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19 Aug, 2020 09:10

Weaponized media coverage & off-the-scale hypocrisy from the West on display as ‘regime change’ in Belarus is promoted

Weaponized media coverage & off-the-scale hypocrisy from the West on display as ‘regime change’ in Belarus is promoted

Lukashenko has always admitted his style is authoritarian but notwithstanding this, media coverage of the crisis in Belarus has been slanted and the West’s condemnation of the crackdown on protests reeks of double standards.

You can tell a ‘regime change’ is afoot in Minsk simply by looking at the coverage of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Their website at the weekend was headed by a large caption ‘Post election crackdown in Belarus’ https://www.rferl.org/ , which has now changed to ‘Crisis in Belarus‘. The five lead articles on Sunday were all about Belarus. It’s the same on Tuesday. 

Radio Free Europe/RL is funded by the US Congress through the United States Agency for Global Media. Up to the early 1970s it was funded covertly by the CIA.  

It was a soft-power tool of the old Cold War, sometimes with calamitous consequences. In their book ‘Cold War’, Jeremy Isaacs and Taylor Downing tell how in the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 “Radio Free Europe, the CIA-backed station that broadcast into Eastern Europe, was dramatically talking the situation up, proclaiming the West’s backing for what it called Hungary’s ‘freedom fighters.‘”

But the backing never came, and indeed was never likely to come and the uprising, having been encouraged by RFE, was ruthlessly suppressed.

You might have thought RFE/RL would have been wound up in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, but there was still a job to do.

It says it reports the news in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established and while some of its journalism is perfectly fine the truth is that it usually stops reporting once a country is locked into Euro-Atlantic security structures. When it starts broadcasting to a country it's invariably a sign that the US ‘Deep State’ wants its government toppled. For example, in 1998 it began broadcasting to Iraq, and we all know what happened there five years later. RFE/RL is undoubtedly ‘state-affiliated media’ yet you won't see that warning attached to its tweets, as you now see attached to RT when it tweets this article.

It's no great surprise that Franak Viacorka,  the journalist and social media promoter of the anti-Lukashenko protests has worked for RFE/RL. As flagged by Ben Norton last week, Viacorka's organization DigiCom.Net details his close link to US bodies. Viacorka works for the US Agency for Global Media, the parent of RFE/RL and has served as a ‘creative director’ for the Belarus service of Radio Free Europe, as well as being a consultant for the US State Department-funded ‘Freedom House’. He is also a non-Resident Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, his appointment lauded by Michael McFaul, the former US Ambassador to Russia.

To be fair to Viacorka he is absolutely open about his US connections and in fact seems very proud of them. And they don't mean the 32-year-old isn't genuine about his commitment to ‘democracy and personal freedom’. That's even though he appeared to make criticism of Lukashenko's Covid-19 policies (the Belarusian leader failed to impose a draconian lockdown such as we’ve seen in many Western countries), on a NBC programme earlier in the year. (You can watch that here)

Also gunning for Lukashenko is the Economist, the bible for neoliberal globalists. This week, the magazine denounced the “West's response” to what was going on in Belarus as “feeble.”

It referred to Lukashenko as “a 65-year-old dictator.” The language of the Economist has been unusually emotional of late, showing they want regime change in Minsk quite badly. Yet in January 2019 they referred to the Belarusian leader more respectfully as “Mr Lukashenko” and said he was “no ordinary politician.” That was when they thought he was upsetting Vladimir Putin and “cosying up to the West.”   

One suspects that if Lukashenko announced he had won 80 percent of the vote but then said he was going to promptly apply to join NATO, the EU and sell off the entire economy to Western finance capital, as well as imposing a ‘Covid lockdown’, the Economist would not be quite so angry.  

Hypocrisy was also on show from the very grand EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “We need additional sanctions against those who violated democratic values or abused human rights in Belarus,” von der Leyen declared on Twitter.   

We are still of course waiting for the EU sanctions, additional or otherwise on Spain for the authorities' crackdown on Catalan protesters in 2017 and the jailing of nine separatist leaders

Or sanctions on France for the brutality meted out to the ‘Gilets Jaunes’ street protesters, who did not receive globalist approval.

How convenient after all that has gone on in 2020, that Belarus and the big bad Lukashenko is there to allow Western virtue signallers and self-proclaimed ‘liberals’ the chance to show off how much they care about ‘democracy’ again. While supporting the curtailing of basic human freedoms still further in their own countries.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.