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Here’s what to expect at this week’s UN General Assembly opening – Trump’s debut

The power of the so-called multipolar world will be the real ‘star’ of this years General Assembly, even as the cameras will be fixed on Donald Trump.

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World leaders are beginning to gather in New York where they will attend the opening of this year’s session of the UN General Assembly. This year is particularly significant as it will be Donald Trump’s first address to the UN General Assembly since becoming President of the United States in January of this year. However, Trump may well be overshadowed by other events and consequently, by other nations.

Here are the things to look out for

Pronounced US isolation 

As the least experienced leader of a major world power, Donald Trump has a great burden on his shoulders. He will be facing not only the ire of a world increasingly upset with US attempts to impose its will on the wider world but he will also be facing a generation of fellow world-leaders who came of age on the world stage during the post-9/11 era of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

This is significant as it has been during this time that the US has implemented an aggressive foreign policy which puts into practice, the neo-con agenda which was first developed in the 1990s. America has been constantly at war ever since 2016 and in the process, US actions have led to the execution of two well known world leaders, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya.

READ MORE: 6 MAJOR US foreign policy failures of the post-Cold War era

Donald Trump campaigned on a very sensible platform which broadly stated that the neo-con foreign policies of both G.W. Bush and Obama were failures and that the US would change course under a Trump administration.

Thus far, this has not happened. Instead, the US maintains an illegal presence in Syria while Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the UN, touts regime change in Syria, even now. Beyond this, Trump has approved a troop surge in Afghanistan, a 16 year war which is the longest in US history. It was a war Trump had previously said was a failure and he would withdraw from, during the campaign.

Now, the US is threatening regime change in North Korea, as Nikki Haley goes on yet another anti-Pyongyang rampage. This is happen while Haley’s boss, Rex Tillerson, insists that the US is not after regime change in North Korea. The chaos is no longer amusing for the wider world.

Donald Trump, a man who himself has no foreign policy experience, will have to defend not only the arrogant statements of the permanently unhinged Nikki Haley, but also the deeply unpopular legacy of his two immediate predecessors, a legacy which Trump has failed fully reject in power, even though he promised to do so during his campaign.

The biggest question remaining for Trump is as follows: will he try to re-package the old neo-con policies to make them appear different, or will it be more of the same arrogance, exceptionalism and bellicosity from yet another American leader?

Russia

Russia can and almost certainly will walk into this year’s General Assembly with a feeling of confidence and a quiet, understated mood of victory. Syria’s victory against Salafist/jihadist terrorists is now assured and a substantial reason for this has undoubtedly been Russia’s legal intervention in the conflict.

Beyond Syria, Russia’s geo-political leadership has secured new partnerships with Turkey and Pakistan, while economic as well as geo-political cooperation has strengthen Russia’s modern alliance with China.

Even in the part of the Arab world that has traditionally had the least friendly policies towards Russia, the Persian Gulf, leaders throughout the region have praised Russia’s neutral and constructive role in the ongoing crisis between the Saudi led quartet and Qatar.

In this sense, the overarching role of global leadership that the US claims for itself, has been quietly taken by Russia. Russia knows this and the Russian address to the General Assembly will without doubt reflect this.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke before the UN in 2015, he was highly critical of America’s foreign policy, though without specifically naming names. This year, Russia will if anything speak with even increased confidence in this respect, knowing that the US has not taken heed of any warnings previously issued, something which is if anything, magnified by the fact that Donald Trump’s ‘project reconciliation’ with Russia has amounted to little.

Russia might also explain its leadership in respect of East Asia, by affirming its desire to de-escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula through cooperative initiatives involving both Korean states.

Finally, Russia will almost certainly reiterate its calls for a UN peacekeeping force to be sent to Donbass, something which has been widely praised in Europe, particularly in Germany. This could be the beginning of the end of major obstacles between Russia and the European Union, even as Russia’s primary partners are now in Asia.

China

China will look to emphasise the theme of peace through prosperity in what will amount to a calm elucidation of the benefits of One Belt–One Road to the growing economies of Asia and Africa. In this sense, China will send an implied message to India and other states who remain sceptical of One Belt–One Road, restating that the initiative is purely voluntary and will serve the best interests of all participating states.

China will also almost certainly emphasise its revolution in renewable energy which is being watched by business leaders and environmental activists the world over with great interest, in spite of a near complete blackout in the western mainstream media.

China will likely also touch on its opposition to violence on any side, in respect of the Korean peninsula.

Syria and Iraq 

Both Syria and Iraq will, in a unique moment in history, offer similar statements in many ways. Both will speak of the importance of national unity, in a not so thinly veiled opposition to Kurdish nationalism and each will try to reclaim the victory over terrorism from international actors who are often credited with fighting the battle by various elements in the media. In the later instance, Syria will have a stronger case than Iraq, in many ways.

Syria in particular, may use the UN to re-define the Arabism which underpins Ba’athism. President Bashar al-Assad has recently spoken of the fact that all Syrians whether Muslim or Christian are an indefensible part of the fabric of Syria.

Now that Syria is on the verge of victory, Syria will likely be clear in re-stating the fact that it is the last major Arab country to hold true to the revolutionary belief system of Ba’athism and Arab Nationalism more widely.

Both Syria and Iraq will also likely emphasise the importance of the wider world respecting their sovereignty so that conflict can be erased from the lands of each state.

India and Myanmar 

Both the internal and geo-political events surrounding India will help to shape an Indian address that seeks to position New Delhi as an economic and also moral leader of the Asian world and wider so-called developing world.

In this sense, the rhetorical pragmatism of China will be countered by a not so subtly ideological speech from India.

In this sense, India will present itself as the Asian power best place to bring prosperity to Africa and settle disputes in South East Asia. None of this will amuse China, but nor will China be particularly surprised.

Whether overtly or subliminally, India will almost certainly come out in favour of the actions taken by the government of Myanmar, more strongly than any other country.

Look out for many anti-terrorist cliches combined with an almost holier than thou attitude which implies that India is Asia. This will be a clear indication of the speech being a kind of self-coronation of India’s Premier Modi, one which likely won’t be received quite as warmly as Modi hopes.

While Prime Minister Modi will almost certainly deliver the Indian address, it has already been confirmed that Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will skip the event. Myanmar can nevertheless use the General Assembly to calmly explain the situation regarding the Rohingya crisis in a manner which sheds light on the complex realities of the situation while offering genuine sympathy for the deaths that have been caused in the fog of a long civil war.

Myanmar thus far has not had the best public relations tactics in respect of the crisis. The combination of insularity on behalf of Myanmar’s military leadership, known as the Tatmadaw, combined with Aung San Suu Kyi’s inexperience in a genuine position of needing to be a communicator, has often let the country down.

Myanmar must be calm in rejecting the more outlandish claims about its internal conflict while also not callously brushing aside the fears of the wider Muslim world, which are genuine even when based on half-truths. In this respect, Myanmar could help to create a new diplomatic narrative on the crisis, but it is doubtful this will happen and India in trying to help, might only do harm in portraying the conflict as a ‘Muslim versus everyone else’ conflict, which the Civil War in Myanmar is most certainly not.

READ MORE: Understanding the Myanmar/Rohingya conflict is best achieved through understanding international non-alignment

Pakistan 

Pakistan’s speech may catch the United States off guard more so than any other. The tentative US ally has been very public with its anger over Trump administration claims that Pakistan harbours terrorism and that in this sense it presents a problem for Afghanistan. All political parties in Pakistan consider these remarks to be gravely insulting to the country which has suffered the most due to the largely US authored instability in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The threat of cutting off economic aid to a country that has sacrificed a great deal to placate the United States has added insult to injury.

Pakistan’s most important ally is undoubtedly China and the larges sums of monetary and infrastructural investment that China has poured into Pakistan, have given Islamabad both the courage and an economic insurance policy, which has already allowed Pakistani leaders to say what they really feel about the United States.

For those who do not realise that Pakistan now looks to Beijing for partnerships rather than Washington, Pakistan’s speech may be a rude awakening.

Iran

Iran’s address will almost certainly be a combination of confidence and anger. Where former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once used his General Assembly speech to argue the case for US involvement in the 9/11 atrocities, today’s Iranian leadership will likely focus on the broader issues of Iranian development and geo-political relations.

Being on the winning side of the wider Middle East war against Takfiri terrorism, has already greatly enhanced Iran’s prestige in many parts of the Arab world and its growing partnerships beyond in Arab world with China, Russia, Turkey and even Pakistan, mean that Iran is more connected to the wider world than at any time since the Revolution of 1979.

With the Trump administration tearing up the 2013 JCPOA (aka nuclear deal) in all but name and with threats from the White House to formally reject the JCPOA at any moment, Iran ought to take the high road and demonstrate how Theran has been in full compliance with the deal according to the US State Department, the UN and the EU.

A calm approach to explaining how the US is guilty of violating the deal while Iran has acted in good faith is essential.

Even if Iran is impassioned in its expressions of disappointment with the US over the deal, this will still achieve largely the same effect.

Interestingly, the US could use Iran’s decidedly anti-Myanmar narrative in respect of the Rohingya crisis to try and exploit a possible schism between Iran and its non-Muslim partners. But as things stand, America’s tunnel-vision on Iran will prevent Washington from exploiting this openly.

Turkey and Israel 

Both powers who share a common Eastern Mediterranean region are moving in entirely different directions. Turkey is moving closer to Iran and its regional partners while Israel is moving closer to Saudi Arabia and its regional allies. Furthermore, with Israel coming out unambiguously in favour of a Kurdish state on Turkey’s borders, it only remains to be seen which country can restrain its passions more on the Kurdish issue.

In the event, Turkey will almost certainly refer to its security concerns in respect of a Kurdish state and in doing so, will be speaking in an ironically singular voice with Syria and Iraq, while Israel will almost certainly allude to sharing similar ‘ideals’ with Kurdish nationalists.

WIth America’s two traditional regional allies coming out on opposite sides of key issues, the US State Department will need to engage in heavy behind the scenes damage control. The fact that Donald Trump is having several meetings with the leader of the Israeli regime but  none with President Erdogan of Turkey, is itself, telling of the fact that the US will continue to do little to assure Turkey of its very legitimate fears on the Kurdish issue.

Philippines 

Popular Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has crossed swords with the UN on many occasions, particularly in relation to his law and order approach to the dangerous drug problem in his country. With the armed forces of Philippines on the verge of a military victory against ISIS aligned terrorists in the country which itself has shown the dangerous connections between the narcotics trade and the financing of terrorism which Duterte had previously warned about, it will be imperative for Philippines to use the General Assembly to drawn an unambiguous connection between drugs and terrorism.

Venezuela 

In 2006, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez famously called George W. Bush “the devil” and remarked that the podium of the General Assembly Hall.

This year, Venezuela’s predictably harsh criticisms of the United States will likely be a slamming of unilateral US sanctions which in recent weeks and months have been passed on the oil rich South American nation.

Look for Venezuela to invite other nations to begin trading their national commodities in currencies other than the US Dollar while praising allies who have stood by Caracas against the US onslaught.

CONCLUSION

There are of course many other nations that will speak at the UN General Assembly, but this piece has covered those which have been in the news due to their participation in wider geo-political conflicts or conflict resolution.

While Donald Trump is making his UN debut, the real star of this years show will undoubtedly be multi-polarity.

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seby
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seby

I wonder if he will repeat the “the little babies” routine, he did after the charade sarin attack in April.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Trump is a spineless piece phlegm, and full of bul-shit, should be “shot and pissed on” just another sellout piece of American scum!!!!!!!!

Punisher 1
Guest
Punisher 1

And yet,unless some of those speeches praise the US. Or,are so strong against the US that US propaganda can use them. The US population won’t hear anything about them. We’ll only hear about what Trump says at the UN.Like in 2015,unless you read it in the alternate media (probably 10% of Americans did) about Putin’s strong speech. You would know nothing about it (as do about 90% of Americans).

Guy
Member
Guy

Unfortunately true.

bluewater
Guest
bluewater

Since everything is a LIE….in secret they will discuss AGENDA 21 behind close doors and the rest is PROPAGANDA as in this video…wait for the UN AGENDA 21 into the video for the TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!

Hand in Hand: ILLUMINATi Hollywood raise money for CHARITY??/ Hurricane Harvey-IRMA (Agenda 21?)

https://youtu.be/ibYgH_9eF-k

Mr. Costelol
Guest
Mr. Costelol

Fleecing the sheep, little Bono Vox from U2 at least allegedly gives 1% of his charity money of 200 million to charity. Most Humanitarian organizations take at least 65% for administrative costs.

Mr. Costelol
Guest
Mr. Costelol

The US “Trumps” agenda is clear, you’re either with us or against us.

Suzanne Giraud
Guest
Suzanne Giraud

*** replace ‘indefensible’ by indispensable, reference Syria.

Daisy Adler
Guest
Daisy Adler

I expect nothing from UN, “le machin” (the gimmick), as General de Gaulles used to call it.
It is just an inflated, expensive, useless blob.

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May survives ‘no confidence’ vote as UK moves towards March 29 deadline or Article 50 extension (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 168.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the ‘no confidence’ vote that UK Prime Minister May won with the a slim margin…meaning that though few MPs have confidence in her ‘Brexit withdrawal’ negotiating skills, they appear to have no problem allowing May to lead the country towards its Brexit deadline in March, which coincidently may be delayed and eventually scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile Tony Blair is cozying up to Brussels’ oligarchs, working his evil magic to derail the will of the British people, and keep the integrationist ambitions for the UK and Europe on track.

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Via RT


The UK government led by Theresa May, has survived to fight another day, after winning a no-confidence vote, tabled by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, following parliament rejecting the PM’s Brexit deal, earlier on Tuesday evening.

The no-confidence vote was defeated by 19 votes – the government winning by 325 to 306. It’s a rare positive note for May’s Tory cabinet after the humiliating Brexit defeat.

Speaking immediately after the vote, a victorious May said she was “pleased” that the House expressed its confidence in her government. May said she will “continue to work” to deliver on the result of the Brexit referendum and leave the EU.

May invited the leaders of parliamentary parties to meet with her individually, beginning on Wednesday evening.

“I stand ready to work with any member of this House to deliver on Brexit,” she said.

Responding to the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the House had “emphatically” rejected May’s deal on Tuesday. The government, he said, must now remove “clearly once and for all the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the EU and all the chaos that would result from that.”

Labour will now have to consider what move to make next. Their official Brexit policy, decided by members at conference in September, states that if a general election cannot be forced, then all options should be left on the table, including calling for a second referendum.

Liberal Democrats MP Ed Davey also called on May to rule out a no deal Brexit.

The way forward for Brexit is not yet clear and May’s options are now limited, given that the Brexit deal she was offering was voted down so dramatically on Tuesday.

Gavin Barrett, a professor at the UCD Sutherland School of Law in Dublin, told RT that May will now have to decide if her second preference is a no-deal Brexit or a second referendum. Her preference will likely be a no-deal Brexit, Barrett said, adding that “since no other option commands a majority in the House” a no-deal exit is now “the default option.”

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Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty

The war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib that frees the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian aviation to liberate the de-escalation zone.

Trump has promised to destroy Turkey economically if he attacks the Kurds, reinforcing his claim that Erdogan will not target the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the US withdraws from the area. One of the strongest accusations made against Trump’s withdrawal by his opponents is that no Middle Eastern force will ever trust the US again if they abandon the SDF to its fate, that is, to its annihilation at the hands of the Turkish army and its FSA proxies. This, however, is not possible; not so much because of Trump’s economic threats, but because of Damascus and Moscow being strongly opposed to any Turkish military action in the northeast of Syria.

This is a red line drawn by Putin and Assad, and the Turkish president likely understands the consequences of any wrong moves. It is no coincidence that he stated several times that he had no problems with the “Syrians or Syrian-Kurdish brothers”, and repeated that if the area under the SDF were to come under the control of Damascus, Turkey would have no need to intervene in Syria. Trump’s request that Ankara have a buffer zone of 20 kilometers separating the Kurdish and Turkish forces seems to complement the desire of Damascus and Moscow to avoid a clash between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the SDF.

The only party that seems to be secretly encouraging a clash between the SDF and Turkish forces is Israel, criticizing Ankara and singing the praises of the SDF, in order to try and accentuate the tensions between the two sides, though naturally without success. Israel’s continued raids in Syria, though almost constantly failing due to Syrian air defense, and the divide-and-rule policy used against Turkey and the SDF, show that Tel Aviv is now weakened and mostly irrelevant in the Syrian conflict.

In Idlib, the situation seems to be becoming less complicated and difficult to decipher. Russia, Iran and Syria had asked Erdogan to take control of the province through its “moderate jihadists”, sit down at the negotiating table, and resolve the matter through a diplomatic solution. Exactly the opposite happened. The HTS (formerly al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has in recent weeks conquered practically the whole province of Idlib, with numerous forces linked to Turkey (Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki) dissolving and merging into HTS. This development puts even more pressure on Erdogan, who is likely to see his influence in Idlib fade away permanently. Moreover, this evolution represents a unique opportunity for Damascus and Moscow to start operations in Idlib with the genuine justification of combating terrorism. It is a repeat of what happened in other de-escalation areas. Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly requested the moderates be separated from the terrorists, so as to approach the situation with a diplomatic negotiation.

In the absence of an effective division of combatants, all are considered terrorists, with the military option replacing the diplomatic. This remains the only feasible option to free the area from terrorists who are not willing to give back territory to the legitimate government in Damascus and are keeping civilians hostages. The Idlib province seems to have experienced the same playbook applied in other de-escalation zones, this time with a clear contrast between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that shows how the struggle between the two countries is much deeper than it appears. The reasons behind the Khashoggi case and the diplomatic confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were laid bare in the actions of the HTS in Idlib, which has taken control of all the areas previously held by Ankara’s proxies.

It remains to be seen whether Moscow and Damascus would like to encourage Erdogan to recover Idlib through its proxies, trying to encourage jihadists to fight each other as much as possible in order to lighten the task of the SAA, or whether they would prefer to press the advantage themselves and attack while the terrorist front is experiencing internal confusion.

In terms of occupied territory and accounts to be settled, two areas of great importance for the future of Syria remain unresolved, namely al-Tanf, occupied by US forces on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and the area in the north of Syria occupied by Turkish forces and their FSA proxies. It is too early to approach a solution militarily, it being easier for Damascus and Moscow to complete the work to free Syria from the remaining terrorists. Once this has been done, the presence of US or Turkish forces in Syria, whether directly or indirectly, would become all the more difficult to justify. Driving away the US and, above all, Turkey from Syrian territory will be the natural next step in the Syrian conflict.

This is an unequivocal sign that the war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus. Several countries — including Italy in the near future — will reopen their embassies in Syria to demonstrate that the war, even if not completely over, is effectively won by Damascus and her allies.

For this reason, several countries that were previously opposed to Damascus, like the United Arab Emirates, are understood to have some kind of contact with the government of Damascus. If they intend to become involved in the reconstruction process and any future investment, they will quite naturally need to re-establish diplomatic relations with Damascus. The Arab League is also looking to welcome Syria back into the fold.

Such are signs that Syria is returning to normality, without forgetting which and how many countries have conspired and acted directly against the Syrians for over seven years. An invitation to the Arab League or some embassy being reopened will not be enough to compensate for the damage done over years, but Assad does not preclude any option, and is in the meantime demonstrating to the Israelis, Saudis and the US Deep State that their war has failed and that even their most loyal allies are resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus, a double whammy against the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.

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Google Manipulated YouTube Search Results for Abortion, Maxine Waters, David Hogg

The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News.

The Duran

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Via Breitbart


In sworn testimony, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Congress last month that his company does not “manually intervene” on any particular search result. Yet an internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News reveals Google regularly intervenes in search results on its YouTube video platform – including a recent intervention that pushed pro-life videos out of the top ten search results for “abortion.”

The term “abortion” was added to a “blacklist” file for “controversial YouTube queries,” which contains a list of search terms that the company considers sensitive. According to the leak, these include some of these search terms related to: abortion, abortions, the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist David Hogg.

The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News by a source inside the company who wishes to remain anonymous. A partial list of blacklisted terms was also leaked to Breitbart by another Google source.

In the leaked discussion thread, a Google site reliability engineer hinted at the existence of more search blacklists, according to the source.

“We have tons of white- and blacklists that humans manually curate,” said the employee. “Hopefully this isn’t surprising or particularly controversial.”

Others were more concerned about the presence of the blacklist. According to the source, the software engineer who started the discussion called the manipulation of search results related to abortion a “smoking gun.”

The software engineer noted that the change had occurred following an inquiry from a left-wing Slate journalist about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube, and that pro-life videos were replaced with pro-abortion videos in the top ten results for the search terms following Google’s manual intervention.

“The Slate writer said she had complained last Friday and then saw different search results before YouTube responded to her on Monday,” wrote the employee. “And lo and behold, the [changelog] was submitted on Friday, December 14 at 3:17 PM.”

The manually downranked items included several videos from Dr. Antony Levatino, a former abortion doctor who is now a pro-life activist. Another video in the top ten featured a woman’s personal story of being pressured to have an abortion, while another featured pro-life conservative Ben Shapiro. The Slate journalist who complained to Google reported that these videos previously featured in the top ten, describing them in her story as “dangerous misinformation.”

Since the Slate journalist’s inquiry and Google’s subsequent intervention, the top search results now feature pro-abortion content from left-wing sources like BuzzFeed, Vice, CNN, and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In her report, the Slate journalist acknowledged that the search results changed shortly after she contacted Google.

The manual adjustment of search results by a Google-owned platform contradicts a key claim made under oath by Google CEO Sundar Pichai in his congressional testimony earlier this month: that his company does not “manually intervene on any search result.”

A Google employee in the discussion thread drew attention to Pichai’s claim, noting that it “seems like we are pretty eager to cater our search results to the social and political agenda of left-wing journalists.”

One of the posts in the discussion also noted that the blacklist had previously been edited to include the search term “Maxine Waters” after a single Google employee complained the top YouTube search result for Maxine Waters was “very low quality.”

Google’s alleged intervention on behalf of a Democratic congresswoman would be further evidence of the tech giant using its resources to prop up the left. Breitbart News previously reported on leaked emails revealing the company targeted pro-Democrat demographics in its get-out-the-vote efforts in 2016.

According to the source, a software engineer in the thread also noted that “a bunch of terms related to the abortion referendum in Ireland” had been added to the blacklist – another change with potentially dramatic consequences on the national policies of a western democracy.

youtube_controversial_query_blacklist

At least one post in the discussion thread revealed the existence of a file called “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist,” which contains a list of YouTube search terms that Google manually curates. In addition to the terms “abortion,” “abortions,” “Maxine Waters,” and search terms related to the Irish abortion referendum, a Google software engineer noted that the blacklist includes search terms related to terrorist attacks. (the posts specifically mentions that the “Strasbourg terrorist attack” as being on the list).

“If you look at the other entries recently added to the youtube_controversial_query_blacklist(e.g., entries related to the Strasbourg terrorist attack), the addition of abortion seems…out-of-place,” wrote the software engineer, according to the source.

After learning of the existence of the blacklist, Breitbart News obtained a partial screenshot of the full blacklist file from a source within Google. It reveals that the blacklist includes search terms related to both mass shootings and the progressive anti-second amendment activist David Hogg.

This suggests Google has followed the lead of Democrat politicians, who have repeatedly pushed tech companies to censor content related to the Parkland school shooting and the Parkland anti-gun activists. It’s part of a popular new line of thought in the political-media establishment, which views the public as too stupid to question conspiracy theories for themselves.

Here is the partial blacklist leaked to Breitbart:

2117 plane crash Russian

2118 plane crash

2119 an-148

2120 florida shooting conspiracy

2121 florida shooting crisis actors

2122 florida conspiracy

2123 florida false flag shooting

2124 florida false flag

2125 fake florida school shooting

2126 david hogg hoax

2127 david hogg fake

2128 david hogg crisis actor

2129 david hogg forgets lines

2130 david hogg forgets his lines

2131 david hogg cant remember his lines

2132 david hogg actor

2133 david hogg cant remember

2134 david hogg conspiracy

2135 david hogg exposed

2136 david hogg lines

2137 david hogg rehearsing

2120 florida shooting conspiracy

The full internal filepath of the blacklist, according to another source, is:

//depot/google3/googledata/superroot/youtube/youtube_controversial_query_blacklist

Contradictions

Responding to a request for comment, a YouTube spokeswoman said the company wants to promote “authoritative” sources in its search results, but maintained that YouTube is a “platform for free speech” that “allow[s]” both pro-life and pro-abortion content.

YouTube’s full comment:

YouTube is a platform for free speech where anyone can choose to post videos, as long as they follow our Community Guidelines, which prohibit things like inciting violence and pornography. We apply these policies impartially and we allow both pro-life and pro-choice opinions. Over the last year we’ve described how we are working to better surface news sources across our site for news-related searches and topical information. We’ve improved our search and discovery algorithms, built new features that clearly label and prominently surface news sources on our homepage and search pages, and introduced information panels to help give users more authoritative sources where they can fact check information for themselves.

In the case of the “abortion” search results, YouTube’s intervention to insert “authoritative” content resulted in the downranking of pro-life videos and the elevation of pro-abortion ones.

A Google spokesperson took a tougher line than its YouTube subsidiary, stating that “Google has never manipulated or modified the search results or content in any of its products to promote a particular political ideology.”

However, in the leaked discussion thread, a member of Google’s “trust & safety” team, Daniel Aaronson, admitted that the company maintains “huge teams” that work to adjust search results for subjects that are “prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content” – all subjective terms that are frequently used to suppress right-leaning sources.

He also admitted that the interventions weren’t confined to YouTube – they included search results delivered via Google Assistant, Google Home, and in rare cases Google ’s organic search results.

In the thread, Aaronson attempted to explain how search blacklisting worked. He claimed that highly specific searches would generate non-blacklisted results, even controversial ones. But the inclusion of highly specific terms in the YouTube blacklist, like “David Hogg cant remember his lines” – the name of an actual viral video – seems to contradict this.

Aaronson’s full post is copied below:

I work in Trust and Safety and while I have no particular input as to exactly what’s happening for YT I can try to explain why you’d have this kind of list and why people are finding lists like these on Code Search.

When dealing with abuse/controversial content on various mediums you have several levers to deal with problems. Two prominent levers are “Proactive” and “Reactive”:

  • Proactive: Usually refers to some type of algorithm/scalable solution to a general problem
    • E.g.: We don’t allow straight up porn on YouTube so we create a classifier that detects porn and automatically remove or flag for review the videos the porn classifier is most certain of
  • Reactive: Usually refers to a manual fix to something that has been brought to our attention that our proactive solutions don’t/didn’t work on and something that is clearly in the realm of bad enough to warrant a quick targeted solution (determined by pages and pages of policies worked on over many years and many teams to be fair and cover necessary scope)
    • E,g.: A website that used to be a good blog had it’s domain expire and was purchased/repurposed to spam Search results with autogenerated pages full of gibberish text, scraped images, and links to boost traffic to other spammy sites. It is manually actioned for violating policy

These Organic Search policies and the consequences to violating them are public

Manually reacting to things is not very scalable, and is not an ideal solution to most problems, so the proactive lever is really the one we all like to lean on. Ideally, our classifiers/algorithm are good at providing useful and rich results to our users while ignoring things at are not useful or not relevant. But we all know, this isn’t exactly the case all the time (especially on YouTube).

From a user perspective, there are subjects that are prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content. Now, these words are highly subjective and no one denies that. But we can all agree generally, lines exist in many cultures about what is clearly okay vs. what is not okay. E.g. a video of a puppy playing with a toy is probably okay in almost every culture or context, even if it’s not relevant to the query. But a video of someone committing suicide and begging others to follow in his/her footsteps is probably on the other side of the line for many folks.

While my second example is technically relevant to the generic query of “suicide”, that doesn’t mean that this is a very useful or good video to promote on the top of results for that query. So imagine a classifier that says, for any queries on a particular text file, let’s pull videos using signals that we historically understand to be strong indicators of quality (I won’t go into specifics here, but those signals do exist). We’re not manually curating these results, we’re just saying “hey, be extra careful with results for this query because many times really bad stuff can appear and lead to a bad experience for most users”. Ideally the proactive lever did this for us, but in extreme cases where we need to act quickly on something that is so obviously not okay, the reactive/manual approach is sometimes necessary. And also keep in mind, that this is different for every product. The bar for changing classifiers or manual actions on span in organic search is extremely high. However, the bar for things we let our Google Assistant say out loud might be a lot lower. If I search for “Jews run the banks” – I’ll likely find anti-semitic stuff in organic search. As a Jew, I might find some of these results offensive, but they are there for people to research and view, and I understand that this is not a reflection of Google feels about this issue. But if I ask Google assistant “Why do Jews run the banks” we wouldn’t be similarly accepting if it repeated and promoted conspiracy theories that likely pop up in organic search in her smoothing voice.

Whether we agree or not, user perception of our responses, results, and answers of different products and mediums can change. And I think many people are used to the fact that organic search is a place where content should be accessible no matter how offensive it might be, however, the expectation is very different on a Google Home, a Knowledge Panel, or even YouTube.

These lines are very difficult and can be very blurry, we are all well aware of this. So we’ve got huge teams that stay cognizant of these facts when we’re crafting policies considering classifier changes, or reacting with manual actions – these decisions are not made in a vacuum, but admittedly are also not made in a highly public forum like TGIF or IndustryInfo (as you can imagine, decisions/agreement would be hard to get in such a wide list – image if all your CL’s were reviewed by every engineer across Google all the time). I hope that answers some questions and gives a better layer of transparency without going into details about our “Pepsi formula”.

Best,

Daniel

The fact that Google manually curates politically contentious search results fits in with a wider pattern of political activity on the part of the tech giant.

In 2018, Breitbart News exclusively published a leaked video from the company that showed senior management in dismay at Trump’s election victory, and pledging to use the company’s power to make his populist movement a “hiccup” in history.

Breitbart also leaked “The Good Censor,” an internal research document from Google that admits the tech giant is engaged in the censorship of its own products, partly in response to political events.

Another leak revealed that employees within the company, including Google’s current director of Trust and Safety, tried to kick Breitbart News off Google’s market-dominating online ad platforms.

Yet another showed Google engaged in targeted turnout operations aimed to boost voter participation in pro-Democrat demographics in “key states” ahead of the 2016 election. The effort was dubbed a “silent donation” by a top Google employee.

Evidence for Google’s partisan activities is now overwhelming. President Trump has previously warned Google, as well as other Silicon Valley giants, not to engage in censorship or partisan activities. Google continues to defy him.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to [email protected].

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