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Democrats Demand Global Crackdown On Human Rights, Including Mine, To Save Democracy

House members at yesterday’s Congressional hearing supported the Brazilian government’s demand for censorship

Going into yesterday’s Congressional hearing on Brazil’s crackdown on free speech, I expected Democrats would at least express some amount of concern for what is happening in that country. It’s not just that Brazil’s President Lula is seeking to impose Cuban-style speech restrictions on the largest economy in Latin America, complete with secret thought police. It isn’t just that Brazil’s Supreme Court is demanding that every major social media platform permanently ban independent journalists and politicians. It’s also that the Brazilian government is poised to file criminal charges against an American citizen, the author of this article, for publishing entirely accurate and legal information in the form of the Twitter Files - Brazil, last month. After all, at one heated Congressional hearing on censorship, Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY) at least complimented my choice of necktie. Surely a Democrat would have the decency to say something even mealy-mouthed, e.g., “While I vehemently disagree with your views on the environment and homelessness, I don’t think that what the Brazilian government is doing is right, either to its own people or to me, an American citizen and journalist….”

That didn’t happen. Instead of raising even a peep about the politicians and journalists being arrested, thrown in prison, and having their bank accounts frozen, Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), the Democratic ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, defended, at length, Brazil’s turn toward authoritarianism as necessary to saving democracy in that country. Wild’s remarks were followed by Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), who attacked the witnesses, who included a Brazilian journalist, the CEO of a social media company, and me, for having allegedly spread disinformation about Brazil’s government to destabilize its democracy, and used McCarthyite line of questioning to support the Brazilian government’s anticipated criminal case against me. “Mr. Shellenberger,” she said to me, “yes or no? Is it true that you have repeatedly published false information that defamed public figures who are dedicated to combating disinformation?”

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) (left); Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), (center). Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA) (right)

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