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3 Jan, 2018 18:42

‘Hypocrital US demands Iran unblock protesters’ Instagram after ordering to block mine’ – Kadyrov

‘Hypocrital US demands Iran unblock protesters’ Instagram after ordering to block mine’ – Kadyrov

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has ripped into Facebook and the US government for the blocking of his social media handles, saying, Washington views support for Syria and Palestine’s Jerusalem claim as backing terrorism.

In a message posted to Telegram Wednesday, Kadyrov accused the US of “hypocrisy” for condemning the Iranian government’s blocking of Instagram and Telegram during the ongoing protests, but remaining silent when Facebook and Instagram did the same to him.

“When Facebook, for far-fetched reasons, blocks my accounts, officials in Washington are silent, despite the fact that it's done absolutely for no reason,” he wrote. He also ridiculed the US for calling Iran the world’s main sponsor of terrorism, arguing that the label has been attached because of Tehran’s support of Syria and Palestine.

“The USA consider Iran’s support for the Syrian leadership’s struggle against Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and the right of the Palestinian people to establish their state with the capital in Jerusalem to be sponsorship of terrorism,” Kadyrov wrote. He refrained from commenting on the protests in Iran, saying the Iranian government and people should decide how to regain peace and stability.

Last week, Facebook confirmed that it had blocked Kadyrov’s accounts both there and on Instagram (which it has owned since 2012) following the Chechen leader’s blacklisting under the Magnitsky Act. The Act allows the US to withhold visas and freeze the financial assets of Russian companies and individuals, citing alleged human rights violations.

Kadyrov, however, noted that a number of Western journalists and media outlets have called the blocking of his pages “unjustified and selective.” For example Glenn Greenwald, who is no fan of Kadyrov calling the Chechen leader “the opposite of a sympathetic figure,” pointed out that Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro remains active on both Facebook and Instagram, despite also being sanctioned by the US government last year. Moreover, Greenwald wrote, the ability to silence someone based on whether or not they are on a government sanctions list is itself disturbing.

“The US government — meaning, at the moment, the Trump administration — has the unilateral and unchecked power to force the removal of anyone it wants from Facebook and Instagram by simply including them on a sanctions list,” said Greenwald. “Does anyone think this is a good outcome? Does anyone trust the Trump administration — or any other government — to compel social media platforms to delete and block anyone it wants to be silenced?”

Kadyrov went even further, calling Facebook an instrument of the American establishment: “Clearly Facebook does not have freedom of action, but is an instrument in the hands of the US authorities. Whoever they order will be blocked.” He also linked his blocking on social media to his criticism of US President Trump’s decision on moving the embassy to Jerusalem, citing the point of view of “many observers.”

In December, Kadyrov said in his post on social network VK that Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem was “stab in the back” for those who’d spent decades trying to work out a peace settlement in the region and “throws the state of Israel into the abyss of bloody confrontation and puts in under threat of a new, more powerful and organized Intifada. Which means a large-scale war.”

“The State Department does not like that I am extremely honest and frank in expressing my opinions about the actions of the United States in the countries of the Islamic world. According to many observers, the real reason is also connected with my assessment of Trump's decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

Before his accounts were blocked Kadyrov had an extremely prolific, if sometimes controversial, presence on social media, amassing some 3 million followers on Instagram and 750,000 followers on Facebook.