what CONSORTIUM NEWS would not do and ScheerPost also permitted my comments … so DO NOT under-estimate the role of independent media as a catalyst in the growing divisiveness among us … the carefully-calculated positions of INDY media producers has become so paralyzed by metrics that opportunities to unite the working class right and left are now easily dismissed as a self-destructive practice … the typical producer of YouTube content is now an algo-obsessed creature that only sees SUBS, LIKES and SHARES … and they all seem to rationalize their decisions the same way … “I can’t say that, I can’t do that and I can’t have him on my show, it would kill me” … Hedges really nailed it when he recently said the principles of “primacy of profit” and “primacy of self” are at the root of our collapse … the COVID virus divided us and the primancy virus destroyed us …

  6. In Ukraine if you speak out against the official narrative they send the secret police to your home to intimidate you, torture you, or kill you. In the United States they ban you from social media, defund you, and block your access to your own money. If you offer solid proof as Julian Assange did, it’s tortue and life imprisonment.

  7. This is outrageous! Joe Lauria is an intelligent and respected journalist and Consortium News has a long record of producing excellent balanced and nuanced journalism. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine the knives of censorship (probably supplied by the security state) have been stabbing some of the best journalists extant in the front. It’s frightening.

  8. It is appalling what PayPal did but it is neither new nor unexpected. In fact it was inevitable after too many stayed silent and continued to make PayPal and SV gangsters richer when in 2010 Wikileaks was viciously attacked. The mostly meek reaction of many of independent media to PayPal political decision actually a provocation, was simply an encouragement for more assaults considering fact that it is corporate oligarchy who controls US government creating fusion of governmental and private tyranny.

    Such a fusion is called corporatism or corporate fascism. What else one might have expected than escalation of attacks against anti establishment media and political opposition. Pro or against war long did not mattered only refusal to kowtowing to establishment’s aggressive domestic and foreign policies whatever they were.

    I think even Taibbi behind his substack subscription Wall does not grasp the full breath and scope of fascist/corporatist SV assault on independent media despite the fact that he (as Greenwald) was kicked out as labor and then sociopolitical reporter and investigative journalist from MSM for antiestablishment views.

    And it won’t take an Oracle to predict similar future assaults on free speech and those like Taibbi or Greenwald who exercise this unalienable right from Substack corporate management in class solidarity with SV media oligarchs.

    Behind it all including trying to almost apologize or corporate policy wise and legally rationalize PayPal purely opportunist political decision against independent media, resides today inapplicable notion that big corporates are there to make profits off mainstream economy. It is no longer the case in fact for social media it never was as it was from the start CIA/NSA project they paid for.

    The theory that corporate oligarchy would be more politically “tolerant” or hands off if they make lots of money on independent media is just baseless in facts, and childishly naive as in last decades of mainstream economic collapse mainstream businesses can no longer provide comparable returns to those of financial markets speculation. Oligarchs no longer need or want our money as they can print it, what they want is independent media to shut up and not interfere with their grandiose political and socioeconomic plans of digital enslavement of bodies and souls to be traded on Wall Street. Fusion is complete.

    Is Samizdat and back alley distribution network the only future of independent media? Or other solutions like peer to peer (P2P) WIFI cloud internet (networking principle used by Amazon and its IoT) are possible. For sure, today use of any corporate social media means succumbing to self censorship as the only alternative to ceasing to exist.

    1. What most analysts and jounalists do not investigate is how deep private banking is involved in all large corporations. It is a strategy used for hundreds of years. The banksters that perceive of themselves as holders of the new devine right, invest in and have members on the boards of all large corporations including Amazon and PayPal. They direct those corporations behind the scenes. Thomas Piketty in his book “Capitalism in the 21st Century” said that over the last 200 years average growth of GDP worldwide was 2% while the average return on investment over that same period was 5%. It is simple arithmetic. The investment class, rentiers, over time will accumulate all the wealth of the world. At 5% wealth doubles every 14 years. No family doubles every 14 years yet there is no Rockefeller, Morgan, Stanley, Rothschild or even one member of European royalty on Forbes list of billionaires. Those banksters work hard to remain out of the public eye. Their greatest nightmare is that the 99% will awaken and take away the banksters power. The noose and guillotine are old technology but still work. In one of his speeches on Wall Street, Obama told his audience the he was the only thing between the pitchforks and them. I made a similar comment on Op Ed News. A reader responded that he was security for people on Forbes list of billionaires who occasionally visited others in their crowd that were not on the list. He said by body language his billionaire employers were deferential. His conclusion was that Forbes list was made to distract the 99% from the real powers behind the scenes.
      The banksters, as is evident from any who pay attention can create infinite amounts of money digitally. True wealth lies in land, labor and resources which cannot be created digitally but is only available if it is for sale. The plandemic has worked well to impoverish more of the 99% and their nations to make the true wealth of the world available.

  9. This is not about affairs of state, nor about journalism, this is about money.

    Regular people are not served by the levels and degrees of parsing Taibbi is plumbing. The argument comes down to “I’m being suppressed by the State via an inherently corrupt medium, why isn’t the State doing something?!”

    Live by sword, die by sword.

    Again, Russia can only dream of the thought-control mechanisms that typify U.S. media corps.

    In mean time, Eastern Europe is running its own head into wall repeatedly seeking Democratic ideals. Good work truthers! Russia understands and represents West better than NATO.

  10. Well – here’s my suggestion – just send all donations by check in the mail – trusting any on-line medium with sending any money for anything other than a consumer good is playing Russian roulette, so to speak 🙂

  11. A co-worker repeated the r.w. “they hate our freedoms.” I asked what freedoms? He said the right to vote and that he could go where he wanted when he wanted. We agreed a “choice” limited to D or R made that irrelevant. I asked if he could leave for Cancun next Tue. Well, no…he’d lose his job and couldn’t afford it anyway. Similar for other rights. We have all the rights our money can buy.

    Seems that’s now the case for media reporting info outside of the consensus. No matter how factual–because truth is determined by how well it fits with the dominant narrative. The authorities will tell you what you need to know.

    Despite the moribund econ system, crumbling infrastructure, and a declining standard of living for the majority, the Ds want us to believe guns make butter. They will distract us by any means necessary from seeing that the domestic situation is the real cost of war. What better way than reviving the Cold War, the one we think we won? Given the Ds’ usual ineffectiveness, it will be the Tepid War and they will lose.

    The finishing touch is beyond satire. An Ironic Curtain has descended across America:
    “Disinformation Governance Board.”

  12. Internet censorship is going bonkers. I’m a mild mannered mid 60s grandmother who has been permanently banned from Twitter for saying “men cannot become women”. Following on in the same anti trans ideology vein I’m shadow banned on Instagram for similar. A week ago I had a board removed without notice from my Pinterest site which had almost 500 links collected over 2 years of Gender Critical resources. Seeking clarification from Pinterest I was advised every one of my 478 links constituted “hate speech”. I was warned if I started doing the same thing over again I might have my account permanently suspended.

    Three years ago I learned the complicity and contempt that Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Paypal have for its individual users. I’m a textile artist designing original handmade clothes. A China based mass manufacturing appropriated 14 photographs of items I’d made and put them in their internet shops, pretending it was an item they made to sell. I have no idea how much $$$ they made from the theft of my intellectual labour and scamming of buyers internationally. Over months I made repeated reports of copyright infringement to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest where the garments were advertised for sale. I also reported to Paypal as they were facilitating the fraud by enabling transactions. I received numerous bland automated acknowledgements but the copyright infringement was never stopped and went on for over a year. The only recourse in the end was stop showing pictures of my art on social media.

  13. The war on fake news might not be a left-ish (Neo) Progressive priority, which is not surprising given its predilection for conspiracy theories and the fabrication of ‘alternative facts’ to match its political presumptions (the pile of demagogic bile above is a case in point).

    But next to the conservative assault on democracy and civil rights (as their latest Roe v. Wade annulment by a conservative Supreme Court clearly and dangerously demonstrates), Putin’s proxy war against the EU, NATO, the US and the West is the greatest threat the human race has faced since WW II, and the parroting of Russian propaganda by left-ish Neo Progressive pundits and flock need be contained. If you doubt that, consider the massive Republican fake news industry that keeps the “most dangerous organisation on earth” (according to Chomsky) in power.

  14. PayPal. An odious means of transferring monies. It retains the taint and intent of Peter Thiel and the other hipster gangsters associated with its establishment.

    To employ its use is a buy-in to a regressive and totalitarian schema wedded to its founders and those who carry it forward.

  15. We the people must boycott PayPal and Stop making purchases on the internet so as to shut down the commercial viability until the Fascist insanity stops. Paypal should be sued for double and treble damages for a taking of property without due process of law, and in violation of Unfair Trade Practices. This is CRIMINAL and the CRIMINALS are the people with money and intent to quell Free Speech. We as sovereign human being must rise up against this tyranny and shut them down for good!!!!

    1. To Niko,
      EVERYBODY should cancel PayPal accounts – use good ole’ fashion checks – we pay too high a price for “ease, speed, and convenience” …

      1. @SH
        You’re right, but the trees pay a higher price when you use checks. The only good solution is for humans to stop obsessing on money and eliminate it.

  16. Why, oh somebody pray tell why, would the ADL be involved in the censorship of views at odds with the state department and power elite views of the Democratic Party, war mongers and profiteers, war advocates in the Ukraine, Palestine, the POTUS, Covid, Big Pharma, Big Money, Wall Street, Hollywood, the City of London, Putin, Russia, Syria, billionaires, celebrities, lobby groups, unions, fiat money, globalism, nationalism, quantitative easing, the Federal Reserve, Iran, etc, etc, etc?

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