Censorship Operations: Covid, War, and More
Wednesday, Congress held a hearing on Twitter’s censorship of The New York Post and its coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop. While House Republicans focused on issues like shadowbanning and government collusion with Big Tech, Rep. Jamie Raskin and other Democrats advocated for increased censorship from Silicon Valley companies.
Raskin argued that the committee would be better served focusing on “the real threats of massive Russian disinformation and white nationalist violent incitement on social media.”
Like the Biden Administration’s usurpation of the First Amendment, Raskin’s cohort’s goal is censorship and the accompanying augmentation of state power, not challenging the veracity of opponents’ arguments or claims.
In “Shouting Covid in a Crowded Theater,” I discuss how officials in the Biden Administration use wartime rhetorical strategies to slander dissidents. In doing so, they conflate dissent with threats to public safety to censor critics.
When discussing public health, the regime consistently uses labels of “misinformation” and “disinformation.” But the more we learn about government operations, the more it appears that these labels are references to inconvenience, not falsity.
This strategy extends beyond the country’s COVID response.
Wednesday morning, Seymour Hersh published “How America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline.”
The Nord Stream 1 and 2 Pipelines exploded in September 2022. The Nord Stream 1 has delivered natural gas from Russia to Europe for over a decade, and Russia was developing the Nord Stream 2 at the time. Outlets like The New York Times called the explosions “a mystery.”
The sabotage presented a major energy crisis for the United States’ European allies. Europe imports nearly 40% of its gas from Russia, and the Nord Stream 1 was responsible for delivering approximately one third of that supply.
Now, Hersh reports that “the United States executed a covert sea operation” with Navy divers to sabotage Russia’s pipelines with explosives.
For a less obsequious press corps, this should have been an easy story to crack.
In the weeks leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, President Biden announced his intention to act against the pipelines in the event of war.
“If Russia invades… there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2,” he told reporters. “We will bring an end to it.”
“How will you do that exactly?” a reporter asked.
“I promise you we will be able to do it,” President Biden said with a slight smile.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland was equally as explicit.
“I want to be very clear to you today,” she told reporters in January 2022. “If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”
In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed “Anglo-Saxons” in the West for “terror attacks” on the pipelines. “Those who profit from it have done it,” Putin told the press.
President Biden chastised Putin’s accusation for “pumping out disinformation and lies.”
“Just don’t listen to what Putin’s saying,” Biden added. “What he’s saying we know is not true.”
White House National Security spokeswoman Adrienne Watson backed up Biden’s claim, referring to Putin’s accusation as “Russia’s disinformation.”
Russia’s U.N. ambassador also implied that the United States had been involved in the sabotage. Richard Mills, U.S. deputy ambassador to the U.N., responded by calling the claims “conspiracy theories and disinformation.”
Despite the Commander and Chief’s explicit announcement that he would take action against the Nord Stream pipeline, a credulous press corps has dutifully parotted government talking points that accusations of western involvement in the sabotage are “baseless” “misinformation,” “disinformation,” and “conspiracy theories.”
This all follows a similar pattern to the informational warfare of the Covid era: an inconvenient narrative arises, the government and lemmings in the media slander it as false and dangerous, and, months later, the dispute in question turns out to be true (or at least highly plausible).
Arguments over natural immunity, vaccine efficacy, masks, the lab leak hypothesis, school shutdowns, lockdowns, and the scientific basis of social distancing are just a few examples that followed this cycle of reporting.
This was the same pattern as The New York Post’s coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop. Now, at hearings to investigate corruption that implicated Big Tech, intelligence officials, and the federal government, Raskin and his cohorts return to their familiar censorship ploys.
For censors, augmentation of power, not truth, remains the chief objective. To achieve this goal, they conflate dissent with domestic terrorism.
For example, the Department of Homeland Security’s “National Terrorism Advisory Service” listed misinformation and disinformation as terrorism threats in February 2022. The memo identified these threats as efforts to “undermine public trust in government.”
Regarding both Covid and Ukraine, the most powerful forces in the country have repeatedly lied and misled the American public. They censor critics to protect their delicate narratives of fiction, and they attack others for the public’s waning trust in government.
Hersh’s article pierces through the hegemonic narrative; hopefully, exposing their lies and warmongering will disrupt their ploys for censorship and power.
William Spruance is a practicing attorney and a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. The ideas expressed in the article are entirely his own and not necessarily those of his employer.