While the Russian opposition is accusing the Kremlin of tightening the rules and stifling freedom of speech and the experts of Freedom House are anticipating another downgrading of Russia in terms of freedom of the press, head of the Pentagon has secretly ordered to take control of major U.S. media to "stop leaks of classified government information."
The WikiLeaks scandal has obviously affected the American media. According to the information of "Al Jazeera" channel, the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave a secret order to his subordinates to take care of the American media to prevent leaks of classified information.
The Pentagon called another information leak about the government's cyber-war against Iran and the use of drones in the Middle East a formal reason for the order. Representative of the Republican Party Buck McKeon acknowledged that the recent leak has caused serious damage to the U.S. military, therefore, the control of the media, in his opinion, should somewhat improve the situation of the "information security".
Senator John McCain went even further - he suggested that some leaks were deliberately organized by the White House to increase the chances for re-election of Obama. The Committee for Arms with the House of Representatives is also convinced that the leak could be favorable for Barack Obama.
In the U.S. not only the media but also the social networks can get under the strict control of special services. On July 19, Twitter announced its intention to appeal the decision of the court requiring the site to convey confidential information of one of its users to the authorities. We are referring to the account of Malcolm Harris, chief editor of the opposition newspaper "New Inquiry", one of the leaders of the movement "Occupy Wall Street."
The scandal erupted in May of 2012, when the authorities of New York demanded from Twitter to provide the contents of records of the well-known opposition leader in connection with the investigation of an incident in 2011 when the "occupiers" blocked the Brooklyn Bridge. Twitter, however, refused to pass on information about Harris, citing the First Amendment of the American Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.
The request for Harris was not the only one. In early July, Twitter announced that the number of requests of the authorities requiring providing information on the users has dramatically increased. Within six months the U.S. government asked Twitter to disclose the data of 679 users. All of them were the accounts of the oppositionists.
However, the attempts of the U.S. authorities to control the media and social networks have begun before the movement "Occupy Wall Street." In early 2011 the British newspaper "The Guardian" with some apprehension reported that the U.S. authorities are developing a special program that will allow them to secretly manipulate social networks, for example, Facebook. The publication explained that thousands of virtual users would have to be used to affect the attitudes of the online audience.
The process of brainwashing, apparently, was to be put on a grand scale. The publication found that the corporation developing this program was to create a system that allows "operators" to effectively manage hundreds of virtual users around the world. To avoid disclosure, each of the fake online personalities would have to have plausible past and original story.
In addition, as planned, the technology was to enable a coordinated answer to any informational reasons - messages on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, chat rooms and other forms of online communication. Moreover, the American authorities intended to conduct their operation not only in English but also in other foreign languages, including Russian.
It still remains a mystery whether the U.S. military were able to create a system that allows politicians to control the Internet, creating a favorable public opinion on any occasion and in any segment of the World Wide Web. Probably not. However, the position of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for whom the Internet is still "the most important tool to export democracy," shows how seriously the United States treats the idea of opening a "second front" in cyberspace.
In any event, instead of a triumph of democracy around the world and security the Americans have total control that may soon spread to the social media. The vaunted freedom of speech in the U.S. that many, including in Russia, look up to, has become a myth.