Origins Of The Censorship Industrial Complex

Michael Shellenberger wrote the report about the origins of the Censorship Industrial Complex that a whistleblower recently revealed.

censorship industrial complex 1

After President Trump was elected and Brexit was approved in the UK, a whistleblower recently came out with paperwork showing the beginnings of the Censorship Industrial Complex.

Alex Gutentag, Matt Taibbi, and Michael Shellenberger wrote the report.

The information was shared on Twitter-X on Tuesday by Michael Shellenberger.

CTIL Files #1: US And UK Military Contractors Created Sweeping Plan For Global Censorship In 2018, New Documents Show

Whistleblower makes trove of new documents available to Public and Racket, showing the birth of the Censorship Industrial Complex in reaction to Brexit and Trump…

— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenberger) November 28, 2023

“Hogwarts School of Misinformation”

“SJ called us the ‘Hogwarts school for misinformation and disinformation,’” said the whistleblower. “They were superheroes in their own story. And to that effect you could still find comic books on the CISA site.”

CTIL, the whistleblower…

— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenberger) November 28, 2023

Please tune in to @mtaibbi

— Michael Shellenberger (@shellenberger) November 28, 2023

Regarding the Censorship Industrial Complex’s military roots in the US and the UK, Shellenberger also shared this on Twitter X.

His Substack page also featured this.

A whistleblower has revealed an incredible new collection of documents that is on par with or more significant than the Facebook and Twitter Files. They discuss the operations of the Cyber Threat Intelligence League, or CTIL, an “anti-disinformation” group whose tactics appear to have been incorporated into several official projects over time, including those of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Originally, CTIL was a volunteer project of data scientists and veterans of the defense and intelligence industries.

Key questions not covered in the Twitter and Facebook files are answered in the missing link responses found in the CTI League materials. When taken as a whole, they provide a thorough picture of the emergence of the “anti-disinformation” industry, often known as the Censorship Industrial Complex.

The documents leaked by the whistleblower cover a wide range of topics, including the origins of contemporary digital censorship initiatives, the involvement of intelligence and military forces, collaborations with commercial media and civil society organizations, and the deployment of offensive strategies such as sock puppet accounts.

“Lock your shit down,” explains one document about creating “your spy disguise.”

Another states that censorship attempts “against Americans” must be carried out through commercial partners because the government lacks the “legal authority,” even though similar operations abroad are “typically” carried out by “the CIA and NSA and the Department of Defense.”

The whistleblower claims that in 2017, while she was “in the room” at the Obama White House, a leader of CTI League, a “former” British intelligence officer, gave her instructions to start a counter-disinformation effort in order to prevent a “repeat of 2016.”

The UN plans to control speech online by imposing international laws through organizations like governments and corporations.

The rise of the Censorship Industrial Complex, a network of more than 100 government agencies and nongovernmental organizations that collaborate to push for social media platform censorship and disseminate propaganda about disfavored individuals, has been documented over the past year by Public, Racket, and congressional investigators, and others.

The majority of the censorship has been concentrated at the US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA), with support from other federal government agencies and funding from the National Science Foundation for the creation of tools for disinformation and censorship.

In 2020, CISA established the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) with the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) and other US government contractors, according to emails from the organization’s non-governmental organization and social media partners. Both the EIP and its successor, the Virality Project (VP), pushed Twitter, Facebook, and other social media companies to filter content made on their networks by both regular people and public authorities.

It was still unclear where the concept of widespread censorship originated, despite the strong evidence of state-sponsored censorship. Renee DiResta, a former CIA fellow and SIO official, made global news in 2018 both before and after she testified before the US Senate regarding Russian government meddling in the 2016 election.

What, though, transpired in the spring of 2020 and 2018? 2019 has proven to be a void in the study of the Censorship Industrial Complex thus far. This year’s full-year was absent from Michael’s chronology when he testified before the US House of Representatives in March regarding the Censorship Industrial Complex.

An Earlier Start Date for the Censorship Industrial Complex

The comprehensive censorship framework was created in 2019 by US and UK military and intelligence contractors under the direction of a former UK defense researcher named Sara-Jayne “SJ” Terp, according to a vast cache of newly discovered papers that include strategy documents, training videos, presentations, and internal correspondence. In the spring of 2020, CTIL, in partnership with CISA, was co-led by these contractors.

Actually, the Censorship Industrial Complex’s construction actually started earlier, in 2018.

Internal CTIL Slack chats reveal Terp, her coworkers, and representatives from Facebook and DHS collaborating closely on the filtering process.

The public-private model and the CTIL framework are the foundations for the policies that the US and the UK will implement in 2020 and 2021. These policies would include pushing social media platforms to remove content or take other steps to stop it from going viral, as well as hiding censorship within cybersecurity institutions and counter-disinformation agendas.

Disfavored information on social media, such as anti-lockdown narratives like “all jobs are essential,” “we won’t stay home,” and “open America now,” started to be tracked and reported by CTIL in the spring of 2020. As part of these efforts, CTIL established a law enforcement channel for content reporting. The organization also maintained a spreadsheet including information from Twitter biographies of people who posted hashtags opposing lockdowns, such as #freeCA, and conducted research on them. The group also talked about reporting internet names to registrars and requesting “takedowns.”

The way CTIL dealt with “disinformation” went well beyond censorship. The group discussed strategies to push “counter-messaging,” co-opt hashtags, dilute disfavored messaging, create sock puppet accounts, and enter private invite-only forums, according to the records that demonstrate their offensive tactics to sway public opinion.

CTIL suggested posing the question, “Have you worked with influence operations (e.g. disinformation, hate speech, other digital harms etc.) previously?” to members or prospective members in one of the survey questions. Next, the survey inquired as to whether “active measures” and “psyops” were a part of these influence operations.

Our source for these documents was a very reliable whistleblower. By thoroughly cross-referencing the material with publically accessible sources, we were able to independently confirm their veracity. The DHS hosts weekly cybersecurity briefings, according to the whistleblower, are how they were enlisted to take part in CTIL.

The FBI said it would not comment. We asked CISA for a remark, but they never got back to us. Furthermore, Terp and the other important CTIL leaders did not reply to our messages seeking comments.

“All i can comment on is that i joined cti league which is unaffiliated with any govt orgs because i wanted to combat the inject bleach nonsense online during covid… i can assure you that we had nothing to do with the govt though,” responded Bonnie Smalley, one of the participants, via LinkedIn.

However, it appears from the documents that government workers actively participated in CTIL. Justin Frappier, a DHS employee, was particularly involved in CTIL, attending meetings frequently and conducting trainings.

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