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The Tucker Carlson interview: How America turned on its own people, Part Three


WE HAVE been running sequential segments of Tucker Carlson’s eye-opening interview with former US State cyber security expert Mike Benz. We believe it provides the clearest and most coherent evidence yet of how Americans (and the rest of the West) have been and are being censored and manipulated at the highest levels of government, specifically by the defence establishment’s exploitation of the internet and social media. If you have not done so already, you can watch the full interview here: You can also read Part 1 of the transcript here and Part 2 here. 

In the previous segment Benz detailed the post-war historic roots of the national security state, the CIA and the battle for hearts and minds that been given, as he describes it, ‘a long moral licence’, and to how the inversion of ‘foreign’ democracy threat into a perceived homegrown one when Trump won the 2016 election and the Brexit vote was won the next year in the UK, after which censorship went as he says ‘full throttle’. 

In this third segment Benz turns to the government censorship operation from this point and its roots in something called the Global Engagement Centre under Obama and the new technology they created – initially on the predicate of the threat from ISIS – who after Trump’s election believed in the need for permanent domestic censorship; how they targeted a range of Nato and government-associated think tanks to effect this, and had Germany introduce Removals under the Network Enforcement Law in 2017 which kicked off the era of automated censorship.

The Transcript, Part Three

Tucker Carlson: [00:22:46] Thank you again for this almost unbelievable explanation of why this is happening. Can you give us an example of how it happens? How just and just pick one among I know countless examples of how the national security state lies to the population, censors the truth, in real life.

Mike Benz: Yeah. So, you know, we have this State Department outfit called the Global Engagement Center, which was created by a guy named Rick Stengel, who described himself as Obama’s propagandist in chief. He was the undersecretary for public affairs, which is essentially the relationship which is the liaison office role between the State Department and the mainstream media. So this is basically the exact nexus where government talking points about war or about diplomacy or statecraft get synchronized with mainstream media.

Carlson: And I, may I add something to that is someone I know, Rick Stengel, he was at one point a journalist. And Rick Stengel has made public arguments against the First Amendment and against free speech.

Benz: And, oh, yeah, he wrote a whole book on it. He published an op-ed in 2019. He wrote a whole book on it. And he, you know, he made the argument that we just, you know, went over here that essentially, the Constitution was not prepared for the internet. And, we need to get rid of the First Amendment, accordingly. And, you know, he described himself as a free speech absolutist when he was the managing editor of Time magazine. And even when he was in the State Department under Obama, he started something called the Global Engagement Center, which was the first government censorship operation within the federal government. But it was foreign-facing, so it was okay. Now, at the time, they used the homegrown ISIS predicate threat for this. 

And so it was very hard to argue against the idea of the State Department, having this formal co-ordination partnership with every major tech platform in the US because at the time, there were these ISIS attacks and we were told that ISIS was recruiting on Twitter and Facebook. And so the Global Engagement Center was established essentially to be a State Department entanglement with the social media companies to basically put bumper cars on their ability to platform accounts, and one of the things they did is they created a new technology, which it called natural language processing. It is an artificial intelligence, machine learning, ability to create meaning out of words in order to map everything that everyone says on the internet and create this vast topography, topography of how communities are organized online, who the major influencers are, what they’re talking about, what narratives are emerging or trending, and to be able to create this sort of network graph, in order to know who to target and, and, and how information moves through an ecosystem. 

And so they began plotting the language, the prefixes, the suffixes, the popular terms, the slogans that ISIS (and) folks were talking about on Twitter. When Trump won the election in 2016, everyone who worked at the State Department was expecting these promotions to the White House, National Security Council under Hillary Clinton, who I should remind viewers, you know, was also Secretary of State under Obama, actually ran the State Department; but these folks were all expecting promotions on November 18th,  2016 and were unceremoniously put out of jobs by a guy who was a 20 to 1 underdog, according to the New York Times the day of the election. And when that happened, these State Department folks took their special set of skills coercing governments, sanctions in the State Department (that) led the effort to sanction Russia over the Crimea annexation in 2014. 

These State Department diplomats did an international roadshow to pressure European governments to pass censorship laws, to censor the right-wing populist groups in Europe, and as a boomerang impact to censor populist groups who were affiliated in the US. So you had folks who went from the State Department directly, for example, to the Atlantic Council which was this major facilitator, between government to government censorship. The Atlantic Council is a group that was one of Biden’s biggest political backers. They bill themselves as Nato’s think tank. So they represent the political senses of Nato in many respects. When Nato has civil society actions that they want to be coordinated to, to synchronize with military action, a region the Atlantic Council essentially is deployed to consensus, build and make that political action happen within a region of interest to Nato. Now, the Atlantic Council has seven CIA directors on its board. A lot of people don’t even know that seven CIA directors are still alive, let alone all concentrated on the board of a single organization. That’s kind of the heavyweight in the censorship industry. They get annual funding from the Department of Defense, the State Department, and CIA cutouts like the National Endowment for Democracy. 

The Atlantic Council in January 2017 moved immediately to pressure European governments to pass censorship laws to create a transatlantic flank attack on free speech in exactly the way that Rick Stengel essentially called to have the US mimic European censorship laws. One of the ways they did this was by getting Germany to pass something called NetzDG (Removals under the Network Enforcement Law) in August 2017, which essentially kicked off the era of automated censorship in the US. What NetzDG required was that unless social media platforms wanted to pay a $54million fine for each instance of speech, for each post left up on their platform for more than 48 hours that had been identified as hate speech they would (be). They would be fined basically into bankruptcy when you aggregate 54million over tens of thousands of posts per day. 

And the safe haven around that was if they deployed artificial intelligence-based censorship technologies, which had been again created by DARPA to take on ISIS, to be able to scan and ban speech automatically . . . I call these weapons of mass deletion . . . essentially (gave) the ability to censor tens of millions of posts with just a few lines of code. And the way this is done is by aggregating basically the field of censorship science fuses together two disparate groups of study, if you will. There’s this sort of political and social scientists who are the sort of thought leaders of what should be censored. And then there are the sort of ‘quants’, if you will. These are the programmers, the computational data scientists, computational linguistics. Every university, there’s over 60 universities now who get federal government grants to do this. 

Censorship, the censorship work and the censorship preparation work, where what they do is they create these code books of the language that people use the same way they did for ISIS. They do this, for example, with covid. They created these covid lexicons of what dissident groups were saying about mandates, about masks, about vaccines, about high profile individuals like Tony Fauci or Peter Daszak or any of these others protected VIP and individuals whose reputations had to be protected online. And they created these code books. They broke things down into narratives. The Atlantic Council, for example, was a part of this government funded consortium, something called The Virality Project, which mapped 66 different narratives that dissidents were talking about around covid, everything from covid origins to vaccine efficacy. And then they broke down these 66 claims into all the different factual sub-claims. And then they plugged these into these essentially machine learning models to be able to have a constant world heat map of what everybody was saying about covid. And whenever something started a trend that was bad for what the Pentagon wanted or was bad for what Tony Fauci wanted, they were able to take down tens of millions of posts. They did this in the 2020 election with mail-in ballots. It was this week.

Carlson: There’s so much here and it’s so shocking. So you’re saying the Pentagon, our Pentagon, the US Department of Defense censored Americans during the 2020 election cycle?

Benz: Yes, they did this. They oh, they did this through the . . . so there’s the two most censored events in human history, I would argue to date are the 2020 election and the Covid-19 pandemic. And I’ll explain, you know, how I arrived there. So the 2020 election was determined by mail-in ballots. And I’m not weighing into the substance of whether mail-in ballots were or were not a legitimate or safe and reliable form of voting. That’s a completely independent topic from my perspective and the censorship issue. One but the censorship of mail-in ballots is really one of the most extraordinary stories in our American history, I would argue. 

What happened was, you had this plot within the Department of Homeland Security. Now this gets back to what we were talking about with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center. You had this group within the Atlantic Council in the foreign policy establishment, which began arguing in 2017 for the need for a permanent domestic censorship government office to serve as a quarterback for what they called a home of society. Counter misinformation, counter disinformation alliance. That just means censorship. The counter missed this info, but their ‘whole society’  model explicitly proposed that we need every single asset within society to be mobilized in a ‘whole of society’ effort to stop misinformation online. It was that much of an existential threat to democracy. 

And so they fixated in 2017 that it had to be centered within the government because only the government would have the clout and the coercive threat powers and the and the perceived authority to be able to tell the social media companies what to do, to be able to summon in a government-funded NGOs form, to create that media surround, to be able to arm an astroturf army of fact checkers and to be able to liaise and connect all these different censorship industry actors into a cohesive, unified whole. And the Atlantic Council initially proposed this blueprint called Forward Defense. It’s not offense, it’s forward defense, guys. 

They initially proposed running this out of the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, because they had so many assets there who were so effective at censorship under Rick Stengel’s team, and under the Obama administration. But they said, oh, we’re not gonna be able to get away with that because we don’t really have a national security predicate and it’s supposed to be foreign-facing. We can’t really use that hook unless we have a sort of national security one. Then they contemplated parking at the CIA and they said, well, actually, there’s two reasons we can’t do that. CIA is foreign-facing, and we can’t really establish a counter-intelligence threat to bring it home domestically. Also, we’re going to need essentially tens of thousands of people involved in this operation spanning this whole society model. You can’t really run a clandestine operation that way. So they said, okay, well, what about the FBI? They said, well, the FBI would be great. It’s domestic. But the problem is the FBI is supposed to be the intelligence arm of the Justice Department and weak. And what we’re dealing with here are not acts of lawbreaking. That’s basically support for Trump. Or if, you know, if a left-wing populist had risen to power like Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, I have no doubt they would have done in the UK, they would have done the same thing to him there. They targeted Jeremy Corbyn and other left-wing populist Nato-sceptical groups in Europe. But in the US it was all Trump. And so essentially what they said is, well, the only other domestic intelligence equity we have in the US besides the FBI is the DHS [Department of Homeland Security]. So we are going to essentially take the CIA’s power to rig and bribe foreign media organizations, which is a power they’ve had since the day they were born in 1947. And we’re going to combine that with the power, with the domestic jurisdiction of the FBI by putting it at DHS. So DHS was basically deputized. It was empowered through this obscure little cyber security agency to have the combined powers that the CIA has abroad with the jurisdiction of the FBI at home. 

And the way they did this, how did a cyber and an obscure little cyber security agency get this power was they did a funny little series of switch ruse. So this little thing called CISA and call it the Disinformation Governance Board. They didn’t call it the censorship agency. They gave it an obscure little name that no one would notice, called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, whose founder said we are just security, we care about security so much it’s in our name twice. And everybody sort of closed their eyes and pretended, you know, that’s what it was. But it was created by an Act of Congress in 2018 because of the perceived threat that Russia had hacked the 2016 election, had physically hacked it. And so we needed the cyber security power, to be able to, to be able to deal with that. 

And essentially on the heels of a CIA memo on January 6th, 2017, the same day, a DHS executive order on January 6th, 2017, arguing that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election and a DHS mandate, saying that elections are now critical infrastructure. You had this new power within DHS to say that cyber security attacks on elections are now our purview. And then they did two cute things. One, they said so they said, miss this. And information online is a form of cyber security attack. They are a cyber attack because they are happening online. And they said, well, actually Russian disinformation is we’re actually protecting democracy in elections. We don’t need a Russian predicate after Russiagate died. So just like that, you had the Cyber Security Agency be able to legally make the argument that your tweets about mail-in ballots, if you undermine public faith and confidence in them as a legitimate form of voting, was now you were now conducting a cyber attack on US critical infrastructure by articulating misinformation on Twitter.

Carlson: So in other words, complaining about election fraud is the same as taking down our power grid.

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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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