Category Archives: 1st amendment

For Whom it May Concern: Trump’s New Social Media App Now Has A Launch Date

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author’s opinion

Carmine Sabia
January 7th, 2022

It is one of the announcements from former President Donald Trump that his supporters have been waiting for and he has finally made it.

No, not that one.

But it is game-changing for the world of social media. The 45th President of the United States has announced that his media company, the Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), is going to launch his new social media app on President’s Day, The Guardian reported.

Photos show that the app is going to be similar o Twitter in that it is set to have trending topics and the ability to follow other people.

The app will launch 13 months after the former president was permanently banned from Twitter and banned indefinitely from Facebook.

TMTG and Apple did not respond to requests for comment, but a source familiar with the matter confirmed that 21 February is the planned launch date of the app.

The launch is expected to be the first of three stages in TMTG’s development. The second would be a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ with entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the company website. A November investor presentation indicated that TMTG also wants to launch a podcast network.

TMTG is currently valued at $4.3bn based on the stock price of Digital World Acquisition Corp. TMTG agreed in October to merge with the blank-check firm at a valuation of $875m.

Trump supporters and retail investors have snapped up Digital World’s stock, betting that Trump’s popularity with his Republican political base will translate into a commercial runaway success.

In June, Facebook made a decision as regards Trump being allowed to come back to the platform.

Facebook’s vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg issued a blog post announcing a minimum two-year ban for Trump, Politico reported.

“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols,” he said. “We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.”

“We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year,” it said.

“We are today announcing new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases such as this, and we are confirming the time-bound penalty consistent with those protocols which we are applying to Mr. Trump’s accounts,” it said.

But even when Trump comes back the company has announced that he will have to live by special rules made for him., which is significant because it means the ban is not permanent.

“When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Mr. Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts,” it said.

“In establishing the two-year sanction for severe violations, we considered the need for it to be long enough to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement, to be significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future, and to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself,” it said.

It is of note that the suspension will continue through the 2022 midterm elections where Trump is expected to play a key role for Republicans.

The originally reported plan was for the former president to launch his own social media platform to coincide with the Fourth of July celebrations, The Daily Mail reported.

Watch: Dutch Police Use Attack Dogs Against Anti-Lockdown Protesters

Amid the Omicron Covid variant spread, and despite an emerging consensus that this latest variant is not very severe in terms of individual impact and hospitalizations, lockdowns are returning to much of Europe, but so are fierce protests.

Remember, all of this is for your “safety”

Chaotic and disturbing scenes are coming out of Sunday’s large anti-restriction protests near the National Museum in Amsterdam. The protest had been declared illegal by authorities, but a huge crowd showed up anyway, and that’s when police in riot gear attempted to disperse thousands.

Among many scenes of people being beaten with police batons, dogs were also unleashed on the demonstrators, including in the above video which shows a man being mauled by a police dog who wouldn’t let go of his arm – even as he was prone on the ground at one point. It’s unclear if the officers were wanting the dog to release after clearly injuring the man, or if they wanted the animal to continue biting him.

Just before the police unleashed violent tactics on the crowd, the anti-lockdown protesters surrounded the anti-riot force and their vans, presumably there to make mass arrests.

“The Netherlands went into a sudden lockdown on December 19, with the government ordering the closure of all but essential stores, as well as restaurants, hairdressers, gyms, museums and other public places until at least January 14,” CNN writes of the new controversial lockdown. “Public gatherings of more than two people are prohibited under the current set of restrictions.”

The protest looked to be at least in the tens of thousands, and possibly bigger:

Clearly citizens in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe are furious over this climate of the ‘never-ending pandemic’ and corresponding lockdowns which governments seem to now impose with ease.

Angry crowds go after riot control police in The Netherlands this weekend:

Continue Reading HERE

The Hounding of Julian Assange Leaves Honest Journalism With No Refuge

By Jonathan Cook

It is no accident that Julian Assange, the digital transparency activist and journalist who founded WikiLeaks to help whistleblowers tell us what Western governments are really up to in the shadows, has spent 10 years being progressively disappeared into those very same shadows.

His treatment is a crime similar to those WikiLeaks exposed when it published just over a decade ago hundreds of thousands of leaked materials – documents we were never supposed to see – detailing war crimes committed by the United States and Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These two Western countries killed non-combatants and carried our torture not, as they claimed, in the pursuit of self-defense or in the promotion of democracy, but to impose control over a strategic, resource-rich region.

It is the ultimate, ugly paradox that Assange’s legal and physical fate rests in the hands of two states that have the most to lose by allowing him to regain his freedom and publish more of the truths they want to keep concealed. By redefining his journalism as “espionage”– the basis for the US extradition claim – they are determined to keep the genie stuffed in the bottle.

Eyes off the ball

Last week, in overturning a lower court decision that should have allowed Assange to walk free, the English High Court consented to effectively keep Assange locked up indefinitely. He is a remand prisoner – found guilty of no crime – and yet he will continue rotting in solitary confinement for the foreseeable future, barely seeing daylight or other human beings, in Belmarsh high-security prison alongside Britain’s most dangerous criminals.

The High Court decision forces our eyes off the ball once again. Assange and his supposed “crime” of seeking transparency and accountability has become the story rather than the crimes he exposed that were carried out by the US to lay waste to whole regions and devastate the lives of millions.

The goal is to stop the public conducting the debate Assange wanted to initiate through his journalism: about Western state crimes. Instead the public is being deflected into a debate his persecutors want: whether Assange can ever safely be allowed out of his cell.

Assange’s lawyers are being diverted from the real issues, too. They will now be tied up for years fighting endless rearguard actions, caught up in the search for legal technicalities, battling to win a hearing in any court they can, to prevent his extradition to the United States to stand trial.

The process itself has taken over. And while the legal minutiae are endlessly raked over, the substance of the case – that it is US and British officials who ought to be held responsible for committing war crimes – will be glossed over.

Permanently silenced

But it is worse than the legal injustice of Assange’s case. There may be no hacksaws needed this time, but this is as visceral a crime against journalism as the dismemberment of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi officials back in 2018.

And the outcome for Assange is only slightly less preordained than it was for Khashoggi when he entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. The goal for US officials has always been about permanently disappearing Assange. They are indifferent about how that is achieved.

If the legal avenue is a success, he will eventually head to the US where he can be locked away for up to 175 years in severe solitary confinement in a supermax jail – that is, till long past his death from natural causes. But there is every chance he will not survive that long. Last January, a British judge rejected extraditing Julian Assange to the US over his “suicide risk“, and medical experts have warned that it will be only a matter of time before he succeeds.

That was why the district court blocked extradition – on humanitarian grounds. Those grounds were overturned by the High Court last week only because the US offered “assurances” that measures would be in place to ensure Assange did not commit suicide. But Assange’s lawyers pointed out: those assurances “were not enough to address concerns about his fragile mental health and high risk of suicide”. These concerns should have been apparent to the High Court justices.

There is no need to speculate about the Americans’ bad faith. It is only too apparent in the myriad get-out clauses in the “assurances” they provided. Those assurances can be dropped, for example, if US officials decide Assange is not being cooperative. The promises can and will be disregarded the moment they become an encumbrance on Washington’s ability to keep Assange permanently silenced.

‘Trapped in a cage’

But if losing the extradition battle is high stakes, so is the legal process itself. That could finish Assange off long before a decision is reached, as his fiancee Stella Moris indicated at the weekend. She confirmed that Assange suffered a small stroke during a hearing in October in the endless extradition proceedings. There are indications he suffered neurological damage, and is now on anti-stroke medication to try to stop a recurrence.

Assange and his friends believe the stroke was brought on by the constant double strain of his solitary confinement in Belmarsh and a legal process being conducted over his head, in which he is barely allowed to participate.

Nils Melzer, the United Nations expert on torture, has repeatedly warned that Assange has been subjected to prolonged psychological torture in the nine years since he fled into Ecuador’s embassy in London seeking asylum from US efforts to persecute him.

That form of torture, Melzer has pointed out, was refined by the Nazis because it was found to be far more effective at breaking people than physical torture. Moris told the Daily Mail:

“[The stroke] compounds our fears about [Assange’s] ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on. … Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian.”

And that indeed looks to be the prize for US officials that wanted him assassinated anyway. Whatever happens to Assange, the lawless US security state wins: it either gets him behind bars forever, or it kills him quietly and quite lawfully, while everyone is distracted, arguing about who Assange is rather what he exposed.

Political prisoner

In fact, with each twist and turn of the proceedings against Assange we move further from the realities at the heart of the case towards narrative distractions.

Who remembers now the first extradition hearings, nearly two years ago, at which the court was reminded that the very treaty signed by Britain and the US that is the basis for Assange’s extradition explicitly excludes political cases of the kind being pursued by the US against Assange?

It is a victory for state criminality that the discussion has devolved to Assange’s mental health rather than a substantive discussion of the treaty’s misapplication to serve political ends.

And similarly the focus on US assurances regarding Assange’s well-being is intended to obscure the fact that a journalist’s work is being criminalized as “espionage” for the first time under a hurriedly drafted, draconian and discredited piece of First World War legislation, the 1917 Espionage Act. Because Assange is a political prisoner suffering political persecution, legal arguments are apparently powerless to save him. It is only a political campaign that can keep underscoring the sham nature of the charges he faces.

The lies of power

What Assange bequeathed us through WikiLeaks was a harsh light capable of cutting through the lies of power and power of lies. He showed that western governments claiming the moral high ground were actually committing crimes in our name out of sight in far-off lands. He tore the mask off their hypocrisy.

He showed that the many millions who took to the streets in cities around the world in 2003 because they knew the US and UK would commit war crimes in Iraq were right to march. But he also confirmed something worse: that their opposition to the war was treated with utter contempt.

The US and UK did not operate more carefully, they were not more respectful of human rights, they did not tread more lightly in Iraq because of those marches, because of the criticism beforehand. The western war machine carried on regardless, crushing the lives of anyone who got caught up in its maw.

Now with Assange locked up and silenced, western foreign policy can return comfortably to the era of zero accountability that existed before Assange shook up the whole system with his revelations. No journalist will dare to repeat what Assange did – not unless they are ready to spend the rest of their days behind bars.

The message his abuse sends to others could not be clearer or more chilling: what happened to Assange could happen to you too.

The truth is journalism is already reeling from the combined assaults against Khashoggi and Assange. But the hounding of Assange strikes the bigger blow. It leaves honest journalism with no refuge, no sanctuary anywhere in the world.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilizations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net. This originally appeared in the Middle East Eye.

Source: Antiwar.com

CBS Edits Out Their Own Reporter Blasting Pandemic Response for Hurting Kids

Cassandra Fairbanks,
December 28th, 2021

Crawford’s comments on Sunday’s Face the Nation went viral on social media, but CBS removed them from the actual show when it aired.

When asked what stories she thought the media did not cover properly in 2021, Crawford did not hold back.

“It’s the crushing impact that our COVID policies have had on young kids and children. By far the least serious risk for serious illness,” she said, adding “a healthy teenager has a one in a million chance of getting, and dying from COVID, which is way lower than, you know, dying in a car wreck on a road trip.”

“But they have suffered and sacrificed the most, especially kids and underrepresented at-risk communities. And now we have the Surgeon General saying there’s a mental health crisis among our kids,” Crawford continued. “The risk of suicide girl suicide attempts among girls now up 51 percent this year, black kids nearly twice as likely as white kids to die by suicide. I mean, school closures, lockdowns, cancellation of sports.”

Newsbusters, who first noticed the censorship, reported “CBS axed Crawford’s comments seconds before they would have aired. As you can see in the transcript and video of how the show aired (links above), White House correspondent Weijia Jiang said “we’ll see” about what happens with Congress in 2022 and Crawford was then set to follow, but Brennan instead went to a commercial break.”

WATCH: Journalist Reporting on Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Burglarized, Research Stolen

Don Via Jr. 
December 24, 2021

Kristan T. Harris is a Wisconsin-based independent journalist and host of the talk news radio show The Rundown Live. A media organization who over the years, in addition to hosting several notable guests, has also made a name for itself reporting high-profile events such as the protest and riot at the Capitol on January 6th, and unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin which led to the Kyle Rittenhouse shooting.

Pertaining to the latter, Mr. Harris was actually called to the witness stand during the recent Rittenhouse trial, as it was he who captured most of the crucial footage in the case.

Worthy of note, Mr. Harris is also loosely affiliated to The Free Thought Project, as I am myself a co-host to The Rundown Live.

Not shy to pursue speaking truth to power, shortly after a verdict was reached in the Rittenhouse case Harris decided to make the journey to New York to provide on-the-ground coverage of the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell. The partner of the late disgraced financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was accused of sex trafficking.

Despite the notable lack of proportionate mainstream media attention, Harris has been present at the courthouse every day of the trial, providing regular updates.

In a few short weeks, The Rundown Live has already distinguished itself for its coverage of the trial, being the only media outlet to publish the full unredacted transcripts of the prosecution’s witness testimony. Including Jane Doe #1; Epstein’s former butler; Jane Doe #2 AKA Katie; Jane Doe #3 AKA Carolyn; in addition to Annie Farmer; and FBI Special Agent Kelly McGuire.

The outlet published other bombshell revelations, and conducted numerous interviews with both mainstream and independent media — including the likes of Dan Dicks of Press For Truth, and Jason Bermas.

However recently Kristan Harris has garnered some less-than-desirable attention as well. On the evening of Wednesday, December 22nd, the AirBnB in which he was staying in Jersey City to report on the trial was burglarized.

Security footage of the break-in appears to show a man of average height and build in casual dark clothing and a face mask remove the air conditioning unit and making his way inside the residence. Just two minutes later he reemerges holding a green bag containing a laptop.

The contents of the laptop contained the last several weeks worth of research pertaining to the trial. While much of the material was backed up on a cloud, it is still an immense loss.

In a Facebook post about the burglary, Harris clarified to those inquiring as to exactly how the thief made his way inside, and exactly what was taken. Specifying that despite the numerous valuable items about the residence, the intruder seemed to know exactly what he was looking for —

“The weird thing is that it’s the only thing missing in 90 seconds. My door was locked. There’s better goodies here.”

………

“He took the air conditioner out the front air bnb window crawled through went through kitchen and ajared my door from the kitchen. Ripped open closet door and stole my laptop. There were other high priced items including a 350 pair of headphones on the bed and other stuff…”

What causes this to be of even greater concern is that this incident took place less than 24 hours after Ghislaine Maxwell’s sister Isabelle had taken a slew of photos of media personnel outside of the courthouse, including of Mr. Harris. Leading some to believe this may have been a targeted act.

This is certainly a bizarre coincidence, if not something more.

A statement on The Rundown Live Facebook page updating followers of the incident affirmed —

“We will not be discouraged nor intimidated from telling the truth”

When The Free Thought Project spoke with Kristan Harris, it became apparent that this incident only served to strengthen his resolve, while he also stressed the importance of independent media, stating —

“We are the only platform publishing transcripts straight from the stenographer detailing the victims testimony. It’s imperative that independent journalists continue to dismantle propaganda by becoming sought after sources by the public. If The Rundown Live was not crowdsourced to attend the Ghislaine Maxwell trial would we know as much about the trial as we do?”

For those wishing to support Mr Harris’s efforts to shed light on this case, a friend and listener of The Rundown Live took it upon herself to start a GoFundMe campaign on their behalf.

As for the trial itself, the jury has spent the last two days in deliberation following closing statements made by the prosecution and defense. It is expected they will resume Monday following a brief recess for the holidays.