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    Ex-CIA Officer: Facebook 'Routinely' Blocking Accounts at US, Israel's Requests

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    Facebook and other Silicon Valley firms choose to comply with the requests of Washington and Tel Aviv to delete undesired accounts because they fear US and Israeli influential political elites, Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, has told Sputnik, adding that the practice, which he described as "illegal," has become routine.

    Glenn Greenwald's article is completely accurate, Philip Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer at the CIA, told Sputnik, commenting on the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist's recent op-ed which shed light on Facebook's controversial practice of blocking accounts of individuals at the request of the US and Israeli governments.

    "The blocking of accounts of people who are on lists maintained by the US government has become routine," Giraldi said. "It is also illegal as the account holders have broken no laws and are in compliance with the rules set up by the sites themselves."

    Greenwald raised the alarm over the supposed state censorship exercised by the social networking service against Palestinian activists and Russian officials.

    Citing Al Jazeera and The New York Times, the investigative journalist emphasized the alleged mutual consent reached by the Israeli government and Facebook which resulted in the closure of numerous accounts and pages of Palestinian individuals and media outlets deemed as "inciting violence."

    "That means that Israeli officials have virtually unfettered control over a key communications forum of Palestinians," Greenwald concluded, suggesting that at the same time "calls by Israelis for the killing of Palestinians are commonplace on Facebook, and largely remain undisturbed."

    According to the journalist, Facebook's decision to close the account of Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic, Russia, is similarly "disturbing and dangerous." Greenwald highlighted that while the social media service claims that "Mr. Kadyrov's [Facebook and Instagram] accounts were deactivated because he had just been added to a United States sanctions list and that the company was legally obligated to act," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro remains active on both platforms despite the fact he is on the same sanctions list.

    "Does anyone trust the Trump administration — or any other government — to compel social media platforms to delete and block anyone it wants to be silenced?" Greenwald asked rhetorically.

    READ MORE: Ex-CIA Officer Explains Why US Media Inflates Impact of Facebook 'Russian Ads'

    The CIA veteran says that there is nothing new in what the investigative journalist is describing: "Those of us in the activist community have long been observing how some articles have been blocked or made to disappear."

    "Israel and Jewish groups in the United States have led discussions with Facebook, Google and other sites to restrict what they choose to describe as hate speech. They have been successful, obtaining the agreement of those companies to set up standards that will in effect limit any criticisms of Israel and permit criticism of the Palestinians and other Arabs," Giraldi explained.

    He noted that "the companies can, in fact, do what they want as they are private entities. However, "if the public begins to understand that they are cooperating with governments to censor their product it will hurt their bottom lines as advertisers will go elsewhere," he pointed out.

    Commenting on what is behind the Silicon Valley giant's apparent pliability to Washington and Tel Aviv, the ex-CIA officer opined that "the companies for the most part go along with Israel and the US government because they are fearful that the US government will intervene to regulate the system."

    "In the case of Israel, they fear lawsuits from Israel's many and powerful friends in the United States," Giraldi suggested.

    Regardless of Donald Trump's assuming office, the United States government has been doing much of the same since the time of the Obama administration, the former intelligence official underscored.

    The views and opinions expressed by Philip Giraldi are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    internet censorship, social media accounts, Palestinians, censorship, Google, Facebook, Glenn Greenwald, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Ramzan Kadyrov, Israel, United States, Russia
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