I know next to nothing when it comes to Russia and Ukraine, but as I’ve written in a previous post, when the government, the media, and social media are all pushing for you to hold to one particular view, with no nuance, that is a red flag. When a situation is being over simplified, and you are led to take one side completely and unquestioningly, you are being duped.
Consider the poll below which shows the opinions of vaccinated Canadians vs unvaccinated Canadians in regard to the Russian/Ukrainian conflict…
The source article of the poll (linked above) takes the opposite stance of what I am taking here. The article states: The study concludes the results point “to the highly corrosive influences of disinformation.” It’s the “anti-vaxxers” who are wrong. They have been deceived by “disinformation.” Never mind the facts. Believe the media which has been lying to you for years.
Notice that the subheading of the article states: New poll indicates that “vaccine refusers are much more sympathetic to Russia.” Then notice how the results of the poll have nothing to do with sympathy for Russia. The results are about how involved Canada should be in support of Ukraine. Just because people might not want to get too involved with Ukraine in its fight against Russia, that doesn’t then mean they support what Russia is doing. They simply don’t want to get involved in someone else’s fight. Equally, just because someone doesn’t want the vaccine, it does not mean they are anti-vaccine.
Also notice that the poll is between people who had three or more shots (one extreme) and people who had no shots (the other extreme). That means all those who had one or two shots (the moderate majority) are not included in the poll. Do you think we would see some more variation in the results if those people had been involved? I’d say yes. The media only wants you to see things in black and white.
We know, with the whole COVID situation, that to believe there were alternative ways to deal with the virus, other than the vaccines, was wrong think. The narrative that vaccines were the only option was injected into everyone’s brains.
Now that same thing is happening with the Russian/Ukraine conflict. And who is buying it? See poll above.
WASHINGTON – Amid tough talk from European and American leaders, a new MintPress study of our nation’s most influential media outlets reveals that it is the press that is driving the charge towards war with Russia over Ukraine. Ninety percent of recent opinion articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have taken a hawkish view on conflict, with anti-war voices few and far between. Opinion columns have overwhelmingly expressed support for sending U.S. weapons and troops to the region. Russia has universally been presented as the aggressor in this dispute, with media glossing over NATO’s role in amping tensions while barely mentioning the U.S. collaboration with Neo-Nazi elements within the Ukrainian ruling coalition.
The West’s Hands in Ukraine are as Bloody as Putin’s
ANALYSIS – There is a discursive nervous tic all over social media at the moment, including from prominent journalists such as Guardian columnist George Monbiot. The demand is that everyone not only “condemn” Russian president Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, but do so without qualification.
Any reluctance to submit is considered certain proof that the person is a Putin apologist or a Kremlin bot, and that their views on everything under the sun – especially their criticisms of equivalent Western war crimes – can be safely ignored.
Facebook and Instagram have instituted a temporary change in policy that allows users in some countries to post content that’s usually forbidden, including calls for harm or even the death of Russian soldiers or politicians. The change first surfaced in a report by Reuters, citing internal emails to moderators. In them, the outlet reports mods are told that calls for the death of Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko will be allowed, as long as they don’t contain threats toward others or “indicators of credibility” like saying where or how the act will take place.
In a statement sent to The Verge, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said, “As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as ‘death to the Russian invaders.’ We still won’t allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians.”
Everyone seems to be on the Ukraine’s side in this conflict, and I suppose rightfully so. Russia ought not be doing what it’s doing. But, the fact that all politicians, all news media, and all social media are engineering everyone to feel a specific way about this conflict, with no nuance, is a huge red flag. Beware.
The following article is from The Intercept, dated Feb. 25, 2022. I am posting it in full here…
Facebook will temporarily allow its billions of users to praise the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian neo-Nazi military unit previously banned from being freely discussed under the company’s Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, The Intercept has learned.
The policy shift, made this week, is pegged to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and preceding military escalations. The Azov Battalion, which functions as an armed wing of the broader Ukrainian white nationalist Azov movement, began as a volunteer anti-Russia militia before formally joining the Ukrainian National Guard in 2014; the regiment is known for its hardcore right-wing ultranationalism and the neo-Nazi ideology pervasive among its members. Though it has in recent years downplayed its neo-Nazi sympathies, the group’s affinities are not subtle: Azov soldiers march and train wearing uniforms bearing icons of the Third Reich; its leadership has reportedly courted American alt-right and neo-Nazi elements; and in 2010, the battalion’s first commander and a former Ukrainian parliamentarian, Andriy Biletsky, stated that Ukraine’s national purpose was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans].” With Russian forces reportedly moving rapidly against targets throughout Ukraine, Facebook’s blunt, list-based approach to moderation puts the company in a bind: What happens when a group you’ve deemed too dangerous to freely discuss is defending its country against a full-scale assault?
According to internal policy materials reviewed by The Intercept, Facebook will “allow praise of the Azov Battalion when explicitly and exclusively praising their role in defending Ukraine OR their role as part of the Ukraine’s National Guard.” Internally published examples of speech that Facebook now deems acceptable include “Azov movement volunteers are real heroes, they are a much needed support to our national guard”; “We are under attack. Azov has been courageously defending our town for the last 6 hours”; and “I think Azov is playing a patriotic role during this crisis.”
The materials stipulate that Azov still can’t use Facebook platforms for recruiting purposes or for publishing its own statements and that the regiment’s uniforms and banners will remain as banned hate symbol imagery, even while Azov soldiers may fight wearing and displaying them. In a tacit acknowledgement of the group’s ideology, the memo provides two examples of posts that would not be allowed under the new policy: “Goebbels, the Fuhrer and Azov, all are great models for national sacrifices and heroism” and “Well done Azov for protecting Ukraine and it’s white nationalist heritage.”
In a statement to The Intercept, company spokesperson Erica Sackin confirmed the decision but declined to answer questions about the new policy.
Azov’s formal Facebook ban began in 2019, and the regiment, along with several associated individuals like Biletsky, were designated under the company’s prohibition against hate groups, subject to its harshest “Tier 1” restrictions that bar users from engaging in “praise, support, or representation” of blacklisted entities across the company’s platforms. Facebook’s previously secret roster of banned groups and persons, published by The Intercept last year, categorized the Azov Battalion alongside the likes of the Islamic State and the Ku Klux Klan, all Tier 1 groups because of their propensity for “serious offline harms” and “violence against civilians.” Indeed, a 2016 report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights found that Azov soldiers had raped and tortured civilians during Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine.
The exemption will no doubt create confusion for Facebook’s moderators, tasked with interpreting the company’s muddled and at time contradictory censorship rules under exhausting conditions. While Facebook users may now praise any future battlefield action by Azov soldiers against Russia, the new policy notes that “any praise of violence” committed by the group is still forbidden; it’s unclear what sort of nonviolent warfare the company anticipates.
Facebook’s new stance on Azov is “nonsensical” in the context of its prohibitions against offline violence, said Dia Kayyali, a researcher specializing in the real-world effects of content moderation at the nonprofit Mnemonic. “It’s typical Facebook,” Kayyali added, noting that while the exemption will permit ordinary Ukrainians to more freely discuss a catastrophe unfolding around them that might otherwise be censored, the fact that such policy tweaks are necessary reflects the dysfunctional state of Facebook’s secret blacklist-based Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy. “Their assessments of what is a dangerous organization should always be contextual; there shouldn’t be some special carveout for a group that would otherwise fit the policy just because of a specific moment in time. They should have that level of analysis all the time.”
Though the change may come as welcome news to critics who say that the sprawling, largely secret Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy can stifle online free expression, it also offers further evidence that Facebook determines what speech is permissible based on the foreign policy judgments of the United States. Last summer, for instance, Motherboard reported that Facebook similarly carved out an exception to its censorship policies in Iran, temporarily allowing users to post “Death to Khamenei” for a two-week period. “I do think it is a direct response to U.S. foreign policy,” Kayyali said of the Azov exemption. “That has always been how the … list works.”