ACTION ALERT: “Twitter Suspended Me!”
Ariel Gold / CODEPINK
(March 1, 2021) — Last week, on February 24, I woke up to find that Twitter had suspended my account. Why? I have no idea, as Twitter has not provided me with any information despite my multiple appeals for an explanation and time frame for when my account will be reinstated/unsuspended.
Engaging in peaceful political dissent should not be a crime.
This didn’t happen out of the blue. I am known on Twitter as an outspoken opponent of Israeli apartheid, a feminist who opposes all forms of racism, including antisemitism, and works to get the US back into the Iran Nuclear Deal and end weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
For the past month, Twitter has been flagging my tweets and CODEPINK’s tweets for violating their rules. But what rules we have violated is mystifying. See all the details and flagged tweets here.
It’s not just CODEPINK: On February 23, 373 Twitter accounts associated with Armenia, Russia, and Iran were suspended. According to Twitter, a number of these account suspensions were for “undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.”
I’m proud of CODEPINK’s opposition to NATO and work to end sanctions. No Twitter suspension will stop me from calling out Israeli vaccine apartheid or the danger Netanyahu puts all Jews in when he falsely accuses the International Criminal Court of being antisemitic. And I also won’t sit by quietly as Twitter cracks down on peaceful activists and silences free speech.
I have long been targeted on Twitter — sometimes with hate speech or threats of violence — by defenders of Israel’s status quo. Through Twitter, email, and snail-mail, I have even received death threats that had to be reported to the FBI. But, I refuse to be intimidated or silenced.
We the undersigned ask you to reinstate/unsuspend the Twitter account of Ariel Gold (@ArielElyseGold), the national co-director of CODEPINK, who on February 24, found her Twitter account suspended. No explanation has been provided as to why her account was suspended or when it will be reinstated/unsuspended. Ariel has submitted four appeals, but is still mystified as to why she was suddenly suspended. Each appeal is met with an autoreply confirming Ariel’s email–nothing else.
In addition to reinstating/unsuspending Ariel Gold’s account, we call on you to cease targeting CODEPINK and its staff for false violations. We ask you to stop targeting Palestinian rights and anti-war activists. Engaging in peaceful political dissent should not be a crime.
Why Was CODEPINK Redflagged? Here’s What Happened
Starting at the end of January 2021, Twitter began flagging tweets by Ariel (@ArielElyseGold) and CODEPINK (@codepink) for violating their rules. These “violations” included Ariel celebrating a 5-mile morning run during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, Ariel and CODEPINK advocating for $2,000 stimulus checks, CODEPINK advertising a webinar regarding US-Russia relations, CODEPINK mourning the loss of a Palestinian murdered by the Israeli military, Ariel shoveling her driveway after a big snowstorm, and Ariel opposing mansplaining.
On February 8, 2021, CODEPINK filed an appeal about it and Ariel’s tweets being flagged for “rule violations.” Twitter’s reply only stated that CODEPINK could “appeal an account suspension.” ???
From February 24, when Ariel’s account was suspended, through today, Ariel has filed numerous appeals through firstname.lastname@example.org, She has not received any replies from Twitter.
It’s Not Just CODEPINK:
On February 23, 373 Twitter accounts associated with Armenia, Russia, and Iran were suspended. According to Twitter, a number of these account suspensions were for “undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.”
About CODEPINK and Ariel Gold:
CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end US wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs, and other life-affirming programs.
Ariel Gold is an outspoken advocate for Palestinian rights. She is also an anti-racist activist who works to stop antisemitism.She has frequently been targeted on Twitter — sometimes with hate speech or threats of violence — by defenders of Israel’s status quo. Through Twitter, email, and snail-mail, Ariel has received death threats focused on her work for Palestinian rights. These threats were reported to and followed up by the FBI.
CODEPINK and Ariel are strongly opposed to NATO, cold war incitement against China, US sanctions on Venezuela, Iran, and other countries, the war in Yemen, weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. CODEPINK supports diplomacy with Iran, an end to Israeli apartheid, divestment from US weapons companies, peace in the Korean Penninsula, decreasing the Pentagon budget, troop withdrawal from the Middle East, closing US military bases around the world, demilitarizing US police forces, and other pursuits to end US imperialism and create a more peaceful world.
Click here to see all the @codepink and @ArielElyseGold tweets that were flagged for violating Twitter rules.
Ariel, Medea, Ann, Angela, Carley, Ciara, Cody, Danaka, Emily, Farida, Grace, Jodie, Kelsey, Leila, Leonardo, Maxine, Mary, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Sana, and Teri.
A propaganda system is far more effective — and dangerous — when those inside are unaware of it and believe themselves to be free from influence.
(February 24th, 2021) — Social media giant Twitter announced yesterday that it has deleted 373 accounts it claims were linked to Russia, Iran, and Armenia.
In a blog post entitled “Disclosing networks of state-linked information operations,” it claimed that it had taken the decision to remove 69 Russian accounts primarily because they were “undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.”
The move sparked controversy on Twitter itself, with many users joking that their own fealty to NATO was insufficiently zealous.
Twitter’s Glass House
Twitter justified the decision by pointing to its rules regarding the prohibition of state-controlled disinformation networks. Yet it failed to fully explain exactly how it knew these users were in the pay of the Kremlin or under the control of the Grand Ayatollah Khamenei. Indeed, the supposedly “independent investigation and analysis” team at the Stanford Internet Observatory, to which Twitter contracted out its work, itself has troubling connections to the (US) state.
For example, its non-resident fellow Matt Masterton was, until recently, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security. Indeed, the whole observatory is located within the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, headed by former American Ambassador to Russia (and noted Kremlin hawk) Michael McFaul.
Supposed “experts” accuse users of being Russia-linked disinformation agents with great regularity. Ben Nimmo, data journalist and former NATO press officer, falsely asserted that a noted Ukrainian concert pianist and a Welsh pensioner were Kremlin bots. Nimmo was recently announced as Facebook’s chief of intelligence.
This is far from the first time that Twitter has taken action against those spreading information it does not like. However, its targets seem invariably to be enemies of the United States and NATO. In June, on advice from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Twitter banned nearly 200,000 accounts from China, Russia, and Turkey, all of which it accused of “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China,” the Kremlin or Istanbul.
Yet ASPI itself is funded by both the US and Australian governments, as well as a myriad of weapons contractors, all of whom have a distinct and strong interest in heightening tensions with NATO’s adversaries. Four months later, Twitter took action against a number of Iranian accounts on the suggestion of the FBI.
Unfortunately, the extent of the collaboration between big tech and the national security state extends beyond mere collaboration on whom to delete. In 2019, it was revealed that a senior Twitter executive was in fact a high-ranking officer in the British Army’s 77th Brigade, its division devoted to psychological operations and online warfare. How he could have achieved such a high position at Twitter without the knowing cooperation of the tech giant is unclear. Even less certain is why the story was almost completely ignored in the mainstream media and how he maintains his job at Twitter to this day.
In addition to the appointment of NATO man Nimmo, Facebook also maintains a close relationship with the military organization. In 2018, it announced a partnership with the NATO-cutout group the Atlantic Council, whereby the council would help curate the news feeds of its 2.8 billion users.
Reddit also hired a former Atlantic Council deputy director of its Middle East Strategy Task Force as its director of policy, a move that linked the popular social news aggregation site to the national security state. Other big tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM have signed multi-billion dollar commercial deals with the CIA, a move that brings virtually the entire industry into the orbit of the national security state.
The MIC of the “New Digital Age”
“What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century,” wrote Google executives Eric Schmidt and Larry Cohen in their book “The New Digital Age,” “technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first.” Their book was heartily endorsed on its back cover by Atlantic Council Director Henry Kissinger.
NATO was founded in the wake of the Second World War as a supposedly defensive alliance against the Soviet Union. However, with that nation’s dissolution in 1991, NATO was not scrapped; in fact, it was expanded, both in member nations and its remit. NATO began to declare that its purview spread across the entire world and into cyberspace.
At the organization’s 70th anniversary in 2019, its former supreme commander, Admiral James Stavridis, declared that it would henceforth be “far more engaged in … cyber security” and would employ a far greater “offensive cyber capability.” Twitter’s latest actions suggest that his proclamations were accurate.
While the Soviet government effectively controlled its entire media apparatus, its citizens were at least cognizant of that fact and distrusted it accordingly. In the West, however, the level of state penetration into both commercial and social media is rarely discussed.
A propaganda system is far more effective — and dangerous — when those inside are unaware of it and believe themselves to be free from influence. Worse still, big social media companies like Twitter and Facebook dominate the world, not just one country, meaning their influence is global. The fact that Twitter is taking action against accounts because they undermine faith in NATO is a sure sign of the organization’s growing influence in Twitter’s internal affairs.
Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017, he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.org, The Guardian, Salon, The Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.