“The censorship in the US just getting so blatant right now”: The head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice interviewed Matt Agorist, editor-in-chief of an independent American online alternative media

The head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice spoke with Matt Agorist, an independent journalist from the United States, who for the past ten years has been the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Free Thought Project, a news publication dedicated to human rights violations. Mira Terada discussed with the guest how the situation with the artificial restriction of freedom of speech has worsened over the past few years, how the American establishment influences the media and why the war on drugs in the United States has contributed to the growth of the police state.

Matt Agorist

Mira Terada: Hello, Matt! First of all, I would like to thank you for being able to take the time to interview the Foundation to Battle Injustice. Please tell our viewers a few words about yourself.

Matt Agorist: Yes, I’m the co-founder and the editor in chief of the Free Thought Project, which was started almost a decade ago by my partner and I, Jason Bassler. I used to be in the military and military intelligence, and I directly worked under the NSA. And when I got out, I noticed that what the NSA was doing after I had gotten out of the military was in direct contrast to what I did when I was in. It would have been considered illegal, but now it’s a matter of policy. So that led me on this path to awakening.

I saw the massive corrupt police state growing around us, and I decided that I would have to dedicate my life to stopping that.

M.T.: Your activities are aimed at fighting the artificial restriction of freedom of speech in the United States. Tell me, please, how much has the situation with freedom of speech in modern America deteriorated over the past year?

M.A.: Over the past year, it’s been incredible with with COVID since 2020, and it started three or four years ago back in 2017, when they started with these fact checkers and everything. But in the past year, it’s come to a head where if you just question the establishment narrative on anything, even if it’s factual, you can be wiped off of Twitter or Facebook or Google or YouTube and just in a matter of seconds with absolutely no recourse. And we have this narrative out there that these companies are private, but as we’ve seen over the past year, that is not entirely true because a lot of them are partnering with the government, they take their marching orders directly from the U.S. government. 

We’ve had the U.S. government admit that they tell the social media companies and tech giants who they can and can’t allow on their platforms. 

There’s also the implementation of the Atlantic Council in 2018 that partnered with Facebook and Twitter, who directly tells these organizations who they can and can’t have on their platforms. And the Atlantic Council is directly funded by the U.S. government. It’s also funded by weapons corporations like Lockheed Martin and big pharma corporations, too, and other totalitarian regimes across the planet.

So to say that these companies are private is false. And so that means that the government is actually directly attacking free speech as well on these platforms. So I don’t know what the what the step is to combat this. I mean, there’s all these other platforms popping up. There’s all these other different social media platforms popping up. But so far people are refusing to move over there. I guess they’re waiting for it to get really bad.

M.T.: How would you characterize the general dynamics of the state of civil rights and freedoms under the current US President Joe Biden? Is the situation with observance of citizens’ rights related to who is in the White House (Democrat or Republican)?

M.A.: I mean, I think human rights currently are just taking a backseat to what the U.S. government is referring to as COVID protocol. we don’t really have. In New York and in other places and all companies, over 100 employees, you’ve lost your right to informed consent if you want to maintain, If you want to keep your job at these places and not receive the vaccine, you don’t. You get fired in New York if you want to. 

If you’re five year olds have to show proof of vaccination in order to buy food in a restaurant. This is not a civil right. This is an affront to the actual civil rights that we’re guaranteed as human beings to be able to freely travel. 

And I think it’s been deteriorating for decades now, but in the last two or three years with COVID and during the Trump administration and then under the continuing under the Biden administration, the attack on civil rights in America has gotten progressively worse.

M.T.: Unfortunately. As we know, after the 2016 elections, the American democratic establishment strengthened its influence on the world’s largest information resources in order to eradicate journalism beyond their control under the pretext of fighting fake news. How has this affected your activities? Have search engines stopped displaying sites that publish information inconvenient for the government?

M.A.: Yes. I mean, this is the fact checkers are a massive thorn in the side to anybody who challenges the establishment narrative. And as we learned a few weeks ago, the Facebook admitted that they’re fact checkers are merely just opinion when they were being sued by John Stossel in the court for libel. Because the fact checkers claim that John Stossel lied and he brought them to court and sued him, and Facebook admitted that actually, they’re not really fact checkers. These are just people putting out their opinions who we claim that are fact checkers, and so we’re not responsible for them or their version of facts that are posted on their platforms. Despite that, the fact that they actually pay for these people to do that. Yeah, the state of fact-checking is ridiculous currently, especially under COVID. We’ve seen multiple examples of of things that have been fact checked as fake where people have even been banned off of social media. The Wuhan lab leak theory for one, we saw people if you mention that the lab that coronavirus may have come from the lab in Wuhan, China, if you mentioned that in early 2020 you were banned from Facebook, Twitter, you were taken like taken off the internet.

And now, that’s like the most plausible theory. So none of these fact checkers is going to go back and they don’t go back and issue retractions or anything like that. I was actually there is a a fact check organization called News Guard who rates different media outlets based on their credibility. And I just did an interview with them to so they could rate the Free Thought Project. And when I was reading that rating of us, they had actually had misinformation that was in there claiming that I didn’t respond to their previous interview request in 2019, so they had demoted us in their rankings, and I actually pulled up the email address or the email that I had sent them two years ago and and showed them like, “Hey, look, this is I answered all of your questions. We were completely transparent. You guys just never responded” and they’d never retracted that. Never did anything. And yeah, so that’s the state of fact checking that we’re under right now. Like, it’s just it’s insane, and it’s not in the interest of facts or the truth at all.

M.T.: Most recently, Facebook marked the publication of the Foundation to Battle Injustice about political prisoners related to the events of January 6 as information contrary to the rules of the community, and representatives of the social network have repeatedly admitted to deleting user accounts at the direction of the governments of the United States and other Western countries. Do you think there will ever be a moment when the largest platforms will break away from being puppets of the government and begin to comply with the First Amendment to the US Constitution?

M.A.: I don’t think so. I don’t think that they have an interest to challenge the government because their entire existence is reliant upon the Section 230 of the that gives them plausible deniability, whenever people use their platforms to espouse anything like hate filled speech or promote violence, that Facebook exists because of its cozy relationship to the government. I see Twitter and Facebook all becoming irrelevant in the near future because they have all these competing forms that are competing social media sites that are popping up that they promised not to censor or that can’t be taken down because they’re on the blockchain. That’s what I see happening. I don’t see Facebook and Twitter ever going back to the days where they allowed free speech on their platforms or where they didn’t fact check people, it’s just not going to happen. They have too much to lose by severing those that bond with the government that they have created.

M.T.: The Internet has been sorted out. Please tell us how television works in the United States? Is there freedom of choice, alternative TV channels? We all know that there are several large and popular conservative channels operating in the United States. But to what extent do they withstand competition from the liberal mainstream media and to what extent is this competition fair?

M.A.: Well, it’s not fair at all. 

You have roughly six companies that control all the media that Americans see on their television, which is why I don’t watch TV at all. Television in general, like the mainstream media, like you had said it has taken, it’s been taken over by a leftist message, and all of them, even when Fox News comes on, it’s still all pro establishment messaging where it just parrots the establishment talking points handed out by the White House that day, although they do appear to challenge them sometimes, so like when the left would challenge Trump or Fox News would challenge Biden.

Now in those are superficial challenges that we see happening from these mainstream outlets when behind the scenes and actually in general, when it comes to war and the and the the fostering and creation of the police state in general, all the mainstream media, no matter which side they pretend to be on left or right, they will support that. They’ll support the construction of the U.S. empire abroad and the spreading of war and the the domesticated police state at home.

M.T.: The restoration of the “fourth power”, apparently, is the only way to combat the control of the US elites over the content and dissemination of information that they consider undesirable. In your opinion, are there any chances that people who disagree with the current agenda of the government will be able to unite and fight back against censorship?

M.A.: I think that’s our only hope. It’s happening right now. We’re seeing we see Dr. Malone in one of the inventors of the mRNA technology. He was just banned from Twitter last week, and we see like he immediately goes on Joe Rogan and then they reach millions of people with that podcast immediately.

I think that with the censorship, it’s just getting so blatant right now.

They can’t cover up everything that’s going on and their narrative is collapsing. So yes, I think that that’s inevitable and there already is whether or not there’s like an official area or a website where these people are gathering. I think that the society in general is combating this establishment narrative because we’re tired of it. We’ve been listening to it for two years and they keep saying the same things over and over again and nothing is changing. And here we are. We’re at year two, you’re going into year three of the pandemic and and their only options are just more force, more regulations, more mandates, take more vaccines. That’s it. That clearly that hasn’t done anything. And but they show no no signs of slowing or stopping. So yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of people that are tired and I don’t know that we’re that they’re organizing together to anything large and large, but I don’t know that we need to. I think that the narrative can collapse on its own once enough people wake up to it.

M.T.: Most of the information on your site is dedicated to the real stories of people who have faced police brutality or government repression. According to our estimates, despite calls from human rights organizations around the world to reconsider the methods used by representatives of US law enforcement agencies, the number of victims is only increasing. Do you think the authorities are deliberately trying to instill fear in the servants of the law. 


If you could, you could look at the American police force in general and see that, you know, we have like they have these stormtrooper like outfits, we have MRAPs going down the street, which are mine resistant vehicles. Yeah, I mean, definitely there’s a level of intimidation tactics that are to try to force compliance.

We’re seeing right now, though, like the as far as the American police goes or American law enforcement system goes, we’re not seeing outside of New York City, we’re seeing the police uphold the rights of people in general when it comes to COVID lockdown rules. In New York City, we’re seeing kids being yanked out of restaurants by cops because they haven’t shown their vaccine passports in order to eat. But in other parts of the country, the actually law enforcement has largely upheld the rights of Americans during the COVID lockdowns by refusing to enforce mask mandates and other things like this. Now there’s been some egregious outliers in this case is where we’re seeing people beaten or arrested for not wearing a mask or for not showing their vaccine passport. But a lot of these are taking place in New York City, where that has been like this its own police state for years.

M.T.: You often publish information that US police officers are arrested for various crimes related to bestiality and pedophilia. Do candidates for the role of law enforcement officer not undergo any psychiatric examinations? Biden’s increase in funding for hiring employees by almost 2 times did not give the desired result?

M.A.: I don’t think so. I think that you could throw all the money you want to it, but it’s not going to stop the problem. I think that a lot of the the problems with like these sexual predators in police ranks is because they’re a lot of predators are often attracted to positions of authority in which they can carry out their sick desires. So we have a lot of these officers that are arrested on a you can just go Google like officer arrested and there’s at least two or three a week officers arrested for not just sexual assault of adults, but but children and when they do get caught and arrested and tried, they oftentimes don’t actually get sentenced to jail. We’ve seen some horrifying crimes committed against children by police officers who got parole or or house arrest and never even went to jail. So, yeah, I mean, clearly what we have to deter it is not working and throwing more money at it, it’s not the answer, either. I mean, the budget has increased every year for four decades. We have the largest police force and the most armed police force in the world, and it’s still rife with corruption and largely due to certain factors. But yeah, money is not going to change that.

M.T.: Often, police officers who violate the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens by breaking into their homes and pointing weapons at them are exempt from liability due to the qualified immunity law, established by the Supreme Court in 1982 and aimed at protecting officials. Don’t you think that this law needs to be revised or repealed, since unscrupulous police officers often use this loophole to absolve themselves of responsibility for exceeding their powers?

M.A.: Yes. The problem with qualified immunity is massive. It’s not a get out of jail free card because it doesn’t apply to criminal cases. It applies to civil cases in which people want to to sue for damages and if their rights were violated by police. And all too often we see that people can be killed, innocent people can be killed and injured and very egregious manners and even murdered by police. And because there wasn’t a case that determined that this was a direct violation of the Constitution or there was no previous precedent showing that stomping on a man’s neck was not a violation of somebody’s 4th Amendment rights or Eighth Amendment rights. Or then these cops, then the victims aren’t able to get damages from these officers. So yeah, qualified immunity is a massive problem. And there’s been lots of Congressman, Justin Amash, Rand Paul. They’ve proposed radical bills that would have alleviated all these problems with qualified immunity by just ending them and ending the no knock raids like you had mentioned. But they’re on the right. So they have this deadlock between left and right in the United States, and they can’t agree on anything.

M.T.: Several decades ago, America launched a war on drugs, which caused the number of prisoners to increase several times, exceeding the mark of 2.3 million people. It is safe to say that prison has become a real instrument of torture. Why is there so little talk about it? For what reason are the media and the public so indifferent to this monstrous problem?

M.A.: Well, that’s the problem right there. The number one problem with police in America is the war on drugs. It’s the number one lobby. Lobbying groups that that want to keep the war on drugs going is as police unions, prison unions, prison contractors and the pharmaceutical industry, these people make a lot of money by having drugs illegal because it keeps prisons filled, it justifies these no knock warrants in the middle of the night, and it justifies larger budgets for these SWAT teams. And you can’t compete with the pharmaceutical industries. You have patents on Marinol and other things like that where like for drugs that could help people, that you could grow in your own backyard. 

But yes, the war on drugs is one of the largest factors that has contributed to the growth of the police state in the in the U.S. That’s it. Also, it contributes to the systemic oppression of minorities because minorities are targeted and often face harsher, much harsher sentences for the same criminal act as their white counterparts.

So the war on drugs has done nothing to stop the war. In fact, you see right this year is the largest number of opioid overdoses in U.S. history has taken place where we’ve had over 100000 people die from opioid overdoses in just the last 12 months, and the war on drugs hasn’t done anything to combat that. It’s made it far worse. The reason that fentanyl is flowing into the United States is a direct result of the war on drugs, which attacks safer alternatives that could exist. But because they’re outlawed and banned here, then we have different countries like Mexico and China and other places that actually create synthetic fentanyl and keeps shifting it into the United States to meet the demand outlawing something does not remove the demand for it. It only pushes that demand into black markets and criminal enterprises, which creates crime and corruption among politicians. It’s one of the biggest plights on humanity ever conducted, and we need to end it now.

M.T.: In a recent interview with the Foundation to Battle Injustice, Paul Wright, an expert in the field of prison issues, stated that the largest American media often ignore the shocking statistics of deaths, violence and suicides in prisons and temporary detention centers. Why do you think so little attention is paid to this, given that literally every American can at any moment become a victim of judicial brutality and will have to serve a prison sentence?

M.A.: Well, that’s part of the mindset with the American public. So much of the American mentality involves worshipping this government state that’s infallible. So if somebody is in jail, they deserve to be in jail. They must have done something wrong if they die in jail. So what they shouldn’t have done whatever they did to go to jail, but as we’ve been trying to point out for years, like there’s an innocence is guilt is not a measure to hold people in jail. 

98% of the people who die in jail have never even been convicted of a crime. They are just waiting. They die in jail waiting for their trial. They just can’t get out because of their bail is so high.

So this innocent until proven guilty thing that people don’t do, they just ignore it, largely in society around here an when they get in jail they kill themselves in jail or they die from medical neglect. Most people, they just turn a blind eye to it and just go on about their days and it’s very sad. That’s a big impetus behind why we do what we do is we try to raise awareness for this suffering and torment in so many of these people that are dying in jail or in there for substances deemed illegal by the state. Which is just more of the drug war.

M.T.: In your opinion, what should be done in the near future to reform the police and prison systems? Perhaps it is really worth listening to a number of American human rights activists and it is necessary to completely dismantle the existing police and prison system and build a new one in its place on a more humane basis?

M.A.: Well, I think that there’s a multiple faceted solution to this, and it could be literally take place overnight. One major facet of that, like I just mentioned, is ending the war on drugs. This would starve the prison industrial complex of cheap and easy, low hanging fruit prisoners that they use to fill it up with another. One would be to end the enforcement of victimless crimes.

There’s so many people in jail for that can’t pay a ticket because their window tint was too dark or because they had a license plate light out on their car.

Or so they they got too many tickets for not having a seatbelt, so they got put in jail and then they can’t get out. There’s countless instances of this where the system is set up to prey on people like mostly poor and minorities who can’t pay these tickets. And they ended up they, filling the coffers of the prison system. So if you take away that ability to to prey and actually extract revenue from the citizens via those venues, via victimless crimes and via the drug war, then that’s a massive revolutionary way to revamp everything. Then that way, police could actually focus on actual crimes instead of trying to extract revenue through traffic enforcement or drug war.

And then also if cops were made to carry personal liability insurance and they were held responsible for their own actions instead of the taxpayers being held responsible for their actions, that would be another major contributor to the betterment of law enforcement in America ending qualified immunity. There also are so many police officers out there that see really bad stuff like somebody murdered and like what we have for the military where when military deploys, they only go out for a year or so and then they come back because staying perpetually deployed is very bad for the psyche.

So there’s likely hundreds of thousands of police officers out there suffering from PTSD, like just ticking time bombs waiting to explode, and they have no rest after they’ve seen see a dead, they see some murder scene, they get to go right back to duty that next week and it just compiles in their mental state just degrades over time. And then they end up shooting a child down the road and it could have been prevented. So there’s multipl different solutions to that problem. And outside of completely tearing it down and starting from a new, I don’t know that would work. You could open up competition in American security forces, which would be another possible scenario to to fix the problem where instead of having the state monopoly on security, you could you could allow citizens in different cities to pay for their own security and they could be fireable if those police departments or those law enforcement or security agencies failed. So much of the law enforcement officers today do, they would be outed and, new people would be brought in.

M.T.: In December 2021, 26-year-old Cuban immigrant Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in prison for an accident that occurred due to a technical malfunction. During the hearing, the judge said that he understood the absurdity of the situation, but could not do anything because of the current law on minimum mandatory sentences. Could you comment on the controversial court decision and the mentioned law? Does it violate the rights and freedoms of citizens?

M.A.: Yes, undoubtedly. This mandatory minimum law that used to take down that trucker in Colorado was to sentence him to 110 years when it wasn’t even his fault. It was a malfunction of the truck, and he didn’t own the truck. The truck was owned by the trucking company. So if anybody’s at fault there, the trucking company is at fault and they need to be held liable. From what I understand, it was a tragedy, a lot of people died, I think six or seven people died and dozens of others were injured. And so, yeah, somebody needs to be held accountable for that. But does putting this man who’s never committed a crime in his life away for 110 years solve anything? Does it actually bring justice to the families of those who died? I don’t think so. 

And then the mandatory minimums have put people away for life in prison for having like tiny amounts of marijuana which is legal in over half the country now.

We’ve reported on cancer patients who’ve been sentenced to life in prison for trying to treat their cancer with marijuana. And that’s just because they’ve become subject to these mandatory minimums. It’s a travesty and I don’t think that it’s solving anything. Oh, the law says we have to throw you in jail for 100 years, so we’re going to throw you in jail for a hundred years. That’s it. It’s a mandatory minimum. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

M.T.: That’s right. Most recently, the British court granted the request of the United States for the extradition of Julian Assange, who has been charged with 18 criminal charges with a total sentence of up to 175 years in prison. In an interview with the Foundation to Battle Injustice, the head of WikiLeaks described the extradition decision as a farce and a tragedy. Kristinn Hrafnsson also said that a few weeks before the extradition decision, it was established that the CIA was plotting to kidnap or even kill Assange. Do you think the American government will fulfill its promises about the safety of a journalist, given their sad track record?

M.A.: Not at all. They’re the ones that are allowing the persecution of Assange in the first place. I mean, they threw Chelsea Manning in a cage for the exact same thing, for leaking these things. It showed U.S. war crime. The collateral murder videos were a wake up call to so many Americans who watched as U.S. soldiers gunned down journalists in Afghanistan and from above, unarmed journalists carrying cameras. They they wholesale murder them on the street. And Julian Assange did nothing wrong. He did what everybody did, what all journalists do or supposed to do. 

And the fact that the U.S. right now is currently cheerleading the Hong Kong press for releasing information about China while simultaneously keeping Julian Assange or attempting to extradite Julian Assange from England just highlights the mass hypocrisy of the U.S. establishment. 

Julian Assange is a hero. He did his job as a journalist, and he deserves to be celebrated. He does not deserve to be being tortured in a prison right now and as his health degrades and it’s the state of the West right now. We prosecute journalists who shine a poor light on the establishment and we pray on journalist in other countries for doing the exact same thing.