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More Shocking Secrets of Governments Orwellian Ministry of Truth

In a peculiar twist of fate, free speech finds itself in a perilous nosedive, with an unexpected accomplice - millions rallying behind censorship as a political cause.

Some daringly seek federal office with a vow to silence dissenting voices, marking one of the most alarming periods in recent memory. What's even more astonishing is the emergence of a triumvirate of censorship, a union of government, academia, and media conglomerates, forming the most extensive censorship network in American history.

This clandestine system is now being dragged into the spotlight by House committees. Just this week, the House Judiciary Committee unveiled a 103-page staff report, delving into the academic facet of this censorship triumvirate. What sends shivers down the spine is not just the report itself but the additional layer it uncovers - government-backed speech controls. It exposes a calculated, coordinated effort to censor dissent, with an intricate web of academic institutions and public interest groups as willing participants.

The latest report lifts the curtain on the pivotal role government officials play in this elaborate scheme, colloquially known as "switchboarding." This process involves directing requests for removal or bans from state and local officials. Through this mechanism, federal agencies not only target individuals but also orchestrate control over this sprawling censorship apparatus.

Brian Scully of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security confirmed the existence of this switchboarding system. CISA has emerged as a linchpin in this labyrinthine structure.

Jen Easterly, the head of CISA, expanded her agency's mandate beyond critical infrastructure to encompass "cognitive infrastructure." This involves tackling not just "disinformation" and "misinformation" but also combating "malinformation" - information rooted in facts but twisted out of context to deceive, harm, or manipulate.

Despite vehement opposition from Democratic members and the Biden Administration, the investigation has unearthed a plethora of grants funneled to academic and third-party organizations tasked with creating blacklists or pressuring advertisers to withdraw support from conservative platforms. The subjects of censorship span a wide spectrum, from election integrity to social justice to climate change.

The Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), formed in collaboration with Stanford University "at the request of DHS/CISA," acts as a consortium of "disinformation" academics led by Stanford University's Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO). EIP serves as a "centralized reporting system" for processing "Jira tickets" aimed at censoring unacceptable viewpoints. Targets range from politicians and commentators to satirical outlets like The Babylon Bee.

Critics have previously chastised Stanford for its role in systematizing and expanding censorship. Stanford's Virality Project went so far as to advocate for the censorship of verifiable facts under the pretext that "true stories … could fuel hesitancy" regarding vaccines and other public health measures.

Recently disclosed emails shed light on the covert coordination with federal agencies, including an email from July 31, 2020, authored by the director of the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, an EIP partner. In this correspondence, Graham Brookie, the lab's senior director, confirmed her group's establishment of an election integrity partnership at the behest of DHS/CISA, engaging in regular communications to combat disinformation.

As many of us within the free speech community raised alarm bells over the government-backed censorship system, private emails from May 2020 hinted at the need to avoid openly endorsing censorship while funding these groups and overseeing the system.

While serving as intermediaries, government officials continued to assert that CISA "neither has nor seeks the ability to remove what information is made available on social media platforms."

Notably, EIP not only collaborated with CISA but also engaged with the Global Engagement Center, an interagency entity housed within the State Department. The Global Engagement Center contracted with the Atlantic Council, which then furnished Twitter with suggested blacklists. The situation escalated to such an extent that Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of trust and safety at the time, responded with incredulous "omg" and "what a total crock."

This extensive network relies on grants from Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the State Department, and various other agencies. The system's underpinnings include a scoring mechanism funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for the Global Disinformation Index (GDI). The GDI pinpointed ten conservative and libertarian platforms as the most egregious sources of disinformation, including sites such as Reason, which publishes conservative legal analyses. In stark contrast, some of the most liberal sites were deemed the most trustworthy for advertisers.

When viewed within this broader context, the report on switchboarding becomes all the more alarming. The Biden Administration has, in essence, bankrolled a global endeavor to rank, target, and eliminate opposing perspectives through a coalition of academic institutions and corporations. A federal court recently curbed certain aspects of this system, deeming it an unprecedented censorship apparatus that essentially birthed an "Orwellian Ministry of Truth."

The remedy for this glaring issue is as clear as day. Congress must unequivocally prohibit any form of funding, whether direct or indirect, for censorship systems. Labeling dissenting opinions as "disinformation" does not change the reality that a vast censorship system, complete with government-affiliated groups, exists. Federal agencies are equipped to address untrue claims about their policies and programs without resorting to government-sanctioned speech controls. It's high time to dismantle the censorship switchboard and usher in a new era of free speech.


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