The US organisation Freedom House recently published its latest report on the state of civil liberties around the world.
It should be mentioned straight away that its authors have a particular understanding of freedom. This is John Stuart Mill’s transformed idea of negative freedom; i.e., freedom from obligations, traditions, values, etc., which is also responsible for the West’s concepts of gender reassignment and cancel culture aimed at destroying heritage and falsifying history.
Freedom House splits the world’s countries up into three categories – free, partly free, and not free. In 2020, there were 82 free countries, four less than in 2015, but the number of partly free remained unchanged at 59. The number of not free countries is higher, however, increasing from 50 in 2015 to 54 in 2020.
A banal comparison of the countries makes it clear that the facts are misrepresented. Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, China and Vietnam are classified as not free countries, for example, while Ukraine, where any opposition is ruthlessly suppressed, the Kingdom of Morocco, which is governed by a traditional monarchical institution and a developed, all-pervading state security system, Pakistan, which is targeted by special restrictions in the financial sector, and even India with its caste system, which is a de facto social apartheid, and its human rights violations, which are regularly covered by a number of US media outlets, are all classified as partly free.
The countries classified as free, meanwhile, include Brazil, where the Bolsanaro regime has been tightening the screws for a few years now, as well as the whole of Western Europe, of course, and the US – “the sacred cow of democracy”.
The freest countries are Norway, Sweden and Finland, which all scored 100 out of 100. Not far behind is Estonia with 94 points… and its categories of non-citizens among the native population. Latvia, which has the same discriminatory measures, scored 89 points.
The report states that 45 countries have seen a significant decline in democratic freedoms. Those highlighted include Belarus, Algeria, Hong Kong, Ethiopia, India, and Venezuela.
In the US itself, the level of democracy has fallen by 11 points, from 94 to 83. The report’s authors lay the blame for this on the Trump administration. They link the decline to political corruption and conflicts of interest, a lack of transparency in government, and tightening policies on immigration.
The coronavirus pandemic has also had an impact on freedom levels. This relates to Hungary, Poland, Algeria, Egypt, Spain, Great Britain, India, China, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Iran, Thailand, and the Philippines. For some reason, El Salvador is highlighted, where the police forcibly dispersed anti-lockdown protesters.
This was clearly a choice, since mass anti-lockdown protests were also forcibly broken up by police in Italy and Germany, the Netherlands and France, and a number of other countries.
The report’s totalitarian and hypocritical style is particularly striking.
“The enemies of freedom have pushed the false narrative that democracy is in decline because it is incapable of addressing people’s needs. In fact, democracy is in decline because its most prominent exemplars are not doing enough to protect it. Global leadership and solidarity from democratic states are urgently needed. Governments that understand the value of democracy, including the new administration in Washington, have a responsibility to band together to deliver on its benefits, counter its adversaries, and support its defenders”, the report states.
Since the days of Plato, however, democracy has been regarded as one of the worst forms of government. The worst is timocracy – i.e., an oligarchy – but if we look at the role of capital in the US electoral process, then the democratic element in this country is fairly arbitrary. The system of iron triangles, which is to say the relationship between corporations, lobbyists, and government bodies, is what constitutes the foundation of American statehood. And what exactly does doing enough to protect democracy mean? Bombing Yugoslavia and invading Iraq under the false pretext that it had weapons of mass destruction? Supporting brutal dictatorships in countries regarded as allies such as Bahrain, where the United States Fifth Fleet is stationed and where peaceful protests were violently suppressed ten years ago during the Arab Spring?
Even by American standards, the report can be considered biased. For example, the report was written by two women, Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz. Therefore, one could immediately argue that there is a gender imbalance. Why were no men involved in the report? There were no black people, either. Is that fair?
But putting this kind of trolling aside and looking at it seriously, just how fair do we expect the US to be?
On 11 February, around the same time as the Freedom House report was published, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a special report on the role of the Saudi government in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The report was declassified on 25 February and immediately made public. It expressly states that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned the operation in Istanbul to capture and kill the Saudi journalist, yet the US has not imposed any targeted sanctions against him. When questioned by journalists during a briefing at the US State Department on 26 February, Antony Blinken said that the Treasury Department is sanctioning former Saudi deputy head of general intelligence Ahmad al-Asiri. Sanctions referred to as the “Khashoggi Ban” are also being imposed against 76 Saudi individuals, but no such measures are being taken against the main culprit. Against whom, exactly, these sanctions are being imposed remains a secret, a secrecy that is already starting to raise questions in the US.
So, it doesn’t matter how much Freedom House writes about not free countries (Saudi Arabia included), it has absolutely no impact on US foreign policy. The State Department and the White House operate on the basis of other principles. Loyal vassals can do anything, even if that means carrying out ethnic cleansing or committing other crimes against their own people. But the observations on other “not free countries” such as Russia, China and Iran are perfect for being regurgitated time and again in the state-controlled media and government briefings, because these countries pursue policies independent of the US. The US government even pays Freedom House to shape public opinion in the right direction (more than 70% of its funding comes from the government). Incidentally, the organisation is also run by former government officials – its current chair is Michael Chertoff, who was director of homeland security between 2005 and 2009 and, prior to that, he served as a federal judge. Other senior officials at Freedom House have similar service records. It is this kind of rotation in the US system of timocracy, which is to say the system of iron triangles, that ensures the necessary “objectivity” regarding rights and freedoms around the world.