Facebook just made a mockery of the fight against hate speech by admitting that it’s okay if you call for the murder of people the political mainstream doesn’t like. It’s only hate speech if you want to murder the wrong people. What the actual fuck.
The Private Citizen is still off the usual Wednesday release schedule, because I was recovering from having my newest tattoo finished yesterday. By next week, I should be able to return to releasing shows on Wednesdays again.
Update on the Biden Laptop
Before we get into the main topic, I would like to talk about the Hunter Biden laptop again. In episode 84, I argued – based on reporting by Glenn Greenwald – that the laptop story in The New York Post was real and that claims of it being Russian disinformation were obvious propaganda to change the outcome of the election in favour of Joe Biden. In my opinion back in November 2020, Facebook and Twitter were censoring important journalism based on propaganda from “the intelligence community”. All the so-called “fact checks” that proved that the laptop was Russian propaganda campaign were full of shit.
Interestingly, The New York Times has now come out to agree with Greenwald and brand all the Biden laptop pre-election coverage in almost all of the mainstream media outlets as totally and embarrassingly wrong. Greenwald, who resigned from The Intercept because his own outlet supressed his coverage on the Biden laptop, writes about this revelation:
This morning, The New York Times published an article about the broad, ongoing FBI criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business and tax activities. Prior to the election, the Times, to their credit, was one of the few to apply skepticism to the CIA’s pre-election lie, noting on October 22 that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation.” Because the activities of Hunter Biden now under FBI investigation directly pertain to the emails first revealed by The Post, the reporters needed to rely upon the laptop’s archive to amplify and inform their reporting. That, in turn, required The New York Times to verify the authenticity of this laptop and its origins – exactly what, according to their reporters, they successfully did
That this cache of emails was authentic was clear from the start. Any doubts were obliterated by publication of Schreckinger’s book six months ago. Now the Paper of Record itself explicitly states not only that the emails “were authenticated” but also that the original story from The Post about how they obtained these materials – they “come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop” – “appears” to be true.
What this means is that, in the crucial days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, most of the corporate media spread an absolute lie about The New York Post’s reporting in order to mislead and manipulate the American electorate. It means that Big Tech monopolies, along with Twitter, censored this story based on a lie from “the intelligence community.” It means that Facebook’s promise from its DNC operative that it would suppress discussion of the reporting in order to conduct a “fact-check” of these documents was a fraud because, if one had been conducted, that no fact-check was even published because, if an honest one had been conducted, it would have proven that Facebook’s censorship decree was based on a lie. It means that millions of Americans were denied the ability to hear about reporting on the candidate leading all polls to become the next president, and instead were subjected to a barrage of lies about the provenance (Russia did it) and authenticity (disinformation!) of these documents.
Whatever else is true, both the CIA/media disinformation campaign in the weeks before the 2020 election and the resulting regime of brute censorship imposed by Big Tech are of historic significance. Democrats and their new allies in the establishment wing of the Republican Party may be more excited by war in Ukraine than the subversion of their own election by the unholy trinity of the intelligence community, the corporate press, and Big Tech. But today’s admission by The New York Times that this archive and the emails in them were real all along proves that a gigantic fraud was perpetrated by the country’s most powerful institutions. What matters far more than the interest level of various partisan factions is the core truths about U.S. democracy revealed by this tawdry spectacle.
Fighting Hate Speech as a Political Weapon
Speaking of Facebook and its censorship, the social network has now proven without a shadow of a doubt that the so-called “fight against hate speech” is in fact a fight against opinions that the progressive Democrat-leaning mainstream does not want to see published. It is part of the Culture Wars that have been raging for years now. This censorship is not about fighting people who are saying evil things. Because if the evil things are in support of the right cause, everything is fine. This news story from 10 March reveals that Facebook has in fact reached Peak Hypocrisy.
Meta Platforms will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion, according to internal emails seen by Reuters on Thursday, in a temporary change to its hate speech policy.
The social media company is also temporarily allowing some posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, according to internal emails to its content moderators.
“As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.
The calls for the leaders’ deaths will be allowed unless they contain other targets or have two indicators of credibility, such as the location or method, one email said, in a recent change to the company’s rules on violence and incitement.
“We are doing this because we have observed that in this specific context, ‘Russian soldiers’ is being used as a proxy for the Russian military. The Hate Speech policy continues to prohibit attacks on Russians,” the email stated.
With other words: The classification of “hate” is negotiable. It’s okay to call for the murder of a group of people, just as long as the political mainstream really doesn’t like them. But if you call for the murder of someone they do like, it’s a crime. I’m pretty sure calling for the death of members of the US military for illegally invading Iraq based on blatant lies would still get me banned.
All of this shows how ridiculous these hate speech rules were from the start.
Oh yeah, Facebook also thinks it’s totally okay if you are a fan of neo-Nazis. As long as they are Ukrainian neo-Nazis.
Facebook will temporarily allow its billions of users to praise the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi military unit previously banned from being freely discussed under the company’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, The Intercept has learned.
The Azov Battalion, which functions as an armed wing of the broader Ukrainian white nationalist Azov movement, began as a volunteer anti-Russia militia before formally joining the Ukrainian National Guard in 2014; the regiment is known for its hardcore right-wing ultranationalism and the neo-Nazi ideology pervasive among its members. Though it has in recent years downplayed its neo-Nazi sympathies, the group’s affinities are not subtle: Azov soldiers march and train wearing uniforms bearing icons of the Third Reich; its leadership has reportedly courted American alt-right and neo-Nazi elements; and in 2010, the battalion’s first commander and a former Ukrainian parliamentarian, Andriy Biletsky, stated that Ukraine’s national purpose was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].”
According to internal policy materials reviewed by The Intercept, Facebook will “allow praise of the Azov Battalion when explicitly and exclusively praising their role in defending Ukraine or their role as part of the Ukraine’s National Guard.”
Fighting hate speech, fact checks … all of this bullshit is obvious propaganda that you can’t take at face value. Just because someone says they are fighting hate doesn’t mean you can believe them. Chances are, these days, they just define whatever ideology they don’t like as the “hate” that needs to be supressed. Just like fact checkers often only label things as facts that they believe – no matter if those things actually are facts.
I can recommend reading this forum thread with two Canadians (Steve B and Petit-Michel) talking about recent developments in Candian politics, including the trucker protests, from two opposite viewpoints. It’s a really good discussion!
nekr0z thinks I made some errors in episode 109:
First of all, Russia. Russia is a federation today, and has been a federation basically since early Soviet years. The individual Subjects of the Federation have very little autonomy, since Russia is very centralized, but they have their own governments and parliaments, at least formally. Today, Russia exists in the same borders as it did in the Soviet times after WWII, except for Crimea that was annexed in 2014.
The Soviet Union, the USSR, was very much like a federation, too. It included Russia and 14 other Republics; each Republic had its own government and its own language (along with Russian that was used as a state language all over USSR), but not much autonomy either. Foreign affairs, Criminal Code and various other laws were Union-wide. The Republics didn’t even have their own Communist Parties, those were just branches of the single Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In Europe, the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova were Soviet Republics, as well as Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. These were not separate countries, these were all parts of the USSR. In podcast, you referred to Belarus and Ukraine as countries in the Soviet sphere of influence, that is a mistake. They were not “in the Soviet sphere’, they were the Soviets themselves, as much as Russia.
The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (commonly known as the Warsaw Pact) was a collective defence treaty, pretty much like NATO; this was the immediate sphere of Soviet military influence in Europe. It included, besides the USSR (as a whole, Republics had no individual foreign relations), Poland, East Germany, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Albania and Bulgaria; there was also an economical pact that included all the same countries, Vietnam, Cuba, and Mongolia, and also Yugoslavia as an associate member. The USSR was keen on keeping those as buffer states (not Ukraine or Belarus, those were USSR proper) and even invaded when they were likely to defect (Bulgaria in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968; East Germany had Soviet troops deployed all along, and Poland came close in 1980 but no military invasion took place).
Albania quit the Warsaw Pact (and practically quit the economical union) in 1968; I don’t know how Soviets let that be. My guess is that Albania was separated geographically (there was Yugoslavia between it and the rest of the Pact) and after it became clear that Yugoslavia would not join, trying to hold on to Albania was considered not worth it.
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