Many people are becoming increasingly aware of the infrastructure being created by governments working hand-in-glove with Big Tech in order to censor any form of dissent. Even two years ago this view would have seemed somewhat paranoid, but through the important disclosures made by Senators Grassley and Hawley, the Twitter Files and also Big Brother Watch’s report on the Ministry of Truth, there is now irrefutable evidence that censorship is taking place on an unprecedented scale.
New research by Thinking Coalition shows that the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) is playing an integral part in this censorship. The research highlights connections (depicted on an interactive map) showing the unhealthy alliance between Big Tech, government agencies (mainly security related) and oligarch foundations who cooperate in order to shut down dissent.
ISD grew out of the Club of Three, established by Lord Weidenfeld in 1996. Although the initial initiative was on countering extremism, a very worthwhile cause, it appears that before Lord Weidenfeld’s death in 2016, the ISD had already been used to counter ‘disinformation’. Judging by its recent annual reports, it seems that the vast majority of ISD’s efforts are now focused on ‘disinformation’. In particular, the ISD seeks to restrict free speech in the areas of:
- 2020 election analysis;
- COVID-19 disinformation; and
- Climate Change disinformation.
Focusing on the second two objectives, it is clear that they are not related to countering extremism. Accordingly, we believe that the ISD’s activities have overreached its original and worthwhile purpose.
Broadly speaking ‘misinformation’ and ‘disinformation’ are defined by the ISD and others as views which do not comply with the state’s declared position on a given subject. The category of misinformation, in essence, relates to erroneous data or opinions, whereas disinformation is a position based on knowingly incorrect data or arguments. Misinformation and disinformation are terms the ISD applies to undermine and negate any challenge to the mainstream narrative. In reality, misinformation means very little, since human knowledge has advanced through argument and counterargument. The idea that the state, or ISD, establishes absolute truth indicates a high degree of arrogance.
This is a dangerous precedent given how wrong governments have been, especially in the very recent past, for example, stating vaccines are 95% effective against Covid infection. With government propaganda recently exposed, it is hard to imagine that anyone could trust in the narrative. Yet, the infallibility of governments is an important baseline for the ISD and other statists.