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How America turned on its own people – another astonishing Tucker Carlson interview


TUCKER Carlson is one on his own. Never more so than since he set up his own media platform. Hot on the heels of his historic encounter with Vladimir Putin he has just conducted another groundbreaking interview, this time with a man no one has heard of,  Michael Benz, who worked at the US State Department in the Cyber Division.

Several people who contacted me about it over the weekend described it as one of the most disturbing and eye-opening interviews they have ever seen. I sat down to watch it myself. And yes, I think it may be the most important and detailed exposition I have come across to explain the West’s ‘oppositionless’ transformation from liberal democracy into autocracy – under our very eyes without a shot being fired and, not least, for the scale, the depth and the detail of the analysis. How Obama’s military censorship network led the 2019 impeachment of Trump is but one example of this transformation process. But who knew that, years before this, Google began as a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant? I didn’t. One such fact drops after another – information we all ought to be aware of, underlining how ill-informed we actually are. 

The bottom line is that Benz provides the clearest evidence yet that Americans (and the rest of the West) are being censored and manipulated at the highest levels of government, specifically by the defence establishment’s exploitation of the internet and social media.

Because the interview is so dense and covers so much ground in an hour – the transcript runs to 10,000 words and none of them is  wasted – we have decided to publish it in segments over the next few days.

You can watch the whole interview here. 

The Transcript, Part One

The story of internet freedom and its switch from internet freedom to internet censorship

(Tucker Carlson sets the stage, tells us who Mike Benz is and asks his first question.)

Tucker Carlson: The defining fact of the United States is freedom of speech. To the extent this country is actually exceptional, it’s because we have the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. We have freedom of conscience. We can say what we really think. There’s no hate speech exception to that. Just because you hate what somebody else thinks, you cannot force that person to be quiet because we’re citizens, not slaves. But that right, that foundational right that makes this country what it is, that right from which all other rights flow, is going away at high speed in the face of censorship. Now, modern censorship bears no resemblance to previous censorship regimes in previous countries in previous eras. Our censorship is effected on the basis of fights against ‘disinformation’ and ‘malinformation’. And the key thing to know about these is they’re everywhere. And of course, they have no reference at all to whether what you’re saying is true or not. In other words, you can say something that is factually accurate and consistent with your own conscience, and in previous versions of America, had an absolute right to say those things. But because someone doesn’t like them, or because they’re inconvenient to whatever plan the people in power have, they can be denounced as ‘disinformation’, and you could be stripped of your right to express them, either in person or online. In fact, expressing these things can become a criminal act, and is. And it’s important to know, by the way, that this is not just the private sector doing this. These efforts are being directed by the US government, which you pay for and at least theoretically own. It’s your government, but they’re stripping your rights at very high speed. Most people understand this intuitively, but they don’t know how it happens. How does censorship happen? What are the mechanics of it? 

Mike Benz is, we can say with some confidence, the expert in the world on how this happens. Mike Benz had the cyber portfolio at the State Department. He’s now executive director of Foundation for Freedom Online, and we’re going to have a conversation with him about a very specific kind of censorship. By the way, we can’t recommend strongly enough if you want to know how this happens, Mike Benz is the man to read. But today we just want to talk about a specific kind of censorship and that censorship that emanates from the fabled military industrial complex, from our defense industry, and the foreign policy establishment in Washington. That’s significant now because we’re on the cusp of a global war. And so you can expect censorship to increase dramatically. 

And so with that, here is Mike Benz, executive director of Foundation for Freedom Online. Mike, thanks so much for joining us. And I just can’t overstate to your audience how exhaustive and comprehensive your knowledge is on this topic. It’s almost unbelievable. And so if you could just walk us through how the foreign policy establishment and defense contractors and DoD [US Department of Defense] and just the whole cluster, the constellation of defense-related, publicly funded institutions strip from us our freedom of speech?

Mike Benz: Sure. You know, one of the easiest ways to actually start the story is really with the story of internet freedom and its switch from internet freedom to internet censorship, because free speech on the internet was an instrument of statecraft almost from the outset of the privatization of the internet in 1991. We quickly discovered, through the efforts of the Defense Department, the State Department in our intelligence services, that people were using the internet to congregate on blogs and forums, and free speech was championed more than anybody by the Pentagon, the State Department, and our sort of CIA cut-out NGO blob architecture as a way to support dissident groups around the world, in order to help them overthrow authoritarian governments, as they were sort of billed. 

Essentially the internet free speech allowed kind of instant regime change operations, to be able to facilitate the foreign policy establishment’s State Department agenda. Google is a great example of this. Google began as a DARPA grant by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were Stanford PhDs. And they got their funding as part of a joint CIA/NSA [US National Security Agency] program to chart how, quote, birds of a feather flock together online through search engine aggregation. And then one year later, they launched Google and then became a military contractor quickly thereafter. They got Google Maps by purchasing a CIA satellite software, essentially, and the ability to track to use free speech on the internet as a way to circumvent state control over media, over in places like Central Asia, or all around the world, was seen as a way to be able to do what used to be done out of CIA station houses or out of embassies or consulates in a way that was totally turbocharged. 

And all of the internet free speech technology was initially created by our national security state. VPNs, virtual private networks to hide your IP address. Tour the dark web, to be able to buy and sell goods anonymously and to end encrypted chats. All these things were created initially as DARPA projects or as joint CIA/NSA projects, to be able to help intelligence-backed groups to overthrow governments that were causing a problem to the Clinton administration or the Bush administration or the Obama administration. And this plan worked magically from about 1991 until about 2014, when there began to be an about-face on internet freedom and its utility. 

Now, the high watermark of the sort of internet free speech moment was the Arab Spring in 2011, 2012, when you had this one by one. All of the adversary governments of the Obama administration, Egypt, Tunisia, all began to be toppled in Facebook revolutions and Twitter revolutions. And you had the State Department working very closely with the social media companies to be able to keep social media online during those periods. There was a famous phone call from Google’s Jared Cohen to Twitter to not do their scheduled maintenance so that the preferred opposition group in Iran would be able to use Twitter, to win that election. So it was, free speech was an instrument of statecraft from the national security state to begin with. All of that architecture, all the NGOs, the relationships between the tech companies and the national security state had been long established for freedom. 

In 2014, after the coup in Ukraine, there was an unexpected counter-coup where Crimea and the Donbas broke away and they broke away with essentially a military backstop that Nato was highly unprepared for at the time. They had one last Hail Mary chance, which was the Crimea annexation vote on, in 2014. And when the hearts and minds of the people of Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation, that was the last straw for the concept of free speech on the internet in the eyes of Nato as they saw it, the fundamental nature of war changed at that moment. And Nato at that point declared something that they first called the Gerasimov doctrine, which is named after this Russian military, a general, who they claimed made a speech that the fundamental nature of war has changed. You don’t need to win military skirmishes to take over Central and Eastern Europe. All you need to do is control the media and the social media ecosystem, because that’s what controls elections. And if you simply get the right administration into power, they control the military. So it’s infinitely cheaper than conducting a military war to simply conduct an organized political, influence operation over social media. 

And legacy media and industry had been created that spanned the Pentagon, the British Ministry of Defense in Brussels [sic] into an organized political warfare outfit, essentially infrastructure that was created, initially stationed in Germany and in Central and Eastern Europe to create psychological buffer zones, basically to create the ability to have the military work with the social media companies, to censor Russian propaganda, or to censor domestic right-wing populist groups in Europe who were rising in political power at the time because of the migrant crisis. So you had the systematic targeting by our State Department, by our ISI [US Inter-Services Intelligence], by the Pentagon, of groups like Germany’s AfD, the Alternative fur Deutschland there, and for groups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. 

Now, when Brexit happened in 2016, it was that was this crisis moment where suddenly they didn’t have to worry just about Central and Eastern Europe any more. It was coming westward, this idea of Russian control over hearts and minds. And so that was Brexit was June 2016. The very next month at the Warsaw Conference, Nato formally amended its charter to expressly commit to hybrid warfare as there as this new Nato capacity. So they went from, you know, basically 70 years of tanks to this explicit capacity building for censoring tweets if they were deemed to be Russian proxies. And again, it’s not just Russian propaganda. 

This was these were now Brexit groups or groups like Matteo Salvini in Italy, or in Greece or in Germany or in Spain with the Vox party. And now at the time, Nato was publishing white papers saying that the biggest threat Nato faces is not actually a military invasion from Russia. It’s losing domestic elections across Europe in two. All these right-wing populist groups who, because they were mostly working-class movements, were campaigning on cheap Russian energy at a time when the US was pressuring this energy diversification policy. And so they made the argument after Brexit. Now the entire rules-based international order would collapse unless the military took control over media, because Brexit would give rise to ‘Frexit’ in France with Marine Le Pen. to ‘Spexit’ in Spain with a Vox party, to ‘Italexit’ in Italy, to ‘Grexit’ in Germany, to ‘Grexit’ in Greece, the EU would come apart, so Nato would be killed without a single bullet being, being fired. And then not only that, now that Nato is gone, now there’s no enforcement arm for the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, or the World Bank. So now the financial stakeholders who depend on the battering ram of the national security state would basically be helpless against governments around the world. 

So from their perspective, if the military did not begin to censor the internet, every, all of the democratic institutions and infrastructure

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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