December 4, 2023

Big Censorship

The depth and degree of the government’s efforts to suppress conservative speech are still being uncovered.

If you appreciate free speech in this country, you should appreciate the efforts of a handful of classically liberal journalists who’ve left the Left. Chief among them are Glenn Greenwald, Bari Weiss, Lee Fang, Matt Taibbi, and Michael Shellenberger.

The latter two of these free-speech fighters were on Capitol Hill last week, testifying at the invitation of House Judiciary Committee Republicans. There, Shellenberger told of U.S. and British military contractors who’ve used disinformation tactics against the American people.

As the Washington Examiner reports: “Shellenberger said the tactics and silencing of people who disagreed with a certain point of view were worse than he had predicted in front of Congress in March. The alleged silencing included censorship on major social media platforms during the 2020 presidential election.”

Shellenberger took to X last week in a lengthy X post which revealed the collaborative efforts of the Censorship Industrial Complex and exposed its reaction to the UK’s Brexit and Donald Trump’s stunning election in 2016. It reads in part:

A whistleblower has come forward with an explosive new trove of documents, rivaling or exceeding the Twitter Files and Facebook Files in scale and importance. They describe the activities of an “anti-disinformation” group called the Cyber Threat Intelligence League, or CTIL, that officially began as the volunteer project of data scientists and defense and intelligence veterans but whose tactics over time appear to have been absorbed into multiple official projects, including those of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The CTI League documents offer the missing link answers to key questions not addressed in the Twitter Files and Facebook Files. Combined, they offer a comprehensive picture of the birth of the “anti-disinformation” sector, or what we have called the Censorship Industrial Complex.

Perhaps the biggest battle of all between the deep state speech suppressors and the rest of us was the one that played out over the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop. It was a battle that shaped the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. It was also the subject of a telling back-and-forth between Shellenberger and a Democrat congressman.

New York’s Dan Goldman, a Laptop Truther if ever there was one, had this to say about the authenticity of Hunter’s MacBook Pro: “The laptop, so to speak … that was published in the New York Post was actually a hard drive that the New York Post admitted here was not authenticated as real. It was not the laptop the FBI had. … Hard drives could be manipulated by Rudy Giuliani or Russia … there is actual evidence of it.”

Is there now? That’s strange. We haven’t seen or heard of any such “evidence” that Rudy and Vlady did it. Nor, apparently, has Shellenberger.

“Are you suggesting,” asked a bemused Shellenberger of Goldman, “that the New York Post could participate in a conspiracy to construct the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop?” Shellenberger is the most compelling of witnesses because it’s clear from the jump that the only ax he has to grind is on behalf of our Constitution’s First Amendment and against government censorship. Using military contractors to employ disinformation tactics against American citizens — Shellenberger says it’s worse than he thought. They created “a handbook” to use against the American people.

The truth is that while the Democrats were accusing Republicans of engaging in a conspiracy theory, it was the Democrats who were engaged in a conspiracy theory — “that Hunter Biden’s laptop had been manipulated by the Russians,” in Shellenberger’s words. “There is zero evidence of that, contrary to what Congressman Goldman said.”

Shellenberger continued: “We saw an effort by existing FBI agents and former FBI officials to spread disinformation about the Hunter Biden laptop and suggest to the American people — say outright to the American people — that it was a Russian hack-and-leak operation. And, of course, President Biden repeated that in the debates, and I think many of us were fooled by that.”

It’s not a stretch to say that the discovery of Hunter Biden’s laptop — and the acknowledgment of its authenticity by all but the deadest of dead-enders — has changed the course of history. Not only has it kept the Biden administration and its allies on the defensive; not only has it plagued the president in the polls; it has also blown the cover off of the Censorship Industrial Complex and its efforts to weaponize the government and its law-enforcement and intelligence services against the people.

Seen in this light, it’s no wonder that Goldman tries so mightily to deny the laptop’s legitimacy. It’s a deep wound to Democrats and a colossal embarrassment to them.

Further, it’s no wonder that the Left has also seized upon the phony “anti-Semitism” of Elon Musk and his X platform as another avenue of attack. The charge is especially toxic now, and it serves the Left’s real purpose — which is the suppression of conservative speech.

As we’ve said before: Leftists wouldn’t need to censor us if they weren’t afraid of losing the argument.

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