Wednesday, September 21, 2016
A Thinly Veiled Threat to the Freedom of Speech in the U.S.A.
“U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions. … “The aim is to understand the scope and intent of the Russian campaign, which incorporates cyber-tools to hack systems used in the political process, enhancing Russia’s ability to spread disinformation. … A Russian influence operation in the United States ‘is something we’re looking very closely at,’ said one senior intelligence official,” while admitting that there is no “definitive proof” of such a Russian scheme.
Parry correctly points out:
The danger of this investigation – and what a normal news media would focus on – is the U.S. government taking an unfocused look at how Russia supposedly influences the U.S. public debate, a probe that could easily cross the line into questioning the loyalty of Americans who simply dispute what the U.S. government is claiming about current events.
The following sent chills down my spine because in my own interactions with people on the social media, I have already been accused of this on several occasions:
In other words, any reporting or commenting on significant foreign policy issues could open a journalist or a citizen to a U.S. government investigation into whether you are part of some nefarious Russian propaganda/disinformation scheme. This McCarthyistic investigative style has already begun to have a chilling effect on public debate in the United States where dissident views on Russia, Syria or other hot topics are quickly disparaged as enemy propaganda. Almost anyone who questions whether a new, costly and dangerous Cold War is necessary is immediately tagged as a “Russian agent of influence,” a “Putin apologist,” or a “Moscow stooge.”
I want to take this chance to reiterate what I have been and will continue arguing every chance I get over the social media about this supposed new "Cold War" developing between Washington and Moscow, owing largely to the instigation of the former, but I will do it via a quote from someone far more eloquent than I:
"Western diplomats, politicians, and media are highly selective about tyranny. Boris Yeltsins state was not much superior to Vladimir Putins. Yeltsin used tanks to shell his own parliament. He waged a barbaric war in Chechnya. He blatantly rigged his own re-election with the aid of foreign cash. He practically sold the entire country. Russians, accustomed to corruption as a way of life, gasped at its extent under Yeltsins rule. Yet he was counted a friend of the West, and went largely uncriticized. Turkeys Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who locks up many more journalists than does Mr. Putin, who kills his own people when they demonstrate against him, and who has described democracy as a tram which you ride as far as you can get on it before getting off, has for many years enjoyed the warm endorsement of the West. His countrys illegal occupation of northern Cyprus, which has many parallels to Russias occupation of Crimea, goes unpunished. Turkey remains a member of NATO, wooed by the E.U. As for Saudi Arabia and China, countries much fawned upon by the Western nations, the failure to criticize these for their internal despotism is so enormous that the mind simply refuses to take it in. But I need not go on. The current attitude toward the Putin state is selective and cynical, not based upon any real principle."
I can't really add much more perspective to that very congent observation. However, I want to end this post with the following, which was brought to my attention by a dear friend and former teacher. Please see it all the way through: