Google’s Safe Browsing List, which blocks websites and flags them as containing malware, is increasingly used as a mechanism for the censoring of independent media and the falsification of history. It is an alarming development that, left unchallenged, puts the survival of any independent newspaper, blog, TV or radio station at risk. Over the past months the list has apparently been used to target websites critical of U.S.’ involvement in the wars in the Middle East, U.S.’ involvement in Ukraine and independent media who are publishing material that is critical of Zionism.
Google’s Safe Browsing List translates into the blocking of websites which allegedly contain malware. Instead of showing the website one is presented with a red-colored Google page that warns that the URL in question has been blocked because it contains malware. Ultimately, being flagged on the list can also result in the removal of the flagged websites from Google’s search engine. Being flagged, blocked or removed from search engines can have devastating results for independent journalists and media who are struggling to finance investigative journalism, rather than regurgitating alternative versions of Reuters and other major news agencies. The targeting of independent media and journalists is especially noteworthy when one considers Google’s close cooperation with the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA).
Incestuous Relationships between Google, Apple, Microsoft, their Subsidiaries, and the NSA.
Google’s close cooperation with the NSA is a well-documented fact. An article from May 7, entitled ”Is Google in cahoots with the NSA? Email leak reveals close relationship”, published in Tech Times, reveals that the close cooperation between Google and the NSA was documented long before NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden told the world what most who cared to investigate already knew. The article quotes emails between NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt from 2011 and 2012. Tech Times states:
”In the mails, the Google executives sound friendly and cooperative. Alexander’s emails hint at the importance of ´Google’s participation in refinement, engineering and deployment of solutions`to cyber threats”.
The article also details the fact that the NSA chief had invited CEOs of key companies including Google, Apple, and Microsoft to classified briefings. What is important about these three key corporations cooperation with the NSA is that they are economically interrelated with most other, commercial Internet providers, including web-hosting companies, firms which provide Internet security products, as well as advertising companies who sell advertising on everything from blogs over smaller independent media to major corporate newspapers. The following are recent examples, which demonstrate how this incestuous relationship translates into the targeting of independent media, censorship and the falsification of history.
October 6, nsnbc received an e-mail from the Internet security provider SiteLock, warning that there was a serious malware issue pertaining to some articles published on nsnbc. SiteLock stressed that the issue had to be resolved within 72 hours if nsnbc international wanted to avoid being added to Google’s Safe Browsing List and have the site withdrawn from nsnbc’s web-host, which among many other web hosts is a business partner of Site Lock.
So what was the alleged threat – and what is the real threat – to the USA?
A full security scan conducted by nsnbc with the newspaper’s own security software revealed that several articles had been flagged as containing malware. Among them were six articles which had been published on the renown independent on-line newspaper Voltairenet. All of the articles which had been flagged as containing malware dealt with illegal U.S. Involvement in the Syria war and illegal U.S. Involvement in Ukraine.
Another article that was flagged as containing malware was the article ”Palestine Israel History and Theirstory”. The article was originally published in nsnbc and it has been republished in numerous other independent media, including the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), Sabbah Report, and about 100 independent blogs. The reason why this particular article was flagged as containing malware was that it contained a link to the publication ”Der Ewige Jude”, a racist, supremacist propaganda book published by the German Nazi Party during WWII.. The article documents the systematic dehumanization of Arabs by Zionists and Hollywood, and compares the dehumanization with that which the Nazis practiced against Jews and Slavic people.
Our scan further revealed that an article by the Bangkok based, independent analyst, editor of Land Destroyer Report, and contributor to New Eastern Outlook, nsnbc and others, Tony Cartalucci, also was on the list of flagged articles. The article is entitled ”America’s Nazis in Kiev: ”Russians are Subhuman”. The article was published in New Eastern Outlook, and was republished in LandDestroyer and nsnbc international. Tony Cartalucci demonstrates the Nazi ideology of post-coup Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatzenyuk by quoting Yatzenyuk, and referring to the Nazi pamphlet ”Der Untermensch”, so one could understand that Yatzenyuk’s quote directly reflects the racist and supremacist ideology that was spread in ”Der Untermensch”, which translates into ”The Subhuman”. Also here, nsnbc had to remove the URL to the pamphlet and any media that continues carrying the URL risks, knowingly or not, to be added to Google’s ”Safe Browsing List” to have the newspaper’s, journal’s or blogs website flagged as containing malware, and to be removed or at the very least significantly down-graded in Google’s search engine.
The real threat is, in other words, the threat that direct U.S. Collaboration with terrorists in Syria and Nazis in Ukraine is disclosed to a growing number of readers who have become suspicious about the accuracy of mainstream, corporate, state and foundation funded media. nsnbc did not respond to the initial SiteLock email but received a second email from SiteLock, late at night on October 8. In the mail SiteLock’s Website Security Consultant Hubert Robinson wrote:
”My name is Hugh with SiteLock I recently left you a message regarding the status of your web domain, nsnbc.me During a recent SiteLock security scan of your website, malware was detected that could jeopardize the safety of your website and your data. I wanted to reach out before Google blacklist the site or before your Hosting provider pulls the site down for being infected. …. Please contact me immediately at 602-753-3929, so that I can help you secure your website as soon as possible”.
We conducted an additional security scan with nsnbc’s own software and didn’t identify additional ”threats”, other than those articles by Voltairenet, nsnbc, Land Destroyer Report and New Eastern Outlook which documented U.S.’ collaboration with wanted Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria and Iraq, the article that documented that Zionist and Nazi ideology in large parts are identical, and the article which disclosed the Nazi ideology of Ukrainian PM Arseny Yatzenyuk whom the U.S.’ administration attempts to pass off as ”house trained”.
After nsnbc had de-activated the links to the URLs which allegedly contain malware, nsnbc wrote three mails to SiteLock’s Website Security Consultant Huge Grant, asking, among others, whether they could be more specific about which malware the flagged sites allegedly contained. We also asked whether SiteLock has a direct or indirect corporate partnership with Google, and for the name and contact details of SiteLock’s CEO. SiteLock failed to respond. SiteLock also failed to inform nsnbc whether the deactivation of the flagged URL’s was ”sufficient” or whether they perceived other ”threats” to our ”security”.
Infecting Independent Media with Malware via Add Companies.
In February 2014, nsnbc was suddenly taken off-line and flagged as containing malware by Google’s Safe Browsing List. The incident occurred about 20 minutes after nsnbc published an article entitled ”US’ Victoria Nuland about Ukraine ´Fuck the EU`. The article contained a covertly recorded and leaked phone conversation between the U.S. State Department’s Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. The conversation revealed that the U.S.’ was directly involved in the micro-management of the coup d’état in Ukraine.
nsnbc immediately investigated the reason for the closure of the newspaper’s website. The result of the investigation was that nsnbc’s at that time advertising partner, MadAdsMedia, which is heavily economically dependent on cooperation with Google and Google’s AdSense, had inserted an add that contained a Java Script with malware”. Contacting MadAdsMedia resulted in their consultant explaining that they were ”terribly sorry for the incident and any inconvenience it had caused us, assured that they were removing the add that contained malware and advised us how to contact Google to have the newspaper removed from Google’s Safe Browsing List”.
nsnbc contacted MadAdsMedia and politely asked whether they would be so kind to send us detailed information about which add it was that had contained the malware, and documentation for who it was that had placed the malware, and on which websites. MadAdsMedia failed to respond to at least three polite reminders by email and several phone calls. What MadAdsMedia did, however, was to inform nsnbc that it had decided not to serve any adds to nsnbc any longer and that they had moved us to another company whom we could contact if we wanted. In practical terms, the incident translates into this:
A minor advertising company that is heavily dependent on serving adds via a partnership with Google denies to answer justified questions and responds to the audacity to continue asking them by withdrawing an independent newspaper’s only source of income, from one day to the other, without prior notice.
Facebook’s ”soft” censorship?
On September 5, New Eastern Outlook contributor and editor of Land Destroyer, Tony Cartalucci, published an article entitled ”Beware: Facebook’s ´Soft Censorship`”. Cartalucci stressed that Land Destroyer Report had maintained a Facebook page under the name Anthony Cartalucci since 2009. Many of the readers of Land Destroyer Report used Facebook as a means of accessing the LD Report’s articles. Tony Cartalucci wrote:
”Today, Facebook, without prior warning or opportunity to appeal, decided that the Facebook account must be changed over to a page. By doing so, all those following my account no longer would receive updates, because of Facebook’s ´news feeds`filter”.
Note that one of Tony Cartalucci’s articles also was among those flagged by SiteLock as containing malware. Moreover, Tony Cartalucci’s experience with Facebook’s ”soft censorship” as he described it, is not unprecedented. Two of nsnbc editor Christof Lehmann’s Facebook accounts were closed or blocked by Facebook within a period of less than twelve months. The accounts were not only used personally, but as a basis for a nsnbc Facebook page – one of that type Facebook demanded that Tony Cartalucci should open.
Facebook’s way of blocking these two accounts were simple. Facebook demanded that a large number of ”friend’s” profile photos were matched with the correct names of these ”friends”. Now, consider 1,000 ”friends or followers”, and many of them using anything but their own portrait as profile photo. It is needless to say that solving that ”quiz” is impossible.
A concerted U.S.’ effort to censor, target independent media economically, withdraw their reader base, and falsify history.
Let us sum up some of the main issues. The incestuous relationship between the NSA and major corporations like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft is a well-documented fact. Many of the smaller companies, including web-hosting companies, Internet security providers, and advertising companies are either in part owned by one of these major corporations ore they are heavily dependent on cooperation and partnerships with them for their economic survival. nsnbc has already experienced being closed down and have its only source of income withdrawn from one day to the other. Others, including Voltairenet have regularly been flagged as containing malware. Media like New Eastern Outlook, IMEMC, and others risk being targeted in similar manner. Others whom Google and a U.S. Senate Hearing falsely accused of containing malware are The Drudge Report and Infowars. One can only guess how many of the smaller blogs, who are too small to raise alarm bells have been targeted. The conclusion is that the United States is engaged in an aggressive campaign that targets independent media and falsifies history. The question is, whether independent media have the political will to stand united in addressing the problem and in using the fact that they serve a growing part of , for example, the advertising market as leverage.
Dr. Christof Lehmann an independent political consultant on conflict and conflict resolution and the founder and editor in chief of nsnbc, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.