Going Undercover at Facebook

Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network

Al Jazeera (2018)

Film Review

In this documentary an Al Jazeera reporter goes undercover with CBL, an Irish company contracted to moderate “offensive” content posted on Facebook UK. Over a period of weeks he undergoes training to become an official moderator. His findings are revealing.

Rather than undertaking independent monitoring of offensive posts, moderators only act on inappropriate content reported by other Facebook users. Moreover they bend over backwards to leave extremist content online, as it generates the most page shares, as well as keeping people on Facebook longer (so they can view more ads).

CBL guidelines divide offensive posts into four broad. categories: graphic violence, bullying, suicide and self harm and hate speech. Each CBL moderator has three choices in dealing with user complaints: ignore, delete or mark and disturbing and require user to click a tab confirming they’re over 18.

  • Graphic violence: Filmmakers give the example of a video of an adult male repeatedly and brutally beating and kicking an 2 1/2 year old child. CBL moderators marked this content “disturbing” and allowed it to remain on site because it had 44,000 shares. They didn’t report the abuse to police – they only report child abuse if it’s live streamed.
  • Bullying: CBL moderators marked a video of a teenage girl beating the shit out of another girl as “disturbing” and left it on site. Both were clearly identified by name. CBL justified their decision based on the post’s “condemning caption.” CBL only deletes bullying videos if parents request them removed. Psychologists condemn this policy of placing the burden on parents. Where a victim’s identity is clearly established, they are re-traumatized every time the video is shared.
  • Suicide/self-harm Suicide and self-harm photos and videos are only deleted if they contain a promotional statement. CBL justifies leaving them up as follows: “If we took it down, their friends and families wouldn’t know they were at risk.” Owing to clear evidence that viewing self-ham posts increases self-harm, this policy also contradicts the professional advice of mental health workers.
  • Hate speech (by definition advocates exclusion, death or harm to specific ethnic or religious groups): Statements that denigrate Muslims are deleted. Identical statements that denigrate Muslim immigrants are ignored because “people have a right to express their views on immigration policy.”

1968 Global Revolts: Derailed by US Intelligence?

1968 Global Revolt – Part 4 World Wars

DW (2018)

Film Review

The final episode of this series has a dual focus: the 1968-71 uprisings that occurred in Japan, Chile, Brazil and France and the birth of the women’s, gay liberation and environmental movements in the US.

Like the earlier three episodes, there’s no real unifying thread in Part 4. It begins by focusing on the birth of the Japanese Red Army, from the perspective of ex-Japanese Red Army member filmmaker Tamotu Adachi. The first global “terrorist” network, the ideologically confused Japanese Red Army eerily foreshadows the birth of Al Qaeda and ISIS thirty years later.

Although the Red Army’s links to US intelligence are less well-established than those of Al Qaeda, ISIS (and Italy’s Red Brigades and Germany’s Baader-Meinhoff Gang – see 1968 Global Revolt and the Brutal 1969 Crackdown), one time US intelligence asset Lyndon Larouche called attention to their CIA links as early as September 1974 (see Japan’s Red Army Reactivated).

After becoming a filmmaker, Adachi traveled with the Japanese Red Army to Palestine where they engaged in military exercises with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. There, along with German radicals and volunteers from the Irish Republican Army, they smeared themselves with blood-red berry juice and acted out a number of fake battles for the benefit of journalists and filmmakers.

Part 4 also examines the popular overthrow of Chile’s dictator, Brazil’s failed uprising, and successful uprisings by French and Japanese farmers to prevent US military base expansion.

The film concludes with a brief history of US activists who parted company with the antiwar movement to form the women’s liberation, gay liberation and environmental movement. As historian Tariq Ali points out near the end, the 1968 uprisings in the US and the UK were primarily libertarian and focused on individual freedoms. This possibly explains why they took a much different direction in other countries.*


*The influence of US intelligence in guiding this direction can’t be ruled out, see How the CIA Used LSD to Destroy the New Left , Did the CIA Use Gloria Steinem to Subvert the Feminist MovementA C-SPAN Talk About Gloria Steinem and Other CIA Anomalies

Corporate Welfare: How Billionaires Enrich Themselves at Our Expense

 

Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)

By David Cay Johnston

Penguin Group (2007)

Book Review

This book is an encyclopedia of the complex system of taxpayer-funded subsidies government grants the business elite to curry their political support. This support occurs in three main ways: as campaign contributions, as jobs (at the end of a civil servant’s government career) and outright bribes. According to Johnston, corporate welfare is as old as capitalism itself. Adam Smith (who Johnston quotes frequently) refers to corporate subsidies as “bounties.” He warns against them in his 1776 Wealth of Nations.

The author, who views corporate welfare as a major cause of America’s growing inequality, details a number of examples in which federal and state subsidies transformed ordinary entrepreneurs into billionaires.

  • Sports stadiums – between 1995-2006 sports team owners persuaded state and local authorities to build more than 50 new major league stadiums and countless minor league stadiums. In many cases, the state or city seize private land via eminent domain on which to build the stadium. Johnston maintains that running a sports team is always a money-losing proposition – in nearly every case any profit is almost identical to the size of the subsidy. Former president George W Bush made his first millions by buying the Texas Rangers and using his father’s influence to pressure the city of Arlington to seize 200 acres of private land via eminent domain for a sports stadium.
  • Walmart – founder Sam Walton built his retail empire by hiring lobbyists (Johnston calls them “bounty hunters”) to grant him free land via eminent domain, to “gift” him the sales tax he collects from customers and allowing him to raise capital via low cost government-sponsored industrial bonds. In total, Walmart has been granted more the $1 billion of government subsidies in 1/3 of their stores and distribution centers. In addition, as of 2007 they had (legally) avoided $4 billion in property and state income taxes.
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMOs) – Nixon launched the first non-profit HMOs in the early seventies. His goal was to reduce health care costs by enrolling patients in repaid care in where doctors worked on salary. In 1981, Reagan phased out the federal loans and loan guarantees Nixon enacted to help subsidize HMOs and allowed them to become for profit businesses.All over the country, CEOs sold and traded shares in HMOs built at taxpayer expense.The CEOs of non-profit hospitals and Blue Cross plans quickly followed suit. Johnston calls it the greatest legalized theft of public assets in US history.

Coke or Pepsi? History of a Global Sugar Addiction

The Cola Wars Documentary

History Channel 1990

Film Review

Coca Cola was first produced in 1886, when cocaine, morphine and alcohol were common patent medicine ingredients. The immediate predecessor to Coke was a concoction produced by Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton called French Wine Cola, containing cocaine, alcohol and caffeine. When Atlanta outlawed alcohol sales In 1885, Pemberton left the patent medicine business to produce his renamed Coca Cola for the increasingly popular soda fountain trade. His first version combined cocaine with kola nut extract (a stimulant).

Pemberton, a cocaine addict, sold the company to another pharmacist Asa Kandler shortly before his death in 1889. Kandler added more sugar to disguise the medicinal taste and citric acid to disguise the excessive sweetness. In 1916, he began bottling it as well as dispensing syrup to soda foundations.

Pepsi Cola, Coke’s arch rival, was also invented by a pharmacist in Newburn, North Carolina in 1898. It’s name was deliberately deceptive, as it never contained either pepsin (an aid to digestion) nor kola nut extract.

During World War II, Coca Cola gained the upper hand by making an agreement with the US government to be the exclusive soft drink provider to US troops stationed in Europe and the Pacific. The agreement also exempted from the sugar ration, which virtually crippled Pepsi Cola.

In 1985, after Coke made the disastrous misstep of secretly changing the coke formula to make it taste more like Pepsi, the company faced a massive backlash from Coke drinkers, briefly making Pepsi the number one soft drink in the world. Three months later they re-introduced the original formula as “Classic Coke.”

 

False Flag Terrorism 101

The following presentation was part of Left Out forum, which 9-11 Truth organized to coincide with the Left Forum held in June 2017 in New York. It featured Dr Kevin Barret (the speaker) and other activists who were denied permission to speak at the Left Forum.*

In his talk, Barrett traces false flag terrorism back to Operation Gladio. The latter was a US military operation in Europe involving bombings and other terrorist attacks targeting civilians that were falsely blamed on left wing groups (eg the Red Brigades, the Baadar Meinhoff Gang and the KGB).

The overall purpose of Operation Gladio terrorism was to influence European elections at a time when Communist politicians enjoyed large majorities in the polls.

The Purpose of Trauma-Based Mind Control

According to Barrett, this strategy represents a form of trauma based mind control or  psyops (psychological operation). As with Gladio, the cumulative effect of such attacks is to swing the vote for right wing authoritarian leaders who promise people protection and security.

Barrett has collaborated with ex-CIA undercover officer Robert David Steele to conduct extensive research into the false flag attacks in London in 2005 and 2017; in Manchester in 2017; in Paris in 2015, in Nice in 2016; in Munich in 2016, in San Bernadino in 2015 and in Orlando in 2016.

In this presentation, he briefly summarizes the pattern of anomalies suggesting each of these events was staged by individuals with links to the US military and/or US intelligence.

He has written about them in a series of books – Another French Flag: Bloody Tracks from Paris to San Bernadino, Orlando False Flag: the Clash of History, and We Are Not Charlie Hebdo: Free Thinkers Question the French 9/11.

It’s Barrett’s view that both the British and French false flags resulted in the defeat of left leaning candidates (Corbyn in Britain and Melenchon in France) who were riding high in the polls – just like the Operation Gladio false flags of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

9/11: Mother of All False Flag Events

Barrett maintains 9/11 was the mother of all false flag events, in addition to decapitating the burgeoning antiglobalization move (sending 75,000 into the streets of Seattle in 1999), 9/11 and its aftermath transferred immense power to Bush’s neocon supporters (Cheney, Rumsfeld  et all), enabling them to suspend civil liberties, increase surveillance and police state powers and carry out massive US military expansion in the Middle East.


*Barrett also mentions the “gatekeeping” function played by the “official” US Left as regards 9-11 and CIA and US military involvement in assassinations, false flag events and the funding of ISIS. I have always attributed this phenomenon to the infiltration of the US left by the CIA and CIA-funded gatekeeping foundations. See The History of CIA-funded Foundations and  Does the CIA Fund Both the Right and the Left

 

USA: Exporting Democracy Since 1948

NGOs are the Deep State’s Trojan Horse

James Corbett (2018)

Film Review

This is a documentary about CIA-funded nonprofit foundations (aka NGOs or Non-governmental Organizations) that pose as charities as they work to destabilize and/or overthrow governments unfriendly to Wall Street interests.

In the past decade a growing number of countries (including Kyrgyzstan, Russia, China, India, Egypt and Bolivia) have kicked them out.

President Kennedy created USAID (US Agency for International Development), which is run by the State Department, by executive order in 1961.

In 1983, President Reagan created NED (National Endowment for Democracy), the other big democracy manipulating foundation. The NED bankrolled Oliver North’s illegal arms sales to Iran during the Reagan presidency, the manipulation (and ousting of President Ortega) of Nicaragua’s 1990 elections, regime change in Bulgaria and Albania, attempted regime change in Armenia, (along with George Soros) all the “color” revolutions in Eastern Europe and the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions.

The NED and its sister organizations have been funding and training Syria’s rebels since 2006, including the notorious White Helmets – which were founded by former British intelligence agent James Le Mesurier.

Al Jazeera Film Challenges Trump’s Election Win

Unfair Game

Al Jazeera (2018)

Film Review

The them of this documentary is that Trump used unfair tactics to win the 2016 electoral college vote, despite losing the popular vote by 3 million.

Most of the the film focuses on the California subsidiary of Cambridge Analytica, which purchased personal data from Facebook, Google, Twitter and other Internet data harvesting firms. It then used sophisticated algorithms to individually target potential Trump supporters in swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

According to filmmakers, Cambridge Analytica compiled 4,000 data points regarding the personal lives of 23 million voters. They then used the data to generate paid “dark posts” on Facebook. Dark posts are the weird personal ads and messages that pop up briefly on your Facebook news feed and then disappear.

Although it was intriguing to learn how Cambridge Analytica massaged personal data to identify and influence potential Trump voters, I objected to the way the documentary blames the Trump campaign for introducing microtargeting (potential supporters) to US elections. It was actually the Obama campaign that pioneered microtargeting, which is largely credited for his ability to overcome Republican vote rigging and vote suppression efforts in 2008 and 2012.

When the Obama campaign engaged in microtargeting, they were widely hailed as ingenious public relations innovators. When the Trump campaign does it, he’s branded as a liar and a thief. While I have no love for Donald Trump, the clear bias in this film really irritates me. I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton, who inherited many of Obama’s campaign staffers, also used microtargeting in her campaign.

That being said, I found it significant that Cambridge Analytica was actually an offshoot of the British Strategic Communications Laboratory, which was widely used by NATO, NSA, the State Department and other deep state actors to influence US and global opinion and meddle in foreign elections. I was previously unaware that the California branch of Cambridge Analytica was headed by Trump’s campaign manager Steve Bannon and mainly funded by Trump’s biggest campaign donor, Robert Mercer.

The first 15 minutes of the documentary in which, “mainstream” corporate journalists decry the unregulated dissemination of “fake news” by “ultra right wing” online publications, is frankly embarrassing.It was the collective decision by so-called “mainstream” media to become a propaganda mouthpiece for the CIA, State Department and Pentagon that led Americans to look to the Internet for alternative sources of information.