March 20, 2024 – Government documents confirm the Biden administration’s mobilization of U.S. counterterrorism assets to support Imran Ahmed’s global censorship campaign

In Email/Dossier/Govt Corruption Investigations, Featured Timeline Entries by Katie Weddington

To justify censorship, Biden’s strategy asserted that “Internet-based communications platforms” make Americans “vulnerab[le] to domestic terrorist recruitment and other harmful content.” Effectively, the Biden Administration turned to the national security state and its allied technology companies to censor political opponents. In Orwellian fashion, it said: “All told, a better, more holistic, and coordinated understanding of and information sharing on today’s threat will allow a more effective and comprehensive response. That response will address not just current and imminent incarnations of the domestic terrorism threat but also its contributing factors before they can generate still more violence in the future.”

Biden Endorses the “Christchurch Call to Action”

As the Biden Strategy explained, as part of its effort to control information, “We will also build a community” of “critical partners,” including “state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as foreign allies and partners, civil society, the technology sector, academia, and more.” These “interlocking communities that can contribute information, expertise, analysis, and more” and “With the right orientation and partnerships, the Federal Government can energize, connect, and empower those communities – communities whose input was critical to the formulation of this Strategy itself.”

Accordingly, it declared that “in a global, multi-stakeholder setting … with partner governments … the United States endorses the Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online.”

In 2019, the Trump Administration had refused this “call to action” on free speech grounds. In fact, on the same day that the Trump Administration announced that it was passing on this international initiative censorship initiative, it reportedly released an online tool for users to report if they suspect they’ve been the subject of “political bias” by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or other online platforms

Biden Supports CCDH

Biden’s government claimed that “Maximizing the Federal Government’s understanding of [domestic terrorism] means supporting and making appropriate use of the analysis performed by entities outside the government….” CCDH was one such entity.

CCDH is a United Kingdom-based nonprofit that has been encouraging censorship online for years. It originates from and is staffed with many individuals in the United Kingdom. However, it has been incorporated in the United States and registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the United States, effective December 11, 2020.

CCDH describes itself as a “not-for-profit non-governmental organization” that “works to stop the spread of online hate and disinformation through innovative research, public campaigns and policy advocacy.” It describes its founder and CEO, Imran Ahmed, as an “authority on social and psychological malignancies on social media, such as identity-based hate, extremism, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.” However, Ahmed is a leftist political operative connected to the UK Labour Party. Through his work with Stop Funding Fake News (SFFN), which was later folded into CCDH, Imran Ahmed took credit for a so-called “defund racism” campaign associated with Black Lives Matter to force Google to remove their ads from The Federalist and ZeroHedge.

CCDH is best known for its March 24, 2021 report, THE DISINFORMATION DOZEN: Why platforms must act on twelve leading online anti-vaxxers, which branded twelve Americans, including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “anti-vaxxers … responsible for almost two-thirds of anti‑vaccine content circulating on social media platforms,” and called for them to be deplatformed.

As the Missouri v. Biden case revealed, Biden White House officials quickly pressured social media companies to deplatform and demote “the disinfo dozen.” On July 15, 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted to “flagging problematic posts for Facebook.” Presumably citing CCDH’s report, Psaki also implied that the “12 people who are producing 65 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation [should not] remain active on Facebook.”

On or around March 29, 2022, Robert Silvers — the DHS Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans who co-chaired the short-lived Disinformation Governance Board with Nina Jankowicz — connected with CCDH’s then-Head of Policy, Eva Hartshorn-Sanders, via LinkedIn. On March 29, 2022, Eva Hartshorn-Sanders emailed Robert Silvers “to meet to discuss research that [CCDH] released and coming up in the next couple of weeks, and … to hear about work that [DHS] ha[s] underway, including more about the strategies and plans that [the DHS] team have developed.” Eva also invited Robert to CCDH’s Global Summit and Changemakers Dinner.

In addition to her lead policy role at CCDH, Eva Hartshorn-Sanders separately provides “[l]eading Government advice on the response to the March 15 terrorist attacks on Christchurch mosques.”

Eva Hartshorn-Sanders promoted online censorship legislation around the world, including the UK’s Online Safety Bill, testifying before the House of Commons that “websites like The Gateway Pundit profit from Google ads to the tune of over $1 million while spreading election disinformation. That has led to real-world death threats sent to election officials and contributed to the events of 6 January. It is not something we want to see replicated in the UK.” Eva Hartshorn-Sanders also opposed a principle “that is framed negatively about preventing platforms from removing content, rather than positively about addressing content that undermines elections.”

Robert Silvers quickly replied, “I am copying our Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism, Lucian Sikorskyj, to follow up and pursue these opportunities.”

The next day, on March 30, 2022, Eva Hartshorn-Sanders also invited the DHS Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism to CCDH’s Global Summit and Changemakers Dinner, and they began scheduling for a call “in the next few weeks.”

By June 16, 2022, a White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse was established under the leadership of the Director of the White House Gender Policy Council and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

By September 23, 2022, CCDH was directly meeting with officials from the White House, the NSC, and the Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT), updating them with CCDH’s latest findings.

On September 30, 2022, CCDH formally submitted its research and policy recommendations on technology-facilitated gender-based violence to the White House Task Force. Its submission highlighted how CCDH “studied the way anti-vaccine extremists, hate actors, climate change deniers, and misogynists weaponize platforms to spread lies and attack marginalized groups,” and developed policy and legislation to “ensure that social media platforms meet [CCDH’s framework] for addressing digital hate and disinformation, embedding Safety by Design, Transparency requirements (on algorithms, rules enforcement and economics), Accountability and Responsibility.”

On March 3, 2023, the White House published its Initial Blueprint for the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse. The Blueprint highlighted federal research funding, “Digital Equity” grants, Department of Education guidance to be issued to colleges, and an FTC enforcement action against a gaming platform. According to Eva Hartshorn-Sanders, CCDH was “able to feed in research and policy recommendations for its development.”

Statement from Gene Hamilton, America First Legal Executive Director: 

“These documents demonstrate, yet again, the Biden Administration’s drive to censor its political opponents. In the name of fighting “domestic terrorism,” it eagerly partnered with foreign leftists to silence American citizens who questioned or challenged the government’s irrational vaccine mandates and who dared to discuss the possibility of fraud during the 2020 election. The Biden Administration’s National Security Strategy was a fraud, and its program of censorship an indefensible disgrace.” said Gene Hamilton.

Read the full documents here and here.

(America First Legal, 3/20/2024)  (Archive)