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GOP lawmakers want briefing regarding continued National Guard presence at Capitol

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A group of House Republicans is asking the Defense Department to brief them on why thousands of National Guardsmen are expected to remain in D.C. until at least March, Fox News reports.

National Guard Bureau spokesman Wayne Hall confirmed to Fox News Tuesday that National Guard members will remain in the Capitol until at least mid-March.

“As we continue to work to meet the final post-inauguration requirements, the National Guard has been requested to continue supporting federal law enforcement agencies with 7,000 members and will draw down to 5,000 through mid-March,” Hall told Fox News.

Acting Army Secretary John Whitley said at a briefing Monday that the FBI has been warned of several planned protests and potential unrest in the coming weeks that will require a Guard presence in the Capital.

“We are posturing our forces to be able to respond to those threats if they emerge,” Whitley said.

Several GOP lawmakers are criticizing the decision, saying the National Guard should be used as an absolute last resort.

12 GOP lawmakers wrote a letter to Whitley requesting a briefing regarding the decision for significant troop presence in D.C. through mid-March.

“Our intention is for the briefing to cover ongoing threats to the Capitol, justification of the decision for a significant troop presence through mid-March, and plans for troop utilization during the time period,” the letter says.

“As you know better than anyone, our National Guard men and women are deployed on short notice and pulled away from their families and jobs,” the letter continues.

“Further, the Guard has endured unprecedented stress on the force in the past year given COVID-19, social unrest, natural disasters, and ongoing overseas requirements. The National Guard should be used as an option of absolute last resort.”

The letter concludes, “We are seeking clarification and justification on behalf of the National Guard men and women that have kept us safe over the past month and year. We are seeking this threat assessment briefing as soon as reasonably possible and greatly appreciate your time and attention.”

Sen. Tom Cotton agreed, saying time it’s to send the troops home.

“The National Guard soldiers who deployed to protect the Capitol this month certainly deserve such gratitude. They deployed on short notice, leaving behind their families and jobs. Despite cold weather and uncomfortable conditions, these soldiers did their duty, in the finest traditions of the Guard,” Cotton said.

“Their presence, coupled with tough federal charges against the Capitol rioters, deterred any further violence; the presidential inauguration occurred without incident.”

“With the inauguration complete and threats receding, now it’s time, yes, to send home the troops.”

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Middle East

Facebook, Instagram Employees ‘Censor or Delete’ Protests against Iran

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Iran President Rouhani

Former and current Facebook and Instagram employees are shedding light onto the “fact checkers” that are censoring vital content such as protests against Iran. “According to a report by BBC Persian, these employees admitted that at all levels of the company, the Iran regime’s influence has infiltrated, leaving biased and pro-regime content monitors to restrict, censor or delete posts about the current protests in Iran” reports The Foreign Desk.

Similar to censorship at the companies in the United States and elsewhere, the behavior is its own political movement. “The actions by these Iranian employees to remove images of the demonstrations in Iran and associated hashtags helps reinforce the Islamic Republic’s argument that the protests are not so widespread.”

According to one of the former employees who had his identity hidden for security purposes, told the BBC Persian in an interview from Germany, that the workers travel back and forth between Europe and Iran. “About 90 percent” of the decision making on censorship is done by these “fact checkers.”

“These are individuals who single-handedly take posts down. According to the source, employees are not allowed to have their personal cellular devices with them at their workstations, so these individuals go to the break room to report a post from their personal phones and then come back to their workstations and address the ‘complaint’ they just created.”

 

The Foreign Desk adds:

In 2019 TELUS International became the third-party company contracted with Instagram and Facebook to become their fact checkers and address complaints from users reporting posts for violent, hateful, or threatening material. 

A second source, a former TELUS employee, said approximately 400-500 Iranians work at the company in Germany, a country that is known to have diplomatic and bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic. 

The Islamic Republic has learned from the Green Revolution of 2009 to infiltrate Western social media outlets and their parent companies to control the narrative and prevent the international community from siding with anti-regime demonstrators.

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