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Brownstone Institute

How an Occupied Twitter Ruined Countless Lives


12 minute read

From the Brownstone Institute

BY Jeffrey A. TuckerJEFFREY A. TUCKER 

From the beginning of the Covid panic, it felt that something was very wrong. Never had a pandemic, much less a seasonal pathogenic wave, been treated as a quasi-military emergency requiring the upending of all freedoms and rights.

What made it more bizarre was how alone those of us who objected felt until very recently when Elon Musk finally bought the platform Twitter, fired all the embedded federal agents, and has started to release the files.

As Elon said, every conspiracy theory about Twitter was true and then some. And what applies at Twitter pertains equally to Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all platforms associated with those companies (YouTube, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp).

The proof is all there. These platforms colluded with the federal government’s administrative arm to craft a particular Covid narrative, throttling and censoring dissidents and boosting any credentialled expert who was willing to toe the line.

At this point, it is wise to trust no one and nothing but those who fought against this nonsense. As the crisis began, I was blessed with an unusually large reach on most platforms. But I sat by and watched it dwindle to nothingness as the months went on. Yes, I had posts pulled but I was never banned. It’s just that my channels of communication shrunk dramatically by the months and weeks.

This was tragic for me simply because I watched the population gradually fall into a medieval-style disease panic that tore families apart, kept loved ones from traveling, wrecked businesses and churches, and even violated the sanctity of the homes. This “invisible enemy” about which everyone in government was going on about shredded the whole social fabric.

I had been writing about pandemics and interventions for 16 years, warning repeatedly that this was possible. Knowing about this history, and having a platform to speak, I felt a very strong moral obligation to share my knowledge if only to make some contribution to calm people down and perhaps relax some of the impositions on liberty. But at that very moment, my voice was nearly silenced. And I was hardly alone. Hundreds and thousands of others were in the same position but we had a very difficult time even finding each other.

There was one exception early on. I wrote a piece on Woodstock and the 1968-69 flu season. A fact-checker rated it as true and the Facebook algorithms really screwed up. Facebook pushed it out for about two weeks before someone figured out what was happening and then throttled it back heavily. Or perhaps there was one employee there who made it so. I really do not know. In the meantime, this one article garnered millions of views and shares.

It was my first experience with the astounding power of these venues to shape the public mind. People innocently use all these tools without the slightest understanding that there is a reason why they are seeing what they are seeing. Every word or picture you see on your apps is there for a reason, a choice of this or that, and the driving force here is what powerful people what you to see and not see.

We know now that the stream of information is carefully curated by algorithms and human intervention, not to fit with your interests as they once claimed, but to fit with regime interests.

In other words, what people used to say about the CCP role in the management of TikTok applies fully in the US today with all the main tech companies. And please keep in mind, we only know this because of the dump of Twitter files. All of this is still happening at Google, Meta, and LinkedIn. The latter removes posts by Brownstone often. And the rest throttle our reach.

This has been going on for years, but Covid intensified it all. Even from the beginning, something was very off. For example, on March 19 – the day after the Fauci/Birx/Trump press conference and the day before CISA seized control of all labor markets – an obscure digital education entrepreneur named Thomas Pueyo came out with an implausibly documented and comprehensively argued piece called The Hammer and the Dance.

It was an elaborate argument for locking down to flatten the curve, complete with fancy graphs and pseudo-scientific blather of every sort. The author was essentially unknown but within 24 hours, the piece was garnering many millions of shares and being spread everywhere by all the big tech platforms, as if it were some kind of canonical treatise. I doubt seriously that he wrote it – no way in one day; it had to be planned for weeks – but rather that he volunteered his name to be attached to it. It became the most important framing of the lockdown that appeared that month.

Watching that one preposterous article take over so aggressively, even as dissidents’ writings slipped into nothingness, including my own, was quite a bit of digital magic to behold. But we know now it was not magic. It was a policy. It was an intention. It was a propaganda ploy. Again, we must understand that this is still going on right now, with the only real exception among the larger players being Twitter.

There is one solace. We know now that we were not all going crazy. It was all deliberate. Matt Taibbi puts it well:

Sometime in the last decade, many people — I was one — began to feel robbed of their sense of normalcy by something we couldn’t define. Increasingly glued to our phones, we saw that the version of the world that was spat out at us from them seemed distorted. The public’s reactions to various news events seemed off-kilter, being either way too intense, not intense enough, or simply unbelievable. You’d read that seemingly everyone in the world was in agreement that a certain thing was true, except it seemed ridiculous to you, which put you in an awkward place with friends, family, others. Should you say something? Are you the crazy one?

I can’t have been the only person to have struggled psychologically during this time. This is why these Twitter files have been such a balm. This is the reality they stole from us! It’s repulsive, horrifying, and dystopian, a gruesome history of a world run by anti-people, but I’ll take it any day over the vile and insulting facsimile of truth they’ve been selling. Personally, once I saw that these lurid files could be used as a road map back to something like reality — I wasn’t sure until this week — I relaxed for the first time in probably seven or eight years.

So far, thanks to the great work of David Zweig, who has somehow managed to elude the censors all along (he was in attendance at the original Great Barrington Declaration event, god bless him), we have a better accounting of what happened. Names we all recognize as friends are listed, including Martin Kulldorff and Andrew Bostom, but there are thousands more. There is no question in my mind that my own accounts were targeted.

This is about much more than free speech and the operation of media channels without government intervention. The Covid controls utterly smashed American liberty and social functioning, resulting in mass suffering, educational losses, shattered communities, and a precipitous collapse in public health that has shaved off years in life expectancy and caused an explosion of excess deaths.

It might have been stopped or at least lessened in duration with some open discussion. This is not just of interest to tech and legal geeks. The closing down of opinion and debate resulted in unspeakable human carnage. And even as I write, the largest sources of the mainstream media are still refusing to report on this.

Ask yourself: why might this be? I think we all know the answer.

As a final note, I can assure you that this is only the beginning. The full story ropes in the whole of the administrative state, FTX, huge nonprofit organizations, and many back channels of power, money, and truly evil collaboration. We may never get the full story, and justice as always will be elusive, but we cannot let this moment in history slip by without as much accountability as we can provide.


  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey A. Tucker, Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute, is an economist and author. He has written 10 books, including Liberty or Lockdown, and thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He writes a daily column on economics at The Epoch Times, and speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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Brownstone Institute

Free Speech on Trial

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute


Free speech is everything. If we don’t have that, we have nothing and freedom is toast. All other problems pale in comparison. There are plenty of them, from healthcare to immigration but if we don’t have free speech, we cannot get the truth out about any of them. The censorship industrial complex is wholly dedicated to making sure that we have no debates at all and that dissident voices are not even heard.

In a lifetime of observing policy controversies and court cases, we’ve never witnessed anything as crucial to the future of the idea of freedom itself compared with what will transpire on March 18, 2024. On that day, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Murthy v. Missouri concerning whether the government can force or nudge private companies to censor users on behalf of regime priorities.

The evidence that they have been doing so is overwhelming. That’s why the 5th Circuit issued an emergency injunction to stop the practice on grounds that it is inconsistent with the First Amendment of the US Constitution. The censorship industrial complex is working right now and hourly to delete free speech in America. That injunction was stayed pending a review by the highest court.

The case itself hasn’t even gone to court. This decision is only about the injunction itself, which was issued based on the alarming results of discovery alone. Essentially, the lower court is screaming “This must stop.” The Supreme Court is trying to assess whether the violations of liberty are extreme enough to justify a pre-trial intervention now.

A positive ruling for the plaintiffs doesn’t solve every problem but at least it will mean that freedom still stands a chance in this country. A ruling for the defense, which is essentially the government itself, will give license to every federal agency – including those that operate in secret like the FBI and CIA – to threaten every social media and media company in this country to delete any and all content that runs contrary to the approved narrative.

There will be celebration in Washington if this happens. On the other hand, there will be tears if the court decides for the defense. It could be that the court will take an in-between position, refusing to let the injunction go ahead and promising some possible decision at a later date pending trial. That would be a disaster because it could mean three or more years of full censorship pending an appeal of whatever the outcome of the trial is.

Free speech is everything. If we don’t have that, we have nothing and freedom is toast. All other problems pale in comparison. There are plenty of them, from healthcare to immigration but if we don’t have free speech, we cannot get the truth out about any of them. The censorship industrial complex is wholly dedicated to making sure that we have no debates at all and that dissident voices are not even heard.

As it is, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook – and many more besides – already heavily restrict speech. They work in cooperation with government and those tasked by government to do elite bidding. We know this for a fact.

When Elon Musk took over Twitter, he discovered a vast censorship machine operating on behalf of the FBI and other agencies. Millions of posts were being taken down along with users. He has done his best to rip out the guts of this borg. Doing so entirely changed the character of the site. It became useful again.

Not even the scale of the problem is widely understood. Usually people say that free speech is necessary to protect minority opinions. In this case, the numbers don’t matter to the censors. You could have 90% of users trying to advance an idea and still have it censored. This is what the old Twitter did. It was daily and hourly attacking the company’s user base. This was their job, no matter how much it contradicts the whole point of social media.

Brownstone is predictably throttled by all these companies but it is not just about us. It is about everyone who disagrees with the Davos “Great Reset” agenda. This could pertain to EVs, gender transitions, lockdowns, immigration, or anything else. Even now, the Google Artificial Intelligence engine extols the glories of lockdowns, masking, and mass injections while completely ignoring contrary science. This is how they want things to be. Google’s search engine is no better. It might as well be a federal agency.

The Justices hearing the case will be in an awkward position. My guess is that none of them even know that this was going on to the extent it is. They will likely be shocked when they look at the evidence providing that there is a trillion-dollar industry in full operation that has massively distorted the public mind. Every federal agency is involved, deeply embedded in the operations of all media companies and digital technology, which in turn requires universal surveillance and persecution of contrary voices.

Until just a few years ago, this entire industry – which involves federal agencies, universities, nonprofits, shadow companies, bogus fact-checks, and every manner of spook-operated front companies – was not known to exist. Now that we know, we are shocked by the extent of it. It has invaded the whole of our lives to the point that we cannot tell the real news from that which is fed to us by intelligence agencies. Even worse, we’ve come to expect that most of what passes for approved opinion is flat-out false.

The Justices will discover this truth. They will likely be astonished. But they will also be taken aback by how integral to our lives it has become. As it turns out, the federal government for nearly a decade has placed a very high priority on curating the public mind, lying at every turn for its own benefit and that of its industrial partners.

Everyone in the old Soviet Union knew for sure that Pravda spoke for the Communist Party. But do people understand that their Google search results and Facebook timelines are no better? It’s not clear whether and to what extent people do understand this but it is our reality.

Will the Justices really be willing to pull the plug on the entire machinery? Doing that would be more disruptive of an established interest group than anything the court has done in many years or even ever. It would fundamentally change the way our technologies work. It would be devastating to federal agencies. Policing such a new system called free speech would be another matter entirely. It would mean that thousands of people would suddenly have nothing to do. That would be wonderful, but would it happen?

As I say, censorship is now an entire global industry. It involves the world’s most powerful foundations, governments, universities, and influencers. It seems like everyone wants a part in crushing what they called “disinformation,” “misinformation,” and “malinformation,” which is true information that they don’t want out. We are surrounded by this machinery of control and yet most people have no clue.

Every federal agency at this point has taken it upon themselves to cajole every information provider into rigging the system so that only one perspective gets out. This has a massive impact on public opinions.

As an example, four years ago, I wrote an article that accidentally made it through the censors and I watched as millions read my piece. Even now, I hear about it at cocktail parties coming from total strangers who don’t know that I’m the author. Nothing like that has happened since that magical day. Most of my writing goes into a dark hole, and this is despite writing daily for the 4th largest newspaper and having access to a huge public forum at Brownstone. People without such access do not stand a chance. Their posts on Facebook are disappeared the instant they post, while YouTube slams their content as contrary to community standards, with no other explanation.

Self-censorship has become the habitual practice of the intellectual class. Otherwise you only beat your head up against the wall and make yourself a target. Minute-by-minute in real time, public opinion is being shaped by this wicked industry, which dramatically distorts political outcomes.

As I say, this is surely the most important issue we face. A decision by the Supreme Court to let this go on – seeing no real issue here – will lead straight to our doom and the death of freedom itself.

There’s an additional problem that is very serious. These days, there is a massive race on to program censorship into the algorithms themselves so that no one is actually doing it, so that there cannot be any real defendants in a case against them. AI will soon be running everything so that Google and Facebook etc can simply say that their machine learning is doing the dirty work.

Perhaps one of the reasons AI has hit us with such a rush is precisely because of this case before the court. The deep state and its industrial partners are not going to give up easily. Everything depends on their victory over free speech, so far as they are concerned.

This is very worrisome, which is why one should hope for a sweeping statement by the Supreme Court that reaffirms the fundamental American commitment to have government completely out of the business of manipulating public opinion through curating what information you see and read and what you do not see and read.

It’s tragic that such a fundamental human right should so heavily depend on the majority decision of this one body. It’s not supposed to work this way. The First Amendment is supposed to be law but these days, the government has built an entire empire around the idea that it simply does not matter. The job of the Supreme Court is to remind our overlords that the people are not merely putty in the hands of deep state agents. We have fundamental rights that cannot be abridged.

There is a rally scheduled outside the court on March 18th, with many speakers making themselves available to the press. Note the sponsoring organizations: these are the freedom fighters in America today. You are welcome to join us.

It won’t sway the court, of course. And the crowds will surely be thinner than they otherwise would be given how much success the censorship industry already enjoys. Still, it is worth a shot.

Truly, we should all shudder to think of the future of American freedom in absence of a decisive statement by the court on behalf of the basic liberty the Framers intended be protected for everyone.


  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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Brownstone Institute

Gears of the Refugee Machine

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute


This refugee epidemic is an orchestrated phenomenon, planned and supported by international organizations in cahoots with the United States government. It is not intended to solve a refugee problem. Its purpose is obviously something other than an amelioration of the suffering of displaced people.

A solid majority of American citizens now recognize that Biden’s many millions of alleged refugees are anything but the real deal. In all probability, some of these illegal immigrants are members of the “tired and poor” seeking a shortcut into the United States, but also include a number of spies, drug mules, human traffickers, criminals, and convicts. As for legitimate refugees, in all likelihood they represent less than 10% of the total.

The moment Biden took office, he invited the world to come to America — illegally.

He dismantled the proven methods used to stem the flow of illegal immigrants and publicly encouraged foreigners to come through the Southern border. As the numbers of illegal immigrants increased, the border patrol were shifted from patrolling the border to sitting behind desks and helping illegal immigrants to gain entry into the country. Most of the border patrol resent having been converted into neutered bureaucrats but had to follow orders or else get drummed out of the corps.

In short, Americans (indeed, the entire world) now realize that the Biden administration is dedicated to getting as many illegal aliens into the country as possible. This is, of course, aiding and abetting illegal behavior, but rampant corruption in the media, academia, and politics ignores or dismisses it.

Captive to leftist agendas, these institutions view citizenship as an antiquated concept that, along with an anachronistic constitution, must be eradicated — no holds barred.

Since Biden became president, his ushers have guided roughly nine million illegals into the United States. By pretending that they are refugees from war or persecution, it was possible to cloak them in sympathetic attire: ‘No compassionate person would ever reject a poor, mistreated refugee.’

At the start of Biden’s presidency, the flow of illegal immigrants originated from relatively few countries, most of which were in central America. In those days, a majority were impoverished people seeking a better life — illegal in their entry but not malevolent in their intent. A certain remainder, however, were not good people.

But over the past three years the border jumpers have started coming from all around the world — so much so that they now represent over 160 different countries. Most of them, by the way, are healthy, single, young men.

Since war and persecution are considered to be the causes of refugee flows, one should ask if it is reasonable to believe that three-quarters of all the countries in the world are afflicted by war or oppression. Next, one might ask why it is that women and children and the elderly are less susceptible to becoming refugees than healthy young men.

This refugee epidemic is an orchestrated phenomenon, planned and supported by international organizations in cahoots with the United States government. It is not intended to solve a refugee problem. Its purpose is obviously something other than an amelioration of the suffering of displaced people.

Since this refugee invasion is tearing apart our country, the federal government — especially the Department of Homeland Security — should be publishing detailed statistics regarding daily, weekly, monthly, and cumulative numbers for illegal immigrants admitted into the United States. There should be similar tabulations for deportations, gotaways, etc. Comparable tables should be readily available for age and sex structure. Parallel statistical fact sheets regarding contraband and drug seizures along with relevant data regarding the apprehended smugglers should be made public as well.

As long as the government was anxious to scare the bejeezus out of everybody regarding Covid-19, it had no trouble publishing data regarding infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. The fact that it is not doing anything similar for the ongoing refugee invasion suggests it is trying to hide something.

Since there are only about 35 countries in all of the Americas, this infiltration out of Mexico across our Southwest border includes invaders from about 130 additional countries located overseas. Those people fly to the Americas, but not to the United States (which is their destination). We can draw a couple of conclusions: they are not poor and they would have trouble getting into the United States legally. Most anybody who could get into the US on a visitor’s visa and then simply overstay would do that rather than flying to, say, Mexico City and then hoofing it northward.

Huge chunks of the American populace have been hoodwinked into thinking that anybody who crosses the border illegally is just trying to grab a share of the good life and should be allowed to remain. But, alas, the invasion is an orchestrated phenomenon. We have known for years that various countries and non-governmental organizations have been organizing and assisting the mass movement of people up through Mexico to and across the US border.

This was evident even back in the first year or two of the Trump presidency when organized caravans of illegal immigrants were arriving with the specific intent of numerically overwhelming the border patrol.

We now know that even the United Nations is involved in housing, feeding, and transporting would-be illegal immigrants headed north. It follows that our federal government is the main source of funding for much of this UN effort. The American citizenry remains ignorant about this.

Border crossings in Central America are tightly regulated for people like you and me, but clustered hoards of illegal immigrants are magically waved through from one country to the next. There are six or seven border crossings to be made before reaching the United States. Do you really think administrations in those countries are unaware of the situation? The unencumbered passage of millions of migrants is only possible if critical palms have been well greased — by Yankee dollars that Americans have paid in taxes.

For those who are unaware, the frontier zone between Central America’s Panama and South America’s Colombia is called the Darien Gap — a thick, wet jungle of hill country through which no road passes. Until recently, it was rarely penetrated and only by extreme adventurers or suspect characters, but now has three different jungle trails for illegal wannabes headed north. On any given day, thousands of people complete the trek, virtually always in large groups accompanied by several guides.

This 50-75 miles of jungle trekking has become a conduit for those from the Caribbean and South America who can find no easier pathway to the US. It is also favored by many of those coming from overseas since the country of Ecuador does not require a visa for entry and the circumvention of designated border crossings into Colombia is relatively easy.

Those with means but from countries whose citizens are severely restrained from traveling to other countries fly to Quito, circumvent the Colombian border stations, hazard the Darien Gap, and use either their feet or buses and trains to reach the US border. And virtually always this is done as part of a large group consisting mostly of strangers.

Many Americans are unaware of the degree to which illegal migrants are recruited and assisted by international and non-governmental organizations — all of which wish to see the United States Southern border eradicated. The flood of illegal immigrants across the border is clearly an invasion being sponsored by a globalist ideology.

This video documents the nature of all that support and the characteristics of the actual migration.

What with the assistance of the UN and nongovernmental agencies, the Panamanian end of the Darien Gap now has established encampments offering meals and dry sleeping arrangements for the clusters of migrants who make the passage. More sinister is a separate camp specifically for Chinese passage-makers.

Evidently, crossing the Darien Gap takes the lives of some who become sick or have an accident, but the attrition is not sufficient to deter the flow. The larger point is that getting into the United States from distant locations involves a support system designed to game the American border controls. Millions of illegal border crossers are part of something bigger and more nefarious than simple, individualistic decisions to sneak into the United States.

American citizens are being exploited by the globalist elite that view countries as anachronisms. So convinced are they of their own moral superiority that the wishes of America’s ordinary people carry no weight. What we on this side of the border view as a chaotic influx of illegal immigrants is in fact a planned effort, a coordinated attempt to break down the integrity of the United States, the only country in the world still in a position to defeat the globalist agenda.

It is a difficult battle since much of America’s elite has been seduced into believing that globalism imposed from the top down is the ideal way to achieve the “unification of all humanity” — an idealistic goal that would just happen to put many of those same elite in control of the envisioned New World Order. The ordinary American who disapproves of illegal immigration wants it to stop but many of the national leaders want it to continue (although they hide their true intentions).

For all its flaws and weaknesses, for all its corruption, the United States remains the final bastion for protection of individual rights. The system being imposed from the top down will inevitably sacrifice the will of the people to the globalist vision — and that will prove to be the essence of tyranny and a wellspring of untold suffering.

Those interested in this topic might appreciate the more detailed observations of Bret Weinstein in the Dark Horse Podcast. He develops a hypothesis (i.e. a possible explanation of a phenomenon) that there are in fact two different migrations going on, one involving very large numbers of people from a great variety of source areas and evidently motivated by a desire for a better life, but the other being a purely Chinese flow that enjoys greater affluence and therefore less hazardous transit.

Bret explores the possibility that this sub-stream is in fact a Trojan migration designed to inject into the United States a sort of fifth column of healthy young males that with the ripeness of time will be well-positioned to undermine America whenever a US-China conflict becomes kinetic. He observes that this stream maintains a separate identity until having completed the journey through the Darien Gap but then presumably becomes integrated into the larger flow before reaching the United States border, thereby masking its distinct character. The meat of Bret Weinstein’s hypothesis is discussed between the 10th and 110th minutes of the podcast.


  • Spike Hampson

    A retired academic, Spike Hampson did a PhD in population geography at the University of Hawaii and the affiliated East West Center. For most of his career he was a geography professor at the University of Utah and a ski instructor at Deer Valley.

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