Dr. Shiva discovered that Twitter built a special portal offered to certain governmental entities so that government officials can flag and delete content they dislike for any reason, as part of what they call their “Twitter Partner Status.”
This provision in law gives companies like Facebook and Twitter a way to dismiss lawsuits, but it also gives them the ability to act with impunity so that their actions cannot be legally challenged. These companies have, according to their detractors, abused this immunity by suppressing dissident, and specifically conservative, views, viewpoints and journalism.
Because Dr. Ayyadurai did not argue about Twitter’s “Terms of Service,” everything will instead hinge on the degree of interaction between Twitter and the state government of Massachusetts.
We noticed back in early July that Dr. Shiva’s lawsuit also included the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED):
We’ve reported on the NASED previously. This group of election directors in the US, as well as the group of Secretaries of State, worked with the UN before the 2020 election:
1. This case is about the government surveilling and blacklisting a minority, political candidate Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai (“Dr. Shiva”), and then eventually silencing his speech, in the midst of his U.S. Senate campaign, because he criticized government officials, thereby violating his First Amendment rights – the foundational principle of the United States.
2. Starting in June of 2020, Dr. Shiva, a candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, was one of the top six (6) individuals in the United States who had been identified,in The Long Fuse Report, as an Influence Operator (IO) per the Playbooks (created by the Defendants), and was under 24/7 surveillance by teams working 4-hour shifts, using an infrastructure – of technology and relationships as shown in Exhibit A, coarchitected by the Defendants in this case. Dr. Shiva is mentioned twenty-two (22) times in The Long Fuse Report.
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3. Starting in October 2017, government officials concluded that though the nature of U.S. elections was decentralized – spread across 10,000 jurisdictions and using different kinds of machines (and diverse methods: paper and electronic) – was the best defense to cyberhacking, they needed to eliminate such decentralization because it was a hindrance to their desire to establish and use a centralized infrastructure with nongovernmental entities to “fill the gap” between domestic government agencies who had no power to curtail speech, and federal intelligence agencies who were forbidden from curtailing domestic speech, in order to censor speech by surveilling, blacklisting, and silencing U.S. citizens, domestically, and thus allow government officials to violate the First Amendment without fear of being sued.
4. The Defendants in this case were architects of this infrastructure. The Defendants and their allies co-authored the foundational documents – The Playbooks – at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Defending Digital Democracy, testified to the US Senate Intelligence Committee to lobby for such an infrastructure, and forged relationships with billionaires, in particular Pierre Omidyar, through his Democracy Fund, as well as the Rockefeller Brothers, the Murdoch Family’s Quadrivium, Mark Zuckerberg, and other nongovernmental entities, to fund, design and deploy this centralized infrastructure for censorship of speech. The network diagram in Exhibit A provides a visual illustration of those relationships and the technology infrastructure they created to censor speech. These relationships provided the Defendants special access to channels to use if when and necessary for personal benefit, to not only blacklist and surveil US citizens, but also to silence their domestic speech, which is what they did to Dr. Shiva starting on September 25, 2020.
5. The existence of this infrastructure was discovered during the course of this lawsuit: On October 30, 2020, testimony elicited by this Court, revealed for the first time the existence of a “Trusted Twitter Partnership” between Government and Twitter; on May 19, 2021, Dr. Shiva discovered the “Playbooks” co-authored by the Defendants, which were presented to this Court during the May 20-21, 2021 hearings, that detail the step-by-step process for identifying Influence Operators (IOs), monitoring them and silencing their speech; and, on June 28, 2021, the staggering discovery of The Long Fuse Report, confirmed that this infrastructure had been monitoring Dr. Shiva starting as early as June of 2020. Discovery of The Long Fuse Report is as momentous in US History as discovery of the Pentagon Papers. This lawsuit provides the context to understand it.
6. Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai (“Dr. Shiva”), MIT PhD, the inventor of email, is a scientist, technologist, political activist (see Exhibit B), and educator – an independent thinker -, a minority, who was born as a low-caste “Untouchable” in India’s deplorable caste system, earned four degrees from MIT, a Fulbright Scholar, Westinghouse Science Talents Honors Award recipient, Lemelson-MIT Awards Finalist, nominee for the Presidential National Medal of Technology and Innovation. His life has been about identifying problems and proposing solutions based on a systems science approach – that is neither partisan nor bi-partisan -, is beyond left and right, and is based on objectively understanding the interconnections of the parts of any system. He developed a systems science curriculum, which he originally taught at MIT, that he now teaches to the broad public to educate them on applying a systems approach to any problem. This approach is what Dr. Shiva employs in his videos and social media posts in analyzing a problem or situation.
7. Since 2011, Dr. Shiva worked hard to build his followers on Twitter – his main platform for education, outreach, and political activism – from 0 to 360,000 followers with a reach of tens to hundreds of millions as documented in The Long Fuse Report, before he was deplatformed by these Defendants on February 1, 2021. His content, combining text posts, images and video streams, enabled his students and followers on Twitter to get a deep and unique education, from a systems approach, on any number of issues be it innovation, healthcare, education, agriculture, vaccines, election integrity, Big Tech, etc. Given that Twitter is the most powerful megaphone for politics (politicians and political activists must be on Twitter to even have a chance of their message being heard), Dr. Shiva’s content, based on this systems-based approach, appealed to the broad mass of independent thinkers in America. Up until September 25, 2020, Dr. Shiva was never
suspended or deplatformed from Twitter, though he spoke on a number of controversial topics, from a non-mainstream, systems-science-based approach.
8. In February of 2017, Dr. Shiva decided to engage in electoral politics. He ran as an Independent for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts in 2018 against Elizabeth Warren. In 2020, he ran as a Republican (though the Massachusetts GOP did not support him, given he had his own independent base) in the U.S. Senate primary; and later, in the U.S. Senate general elections as a write in candidate on the platform of #StopElectionFraud and #TruthFreedomHealth.
10. On September 1, 2020, following the confounding results from his own U.S. Senate Primary election Dr. Shiva began his journey to discover two (2) systemic problems in the processes of U.S. electronic voting systems:
a. The certification by State Election Directors of voting systems software with features that allowed for the multiplication of a voter’s vote by a factor (the “weighted race” feature), thus denying one person one vote; and,
b. The lack of adherence to Federal law 52 USC 20701 that election officials must preserve digital ballot images for twenty-two (22) months for federal elections, to enable auditing.
11. During September 1-24, 2020, Dr. Shiva used Twitter to educate his nearly 260,000 students and followers, from a systems science approach, to appreciate the realities of these two systemic system problems that he had identified. He tweeted, shared posts, did videos on his own experience during his primary election campaign, the mechanics of the weighted race feature that denies one person one vote, how ballot images were being deleted – thus thwarting forensic audits, and the slogan of his U.S. Senate Write In campaign: #StopElectionFraud. The Long Fuse Report documents that at that time, the infrastructure co-architected by these Defendants was being only used to surveil him and actively analyze his ‘influence and reach’ to gauge his threat severity. During this period, Twitter never took any action to silence any of his tweets (see Exhibit C) or deplatform his tweets or his Twitter account.
13. On September 24, 2020, Dr. Shiva tweeted out about destruction of digital ballot images by Tassinari and Galvin, which went viral on social media. In response to this tweet, Defendant Galvin had his office respond with a press release disputing Dr. Shiva’s tweet. Galvin’s office also officially filed a complaint with Twitter through their dedicated Partner Support Portal (“PSP”). Galvin’s office is a “Trusted Twitter Partner,” which means any complaints from them receive a higher priority response than some normal private citizen complaining to Twitter. The Playbooks explain this in detail.
14. On September 25, 2020, Dr. Shiva posted a threaded tweet sharing four (4) screenshots of emails that explicitly named Defendant Michelle Tassinari, (“the September 25, 2020 Tassinari Tweet”). Tassinari holds many positions of power at the key intersection of governmental and non-governmental members of the infrastructure established to censor domestic speech:
a. State Election Director of Massachusetts;
b. Chief Legal Counsel for Massachusetts Secretary of State Galvin;
c. President of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED);
d. Executive Committee Member of the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure
Security Agency’s Election Infrastructure-Government Coordinating Council (CISA EI-GCC);
e. Member of the Advisory Board of the MIT Election Data & Science
f. Member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (US EAC); and,
g. Member of the Council of State Governments
15. The September 25, 2020 Tassinari Tweet went viral and revealed her personal role in destroying digital ballot images. This time, unlike the earlier official response, Tassinari had Amy Cohen, the Executive Director of NASED and someone who commanded immense influence through relationships that Cohen had forged over years in Washington DC, as shown in Exhibit A, to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get Dr. Shiva’s tweet removed.
16. Tassinari and Cohen’s coordination with Twitter and using the relationships they had forged, resulted in Dr. Shiva’s tweet being removed and Dr. Shiva being locked out of his Twitter account for most of the one month period leading to the general elections on November 3, 2020. Tassinari had used the relationships and the infrastructure to benefit her personally i.e. removing the tweet that revealed her violation of federal law. The deliberate silencing of Dr. Shiva on Twitter in the midst of his U.S. Senate campaign just prior to election day, severely crippled his last month of efforts including: raising money, reaching out to voters, sharing his message, etc.
17. On October 20, 2020, Dr. Shiva filed a lawsuit and sought to enjoin Galvin from further silencing him on Twitter. On October 30, 2020, this Court held a TRO hearing Case 1:20-cv-11889-MLW
and elicited testimony which gave us the first glimpses of the infrastructure designed by the Defendants i.e. the “Trusted Twitter Partnership.” In her affidavit, Tassinari had concealed the Trusted Twitter Partnership and her use of the infrastructure through Amy Cohen to do ‘whatever it took’ to stop Dr. Shiva from spreading the news of Tassinari’s violation of federal law. This Court ruled in Dr. Shiva’s favor, ordered Galvin to stop contacting Twitter; Galvin to stop contacting NASED; and, ordering Galvin to respond to Dr. Shiva’s speech on Twitter with his own speech. At that hearing, this Court also indicated that it was more than likely that, per the Blum test, Dr. Shiva would prevail in his lawsuit in demonstrating that Twitter’s action was State Action.
18. Dr. Shiva would discover, later that Tassinari’s and Cohen’s influence and coercive power far outweighs that of the average state election director.
19. Starting on November 4, 2020, when Dr. Shiva was back on Twitter, until January 31, 2021, Dr. Shiva tweeted on all different topics. At this time his followers had grown to 360,000 and his influence and reach had also grown, as documented in The Long Fuse Report.
20. On February 1, 2021, when he once again shared the September 25, 2020 Tassinari Tweet in a video lecture about developments in this very lawsuit, to his students and followers, Dr. Shiva received, within seventeen(17) minutes of the lecture ending, an official Twitter email informing him that Twitter had permanently suspended his account. Those seventeen (17) minutes permitted no time for Twitter to exercise any independent private internal judgment; it kicked Dr. Shiva off Twitter because the other Defendants wanted it to do so. Interestingly, Tassinari, Cohen, and Twitter’s counsel Stacia Cardille (“Cardille”), who has submitted false affidavits in this case, were all together at NASED’sFebruary 1-5, 2021 Winter Conference at which Tassinari and Cohen had invited Cardille to give a talk on “Managing Misinformation on Social Media Platforms,” at the same time that Twitter deplatformed Dr. Shiva.
21. The Defendants, to conceal their coordinated efforts to silence Dr. Shiva, then coordinated together to conceal from this Court the existence of their relationship. Already in this case, multiple of the Defendants have made repeated omissions as well as direct factual misrepresentations via testimony and affidavit. Two of the more recent efforts to conceal the truth from this Court include:
a. Defendants failed to disclose to the Court the existence of the Playbooks setting out the means by which they were to regulate speech on social media and the fact that Twitter Legal, Tassinari and Cohen co-wrote them; and b. Cardille, on behalf of the Defendants, misrepresented that Twitter deplatformed Dr. Shiva through internal deliberations within Twitter. Cardille was confronted with the need to explain the 17-minute response time. This would have required her to reveal to this Court that 24/7 live surveillance teams were watching Dr. Shiva’s tweets on 4-hour shifts every day on behalf of the Defendants, as documented in the Long Fuse Report. Cardille chose to conceal this fact and filed a false affidavit instead.
22. The Long Fuse Report analyzed Dr. Shiva as the test subject, the canary in the coal mine, the first U.S. Senate candidate deplatformed during his election campaign, to see if the infrastructure works as designed, in order to next be employed against a sitting member of Congress (which is now underway as this lawsuit is being filed). In fact The Long Fuse Report, recommends in its closing chapters that political speech not be given preferential treatment – openly challenging the highest protection afforded by the First Amendment – and bringing the United States back in line with the British Commonwealth.