Surveillance State: What the #TwitterFiles mean for America, Ukraine and libertarianism

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By Thomas R. Eddlem

The #TwitterFiles are fast becoming the greatest glimpse behind the veil of America’s out-of-control surveillance state since 2013, when Edward Snowden heroically sacrificed his career and citizenship to reveal the blatantly unconstitutional and dangerous surveillance of the American people by the NSA. 

Now — thanks to great reporting by Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Lee Fang, Michael Shellenberger and David Zweig — they have proven beyond any doubt that the “intelligence community” has been manipulating the digital press in the United States for years. Led by the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and the CIA, the surveillance state didn’t just run roughshod over tech companies, they obviously placed staff agents in place at Twitter and other key tech companies in order to influence censorship policy. Twitter alone had dozens of intelligence agency veterans on its senior staff

Matt Taibbi stressed that the #TwitterFiles document that “the state isn’t a bit actor in a mostly-private ‘content moderation’ movement. It’s the central player, clearly the boss of the whole operation, and clearly also the driving force in its expansion, a truth we can show in pictures.”

And censorship was not limited to the Hunter Biden computer story because it conflicted with the CIA war narrative in the Ukraine. The heavy hand of government censorship was brought to bear on a broad spectrum of issues, including COVID vaccines and masking, the Nordstream II sabotage, and election fraud charges — to the point that the sitting President of the United States was de-platformed under pressure from Deep State operatives. “A long list of government enforcement agencies essentially got to operate Twitter as an involuntary contractor, heading into the 2020 election,” Taibbi noted.

Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise the mass media lacks interest in the Jeffrey Epstein/Ghislaine Maxwell cases where the two were charged with trafficking underage girls for sex to … absolutely no one who was prosecuted or charged (probably because Epstein/Maxwell ran an MI6 or Mossad honeytrap). The spook-run media did their best to zero-out speculation about the US sabotage of Nordstream II and a host of other issues of concern to their interests. 

Meanwhile, establishment lickspittles like corporate-Democrat podcaster David Pakman are pooh-poohing the political censorship as a nothingburger, and the Hunter Biden story as merely private companies refusing to circulate nude pictures of the president’s son with underage girls. Why mention Burisma, “the Big Guy” or how Biden led Obama-era policy in Ukraine and China as Biden’s family cashed in with lucrative $20,000/month no-show jobs if your role is to support the CIA war narrative in Ukraine? 

The FBI/ODNI/CIA obviously censored the Hunter Biden laptop story because it would expose corruption in the Ukrainian government, which would have damaged the narrative for the war they planned on escalating with Russia (by getting Ukrainian forces to shell the disenfranchised ethnic Russian areas of Ukraine that had declared secession).

The Surveillance State’s role in Ukraine

The official narrative for the Maidan Revolution of 2014 is that deposed President Viktor Yanukovych, the last president elected by the entire Ukraine, had become unpopular and corrupt. In addition, he had signed press censorship laws and had taken Ukraine on a path away from membership in the European Union, leading to spontaneous popular riots that overthrew the freely-elected president.

The narrative above is at least factually accurate, with the exception of the last clause. Masses will sometimes riot for food, but they will never riot to get membership in the European Union. As Great Britain shows, they may possibly riot to get out of it.

The other part of the official narrative being spun by the “intelligence community” is the holy inviolability of Ukraine’s 2013 borders, borders deliberately gerrymandered by Stalin to include enough ethnic Russian enclaves within the Ukrainian border to prevent Ukrainian national unity leading to independence. 

The southern and eastern regions of Ukraine that seceded in the wake of the Maidan Revolution — Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk — were the regions most heavily populated by ethnic Russians (see map from Wikipedia below).

They also happened to be the regions that voted most heavily for incumbent President Yanukovych, who was unseated by the Maidan Revolution (see map below by Wikipedia).

Thus, it should be no great surprise that a population ethnically distinct from Ukraine would have no problem seceding from a government that had just unconstitutionally overturned a leader fairly elected in a close national election where their votes had amounted to the margin of victory. 

Moreover, there are also religious differences among the regions of Soviet-era Ukraine borders, with the Russian ethnic areas mostly following the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate and the Ukrainian areas following the Kiev Orthodox Patriarchate (see Wikipedia map below).

Thus, current Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s move on December 2 to ban the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate in Ukraine will only further entrench these sectional differences. And from the perspective of the warmongers, that may be more a feature than a bug. 

It doesn’t make any sense to get all worked up over three oblasts seceding and choosing to be governed by the most corrupt government in Europe instead of the second-most corrupt government in Europe. Unless you’re the CIA, and you want to sacrifice more Ukrainian young men in order to win your goal of eventual regime change in Russia.

The CIA role in Ukraine

The CIA has been fomenting coups and grooming “civil society” in Ukraine since the 1940s. But since the break-up of the USSR in 1991, those efforts have accelerated to a fever pitch.

And it’s really impossible to discuss the US role in Ukraine without an outline of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Nadia Diuk. Created in 1983, the NED is a Cold War leftover that has long been the overt face of the CIA’s covert regime change efforts. And the key person for two decades on Ukrainian and Russian policy at the NED was Nadia Diuk, a CIA officer in the 1980s mentioned in several declassified CIA memoranda (see snippet below) who became a careerist at NED with Eurasia as her case-load and a long personal and ethnic interest in Ukraine. She was the child of Ukrainian immigrants who had participated in the CIA insurgency of the 1940s.

According to an official NED obit for Diuk, who died of cancer in 2019, “Nadia came to NED as a program officer in 1987, three years after the Endowment’s founding, and went on to lead the NED’s grant making in Europe and Eurasia, providing crucial support to countless civil-society groups throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.” Naturally, the obituary left out Diuk’s history at the CIA. But Diuk’s driving interest was always Ukraine, a country where millions of dollars in “aid” to local NGOs has flowed in recent decades. 

The US government’s own foreign propaganda agency, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has even termed the NED’s strategy funding of local NGOs “regime change on the cheap.” And while the NED worked with just a $40 million per year budget back in 2002, the NED is now a budgetary behemoth spending more than $300 million per year, doling out money to “independent” journalists and a wide spectrum of political parties across the world — including to libertarian parties.

In Venezuela, NED funded an NGO headed Maria Corina Machado, who later went on to head “Vente Venezuela,” the most prominent libertarian party in Venezuela. Machado, a Yale University graduate, was later charged with treason by the Chavez government for accepting the grant (amounting to less than $100,000) from the NED.

It’s not clear if Machado is or ever was a CIA asset; I’d like to think she wasn’t and isn’t. 

But people who have lived under tyrannical governments often have this understandable but fundamentally dangerous idea that everything from the West — even the CIA — represents freedom. In their desperation, they think they can’t afford to be choosy about their allies.  But the same principles that make the KGB/FSB a tool of tyranny in Russia make the CIA a tool of tyranny here in America and around the world. 

Thus, it’s understandable why dissidents in Venezuela, Ukraine or Russia would look for “allies” in Western intelligence agencies, even if they don’t understand that those Western intelligence agencies would never bring actual freedom to their countries. 

Libertarians — of all people — should realize that espionage establishments with long histories of sabotage and assassination will not usher in anything remotely resembling the libertarian idea of freedom. The NED’s leader for decades was Carl Gershman, a Socialist Party USA activist until he was brought into the NED as a CIA asset. Nor are there examples of the CIA bringing freedom directly to countries with their coups and revolutions. The opposite is history.

And this history has also been the case in Ukraine. Since the 2014 CIA coup, Ukraine has drifted away from liberty by almost every metric, from curtailed religious freedom to nationalization of the press to bans on political opposition.

The official narrative is that this sharp turn away from liberty by the Ukrainian government is excusable because of the war, as if these same apologists for the Zelensky regime would have excused Roosevelt banning the Republican Party during World War Two, or his nationalization of the Col. Robert McCormick’s Chicago Tribune, and a ban on German Lutheran Churches in America as war measures. But none of those happened, nor would they have been excusable had they happened.

Regime change in Ukraine was squarely in the NED’s sights immediately before the Maidan coup, with NED chair Carl Gershman writing for the Washington Post on September 27, 2013: “Ukraine is the biggest prize, and there Russia’s bullying has been particularly counter-productive,” Gershman noted of Russian economic sanctions that the US has also used prolifically. “The United States needs to engage with the governments and with civil society in Ukraine.” And the NED had already invested heavily in Ukrainian civil society by that point.

Where the Washington Post’s reporting brazenly revealed the secrets of CIA misbehavior during the Church Committee hearings of the 1970s, by the early 2000s it had become a reliable and willing channel of CIA propaganda.

Immediately after the Maidan coup, CIA Director John Brennan was found taking a victory tour through Ukraine, and planning for the next stage of war.

The CIA and libertarianism globally

About that same time the CIA and its NED subsidiary had already taken a strong interest in recruiting members of the Russian Libertarian Party (a party only founded in 2009), and made efforts to recruit within the Russian libertarian movement.

One of the people the CIA — and Diuk — took an interest in was a young Russian journalism student named Vera Kichanova who was serving as an intern at Voice of America, an official US government propaganda agency. The 20-year-old Kichanova ran for the Moscow city municipal council (which includes 1,502 elected members) in 2012, and became the first elected member of the Russian Libertarian Party. According to the NED, “She left her job as a reporter for Voice of America because Moscow’s elected municipal council members are not allowed to work with foreign media.” 

The next year, 2013, the NED flew Kichanova out to Washington, DC to give her their “Democracy Award.” Kichanova subsequently moved her journalistic base to Kiev after the Maidan revolution, in Diuk’s beloved Ukraine, and later went to Oxford (where Diuk had matriculated) to earn her doctorate. She then began filling up a resume with a wide array of libertarian organizations, including the Atlas Society and the Adam Smith Institute. Today, she serves on the board of one of the two Russian Libertarian Party factions (the RLP split in a 2020 factional battle).

It also happens to be the faction of the Russian Libertarian Party that has repeatedly criticized the US Libertarian Party on Twitter and elsewhere for its strong non-interventionist position on the Russo-Ukrainian war.

I mention Kichanova not to tar her as a CIA asset; like Maria Corina Machado, I hope she declined to be recruited by the CIA. But there’s not really much doubt in my mind that a recruitment attempt was in fact made. Nor is there any doubt that she ended up on the RLP board faction that is spewing CIA propaganda to attack the Libertarian Party here in the US. She may remain detached from the fake RLP (the real one is here) spewing CIA propaganda from her London office, so I can’t blame her directly for the attacks.

I’m more interested in the larger patterns. 

The point of this column is not to cast doubt on the sincerity of Kichanova or Machado; it’s to raise awareness about how the CIA has been recruiting libertarians globally and turning them into warmongering assets. It’s perhaps related to the NED/CIA program that the Spanish Libertarian Party adopted a resolution separating themselves from the US Libertarian Party on December 9, 2022. I expect there will be other libertarian parties across the globe to make similar statements.

This is a global battle for liberty, in part because the US government has waged a global battle against liberty.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest that the intelligence community’s infiltration of libertarian parties abroad is likely no more limited than its infiltration of media sources is limited to sources outside the United States. They may be influencing political parties domestically as well, as America is just another government ripe for CIA regime change after much practice on governments abroad. This may explain in part the over-the-top reaction by some of the rage-quit crowd after the Mises victory in Reno this past May, and resistance to the new LNC leadership’s strong anti-interventionist message on social media and elsewhere. 

I write this not to induce paranoia; there are many millions of people marinated in establishment media propaganda who thereby internalize it, but who are emphatically not CIA agents. Much of the domestic criticism of the US Libertarian Party’s policy of non-intervention is probably based in media laziness and lack of critical thinking, even among libertarians. 

One might argue that if you walk with the feds, and you talk like the feds — even if you’re not a fed — it doesn’t matter. And on a practical level that’s probably true. But some of them can be saved by proper feeding of relevant information. That’s our role as members of the Libertarian Party.

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