US Orders Facebook to Censor Iran Posts; Israel Invited into DOD Web

If you ever wondered what would happen to the Internet during World War Three, here are two bookend news stories about how information is already being controlled at both ends.

First, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, suspended dozens of accounts this past week that expressed positive mention of assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Istagram accounts of Farsi language journalists that previously reached hundreds of thousands were suspended and posts removed by the company.

A Facebook spokesperson acknowledged that this was done after the parent company was informed that it could be prosecuted under U.S. Sanctions laws imposed in recent months on Iran.

Second, Whitney Webb reports the U.S. Department of Defense has opened a back door to Israel to intercept much of the data that flows through classified Pentagon and Intelligence Community computer networks and remote devices. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin became a major investor in the Israeli cybersecurity company. After installing Cyberreason's software across its own network, Lockheed Martin became the largest conduit providing Cybereason’s software to U.S. federal and military agencies. See, below . . .

Instagram Censoring the Accounts of Farsi Media Outlets and Iranian Influencers, International Federation of Journalists Says
By Jeffery Martin On 1/10/20 at 8:42 PM EST
Current Time 0:14
Duration 1:04
HD
World Censorship Instagram Social media Iran

In the aftermath of the killing of Iran's major general Qassem Soleimani, Iranian journalists have reported the censorship of their Instagram accounts. Posts about Soleimani have disappeared from Instagram which is currently the only operational international social media site within Iran.

In a letter to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, the Association of Iranian Journalists in Tehran, Iran, called the censorship "unprecedented in the history of social networks and in conflict with the very innate actuality of media." The Association of Iranian Journalists is a full member organization of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

"At a time when Iranian citizens need access to information it is unacceptable that Instagram should choose to censor Iranian media and individual journalists and uses," said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger.

Newsweek reached out to Mosseri for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Stephanie Otway, a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, told codastory.com that the company conducts business "under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government's designation of the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and its leadership."

[Instagram said any accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Revolutionary Guards, as well as content that supports it, are in violation of its community guidelines banning terrorist content.

“This is just a field of law that really hasn’t been written quite yet,” explained Eliza Campbell, associate director at the Cyber Program at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C, who said the existing laws had failed to keep up with online speech. “The terrorist designation system is an important tool, but it’s also a blunt instrument,” she said. “I think we’re walking down a dangerous path when we afford these platforms – which are private entities, have no oversight, and are not elected bodies – to essentially dictate policy, which is what’s happening right now.”]

https://www.newsweek.com/instagram-censoring-accounts-farsi-media-outlet...

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How an Israeli Spy-Linked Tech Firm Gained Access to the US Gov’t’s Most Classified Networks

Through its main investors, SoftBank and Lockheed Martin, Cybereason not only has ties to the Trump administration but has its software running on some of the U.S. government’s most classified and secretive networks.
by Whitney Webb

https://www.mintpressnews.com/cybereason-investors-offer-israeli-spy-cla...

January 14th, 2020
By Whitney Webb

If the networks of the U.S. military, the U.S. intelligence community and a slew of other U.S. federal agencies were running the software of a company with deep ties, not only to foreign companies with a history of espionage against the U.S. but also foreign military intelligence, it would — at the very least — garner substantial media attention. Yet, no media reports to date have noted that such a scenario exists on a massive scale and that the company making such software recently simulated the cancellation of the 2020 election and the declaration of martial law in the United States.

Earlier this month, MintPress News reported on the simulations for the U.S. 2020 election organized by the company Cybereason, a firm led by former members of Israel’s military intelligence Unit 8200 and advised by former top and current officials in both Israeli military intelligence and the CIA. Those simulations, attended by federal officials from the FBI, DHS and the U.S. Secret Service, ended in disaster, with the elections ultimately canceled and martial law declared due to the chaos created by a group of hackers led by Cybereason employees.

The first installment of this three part series delved deeply into Cybereason’s ties to the intelligence community of Israel and also other agencies, including the CIA, as well as the fact that Cybereason stood to gain little financially from the simulations given that their software could not have prevented the attacks waged against the U.S.’ electoral infrastructure in the exercise.

Also noted was the fact that Cybereason software could be potentially used as a backdoor by unauthorized actors, a possibility strengthened by the fact that the company’s co-founders all previously worked for firms that have a history of placing backdoors into U.S. telecommunications and electronic infrastructure as well as aggressive espionage targeting U.S. federal agencies.

The latter issue is crucial in the context of this installment of this exclusive MintPress series, as Cybereason’s main investors turned partners have integrated Cybereason’s software into their product offerings. This means that the clients of these Cybereason partner companies, the U.S. intelligence community and military among them, are now part of Cybereason’s network of more than 6 million endpoints that this private company constantly monitors using a combination of staff comprised largely of former intelligence operatives and an AI algorithm first developed by Israeli military intelligence.

More . . . at https://www.mintpressnews.com/cybereason-investors-offer-israeli-spy-cla...

***

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ggersh's picture

I imagine tRump will not like being the brunt of anything mean being said about the greatest orange man ever. So how far will they take this, first they came for.......

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/01/12/us-pressure-social-media-censoring-su...

Under US pressure, social media companies censor critical content and suspend Venezuelan, Iranian, and Syrian accounts
As the US escalates its hybrid wars, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are suspending accounts and censoring content that conflicts with Washington’s pro-war narrative. The Grayzone spoke to several people silenced in these social media purges.
By Ben Norton

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5 users have voted.

trump amerika's last president

The CIA website has a kids section with games where children can “solve puzzles, crack codes, and discover clues like a real CIA officer”.

This is like ISIS starting an ice cream truck business.

Caitlin

wendy davis's picture

@ggersh

accounts in the New Anez Bolivia's accounts have also been deleted. yesterday elijah magnier had tweeted that if his account is suspended, he'll be a 'V-something-or-other]. oh, fiddlesticks; maybe he'd meant Farcebook instead?

on Twitter as well, there are folks pointing out that a number of notable amerikan figures are lambasting the government, not Twitter for being obedient fascists, sadly.

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3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Boy can you imagine how many heads would explode if word of that got out? But since it's Israel...shhh. We can't talk about that.

Meanwhile Trump is throwing vulnerable Americans off food stamps and congress is going to give Israel billions more. This burns me to no end!

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6 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

funding CyberTreason costs big bucks...er...shekels. TINA, serf!

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2 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

i'd been reading about it on Twitter, one link having led to 'Facebook’s Soleimani Ban Flies in Face of First Amendment, If sanctions can be invoked by a social media network to take down certain content, what is next?', by Ari Paul of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, commondreams.org, Jan. 15

some snippets:

"Instagram, and its parent company Facebook, took down posts regarded as too sympathetic to Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated January 3 in a controversial US airstrike. The news website Coda (1/10/20) was credited with breaking the news, and Newsweek (1/10/20) also reported that:

Iranian journalists have reported the censorship of their Instagram accounts. Posts about Soleimani have disappeared from Instagram, which is currently the only operational international social media site within Iran.

[Is that true?]

According to the Facebook corporation, as quoted by CNN (1/10/20), removal of such posts is required by US sanctions; the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, of which Soleimani was a commander, was designated as a terrorist organization by the US government in April:

As part of its compliance with US law, the Facebook spokesperson said the company removes accounts run by or on behalf of sanctioned people and organizations.

One might rightly ask: What constitutes a post supportive of the late military commander? According to the CNN report, merely posting a photo of the general could get the Facebook authorities to take a post down.

The International Federation of Journalists condemned the censorship:

The measures have gone even further, and some accounts of Iranian newspapers and news agencies have now been removed from the social media platform. This poses an immediate threat to freedom of information in Iran, as Instagram is the only international social media platform currently still operating in the country.

The Washington Times (1/11/20) reported:

Ali Rabiei, a spokesperson for the Iranian government, complained from his Twitter account on Monday this week about the disappearance of social media discussions about Soleimani, accusing Instagram of acting “undemocratic and unashamed.”

Much of the coverage has centered on the fact that Instagram is one of the few social media networks not widely restricted in Iran—thus, the blackout serves as a way of censoring information going into Iran. In fact, the US government news agency Voice of America (1/7/20) reported that the Iranian government was clamping down on social media posts too critical of Soleimani, and NBC News (8/21/19) reported on how Iranians used networks like Instagram to skirt government regulation. (The irony here is thick.)"
[large snip]
.......................................
Regardless of whether the government directed Facebook to take this action, the fact that a media company felt the need to do so is proof of a chilling effect on speech. Who, specifically, is to decide what is so unabashedly pro-Soleimani material that it violates US sanctions? Is an article that merely acknowledges that many Iranians mourned Soleimani and denounced his killing a violation? Is an anti-war editorial that doesn’t sufficiently assert Soleimani was “no angel” constitute such a crime? Could satirical material that facetiously supported the Tehran regime get censored? (The last item isn’t so hypothetical: A Babson College professor was fired for jokingly encouraging Iran to follow Trump’s lead by targeting US cultural sites.)"

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ggersh's picture

@wendy davis This site and other like it going down

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5 users have voted.

trump amerika's last president

The CIA website has a kids section with games where children can “solve puzzles, crack codes, and discover clues like a real CIA officer”.

This is like ISIS starting an ice cream truck business.

Caitlin

wendy davis's picture

@ggersh

threat to social networking, not that individuals quoted might not be.

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3 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@ggersh

what's next? This site and other like it going down?

had you meant c99's twitter and/or facebook (if c99 has one) accounts? or the site in general being taken down?

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0 users have voted.

Accounts that had a positive slant on the assination were deleted? Because sanctions?
Seems negative slanted accounts would trigger the sanctions problem.
Either way, it is not good, in any way, shape, or form.

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1 user has voted.
edg's picture

@on the cusp

The accounts that were nuked were those that had anything at all nice to say about Soleimani, the guy that was murdered by the US. Accounts that are bloodthirsty warmongering trash and praise the murder were not touched.

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3 users have voted.

@edg The essay referred to pro-assassinations (favorable accounts), and I found that odd.

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1 user has voted.

the more significant. After the Patriot Act, and the legalization of mass surveillance in America after 9/11, censorship is the logical next step in creating a police state. But, the almost brazen acknowledgement that it will be administered by a partnership with Israeli Intelligence is nearly mind-blowing.

Trump mentioned something earlier this week about expanding NATO into the ME. Coincidence?

Whitney is a national treasure. She's almost the only one who still peeling back the layers.

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4 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@leveymg

ByeDone once said that if Israel didn't exist we'd have to create it. Israel is also involved in our border security videos and don't forget how Israel was caught spying on Trump's WH but got away Scott free from any repercussions.

Then of course there is Epstein and his spying and blackmailing people in our government. Israel spilled the beans on Clinton's affair with Monica. And speaking of pedophilia in the WH Whitney wrote about how many administrations had brought children there. Yes indeed Whitney is a national treasure. The series she did on Epstein was most excellent and she tied it back to the mob days, Cohen and prohibition.

BTW. Did people see the story about Epstein taking under aged girls to his island in 2018? Zero Hedges has it.

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3 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg But, not a word about Lady Maxwell or the Israeli connection that Whitney has been developing. Of course. Interesting that Webb has cracked open this whole new Lockheed Martin angle at this point. Wonder how long it will take someone in our intrepid media to give it the wider exposure it deserves.

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3 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

@leveymg

I read a discussion about how Russia is playing in Ukraine and doing some nefarious things and how people bought it hook line and sinker with absolutely no doubt that it was true. One person kept trying to wake people up to the fact that Israel does much more meddling in our elections through buying our congress members etc. He included how Sheldon Ander.....someone gave Trump $100 million for his election and lots of other ways how Israel is more meddlesome than Russia could dream of and boy did he get Dawg piled on! The names he was called...he didn't let up but no one could be pushed from their position that every damn thing that happens here is Russia's fault.

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3 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg @snoopydawg interference and hacking sides. I think it's curious that Israel has so long been one of the most active proponents of expansion of US domestic surveillance. But, of course, they manufactured most of the CALEA-compliant interception equipment that was mandated since 1997. No doubt, the raw intel take gets split three ways.

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3 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

of the US to Israel, we always must ask: 'which is the client, which is the state?' remember also, that lindsey graham had called for a military alliance with israel, although if it had been formalized, i hadn't read about it. also, bibi has claimed that he had convinced Boss Tweet to pull amerika out of the JCPOA, and now wants iran to sign onto a new version, likely written by pompeo and bibi & minions.

yes, whitney webb is a national treasure, although she lives in chile. so are (nomadic) eva bartlett, sharmine narwani, vanessa beeley, and craig murray.

from eva's twitter account:

and remember: colombia is now a Nato partner, under nato's umbrella, etc.

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wendy davis's picture

@wendy davis

eva bartlett: ‘After US killing of Iran’s Soleimani, narrative control on social media is getting worse’, jan. 17, 2020, RT.com

a lengthy compilation, incuding syria and bolivia, but even more notably:

Accounts Calling For Genocide A-Okay on Twitter

While accounts like McAdams’ are taken down allegedly for reasons of political correctness, other accounts can call for genocide and destruction with no repercussions.

Take the rather no-name lobbyist Jack Burkman, who, after the US assassination of Iran's beloved General Soleimani, tweeted about the “need to burn every major Iranian city to the ground.” His tweet actually included “Load up the [chemical weapon] napalm.” On several more occasions, Burkman tweeted about destroying Iran, including his tweet on the firebombing of Dresden and his desire to “replicate the campaign against Iran.” Some of those tweets have been removed, but his account remains active, without restrictions, as though he hadn’t violated Twitter rules on multiple occasions.
.................................................
Terrorist Accounts, Exploited Children, And More Twitter Restrictions

Accounts abound on Twitter and Facebook that are openly supportive of suicide bombers, ISIS and al-Qaeda. I’ve found Western corporate journalists citing terrorist-supporting accounts as “media activists” in areas militarily surrounded by the Syrian army, as was the case when eastern Ghouta was being liberated, although the ‘activists’ allegiance to Jaysh al-Islam and al-Qaeda was easily identified.
..............................
In mid-2019, the account of the Russian embassy in Syria disappeared not long after tweeting about the White Helmets, terrorists, and war propaganda. This, again, begged the question of what ‘Twitter rules’ had been violated.

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wendy davis's picture

Elite Accountability Insulation button’? Twitter will let users turn off & censor replies’, 8 Jan, 2020, Rt.com

"Tweeting spiteful comments at celebrities you don’t like is the bread and butter of the social media experience. However, the company is now rolling out options to let users block and control replies, making many angry.

Speaking at the CES convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Twitter’s director of product management Suzanne Xie announced they would be giving users a new “conversation participants” option sometime this year. The option will allow posters to set replies on their tweets from “global, group, panel, and statement.”

The options would control the ability of other users to reply, ranging from anyone (global) to no one (statement), with only those mentioned (panel) or specifically selected (group) in between.

The new feature is intended to limit the power of trolls and combat abuse, according to the company. To that end, Twitter has already given users the option of hiding replies, stating that “everyone should feel safe and comfortable while talking on Twitter.” However, this is still a manual process, a laborious task for prolific figures on the platform – such as President Donald Trump, for instance.

With Twitter being all about discussion and argument, the news angered many users, who suggested that limiting replies could stifle debate and allow false information from politicians, journalists and public figures to go unchecked."

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