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(LifeSiteNews) — Author and journalist Michael Shellenberger has said that “U.S. and U.K. military contractors” have used “sophisticated psychological operations and disinformation tactics… against the American people” in sworn testimony in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

In a hearing of the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government chaired by Jim Jordan (R-OH) on suppression of free speech by the government, Shellenberger presented the information he received from a whistleblower about the origins of the so-called “Censorship Industrial complex.” 

Shellenberger, one of the “Twitter Files” authors, coined the phrase “Censorship Industrial Complex” to describe the network of government and private entities that censor information and opinions online that go against the mainstream narratives. 

READ: How the Deep State is using the ‘Censorship Industrial Complex’ to crush free speech 

“I regret to inform the subcommittee today that the scope of power and lawbreaking of the censorship industrial complex are even worse than we had realized back in March,” Shellenberger stated. 

“Two days ago, my colleagues and I published the first batch of internal files from the Cyber Threat Intelligence League, which show U.S. and U.K. military contractors working in 2019 and 2020 to both censor and turn sophisticated psychological operations and disinformation tactics developed abroad against the American people.” 

According to the documents provided by the whistleblower, the Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTIL) developed the blueprint for dealing with “misinformation” online. The CTIL was staffed by U.K. and U.S. military contractors as well as numerous former and current members of intelligence agencies such as the FBI or Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

CTIL’s ultimate goal, according to the whistleblower,”was to become part of the federal government.” In 2020, CTIL partnered with DHS’s Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA). CISA then created the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) and its successor, the Virality Project (VP). EIP and VP were the alleged “NGOs” that urged social media platforms to censor posts “by ordinary citizens and elected officials alike.” 

“EIP reported that they had a 75% response rate from the platforms and that 35% of the URLs that they reported were either removed, labeled or throttled or soft-blocked,” Shellenberger told the subcommittee. 

The author was convinced that DHS interfered in the 2020 elections by censoring online content, especially the infamous Hunter Biden laptop story. 

“In 2020, the Department of Homeland Security System violated the First Amendment and interfered in the election,” he said. “While in 2021, CISA and the White House violated the First Amendment and undermined America’s response to the Covid pandemic by demanding that Facebook and Twitter censor content that Facebook itself said was, quote-unquote, ‘often true,’ including about vaccine side effects.” 

According to the whistleblower, a leader of CTIL received instruction from the Obama administration to create a project against “disinformation” that would prevent the “repeat of 2016,” likely referring to the election of Donald Trump. 

“What’s more, the whistleblower who delivered the files to us says that its leader… a ‘former’ British intelligence analyst, was ‘in the room’ at the Obama White House in 2017 when she received the instructions to create a counter disinformation project to… stop a ‘repeat of 2016,’” Shellenberger said. 

That testimony suggests that some of the final actions of the Obama administration – Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017 – were to begin setting in place this censorship apparatus. 

During a Q&A session later in the hearing, Shellenberger said that the CTIL operatives “that are used to waging disinformation campaigns and PsyOps in foreign countries turned those tools against the American people.” 

“I encourage Congress to defund and dismantle the government organizations involved in censorship,” the author stated.  

“I would also encourage Congress to abolish CISA in the DHS.”  

He said that the U.S. Supreme Court may rule that it is unconstitutional for government officials to ask platforms to remove content in the Missouri v. Biden case that will be heard in 2024. 

“Should the courts somehow decide that the government requests for censorship are constitutional, then I would urge Congress to require such requests to be reported publicly instantaneously so that such censorship demands occur in plain sight.” 

Background: The CTIL wants to ensure ‘cognitive security’  

Shellenberger’s testimony is based on information from the “CTIL files” provided by a whistleblower who worked at the organization. 

The “anti-disinformation” strategies developed by CTIL, which were later implemented by the DHS, “went far beyond censorship.” 

“The documents show that the group engaged in offensive operations to influence public opinion, discussing ways to promote ‘counter-messaging,’ co-opt hashtags, dilute disfavored messaging, create sock puppet accounts, and infiltrate private invite-only groups,” Shellenberger and his colleagues wrote in their report. 

“The ambitions of the 2020 pioneers of the Censorship Industrial Complex went far beyond simply urging Twitter to slap a warning label on Tweets, or to put individuals on blacklists,” the report on the CTIL files states. 

“The AMITT [Adversarial Misinformation and Influence Tactics and Techniques] framework calls for discrediting individuals as a necessary prerequisite of demanding censorship against them. It calls for training influencers to spread messages. And it calls for trying to get banks to cut off financial services to individuals who organize rallies or events.” 

READ: Canadian farmer fears ‘we have no freedoms anymore’ after bank accounts were frozen over trucker donation 

According to Shellenberger and his colleagues, CTIL developed the term “cognitive security” as a rationale for its censorship activities. Similar to protecting people’s physical security, the operatives argued that they need to protect “cognitive security,” meaning protecting people from allegedly “harmful” or wrong information.  

In a podcast, one of the CTIL leaders, U.S. military contractor Pablo Breuer, compared “information and narrative control he had in mind” with the actions implemented by the Chinese Communist government, noting that the communication and rhetoric used when dealing with Americans needs to be different. 

“If you talk to the average Chinese citizen, they absolutely believe that the Great Firewall of China is not there for censorship,” Breuer said. 

“They believe that it’s there because the Chinese Communist Party wants to protect the citizenry and they absolutely believe that’s a good thing. If the U.S. government tried to sell that narrative, we would absolutely lose our minds and say, ‘No, no, this is a violation of our First Amendment rights.’ So the in-group and out-group messaging have to be often different.” 

Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop more online censorship laws