Sunday, February 18, 2024

People We Should Know: Mike Benz - John Rubino's Substack

The origin story of the Censorship-Industrial Complex

Sorry to deluge you with new people to check out, but this video just dropped, and I’m going to go out on a limb and call it the single most important thing currently available online.

The source is Mike Benz, a former State Department diplomat “responsible for formulating and negotiating US foreign policy on international communications and information technology matters.” He’s currently the executive director of the Foundation for Freedom Online.

The subject is the Censorship-Industrial Complex, how it came to be, and what horrendous things it’s getting up to. The story and its apparent implications are terrifying. If possible, watch the whole video. In the meantime, here’s a bare-bones summary:

Post-WW2, the US tasked the CIA, State Department, and Military Intelligence with developing tools for overthrowing foreign governments and stealing elections. Via copious bribes and effective threats, those organizations formed “partnerships” with newspapers and TV stations in target countries and, one way or another, “manufactured consent” to maintain order.

Then the Internet happened, and the US found it to be a great way to gin up “flash mob” rebellions to serve its interests. But that sword cuts both ways, and populists and other disruptive elements began organizing rebellions of their own. Brexit happened and then Trump was elected, threatening the end of NATO and the rest of the Empire’s control mechanisms.

The Empire responded by turning its “outward facing” assets and capabilities inward against its own citizens in the US and Europe. It created and funded quasi-private groups to censor social media in ways forbidden by the 1st Amendment. And it developed AI systems to map online discourse and shut down anything deemed inconvenient.

The specific target? Not hate speech.

Because the 2020 election was going to be stolen, the censorship complex went after any speech that criticized mail-in ballots, the proposed mechanism for the theft.

There’s vastly more in this one-hour interview, all of it useful for understanding and maybe opposing our nascent dictatorship.,c_limit,f_webp,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/