Category Archives: Government

Misinformation on social media: Can technology save us?

If you get your news from social media, as most Americans do, you are exposed to a daily dose of hoaxes, rumors, conspiracy theories and misleading news. When it’s all mixed in with reliable information from honest sources, the truth can be very hard to discern.

In fact, my research team’s analysis of data from Columbia University’s Emergent rumor tracker suggests that this misinformation is just as likely to go viral as reliable information.

Many are asking whether this onslaught of digital misinformation affected the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election. The truth is we do not know, although there are reasons to believe it is entirely possible, based on past analysis and accounts from other countries. Each piece of misinformation contributes to the shaping of our opinions. Overall, the harm can be very real: If people can be conned into jeopardizing our children’s lives, as they do when they opt out of immunizations, why not our democracy?

As a researcher on the spread of misinformation through social media, I know that limiting news fakers’ ability to sell ads, as recently announced by Google and Facebook, is a step in the right direction. But it will not curb abuses driven by political motives.

Exploiting social media

About 10 years ago, my colleagues and I ran an experiment in which we learned 72 percent of college students trusted links that appeared to originate from friends – even to the point of entering personal login information on phishing sites. This widespread vulnerability suggested another form of malicious manipulation: People might also believe misinformation they receive when clicking on a link from a social contact.

To explore that idea, I created a fake web page with random, computer-generated gossip news – things like “Celebrity X caught in bed with Celebrity Y!” Visitors to the site who searched for a name would trigger the script to automatically fabricate a story about the person. I included on the site a disclaimer, saying the site contained meaningless text and made-up “facts.” I also placed ads on the page. At the end of the month, I got a check in the mail with earnings from the ads. That was my proof: Fake news could make money by polluting the internet with falsehoods.

Sadly, I was not the only one with this idea. Ten years later, we have an industry of fake news and digital misinformation. Clickbait sites manufacture hoaxes to make money from ads, while so-called hyperpartisan sites publish and spread rumors and conspiracy theories to influence public opinion.

This industry is bolstered by how easy it is to create social bots, fake accounts controlled by software that look like real people and therefore can have real influence. Research in my lab uncovered many examples of fake grassroots campaigns, also called political astroturfing.

In response, we developed the BotOrNot tool to detect social bots. It’s not perfect, but accurate enough to uncover persuasion campaigns in the Brexit and antivax movements. Using BotOrNot, our colleagues found that a large portion of online chatter about the 2016 elections was generated by bots.

In this visualization of the spread of the #SB277 hashtag about a California vaccination law, dots are Twitter accounts posting using that hashtag, and lines between them show retweeting of hashtagged posts. Larger dots are accounts that are retweeted more. Red dots are likely bots; blue ones are likely humans.
Onur Varol, CC BY-ND

Creating information bubbles

We humans are vulnerable to manipulation by digital misinformation thanks to a complex set of social, cognitive, economic and algorithmic biases. Some of these have evolved for good reasons: Trusting signals from our social circles and rejecting information that contradicts our experience served us well when our species adapted to evade predators. But in today’s shrinking online networks, a social network connection with a conspiracy theorist on the other side of the planet does not help inform my opinions.

Copying our friends and unfollowing those with different opinions give us echo chambers so polarized that researchers can tell with high accuracy whether you are liberal or conservative by just looking at your friends. The network structure is so dense that any misinformation spreads almost instantaneously within one group, and so segregated that it does not reach the other.

Inside our bubble, we are selectively exposed to information aligned with our beliefs. That is an ideal scenario to maximize engagement, but a detrimental one for developing healthy skepticism. Confirmation bias leads us to share a headline without even reading the article.

Our lab got a personal lesson in this when our own research project became the subject of a vicious misinformation campaign in the run-up to the 2014 U.S. midterm elections. When we investigated what was happening, we found fake news stories about our research being predominantly shared by Twitter users within one partisan echo chamber, a large and homogeneous community of politically active users. These people were quick to retweet and impervious to debunking information.

In this graph of echo chambers in the Twittersphere, purple dots represent people spreading false claims about the Truthy research project; the two accounts that sought to debunk the false information are in orange on the far left.
Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, CC BY-ND

Viral inevitability

Our research shows that given the structure of our social networks and our limited attention, it is inevitable that some memes will go viral, irrespective of their quality. Even if individuals tend to share information of higher quality, the network as a whole is not effective at discriminating between reliable and fabricated information. This helps explain all the viral hoaxes we observe in the wild.

The attention economy takes care of the rest: If we pay attention to a certain topic, more information on that topic will be produced. It’s cheaper to fabricate information and pass it off as fact than it is to report actual truth. And fabrication can be tailored to each group: Conservatives read that the pope endorsed Trump, liberals read that he endorsed Clinton. He did neither.

Beholden to algorithms

Since we cannot pay attention to all the posts in our feeds, algorithms determine what we see and what we don’t. The algorithms used by social media platforms today are designed to prioritize engaging posts – ones we’re likely to click on, react to and share. But a recent analysis found intentionally misleading pages got at least as much online sharing and reaction as real news.

This algorithmic bias toward engagement over truth reinforces our social and cognitive biases. As a result, when we follow links shared on social media, we tend to visit a smaller, more homogeneous set of sources than when we conduct a search and visit the top results.

Existing research shows that being in an echo chamber can make people more gullible about accepting unverified rumors. But we need to know a lot more about how different people respond to a single hoax: Some share it right away, others fact-check it first.

We are simulating a social network to study this competition between sharing and fact-checking. We are hoping to help untangle conflicting evidence about when fact-checking helps stop hoaxes from spreading and when it doesn’t. Our preliminary results suggest that the more segregated the community of hoax believers, the longer the hoax survives. Again, it’s not just about the hoax itself but also about the network.

Many people are trying to figure out what to do about all this. According to Mark Zuckerberg’s latest announcement, Facebook teams are testing potential options. And a group of college students has proposed a way to simply label shared links as “verified” or not.

Some solutions remain out of reach, at least for the moment. For example, we can’t yet teach artificial intelligence systems how to discern between truth and falsehood. But we can tell ranking algorithms to give higher priority to more reliable sources.

Studying the spread of fake news

We can make our fight against fake news more efficient if we better understand how bad information spreads. If, for example, bots are responsible for many of the falsehoods, we can focus attention on detecting them. If, alternatively, the problem is with echo chambers, perhaps we could design recommendation systems that don’t exclude differing views.

To that end, our lab is building a platform called Hoaxy to track and visualize the spread of unverified claims and corresponding fact-checking on social media. That will give us real-world data, with which we can inform our simulated social networks. Then we can test possible approaches to fighting fake news.

Hoaxy may also be able to show people how easy it is for their opinions to be manipulated by online information – and even how likely some of us are to share falsehoods online. Hoaxy will join a suite of tools in our Observatory on Social Media, which allows anyone to see how memes spread on Twitter. Linking tools like these to human fact-checkers and social media platforms could make it easier to minimize duplication of efforts and support each other.

It is imperative that we invest resources in the study of this phenomenon. We need all hands on deck: Computer scientists, social scientists, economists, journalists and industry partners must work together to stand firm against the spread of misinformation.

The Conversation

Filippo Menczer, Professor of Computer Science and Informatics; Director of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, Indiana University, Bloomington

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Federal Election Fraud Case Filed In Ohio to Halt Electronic Voting On Election Day

Election Justice USA reports that Ohio lawyer Cliff Arnebeck has filed a lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State and Election Systems & Software to halt electronic voting

Ohio election fraud lawyer Cliff Arnebeck (see our interview with him) filed a case against the Ohio Secretary of State in an effort to retain the voting rights of African Americans, who Arnebeck claims have been at repeated risk of election fraud by use of electronic voting equipment that has not been properly certified and tested, thereby rendering this equipment vulnerable to hacking, vote dilution based on race in the notorious swing state. The case is set to be heard tomorrow, November 8th, otherwise known as the day everyone in the United States can’t wait to get over with.

The case asks for a temporary restraining order from the use of electronic voting machines  in Ohio, which, if granted, will undoubtedly delay the election in Ohio. EJUSA states that, according to the filing, Ohio has again permitted “last minute third party or manufacturer changes to electronic voting equipment that has not been certified in accordance with state law.”

Arnebeck has said repeatedly that he plans to file a RICO (racketeering) case against Hillary Clinton, Karl Rove, and those associated with the electronic voting machines such as software developer Mikey Cunnyngham.  Arnebeck claimed in his interview with Cosmoso that Rove and his “operatives” have assassinated Arnebeck’s witnesses every time he gets close to filing this case every election year.  When asked how he plans to prove these assassinations took place, Arnebeck said, “I don’t have to prove that, what I have to prove is the election stealing, which I can do.”

The RICO case has yet to be filed, so it’s possible that Arnebeck and EJUSA do not have enough data to file yet and Arnebeck is using this restraining order as a last-ditch effort before the election to delay the polling in the name of restoring democracy.

EJUSA has broken the story, but with no references to verify the details of the case as of yet. A search of Ohio records currently does not show any record of the filing.

North Dakota Sheriff Paul Laney Lies Through His Teeth About DAPL Protesters

NBC finally covers the DAPL protests and interviews a local sheriff who says protesters are building pipe bombs, are trespassing and are causing violence — all of which are not true

The ongoing peaceful demonstrations by protesters at the Standing Rock reservation have amplified the local authorities’ use of pepper spray, batons and attacks dogs to scare off or inflict physical harm on protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota.

Today, Sheriff Paul Laney of North Dakota told local NBC affiliate KFYR-TV that there were reports of pipe bombs being manufactured in the camps of the protesters, yet he is the only person who has made this claim thus far. He also said that protesters were lighting things on fire, and while there seems to have been some fires on the location, no word has come out yet as to who was responsible, or if the fires were intentional.

Laney claims he asked protesters to “get off the private property, let’s go back to your camps and talk,” however, protesters say he never said any such thing to them.

His full interview is below:

It’s important to note that Laney has a history of referring to himself and other police officers as “warriors” and that they are “being hunted”, according to Say Anything Blog’s Rob Port, despite 2015 being the safest years for police officers in the U.S.

Ongoing coverage of the protests today can be seen in the live FB feed from user Atsa E’sha Hoferer below:

Donald Trump and Dakota Access Pipeline Have Close Financial Ties

Financial disclosure papers reveal Donald Trump invested in Energy Transfer Partners, operators of the controversial DAPL, while its CEO donated to Trump’s campaign

It just got harder to choose the lesser of two evils for most Americans on November 8th, and even worse for those in the progressive movement who were planning on voting Donald Trump to oust Hillary Clinton in the coming U.S. presidential election as Trump’s financial disclosure forms have revealed he has put his money where his mouth is on fossil fuels.

A growing movement against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline has welcomed people from mostly progressive backgrounds to protest the construction site on the grounds that it violates the law governing the preservation of Native American land while also potentially damaging the local water supply and general environment in North Dakota. Despite the ongoing protest and a recommendation from the Department of Justice, the construction has continued as protesters are being rounded up, arrested or charged, amongst them actress Shaileen Woodley, journalist Amy Goodman, and none other than presidential candidate of the Green Party, Jill Stein.

But one thing many actors in the protest may not know is that they are also protesting against presidential candidate Donald Trump, who owns shares of Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the operating company behind the construction. To make matters even more compelling for those who may have thought about voting Trump in protest against Clinton, Trump’s campaign in return has received over $100,000 in campaign contributions from ETP’s top executive, Kelcy Warren, who also tossed another $66k to the Republican National Committee.

The Guardian reports,

Trump is therefore indirectly linked to Dakota Access, a $3.8bn pipeline development that will funnel oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Trump has signaled his opposition to any restrictions on the development of oil, coal or gas, telling a crowd in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, last week that he would “lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks to allow these vital energy infrastructure projects to go ahead. We have roadblocks like you’ve never, ever seen – environmental blocks, structural blocks,” he said. “We are going to allow the Keystone pipeline and so many other things to move forwards. Tremendous numbers of jobs and good for our country.”

Ecuadorian Embassy Gets Surrounded By Police Amidst Twitter DDoS Attack

Shortly before a massive DDoS attack against DynDNS, who serves Twitter, Pinterest, Spotify and other large internet services, Wikileaks tweeted that the Ecuadorian embassy was being surrounded by heavily armed police since Tuesday

Just hours before the massive internet service outage, Wikileaks tweeted a photo of heavily armed police outside the embassy, a photo which was taken Tuesday and presumably still valid today:

Julian Assange may have asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, but since Saturday he no longer has the ability to communicate with the outside world via the internet. The move was instructed by the Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa in response to pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after a treasure trove of emails from John Podesta, Clinton campaign’s chief official, was leaked over the past month.

Since our main source of info from Wikileaks was Twitter, details about the development are scarce, but we do know that the DDoS attack targeted a DNS service that works with Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, Shopify, Pinterest and other large websites, so the attack may not be related. However, if the U.S. wanted to silence Wikileaks while they arrested Assange, this would be one way to do it, albeit at the expense of a whole host of services that were not complicit in any Wikileaks events.

While the cyber attack may cause millions of dollars of lost revenue, if it was carried out by the NSA, or some other U.S. intelligence organization, we all know that something that is “a matter of national security” trumps all other things.

The Twitter outage comes just hours after the Wikileaks official Twitter account tweeted that they had a surprise in store for Time Kain and Donna Brazile, Hillary’s VP and DNC chairwoman respectively.

UPDATE: DynDNS service has been restored and Twitter is back up, with a tweet from Wikileaks asking hackers to stop the DDoS for the good of what Wikileaks is trying to do. They also tweeted a somewhat cryptic message regarding U.S. “instruments of state” attempting to silence them:

Hillary Clinton’s Dirty Plot Against Julian Assange Uncovered By Redditors

A Reddit user managed to get to the bottom of the false accusations of pedophilia against Julian Assange and it’s straight from Hillary Clinton’s desk

A few days ago, the Ecuadoran embassy in London decided to cut off Julian Assange’s internet access for unknown reasons, but rumors quickly spread regarding an allegation that he had been sending naked photos of himself to an 8-year-old girl through a dating site and that he had an open investigation against him by the Royal Bahama Police Force (RBPF) regarding the matter. The claim is absolutely false and, as it turns out, looks to have been fabricated by a contracted company named Premise Data Corporation in San Francisco, according to a very curious reddit user.

The allegation that Assange was being investigated, and the story that went along with it, broke through Daily Kos, a website where anyone can sign up and post articles related to politics. The article has since been deleted and replaced with a message saying “I’ve deleted the post because the evidence was fabricated.” And, as it turns out, Buzzfeed helped to prove that the allegation was not true when they contacted the RBPF and were told that no investigation exists by its assistant commissioner, Stephen Dean, who also said the RBPF was given information about the case, but that no complainant had ever followed up on it.

So then, where did this story come from?

The origin of the story can be traced to Premise Data Corporation, the CEO of which who is a close friend of Hillary Clinton, as redditors discovered. Premise is a global intelligence operation (aka spies) harvesting and harnessing big data, a private corporation based in San Francisco, and whose street address happens to be the same address that dating website Todd and Clare uses.

Todd and Clare had put out a press release on October 11th claiming Assange had approached them about being the ambassador to their anti-rape campaign promoting their KATIA software in June 2016, but had since used the website to lure an 8-year-old girl into performing sex acts. Following this release, the United Nations Global Compact group, which T&C had recently joined in an effort to promote gender equality internationally, dropped T&C citing misuse of both the UNGC logo and reporting procedure, along with violating UNGC’s Integrity Measures, according to UNGC’s Communications Chief Carrie A. Hall in an article from Buzzfeed today.  T&C had aligned themselves with the United Nations in order to “bluewash” their brand, or use the UN affiliation to boost sales around the world. But now it looks like they had done it to smear Assange’s name.

Basically, Todd and Clare tried to make it look like the lies they were spreading about Assange came from an official United Nations desk.  But it gets worse.

In another press release from February 2016, T&C explains how their KATIA system works, and it sounds just like something a government intelligence organization like the NSA would use to find terrorists, complete with facial recognition software and background checks. T&C says they use this technology to weed out sex offenders and get their female customers the best matches possible.

T&C Network Solutions, the official name of Todd and Clare Hammond’s dating website, may actually be a front organization for Premise. The site claims to have over 40,000 female users, according to their blog, but if you ask anyone you know, nobody has ever even heard of T&C. Since they share the same address and are in the same industry, it wasn’t too far of a stretch to assume there may be something fishy going on, so reddit user sf-78lXQwy_7 decided to look a little deeper. Low and behold, the CEO and founder of Premise, David Soloff, had posted an image of himself with Hillary Clinton back in July this year. Soloff’s linkedin profile is astonishing. A graduate of Columbia University and UC Berkley, Soloff holds a PhD in Economic and Social History and a Bachelors in linguistics, two areas which are perfect for anyone looking to make an impact on the world through intelligence operations.

On the board of directors page, another name linked to Hillary Clinton shows up, Larry Summers. Summers is a Harvard professor, and former president of the university, who now is next in line to be Treasury Secretary under Clinton’s inevitable presidency, a position he held under her husband’s presidency in the 1990s.

Another board member for Premise is Antonio Gracias, who also happens to be Hillary’s campaign bundler.  But what’s most obvious to the link between Hillary and the false accusation from T&C is that Larry Summers is Center for American Progress was founded by John Podesta, whose emails had been hacked and are currently being leaked by Wikileaks. (And George Soros funds the Center).

Further investigation by Assange’s defense team yielded a thorough report of their findings on T&C as a business, saying, “It is our conclusion that T&C Network Solutions exhibits the characteristics of a highly suspicious and likely fabricated business entity.”  They go on to note that no official records exist for T&C Network Solutions, none of the phone numbers associated with the organization were operational, the social media profiles for the company are all followed by zombie accounts (aka fake profiles) to inflate its presence, the first capture on for the site is in October 2015, user profile pics on the site were clearly scraped from the web and altered slightly to avoid reverse image searches, the woman listed as the domain’s registrar doesn’t seem to exist in relation to Todd and Clare, and probably the most damning piece of evidence of it all: Todd and Clare themselves don’t seem to exist either.

Today, Wikileaks has claimed it was Secretary of State John Kerry who pressured Ecuador into cutting off Assange’s internet, to which Kerry hasn’t commented on and other members of the White House have denied.

A full list of relative sources for uncovering this smear against Assange is below:
a00006 – Julian Assange Fake Paedophilia Case Archives – Last Updated 10/19/16 4:49am CST

ARCHIVE and Read the archive instead – [Info from 4chan so take with a grain of salt]

> Wikileaks Report – INVESTIGATION: T&C Network Solutions and
Summary: Shows steps taken to make it seem like to seem like a legitimate company. Acutally a shell for an entity. – Last Updated 10/19/16 12:31am CST

> /pol/ Proof of collusion connection with PAC or HRC
Summary: /pol/ report linking T&C to HRC to frame Julian Assange for Paedophilia – Last Updated 10/19/16 1:16am CST (thread #1) – Last Updated 10/19/16 4:33am CST (thread #3?)

> Reddit Research Team posts
Summary: Research of collusion, with explaination of methodology
> – Last Updated 10/19/16 1:42am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:44am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 3:23am CST

> Wikileaks Report – Todd and Clare emails to Julian Assange
Summary: T&C offered Julian Assange $1,000,000 for a “Commercial” for T&C and other implications – Last Updated 10/19/16 12:31am CST

> Wikileaks Report – Background and Documents on Attempts to Frame Assange as a Pedophile and Russias spy
Summary: Summary and timeline of steps taken by 3rd parties, in detail, to frame Julian Assange under false allegations to get him out of hiding. – Last Updated 10/19/16 12:31am CST

> Physical Location of T&C
Summary: Physical location T&C is connected as an entity of the Premise Data Corporation. Shows address and map of location. – Last Updated 10/19/16 12:34am CST

> David Soloff’s Twitter page (various connections)
Summary: Founder of Premise Data Corporation, personal friend of HRC – Last Updated 10/19/16 12:38am CST (date of connection) – Last Updated 10/19/16 12:38am CST (package from feed) – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:25am CST (connection) – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:25am CST

Post – #1 of 4

New Post Break

> Premise Data Corporation team page
Summary: Shows founder “David” and his team in connection to PDC – Last Updated 10/19/16 12:38am CST

> profile on Lawrence H. Summers
Summary: Lawrence is connected to David Soloff and Super PACs linking them to DNC and HRC. Podesta founded the Center for American Progress. – Last Updated 10/19/16 12:40am CST

>,, and
Summary: All connected to T&C servers – Last Updated 10/19/16 1:14am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 1:14am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 1:14am CST

> Wikileaks connection to physical location and plot
Summary: Tweet and Picture of Building from location of headquarters of the front or PAC behind the allegations or plot – Last Updated 10/19/16 1:29am CST

> LoopNet plot listing address and location for “10685 Hazelhurst Houston, TX 77043”
Summary: LoopNet plot listing for Industrial location of headquarters of the front or PAC behind the allegations or plot – Last Updated 10/19/16 1:29am CST

> White House Visitation Records
Summary: Visitation records of civilians meeting those in the White House. Archival made to preserve incase of tampering.

Post – #2 of 4

New Post Break

> Equador statement
Summary: This is the “Official” statement by Equador and the reason for cutting Julian’s connection – Last Updated 10/19/16 3:35am CST

> – Premise Data Corportation
Summary: Buisness listing of PDC and its D.B.A. with mailing details and such. Connections include CA and TX address. – Last Updated 10/19/16 3:35am CST

> Noam Chomsky on Date Rape – KATIA PROJECT
Summary: Connection of Noan Chomsky and T&C with the KATIA Project. Tool connection with T&C. – Last Updated 10/19/16 3:35am CST

> LinkedIn – Alexandra Graboski
Summary: Profile of face for T&C. Connection now to Assistant at McGowan / Rodriguez Management. Location in LA, Ca. – Last Updated 10/19/16 3:35am CST

> Twitter Mobile – David Soloff
Summary: David threatening control and use drone on civilians. Connections possibly to US GOVT. – Last Updated 10/19/16 3:35am CST

> United Nations Report on T&C (Right click > View Image)
Summary: On June 8, 2016, was contacted by a representative of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, stating that due to MIT Professor Noam Chomsky’s support in the KATIA Project, Mr Assange was interested in becoming a #HeForShe Ambassador for KATIA – Last Updated 10/19/16 3:35am CST (direct link to pic) – Last Updated 10/19/16 3:35am CST

Post – #3 of 4
New Post Break

> – Smear piece on Julian Assange
Summary: BR collusion with T&C shadow company with connection to DNC and HRC to Detain Julian Assange on false pretenses. – Last Updated 10/19/16 4:49am CST

> – Smear piece on Julian Assange
Summary: Buzzfeed collusion with T&C shadow company with connection to DNC and HRC to Detain Julian Assange on false pretenses. – Last Updated 10/19/16 4:49am CST

> Lexi Graboski – About Page
Summary: Background and details in acting/modeling for Lexi (T&C Actress) – Last Updated 10/19/16 4:49am CST

> Various Unsorted Connections, Pictures, And Shared IPs w/ T&C
Summary: Various archived pictures showing connections and shared IP’s – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:29am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:29am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:29am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:29am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:38am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:41am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:43am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:43am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:43am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:48am CST – Last Updated 10/19/16 2:57am CST

Post – #4 of 4

Royal Bank of Scotland Shuts Down RT News’ Bank Account

Popular news outlet Russia Today, funded by the Russian Federation, was sent a letter from the Royal Bank of Scotland to close their account

Apparently, the Royal Bank of Scotland does not like Russia Today.

Their subsidiary, NatWest bank, through which popular Russian funded news website Russia Today does their banking, sent Margarita Simonyan, RT’s editor-in-chief, a letter today saying they were no longer interested in doing business with RT. Simonyan broke the news earlier today through her twitter account, and RT gave a more thorough explanation soon afterwards. Simonyan also shared excerpts from related letters through her facebook account showing solidarity from Steven Hedley, Senior Assistant Secretary General of the Trade Union of Transport Workers (RMT) regarding the brash decision of the bank.

Director of Studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris, John Laughland told RT reporters that the British government owns 75% of the Royal Bank of Scotland and feels there is obvious political inspiration behind the move.

“My suspicion is that it’s part of a coordinated and Europe-wide policy of harassment against organizations that are associated with Russia. We must understand this policy of harassment and hostility within the context of the decision taken about six months ago at a European Union summit, at which it was decided on the EU-level to combat ‘Russian propaganda and disinformation’ as it’s being called. The EU has even established a special unit specifically designed to combat so-called Russian disinformation and, particularly RT, which more than any other news outlet has irritated people in the West because it has a very muscular editorial policy..”

Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom’s new Foreign Secretary, was heard speaking to a Tory Party conference with words along the lines that, although Britain was leaving the EU, it “wouldn’t abandon being in the forefront of sanctions against Russia.”

A copy of the NatWest letter found on RT’s site is below:

NatWest RT letter

Amy Goodman Cleared of All Charges in DAPL Case

A North Dakota judge who oversaw the charges against Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman for participating in a riot at the DAPL protests threw out the case.

The veteran journalist has been reporting on issues surrounding threatening American democracy for decades and has been no stranger to being arrested at demonstrations. However, as a journalist covering the protest of the Dakota Access Pipe Line construction in North Dakota the past two months, she was simply doing her job. Yet when police arrested a large array of protesters at the Native American land of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, they charged Goodman with “participating in a riot”. Today, however, the judge overseeing the case threw it out on grounds that it had no merit.

Goodman was not the only investigative reporter on the scene who had been arrested while covering the protest against the DAPL in North Dakota over the past month. Just a few days ago, a young documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg was arrested while filming demonstrators who shut down the tar sands pipelines in Wallhala, ND. Schlosberg is now facing three federal charges carrying a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison — just for doing her job.

Ecuadorian Embassy Cuts Off Julian Assange’s Internet Access

The Ecuadorian Embassy in London has finally been pressured to silence one of the biggest whistleblower and media activists of our time.

In a tweet that got over 36k retweets early this morning, Wikileaks announced that CEO Julian Assange had his internet access revoked by a ‘state party’. Wikileaks later tweeted it was in fact Ecuador who had cut off his internet after the release of Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs transcripts on Saturday.

Assange, who has been in refuge at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over four years now after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest alleging sexual assault, has not spoken publicly regarding this recent development and it’s likely we won’t hear from him anytime soon. However, his Wikileaks operatives are carrying out what they call “appropriate contingency plans” and should not be faltered or deterred from Wikileaks’ planned weekly releases, said to continue until well past the election on November 8th.

Rumors quickly spread over the internet that Assange might have died, due to a series of tweets from the Wikileaks account late Sunday evening which included coded messages using sha256sum encryption, but a twitter account claiming to be the infamous hacker collective Anonymous explained to the public that these messages were not “dead man’s keys”.

Wikileaks later confirmed that Assange’s internet had been cut by the Ecuadorian Embassy shortly after the release of the Goldman Sachs speeches.

If this is the case, then what is the link between Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton and Ecuador? As it turns out, two years ago Ecuador decided to liquidate a substantial amount of gold bars worth $600 million through Goldman Sachs. The deal reportedly included a buy back within three years (2017) at the current cost of gold. The Ecuadorian central bank said they did this because keeping gold bars around in vaults required money for maintenance, saying

“These interventions in the gold market represent the beginning of a new and permanent strategy of active participation by the bank, through purchases, sales and financial operations, that will contribute to the creation of new financial investment opportunities.”

On the popular social media website, users of the subreddit r/Wikileaks have started a thread regarding the situation with a whole host of theories about the whereabouts and constitution of the infamous whistleblower, but nothing too substantial as of yet aside from reports that Assange “is fine” from those close to the embassy in London. A user from another subreddit supporting Donald Trump posted photos of the embassy and said there was higher than usual mail delivery on Monday, claiming to have spoken to neighbors about the activity and even snapping a few photos of government vehicles outside the embassy.

Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian government released a statement claiming that they are still protecting Assange and giving him asylum, “Ecuador will continue to protect Julian Assange and uphold the political asylum granted to him in 2012.”

The small country of Ecuador rests on quite the lucrative oil reserve at a whopping 846 million barrels of heavy crude oil right under their feet. Unfortunately, in order to dig up the oil, Ecuador would have to go through its extremely biodiverse and vibrant rain forest, one which is protected by various environmental advocacy groups. Ecuador’s oil reserves are basically untouchable for the time being and make the country have a hard time using it as collateral for their economy these days. This could be a good case for United States interventionists like Hillary Clinton to want to control Ecuador, considering it’s one of the few sovereign countries in the world who uses the U.S. dollar as its main currency.

Documentary Filmmaker Deia Schlosberg Arrested For Filming Dakota Pipeline Protest

Schlosberg is yet another journalist to be deprived of her right to freedom of the press at the now infamous Dakota Access Pipeline location in Walhalla, North Dakota where thousands of activists have been demonstrating.

On October 11, 2016, Schlosberg was arrested while filming protesters of the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline in Walhalla, North Dakota. She was charged with conspiracy to theft of property, conspiracy to theft of services and conspiracy to tampering with or damaging a public service, which altogether carry a maximum of 45 years in prison.

Within two days, film director Josh Fox wrote an open letter to US President Barack Obama calling for her release, saying, “The actions of the North Dakota Police force are not just a violation of the climate, but a violation of the constitution.” The letter was co-signed by thirty celebrities, including Neil Young, Mark Ruffalo, Daryl Hannah, Frances Fisher, and Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Fox also wrote that the young filmmaker had been held without access to a lawyer for 48 hours and had her footage taken by police as “evidence” in the fabricated case.

This event happened around the time that famed actress Shailene Woodley was also arrested, but a scarier event is the warrant out for the arrest of journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!. While Goodman isn’t a stranger to arrests during protests, the question surrounding the arrest of journalists remains clear: isn’t arresting a reporter who is simply recording an event as it unfolds the very definition of fascism? Ultimately, the objective is to shut down the reporting of the event, to suppress the reports of what really happened in order to control the information being consumed by the public. They did this in Nazi Germany in the 1940s and all throughout Eastern Europe in the first two thirds of the 20th century when communism got hold of the region.

Such actions by law enforcement come at a time when journalists all over are having trouble retaining their rights in order to do their job due to the strong influence wealthy politicians and corporations have over local police departments. The DAPL constructio, for example, not only has local law enforcement on their side, but private paramilitary police as well who have used attack dogs and pepper spray to deter protesters from stopping the pipeline from being built.