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Censorship Industrial Complex redux



Two days ago a key House subcommittee released a massive (881 pages!) report on social-media censorship in America. This subcommittee used the phrase Censorship Industrial Complex, a phrase they likely borrowed from Matt Taibbi, a star witness. But this report tells only half the story. That half perhaps is the half that would concern citizen legislators the more: the carrots and sticks the government used to threaten and otherwise coerce and induce various social-media companies to do their bidding. But they leave out the other half: why would these social-media companies give the White House the time of day? Why do they leave the redemption of social media to an eccentric billionaire, and an inveterate antisemitic conspiracy theorist? The answer could lie in Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s characterization of politics as “the art of the possible.”

The Censorship Industrial Complex concept

Fourteen months ago, Matt Taibbi released his thread describing the Censorship Industrial Complex. On the day before (March 9, 2023), he and Mike Shellenberger had testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Regular readers will remember that Del. Stacy Plaskett (D-U.S.V.I.) called those men “direct threats to all who disagree with him.” Subcommittee (and Committee) Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) struck this prize example of projection from the record.

Even then, Taibbi accused Twitter of acting “more like a partner to government.” In fact he traced the activities of the Censorship Industrial Complex to 2020. That makes Twitter – the old Twitter, that is, before Elon Musk bought the company – guilty of election interference. Coercion is not the word for a company who puts in place the administration responsible for giving it unlawful orders. Collaboration is the real operative word.

An argument that didn’t work for William Calley at My Lai; an argument that didn’t work for the Nazis at Nuremberg. Actor Kevin Pollack, as Lt. (jg) Sam Weinberg USNR, in A Few Good Men (1992)

True enough, the orders came in 2020 from government agencies. Remember: the Deep State consists of hangers-on, “civil servants,” and putative law-enforcement agents who collectively act like a law unto themselves. The FBI and CIA were parts and parcels of this illicit process. And some of the user accounts they targeted, were telling obvious lies – like saying the election was postponed for a day. But how do we know the Deep State didn’t salt Twitter with those accounts? Why can’t that be yet another false-flag pseudo-operation?

Their real mission

Aaron Maté of Real Clear Investigations has definitively shown that Presidents Obama and Biden ran a secret war against Russia. They’re still running it, with Ukraine as their proxy, pawn, and money laundry. During the Trump years, the Deep State kept this war going and plotted to oust Trump at the earliest opportunity. But any tyrant running a war for his own twisted gain must employ censorship to hide the truth. So it is with this Censorship Industrial Complex. That’s why the Deep State gave Twitter Trust and Safety (“The Moderators”) the convenient fiction that Russia was running a sophisticated operation to wage an information (meaning a propaganda) war against the United States, and give (purely verbal and moral) aid and comfort to the putative enemy of the United States, the Russian Federation.


The Framers of the Constitution knew that, if they weren’t careful, a would-be tyrant would accuse his opponents of treason. But they might not have anticipated the degree to which the modern tyrants Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and their minions would stretch the definition they gave. “To levy war” means to fight a kinetic war, with kinetic weapons. “Aid and comfort” must mean more than mere speech, because the First Amendment guarantees complete freedom of speech. Nevertheless we see the real mission of the Censorship Industrial Complex. And that is to continue its proxy war against Russia, and smear its opposition with a false attainder of treason.

Latest Censorship Industrial Complex report

Now the Weaponization Subcommittee has released a very large PDF file – too large for CNAV to host directly.

Its Executive Summary – without which this report would be virtually incomprehensible – tells the tale. It begins with this email from a ranking officer at Meta (Facebook and Instagram):

Just got off [an] hour long call with [Senior Advisor to President Biden] Andy Slavitt…. [H]e was outraged – not too strong of a word to describe his reaction – that we did not remove this post…. I countered that removing content like that would represent a significant incursion into traditional boundaries of free expression in the US but he replied that the post was directly comparing Covid vaccines to asbestos poisoning in a way which demonstrably inhibits confidence in Covid vaccines amongst those the Biden Administration is trying to reach. Sir Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of Global Affairs, former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, describing his efforts to explain the boundaries of the First Amendment to the Biden White House in April 2021.

But of course the White House does not care about freedom of speech. They in fact argued for the continued authority to censor, in Murthy v. Missouri.

And when they did, at least one-third of the Supreme Court agreed with them! But part of their grounds for agreement is that the social media companies were free to refuse the government’s orders.


Jordan’s Weaponization Subcommittee staff chose to dispute that, and lay the blame squarely on the Biden administration. The Executive Summary seems to focus on the COVID-19 “wild origin” narrative and vaccines. As “disastrous” as these things are, the proxy war with Russia is worse. At least neither virus nor vaccine will kill someone through spontaneous nuclear combustion.

The Executive Summary goes on to accuse the White House of pressuring social-media companies to:

  • Change their content moderation policies to suit the government,
  • Remove true, satirical, and other perfectly legitimate content, and
  • Chill any further discussion on the “sensitive subjects” of White House interest.

What threats could they make?

Furthermore, they had credible policy threats to make, and thus a means of coercion. Nor did they limit themselves to social media. They pressured Amazon, the leading (indeed, the cartel leading) bookseller, to de-list books. Any book the Biden administration (or before them, the Deep State) considered sensitive, would lose promotion or even its listing. The report cites “internal email” apparently from Amazon staff, complaining of “pressure” from “the Biden people.” This applied, according to the report, mainly to books challenging the coronavirus and vaccine narratives.

As was the case with Facebook’s Nick Clegg, Andy Slavitt got the blame for applying the “pressure.” If half the allegations about Slavitt are accurate, he imperiously did not care what Amazon’s customers wanted. And he wanted Amazon to stop caring as well.

But the report says absolutely nothing about any communication with Amazon’s Department (or Office) of General Counsel. And opf course the public is hearing about this only now, after Republicans took over the House.

The other half: collaboration

Indeed – as we have said many times – never once did either the full Committee or the Weaponization Subcommittee consider the guilt that might attach to these companies for willingly accepting unlawful orders. When does a willing slave become, not a slave, but a trusty? And a cynically motivated trusty at that? Could not Meta, Alphabet (Google and YouTube), and Amazon have a baser motive: to have the government cancel their opposition?


Amazon Web Services famously de-hosted the old Parler service after Donald Trump opened an account with them. They did so because they didn’t like Parler’s policies. Parler came back, all right – as a shell of its former self. It has never recovered.

But Elon Musk bought Twitter. Then, for months he fought one battle after another – with Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, and the European Union. His is a constant struggle to find advertisers who either don’t mind the controversies now playing out on Twitter (which he renamed X), or welcome the controversies. Sadly, a parallel economy takes time to build.

Meta has chosen to collaborate – and Alphabet and Amazon give every indication that they think they are the Deep State. Perhaps the real Deep State and their World Economic Forum masters find it convenient to let Alphabet and Amazon pretend. But pretenders or partners, they are definitely collaborators.

Bypassing the Censorship Industrial Complex

Andrew Torba knows all about the perils of relying on third parties. The Censorship Industrial Complex systematically chased him off one host after another, besides disallowing any true “app” he built. So he has built a completely independent infrastructure. Instead of building an app, he has made his site mobile-friendly, and provided browser shortcuts that require no maintenance. When conventional payment processors refused to handle his payments, he built his own processor! Today the Gab name stands, above all, for independence.

His only problem lies in identifying, as his enemies, a group of people who are not a collective enemy. Which is to say: the Jews. But at least he’s good enough to host Laura Loomer (who is Jewish), so he has some honor.


Dr. Steven Turley has come late to the realization that he must not rely on the Collaboration Axis. Alphabet (as YouTube) abruptly demonetized his channel – totally. Their first excuse was that his short videos – shorts they encouraged him to make! – showed copyrighted news footage with little original commentary. Take them down, they told him, and we’ll reconsider. So he took them down. Then they said, “Thanks; we’ll get back to you in a month.” Two weeks ago they gave him their answer: “No. Your channel is full of controversial content that harms our viewers.” Which is why he has expanded his separate Turley Talks social-media platform into a full-blown video server that directly supports livestreaming and chat.

Other alternative platforms include Rumble, BitChute, Odysee, and Brighteon.

What they have in common

These other platforms have this above all in common: they don’t cooperate, collude, or collaborate. They fight. It has cost many of them millions, but they fight. Even Elon Musk does not fight as hard as they. (Though he comes close! Yesterday he reinstated the account of one Nicholas J. Fuentes, an even more rabid antisemite than Torba. Influencers everywhere virtually asked him Whiskey Tango Foxtrot did he think he was doing. He said it was better to have even toxic ideologies out in the open, than hidden in dark alleys.)

More to the point, Jim Jordan’s Committee and Subcommittee leave out a vital part of the Censorship Industrial Complex story. Jordan could and should have called Andrew Torba and Dr. Steve Turley as witnesses. Those two did more than complain; they did something about it.

Decades ago, the late Ayn Rand lamented that Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisc.) and the House Un-American Activities Committee concentrated on ferreting out a conspiracy – with no attention to combating bad ideas, or improving the government’s own structure. So it is with Jim Jordan’s committees. If “weaponization of the federal government” is the problem, why not concentrate on disarming it? Why should anyone depend on a cartel of any kind, for telecommunications, sales and service, or the like? Matt Taibbi and Mike Shellenberger taught us much about the evils of censorship. But Andrew Torba and Steven Turley can teach us how to fight it. As they do all the time.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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