Dictators on the Right and Left have different goals, but their tactics always remain the same. And chief among these tactics is the use of censorship–to glorify themselves and silence anyone who disagrees with them.
A dramatic example of censorship on the Left occurred in April, 1986,courtesy of Mikhail Gorbachev, recently-installed leader of the Soviet Union.
Elected General Secretary on March 11, 1985 by members of the ruling Communist Party, Gorbachev had quickly set out to revitalize the ailing empire he had inherited.
He introduced two new words to both the Soviet and Western vocabularies: “glasnost” (“openness”) and “perestroika” (“restructuring”).
It was “glasnost” that attracted immediate attention from Western scholars and journalists. Gorbachev seemed to be promsing an end to rigid Soviet censorship of the press–for both Soviets and foreign correspondents.
The first test of this new polilcy came on April 26, 1986. An explosion blew the roof off the fourth reactor building at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant in Kiev, Ukraine. Massive quantities of radioactive particles began spewing into the air.
Explosion at Chernobyl nuclear power plant
And the Soviet government–supposedly committed to a policy of “openness”–reacted with silence.
No warnings went out to the Ukraine, to other parts of the Soviet Union, or to nations beyond the reach of the Red Army.
At 9 a.m. on April 28–more than 55 and a half hours after the explosion–an alarm sounded at the Forsmark Nuclear Power station in Sweden.
High amounts of radioactivity were being detected, but nobody knew from where.
The radiation spread to Denmark, Finland and Norway. Scandinavian experts quickly traced the fallout to its source: The Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine.
But when Swedish authorities directly asked the Soviet government for an explanation, the reply they got was: Nothing happened.
On April 28 the Kremlin issued a statement: “An accident occurred at the Chornobyl Atomic Power Plant and one of the reactors was damaged. Measures have been undertaken to eliminate the consequences of the accident.”
As Moscow tried to keep a lid on the expanding catastrophe, Ukrainians tuned in to broadcasts over Radio Free Europe, the Voice of America or Radio Liberty.
But picking up these broadcasts was hard, because the Soviets–despite “glasnost”–continued their decades-old policy of jamming foreign radio stations.
On April 29, the Kremlin finally admitted that an “accident” at Chernobyl had killed two people, but “the situation has now been stabilized” and was under control.
American spy satelliltes, however, relayed pictures of fires still burning out of control at Chernobyl while Soviet aircraft circled the plant dumping chemicals to stop the blaze.
Meanwhile, Soviet TV “news” commentators parroted the line that there was nothing to worry about.
On April 30, the “news” led with a story about spring flowers in Ukraine and preparations for the annual May Day celebration in Moscow.
But the truth finally caught up with the Soviets.
By May 1986, about a month later, all those living within a 19 mile of the plant (about 116,000 people) had been relocated. According to reports from Soviet scientists, 10,800 square miles were contaminated.
Roughly 830,000 people lived in this area. Some reports project 30,000 to 60,000 excess cancer deaths, with predicted excess cases of thyroid cancer ranging between 18,000 and 66,000 in Belarus alone, depending on the risk-projection model.
Right-wingers also embrace censorship when it suits their aims. Such as in Florida–where coastal islands face the treat of being swallowed by the ocean and daily floods create nightmares for highway travelers.
But Rick Scott–its Republican Governor and a 2916 Presidential hopeful–doesn’t believe in “climate change’ or “global warming.” Asked by a reporter for his views on the subject, he fobbed off the question with, “Well, I’m not a scientist.”
Smiling through the coming apocalypse: Rick Scott
Accordingly, he has ordered members of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to stop using those terms “global warming” and “climate change” in official correspondence.
DEP has a $1.4 billion budget and 3,200 employees, but is forbidden to speak openly about perhaps the foremost danger now facing Floridians.
According to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR) the policy is “unwritten” and was “distributed verbally statewide.”
Just as the Nazis passed down many of their orders verbally, to ensure deniability, so has Scott.
Accordingly, John Tupps, Scott’s spokesman, assured The Washington Post: “There is no policy in existence. … Allegations and claims made in the [Florida investigative article] are not true. This policy, it doesn’t exist.”
But FCIR has no reservations about exposing the issue that threatens the very existence of the state.
“The irony is clearly apparent,” said Tristam Korten, one of FCIR’s writers. “Florida is a peninsula with 1,200 miles of coastline, and when it comes to climate change, we’re the canary in the coalmine. And we’re relying on the state government to protect us and to plan for these changes.”
Rising sea levels threaten Miami–and the rest of Florida
Further proof of the governor’s censorship decree comes from statements of former DEP employees.
One of these, Kristina Trotta, was told during a 2014 meeting that she couldn’t employ terms such as “climate change” and “global warming.”
“We were told that we were not allowed to discuss anything that was not a true fact. The regional administrator told us that we are the governor’s agency; this is the message from the governor’s office. And that is the message we will portray.”