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‘Twitter versus RT’ will either kill alternative media or social media networks

The time has come to hit the corporate ‘refresh button’ on the social media network monopoly.

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News producers, like authors, musicians, painters, photographers and other people in creative or current events trades, often do not take into account how the technology used to convey one’s content, often dictates the very nature of the context itself.

Consider how the invention of magnetic tape recording created a boom in the sales of symphonic music, because the supreme fidelity of such tapes allowed a more accurate recreation of the sound of a live concert vis-a-vis previous formats, which were rendered instantly obsolete. Consider how the advent of television led to film makers changing the way films were made, forcing studios, directors and producers to offer new enticements to people including more visually and sonically impact stimuli in the cinema.

It was the invention of increasingly inexpensive and portable video-tape records as well as broadcast satellites that led to a revolution in how people consumed the news. The age of printed papers and news reels which needed to be filmed, developed and then physically distributed, were at once made obsolete by the ability to broadcast sound and picture from multiple parts of the globe, all at one time.

Not only did the LP record become instantly popular, but it led to the 33 and 1/3 rpm record giving birth to a new style of music which was conceptually composed to fit the length of a double-sided LP as a complete piece with a beginning middle and end, complete with the short intermission that it required to flip the record. Of course the CD made that ‘intermission’ obsolete and today, digital streaming means that even having a physic disc is considered an inconvenience to many.

Just as the videotape and satellite made news more instant, social media networks have made the delivery of information all the more immediate.

However, beyond the ‘rush to immediacy’ that new technologies bring to any form of content, the internet and social media networks have made it so that one can get a written, audio or video message out to a wider public at a fraction of the expensive that it used to incur. 4G and Wifi is the satellite for ‘every-man’ while social media has allowed outlets to attain substantial audience proliferation at a fraction of the costs of old fashioned marketing campaigns.

This is why the elites who have their economic lives and in the case of politicians, the economic lives of their political donors, invested highly in the past, are attacking the content of future minded media outlets. Among the most successful such outlets are RT and Sputnik. Because of this, both RT and Sputnik  have now been banned from advertising their content on Twitter.

Of course, among the political elites of the west, there is a clear anti-Russian agenda with an accompanying snobbish attitude towards the very contemporary style of RT and Sputnik. But what it really comes down to is money. Ironically, the problem that western governments have with RT and Sputnik is the problem they have with an unregulated marketplace. So much for RT and Sputnik being ‘Soviet’ as is often alleged. In actual fact, they are the opposite: they are efficient business models in a competitive capitalist environment.

If you hate RT and have few informed opinions on Russia, you are probably a SNOB!

Competitions for ratings effect both state owned and fully privately owned broadcasters. This is why the BBC for example continues to sell and licence its products throughout the world. It is also why Al Jazeera America closed down. All the handsome funding from the Qatari state, could not help dig Al Jazeera America out of its low-ratings money hole. While state funded, Qatar wasn’t running Al Jazeera America as a charity.

RT and Sputnik, as partly state funded operations have broken the mould both in style, substance, efficiency and market proliferation. They have done so without maintain huge marketing budgets by any contemporary industry standard. In doing so, RT and Sputnik have challenged the old MSM monopoly. The fact that the old MSM monopoly refuses to accept the arrival of RT and Sputnik is the primary reason why they are being attacked on social media.

The war on RT: A childish crusade pushing a dangerous agenda

While RT and Sputnik’s content remains as popular as ever, the very nature of social media is changing before our eyes. The Twitter attacks on RT and Sputnik are just one very prominent symptom of this.

Days before Twitter pulled the plug on RT and Sputnik’s right to advertise, Facebook quietly rolled out a programme whereby media companies would be forced to pay advertising costs in order for their content to be seen on Facebook. So-called ‘organic reach’, the phenomenon of people seeing and then sharing a story from a media outlet is effectively quashed under the new programme that has already been rolled out in several global markets.

When taken in totality, the big social media networks want small independent outlets to be forced to pay for views while large, however nimble outlets like RT and Sputnik will be forbidden to do so. The logical conclusion is that only MSM outlets with big budgets, whose ethos does not threaten the old status quo, will be able to easily spread their content over social media networks.

The only solution is for alternative media outlets of all sizes to form an alternative distribution system to existing social media networks. Finding replacements for the current social media network monopoly has long been a pressing issue, given how censorship of free speech is now de rigueur among the owners of the means of social media production.

The following are some suggestions for a way forward: 

1. “Friends lists personal property of the individual”

In most countries, phone companies used to have an unfair advantage over customers insofar as phone numbers were the property of the telecom company. While this is still the case in some places, in many others, it is now possible and relatively easy to transfer ones phone number and contacts between phone companies as a legal right.

The same should be true for social media ‘friends lists’. If one could easily transfer one’s list of contacts between social media networks with the same ease as switching phone numbers, there will be far less reluctance to ‘relocate’ the core of one’s social media networking activities.

Pressure was put on reluctant phone companies to offer this to their ex-customers and the same must be done for social media operations in respect of friends lists.

2. Regulate existing social media networks in the style of telecom bodies 

As I previously proposed and now restate:

“It is widely known that Facebook and Twitter can temporarily or permanently ban users for the most arbitrary, foolish and immoral reasons. When called up on their use of their trigger-happy ban button, they simply say that ‘they are a private corporation’ and can therefore do as they wish. Whilst they are a private corporation, so are the telecom companies in many countries.

It is virtually unheard of for a phone or internet provider to ban a customer because of the content of his or her phone conversations or emails or even the photos and videos one can now keep in a cloud storage system.

This applies to conference calls, emails with multiple recipients, etc.

Facebook, Twitter and others should not act differently. Social media is, if you will, a conference call with a wider audience; an email sent to multiple people. Some people elect to privilege and restrict their communications and others can make it fully public. If someone doesn’t like what is being said they can personally block a user just, as one can hang up a phone during an unwanted conversation. It’s just that simple.

 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are telecom tools of the modern age, just as the landline was in the 20th century and mobile phones were after they became common in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Governments should force social media companies to refrain from any sort of censorship or removal of users in all instances except when criminal activity is suspected. Anything criminal such as plotting an act of terrorism or preying on children is all ready a criminal offence and it should be dealt with by police and not any private sector organisations, including Facebook middle management. Expressing views, even hateful views is not a crime. It is quite the opposite, it is protected by free speech laws. If someone is offended they can simply not look at the content, just as when one sees a unseemly vagabond on the street, they in many cases,  elect to cross the road.

Not only are Facebook and Twitter using their power as giant corporations to restrict personal liberty in line with a globalist liberal agenda, they are actually putting lives at risk. Government ought to step in to protect free speech from private sector censorship. Social media is not an ordinary product whose sale can be restricted by its lawful owner, it is a conduit of communications that is now a vial part of daily life. Unlike a small business owner who ought to have the right to refuse service in all but the most exceptional cases (such as race discrimination), Facebook and Twitter should be legally restricted in their arbitrary censorship measures because of the negative effect this has on society and personal liberty.

Social media is now the first line of defence against terrorism. Before mainstream media cameras can get on site, it is social media users who are sharing information about terrorist attacks, alerting others to either avoid the area or send for help. It is also a lifeline for loved ones to communicate with one another during times of crisis, as well as a way to let others know that one is safe in the event of a terrorist atrocity or natural disaster”.

http://theduran.wpengine.com/social-media-censorship-puts-lives-at-risk/

However, in spite of the concerns for personal safety, personal privacy and personal liberty, because of the nature of the media-industrial complex, it is very unlikely that these healthy regulations will come into place at this time. This however, is all the more reason to vocally make this argument.

3. Big broadcasters should start their own social media networks 

In the race to create new viable social media networks, considerable budgets, proven track records and brand recognition are invaluable. Here, RT, Sputnik and many other broadcasters could start their own social networks geared towards people with certain attitudes, but where all are welcome to freely share both profound ideas and typical updates on daily life.

With Facebook and Twitter conducting an ideological war on behalf of their fellow corporations, it is becoming increasingly necessary for those who are shut out of ‘old’ social media to find a new home. Ideally, this new home would not resort to censoring anyone.

RT’s motto of ‘question more’ is a good fit for social media. It could even be that RT could partner with Russian social media giant VK to create a platform whose reach is beyond VK’s target Russian speaking demographic to something that is fully multi-lingual and international.

If the corporate social media owners want to shut out “competition”, the best way to have the last laugh is to show them that they are only shutting out their own existing and potential client base.

If this base shrinks to people who only watch CNN and other MSM outlets, Facebook will lose advertising revenue for the same reason that a a lone undertaker would not need to spend much on advertising his services in a town with a large ageing population.

If RT and Sputnik want to not only preserve but increase the reach of their content, the next frontier is doing to social media networks what was already done to traditional TV and radio broadcasters.

CONCLUSION:

In the 1960s, new record labels in countries like the US, challenged the record producing monopoly of the old major labels. Likewise, in the 1980s, cable television challenged the primacy of the major 3 networks of the US.

Now is the time to challenge the old social media networks in the same way. The incentive is there, the audience is waiting and the potential gains are far greater than the potential risks.

In doing so, content creators will be able to rally behind a new means of distribution that will preserve and expand the reach of their work. The only losers are those who think less content means more market share. Those who censor, are those who are reducing their own business potential in the long term.

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

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