By Finian Cunningham, Strategic Culture Foundation, 11/18/21
In an audacious attack on free speech, journalists and writers based in the United States have now been banned by the U.S. federal authorities from publishing articles with Strategic Culture Foundation. We interview one of those authors affected by the ban, New York City-based journalist Daniel Lazare who shares his thoughts on the profound implications for free speech, independent journalism and political dissent.
Lazare is one of several U.S.-based writers who formerly published regular columns with Strategic Culture Foundation. Our online journal greatly appreciated their intelligent insights and analysis of U.S. and international politics. Sadly, we will no longer be able to publish their columns because of the threat levied on them by the U.S. federal authorities who accuse SCF of being an influence operation directed by the Kremlin. The allegations and threats are baseless and draconian.
If U.S.-based writers defy the ban, they have been threatened with astronomical financial penalties of over $300,000. The prohibition has only emerged in recent weeks. It follows earlier moves by the U.S. State Department and the Treasury Department accusing SCF of being an agent of Russian foreign intelligence. No evidence has been presented by the U.S. authorities to support their provocative claims. The Editorial Board of SCF categorically dismisses the allegations. In a statement, the editors said: “We reject all such claims by the U.S. authorities that the journal is an alleged Russian intelligence operation. We have no connection with the Russian government. We provide an independent forum for international writers to debate and freely critique major topical issues of world importance.”
Strategic Culture Foundation’s editorial production is based in Russia and the journal has been publishing articles by international authors for over a decade. The online journal has gained respect and readership primarily in North America for its critical and diverse coverage of geopolitics. It seems that the official move to ban SCF by the U.S. government is really aimed at shutting down independent journalism and critical thinking under the cynical guise of combating a “foreign enemy”. This has baleful echoes with the Red Scare Cold War years in the U.S.
By banning American voices from the journal, Washington is attempting to bolster its smear against SCF as being a sinister intelligence agency. But the real objective is to criminalize critical journalism and indeed any form of critical dissent. Arguably, the draconian attack by the U.S. authorities has to be seen in the wider context of persecuting Julian Assange and other whistleblowers who have exposed Washington’s crimes and corruption.
Daniel Lazare is a veteran newspaper journalist who specializes in U.S. constitutional law and rights. He formerly worked for Consortium News and Strategic Culture Foundation among other outlets. The New York City-based writer now publishes a regular column for The Weekly Worker, the paper of the Communist Party of Great Britain.
Read the full article that includes interview with Lazare here.