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Free Speech

Free Speech
Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Signs Anti-Protest Bill into Law
David Armiak: Peaceful protestors can now be charged with a felony if they trespass on property owned, leased, or operated by companies engaged in the distribution of oil or petroleum. ... The law, now 2019 Wisconsin Act 33, echoes similar “critical infrastructure protection” model bills pushed out by the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, and the Council of State Governments over the last two years to prevent future protests like the one against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Wisconsin is the tenth state to pass such a bill... Visit Website ]
Nov 26, 2019, 4:27pm

Free Speech
Doctors Petition UK Home Secretary Over Julian Assange
We write this open letter, as medical doctors, to express our serious concerns about the physical and mental health of Julian Assange. Our professional concerns follow publication recently of the harrowing eyewitness accounts of Craig Murray and John Pilger of the case management hearing on Monday 21 October 2019 at Westminster Magistrates Court. ... From a medical point of view, on the evidence currently available, we have serious concerns about Mr Assange’s fitness to stand trial in February 2020. Most importantly, it is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care). ... Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison... Visit Website ]
Nov 25, 2019, 3:01pm

Free Speech
Unfree Media: State Stenography and Shameful Silence
Media Lens: The state-corporate management and manipulation of ‘the news’ relies on a subtle filtering process whereby leading journalists select – consciously or otherwise – which facts are ‘fit’ to be reported, and which can or should be ignored. ... This issue of journalist access in return for maintaining a power-friendly narrative has long been known. The media’s heavy reliance on state and corporate sources is one of the five ‘news filters’ – along with corporate ownership, advertising, flak and ‘anti-Communism’ ... A further, grave example of present-day propaganda filtering involves the corporate media blanking of further proof that western powers, notably the US, have been manipulating the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)... Visit Website ]
Nov 8, 2019, 4:05pm

Free Speech
Who Decides Who’s Allowed to Say the N-Word?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Walter Mosley’s recent New York Times article, “Why I Quit the Writer’s Room,” detailing his contentious interaction with the HR department of a major entertainment studio that led to his quitting should be required reading for every American because it addresses what constitutes free speech in the workplace, in schools and in the arts. ... To summarize, Mosley was telling a personal anecdote in the writers room of CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery: “I just told a story about a cop who explained to me, on the streets of Los Angeles, that he stopped all n---ers in paddy neighborhoods and all paddies in n--er neighborhoods, because they were usually up to no good.” ... An unidentified writer in the room complained to human resources ... HR admonished Mosley ... (who) quit the show... Visit Website ]
Sep 12, 2019, 3:07pm

Free Speech
Nuclear 9/11 Can No Longer Be Ignored, It is Killing Us All
Gordon Duff: A German physicist with no access to US media, call it language barrier, laziness or hyper-focus that scientists have, did a study on the events of 9/11. ... He built on work done by French physicist Francois Roby and a US activist with a strong science background named Jeff Prager. Pommer published a first version of his findings, that the World Trade Center was destroyed by nuclear weapons placed under the structures, in 2017. Then in 2019, he put out a slide presentation backed by irrefutable physics and a video presentation. ... The scientific study shows, without question, that whether planes hit buildings or not, the destruction, which included huge caverns filled with molten granite and iron that gave off incredible heat for months, could only be described and accounted for as a series of underground nuclear explosions. ... Visit Website ]
Sep 3, 2019, 3:48pm

Free Speech
Freedom of the Press? Not in the U.S.
Ted Rall: The United States ranks 48th among nations for press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders. Since few other countries have the equivalent of our First Amendment, learning that we rank below Botswana and Slovenia may come as a surprise. ... Censorship is insidious; readers and viewers can’t know what they’re not told. .... The nation’s 1,000-plus newspapers employ countless Democrats and Republicans. But there isn’t a single staff columnist or editorial cartoonist who agrees with that 43% of the public that socialism would be better than capitalism. ... Pervasive among both corporate and independent journalists is self-censorship. ... The Washington Post and other corporate news companies ridiculed Bernie Sanders’ recent assertion that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ ownership of the Post influences its coverage ... No matter how much they protest that they can follow any lead and print anything they want, that knowledge of who butters their bread informs every move they make... Visit Website ]
Aug 26, 2019, 2:33pm

Free Speech
MOVE: Injustice Ignites Excessive Costs
Linn Washington: The recent release of three inmates from prisons in Pennsylvania – persons considered political prisoners by many worldwide – is a poignant reminder of how the costs of injustice ravage not just those directly targeted for persecution but also the taxpayers who unwittingly pay for that persecution. ... The 40-years of unjust, revenge-driven imprisonment endured by this trio imposed incalculable emotional/physical costs on their lives and it cost Pennsylvania taxpayers millions of dollars. ... while each member of this trio was eligible for parole in 2008, the Pennsylvania Parole Board employed specious excuses (persecution) to continue their expensive imprisonment until their release on parole in late Spring 2019. ... That trio’s cost of incarceration for just that 11-year span between their parole eligibility and their actual parole release totaled more than $1.7-million... Visit Website ]
Jul 10, 2019, 4:39pm

Free Speech
New York Times Clears National Security Stories with the Government Before Publication. Source: New York Times
Thomas Neuburger: The New York Times has just admitted that it clears national security stories with the government before it publishes them. ... It now looks like it occurs most of the time, if not all of the time. ... The reason always given for the government suppressing a national security story is, of course, that lives will be put in danger, even when they won't. ... It's understandable, in a way, that in the current panicky environment, administration employees are treating the president, their boss, as someone to withhold information from ... Is this a precedent, though, we want to cheer or set? The act of cementing in place an American Praetorian Guard with a publicly sanctioned veto over decisions of an elected head of state, once done, won't be undone easily.... Visit Website ]
Jul 2, 2019, 11:39am

Free Speech
FBI Continues to Break Its Own Rules by Tracking Protesters
Vanessa Nason: Does FBI Act as Subsidiary for Fossil Fuel Industry? ... The FBI has, once again, violated department protocol by tracking environmental activists and nonviolent protesters ... Why track 350.org? The ostensible reason is that the FBI sought to assess whether this very large group posed a danger ahead of a series of protests in 2016. 350.org’s “Break Free from Fossil Fuels” campaign involved 30,000 people who participated in events on six continents to protest dependence on oil, coal, and natural gas. ... “Trying to deal with the greatest crisis humans have stumbled into shouldn’t require being subjected to government surveillance,” McKibben told the Guardian. “But when much of our government acts as a subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry, it may be par for the course.”... Visit Website ]
Dec 22, 2018, 2:01pm

Free Speech
Amazon Is Selling Facial Recognition to Law Enforcement - for a Fistful of Dollars
Elizabeth Dwoskin: The details about Amazon’s program illustrate the proliferation of cutting-edge technologies deep into American society — often without public vetting or debate. Axon, the maker of Taser electroshock weapons and the wearable body cameras for police, has voiced interest in pursuing face recognition for its body-worn cameras, prompting a similar backlash from civil rights groups. Hundreds of Google employees protested last month to demand that the company stop providing artificial intelligence to the Pentagon to help analyze drone footage. ... Facial recognition can allow strangers to identify people who don’t wish to be identified, such as shoppers in stores, individuals in a crowd, or people who appear in photos that get posted on social media... Visit Website ]
May 22, 2018, 4:56pm

Free Speech
Embattled Palestinian Knesset Member Fights for Her People’s Rights
Dennis J Bernstein Interviews Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset: "Palestinians have long been suffering from the siege. Almost daily, bombers fly over Gaza. Israel wants to break the will of the Palestinians, to prevent Palestinians from fighting for their freedom. I would describe the Palestinian struggle as an heroic one. After eleven years of siege, 75% of children in Gaza suffer from anemia. Fisherman are shot on a weekly basis. Farmers coming to work on their land are shot. Employment rates and poverty rates are extremely high. 95% of the water is unsafe to drink. The United Nations has determined that the living situation in Gaza is not suitable for human life."... Visit Website ]
Apr 21, 2018, 10:40am

Free Speech
Thousands of Hearts and Minds
Ed Kinane: To work against militarism and for social justice is to struggle for hearts and minds. We “educate, agitate, and organize.” We reach out to the public to mobilize its conscience. But the public is large and we are few. Most ways to reach the public are costly. Or shaped by other agendas. So mostly we operate small scale. We could however make much greater use of a familiar and broad public forum: letters to the editor. ... LTEs are a valuable tool. In writing them, we can transform ourselves, deepening our analysis and vision, making more public our witness, making steadfast our commitment. We’re standing up and out for what we stand for... Visit Website ]
Apr 9, 2018, 12:44pm

Free Speech
The assault on environmental protest
Maggie Ellinger-Locke and Vera Eidelman: More than 50 state bills that would criminalize protest, deter political participation, and curtail freedom of association have been introduced across the country in the past two years. These bills are a direct reaction from politicians and corporations to the tactics of some of the most effective protesters in recent history, including Black Lives Matter and the water protectors challenging construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. ... If they succeed, these legislative moves will suppress dissent and undercut marginalized groups voicing concerns that disrupt current power dynamics... Visit Website ]
Mar 5, 2018, 10:21am

Free Speech
The Struggle Against Honduras’ Stolen Election
Dennis J. Bernstein talks to Sandra Cuffe, journalist based in Tegucigalpa: Last November 26 there were general elections in Honduras. It was a fiercely contested election between Juan Orlando Hernandez, the current president, and Salvador Nasralla, who was the candidate for the oppositional alliance against the dictatorship. ... After more than half the votes had been counted, preliminary results had Nasralla in the lead by five points ... The computer system then mysteriously crashed and when it came back online that lead began to rapidly disappear. ... The Organization of American States found serious irregularities in the voting and numerous indications of fraud. ... The U.S. and the OAS disagreed on whether to recognize the election results. Two days after the election and just before soldiers started opening fire on protesters, the U.S. State Department certified the election, which freed up military aid to the Honduran government. ... when you talk to most young people, they no longer see a future for themselves here.They organized and went to the polls and the signs of clear victory were simply wiped out two days later. People are outraged and many of them will leave the country... Visit Website ]
Jan 27, 2018, 12:27pm

Free Speech
How the Interrogation of Reality Winner Reveals the Deceptive Tactics of “Exceedingly Friendly” FBI Agents
Peter Maass: By avoiding the obligation to inform suspects of their right to a lawyer and the right to stay silent, the FBI makes it easier to get Americans to say things — whether truths or lies — that will be used against them. ... “Because warnings are only required prior to custodial interrogation, one way to minimize the impact of Miranda on investigations is to try to conduct interrogations whenever possible in noncustodial settings (such as the suspect’s home or on the street, without arrest-like restraints),” notes an article in Police Magazine, which caters to the law enforcement community. The article bore the headline “How to talk to suspects without Mirandizing.”... Visit Website ]
Dec 28, 2017, 4:37pm


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1969-70 FOL
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