Freedom House's Crimes Against the Truth
by Bevin Chu
U.S. major media and much of the minor media are not free and
independent, as they claim. They are not the watchdog of democracy
but the lapdog of the national security state. They help reverse
the roles of victims and victimizers, warmongers and peacekeepers,
reactionaries and reformers. The first atrocity, the first war
crime committed in any war of aggression by the aggressors is
against the truth."
Michael Parenti, political scientist, from his essay
"The Media and their Atrocities"
I have quoted
Michael Parenti many times before, and make no apology for quoting
him yet again.
Am I afraid
of sounding like a broken record?
Not at all.
Parenti's scathing observation is as relevant today as when he
originally made it. It will remain relevant as long as interventionist-oriented
media, thinktanks, and pundits in the US insist on reversing the
roles of victims and victimizers, warmongers and peacekeepers,
reactionaries and reformers.
one of Freedom House's crimes against the truth. On December 21,
2005, a Taipei Times article entitled "Taiwan makes progress
on liberties, GAINING GROUND," reported that:
US-based Freedom House gave the nation [sic] the highest mark
on both political rights and civil liberties, while [mainland]
China was again dubbed ``not free.'' Taiwan has made progress
on rights and liberties in the past year, according to the latest
report by the US-based organization Freedom House. Beginning in
1978, the Freedom House has released its annual Freedom in the
World report in mid-December every year. Countries are ranked
from one to seven in two categories political rights and
civil liberties with one the top score. In this year's
report, Taiwan won the top score in both categories and was one
of 88 countries listed as "free" out of 129 total nations. Fifty-eight
countries were listed as "partially free" and 45 countries
including [mainland] China were judged "not free." "Freedom
House has affirmed that Taiwan is a highly-developed democratic
country [sic]. The glory belongs to all Taiwanese [sic] people,"
Government Information Office Minister Pasuya Yao said yesterday.
"It is also a recognition of the government's hard work and efforts
to protect and promote human rights, as well as advance democracy,"
Yao said. Yao pointed out [mainland] China's poor performance
again in this year's report. Yao said that the [mainland] Chinese
government's efforts and achievements on the economy were recognized
and remarkable. However, Freedom House identified [mainland] China
as "not a free country," a clear sign that there is still much
room for the [mainland] Chinese government to improve when it
comes to democracy and human rights, he said. Freedom House said
it will release another index sometime next spring. In that index,
there will more specific categories, including "the process of
elections," "political diversity," "freedom of religion," "freedom
of establishing companies," and "justice."
I have corrected the Taipei Times' intentionally misleading
references to Taiwan as a "nation," and to mainland China as "China."
This devious practice on the part of Taiwan independence activists
and Taiwan independence fellow travelers attempts to convey the
impression that "Taiwan" is the name of a nation rather than a
province, that "China" refers only to the mainland portion of
China, and that Taiwan is not an integral part of China.
Times, as readers of this column know full well, is the English
language mouthpiece for the Taiwan independence movement. The
Taipei Times is not so much a newspaper, as the quasi-official
propaganda organ for the Taiwan independence movement.
Times, however, is not the target of my criticism. The target
of my criticism at the moment is the Orwellian-named Freedom House,
a lapdog of the national security state in watchdog of democracy
clothing. Freedom House is apparently determined to play the role
of heartless, soulless, conscienceless mouthpiece for America's
global interventionist ruling elite. I have commented on this
in the past, but Freedom House is a repeat offender, therefore
my remarks bear repeating as well.
Freedom House is not merely a repeat offender, it is an escalating
offender. Freedom House, despite being confronted with a mountain
of evidence to the contrary, has become increasingly indifferent
to the truth. Consider for example Freedom House's annual "Freedom
in the World" report, which classified Taiwan's cronyist dictatorship
as "Free" in the face of conclusive and damning evidence to the
contrary, for at least two years in a row.
divides freedom into two categories, PR for Political Rights,
and CL for Civil Liberties. A rating of 1 represents the most
free and a rating of 7 the least free. An up or down arrow next
to each of the categories indicates a change in Political Rights
or Civil Liberties since the previous survey, for better or worse.
A star * next to the country or territory rated indicates a so-called
House's just released annual report, Taiwan received a "Taiwan*
/ PR 1 with an up arrow / CL 1 /Free" rating. Taiwan received
a star "*" next to its name, indicating an electoral democracy;
a rating of "1 with an up arrow" for Political Rights, indicating
an improvement [sic!] in political rights since the last survey;
and a rating of "1" for Civil Liberties, indicating no deterioration
[sic!] in civil liberties since the last survey.
House put it, "In addition to the countries that registered a
status improvement in 2005, 19 countries showed gains in freedom
that, while significant, did not produce a change in their overall
freedom designation: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Colombia,
Georgia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Israel, Latvia, Liberia,
Lithuania, Namibia, Romania, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Saudi
Arabia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
other 18 countries or territories on Freedom House's list in fact
experienced gains in freedom is not my immediate concern. My immediate
concern is Freedom House's appallingly high rating for Taiwan.
For Freedom House to give Chen Shui-bian's cronyist dictatorship
a "Taiwan* / PR 1 with an up arrow / CL 1 / Free" rating is a
slap in the face of 23 million Republic of China citizens on Taiwan,
not to mention an insult to their intelligence.
of China citizens on Taiwan have endured six years of Chen Shui-bian
regime misrule, right on the heels of 12 years of Lee Teng-hui
regime misrule. They have made their own evaluation of Taiwan's
18-year-long Green Terror abundantly clear by the way they have
responded to public opinion polls, by the way they have taken
to the streets in protest, and perhaps most dramatically, by the
way over one million of them have picked themselves up bodily
and moved to mainland China, which Freedom House stubbornly persists
in classifying as Unfree instead of Partly Free.
approval ratings have fallen from a high of just under 80% immediately
following his Y2K "New Centrist Path" Inaugural Speech, to 10%
[!] immediately following the island-wide 2005 Three in One County
and Municipal Elections.
Poll Center Approval Ratings for Nine Major Political Figures
following the Three in One Elections [traditional Chinese]
this with Freedom House's patently absurd raised rating for Taiwan,
as well as Freedom House's lowered rating for Russia: "Russia
/ PR 6 / CL 5 / Not Free."
House put it: "In Russia whose freedom status Freedom House
lowered from Partly Free to Not Free one year ago the Putin
leadership's anti-democratic tendencies appeared, if anything,
more pronounced in 2005" and has "adopted policies that will make
it more difficult for the development of a genuine civil society
and will impede the development of a democratic political opposition."
Russia in fact deserved to be downgraded from Partly Free to Unfree,
why didn't Taiwan deserve to be downgraded from Free to Partly
Free? Especially when officials of Chen Shui-bian's own party
are openly demanding revocation of Chen's party membership, and
once his membership has been revoked, his impeachment. Especially
when Chen Shui-bian's own vice-presidential running mate, Annette
Lu, has all but admitted that the Chen regime's anti-democratic
tendencies were if anything more pronounced in 2005, and has adopted
policies that will make it more difficult for the preservation
of a genuine civil society, and will impede the development of
a democratic political opposition.
Freedom House lower Taiwan from Free to Partly Free? It wouldn't
be because Chen is only too willing to play the part of US pawn
in the Western Pacific in opposition to mainland China's peaceful
renaissance, would it?
Why did Freedom
House lower Russia from Partly Free to Not Free? It wouldn't be
because Putin has formed a strategic alliance with mainland China,
France, and Germany, in open opposition to US Benevolent Global
Hegemony, would it?
Eastern Economic Review can hardly be dismissed as an apologist
for Beijing. Yet even the Far Eastern Economic Review,
in a post-mortem of the December 3, 2005 Three in One Elections
entitled "A Referendum On President Chen," correctly observed
bloc had long portrayed itself as the main force behind democratization
and claimed the KMT sought to return the country to authoritarian
rule. In the past this tactic worked; Taiwan needed a viable
opposition party to have competitive elections and thus a working
democracy. After Mr. Chen's victory in 2000, he claimed that
Taiwan's democracy had been consolidated and most found his
there was as much or more heard about "green terror" (meaning
Mr. Chen's authoritarian tendencies) as about "white terror"
(past KMT oppression). Going into this election, the Chen administration's
searching of newspaper offices, confiscation of magazines, shutting
down of unfriendly television stations, and banning of news
representatives from China were all on voters' minds. Reflecting
that this was more than just panblue rhetoric, the Paris-based
Reporters Without Borders declared there has been a marked decline
in press freedom in Taiwan under Mr. Chen.
corruption, President Chen and the DPP were clearly no longer
seen by the electorate as the "guys in white hats." The DPP
had long scored points with voters on KMT corruption and vote-buying.
During the 2000 elections and since, it has spoken loudly and
often of Taiwan being ruined by "black gold" (the connection
between politicians and criminals creating "money politics"),
and linked corruption, especially vote buying, to the KMT's
vast property and money holdings. Many voters were persuaded
this was a blight on the country and voted pangreen.
however, the Chen administration has been linked frequently
to money scandals and use of government money to its partisan
advantage. This includes using publicly funded television to
run programs that advance pangreen causes and laud President
Chen. And the DPP has not been short of cash as it was in earlier
reality of an 18-year-long reign of Taiwan independence Green
Terror is hardly classified information. Twenty-three million
Republic of China citizens on Taiwan are aware of it. The anti-censorship
watchdog organization Reporters Without Borders is aware of it.
The Far Eastern Economic Review is aware of it.
House truly unaware of it?
House is genuinely unaware of Taiwan's Green Terror, then Freedom
House is so pathetically clueless it is unqualified to pass judgment
on whether Taiwan is or is not free.
If, on the
other hand, Freedom House is aware of Taiwan's Green Terror, yet
has chosen to withhold this information from an uninformed public,
then Freedom House is so morally bankrupt it is unqualified to
pass judgment on whether any political entity is or is not free.
homepage includes a long-winded, self-congratulatory mission statement:
House is an independent non-governmental organization that supports
the expansion of freedom in the world. Freedom is possible only
in democratic political systems in which the governments are accountable
to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of
expression, association, belief and respect for the rights of
minorities and women are guaranteed. Freedom ultimately depends
on the actions of committed and courageous men and women. We support
nonviolent civic initiatives in societies where freedom is denied
or under threat and we stand in opposition to ideas and forces
that challenge the right of all people to be free. Freedom House
functions as a catalyst for freedom, democracy, and the rule of
law through its analysis, advocacy, and action. Freedom House
is a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world ...
Freedom House has been a vigorous proponent of democratic values
and a steadfast opponent of dictatorships of the far left and
the far right. Since its founding, Freedom House has vigorously
opposed tyranny including dictatorships in Latin America, apartheid
in South Africa, and Soviet Communism and domination of Eastern
and Central Europe, and religiously-based totalitarian regimes
including Sudan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Freedom House is a leading
advocate of the world's young democracies that are coping with
the debilitating legacies of tyranny, dictatorship, and political
repression. We conduct an array of advocacy, education, and training
initiatives that promote human rights, democracy, free market
economics, the rule of law, independent media, and US engagement
in international affairs. Freedom House's annual standard-setting
publications draw attention to global trends in democracy and
cast a public light upon dictatorships and abuse. Freedom in the
World, Freedom of the Press, Nations in Transit, and Countries
at the Crossroads are regularly used as references by international
journalists, press freedom advocates, policy-makers, non-governmental
organizations, the US government, and the global business community.
mission statement is a hodge-podge of lies, half-truths, and unintentionally
ironic truisms. Ultimately however, Freedom House's mission statement
is nothing more than hypocritical posturing.
betrays its actual mission in a final, revealing remark:
diverse Board of Trustees is united in the view that American
leadership in international affairs is essential to the cause
of human rights and freedom.
Imperium Americanus über alles. The American Empire above all.
Long live the World Policeman. Long live the Unipolar Moment.
Anyone who obediently falls in line behind this Benevolent Global
Hegemonist/Humanitarian Interventionist strategic premise will
be duly anointed as "Free." Anyone who insists on marching to
a different drummer will be summarily branded as "Unfree."
bias usually does not occur in random fashion; rather it moves
in more or less consistent directions, favoring ... U.S. dominance
of the Third World ... Some critics complain that the press is
sensationalistic and invasive. In fact, it is more often muted
and evasive ... Sometimes the suppression includes not just vital
details but the entire story itself, even ones of major import.
To wit: Chen
Shui-bian's patently phony March 19, 2004 Wag the Dog "assassination
attempt" and brazenly undisguised March 20, 2004 election fraud.
that might reflect poorly upon the national security state are
least likely to see the light of day. Thus we hear about political
repression perpetrated by officially designated "rogue" governments,
but information about ... U.S.-sponsored surrogate forces in the
Third World and other crimes committed by the U.S. national security
state are denied public airing, being suppressed with a consistency
that would be called "totalitarian" were it to occur in some other
To wit: the
Bush II regime's rubberstamping of Chen Shui-bian's illegal and
illegitimate second term that has inflicted an additional four
years of pain and suffering upon the Chinese people on Taiwan.
has not conducted itself as an independent NGO that supports the
expansion of freedom in the world. Freedom House has not supported
nonviolent civic initiatives on Taiwan in the wake of the fraudulent
2004 Presidential Election, when freedom was denied and under
threat. Freedom House has not stood in opposition to rightwing
Taiwan independence fascism. Freedom House has not functioned
as a catalyst for freedom and the rule of law on Taiwan, through
either its analysis, advocacy, or actions. Freedom House has not
been a voice for freedom on Taiwan. Freedom House has not been
an opponent of Taiwan's Pan Green dictatorship. Freedom House
has not been an advocate of a beleaguered Republic of China, struggling
to cope with the debilitating legacies of Japanese colonialism
and US neocolonialism.
Freedom House is not a watchdog of democracy, but a lapdog of
the national security state. Freedom House helps reverse the roles
of victims and victimizers, warmongers and peacekeepers, reactionaries
and reformers. Freedom House's first atrocity, its first crime,
is against the truth.
Chu [send him mail] is an
American architect of Chinese descent registered to practice in
Texas. Currently living and working in Taiwan, Chu is the son
of a retired high-ranking diplomat with the ROC (Taiwan) government.
His column, "The Strait Scoop" is published on his website, The
© 2005 LewRockwell.com