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Sec. Blinken says government-wide probe into ‘mysterious’ injuries afflicting US personnel ongoing

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday he is still conducting research surrounding the “directed” attacks and subsequent injuries of US diplomats. Blinken spoke about the “Havana Syndrome” during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

“We are in the midst, at the President’s direction, with the National Security Council in the lead, of coordinating a government-wide review, including the intelligence community, the State Department, the Defense Department, to try to get to the bottom of what caused them, who did it, if anyone did, and of course care for any people who may have been victimized by it,” Blinken said.

But, this early on, Blinken says intelligence officials are still not sure who or what is behind the injuries. “So certainly if we have concerns, suspicions or beliefs that any state actor, Russia or otherwise was involved … you can be sure that we will take it to them. But right now, we simply do not know,” Blinken said.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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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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