Helga Zepp-LaRouche Takes on Big Tech Dictatorship on China Plus Panel Dialogue
Jan. 15 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Helga Zepp-LaRouche stood up today against internet censorship in a panel discussion aired by China Radio International’s official English website China Plus. On its “World Today” program, she was joined on the 52-minute episode, entitled “Twitter vs Trump: Is Big Tech Too Powerful?” by panelists Mario Cavolo, an American author, and Senior Fellow at the Center for China and Globalization; and Chen Weihua, the outspoken EU Bureau Chief of China Daily.
Given the first opportunity to speak in response to the moderator’s question whether social media had made the right decision in banning Trump, Zepp-LaRouche responded that this terrible decision is very dangerous, comparable to an earthquake. Maria Zakharova called it a nuclear bomb, Mexican President López Obrador compared it to the Holy Inquisition, and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire denounced it as a “digital oligarchy.” This is an incredible attack on free speech, and whether or not you share Trump’s views on various matters, this attack must be opposed!
Following Cavolo’s foolish claim that Trump made the country an uncouth and rude “white trash” nation, Zepp-LaRouche countered strongly: Although a person may disagree with Trump, this censorship is a coup by Big Tech, which is part of the military-industrial complex in the U.S., which is against Russia and China, and have created color revolutions around the world. They’re creating a precedent of silencing not only the President of the United States. They have power beyond anything in history, and if Big Tech is allowed—as part of what is called Deep State or military-industrial complex—to censor anyone they disagree with, this is a dictatorship—Le Maire’s “digital oligarchy” is an understatement and López Obrador’s talk of a Holy Inquisition is much more accurate. Whether or not you like Trump is not so relevant. Such censorship should be alarming to the entire world.
The Chinese unfamiliarity with the full concept of free speech came out: Chen insisted that hate speech is not free speech, and that European countries have laws against “hate speech.” The moderator repeated the simplistic idea that the First Amendment does not apply to private companies. (As though telephone monopolies may decline to provide you phone service based on your beliefs, or as if a private restaurant could “speak out” for segregation by allowing only white patrons. There are plenty of laws that apply to private companies!)
Zepp-LaRouche brought up the 9/11 attack, which is still being investigated, and which was used as a pretext to establish laws, such as the Patriot Act, in the name of national security. Today, the idea of allowing Big Tech to decide what is permitted to be said is partly uncharted territory, but it’s very much like the information control of Goebbels; it is Orwellian.
Asked about proposals to repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Zepp-LaRouche broadened the discussion to the general protection of civil rights, requiring an absolutely new approach—including new legislation—to defending people, nations, and business.
On the more general issue of regulating technology, the Schiller Institute’s founder insisted that the world needs a very fundamental discussion as to how nations govern themselves. The American Federalist Papers discussed such long-term factors of government. They speak to matters within a nation, but also amongst nations. We must address principles for the interests of humanity first before discussing how to regulate new technology. New technology will always happen, but the development of the character and the morality must accompany that.
Are the Big Tech giants too large and in need of being broken up? Zepp-LaRouche replied that they are certainly too big to operate as they are now, but it is not clear how to break them up. Regulations are needed. Looking back to the military research origins of the internet, and of violent video games coming from military training to desensitize soldiers to the act of killing, served to put the topic in the highest context. Starting from that standpoint, a proper investigation and an ability to regulate properly can emerge.
Does social media amplify extremism? The Confederacy is a root of what could today be called right-wing extremism. The slave-owners were allied with British Empire in the Civil War. But the U.S. was founded for the common good, as expressed in the Preamble of the Constitution as applying to the present and also future generations. The American republic is endangered by the takeover of British Empire values, creating a unipolar world with the “special relationship” of Britain and U.S. What is called “extremism” arises because institutions and governments are not taking care of their citizen’s interests. These are the deeper issues of legitimacy of government. As Ben Franklin said, “I have given you a republic. It is up to you to keep it.”
Zepp-LaRouche’s comments had a palpable effect on the discussion, with Cavolo in particular becoming organized toward her outlook. He stated that the wealthy and powerful had hijacked American capitalism and that Big Tech is part of that.
Does the search for profits cause social media companies to amplify extremism to drive engagement? Helga Zepp-LaRouche said that the Western world is controlled by three groups: the City of London, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. While some are involved out of a profit motive, there are others operating at a different level—an oligarchy who believe the world should be run as an empire. Lyndon LaRouche called this nexus a “slime-mold.” It changes form but is always the same—such forms of empire as the Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Venice, Dutch-Anglo, and the British takeover of U.S. institutions. This oligarchical outlook is the ultimate source of efforts to contain China and Russia.
And think about how the tools of this slime-mold—not profit-seeking—manipulates “social movements” through social media, including the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. The FBI had advance evidence of right-wing violence and they even blocked some groups from traveling to Washington. So, where was the security around the Capitol? The U.S. has by far the world’s largest military budget, but it can’t protect its own Capitol? The big question is whether this was a setup. Zepp-LaRouche concluded with her conviction that evidence would come to light of how social movements are instrumentalized by the intelligence services.