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FTR#1243 How Many Lies Before You Belong to The Lies?, Part 16

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“Polit­i­cal language…is designed to make lies sound truth­ful and mur­der respectable, and to give an appear­ance of solid­i­ty to pure wind.”

— George Orwell, 1946

EVERYTHING MR. EMORY HAS BEEN SAYING ABOUT THE UKRAINE WAR IS ENCAPSULATED IN THIS VIDEO FROM UKRAINE 24

Mr. Emory has launched a new Patre­on site. Vis­it at: Patreon.com/DaveEmory

­­­FTR#1243 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

NB: This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­i­al not con­tained in the orig­i­nal pro­gram.

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram con­tin­ues our cov­er­age of Ukraine.

The title of the series comes from the 1976 auto­bi­og­ra­phy Heart­land by the late,  bril­liant polit­i­cal come­di­an Mort Sahl, one of New Orleans DA Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tors his probe of Pres­i­dent Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion.

Amid the high­ly politi­cized accounts of alleged “Russ­ian atroc­i­ties” in the Ukraine war, it is of the high­est impor­tance to remem­ber that the “news” reach­ing the West is com­ing exclu­sive­ly through the Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty author­i­ties, chiefly the Azov-imprint­ed Ukrain­ian Nation­al Police and the asso­ci­at­ed Inte­ri­or Min­istry, which retains the dom­i­nant influ­ence of Azov-asso­ci­at­ed Arsen Avakov and Vadim Troyan–the for­mer head of the Ukrain­ian nation­al police and, before that, Deputy Com­man­der of the Azov Bat­tal­ion.

Fur­ther cloud­ing access to accu­rate infor­ma­tion about what is actu­al­ly occur­ring in the war is an accel­er­at­ed Amer­i­can dis­in­for­ma­tion process enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly tout­ing dubi­ous intel­li­gence as a vehi­cle for—supposedly—“getting inside Putin’s head.”

Lviv, Ukaine, Sum­mer of 2018. Cel­e­bra­tion of the 75th anniver­sary of the 14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion (Gali­cian). Note the Ukrain­ian hon­or guard in the back­ground.

It is high­ly unlike­ly that the pur­vey­ors of that low-qual­i­ty intel­li­gence are actu­al­ly try­ing to influ­ence Putin. The low-grade intel­li­gence is more like­ly to be direct­ed at the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

Also worth con­tem­plat­ing is the grotesque his­to­ry of U.S. disinformation—a track record of egre­gious, offi­cial lying that dom­i­nates the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal land­scape.

The assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, the Viet­nam War that, in large mea­sure, result­ed from that mur­der, the killings of Mar­tin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Iraq War and count­less oth­er fun­da­men­tal offi­cial polit­i­cal lies do not appear to have taught the Amer­i­can peo­ple any­thing!

Their appetite for b.s. appears undi­min­ished.

For more infor­ma­tion about the “low-qual­i­ty” intel being dis­sem­i­nat­ed for psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare pur­pos­es, see: https://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr1237-how-many-lies-before-you-belong-to-the-lie-part-10/comment-page‑1/#comment-370625

Next, we vis­it the satel­lite pho­tos, also alleged­ly show­ing pho­tos of the alleged “Russ­ian atroc­i­ties” in Bucha, includ­ing the dig­ging of the alleged mass grave to hold vic­tims of said abom­i­na­tions.

Maxar is the com­pa­ny whose satel­lite pho­tos are high­light­ed by our media to demon­strate the alleged atroc­i­ties.

Maxar, in turn, is the par­ent com­pa­ny of Dig­i­tal­Globe, a firm start­ed by vet­er­ans of Ronald Reagan’s Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive (“Star Wars”).

Grow­ing out of late 1992 leg­is­la­tion that legal­ized the entry of pri­vate firms into the strate­gic recon­nais­sance satel­lite busi­ness, Dig­i­tal­Globe was the source of pro­pa­gan­dized pic­tures alleg­ing a Russ­ian “inva­sion” of Ukraine in 2014!

 DigitalGlobe/Maxar’s track record war­rants scruti­ny of the firm’s “evi­dence” in the con­text of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

More about Maxar can be found here: https://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr1237-how-many-lies-before-you-belong-to-the-lie-part-10/comment-page‑1/#comment-370595

In FTR#808, we set forth infor­ma­tion about Dig­i­tal­Globe.

The satel­lite imagery pur­port­ing to show Russ­ian armor and self-pro­pelled artillery inside of Ukraine comes from a pri­vate company–DigitalGlobe. That com­pa­ny was found­ed by key per­son­nel from Ronald Rea­gan’s Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive.

Dig­i­tal­Globe co-founder Doug Gerull had pre­vi­ous­ly worked for the Zeiss firm, dis­cussed in FTR #272 as one of the German/Underground Reich/Bormann firms that were mov­ing into satel­lite imagery tech­nol­o­gy in the U.S.

An arti­cle pub­lished after FTR#808 was record­ed not­ed the dubi­ous nature of the claims of a “Russ­ian Inva­sion” of Ukraine.

A major con­sid­er­a­tion to be weighed con­cerns the Azov-imprint­ed Ukrain­ian police’s use of an Amer­i­can AI facial recog­ni­tion soft­ware called Clearview.

The brain­child of Alt-right lynch­pin Charles John­son, Clearview received key start-up invest­ment cap­i­tal from Peter Thiel, one of the dri­ving forces behind Trump and a major play­er in the Big Tech and elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance scene.

Crit­ics have expressed con­cern about Clearview’s poten­tial for abuse. Note that the firm uses a data­base of 20 bil­lion faces, scraped from social media.

Piv­ot­ing to the sub­ject of appar­ent Russ­ian dis­cov­er­ies of an advanced Amer­i­can-financed bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram in Ukraine, we access the com­men­tary of M.K. Bhadraku­mar, a for­mer Indi­an diplo­mat.

Bhadraku­mar under­scores some ter­ri­fy­ing aspects of the appar­ent B.W. pro­gram, includ­ing “dig­i­tized” migra­to­ry birds, tracked by satel­lite and fit­ted with cap­sules of dead­ly microbes. When the birds are over a tar­get­ed coun­try, they can be killed, trig­ger­ing a pan­dem­ic.

” . . . . A mind-bog­gling ‘dis­cov­ery’ that Russ­ian forces in Ukraine stum­bled upon is the use of num­bered birds by the Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed labs. . . . On the basis of this data, groups of migra­to­ry birds are caught, dig­i­tized and cap­sules of germs are attached to them that car­ry a chip to be con­trolled through com­put­ers. . . . Dur­ing the long flight of the birds that have been dig­i­tized in the Pen­ta­gon bio-labs, their move­ment is mon­i­tored step by step by means of satel­lites and the exact loca­tions are deter­mined. . . . Dur­ing the long flight of the birds that have been dig­i­tized in the Pen­ta­gon bio-labs, their move­ment is mon­i­tored step by step by means of satel­lites and the exact loca­tions are deter­mined. . . . The idea is that if the Biden Admin­is­tra­tion (or the CIA) has a require­ment to inflict harm on, say, Rus­sia or Chi­na (or India for that mat­ter), the chip is destroyed when the bird is in their skies.  Plain­ly put, kill the bird car­ry­ing the epi­dem­ic. . . . once the ‘dig­i­tized’ bird is killed and the cap­sule of germs it car­ries is released, the dis­ease spreads in the ‘X’ or ‘Y’ coun­try. It becomes a high­ly cost-effec­tive method of harm­ing an ene­my coun­try with­out any need of war or coup d’état or col­or rev­o­lu­tion. The Rus­sians have made the shock­ing claim that they are actu­al­ly in pos­ses­sion of such migra­to­ry birds dig­i­tized in the Pentagon’s bio-labs. . . .”

A 2014 blog post details a 1960’s pro­gram in India that may have been a pre­cur­sor to the appar­ent “digitized/weaponized” migra­to­ry birds pro­gram in Ukraine. 

” . . . . It appeared that a unit of the U.S. Army called Migra­to­ry Ani­mal Patho­log­i­cal Sur­vey was inter­est­ed in the project. The Army’s inter­est lay in know­ing whether bac­te­ria were being trans­mit­ted by the migrat­ing birds. The project offered an excel­lent means of inves­ti­ga­tion and there­fore had acquired an omi­nous sig­nif­i­cance. . . .”

Anoth­er pos­si­ble 1960’s pre­cur­sor of the “migra­to­ry birds of mass destruc­tion” in Ukraine was a pro­gram to place vora­cious, dis­ease-car­ry­ing Lone Star ticks in the Atlantic Fly­way, through which migra­to­ry birds trav­el from Latin Amer­i­ca through to the Amer­i­can North­east.

” . . . . The sites were locat­ed on the Atlantic Fly­way, the migra­to­ry bird super­high­way that runs along the east­ern South Amer­i­can and North Amer­i­can coasts. . . . . . . . Lone star ticks have sev­er­al sur­vival advan­tages over their deer tick cousins. They don’t wait patient­ly on a stalk of grass for pass­ing prey; they are active hunters that crawl toward any car­bon diox­ide-emit­ting ani­mal, includ­ing birds. . . . But in the 1970s, these ticks began rapid­ly expand­ing their range. 7 The first lone star tick observed on Mon­tauk, Long Island, was in 1971, and as of 2018, estab­lished pop­u­la­tions have been observed as far north as Maine. 8 . . . .  All this begs the ques­tion: What is dri­ving this mass migra­tion of the lone star tick and its dis­ease-caus­ing hitch­hik­ers north­ward? . . . .”

The pro­gram con­cludes with review of a Dai­ly Mail arti­cle high­light­ing [con­firmed] e‑mails from Hunter Biden’s lap­top that par­tial­ly con­firm Russ­ian dis­cov­er­ies of U.S.-financed bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­gram in Ukraine.

 1a. Amid the high­ly politi­cized accounts of alleged “Russ­ian atroc­i­ties” in the Ukraine war, it is of the high­est impor­tance to remem­ber that the “news” reach­ing the West is com­ing exclu­sive­ly through the Ukrain­ian secu­ri­ty author­i­ties, chiefly the Azov-imprint­ed Ukrain­ian Nation­al Police and the asso­ci­at­ed Inte­ri­or Min­istry, which retains the dom­i­nant influ­ence of Azov-asso­ci­at­ed Arsen Avakov.

“Look­ing for an Elu­sive Vic­to­ry, Putin’s Forces Are Shift­ing East” by Thomas Gib­bons-Neff; The New York Times; 4/5/2022.

. . . . Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment has severe­ly restrict­ed infor­ma­tion about its casu­al­ty num­bers, and front­line access to its forces is prac­ti­cal­ly nonex­is­tent for most news orga­ni­za­tions. . . .

1b. Fur­ther cloud­ing access to accu­rate infor­ma­tion about what is actu­al­ly occur­ring in the war is an accel­er­at­ed Amer­i­can dis­in­for­ma­tion process enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly tout­ing dubi­ous intel­li­gence as a vehi­cle for—supposedly—“getting inside Putin’s head.”

It is high­ly unlike­ly that the pur­vey­ors of that low-qual­i­ty intel­li­gence are actu­al­ly try­ing to influ­ence Putin. The low-grade intel­li­gence is more like­ly to be direct­ed at the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

Also worth con­tem­plat­ing is the grotesque his­to­ry of U.S. disinformation—a track record of egre­gious, offi­cial lying that dom­i­nates the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal land­scape.

The assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Kennedy, the Viet­nam War that, in large mea­sure, result­ed from that mur­der, the killings of Mar­tin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Iraq War and count­less oth­er fun­da­men­tal offi­cial polit­i­cal lies do not appear to have taught the Amer­i­can peo­ple any­thing!

Their appetite for b.s. appears undi­min­ished.

For more infor­ma­tion about the “low-qual­i­ty” intel being dis­sem­i­nat­ed for psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare pur­pos­es, see https://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr1237-how-many-lies-before-you-belong-to-the-lie-part-10/comment-page‑1/#comment-370625

“In a break with the past, U.S. is using intel to fight an info war with Rus­sia, even when the intel isn’t rock sol­id” By Ken Dilan­ian, Court­ney Kube, Car­ol E. Lee and Dan De Luce; NBC News; 4/6/2022.

“It doesn’t have to be sol­id intel­li­gence,” one U.S. offi­cial said. “It’s more impor­tant to get out ahead of them [the Rus­sians], Putin specif­i­cal­ly, before they do some­thing.”

1c. Next, we vis­it the satel­lite pho­tos, also alleged­ly show­ing pho­tos of the alleged “Russ­ian atroc­i­ties” in Bucha, includ­ing the dig­ging of the alleged mass grave to hold vic­tims of said abom­i­na­tions.

Maxar is the com­pa­ny whose satel­lite pho­tos are high­light­ed by our media to demon­strate the alleged atroc­i­ties.

Maxar, in turn, is the par­ent com­pa­ny of Dig­i­tal­Globe, a firm start­ed by vet­er­ans of Ronald Reagan’s Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive (“Star Wars”).

Grow­ing out of late 1992 leg­is­la­tion that legal­ized the entry of pri­vate firms into the strate­gic recon­nais­sance satel­lite busi­ness, Dig­i­tal­Globe was the source of pro­pa­gan­dized pic­tures alleg­ing a Russ­ian “inva­sion” of Ukraine in 2014!

 DigitalGlobe/Maxar’s track record war­rants scruti­ny of the firm’s “evi­dence” in the con­text of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

More about Maxar can be found here: https://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr1237-how-many-lies-before-you-belong-to-the-lie-part-10/comment-page‑1/#comment-370595

1d. In FTR#808, we set forth infor­ma­tion about Dig­i­tal­Globe.

The satel­lite imagery pur­port­ing to show Russ­ian armor and self-pro­pelled artillery inside of Ukraine comes from a pri­vate company–DigitalGlobe. That com­pa­ny was found­ed by key per­son­nel from Ronald Rea­gan’s Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive.

“Dig­i­tal­Globe”; Wikipedia.com.

. . . . . Origins[edit]

World­View Imag­ing Cor­po­ra­tion was found­ed in Jan­u­ary 1992 in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia in antic­i­pa­tion of the 1992 Land Remote Sens­ing Pol­i­cy Act (enact­ed in Octo­ber 1992) which per­mit­ted pri­vate com­pa­nies to enter the satel­lite imag­ing business.[3] Its founder was Dr Wal­ter Scott, who was joined by co-founder and CEO Doug Gerull in late 1992. In 1993, the com­pa­ny received the first high res­o­lu­tion com­mer­cial remote sens­ing satel­lite license issued under the 1992 Act.[4] The com­pa­ny was ini­tial­ly fund­ed with pri­vate financ­ing from Sil­i­con Val­ley sources and inter­est­ed cor­po­ra­tions in N. Amer­i­ca, Europe, and Japan. Dr. Scott was head of the Lawrence Liv­er­more Lab­o­ra­to­ries “Bril­liant Peb­bles” and “Bril­liant Eyes” projects which were part of the Strate­gic Defense Ini­tia­tive. Doug Gerull was the exec­u­tive in charge of the Map­ping Sci­ences divi­sion at the Inter­graph Corporation.[5] The com­pa­ny’s first remote sens­ing license from the Unit­ed States Depart­ment of Com­merce allowed it to build a com­mer­cial remote sens­ing satel­lite capa­ble of col­lect­ing images with 3 m (9.8 ft) resolution.[3]

In 1995, the com­pa­ny became Earth­Watch Incor­po­rat­ed, merg­ing World­View with Ball Aero­space & Tech­nolo­gies Corp.‘s com­mer­cial remote sens­ing operations.[6] In Sep­tem­ber 2001, Earth­Watch became DigitalGlobe.[7] . . . . .

1e. Dig­i­tal­Globe co-founder Doug Gerull had pre­vi­ous­ly worked for the Zeiss firm, dis­cussed in FTR #272 as one of the German/Underground Reich/Bormann firms that were mov­ing into satel­lite imagery tech­nol­o­gy in the U.S.

“Doug Gerull”; linkedin.

. . . . . Carl Zeiss
Pri­vate­ly Held; 10,001+ employ­ees; Electrical/Electronic Man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try
Jan­u­ary 1980 – 1985 (5 years) Toron­to / White Plains, NY

1f. An arti­cle pub­lished after this pro­gram was record­ed notes the dubi­ous nature of the claims of a “Russ­ian Inva­sion’ of Ukraine.

“Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ On Ukraine?” by Robert Par­ry; Con­sor­tium News; 9/2/2014.

. . . . And now there’s the curi­ous case of Russia’s alleged “inva­sion” of Ukraine, anoth­er alarmist claim trum­pet­ed by the Kiev regime and echoed by NATO hard­lin­ers and the MSM.

While I’m told that Rus­sia did pro­vide some light weapons to the rebels ear­ly in the strug­gle so they could defend them­selves and their ter­ri­to­ry – and a num­ber of Russ­ian nation­al­ists have crossed the bor­der to join the fight – the claims of an overt “inva­sion” with tanks, artillery and truck con­voys have been backed up by scant intel­li­gence.

One for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cial who has exam­ined the evi­dence said the intel­li­gence to sup­port the claims of a sig­nif­i­cant Russ­ian inva­sion amount­ed to “vir­tu­al­ly noth­ing.” Instead, it appears that the eth­nic Russ­ian rebels may have evolved into a more effec­tive fight­ing force than many in the West thought. They are, after all, fight­ing on their home turf for their futures.

 2. A major con­sid­er­a­tion to be weighed con­cerns the Azov-imprint­ed Ukrain­ian police’s use of an Amer­i­can AI facial recog­ni­tion soft­ware called Clearview.

The brain­child of Alt-right lynch­pin Charles John­son, Clearview received key start-up invest­ment cap­i­tal from Peter Thiel, one of the dri­ving forces behind Trump and a major play­er in the Big Tech and elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance scene.

Crit­ics have expressed con­cern about Clearview’s poten­tial for abuse. Note that the firm uses a data­base of 20 bil­lion faces, scraped from social media.

 “Using Facial Recog­ni­tion to Gain an Edge in War” by Kash­mir Hill; The New York Times; 4/8/2022.

. . . . The tool [Clearview], which can iden­ti­fy a sus­pect caught on sur­veil­lance video, could be valu­able to a coun­try under attack, Mr. Ton-That wrote. He said the tool could iden­ti­fy peo­ple who might be spies, as well as deceased peo­ple, by com­par­ing their faces against Clearview’s data­base of 20 bil­lion faces from the pub­lic web, includ­ing from “Russ­ian social sites such as VKon­tak­te.”. . .

. . . . Accord­ing to one email, Ukraine’s nation­al police obtained two pho­tos of dead Rus­sians. . . .

3. More about the devel­op­ment of Clearview, Charles John­son and Peter Thiel:

The Con­trar­i­an by Max Chafkin; Pen­guin Press [HC]; Copy­right 2021 by Max Chafkin; ISBN 9781984878533; p. 268.

. . . . Palantir’s sup­port of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion was still indi­rect, but Thiel was not above direct­ly link­ing his busi­ness inter­ests with Trump’s most con­tro­ver­sial poli­cies. In 2017, Charles John­son per­suad­ed Thiel to invest in a new ven­ture that he was devel­op­ing with Hoan Ton-That, the anti-Gawk­er enthu­si­ast who’d met Thiel at the RNC. It was called Clearview—and the idea, as John­son explained to Thiel, was sim­ple. . . .

. . . . Clearview would even­tu­al­ly sign a con­tract to give ICE access to its technology—and would have Thiel’s help. After hear­ing Johnson’s pitch, he pro­vid­ed $200,000 in seed cap­i­tal to the effort. . . .

4a. Fol­low­ing up on reports of Russ­ian dis­cov­ery of bio­log­i­cal war­fare pro­grams in Ukraine, par­tial­ly con­firmed by both The Guardian and The Dai­ly Mail, we high­lights a pre­sen­ta­tion giv­en on April 6 before the UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, boy­cotted by the U.S. and U.K. and blacked out in the West­ern media. (For more about the sub­ject of BW in Ukraine, see FTR#‘s 1235, 1236, 1238, 1239.)

Before pre­sent­ing analy­sis of the U.N. ses­sion by M.K. Bhadraku­mar, we note his CV.

I was a career diplo­mat by pro­fes­sion. For some­one grow­ing up in the 1960s in a remote town at the south­ern tip of India, diplo­ma­cy was an improb­a­ble pro­fes­sion. My pas­sion was for the world of lit­er­a­ture, writ­ing and pol­i­tics – rough­ly in that order. While doing doc­tor­al research on the works of Ten­nessee Williams, how­ev­er, friends encour­aged me to have a fling at the Civ­il Ser­vices Exam­i­na­tion. As it turned out, before I could fig­ure out the momen­tous import of what was unfold­ing, fate had pitch­forked me into the top ranks of the mer­it list and ush­ered me into the Indi­an For­eign Ser­vice.

Rough­ly half of the 3 decades of my diplo­mat­ic career was devot­ed to assign­ments on the ter­ri­to­ries of the for­mer Sovi­et Union and to Pak­istan, Iran and Afghanistan. Oth­er over­seas post­ings includ­ed South Korea, Sri Lan­ka, Ger­many, and Turkey. I write main­ly on Indi­an for­eign pol­i­cy and the affairs of the Mid­dle East, Eura­sia, Cen­tral Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacif­ic. . . .

4b. Bhadraku­mar under­scores some ter­ri­fy­ing aspects of the appar­ent B.W. pro­gram, includ­ing “dig­i­tized” migra­to­ry birds, tracked by satel­lite and fit­ted with cap­sules of dead­ly microbes. When the birds are over a tar­get­ed coun­try, they can be killed, trig­ger­ing a pan­dem­ic.

” . . . . A mind-bog­gling ‘dis­cov­ery’ that Russ­ian forces in Ukraine stum­bled upon is the use of num­bered birds by the Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed labs. . . . On the basis of this data, groups of migra­to­ry birds are caught, dig­i­tized and cap­sules of germs are attached to them that car­ry a chip to be con­trolled through com­put­ers. . . . Dur­ing the long flight of the birds that have been dig­i­tized in the Pen­ta­gon bio-labs, their move­ment is mon­i­tored step by step by means of satel­lites and the exact loca­tions are deter­mined. . . . Dur­ing the long flight of the birds that have been dig­i­tized in the Pen­ta­gon bio-labs, their move­ment is mon­i­tored step by step by means of satel­lites and the exact loca­tions are deter­mined. . . . The idea is that if the Biden Admin­is­tra­tion (or the CIA) has a require­ment to inflict harm on, say, Rus­sia or Chi­na (or India for that mat­ter), the chip is destroyed when the bird is in their skies.  Plain­ly put, kill the bird car­ry­ing the epi­dem­ic. . . . once the ‘dig­i­tized’ bird is killed and the cap­sule of germs it car­ries is released, the dis­ease spreads in the ‘X’ or ‘Y’ coun­try. It becomes a high­ly cost-effec­tive method of harm­ing an ene­my coun­try with­out any need of war or coup d’état or col­or rev­o­lu­tion. The Rus­sians have made the shock­ing claim that they are actu­al­ly in pos­ses­sion of such migra­to­ry birds dig­i­tized in the Pentagon’s bio-labs. . . .”

“Migra­to­ry birds of mass destruc­tion” by M.K. Bhadraku­mar; Indi­an Punch­line; 4/21/2022.

The UN Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil held an extra­or­di­nary event on April 6 under the rubric Arria For­mu­la Meet­ing on Bio­log­i­cal Secu­ri­ty regard­ing the bio­log­i­cal activ­i­ties in coun­tries includ­ing Ukraine. Pre­dictably, the US and UK rep­re­sen­ta­tives didn’t show up at the event and the west­ern media also blacked out the pro­ceed­ings. But that does not detract from the pro­found sig­nif­i­cance of what tran­spired. 

The high­light of the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil pro­ceed­ings last­ing over two hours was the dis­clo­sure by Gen­er­al Igor Kir­illov, chief of the Radi­a­tion, Chem­i­cal and Bio­log­i­cal Defense Forces of the Russ­ian Armed Forces, that Wash­ing­ton is cre­at­ing bio­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and con­nect­ing them to a uni­fied sys­tem.

He said the US has spent more than $5 bil­lion on mil­i­tary bio­log­i­cal pro­grams since 2005 and detailed that in ter­ri­to­ries bor­der­ing Rus­sia and Chi­na alone, about 60 facil­i­ties have been mod­ern­ized dur­ing this peri­od. The Ukrain­ian net­work of lab­o­ra­to­ries is designed to con­duct research and mon­i­tor the bio­log­i­cal sit­u­a­tion con­sist­ing of 30 facil­i­ties in 14 pop­u­lat­ed loca­tions.

High­ly sen­si­tive mate­ri­als from the Ukrain­ian bio­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries were export­ed to the US in ear­ly Feb­ru­ary just before the Russ­ian spe­cial oper­a­tion began, and the rest were ordered to be destroyed lest they fell into Russ­ian hands. But the cov­er-up was only par­tial­ly suc­cess­ful. Indeed, Rus­sia is in pos­ses­sion of high­ly incrim­i­nat­ing evi­dence. 

Pre­vi­ous­ly also, Rus­sia had released a num­ber of doc­u­ments relat­ed to the bio­log­i­cal mil­i­tary activ­i­ties of the Pen­ta­gon, which point­ed toward a world­wide project to set up bio­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries in rival coun­tries with the goal of devel­op­ing tar­get­ed viral weapons against those coun­tries. 

The pro­ceed­ings of the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil con­fer­ence on April 6 are in the pub­lic domain and are acces­si­ble. See the video below: 

Rus­sia has made spe­cif­ic alle­ga­tions, point­ing fin­ger at: 

  • Pen­ta­gon fund­ing for the bio-labs in Ukraine; 
  • Loca­tion of these bio-labs (not only in Ukraine but in 36 coun­tries around the world); 
  • Dis­eases and epi­demics on which research work is going on, focus­ing on the means for their release, the coun­tries where they are being test­ed (even with­out the knowl­edge of the gov­ern­ments of these coun­tries); and, of course, 
  • Exper­i­ments relat­ing to coro­n­avirus (and bats used to trans­mit this virus). 

How­ev­er, the US has so far point-blank refused to accept any super­vi­sion and ver­i­fi­ca­tion of such incrim­i­na­to­ry evi­dences and has stonewalled the demand for a ver­i­fi­ca­tion mech­a­nism. It is unlike­ly that the US will per­mit an inter­na­tion­al ver­i­fi­ca­tion process that holds the poten­tial to expose it as indulging in crimes against human­i­ty — although there are appro­pri­ate frame­works in place includ­ing the Bio­log­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion (BWC) and the UN, to hear the clar­i­fi­ca­tions from the rel­e­vant coun­try in a fair and impar­tial man­ner. 

A mind-bog­gling “dis­cov­ery” that Russ­ian forces in Ukraine stum­bled upon is the use of num­bered birds by the Pen­ta­gon-fund­ed labs. This almost falls out of sci­ence fic­tion and Sir Alfred Hitch­cock could have made an epic movie out of it where decep­tion mix­es with inno­cence and man’s cru­el­ty to nature becomes unbear­ably grotesque. The project works like this: 

To begin with, the Pen­ta­gon access­es the sci­en­tif­ic data avail­able with envi­ron­men­tal spe­cial­ists and zool­o­gists after study­ing the migra­tion of birds and observ­ing them through­out the sea­sons, relat­ing to the path these birds take each year on their sea­son­al jour­ney from one coun­try to anoth­er and even from one con­ti­nent to anoth­er. 

On the basis of this data, groups of migra­to­ry birds are caught, dig­i­tized and cap­sules of germs are attached to them that car­ry a chip to be con­trolled through com­put­ers.  They birds are then released to the flock of the migra­to­ry birds in those tar­get coun­tries toward which the US intel­li­gence has malev­o­lent inten­tions. 

Of course, these migra­to­ry birds trav­el great dis­tances. The wan­der­ing alba­tross, for instance, is known to migrate at least 8500 km east­ward across the South Pacif­ic to the coast of South Amer­i­ca, and many shy alba­tross­es migrate west­ward across the Indi­an Ocean to the coast of South Africa.

Dur­ing the long flight of the birds that have been dig­i­tized in the Pen­ta­gon bio-labs, their move­ment is mon­i­tored step by step by means of satel­lites and the exact loca­tions are deter­mined.  The idea is that if the Biden Admin­is­tra­tion (or the CIA) has a require­ment to inflict harm on, say, Rus­sia or Chi­na (or India for that mat­ter), the chip is destroyed when the bird is in their skies.  

Plain­ly put, kill the bird car­ry­ing the epi­dem­ic. Sad­ly, my mind goes back to the nov­el by the Amer­i­can author Harp­er Lee To Kill a Mock­ing Bird, the haunt­ing sto­ry of inno­cence destroyed by evil. 

To return to real­i­ty, once the “dig­i­tized” bird is killed and the cap­sule of germs it car­ries is released, the dis­ease spreads in the “X” or “Y” coun­try. It becomes a high­ly cost-effec­tive method of harm­ing an ene­my coun­try with­out any need of war or coup d’état or col­or rev­o­lu­tion.

The Rus­sians have made the shock­ing claim that they are actu­al­ly in pos­ses­sion of such migra­to­ry birds dig­i­tized in the Pentagon’s bio-labs. 

Inter­na­tion­al law express­ly for­bids the num­ber­ing of migra­to­ry birds because they freely criss-cross the blue sky and air of oth­er coun­tries.  By sup­ply­ing them with germs, these birds become weapons of mass destruc­tion. What human inge­nu­ity! But the US enjoys total immu­ni­ty from inter­na­tion­al law.

The bot­tom line is that only the US intel­li­gence — and Pres­i­dent Biden, per­haps, if he remem­bers — would know where all humans have been infect­ed so far in this cen­tu­ry by the Birds of Mass Destruc­tion. Was Ebo­la that dev­as­tat­ed Africa a test case and pre­cur­sor of things to come?

What about Covid-19, which is known to have orig­i­nat­ed from fund­ed lab­o­ra­to­ries that were admin­is­tered by the US? It is very like­ly that the US might have used migra­to­ry birds to kill Chi­nese cit­i­zens. Clear­ly, the US in its des­per­a­tion to reverse its glob­al decline is pulling out all the stops to restore its hege­mo­ny in a world order that is inex­orably mov­ing toward mul­ti­po­lar­i­ty.

5a. A 2014 blog post details a 1960’s pro­gram in India that may have been a pre­cur­sor to the appar­ent “digitized/weaponized” migra­to­ry birds pro­gram in Ukraine. 

” . . . . It appeared that a unit of the U.S. Army called Migra­to­ry Ani­mal Patho­log­i­cal Sur­vey was inter­est­ed in the project. The Army’s inter­est lay in know­ing whether bac­te­ria were being trans­mit­ted by the migrat­ing birds. The project offered an excel­lent means of inves­ti­ga­tion and there­fore had acquired an omi­nous sig­nif­i­cance. . . .”           

“The Birds of Bharat­pur” by N.R. Krish­nan; The Hin­du; 11/8/2014.

. . . . At Bharat­pur in Rajasthan is the Keo­ladeo Ghana Bird Sanc­tu­ary, the win­ter sojourn of thou­sands of birds from far and near. They come from the icy wastes of Siberia and the cold sands of Cen­tral Asia, Europe, and the west­ern and north­ern regions of Chi­na. In win­ter it is a bird-watcher’s par­adise, with the long-necked Sarus cranes cap­ti­vat­ing vis­i­tors with their courtship dance.

An Indi­an ornitho­log­i­cal out­fit was inter­est­ed in study­ing the migra­to­ry paths of the win­ter­ing birds. They want­ed to catch a num­ber of birds, put col­lars around their necks with iden­ti­fi­ca­tion marks and release them. The idea was to keep track of the birds wher­ev­er they rest­ed along their routes and on their return to Bharat­pur the next win­ter. Finan­cial sup­port came from the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion. . . .

. . . . One after­noon, the young offi­cer had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have tea with a vet­er­an sci­en­tist-cum-admin­is­tra­tor in the Coun­cil of Sci­en­tif­ic and Indus­tri­al Research. The elder­ly man was all warmth and friend­li­ness and enquired of the offi­cer how things were. The young man poured out his tale of woe in fail­ing to con­vince the pow­ers-that-be of the gen­uine request of the ornithol­o­gists and how much nat­ur­al sci­ences research would be affect­ed sans assis­tance. The man laughed, and asked, “Do you know the back­ground of this project and the peo­ple who were inter­est­ed in it?”, and pro­ceed­ed to pro­vide enlight­en­ment.

It appeared that a unit of the U.S. Army called Migra­to­ry Ani­mal Patho­log­i­cal Sur­vey was inter­est­ed in the project. The Army’s inter­est lay in know­ing whether bac­te­ria were being trans­mit­ted by the migrat­ing birds. The project offered an excel­lent means of inves­ti­ga­tion and there­fore had acquired an omi­nous sig­nif­i­cance. For the novice Deputy Sec­re­tary, unused to such inter­na­tion­al cloak-and-dag­ger stuff, it was all like a John Le Carre nov­el with the field agent not know­ing whether he was the hunter or the hunt­ed. The man’s words explained the cau­tion on the part of the offi­cers he met and were ter­ri­fy­ing. . . .

5b. Anoth­er pos­si­ble 1960’s pre­cur­sor of the “migra­to­ry birds of mass destruc­tion” in Ukraine was a pro­gram to place vora­cious, dis­ease-car­ry­ing Lone Star ticks in the Atlantic Fly­way, through which migra­to­ry birds trav­el from Latin Amer­i­ca through to the Amer­i­can North­east.

” . . . . The sites were locat­ed on the Atlantic Fly­way, the migra­to­ry bird super­high­way that runs along the east­ern South Amer­i­can and North Amer­i­can coasts. . . . . . . . Lone star ticks have sev­er­al sur­vival advan­tages over their deer tick cousins. They don’t wait patient­ly on a stalk of grass for pass­ing prey; they are active hunters that crawl toward any car­bon diox­ide-emit­ting ani­mal, includ­ing birds. . . . But in the 1970s, these ticks began rapid­ly expand­ing their range. 7 The first lone star tick observed on Mon­tauk, Long Island, was in 1971, and as of 2018, estab­lished pop­u­la­tions have been observed as far north as Maine. 8 . . . .  All this begs the ques­tion: What is dri­ving this mass migra­tion of the lone star tick and its dis­ease-caus­ing hitch­hik­ers north­ward? . . . .”

Bit­ten: The Secret His­to­ry of Lyme Dis­ease and Bio­log­i­cal Weapons by Kris New­by; Harper­Collins [HC]; Copy­right 2019 by Kris New­by; ISBN 9780062896728.

. . . . For the New­port News study [in 1968 in Virginia—D.E.], he [Daniel E. Sonen­shine] plant­ed poles to par­ti­tion the woods into forty-sev­en equi­lat­er­al squares, plac­ing live-ani­mal traps cov­ered with sticky tape at even­ly spaced loca­tions. One thou­sand lone star lar­vae were then released inside each square. Over the next few months, Sonen­shine and his helpers would return to the woods to col­lect ticks from cap­tured ani­mals, cloth flags dragged along the ground, and the sticky tape. Each har­vest­ed tick was placed in a vial labeled with the loca­tion of the square in which it had been cap­tured. Back at the lab, a tech­ni­cian would place the vials under a “scin­til­la­tion detec­tor” to mea­sure how many orig­i­nal-release, radioac­tive lar­val ticks were in the batch. Adult and nymph-stage ticks were marked with col­ored enam­el paint and then released into the square where they had been cap­tured. The paint would allow them to be tracked as they migrat­ed.

Over the three years, 194,150 radioiso­tope-tagged lone star tick lar­vae were released at the two Vir­ginia sites. (See appen­dix 2: “Uncon­trolled Tick Releas­es, 1966–1969.”) The sites were locat­ed on the Atlantic Fly­way, the migra­to­ry bird super­high­way that runs along the east­ern South Amer­i­can and North Amer­i­can coasts.

On the face of it, there were clear pub­lic health ben­e­fits to these tick field tests. The lone star tick had been mov­ing north­ward in the last few years, and it would be use­ful for the pest con­trol peo­ple to know the rate at which the species was migrat­ing. But the stud­ies were also use­ful to the U.S. mil­i­tary plan­ners at Fort Det­rick who want­ed to know how far lone star ticks might spread when released into ene­my ter­ri­to­ry. . . .

. . . . The lone star tick is a “vicious biter, attack­ing man read­i­ly and vora­cious­ly,” said Glen Kohls, the tick zookeep­er who worked with Willy [Burgdor­fer] when he first arrived in Mon­tana. 5 The Rocky Moun­tain Lab occa­sion­al­ly sent batch­es of lone star ticks to Fort Det­rick. . . .

. . . . Lone star ticks have sev­er­al sur­vival advan­tages over their deer tick cousins. They don’t wait patient­ly on a stalk of grass for pass­ing prey; they are active hunters that crawl toward any car­bon diox­ide-emit­ting ani­mal, includ­ing birds. They swarm. And unlike deer ticks, they have prim­i­tive eyes that help them creep toward prospec­tive prey. . . .

. . . . Even more wor­ri­some, lone star ticks are on the move, replac­ing long stand­ing native tick pop­u­la­tions. After World War II, lone stars were fair­ly con­cen­trat­ed in a region south of the Mason-Dixon line, bound­ed on the west by Texas and on the east by the Atlantic coast. But in the 1970s, these ticks began rapid­ly expand­ing their range. 7 The first lone star tick observed on Mon­tauk, Long Island, was in 1971, and as of 2018, estab­lished pop­u­la­tions have been observed as far north as Maine. 8 . . . .

 All this begs the ques­tion: What is dri­ving this mass migra­tion of the

lone star tick and its dis­ease-caus­ing hitch­hik­ers north­ward? . . . .

6. A remark­able aspect of the Jour­nal’s cov­er­age con­cerns a devel­op­ment that has been almost com­plete­ly excised from the West­ern press: ” . . . . For months, China’s gov­ern­ment has insist­ed both in pub­lic, and in pri­vate meet­ings with Dr. Tedros, that stud­ies on the ori­gins of the virus should now focus on oth­er coun­tries, such as Italy, or on a U.S. mil­i­tary biore­search facil­i­ty in Fort Det­rick, Md. Dozens of gov­ern­ments aligned with Chi­na have sent Dr. Tedros let­ters in sup­port of Beijing’s posi­tion, a per­son famil­iar with the let­ters said. . . .”

“Dozens of gov­ern­ments?” Which ones? This sounds like a major inter­na­tion­al dialogue/scandal. 

WHY aren’t we hear­ing about it?

7. Pom­peo State Depart­ment offi­cials pur­su­ing the lab-leak hypoth­e­sis were told to cov­er it up lest it shed light on U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ing of research at the “Oswald Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy!”: ” . . . . In one State Depart­ment meet­ing, offi­cials seek­ing to demand trans­paren­cy from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment say they were explic­it­ly told by col­leagues not to explore the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virology’s gain-of-func­tion research, because it would bring unwel­come atten­tion to U.S. gov­ern­ment fund­ing of it. . . . In an inter­nal memo obtained by Van­i­ty Fair, Thomas DiNan­no, for­mer act­ing assis­tant sec­re­tary of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Con­trol, Ver­i­fi­ca­tion, and Com­pli­ance, wrote that. . .  staff from two bureaus . . . ‘warned’ lead­ers with­in his bureau ‘not to pur­sue an inves­ti­ga­tion into the ori­gin of COVID-19’ because it would ‘open a can of worms’ if it con­tin­ued.’ . . . . As the group probed the lab-leak sce­nario, among oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties, its mem­bers were repeat­ed­ly advised not to open a ‘Pandora’s box,’ said four for­mer State Depart­ment offi­cials inter­viewed by Van­i­ty Fair. . . .”

8. Although heav­i­ly spun–as would be expect­ed from a Dai­ly Mail article–this sto­ry not only has impor­tant impli­ca­tions for the war in Ukraine, but also res­onates with our long series on “The Oswald Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy.”

We note that there are sig­nif­i­cant con­nec­tions between the agency over­see­ing the Ukrain­ian projects and insti­tu­tions impli­cat­ed in the appar­ent “bio-skull­dug­gery” sur­round­ing the U.S. bio­log­i­cal war­fare gam­bit involv­ing what Mr. Emory has termed “The Oswald Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy.” This is dis­cussed in: FTR#‘s 1157–1159, 1170, 1183 through 1193, and 1215.

The essence of the “Oswald Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy” gam­bit con­cerns the DTRA and Pen­ta­gon fund­ing of bat-borne coro­n­avirus research at the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy, much of it through Peter Dasza­k’s Eco­Health Alliance. Once the research was com­plete, it result­ed in pub­li­ca­tion which includ­ed the genome of the bat virus­es being researched. Using tech­nol­o­gy dis­cussed below, the virus­es were then syn­the­sized from scratch and pop­u­la­tion groups were vec­tored with the same viral strains being researched by the WIV. 

It turns out that Hunter Biden–a mem­ber of the board of direc­tors at Burisma–was instru­men­tal in secur­ing fund­ing for Eco­Health Alliance part­ner Metabio­ta, described in a screen shot of an e‑mail as being “to the DOA what Palan­tir is to CIA.”

Both Eco­Health Alliance and Metabio­ta have been involved with bat-borne coro­n­avirus at the WIV.

Note that–” . . . . ‘His [Hunter Biden’s] father was the Vice Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States and in charge of rela­tions with Ukraine.’ . . .”

Pre­vi­ous­ly we have not­ed then Vice-Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s close rela­tion­ship with U.S. Ambas­sador Geof­frey Pyatt and Ukraina­ian fas­cist Andriy Paru­biy dur­ing the Maid­an coup, which cen­tered on false-flag sniper killings from build­ings con­trolled by Svo­bo­da (for­mer­ly the Social Nation­al Par­ty of Ukraine, found­ed by Paru­biy.)

High­lights of the Dis­cus­sion:

  • ” . . . . The com­man­der of the Russ­ian Nuclear, Bio­log­i­cal and Chem­i­cal Pro­tec­tion Forces, claimed there was a ‘scheme of inter­ac­tion between US gov­ern­ment agen­cies and Ukrain­ian bio­log­i­cal objects’ and point­ed to the ‘financ­ing of such activ­i­ties by struc­tures close to the cur­rent US lead­er­ship, in par­tic­u­lar the invest­ment fund Rose­mont Seneca, which is head­ed by Hunter Biden.’. . .”
  • ” . . . . Moscow’s claim that Hunter Biden helped finance a US mil­i­tary ‘bioweapons’ research pro­gram in Ukraine is at least par­tial­ly true, accord­ing to new emails obtained exclu­sive­ly by DailyMail.com. . . .”
  • ” . . . . emails from Hunter’s aban­doned lap­top show he helped secure mil­lions of dol­lars of fund­ing for Metabio­ta, a Depart­ment of Defense con­trac­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in research on pan­dem­ic-caus­ing dis­eases that could be used as bioweapons. . . .”
  • ” . . . . Metabio­ta has been an offi­cial part­ner of Eco­Health Alliance since 2014, accord­ing to its web­site. . . .”
  • ” . . . . He also intro­duced Metabio­ta to an alleged­ly cor­rupt Ukrain­ian gas firm, Buris­ma, for a ‘sci­ence project’ involv­ing high biose­cu­ri­ty lev­el labs in Ukraine . . . .”
  • ” . . . . Emails and defense con­tract data reviewed by DailyMail.com sug­gest that Hunter had a promi­nent role in mak­ing sure Metabio­ta was able to con­duct its pathogen research just a few hun­dred miles from the bor­der with Rus­sia. . . .”
  • ” . . . . Metabio­ta has worked in Ukraine for Black & Veatch, a US defense con­trac­tor with deep ties to mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agen­cies, which built secure labs in Ukraine that ana­lyzed killer dis­eases and bioweapons. . . .”
  • ” . . . . Hunter was also par­tic­u­lar­ly involved in Metabio­ta’s oper­a­tions in Ukraine. Hunter’s pitch­es to investors claimed that they not only orga­nized fund­ing for the firm, they also helped it ‘get new cus­tomers’ includ­ing ‘gov­ern­ment agen­cies in case of Metabio­ta’. . . .”
  • ” . . . . For­mer senior CIA offi­cer Sam Fad­dis, who has reviewed emails on Hunter’s lap­top, told DailyMail.com that the offer to help assert Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence was odd for a biotech exec­u­tive [Metabio­ta vice-pres­i­dent Mary Gut­tieri]. ‘It rais­es the ques­tion, what is the real pur­pose of this ven­ture? It’s very odd,’ he said. . . .”
  • ” . . . . Gut­tieri had a lead­ing role in Metabio­ta’s Ukraine oper­a­tions, meet­ing with oth­er com­pa­ny exec­u­tives and US and Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary offi­cials in Octo­ber 2016 to dis­cuss ‘coop­er­a­tion in sur­veil­lance and pre­ven­tion of espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous infec­tious dis­eases, includ­ing zoonot­ic dis­eases in Ukraine and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries’ accord­ing to a 2016 report by the Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter in Ukraine. . . .”
  • ” . . . . Four days after Gut­tier­i’s April 2014 email, Buris­ma exec­u­tive Vadym Pozharskyi wrote to Hunter reveal­ing that the then-Vice Pres­i­den­t’s son had pitched a ‘sci­ence project’ involv­ing Buris­ma and Metabio­ta in Ukraine. ‘As I under­stand the Metabio­ta was a sub­con­tract to prin­ci­pal con­tac­tor of the DoD B&V [Black & Veatch]. . . .”
  • ” . . . . Fad­dis told DailyMail.com that the attempt to get Metabio­ta to form a part­ner­ship with Buris­ma was a per­plex­ing and wor­ry­ing rev­e­la­tion. His father was the Vice Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States and in charge of rela­tions with Ukraine. So why was Hunter not only on the board of a sus­pect Ukrain­ian gas firm, but also hooked them up with a com­pa­ny work­ing on bioweapons research?’ Fad­dis said. . . .”
  • ” . . . . ‘The DoD posi­tion is that  . . . . this is pan­dem­ic ear­ly warn­ing research. We don’t know for sure that’s all that was going on. . . .”
  • ” . . . . Gov­ern­ment spend­ing records show the Depart­ment of Defense award­ed an $18.4million con­tract to Metabio­ta between Feb­ru­ary 2014 and Novem­ber 2016, with $307,091 ear­marked for ‘Ukraine research projects’. . . .”
  • ” . . . . The US Defense Threat Reduc­tion Agency (DTRA) also com­mis­sioned B&V to build a Bio­log­i­cal Safe­ty Lev­el 3 lab­o­ra­to­ry in Odessa, Ukraine in 2010, which ‘pro­vid­ed enhanced equip­ment and train­ing to effec­tive­ly, safe­ly and secure­ly iden­ti­fy espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous pathogens’ accord­ing to a com­pa­ny press release. Such labs are used to ‘study infec­tious agents or tox­ins that may be trans­mit­ted through the air and cause poten­tial­ly lethal infec­tions,’ the US Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices says. . . .”
  • ” . . . . In anoth­er sign of the deep ties between Metabio­ta and the Depart­ment of Defense, Hunter’s RSTP busi­ness part­ner Rob Walk­er said he would ‘have a friend reach out to DoD on the down low’, in order to prove the com­pa­ny’s bona fides to top prospec­tive investors Gold­man Sachs and Mor­gan Stan­ley in Octo­ber 2014. . . .”
  • ” . . . . Metabio­ta also has close ties to the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy (WIV), sus­pect­ed to be the source of the COVID-19 out­break. WIV was a hotspot for con­tro­ver­sial ‘gain of func­tion’ research that can cre­ate super-strength virus­es. Chi­nese sci­en­tists per­formed gain of func­tion research on coro­n­avirus­es at the WIV, work­ing along­side a US-backed orga­ni­za­tion Eco­Health Alliance that has since drawn intense scruti­ny over its coro­n­avirus research since the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. Researchers from the Wuhan insti­tute, Metabio­ta and Eco­Health Alliance pub­lished a study togeth­er in 2014 on infec­tious dis­eases from bats in Chi­na, which notes that tests were per­formed at the WIV. Shi Zhengli, the WIV Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Emerg­ing Infec­tious Dis­eases who became dubbed the ‘bat lady’ for her cen­tral role in bat coro­n­avirus research at the lab, was a con­trib­u­tor to the paper. . . .”

“EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Biden DID help secure mil­lions in fund­ing for US con­trac­tor in Ukraine spe­cial­iz­ing in dead­ly pathogen research, lap­top emails reveal, rais­ing more ques­tions about the dis­graced son of then vice pres­i­dent” by JOSH BOSWELL; Dai­ly Mail [UK]; 3/25/2022.

The Russ­ian gov­ern­ment held a press con­fer­ence Thurs­day claim­ing that Hunter Biden helped finance a US mil­i­tary ‘bioweapons’ research pro­gram in Ukraine

How­ev­er the alle­ga­tions were brand­ed a brazen pro­pa­gan­da ploy to jus­ti­fy pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s inva­sion of Ukraine and sow dis­cord in the US

But emails and cor­re­spon­dence obtained by DailyMail.com from Hunter’s aban­doned lap­top show the claims may well be true

The emails show Hunter helped secure mil­lions of dol­lars of fund­ing for Metabio­ta, a Depart­ment of Defense con­trac­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in research on pan­dem­ic-caus­ing dis­eases

He also intro­duced Metabio­ta to an alleged­ly cor­rupt Ukrain­ian gas firm, Buris­ma, for a ‘sci­ence project’ involv­ing high biose­cu­ri­ty lev­el labs in Ukraine 

The pres­i­den­t’s son and his col­leagues invest­ed $500,000 in Metabio­ta through their firm Rose­mont Seneca Tech­nol­o­gy Part­ners 

They raised sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars of fund­ing for the com­pa­ny from invest­ment giants includ­ing Gold­man Sachs 

Moscow’s claim that Hunter Biden helped finance a US mil­i­tary ‘bioweapons’ research pro­gram in Ukraine is at least par­tial­ly true, accord­ing to new emails obtained exclu­sive­ly by DailyMail.com.

The com­man­der of the Russ­ian Nuclear, Bio­log­i­cal and Chem­i­cal Pro­tec­tion Forces, claimed there was a ‘scheme of inter­ac­tion between US gov­ern­ment agen­cies and Ukrain­ian bio­log­i­cal objects’ and point­ed to the ‘financ­ing of such activ­i­ties by struc­tures close to the cur­rent US lead­er­ship, in par­tic­u­lar the invest­ment fund Rose­mont Seneca, which is head­ed by Hunter Biden.’

Intel­li­gence experts say the Russ­ian mil­i­tary lead­er’s alle­ga­tions were a brazen pro­pa­gan­da ploy to jus­ti­fy pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s inva­sion of Ukraine and sow dis­cord in the US.

But emails from Hunter’s aban­doned lap­top show he helped secure mil­lions of dol­lars of fund­ing for Metabio­ta, a Depart­ment of Defense con­trac­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in research on pan­dem­ic-caus­ing dis­eases that could be used as bioweapons.

He also intro­duced Metabio­ta to an alleged­ly cor­rupt Ukrain­ian gas firm, Buris­ma, for a ‘sci­ence project’ involv­ing high biose­cu­ri­ty lev­el labs in Ukraine.

And although Metabio­ta is osten­si­bly a med­ical data com­pa­ny, its vice pres­i­dent emailed Hunter in 2014 describ­ing how they could ‘assert Ukraine’s cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic inde­pen­dence from Rus­sia’ – an unusu­al goal for a biotech firm.

Emails and defense con­tract data reviewed by DailyMail.com sug­gest that Hunter had a promi­nent role in mak­ing sure Metabio­ta was able to con­duct its pathogen research just a few hun­dred miles from the bor­der with Rus­sia.

The project turned into a nation­al secu­ri­ty lia­bil­i­ty for Ukraine when Russ­ian forces invad­ed the coun­try last month.

Metabio­ta has worked in Ukraine for Black & Veatch, a US defense con­trac­tor with deep ties to mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agen­cies, which built secure labs in Ukraine that ana­lyzed killer dis­eases and bioweapons.

Ear­li­er this month US offi­cials warned con­gress that ‘Russ­ian forces may be seek­ing to gain con­trol’ of these ‘bio­log­i­cal research facil­i­ties’, prompt­ing fears that dead­ly and even engi­neered pathogens could fall into Russ­ian hands.

Hunter and his col­leagues at his invest­ment firm Rose­mont Seneca Tech­nol­o­gy Part­ners (RSTP) rou­tine­ly raised mil­lions of dol­lars for tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies, hop­ing the firms would take off and make them all for­tunes.

Metabio­ta was one of those firms. Emails between Hunter and his col­leagues excit­ed­ly dis­cuss how the com­pa­ny’s mon­i­tor­ing of med­ical data could become an essen­tial tool for gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies look­ing to spot out­breaks of infec­tious dis­eases.

The pres­i­den­t’s son and his col­leagues invest­ed $500,000 in Metabio­ta through their firm Rose­mont Seneca Tech­nol­o­gy Part­ners.

They raised sev­er­al mil­lion dol­lars of fund­ing for the com­pa­ny from invest­ment giants includ­ing Gold­man Sachs.

But emails show Hunter was also par­tic­u­lar­ly involved in Metabio­ta’s oper­a­tions in Ukraine.

Hunter’s pitch­es to investors claimed that they not only orga­nized fund­ing for the firm, they also helped it ‘get new cus­tomers’ includ­ing ‘gov­ern­ment agen­cies in case of Metabio­ta’.

He and his busi­ness part­ner Eric Schw­erin even dis­cussed sub­let­ting their office space to the firm in April 2014, their emails reveal.

That month, Metabio­ta vice pres­i­dent Mary Gut­tieri wrote a memo to Hunter out­lin­ing how they could ‘assert Ukraine’s cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic inde­pen­dence from Rus­sia’.

‘Thanks so much for tak­ing time out of your intense sched­ule to meet with Kathy [Dimeo, Metabio­ta exec­u­tive] and I on Tues­day. We very much enjoyed our dis­cus­sion,’ Gut­tieri wrote.

‘As promised, I’ve pre­pared the attached memo, which pro­vides an overview of Metabio­ta, our engage­ment in Ukraine, and how we can poten­tial­ly lever­age our team, net­works, and con­cepts to assert Ukraine’s cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic inde­pen­dence from Rus­sia and con­tin­ued inte­gra­tion into West­ern soci­ety.’

For­mer senior CIA offi­cer Sam Fad­dis, who has reviewed emails on Hunter’s lap­top, told DailyMail.com that the offer to help assert Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence was odd for a biotech exec­u­tive.

‘It rais­es the ques­tion, what is the real pur­pose of this ven­ture? It’s very odd,’ he said.

Gut­tieri had a lead­ing role in Metabio­ta’s Ukraine oper­a­tions, meet­ing with oth­er com­pa­ny exec­u­tives and US and Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary offi­cials in Octo­ber 2016 to dis­cuss ‘coop­er­a­tion in sur­veil­lance and pre­ven­tion of espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous infec­tious dis­eases, includ­ing zoonot­ic dis­eases in Ukraine and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries’ accord­ing to a 2016 report by the Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter in Ukraine.

At the time, Hunter was serv­ing as a board mem­ber of Ukrain­ian gas firm Buris­ma, owned by for­mer top gov­ern­ment offi­cial and alleged­ly cor­rupt bil­lion­aire Miko­lay Zlochevsky.

Four days after Gut­tier­i’s April 2014 email, Buris­ma exec­u­tive Vadym Pozharskyi wrote to Hunter reveal­ing that the then-Vice Pres­i­den­t’s son had pitched a ‘sci­ence project’ involv­ing Buris­ma and Metabio­ta in Ukraine.

‘Please find few ini­tial points to be dis­cussed for the pur­pos­es of ana­lyz­ing the poten­tial of this as you called, ‘Sci­ence Ukraine’ project,’ Pozharskyi wrote.

‘As I under­stand the Metabio­ta was a sub­con­tract to prin­ci­pal con­tac­tor of the DoD B&V [Black & Veatch].

‘What kind of part­ner­ship Metabio­ta is look­ing for in Ukraine? From poten­tial non-gov­ern­men­tal play­er in Kiev? Rebuilt the ties with respec­tive min­istries in Ukraine, and on the basis of that rein­state the financ­ing from the B&V? Or they look for part­ner­ship in man­ag­ing projects in Ukraine, PR with Gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions here, financ­ing of the projects?’

Fad­dis told DailyMail.com that the attempt to get Metabio­ta to form a part­ner­ship with Buris­ma was a per­plex­ing and wor­ry­ing rev­e­la­tion.

‘His father was the Vice Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States and in charge of rela­tions with Ukraine. So why was Hunter not only on the board of a sus­pect Ukrain­ian gas firm, but also hooked them up with a com­pa­ny work­ing on bioweapons research?’ Fad­dis said.

‘It’s an obvi­ous Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da attempt to take advan­tage of this. But it does­n’t change the fact that there does seem to be some­thing that needs to be explored here.

‘The DoD posi­tion is that there’s noth­ing nefar­i­ous here, this is pan­dem­ic ear­ly warn­ing research. We don’t know for sure that’s all that was going on.

‘But the ques­tion still remains: why is Hunter Biden in the mid­dle of all this? Why is the dis­graced son of the vice pres­i­dent at the heart of this – the guy with no dis­cernible skills and a cocaine habit.’

Pozharsky said in his email to Hunter that he had encoun­tered such bio­log­i­cal research projects before in his for­mer job as a Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cial, and claimed that B&V worked on ‘sim­i­lar or the same projects’ as the pro­posed con­tract for Metabio­ta.

Gov­ern­ment spend­ing records show the Depart­ment of Defense award­ed an $18.4million con­tract to Metabio­ta between Feb­ru­ary 2014 and Novem­ber 2016, with $307,091 ear­marked for ‘Ukraine research projects’.

The US Defense Threat Reduc­tion Agency (DTRA) also com­mis­sioned B&V to build a Bio­log­i­cal Safe­ty Lev­el 3 lab­o­ra­to­ry in Odessa, Ukraine in 2010, which ‘pro­vid­ed enhanced equip­ment and train­ing to effec­tive­ly, safe­ly and secure­ly iden­ti­fy espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous pathogens’ accord­ing to a com­pa­ny press release.

Such labs are used to ‘study infec­tious agents or tox­ins that may be trans­mit­ted through the air and cause poten­tial­ly lethal infec­tions,’ the US Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices says.

B&V was award­ed a fur­ther five-year $85million con­tract in 2012.

Emails and defense con­tract data reviewed by DailyMail.com sug­gest that Hunter had a promi­nent role in mak­ing sure Metabio­ta was able to con­duct its pathogen research just a few hun­dred miles from the bor­der with Rus­sia.

In anoth­er sign of the deep ties between Metabio­ta and the Depart­ment of Defense, Hunter’s RSTP busi­ness part­ner Rob Walk­er said he would ‘have a friend reach out to DoD on the down low’, in order to prove the com­pa­ny’s bona fides to top prospec­tive investors Gold­man Sachs and Mor­gan Stan­ley in Octo­ber 2014.

RSTP was a sub­sidiary of Rose­mont Cap­i­tal, an invest­ment com­pa­ny found­ed by Hunter and for­mer Sec­re­tary of State John Ker­ry’s step­son Chris Heinz in 2009.

Metabio­ta also has close ties to the Wuhan Insti­tute of Virol­o­gy (WIV), sus­pect­ed to be the source of the COVID-19 out­break.

WIV was a hotspot for con­tro­ver­sial ‘gain of func­tion’ research that can cre­ate super-strength virus­es.

Chi­nese sci­en­tists per­formed gain of func­tion research on coro­n­avirus­es at the WIV, work­ing along­side a US-backed orga­ni­za­tion Eco­Health Alliance that has since drawn intense scruti­ny over its coro­n­avirus research since the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic.

Researchers from the Wuhan insti­tute, Metabio­ta and Eco­Health Alliance pub­lished a study togeth­er in 2014 on infec­tious dis­eases from bats in Chi­na, which notes that tests were per­formed at the WIV.

Shi Zhengli, the WIV Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Emerg­ing Infec­tious Dis­eases who became dubbed the ‘bat lady’ for her cen­tral role in bat coro­n­avirus research at the lab, was a con­trib­u­tor to the paper.

Metabio­ta has been an offi­cial part­ner of Eco­Health Alliance since 2014, accord­ing to its web­site.

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR#1243 How Many Lies Before You Belong to The Lies?, Part 16”

  1. Is Clearview AI’s facial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­o­gy a tool for deter­ring war crimes? Yes, accord­ing to Clearview AI. Beyond that, the tool is invalu­able for solv­ing crimes. Espe­cial­ly child sex crimes. These are all the claims made by Clearview AI’s founder Hoan Ton-That in an inter­view last month fol­low­ing the reports about the exten­sive use of Clearview’s ser­vices by Ukraine’s mil­i­tary. Uses that include iden­ti­fy dead Russ­ian sol­diers and send­ing noti­fi­ca­tions to their fam­i­lies.

    But the inter­view was­n’t just about Clearview’s use in Ukraine. Ton-That was pressed on a num­ber of con­tro­ver­sial aspects about the com­pa­ny, like pri­va­cy con­cerns and its exten­sive ties to the far right. And that’s where we saw this remark­able spin. As Ton-That char­ac­ter­izes the com­pa­ny, it sole­ly pro­vides its exten­sive facial data­base ser­vices to law enforce­ment and only for ret­ro­spec­tive inves­ti­ga­tions of crimes. There is no real-time usage of their ser­vices accord­ing to Thon-That.

    When asked about all of the pre­vi­ous reports about these ser­vices being offer to pri­vate com­pa­nies, like in the finan­cial sec­tor, Thon-That again empha­sized that it would pure­ly be used for crime and fraud pre­ven­tion. Recall how Clearview has been telling the pub­lic that its ser­vices are only being offered to law enforce­ment agen­cies. And yet reports have come out show­ing how Clearview has been offer­ing its ser­vices to more than 2,200 pri­vate orga­ni­za­tions. Beyond that, Clearview appeared to have cer­tain com­pa­nies that were giv­en the des­ig­na­tion of “Friend” in their web app. Com­pa­nies giv­en the “Friend” label include SHW Part­ners LLC, found­ed by for­mer Trump cam­paign senior offi­cial Jason Miller. Even right-wing think tanks like the Man­hat­tan Insti­tute and the Amer­i­can Enter­prise Insti­tute got to access their ser­vices.

    How about Clearview AI’s exten­sive ties to the far right? Well, accord­ing to Thon-That, Clearview has no polit­i­cal moti­va­tion. Also, far right troll Charles John­son has noth­ing to do with the com­pa­ny and nev­er has. End of sto­ry. Recall how Charles John­son boast­ed about how Clearview would be ide­al for the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s crack­down on undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants and even­tu­al­ly signed a con­tract with ICE. We’re also told that Peter Thiel’s $200,000 in seed cap­i­tal came after hear­ing John­son’s pitch. Also recall how one of the fig­ures who ini­tial­ly signed up to use Clearview’s ser­vices was was Paul Nehlen, a for­mer ris­ing star in the GOP who was even­tu­al­ly kicked out of the par­ty for being an open neo-Nazi. Clearview was offer­ing their ser­vices to Nehlen dur­ing his cam­paign for “extreme oppo­si­tion research”. So that’s how Clearview address­es con­cerns about its exten­sive ties to the far right: denials and dodges.

    Now about about inter­nal con­trols to address pos­si­ble abus­es of the sys­tem? Clearview does­n’t appear to actu­al­ly have any. Instead, it advis­es clients on how to self-mon­i­tor their usage. So how many clients have ever report­ed any abus­es? None. So it’s all good. That’s seri­ous­ly the answers Thon-That gave. It’s basi­cal­ly the NSO Group mod­el for pre­vent­ing client abus­es, which is noth­ing.

    And those denials and dodges were all part of this inter­view about Clearview’s usage in Ukraine. So what did Clearview have to say about how its tools are being used by Ukraine? After all, if ever there was a sit­u­a­tion where we should fear gov­ern­ment offi­cials abus­ing this sys­tem for the pur­pose of polit­i­cal purges, it would be Ukraine’s secu­ri­ty ser­vices — with their deep ties to the far right — in the mid­dle of a war. It’s the per­fect sit­u­a­tion to liq­ui­date the polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion in the country...as long as you can iden­ti­fy that polit­i­cal oppo­si­tion. And as we’ve seen, Clearview’s tools are basi­cal­ly per­fect for iden­ti­fy­ing polit­i­cal oppo­nents. Not only does the ser­vice pro­vide you with the iden­ti­ties of peo­ple you sub­mit of a pho­to of, but it also iden­ti­fies the web­page where the matched pho­tos were scraped. And for Clearview, these pho­tos are over­whelm­ing going to be tak­en from social media pages where peo­ple are most inclined to express their polit­i­cal opin­ions. So Clearview acts as a ser­vice where you can feed in faces and get back social media web­pages for the peo­ple in that pho­to. If Ukraine’s far right want­ed to pic out the left lean­ing sym­pa­thiz­ers in pho­to they now have the tools to do it. Accord­ing to Clearview, there have been ~14k search­es con­duct­ed by Ukrain­ian offi­cials.

    Thon-That goes on to tout Clearview’s usage for iden­ti­fy dead Russ­ian sol­diers and noti­fy­ing their fam­i­lies back in Rus­sia. He also claims that Clearview can poten­tial­ly be used for war crimes inves­ti­ga­tions, giv­en how much sur­veil­lance footage that gets gen­er­at­ed in the mod­ern bat­tle­field. That’s how Thon-That claims Clearview is going to pre­vent war crimes.

    It also sounds like Clearview’s rela­tion­ship with the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment was formed when one of the lawyers on its advi­so­ry board, for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil mem­ber Lee Wolosky, just hap­pened to be in Ukraine back in March when the com­pa­ny got the idea of offer­ing its ser­vices for use in the war. It’s not clear what Wolosky was doing in Ukraine at that time, but it’s worth not­ing that Wolosky is the lawyer for none oth­er than Elliot Broidy, one of the ‘inter­na­tion­al men of mys­tery’ who fig­ured promi­nent­ly in the many scan­dals swirling around the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, Sau­di Ara­bia, the UAE, and Ukraine.

    Over­all, giv­en the gen­er­al­ly pos­i­tive media cov­er­age of how Clearview’s tools are being used by Ukraine, it’s clear that this sto­ry is being used to help main­stream Clearview and laun­der its rep­u­ta­tion. And as Thon-That’s inter­view under­scores, the rep­u­ta­tion Clearview is try­ing to achieve is not just that of a respon­si­ble com­pa­ny with­out far right ties, but an invalu­able law enforce­ment tool that makes the pub­lic square safer. So if you thought the way the war in Ukraine was being used to laun­der the rep­u­ta­tion of the far right could­n’t get any worse, here’s an exam­ple of it get­ting much worse:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Tran­script: The Path For­ward: Facial Recog­ni­tion Tech­nol­o­gy with Hoan Ton-That

    By Wash­ing­ton Post Live
    April 27, 2022 at 2:19 p.m. EDT

    MR. HARWELL: Hel­lo, and wel­come to Wash­ing­ton Post Live. I’m Drew Har­well. I cov­er arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence for The Post. And today we have Hoan Ton-That. He’s the co-founder of Clearview AI. It’s a facial recog­ni­tion com­pa­ny. And he’s here to talk about how the soft­ware is used in Ukraine and the U.S. and around the world.

    So, Hoan, wel­come.

    MR. TON-THAT: Thank you, Drew, for hav­ing me on. I real­ly appre­ci­ate it.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah, great. So, before we dive into how Clearview is used in Ukraine, let’s just get a lit­tle bit into the soft­ware because it’s some­thing that has been used in the U.S., around the world by police and inves­ti­ga­tors. So, walk us through how it works and how you came up with the idea.

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, Clearview AI is a facial recog­ni­tion search engine that works just like Google. But instead of putting in words or text, you upload a pho­to of a face. So, it’s used, you know, after the fact matter–not in real time to iden­ti­fy per­pe­tra­tors or vic­tims of crime. It has been used suc­cess­ful­ly in the U.S. by FBI, Home­land Secu­ri­ty, and many oth­er agen­cies to, you know, help with human traf­fick­ing cas­es, crimes against chil­dren, finan­cial fraud, and a lot more. Most notably, it’s help­ful for the FBI in the Jan­u­ary 6th Capi­tol riots to iden­ti­fy a lot of the per­pe­tra­tors.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah. So let’s talk a lit­tle bit more about that. You know, in Feb­ru­ary, we had report­ed on an investor pre­sen­ta­tion that you had giv­en that said there were more than 3,000 law enforce­ment agen­cies, includ­ing, like you said, the FBI and ICE. Who all is using it now besides them? And what are you at now? Is it more than 3,000? How many police forces in the U.S.?

    MR. TON-THAT: Yeah, so that’s the lat­est num­ber we have, is over 3,100 who used it in the US. We also have usage as well in Ukraine. Now we’re in six agen­cies there. And it’s a tech­nol­o­gy that’s had a lot of wide­spread adop­tion, because giv­en the right train­ing and usage, in just a few min­utes law enforcement’s able to set up their accounts and start solv­ing crimes they nev­er would have solved oth­er­wise.

    MR. HARWELL: Great. So they sub­mit a pho­to. It goes into this facial index–right?–that you’ve said has more than 20 bil­lion images? Where do those images come from, and how many are you adding per month?

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, it–these all come from the pub­lic inter­net. So, you can imag­ine what­ev­er you find in a Google search result–it could be a mugshot, web­site, news web­sites, you know, edu­ca­tion­al web­sites, social media–and again, this is any­thing that’s pub­lic. So, if your set­tings for social media are in pri­vate, those won’t show up in Clearview, just like in Google. And so it’s any­thing that’s pub­licly avail­able.

    And again, instead of search­ing with text, you upload a pho­to. And what’s real­ly inter­est­ing and impor­tant is that we’ve adopt­ed a lot of con­trols around usage. So, we lim­it this dataset just to law enforce­ment. And we also [audio dis­tor­tion] on respon­si­ble usage of the tech­nol­o­gy. In every case that they use–I mean, every search they use on the plat­form, they have to put in a case num­ber and a crime type, and that allows these agen­cies to con­duct effec­tive audits of the tech­nol­o­gy.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah, great. So, let’s drill into that, because this is the part that I think is real­ly con­tro­ver­sial about Clearview. I mean, these were pho­tos that were tak­en from what you say is the pub­lic inter­net, but these were social net­works. You know, Face­book, Twit­ter, YouTube have filed cease and desist orders demand­ing you delete these pho­tos from your data­base. They say they were scraped ille­git­i­mate­ly. Sen­a­tors have said that these pho­tos were ille­git­i­mate­ly obtained and have called on fed­er­al mon­ey to not go to Clearview. You’ve said, you know, you want to go from 20 bil­lion to poten­tial­ly 100 billion–enough to make the whole world iden­ti­fi­able. Prob­a­bly a lot of peo­ple on this call have pho­tos in this data­base. So, what is your defense for why the com­pa­ny should be allowed to take all of these pho­tos that were not post­ed online for this pur­pose, and use them for this tool that you’re sell­ing to the police?

    MR. TON-THAT: So first of all, I would say that the way we col­lect infor­ma­tion is in com­pli­ance with all applic­a­ble laws around data col­lec­tion. We have a real­ly great legal team that han­dles these kinds of issues. And any­thing that’s out there is pub­lic infor­ma­tion. So, what I like to talk about is this is kind of like dig­i­tal pub­lic square. And you know, this infor­ma­tion is pub­lic already. And if it can be used to help solve crimes and make the pub­lic safer, I think that’s a real­ly good use case of this infor­ma­tion.

    I’d say that also, when it comes to the size of the data­base, in the con­text of try­ing to iden­ti­fy some­one that you don’t know who it is–and we have a real­ly good exam­ple from Home­land Secu­ri­ty of a child pornog­ra­phy case they were able to solve–the more pho­tos you have, the more accu­rate the data­base is, the less biased it is, the more like­ly you are to find the right per­son. So, every pho­to is a clue that could poten­tial­ly, you know, iden­ti­fy a vic­tim, like a child of child crimes, or any kind–or a per­pe­tra­tor of a crime. So, in this kind of con­text, I think that a larg­er data­base is less biased.

    So, Home­land Secu­ri­ty, in 2019, were using Clearview AI, and they had a pho­to of a per­son who’s molest­ing a 6‑year-old girl. And he was in the back of this child abuse video, he was sell­ing online. And it was just, you know, a grainy face of him. When they put it through Clearview, they only found one image in the data­base, and this was 3 bil­lion images at the time. And he was in the back­ground of some­one else’s pub­licly avail­able gym self­ie. They were able to find the loca­tion of that gym, find the employ­er, even­tu­al­ly got the name, and now he’s doing 35 years in jail and they could save a 6‑year-old girl. And they say that with­out Clearview AI, there was no way they would have caught that guy. And so that’s real­ly inter­est­ing in terms of how any pho­to could be a clue. Now that we have about 20 bil­lion images, that per­son has oth­er pho­tos in the data­base and those have his direct name. So, it would have saved even more time for law enforce­ment to catch that per­pe­tra­tor and save that child.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah, you’ve brought that case up a num­ber of times. And you know, just to real­ly quick go back to, you know, the com­pa­nies that have asked Clearview to delete these images, has Clearview done so?

    MR. TON-THAT: Not at this time. You know, we believe that the way we col­lect images is just like any oth­er search engine. And you know, this is stuff in the pub­lic domain. And for the pur­pos­es that it’s being used for I think, they can be very pro-social. I don’t think we want to live in a world where any big tech com­pa­ny can send a cease and desist, and then con­trol, you know, the pub­lic square. So, I think it’s an issue that is real­ly impor­tant because the issue of col­lect­ing pub­licly avail­able online data is not just images, any kind of data. It affects researchers who may be, you know, study­ing things like dis­crim­i­na­tion or study­ing oth­er things like mis­in­for­ma­tion, and it affects aca­d­e­mics and a whole wide range of oth­er types of use cas­es as well.

    MR. HARWELL: In that investor pre­sen­ta­tion from a cou­ple of years ago, you know, you had said that Clearview was inter­est­ed in mov­ing sort of poten­tial­ly beyond U.S. law enforce­ment, beyond this kind of pub­lic safe­ty exam­ple that you’ve brought up, to poten­tial­ly work­ing in the finan­cial sec­tor with stores and banks, and also poten­tial­ly doing an inter­na­tion­al expan­sion. You said you were see­ing a rapid inter­na­tion­al expan­sion. So, could you walk us through real­ly briefly where you’re expand­ing across the world and what oth­er com­pa­nies you’d be work­ing with?

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, there’s been pre­vi­ous report­ing talk­ing about, you know, Clearview AI, and we’ve devel­oped [audio dis­tor­tion] pro­to­types, dif­fer­ent ver­sions of our tech­nol­o­gy for retail and bank­ing. But this dataset is used just by gov­ern­ments. There’s no non-gov­ern­men­tal use of this dataset at this time. Facial recog­ni­tion is used every­where today, from ID ver­i­fi­ca­tion in bank­ing, finan­cial ser­vices, air­ports, in many oth­er places on a con­sent basis. And I think the con­sent-based ver­sion of facial recog­ni­tion is the least con­tro­ver­sial one where the end user is opt­ing in. So, I think it’s still very ear­ly in terms of under­stand­ing this tech­nol­o­gy and its impli­ca­tions. And what I think is, what we see, in the last two, three years with this tech­nol­o­gy deployed in law enforce­ment is a ton of pos­i­tive sto­ries about being able to stop and pre­vent crime and help vic­tims. So, I think facial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­o­gy has a poten­tial to be a way to pre­vent crime and fraud as well, because law enforce­ment, they can only do so much when it comes to solv­ing crimes, unfor­tu­nate­ly.

    MR. HARWELL: In that pre­sen­ta­tion, you had also sort of com­pared Clearview’s accu­ra­cy and per­for­mance to com­pa­nies in Chi­na and Rus­sia. How impor­tant is it, in your esti­ma­tion, that the U.S. have bet­ter facial recog­ni­tion than Chi­na and Rus­sia?

    MR. TON-THAT: So, I would say that we’re very proud to have real­ly high rank­ings on NIST. So NIST test­ed over 650 algo­rithms from around the world. And if you take the aver­age of the dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories in there, Clearview AI ranked sec­ond, with the num­ber-one being a Chi­nese com­pa­ny called Sense­Time. And so I think you’d always want more accu­ra­cy when it comes to facial recog­ni­tion. But I’d draw a quick–you know, sharp dis­tinc­tion about how it’s deployed in author­i­tar­i­an regimes like Rus­sia and Chi­na. So those coun­tries are deploy­ing facial recog­ni­tion in a com­plete­ly real time way, where it’s all the time. When we’re deploy­ing it, it’s, you know, in after the fact inves­ti­gat­ed man­ner. So, I think it’s real­ly impor­tant for the U.S. and its allies to have this tech­nol­o­gy, but also have to make sure we use it with­in a moral frame­work.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah. But expand­ing inter­na­tion­al­ly, I mean, how do you pro­tect against that? How do you con­trol, you know, how the tool is used? Walk us through kind of how big Clearview is and what sorts of pro­grams you have to ensure that it’s not abused in oth­er coun­tries, not abused by com­pa­nies that you’re sell­ing to in this expand­ed basis.

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, we’re actu­al­ly a very small start­up in com­par­i­son to many oth­er com­pa­nies. We’re around 50 employ­ees now. We were about 10 employ­ees when we were writ­ten about on the front page of The New York Times. So, we real­ly care about mak­ing sure this tech­nol­o­gy is used for the right pur­pos­es and by the right peo­ple. So, when it comes to, you know, any­thing inter­na­tion­al, we will nev­er sell to Chi­na, Iran, and North Korea, or any coun­try that’s par­tial­ly sanc­tioned by the U.S. And when we look at these coun­tries, one thing about Clearview, it’s deployed as a cloud ser­vice. So, they pay for sub­scrip­tions. So, if there’s any vio­la­tions, egre­gious of any terms of ser­vice we have or they don’t fol­low a lot of the poli­cies, then we have the abil­i­ty as a com­pa­ny to revoke access. So, this is a tech­nol­o­gy that you can take back if you see, you know, major egre­gious abuse. So, I think that we’ve tak­en a slow­er approach to mak­ing sure we get the tech­nol­o­gy and learn­ing as much about it here in the U.S.

    So, the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office wrote two reports last year on the deploy­ment of facial recog­ni­tion, and they made a lot of sug­ges­tions and guide­lines about how to deploy it in law enforce­ment con­texts. For exam­ple, mak­ing sure that there are cyber­se­cu­ri­ty audits, that the audits pos­si­ble of the search his­to­ry of every per­son who has access to the tech­nol­o­gy, that there is train­ing. So hav­ing fig­ured out a lot of the mod­el here in the U.S., when we look at oth­er coun­tries on a case-by-case basis, we want to make sure that we’re com­fort­able that they are using it for the right rea­sons. We’d nev­er want this to be used to, you know, sur­veil jour­nal­ists, or in any kind of abu­sive way.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah, but when you talk about egre­gious abuse, I mean, how would you know if it was used to sur­veil as you said, you know, the wrong peo­ple? Like, what sorts of sys­tems do you have to ensure that the FBI isn’t mis­us­ing this tool? What kind of insight do you have even into what search­es they’re able to run?

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, what we do is, when we talk to the cus­tomers, we sug­gest that they and high­ly encour­age them to have a facial recog­ni­tion pol­i­cy. So that way, they’re talk­ing to the pub­lic about what crimes it’s used for, what crimes it’s not. In the process of train­ing these orga­ni­za­tions, we get a very good sense of how seri­ous­ly they take the tech­nol­o­gy and the tool and the use cas­es that they have. And every­one who is using it, they know that an admin­is­tra­tor in their agency is over­see­ing the search­es and can audit those at any time. And so we give these agen­cies all the tools they need to com­mu­ni­cate with the pub­lic about how they use it. And also, they can eas­i­ly gen­er­ate reports on the type of usage.

    Now, you know, we’re not per­fect. We can’t see every­thing that’s hap­pen­ing. I don’t think it’s our role to mon­i­tor every search. But we’re con­sid­er­ing and we’re always think­ing about more ways to make this a safe tech­nol­o­gy in terms of deploy­ment. And on the flip side, you know, we’ve nev­er had any wrong­ful arrest or misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion due to use of our tech­nol­o­gy. And you know, we weigh that against the amaz­ing pos­i­tive use cas­es in terms of solv­ing crimes against chil­dren, or the Capi­tol riots and, you know, these real­ly major things. We think we’re strik­ing the right bal­ance.

    MR. HARWELL: How many alle­ga­tions of abuse or how many sort of reports of poten­tial mis­use have you been giv­en in these, you know, many years that you’ve had all these clients?

    MR. TON-THAT: So as a com­pa­ny, like, we haven’t had, you know, direct reports of abuse. But I would have to check to see how many cus­tomers have gone into the tool and revoked access. We haven’t kept exact num­bers on it, but they have all the tools to do it. And that’s just one of our, you know, top pri­or­i­ties, is improv­ing all these con­trols. So, we’re the first com­pa­ny to require a case num­ber and a crime type for doing a facial recog­ni­tion search. None of the oth­er ven­dors in the space have done that. And so we’re glad to set the stan­dard. And we’re think­ing of more ideas in terms of account­ing and report­ing.

    One thing that we’ve added in our 2.0 ver­sion is bet­ter analy­sis of the work­flow. So as these inves­ti­ga­tions start, that admin­is­tra­tors can track, you know, has a per­son been iden­ti­fied, have they been arrest­ed, and get­ting bet­ter sta­tis­tics and fideli­ty into it.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah, okay. Well, let’s–you know, you had men­tioned hav­ing 10 employ­ees not all that long ago, you know, and you’ve cer­tain­ly grown. Talk a lit­tle bit about your investors. I mean, we’ve heard that, you know, Peter Thiel is obvi­ous­ly an investor in the com­pa­ny. He’s, you know, the bil­lion­aire behind Palan­tir, anoth­er data min­ing com­pa­ny. Who are the investors, and how has that changed over the last cou­ple of years?

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, we have a wide vari­ety of investors from all dif­fer­ent back­grounds, a lot of fam­i­ly offices and insti­tu­tion­al funds as well, at var­i­ous stages of the com­pa­ny. So, we’re well cap­i­tal­ized by, you know, in our last round by insti­tu­tion­al investors and larg­er fam­i­ly offices, and some of them would rather just, you know, invest and they help out and sup­port us that way. We have like Naval Ravikant, who was an ear­ly investor in my pre­vi­ous com­pa­nies in the Bay Area, where I used to live. And so we’re very appre­cia­tive from all our investors for their sup­port. And as the com­pa­ny grows, you know, the investor base has changed to become more, you know, seri­ous insti­tu­tion­al mon­ey. And they’ve been, you know, big believ­ers in the mis­sion from day one, each one of them, and con­tin­ue to sup­port us.

    MR. HARWELL: And you know, there’s been a lot of talk about the start­up Clearview, you know, in 2020. And Luke O’Brien of the Huff­in­g­ton Post had report­ed that some of your ear­li­est sort of co-work­ers were–you know, had these deep, long­stand­ing ties to far-right extrem­ists. Charles John­son, who’s, you know, sort of a right-wing activist has said he was a co-founder of the com­pa­ny, has shown doc­u­ments sug­gest­ing he even had stock. What is that back­ground about? And you know, how has the com­pa­ny changed? And if you do have those ties to the far right, why should peo­ple trust you today?

    MR. TON-THAT: Yeah. Thanks, Drew. I’m glad you brought up that ques­tion. So, you know, there’s no polit­i­cal moti­va­tion to Clearview. We have peo­ple from every side of the polit­i­cal spec­trum from the left, on the right, that work here. There’s no left-wing way or right-wing way to help law enforce­ment catch a pedophile or solve any kind of crimes. You know, Charles–some–Charles John­son, some­one we met in 2016 who made some intro­duc­tions, but he’s not a co-founder of a Clearview. He’s nev­er been an employ­ee, a direc­tor, or on the board, and nev­er had any active involve­ment in the com­pa­ny.

    What I can tell you is about who I am, where I’m from. I was born and raised in Aus­tralia. And I spent my whole entire technology–career in tech­nol­o­gy since I moved when I was 19 to the Bay Area. So that’s been my focus, is always on tech­nol­o­gy and mak­ing sure that this is some­thing that’s used in the pub­lic inter­est. And so there’s no con­nec­tion there.

    MR. HARWELL: Okay, inter­est­ing. So, I want to bring up a ques­tion from the audi­ence. Joseph Oyer from Flori­da asks, does the poten­tial harm from the use of facial recog­ni­tion soft­ware by author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ments out­weigh the ben­e­fits of this tech­nol­o­gy?

    MR. TON-THAT: Yeah, I think that’s a great ques­tion. At the end of the day, facial recog­ni­tion is a tech­nol­o­gy, and it can be deployed in many dif­fer­ent ways. The way we like to deploy it at Clearview is in after the fact inves­ti­ga­tions. So, it’s not, you know, author­i­tar­i­an coun­tries are deploy­ing it right now, any­way, regard­less of–and they’ve devel­oped their own facial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­o­gy. So, what we want to do is help to try and set an exam­ple of good use cas­es and how it can be used in a pos­i­tive way. So, I don’t think it’s inevitable, if that makes any sense, that this tech­nol­o­gy is going to be deployed in the same way here in the in the West. But I do think that the risks of author­i­tar­i­an coun­tries using it, I just say they are already using it in a lot of dif­fer­ent ways. And just because we devel­op a tech­nol­o­gy here, does­n’t mean we’re going to sell it to those kind of coun­tries.

    MR. HARWELL: Gotcha. Okay, well, let’s get into Ukraine. And you know, we’re talk­ing about this inter­na­tion­al expan­sion. This has been some­thing you’ve been talk­ing about. We’ve report­ed on this a lit­tle bit ear­li­er. This is a use case where Ukraine is using facial recog­ni­tion in a cou­ple dif­fer­ent ways, both at check­points, to scan sort of peo­ple com­ing by, but also to scan the faces of cap­tive Russ­ian sol­diers and also dead Russ­ian sol­diers, using that data to find their social media pro­files and con­tact their fam­i­lies. It’s a con­tro­ver­sial use, obvi­ous­ly. But talk us–talk to us a lit­tle bit about how Clearview is used there, and how wide­ly it’s used, and what kinds of suc­cess­es you’ve seen.

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, when we first saw the images com­ing out of Ukraine of all the destruc­tion and dam­age and vic­tims of war, we were think­ing as a com­pa­ny, how would we be able to help? One of the ideas we had was, when they had videos that you might have seen on social media of cap­tured Russ­ian sol­diers, is per­haps facial recog­ni­tion could help get more infor­ma­tion on who they are. So was reach­ing out to advi­so­ry board and there’s one per­son on there, one of our lawyers, Lee Wolosky, who was pre­vi­ous­ly ambas­sador and also on the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil three times, and he just hap­pened to be meet­ing peo­ple in Ukraine, in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment the next day. So, we wrote a let­ter ask­ing and sug­gest­ed that they take a look at this tech­nol­o­gy that we’d offer to them for free. It was about a month and a half ago. And some­how, they got back to us. And we set up the demo of the tech­nol­o­gy. I helped train a lot of the ini­tial users of it. And it’s been a phe­nom­e­nal response.

    The ideas we had orig­i­nal­ly were just the begin­ning, and we’ve seen many oth­er use cas­es. So, you know, one of them is fight­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion in terms of, you know, ver­i­fy­ing an iden­ti­ty or as some­one on social media and cer­tain claims with the tech­nol­o­gy, anoth­er one is with the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of deceased peo­ple, where we’ve been able to help them make iden­ti­ties. If you’re in a war zone pre­vi­ous­ly, you would­n’t have, say, a fin­ger­print data­base or a DNA data­base of Russ­ian sol­diers, for exam­ple. Because our data set is real­ly large and it con­tains a lot of infor­ma­tion from Russ­ian social media sites, it’s very effec­tive in mak­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tions.

    At check­points, it’s always good to know who you’re deal­ing with, if they’re a poten­tial Russ­ian agent or if they are who they say they are, even if they have iden­ti­fi­ca­tion papers. So, it’s been able to, you know, real­ly ver­i­fy who peo­ple are and decrease the risk of misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    And more recent­ly, the war crimes in Bucha, that’s been effec­tive to iden­ti­fy peo­ple, because you can see that–their sur­veil­lance footage of these. So, we think it’s going to be a real­ly big deter­rent to war crimes if you know that there is footage and sur­veil­lance footage and the abil­i­ty to be iden­ti­fied. And also, we see, you know, use cas­es that, you know, refugee sit­u­a­tions as well, where some peo­ple don’t have any papers with them, or if they do, speed­ing up that pro­cess­ing time is real­ly impor­tant. And so, yeah, we’ve been hon­ored to help them. And I talk to them on a reg­u­lar basis, almost every day. And we hear some amaz­ing suc­cess sto­ries. And they’re a great coun­try, great peo­ple. They’re very brave. And I real­ly have enjoyed the process so far. It’s been an hon­or to be able to help out in our way.

    MR. HARWELL: And I know when we had talked last time, they were up to 8,600 or so search­es, and you could sort of see from your dash­board how many they’re run­ning. What are they at now?

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, we’re actu­al­ly now–I checked this morning–the six agen­cies using it, anoth­er one signed on 410 users have been–are using the tech­nol­o­gy. So, they each have an account to log in and per­form search­es. Now it’s up to 14,809 search­es. So, each one of these search­es is a poten­tial, you know, check­point, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of war crim­i­nal, and/or, you know, many of these cas­es. So, it’s been very heav­i­ly used and very effec­tive in prac­tice. We hear just a lot of use cas­es. And just a few days ago, the min­is­ter of inter­nal affairs talked about how they’ve been able to use Clearview. They’ve opened over, I think, 8,000 crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings in total, and Clearview has been using a lot of check­points. And I think they say 700 check­points they have with 2,000 offi­cers, and they had no issues, you know, recent­ly around the hol­i­day week­end. So, I think that, you know, there’s, you know, a lot of adop­tion there, and they’re very hands-on. And we’ve been, you know, hon­ored just to hear the thanks that I’ve received, and they’ve received. It’s real­ly great.

    MR. HARWELL: But this use case of, you know, iden­ti­fy­ing corpses, and you know, reach­ing out to the Russ­ian fam­i­lies, I mean, it’s just–you can only imag­ine how gut wrench­ing those con­ver­sa­tions are to have sort of a stranger reach out and say that your loved one passed away in a for­eign bat­tle­field. I mean, was this a use case that you all had expect­ed when you offered it to Ukraine? Do you have any reser­va­tions about it being used in that way?

    MR. TON-THAT: Yeah, I think that’s one of the ideas that we thought of, because we’ve seen it be able to iden­ti­fy peo­ple that have been decreased pre­vi­ous­ly. But we did­n’t think it would be as impor­tant as it turned out to be. So, some of the exam­ples that I’ve seen where they would have some­one with an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, some­one with­out, this is some­thing that would not be pos­si­ble in a pre­vi­ous time, where, again, you won’t have a data­base of these in DNA or fin­ger­prints or any­thing like that. So, you know, war is very grue­some. And, you know, in any kind of war zone, it is dan­ger­ous, and this tech­nol­o­gy can help decrease, you know, misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion if you real­ly know who you’re deal­ing with. So, when we take every­one through all these dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios in each sce­nario as a way to, you know, make things safer and bet­ter, and in the cas­es of, you know, vic­tims of war, I think that it’s real­ly unfor­tu­nate that there’s peo­ple in Rus­sia who real­ly believed that this war is not hap­pen­ing. They don’t know where their fam­i­ly mem­bers are, and what’s real­ly hap­pen­ing. And so I think a sense of clo­sure could be very help­ful.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah. You know, some of the crit­i­cism of you all in this sce­nario has been, you know, this war has hap­pened, and the frus­tra­tion has been that they feel like you’re kind of using this tragedy as an–as a way to adver­tise or poten­tial­ly to laun­der, you know, Clearview’s rep­u­ta­tion. This is a com­pa­ny, you know, that is fac­ing legal action on a lot of fronts, the poten­tial for reg­u­la­tion, mil­lions of–millions of dol­lars in fines in lots of dif­fer­ent coun­tries. So, what do you say to peo­ple who sug­gest that this is, you know, this–you’re using this war as a pro­mo­tion­al tool?

    MR. TON-THAT: Yeah. So, I mean, our inten­tions, like I said before, we’re try­ing to find–like many oth­er com­pa­nies and many oth­er peo­ple, there’s been an inter­na­tion­al response to the cri­sis in Ukraine, and every­one’s been try­ing to help. So, we were just think­ing along the same lines, how do we help as a com­pa­ny? How do we pro­vide some­thing that could be, you know, use­ful? And the response has been just way more than we could ever imag­ine in terms of the suc­cess and the abil­i­ty we’ve had to help them.

    So, I mean, you know, we’re a very mis­sion dri­ven com­pa­ny. We sup­port law enforce­ment here in the Unit­ed States. And we’ve had, you know, our fair share of crit­i­cism. But ever since we’ve had it, what kept us going as a com­pa­ny, what kept us moti­vat­ed, is hear­ing every day these suc­cess sto­ries from our cus­tomers like Home­land Secu­ri­ty, and FBI, where they’ve been able to, you know, ID child moles­ters. And so I think it’s just the nat­ur­al kind of cycle that hap­pens with any new tech­nol­o­gy, where it–first it can be mis­un­der­stood, so many mis­un­der­stand­ings about what Clearview is and how it works. Many peo­ple think it’s a real time ser­vice. When they real­ize it’s after the crime inves­tiga­tive ser­vice, they’re a lot more com­fort­able with it.

    And we see major events, when Jan­u­ary 6 hap­pened and our tech­nol­o­gy was able to ID many of the Capi­tol riot­ers, writ­ers more accep­tance of it. So, kind of my job and the job of the com­pa­ny is to con­tin­ue to edu­cate peo­ple on how it’s actu­al­ly used in prac­tice and so that way that the leg­is­la­tures and now there are more peo­ple in gov­ern­ment are able to make the right deci­sions about, you know, how to–how to reg­u­late this soft­ware.

    We do think reg­u­la­tion is impor­tant. And any new tech­nol­o­gy goes through that. So, when the car, the auto­mo­bile was invent­ed, there weren’t any street signs. There’s no, you know, stop signs, traf­fic lights, or any­thing like that. But once we kind of adopt­ed the technology–and soci­ety had talks about what it’s good for, what it’s not good for–I mean, you could take a car and dri­ve it into a build­ing, or you can get it from A to B. And then you know, the reg­u­la­tions came along. There have been seat­belts. There have been a lot of, you know, safe­ty fea­tures. And we think it’s the same for facial recog­ni­tion, and we wel­come that. And I think that what we’re here is just to talk about the, you know, good use cas­es that are pos­si­ble with it. And we’ve been real­ly sur­prised and–ourselves every day about all the types of crimes it’s been able to solve. So, when it comes to what we do as a com­pa­ny, you know, we’ve always been mis­sion dri­ven, and using this tech­nol­o­gy for good, and to help peo­ple and make soci­ety a lot safer.

    MR. HARWELL: Well, I’m glad to hear you wel­come reg­u­la­tion. Hope­ful­ly, law­mak­ers are watch­ing this and can pass reg­u­la­tion, because there is no fed­er­al facial recog­ni­tion reg­u­la­tion in this coun­try. So any­way, we’ll leave it there. Thank you, Hoan, for join­ing us. Thanks for com­ing on and talk­ing about Ukraine and facial recog­ni­tion.

    ...

    ———-

    “Tran­script: The Path For­ward: Facial Recog­ni­tion Tech­nol­o­gy with Hoan Ton-That” by Wash­ing­ton Post Live; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 04/27/2022

    “MR. TON-THAT: So first of all, I would say that the way we col­lect infor­ma­tion is in com­pli­ance with all applic­a­ble laws around data col­lec­tion. We have a real­ly great legal team that han­dles these kinds of issues. And any­thing that’s out there is pub­lic infor­ma­tion. So, what I like to talk about is this is kind of like dig­i­tal pub­lic square. And you know, this infor­ma­tion is pub­lic already. And if it can be used to help solve crimes and make the pub­lic safer, I think that’s a real­ly good use case of this infor­ma­tion.

    Clearview AI isn’t a creepy for-prof­it enti­ty run by far right indi­vid­u­als. No no, it’s a mis­sion-dri­ven firm on the ques­tion to assist law enforce­ment, in par­tic­u­lar when it comes to solv­ing child sex crimes. And Clearview’s tech­nol­o­gy is ONLY used ret­ro­spec­tive­ly to solve crimes after the fact. It’s nev­er used to for real-time sur­veil­lance. And it’s ONLY sold to gov­ern­ments and law enforce­ment agen­cies. Nev­er pri­vate com­pa­nies. A safe ser­vice ded­i­cat­ed to pub­lic safe­ty, espe­cial­ly child safe­ty. So don’t wor­ry about how this grow­ing data­base of vir­tu­al­ly facial recog­ni­tion data­base that cov­ers basi­cal­ly every­one on the plan­et gets used. Wor­ry instead about how it’s not being used and all the child sex crimes that aren’t going solved as a result. That’s the spin Clearview AI is going with these days:

    ...
    I’d say that also, when it comes to the size of the data­base, in the con­text of try­ing to iden­ti­fy some­one that you don’t know who it is–and we have a real­ly good exam­ple from Home­land Secu­ri­ty of a child pornog­ra­phy case they were able to solve–the more pho­tos you have, the more accu­rate the data­base is, the less biased it is, the more like­ly you are to find the right per­son. So, every pho­to is a clue that could poten­tial­ly, you know, iden­ti­fy a vic­tim, like a child of child crimes, or any kind–or a per­pe­tra­tor of a crime. So, in this kind of con­text, I think that a larg­er data­base is less biased.

    So, Home­land Secu­ri­ty, in 2019, were using Clearview AI, and they had a pho­to of a per­son who’s molest­ing a 6‑year-old girl. And he was in the back of this child abuse video, he was sell­ing online. And it was just, you know, a grainy face of him. When they put it through Clearview, they only found one image in the data­base, and this was 3 bil­lion images at the time. And he was in the back­ground of some­one else’s pub­licly avail­able gym self­ie. They were able to find the loca­tion of that gym, find the employ­er, even­tu­al­ly got the name, and now he’s doing 35 years in jail and they could save a 6‑year-old girl. And they say that with­out Clearview AI, there was no way they would have caught that guy. And so that’s real­ly inter­est­ing in terms of how any pho­to could be a clue. Now that we have about 20 bil­lion images, that per­son has oth­er pho­tos in the data­base and those have his direct name. So, it would have saved even more time for law enforce­ment to catch that per­pe­tra­tor and save that child.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah, you’ve brought that case up a num­ber of times. And you know, just to real­ly quick go back to, you know, the com­pa­nies that have asked Clearview to delete these images, has Clearview done so?

    MR. TON-THAT: Not at this time. You know, we believe that the way we col­lect images is just like any oth­er search engine. And you know, this is stuff in the pub­lic domain. And for the pur­pos­es that it’s being used for I think, they can be very pro-social. I don’t think we want to live in a world where any big tech com­pa­ny can send a cease and desist, and then con­trol, you know, the pub­lic square. So, I think it’s an issue that is real­ly impor­tant because the issue of col­lect­ing pub­licly avail­able online data is not just images, any kind of data. It affects researchers who may be, you know, study­ing things like dis­crim­i­na­tion or study­ing oth­er things like mis­in­for­ma­tion, and it affects aca­d­e­mics and a whole wide range of oth­er types of use cas­es as well.

    ...

    MR. HARWELL: In that pre­sen­ta­tion, you had also sort of com­pared Clearview’s accu­ra­cy and per­for­mance to com­pa­nies in Chi­na and Rus­sia. How impor­tant is it, in your esti­ma­tion, that the U.S. have bet­ter facial recog­ni­tion than Chi­na and Rus­sia?

    MR. TON-THAT: So, I would say that we’re very proud to have real­ly high rank­ings on NIST. So NIST test­ed over 650 algo­rithms from around the world. And if you take the aver­age of the dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories in there, Clearview AI ranked sec­ond, with the num­ber-one being a Chi­nese com­pa­ny called Sense­Time. And so I think you’d always want more accu­ra­cy when it comes to facial recog­ni­tion. But I’d draw a quick–you know, sharp dis­tinc­tion about how it’s deployed in author­i­tar­i­an regimes like Rus­sia and Chi­na. So those coun­tries are deploy­ing facial recog­ni­tion in a com­plete­ly real time way, where it’s all the time. When we’re deploy­ing it, it’s, you know, in after the fact inves­ti­gat­ed man­ner. So, I think it’s real­ly impor­tant for the U.S. and its allies to have this tech­nol­o­gy, but also have to make sure we use it with­in a moral frame­work.

    ...

    MR. TON-THAT: Yeah. So, I mean, our inten­tions, like I said before, we’re try­ing to find–like many oth­er com­pa­nies and many oth­er peo­ple, there’s been an inter­na­tion­al response to the cri­sis in Ukraine, and every­one’s been try­ing to help. So, we were just think­ing along the same lines, how do we help as a com­pa­ny? How do we pro­vide some­thing that could be, you know, use­ful? And the response has been just way more than we could ever imag­ine in terms of the suc­cess and the abil­i­ty we’ve had to help them.

    So, I mean, you know, we’re a very mis­sion dri­ven com­pa­ny. We sup­port law enforce­ment here in the Unit­ed States. And we’ve had, you know, our fair share of crit­i­cism. But ever since we’ve had it, what kept us going as a com­pa­ny, what kept us moti­vat­ed, is hear­ing every day these suc­cess sto­ries from our cus­tomers like Home­land Secu­ri­ty, and FBI, where they’ve been able to, you know, ID child moles­ters. And so I think it’s just the nat­ur­al kind of cycle that hap­pens with any new tech­nol­o­gy, where it–first it can be mis­un­der­stood, so many mis­un­der­stand­ings about what Clearview is and how it works. Many peo­ple think it’s a real time ser­vice. When they real­ize it’s after the crime inves­tiga­tive ser­vice, they’re a lot more com­fort­able with it.
    ...

    So what was Ton-That’s response to ques­tions about Clearview’s clear inter­est in sell­ing its ser­vices to pri­vate enti­ties like finan­cial com­pa­nies? He sim­ply assert­ed that its tech­nol­o­gy will be used for crime and fraud pre­ven­tion by the pri­vate sec­tor too. So Clearview is only sold to gov­ern­ments and law enforce­ment agen­cies and only for solv­ing crimes ret­ro­spec­tive­ly. Except when its sold to pri­vate com­pa­nies and used for crime pre­ven­tion:

    ...
    MR. HARWELL: In that investor pre­sen­ta­tion from a cou­ple of years ago, you know, you had said that Clearview was inter­est­ed in mov­ing sort of poten­tial­ly beyond U.S. law enforce­ment, beyond this kind of pub­lic safe­ty exam­ple that you’ve brought up, to poten­tial­ly work­ing in the finan­cial sec­tor with stores and banks, and also poten­tial­ly doing an inter­na­tion­al expan­sion. You said you were see­ing a rapid inter­na­tion­al expan­sion. So, could you walk us through real­ly briefly where you’re expand­ing across the world and what oth­er com­pa­nies you’d be work­ing with?

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, there’s been pre­vi­ous report­ing talk­ing about, you know, Clearview AI, and we’ve devel­oped [audio dis­tor­tion] pro­to­types, dif­fer­ent ver­sions of our tech­nol­o­gy for retail and bank­ing. But this dataset is used just by gov­ern­ments. There’s no non-gov­ern­men­tal use of this dataset at this time. Facial recog­ni­tion is used every­where today, from ID ver­i­fi­ca­tion in bank­ing, finan­cial ser­vices, air­ports, in many oth­er places on a con­sent basis. And I think the con­sent-based ver­sion of facial recog­ni­tion is the least con­tro­ver­sial one where the end user is opt­ing in. So, I think it’s still very ear­ly in terms of under­stand­ing this tech­nol­o­gy and its impli­ca­tions. And what I think is, what we see, in the last two, three years with this tech­nol­o­gy deployed in law enforce­ment is a ton of pos­i­tive sto­ries about being able to stop and pre­vent crime and help vic­tims. So, I think facial recog­ni­tion tech­nol­o­gy has a poten­tial to be a way to pre­vent crime and fraud as well, because law enforce­ment, they can only do so much when it comes to solv­ing crimes, unfor­tu­nate­ly.
    ...

    So what kinds of con­trols does Clearview AI have on how its tools are used? Well, it strong­ly advis­es clients to have a facial recog­ni­tion pol­i­cy. That’s about it:

    ...
    MR. HARWELL: Yeah. But expand­ing inter­na­tion­al­ly, I mean, how do you pro­tect against that? How do you con­trol, you know, how the tool is used? Walk us through kind of how big Clearview is and what sorts of pro­grams you have to ensure that it’s not abused in oth­er coun­tries, not abused by com­pa­nies that you’re sell­ing to in this expand­ed basis.

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, we’re actu­al­ly a very small start­up in com­par­i­son to many oth­er com­pa­nies. We’re around 50 employ­ees now. We were about 10 employ­ees when we were writ­ten about on the front page of The New York Times. So, we real­ly care about mak­ing sure this tech­nol­o­gy is used for the right pur­pos­es and by the right peo­ple. So, when it comes to, you know, any­thing inter­na­tion­al, we will nev­er sell to Chi­na, Iran, and North Korea, or any coun­try that’s par­tial­ly sanc­tioned by the U.S. And when we look at these coun­tries, one thing about Clearview, it’s deployed as a cloud ser­vice. So, they pay for sub­scrip­tions. So, if there’s any vio­la­tions, egre­gious of any terms of ser­vice we have or they don’t fol­low a lot of the poli­cies, then we have the abil­i­ty as a com­pa­ny to revoke access. So, this is a tech­nol­o­gy that you can take back if you see, you know, major egre­gious abuse. So, I think that we’ve tak­en a slow­er approach to mak­ing sure we get the tech­nol­o­gy and learn­ing as much about it here in the U.S.

    So, the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office wrote two reports last year on the deploy­ment of facial recog­ni­tion, and they made a lot of sug­ges­tions and guide­lines about how to deploy it in law enforce­ment con­texts. For exam­ple, mak­ing sure that there are cyber­se­cu­ri­ty audits, that the audits pos­si­ble of the search his­to­ry of every per­son who has access to the tech­nol­o­gy, that there is train­ing. So hav­ing fig­ured out a lot of the mod­el here in the U.S., when we look at oth­er coun­tries on a case-by-case basis, we want to make sure that we’re com­fort­able that they are using it for the right rea­sons. We’d nev­er want this to be used to, you know, sur­veil jour­nal­ists, or in any kind of abu­sive way.

    MR. HARWELL: Yeah, but when you talk about egre­gious abuse, I mean, how would you know if it was used to sur­veil as you said, you know, the wrong peo­ple? Like, what sorts of sys­tems do you have to ensure that the FBI isn’t mis­us­ing this tool? What kind of insight do you have even into what search­es they’re able to run?

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, what we do is, when we talk to the cus­tomers, we sug­gest that they and high­ly encour­age them to have a facial recog­ni­tion pol­i­cy. So that way, they’re talk­ing to the pub­lic about what crimes it’s used for, what crimes it’s not. In the process of train­ing these orga­ni­za­tions, we get a very good sense of how seri­ous­ly they take the tech­nol­o­gy and the tool and the use cas­es that they have. And every­one who is using it, they know that an admin­is­tra­tor in their agency is over­see­ing the search­es and can audit those at any time. And so we give these agen­cies all the tools they need to com­mu­ni­cate with the pub­lic about how they use it. And also, they can eas­i­ly gen­er­ate reports on the type of usage.

    ...

    And based on these ‘inter­nal con­trols’, Clearview assures us that they’ve nev­er had a wrong­ful arrest or misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion due to their tech­nol­o­gy. And nev­er a direct report of abuse. So how many clients have revoked access to their own users? It’s a sys­tem set up to have the clients self-reg­u­late, so that would be a pret­ty impor­tant met­ric for assess­ing how the sys­tem is actu­al­ly being used. But Clearview does­n’t appear to have those num­bers and mere­ly assures is that its clients have the tools they need to self-reg­u­late:

    ...
    Now, you know, we’re not per­fect. We can’t see every­thing that’s hap­pen­ing. I don’t think it’s our role to mon­i­tor every search. But we’re con­sid­er­ing and we’re always think­ing about more ways to make this a safe tech­nol­o­gy in terms of deploy­ment. And on the flip side, you know, we’ve nev­er had any wrong­ful arrest or misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion due to use of our tech­nol­o­gy. And you know, we weigh that against the amaz­ing pos­i­tive use cas­es in terms of solv­ing crimes against chil­dren, or the Capi­tol riots and, you know, these real­ly major things. We think we’re strik­ing the right bal­ance.

    MR. HARWELL: How many alle­ga­tions of abuse or how many sort of reports of poten­tial mis­use have you been giv­en in these, you know, many years that you’ve had all these clients?

    MR. TON-THAT: So as a com­pa­ny, like, we haven’t had, you know, direct reports of abuse. But I would have to check to see how many cus­tomers have gone into the tool and revoked access. We haven’t kept exact num­bers on it, but they have all the tools to do it. And that’s just one of our, you know, top pri­or­i­ties, is improv­ing all these con­trols. So, we’re the first com­pa­ny to require a case num­ber and a crime type for doing a facial recog­ni­tion search. None of the oth­er ven­dors in the space have done that. And so we’re glad to set the stan­dard. And we’re think­ing of more ideas in terms of account­ing and report­ing.

    One thing that we’ve added in our 2.0 ver­sion is bet­ter analy­sis of the work­flow. So as these inves­ti­ga­tions start, that admin­is­tra­tors can track, you know, has a per­son been iden­ti­fied, have they been arrest­ed, and get­ting bet­ter sta­tis­tics and fideli­ty into it.
    ...

    Now what about all those lin­ger­ing ques­tions about the far right pol­i­tics of the peo­ple involved with the found­ing of the com­pa­ny? Peo­ple like Peter Thiel and Charles John­son? Well, Ton-That assures us that Clearview has no polit­i­cal moti­va­tion. Also, Charles John­son has noth­ing to do with the com­pa­ny and nev­er has been active­ly involved. Peri­od. That’s his answer:

    ...
    MR. HARWELL: Yeah, okay. Well, let’s–you know, you had men­tioned hav­ing 10 employ­ees not all that long ago, you know, and you’ve cer­tain­ly grown. Talk a lit­tle bit about your investors. I mean, we’ve heard that, you know, Peter Thiel is obvi­ous­ly an investor in the com­pa­ny. He’s, you know, the bil­lion­aire behind Palan­tir, anoth­er data min­ing com­pa­ny. Who are the investors, and how has that changed over the last cou­ple of years?

    ...

    MR. HARWELL: And you know, there’s been a lot of talk about the start­up Clearview, you know, in 2020. And Luke O’Brien of the Huff­in­g­ton Post had report­ed that some of your ear­li­est sort of co-work­ers were–you know, had these deep, long­stand­ing ties to far-right extrem­ists. Charles John­son, who’s, you know, sort of a right-wing activist has said he was a co-founder of the com­pa­ny, has shown doc­u­ments sug­gest­ing he even had stock. What is that back­ground about? And you know, how has the com­pa­ny changed? And if you do have those ties to the far right, why should peo­ple trust you today?

    MR. TON-THAT: Yeah. Thanks, Drew. I’m glad you brought up that ques­tion. So, you know, there’s no polit­i­cal moti­va­tion to Clearview. We have peo­ple from every side of the polit­i­cal spec­trum from the left, on the right, that work here. There’s no left-wing way or right-wing way to help law enforce­ment catch a pedophile or solve any kind of crimes. You know, Charles–some–Charles John­son, some­one we met in 2016 who made some intro­duc­tions, but he’s not a co-founder of a Clearview. He’s nev­er been an employ­ee, a direc­tor, or on the board, and nev­er had any active involve­ment in the com­pa­ny.
    ...

    And that all brings us to Clearview’s ser­vices in Ukraine. Ser­vices that were appar­ent­ly ini­tial­ly facil­i­tat­ed by one of the lawyers sit­ting on Clearview’s advi­so­ry board, for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil mem­ber Lee Wolosky, who just hap­pened to be meet­ing peo­ple in Ukraine at the time. The ser­vices range from iden­ti­fy peo­ple at check­points and iden­ti­fy­ing the dead, to appar­ent­ly pre­vent­ing war crimes. Yes, Ton-That appar­ent­ly is tout­ing Clearview AI’s usage in war zone as a deter­rent to war crimes. Appar­ent­ly poten­tial war crime per­pe­tra­tors will be dis­suad­ed due to fears about be caught on cam­era and ret­ro­spec­tive­ly iden­ti­fied:

    ...
    MR. HARWELL: Gotcha. Okay, well, let’s get into Ukraine. And you know, we’re talk­ing about this inter­na­tion­al expan­sion. This has been some­thing you’ve been talk­ing about. We’ve report­ed on this a lit­tle bit ear­li­er. This is a use case where Ukraine is using facial recog­ni­tion in a cou­ple dif­fer­ent ways, both at check­points, to scan sort of peo­ple com­ing by, but also to scan the faces of cap­tive Russ­ian sol­diers and also dead Russ­ian sol­diers, using that data to find their social media pro­files and con­tact their fam­i­lies. It’s a con­tro­ver­sial use, obvi­ous­ly. But talk us–talk to us a lit­tle bit about how Clearview is used there, and how wide­ly it’s used, and what kinds of suc­cess­es you’ve seen.

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, when we first saw the images com­ing out of Ukraine of all the destruc­tion and dam­age and vic­tims of war, we were think­ing as a com­pa­ny, how would we be able to help? One of the ideas we had was, when they had videos that you might have seen on social media of cap­tured Russ­ian sol­diers, is per­haps facial recog­ni­tion could help get more infor­ma­tion on who they are. So was reach­ing out to advi­so­ry board and there’s one per­son on there, one of our lawyers, Lee Wolosky, who was pre­vi­ous­ly ambas­sador and also on the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil three times, and he just hap­pened to be meet­ing peo­ple in Ukraine, in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment the next day. So, we wrote a let­ter ask­ing and sug­gest­ed that they take a look at this tech­nol­o­gy that we’d offer to them for free. It was about a month and a half ago. And some­how, they got back to us. And we set up the demo of the tech­nol­o­gy. I helped train a lot of the ini­tial users of it. And it’s been a phe­nom­e­nal response.

    The ideas we had orig­i­nal­ly were just the begin­ning, and we’ve seen many oth­er use cas­es. So, you know, one of them is fight­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion in terms of, you know, ver­i­fy­ing an iden­ti­ty or as some­one on social media and cer­tain claims with the tech­nol­o­gy, anoth­er one is with the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of deceased peo­ple, where we’ve been able to help them make iden­ti­ties. If you’re in a war zone pre­vi­ous­ly, you would­n’t have, say, a fin­ger­print data­base or a DNA data­base of Russ­ian sol­diers, for exam­ple. Because our data set is real­ly large and it con­tains a lot of infor­ma­tion from Russ­ian social media sites, it’s very effec­tive in mak­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tions.

    At check­points, it’s always good to know who you’re deal­ing with, if they’re a poten­tial Russ­ian agent or if they are who they say they are, even if they have iden­ti­fi­ca­tion papers. So, it’s been able to, you know, real­ly ver­i­fy who peo­ple are and decrease the risk of misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

    And more recent­ly, the war crimes in Bucha, that’s been effec­tive to iden­ti­fy peo­ple, because you can see that–their sur­veil­lance footage of these. So, we think it’s going to be a real­ly big deter­rent to war crimes if you know that there is footage and sur­veil­lance footage and the abil­i­ty to be iden­ti­fied. And also, we see, you know, use cas­es that, you know, refugee sit­u­a­tions as well, where some peo­ple don’t have any papers with them, or if they do, speed­ing up that pro­cess­ing time is real­ly impor­tant. And so, yeah, we’ve been hon­ored to help them. And I talk to them on a reg­u­lar basis, almost every day. And we hear some amaz­ing suc­cess sto­ries. And they’re a great coun­try, great peo­ple. They’re very brave. And I real­ly have enjoyed the process so far. It’s been an hon­or to be able to help out in our way.

    ...

    MR. HARWELL: But this use case of, you know, iden­ti­fy­ing corpses, and you know, reach­ing out to the Russ­ian fam­i­lies, I mean, it’s just–you can only imag­ine how gut wrench­ing those con­ver­sa­tions are to have sort of a stranger reach out and say that your loved one passed away in a for­eign bat­tle­field. I mean, was this a use case that you all had expect­ed when you offered it to Ukraine? Do you have any reser­va­tions about it being used in that way?

    MR. TON-THAT: Yeah, I think that’s one of the ideas that we thought of, because we’ve seen it be able to iden­ti­fy peo­ple that have been decreased pre­vi­ous­ly. But we did­n’t think it would be as impor­tant as it turned out to be. So, some of the exam­ples that I’ve seen where they would have some­one with an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, some­one with­out, this is some­thing that would not be pos­si­ble in a pre­vi­ous time, where, again, you won’t have a data­base of these in DNA or fin­ger­prints or any­thing like that. So, you know, war is very grue­some. And, you know, in any kind of war zone, it is dan­ger­ous, and this tech­nol­o­gy can help decrease, you know, misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion if you real­ly know who you’re deal­ing with. So, when we take every­one through all these dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios in each sce­nario as a way to, you know, make things safer and bet­ter, and in the cas­es of, you know, vic­tims of war, I think that it’s real­ly unfor­tu­nate that there’s peo­ple in Rus­sia who real­ly believed that this war is not hap­pen­ing. They don’t know where their fam­i­ly mem­bers are, and what’s real­ly hap­pen­ing. And so I think a sense of clo­sure could be very help­ful.
    ...

    So how heav­i­ly has Clearview been used by those six Ukrain­ian agen­cies? Well, there are around 410 users who have con­duct­ed up to 14,809 search­es. And accord­ing to Ton-That, each one of these search­es “is a poten­tial, you know, check­point, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of war crim­i­nal, and/or, you know, many of these cas­es.” So it sounds like ‘war crimes’ inves­ti­ga­tions is appar­ent­ly one of the main uses Ukraine has for Clearview’s ser­vices on the bat­tle­field:

    ...
    MR. HARWELL: And I know when we had talked last time, they were up to 8,600 or so search­es, and you could sort of see from your dash­board how many they’re run­ning. What are they at now?

    MR. TON-THAT: Sure. So, we’re actu­al­ly now–I checked this morning–the six agen­cies using it, anoth­er one signed on 410 users have been–are using the tech­nol­o­gy. So, they each have an account to log in and per­form search­es. Now it’s up to 14,809 search­es. So, each one of these search­es is a poten­tial, you know, check­point, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of war crim­i­nal, and/or, you know, many of these cas­es. So, it’s been very heav­i­ly used and very effec­tive in prac­tice. We hear just a lot of use cas­es. And just a few days ago, the min­is­ter of inter­nal affairs talked about how they’ve been able to use Clearview. They’ve opened over, I think, 8,000 crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings in total, and Clearview has been using a lot of check­points. And I think they say 700 check­points they have with 2,000 offi­cers, and they had no issues, you know, recent­ly around the hol­i­day week­end. So, I think that, you know, there’s, you know, a lot of adop­tion there, and they’re very hands-on. And we’ve been, you know, hon­ored just to hear the thanks that I’ve received, and they’ve received. It’s real­ly great.
    ...

    Is the pro­cess­ing of bat­tle­field footage by Clearview going to become rou­tine in the con­flicts of the future? It’s a mar­ket Clearview is obvi­ous­ly try­ing to cre­ate. And that points towards what is arguably the most unset­tling aspect of this sto­ry: As deep as Clearview’s ties were to the nation­al secu­ri­ty state before, they’re only going to get deep­er as a result of Clearview turn­ing Ukraine into a giant exam­ple of the appli­ca­tions of a glob­al facial recog­ni­tion data­base on the bat­tle­field.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 11, 2022, 4:43 pm
  2. Meta, the par­ent com­pa­ny of Face­book and Insta­gram, just issued a rather intrigu­ing press release: Meta has rescind­ed a request to have Face­book’s new Over­sight Board adju­di­cate an issue relat­ed to the war in Ukraine, cit­ing ‘ongo­ing safe­ty and secu­ri­ty con­cerns’.

    What was the issue that Meta asked the board to look into? We have no idea. We did­n’t even know they made the request in the first place since it was made in secret?

    But as the fol­low­ing arti­cle reminds us, there’s on big very obvi­ous pos­si­ble issue involv­ing Meta’s poli­cies in Ukraine that seem like an obvi­ous can­di­date for out­side mod­er­a­tion: Face­book’s deci­sion to allow calls for the deaths for Russ­ian sol­diers and lead­ers in the con­text of the inva­sion of Ukraine, along with the par­al­lel deci­sion to allow for the praise of open­ly Nazi Ukrain­ian bat­tal­ions like the Azov bat­tal­ion specif­i­cal­ly in the con­text of fight­ing this war. Might that be the secret top­ic at hand that Meta just dis­missed due to “ongo­ing safe­ty and secu­ri­ty con­cerns”? It’s a like­ly can­di­date.

    But as we’re going to see in the sec­ond arti­cle below, there’s anoth­er pos­si­ble Ukraine-relat­ed con­tro­ver­sy that recent­ly came up: a group of anony­mous Face­book mod­er­a­tors went to the press a cou­ple weeks ago com­plain­ing about ambi­gu­i­ty in how Face­book was han­dling the alleged civil­ian mas­sacres by Russ­ian sol­diers in Bucha. The mod­er­a­tors all work for third par­ty con­trac­tors like Accen­ture or Ber­tels­mann now that Face­book has out­sourced its mod­er­a­tion work­force.

    The way these mod­er­a­tors described it, Face­book users are barred from post­ing con­tent that makes vio­lent threats through “ref­er­ences to his­tor­i­cal or fic­tion­al inci­dents of vio­lence”. But Face­book had­n’t yet des­ig­nat­ed the events in Bucha to be one of those his­tor­i­cal inci­dents of vio­lence. So these mod­er­a­tors are appar­ent­ly forced to keep prob­lem­at­ic posts up. The exam­ple they gave is a post that showed a T‑shirt fea­tur­ing a butch­er carv­ing up a pig, with Russ­ian text on it read­ing “??Z?? ? ???? ????? ??V??????” – “Slaugh­ter in Bucha, we can repeat”. In oth­er words, it was post that seemed to be made by a Russ­ian tak­ing cred­it for the civil­ian mas­sacres in Bucha and threat­en­ing more. That’s the kind of post that’s being allowed to stay up on Face­book as a result of this pol­i­cy ambi­gu­i­ty. A post where Rus­sians seem to take cred­it for the mas­sacres in Bucha, which is obvi­ous­ly not a post that’s help­ful for Rus­sia in this con­flict. Quite the con­trary.

    So we have to ask: we that pub­lic com­plaint by these third par­ty con­tract­ed mod­er­a­tors what Meta was ask­ing its Over­sight Board to look into? We don’t know. Meta isn’t say­ing. All we know is that there was some issue involv­ing the war in Ukraine that Meta felt was thorny enough to hand over to its fan­cy new Over­sight Board. And then it got cold feet:

    The Verge

    Meta with­draws request for Over­sight Board’s advice on Rus­sia-Ukraine war con­tent pol­i­cy

    The com­pa­ny cit­ed ‘safe­ty and secu­ri­ty con­cerns’

    By Alex Heath
    May 11, 2022, 1:27pm EDT

    Meta rescind­ed a request to have its own Over­sight Board weigh in on con­tent mod­er­a­tion pol­i­cy relat­ed to the Rus­sia-Ukraine war, cit­ing “ongo­ing safe­ty and secu­ri­ty con­cerns.” It’s the first time Meta has with­drawn such a request, set­ting a prece­dent that could hurt its work­ing rela­tion­ship with the board.

    “Meta has informed the Over­sight Board that the com­pa­ny would be with­draw­ing an ear­li­er request for pol­i­cy guid­ance con­cern­ing con­tent mod­er­a­tion issues relat­ed to Russia’s ongo­ing war with Ukraine,” said a state­ment signed by the board, which is fund­ed by Meta but not staffed by its employ­ees. “While the Board under­stands these con­cerns, we believe the request rais­es impor­tant issues and are dis­ap­point­ed by the company’s deci­sion to with­draw it.”

    Meta con­firmed that the pol­i­cy advi­so­ry request was with­drawn in a blog post, but declined to explain what the request entailed, when it was made, or elab­o­rate on why it was pulled.

    I’m sure that Meta’s safe­ty con­cerns are gen­uine. It has, after all, been labeled an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion by Rus­sia and banned in the coun­try. But this shows how lim­it­ed the Over­sight Board is in being a true check on the social network’s pow­er, espe­cial­ly in times of cri­sis. Based on the board’s bylaws, Meta wouldn’t have had to abide by its pol­i­cy opin­ion, but it would have need­ed to respond pub­licly and explain its ratio­nale for adopt­ing the guid­ance or not.

    It’s unclear what exact­ly Meta asked the board for advice on, but there is an obvi­ous guess: Reuters report­ed in ear­ly March that Face­book mod­er­a­tors were instruct­ed to tem­porar­i­ly allow for calls of vio­lence against Russ­ian lead­ers and sol­diers invad­ing Ukraine. A few days lat­er, Meta’s pol­i­cy chief, Nick Clegg, clar­i­fied in a leaked memo to employ­ees that the pol­i­cy wasn’t meant to allow for vio­lent speech tar­get­ed at Russ­ian civil­ians or “a head of state.” The Russ­ian gov­ern­ment then accused Meta of “extrem­ist activ­i­ty.”

    There’s also the ques­tion of why Meta ini­tial­ly made the request for advice from the board in secret. A spokesper­son for Meta, Jeff Gel­man, said the com­pa­ny didn’t pub­licly announce its request when it was made because “we don’t put undue pres­sure on the board to accept our case refer­rals over cas­es appeals from users.” But it has pub­li­cized oth­er pre­vi­ous requests, such as when it asked the board last year to weigh in on Cross-Check, a con­tro­ver­sial pol­i­cy that shields celebri­ties and politi­cians from the mod­er­a­tion mea­sures applied to oth­er users.

    The Board also notes the with­draw­al of this request does not dimin­ish Meta’s respon­si­bil­i­ty to care­ful­ly con­sid­er the ongo­ing con­tent mod­er­a­tion issues which have arisen from this war, which the Board con­tin­ues to fol­low.— Over­sight Board (@OversightBoard) May 11, 2022

    ...

    ““So far, the board has made a dif­fer­ence, but only around the edges.””

    Since it start­ed hear­ing cas­es in late 2020, the board has select­ed 30 cas­es relat­ed to indi­vid­ual pieces of con­tent and thorny issues like hate speech, nudi­ty, and drug use. It has over­turned Meta’s ini­tial deci­sion in most of those cas­es and recent­ly led the com­pa­ny to change its doxxing pol­i­cy for the bet­ter. But the jury is still out on whether the board will make a dif­fer­ence in the long run, accord­ing to Eve­lyn Douek, an asso­ciate research schol­ar at the Knight First Amend­ment Insti­tute who close­ly stud­ies the board.

    “So far, the board has made a dif­fer­ence, but only around the edges,” she told The Verge. “I think it has been punch­ing below its weight. To be fair, it does take two to tan­go, and this inci­dent shows that the board still only has as much influ­ence or pow­er as Meta decides to give it. But the board also has moved slow­er and with less tar­get­ed pre­ci­sion than it could have.”

    ———-

    “Meta with­draws request for Over­sight Board’s advice on Rus­sia-Ukraine war con­tent pol­i­cy” by Alex Heath; The Verge; 05/11/2022

    “Meta con­firmed that the pol­i­cy advi­so­ry request was with­drawn in a blog post, but declined to explain what the request entailed, when it was made, or elab­o­rate on why it was pulled.

    Why did Meta pull this request? The com­pa­ny isn’t say­ing. Nor is it reveal­ing the thorny issue that Meta ini­tial­ly del­e­gat­ed to its Over­sight Board in the first place? All we know about this is that Meta made a request, in secret ini­tial­ly, and then pub­licly with­drew that request. But there’s a very obvi­ous poten­tial issue: Face­book’s deci­sion to tem­porar­i­ly allow call of vio­lence against Russ­ian lead­ers and sol­diers invad­ing Ukraine. Sure, we don’t know if that’s the actu­al issue Meta asked for guid­ance on but it sure seems like the kind of issue that Meta might want to del­e­gate to its Over­sight Board, if only to deflect crit­i­cism onto Board for the ulti­mate deci­sion:

    ...
    It’s unclear what exact­ly Meta asked the board for advice on, but there is an obvi­ous guess: Reuters report­ed in ear­ly March that Face­book mod­er­a­tors were instruct­ed to tem­porar­i­ly allow for calls of vio­lence against Russ­ian lead­ers and sol­diers invad­ing Ukraine. A few days lat­er, Meta’s pol­i­cy chief, Nick Clegg, clar­i­fied in a leaked memo to employ­ees that the pol­i­cy wasn’t meant to allow for vio­lent speech tar­get­ed at Russ­ian civil­ians or “a head of state.” The Russ­ian gov­ern­ment then accused Meta of “extrem­ist activ­i­ty.”

    There’s also the ques­tion of why Meta ini­tial­ly made the request for advice from the board in secret. A spokesper­son for Meta, Jeff Gel­man, said the com­pa­ny didn’t pub­licly announce its request when it was made because “we don’t put undue pres­sure on the board to accept our case refer­rals over cas­es appeals from users.” But it has pub­li­cized oth­er pre­vi­ous requests, such as when it asked the board last year to weigh in on Cross-Check, a con­tro­ver­sial pol­i­cy that shields celebri­ties and politi­cians from the mod­er­a­tion mea­sures applied to oth­er users.
    ...

    And don’t for­get, Face­book’s deci­sion back in ear­ly March was­n’t just to allow for the call­ing of vio­lence against Russ­ian sol­diers and lead­ers. It also allowed for the praise Nazi bat­tal­ions like Azov as long as that praise was in the con­text of fight­ing Rus­sians. Was that part of what Meta ini­tial­ly asked the board to resolve?

    And then there’s the relat­ed issue that was raised by the Face­book mod­er­a­tors them­selves a cou­ple of weeks ago: these mod­er­a­tors were express­ing frus­tra­tion over what they per­ceived was a lack of guid­ance from Meta on how to mod­er­ate aspects of the war in Ukraine. In par­tic­u­lar, it sounds like the mod­er­a­tors weren’t sure if they were sup­posed to take down posts that have the appear­ance of being made by some­one in sup­port of alleged Russ­ian civil­ian mas­sacres in Bucha, but made with just enough ambi­gu­i­ty where it’s not entire­ly clear if the posts are cel­e­brat­ing the mas­sacres or mock­ing per­ceived Russ­ian cel­e­bra­tions of the mas­sacres. It sounds like these mod­er­a­tors are forced to seek out “region­al input” from Face­book regard­ing whether or not posts involv­ing deaths in Bucha can be delet­ed and that region­al input has nev­er arrived and the the flagged posts become much hard to take down. Posts seem­ing­ly cel­e­brat­ing Russ­ian civil­ian mas­sacres in Bucha. The mod­er­a­tors are ask­ing that Face­book instead declare the civil­ian killings in Bucha to be a “inter­nal­ly des­ig­nat­ed” event that will allow­ing these mod­er­a­tors to eas­i­ly take down these posts.

    Note that it only sounds like posts that are some­what coy about whether or not they are real­ly cel­e­brat­ing the civil­ian deaths in Bucha fall into this ambigu­ous ter­ri­to­ry. Posts unam­bigu­ous­ly cel­e­brat­ing the civil­ian deaths in Bucha can be take down right away.

    But also keep in mind that posts on Face­book that appear to be pro-Russ­ian and cel­e­brat­ing the civil­ian deaths in Bucha area actu­al­ly run­ning counter to Russ­ian inter­ests and the offi­cial Russ­ian line that the civil­ian mas­sacres in Bucha were staged by the Ukraini­ans to some extent. An asser­tion for which there is ample cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence. So Meta has been allow­ing these prob­lem­at­ic posts to stay up through this “region­al input” bot­tle­neck in its mod­er­a­tion pipeline, posts that actu­al­ly make Rus­sians look worse on the plat­form, and now we have a bunch of anony­mous mod­er­a­tors going to the press com­plain­ing about how Face­book isn’t being hard enough on Rus­sia.

    Also keep in mind that if the lack of “region­al input” is the bot­tle­neck here, it sounds like the Face­book divi­sion that cov­ers Ukraine is ulti­mate­ly respon­si­ble for keep­ing these prob­lem­at­ic posts up. Might that be inten­tion­al? Again, the posts that are being left up basi­cal­ly look like Rus­sians cel­e­brat­ing and tak­ing cred­it for alleged Bucha civil­ian mas­sacres. It’s not like those posts aren’t in Ukraine’s favor in the big pic­ture.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, these mod­er­a­tors were also express­ing what they felt like Face­book’s lack of urgency over the issue and attrib­uted that to Face­book being a US com­pa­ny cater­ing to a domes­tic audi­ence that may not be as focused on Ukraine as these mod­er­a­tors would pre­fer. As one mod­er­a­tor puts it, “I was quite hap­py with the ini­tial reac­tion of Face­book to the war...I was quite hap­py with the excep­tions that were made that allowed dehu­man­is­ing speech against sol­diers. Those changes brought some bal­ance into the poli­cies: vic­tims and oppres­sors were not treat­ed the same and were not giv­en the same rights. But now, it has become clear that what counts for Face­book is Amer­i­can pub­lic opin­ion. They only care if they look good in the US media.” In oth­er words, these mod­er­a­tors were going pub­lic with con­cerns that Face­book’s poli­cies of allow­ing the dehu­man­iz­ing speech against Russ­ian sol­diers did­n’t go near­ly far enough. And yet, based on the exam­ples they give of the ambigu­ous Bucha posts, it appears that this pol­i­cy ambi­gu­i­ty was like­ly cre­at­ed from the same pro-Russ­ian-dehu­man­iz­ing pol­i­cy change these mod­er­a­tors were prais­ing. It rais­es the ques­tion as to what exact pol­i­cy changes are these mod­er­a­tors look­ing for Meta to impose?

    But there’s anoth­er inter­est­ing detail about how Face­book han­dles its con­tent mod­er­a­tion that this sto­ry reminds us of: Face­book has com­plete­ly out­sourced its mod­er­a­tion to third-par­ty con­trac­tors, like Accen­ture and Ber­tels­mann. Yes, Ber­tels­mann is one of the com­pa­nies actu­al­ly imple­ment­ing Face­book’s con­tent mod­er­a­tion. So when we have anony­mous mod­er­a­tors going to press com­plain­ing about Face­book not being anti-Rus­sia enough dur­ing this war, it rais­es the ques­tion as to whether or not these anony­mous mod­er­a­tors are pure­ly speak­ing on their own behalf or if they’re shar­ing the con­cerns of their third par­ty employ­er like Ber­tels­mann:

    The Guardian

    Face­book mod­er­a­tors call on firm to do more about posts prais­ing Bucha atroc­i­ties

    Com­pa­ny insists any con­tent glo­ri­fy­ing vio­lence against Ukraini­ans not allowed, but mod­er­a­tors say lack of guid­ance means they feel forced to leave up some con­tent

    Alex Hern
    Fri 29 Apr 2022 12.53 EDT
    Last mod­i­fied on Sun 1 May 2022 10.01 EDT

    Face­book mod­er­a­tors have called on the com­pa­ny to let them take action against users who praise or sup­port the Russ­ian military’s atroc­i­ties in Bucha and across Ukraine.

    Almost a month after evi­dence of wide­spread mur­der and mass graves was uncov­ered by Ukrain­ian forces tak­ing the sub­urb of Kyiv, the social net­work still has not flagged the atroc­i­ty as an “inter­nal­ly des­ig­nat­ed” inci­dent, the mod­er­a­tors say.

    That restricts how they can treat con­tent relat­ed to the killings, they say, and forces them to leave up some con­tent they believe ought to be removed.

    “It’s been a month since the mas­sacre and mass graves in Bucha, but this event hasn’t been even des­ig­nat­ed a ‘vio­lat­ing event’, let alone a hate crime,” said one mod­er­a­tor, who spoke to the Guardian on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty. “On that same day there was a shoot­ing in the US, with one fatal­i­ty and two casu­al­ties, and this was declared a vio­lat­ing event with­in three hours.”

    Under Facebook’s pub­lic mod­er­a­tion guide­lines, users are barred from post­ing con­tent that makes vio­lent threats through “ref­er­ences to his­tor­i­cal or fic­tion­al inci­dents of vio­lence”. But in pri­vate doc­u­ments issued to mod­er­a­tors, who work for third-par­ty con­tract­ing firms such as Accen­ture or Ber­tels­mann, they are told to wait for region­al input from Face­book itself before deter­min­ing whether a “doc­u­ment­ed vio­lent inci­dent” counts.

    In the absence of that input, con­tent that prais­es events in Bucha is tough to remove if it’s even slight­ly coy about whether it’s cel­e­brat­ing the mur­der of peo­ple. One post, for instance, showed a T‑shirt fea­tur­ing a butch­er carv­ing up a pig, with Russ­ian text on it read­ing “??Z?? ? ???? ????? ??V??????” – “Slaugh­ter in Bucha, we can repeat”.

    “My sus­pi­cion is that this is just not as close, not as impor­tant to Amer­i­can audi­ences or the Amer­i­can pub­lic, so it just doesn’t get the atten­tion,” the Face­book mod­er­a­tor said. “After two weeks I realised that they prob­a­bly aren’t going to do any­thing about it.

    “I was quite hap­py with the ini­tial reac­tion of Face­book to the war,” they added. “I was quite hap­py with the excep­tions that were made that allowed dehu­man­is­ing speech against sol­diers. Those changes brought some bal­ance into the poli­cies: vic­tims and oppres­sors were not treat­ed the same and were not giv­en the same rights. But now, it has become clear that what counts for Face­book is Amer­i­can pub­lic opin­ion. They only care if they look good in the US media.”

    In a state­ment, a spokesper­son for Meta, Facebook’s par­ent com­pa­ny, said: “It’s wrong to sug­gest we wouldn’t remove graph­ic con­tent that cel­e­brates or glo­ri­fies the atroc­i­ties in Bucha, or any post that mocks the death of indi­vid­ual vic­tims or advo­cates for vio­lence against Ukraini­ans in any way.

    “We’ve long­stand­ing poli­cies that make clear this con­tent is not allowed on Face­book and Insta­gram,” they added. “We have been pro­vid­ing addi­tion­al guid­ance to con­tent review­ers on these poli­cies and con­tent asso­ci­at­ed with the war in Ukraine to explain how our poli­cies apply in the cur­rent con­text, and will con­tin­ue to do so.”

    State use of force is treat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly to crim­i­nal acts of vio­lence under its poli­cies, Face­book said, based on exten­sive con­sul­ta­tions with out­side experts.

    The issue was raised by the non­prof­it cam­paign group Fox­glove Legal. Its direc­tor, Martha Dark, said: “Face­book can act swift­ly on mass killings when it wants to. In the US, for exam­ple, mass shoot­ings tend to be classed with­in hours as a ‘vio­lat­ing event’ – this blocks posters from prais­ing the mur­ders, cel­e­brat­ing the per­pe­tra­tors, or call­ing for more vio­lence.

    ...

    ———-

    “Face­book mod­er­a­tors call on firm to do more about posts prais­ing Bucha atroc­i­ties” by Alex Hern; The Guardian; 04/29/2022

    “Under Facebook’s pub­lic mod­er­a­tion guide­lines, users are barred from post­ing con­tent that makes vio­lent threats through “ref­er­ences to his­tor­i­cal or fic­tion­al inci­dents of vio­lence”. But in pri­vate doc­u­ments issued to mod­er­a­tors, who work for third-par­ty con­tract­ing firms such as Accen­ture or Ber­tels­mann, they are told to wait for region­al input from Face­book itself before deter­min­ing whether a “doc­u­ment­ed vio­lent inci­dent” counts.”

    Meta hires third par­ty con­trac­tors from firms like Accen­ture or Ber­tels­mann to han­dling their mod­er­a­tion, includ­ing tak­ing down barred con­tent that makes vio­lent threats through “ref­er­ences to his­tor­i­cal or fic­tion­al inci­dents of vio­lence.” But threats refer­ring to a repeat of the civil­ian deaths in Bucha, which these mod­er­a­tors char­ac­ter­ize as a “doc­u­ment­ed vio­lent inci­dent”, fall into a reg­u­la­to­ry grey­zone that requires the mod­er­a­tors to seek out guid­ance from Face­book’s region­al offices as to whether or not threats allud­ing to the civil­ian deaths in Bucha fall into this cat­e­go­ry. And that region­al input from Face­book itself has­n’t been forth­com­ing. That appears to be the crux of this issue:

    ...
    In the absence of that input, con­tent that prais­es events in Bucha is tough to remove if it’s even slight­ly coy about whether it’s cel­e­brat­ing the mur­der of peo­ple. One post, for instance, showed a T‑shirt fea­tur­ing a butch­er carv­ing up a pig, with Russ­ian text on it read­ing “??Z?? ? ???? ????? ??V??????” – “Slaugh­ter in Bucha, we can repeat”.

    “My sus­pi­cion is that this is just not as close, not as impor­tant to Amer­i­can audi­ences or the Amer­i­can pub­lic, so it just doesn’t get the atten­tion,” the Face­book mod­er­a­tor said. “After two weeks I realised that they prob­a­bly aren’t going to do any­thing about it.

    “I was quite hap­py with the ini­tial reac­tion of Face­book to the war,” they added. “I was quite hap­py with the excep­tions that were made that allowed dehu­man­is­ing speech against sol­diers. Those changes brought some bal­ance into the poli­cies: vic­tims and oppres­sors were not treat­ed the same and were not giv­en the same rights. But now, it has become clear that what counts for Face­book is Amer­i­can pub­lic opin­ion. They only care if they look good in the US media.”
    ...

    And yet, again, there’s no deny­ing that allow­ing these posts to stay up with state­ments like “Slaugh­ter in Bucha, we can repeat” are decid­ed­ly not in Rus­si­a’s inter­ests. So we have con­tent mod­er­a­tors com­plain­ing that Face­book’s pol­i­cy ambi­gu­i­ty and bureau­crat­ic inac­tion in the face of the sto­ries com­ing out of Bucha aren’t going far enough to pre­vent Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da. And yet the very same behav­ior by Meta that these mod­er­a­tors are com­plain­ing about is effec­tive­ly allow­ing posts that look like Russ­ian admis­sions of guilt over the civil­ian deaths in Bucha.

    So, again, we have to ask: was this the issue that Face­book secret­ly asked its Over­sight Board to look into? We don’t know, but if so, it should­n’t be too shock­ing that they rescind­ed that request giv­en how sor­did this sit­u­a­tion appears to be. Either way, try not to be super shocked if we see sud­den­ly see a flood of ‘Russ­ian’ social media posts seem­ing­ly tak­ing cred­it for one alleged mas­sacre after anoth­er.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 12, 2022, 4:26 pm

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