The Biden administration and Apple Inc. have been caught in alarming and elaborate schemes to censor speech here and abroad, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley says.
Apple recently made it difficult for Chinese who are protesting COVID lockdowns there to communicate and coordinate with each other, Hawley noted in an interview with The Heartlander Thursday – while adding his investigation on the homefront has unearthed new proof the Biden administration lied about its own efforts to monitor and censor speech here.
While the Department of Homeland Security abandoned plans for its ominous and ill-fated Disinformation Governance Board in August, Hawley says it’s only now becoming clear the extent to which the Biden administration misled the Senate and the public on how far along the censorship board had gotten.
Hawley announced this week that new documents he has obtained “show that, despite DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s testimony in May that the board hadn’t met, the Disinformation Governance Board Steering Group had begun meeting on a weekly basis as early as February 2022 and already had operational authorities.”
Hawley said the board also had already been in discussions with “liberal dark money groups” about how it could monitor and censor Americans’ online speech.
“What we’ve learned is that they lied to us,” Hawley told The Heartlander. “This administration lied to us over and over again. They said the Disinformation Board never actually met. Not true. They were meeting. Their executive committee was meeting last year, and earlier this year they met for weeks on end. They met every single week, as a matter of fact. They gave directions to other members of the government. They tried to set up a meeting with the Big Tech companies, with Twitter and with Facebook. They were coordinating with liberal dark money groups.
“And this is really astounding: You’ve got these activist, liberal dark money groups that spend hundreds of millions on left-wing causes sending policy memos to the Disinformation Board saying, ‘This is what you ought to do.’
“It’s amazing for a board that supposedly wasn’t meeting – yet, the liberal dark money groups know about it, and they’re trying to influence the board’s direction.”
All this, Hawley says, despite the fact that Mayorkas testified before the Senate in May that the board hadn’t ramped up yet.
Did Mayorkas perjure himself?
“When he told me that the board had never met, and he said the board was not operational and that the board had taken no action, I think the best you can say about that was that it was a deliberately – deliberately – misleading statement.
“He knew that the board’s executive committee was meeting. He knew that the board was in contact with other agencies. He knew that the board was working with Big Tech. And yet he still came up here (to the Senate) and made it sound as if nothing was happening at all.
“That, I think, is pretty darn close to lying under oath.”
As for Apple, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson reported this week that not only did Apple purposely make it difficult for Chinese protesters to communicate with each other, but that the American-based company also appeared poised to remove Twitter from its App Store, due to fears over owner Elon Musk’s allegiance to free speech.
Carlson also noted that, while upstart video-sharing company Odysee was trying to get its product into the App Store, Apple “presented Odysee with a list of nearly two dozen search terms, most related to COVID, that it had to ban if it wanted to join the App Store. …
“It’s hard to imagine a more serious abuse of monopoly power than what Apple did in that and many other instances,” Carlson said. “The biggest company in the world banning a video-sharing website reaching half the country, because people might search for accurate information that Apple didn’t want them to see because it might offend their sponsors in communist China.”
The Heartlander asked Hawley about that.
“I’m really concerned about Apple’s monopoly in the App Store,” he said. “I’m concerned about how they’re trying to weaponize that against companies that they disagree with.
“This latest threat to kick Twitter off of the App Store, we all know what that’s about. It’s the same reason the European Union is now coming after Twitter. It’s because they don’t like the First Amendment. They don’t like free speech. And they don’t like the fact that Elon Musk seems to believe in the First Amendment.”
Musk now says Twitter’s place in the App Store has been secured after a “misunderstanding” and a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook. But Hawley says neither that, nor Apple’s plan to increase chip production in the U.S., is good enough. The Missouri senator said he’d like to see iPhones made in America, and in his home state – whereas currently, he said, 95% are made abroad.
“What’s wrong with the United States of America? Are American workers not good enough? We all know the answer to that. They are good enough.
“Tim Cook doesn’t want to have to deal with American workers. He doesn’t want to actually have to work with them. He likes a labor force that is basically a slave labor force that China controls, that he profits off of.
“It’s wrong. And now, for Apple to be actively helping the communist government in China oppress its own people with these COVID protests – to prevent the protesters from communicating with each other over Apple iPhones, which is what the company is doing – that is just wrong. You talk about un-American.
“I think that this is a choice. I mean, Tim Cook and other executives like him at these big multinational corporations, they have made the choice that they don’t want to have American workforces. They don’t want to have to negotiate with American workers. They don’t want to have to listen to American workers. And they don’t want to have to pay them.
“They would rather have cheap labor, that many times is forced labor in these foreign countries and particularly China. And then, when these communist governments overseas oppress their workers and shut down these protests, these companies are happy to go along with it.”