NourNews – US Capitol siege ‘wake-up call’ for democracies – “What we saw on Wednesday was only the climax of very worrying developments happening globally in recent years. It must be a wake-up call for all democracy advocates,” said EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell
The European Union’s top diplomat has described last week’s deadly siege of the US Congress as a “wake-up call” for democracies, saying it exposed the perils of tolerating unchecked degradation of democratic values and the spread of disinformation on social media.
“What we saw on Wednesday was only the climax of very worrying developments happening globally in recent years. It must be a wake-up call for all democracy advocates,” said EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell in a blog post on Sunday.
“Everybody needs to understand that if we accept setbacks after setbacks, even if they seem minor, democracy and its values and institutions can eventually and irreversibly perish,” Borrell further cautioned.
Borrell’s statement, however, was slammed by observers as a drastic double-standard, pointing to repeated and outright Western support over the years for identical violence against government institutions in countries not subservient to Western interests and not following the US or EU models of democracy.
“In case anyone had any doubts, the events in Washington also show that disinformation constitutes a real threat for democracies,” Borrell underlined. “If some people believe that an election was fraudulent, because their leader has been once and again telling them, they will behave accordingly.”
Borrell further called for improved regulation for Western-dominated social media networks, emphasizing however that such efforts could not be carried out by the companies themselves.
The outgoing US President Donald Trump is facing a renewed push by Democratic Party lawmakers to remove him from office after he encouraged his right-wing supporters to storm the US Capitol, based on his personal claim that he lost the November presidential election due to extensive voter fraud.
The resulting riot and the breach of Congressional buildings by his supporters left five people dead. US House speaker Nancy Pelosi declared on Sunday that a resolution will be passed giving Vice President Mike Pence 24 hours to invoke the 25th amendment before an impeachment effort begins.
In a letter to members of Congress, Pelosi said that the House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will request unanimous consent to bring up the 25th Amendment resolution, authored by Rep. Jamie Raskin. “We are calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours,” Pelosi wrote.
Moreover, Twitter permanently cut off Trump’s personal account and access to his nearly 90 million followers late on Friday, citing the risk of further incitement of violence. Trump has repeatedly used the social media outlet and other platforms to claim the election result was fraudulent and to share other conspiracy theories.
Last month, the EU’s executive commission proposed rules to clamp down on fake news on social media. These would force large online platforms to tackle illegal content and deliberate manipulation of platforms to influence elections and public health, or face fines.
Trump, meanwhile, blasted Twitter from his official government account after it permanently suspended his personal account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” following the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s personal account @realDonaldTrump. Hours later, it shut down Trump’s presidential campaign account @TeamTrump and deleted tweets from his official government account @POTUS.
In one of the deleted tweets, Trump wrote, “Twitter has gone further and further in banning free speech and tonight, Twitter employees have coordinated with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform, to silence me.”