Plandemic II – Film Review

Plandemic

Plandemic II

Directed by Mikki Willis (2020)

Film Review

This is an exceptionally well-made follow-the-money documentary. It’s meticulously researched, and the filmmakers continually inform viewers of their source material. The film largely focuses on documented corruption in the World Health Organization (WHO) and various federal agencies.

One of the film’s principal narrators is a Wall Street analyst who specializes in patent research. In 2003, he discovered the US patent office had granted coronavirus patents to various federal employees performing federally funded coronavirus research. Dr Fauci (of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease) was one, along with several CDC researchers.

In 1980, Congress passed the Bayh-Dole Act, which allows federal employees to patent and privately profit from federally funded research.

However what’s most curious about these patents is that it’s illegal to patent nature. This means these coronaviruses had to be genetically modified in some way to qualify for patent protection. When questions were raised about these patents in 2013, the National Institutes of Health ended coronavirus research funding and the Obama administration offshored US coronavirus research to Wuhan China.

When WHO first declared a coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, numerous scientists (including Luc Montainger, who won a 2008 Nobel Prize for isolating the AIDS virus) came forward with additional evidence that COVID19 was genetically manipulated for biological warfare purposes. Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia all acted quickly to prevent this information from gaining traction on the Internet – Google by rigging their search algorithms, Facebook by either banning relevant posts or overshadowing them with fact checking messaging, and Wikileaks by allowing political donors to edit compromising entries.

Later research questioning the value of face masks and social distancing, which was initially at the top of most Google searches, also totally disappeared in their search engine.

Other valuable information presented in the film relates to Bill Gates’ role (through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) as the single largest funder of both the WHO and the CDC. Both agencies receive half their funding from private sources, both charitable organizations (like the Gates, Clinton and Epstein Foundations) and the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines

The film also looks Event 201 in October 2019, a rehearsal for the COVID19 lockdown, and a prior pandemic rehearsal in 2018. Although both Gates and Fauci predicted the COVID19 pandemic more than a year in advance, neither used their immense wealth and prestige to ensure an adequate supply of masks, gloves, visors and ventilators, to ensure safe, timely and effective treatment for all who needed it.

My favorite part of the film features Bill Gates testifying in the antitrust suit the Justice Department filed against Microsoft in 1998. It was largely as a result of this case that Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO in 2000, shifting his focus to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His foundation significantly benefits Gates’ personal investment in vaccines production. Gates, who calls his investment in vaccines “the best investment I ever made,” credits them with a 20 to 1 return.


*Foundation founded by the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

View the film free at

 

Plandemic – Indoctornation World Premiere

Facebook Follies

Facebook Follies

Directed by Geoff D’eon

Film Review

This gushy 10-year-old film is essentially a Facebook informational. The narrator is a breathless female filled with adolescent awe at the the thought of connecting millions of global strangers at the click of a mouse.

While this so-called documentary is clearly geared to adolescent Facebook users (who have since migrated to Instagram, Whatsapp, and Tik Tok), it also features a 60-year-old Welsh farmer who was banned from Facebook six times (and kept coming back with new identities) for arranging sexual encounters with 350 women.

To its credit, the film provides clear warnings (mainly addressed to young adult users) about Facebook posts becoming a permanent record hindering your future ability to run for office and even your employability. It also warns about the high potential for identify theft (based on all the personal information people post on Facebook), as well as for your fabulous vacation pics advertising to thieves that your home is vacant. In addition, according to filmmakers, a number of users have been duped by the Facebook version of the Spanish Prisoner* scam.

Surprisingly (given its 2011 release), the film also features a warning about the dangers of allowing any corporation to collect massive amounts of data about your life. It presciently warns that Facebook only gives the illusion of being free – that every Facebook user pays for the service with the vast amount of personal data they provide Mark Zuckerberg.


*The Spanish Prisoner is a confidence trick originating in the late 19th century. In its original form, the confidence trickster writes to his victim informing him that he is a wealthy person of high estate who has been imprisoned in Spain under a false identity.

Anyone with a public library card can view the film free via Kanopy. Type Kanopy and the name of your library into your search engine.

 

Facebook and Fake News: the Sanitized PBS Version

The Facebook Dilemma

James Jacoby Frontline PBS (2018)

Film Review

This document presents a sanitized PBS version of the Facebook fake news/Russiagate controversy that ultimately led to growing Facebook censorship of both right and left wing social mediate sites. In my view the main drawback of the film is its failure to examine Mark Zuckerberg’s murky funding links to In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm funded by the CIA (see Revealed CIA-Facebook Connections), nor the major role CIA trolls play on Facebook and other social media networks (see CIA Agents Hired to Troll Alternative Media Comments Online), nor the the historic role the Agency has played in corrupting the the so-called mainstream media (see  CIA Media Control Program Operation Mockingbird)

Without this context, the naive viewer gets the impression that Facebook is uniquely vulnerable to manipulation of its content by foreign intelligence trolls, which is far from the truth.

Part I  covers the period from Facebook’s launch in 2004 to the 2015 manipulation of Facebook by Russian trolls to demonize the fascist Poroschenko government Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland installed in Ukraine in 2014.

Like all the big tech companies, Facebook derives most of its profits by collecting data on its users, which they use to target them with product ads and/or sell it to third parties for similar purposes. I was really surprised to learn the Federal Trade Commission first filed charges against Facebook in 2010 for selling user data to other corporate interests without their permission. Facebook would settle the case by promising to “plug the gap” that was allowing this to occur.*

According to the filmmakers, US policy makers first realized that Facebook could be misused by bad actors shortly after the world’s first Facebook revolution, the so-called Arab Spring in Egypt.** Later in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood would also use Facebook to come to power in Egypt.


*Given the scandal that erupted in 2017 over Facebook’s sale of user data to Cambridge Analytica, clearly this “gap” was never plugged.

**There is good evidence that the 2011 Arab Spring was actually a series of “color revolutions” orchestrated by the CIA and State Department. See The CIA Role in the Arab Spring and Arab Spring Made in the USA

***There is also good evidence the Muslim Brotherhood has longstanding links to the CIA. See Muslin Brotherhood: Auxillary Force of MI6/CIA

Part 2, which covers the period 2016-2018, mainly concerns the 2016 election and the algorithm behind Facebook’s news feed. The platform’s most popular feature, the latter provides users with their own personalized view of the news, based on links they have viewed, liked, and shared in the past. This algorithm, first heavily used by Obama’s presidential campaigns, allows politicians to microtarget individuals and groups most likely to respond to specific messaging.

By 2016, 62% of Americans derived most of their news from Facebook, in part because nearly all US news outlets were publishing directly into Facebook’s news feed. During the 2016 primary and general election, there were over one billion campaign posts on Facebook. The Trump campaign alone spent $100 million on Facebook advertising.

By this point a number of foreign actors had also discovered the enormous value of sensational, violent, and political divisive posts in driving  users to their Facebook site. For example, a group of Macedonian hackers used bizarre Trump posts (eg Pope endorses Trump) to lure users to commercial sites that earned them hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.

Likewise a St Petersburg group called the Internet Research Agency (believed to be linked to the Russian government) spent $100,000 to promote a series of pro- and anti-Trump, pro- and anti-immigration, and pro- and anti-gun posts. A spokesperson for US intelligence claims the controversies this generated adversely affected the 2016 presidential elections: that is it caused a lot of Trump supporters, who normally stay home, to go to the polls.

Far more ominous, however, were the use of Facebook by Philippine dictator Rodrigo Duterte to demonize Filipino human rights activists, and its use (according to the UN Special Rapporteur) to inflame Buddhist violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, to inflame Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese against the country’s Tamil minority, and to inflame Hindus against Muslims in India.

 

We’re All Guinea Pigs: The Hidden Experiments of Corporate Websites

What Makes You Click

VPRO (2016)

Film Review

This is a documentary about the vast amount of A/B design testing* that websites subject us to without our knowledge.

The psychological science behind “conversion optimization” (ie increasing the money we spend online) is becoming increasingly advanced. As “online persuaders” explain to filmmakers, most of us are totally unaware of specific design features that lead us to stay longer and spend more money on specific websites.

For example, most of us find pop-ads extremely irritating. Nevertheless studies show they consistently increase on-line sales by 10-15%.

Facebook constantly reconfigures the design of their newsfeed to increase dopamine surges (dopamine is the main neurotransmitter associated with stimulant addiction) in the brains of their users. Theoretically the pleasurable feelings this produces helps keep visitors on their site longer.  In fact, one psychologist compares the effect Facebook and Twitter invoke to the feeling gambling addicts describe of “being in the zone .”

The film, produced before the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica** scandal erupted in early 2018, also discusses the on-line behavioral research the Obama campaign used in 2012 to influence voter behavior.

Several researchers seriously question the ethics of using hidden techniques to persuade Internet users to act against their own best interests. Some have joined together in the Time Well Spent movement to press for stronger government regulation. They worry that wide uptake of artificial intelligence technology could make it virtually impossible to audit persuasion strategems that operate below the level of human consciousness.


*A/B testing relies on randomized experiments with two variants, A and B. It serves to test a subject’s response to variant A against variant B to determine which of the two variants is more effective.

**In early 2018, we learned that Cambridge Analytica harvested the personal data from millions of Facebook profiles without users’ consent and used it to target them for 2016 election advertising.

Plugged In: The True Toxicity of Social Media

Plugged In: The True Toxicity of Social Media

Directed by Richard Grannon (2018)

Film Review

This documentary examines the apparent link between widespread social media addiction and the spike in suicide rates among teens under 17. Depression has increased 70% over the last decade, with suicide rates increasing by 50% in girls and 30% in boys. In the same period, hospital admissions for eating disorders have doubled. This appears to relate to pervasive social media emphasis on personal appearance and staying thin.

The filmmakers interview pediatricians, psychologists, social media activists and teen victims of cyberbullying. They also examine whistleblower claims about Facebook deliberately designing platforms to produce the same dopamine* triggers that mediate addiction. The obvious goal is to create compulsive desire to spend more and more on Facebook, as well as Instagram and WhatsApp (both owned by Facebook). The more time you spend on Facebook, the more ads you see and the more profit you generate

Adults who regularly interact with teens will only be too aware of their constantly pinging smartphones. In many cases, they seem incapable of giving real life interactions their full attention. Psychologists worry we are setting up a whole generation to transition to adulthood with defective social skills.

The film also explores the tendency of these platforms to reinforce personal narcissism and of all social media platforms to reinforce confrontation, aggression and hate speech.

I was surprised to learn that as of 2018, 60% of all social media posts were selfies. The teens interviewed reveal their selfie posts are rewarded with more likes than any other posts. At the same time, they report problems with chronically low self-esteem for failing to measure up to their friend’s posts.

While not mentioned in the film, I have had concerns for several years now that social media addiction may actually be a gateway drug – setting young people up for other dopamine-related addictions (amphetamines, cocaine, heroine, and nicotine). The deadly opiate addiction currently plaguing the US and other developed countries may be no coincidence.

At number of addiction specialists seem to agree with me:

Drug Addiction Relating Topics Social Media

Social Media The Gateway Drug

Social Media Addiction

 


*Dopamine is neurotransmitter that stimulates brain pleasure centers. Rats wired up to self-administer dopamine to their brain pleasure centers will keep pressing the lever until they drop dead from starvation and dehydration.

Rebel Geeks – Give Us Back Our Data

Rebel Geeks – Give Us Back Our Data

Al Jazeera (2015)

Film Review

This documentary (released in 2015) gives a surprisingly prescient warning about allowing the apps and Internet services we use to collect and sell our data. It would be another year before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke – and we learned Facebook had sold them our data for use in the 2016 elections.

The filmmakers also warn us about Fitbit and similar health tracker apps that sell our data to insurance companies and drug companies. They predict a time when insurance companies will refuse to insure us if we refuse to to use tracking devices to monitor of our lifestyle habits and driving.

There are also segments about law enforcement’s growing misuse of facial recognition technology and Uber’s use of data algorithms to ruthlessly exploit drivers (and make billions in profits). In 2013, drivers filed suit against the company for classifying them as contractors rather than employees. Uber did this deliberately to deprive them of minimum wage guarantees, union representation and unemployment and workers compensation benefits (for on-the-job injuries).

Uber settled the lawsuit in March for $20 million. See Uber Drivers Lawsuit Settlement

 

 

 

If It’s Free, You’re the Product

Digital Dissidents Part 2

Al Jazeera (2016)

Film Review

“If It’s Free You’re the Product”

In Part 2, Digital Dissidents reminds us that Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple daily collect and “monetize” (ie sell) millions of data points about us (including records of financial transactions).

The documentary also features rare commentary by Julian Assange on Sweden’s attempts* to charge him with sexual assault. These charges mysteriously surfaced exactly two weeks after Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammonds released hacked emails between intelligence contractor Stratfor and the US government about potential charges against Assange under the 2017 Espionage Act. Was this mere coincidence? It seems unlikely.

NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake and William Binney also talk candidly about the devastating effects of whistleblowing on their personal lives. His career in software systems management ruined, Drake presently clerks in an Apple retail outlet.

Binney, who refers to the NSA as “the Stasi** on super steroids, calls for the total dissolution of NSA. He maintains it has too much power to be reformed.


*Sweden dropped the sexual assault charges against Assange in Sept 2017. As Assange points out in the film, neither woman filed a police complaint and one accuses the police of inventing the crimes she supposedly accused him of.

**As the intelligence/security service for the former East German Republic, the Stasi was one of the most viciously repressive secret police agencies ever.

The video, which can’t be embedded for copyright reasons, can be viewed for free at the Al Jazeera website: Digital Dissidents

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.”

Why I’m Not on Facebook

Why I’m Not on Facebook

Brant Pinvodic (2014)

Film Review

This is a documentary by a father struggling with the decision whether to allow his 13 year old son to join Facebook. After interviewing the Winklevoss twins, who claim to be the true originators of Facebook,* Pinvodik conducts a weird experiment in which a group of young Facebook fanatics construct a glamorous fake profile for him. When he’s instantly bombarded by “friend” requests, he phones a number of his new “friends” and attempts visits them at home. He’s extremely surprised by the number of celebrities who “friend” him, including Roseanne Barr.

He then consults an investigator who demonstrates how easy it is to access our personal information online – even when we aren’t on Facebook. Within minutes the investigator locates Pinvodic’s drivers license number, tax information and Amazon purchases, as well as the school his kids attend.

Pinvodic finishes with an examination of Facebook addiction. In addition to interviewing a teenager who spends 12+ hours a day on Facebook, he visits a psychologist specializing in narcissism. The latter maintains that Facebook appeals to two of the most powerful human emotions: narcissism and insecurity. By making ordinary people feel famous and significant, it enables them to become stars in their own limited universe.

In the end, the filmmaker concludes Facebook has both advantages and drawbacks. It can help people find jobs, kidney donors and long lost friends. On the downside are its addictive potential and the immense amount of personal information it collects for the benefit of US intelligence and corporate advertisers.


*The twins eventually sued Mark Zuckerberg, who currently runs Facebook, and won a $65 million settlement Winklevoss Twins Win Facebook Settlement

Offline is the New Luxury

Offline is the New Luxury

VPRO (2017)

Film Review

This documentary is about taking back control of our Internet connectivity. Ironically it starts by recommending a new app that allows you to identify increasingly rare “white spots” – areas of the earth that aren’t blanketed with WiFi signals. One MIT psychology professor, who bans cellphones, laptops and tablets in her classes, is part of a movement to create sacred spaces in these white spots – areas where people fully engage with each other instead of their electronic devices.

The filmmakers also talk about the late Steve Jobs and other prominent Silicon Valley moguls not allowing their kids to have cellphones and tablets and sending them to low tech Montessori and Waldorf schools. Increasingly the well-to-do are seeking out expensive retreats and detox facilities to cure their Internet addiction. While growing numbers of law firms and security agencies patronize a highly successful Dutch firm selling Faraday cages and microwave shields to protect clients from electronic snooping and damaging microwave radiation.

The Amish, of course, have a cheap low-tech solution to Internet addiction – namely a value system that rejects most advanced electronic technology.

The video concludes by explaining the concept of “surveillance capitalism,” in which our personal information is “monetized,” ie in which the data Google, Facebook and Amazon collect on us is sold to advertisers.

A key strategy of surveillance capitalism is to use drones, satellites and giant balloons to expand connectivity to remote areas of the developing world. At the time of filming, Facebook was pressuring the Indian government to allow the introduction of Free Basics (free Internet connectivity) to all Indian residents, with Facebook retaining control of their Internet access. Google, meanwhile, is pushing to extend 100% connectivity to Sri Lanka by launching giant WiFi balloons.

According to one analyst, the drive to acquire massive troves of Indian personal data is a ploy to placate shareholders. The latter are understandably concerned about a drop-off in Facebook users in the developing world – due to privacy concerns and the recognition that most Facebook content is meaningless drivel.