RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Unpublished J6 Report Reveals Social Media Companies Allowed Right-Wing Activists to ‘Exploit’ Platforms in Weeks Before Attack
Contrary to the strongly-held position of many Republicans, social media platforms bowed to conservatives – especially then-President Donald Trump – allowing right-wing activists to exploit them in the run-up to the January 6, 2021 insurrection, according to an unpublished report by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
The 122-page report, filled with “stunning” details, was never published or released by the Committee, according to The Washington Post which first reported its existence, for fear of offending tech companies and Republicans. Committee members were “reluctant to dig into the roots of domestic extremism taking hold in the Republican Party,” the Post added.
“Some of what investigators uncovered in their interviews with employees of the platforms contradicts Republican claims that tech companies displayed a liberal bias in their moderation decisions — an allegation that has gained new attention recently as Musk has promoted a series of leaked internal communications known as the ‘Twitter Files.’ The transcripts indicate the reverse, with former Twitter employees describing how the company gave Trump special treatment,” The Post reveals.
One former employee told the Committee, “ … Twitter was terrified of the backlash they would get if they followed their own rules and applied them to Donald Trump.”
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The Committee’s report appears to be a strong indictment of tech companies and social media platforms, especially Twitter.
“Congressional investigators found evidence that tech platforms — especially Twitter — failed to heed their own employees’ warnings about violent rhetoric on their platforms and bent their rules to avoid penalizing conservatives, particularly then-president Trump, out of fear of reprisals. The draft report details how most platforms did not take ‘dramatic’ steps to rein in extremist content until after the attack on the Capitol, despite clear red flags across the internet.”
As it turned out, Twitter employees raised a red flag in the weeks before the January 6 insurrection, warning the social media giant that was Donald Trump’s primary megaphone needed a “coordinated response plan.”
Anika Collier Navaroli, “one of the longest-tenured members of Twitter’s safety policy team,” and “a few others inside the company had worked to push executives to action long before Jan. 6,” The Post reports she told the Committee.
“In the week after the November 2020 election, she said, they began warning that tweets calling for civil unrest were multiplying. By Dec. 19, she said, Twitter staff had begun warning that discussions of civil unrest had centralized on Jan. 6 — the day that Trump had called his supporters to mass in Washington, saying it ‘will be wild!'”
“When asked by a committee staffer whether Twitter had adopted a ‘war footing,’ having seen the warnings, Collier Navaroli said her U.S. team had fewer than six people, and that ‘everybody was acting as if it was a regular day and nothing was going on.'”
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In some ways the situation now is even worse.
“Under new owner Elon Musk, Twitter has laid off most of the team that reviewed tweets for abusive and inaccurate content and restored several prominent accounts that the company banned in the fallout from the Capitol attack, including Trump’s and that of his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn,” The Post reports. “Facebook, too, is considering allowing Trump back on its platform, a decision expected as early as next week.”
Musk has actually aided far-right extremism in at least three ways.
First, he has welcomed numerous previously-banned extremists back onto the platform. Second, the “Twitter verified” program has been opened up to almost anyone willing to pay $8 a month for the previously-coveted “blue check,” which once indicated the account is owned by who it says it is, and that the account owner is someone of political or other status and influence.
In November VICE reported, “Musk has welcomed neo-Nazis back onto the platform, engaged with them on his timeline, and posted multiple tweets that appeal directly to them.”
Musk also banned, at least temporarily, several prominent journalists and researchers. Among those permanently banned is Chad Loder. As The Intercept reported in November, Loder is “an antifascist researcher whose open-source investigation of the U.S. Capitol riot led to the identification and arrest of a masked Proud Boy who attacked police officers.” Earlier this month The Washington Post reported “Loder was banned from Twitter by an order from owner Elon Musk, according to a former employee who saw a screenshot of the notes accompanying the decision.”
The Post also reports on the massive amount of resources spent on the social media aspect of the Committee’s work, despite ultimately deciding to not publish its finding.
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“The committee staffers who focused on social media and extremism — known within the committee as ‘Team Purple’ — spent more than a year sifting through tens of thousands of documents from multiple companies, interviewing social media company executives and former staffers, and analyzing thousands of posts. They sent a flurry of subpoenas to social media companies ranging from Facebook to fringe social networks including Gab and the chat platform Discord.”
Justin Hendrix, the editor of Tech Policy Press, notes that in March of 2021, U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who served on the Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, “published a compendium of social media statements from Republican objectors.”
Tech Policy Press reported on that “nearly 2,000 page document detailing public social media posts from 102 Congressional Republicans between November 3rd, 2020 and January 31st, 2021.”
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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Former GOP Lawmaker Trashes Rep. Clay Higgins for ‘Cosplay Ridiculousness That Actually Could Spark Violence’
Appearing on MSNBC early Saturday morning, former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) lashed out at a fellow Republican who responded to Donald Trump’s latest indictment with what appears to be a call for another insurrection.
After the announcement that the former president will be formally indicted by the Department of Justice in Florida next week, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) fired off a tweet stating: “President Trump said he has been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM. This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.”
Agreeing with militia expert Jeff Sharlet, who wrote, “This isn’t a metaphor. This isn’t slow civil war. This is a congressman calling for the real thing. I think this is scary as hell,” Riggleman piled on.
Speaking with MSNBC host Katie Phang, he stated, “I know Clay, I’ve served with him back in 2019 to 2021. This is so irresponsible.”
“But it’s also almost a cosplay ridiculousness that actually could spark violence with people that maybe are too ignorant to understand, or absolutely understand what a Clay Higgins is putting out there,” he suggested.
“I think at this point, he probably needs to retract that or delete it, and to apologize for such ridiculous language,” he continued. “Because it makes real military individuals almost cringe. It’s so cringeworthy that I do believe that we have to have a point in this country where their saying rise up against this hyperbolic bulls–t.”
“I think, for me as a former military person, it’s embarrassing to see somebody, especially an elected representative, it’s just embarrassing to see somebody tweet something like that, ” he added.
Watch below or at the link:
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Fail’: Critics Blast Youngkin for Claim Trump Is a Victim of ‘Politically Motivated Actions’ Just Like ‘Parents in Virginia’
Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, is under fire after remarks he made Friday morning defending Donald Trump after the ex-president was indicted on what has now been revealed to be 37 federal felony counts related to the Dept. of Justice’s criminal probe into his handling of hundreds of classified and top secret documents.
Youngkin Friday suggested that the prosecution of Donald Trump, which includes Espionage Act charges, conspiracy charges, and obstruction of justice charges among others, was just like the alleged prosecution of parents.
Gov. Youngkin, often wrongly portrayed in the media as a moderate Republican, may have been attempting to invoke the false yet viral far-right claim that Attorney General Merrick Garland was investigating and prosecuting parents for merely speaking at school board meetings. That claim came about after Garland issued a letter asking the Bureau to come up with strategies to address violence and violent threats directed at school board members. Some who have promoted that erroneous claim, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, have falsely claimed Garland called ordinary parents “terrorists.”
On Friday, Youngkin tweeted about the Trump indictment, saying, “These charges are unprecedented and it’s a sad day for our country, especially in light of what clearly appears to be a two-tiered justice system where some are selectively prosecuted, and others are not.”
“Parents in Virginia know firsthand what it’s like to be targeted by politically motivated actions,” he added.
“Regardless of your party, this undermines faith in our judicial system at exactly the time when we should be working to restore that trust,” Youngkin concluded, remarks that themselves could undermine faith in our judicial system.
Days before his election, Youngkin also promoted the false Garland claim, even after the Attorney General that same day explained to the Senate Judiciary Committee his letter directed the FBI to investigate not ordinary parents, but people who were organizing attacks on school board members.
Candidate Youngkin appeared on Fox News in October 0f 2021 (video below) and falsely told Tucker Carlson, “What happened today was, of course, Merrick Garland doubled down. He said, ‘No, I’m absolutely maintaining my position that the DOJ and the FBI should be investigating parents.’ Parents who are trying to stand up for their children when there’s been a sexual assault in a school bathroom. We have a board of education and in Loudoun County that tried to hide it from parents, hide it from hiding from the public, and they move this child into another school and then that child again committed another sexual assault.”
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Youngkin made education and “parents’ rights” a campaign issue when he ran in 2021. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, during a debate said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” While experts claim it didn’t swing the election for Youngkin, it at least established him nationally as focused on education and “parental rights,” a mantle Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis quickly co-opted.
The Washington Post, alternatively, on Friday focused on Youngkin’s “two-tiered justice” remarks, reporting: “Youngkin’s suggestion that a rich White man — he didn’t actually name Trump — had been victimized by a ‘two-tiered justice system’ drew fierce pushback, with many critics noting the governor’s opposition to the notion that racial and ethnic minorities face systemic racism. The Republican won the governorship on a promise to purge ‘critical race theory’ from K-12 classrooms, though it was not part of any curriculum. Once in office, Youngkin launched a tip line for parents to report on teachers discussing ‘inherently divisive’ concepts in schools.”
Youngkin, who technically is a “populist conservative” but swings far-right on social issues, was quickly chastised for his tweet.
“You know what you are saying is wrong and incendiary. Shame on you,” declared former CIA officer John Sipher. “These charges stemmed from a grand [jury] of Florida citizens. Trump will have access to a Fair process. But instead you spread information to anger and confuse people. You are stoking misinformation and violence.”
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MSNBC’s Chris Hayes took a different approach, mocking the Virginia Republican.
“It’s the pivot to ‘Parents in Virginia…’ in the third sentence that elevates this to art,” he wrote.
“The moderate, genial suburban dad in a fleece vest suggests that the only way to restore confidence in the justice system is to place Trump above the law,” wrote The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, also mocking Youngkin.
“Youngkin is pro-Trump, as usual–even though Virginia voted heavily AGAINST Trump in both 2016 and 2020. When it comes to Donald Trump, Liz Cheney has more courage in her pinky than Youngkin does in his whole body,” observed Larry Sabato, the well-known professor of politics, political analyst, and founder and director of University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
The vice president of research for the liberal super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, Liz Charboneau, called Youngkin’s tweet an “especially stupid statement when a large portion of your state has a security clearance, handles classified documents, and has never been charged under the espionage act.”
Conservative Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and Policy Editor at The Bulwark: “So here’s our answer as to whether Youngkin is a man of character. Fail.”
The Lincoln Project’s Michelle Kinney tweeted, “Youngkin twisting himself into pretzel to weave a vaguebook repudiation of Trump indictment and his weirdo anti vaxx anti trans ‘parents rights’ obsession into one tweet. It reads like Veep dialogue.”
Historian, professor, Holocaust expert Dr. Waitman Wade Beorn tweeted, “Hey dude, the Pentagon is literally in your state. Maybe stop in and have a chat…”
Watch the video above or at this link.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
Trump Has Been Notified He Is Target of DOJ Investigation – Insists ‘It’s Not True’ He’s Getting Indicted: Reports
Attorneys for Donald Trump reportedly have been notified the ex-president is a target of a criminal investigation into his handling of classified documents. The ex-president denies he is being indicted.
The Guardian Wednesday evening reported federal prosecutors told Trump’s attorneys last week he is a target of the long investigation that is now led by Special Counsel Jack Smith. That investigation, experts believe, could lead to obstruction of justice and Espionage Act charges.
“Trump’s lawyers were notified before they met on Monday with the special counsel Jack Smith leading the Mar-a-Lago documents case and the senior career official in the deputy attorney general’s office and made the case that prosecutors should not indict the former president in the matter,” The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports.
Politico also confirms The Guardian’s reporting, stating: “Federal prosecutors have notified former President Donald Trump in a letter that he is the target of a criminal investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.”
Earlier Wednesday, a conservative website reported federal prosecutors had informed Trump’s attorneys he is a target and likely to be indicted. That website is run by John Solomon, who Trump named as his official representative to the National Archives last year. That move reportedly gave Solomon access to non-public administration records related to Russia, Politico reported.
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Later Wednesday, The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported via Twitter she had been in touch with Trump.
“Trump tells me minutes ago he has NOT been told he’s getting indicted, when contacted. ‘It’s not true,’ he said, adding again he hasn’t done anything wrong,” Haberman tweeted at 2:40 PM.
“When I asked if he had been told he’s a target, he demurred, saying he doesn’t talk directly to prosecutors,” she added.
Haberman says she used the Solomon report as the basis for her conversation with Trump.
Less than one hour after Haberman says she spoke with the ex-president, he again posted an angry rant on his Truth Social platform.
“No one has told me I’m being indicted, and I shouldn’t be because I’ve done NOTHING wrong, but I have assumed for years that I am a Target of the WEAPONIZED DOJ & FBI, starting with the Russia, Russia, Russia HOAX, the “No Collusion” Mueller Report, Impeachment HOAX #1, Impeachment HOAX #2, the PERFECT Ukraine phone call, and various other SCAMS & WITCH HUNTS,” he rambled.
Trump made clear he expects House Republicans to protect him: “REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS MUST MAKE THIS THEIR # 1 ISSUE!!!”
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