Defending Our Democracy And Freedom Seems to Mean Censorship, Misinformation and Media Blackouts

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” ― George Orwell, 1984

I like my lies and propaganda served from both sides.

“Truth,” it has been said, “is the first casualty of war.” When hostilities break out the one object of each belligerent nation is victory. “All is fair in war,” and to secure and maintain national unity in support of the war every means are taken by the respective Governments to suppress criticism . . . Philip Snowden

Since the invasion of Ukraine, something very disturbing happened with western media. the banning and blocking of Russian state sponsored TV and media is unprecedented.

We are all aware of propaganda, historical figures are well recorded. But never before have we seen censorship on such scales.

War censorship was designed to stop information like troop movements from falling into enemy hands. We have practice war censorship for hundreds of years. Both world wars witnessed the first real ministries of propaganda. Battlefront accounts were heavily censored to portray the Allied cause in the best possible light.

News of military campaigns have always been heavily censored by the time they reached the public any details that could jeopardise the war effort would be redacted. Information about local military activity and shipping movements – which would normally be reported in the newspapers – was also restricted.

Soldiers’ letters were also censored by officers at the front. Responsibility for censoring letters lay with company commanders, who usually had more pressing concerns and delegated the task to junior officers. Chaplains also did duty as censors, which probably encouraged self-censorship.

The old ‘Loose lips sink ships’ was a wartime expression meaning ‘unguarded talk may give useful information to the enemy’ it was often said in a hushed voice to emphasize the need for security, as if the Germans were hiding close by, waiting to pick up snippets of important information.

Loose lips sink ships
Loose lips sink ships

During World War II, radio had brought with it a far-reaching method of communication. Across the Pacific Ocean, Allied servicemen regularly huddled around radios to listen to the “Zero Hour,” an English-language news and music program that was produced in Japan and beamed out over the Pacific.

The Japanese intended for the show to serve as morale-sapping propaganda, but most G.I.s considered it a welcome distraction from the monotony of their duties. They developed a particular fascination with the show’s husky-voiced female host, who dished out taunts and jokes in between spinning pop records, she became famously known as Tokyo Rose. It is debatable if the technology existed the allies would have interfered with the transmission.

Likewise, across Battlefield Europe, the Nazis had their own version of Tokyo Rose, ‘Axis Sally’. Mildred Elizabeth Gillars was nicknamed “Axis Sally”, was an American broadcaster employed by Nazi Germany to disseminate Axis propaganda during World War II. Brought Hot Jazz to the Nazi Propaganda Machine.

Tokyo Rose
Tokyo Rose

Josef Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist, had been looking for someone just like Gillars. In “Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda,” Yale University psychology professor Leonard W. Doob summarized the Nazi propaganda chief’s philosophy that “the best form of newspaper propaganda was not “propaganda” (i.e., editorials and exhortation), but slanted news which appeared to be straight.” Goebbels leveraged this insight on many platforms, including short-wave broadcasts sent out by the Reich Radio Chamber. Short-wave radio has an expansive reach; Axis and Allied forces alike used it during the war to reach listeners throughout Europe and even across the Atlantic.

The most successful of all these propagandists was the infamous William Joyce ‘Lord Haw Haw’. Joyce was a radio personality who broadcast German propaganda to the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Although initially popular with British audiences, his popularity declined as the war progressed.

For the first eight months of the Second World War, with relative inaction on the battlefronts, a time known as the ‘The Phoney War’ Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce) had enjoyed an audience sometimes reaching over 50% of the British listening public. And despite such rival claimants as ‘Tokyo Rose’ and ‘Axis Sally’ many would agree with journalist William L Shirer when he wrote in his End of Berlin Diary that Lord Haw Haw ‘had been the war’s outstanding radio traitor’.

Yet after the German invasion of Denmark and Norway, followed the next month by the attack on the Low Countries. ‘The Phoney War’ had come to an abrupt end, and with that demise came that of Lord Haw Haw’s popularity and whatever influence he might have had with his British audience, as is the way with those that side with our enemies he became a figure of hate and ridicule.

It was soon realised that censorship could become a way for those in power to strengthen their control during potentially turbulent times. By the war’s end, censorship had targeted anyone who threatened the war effort, the economy, or the state itself, while censorship at the front meant the grim reality of war was little-known at home.

It cannot be denied that for the sake of national security and the protection of a nation’s population during a time of war, censorship is an important tool.

We survived the propagandist of the most violent of world wars without censorship in a time of limited media resources or the technology to research the facts. Censorship today is not for our protection but to ensure the establishment truth is our only truth.

During the Iraq war, we had a constant media stream from Iraq. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf quickly gained the nickname “Comical Ali” was the Iraqi former diplomat and politician. He came to worldwide prominence around the 2003 invasion of Iraq, during which he was the Media and Foreign Affairs Minister under Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, acting as spokesman for the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party and Saddam’s government.

His pronouncements included claims that American soldiers were committing suicide “by the hundreds” outside the city, and denial that there were any American tanks in Baghdad, when in fact they were only several hundred meters away from the press conference where he was speaking and the combat sounds of nearing American troops could already be heard in the background of the broadcast. 

On another occasion, he spoke of the disastrous outcomes of previous foreign attempts to invade Iraq, citing an unspecified Western history book and inviting the journalists present to come to his home to read it.

His last public appearance as Information Minister was on 8 April 2003, when he said that the Americans “are going to surrender or be burned in their tanks. They will surrender, it is they who will surrender”.When asked where he had gotten his information, he replied, “authentic sources—many authentic sources”. He pointed out that he “was a professional, doing his job”.

But for all that, it must be said “We are not at war”…

The Western regime knows how to lie, shamelessly but professionally, and above all, perpetually. There are thousands of lies piling up on top of each other, delivered with perfect upper-class ‘educated’ accents: lies about Salisbury, about socialism, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, South Africa, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, refugees, Covid, the economy.

Colin Powell weapons of mass destruction
Colin Powell lied about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction.

There are lies about the past, present and even about the future.

Censorship has continued over the decades manifesting itself not just in times of war but whenever the establishment felt their narrative was the only narrative. From the banking crisis to the wars in Vietnam, through to Afghanistan, we have witnessed continuous press manipulation and censorship.

During the miraculously now it seems, disappeared covid crisis we witnessed censorship like never before, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, the once bastions of free speech turned into the black, felt tip pen of redaction.

RT Today victim of Western Censorship

Russia Today
RT Today

The expulsion of the Russian international state media RT and Sputnik from the EU raises major questions about its desirability and feasibility. Such EU-wide government interference in the media supply and internet freedom is unprecedented.

While few would dispute that most of RT and Sputnik’s output is barely disguised Russian propaganda, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) said it fears the effects of this spiral of censorship on freedom of expression in Europe.

“This act of censorship can have a totally counterproductive effect on the citizens who follow the banned media,” EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez said in a statement. “In our opinion, it is always better to counteract the disinformation of propagandist or allegedly propagandist media by exposing their factual errors or bad journalism, by demonstrating their lack of financial or operational independence, by highlighting their loyalty to government interests and their disregard for the public interest.”

It comes at a time when European Union censorship is seen in its use of the concept in trade agreements. In an effort to improve and promote freedom of expression in an “unusual, but effective way,” as stated by European Parliament member Juels Maaten, says the European Union is controlling its trade barriers based upon other countries’ Internet censorship practices.

This amendment is a step in the direction of a Global Online Freedom Act for the European Union, similar to that of the United States.

The proposal specifically states that its aim is to “deal with all restrictions to the provision of Internet and information society services by European companies in third countries as part of its external trade policy and to consider all unnecessary limitations to the provision of those services to be trade barriers.” This is an interesting concept, as it can be gathered from information throughout this website that there are multiple strategies adopted by multiple countries in terms of censorship, due in part to the fact that each country has its own specific problems. Issues of government authority, culture and even morals differ by region, so it may be difficult for the European Union to come to a clear consensus as to what should or should not be censored. In the future, this line of thought is not expected to end with this proposal, but extend further throughout the European government and affect all trade agreements.

EU Trumpian protectionism

Today with the war in Ukraine we have seen the West bring about unprecedented censorship. “The purge of RT and other Russian media outlets in the US and Europe is 100% censorship,”

Now the EU has extended their own censorship to include News outlets, in a recent statement by von der Leyen the Commission president says.

“EU to ban Russia’s RT, Sputnik media outlets, ‘We will ban the Kremlin’s media machine in the EU”

The EU censorship of RT and other Russian channels has shown that the authoritarianism of the Russian regime is little different to that of the West. We have seen one channel’s propaganda closed down in lieu of the others.

With little thought to the irony, Josep Borrell who carries the grand EU title of “High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy” stated Media censorship imposed by Russian authorities as well as the crackdown on peaceful, anti-war protests in view of the unprovoked and unjustified military invasion of Ukraine is escalating in Russia.

In his statement he says:

“Media censorship imposed by Russian authorities as well as the crackdown on peaceful, anti-war protests in view of the unprovoked and unjustified military invasion of Ukraine is escalating in Russia.

Yesterday, two more of Russia’s most prominent media outlets, Moscow’s Echo and TV Rain, were banned, as well as the websites of a number of other independent media organisations. Today, Moscow’s Echo was liquidated. These media outlets are being silenced for giving a platform to sources and voices that challenge the falsified picture of the situation on the ground in Ukraine as portrayed by the Russian government and the disinformation network under its control, including Russian state-controlled TV channels.

According to reports, more than 7600 anti-war protesters in more than 120 cities have been detained since the start of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The fact that a law is currently being drafted by the Russian State Duma, which will allow for the sentencing of those who express opinions that deviate from the official government line with up to 15 years in prison, is deeply concerning.

We applaud the courage of those Russian citizens who dare to publicly oppose the war Putin is waging on Ukraine, in spite of censorship and repression. We applaud Russian independent media and Russian NGOs that defend the values of democracy, rule of law and freedom, and strive to inform the Russian people of the situation on the ground in Ukraine.”

However, the shutting down to the western public of Russian outlets has meant our news will only ever come from official sources and as we have seen with a constant flood of fake images and videos the MSM are hardly a reliable source.

To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.

state Media control edit
Media control

I have to agree emphatically with Caitlin Johnstone who states in her blog post: Kremlin-backed media outlets have been banned throughout the European Union, both on television and on apps and online platforms. RT has lost its Sky TV slot in the UK, where the outlet is also blocked on YouTube. Australian TV providers SBS and Foxtel have dropped RT, and the federal government is putting pressure on social media platforms to block Russian media in Australia.

In the Czech RepublicSlovakia, and Latvia, speaking in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine will get you years in prison.

Twitter is also placing warnings labels on all Russia-backed media and delivering a pop-up message informing you that you are committing wrongthink if you try to share or even ‘like’ a post linking to such outlets on the platform. It has also placed the label “Russia state-affiliated media” on every tweet made by the personal accounts of employees of those platforms, baselessly giving the impression that the dissident opinions tweeted by those accounts are paid Kremlin content and not simply their own legitimate perspectives.

Twitter Censorship-by-algorithm

“The purge of RT and other Russian media outlets in the US and Europe is 100% censorship,” tweets journalist Michael Tracey. “Go ahead and argue it’s justified, but at least don’t be a coward and admit you are advocating censorship.”

“The western world believes that it has a monopoly on what constitutes ‘political truth’ and that their ideological worldview is the only correct, valid and authoritative one,” writer and analyst Tom Fowdy observed. “They preach freedom of speech and the press to other countries, but exempt themselves from it.”

And I can’t help but find it odd that the fight for freedom and democracy should require such copious amounts of censorship. You’d think a free society would have no objection to people trying to learn the other side of the debate about a war which NATO powers very plainly had a hand in starting, rather than being forced to consume only western mass media narratives which tell us this is happening exclusively because Vladimir Putin is evil and Hitlery and hates freedom.

You’d think a society devoted to truth and freedom, the kind of society western powers purport to be trying to defend in Ukraine, would not require a Ministry of Truth to protect us from “disinformation” about a government long targeted by the US-centralized empire, or from trying to seek out alternative perspectives beyond the homogeneous blanket of authorized mainstream narratives.

You’d think the truth would be more robust than that. You’d think freedom would extend farther than that. You’d think democracy would be more tolerant of dissent than that.

Almost like this has nothing to do with freedom, or truth, or democracy.

Almost like it never has.

It kind of makes you wonder if perhaps rallying behind the idea that it’s fine to censor people to preserve the establishment narrative about things, like Covid-19 and vaccines, for example, was every bit the slippery slope that everyone warned it would be. If perhaps we have foolishly consented to a reality where the most powerful people in the world get to control the information people consume in order to shut down dissent against a murderous and oppressive globe-spanning oligarchic empire.

That same Empire we just watched destroyed Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen. 

Noam Chomsky: Ten strategies of manipulation by the media

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