The Trump regime is sabotaging America's global internet access agency in order to hurt the UN and help autocrats like Putin, Xi Jinping, Iran's theocracy, and friends, because the Trump regime was using it for its global pro-Trump propaganda outlet and got caught.
The Trump appointee who oversees the government’s global media operations is moving to shut down a federally funded nonprofit that helps support internet access around the world, documents show, a decision that could limit people’s ability to get around constraints in places that tightly control internet access, like Iran and China.
The appointee, Michael Pack, the chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media is seeking to restrict the nonprofit, the Open Technology Fund, from receiving federal funding for three years, in part because of a dispute over whether the fund should support work done by the Falun Gong, the spiritual movement known for spreading anti-China, pro-Trump misinformation.
His action, a month before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes office, would be difficult for the new administration to undo.
The nonprofit, which is funded by the global media agency, helps develop technology that makes it easier for more than 2 billion people in over 60 countries to access the internet. It is known for helping create tools like Signal, an encrypted messaging application, and Tor, a web browser that conceals a user’s identity while logged onto the internet.
Officials at the fund have 30 days to appeal Mr. Pack’s decision, according to documents. Mr. Pack, an ally of Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former adviser and strategist, will oversee any appeal, legal experts said. His final decision must be made by Jan. 19, one day before Mr. Biden takes office, the documents show.
Legal experts said that Mr. Biden will likely not be able to immediately overturn Mr. Pack’s decision, indicating it could be months before all legal questions surrounding Mr. Pack’s decision are answered.
During that time, the Open Technology Fund would not be able to receive any money from the federal government, and will only have enough funds to keep its staff of 10 employed until June, officials at the nonprofit said.
Without funding, projects that help provide nearly 1 in 4 Iranian citizens and 10 million people in China access to the internet could be at risk of stopping, the officials added.
“This is the kill shot,” Laura Cunningham, acting chief executive officer of the Open Technology Fund, said in a statement to The New York Times. “Without OTF, users around the world will be cut off from the global internet.”
The real reason is that the Trump regime was using Voice of America radio network, also a part of the USAGM, as part of the Trump campaign, and Trump's flunky is now exacting a price for investigating him.
There is a “substantial likelihood” that top leadership at the U.S. Agency for Global Media engaged in wrongdoing, according to an ongoing investigation by the independent agency that oversees civil service law.
The Office of Special Counsel made this determination on Wednesday following numerous complaints by the Government Accountability Project (a whistleblower advocacy group) about U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack and other top political officials. GAP said this type of finding is “notable and rare.” Pack––a former conservative filmmaker and an ally and former colleague of Steve Bannon, former Breitbart News executive and White House chief strategist–– took over about six months ago and his tenure has been marred with controversy and fears about politicization of the agency’s journalism.
“Our clients – current and former staff at [the global media agency], [Voice of America] and its sibling organizations – have reported to federal whistleblower agencies egregious and continuing acts of wrongdoing by Mr. Pack and his enablers,” said David Seide, GAP senior counsel. “It is gratifying that one of those agencies, OSC, has independently determined that there is a significant probability that our clients’ information reveals wrongdoing. It is a significant step, but far from the last one.”
Based on its assessment of the whistleblower complaint, OSC asked Pack to order a review of several actions at the agency since he took over in June and then report back, according to a press release by GAP. Some of them include:
- Alleged violations of the law that protects the “firewall” that prevents political interference at VOA;
- Termination of the presidents of Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Office of Cuba Broadcasting (the news organizations under USAGM);
- Dismissal of the news organizations’ bipartisan board members and replacement with mainly political officials;
- Termination of the president and CEO of the Open Technology Fund, an independent nonprofit within the agency dedicated to internet freedom;
- Prohibition of the offices of General Counsel, Chief Strategy, and Congressional and Public Affairs and others from talking with outside parties, without approval from the front office;
- Hiring and contracting freeze;
- Pressure on career staff to “illegally repurpose” appropriated funds; and,
- Refusal to renew visas for non-U.S. citizen journalists working for VOA.
“It would be problematic for the head of the agency to investigate himself for misconduct,” GAP’s Seide told Government Executive.
Pack knows he's done on January 20, so he's planting time bombs to go off as soon as he leaves. Again, it will take every single day of Biden's term, and that of any future Democratic presidents, to just start to fix the damage that four years of Trump have done to America.