Big Tech Corporations Are Now Banning Iranian Social Media Accounts – A Censored Student Journalist Speaks out

Google, Facebook, and Twitter are removing social media accounts of real life Iranians who are falsely dubbed as “government trolls.” Student journalist Sayed Mousavi warns “this is just the tip of an iceberg.”

By Ben Norton

Under apparent government pressure, big tech corporations in the United States have tightened their social media grip, censoring accounts that criticize the US government and its allies.

Under the spell of Russiagate hysteria promoted incessantly by the US government and corporate media, social media accounts that were identified by shady private cybersecurity firms as supposed “Russian trolls” were targeted first. Then pro-Venezuelan government websites like the state-funded media outlet TeleSUR English and even the independent Venezuela Analysis had their Facebook pages temporarily removed.

Now Silicon Valley has set its sights on Iran. While the Donald Trump administration is banning Iranians from traveling and imposing suffocating sanctions on their country, Big Tech is banning them from using social media.

Google (which owns YouTube), Facebook (which owns Instagram), and Twitter have removed hundreds of Iranian social media accounts that have been accused — without any evidence — of being linked to the government in Tehran. These suspensions were based on a questionable, thinly sourced report by the American cybersecurity firm FireEye, which is led by former US military officers.

But contrary to what numerous corporate media reports are claiming, some of the Iranian accounts being banned are in fact not operated by the government. In fact, many are average Iranians whose opinions do not fit into the tightly managed, pro-war Washington consensus.

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Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Clint Watts’ World: How America’s top Russian disinformation expert pushes disinformation to justify censorship

When I challenged the high tech flim-flam man behind the Hamilton 68 Russian bots tracker, he ducked my questions. Then his fans asked me if I was a Russian asset.

By Ilias Stathatos

“Nothing is as evil as what Russia manages to pull off… We [Americans] just focus on extremists. Everything I have seen is democracy promotion. I haven’t seen the US creating fake personas.”

These were the words of Clint Watts, a self-styled counter-terror expert who has emerged through the passion play of Russiagate and hailed as “the pre-eminent experts on Russian influence operations via social media.” Watts has warned that computational propaganda has placed America on the verge of civil war, and suggested before a Senate panel that censorship of online media might be necessary.

“America’s war with itself has already begun,” Watts proclaimed earlier this year. “We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.” 

Watts is currently on a book tour that has seen him earn fawning prime time treatment from Bill Maher while avoiding uncomfortable questions from the public about his work. In fact, Watts has not encountered a single critical question since he released his book, “Messing With the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians and Fake News,” this May.

And he should have, given his record. Watts was the moving force behind the Hamilton 68 Russian bot tracker, which maintains a dashboard claiming to expose Russian influence on everything from the NFL’s anti-police violence protests to the anti-fracking movement to the Parkland shootings.

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Ilias Stathatos is a journalist. He has reported for numerous Greek print and online media, focusing on international news and labour journalism. He was the London correspondent for two national newspapers, an Investigative Journalism fellow at the University of London and is currently based in New York. You can reach him @ilistathatos

Did Rep. Adam Schiff Just Admit the US Has a Secret Indictment of Julian Assange?

After Randy Credico offered Rep. Adam Schiff an interview with Assange, Schiff apparently revealed US plans to indict and extradite the Wikileaks founder

By Max Blumenthal

On May 23, activist and satirist Randy Credico met with the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and de facto leader of the House’s investigation into Russian meddling. Credico described the discussions to me hours after his meeting.

According to Credico, Schiff requested the interview after a brief chat with Schiff at the White House Press and Correspondents Association gala last month. An email from House Intelligence Committee senior counsel Shannon Green to Credico (below) demonstrates Schiff’s interest in the encounter.

May 8 email from House Intel Committee senior counsel Shannon Green to Randy Credico

Schiff was interested exclusively in gathering evidence to bolster the Russiagate narrative of Credico as a secret liaison between Julian Assange, who has been branded without evidence by the CIA as a hostile foreign intelligence asset rather than a journalist, and former Trump campaign aide Roger Stone.

(Credico, an erstwhile associate of Stone and fervent advocate for Assange’s freedom, was subpoenaed last November by Schiff. He invoked the Fifth Amendment at the time).

But once Credico arrived in Schiff’s office, he sent the congressman’s staff in an unexpected – and politically inconvenient – direction.

“I told them three times that Mr. Assange is wiling to meet with him,” Credico said. “And if Schiff is serious he can get this stuff cleared up. I’m just a courier to deal with this. And they [Schiff’s staff] just sat there and said, ‘Well noted.’ I said, if Nixon went to China, if the orange man Trump’s going to Korea, Schiff has the street cred — go meet with Assange.”

Two days later, Credico was invited onto MSNBC’s “The Beat” with Ari Melber. Melber and his producers had no idea that Assange had offered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee. Like Schiff, they were merely interested in pumping Credico for details on communications between Stone and Assange that reinforced the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion.

“They have an agenda at MSNBC that’s anti-Assange, pro-war against Russia,” Credico remarked. “They pre-taped me because they got nervous, but they kept most of what I had to say. So what all the stuff about Stone did was give me a chance to talk about Assange.”

When Credico revealed his “secret mission” to Schiff to deliver Assange’s offer of an interview, Melber reacted with astonishment. He took to Twitter to publicize the offer that Credico disclosed, prompting a revealing reply from the congressman’s office:

“Rep. Schiff’s office just gave us this response:,” Melber tweeted. “‘Our committee would be willing to interview Julian Assange when he is in U.S. custody, not before.’”

Continue reading “Did Rep. Adam Schiff Just Admit the US Has a Secret Indictment of Julian Assange?”

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

Senate Investigation into Jill Stein Reveals Xenophobic, Anti-Democratic Direction of Russiagate

By Max Blumenthal

The Senate Intelligence Committee has demanded all of Jill Stein’s campaign communications with “Russian persons.”

Former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has turned over a large tranche of emails and documents to the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating unfounded rumors that Stein was part of a Russian plot to subvert the 2016 US presidential election.

However, she has refused to oblige a series of demand that that the Green Party hand over “all communications with Russian media organizations, their employees, or associates, from February 6, 2015.” The committee also insisted it turn over “all communications related to the campaign’s policy discussions related to Russia” and “all communications with Russian persons.”

These requests provide one of the most revealing examples to date of the government’s exploitation of Russia hysteria to suppress independent politics and alternative media in the US. In its demand for communications with “Russian persons,” the Senate committee has weaponized xenophobia to implicate Stein and intimidate other public figures against associating with anyone of Russian origin. With a few notable exceptions, this escalation of the Russiagate investigation has gone largely without notice by American media.

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Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.

Max Blumenthal and Ex-FBI Agent Coleen Rowley on the Nunes Memo

The just-released Nunes memo alleges surveillance abuses by the FBI and Justice Department in their handling of the Trump-Russia probe. Former FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley and award-winning journalist Max Blumenthal weigh in

Continue reading “Max Blumenthal and Ex-FBI Agent Coleen Rowley on the Nunes Memo”

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, The Fifty One Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, and The Management of Savagery, which will be published later this year by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie and the forthcoming Killing Gaza. Blumenthal founded the Grayzone Project in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America’s state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions.