Liberal western powers suppress speech more than their “illiberal” neighbors
The supposed descent of Eastern European countries, and particularly Poland and Hungary, into the grips of authoritarian nationalist regimes has been the subject of heated discussion. This concern has not only attracted the anxious attention of our leftist media, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Review of Books; it has also occasioned heated reactions from Republican think tanks in Washington, most notably AEI and the Heritage Foundation. Both have issued statements of concern about the identitarian and anti-liberal direction now affecting Orban’s Hungary, Poland, and, perhaps less dramatically, Austria and Italy under right-of-center governments. Presumably Western European countries with socially liberal but pro-capitalist governments are better protected against the threat of this right-wing pestilence. In layman’s language, this may mean that these other European countries are seen as friendlier to American political and economic elites.
In view of these now prevalent attitudes, it may be useful to look at a recently concluded French study by Libertex, a libertarian polling operation, on the open exchange of information in various European countries. This comparative study, which looks at various European countries in terms of their openness to dissenting political views, constructs several criteria for its investigation. Among them are the relative absence of hate speech laws, an impartial (non-politicized) judicial system, the willingness or unwillingness of governments to ask Google and Facebook to censor unacceptable political opinion (a practice that in Western Europe almost always targets the right), the number of news agencies, and the possibility of holding open discussion without government censorship.
By most of these criteria, the United States (with a total score of 92.1) is the freest country investigated, followed by Denmark (at 81.8) and the United Kingdom (at 71.3). But strangely enough, the black sheep of the PC West, Hungary (at 69.7), is just behind the United Kingdom, and is followed by Italy (at 69.1). Closing the rankings are Russia (at 51.1) and France (at 46.4). Germany, which is not included in the study, would, in all probability, rate at the bottom, given the extent of its “antifascist” government surveillance and its use of laws shutting down political opposition.
» Lees verder
Authored by Rick Rozoff via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,
On August 24 what is in effect the social media warfare division of the Atlantic Council published an article accusing the Russian television and print news outlet RT of running a one-sided attack against the Democratic Party and several leaders thereof ahead of this November’s politically pivotal Senate and House of Representatives elections. (Thirty-five Senate seats and all 435 House seats are being contested.)
The Atlantic Council, until recently kept comparatively in the shadows for obvious reasons, is a think tank that has more than any other organization effected the transition of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from a seeming Cold War relic with the break-up of the Warsaw Pact and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 to the world’s only and history’s first international military network with 70 members and partners on six continents currently. All thirteen new full member states are in Eastern and Central Europe; four of them border Russia.
Three months ago it began collaborating with Facebook to police and censor that and (presumably) soon after other social media companies which in recent decades have become the major sources of information and communication for the seven billion citizens of the planet. No modest undertaking.
This is by way of follow up to a Directive on Social Media issued four years ago by NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the bloc’s military command in Europe (which also oversees activities in Israel and until the activation of U.S. Africa Command ten years ago almost all of Africa).
Excerpts from that directive include:
One key challenge is the need to keep informed regarding social media ‘discussions’ on NATO and global security matters in order to maintain situational awareness. Key vulnerabilities include security concerns and the ease by which information can be transmitted globally using social media tools.
It also addresses use of social media for what it calls “operations,” which frequently is a euphemism for bombings, missile attacks and all-out war. Witness Operation Allied Force (Yugoslavia 1999), Operation Unified Protector (Libya 2011), NATO Training Mission-Iraq (starting in 2004), International Security Assistance Force/Operation Resolute Force (Afghanistan from 2001 to the present) and Operation Atlantic Resolve (aimed at Russia since 2015).
» Lees verder