A vexing thing about slippery slopes: The boulders tumbling down them don’t know which heads they bop on the way to the ground. Progressives are suddenly up in arms about the Los Angeles Police Department tracking the social media activities of civilians. Apparently, leftist activists have begun to feel the sting of this Orwellian law enforcement action. Yet they were strangely silent, if not flat-out applauding, when the LAPD started rolling out this protocol in the name of “combating hate” only a few years ago.
“The Los Angeles Police Department authorizes its officers to engage in extensive surveillance of social media without internal monitoring of the nature or effectiveness of the searches, according to the results of a public records request filed by the Brennan Center.” So reads the shocking September 8 report from the leftist organization funded by progressive globalist heavyweight “philanthropists” such as George Soros, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
As a certain New York Police Department officer once said while spending a not-so-delightful Christmas in L.A.: “Welcome to the party, pal.”
‘This Has Serious Implications’
The folks at the Brennan Center are alarmed at the disturbing and ill-defined police powers on display here. “Few limitations offset this broad authority: officers need not document the searches they conduct, their purpose, or the justification. They are not required to seek supervisory approval, and the guide offers no standards for the types of cases that warrant social media surveillance,” the report bemoans.
“In the same policy, the department encourages social media ‘listening,’ which is broadly defined,” the Center complains. “The policy also imposes no limits upon this ‘continuous’ monitoring and does not require oversight to determine whether it is being deployed inappropriately or discriminatorily.”
Isn’t it all so awful? And here’s the worst part:
“This has serious implications for people’s privacy and First Amendment rights, especially for communities of color and activists.”
Ah, there you have it. Leftists are apoplectic about Big Brother monitoring the online media activity of the politically minded now that their own ranks are being affected by it. Yet there is no recognition by the Brennan Center – nor will there be – that this truly dangerous trend of policing citizens’ thoughts has its direct roots in the campaign against right-wing “hate” and “white supremacy” that has been championed by every leading progressive organization in America for some two decades now.
It’s nice of the Brennan Center to get around to noticing what Liberty Nation highlighted back in January 2019 about the LAPD’s monitoring of free speech in the service of a murky “pre-emptive police attention.”
From that article. Here is how two L.A. police officials put it to The Los Angeles Times in 2017:
“‘People have a right to say what they want. No matter how bad it is and how hurtful it is to other people,’ L.A. Sheriff’s Department Detective Chris Keeling was kind enough to acknowledge. But then he continued: ‘We have to know those people are out there, but what we have to fight against is allowing that person’s statement to cause us to react in a negative way.’
‘Incidents quite often develop into crimes,’ [Commander Horace] Frank told the paper. ‘The last thing we want to do is to be on the responsive end as opposed to the preventive end.’ This is nothing less than an assumption of future guilt being made by law enforcement authorities against private citizens based only on their holding certain personal views deemed to be offensive in the current politically correct zeitgeist.”
Gee, who would have ever thought such elastic wording could spawn a monster?
‘White Supremacists Are Using the Internet’
Oh, but these were the salad days of tracking “online white supremacist extremism.” Donald Trump was in the White House and the Ku Klux Klan was riding high once again within the ranks of his Make America Great Again movement. The Center for American Progress, a Hillary Clinton-aligned progressive establishment organization, made much hay of the dire cyber-threat posed by Trump supporters during his time in office and continues to push the tired theme today.
An April CAP report titled “A National Policy Blueprint To End White Supremacist Violence” devotes major attention to right-wing cyber-extremism. From the report:
“White supremacists use internet-based platforms, websites, and social spaces to propagate their narratives, reach new members, organize, and fundraise. They use both mainstream online platforms, which reach a wider audience, and smaller, more niche platforms that allow for more overtly violent content and discussion. Social media posts and interactions have been used to connect with individuals and engage them in ‘light’ white supremacy and misogyny under the veil of jokes and ‘normal’ online activity.
Further online community engagement, and even algorithm-driven recommendations, amplify increasingly white supremacist messages and push users to more extreme content, channels, and forums. White supremacists are also using the internet to reach out to groups with shared grievances, engaging heavily with QAnon communities and capitalizing on anti-government views prompted by mask mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This is the very essence of the fevered hysteria that inspired the LAPD and other police departments to start monitoring the free speech of individual citizens. Guess who funds the Center for American Progress? George Soros, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefellers.
“Additional new documents reveal the LAPD used another third-party vendor, Geofeedia, to search social media for information about Black Lives Matter activists and protests against police violence, using numerous hashtags to identify their posts,” the Brennan Center mournfully observes.
“The broad use of social media and the lack of oversight accompanying it, as these new documents put into high relief, is a matter of significant concern. Law enforcement should not have a free pass to broadly trawl the internet without accountability or oversight,” the report solemnly concludes.
Perhaps if the Brennan Center’s sister Soros organizations hadn’t devoted every possible moment over the past five years in particular to demonizing other American citizens for expressing thoughts they disapproved of, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.