June 6, 2023

Biden Sanctions Iran … for Government Censorship

The administration that won election by censoring the news now fights against the practice — but only in other countries.

If hypocrisy is your thing, the Democrats are your party. To borrow from Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, these people profess virtues that they don’t respect in order to appear to be that which they despise.

For the latest example of this, we turn to Joe Biden’s Department of the Treasury, which is fresh from having sanctioned an Iran-based tech firm for — get this — having helped the mad mullahs censor that country’s anti-government protests.

Team Biden even issued press release, so eager were they to crow about it. That PR reads in part:

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating the Iran-based technology company known as “Arvan Cloud,” two senior employees of Arvan Cloud, and an affiliated company based in the United Arab Emirates for their roles in facilitating the Iranian regime’s censorship of the Internet in Iran.

Arvan Cloud is a key partner of Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Ministry in the development of the National Information Network (NIN), a countrywide intranet that is being used to disconnect the Iranian people from the global Internet. Arvan Cloud has a close relationship with Iran’s intelligence services, including the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), and Arvan Cloud executives have extensive ties to senior Iranian government officials. The Iranian government has regularly used Internet restrictions and the throttling of Internet speeds to suppress dissent, surveil and punish Iranians for exercising their freedom of expression and assembly both online and offline, and limit the dissemination to the international community of credible information about egregious human rights violations.

That’s right. Suddenly, the Biden administration is cracking down on government censorship — in other countries. And all the while, Scranton Joe has been tight-lipped about our own government’s censorship — you know, like when the FBI and our intelligence services colluded to censor the New York Post’s bombshell on Hunter Biden’s laptop just before the 2020 election. Or when they cracked down on anyone who questioned the efficacy of masking, or of vaccines, or of the lab-leak theory during COVID. Or when they cracked down on peaceful pro-life activists. Or when they cracked down on concerned parents of Virginia’s Loudoun County public schools. Clearly, this administration hates hypocrisy, unless it suits the “right” purposes.

If you think we’re overreacting, check out this quote from Treasury undersecretary Brian Nelson: “The United States is committed to holding accountable those who seek to undermine freedom of expression and suppress dissent, and to call out regimes who deny their citizens this right.”

Or check out this bit of sanctimonious praise from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who says the sanctions are part of a “multi-pronged strategy to support and preserve the free flow of information to the Iranian people in the face of the Iranian regime’s unprecedented campaign of Internet disruptions and censorship.”

What must other countries think? “These sanctions send a message to international partners that the U.S. government will nakedly exploit legacy free speech principles by which it itself no longer abides,” says Mike Benz, a former State Department official and the executive director of the Foundation for Freedom Online. “Our government is leading the crusade to censor the internet, while sanctioning other countries for censoring their own internet.”

It’s free expression for thee but not for me.

Remarkably, according to Fox News, all this is happening while the Biden administration is itself being sued for having “colluded with social media giants Meta, Twitter, and YouTube to censor free speech in the name of combating so-called ‘disinformation’ and ‘misinformation.’”

The censorship lawsuit against the federal government, Louisiana and Missouri v. Biden et al, was filed in May 2022 and is described as “the most important free speech lawsuit of this generation.”

As Missouri Republican Senator and former state Attorney General Eric Schmitt noted, the evidence demonstrates that the Biden administration’s “coordination with social media companies and collusion with non-governmental organizations to censor speech was far more pervasive and destructive than ever known.”

Neither the New York Post, nor the concerned parents of American schoolchildren, nor peaceful pro-life protesters, nor skeptics of COVID masking and lockdowns and vaccines, nor those tens of millions of citizens who think the 2020 presidential election was rigged due to government censorship could be reached for comment.

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