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23 Dec, 2019 18:56

‘Surveillance Valley’ author Yasha Levine’s Twitter frozen after post objecting to US pushing for war with Russia in Ukraine

‘Surveillance Valley’ author Yasha Levine’s Twitter frozen after post objecting to US pushing for war with Russia in Ukraine

Yasha Levine, a journalist who exposed the US government surveillance origins of the internet and its symbiotic relationship with Big Tech, was locked out of Twitter after criticizing Washington’s Ukraine policy with clear satire.

We gotta kill Russians in Ukraine or they’ll come and kill us here!” Levine tweeted on Saturday, mocking what he described as the US’ policy of using Ukraine as a “forward operating base” – a policy expressed in only slightly more euphemistic terms during the impeachment hearings earlier this month. The journalist even included a link to an article he’d written excoriating the policy he dubbed the “Ukraine Doctrine,” in case anyone actually took the tweet seriously.

Twitter management apparently didn’t bother to click on the link, however. Levine claimed he woke up Sunday morning to “a nice dose of corporate censorship” in the form of a demand from Twitter that he delete the tweet if he wanted to be able to keep using his account, from which he had been locked out “for violating [Twitter’s] rules against hateful conduct.” 

Levine wasn’t sure whether his tweet had triggered an automated report or whether an actual human had gone out of their way to misunderstand his message, but he noted the irony that the author of Surveillance Valley, “the book on how the Internet is a product [of] our national security establishment’s desire to create technologies for social and political control,” should run afoul of one of those technologies while attempting to criticize that government.

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An attempt to appeal Twitter’s decision was rejected, and the tweet was swept into the digital dustbin on Monday. A similarly-worded statement by Pamela Karlan, an appellate attorney and professor at Stanford Law School, made during the House impeachment hearings, continues to be shared on Twitter without issue, however.

Karlan, unlike Levine, appears to be quite serious about the need for the US to flood Kiev with military aid in order to make sure the Ukrainians can “fight the Russians there so we don’t have to fight them here.” No one from either party questioned this assertion, nor the testimony from other witnesses also framing the US-Russia relationship as one of war with the Ukraine as an asset to be levied against Moscow. Several of Levine’s fellow journalists came to his defense, pointing out the absurdity of the platform’s decision.

Others on social media merely pushed for further elucidation of what - exactly - the “Ukraine Doctrine” is.

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