March 19, 2012
By Bruce A. Dixon
“Everyone should know by now that KONY 2012 is pure propaganda.” –KTRN
Thanks to relentless promotion by corporate media, government, celebrities and politicians of both corporate parties, along with right wing church groups and foundations, the Kony 2012 video has “gone viral.” Viewed on YouTube more than a hundred million times by now, it paints a vivid and simple picture, clear enough, its narrator says, for a five year old. But is it real, or is it propaganda, and for what purpose?
Social Media Scam Alert: Top Ten Ways to Tell Kony is Phony
Joseph Kony, the Invisible Children YouTube video tells us, is a bad guy in Uganda. He’s a lawless warlord leading something called the Lord’s Resistance Army, which kidnaps, enslaves and murders innocent children by the tens of thousands. We’re never told exactly why, as corporate media simply paint Africa as a hellish and inexplicable place where things like that just happen. The Ugandan government, the video tells us, would gladly shut Joseph Kony down and bring him to justice if only the US would provide the advanced weapons, sophisticated tracking gear, military training and the boots on the ground to help get it done. To make this happen, all that Kony 2012′s promoters ask of us is to help spread “awareness” of Uganda’s “invisible” child soldiers by facebooking, tweeting and repeating the Kony 2012 video, and by emailing influential politicians and the one-name celebrities like Oprah, Bono, Rhianna, Cosby and Lady Gaga (OK, Lady Gaga is two names) to whom they listen. The Kony 2012 video aims to bring this criminal child-enslaving Ugandan warlord to justice by enlisting tens of millions of us little people in making Kony’s name an odious household word around the planet, after which Washington DC will stretch forth its military arm to bring Joseph Kony, alive if possible, before the International Criminal Court for trial and punishment.
Almost everything is wrong with this simple picture, from the missing histories and the hidden motives of storytellers and players to false statements of processes and problems real and unreal on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, Kony 2012 is not a search for justice. Kony 2012 is a corporate-style PR and psy-ops campaign, a cynical hoax engineered to justify US and Western military intervention to control the incredibly lucrative oil, mineral, water and strategic resources of the heart of Africa. The kind of social media activism the video promotes is calculated to make Americans feel good about themselves for “spreading awareness” of child soldiering when they’re really spreading racist ignorance and disinformation, building a disinformed public consent for ongoing, open and direct, as opposed to covert and indirect US military intervention in Africa. “Don’t study history” the video’s makers tell us – “make history!” But the history that a lied to and disinformed public makes is bound to not be pretty.
Black Agenda Report is far from the first or the only news source to point that Kony 2012 is a warmongering hoax, and we certainly won’t be the last. As our contribution, we here offer our top ten reasons why Kony is phony.
Reason #10: Invisible Children is funded by a core of notorious right wing donors including the Discovery Institute, which Bruce Wilson fingered in a March 11 Talk 2 Action piece as the leading funder of efforts to promote the replacement of biological sciences in schools with “intelligent design,”along with the Caster Foundation and the National Christian Foundation, all prominent backers of anti-gay referenda, politicians and initiatives in the United States and around the world. The Ugandan regime of Yoweri Museveni is a favorite of theirs for having passed legislation making it a criminal offense to be gay, punishable by a life sentence. Credible African journalists like Keith Harmon Snow have also alleged that Invisible Children’s white and male leaders have direct personal connections to US intelligence agencies.
March 15, 2012
By Tony Cartalucci
“The Kony 2012 scam is falling apart. If the makers of the video weren’t cowards, they would allow comments to be posted about their video. But nope – it seems they can’t take the heat.” –KTRN
As the US State Department, USAID-centric Invisible Children psy-op KONY 2012 collapses, Invisible Children has disabled comments on their viral YouTube video.
When last checked, negative comments were voted to the top and a cascading effect of skepticism as well as damning facts began drowning out the initial confusion, sympathy, and emotional knee-jerk support the propaganda video purposefully created and preyed upon.
As comments are now being censored, it is suggested that people simply go to the video and click the “dislike” button to voice their opposition to this stunt. Most likely, even that feature will be disabled, and the video KONY 2012 will become the one-way Wall Street infomercial it really is, rather than the faux-participatory “social media” “activism 2.0″ experience it masquerades as being.
The Establishment-Funded “Anti-Establishment” Charity
It has been revealed that indeed Invisible Children has been working with USAID, a US government agency that helps lay the groundwork for what could best be described as a modern-day imperial administrative network. It is now also revealed that Invisible Children attended the 2010 US State Department and Fortune 500 sponsored Alliance for Youth Movements (AYM) summit in London.
AYM (also called Movements.org) it was reported, played a central role in preparing armies of US State Department funded, trained, and equipped activists to carry out the so-called “Arab Spring” years in advance. Much like KONY 2012, the Arab Spring took many by surprise and in the wave of confusion, entire nations were upturned and US proxy regimes installed. Tunisia and Libya are now full-fledged client states of Wall Street and London, while the fates of nations like Egypt and Syria still hang in the balance.
Unlike the “Arab Spring” however, the KONY 2012 scam has collapsed almost as fast as it first swept the globe. And as it falls, it is taking with it the credibility of all who participated in it and promoted it, including the deceitful International Criminal Court (ICC) and its chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, as well as Hollywood and the corporate-media who did all in their power to lie, manipulate and make fools out of millions once more in the pursuit of perpetuating the imperial ambitions of Wall Street and London.
February 16, 2012
By Natalie Nicol
“Talk about a government that is out control. The only reason that want to censor on-line material is because they are scared the truth will finally reach the masses.” –KTRN
In a report published last week, members of the United Kingdom Parliament concluded that the Internet plays a major role in the radicalization of terrorists and called on the government to pressure Internet Service Providers in Britain and abroad to censor online speech. The Roots of Violent Radicalisation places the Internet ahead of prisons, universities, and religious establishments in propagating radical beliefs and ultimately recommends that the government “develop a code of practice for the removal of material which promotes violent extremism” binding ISPs.
While the Terrorism Act 2006 authorizes British law enforcement agencies to order certain material to be removed from websites, lawmakers on the Home Affairs Committee stated that “service providers themselves should be more active in monitoring the material they host.” Their report raises serious concerns that political and religious speech will be suppressed. Security expert Peter Neumann who testified before the Committee asked why websites like YouTube and Facebook can’t be as “effective at removing . . . extremist Islamist or extremist right-wing content” as they are at removing sexually explicit content or copyrighted material that violates their own terms of service.
Citing “persuasive evidence about the potential threat from extreme far-right terrorism” and lauding the recent conviction of four London men who used the Internet to plot a bombing of the London Stock Exchange, Parliament Members commended the report saying, “[it] tackles the threat from home-grown terrorism on and off line.” A spokesman for the House of Commons Home Office stated that the Committee would continue to “work closely with police and internet service providers to take Internet hate off the web.”
In an interview with the International Business Times, Trend Micro security director Rik Ferguson criticized the Committee’s recommendations and argued that making ISPs “judge, jury and executioner” imposes responsibilities on ISPs that rightfully belong to law enforcement. “Material of a political or religious nature is by definition much more difficult to define and much more difficult to police without crossing the line to impact on freedom of expression,” Ferguson stated.
The Committee issued its recommendations in the midst of reports that Google India had taken down online content deemed offensive to Indian political and religious leaders in response to a lawsuit. The Washington Post points out that Google Transparency Reports indicate that the UK removed nearly as much content as India from January to June 2011. Google complied with more than 80% of requests from the UK to remove content from its services.
January 18, 2012
Los Angeles Times
By Andrea Chang and Tiffany Hsu
“This bill is about more than just anti-piracy. It’s about censorship of the Internet.” –KTRN
What would the world be like without the Internet? Fire up your browser and see what you can’t do.
In the first strike of its kind, hundreds of popular sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Boing Boing were scheduled to temporarily shut down Wednesday to protest a pair of anti-piracy bills that they say essentially amount to censorship of the Internet.
The prospect of a day without the websites set off a frenzy in the hours leading up to the strike, which was slated to begin Tuesday night, with parents urging their children to do their homework early and tech-savvy users posting instructions for how to access cached Wikipedia pages during the blackout.
“If Wikipedia is going down, I’m going down with it,” wrote Twitter user Mariellesmind, who was among thousands that filled the microblogging site with panicked, profanity-filled tweets.
“Terrified about the Wikipedia outage,” tweeted Los Angeles resident Chandra Moore. “I was told to use an encyclopedia if I have a question, but I won’t even be able to Wiki what one is.”
The Internet’s biggest power players, including Google, Facebook and YouTube, were planning to stay up and running, but the shutdown of the other sites and the ensuing anxiety underscored the breadth and influence of the world’s Internet companies, as well as Americans’ dependence on them.
Strike organizers say the online grass-roots campaign is intended to inform the public about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, which aim to crack down on foreign websites that traffic in pirated movies, music and counterfeit goods.
Internet companies have broadened the debate, recasting it from one about piracy and digital copyright protection to one about Internet freedom. Calling the bills well intentioned but seriously flawed, they say SOPA in the House and PIPA in the Senate are threats to free speech that could stifle the Internet economy, drive up legal costs and lead to censorship or the shutdown of some websites.
The proposed legislation “creates a punishing Internet censorship regime and exports it to the rest of the world,” said a statement on Boing Boing, a group blogging site.
January 16, 2012
The New American
By Joe Wolverton II
With so many of our most essential liberties under attack from the oligarchy on the Potomac, it is little wonder that the freedom of the press and speech are next on the government guillotine.
The Department of Homeland Security’s National Operations Center (NOC) released its Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative last year and in that report the intelligence-gathering arm of the DHS, the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) gives itself permission to “gather, store, analyze, and disseminate” data on millions of users of social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and business networking sites (Linkedin).
Specifically, the Initiative sets out the plan and purpose behind the DHS’s collection of personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters, or anyone else who posts articles, comments, or other information to many popular web outlets. The report defines the target audience as anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”
Journalists and bloggers need not worry, however. DHS promises that it will not routinely gather and use Personally Identifiable Information (PII). From the abstract of the Initiative:
While this Initiative is not designed to actively collect Personally Identifiable Information (PII), OPS is conducting this update to the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) because this initiative may now collect and disseminate PII for certain narrowly tailored categories. For example, in the event of an in extremis situation involving potential life and death, OPS will share certain PII with the responding authority in order for them to take the necessary actions to save a life, such as name and location of a person calling for help buried under rubble, or hiding in a hotel room when the hotel is under attack by terrorists.
In other words, the government promises that all the personal electronic data that it monitors and records will only be used in “narrowly tailored” circumstances, saving a life, for example. There is no requirement that the data be used only in those instances, but there is a promise that it will be.
This unconstitutional, unwarranted search of private information is designed by DHS “to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture” of target audiences.
November 7, 2011
by Elinor Mills
A new report from Google shows a rise in government requests for user account data and content removal, including a request by one unnamed law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality–which the company refused.
The latest Google Transparency Report, released today, also shows historic traffic patterns on Google services via graphs with spikes and drops indicating outages that, in some cases, indicate attempts by governments to block access to Google or the Internet. For instance, all Google servers were inaccessible in Libya during the first six months of this year, as was YouTube in China.
But the truly interesting data are the statistics on requests made to the company by governments for either access to user data or to remove content.
Some countries had large amounts of user data requests. The United States leads that pack, with 5,950 such requests pertaining to more than 11,000 users or accounts, and to which Google complied 93 percent of the time. That’s up from about 4,600 requests in the second half of last year. Other countries seeking lots of user data were India (more than 1,700 requests involving more than 2,400 accounts), France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Google says it complied most of the time in those cases, except in France.
The actual numbers are likely larger than what is reported because Google is prohibited by law from revealing information on requests from intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency or FBI, notes online privacy advocate Chris Soghoian, who released a report on law enforcement surveillance earlier this year.
“Google doesn’t say how many of the thousands of requests they get a year are compelled (via a formal legal process) and how many are emergency requests,” which they aren’t obligated to comply with, he said. “This is where Google could truly demonstrate its commitment to privacy…We know that Verizon gets 90,000 requests a year, and 25,000 are emergency requests for which there is no court order. It’s likely Google is getting a similar percentage.”
But Soghoian commended Google on providing the figures on the numbers of accounts that officials are seeking information from in addition to the number of requests. “This is a useful data point because one request could be for 50 accounts,” he said. “It’s great that Google is providing this.”
Also of note in the report were the attempts by governments to get Google to remove content, from YouTube videos to blogs to ads. Google said it received 29 percent more requests for user data from government sources in the U.S. during the first half of this year than during the previous six months, and 70 percent more requests to remove content in that period. The report called out the request to remove YouTube videos of police brutality and separate requests from an unnamed different law enforcement agency to remove allegedly defamatory videos, but it said those requests were denied.
In the United States, Google said it received 92 requests to cumulatively remove 757 items, and complied fully or partially in 63 percent of the cases. That compared to 54 requests in the second half of last year. There were 24 court orders related to Web searches, and 26 police or executive requests related to YouTube.
October 26, 2011
By: Paul Joseph Watson
US Authorities Hit Google With 70% Rise In Takedown Orders
The number of takedown orders received by Google from authorities based in the United States rose dramatically over the past year, with demands to remove information, including videos containing “government criticism,” increasing by 70 per cent.
“In the US, Google received 757 takedown requests across its sites and services, up 70 per cent from the second half of last year.”
“US authorities also called for the removal of 113 videos from YouTube, including several documenting alleged police brutality which Google refused to take down.”
The figures are revealed in Google’s newly released transparency report, which also details how the number of “user data requests” by US authorities increased by 29 per cent compared to the last reporting period.
The reason listed for the removal of a You Tube video in one instance is “government criticism”. The exact identity or content of the video is not divulged. The report states that the removal requests pertaining to “police brutality” were done on the grounds of “defamation” and are included in that separate category, meaning the takedown order on the grounds of “government criticism” was made by the “executive,” ie the federal government.
The report does not indicate whether or not You Tube complied with the removal request, but it did comply with 63 per cent of the total requests made.
The number of “Items requested to be removed” by US authorities was almost seven-fold the number requested to be removed by Chinese authorities, a country much maligned for its Internet censorship policies.
As we have previously documented, Google-owned You Tube has complied with thousands of requests worldwide to remove political protest videos that are clearly not in violation of any copyright or national security interests and do not constitute defamation.
One such example was You Tube’s compliance with a request from the British government to censor footage of the British Constitution Group’s Lawful Rebellion protest, during which they attempted to civilly arrest Judge Michael Peake at Birkenhead county court.
When viewers in the UK attempted to watch videos of the protest, they were met with the message, “This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request.”
Indeed, the latest figures show that takedown requests on behalf of British authorities have also skyrocketed by 71 per cent, including 44 removal orders in the first half of this year which came directly from the UK government, one of which was the Birkenhead protest footage.
In Britain, a total of 135 videos were removed from You Tube on the grounds of “national security” and 43 web search results were also blacklisted by government decree.
These figures illustrate how governments, particularly the United States and Britain, are getting more aggressive in pushing for web censorship as the state increasingly tries to strangle the last bastion of true free speech, the Internet, as authorities simultaneously try to advance draconian cybersecurity measures that would hand them complete control over the world wide web.
October 6th, 2011
The Huffington Post
by: Jason Cherkis
Just before 8 p.m. Wednesday, reportedly at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street, a New York Police Department officer appeared to turn on a throng of activists with the Occupy Wall Street movement, hitting them with a baton. A video posted hours later to YouTube shows the officer wielding the baton with two hands — like a baseball bat — as he swings at and strikes the demonstrators. At one point, a woman can be heard shrieking in the background.
The white-shirt cop, most likely a supervisor, had stood next to at least a half-dozen other officers, including other department brass. The video shows the officer appearing to nudge a spectator out of the way, back up and raise his baton. He then gets off three swings before the crowd appears to surge toward him — digital cameras and video recorders held high.
This may be the first of many videos documenting clashes between the police and Occupy Wall Street. At the end of the video a few in the crowd chant: “The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!”
It is unclear from the video what provoked the officer’s actions, but HuffPost’s Matt Sledge, who was at the scene, reports the baton swinging took place after a handful of people had been arrested for attempting to cross a police barricade.
When reached for comment, a New York Police Department spokesman who refused to be identified said he had heard about the video but had not seen it and therefore could not comment.
Throughout the night, activists had reported via Twitter that the police had resorted to using pepper spray and had made some arrests. A spokesperson for Occupy Wall Street later reported some 20 arrests in total.
Fox 5, the local affiliate in New York, reported that police officers had struck the station’s journalists with batons and doused them with pepper spray:
Officers swatted protesters with batons and sprayed them with mace, according to video from the scene. Fox 5 photographer Roy Isen was hit in the eyes by mace, and Fox 5 reporter Dick Brennan was hit by what he believes was an officer’s baton. Both were all right and continued to cover the protests and arrests.
Today, from a top secret location in Europe, Kevin reveals why journalists are really being thrown in jail and what excuses the government is currently coming up with to institute Martial Law in the near future.
Take Trudeau on the Go! Click here to download this show to your iPod, mp3 player, or PC through iTunes!
July 19th, 2011
By: Tom Henderson
The most important thing in life is to be a good and kind person, to love yourself and others and take an active and inquisitive interest in the world arou …
Someone is watching reruns of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on Sunday mornings. Change the channel. That’s not what television is teaching kids, according to researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles.
The most important thing in life is to be famous. And you don’t even have to be famous for being good. You can be famous for being tan.
LiveScience reports researchers looked at the values promoted on television when today’s adults were growing up as opposed to what their kids watched. Their conclusion?
Ron Howard can be very proud of himself.
Before he was a film director, he played Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show” and Richie Cunningham on “Happy Days.” Researchers used both shows — as well as “The Lucy Show” and “Laverne & Shirley” — to compare with modern shows like “American Idol” and “Hannah Montana.”
They specifically wanted to study the values these shows promoted among 9- to 11-year-olds from 1967 to 2007.
Researchers found the old shows exalted benevolence, self-acceptance, community and tradition, while modern shows stress fame as the No. 1 value.
A sense of community was the No. 1 value back when Fonzie and the gang ruled the airwaves in the 1970s. By 2007, researchers found that value fell to No. 11. The top five values nowadays? Fame, achievement, popularity, image and financial success.
Not cool, as the Fonz would say.
“The rise of fame in preteen television may be one influence in the documented rise of narcissism in our culture,” researcher Patricia Greenfield, a psychology professor at UCLA, tells LiveScience. “Popular television shows are part of the environment that causes the increased narcissism, but they also reflect the culture.”
In 1997, the top five values were community feeling, benevolence (being kind and helping others), image, tradition and self-acceptance. In 2007, benevolence dropped to the 12th spot, while financial success went from 12th place in 1967 and 1997 to fifth in 2007.
The two least emphasized values in 2007 were spiritualism (No. 16) and tradition (No. 15). Tradition had previously ranked No. 4 in 1997.
LiveScience reports researchers analyzed Nielsen demographic data to determine the most popular shows with 9- to 11-year-olds and then conducted a survey of 60 participants, ages 18 to 59, to determine how important each value was in episodes of the various shows.
“The biggest change occurred from 1997 to 2007, when YouTube, Facebook and Twitter exploded in popularity,” lead researcher Yalda Uhls tells LiveScience. “Their growth parallels the rise in narcissism and the drop in empathy among college students in the United States, as other research has shown.”