New documents provided by a whistleblower have uncovered the beginning of what now is routinely accepted as a censorship scheme involving the government and private groups influencing social media corporations to silence voices that oppose the feds' ideologies.
And it happened in Barack Obama's White House, the report explains.
The new charges are revealed in a Substack authored by Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag and Matt Taibbi.
The papers note that while censorship activities overseas are routinely done by the CIA, NSA and Department of Defense, the silencing of "Americans" requires nuance because of the Constitution's ban on direct government censorship.
"The whistleblower alleges that a leader of CTI League [Cyber Threat Intelligence League], a 'former' British intelligence analyst, was 'in the room' at the Obama White House in 2017 when she received the instructions to create a counter-disinformation project to stop a 'repeat of 2016,'" the report charged.
It said the CTIL started as a volunteer project of scientists and intel operatives, but soon morphed into tactics that were absorbed by the Department of Homeland Security and others.
The documents, in fact, "offer the missing link answers to key questions not addressed in the Twitter Files and Facebook files," the report said.
The Substack article explained, "Over the last year, Public, Racket, congressional investigators, and others have documented the rise of the Censorship Industrial Complex, a network of over 100 government agencies and nongovernmental organizations that work together to urge censorship by social media platforms and spread propaganda about disfavored individuals, topics, and whole narratives.
"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) has been the center of gravity for much of the censorship, with the National Science Foundation financing the development of censorship and disinformation tools and other federal government agencies playing a supportive role."
The report explains the new documents show "everything" from the start of the modern digital censorship program to the role played by military and intel agencies and operatives.
Emails document how "CISA created the Election Integrity Partnership in 2020" using the Stanford Internet Observatory and government contractors. The goal was "to censor social media posts by ordinary citizens and elected officials alike."
The trove includes strategy documents, training videos and internal discussions that show during 2019, U.S. and U.K. military and intelligence contractors, following U.K. defense researcher Sara-Jayne "SJ" Terp, assembled the framework of censorship.
"Messages show Terp, her colleagues, and officials from DHS and Facebook all working closely together in the censorship process," the report said.
And it appears the target was "disfavored narratives," not really "wrong facts."
One of the early targets was the discussion about alternatives to the catastrophic shutdown of America's businesses and churches because of COVID, as well as comments like "all jobs are essential."
Immediately, those posting such messages were put in a bull's-eye for monitoring, and takedown plans were developed.
"CTIL’s approach to 'disinformation' went far beyond censorship. The documents show that the group engaged in offensive operations to influence public opinion, discussing ways to promote 'counter-messaging,' co-opt hashtags, dilute disfavored messaging, create sock puppet accounts, and infiltrate private invite-only groups," the Substack report said.
The CTIL even suggested asking potential members whether they had, in fact, experience with "psyops."
The Substack authors explained they independently verified the legitimacy of the papers.
The report said the FBI, CISA, Terp and others declined to respond to requests for comment.
The authors reported, "The sum total of the documents is a clear picture of a highly coordinated and sophisticated effort by the U.S. and U.K. governments to build a domestic censorship effort and influence operations similar to the ones they have used in foreign countries."