We’re going to kick off the new year with a special edition of The Bleeding Edge.
I originally planned to jump right back into the saddle today – the first trading day of the year – with our usual format of exploring the most interesting and exciting developments in the world of tech, biotech, and investing at large.
But something happened over the last two weeks that had me enthralled. It was something that I didn’t expect… and the implications are profound.
Before we dig in, though, I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season – and that you had the chance to tune out and focus on friends and family over the holidays.
Now that the final numbers are in for 2022, it was the worst combined year for stock and bond returns in more than 100 years. That really puts things into perspective.
I’m happy, as I suspect many of us are, to put 2022 behind us and focus on what I believe will be a far better year… though, not without some volatility. We’ll have plenty of time in the weeks ahead to review together the craziness of what I believe is coming in the first half of this year.
But for today, I’d like to kick off 2023 with the truths that have emerged from “The Twitter Files.”
What “The Twitter Files” have revealed so far…
For those who haven’t yet read about this, “The Twitter Files” are the internal documents that Elon Musk and his team have been releasing to a handful of independent journalists that have combed through and analyzed mounds of emails and communications at Twitter from the last three years.
I have to say, I’m rarely surprised by much in the world of business, investing, politics, and geopolitics. But “The Twitter Files” absolutely knocked me over.
Perhaps Elon Musk described it best in an interview that he conducted on December 27 when he said:
Almost every conspiracy theory that people had about Twitter turned out to be true. Is there a conspiracy theory about Twitter that didn’t turn out to be true? So far, they’ve all turned out to be true. And if not, more true than people thought.
Now, whatever any of us thinks about Musk, he is a genius. And he’s also making the most of one of the smartest business moves that any executive can make when coming into a problematic and/or corrupt organization… He’s performing an audit and sharing the results openly.
Doing so protects him and the organization going forward by demonstrating that the corruption took place under the previous management. And, ultimately, it will make large strides toward restoring trust in Twitter as a public platform for debate, information, and networking.
Said another way, it will be great for Twitter’s future business.
Before I go any further, it’s important to state that my comments aren’t meant in any way to be political. I’m just going to share the facts about what’s been revealed to-date from the release of “The Twitter Files.”
Even more importantly, I would argue that it doesn’t matter what any of our own political preferences are – whether they be liberal, libertarian, conservative, socialist, progressive, or independent. What “The Twitter Files” have revealed is so much bigger and profound than anything I could have imagined.
When the first drop of the files was released, I expected that they would reveal an organization that had a very heavy political bias that was used to censor, ban, and manipulate the information that we saw on Twitter, with the goal of affecting certain outcomes – like elections – and supporting heavily biased political narratives.
After all, this bias has been well-known over the last three years. Any regular Twitter user could see scientists, experts in their field, and popular commentators getting deplatformed from Twitter for the “crime” of simply providing factual information that wasn’t consistent with the desired political narrative.
And if Twitter didn’t take the accounts down entirely, it actively engaged in something called “shadowbanning.” This is the practice of blocking or throttling a user’s posts from the Twitter community.
One way this is done is by making posts invisible to those on Twitter. Another way is by making it impossible to comment on or retweet an individual post. These tactics were done without the knowledge of the user.
Everyone knew that it was happening, but they just didn’t have the confession from Twitter that it was true. In fact, Twitter executives denied this was a practice on many occasions. That’s no longer the case.
What Twitter did was wrong, a violation of our rights, and was most certainly unfair. But as a public company offering a free product, we as consumers could simply stop using Twitter if we didn’t like its practices.
I myself didn’t bother posting because I knew, for example, that if I shared peer-reviewed scientific research that was counter to the desired narrative, I’d just get banned. So why bother?
[Note: You can now find me @BrownstoneTBE. There are several other fake accounts that we’re trying to get removed from Twitter.]
But here’s the thing. That’s not the story at all.
Widespread silencing took place at Twitter…
Yes, “The Twitter Files” have now evidenced the removal of accounts – even those that shared factual and true information. The files have also revealed that shadowbanning was real and widespread on the platform.
But what’s shattered my trust in the government was the revelation that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and several other government agencies were directing – even paying Twitter – to comply with their requests to take down the accounts of independent journalists, scientists, executives, and individuals who said things that they simply didn’t like.
The FBI had weekly, and sometimes daily, communications with Twitter that spanned not just matters related to the 2020 Presidential Election, but engagements with FBI agents operating at the state and city levels as well.
And the FBI was just the interface for what’s now been documented as involvement of the Pentagon, the State Department, and even the CIA, which is often referred to as OGA (or Other Governmental Agency) in “The Twitter Files.”
Here’s what a communication for a regular conference between the government and Twitter executives looks like naming both the FBI and the CIA:
Internal Communication Between Twitter Execs
[Note: Stacia Cardille was a legal executive at Twitter, and Jim Baker was a Twitter executive who formerly worked for the FBI.]
Leading up to the 2020 elections, the FBI was aggressively pushing Twitter to take down accounts, often sending spreadsheets with hundreds of names to be addressed.
Twitter was so overwhelmed with the requests to suppress and silence voices in the lead-up to the elections that it asked the FBI to prioritize requests.
Twitter Enlists the FBI’s Help
Also remarkable was the FBI’s pressure on Twitter to confirm narratives of foreign influence.
The below email I found just incredible. It’s a great example of the pressure that Twitter felt, and its own willingness, to manifest information to support the FBI’s desired narrative.
It clearly states that, “After I reviewed the accounts, and found no links to Russia…” and further says: “I can brainstorm with XXXXXX and see if we can dig even deeper and try to find a stronger connection.” Unbelievable.
Aside from literally influencing the outcome of both national and local elections, Twitter and other tech platforms were actually getting paid to do it through a reimbursement program managed by a division at the FBI called SCALE (Safety, Content, and Law Enforcement).
The FBI’s Reimbursement Program
Source: twitter @shellenbergerMD
And it wasn’t just the suppression of voices and censorship that the FBI was demanding of Twitter and other tech platforms.
The FBI submitted countless Emergency Disclosure Requests (EDRs). These are nothing more than a warrantless search request for data on private citizens. Sickening.
So much for freedom of speech…
After learning of the above, it came as no surprise that the same tactics and force were used to control the debate surrounding COVID-19.
Independent journalist and author David Zweig summed up how Twitter “rigged” the debate around COVID:
By censoring info that was true, but inconvenient to U.S. government policy.
By discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed.
By suppressing ordinary users, including some sharing the CDC’s own data.
Independent journalists like Alex Berenson, who shared information about peer-reviewed scientific research, COVID “vaccine” efficacy (or lack thereof), and information about COVID “vaccine”-induced injuries, including death – just as I have done over the years – were booted off the platform.
Ironically, Berenson had the resolution to sue Twitter, and he won. Twitter had to settle and reinstate him on the platform.
Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard Medical School epidemiologist, was also banned. Robert Malone, the inventor of mRNA technology – banned. Peter McCullough, the world’s most widely published cardiologist – banned. Andrew Bostom, a Rhode Island physician – banned.
I could go on and on… but all of them were deplatformed and silenced.
We’re only just scratching the surface of what “The Twitter Files” released in the last two weeks. The world has only seen less than 5% of what’s been going on. This week, there will be a drop of “The Fauci Files,” which we can be sure will be revealing.
But the real gut punch for me is how widespread and coordinated this whole operation really was. It’s the kind of thing that we would normally say is “unthinkable.” And it wasn’t just Twitter that “they” were controlling.
Here’s a partial list that’s been documented of those that were being instructed on what to do:
LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft)
Wikimedia (owner of Wikipedia)
YouTube (owned by Alphabet)
Google (owned by Alphabet)
Facebook (owned by Meta)
And of course, we know that the mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC were all receiving the same instructions. It was like listening to parrots – at times, the messaging was identical down to the last word.
If something like this doesn’t scare us, I don’t know what will. This isn’t only a violation of our constitutional rights, it’s a dystopian nightmare.
It’s an entrenched beginning to what would only become a totalitarian state. It affects all of us negatively, irrespective of our political and philosophical beliefs.
We haven’t been living in a democracy. If “The Twitter Files” have shown us anything, it’s that we’ve been subject to nothing short of a massive, coordinated, psychological operation designed to control our access to information and influence how we think.
That, my friends, is not the sign of a free and democratic society.
Elon Musk has given us a remarkable gift by pulling the sheep’s clothing off the wolf. Now it’s time for us to do something about it. All opinions should be heard. Scientific debate must be restored. And freedom of speech is a constitutional right.
Happy New Year to all! I wish the very best to you and your families for a happy and healthy 2023.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge