The Censorship Began Earlier and Went Further Than We Thought

The Censorship Began Earlier and Went Further Than We Thought
(Mick Haupt/
Jeffrey A. Tucker

There was some sense in the air in the spring of 2020 that many things weren’t quite normal. Here, we had most governments in the world locking down their populations with extreme policies, wrecking economies and long-settled traditions of rights and liberties, while fake scientists took over the airwaves and blasted us daily and hourly with crazy messages of compliance.

It was a lonely time to be incredulous. Most of the people I would have thought would cry foul simply stopped talking. Most of what I saw on social media seemed all about conformity with the insanity. When someone would pop up to raise questions here and there, the account was shouted down brutally and socially punished for deviating from the narrative. This further discouraged people from objecting.

So, on it went for months, and then got worse with the nutty masking practices and the vaccine. Suddenly, every major voice from pop culture and the movies became a voice for the practice of medicine. These are people who would never recommend pharmaceuticals to people whom they don’t know. They aren’t professionals and are in no position to do so. But when the time came, they were all cocksure that getting the shot was the way to go for absolutely everyone.

One possible explanation of the unfolding frenzy was simply that society had gone mad. There’s surely truth in that. History is replete with examples of such things, and I had studied them for years. We always believe that in our own times, we’re too enlightened and informed about such things, but apparently not. The same mad passions that led to the witch burnings, the red scares, and even the bonfire of the vanities are still with us, ready to be unleashed under the right conditions.

And yet we’re learning more and more now that it wasn’t only the madness of crowds at work. There was a deliberate construction of a narrative and an orthodoxy, all pushed at the highest levels of government. The proof of this is mounting by the week. To be sure, government is restricted from doing this directly, so over the past five years or so, we’ve seen grand experiments in outsourcing the control of the public mind to third-party organizations with an arm’s-length relationship to government. This has included universities, nonprofits, and social media companies.

We’ve read all about this in the Twitter Files and the discovery from the case Missouri v. Biden, and seen evidence from many whistleblowers. But the latest leaks go beyond anything we’ve seen yet. Michael Shellenberger, Alex Gutentag, and Matt Taibbi came into the possession of a huge trove of documents from the so-called Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTIL), an organization set up in 2018 to monitor and curate the internet.

The CTIL was supposedly a private organization, but it later came to work tightly with government agencies. Indeed, from its inception, the League included employees from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the FBI, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). “According to the whistleblower, roughly 12–20 active people involved in CTIL worked at the FBI or CISA,” the journalists report. How many people worked in this supposedly volunteer effort? It could be 500 but also could be as many as 1,700. Because they didn’t work directly for the government, they weren’t bound by strict rules for information classification, so leaks would be inevitable, despite constant injunctions to lock down all material.

They weren’t just working with social media and mainstream media to craft narratives. They were engaged in so-called offensive work, too, creating sock puppets to shout down dissidents and humiliate them, fabricating the appearance of a mainstream consensus. These efforts of CTIL began in earnest in 2018 to stop a “repeat of 2016”—that is to say, the election of Donald Trump. The ethos in the group was that Trump and his supporters, and any opinion that they held on anything, represented a grave threat to state security and needed to be crushed.

So, yes, CTIL was deeply involved in the entire Russia hoax, the notion that somehow Vladimir Putin was responsible for putting Trump in office. But that focus turned eventually to COVID-19. That’s when I first began to notice that something was amiss. These fairly intelligent but anonymous accounts would appear on my timeline with bitter denunciations of my anti-lockdowns posts, and anything that seemed to “minimize” the grave threat of the virus.

The same thing happened with masking. I posted a zippy protest, suggesting that masks were medically useless for this kind of virus but also that they were a symbol of obsequious deference to regime priorities. Pretty much the ceiling fell in as I faced a huge barrage of hate, not just from people who should’ve known better but also from many accounts of people who otherwise had no public profile. Some would claim high credentials, but I could never verify them. They were clearly sock puppets. Now, I see that it was likely CTIL at work crafting the narrative to control the public mind.

CTIL recruited people out of the intelligence agencies who had retired and also sought volunteers from the tech industry. They pushed their agenda with intense political passion and without regard to any facts at all. Their whole goal was to suppress and counter any opinions that contradicted Deep State priorities at the time. Again, the organization was set up in 2018, so by the time the 2020 lockdowns came along, it was fully practiced and prepared.

The conspiracy was and is out in the open. CTIL has an account on X, formerly known as Twitter. In April of 2020, the head of CISA (which was also responsible for dividing the workforce between essential and nonessential, while becoming the center of all censorship efforts) actually posted the announcement of a partnership between CTIL and CISA.
“Thank you to @CTIleague volunteers for working to manage risk and identify #vulnerabilities in the nation’s medical sector,” the head of CISA wrote. “You’ve already accomplished so much in a short period of time and you’re just getting started!”
Yikes! But sure enough, we’re seeing the same thing happen in the economic realm. The White House and its agencies are working with such groups to suppress negative information about economic conditions. This impulse to control and curate the public mind is spreading to ever more areas. And despite existing court cases, nothing currently seems to stand in their way. It’s almost like the First Amendment is a dead letter. Certainly, the Cyber Threat Intelligence League acts like it is.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Jeffrey A. Tucker is the founder and president of the Brownstone Institute, and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press, as well as 10 books in five languages, most recently “Liberty or Lockdown.” He is also the editor of The Best of Mises. He writes a daily column on economics for The Epoch Times and speaks widely on the topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.
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