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How Facebook and Social Media Promote Terrorism by Uzi Shaya

The failure by the social media networks to enforce the prevention of terror-related content on their sites is, in fact, a direct violation of the Antiterrorism Act and the Material Supply Statutes; the general public is also in its right to have the protections of the Community Decency Act of 1996 cover content on social media.
The conclusion is that the social media companies are adopting an adversarial case-by-case approach to enforcing a ban on terror incitement on their platforms.

The nature of Islamic terrorism throughout the world has changed in recent years. Alongside the established and organized groups — such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even ISIS — a new and different type terror has been created, one that is nourished ideologically, spiritually, and intellectually by these groups, yet shows no connection — organizationally or operationally– to them.

This terror is defined by what we refer to as “lone wolves.” These are individuals whose nationalistic motives, religious incitement or psychological needs propel them to commit acts of terror without being a member of an organized group or cell. The one unifying aspect for all these lone wolves is social media.

Social media networks enable any individual to have his voice and his opinions heard so that his proclamations can resonate with audiences that are far-reaching. Unfortunately, the existing freedoms on social media have been manipulated by terrorist groups to create a threat that poses a clear and present danger to citizens around the world.

Terrorist groups around the world have recognized the potential of social media and these networks have become an essential component — in fact, an unhindered course of action — in allowing the global terrorist networks greatly to expand the operations of terror groups and their supporters worldwide, and affect billions of people around the world. These operations and activities include disseminating “open messages,” the recruitment of new members and supporters, but most importantly to advertise and promote the essence of their terror movement and the glorified aftermath of attacks that they have perpetrated. In the process, the terrorist groups can reach a potential army of a million possible soldiers without any direct connection to them.

American Identity is Not Globalist By Emina Melonic

In a column this week for The Washington Post, Michael Gerson laments the passing, at least in his imagination, of a time when America was interested in helping and cooperating with other nations. “Why is our political moment not just pathetic but also traumatic?” writes Gerson. He goes on to claim the presidency of Donald J. Trump has destroyed something precious and unique about the American character. Gerson draws upon the history of America’s involvement in World War II, backed by some beautiful words from former presidents to show what he understands as the immaculate diplomacy of Truman, Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, and to call out what he deems the complete mess Trump is making.

Gerson writes that we have always understood there to be a “practical and moral role for America in the global defense of free governments and institutions,” and to a certain extent, I agree. But Gerson is wrong to suggest, as he does later in the article, that this moral role of America is now dismissed as “globalism.” To make matters worse, he argues Trump is “staggeringly ignorant,” “unfamiliar,” and “unmoved” by the brilliance and moral fortitude of his predecessors. Trump, asserts Gerson, sees America as “a nation like any other nation, defined by ethnicity and oriented toward narrow interests.”

Gerson’s words echo today’s establishment and patronizing leftist rhetoric of “this is not who we are.” His language is reactionary and based in emotionalism rather than logic and reason. They appear also to be inspired by what has become known as “virtue-signaling,”—a conspicuous morality that attacks the opponent as uncaring and cold-hearted without ever bothering to understand one’s opponent as he understands himself.

The Media’s Facebook Hysteria and Double Standards When the left hailed the genius of Obama for exploiting the data of millions. Joseph Klein

Facebook is grappling with the fallout from its alleged role in permitting the London-based data firm Cambridge Analytica to gain access to data from profiles of more than 50 million Facebook users for political purposes. The Facebook data reportedly was mined for data by an app called “thisisyourdigitallife,” presumably for an academic research project. The app was created by Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian-American academic at Cambridge University, and his company Global Science Research. The data was then transferred by the researcher to Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump presidential campaign and was backed by Steve Bannon and the conservative billionaire Robert Mercer. Cambridge Analytica claims that the Facebook data it gathered from the app was not used for the 2016 Trump presidential election campaign. Facebook claims that its user profile data was provided to Cambridge Analytica without its knowledge. Facebook also claims that it shut the app down in 2015.

There are reports the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether Facebook violated terms of a 2011 consent decree in connection with the transfer of user data to Cambridge Analytica. A spokesperson for the FTC would neither confirm nor deny whether it was launching such an investigation.

Members of Congress and United Kingdom lawmakers have called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to explain Facebook’s actions and his company’s connections with Cambridge Analytica. The hit to Facebook’s reputation and the potential for increased government regulation on both sides of the Atlantic are taking its toll. Facebook’s stock value has taken a nosedive as a result.

On the political front, President Trump’s enemies are busy exploiting the connection between Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign, and by implication the purported misuse of Facebook sourced data for improper partisan purposes. As the Russian-Trump campaign collusion narrative begins to fade due to lack of evidence, the Trump-hating media has latched on to a new Deus ex Machina behind Donald Trump’s improbable victory in a continuing effort to delegitimize his presidency.

Mark Zuckerberg Is No James Madison The Constitution was designed to constrain our worst impulses. Facebook encourages them. By Paul Bergevin

One of the many conceits of the digital age is that so-called platforms are a new invention. In some respects they are. Built with computer code, powered by microchips and operated in the cloud, these digital building blocks did not exist until relatively recently. But in other respects, platforms are simply large aggregations of people coming together to search information online, shop or connect with friends.

Compare today’s platforms to the American Constitution: a large aggregation of citizens organized on the principle of self-government. As a work of design, the Constitution is a brilliant piece of architecture, an intellectual foundation that has stood the test of time. If James Madison were a software developer in a Harvard dorm room and not a Virginia planter, we might say he was a better coder than Mark Zuckerberg. The Constitution understands human nature. Facebook , dangerously at times, does not.

In designing the Constitution, Madison managed to appeal to people’s better angels while at the same time calculating man’s capacity to harm and behave badly. Facebook’s designers, on the other hand, appear to have assumed the best about people. They apparently expected users to connect with friends only in benign ways. While the site features plenty of baby and puppy photos, it has also become a place where ISIS brags about beheadings and Russians peddling misinformation seek to undermine the institutions of a free society.CONTINUE AT SITE

Geoffrey Luck An Over-egged Easter Island Fable

There is a perverse reassurance in knowing Australia’s media class is not alone in casting every unpleasant or unexpected natural event as yet further ‘proof’ of Gaia’s revenge on our carbon-spewing species. When it comes to global warming, the New York Times is just as silly as Fairfax and the ABC.

Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives, having failed to sink beneath the waves of rising sea levels, the New York Times has now revealed an existential threat to those strange stone men of Easter Island. The newspaper sent its Colombian correspondent, Nicholas Casey, and photographer Josh Haner 2,200 miles (3520 kms) out into mid-Pacific to document the coming cataclysm. Haner, with forethought, took with him a drone, with which he was able to photograph parts of the island from new perspectives. On its website the newspaper was able to run those moving aerial images underneath its moving text:

Easter Island is critically vulnerable to rising ocean levels, and Waves are beginning to reach statues and platforms built by an ancient civilization, plus The island risks losing its cultural heritage. Again.

Ah, not exactly.

The intrepid Casey found an islander, Hetereki Huke, who showed him some bones on the shoreline. Mr Huke, an architect, said they were the remains of his ancestors who had been buried in platform tombs, now being exposed by the sea. At that point in the text, there is an embedded link to a 2016 UNESCO report, World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate, as authority for the doomsday article.

Rapa Nui National Park (Easter Island) is covered only in a brief sketch in that report, one of eighteen summaries supplementing twelve fully referenced case studies of more important heritage sites. What it says is this: “With climate change, the greater wave heights and increased energy of the waves hitting the ahu’s (platforms’) vertical basalt slab walls, the ahu are expected to undergo worsening damage and the moai (statues) that sit on top of them could topple.” No mention of rising sea levels. [Notably, in the sketch on Rock Islands, Southern Lagoon, Palau, regarded as one of the world’s best diving sites, there is ample warning of rising temperatures, coral bleaching, and ocean acidification, but again no sea level reference.]

Open War Breaks Out at Fox News By Peter Barry Chowka

Prominent on-air news and opinion hosts at Fox News are going at it tooth and nail, as ailing 86-year-old Rupert Murdoch moves to hand the reins of the network to his liberal son Lachlan. In early February, I got wind of an internal war bubbling below the surface at Fox News. The combatants included several prominent on-air personalities, and there were growing signs that they were gearing up to engage in a serious battle with one another. The conflict pitted representatives of the daytime hard news department against several stars who are faces of the channel during prime time, when opinion-themed shows dominate. Like many Americans in the workplace, beliefs in different opposing ideologies were pushing these people apart. Adding fuel to the fire in the highly competitive hothouse environment of cable television news were jealousy and resentment.

Finally, this past week, the battle went public. It involved three top Fox News personalities: Shepard Smith, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.

Opening skirmishes in this long simmering conflict began last year, when veteran left-of-center Fox News hosts Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace were the first on-air talent to publicly throw down the gauntlet. Both of them are highly valued and well paid linchpins of the hard news side of the Fox News Channel. Last year, Shepard Smith, 54, the channel’s lead news anchor and host of the 3 P.M. E.T. hour-long news show Shepard Smith Reporting, outed himself as a critic of President Donald Trump. Also in his sights were other prominent Fox News personnel who had defended Trump, including the channel’s senior judicial analyst, former judge Andrew Napolitano. As the Washington Post reported in a swooning profile of Smith on March 22, 2017, “Andrew Napolitano had validated the unfounded claim that President Barack Obama had recruited British agents to bug Trump Tower during the campaign.” “Smith stepped in to say otherwise.” On air, the Post article noted, Smith issued a shot across the bow when he said:


The media always rewards its leakers.

The late pundit Robert Novak used to say that government officials can choose to be either “a source or a target.” In other words, leak information to reporters and you can count on flattering coverage and protection from them. An added bonus to leaking, as former Intelligence Director Jim Clapper discovered, is that the network to which you are leaking will turn you into a paid contributor. According to Congressman Jim Jordan, speaking to Fox News, “Clapper was actually the guy leaking information” to CNN about the presidential briefing on the Steele dossier that served as the pretext for the media feeding frenzy over possible Russian blackmail of Trump.

One can only laugh at the utter fraudulence of CNN: it pads its panels with government officials who leak to it, then presents them to its audience as “nonpartisan” experts commenting on the aftershocks of the very stories they leaked.

Trump’s intuition about a politicized intelligence community is confirmed daily by the rantings of its former members who treat the studios of television news like a retirement center. Eager to get in on this act, NBC recently hired former CIA director John Brennan, who also ingratiated himself to reporters through leaks. On his Twitter account, he describes himself as “nonpartisan” and NBC supports that con by letting him comment on the investigation his partisan manipulation of intelligence instigated.

Almost all of the principals responsible for the Russian farce are confirmed liars and leakers. They said Trump Tower wasn’t the target of spying. It was. They said a FISA warrant wasn’t issued. It was. They said Trump officials weren’t unmasked. They were. They said (as even the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman acknowledged) Hillary didn’t finance the Steele dossier. She did.

Turns Out Trump’s Nominee to Head CIA Did Not Oversee Waterboarding in Thailand By Stephen Kruiser

When it was reported earlier in the week that President Trump was going to nominate career CIA officer Gina Haspel to become the agency’s director after it was announced that current director Mike Pompeo was heading to the State Department, many on the left and right seized on Haspel’s alleged role in “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

The focus was on the time period when Haspel was the chief of base at a CIA black site where terror suspect Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded.

Reuters reported that Haspel is “dogged by secret prisons.”

Referring to Haspel’s time in Thailand, John McCain had this to say: “The American people now deserve the same assurances from Gina Haspel, whose career with the agency has intersected with the program of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on a number of occasions.”

This all stemmed from some reporting that the multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning site ProPublica did last year. The site, however, got some of the details wrong and, to its credit, has issued a lengthy and prominently placed correction. Here are a couple of tweets from ProPublica’s Twitter account:

✔ @ProPublica
Correction: Trump’s pick to head the CIA did not oversee waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah http://propub.li/2FJDvcd

According to the correction published on the site, the accusations against Haspel “prompted former colleagues of Haspel to defend her publicly.”

Antifa Radical Charged with Hateful Vandalism Raises Over $80k Thanks to LA Times Article By Debra Heine

An antifa-supporting activist who was charged last summer for vandalizing people’s cars and fences with hateful, racist graffiti, has raised over $80,000 in the past 24 hours, thanks to the sympathetic reporting of the Los Angeles Times, a watchdog has discovered.

Ismael Chamu, 21, allegedly spray-painted people’s cars and fences with “F— White People,” “F— the police,” “F— frat Boys,” “Kill Cops,” “Kill Yuppies,” “Eat the Rich,” and “Class War,” Far Left Watch reported. He was arrested on June 27, 2017, while brandishing a knife “in the same location and on the same night that 30 instances of slashed tires and graffiti occurred.”

He was initially released without charge after being in jail for 39 hours, whereupon he immediately accused the police of racially-profiling him. This led to a public outcry in support of Chamu and against the Berkeley Police Department. The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) and the Antifa-friendly Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín publicly condemned the “unlawful detainment” of the “Latino student.”

It took Far Left Watch’s determined research to uncover the truth about this supposed victim of “racial profiling.” Chamu had recently published a (now deleted) blog post advocating for “anti-gentrification vandalism,” calling gentrification a “disease,” and praising the violent tactics of Antifa. CONTINUE AT SITE

Who Believes in Russiagate? Knowledgeable reporters on the left and right are frightened by the spread of an elite conspiracy theory among American media By Lee Smith

Half the country hates Donald Trump, and even the half that thinks he’s doing a good job often flinch from his boorishness, his nasty public attacks, sometimes even on his own aides. For all the top talent he says he’s surrounded himself with, the president repeatedly attracts among the worst that Washington—and New York—have to offer. No doubt that’s one reason why whatever is thrown at him seems to stick.

At the same time, there is a growing consensus among reporters and thinkers on the left and right—especially those who know anything about Russia, the surveillance apparatus, and intelligence bureaucracy—that the Russiagate-collusion theory that was supposed to end Trump’s presidency within six months has sprung more than a few holes. Worse, it has proved to be a cover for U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement bureaucracies to break the law, with what’s left of the press gleefully going along for the ride. Where Watergate was a story about a crime that came to define an entire generation’s oppositional attitude toward politicians and the country’s elite, Russiagate, they argue, has proved itself to be the reverse: It is a device that the American elite is using to define itself against its enemies—the rest of the country.

Yet for its advocates, the questionable veracity of the Russiagate story seems much less important than what has become its real purpose—elite virtue-signaling. Buy into a storyline that turns FBI and CIA bureaucrats and their hand-puppets in the press into heroes while legitimizing the use of a vast surveillance apparatus for partisan purposes, and you’re in. Dissent, and you’re out, or worse—you’re defending Trump.

Recently, a writer on The New Yorker blog named Adrian Chen gave voice to the central dilemma facing young media professionals who struggle to balance their need for social approval with the demands of fact-based analysis in the age of Trump. In an article pegged to special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments of the Internet Research Agency, Chen referenced an article he had written about the IRA for The New York Times Magazine several years ago. After the Mueller indictments were announced, Chen was called on to lend his expertise regarding Russian troll farms and their effect on the American public sphere—an offer he recognized immediately as a can’t-win proposition.

“Either I could stay silent,” wrote Chen, “and allow the conversation to be dominated by those pumping up the Russian threat, or I could risk giving fodder to Trump and his allies.”

In other words, there’s the truth, and then there’s what’s even more important—sticking it to Trump. Choose wrong, even inadvertently, Chen explained, no matter how many times you deplore Trump, and you’ll be labeled a Trumpkin. That’s what happened to Facebook advertising executive Rob Goldman, who was obliged to apologize to his entire company in an internal message for having shared with the Twitter public the fact that “the majority of the Internet Research Agency’s Facebook ads were purchased after the election.” After Trump retweeted Goldman’s thread to reaffirm that Vladimir Putin had nothing to do with his electoral victory, the Facebook VP was lucky to still have a job.