So, according to Facebook and the Atlantic Council, I am now a “dangerous individual,” you know, like a “terrorist,” or a “serial murderer,” or “human trafficker,” or some other kind of “criminal.” Or I’ve been praising “dangerous individuals,” or disseminating their symbols, or otherwise attempting to “sow dissension” and cause “offline harm.”
Actually, I’m not really clear what I’m guilty of, but I’m definitely some sort of horrible person you want absolutely nothing to do with, whose columns you do not want to read, whose books you do not want to purchase, and the sharing of whose Facebook posts might get your account immediately suspended. Or, at the very least, you’ll be issued this warning:
Now, hold on, don’t click away just yet. You’re already on whatever website you’re reading this “dangerous,” “terrorist” column on (or you’re reading it in an email, probably on your phone), which means you are already on the official “Readers of Mass-Murdering Content” watch-list. So you might as well take the whole ride at this point.
Also, don’t worry, I’m not going to just whine about how Facebook was mean to me for 2,000 words … well, all right, I’m going to do that a little, but mostly I wanted to demonstrate how “reality” is manufactured and policed by global corporations like Facebook, Twitter, Google, the corporate media, of course, crowdfunding platforms like Patreon and PayPal, and “think tanks” like the Atlantic Council and its Digital Forensic Research Lab (“DFRLab”).
First, though, let me tell you my Facebook story.
What happened was, I made a Facebook post, and a lot of people tried to share it, so Facebook and the DFRLab suspended or disabled their accounts, or just prevented them from sharing it, and sent them the above warning. Facebook didn’t suspend my account, or censor the post on my account, or contact me to let me know that they have officially deemed me a “dangerous individual.” Instead, they punished anyone who tried to “boost” my “dangerous” post, a tactic anyone who has been through boot camp or in prison (or has watched this classic scene from Full Metal Jacket) will be familiar with.
Here’s the “dangerous” post in question. (If you’re particularly sensitive to “terrorist” content, you may want to put on your “anti-terrorism” glasses, or take some other type of prophylactic measures to protect yourself from “offline harm,” before you venture any further.)
The photo, which I stole from Gunnar Kaiser, is of an art exhibit in Düsseldorf, Germany. My commentary is self-explanatory. As you can see, it is extremely “dangerous.” It literally radiates “offline harm.”
OK, before you write to inform me how this was just the work of a dumb Facebook algorithm, think about what I described above. If an algorithm was preventing sharing and suspending people’s accounts based on keyword spotting, it would have censored my original post, and presumably suspended my account. Or, if Facebook has an algorithm that recognizes certain “dangerous” phrases, and then censors or suspends the accounts of people who share a post including those phrases, but doesn’t censor the original post or suspend the account of the author of the post … well, that’s kind of strange, isn’t it?
In any event, shortly after I posted it, I started seeing reports like this on Facebook:
Those are just a few examples, but I think you get the general idea.
The point is, apparently, the Corporatocracy feel sufficiently threatened by random people on Facebook that they are conducting these COINTELPRO-type ops. Seriously, think about that for a minute. I am not Stephen King or Margaret Atwood. I’m not even Glenn Greenwald or Matt Taibbi. I’m a midlist-level author of unusual literature, and a political satirist, and a blogger, basically, and yet Facebook, and their partners at the Atlantic Council, and AstraZeneca, and Pfizer, and Moderna, and who knows which other global corporations and transnational, non-governmental entities like the WEF and WHO, consider someone of my lowly status enough of a threat to their “New Normal” narrative to warrant the attention of the Reality Police.
Now, let me be clear about who I’m talking about when I’m talking about the “Reality Police.” Facebook’s partnership with the Atlantic Council is only one example, but it is a rather good one. Here’s a quick profile of the Atlantic Council …
“The Atlantic Council of the United States was founded in 1961 as a think tank and anticommunist public relations organization to prop up support within the US for NATO in the post-World War II era … [its] current, honorary and lifetime directors list reads like a bipartisan rogues gallery of American war-criminals, including Henry Kissinger, George P. Shultz, Frank Carlucci, James A. Baker, R. James Woolsey, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta. Among the former Atlantic Council chairman have been Obama administration officials James L. Jones, (national security advisor) and Chuck Hagel (secretary of defense). The chairman of the council is Brent Scowcroft, the retired US Air Force officer who held national security and intelligence positions in the Nixon, Bush I and Bush II administrations. [It] is funded by substantial government and corporate interests from the financial, defense and petroleum industries. Its 2017 annual report documents substantial contributions from HSBC, Chevron, The Blackstone Group, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Ford Motor Company, among many others. Also listed is Google Inc. in the \$100,000 to \$250,000 donor category. Among the largest council contributors are the US State Department, The Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK, and the United Arab Emirates. Other contributors include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Boeing, BP, Exxon and the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.” — Kevin Reed, World Socialist Website
These are the folks that are policing “reality” (the “reality” they have manufactured, and are manufacturing moment by moment), deciding what officially happened, and didn’t happen, and what it means, and who qualifies as an “authoritative news source,” and “fact-checking” everything we see on the Internet. It’s not a bunch of pimply-faced IT nerds writing sloppy code in Menlo Park. It’s GloboCap and the Military-Industrial Complex.
If you’re one of my “New Normal” ex-friends and colleagues (or one of my Facebook or Twitter trolls) who, for some unknown reason, is still reading this column, perhaps on your way to get experimentally “vaccinated” or report one of your neighbors for not wearing a mask or being outdoors without a valid reason, this is who has manufactured your “reality” and the so-called “science” you claim I am “denying,” even as reality stares you in the face …
This did not begin with the “New Normal,” of course. Every system of power manufactures its own “reality” (totalitarian systems more fanatically than others). No, I’ve been writing about the manufacturing of “normality,” and the War on Dissent and Populism that GloboCap has been relentlessly waging on anyone and everyone opposing its hegemony or refusing to conform to its ideology, since back when I was still writing heretical columns like this for CounterPunch … before the editors saw which way the wind was blowing and ideologically purged its roster to get back into the good graces of GloboCap (following which ideological purge, Google restored it to the ranks of “real news”).
And that is how reality-policing works. It’s a bullying operation, basically. The entire “cancel culture” phenomenon is. “Cancel culture” is a silly name for it. We are talking about a global empire imposing total ideological conformity (or, in simpler terms, its version of “reality”) on the entire planet through fear and force. The Nazis referred to this process as Gleichschaltung.
Global capitalism has reached the stage where it no longer needs to tolerate dissent (any kind of dissent, from any quarter) to maintain the illusion of “freedom and democracy,” because there is no alternative to global capitalism. It is everywhere. There is nowhere to run or hide. When the Reality Police find you, and threaten to “cancel” you, you have two choices … obey or be vaporized.
If you’re a Palestinian, a Syrian, a Yemeni, the president of an uncooperative African country, or some other type of non-Western person, you might very well be physically vaporized. For Westerners, vaporization is less dramatic and final. You will simply be disappeared from the Internet, fired from your job, socially ostracized, deemed a “dangerous individual,” a “racist,” an “anti-Semite,” a “conspiracy theorist,” a “white supremacist,” a “domestic terrorist,” an “anti-vaxxer,” a “Covid denier.”
If you’re a member of the independent media, or a prominent activist, or a lawyer, or doctor, or just someone with a big social media platform, and have not seen the “New Normal” light, you will be demonized, demonetized, deplatformed, censored, and subjected to the type of creepy COINTELPRO-type tactics I described above. If you don’t believe me, just ask Robert F. Kennedy, Rainer Fuellmich, Vanessa Beeley, Whitney Webb, James Corbett, Ken Jebsen, Cory Morningstar, The Last American Vagabond, Geopolitics & Empire, The Centre for Research on Globalization, OffGuardian, and countless other people and outlets that have challenged the official “New Normal” narrative.
Or have a look at this “warning” you get on Twitter if you attempt to read anything published by OffGuardian …
I could go on and on with this, and I’m sure I will in future columns. It’s kind of the only story at the moment, the changeover from simulated democracy to pathologized-totalitarianism as the governing structure of global capitalism. For now, I’ll just leave you with one more image in this already overly pictorial column. Don’t worry, it’s been thoroughly “fact-checked,” so there’s no need to read or question the fine print (even though I have a feeling you will) …
Do watch out for those “unrelated coincidences.” Some of them, I hear, can be rather nasty.
C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. His dystopian novel, Zone 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. Volumes I and II of his Consent Factory Essays are published by Consent Factory Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Content, Inc. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.