From the unsubstantiated assertions that Putin fixed the US election, the fake claims of Russian hacking, the hysterical and baseless claims of Facebook ads paid for by the Kremlin, Washington’s banning of RT and Sputnik ads and Theresa May’s speech calling Russia a threat to Western civilisation, the attempts to demonise Russia and Vladimir Putin have taken a sinister, McCarthy-ite turn.
Before we all start frothing at the mouth over the recent indictments by Robert Mueller over alleged US election interference by the Russians, let’s get a few things clear: We do not yet have any evidence of any collusion with the Russian government. What we do have evidence of however, is the overwhelming influence of foreign money in US politics.
Forget influencing Presidents and Prime Ministers, European billionaires are funding local elections in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. When the wealth of oligarchs so dwarves that of the people, it is relatively easy to seize control of the entire political establishment, aggressively pursuing financial interests while keeping the population distracted by identity politics. Tbilisi is a perfect microcosm demonstrating the dangers of what unlimited, uncontrolled capital can do to democracy.
The people who cheered as offensive content was censored by internet providers should not be so quick to applaud. They may soon find the same tactic used against causes they love. A look back at examples over the past 10 years can help demonstrate why we all have cause for concern.
Google has come under scrutiny by free-speech advocates for shutting down neo-Nazi website, Daily Stormer, seemingly too distracted to notice the tech giant has been waging a censorship campaign against progressive news organisations that publish content which conflicts with the narrative of the Washington establishment, along with Facebook and Twitter, on the grounds of ‘fake news’.