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Astroturfing: The Battle to control free speech on the Internet continues

RWMALONEMD - Robert W Malone MD, MS - FEB 14, 2023

“Astroturfing: Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants. It is a practice intended to give the statements or organizations credibility by withholding information about the source's financial connection.” -Wiki

As I have written about previously, the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) is an astroturf organization, whose primary objective is political, and this “non-profit” corporation is allied with political factions whose desire is to stop free speech on the Internet. I wrote yesterday about my belief that the CCDH non-profit status should be investigated, as I do not believe that they are non-political in nature. Furthermore, their past history as a political organization in the UK sheds doubt on their legitimacy here in this country (USA). The history of CCDH and their founder and CEO, Imran Ahmed clearly documents the political involvements of the organization over time, which is at least partially driven by organizational ties to the UK and US governments.

The early history of CCDH is outlined in the following article, printed in the Canary. This history is important, as it shows how the CCDH has been used as a political weapon.

Exclusive: Labour right linked to campaign to shut down The Canary (a workers coop/journal) On 2 August 2019, an anonymous internet campaign named Stop Funding Fake News (SFFN) celebrated its apparent success in downsizing The Canary. For six months, SFFN had been trying to demonetise The Canary by lobbying companies to remove advertisements from its website (sound familiar). The Canary can now reveal that Morgan McSweeney, Member of Partialment Keir Starmer’s chief of staff, launched the organisation that now runs SFFN. SFFN CEO Imran Ahmed has also worked closely with a number of Labour figures previously involved in the campaign to remove Jeremy Corbyn as party leader. Center for Countering Digital Hate SFFN claims that it has been “a project of the Center For Countering Digital Hate” since 4 May 2020. The relationship between the two organisations, however, appears to date back far longer. And crucially, CCDH is linked to a number of figures on the Labour right. CCDH is a not-for-profit NGO which was initially registered on Companies House as Brixton Endeavours Limited. At the time of incorporation, 19 October 2018, the organisation’s only director was Morgan McSweeney – Labour leader (MP) Keir Starmer’s chief of staff. McSweeney was also the campaign manager for (MP) Liz Kendall’s leadership bid. Brixton Endeavours Limited was officially renamed the Center for Countering Digital Hate on 30 August 2019, and McSweeney did not resign his directorship until 6 April 2020. The resignation was listed on Companies House on 4 May 2020, the day CCDH and SFFN’s relationship was formally acknowledged.

Why does all this matter? Because the article above clearly documents that Brixton Endeavours Limited, whose name was changed to CCDH in 2019, was a political organization. Their purpose was to destroy the political opposition from the get-go by pressuring advertisers to stop advertising on blacklisted sites. This has been their standard playbook for taking down the opposition.

This smear campaign tactic was used to oust the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

As The Canary extensively reported during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, figures from the Conservative Party, the Labour right, and the establishment media orchestrated a transparently politically-motivated smear campaign against him. Their weapon of choice was employing a litany of bogus accusations of antisemitism to paint the lifelong anti-racism campaigner as some kind of bigot. The purpose of the campaign was straightforward – they sought to derail his chances of becoming prime minister and distract attention from his (widely popular) policy proposals. Their motive was equally straightforward – they rightly feared the threat that a Corbyn-led government would pose to the status quo and their own political and economic interests. Now, one of the major players in this campaign has admitted that its whole underlying premise was false all along.

Recently, the politicians working with mainstream media have used the bogus label of anti-Semitism to remove Andrew Bridgen from the Conservative Party in the UK. In addition, The Guardian, working with leading Jewish groups in the UK, has tried to have Neil Oliver deplatformed from GB News for speaking about the COVID-19 vaccine and the risk of a one world government, which is evidently is the same as being an “anti-semite” in the minds of some. Last year, main stream media attempted to smear Robert F. Kennedy with a similar hogwash smear campaign and now, CCDH is also trying to label me and others with similar terms (guilt by association). Of course, this was followed by the attacks by the Washington Post and Yahoo News - calling those of us the CCDH smeared as “extremist influencers.” Remember that this has become their “playbook,” dating back from at least 2018.

I suggest that these defamatory claims are not originating from grass roots organizations, but are being brought forth for political gain. The goal is to shut down free speech. The goal is to generate outrage.

But our First Amendment of the Constitution states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The truth is that it is unfortunate that there are people who truly engage in such hate speech. That there are “extreme” trolls, bigots, racists in the world who truly say and post horrible things. Antisemitism is real. But allowing the term to be weaponized in the political arena and social media is not ok. Such labels should not be exploited for political gain. End of story.

This is about controlling free speech. The ability of people to discuss politics, world events, ideas, and to draw their own conclusions. This is the basis of our society. But some can’t abide the idea of a truly free nation. They think it is not controllable.

They do not trust in the laws of the land and the Constitution/Bill of Rights to protect our republic and our peoples. They want to take matters into their own hands.

Following the logic of President Obama, the new twitter is a danger to society. In the government’s opinion, free speech can’t be controlled. It can’t be fully manipulated.

Hence, Twitter must be bought to heel. Obviously, the plot to take down Elon Musk is much bigger than any one individual or organization can take on. So, how to put pressure on Twitter when the regulator’s threats have failed to be effective? How to put pressure on Twitter when the government censorship programs put in place years earlier have now failed. How to put controls on free speech?

More about the CCDH. The CCDH was incorporated in the states in 2021. Guidestar lists a 1.4 million dollar gross revenue for that year (2022 tax returns aren’t available yet).

The chairman of the board has close ties to the Atlantic Council, which is aligned with politicians, government organizations and even the CIA.

OBSERVAÇÃO DE HEITOR DE PAOLA: O termoastroturfingderiva-se deAstroTurf, uma marca de grama sintética projetada para dar a aparência de um gramado natural. É um trocadilho com a palavra da língua inglesa" grassroots", que, em português, é traduzida literalmente como "raízes da grama" e que significa movimentos espontâneos de uma comunidade rural, geralmente conservadora. (Obs.: não sei se é a mesma que usa em estádios)

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