Twitter and the CIA (Twitter Files 8–10)

Yves here. The Twitter Files disclosures continue at an impressive clip, increasingly focusing on the close involvement of Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies in curtailing and blocking Administration/Democrat-threatening lines of thought, such as interest in the Hunter Biden laptop or hostility to vaccine mandates.

These revelations are as significant as the Pentagon Papers, yet the establishment so has a lock on the press that they are being successfully minimized.

By Tom Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

“Twitter had so much contact with so many agencies that executives lost track.”
—Matt Taibbi

The fact of a holiday weekend has not dampened the enthusiasm of the Twitter Files team, which now includes:

  • Matt Taibbi (TF 1, 1a, 3, 6, 6a, 9)
  • Bari Weiss (TF 2, 5)
  • Michael Shellenberger (TF 4, 7)
  • Lee Fang (TF 8)
  • David Zweig (TF 10)

The releases have been coming fast as the team furiously reads the thousands of documents made available.

My personal worry: Changes at Twitter and a potential ouster or resignation of Elon Musk, desirable perhaps for many other reasons, will close the door to these disclosures, and close it fast. If the team isn’t racing against the clock to leverage the access they have, they ought to be.

Because those revelations are getting more and more interesting. Taibbi especially has been pulling the thread that connects Twitter — and many other social media companies — with not just domestic surveillance agencies, but the CIA.

Twitter Files 8, by Lee Fang, one of my favorite investigative journalists, looks at the way that Twitter and its executives decries state-backed information operations, which it says are “associated with misleading [and] deceptive behavior”…

…while they simultaneous enable U.S. state-sponsored operations of the same type. This happened so frequently that it almost looks like one of Taibbi’s “master-canine” relationships.

Twitter Files 9, by Matt Taibbi, is an important one. Here, the hand of the CIA is revealed. It seems that the FBI was only fronting for a whole assembly of other government security agencies, and even some local police departments, in requesting that tweets be deleted, accounts deprecated and the like.

Twitter Files 10, by another new Twitter Files researcher, David Zweig, looks at the relationship between Twitter and the Trump and Biden administrations regarding the Covid pandemic. Whatever you think of the everyone-must-be-vaccinated policy of the U.S. government — I suspect most readers agree with that policy — it’s instructive nonetheless to see the extent to which Twitter and other social media operations were aggressively roped into the messaging, censorship of doubt, and discussion of alternatives.

Yes, there was a clamping down of the yahoo-ism and thoughtless rebellion against this (or perhaps any) anti-Covid regime. But it’s still not clear that vaccine-only was the best way to go. Would vaccine-plus-contact tracing, for example, have saved more lives? We’ll never know, and the discussion was never had, at least in public.

Ask yourself, if it weren’t this administration and this message, would you approve these methods? If the government changed hands to your opponents, would you want to grant them the same intrusive power?

The fact is, by approving this level of intrusion into the public discourse now, we have already granted our opponents that same power. If you build a gun, anyone can use it, especially if its use is widely cheered.

Links to Earlier Twitter Files

The following section provides links to Twitter Files 8, 9 and 10. Links to earlier Twitter files can be found in the articles available from the pulldown tab at the top of the God’s Spies main page:

Twitter Files 8, 9 & 10

These are the latest Twitter Files since the first two sets were released. They extend the list collected here and here. (Emphasis added below.)

Twitter Files 8 — How Twitter Quietly Aided the Pentagon’s Covert Online PsyOp Campaign
Lee Fang, December 20, 2022

An expanded version was published at The Intercept.

Despite promises to shut down covert state-run propaganda networks, Twitter docs show that the social media giant directly assisted the U.S. military’s influence operation. […]

Twitter Files 9 Twitter and “Other Government Agencies”
Matt Taibbi, December 24, 2022

Also published as “Twitter Files Thread: The Spies Who Loved Twitter” at his Substack site.

The files show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government – from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA.

2. The operation is far bigger than the reported 80 members of the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), which also facilitates requests from a wide array of smaller actors – from local cops to media to state governments.

3. Twitter had so much contact with so many agencies that executives lost track. Is today the DOD, and tomorrow the FBI? Is it the weekly call, or the monthly meeting? It was dizzying. […]

Twitter Files 10 — How Twitter Rigged the Covid Debate
David Zwieg, December 26, 2022

2. So far the Twitter Files have focused on evidence of Twitter’s secret blacklists; how the company functioned as a kind of subsidiary of the FBI; and how execs rewrote the platform’s rules to accommodate their own political desires.

3. What we have yet to cover is Covid. […]

5. Internal files at Twitter that I viewed while on assignment for @TheFPshowed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes. […]

As I’ve said many times about these reports, if you build a gun, anyone can use it. Especially if its use is widely cheered. This is how we repealed the Fourth Amendment — by both parties approving and participating in its violation.

The next Republican president will use every power bequeathed by the last two Democrats. And when out-of-power Democrats complain, as they rightly should, much of the public will say “So the shoe’s on the other foot.”

The public will be wrong in that. But only because no party should have these powers, not because one of them should.

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  1. ArkansasAngie

    This is why slippery slopes MUST be avoided at all cost. Right now our freedoms are being assaulted and the 4th estate is leading the charge.

    Trust the government? Trust anybody who has been actively engaged in propaganda? DOJ? FBI? CIA? CDC?

    1. ranter

      The apparent degree of media infiltration and coordination with elements of the intelligence community and administrations is now becoming more visible to the public. What were previously mere rumors, C********* T******s or just plain shocking revelations on fringe websites, social media or on sites with known integrity like NC look to be gaining traction. Jackpot countdown clock appears to be speeding up.

      The evidence is observable to all and sundry that something has been wrong for years. When stories get ignored, other stories get plastered all over, and still others are riddled with easily-verifiable errors, then journalism has ceased to function in its classic sense. Blame various causes: concentration of ownership, legislation like Smith-Mundt, Citizens United, you name it. Those all play a part in making public information private, and thereby manipulable. The journalism example is one of several, see also anything that PE or grifting politicians have touched.

      That does not help you or me, but does help unnamed, faceless shell company cutouts, IC people, lobbyists, true believer bureaucrats, Wall Street D-bags and countless other fundamentally useless people. You and I don’t matter much, if at all to them, except as compliant consumers and, preferably, debtors.
      /end rant

  2. Basil Pesto

    As Walker Bragman outlines, David Zweig appears to be a water carrier for the GBD, whose straightforwardly murderous character most NC readers are doubtless familiar with.

    as Bragman himself notes:

    Twitter didn’t rig the COVID debate. Money did.

    The Great Barrington comes out of Koch world and Trump world.

    (The reference to Trump world is, I think, the GBD authors having a direct line to the president and therefore a direct hand in shaping American, and by extension global, pandemic policy)

    The twitter censorship doesn’t seem to have done much harm as GBD (but with vaccines) is now global covid policy. That’s going to go badly, and will leave a monumental legacy of human misery for generations. The GBD’s thing now is apparently “see, if we had done this from the beginning and killed more people, we’d have even more herd immunity by now” or some such nonsense – in otherwords, they are claiming vindication now that their policy is in effect globally, even though the policy is an inhuman misery. so it’s not hard to see why they would be very grateful for some agitprop
    like this that strengthens their vindication claims, and complementary claims of victimhood.

    Musk has teased that there will be further “Twitter Files” releases showing how twitter suppressed the voices of “respected Harvard and Stanford scientists”, almost certainly a reference to Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorf, two of the original drafters/signatories of the GBD. He also had Bhattacharya at Twitter HQ to have a gander. Musk’s purpose seems to be to further rehabilitate/redeem the reputation of the GBD and to drive the “divide and conquer” covid identitarianism that defines ~The Discourse~ further still, with Musk now arguably the figurehead of the “altstream” pro-covid perspective (the “mainstream” being the bullshit we’ve seen from the NYT and New Yorker this week, for example, “The Last Holdouts” etc). Note as well that the Twitter Files have not disclosed the (imo quite likely) “shadowbanning” of those who are equally at odds with the mainstream, those accounts that do actually understand the reality and the depth of the problem that Covid represents (like Anthony Leonardi, and many others). Of course they don’t, because Musk is selectively laundering this information through tendentious journalists who are favourable to the GBD, which, with his trademark idiocy, he is also fully on board with, praising Bhattacharya’s “rigorous adherence to science” etc.

    Altogether this covid identitarianism has the effect of a) denying the seriousness of the problem that infinite covid represents to humanity, now, today; and b) further shredding public health and principles of crisis response by denigrating tried and true principles of public health like quarantine, cordons sanitaires, travel restrictions in the age of jet aviation etc in favour of misguided and non-sensical doctrines like “protecting the vulnerable”, which are of course first and foremost about maximising the unimpeded flow of capital when a crisis threatens to interrupt it, and distribution of wealth in the direction of people like Elon Musk instead of those who need it most at times of such crises. Oh well.

    1. pjay

      Please don’t make this about COVID, “covid identitarianism,” the GBD, etc. This is a *much* broader issue. Framing it this way simply short-circuits the whole effort by smearing it by association with a position on COVID with which many NC readers disagree, some (like you) very strongly. That is precisely why Neuburger added his qualifying comments regarding COVID.

      That said, it is a *fact* that, like them or not, Bhattacharya, Kulldorf, and others *were* well-respected and impeccably credentialed members of their profession. It is a *fact* that their position on lock-downs and many of their other recommendations were accepted doctrine regarding traditional viral infections prior to COVID. And most relevant here, it is a *fact* that like them or not, right or wrong, many highly credentialed and (formerly) highly respected experts in the field were censored and demonized by the mainstream media (including social media like twitter) rather than having their ideas as least openly debated – as they should have been. If anything this opened the door much more widely to all sorts of charlatans, provocateurs, and con-men — as such secrecy and censorship *always* does. I’m convinced that this is the central motivation of Taibbi and at least some of the others involved. Free speech as a prerequisite to actual informed discussion. No, I don’t trust Musk not to turn this into some kind of partisan mission. But right now these individuals are providing some valuable information and insight that exists almost nowhere else.

      It would also be possible to characterize Bragman as a “water carrier” for the liberal Establishment if one were so inclined. I’d never do that myself, of course…

      1. Jeff

        “Please don’t make this about COVID, “covid identitarianism,” the GBD, etc. ”

        Basil can’t help it. It’s all he sees.

      2. anon in so cal

        Walker Bragman shilled for Biden on Twitter, pre-election. Bragman surely knew Biden’s record.

        Predictably, Biden escalated the US war against Russia (which he helped start in 2014) and seems close to imposing GBD policies on the US public.

      3. David Anthony

        “Bhattacharya, Kulldorf, and others *were* well-respected and impeccably credentialed members of their profession”

        This is completely false. Bhattacharya was seen as nothing more than a right wing ideologue by the time covid came around. He and his crew were not invited by a right wing think tank to create the GBD because they were scientists first, but ideologues. And they were invited immediately once covid began. Because it was well know what they were.

        People are constantly censored. It’s why this means so little. That’s why no one cares. I’m a socialist. We come from a history of being imprisoned, beaten and killed in America. Really don’t care about listening to people cry about being censored on Twitter when they got all they wanted leading to us now living in the most horrific systemic eugenics since slavery.

        And Bragman is not a liberal. He’s a leftist, so carrying water for the people he constantly criticizes is difficult.

        1. pjay

          I feel like I should defend myself since you accuse me of saying something “completely false.” But I don’t quite know what position you are trying to argue here. What is your position regarding censorship? Are you claiming those banned by Twitter were simply whining for no reason? Or that they deserved to be censored by our intelligence agencies because they were “right-wing”? Or that since people are “constantly censored” we shouldn’t make a big deal out of it? Is that what “socialism” means to you? And who is it that has “got all they want”? The right-wingers?

          Here’s what I do know. Everything I said above is true. Yes, the libertarians championed these guys for ideological reasons; it fit with their anti-government ideology. But if you are claiming that these scientists themselves had no legitimate “scientific” arguments for their positions, that it was *only* ideological, then you are wrong. Their position on lock-downs, for example, was pretty much the standard view pre-Covid. This is not to argue that they were right. Rather, it is to argue that their view should have been debated rather than repressed or demonized in the mainstream media. But censorship and demonization in the mainstream media means that you can only present your views in the “alternative” press — which, of course, is then used by the mainstream media to show that you are just an ideologue. It’s a time-honored strategy for marginalizing those who challenge official narratives. I would expect a “socialist” to be familiar with this process.

          If you really are a “socialist,” then do you support control of the media by our intelligence agencies? I have to say, if you think Bragman is a “leftist” then either your definition of “leftist” (or “socialism”) is different from mine, or you haven’t read enough of his work.

    2. JustTheFacts

      What is bizarre about this episode is how certain people are that they know better than those who have devoted their lives to studying diseases. Such certainty is rarely organic, but caused by demagogues, who peddle in propaganda and fear. That the US is propagandized by the government is is no longer a “conspiracy theory”, thanks to the evidence provided by the Twitter files. That fear was used by governments is not in doubt thanks to the revelations about the UK government’s use of Psyops.

      A dispassionate view of the situation casts a different light. COVID is a serious disease, not just “the flu”. But, in no way does that imply that the tools that were imposed worked well. In fact the US fared worst of all nations worldwide, despite its vast wealth, and mandates. Excess mortality is currently higher than it should be, and that needs to be investigated. The loss of public trust in healthcare may also cause a far greater loss of life longer term than COVID did. An unemotional rational examination of this pandemic has a lot to teach us, if only we care to learn. Many conclusions we might reach may differ significantly from “current consensus”. Work on this scale requires many open minds, and therefore freedom of speech, including at Twitter. Or we can just be sure we “know better” and learn nothing, guaranteeing we suffer the same fate next time. This would clearly benefit those who imposed these policies, and those who benefit from them.

      I am therefore grateful to Elon Musk for having made this violation of the 1st amendment clear to all. I hope that US citizens will get off their partisan bandwagons, and return their government to democracy from the authoritarian plutocracy into which it seems to be straying.

  3. Ignacio

    This has prompted me to read what on the twitter files would be published by the American Organ of Disinformation in Spanish known as “El País”.
    And there it is an article (in Spanish) written by Jordi Pérez Colomé supposedly trying to explain what the twitter files are, by at the same time exposing some of Taibbi’s research and at the same time trying hard to underestimate the findings. This, hiden in a section of the newspaper called “Technology” as if it was some kind of technical thing rather than political. Well the conclusions of Mr Pérez are the following.

    1) Revelations are unsurprising. Not in the sense that one should not be surprised by US State Organs using Twitter to advance their campaigns and operations (Personally, I am anything but surprised) The revelations are unsurprising in the sense that there is nothing to see there. Nothing but “some twitter internal messages that don’t show anything specially out of tune” (my free translation). No blood, nothing out of tune from Twitter ex-directives. Move along, nothing to see here. It is specifically mentioned the “weird laptop” supposedly belonging to Hunter Biden, according to some Trump-linked media (of course without credibility). The article then goes to mention some analyst called Mike Masnick and this article of his in DirtTech. In sort, because foreign countries meddle with US democracy there are provisions (in twitter) that were used to hide news on the laptop. Nothing political in there. Taibbi is bringing nothing new that wasn’t settled before.

    2) What Musk is trying is to have permanent attention.Be the focus and state how important is Twitter.

    3) Taibbi and the rest are journalists that don’t belong to traditional media outlets. And they get nice sums with their independent podcasts and newsletters. Hey, ad hominen attack here! This is just trying to bring hype to their own egos and communications.

    When I think about what El Pais represented in the past and what it has become lately, well… you can imagine.

    1. hunkerdown

      Masnick isn’t an analyst, he’s a Silly Valley gossip columnist. (Sometimes these job descriptions are indistinguishable. Robert X. Cringely seemed the ideal 50-50 blend of the two.)

      The first bite of relevance in Masnick’s piece is in the passive voice: “there have been concerns raised” which, by taking the real story as (probably tendentiously mis) read, and hiding the agency of the actors that caused “concerns” to be “raised”, invalidates his perspective.

    2. marku52

      When a respected cardiologist like McCullough gets banned for questioning the vaccines, there is indeed something “here”., And he’s not the only one.

      “The Science” doesn’t’ advance with censorship.

  4. griffen

    I confess to not keeping up on this topic. The frequent data dumps when they initially began were compelling to read through the interwoven nature of what Twitter leadership approved or disapproved, and what that broadly entailed. I still find this topic a compelling thought exercise.

    I had always presumed an Orwellian future was still in the future.

  5. John

    As the DC Bubble and Echo Chamber have steadily morphed into Versailles on the Potomac, courtier like behavior could have been anticipated if not cut off at the pass. is a huge self-perpetuating bureaucracy gazing toward the top to note the party line. Orwell nailed it. At the Ministry of Truth; War is Peace. Black is White. Freedom is Slavery. That says it more elegantly than, “get with the program” and “be a team player” or “they won’t like that in the White house.”

    Harry Truman used to take a walk on the streets of Washington each morning with a few Secret Service agents. The White House was not surrounded by a fence. Lafayette Avenue was open. Yes, the government told lies and covered its ass, but seemed not so obsessive about it.

    Gore Vidal had it right. The immediate post-war years 1945-1949 were the Golden Age. When Hoyt Vandenburg told Truman he would have to “scare the hell out of the American people” to get Point Four passed, it was the first faint sounding of the knell.

  6. John R Moffett

    “Whatever you think of the everyone-must-be-vaccinated policy of the U.S. government — I suspect most readers agree with that policy — it’s instructive nonetheless to see the extent to which Twitter and other social media operations were aggressively roped into the messaging, censorship of doubt, and discussion of alternatives”

    Once it became obvious that vaccination against Covid did not protect against infection, and did not stop transmission, the entire narrative from the government was undermined. The original story was that vaccinating everyone would stop transmission, but now we know that at best, it will reduce the severity of symptoms. That is not a reason to vaccinate everyone; at that point it is obviously a personal choice to decide if the side effects were worth trying to reduce symptoms if you did catch Covid.

    But back to the topic, it is obvious that the narrative in this country is and has been controlled by many powerful groups, ranging from corporate owned news to the CIA. Operation Mockingbird was the CIA operation to infiltrate news organizations throughout the country, and it has only gotten worse since then.

    1. Pelham

      Generally good point re the vaccine, but what I’ve read suggests that it does somewhat reduce the risk of transmission. In any event, the more substantial chance of reduced hospitalizations could be argued to be sufficient reason for everyone to be vaxxed as we collectively have an interest in hospitals not being swamped with dying Covid patients.

      1. JEHR

        Good point! There are two reasons to get vaccinated: to avoid getting covid and to avoid giving covid to others. Some people only see one side to this issue.

        1. Mikel

          There are people double, triple, and quardruple “vaccinated” are still catching Covid more than once (within a year and spreading it.

        1. marku52

          None. Pfizer didn’t even test it. Once we knew that the vaccines weren’t stopping transmission, the mandates became ethically unsupportable.

          Especially as the US has zippo in support for those damaged.

          1. Screwball

            A zippo works better than our vaccines. I wonder how many remember zippos?

            Lights every time – and it did. Simple device – I call it the “KISS” rule – keep it simple stupid.

            Understand lighters are not the same as fighting viruses, but it still applies IMO.

          1. rob

            that link must be the wrong one. It seems to say the opposite of your assertion.. i.e. the 30% effectiveness of the bivalent vaccine. Did I miss something?

    2. skk

      I didn’t see any official harm v benefit analysis done on vaccinations at an individual level, cohort level or at a societal level. So one was left to do one’s own assessment of such harm v benefit. And if the assessment led to no vaccinations at an individual level and no coerced vaccinations at a cohort or societal level, such assessments should at least been left alone instead of the censorship / blandishments/punishments that followed.

      1. John R Moffett

        Yes, in some studies there is a reduction of transmission in vaccinated patients, but the studies I saw clearly show that plenty of people still transmit the virus after multiple vaccinations, which makes it impossible to get to the “herd immunity” that they initially claimed they were aiming for. Also, the number of vaccinated people who transmit is woefully undercounted because many people never get tested, even if they get sick. We may never know the actual transmission rate among the vaccinated. The fact is, that just like influenza vaccines, you can’t protect against Covid infection with vaccines the way you can with polio or measles. The NIH knew this about coronaviruses before they claimed they were aiming for herd immunity.

    3. Jeff

      “Once it became obvious that vaccination against Covid did not protect against infection, and did not stop transmission, the entire narrative from the government was undermined. ”

      Unfortunately, many people still believe this mythology of C19 vaccines. Not sure if it’s hubris or fear or just not wanting to be wrong, but it’s now a cult.

  7. .Tom

    The perfect unison of the mainstream news in response is itself an interesting news story. They say it is not newsworthy, and smear the journalists who say it is. How does this unanimous pronouncement of an absurdity arise? What a perfect model of the Herman-Chomsky propaganda model. A few outsider journos point at a monstrous 1984-like mass mind-control operation and all the insider journos nervously cough and change the subject. Hm.

    1. marku52

      I was impressed in the way that a WHO essential human drug, overnight, became called “horse paste”. It was simultaneous, and universal. The memo came down from the Ministry of Propaganda….

  8. PaulArt

    Things will have to get a lot worse before they get better unfortunately. Today I read a very good investigative article in the NY Times on the abuse of special education benefits allowed by New York state predominantly by Hasidim Jewish schools that mostly impart Jewish religious instruction and very little secular English or Math. It seemed like excellent investigative journalism. The George Santos story was another one. The MSM are clever. For every ‘collusion with the state’ sin, they atone with some real journalism now and then. This muddies the perception of a vast majority of readers.

  9. pjay

    I appreciate Tom’s coverage and its amplification here, especially as the mainstream media continues to ignore this story. This passage struck me as a little naive, however:

    “Ask yourself, if it weren’t this administration and this message, would you approve these methods? If the government changed hands to your opponents, would you want to grant them the same intrusive power?”

    “The fact is, by approving this level of intrusion into the public discourse now, we have already granted our opponents that same power. If you build a gun, anyone can use it, especially if its use is widely cheered.”

    I understand who Tom means by “opponents”: the Red Team, the Conservatives. He is chastising liberals who are applauding censorship and the CIA, warning them that the big bad Republicans could do the same to them. But we’ve heard this argument many times before. When Bush radically expanded the National Security State after 9/11 there were similar warnings. What did Obama do with this apparatus? What has the Biden administration done with it? In reality the Red Team and Blue Team exist mainly for entertainment value. There are minor differences in tone and rhetoric, since their task is to shepherd somewhat different constituencies. But for both “teams” the primary task is to preserve the status quo and mask the real structure of power by pretending that there’s a difference.

    I don’t want to irritate Lambert by referring to a “Deep State,” but in discussing why these revelations are so significant we need to go deeper than such partisan framing to understand the Establishment to which they are pointing.

    1. Paul Art

      Lambert gets irritated with ‘deep state’? Why? Someone here sometime back mentioned the book ‘The Unspeakable’ which made me a believer…

      1. Sordo

        Please see Peter Dale Scott’s Road to 9/11 or more recently Aaron Good’s American Exception for a “Deep State” discussion.

  10. Carolinian

    In the latest Taibbi/Kirn audio they talk about the issue of fake accounts and the possibility that the spooks were sure that the Russians were all over Twitter because that’s what they have been doing–not just overseas but now domestically. While the revelations still seem a bit vague due to the format, it’s possible that what we are looking at is not just misconduct but immense misconduct by the country’s secret agencies.

    And it’s not just the mainstream press who are turning a blind eye. Self proclaimed leftists like Cory Doctorow act as though Musk and capitalists in general are the principle villains here and have almost nothing to say about the very sinister government angle. For those of us from a different generation the embrace of the FBI by the Safe Space left is hard to believe. Doctorow’s love of Disneyland could indicate a penchant for fantasy worlds in general.

    Of course capitalists are a problem and played a big role in that 20th century lurch toward totalitarianism. They love propaganda–that is advertising–just as much as the spooks. Maybe when the electricity grid goes down America will go back to reading books, social clubs, talking to each other.

    1. David Anthony

      No, it’s because there’s nothing surprising. Much of this was already known. Everyone has read about the CIA and FBI, right? This has been going on forever. Only difference is the right wing now believes they have the libs caught red handed. But no one cares. There’s no “sinister.” It’s predictable and expected. Governments doing what they have always done.

      1. Carolinian

        I don’t think so. And I’m not the only one. Gore Vidal, who was something of a historian, said the country changed after WW2 and even Truman said secret agencies were un-American (as he was creating the CIA). It’s really backwards of what you say. The Left made a major deal over McCarthyism and now that it’s happening to the right they shrug and say “so what.”

        If it’s not sinister then what would you call the slaughterhouse taking place in Ukraine? Secrecy and manipulation are fueling this war and all the other wars of the past two decades. It’s sinister as hell.

  11. Societal Illusions

    If “Whatever you think of the everyone-must-be-vaccinated policy of the U.S. government — I suspect most readers agree with that policy…” is still true, then the information bubble is even better done than expected. This clearly indicates that bodily autonomy isn’t accepted as an important right and informed consent doesn’t matter. I hope this suspicion becomes wrong soon if not
    incorrect already. The data and science keep demonstrating it.


    Twitter’s CEO at the time (Dorsey) was more free-speech leaning than his counterparts at Google/Meta + most traditional media.

    One can only imagine what they were able to get away with elsewhere. I was permanently banned from a half-dozen subreddits where I contributed for years for questioning if vaccinated people could spread covid + if the virus would evolve to evade immunity from prior infection + vaccination.

    And while that happened – I was getting a regular newsfeed of why unvaccinated people shouldn’t be treated in hospitals or be allowed near your children. Couldn’t go into restaurants (even eating outdoors) at many places. Never knew where you’d need a vax card and where you wouldn’t.

    And while that happened – I was getting threats of being fired unless vaccinated.

    It’s important to remember that context. This wasn’t just the CIA amplifying stuff they disagree with in isolation. This was throwing people who questioned them out of their families, jobs, society -> and then presenting a world on social media where they’re the only person who has the hesitations they do.

    During the worst of this – NC was pretty much the only place on the internet that had an open discussion of what was going on.

    1. marku52

      And with the latest data (more vaxes = more infections, igG3 to igG4 shift), it might be that the vaxxed should get the Typhoid Mary skepticism.

      1. Reify99

        Please note that Leonardi(?) said it was only the MRNA vaccines that caused this,—the supplanting of vigorous immune cells with wimpy ones. AND that actually then getting Covid also furthers the process.

        What I would like to see is the Twitter file evidence of the thumb on the scale for the MRNA vaccines.

    2. playon

      I remember being denied seating at a Seattle restaurant in 2021 because I didn’t have my proof of vaccination. Now you go there and nobody is even wearing a mask. It was frightening how easily they were able to get people on board with that kind of thing… a dry run for more pervasive authoritarianism.

  13. JEHR

    I decided to not belong to any media such as Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc. They seem to engage in more chaos than calm.

  14. Glen

    I am very glad that the Twitter files are a thing, and regard Elon deciding to publish these has been one of the silver linings of his purchase.

    But I’m not too shocked by how the government and Twitter interact. This type of cooperation has been going on for a long time (since the 50’s and the start of the Cold War), but it accelerated under Bush (Patriot Act), and then lite on fire under Obama. Smartphones and the internet in general is a big fat juicy target of information and a perfect conduit for dis-information. Much too large and easy for our government (or any foreign government) to ignore.

    You can assume that all three letter agencies have informal relations with all of the major newspapers, what remains of the TV/cable media giants, and all of the Silly-con Valley tech giants.

    You can assume that everything you do on the internet is captured and will be examined if deemed necessary.

    You can assume that even the most ardent of the alternative media is paying attention and is being very careful about what they report so as to not “go over the line” and get cut off.

    To some degree what has saved us for the last couple of decades is that the very size of the data flow overwhelmed anyone’s (or government agency) ability to shift through the data and engage with it. (This is one of the reasons why the NSA from the late fifties onward was doing some of the largest supercomputer complexes in the world, trying to cope with the sheer amount of collected data.) This is slowly changing with the advent of bots, better AI, and a $hit ton of computational power in the “cloud”. Soon (maybe even now) the war of the bots for our attention will be going at levels well beyond what we have seen to date.

  15. playon

    Perhaps they don’t need to worry about the information window closing when Musk departs. I would assume that since they are digital files they are copies of the original documents.

    1. Thomas Neuburger

      I don’t think they’re working from copies. I think, from comments by Fang and others, that they’re brought in, sat down, and given files to inspect.

      Anyone have confirming info?


  16. Savita

    I understand why NC publishes about Twitter regularly. But why Twitter gets so much ongoing attention in the media is beyond me. Why does it get spoken about at all?
    As Dave Chappelle said ‘Twitter is not a place’. It strikes me as a global net-negative.
    The world would quite simply be a better place without it. Think signal:noise ratio. It’s some big attention sink-hole. I get that it has journalistic value but that value is subsumed by the nonsense. This is the internet! Alternatives could and do exist.

    I look forward to the day everyone realises we simply need to withdraw our attention and energy from entities like Musk and they’ll cease to thrive. I suppose I’ll have to keep hoping and praying.

    Did anyone see the briefings Pfizer held on its vaccines prior to making the vaccine available? A US court ordered them to be released to the public last year. I don’t know if NC covered it at the time. I’ve read it and have a copy.

    The side effects known to Pfizer about its product, are an extremely long list. Maybe 600 from memory. Including ‘false covid positive’, ‘covid positive’ and ‘death’ . They were also aware of a very very high mortality rate directly linked to the vaccine but sat on the info.

    The comment above stating ‘ there are two reasons to take the vaccine – protect yourself and protect others’ should either have a /sarc tag. Or cut down to reality with the standard pithy refrain Yves is known and loved for: ‘Er, Making Shit Up, we direct you to the site policy..’ or ‘ better trolls please’ .

    Sending love to all from Sydney, Australia. Turns out Florida has a Sydney too.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Twitter has been extremely valuable for organizing, witness Black Lives Matter before the Democrats hijacked it, and Covid is Airborne, which was developed and documented and propagated by scientists communicating through Twitter. Just to name one related name, Andrew Leonardi would never have been able to promote his increasingly recognized theory that Covid damages T cells over time.

      Lambert finds it invaluable for Links and I find it helpful.

      It is also essential to some writers/activists. Matt Stoller got his following via Twitter. Scott Ritter has lamented that his book on his experience as a weapons inspector depended on Twitter to promote it, and his banning killed his followership.

  17. Hatuxka

    It’s one thing to know that state security apparatus, domestic and international surveils the population. It’s another to see to what degree they spend human labor (all these people have salaries, benefits-sick leave and annual leave, medical insurance, 401Ks and pensions-this is massive amounts of money spent to shut people down) on examining and applying a rebuttable presumption (but no one gets to rebut them) of banning remarks immediately in both the short term and permanently by individuals that they feel are defiantly questioning to merely tending to stray from official narratives about a broad range of issues facing the country. Lists of the suspect are compiled as expected but also individual accounts of narrow reach or low following are even discussed and passed around for wider comment by more than one agency. Even with the time devoted to censoring and censuring people the banning has been arbitrary. Taibbi has presented this and all these entities and and their operatives were compiling and passing on accounts that they said should be examined for violations of the Twitter Terms of Service (TOS). None of these highly redacted excerpts of messages and lists presented in the Twitter Files series clearly indicate what the violations actually were. I get the feeling the wording by Taibbi is hiding that the banning and suspensions were arbitrary and based merely on some discomfort with the topics and tone felt by the CIA and DOD and FBI and State and these agencies were saying “slap a TOS violation or violations on these jokers.”

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