At the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) press conference, a question from the Chamber clearly proves: Whether OFF really "could define the United States as part of the democratic free world?". The man who poses the question to the panel refers to the record-breaking component of the US population in prison; peace prize winner Obama – who stepped up with bombing and drones, a huge surveillance device of his own citizens – and most recently: a new CIA commander linked to the torture of their prisoners.
Thor Halvorssen – OFF's founder and resident in the USA – answers sharply: «Let me be absolutely clear here. The answer is absolutely yes. " Halvorssen then distinguishes between three forms of government: full-scale dictatorship (China), competitive authoritarian states based on unfree elections, and well-functioning democracies. And for a state to be a democracy, he explains, it requires "free, fair elections, a free and independent press, conditional power and the distribution of power, and that executive and legislative authorities actually guard each other." In addition, a vibrant civil society where people are not persecuted or imprisoned because of their opinions. "
Halvorssen further elaborates that OFF does not focus on the likes of the United States, but rather authoritarian states, which he says constitute half of the world's states. Countries where the authorities, unlike Norway, imprison journalists and attack those who comment on things they do not like.
The man in the hall still insists on his focus on the United States, and is almost insulted by OFF's chairman Garri Kasparov: «Shame on you! You are trying to divert attention from real abuses, from a world where murder and violence are commonplace! Children are killed while we sit here! ” He also makes it clear that in Kasparov's Russia there are no free presidential elections, something we know. . .