By Dr. Kevin Barrett
On Saturday, Sept. 4, around 10:25 Central Time, my live broadcast of “False Flag Weekly News” was suddenly disabled by YouTube. Someone at YouTube had arbitrarily decided to pretend that I was guilty of something called “impersonation.” My channel was frozen, given a strike, and threatened with annihilation.
The charge was not just spurious, it was ridiculous. I always broadcast under my own name on my decade-old TruthJihadRadio channel. False Flag Weekly News has been my news roundup show since around 2010. The last thing I would ever do is try to fool viewers into thinking they were watching someone else’s show or channel.
I appealed YouTube’s decision. My appeal was summarily rejected without explanation. I was never informed of what I might have done that could have led to the absurd impersonation charge, nor how I could avoid doing it in the future.
Was it a coincidence that YouTube arbitrarily disabled my channel for the exact week leading up to the 19th anniversary of 9/11? The 9/11 anniversary week is normally my highest-traffic, highest-interest week of the year.
My experience as a convicted YouTube impersonator feels like something out of Franz Kafka. But it is not unusual. Increasingly, the big internet monopolies, led by Google (which owns YouTube), along with Facebook and Twitter, are censoring controversial political content—and perhaps rigging elections—without any semblance of due process, transparency, or accountability. Today, they have more effect upon the outcomes of presidential elections than the Russians ever could. Additionally, these criminal mega-corporations are spying on Americans far more thoroughly and intrusively than the National Security Agency would ever dream of doing.
It is time for President Donald Trump to put the big internet criminal cartels out of business and replace them with transparently run non-commercial public utilities. He could do this by having Attorney General William Barr indict Google, Facebook, and Twitter under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) law—and obtain a restraining order seizing their assets. If that didn’t work, he could declare a national emergency—based on the fact that these illegal internet monopolies now control the outcomes of U.S. elections—then take them over and force them to operate with equity and transparency.
How do internet monopolies rig elections? The simplest technique is search engine manipulation. Google has developed secret algorithms that control search engine rankings. It can pre-empt its own algorithms to favor a candidate or party any time it wishes, and most of the time nobody will be the wiser. A peer reviewed 2015 study entitled “The search engine manipulation effect (SEME) and its possible impact on the outcomes of elections” showed how easy it is for Google to control millions or even tens of millions of votes by deciding what people see when they enter a search term. Google clearly manipulated its search engine in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016, blacklisting the much-searched term “Clinton body count” from its auto-fill feature among other shenanigans.
How can this problem be fixed? Simple: Google’s algorithm must be transparent, non-commercial, and 100% content-neutral—except in rare cases where non-protected (criminal or libelous) speech must be suppressed, in which case the manual overrides to the algorithm must themselves be transparent. But since Google will never voluntarily relinquish its stranglehold on power by abandoning its ability to cheat and profiteer, it must be seized by the United States government and run as a public utility.
YouTube (owned by Google) and such social media giants as Facebook and Twitter also have their own internal equivalents of search engines. Each of them looks at your history and shows you items (videos, tweets, posts) based on what the algorithm thinks will interest you. These algorithms, like Google’s search engine, ought to be transparent and 100% content neutral, excluding only non-constitutionally-protected speech, while putting all protected speech on exactly the same footing. Unfortunately, during the past decade, the internet oligarchs have been increasingly tweaking their algorithms to exclude political voices they don’t like—especially “conspiracy theorists” (meaning truth-seekers). Since the oligarchs consider Donald Trump supporters “conspiracy theorists,” it is obvious which candidate and party will benefit from their manipulation in the 2020 election.
Even as the Democrats will be benefiting from election-rigging by the internet oligarchs and skewed coverage from most of the legacy media, the Republicans may benefit from computerized vote theft. Jonathan Simon’s book Code Red shows that most U.S. voting machines count votes secretly, using black-box proprietary software controlled by Republican-owned corporations—and that since the black-box-voting era began in 2004, Republicans have apparently been stealing millions of votes on a regular basis in our most important elections.
So, to be fair and impartial, Trump ought to not only nationalize the internet monopolies, but also abolish electronic voting machines in favor of hand-counted paper ballots. These two simple changes could revive American democracy.
Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., is an Arabist-Islamologist scholar and one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. From 1991 through 2006, Dr. Barrett taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin. In 2006, however, he was attacked by Republican state legislators who called for him to be fired from his job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison due to his political opinions. Since 2007, Dr. Barrett has been informally blacklisted from teaching in American colleges and universities. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, public speaker, author, and talk radio host. He lives in rural western Wisconsin.