Twitter and the State, Part 2

Twitter and the State, Part 2 1

Yves here. Tom Neuburger is trying to compensated for the mainstream media “Nothing to see here, move along” attitude towards the so-called Twitter Files. It is disconcerting to see how much this posture is working. Goodthinking members of the professional-managerial classes aren’t bothering to contest the notion that, for instance, the FBI was deeply involved in a propaganda campaign to dampen the reach of deemed-to-be-dangerous-to-Democrats individuals and stories. Even though most readers recognize that many soi-disant liberals are fine with authoritarianism as long as it backs their interest, it’s disconcerting to see how far they’ve gone with Twitter…and that no one is bothered. One wonders what if anything would shock their conscience.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

In a previous piece — “Twitter and the Security State” — I provided a unified list of links to all Twitter Files published to that time, releases 1 through 5. You can read or review them there if you like.

I also wrote that when there are new Twitter Files, I’d extend the list. Since then, three more have dropped. Scroll down for the links.

Twitter Files 6, by Matt Taibbi, contains a preliminary overview of the extent of connection between the FBI and Twitter.

As Taibbi has said in various interviews since (example here), they’re just scratching the surface in these connections. He’s said that quite a few other agencies are similarly involved, including DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and ODNI (the Office of the Director of National Intelligence), plus others that have not been named as yet.

A supplement, Twitter Files 6a, also by Taibbi, cites a federal interagency task force (FITC) grilling of Twitter about why it “had not observed much recent activity from official propaganda actors” when other sources apparently had. (The list of those sources, provided by the agency, is thin.)

TF6 is discussed by the team at Breaking Points

Twitter Files 7, by Michael Shellenberger, looks at the Hunter Biden Laptop story in detail. It’s quite long, but one of the gems of the piece occurs near the middle, where he provides background about the FBI’s prepping Twitter to “be very afraid” of foreign interference in the 2020 election while, as later court affidavits show, they knew they had no information at all that 2016 was going to be repeated. This occurred before the laptop story, and shows the general operation of the relationship, what Taibbi has called its “master-canine quality.”

My recommendation is to read TF7 for that especially, since my focus here is not on interference in 2020 — by Russians or our own Spook State — but on the entanglement between the aforementioned State and social media platforms.

After all, if you want to influence a nation, you go where the ears are assembled. And I’m convinced, as are many of you, that the Spook State is heavily involved in “guiding” the country, has been for decades, with the best of intentions, of course.

As David Swanson wrote in “The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies”:

Propaganda is most impactful when people don’t think it’s propaganda.

More on that subject here.

I think it’s naive to think the Pentagon doesn’t propagandize at home, both directly and indirectly. For starters, consider the yearly half-trillion dollars at risk if the public fails to support the Pentagon budget.

The Twitter Files, Round 2

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

Twitter Files 6 — Twitter, The FBI Subsidiary
Matt Taibbi, December 16, 2022

3. Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary.

4. Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth.

5. Some are mundane, like San Francisco agent Elvis Chan wishing Roth a Happy New Year along with a reminder to attend “our quarterly call next week.” Others are requests for information into Twitter users related to active investigations.

6. But a surprisingly high number are requests by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts. […]

Twitter Files 6a — Supplemental
Matt Taibbi, December 18, 2022

2. In July of 2020, San Francisco FBI agent Elvis Chan tells Twitter executive Yoel Roth to expect written questions from the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), the inter-agency group that deals with cyber threats.

3. The questionnaire authors seem displeased with Twitter for implying, in a July 20th “DHS/ODNI/FBI/Industry briefing,” that “you indicated you had not observed much recent activity from official propaganda actors on your platform.”

4. One would think that would be good news. The agencies seemed to feel otherwise. […]

Twitter Files 7 — The FBI & the Hunter Biden Laptop
Michael Shellenberger, December 19, 2022

18. It’s not the first time that Twitter’s Roth has pushed back against the FBI. In January 2020, Roth resisted FBI efforts to get Twitter to share data outside of the normal search warrant process.

19. Pressure had been growing:

“We have seen a sustained (If uncoordinated) effort by the IC [intelligence community] to push us to share more info & change our API policies. They are probing & pushing everywhere they can (including by whispering to congressional staff).”

20. Time and again, FBI asks Twitter for evidence of foreign influence & Twitter responds that they aren’t finding anything worth reporting.

“[W]e haven’t yet identified activity that we’d typically refer to you (or even flag as interesting in the foreign influence context).” […]

Why Assemble These Lists?

As I’ve said many times, my interest is not to defend either Musk or Trump against whatever their sins may be.

My interest is in the facts — in particular, the facts of the entanglement (a careful word) between our so-called security establishment and its American targets, by which I mean the public.

I also worry, as do a great many others, about a coup in the United States. I’m just looking where others aren’t.

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