Speaking from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been holed up for the last four years, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange assailed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for seeking to start wars, while also accusing her campaign of cooperating with Google to ensure her election this November. Appearing via video link to address participants in a forum on new journalism today, Assange said "Google is directly engaged with Hillary Clinton’s campaign." He also claimed that Google is accustomed to working in concert with the State Department on a “a quid pro quo" basis.
Referring to Hillary’s presumed victory, Assange said "Of course when she is in power… she is a problem for freedom of speech. We know what she is going to do. And she made the chart for the destruction of Libya, she was involved in the process of taking the Libyan armory and sending it to Syria."
Assange went on to say that Hillary was a “hawk” during her tenure as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. "What we have with Clinton is someone who is a hawk but who has the tools of legal interventionism, a rhetorical cover to start wars, and someone who seemingly wants to start them… From WikiLeaks’ perspective Hillary Clinton is a problem in terms of war and peace."
Going on to the relationship between the technology giant and the federal government, Assange said that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is at the head of the Pentagon innovation board. "Google is heavily integrated with Washington power, at personal level and at business level. Google, which has increasing control over the distribution channels,… is intensely allying itself with the US exceptionalism.” He added, "It [Google] shows the will to use that at different levels. It will inevitably influence its audience."
Assange also claimed that the federal government can influence Facebook. "The US apparatus can squeeze Facebook, Facebook squeezes your capital, you don't want to risk losing your capital so you start to adjust reportage as an individual, you start to adjust the things you say."
He asserted that the ties between government and new media are deep. "There is a merger between the corporate organizations and state… 80 percent of the National Security Agency budget is privatized. The NSA is the core of the US deep state… There has been a smoothing out between the government and the corporations." The NSA provides electronic surveillance, encryption, and communications services to the federal government. It has often been accused of listening in on Americans’ domestic telephone conversations and monitoring their email messages.
Assange moved on to the geopolitical ramifications of yoking the federal government and Google together: "Google is an intensely Washington, DC-aligned company. I see a Google exit from China… It seems much more to do with Google's feeling that it is part of ‘family America’ and that it is opposed to the Chinese."
Assange remains in the Ecuadorean embassy over allegations of a sexual assault in Sweden. He denies the charge, but also fears he will be extradited to the United States to answer questions about the unauthorized distribution of American classified documents. In February, a United Nations working group decided that he is being unlawfully detained.
Facebook has been accused of blocking news generated by conservative websites. In May, Gizmodo reported that several former Facebook “news curators” told the website that they were told to “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, which appears in the upper right-hand corner of the Facebook webpage. Moreover, the curators write headlines and summaries of topics and include links to news sites, thus dictating what news Facebook’s 167 million users in the US – and millions elsewhere – are reading. A conservative who used to work as a news curator told Gizmodo that the practice had “a chilling effect on conservative news.” The former curators said when coming to work, topics such as Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or CPAC or other popular conservative topics would not be among those trending because the previous curators did not recognize the news topic or had a bias.
Among the topics that were shunted by Facebook curators were: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriate scrutiny of conservatives, Drudge Report, Gov. Scott Walker, and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, chastened by the accusations, later invited several conservative pundits and personalities -- such as Glenn Beck -- to engage in a conversation. Beck emerged with praise for the media czar, but other conservatives remained skeptical. Among them was Tucker Carlson of Fox News. "I went to that meeting expecting Beck to cry, rend his garments while quoting James Madison, but that's not at all what happened. He began the most extended, assiduous suck up I think I've ever seen a grown man commit. He acted like he was auditioning to be Mark Zuckerberg's manservant — it was awe inspiring," Carlson told Politico. "I don't know what his agenda is; it's either he's looking to put his tanking web properties up for sale or he just can't help himself. There's a billionaire there, so he sniffs the throne."
In addition, Andrew Bieszad, a Catholic who has closely studied Islam who writes at OnePeterFive
, wrote recently, "We have documented how German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President and Sultan aspirant Recep Erdogan both have been working with Mark Zuckerberg to silence criticism of Islam and report critics to their respective governments for prosecution. Zuckerberg has shown himself to be a willing participant- so long as he continues to make money and have fame he will continue to sell out Western civilization for his 30 silver pieces." Biezad added, "Not surprising, Facebook was one of a coalition of companies that recently signed an agreement with the European Union to aggressively police 'hate speech' on the Internet…This 'hate speech' translated into English means 'anything that offends Muslims.'"
Other evidence of hostility to Republicans came this week. The BuzzFeed news website announced that it has backed out of advertising for the Republican Party because it says that presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump is "hazardous to our health." BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti informed his staff members by email on June 6.
Republican ads were to appear in the next few months, and had been agreed upon before Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee. All the same, Peretti said that the decision should have no "no influence" on coverage of Trump’s campaign.
There are reports that the deal Buzzfeed turned down amounted to $1.3 million.
In his email, Peretti wrote, "We certainly don't like to turn away revenue (...) However, in some cases we must make business exceptions: we don't run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won't accept Trump ads for the exact same reason."
His email continued, saying "The Trump campaign is directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States and around the world and in some cases, such as his proposed ban on international travel for Muslims, would make it impossible for our employees to do their jobs."