Saturday, August 11, 2018

Permitted Discourse: Silicon Valley is a Creature of the State


antiwar |  The theme of today’s column is suppression – of antiwar voices, of news that doesn’t fit into preconceived narratives, and of our very ability to raise our voices in protest.

If you’re paying attention, you’ve probably already heard about the banning from Twitter of anti-interventionist author and former US diplomat Peter van Buren, a whistleblower whose book on the Iraq war exposed the lies at the heart of that devilish enterprise. When van Buren tweeted that his tenure at the State Department required him to lie to reporters, and that the paladins of the Fourth Estate were all too ready to passively record these lies as truth, the Twitter brouhaha took on seismic proportions. Several journalists were involved, attacking van Buren for showing them up, and one – Jonathan M. Katz, supposedly a New York Times writer – reported van Buren to the Twitter Authorities for allegedly threatening “violence.” Van Buren did no such thing: it was a mere pretext to get him banned. And ban him they did – for life. His account was scrubbed: years of informative tweets were erased. 

There were two other casualties in this little Twitter war: our very own Scott Horton, who joined the fray and was suspended for using the “b-word,” and Daniel MacAdams, the director of the Ron Paul Institute, whose “crime” was retweeting Scott’s contribution to the discussion.

This occurred in tandem with the purge of Alex Jones from Facebook, YouTube, and Apple platforms – an obviously coordinated effort undertaken to make an example of the infamous performance artist masquerading as a conspiracy theorist.

All this wasn’t good enough for Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), who demanded to know if the plan was to only take down “one web site.” No doubt he has a whole list of sites he’d like to take down. Even more ominously, it was revealed that a direct threat had been made to these companies by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who sent out a memo listing all the ways the government could crack down on Big Data if they refuse to go along with cleansing the internet of “divisive” material.