03.29.21

A South American Perspective on Misframing the Debate about Free Software and Critics of Bill Gates

Posted in Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OSI and Gates

Last year the OSI became a Microsoft (GitHub) reseller and little more

Summary: In 2021 it has become harder to have a rational discussion, based on underlying facts, when it comes to Microsoft’s co-founder, who continues to meddle in the affairs of the Free software community (sometimes subversion, sometimes just distraction)

THIS might shock some people, but the OSI isn't exactly tolerant (except tolerance for the intolerant), it's nowadays serving Microsoft, and it’s doing openwashing more than Open Source. That’s similar to the Gates-connected "Inner Source" (proprietary rebranded, or GitHub — being proprietary — as “ethical”). While it’s true that Gates has his finger in a lot of things, some people go too far and falsely associate him with crazy things. That, in turn, helps him demonise if not censor/silence his critics.

A reader of ours from Argentina (longtime reader; well over a decade) sent us a detailed analysis or thoughts about the RMS issue, noting the role it has served to distract from the real MIT scandal (Epstein and Gates; how many people even remember that?), as we noted yesterday. For those who missed yesterday’s story, the gist is the framing of all Gates critics as paranoid conspiracy theorists (or “Conspiranoia Strawman Attacks Defending Bill Gates” by means of false connotations).

We’re aware that many of our readers have been noticing the same thing (in every country, in every language). The Gates-funded media likes to portray people who mention Gates in a negative context as merely a bunch of dangerous cranks. Some of them might be, but the media doesn’t like putting the focus on those with legitimate criticisms. That would disrupt the false narrative, wouldn’t it?

“Whatever the case,” our reader told us, “I want to share with you some notes about my perspective of the whole Gates issue. Mainly because I have very few people that I can talk about these issues with. So please feel no rush to read this, as I know you have lots of things to do, and of course also no need to answer.”

We’ve decided to make some grammatical changes (purely grammatical and typographical), knowing that many people out there must have experienced the same thing, not just in South America (Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking spheres). I know for a fact we’ve come across those cranks, even here in Manchester.

“Think about it: what the hell has Argentina’s conservative and non-techie middle class (the anti-quarantine sector here) got ANYTHING to do with Bill Gates? How did that person end up with that placard?”
      –Anonymous
“Please take a look at this,” the reader said. “That’s an anti-quarantine woman, protesting last year in Buenos Aires when the national government stated strong measures against COVID. There were lots of those. Think about it: what the hell has Argentina’s conservative and non-techie middle class (the anti-quarantine sector here) got ANYTHING to do with Bill Gates? How did that person end up with that placard?”

“It’s not isolated. Here’s Spain. And the thing goes all around the world. You surely recognize that, so I’ll just stop the details there.”

Here in Techrights we’ve taken note of it countless times before, especially last year. The grievances expressed were largely or partly misplaced, based entirely on speculation when in fact there were perfectly factual grounds for berating Gates and even arresting the man. He was arrested several times in the past, so he knows the feeling…

“The COVID crisis made Gates suddenly some kind of secret villain behind the curtains,” our reader wrote. “At least for the anti-vaxers and anti-quarantine people (and anti-science in general too).”

Then Gates would pose as a scientist in the media (he never studied science; never graduated from college, either) and say that all his critics were basically “against science…”

Convenient, isn’t it? Straw man all around…

“But the COVID case is just opportunistic,” our reader noted. “Bill Gates had the same role in the 5G conspiranoia before that. And the 5G conspiranoia was (IIRC) a 2019 thing: the same year of Gates reveals and RMS cancellation. With COVID, there’s a strong reason to be paranoid: the whole world is afraid of an invisible death agent. It’s frankly almost understandable. But 5G? Fricking cellphone antennae? What the hell was that? And before that, Bill Gates was not a thing outside of the Free Software spaces, and very few other places (like the Gates Foundation’s investigations, which NEVER happened to appear in any media around here, and maybe the Monsanto links). How did that happen?”

Whatever the case, right now many people hesitate to name Gates (in a negative way) for fear of falsely associating with some stigmatised group.

“The COVID crisis made Gates suddenly some kind of secret villain behind the curtains…”
      –Anonymous
“Of course,” our reader continued, “as you say in your post, these tactics are not anything new. I know that. Straw men and ad hominem attacks are the basis of non-debating, and the quickest tools in rhetoric. Thing is, you can’t just do that to the other side of the world by snapping your fingers, just like that. That’s something else. 5G is not a thing in Argentina, yet there was a bunch of paranoid people speaking about that, long before COVID. It was a successful narrative (to some degree) even here. That’s not normal, as we have totally different cultures, history, and problems compared to the US or UK (two places where I’ve seen reports about anti-5G protests). Here’s what troubles me: In Argentina, I have but two records of something like this happening before. By “something like this” I mean “right-wing middle class successfully gathered under some foreign narrative”.”

“The first one was during the seventies: the age of Latin American “red scare”. That time, Argentina’s right-wing middle class was tolerant of (when not celebrating) military coups and anti-Communist-related death campaigns. The “foreign” part wasn’t exactly Communism (as we had Chile’s elected government, Cuba, and the whole Cold War), but who where staging all the combined military coups (and economic changes) on the region: that was Plan Condor.”

“The second one began in about 2008, close to the financial crisis, when a new wave of strong anti-Communism hit Argentina’s right-wing middle class, and the first steps of lawfare in the region started. This seems to be slowly ending now, with Argentina’s late 2019 government, Bolivia coup rejected by popular vote, and Lula’s legal status cleared just days ago. Yet, it is a still-alive thing, and the common denominators are the same: same media conglomerates spreading noise, same US-led influences on key state people through embassies. Many of us say around here that combined lawfare actions in Latin America are a second (and active) Plan Condor.”

“And now this: right-wing middle class getting on the train of conspiranoia from somewhere else, taking it to the streets and affecting mainstream politics. This time it looks almost totally random, until you see things like these.” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] (All are images)

“It’s the same people. The same anti-Communist sector from the seventies (you can see anti-Communist slogans there), and the one telling my generation my whole life “politicians are all the same and all corrupt” (which is also a live trend in the rest of the world), is the one now us stuff in the streets, screaming about killer 5G, nanochips in the vaccines, and ‘New World Order’. That’s NOT random. All of those pictures are from Argentina, yet they match what’s happening in remote places like the US (same Republican slogans), the UK, Spain, and almost everywhere else. At the same time, ultra-right-wing parties are a growing trend.”

“…right-wing middle class getting on the train of conspiranoia from somewhere else, taking it to the streets and affecting mainstream politics.”
      –Anonymous
“You don’t penetrate local culture that easily; you need local interests aligned in order for people to listen to your noise. And we know the players here: that first link is from Clarin, the biggest media conglomerate in Argentina, with a very dark history. And Black Rock: the biggest financial fund in the world. But in the seventies and before, these operations needed the Catholic Church involved for them to reach people over here. That was even the case by 2008, when some local conflict involved the then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires (now Pope Francis) in order to rally several sectors of Argentine demography; but by that time media was already stronger than the church, and the Catholic Church in particular was in crisis too. Today there’s social media, of course. Yet, all of this looks like the very same modus operandi between the very same interests.”

“I don’t fear some kind of secret dark cabal of powerful people; I fear the social consequences of all this. Argentina was not a better place after the seventies; it was destroyed, and the people are still scarred. The world is frankly in decline since the neo-liberal wave from the seventies, and the 2008 crisis turned out to bring another (although shorter) neo-liberal wave. And this looks (very seriously now) like a worldwide neo-fascist wave.”

“I just can’t see the Gates influence and the whole ‘cancel culture’ thing as somewhat of an outsider to that context. It’s the same with Trump, with Brexit, with Bolsonaro, with Vox (Spain’s ultra-right-wing party, not the website). That’s how some sector in Argentina suddenly babbles about the same crazy stuff other people do in other parts of the world. And the scary thing is that this is not about “facts vs lies” but about how the hell are our cultures being hacked and cracked? It’s about weaponizing morals and fears against the very interests of the people feeling all that; that’s how we suddenly happen to be fighting actually good people with good intentions. Gates may be defending himself from his dirty reveals and that’s just it, but the tools he’s using are a whole other deal. Free Software was a very niche thing before this, and talking about Gates was actually possible, whereas today, saying “Bill Gates” out loud instantly means insanity, and “RMS” means pedophilia. That may be a successful campaign from Gates, but if the cost is social hysteria, then speaking about Gates is not about Free Software or RMS anymore, and this is a line crossed from Gates’ side.”

“I just can’t see the Gates influence and the whole ‘cancel culture’ thing as somewhat of an outsider to that context. It’s the same with Trump, with Brexit, with Bolsonaro, with Vox (Spain’s ultra-right-wing party, not the website).”
      –Anonymous
“Also, I don’t see this man comfortable being the center of social discord. It’s not beyond him, of course: he’s a cretin. But I feel his tactics with other issues were always at a lower profile. I mean, he always had his PR, and his deals were always shady, but the third step was always weak in its impact and localizing the target; now it’s the whole world talking shit about Gates in order to set up critics of Gates as insane. That’s a whole other level.”

“With all this in mind, I may be wrong, but my bet is that Gates is using services previously used by other organizations, most likely politics-oriented, and that’s how he ended like this.”

This is correct. We’ve previously covered how Gates recycled political PACs and even hired PR operatives of politicians. We wrote many articles about this roughly one decade ago (back when we covered those issues a lot more closely).

“Spot on,” an associate of ours interjected regarding this analysis. Our Argentinian reader supposes that Gates doesn’t wish to be at the centre of social discord. “I do,” our associate replied. “He has no alternative. He has to take the heat off of himself about his Epstein-related activities. This is especially true if he has aspirations for high office, which he appears to have. And he looks like he has been preparing for a move into office for close to 20 years now. Biologically he’s running out of time and his long-running reputation management campaigns have seem to reached a turning point in recent years and, while still running, have shifted direction. That was prior to his Epstein-related activities coming to light. These Epstein-related activities now have potential to threaten his political aspirations.”

“Lastly, keep in mind that politicians still mistake social control media for communications media. So, for the most part, many of them are getting played along with the populace especially because social control media is framing the debates in a way that steers them in particular directions.”
      –Techrights Associate
“Gates eased out of lobbying and entered politics over 20 years ago. It tracks a little with the trajectory of Microsoft itself: software (70s) -> operating system (80s) -> marketing (90s) -> cult (00 +)… Microsoft have been an amalgamation of business and cult like Scientology or of politics and cult like Islam since the end of the 1990s. Gates has been riding that for his investments and also for his growing taste for political power. The Biden administration is already beholden to him.”

“So,” concluded our reader from Argentina, “I have some (very little) hope that this whole Gates operation was sloppy, rushed, too sudden even for their operators to handle cleanly. Yet, I don’t have the skills to look for something like that. I believe a precise chronology would be the first step, but searching this stuff in an Internet so full of noise is kinda hopeless two years later. However, if I were to do some investigation like that, instead of looking for Microsoft links (like you usually do), I’ll look for known right-wing organizational links, as this looks much more like what Trump does than what Gates does.”

To conclude with the words of an associate: “It appears that there are also other interests benefiting from the noise around Gates. My guess is that one faction is the same as those interests which have invested and continue to invest in “both sides” of various online debates in order to turn them in to vicious, polarized arguments. For them, the strawman attacks against Gates would be just another piece on the board in maneuvers to eventually help pull off what happened in Argentina, Chile, and other places in the 1970s but on a global scale this time.”

“Lastly, keep in mind that politicians still mistake social control media for communications media. So, for the most part, many of them are getting played along with the populace especially because social control media is framing the debates in a way that steers them in particular directions.”

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