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Ron Patton | April 18, 2023

An alarming bill, the “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act,” better known by its acronym, the RESTRICT Act, is using the same national security talking points to justify further federal government encroachment on Americans’ rights. It gives the US government sweeping powers to ban a wide range of apps and digital services.  We need to be focused on our freedom of expression and not be afraid to challenge our government when they make such draconian decisions. Tonight on Ground Zero, Clyde Lewis talks with the co-host of The Rundown Live, Don Via, Jr. about CENSORSHIP INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX.





History has shown that complex systems are connected in many ways so the collapse of one system triggers crises in all the systems it is connected to.

We have had a number of Black Swan events that have created a domino effect with regard to the economy and our way of life.

Since the attacks of 9/11, it seems that the country has been in a cascading crisis. When the Towers fell in 2001, we started to see a bundle of systems collapse with them.

I can say that the one thing that the 9/11 attacks exploited was that many of America’s core systems and values of society had become increasingly fragile behind the thin facade of stability.

Not only did the Twin Towers look as if they were brought down in a controlled demolition but so was our ability as Americans to think rationally and even before the smoke cleared and ashes settled, those who planned this destruction were also planning the rebooting or reset of our entire way of life in America and they were well aware of what it would look like 20 years after.

We need to keep in mind that world leaders have been gradually setting us up for a reset, as groups like Bilderberg and the World economic forum have been pushing for a globalist-controlled stakeholder government.

Whenever major events that are devastating to our country emerge — lawmakers tend to fall into knee-jerk responses and after the 9/11 attacks, everyone at the time was considered an enemy of the state until proven otherwise.

This is why we had the Patriot Act.

The Patriot Act also ultimately helped force into the public sphere a debate over the conflict between the government’s desire to protect its citizens and its citizens’ civil liberties.

What people forget is just how fast the Patriot Act was enacted. The nearly 300-page law was enacted in less than a month after the 9/11 attacks.

Looking back, I don’t think people realized that something this big should have taken longer to write and that chances are the Patriot Act was written long before the 9/11 attacks happened.

It was not available to the public and was barely made available to members of Congress. It is obvious that members of Congress had no time to read it.

The bill was rushed through and the United States of America, as we once knew her, was no more.

The patriot act was a chilling law that used the guise of “national security” to greatly expand the federal government’s secret surveillance powers.

Almost 23 years later, another far-reaching bill, the “Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act,” better known by its acronym, the RESTRICT Act, is using the same national security talking point to justify further federal government encroachment on Americans’ rights.

Although the bill doesn’t mention TikTok, its authors, Democratic Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator John Thune, have framed it as “the best way to counter the TikTok threat.”

However, the impact of the bill extends far beyond TikTok and gives the US government sweeping powers to ban a wide range of apps and services.

The bill authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to review and prohibit “current, past, or potential future transactions” involving technology products or services with more than one million US-based annual active users that:

Are deemed to pose an “undue or unacceptable risk” in various areas

such as national security and election interference.

Involve anyone determined to be “owned, directed, or controlled” by a “foreign adversary” (a term that can currently be applied to China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela but can be extended to other nations by the Secretary).

The Secretary of Commerce can also refer these tech products and services to the President who can take action to “compel divestment of, or otherwise mitigate the risk” associated with them.

There have been a few events recently that are hardening the resolve of those to see this Restrict Act become law.

One of course is the recent Pentagon leaks and of course the controversy over Tik-Tok and whether or not it is used by China as a spying tool.

Amid a national hysteria claiming the popular video-sharing app is a Chinese Trojan Horse, a Mint Press News investigation has found dozens of ex-U.S. State Department officials working in key positions at TikTok. Many more individuals with backgrounds in the FBI, CIA and other departments of the national security state also hold influential posts at the social media giant, affecting the content that over one billion users see.

While American politicians demand the app be banned on national security grounds, try to force through an internet surveillance act that would turn the country into an Orwellian state, make clueless statements about how TikTok is dangerous because it connects to your Wi-Fi, it is possible that TikTok is already much closer to Washington than it is to Beijing.

For quite some time, TikTok has been recruiting former State Department officials to run its operations. The company’s head of data public policy for Europe is Jade Nester who has been recruited for that influential role, Nester was a senior official in Washington, serving for four years as the State Department’s director of Internet public policy.

Mariola Janik, meanwhile, left a long and fruitful career in the government to work for TikTok. Starting out at the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Janik became a career diplomat in the State Department before moving to the Department of Homeland Security. In September, however, she left the government to immediately take up the position of TikTok’s trust and safety program manager, a job that will inevitably include removing content and reshaping algorithms.

While there is no suggestion that Janik is anything other than a model employee, the fact that a U.S. government agent walked into such an influential position at the social media giant should be cause for concern.

If, for instance, a high Chinese official was hired to influence what the U.S. public saw in their social media feeds, it would likely be the centerpiece of the TikTok furor currently gripping Washington.

Janik is not the only former security official working on TikTok’s trust and safety team, however. Between 2008 and 2021, Christian Cardona enjoyed a distinguished career at the State Department, serving in Poland, Turkey and Oman, and was in the thick of U.S. interventionism in the Middle East.

Between 2012 and 2013, he was an assistant to the U.S. ambassador in Kabul. He later left that role to become the political and military affairs manager for Iran.

In the summer of 2021, he went straight from his top State Department job to become product policy manager for trust and safety at TikTok, a position that, on paper, he appears completely unqualified for. Earlier this year, Cardona left the company.

Another influential individual at TikTok is recruiting coordinator Katrina Villacisneros. Yet before she was choosing whom the company hires, Villacisneros worked at the State Department’s Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. And until 2021, she was part of Army Cyber Command, the U.S. military unit that oversees cyberattacks and information warfare online.

Other TikTok employees with long histories in the U.S. national security state include: Brad Earman, global lead of criminal and civil investigations, who spent 21 years as a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigation and also worked as a program manager for antiterrorism at the State Department; and Ryan Walsh, escalations management lead for trust and safety at TikTok, who, until 2020, was the government’s senior advisor for digital strategy. A central part of Walsh’s State Department job, his own résumé notes, was “advancing supportive narratives” for the U.S. and NATO online.

There are many more former state department heads to mention and for many of you I know that they are faceless names heading up an online app you probably don’t use — but this is very important because it is at the forefront of why the government needs an excuse to increase its surveillance of the internet and social media.

Elon Musk Appeared on Tucker Carlson Monday night to peak about a number of things.

Musk revealed that the US government had full access to people’s private Twitter DMs.

Musk told Carlson during a segment that he was shocked as to the level of penetration the feds had with Twitter.

“The degree to which government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on Twitter blew my mind, I was not aware of that,” said Musk.

“Would that include people’s DMs?” asked Carlson.

“Yes,” responded Musk.

It has long been suspected that individual Twitter employees had full access to private messages, but for branches of the federal government to have enjoyed that same privilege is stunning.

Since his purchase of Twitter last October, Musk has worked with journalists to release batches of files exposing the egregious censorship policies that were used against the previous administration

Of course, this has prompted a response in the media and of course, their response is not too favorable as they too are puppets of the current administration and Intel has been weaponized to attack those who speak ill about the draconian policies and war they have created.

There seems to be a department in Washington that is being formed called the Censorship Industrial Complex, (or whatever you need to call the multiplicitous, supranational network of governments, global corporations, NGOs, Intelligence agencies, oligarchs, media, and other such entities that are radically, aggressively restructuring “reality” in a distinctly totalitarian fashion.

Policymakers who claim to understand how information is disseminated on the internet are behind the RESTRICT Bill that is certainly so out of touch with reality.

It could make it illegal to have certain apps on your phone or your computer. Especially the big villain du Joru Tik Tok.

TikTok is an immensely influential medium shaping how the world understands itself, particularly for younger generations. A 2021 study found that 31% of people aged between 18 and 24 worldwide had used the app in the past week, with 9% using it as a primary source of news.

This is, no doubt, part of the reason U.S. officials are so concerned with it. Last month, TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi was brought before Congress and challenged on his company’s connections to the People’s Republic of China. Though TikTok is a subsidiary of Chinese firm ByteDance, it insists it operates as an independent entity and that it has never shared any user data with Beijing.

Nevertheless, questions persist about the app’s practices and security features. Unfortunately, the opportunity to interrogate Chew on more substantive issues was overtaken by political grandstanding from elected officials, who seemed uninterested in his answers and more concerned with scoring political points or achieving quotable soundbites.

Caitlin Vogus, the deputy director of the rights group, the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Free Expression Project, warned that these powers target the free speech rights of Americans. In a statement to Motherboard, she said:

“The RESTRICT Act could lead to apps and other ICT [information communication technology] services with connections to certain

foreign countries being banned in the United States. Any bill that would allow the US government to ban an online service that facilitates Americans’ speech raises serious First Amendment concerns.”

Rights groups have also sounded the alarm about the RESTRICT Act’s threats to fine or imprison those who attempt to “evade the provisions” of the bill — a threat that they fear could be aimed at US citizens who attempt to access banned apps or services.

The RESTRICT Act states: “No person may engage in any transaction or take any other action with intent to evade the provisions of this Act.”

The bill even makes it unlawful to “approve” of “any act” that tries to evade the provisions of the bill.

People that violate these rules can be fined up to $1 million and imprisoned for up to 20 years.

However, the digital rights group, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), has noted that the bill doesn’t actually prevent individual users from being targeted. In an article about the RESTRICT Act, the EFF warned:

“Due to undefined mitigation measures coupled with a vague enforcement provision, the bill could also criminalize common practices like using a VPN or side-loading to install a prohibited app.”

Another concerning aspect of the RESTRICT Act is that it allows the Secretary of Commerce to form technical advisory committees without them being subject to Chapter 10 of Part 1 of Title 5 of the United States Code.

This section of the law aims to reduce “the undue influence” of special interests and lobbyists. It allows Congress to review the proposed activities of advisory committees before they’re formed and ensure that these committees aren’t being “inappropriately influenced” by special interests. It also requires advisory committees to report their activities and goals to Congress, make their meetings open to the public, make transcripts available to the public, and file reports with the Library of Congress.

Excluding RESTRICT Act advisory committees from this section of the law opens the door for lobbyists representing US tech giants to serve on these committees, push for their competitors in other countries to be banned, and further cement their dominance.

And the problems don’t end here. The RESTRICT Act also limits judicial, congressional, and public scrutiny of the government’s actions.

Actions taken by the Secretary of the Treasury under this act are exempt from sections 551, 553-559, and 701-707 of Title 5 of the United States Code — sections that require federal officials and agencies to provide public notice when proposing rule-making, allow interested persons to participate in the rule-making, and give those who suffer legal wrong as a result of government action the right to judicial review.

The scope of judicial review under the RESTRICT Act is limited to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the court is prohibited from disturbing “any action taken” by the Secretary or the President when they review or prohibit transactions or take action against tech products and services unless a petitioner demonstrates that the action is unconstitutional or violates a statutory command.

Additionally, Americans have “no right of access” to the information that the government uses when deciding whether to prohibit transactions involving technology products or services under this bill. The Freedom of Information Act also doesn’t apply to any information submitted by affected parties or created by the government when reviewing such transactions.

The bill also has the full support of the Biden White House which has already demonstrated that it’s no fan of free speech and is currently being sued for alleged First Amendment violations.

If the RESTRICT Act passes, the Biden admin and any future pro-censorship administrations will be handed new powers to continue their crackdowns on online speech.

Again, the Biden Administration is showing us just how paranoid an administration can be as they continue to oppress free speech all the while being sloppy with their own intelligence and being an open book for Chinese spying.

The Pentagon’s recent leak may be the Internet 9/11 but is obviously a sloppy way of using it along with TIK Tok as a reason to pass such an oppressive bill.



Don Via Jr. is an independent journalist based in central Virginia, his reporting mainly focuses on politics, corruption in government, and foreign policy. He is the co-host of The Rundown Live and contributor to The Free Thought Project.

Written by Ron Patton


This post currently has 12 comments.

  1. John Weiner

    April 18, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    The ,” Twitter Files,” documents demonstrated that the FBI and Twitter had the same sort of ,” incestuous relationship,” codependent would be another good description for this sort of relationship.

  2. Rusty

    April 18, 2023 at 7:38 pm

    Great research Clyde. That is a Most important question- how could former state dept &other govt officials get in to so many head rolls in TikTok–unless they have an agenda! Restrict bill does not even discuss TTok , but it would create arbitrary decisions & extensive powers leading to a surveillance and restrictive control state X2 or worse. When will they stop?? Seems very conveniently timed with the Leaker.

  3. John Weiner

    April 18, 2023 at 7:56 pm

    Junk email should be banned, as should cookies. Cookies are for eating not spying on my use of my smartphone or internet in any form for instance if I were on it in a public library.
    As for that leak in the chat room, that was classified information, and thus a breach of, ” THE ESPIONAGE ACT,” considered to be, an act of gross negligence.”

  4. John Weiner

    April 18, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    It is a sad, sad fact, but sometimes, especially in the event of a national crisis, or war, a government just has to clamp down on what types of information gets out to the public, however, Vladimir Putin is taking this far, too far, starting at the outset of his war of aggression against Ukraine, when he cracked down on those massive anti-war protests that broke out. More, much more recently, arresting that one Russian because he simply spoke out against his war of aggression against Ukraine to a reporter; and speaking of reporters, having that ,” WALL STREET JOURNAL,” reporter wrongly and wrongfully arrested and charged with espionage.

  5. Rusty

    April 18, 2023 at 8:43 pm

    The whole thing sounds pretty fishy, to use polite term. If this guy was so dangerous & committed an unforgivable act, they usually go in with guns blazing, don’t they?

  6. John Weiner

    April 18, 2023 at 8:58 pm

    What internationally recognized investigative organization such as Scotland Yard, or Interpol ,or what court of competent jurisdiction, in which the government had the chance to confront the evidence, on or alleged witnesses against them found the Biden administration guilty of bombing the Nordstream Pipeline.
    I understand that all governments friendly , as well as unfriendly spy against each other.

  7. John Weiner

    April 18, 2023 at 9:58 pm

    Part of our being considered a reliable nation includes us living up to our word, ie…, treaties, such as that 1994 treaty we, amongst others have with Ukraine to defend the integrity of their borders, in order to get them to shed themselves of their nuclear weapons, an action-encouraging them to rid themselves of their nuclear weapons, inherited from Vladimir Putin’s SOVIET UNION-that President Clinton recently said he regretted because of Vladimir Putin’s wrongful invasion of Ukraine.

  8. joe

    April 18, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    THE IRS has phone face re con tech on your phone when u file taxes on your account now. so they going too tie it too your credit, travel ,passport, jobs ,gas & electric bills,, shopping etc etc A digitial wallet POLICE & SECRET POLICE STATE> this countrys DONE>>> last straw A.I takimg jobs = control food water WHO UN all tie in too new world order NAZI COMMUNIST LIBERAL SOCIALIST FACIST DICATORS ALL THE SAME GANG_SATANS ILLUMANTIS GAME OVER << CLYDE GAME OVER we done

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