Tag Archives: India

Urgent Demand by Indian Doctors For Truth (IDT) to Prime Minister Modi: Halt Roll-Out of Covid-19 Vaccines Now

By Colin Todhunter (via Global Research)

Indian Doctors for Truth (IDT) have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing the importance of an urgent need to stop the overzealous universal vaccination drive against COVID-19.

Twenty doctors have signed the letter and highlight numerous scientific data about immunity achieved by the Indian population among both adults and children in light of the latest sero-survey done by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi along with the World Health Organization.

Based on the evidence, IDT urges the PM to immediately stop the drive for vaccination of the entire population and limit it to voluntary vaccination of only those above 60 years and/or people with severe degree of comorbidity.

The letter itself runs to five pages but the signatories enclosed 21 pages of references and evidence in support of their claims. What is presented below is a summary of some of the key points made in the five-page letter. The full letter and list of signatories can be read on the Awaken India Movement website.

The doctors argue that the first principle of medicine is to do no harm and to benefit patients. They point out that the vaccination drive is doing more harm than any good for the people of India and present the PM with scientific facts about SARS-CoV-2 related immunity and vaccination.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 develop robust and long-lasting immunity against SARS-CoV-2, even after mild or asymptomatic infections. The chances of reinfection among these people, including from the emerging variants of the same virus, are extremely rare or non-existent. The WHO in its interim guidance released on 2 July 2021 has also recognised the fact of acquired immunity in all those who have had previous infection with SARS-CoV-2.

There is no evidence to show that those who have recovered from the infection will get any additional benefit from vaccination.

The epidemiology of COVID-19 in India is very different from other countries and varies much within the country itself: there are differences between urban and rural communities and between socioeconomic strata. There is therefore a need for policies that address prevention of COVID-19, including the policy on vaccination, which account for the situation in India.

According to available reports, the percentage of the population infected in the US, UK and similar countries is at 1-23%. In India, recent sero-surveys at Delhi and Mumbai have reported a positivity of 50-70%, indicating that a significant proportion of Indians have already been infected and will therefore not need the vaccine.

A number of reports have been published stressing that India has already achieved herd immunity. Mathematical models have explained what percentage of a population is required to be infected and varies for different populations: the disease-induced herd immunity level can be as low as 43%.

The case fatality rate (CFR) is usually reported by the government: the number of deaths per 100 confirmed cases as detected by antigen or rt-PCR test. But as renowned epidemiologist Dr John Ioannidis shows, the proper way of counting death rate in diseases with a CFR less than five is infection mortality rate.

Therefore, considering the fact of high level of infections in India, near herd immunity and very low levels of infection fatality rates, vaccinating the entire population will not serve any purpose. Moreover, given the negligible risk to children from COVID-19, trial of the vaccines for them or even consideration of approval is highly unethical.

Four recent studies indicate that almost 99.9% of the population have immune system memory from previous coronavirus infections and that, whether the actual coronavirus infection or the vaccine, the immune system gets activated and vaccines in fact can be more harmful in an already immune population.

Rapid and efficient memory-type immune responses occur reliably in virtually all unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The effectiveness of further boosting the immune response through vaccination is therefore highly doubtful. Vaccination may instead aggravate disease through antibody-dependent enhancement.

The Indian government’s own operative guidelines have mentioned that “COVID-19 vaccines have limited safety data”. Moreover, adverse effects of the vaccine are found the world over. For example, as per the EUDRA report dated June 19, more than 1.3 million people in EU countries have had vaccine adverse effects and 13,867 people have died following vaccination. Furthermore, as in many countries, in India also, the death rate from COVID-19 seems to have increased with the increase in the vaccination drive.

The number of deaths per thousand population did not increase much if at all in most countries in 2020. Even in India, deaths per thousand increased 0.5% in 2019 but 0.49% in 2020. However, they seem to have increased after the vaccine drive.

Considering all the above, IDT strongly urge that the overzealous universal vaccination drive, with widespread incidences of coercion and vaccination being made mandatory for jobs and student exams, must be stopped immediately.

The doctors also call on the government to offer people above the age of 60 and those with severe comorbidities vaccination a voluntary basis with full disclosure of warnings about side effects and the lack of safety data – as mentioned in the government’s operative guidelines for COVID-19.

They call for a stop on all trials on children for the vaccine and urge the government to institute detailed studies to analyse the observation that there has been a surge in cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in India since March-April 2021, coinciding with the roll out of the vaccination drive.

A glaring omission from the IDT letter is any focus on vaccinating pregnant women. This, too, should be addressed.

Pegasus Project: “Snooping on Citizens”

Activists, journalists, politicians have been spied on allegedly using mobile phone malware developed by Israel

By M. K. Bhadrakumar

The so-called Pegasus Project, which hit media headlines, has highlighted India in a clutch of countries where snooping of the telephones of citizens is widely practised as state policy. 

The Washington Post, which spearheaded the Pegasus Project,  proposes to monitor the responses from these 10 select countries. Presumably, these are early days. In fact, Hungary, one of these 10 countries, has thrown the gauntlet down at WaPo posing some uncomfortable questions:

“Have you asked the same questions of the governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany or France? In the case you have, how long did it take for them to reply and how did they respond? Was there any intelligence service to help you formulate the questions?” read more 

Very pertinent questions, indeed. Snooping is one of the oldest peccadilloes of man — as ancient as prostitution, perhaps. It becomes responsible voyeurism but a predatory state can abuse it. I will narrate an incident to reinforce this point. 

The year was 1992. About two months into my assignment as the head of the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan Division in the External Affairs Ministry, one afternoon I had an unannounced visitor in South Block who was in charge of India’s “counter-intelligence.” After pleasantries over a cup of tea, he put me at ease by coming straight to the subject to state that he had no business to transact with me but simply was curious to get acquainted with me. 

He said — I won’t mention his name out of great respect for my departed colleague’s rare integrity and moral fibre — the IPA Division fell in the ambit of his “charge”, given the high sensitivity of the work for national security. He said he wanted to meet me in person after listening to my phone conversations, watching my functioning and lifestyle and even digging into my past, sensing I was someone with whom he could walk with into the night.  

That was my first “encounter” in real life with snooping. It didn’t jolt me as we had just returned after the assignment in Islamabad, and snooping was taken as a fact of life in inter-state relationships. 

As time passed and my IB friend and I became close personal friends, I got to know things that I have no option but to carry to my grave. Now, all those shenanigans took place under Congress governments. Therefore, even if the present government indeed did all that the Pegasus Project alleges, it was only “business as usual”. This is one thing. 

Second, the questions that Hungary flung at WaPo are very relevant. The ex-DIA whistleblower Edward Snowden has reacted to the Pegasus Project calling for a global moratorium on the international spyware trade. read more 

But entrenched powers never abdicate. Knowledge is power and the power to blackmail or defang adversaries or act in real time gives decisive advantage. Without such advantage, US President Donald Trump couldn’t have possibly murdered Iranian general Qassem Soleimani or Barack Obama decapitated Osama bin Laden! 

The root problem is that national interests get arbitrarily defined by ruling elites. Obama thought it was in America’s “enlightened national interests” to tap German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s private cell phone. Clearly, snooping is not limited to autocracies or post-modern authoritarianism. 

Thus, selectively maligning Hungary and India is intriguing. Why so? The two countries are democracies with traces of post-modern authoritarianism, perhaps. Both are what American strategists call “global swing states.” 

Succinctly put, the global swing states are influential democracies that provide most significant opportunities for the US foreign policy in the early 21st century, since they possess the capability and legitimacy to bolster the interlocking web of norms, institutions, rules, and relationships that for six decades preserved peace among the great powers, fostered economic prosperity, and facilitated the spread of freedom.

But the present global order confronts numerous challenges, some emanating from China’s rise and others from a diverse set of international developments. These challenges hold the potential to seriously fragment the international order in a way that the US and its allies will suffer the consequences. 

Hungary and India offer great potential as partners to extend the global order not only in their common commitment to democratic institutions but also in their growing economies and their geographical locations in their respective regions that is highly strategic. Therefore, the choices they make whether by way of taking on new responsibilities as Washington’s allies or their preference for free-ride could, in aggregate, decisively influence the trajectory of today’s world. 

This gives them a greater impact than their population or economic output might otherwise warrant and explains why they are prioritised in the US strategic calculus. If push comes to shove, Washington will not hesitate to use coercion or even “regime change”. 

Hungary and India are swing states with assertive nationalism. For the uninitiated, Hungary is the first European country to use China’s the COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm, and it recently signed an agreement to open a Chinese university campus in Budapest by 2024, which would make the Shanghai-based Fudan University the first Chinese university campus in Europe. 

Sinopharm is an effective vaccine and is readily available, and China is open to technology transfer. Hungary plans to produce Sinopharm vaccine locally in a big plant being set up at a cost of US$193 million in the eastern town of Debrecen that would make the country self-sufficient in vaccine production from next year at vastly more economic terms than if it were to import Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, etc. 

Fudan ranks among top 100 world universities and will help raise the standard of higher education in Hungary, providing courses to 6,000 students and the $1.8 billion project will be met through a $1.5 billion loan from a Chinese bank. 

Hungary calls this the strategy of “Eastern Opening”, which favours increased cooperation with countries like China and Russia. Clearly, there is disquiet that Hungary is transforming as “a kind of advanced bastion of Eastern great powers in the European Union.” The US Embassy in Budapest expressed reservations over the Fudan university coming to Hungary “given Beijing’s proven track record of using academic institutions to advance a malign influence agenda and stifle intellectual freedom.” 

Again, last year, Hungary negotiated a $2 billion loan from China’s Exim Bank for the construction of a railway line between Budapest and Belgrade, as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Hungary also hosts Huawei’s largest supply centre outside China! 

The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has maligned western powers for engaging in “liberal imperialism” and his right-wing populism has become a serious obstacle to EU cohesion and US-EU consensus over China. 

Of course, Prime Minister Modi has been tactful and took the “Chanakyan” route, but his pursuit of independent foreign policies generates an anxiety syndrome in the American mind. What annoys Washington is that unlike Orban, who is openly defiant, Delhi followed an overtly pro-American foreign policy that convinced the folks in the Beltway that they nettled a crucial global swing state in “Indo-Pacific”. read more 

Under EAM S. Jaishankar’s watch, India did go out of the way to harmonise with Washington. Former US President Trump pointedly named Jaishankar at the “Howdy Modi” mega event in Houston for making profound contributions to US-Indian partnership. 

But then, in the multipolar world setting in the Age of Internet, Chanakyan diplomacy has limitations. Washington will not allow Delhi to wriggle out of its embrace, and has lately begun to taunt Modi Government, knowing the latter’s sensitivity to its international “image”.

The recent hype in India’s ties with Russia, especially the welcome for Sputnik V vaccine, and the high level meetings through 2021 to give swagger to the special partnership would have set alarm bells ringing in the Beltway. read more

Despite sustained efforts by the US lobbyists in the media to turn the pitch of Sino-Indian tensions into hostile mode, Delhi walks the fine line. India’s ambivalence on QUAD is plain to see. There is no progress on the trade and economic agenda for advancing Biden’s Keep America Great project. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scrambling to visit Delhi.

Delhi is not performing as a swing state to strengthen Washington’s dual containment of Russia and China. Sure thing, the Empire strikes back! WaPo, Guardian, Amnesty, etc. are old cold-war era flagships. WaPo is reputed to be wired into the US intelligence establishment. 

India’s tragedy is, alas, it is a divided house today. Large sections of opinion are averse to saying a nice word about Modi Govt, especially progressive forces who can otherwise sense the hidden agenda behind the Pegasus Project to pressurise India.

Twitter Censors Peer Reviewed Mask Study

By Dr. Joseph Mercola (via Mercola)

Prashant Bhushan, an advocate-on-record for the Supreme Court of India, put a post on Twitter that recommended reading a peer-reviewed study demonstrating that masks are ineffective and can cause substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects.

Twitter removed the tweet, citing a violation of Twitter rules.

The study suggests that by mechanically restricting breathing, wearing a face mask may lead to a low level of oxygen in the blood (hypoxemia) along with excessive carbon dioxide in your bloodstream (hypercapnia), which in turn may lead to numerous long-term health effects

YouTube also removed a video that featured a scientific roundtable on COVID, because a Harvard professor warned that children should not wear face masks

A legal cause has been launched in the U.K., calling for schools to stop requiring children to wear masks in school, due to their harm to psychological health and development

In Weilheim, Germany, a district court concluded that the mask requirement in schools is unconstitutional and void, immediately removing the order on school premises


March 26, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) tweeted a post against the use of masks for the general public: “If you do not have any respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, or runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask. When used alone, masks can give you a false feeling of protection and can even be a source of infection when not used correctly.”1

About one year later, Twitter is now censoring tweets that call facemasks for COVID-19 into question, citing a violation of Twitter rules.2 In the span of less than one year, how did we go from public health officials advising against masks to them now being considered infallible and not up for debate?

“Given that masking of healthy populations for long periods of time is a new policy, it is astounding that the media and scientific journals decided within a matter of months that the efficacy of the practice could not be questioned or studied, nor its adverse effects discussed,” Jeffrey Tucker, editorial director for the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) noted.3

The latest to be silenced was Prashant Bhushan, an advocate-on-record for the Supreme Court of India, a respected human rights attorney with 2.1 million Twitter followers.

Prior to its censoring, his tweet recommended reading a peer-reviewed study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses,4 which demonstrates that masks not only are ineffective for blocking the transmission of infectious disease but also that they can cause substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects.5

It’s alarming to say, but as noted by The COVID Blog, “Twenty-something Twitter employees with Starbucks lattes are now the authorities in law and science versus respected, long-time attorneys who have fought corruption their entire lives.”6

What Does the Censored Mask Study Say?

The study, written by Baruch Vainshelboim with Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System/Stanford University, summarizes scientific evidence on wearing facemasks in the COVID-19 era. Four hypotheses are given, with ample scientific support to back them up:7

  1. The practice of wearing facemasks has compromised safety and efficacy profile
  2. Both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to reduce human-to-human transmission and infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19
  3. Wearing facemasks has adverse physiological and psychological effects
  4. Long-term consequences of wearing facemasks on health are detrimental

“Interestingly, 99% of the detected cases with SARS-CoV-2 are asymptomatic or have mild condition, which contradicts with the virus name (severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2),” Vainshelboim notes, pointing out that the initial infection fatality rate of 2.9% was an overestimation based on limited COVID-19 tests that inflated the rate.

“This was confirmed by the head of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from US stating, ‘the overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 are similar to those of severe seasonal influenza,’ having a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%,” he added.8 As for the efficacy of face masks, SARS-CoV-2, which is about 1,000 times smaller than face masks’ thread diameter, can easily pass through a mask.

A meta-analysis of 39 studies also found “possibly no difference between N95 versus surgical masks and probably no difference between surgical versus no mask in risk for influenza or influenza-like illness” in community settings.9

Physiological and Psychological Effects of Masks

By mechanically restricting breathing, wearing a face mask may lead to a low level of oxygen in the blood (hypoxemia) along with excessive carbon dioxide in your bloodstream (hypercapnia).

In turn, Vainshelboim wrote, “Chronic low-grade hypoxemia and hypercapnia as result of using face mask can cause exacerbation of existing cardiopulmonary, metabolic, vascular and neurological conditions.” In addition, wearing a face mask could lead to the following physiological effects:10

  • Hypoxemia
  • Hypercapnia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increase lactate concentration
  • Decline in pH levels
  • Acidosis
  • Toxicity
  • Inflammation
  • Self-contamination
  • Increase in stress hormones level (adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol)
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Immunosuppression

Psychological effects were also noted, which include:11

  • Activation of “fight or flight” stress response
  • Chronic stress condition
  • Fear
  • Mood disturbances
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Compromised cognitive performance

Long-term health consequences are also likely, including:12

  • Increased predisposition for viral and infection illnesses
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Exacerbation of existing conditions and diseases
  • Accelerated aging process
  • Health deterioration
  • Premature mortality

Breathing through mask materials, and rebreathing the same air, also poses a high likelihood of self-contamination that could have the end result of suppressing the immune system. Vainshelboim explained:13

“In addition to hypoxia and hypercapnia, breathing through facemask residues bacterial and germs components on the inner and outside layer of the facemask. These toxic components are repeatedly rebreathed back into the body, causing self-contamination.

Breathing through facemasks also increases temperature and humidity in the space between the mouth and the mask, resulting in a release of toxic particles from the mask’s materials.

A systematic literature review estimated that aerosol contamination levels of facemasks include 13 to 202,549 different viruses.14Rebreathing contaminated air with high bacterial and toxic particle concentrations along with low O2 and high CO2 levels continuously challenge the body homeostasis, causing self-toxicity and immunosuppression.”

Are Masks Just Virtue Signaling?

In May 2020, a group of doctors and researchers wrote in a perspective piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine that masks offer little protection outside of health care facilities, except to calm people’s nerves:15

“We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection,” they wrote, and went on to describe masks as playing a “symbolic role” as “talismans” to increase the perception of safety, even though “such reactions may not be strictly logical.” “Expanded masking protocols’ greatest contribution may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety, over and above whatever role they may play in reducing transmission of COVID-19,” they add.

Since then, masks have indeed taken on a symbolic role, one that presents an outward visible sign that you’re obeying COVID protocols and are acting as a “moral” COVID citizen. AIER pointed out that this mask orthodoxy is part of what’s driving the rampant censorship online, including by YouTube.

“YouTube has taken it upon itself to censor the opinions of esteemed scientists that depart from the orthodoxy on masks. This is not surprising given that masks have become dogma – a visible symbol of compliance and fealty to the medical/political agenda that elevates the coronavirus above all else,” Tucker wrote.16

Calls for Children to Stop Wearing Masks

YouTube removed an AIER video that featured a scientific roundtable on COVID. In the video, Harvard professor Martin Kulldorff commented,

“Children should not wear face masks. They don’t need it for their own protection and they don’t need it for protecting other people either.”17

According to YouTube, the video was removed because “it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”18

Kulldorff isn’t the only one who’s calling for children to not be masked. Lucy Johnston, health and social affairs editor with the Sunday Express, asked on Twitter, “Why did Govt not trial use of masks in schools to assess benefits vs risks? Two legal cases now show masks causing both mental & physical harm.”19

One such case was launched in the U.K., with two expert reports speaking out against the use of masks for children. The first, a psychology report,20 states that masks are likely to be causing psychological harm to children and interfering with development.21

“The extent of psychological harm to young people is unknown,” the report states, “due to the unique nature of the ‘social experiment’ currently underway in schools, and in wider society.”22 The second report focused on health, safety and well-being. “Figures illustrate that the risk of death from this disease for this age group is negligible,” the report states, continuing:23

“Hence the introduction of compulsory face covering measures for extended periods of each day in the school, which have potential for a range of long-term health, safety and other harms of as yet unknown quantum, is disproportionate. To introduce these without detailed, thorough and meticulous risk assessment, is potentially reckless.

… The precautionary principle applies especially to children who have little power to oppose decisions made by the adults who hold authority over them and responsibility for them. Those same children will carry the health burden of any errors or omissions for the rest of their lives. 

The face covering measure imposed on these secondary schoolchildren are intended to reduce the risk of them contracting an infectious disease Sars-CoV-2, but the risk to this age group of death or serious illness from contracting the same pathogen is almost nil. Most don’t have any symptoms at all or experience a sniffle, a cold or mild influenza like illness.”

German Town Deems School Mask Requirement Unconstitutional

In Weilheim, Germany, a district court concluded that the mask requirement in schools is unconstitutional and void, immediately removing the order on school premises.24 The ruling was made after experts, including psychology professor Christof Kuhbandner, suggested masks pose a significant risk to children’s mental and physical well-being, and could interfere with development by disrupting nonverbal communication.

“Mask mouth,” which increases tooth decay, bad breath and gingivitis, was also cited, as was the ineffectiveness of face masks, with experts stating there is no evidence that face masks reduce the risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2 “at all or even significantly.” Increasingly, people are standing up to the fact that little is known about the long- and short-term risks of masking healthy people.

March 30, 2021, Spain’s central Health Ministry announced a new law, published in the Official State Gazette (BOE),25 that would remove the social distancing component, making masks mandatory in all public spaces, even if no one else is around — including when sunbathing at the beach or swimming in the ocean.26

A number of regional governments immediately suggested that they would defy the initial orders, while the tourism industry also criticized the move,27 forcing the health ministry to reconsider, and showing that standing up for what you believe in continues to make a difference.

Circling back to the featured Medical Hypotheses paper, Vainshelboim is doing just that, even though taking a position against masks today “involves serious professional risk.”

As Tucker wrote, “The paper appears in the midst of an ongoing effort … to normalize and universalize mask wearing, even as many states are repealing their mask mandates with public support. The evidence that doing so has had any effect on the trajectory of the virus is scant at best.”28


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1 Twitter March 26, 2020

2, 5, 6 The Covid Blog April 12 2021

3, 16, 17, 18, 28 AIER April 15, 2021

4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13 Med Hypotheses. 2021 Jan; 146: 110411

9 Ann Intern Med. 2020 Jun 24 : M20-3213

14 Risk Anal. 2014 Aug; 34(8): 1423–1434

15 N Engl J Med 2020; 382:e63 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2006372

19 Twitter, Lucy Johnston April 11, 2021

20, 22 Psychology Report in respect of Civil Proceedings April 9, 2021

21 Express April 11, 2021

23 Health, Safety and Wellbeing Report in respect of Civil Proceedings April 9, 2021

24 Tichys Einblick April 13, 2021

25 BOE March 30, 2021

26, 27 EL PAÍS March 30, 2021

Examining The Ethics & Implications Of Twitter’s Censorship Policy In India

By Andrew Korybko (via One World)

Twitter caused a stir by complying with the Indian government’s request to temporarily “withhold” access to dozens of accounts for users within the country in response to claims that they were “inciting violence” during the ongoing farmers’ protests, which prompts some very important ethical questions that have a few disturbing implications for the freedoms of speech and assembly in Western-style democracies across the world.

Everyone across the world is talking about social media censorship after former US President Trump was deplatformed last month by the world’s largest companies in this sphere following the storming of his country’s Capitol on 6 January, but another recent incident is similarly alarming but hasn’t received the amount of global attention that it deserves. Twitter caused a stir by complying with the Indian government’s request to temporarily “withhold” access to dozens of accounts for users within the country in response to claims that they were “inciting violence” during the ongoing farmers’ protests. To its credit, Reuters reported on this controversial decision when it happened, and the BBC just followed up to inform its readers that access has been restored to many of the affected accounts. Nevertheless, the ethical questions related to this course of events and the disturbing implications that they pose for the freedoms of speech and assembly in Western-style democracies haven’t been adequately addressed. 

Strictly speaking, “India’s information technology laws empower the government to seek to block online content deemed as inciting disruption to public order”, according to Reuters. In this sense, Twitter was just abiding by the legal request of one of the many countries in which it operates. Be that as it may, there are concerns that the affected accounts weren’t objectively “inciting disruption to public order” simply for posting with the hashtag #modiplanningfarmersgenocide. The politics of genocide are very emotive and the issue is oftentimes exploited for ulterior motives. Even so, it’s questionable whether provocative claims such as that one amount to “Genocide incitement (which) is a public offence and a great threat to public order”, according to one of the unnamed Indian officials that spoke to Reuters. Rather, as some observers suspect, India might have exploited its pertinent legislation in order to suppress the largest and most sustained anti-government protests in recent memory. 

It’s up to the reader themselves to investigate this issue more thoroughly in order to draw their own conclusions about that particular example, but the takeaway is that governments across the world could at least in theory take advantage of the law in order to censor their political opponents. At the same time, however, there are plenty of examples that one can think of where it would be necessary for governments to request the immediate “withholding” of access to certain accounts that are genuinely “inciting disruption to public order”, such as during the midst of an ongoing Color Revolution attempt. It’s unclear, though, whether Twitter would dutifully comply in those scenarios since the company is regarded as having a very strict liberal-globalist worldview which is thought to generally align with the goals of Color Revolution participants in Belarus, Venezuela, and elsewhere. One can easily imagine the company denying such requests for political reasons, unlike in India where it fears being shut out of its enormous market if it goes against the government. 

These points raise two serioius questions. The first is whether Twitter will follow an apolitical approach of complying with all governments’ relevant requests without discrimination, even if there are grounds like in the Indian case to legitimately wonder whether the law is being exploited for domestic partisan purposes. The second question is whether exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis due to ideological and/or economic considerations, the first of which is relevant to the Belarusian and Venezuelan scenarios as mentioned and the latter in regards to retaining access to India’s enormous market. The answers to these questions will directly affect the lives of countless people living in Western-style democracies, especially those in the US and Western Europe. As it stands, it’s unclear whether Twitter would temporarily withhold access to accounts within America and France for instance if Washington and Paris claim that some participants in certain rallies (e.g. anti-Biden and Yellow Vests, respectively) are “inciting disruption to public order”. 

Of course, it would help those governments’ cases if they could at least point to some law or another that’s officially on the books in order to “justify” what could in reality just be their exploitation of the legal process for the purpose of censoring their political opponents, but even if they can’t, Twitter has both ideological and economic reasons to comply with their requests. It’s for this reason why lawmakers in those countries and others should raise this scenario within their legislatures in order to hold decision makers to account in the event that they attempt to exploit the law to that end. Every Western-style democracy must have a serious discussion about the ethical questions and implications posed by the Indian precedent. Failure to do so will actually put their citizens’ freedoms of speech and assembly at risk of being undermined through potential collusion between corrupt government officials and Big Tech. It also risks empowering Big Tech into thinking that it can carry out its own widespread censorship sprees for ideological reasons with impunity. 

To be clear, Twitter itself is a complex entity. It can be used as a tool for good in the hands of responsible decision makers who understand the need to temporarily “withhold” access to accounts that are genuinely “inciting disruption to public order”. Peaceful members of the population also use its free services to organize protests in accordance with the law. On the other hand, Twitter can also be exploited as a weapon by corrupt bureaucrats to censor their political opponents on false “security” pretexts. The company can also “go rogue” and impose its own censorship scheme on targeted populations using the same pretext (albeit arguing that the affected accounts’ posts “violated its terms of service” instead of “the law”) in order to meddle in the domestic political affairs of sovereign states. With these risks in mind, countries should urgently initiate conversations between the state and civil society over the contentious issue of Big Tech’s growing role over nearly every facet of people’s lives, and credible steps should be undertaken to preemptively thwart these dark scenarios.