Disinfo: US government pays Freedom House to spread negative public perceptions of Russia, China and Iran

Summary

The US government pays Freedom House to spread negative public perceptions about Russia, China and Iran. These three countries are misleadingly classified as “unfree” by US state-controlled media and by Freedom House because they pursue policies that are independent from US influence. Turkey, Vietnam and Kazakhstan are also classified as unfree countries by Freedom House.

Freedom House’s choice of which countries to label as “unfree” is based on the US government’s need to shape public opinion in the “right direction”. Furthermore, Freedom Houses’ concept of “freedom” is based on the idea of negative freedom: freedom from obligations, tradition and values. This idea has led the West to embrace gender change and cancel culture aimed at destroying its cultural heritage and falsifying history.

Disproof

The article’s message is consistent with a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Western criticism of human and civil rights violations and repression in Russia and other regimes are unfounded propaganda and are driven by American and Western geopolitical interests.

The article also contains the recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about the alleged decadence of the post-modern West.

Freedom House is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1941 that produces studies and reports on democracy, political rights and civil liberties issues. Its annual report - entitled Freedom in the World - studies the state of civil liberties and assigns a score to each country, calculated on the basis of a number of indicators regarding political rights and civil liberties.

The 2021 edition involved over 125 analysts who have used a broad range of sources, including news articles, academic analyses, reports by nongovernmental organizations and more. They investigate electoral process, political pluralism, functioning of government, freedom of expression, associational and organizational rights and more.

Systematic violations of human rights and civil liberties in Russia, China and Iran have been documented by numerous sources. In Russia, independent media and bloggers have been persecuted and imprisoned, a number of opponents and critics of the government have been killed, and internet users and journalists are subject to severe restrictions.

According to Amnesty International, in Iran during 2019 “the authorities heavily suppressed the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. Security forces used lethal force unlawfully to crush protests, killing hundreds, and arbitrarily detaining thousands of protesters.”

According to Human Rights Watch, in China the government has deepened repression at home and sought to muzzle critics abroad. It has arbitrarily detained hundreds of human rights defenders and lawyers, tightened control over civil society, media, and the internet, and deployed invasive surveillance technology.

Read similar cases claiming that Russia respects human and civil rights: police to illegal gatherings like in any other country, that Freedom House responds to political commands, that claims about repression and concentration camps in China are exaggerations aiming to stop its influence, and that human rights are a Trojan horse in the West’s hybrid warfare

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 236
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/03/2021
  • Article language(s) Italian, Russian, English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, China, Russia, Iran
  • Keywords: Human rights, Freedom of speech, Democracy, Western values, Human Rights Watch
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Western countries lie about Ghouta

The UN final report on what is known as the Ghouta massacre on August 21, 2013 does not reveal its perpetrator.

In addition, a MIT study from February 2014 explains that the attack was launched from a so-called rebel area.

This is not to say that Bashar El Assad did not perpetrate any chemical attack. This is to emphasise that once again, Western governments have lied to their people to bring down their enemies.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives attempting to cast doubt on who is responsible for the 2013 chemical attacks in Syria and questioning the integrity of Western governments by accusing them of lying systematically to the public to bring down countries that resist them.

The Ghouta attack was investigated by a UN Mission set up by the UN Secretary General, and its findings were contained in a report published in September 2013. The OPCW and the WHO played an important but auxiliary role throughout the process (ibid., p. 4).

Bellingcat reports do not contain evidence

The Bellingcat news agency has been registered in Higgins' name, and the latest "revealing" anti-Russian news is spread from this agency. However, these reports do not contain any evidence.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation attempting to discredit Bellingcat which has long been a thorn in the side of the Kremlin and recently presented proof that Alexei Navalny was poisoned by FSB agents. Alexei Navalny duped one of the FSB agents, Konstantin Kudryavtsev, into admitting his role in the poisoning and Bellingcat had already named him in its investigation as one of the FSB agents involved.

Ironically, no evidence is given to support the claims about a lack of evidence in Bellingcat’s reports. Bellingcat is an well-known independent group of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists which probes different subjects using open source and social media investigations. The team has won a lot of awards and prizes, for example, the European Press Prize for Investigation in 2019 and the London Press Club award for Digital Journalism in 2019 to name just a few.

Crimea returned to Russia after a referendum

Crimea returned to be a Russian federal province, after a referendum held on March 16, 2014, in Crimea and Sevastopol, and both regions have become within the Russian Federation, as of March 18, 2014.

Crimea was one of the Russian provinces up until the beginning of the fifties of the twentieth century when the authorities of the Union of Soviet Republics decided to transfer their subordination to the Republic of Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea, claiming that Crimea voted to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum and painting the idea that Crimea has never belonged to Ukraine.

For historical reference, Crimea was annexed by Catherine II (the Great), then containing Ukraine in 1783, already in violation of a treaty that guaranteed the independence of the Tatar khanate.