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Brownstone Institute

Chinese Rise Up Against Lockdowns that Elites Advocated in the US

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From the Brownstone Institute

BY Michael SengerMICHAEL SENGER

Mainstream headlines are alight with stories about protests of unprecedented proportion that have erupted across China in response to Xi Jinping’s draconian Zero Covid lockdown policies. I post these with the caveat that, owing to both the unique restrictions on information from China and our media’s false pretense of hawkishness in order to retain the public’s trust, stories about protests and instability in China are perennially exaggerated.

protests erupt across China
China's Covid Controls failing
China protests
Clashes in Shanghai China over covid restrictions

That there have been protests against the Chinese Communist Party’s lockdowns is not surprising, however, given how horrendous those policies have been. Exaggeration aside, during China’s lockdowns, most residents haven’t been allowed outside their homes even to get food. Meal deliveries are frequently inadequate and rotten and medical care is often inaccessible. Covid health status apps are strictly enforced. Those who test positive for Covid are taken to sparse, overcrowded quarantine camps resembling prisons. Infants are separated from their parents. Pets are killed.

I post these, too, with the caveat that stories of the CCP’s Zero Covid policies are often exaggerated as well, owing to both the establishment’s pretense of hawkishness and the consistent media narrative that during the response to Covid, at least we didn’t have it as bad as those poor Chinese who had to experience a “real lockdown.”

Wow, that’s some bad stuff. It’s an open question why the CCP remains so obsessively dedicated to this policy of Zero Covid; theories range from bureaucratic inertia to “saving face,” to a test of loyalty for Party members, to keeping “the science” alive, to simply putting on a show to reassure international onlookers that the CCP really does believe in what it sold them and at least they don’t have it as bad as in China. It remains to be seen whether these protests will result in any real change in the country’s direction.

But in the meantime, it’s worth remembering who it was exactly who advocated these insane Zero Covid lockdown policies and urged us to emulate them: Our own media elites and health officials.

Here’s the New York Times touting the Chinese “version of freedom.”

NYT praises China "freedom"
China tries ZeroCovid

Here’s the Washington Post wishing the US was more like China.

WP loves China

Here’s the New Yorker on the secrets to China’s “success.”

New Yorker fawning over China

Here’s Salon whining about America’s failure to “learn” from China’s success.

Salon sees China as a success on covid

Here’s CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on the incredible results China was able to “achieve” with their “really strict lockdowns.”

ncredible results China was able to “achieve” with their “really strict lockdowns.”

Here’s former CDC Director Robert Redfield on China’s “control of their outbreak.”

Redfield says China controlled outbreak.

Here’s former CDC Director Tom Frieden on how China used lockdowns to “crush the curve.”

CDC Director Tom Frieden on how China used lockdowns to “crush the curve.”

Here’s Anthony Fauci advising India to “learn from China” as late as 2021.

Fauci says India can learn from China on covid.

Here’s Bill Gates praising China’s “authoritarian response” and blaming America’s failure on “freedom.”

Here’s WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward rubber-stamping the CCP’s lockdowns into global policy.

Here’s WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward rubber stamping the CCP’s lockdowns into global policy.

Here’s former Surgeon General Jerome Adams toeing the line.

Here’s former Surgeon General Jerome Adams toeing the line.

Here’s Neil Ferguson on how China led the way.

Here’s Neil Ferguson on how China led the way.

Here’s Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of the once-esteemed medical journal the Lancet, touting China’s response.

Here’s Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of the once-esteemed medical journal the Lancet, touting China’s response.

Here’s Devi Sridhar urging the UK to copy China’s “early and hard lockdown.”

Here’s Devi Sridhar urging the UK to copy China’s “early and hard lockdown.”

Here’s professors Gavin Yamey, Gregg Gonsalves, and Angela Rasmussen defending China’s data.

Gavin Yamey says China
gregggggg

Here’s the Financial Times attributing China’s “success” to Xi’s “strict lockdowns.”

Here’s the Financial Times attributing China’s “success” to Xi’s “strict lockdowns.”

Here’s Canada’s former Health Minister Patty Hajdu defending China’s data.

Here’s Canada’s former Health Minister Patty Hajdu defending China’s data.

Here’s Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam on the “key lesson” to be learned from China.

Here’s Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam on the “key lesson” to be learned from China.

Of course it’s no accident that Matt Pottinger and Deborah Birx, arguably the two most important officials behind lockdowns in the United States, got their idea of virus containment from China as well. As did Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who signed the first lockdown orders in the western world.

In 2020 and 2021, these calls for Western nations to emulate China’s lockdowns reached a fever pitch. But you don’t even need to look that far back. In fact, just yesterday, Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz defended the CCP’s Zero Covid policy amid the widespread protests that had erupted among the Chinese public.

Even some Covid “moderates” like professor Francois Balloux continue to toe the line that China’s lockdowns were effective.

And two days prior, Anthony Fauci gave a sworn deposition describing how China had inspired the advice on Covid containment that he issued to the United States.

And two days prior, Anthony Fauci gave a sworn deposition describing how China had inspired the advice on Covid containment that he issued to the United States.

As protests continue to erupt across China and Zero Covid is lain bare as the moral and intellectual catastrophe that is always was, it’s worth remembering that if we’d taken these officials and media elites seriously, the entire free world would look very much like China does today. Moreover, not a single one of these officials or media elites has been held to account or even lost their position. On the contrary, several of the most important pro-lockdown officials have had their exploits glorified in hagiographic memoirs, and some, such as UK SAGE advisor and 40-year British Communist Party member Susan Michie, have been given big promotions.

This in sharp contrast to the countless professionals who lost their positions due to noncompliance with Covid mandates, or those—as I found out the hard way—who’ve been censored for the mere suggestion that we may need an inquiry into why all these elites suddenly felt it appropriate to advise their countries to adopt one of the CCP’s most ruthlessly totalitarian policies.

It’s possible that when we get to the bottom of this story, we’ll find that these elites had perfectly good reasons for treating China’s data as real and treating Xi Jinping’s lockdowns as a legitimate public health policy, and a perfectly good explanation for why they couldn’t share those reasons with the public. But somehow, that doesn’t seem likely.

Republished from the author’s Substack

Author

  • Michael Senger

    Michael P Senger is an attorney and author of Snake Oil: How Xi Jinping Shut Down the World. He has been researching the influence of the Chinese Communist Party on the world’s response to COVID-19 since March 2020 and previously authored China’s Global Lockdown Propaganda Campaign and The Masked Ball of Cowardice in Tablet Magazine. You can follow his work on Substack

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Brownstone Institute

Assange and the Whistleblowers That Could’ve Been

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From the Brownstone Institute

By BILL RICE  

“‘Can’t we just drone this guy?’ Clinton openly inquired, offering a simple remedy to silence Assange and smother WikiLeaks via a planned military drone strike, according to State Department Sources…”

In the last four years of our Orwellian New Abnormal, the following thoughts occurred to me countless times:

What the world desperately needs is far more brave whistleblowers. What we need is an active and robust WikiLeaks…or far more organizations that perform the vital work of WikiLeaks.

The reasons this has not occurred are, of course, obvious.

The main reason is that the people who could disclose important information about government or Deep State crimes are simply terrified to do this.

They are afraid to do this because they, quite correctly, know they’d suffer deeply unpleasant consequences if they did disclose “inconvenient truths” that expose how corrupt the world’s most important organizations have now become.

Another reason: Organizations that might actually publish the claims of important whistleblowers, largely, do not exist. The entrepreneurs who might create and try to run these organizations have clearly noted the undeniable message the Establishment sent to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

That message? If you do publish documents or testimony that embarrasses or threatens us, THIS is what will happen to you.

Truth Bombs That Never Detonated

It’s true WikiLeaks continued to exist while its founder was imprisoned on bogus charges. However, the significant work product of WikiLeaks effectively disappeared while Assange was “dealt with” by the State.

With a few lower-profile exceptions, no organizations assumed the risks of performing the dangerous work of WikiLeaks.

Because of this, many narrative-changing “truth bombs” never detonated…at a time when the world needed Real Truth more than ever.

While Assange is no longer in a British prison—and won’t have to serve the rest of his life in an American Maximum Security prison—the Intimidation State largely achieved its primary goal of taking proactive measures to ensure no one would expose their crimes.

Even today, 100 shocking scandals—genuine “crimes against humanity”—could be definitively exposed if more whistleblowers came forward…and if the information provided by these whistleblowers was disseminated to the mass public.

These Revelations That Never Happened are all “unknown unknowables.” The public will never know things it might otherwise have learned about our society’s real rulers.

It is surely not a coincidence that in the 12 years Assange was either in prison or seeking refuge in an embassy, the Censorship Industrial Complex transitioned from non-existent to the largest growth industry in the bureaucratic state.

Whether it’s NewsGuard, Media Matters, or the Stanford “Virality Project,” scores of anti-disinformation organizations now exist to shut down or deamplify dissenting voices. These well-funded and coordinated organizations eagerly do the bidding of governments that fear and despise “free speech” and a “search for the truth.”

If Julian Assange was trying to warn the world that Big Brother was going to get much bigger (and he was sending this warning), he was clearly proven right.

A Few Details of the Assange Saga Should Not Be Forgotten

Before writing this story, I refreshed my memory regarding the details of the Assange saga.

I was reminded that Mike Pompeo, the former US Secretary of State and CIA director, once seriously considered a plot to assassinate Assange.

So did Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State.

According to this Substack review, “Hillary Clinton, one of the worst warmongers in the history of America, proposed to use Barrack (sic) Hussein Obama’s favorite illicit assassination method for Assange.

“‘Can’t we just drone this guy?’ Clinton openly inquired, offering a simple remedy to silence Assange and smother WikiLeaks via a planned military drone strike, according to State Department Sources…”

Hillary was no fan of Assange because it was WikiLeaks that revealed her sycophants conspired with the Democratic Party (via Clintonian “dirty tricks”) to ensure her nomination.

WikiLeaks went a Leak Too Far when the organization published videos showing that US Army helicopters killed many innocent Iraqi civilians—including several International journalists—in one of our nation’s wars to “protect democracy.”

The organization also published reports of torture and mistreatment of prisoners and documented revelations showing how the massive US Intelligence Community was spying on, potentially, millions of citizens.

I Get Why Most Americans Don’t Want to Think about Assange

I think I understand why many Americans view Assange as either a villain or simply prefer to not think about what’s been done to this man.

Every WikiLeak revelation supports the conclusion that America might not be the force for “freedom” most Americans grew up thinking our nation was.

For most people, the thought that “Maybe we aren’t the Good Guys after all” is intolerable medicine.

Still, the national consensus should have been that it was the country’s leaders—and government entities—who are acting as tyrants. That is, it wasn’t everyday Janes and Joes who were mimicking North Korea; it was our government and all the organizations that wanted to stay on the safer side of this 900-pound gorilla.

The message that’s yet to resonate with enough people is that “We the People” could easily get rid of these Bad Actors who are trying to rebrand the “American Way.”

Portrayed as Enemy No. 1 by our government, Julian Assange was simply trying to provide citizens the knowledge we needed to self-correct and purge these actors before they became too powerful to stop.

Let Us Not Forget Who Was Fine with Assange’s Imprisonment

As some of us celebrate Assange’s release, we should also reflect on the powerful institutions and influential citizens who never rallied to his defense.

Surreally, chief among these groups is the vast majority of members of the mainstream media “watchdog” press.

The Washington Post tells us that “Democracy dies in darkness” and yet the Post was more than content with Julian Assange languishing in a dark prison cell for the rest of his life. That is, the Post never used its considerable editorial influence to free the man who had shed the most light on the true nature of our leadership organizations.

Ninety-nine point-nine percent of the country’s activist celebrities were conspicuously silent about the deplorable treatment of Julian Assange (or Ed Snowden or Chelsey Manning or any person who disagreed with Anthony Fauci).

The best-known defenders of Julian Assange were the conceptual leader of Pink Floyd and an actress who once starred in Baywatch.

One has to ask where Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Bono, Jane Fonda, and Robert DeNiro were when Assange was in a British prison? They certainly weren’t outside his prison cell protesting.

Assange Has Not Received ‘justice’

Some are now saying that “justice” has been served for Assange. As Caitlin Johnstone reminds us, Assange hasn’t gotten any “justice.”

“So while Assange may be free, we cannot rightly say that justice has been done.

“Justice would look like Assange being granted a full and unconditional pardon and receiving millions of dollars in compensation from the US government for the torment they put him through by his imprisonment in Belmarsh beginning in 2019, his de facto imprisonment in the Ecuadorian embassy beginning in 2012, and his jailing and house arrest beginning in 2010.

“Justice would look like the US making concrete legal and policy changes guaranteeing that Washington could never again use its globe-spanning power and influence to destroy the life of a foreign journalist for reporting inconvenient facts about it, and issuing a formal apology to Julian Assange and his family.

Justice would look like the arrest and prosecution of the people whose war crimes Assange exposedand the arrest and prosecution of everyone who helped ruin his life for exposing those crimes. This would include a whole host of government operatives and officials across numerous countries, and multiple US presidents …”


On the occasion of last year’s World Freedom Day, “President” Joe Biden said, “Today—and every day—we must all stand with journalists around the world. We must all speak out against those who wish to silence them.”

Does anyone remember Joe Biden speaking out—even one time—against those who “silenced” Julian Assange?

And, for the record, who silenced him?

Republished from the author’s Substack

Author

Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance journalist in Troy, Alabama.

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Brownstone Institute

Karma Catches Up to the Stanford Internet Observatory

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

By ANDREW LOWENTHAL 

Karma has caught up with the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), which will be scaled back to just three staff, according to the Washington Post. The contracts of its leading protagonists, Alex Stamos and Renee DiResta, have not been renewed. It was former CIA fellow Renee DiResta who led SIO’s signature initiatives, the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) and the Virality Project (VP).

SIO’s demise is a result of a string of efforts including those of RacketPublic, the Murthy v. Missouri plaintiffs, the New Civil Liberties Alliance, the Disinformation Chronicle, the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, and many more. Network Affects also contributed original research.

Founded with a $5 million donation from Craig Newmark, SIO took countering “misinformation” to new heights; the Virality Project advised its Big Tech partners to consider “true stories” to be “misinformation:”

I unearthed that document while assisting Matt Taibbi with Twitter Files research, just in time for his and Michael Shellenberger’s testimony before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. It is perhaps the most egregious example of the internet research and digital rights fields 180°– an inorganic flip that undermined a decades-long commitment to free expression.

Inorganic because the EIP and VP were not “research initiatives” as is often claimed; they were seeded by the security state, namely the Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, as demonstrated by emails released by the House Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Below the Atlantic Council’s Graham Brookie (an EIP/VP project partner) explains that “we just set up an election integrity partnership at the request of DHS/CISA:”

The Atlantic Council is essentially NATO’s think tank and its board includes Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Secretary General of NATO the Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson, former US Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta, Goldman Sachs Secretary of the Board John F. W. Rogers, and many, many more.

As Taibbi further demonstrated, Twitter was aware of EIP’s links to the intelligence community:

So when content takedown recommendations came onto Twitter, they knew they were more than just serving suggestions.

The content of those requests was made clear after SIO was forced to release details of their internal flagging system. This again, via Taibbi’s reporting:

Furthermore, VP was in close contact with the White House and hosted Surgeon General Murphy for a discussion on health “misinformation.”

They also had pipeline-level access to more than 50 million Covid-related tweets per day:

This was in no way an insignificant research project.

VP pushed to censor other academics, such as Martin Kuldorff, a former Harvard Professor of Epidemiology and former member of the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Subgroup. As Alex Gutentag and I reported, VP  “played a major role” in censoring Kuldorff. On March 15, 2021, Kulldorff tweeted, “Thinking that everyone must be vaccinated is as scientifically flawed as thinking that nobody should. COVID vaccines are important for older high-risk people, and their care-takers. Those with prior natural infection do not need it. Nor children.”

VP flagged the tweet to Twitter and it was subsequently labelled as “misleading” and Kuldorff was temporarily suspended from the platform.” VP also marked him as a “repeat offender.”

However many outlets describe SIO’s demise as the result of “sustained right-wing campaign” by “conservative outlets” and ignore the corruption at the heart of the project. Predictably Stanford, DiResta, Stamos, and their supporters shout “Everything is right-wing” as they scramble to come up with a narrative that deflects accountability for their actions.

The truth is just that SIO was doing something egregiously wrong and was targeting people regardless of ideology. Those reporters could easily find that out – the lead tweet of Taibbi’s House testimony has been viewed more than 40 million times:

Stamos and DiResta will of course find other work. Stamos already has, starting a company with former CISA head Chris Krebs. Meanwhile, DiResta has a new book out – endorsed surprisingly by Jonathan Haidt, who was also among the top signatories of the Westminster Declaration. Despite SIO crumbling accountability still appears to be sorely lacking. DiResta appeared top of the bill at a recent Yale conference on propaganda.

It should never have gone this far; a properly self-regulating anti-disinformation field would have sniffed out bad actors early, but the conversation and the ecosystem are broken. SIO shouldn’t be the last center to be shut down or see leadership changes. Breaking basic research ethics, hiding your relationship with government and intelligence agencies, protecting corporate products from proper scrutiny, and pushing for the censorship of other academics is not “free academic inquiry” or “free speech;” it is corruption.

My non-profit, liber-net, will be strengthening our efforts over the coming months to bring accountability to other leading civil society censorship initiatives.

Meanwhile, SIO leaves a malign legacy, having damaged the reputation of the anti-disinformation field, and academia more broadly. The question is, will the anti-disinformation field clean house, or continue to ignore the corruption within its ranks?

Links to my past Stanford Internet Observatory and Virality Project-related content can be found below.

Stanford’s Virality Project pushed to censor the vaccine-injured

The Virality Project was a government front to coordinate censorship

Stanford Group Helped US Government Censor Covid Dissidents and Then Lied About It, New Documents Show

Twitter Files Extra: How the World’s “No-Kidding Decision Makers” Got Organized

Republished from the author’s Substack

Author

Andrew Lowenthal is a Brownstone Institute fellow, journalist, and the founder and CEO of liber-net, a digital civil liberties initiative. He was co-founder and Executive Director of the Asia-Pacific digital rights non-profit EngageMedia for almost eighteen years, and a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and MIT’s Open Documentary Lab.

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