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A Heartfelt Letter to the Canadian Delegation of NATO

Journalist rightly exposes unjustified opposition to free speech by the person(s) running the @CanadaNATO Twitter account

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This post first appeared on Russia Insider


Dear Canadian Friends,

I am a freelance journalist and writer. Prior to this email, I have not had any interaction whatsoever with the Canadian government, or the Canadian Delegation to NATO. Nada. Zilch.

Although I do have a cousin who lives in Toronto, if that counts?

So imagine my surprise, when I clicked onto your Twitter account yesterday to find I have been blocked from viewing your tweets.

Now, I can only assume you have used a 'block list' which was distributed by some nutjob element of Twitter that has classified me as a 'Kremlin troll' -- or that you came across my Twitter account at random, decided you weren't a fan and employed the 'pre-emptive block' against me, anticipating that I might at some point in the future decide to waste my time spamming your notification feed (spoiler: I wouldn't).

Anyway, the block list or the independent pre-emptive block? I’m not quite sure which is more pathetic. But I do have a few questions, which you might find time to answer in between tweets.

1. Is the Canadian government and its delegation to NATO blocking any journalist with a link to or association with Russia Today as a matter of policy, or are you singling out the 'worst' offenders?

2. Could you explain the selection process? How are blockees chosen? Is the decision final, or do you offer opportunities for journalists to redeem themselves?

3. Do you not find anything rather counter-productive about blocking those with alternative viewpoints? Is that not slightly, let's say, authoritarian of you? You see, I know you're not fans of authoritarian regimes (although of course, you have been known to make exceptions) ...but this Twitter blocking nonsense doesn't strike me as in line with your 'Western values' and I'm just concerned you may have been lured into something without fully thinking it through.

There are some rather nasty elements out there in the Twittershpere — and they may not always have your best interests at heart. It's important to remain vigilant.

4. Are you using the same ‘block list’ as the always-friendly Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves? I ask only because Toomas has himself decided to block my account, also without prior contact from yours truly. A rather odd predicament I find myself in, wouldn't you agree?

Incidentally, I had no problem crossing the Russian border into Narva, Estonia in March, although that was before I had caught the attention of the president -- but now, my goodness, I find myself wondering, might I have been 'blocked' from Estonia altogether? How do you think I would fare at the Canadian border?

5. Are you not a tad concerned with how juvenile it appears for you to blanket-block accounts you have had no interaction with, just because some lunatic keyboard warrior in his mother's basement told you to? Again, I'm simply concerned that you may be damaging your otherwise professional and mature Twitter image.

6. Will I remain Twitter-blocked for the foreseeable future?

7. Is there anything I can do to earn your love? Anything?

8. Do I have to express undying allegiance to NATO, or will some other gesture suffice?

As you have no doubt sensed, I am hugely disheartened and upset that our relationship has gotten off to such a hostile beginning.

I do eagerly await your response, which I am sure, if it comes, will be peppered with quippy lines about propaganda bullhorns and freedom of the press in Russia to distract from your own moronic behavior. If you opt for that route, I hear there's a country neighboring Russia which has just banned an entire political ideology. You might want to look into that.

And on that note, here’s some light reading from your friends at the New York Times. Maybe you can partner with the US State Department to release a joint statement of condemnation and demand transparency?

Meanwhile, here are a couple of tweets you might find helpful if you do concede that it is perhaps time for a change in Twitter policy.

Come on, let's be friends.

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