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Atlantic Council's Ben Nimmo, Who Got Unz Review Banned on Facebook, Joins as Its Head of Anti-Influence Operations
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Leaked documents have unequivocally proven that the United Kingdom has been running a large-scale and well-funded program to plaster the Western media with anti-Russian propaganda and Twitter wants you to know that these materials were obtained through hacking.

Meanwhile, just a few weeks ago, the connections between American Big Tech and these sundry programs were formalized with Ben Nimmo joining Facebook “to lead global threat intelligence strategy against influence operations.”

Ben Nimmo is a nonresident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council think-tank, which pays the salaries of pro-NATO journalists and activists and is funded by the US State Department and military contractors like Raytheon & Lockheed Martin.

He heads the Atlantic Council’s DFR Lab to “operationalize the study of disinformation by exposing falsehoods and fake news”.

He is highly accomplished in the field, having filtered out Russian bots disgruntled British pensioners on Facebook and Twitter for several years now:

Ben Nimmo, a DFRLab fellow who has built his reputation on flushing out online Kremlin influence networks, embarked on an embarrassing witch hunt this year that saw him misidentify several living, breathing individuals as Russian bots or Kremlin “influence accounts.” Nimmo’s victims included Mariam Susli, a well-known Syrian-Australian social media personality, the famed Ukrainian concert pianist Valentina Lisitsa, and a British pensioner named Ian Shilling.

According to another expose by the Moon of Alabama blog, Nimmo also prominently figures in cluster lists in the UK’s “Integrity Initiative”, an FCO-funded partner project of Bellingcat and the Atlantic Council, under which “journalists”, activists, and social media armchair warriors were compensated for doing tasks like pushing the Russiagate conspiracy theory and launching smear attacks against public figures perceived to have taken insufficiently anti-Russian positions (see right).

Ironic, given DFR Lab own fondness for cluster graphics:

To readers of this blog, perhaps the most relevant tidbit about Ben Nimmo is that he was instrumental in the blanket ban of The Unz Review at Facebook through the “independent assessment” of social media analytics company Graphika, where until his transfer to Facebook he was Head of Investigation and led an “expert team of OSINT investigators in detecting, identifying and analyzing inauthentic behavior and information operations online.”

This deprived Facebook users of the opportunity to read my coronavirus posts, or even share them within private messages. Given my predictive record on Corona, it is not an exaggeration to say that Nimmo has blood on his hands.

But more generally, this is yet another step in the increasingly overt takeover of American Big Tech companies by Western intelligence and security organizations and affiliated structures. Now my position is that the American elites have no obligation to clamp down on Russian information/propaganda (cross out as per appropriate) or even their own citizens who promote it, or at the very least expecting them to is naive and stupid – just as it is naive and stupid to expect consistency on other issues, such as promoting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine while prosecuting Ricky Vaughn for posting pro-Trump memes on Twitter, lauding Ukraine’s shutdown of pro-opposition media and shutting down their own Qanon protests while lambasting analogous Russian actions, etc. Hypocrisy is the name of the game and is an eternal in geopolitical competition.

But it does beg the question of how and why exactly Russia is obligated to tolerate NATO-controlled social networks (read: info gathering/propaganda organizations) unfiltered access to its domestic political discourse – and how long this state of affairs can last.

 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

    Commenting rules. Please note that anonymous comments are not allowed.

  2. In Russia this question will be decided by one old man, who incidentally doesn’t use the internet, and has no real clue about its power.

  3. I would say that it is good, he is not using internet. Putin even said ,that internet is American military project. Which is true. I wonder why he doesn’t act accordingly. Well, he said that he is liberal. So he is ok with channels pushing liberalism. Overall facebook and Twitter should be banned day after Russia gate started in USA. Kremlin can just say. My american friends, we are banning Facebook to protect your election. Even Hillary was on board back then.

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
    @Demografie


    I would say that it is good, he is not using internet. Putin even said ,that internet is American military project. Which is true.
     
    Only if you consider military funded mostly basic R&D to be a "military project." Its origin was from the days computers were hideously expensive, and it was realized that by efficiently networking them together less money could be spent on that sort of thing, plus I suspect although should check that increased ability for researchers to collaborate was also a selling point. From that start it steadily got less and less "military," as for example in 1983 MILNET was physically spit off from the ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, of the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense (DOD), which has changed its name to put a Defense in front of it back and forth several time.

    For example, its first really big expansion was to link together a set of National Science Foundation (NSF) supercomputer centers, the NSF being our major civilian pure science government funding agency (as opposed to for example the much more applied National Institutes for Health (NIH)). Which of course is not to say military funded research didn't happen on these supercomputers or military funded researchers didn't use the NSFNET expanded Internet.

    You may consider this a distinction without a difference, and that's certainly a debatable point especially as the US Deep State continues its aggression against all through the Internet and various giants like Facebook and Twitter who are happy to work with it, are arguably part of our Deep State, but from the US viewpoint which I can personally attest to having started using it in 1980 a few years before it became an internet it's a significant difference. Like pretty much everything I've described is "dual use," has civilian as well as military uses.
    , @Getaclue
    @Demografie

    I have a friend whose father was at the very height of the CIA for decades -- told me way, way back that he would never get on any of this "Social Media" as he knew who was actually behind it and what it could and would be used for...seems he was let in on the "secret" early on....

  4. Obviously, Russia will retaliate soon enough, so it doesn’t matter what the Western Deep State does re social media. But the Institute for Statecraft leak/hack/ whatever happened in 2018, I believe. Why the sudden interest now?

    Rather like Navalny’s video rants against immigrants and others. I’m sure there’s a lot more out there. Why haven’t they surfaced earlier?

  5. This deprived Facebook users of the opportunity to read my coronavirus posts, or even share them within private messages. Given my predictive record on Corona, it is not an exaggeration to say that Nimmo has blood on his hands.

    Your posts about Corona were all good, and your blog in general is good. But your argument above is not as good.

    First, your logic is that, because of the quality of your blog, the censorship was particularly wrong. If you think Nimmo, by stopping the useful information you conveyed, “has blood on his hands”, then arguably allowing (mis)information which is the complete opposite of what you wrote would be nearly as repproachable.

    The problem is that your argument could be used against you. You see, you share this webzine with Israel Shamir, Mike Whitney and other writers who consistently downplay Covid-19. There is no practical way that Facebook could selectively ban only *some* of the The Unz Review.

    I like to read Shamir and Whitney in general. Sometimes they publish interesting stuff, and, even when they are completely wrong, they stimulate thoughts on difficult subjects.

  6. @Demografie
    I would say that it is good, he is not using internet. Putin even said ,that internet is American military project. Which is true. I wonder why he doesn't act accordingly. Well, he said that he is liberal. So he is ok with channels pushing liberalism. Overall facebook and Twitter should be banned day after Russia gate started in USA. Kremlin can just say. My american friends, we are banning Facebook to protect your election. Even Hillary was on board back then.

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling, @Getaclue

    I would say that it is good, he is not using internet. Putin even said ,that internet is American military project. Which is true.

    Only if you consider military funded mostly basic R&D to be a “military project.” Its origin was from the days computers were hideously expensive, and it was realized that by efficiently networking them together less money could be spent on that sort of thing, plus I suspect although should check that increased ability for researchers to collaborate was also a selling point. From that start it steadily got less and less “military,” as for example in 1983 MILNET was physically spit off from the ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, of the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense (DOD), which has changed its name to put a Defense in front of it back and forth several time.

    For example, its first really big expansion was to link together a set of National Science Foundation (NSF) supercomputer centers, the NSF being our major civilian pure science government funding agency (as opposed to for example the much more applied National Institutes for Health (NIH)). Which of course is not to say military funded research didn’t happen on these supercomputers or military funded researchers didn’t use the NSFNET expanded Internet.

    You may consider this a distinction without a difference, and that’s certainly a debatable point especially as the US Deep State continues its aggression against all through the Internet and various giants like Facebook and Twitter who are happy to work with it, are arguably part of our Deep State, but from the US viewpoint which I can personally attest to having started using it in 1980 a few years before it became an internet it’s a significant difference. Like pretty much everything I’ve described is “dual use,” has civilian as well as military uses.

  7. It’s interesting that Ben mentions influence ops from Russia, China, and Iran; but he doesn’t mention Israel.

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/redacted-fbi-document-hints-at-israeli-efforts-to-help-trump-in-2016-campaign/

  8. @Demografie
    I would say that it is good, he is not using internet. Putin even said ,that internet is American military project. Which is true. I wonder why he doesn't act accordingly. Well, he said that he is liberal. So he is ok with channels pushing liberalism. Overall facebook and Twitter should be banned day after Russia gate started in USA. Kremlin can just say. My american friends, we are banning Facebook to protect your election. Even Hillary was on board back then.

    Replies: @That Would Be Telling, @Getaclue

    I have a friend whose father was at the very height of the CIA for decades — told me way, way back that he would never get on any of this “Social Media” as he knew who was actually behind it and what it could and would be used for…seems he was let in on the “secret” early on….

  9. So Ben, do I understand it right that the story Graphika & Facebook are going with is that they banned UR & VDARE because some anonymous fans of theirs, with no proven connections to them, profusely shared some of their posts across several Facebook pages?

    Reading the two reports, it seems that Facebook objects to “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. This term seems more appropriate to YouTube or AdSense, because “fake clicks” can earn advertising money for a user; and a lack of confidence in Google’s analytics would undermine advertisers’ confidence in the integrity of Google’s billing.

    On Facebook, I don’t see the problem. To see the stories promoted by an individual or group, a user would need to befriend the individual or join the group. Facebook might not like the promoted stories, but where is the harm if users must “opt in” to see them?

    If Facebook then bans the sites whose stories are promoted, this is even more perverse. They are not responsible for the actions of the promoters.

  10. Jimmy Dore invited Max Blumenthal to talk about this on Youtube and within minutes the Stasi of Sunny California shut it down. Now it’s back up (as of a half hour ago). We’ll see if it stays.

    Britain’s “soft power” (as described by Bojo) is now reduced to psy-ops, dirty tricks and dossiers, and their game is to play innocent little ol’ me when Biden’s missiles land in Damascus.

    • Replies: @Shortsword
    @Bragadocious

    I don't see any mention of this on the Twitter accounts of Max Blumenthal and Jimmy Dore?

  11. @Bragadocious
    Jimmy Dore invited Max Blumenthal to talk about this on Youtube and within minutes the Stasi of Sunny California shut it down. Now it's back up (as of a half hour ago). We'll see if it stays.

    Britain's "soft power" (as described by Bojo) is now reduced to psy-ops, dirty tricks and dossiers, and their game is to play innocent little ol' me when Biden's missiles land in Damascus.

    Replies: @Shortsword

    I don’t see any mention of this on the Twitter accounts of Max Blumenthal and Jimmy Dore?

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