Discover more from The Wayward Rabbler
The #TwitterFiles Continued
Welcome to SpookVille
“The populace set upon the tyrant’s supporters and seized the informers. These were an abominable race, detested by gods and men alike, who made it their business to circulate among the citizens and report on their opinions and conversations to the tyrant.” - Plutarch [Life of Dion, 28]
The Wayward Rabbler is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
My last article covered what we learned from the “Twitter Files,” the internal documents released by Elon Musk to a group of journalists, through the 5th release. I was going to work on a different topic, but at around publishing time, the story changed and became vastly more interesting, illegal, and nefarious. While initially journalist Matt Taibbi hadn’t “seen” any evidence of the FBI or other government agencies directly requesting legal speech be suppressed, we learned that this was because “former” high level spook James Baker was preventing journalists from accessing key documents, in direct contravention to his then-boss Elon Musk’s orders. The initial releases mostly centered around the absurd way in which Twitter sought to control information, most notably the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, which Twitter famously suppressed, going as far to entirely ban The New York Post. However, on Friday, December 16, the story took a new direction. We learned that Twitter had been what Taibbi described as an “FBI subsidiary,” and an FBI agent humorously named Elvis Chan was leading a team of 80 people who were monitoring Twitter, including asking them to take down obvious jokes from low-follower accounts. What’s more, Twitter accepted almost 3.5 million dollars from the FBI for the “cost of compliance” regarding such requests. We further learned that the Pentagon was using Twitter to run psychological operations intended to promote US foreign policy goals. A separate investigation outside of the Twitter Files determined that this goes far beyond Twitter, and that Facebook’s parent company Meta is awash with former “intelligence community” officials. Of course Google has hired them as well. Alex Jones was correct with his slogan “There’s a war on for your mind.” Now that we are beginning [I’m sure only beginning] to see the depth of spy agency infiltration into the social media space, including their running of actual psyops, it is fair to say that it is “game, set, and match” in favor of the conspiracy theorists, and that anyone who believes “experts” and the “mainstream” media has truly lost.
Taibbi began this odyssey for us with his thread on December 16th:
Twitter’s communications show that between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and then head of Twitter “Trust and Safety,” Yoel Roth. It’s tempting to think that doesn’t seem like so much over an almost two year period, it is only around 7 emails a month [it’s not entirely clear what “between” means, it could mean 75 from each party.] However, Roth was a very high level person at Twitter, which is to say, these are all issues that did not fall under Twitter’s normal policies and had to go to someone with full decision making power. It’s not clear how many people were working under Roth, but the nearest thing I can find is this: “In May, he took on a senior role “responsible for all user, content, and security policies, comprising more than 120 policymakers, threat investigators, data analysts, and operations specialists.” It sounds like those are all relatively important positions, but we live in a society where a janitor is a “sanitation specialist,” so those titles don’t necessarily reflect being in senior positions. Regardless, he was managing at least 120 people, whereas the FBI social media team had 80 people, meaning communications between Yoel Roth and Elvis Chan were only things outside of the realm of what 200 people below them were permitted to deal with.
The FBI’s social media team was named the “Foreign Influence Task Force” and was formed in the wake of the 2016 election, when they were working hard to sell the lie that a relatively tiny number of bizarre “Russia-linked” social media ads somehow threw an election in which billions of dollars were spent. [I need to add, I have a friend who works in the social media advertising industry, and he said that the relatively small company he works for spends far more on advertising for clients weekly than Russia is purported to have spent the entire 2016 campaign.] One notable thing, which is relevant for the rest of the releases, is that the FITF cited newspaper articles which themselves cited anonymous intelligence sources as evidence of foreign interference on Twitter. This sort of circular citation is a favored technique of the spy agencies, who did the same thing during the “Russiagate” scam, where they leaked to the press, and then used press articles as “evidence” to justify surveillance warrants.
The FBI also partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, security contractors, and “think tanks,” all with the goal of pressuring Twitter into censoring, or “moderating,” legal content. Now, there is nothing surprising about, or even inherently wrong with, the government hoovering up publicly available information on social media for any number of purposes, but it is entirely different for them to have a large task force dedicated to pressuring private companies into moderating content which the intelligence agencies dislike. Not only were they flagging obvious jokes, the FBI was routinely sending long lists of individual accounts which “may warrant additional action.”
There’s a special absurdity here that the FBI is “identifying” accounts they believe “May have violated Twitter’s terms of service.” If you were to look at this with Pollyanna-like optimism, and full surety that the FBI would do nothing wrong, this still begs the question, “Why were tax dollars used to help a private company enforce its own internal policies?” However, these policies relate to legal speech, which Twitter can choose to restrict, but which the government cannot legally pressure it to restrict.
This letter from Twitter legal executive Stacia Cardille shows the extent to which it was increasingly the government’s entire law enforcement/intelligence apparatus taking part in suppressing speech on Twitter:
There was a special application known as “Teleporter,” the sole purpose of which was to allow federal agencies as well as state governments to “alert” Twitter about pressing threats to democracy, such as jokes about voting on Wednesday. Twitter also received reports from something called the “Partner Support Portal,” created by the “Center for Internet Security,” a partner of the Department of Homeland Security. It was the standard view of all of these Deep State agencies that social media’s “permissive” attitude towards speech allowed for Russian manipulation. It’s not clear how or why this should give the Russians any sort of “operational advantage” over anyone else trying to use social media to influence public opinion, but this is in keeping with the idea that Russians are uniquely nefarious and thus can accomplish things with propaganda impossible to anyone else. The main thing proven from information shown in Taibbi’s thread is that there is indeed a Deep State, and it is intimately involved in manipulating our access to information on the internet, with the mostly-willing participation of the over-educated woke class of pawns for the government and financial industry who used to run Twitter:
Taibbi also posted another “supplemental” thread giving us more details about the FITF. The task force is upset that Twitter is reporting a lack of malicious foreign propaganda, which of course should be a good thing. The most notable part is that the FBI wanted Twitter to begin giving them reports in writing, something which Roth was hesitant to do. This is strange both as it seems that Twitter had some awareness they were doing something wrong, whereas the FBI was absolutely brazen in its corruption. Further, the FBI seemed to be acting as a conduit to other agencies in the “intelligence community,” despite the fact that most of them are expressly prohibited from domestic action. Roth then had to emphasize that there absolutely is foreign propaganda on Twitter, but that it is in the form of official statements, which is allowed. That is to say, of course the governments of foreign countries use official Twitter pages for their messaging, but [as we will get to later] it is only the United States government running a massive covert influence operation via Twitter.
Part Seven of the Twitter Files takes us back to Hunter Biden’s laptop. In a way, I am sympathetic to people who think too much has been made of this, even though it does show corruption. However, this would have died down long since if not for all the flagrantly illegal things they did to suppress the story. I am reminded of some Democrat apparatchik from the ‘90s who said “The “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” is real, and Hillary Clinton created it.” His argument was that the “Whitewater Scandal,” which dogged the entire Clinton Presidency, really wasn’t that bad if they would have owned up to it and said they made a mistake with an investment and returned a relevant amount of money. Instead, because their instinct was to stonewall, it led to endless investigations that extended all the way to the otherwise unrelated Lewinsky scandal. Similarly, though “Russiagate” was absolutely nothing, the instinct to be sketchy, secretive, and defensive, allowed it to cause Trump’s team endless problems. The Hunter Biden laptop scandal is similar. The difference is that the FBI ran cover for the Biden team, and it seems unlikely that was even directed by Biden, it was just the spy agencies acting unilaterally to protect corruption and institutional interests. Regardless of if you choose to care about the shameless financial corruption, the way the FBI worked to sway political discourse is in and of itself a major scandal.
From the beginning, paperwork with Hunter Biden’s signature as well as an FBI subpoena for the laptop was available, so the claim about the veracity being unknown was always nonsense. The FBI had been in possession of the laptop since 2019, and was aware this true information would ultimately come out. The FBI spent months priming the leaders of social media companies to expect a Russian “hack-and-leak” operation involving Hunter Biden, so that they would be immediately suspicious of the laptop story when it came out. Roth testified about this in a deposition in December 2020:
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg also explained to Joe Rogan that he was approached by the FBI in the same fashion. FBI agent Elvis Chan acknowledged in November 2022 that they were not basing this on anything:
It needs to be pointed out, there is no obvious reason that a newspaper cannot use a foreign government as a source of real information. Still, Twitter does have a policy against hacked material, so this is again the FBI purporting to help Twitter follow it’s own internal policies. One would wonder why the Twitter leadership of the time would believe the FBI about something like this, but as we have seen they were all very much on one side, and further believed anything was justified to rid the country of Trump. This is especially frustrating being as the establishment liberals were obsessed with the idea that the entire Trump Administration was a series of petty grifts, but fastidiously ignore that it is well documented that Biden took in many tens of millions of dollars for do-nothing jobs from sketchy government-linked foreign companies.
At this point we see the FBI begin to essentially demand that Twitter find foreign interference. This starts with an email from Roth to Chan on September 24th 2020 where he tells Chan they will be announcing the removal of two “networks” of account. The first network is of inactive, low-follower accounts from a previous “Russian operation.” If true, it’s strange that Twitter felt compelled to tell the FBI and publicly announce the removal of inactive bot accounts, a routine activity for social media sites. What I find more interesting, is they also removed 10 accounts “purported” to be associated with something called “United World International,” and blocked the site under their “unsafe links” policy. I looked up this organization, and it is an obscure Turkish site which published content opposed to Western hegemony and ideas about how a multipolar world may developed. The “About Us” reads:
“A new world is being born, a multipolar world where Western domination will become a thing of the past as new political power hubs emerge around the globe. Political positions, economic relations and cultural interactions are undergoing an incredible metamorphosis which is begging to be discussed and documented.
Humanity is already trying to make sense and describe these developments– but this has proven to be no easy task. It is clear that the mindsets and strategies developed to describe the world we are leaving behind will not be sufficient.”
It’s easy to see why the US empire managers and security state would dislike this, but that should absolutely be within the allowable range of conversation on a global social media site- or at least would be on one that isn’t a tool of Western hegemony. Elvis Chan responds “Excellent! Thanks for the heads up.” In and of itself it’s strange that he would find such a minor thing exciting or “excellent.” This is but one of many examples of Twitter colluding with the government to control narratives, and though it is possible the site was using bots to promote its content [no evidence is provided in that regard] it is hard to come to a different conclusion than that they simply didn’t like what the many authors published on the site had to say.
The FBI was also very interested in a report from the dreadful uber-establishment hack NBC “reporter” Ben Collins alleging that there is a network of foreign bots. This is a particularly funny exchange, because Twitter responds that they did not find evidence of that, and that there are problems with the reporting. However, the FBI does not seem interested in believing them about what they’ve discovered on their own website, and wants evidence of foreign influence. Eventually, after much pushing, to Roth’s credit he ultimately, in more diplomatic terms, tells Chan to “Come back with a warrant,” as the FBI is asking for information it is against policy to share.
In July 2020 Chan decided to try and get people at Twitter security clearances, which in my view could not possibly have been necessary for more than to ply them with privileges or obligate them to silence due to the agreement that requires.
Strangely, he forgets that infamous spook Jim Baker is at Twitter, despite the fact that they should know each other quite well. Besides Baker, Twitter hired so many “ex-bureau” employees that they had their own Slack channel, and a sort of “Welcome” sheet to help them move from the FBI to Twitter.
This is where we reach what may be the craziest part of this whole story. In September of 2020 the Aspen Institute hosted a “table-top exercise” [what the military uses to predict how wars will go and make adjustments] specifically about what to do if incriminating information came out about Hunter Biden.
It was not just Twitter in attendance: Facebook, top security reporters from The New York Times and The Washington Post, and others were there as well. They conspired in advance to suppress media coverage of this story. In one way, this gives credence to Roth’s claim that he was “primed” to think Russia would be behind any release like this, but in another way, he would have to be the biggest dupe in the world to not see through that they knew it would happen and knew the material was authentic. If you follow conspiracy theories, this fits well into a pattern where the government has a tendency of doing remarkably specific “drills” or “exercises” before events happen.
In advance of the 2020 elections, Twitter made itself an industry leader in collaborating with the government to control narratives, and brought multiple government agencies and the tech industry generally on board:
High level FBI officials also met with Baker alone with no other Twitter officials. When the Hunter Biden story was published by The New York Post, Roth acknowledged that it was no clear violation of any policy. However, Baker insisted that, “the Hunter Biden materials were either faked, hacked, or both, and a violation of Twitter policy” despite the fact that he could not possibly have believed that was true. The FBI then allegedly went around to politicians talking about Russian collusion, with the goal that they would leak it to the media. They approached Senator’s Grassley and Johnson making that claim, though this did not have the result that the FBI had hoped, with the Senators going to the public to complain about FBI interference:
The FBI’s huge influence operation was clearly successful, as we saw by the fact that the Hunter Biden story was heavily suppressed across social and traditional media, and many “former intelligence officials” were willing to baselessly claim they believed it was a Russian operation. Joe Biden then became President. We can’t say they threw the election in his favor, but that was clearly the intention.
There is one more piece of information in Shellenberger’s reporting, which is perhaps the most important part. Twitter had been refusing FBI “reimbursement,” for the cost of compliance with various legal requests [and extralegal, seemingly],which it is apparently standard practice to offer. Twitter changed it’s policy on this, and ultimately accepted almost 3.5 million dollars from the FBI. This throws any possible argument of “It’s a private company and can censor speech” out the window, as we now know the government was literally paying Twitter to do this work. Even the conspiracy theorists didn’t imagine the FBI was straight paying Twitter for these services.
Of course, the government would never be satisfied to simply censor speech. It was also a matter of promoting certain narratives across the world. They were running actual psychological operations in a clumsy effort to manipulate the global public.
In the wake of the “Russiagate” scandal there was endless discourse about the dangers of inauthentic content from state actors on social media. The heads of these companies were hauled in front of Congress and made to explain their moderation policies. They stated directly it was their policy to remove this content and they would work harder to do so.
Of course, everyone should have realized this did not apply to the US security state. In fact, Twitter actively colluded with them to control public discourses. In one instance, the US government used 52 Arabic language accounts to try and promote US foreign policy messaging. Twitter secretly “prioritized” these accounts and put them on a “whitelist,” making them exempt from the moderation that applies to everyone else and using the algorithms to promote their content. These accounts were used for things such as posting anti-Iran propaganda and claiming US drone strikes were “accurate.” Here are two examples of accounts ran by US CENTCOM:
Jim Baker felt they used “poor tradecraft” in obscuring the origin of these accounts, which is to say they were not even doing a good job at their propaganda operations. On top of the accounts that Twitter was informed of by the Department of Defense, they were also able to detect on their own other accounts Tweeting in Russian and Arabic about issues relating to Syria and the war with the Islamic State. The lady really did “protest too much” regarding Russia cyber operations, and this was because the Pentagon was using fake news and deepfake images in an information war against its adversaries all over the internet.
Some of this came out in August of 2022 following a report by the Stanford Internet Observatory, however the media spun the story as Twitter being noble and unbiased and applying standards fairly to the US government. The reality, however, is that Twitter knew the CENTCOM was doing this the whole time, and intentionally allowed their inauthentic manipulation of the platform and global discourses to continue. Twitter was quite proud of themselves that when The Washington Post reported on the minor scandal caused by all of this Twitter was held blameless by the media:
Twitter was not at all acting with an even hand, and was aggressively going after “unfriendly” nations who tried to run anything resembling an influence operation. This leak is especially frustrating if, like me, you’ve been a long-time skeptic of US foreign policy and have repeatedly experienced how fast the media and public believe their absurd lies. One can safely assume this is only scraping the surface, and that in other instances they did a better job and were able to make their content appear legitimate. Further, one is left wondering how many times these sources were cited by the media, creating the type of circular citation that the intelligence agencies so love to use. The reason their foreign policy messaging works so well regardless of the absurdity is indeed their widespread use of psychological operations designed to deceive the public.
The response to the Twitter Files up to this point was predictable. The FBI, corporate media, and their NPC sycophants said that the genuine journalists publishing the documents were partaking in conspiracy theories trying to smear the FBI for doing their jobs. Of course they are shameless enough to say real internal documents showing their exact activities are a conspiracy theory. The truth is no amount of corruption will ever make the establishment liberals change their slavish devotion to institutional power itself. To them, everything the FBI and other Deep State agencies do is inherently necessary, and free speech and skepticism of the government is what led to literally Hitler.
Taibbi responded by the accusation that their goal was just to smear the FBI by showing that their goal is to discredit as many government agencies as possible, writing, “They must think us unambitious, if our “sole aim” is to discredit the FBI. After all, a whole range of government agencies discredit themselves in the #TwitterFiles. Why stop with one?”
What the prior Twitter files show is that while the FBI and Twitter appear to have been at the forefront of manipulating public opinion, the entire thing was “system-wide,” both within the government and the tech industry. Local cops, media, and state governments were all involved in using Twitter to secretly control what communication the public saw. Twitter itself could not keep up with its busy schedule of collaborating with the government:
And of course, not one to be left out, the CIA was heavily involved, though referred to as “Other Government Agency,” or OGA. One former spook said, “They think it's mysterious, but it's just conspicuous." Retired CIA officer Ray McGovern said, “Other Government Agency (the place where I worked for 27 years).” In one of the more amusing exchanges, a Twitter executive forgot it was supposed to be a sort of secret that the place was awash with former intelligence agents:
Here is just one meeting, demonstrating the huge number of intelligence officials involved in constant contact with Twitter:
In the leadup to the 2020 election, the FITF was flooding Twitter with reports about “problematic” accounts:
The FBI was tailoring its searches for violations of Twitters policies, presumably believing this made their clear efforts to suppress legal speech somewhat less illegal. Twitter executives, including Jim Baker himself, found this tactic odd. Despite the task force’s alleged mandate to look for “foreign interference” their primary work appears to have been monitoring domestic content they didn’t like, much of which was from uninfluential, low-follower accounts:
Still, the intelligence agencies remained obsessed with foreign influence on Twitter, seemingly going as far as to suggest they fabricate connections to Russia. One former OGA official admits that the government is becoming ever more aggressive due to Twitter’s inability to provide evidence of malicious foreign action:
And once again, it wasn’t just Twitter, the government was trying to do this with every popular networking site on the internet:
[Note that they call us “conspiracy theorists” but their claim here is that the “Internet Research Agency” is going to expose its own troll farms in Africa then blame Macron for them. They clearly believe- or want other people to believe- that conspiracies are a driving force in human affairs.]
They were giving long lists of accounts marked for “digital execution” many of which hadn’t done anything against Twitters Terms of Service, and which were taking part in what undeniably constitutes legally protected political speech- questioning the regime’s foreign policy goals. Of course targeted people who questioned the narrative on Ukraine:
The CIA, of course, hasn’t commented, but it is their general policy to not do so. What we know from this though, is that NPCs notwithstanding, the government was taking part in a massive campaign to suppress legal speech, and for the most part Twitter’s former management was going along with it, as it also helped to achieve their political goals. Still, Twitter showed somewhat more caution- even though they couldn’t have imagined at the time that Musk would buy the company and release these files, they seem to have understood the risk of whistleblowers or Freedom of Information Act requests bringing this information to light, whereas the FBI and other intelligence agencies seem to lack any real fear of exposure or punishment.
There has long been a rumor around the internet that Facebook has always been a CIA operation, where you give them your data voluntarily. But this is less true of Twitter, though of course it was assumed the government was collecting this data. However, the scale of former “intelligence community” officials at these organizations is mind-blowing. Alan McLeod of MintPressNews [a website that is of course hated by the “intelligence community”] investigated how many ex-spooks are publicly listed as working for these companies in an article titled, “Meet the Ex-CIA Agents Deciding Facebook’s Content Policy.” The numbers are staggering. It’s understandable that some of these people would have valuable skill-sets for a social media company, such as specializing in cyber-security. I will give an honorable mention to Emily Vacher, who worked for the FBI from 2001-2011 and is now the director of Trust and Safety at Meta; she specialized in child abductions at the FBI and helped Facebook integrate an Amber Alert program- undeniably a legitimate purpose for employing a former federal law enforcement officer. However, the great majority of people are in charge of narrative control, and many of them were hired after social media heads began being hauled in front of Congress, so it is clear that they serve the dual purpose of serving government interests and by their presence protecting the social media companies from government depredation and regulation. There is simply no other reason to employ such people in large numbers. It is truly a fascistic merger of government and corporate power, with the purpose of controlling your mind so they can steal what remains of your freedom, and get away with their nefarious schemes at home and abroad.
Earlier this month, Elon Musk quipped that “Twitter is both a social media company and a crime scene,” and it has been shown that that is the case. All of their gaslighting aside, we were correct about what was going on behind the scenes at social media companies, though much of it was more vast and formalized than was commonly understood. The conspiracy theories were right, as Musk has also said:
On December 24th, Matt Taibbi put out a short piece reflecting on what we have learned this month. He makes one particularly poignant observation:
“Sometime in the last decade, many people — I was one — began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?
I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality — I wasn’t sure until this week — I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.”
Those of us who are awake [as opposed to “woke”] have known something was wrong for quite some time. Though I lived through the War on Terror and that round of insane propaganda, I think for this round I noticed something was wrong when they were huge dicks about the Sochi Olympics. They started making a huge deal about Russia’s then-mild gay laws about what you might call proselytization with minors. Obama had some gay person in the booth with him as a spectator with the goal of trolling Russia. It didn’t make a lot of sense. From then, almost the beginning of modern “wokeness,” sense and reality have gone out the window in favor of narrative control and all other values must be put aside in favor of a narrow range of social issues. One segment of the population has fallen into complete manipulation and control which is somehow more nefarious than the post 9/11 panic where people believed that destroying Iraq was the solution to something. Governments have always sought to control information and make you believe what they want, from the time the first Chief said you needed him for protection, but we’re facing something mostly new in America: they were secretly controlling how we communicate with eachother in ways too complex for the common man to realize or understand. In countries like East Germany everyone knew the Stasi was going through letters, but this is much more subtle and advanced, and in a nation that is supposed to have freedom of communication.
The point is, something felt off because they were finding new ways to manufacture a false reality and manipulate your perception of the world you live in. In most ways, it was harder for the people who saw that something was wrong than the people it worked on, even if we got to avoid having a deranged fear of “The Great Virus.” Speaking of which, we just got our first taste of the Twitter Files on “How the Government Rigged the Covid Debate.” Thus far, it is only what we all experienced, and serves to purpose but being a “balm of reality” as Taibbi described, but you can rest assure it will end up being much more nefarious than what we have seen.
Will the Twitter Files help us recapture reality? I don’t know, but at least seeing society truly split between the thinking and the pawns is some comfort, because we cannot let the puppets and their masters win. One thing is for sure though: the official narratives often are actual PsyOps.
Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this content please subscribe and share. My main content will always be free but paid subscriptions help me a huge amount. [Payment in dogecoin preferred.] I have a tip jar at Ko-Fi where generous patrons can donate in $5 increments. I have started a Telegram channel The Wayward Rabbler. My Facebook page is The Wayward Rabbler, though of course those bastards don’t show posts to anyone. You can see my shitposting on Twitter @WaywardRabbler.