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Read the Constitution! Twitter drags House Democrats over Assange & free speech — RT...

Democrat-majority House Foreign Affairs Committee went after a RT America reporter and described WikiLeaks publisher Julian...

UK govt trying to control online free speech is ‘very serious and sinister’ –...

Plans by the UK government to regulate the internet with an independent watchdog, apparently due...

University ‘language guide’ ignites free speech battle — RT USA News

Massachusetts’ Amherst College has drawn criticism for publishing a ‘language guide’ to the latest social justice...

University ‘language guide’ ignites free speech battle — RT USA News

Massachusetts’ Amherst College has drawn criticism for publishing a ‘language guide’ to the latest social justice...

Devin Nunes Has a Cow, and Free Speech Is Endangered

California Rep. Devin Nunes opened himself up to widespread ridicule across the internet yesterday after he reportedly filed a lawsuit against Twitter, a conservative...
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Video: 'US citizen has no right to free speech?' State Dept spokesperson grilled over...

Tensions are high as NSA leaker Edward Snowden officially submitted application for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday. After Russian and international ... Via Youtube

Chelsea Manning’s Fight Against the Grand Jury Exposes Battle for Free Speech

The former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was sent to jail Friday for refusing to answer questions relating to WikiLeaks 2010 disclosures at...

Free speech or hate speech? RT Panelists spar over Tommy Robinson’s Facebook ban —...

Facebook’s decision to ban outspoken English-Defense League leader Tommy Robinson has re-ignited debates over the...

The Battle for Free Speech: Meghan Murphy vs. Twitter

Last week, Canadian feminist and journalist, Meghan Murphy, announced that she is suing Twitter. Having been permanently suspended from Twitter last Fall, Murphy’s lawsuit...
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Video: Rashida Tlaib: The Senate’s Anti-BDS Bill Is an Unconstitutional Attack on Free Speech

https://democracynow.org - A new Senate bill would allow state and local governments to boycott any U.S. companies which are engaged in a boycott against...
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Video: More than half of Americans say social media hurts democracy & free speech

There are few things these days which unite liberals and conservatives, but according to a new survey, a growing dislike and distrust of social...

Twitter bans right-wing conspiracist Laura Loomer, renewing free speech debate — RT US News

Conservative firebrand Laura Loomer says she has been pulled off Twitter after accusing newly-elected Democratic House...
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Video: War on Christianity? US student loses free speech case vs college over ‘Jesus...

There are growing claims that a supposed war on Christianity is being fought at universities in the US. RT LIVE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFAcqaNzNSc ... Via Youtube

Free speech for CNN, but not for Assange: The media’s double standard

Two journalists on the bad side of Donald Trump were vindicated this week. One had his White House credentials restored. Another got proof...

Free speech or hate speech? Video of man shouting ‘Heil Hitler!’ prompts Twitter debate...

A video of a man shouting “Heil Hitler!” on a Brooklyn street sparked online debate about...

Removing Billboard “Honoring the First Responders of Gaza” is Attack on Free Speech

by Palestine Advocacy Project / November 15th, 2018 Nearly 3 weeks into its planned 4-week run, an electronic billboard honoring first responders in the Gaza...

‘CNN defends free speech only if it’s their own speech’ – Tucker Carlson —...

Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted CNN, saying that while it is suing the White House...

Assange Case Shows Support for Free Speech Depends on Who’s Talking

by Joe Emersberger Julian Assange, whom the UN has declared to be “arbitrarily detained” by Britain and Sweden, is used by the Guardian (10/17/18) to...
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Video: ECHR rules defaming Muhammad not protected by free speech

The European Court of Human Rights (#ECHR) has ruled that defaming the Prophet #Mohammed falls outside the limits of acceptable #FreeSpeech. The case ... Via...

A Victory for Free Speech

The Corporatist War on Free Speech – Are We a Nation of Sheep?

What do we call it when the government outsources censorship to the private sector? And what about when those “private”...
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Video: #ICYMI: Get woke Grandad! The rules of gender and free speech aren’t what...

Check out #ICYMI a day earlier: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdgFmrDeP9nWj_eDKW6j9kQ #ICYMI: Get woke Grandad! The rules of gender and free ... Via Youtube

Washington Post Shows How Not to Talk About Free Speech

The Washington Post has published a raft of commentary recently lamenting what its authors see as the decline of free speech, largely in response...
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Video: ‘Suppressing free speech’: Facebook suspends #Walkaway founder’s account

The founder of the "WalkAway" campaign, Brandon Straka, found himself banned from Facebook this week. It came after he announced an interview with the...

Does Twitter really care about pluralism and free speech? Let’s follow the money —...

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has vigorously defended his platform as a place for free speech and...

Censorship or battle against hate & abuse? Infowars Twitter ban fuels free speech debate...

Twitter’s move to ban controversial political commentator Alex Jones from the platform has been cheered by...

Defining Anti-Semitism, Threatening Free Speech

Photo Source Qusai Al Shidi | CC BY 2.0 In May the benign-sounding Anti-Semitism Awareness Act appeared before the U.S Congress “to provide for consideration...

Statement by Free Speech For People on Michael Cohen's Plea Deal

______________________________ Via Common Dreams. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.

Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech —...

The US Constitution explicitly forbids government censorship. So the Silicon Valley big tech companies named themselves...

Free Speech Attack? Trump Eyes Pulling Obama-Era Security Clearances

President Trump is considering canceling the security clearances of certain senior intelligence officials extended as a courtesy when they retired....

Big Tech’s Plot to Kill Free Speech Revealed

The biggest and yet least talked about issue facing conservatives and Trump supporters heading into the mid-terms and the 2020 presidential elections...
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Video: Judge Rules Trump Admin May Have Violated Free Speech Rights of Mexican Journalist...

https://democracynow.org - We turn now to a major development in the case of a jailed Mexican journalist that Democracy Now! has followed closely. In...

Tommy Robinson treatment is ‘shocking’- Morrissey decries jail term as a blow to UK...

Former Smiths frontman Morrissey has thrown his support behind jailed EDL founder Tommy Robinson. He...
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Video: Unfree speech? Ukraine’s blatant crackdown on Russia-linked news agency chief

Ukraine's foreign sponsors were put in an awkward position Tuesday, after their mischievous protégé launched a blatant crackdown on a news outlet, arresting ... Via...

Free speech, censorship, and THAT pug Nazi salute (VIDEO) — RT UK News

The man who filmed his pug doing a Nazi salute while using anti-Semitic language has...

‘Hiding behind free speech:’ Muslim vlogger slams Tommy Robinson after violence at March for...

A prominent Muslim YouTuber accused Tommy Robinson of “hiding under the banner of free speech”...

Anti-fascists gear up to take on Tommy Robinson, Milo Yiannopoulos at free speech rally...

A wave of controversial far-right speakers will descend on Whitehall - and activism groups will...
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Video: Debate: Discussing borders of free speech as France deports controversial imam

An influential Islamic preacher convicted of hate speech in France has been deported after his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights was...

Sweden’s War on Free Speech

According to the Swedish mainstream media, the country has experienced a significant rise in prosecutions for "hate speech" on social media last year. The...

The Federal Attack on Sex Workers’ Rights Is a Threat to Everyone’s Free Speech

(Photo: Matt Zulak) On March 23, Craigslist decided to do away with personal ads. Last week, Microsoft announced plans to make it illegal to get naked...

Does everyone have the right to ‘free speech?’ (VIDEO) — RT UK News

Tommy Robinson's message is simple – he has no intention of stopping. He has the...

University safe spaces could be having ‘chilling effect’ on free speech, MPs warn —...

Universities should reconsider the idea of ‘safe spaces’ because of the “chilling effect” they could...

Free speech or hate speech? Right-wing activists ‘banned’ from Britain (VIDEOS) — RT UK...

Right-wing activists have been banned from entering the UK and held in ‘detention centers’, sparking...

Violence breaks out at Tommy Robinson’s ‘free speech’ rally (VIDEO) — RT UK News

Supporters of the ex-English Defence League leader Robinson scuffled with counter-protesters during a ‘free speech’...

Facebook bans Britain First as free speech row erupts on Twitter — RT UK...

Facebook has banned Britain First (BF) leaders from using its platform, just days after the...

Britain Says ‘Yes’ to Jihadists, ‘No’ to Free Speech

This letter shames Britain. It’s illiterate (“Your boyfriend have in his possession” and “insight” where it means “incite”), it’s at once...

‘Alt-right’ Generation Identity to hit UK streets after anti-fascists block ‘free speech talk’ —...

Far-right activists have vowed to hold a public event in London, after places across the...

Free speech row erupts on Twitter as Tommy Robinson suspended after post about grooming...

A freedom of speech row has erupted on Twitter after far-right activist Tommy Robinson was...

‘Free Speech’ Suit Aims to End Twitter’s Political Censorship

Ian Mason, Breitbart, 23 February 2018 A group of free-speech lawyers filed the most serious legal challenge yet to Twitter’s censorship policies...

US: No Free Speech for Russians

Tories launch bid to ‘protect free speech’ after ‘left-wing thugs’ brawl with Jacob Rees-Mogg...

The Tories say they will send more MPs to universities to “protect free speech” after...

DOJ Puts UC Berkeley on Notice — Justice Is Not Playing Around on Free...

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a statement of interest Thursday in a campus free speech lawsuit against the University of California,...

Twitter ‘shadow bans’ undesirable voices, censors free speech – Project Veritas exec to RT...

Undercover footage of Twitter staff appearing to admit to silencing conservatives shows the social media platform...

Trump wants free speech limited

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Video: Fordham Students Sue over Free Speech Rights to Establish Students for Justice in...

https://democracynow.org - In a case that highlights what some are calling the “Palestine exception” to free speech on college campuses across the nation, we...

How Free Speech Lost in Charlottesville

America’s news reporters couldn’t get enough of last summer’s Charlottesville mayhem when the story tangentially involved Donald Trump. But when a special...

Jewish Power and Free Speech

Remember the days of poking fun at Pravda, the Russian government-owned press? We asked: how could anyone rely on the truthfulness of reports that...

‘Free speech’ activists met by hundreds of counter-protesters in Boston — RT US News

A “free speech” rally took place on Boston Common on Saturday under heavy police scrutiny. As...

Not-so-free speech? Texas motorist with ‘F**k Trump’ sticker arrested & released on bail —...

A female motorist in Texas was arrested after driving her truck with a “F**k Trump” sticker...

NYT’s Campus Free Speech Coverage Focuses 7-to-1 on Plight of Right

College Republicans complained to the New York Times (9/23/16) that the nomination of Donald Trump “prompted widespread mockery from their liberal classmates.” Over the past...
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Video: Orioles VP John Angelos: Trump Can’t Hijack Presidency to Stifle Free Speech

The Orioles' Executive Vice President John Angelos responds to Trump's attacks against black athletes and the groundswell of opposition across the nation Visit ... Via...

‘Safe space’ policy prevents free speech society from hearing their first guest at Sussex...

Published time: 1 Nov, 2017 09:05 Edited time: 2 Nov, 2017 08:21 A newly formed...

Support for Free Speech Eroding

When Free Speech Dismantles Diversity Initiatives

Photo by Newtown grafitti | CC by 2.0 Case # 1: In October 2017, Drexel University’s administration unilaterally suspended Professor George Ciccariello-Maher, a professor whose area...

Free Speech vs. Hate Speech

Universities Are Protecting Free Speech for Bigots at the Expense of Student Safety

White nationalist Tyler Tenbrink of Houston, Texas, is handcuffed by Florida Highway Patrol troopers at a speech by white supremacist Richard Spencer at the...

Milo Yiannopoulos pulled from ‘Free Speech Arizona’ event after “violent threats” — RT US...

Published time: 28 Oct, 2017 20:11 A Free Speech Arizona symposium is going ahead in Phoenix...

Free Speech and Punching Politics

Many Americans, and not only those on the left, were rightfully outraged in August by the sight of hundreds of torch-bearing “white nationalists”—i.e., white...
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Video: Tony Hall “Free Speech Is Dead, When A Tenured Professor Can Be Suspended...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ5OEJvBeFQ&w=580&h=385] Please Support The Show – http://paypal.me/richieallen https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in ... Via Youtube

FCC Chairman Pai Should Condemn Trump’s Attacks on Free Speech | By

At 10 months into Donald Trump’s presidency, he’s already in the running as the worst president in history: a bombastic fool with a loose...

Berkeley ‘Free Speech Week’ cancelled, Yiannopoulos to hold rally anyway

Milo Yiannopoulos’ planned Free Speech Week at Berkeley has been cancelled, but the right wing troll...
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Video: Free speech threatened in US sex trafficking bill – Telecoms giants

Major tech companies are opposing sex trafficking legislation that would make them liable for content posted by users, arguing that the broad language in...

Free speech threatened in sex trafficking bill, Silicon Valley warns

Major tech companies are opposing sex trafficking legislation that would make them liable for content posted...
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Video: CrossTalk on RT and Sputnik: Attacking Free Speech

The television station you are watching now and the Russian news agency Sputnik may find themselves in legal jeopardy in the United States. The...

Free Speech for the Right? A Primer on Key Legal Questions and Principles

Photo by Fibonacci Blue | CC BY 2.0 The rise in national attention to the “alt-right” and fascist-white supremacist protesters has raised questions about the...

Concerning Free Speech Zones

They say 9-11 changed everything.  Although the U.S. Government has, from the very beginning, done everything within its power to stifle and quarantine free...

The Strange (and Tortured) Legacy of “Free Speech”

Photo by Charlie Nguyen | CC BY 2.0 It has recently come to my attention that new Chancellor Carol Christ at the University of California,...
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Video: Free speech or hate speech: Tensions rise as right-wing rallies cancelled in US

Freedom of speech debates have been reignited in the US, with the state of California now at the forefront of the discourse. Two right-wing...

What the Abolition of the British Slave Trade Can Teach Us About Free Speech

(Photo: National Museum of American History) Adam Hochschild's bestselling 2005 book, Bury the Chains, describes the great debate in the British parliament regarding the abolition of...

Rally-goers arraigned for striking cops at ‘free speech’ Boston rally

Published time: 22 Aug, 2017 23:21 The first 13 arraignments of protesters and counter-protesters at a...
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Video: Torched Confederate flag & witch costumes: Activists protest against ‘Free speech’ rally in...

Thousands of counter-protesters gathered at Boston Common Park to oppose a 'Free Speech' rally on Saturday. Counter-protesters set a Confederate flag on ... Via Youtube

How “Both Sides” Forge U.S. Supremacy: the Nationalistic Hypocrisies of “Violence” and “Free Speech”

Many have focused on President Donald Trump’s statements on Charlottesville condemning the “violence” from “both sides”. Which is understandable, since the killing of Heather...

Boston ‘Free Speech Rally’ massively outnumbered by counter-protesters

A ‘Free Speech rally,’ which some fear includes white supremacists, and a counter-protest are being held...

When "Free Speech" Kills

A chalk mural of Heather Heyer, murdered by a white supremacist hitting her and other anti-racist protesters with his car, adorns the Charlottesville Downtown...

The Misguided Attacks on ACLU for Defending Neo-Nazis’ Free Speech Rights in Charlottesville

Glenn GreenwaldEach time horrific political violence is perpetrated that is deemed to be terrorism, a search is immediately conducted for culprits to blame other...

Free Speech Victory: ACLU Defends Unite the Right!

Aug 8, 2017 By Reinhard Wolff | redice.tv On Monday, Charlottesville City Council moved Unite the Right – originally planned...

Threat to free speech

There is a Senate bill, along with a companion bill in the House, working its way through Congress with strong bipartisan support, that poses...

Comply or Die: the Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force

Photo by Tony Webster | CC BY 2.0 “Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and...
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Video: Former FCC Commissioner on How Greater Media Consolidation is a Threat to Democracy...

https://democracynow.org - As the Trump administration weighs the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger, we talk about the risks of greater media consolidation ... Via Youtube

Utah’s ‘ag-gag’ law unconstitutional & violates free speech – Federal judge rules

A federal judge in Utah has sided with animal rights activists who argued that a law...

Hate Speech Is Free Speech

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Video: Michael Rivero “People Are Looking For Reasons To Be Offended. It’ll Destroy Free...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGq1pPcoRMk&w=580&h=385] Please Support The Show – http://paypal.me/richieallen https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in ... Via Youtube

At least 1 arrested as free speech rally at Evergreen College sees counter-protests

Police arrested at least one person at a free speech rally organized to oppose political correctness...

Wisconsin ‘Campus Free Speech Act’ risks stifling free speech, critics say

Wisconsin legislation to protect free speech on college campuses would force the state’s university system to...

‘Free speech or die’: Portland stabbing suspect yells in court (VIDEO)

The man charged in the fatal stabbing of two men after allegedly spewing hate at two young women in a Portland metro train took...

Free Speech on Campus: A Critical Analysis

Two members of the Berkeley College Republicans hold signs while an anti-facist group speaks about Ann Coulter's canceled speech at the University of California,...

Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis

Last weekend, while Vice-President and former Indiana governor Mike Pence was giving the commencement address at Notre Dame University, over 100 students walked out in protest over...

Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?

Free speech is bullshit, at least in the way it is understood by most pundits in the United States.  From the deposed Bill O’Reilly...
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Video: ‘Blow to free speech’: Ann Coulter cancels her talk at Berkley University

Conservative American commentator Ann Coulter has had her planned speech at a California university cancelled. Coulter described the move as a blow to free...

Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech

US authorities are reported to have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This overreach of US government toward a...

Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech

US authorities are reported to have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This overreach of US government toward a...

Marxist Public College Professor Accused of Murder Attempts at Berkeley Free Speech Rally

REPORT: Violent Antifa "U-Lock" Attacker From Berkeley Identified as College Professor Eric Clantonhttps://t.co/ZRqjenHC9Y — Ethan Ralph (@TheRalphRetort) April 20, 2017 ...

Censorship at the Border Threatens Free Speech Everywhere

Defending one’s political and religious beliefs to government officials is an obligation we associate with life in authoritarian regimes, not open societies.  It’s becoming...

Free Speech is Not the Issue; Intellectual Power Is

Photo by Qusai Al Shidi | CC BY 2.0   Abstract rights are in the air. They have recently become the subject of endless obsequious commentary...

US anti-protest bills ‘undemocratic’ & 'alarming' trend against free speech – UN

UN rights experts have voiced concerns over bills recently introduced by a number of US states...

California bill to ban fake news pulled amid free speech concerns

Published time: 30 Mar, 2017 00:26 A California state lawmaker pulled his proposed legislation that would have...

Testing the Principle of Free Speech

A surge in hateful speech toward minorities in the Age of Trump has been met by  a pushback from angry...

Who had the Impudence to Change our Values Regarding Free Speech?

Desperation tactics to shut down discussion of the Israeli regime's mega-crimes reach new heights of absurdity A fake anti-semitism campaign masterminded by the usual Zio...
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Video: Kill Switch: Is EU parliament stopping Free Speech or protecting it?

The EU parliament has granted its president the right to cut the live broadcast of any hate speech or acts in the chamber. RT...

Peter Van Buren: Free Speech Fascists Like Me

For espousing the same beliefs about the First Amendment I did on November 8 (everyone speaks always, unfettered), I am no longer a patriot. Many...
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Video: ‘Beautiful sight’: Congresswoman hails Berkeley riot as media raises concern over free speech

An American congresswoman has dubbed the Trump protest in Berkeley a 'beautiful sight'. The riot against the planned event at the campus has raised...

Ban Trump, Twitter, and Free Speech

In the through-the-mirror world we now live in, people who once unambiguously supported free speech now are finding plenty of things they want censored. Chief...

Preaching student sues Georgia college for restricting his free speech

A lawsuit is accusing Georgia Gwinnett College of censoring free speech. A student was allegedly forbidden...

The Left’s War on Free Speech

We are now in a kind of political no-man’s-land between an administration on its way out and a new administration taking shape. Predictions are...
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Video: ‘EU gives away its own principles’: RT’s editor-in-chief slams ‘free speech doublethink’

The EU resolution was adopted in Strasbourg with 304 MEPs supporting it, 179 voting against and 208 abstaining. It was drawn up by a...

‘Strong RT response to attempted account closure will help save UK free speech’ –...

Steve Hedley, the second-in-command at one of UK’s most powerful unions, says that RT’s decision...

WikiLeaks: 10 Years of Pushing the Boundaries of Free Speech

“To me, freedom of speech is something that represents the very dignity of what a human being is… that’s what marks us off from...

WikiLeaks: 10 Years of Pushing the Boundaries of Free Speech

“To me, freedom of speech is something that represents the very dignity of what a human being is… that’s what marks us...

WikiLeaks: 10 Years of Pushing the Boundaries of Free Speech

“To me, freedom of speech is something that represents the very dignity of what a human being is… that’s what marks us off from...

National Press Club cancels Alt Right press conference planned in their 'Free Speech Lounge'

Sep 7, 2016 By Reinhard Wolff | redice.tv On Friday, September 9, The National Policy Institute was scheduled to hold...

The Secret Service Hates Free Speech

This summer, we have all witnessed the heavy hand of government intervening in the freedom of speech, as the behavior of the Secret Service...

Free Speech and Political Conventions

This summer, we have all witnessed the heavy hand of government intervening in the freedom of speech, as the behavior of the Secret Service...
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Video: Tony Gosling “Super Injunctions Are Sinister And A Threat To Free Speech &...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H6JkMDn2_A&w=580&h=385] Please Support The Show – http://richieallen.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in at ... Via Youtube

'Infringement on free speech': KKK Adopt-A-Highway lawsuit goes to trial

The free speech rights of the Ku Klux Klan were violated when the Georgia Department of...

When Free Speech Signifies Nothing

The United States touts its commitment to free speech but American discourse has degenerated into self-absorbed info-tainment and trivia, ignoring...

Group SSUK condemns excess of Free Speech on Syria

by Paul Larudee / June 6th, 2016 The group SSUK (sŭk), has registered its strong objection to, and condemnation of, the participation of Dr. Tim...

Putting Free Speech Out to Pasture

Hard experience teaches that biotech companies, chemical corporations, and other agribusiness giants have no sense of respect for Mother Nature. Now, Rick Friday has learned they...
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Video: The Israel Lobby’s Growing Assault on Free Speech

Journalist and author Max Blumenthal talks about the growing BDS movement and the efforts to muzzle it. Via Youtube

Privacy vs free speech: Hulk Hogan beats Gawker in lawsuit

The two-week trial of Hulk Hogan versus Gawker has ended with a Florida jury awarding $115...

Standing Up for Free Speech Is Not a Threat to Free Speech

Protesters in Chicago come out in numbers to confront Donald Trump’s threats of violence. (cc photo: nathanmac87) Of all the many disturbing things about Donald...
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Video: Civil Disobedience and Free Speech Tested by Prayer in Ferguson

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxXlgYUBJjI&w=580&h=385] Rev. Sekou, arrested while in protest and prayer after Michael Brown was shot and kIlled in Ferguson, was found not guilty of failing...

‘The Right to Tell the Government to Go to Hell: Free Speech in an...

Free speech is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for those who are easily offended, readily intimidated or who need everything wrapped...
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Video: Free Speech Not Allowed? Mall of America Can’t Stop Black Lives Matter Rally...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sttpp6L87R8&w=580&h=385] Is freedom of speech welcome at the Mall of America? A judge has rejected an effort by the nation's largest shopping center to...

Why Only Free Speech Gives Safe Space to the Oppressed

Social justice protests have been roiling American universities, even causing administrative heads to roll. To a significant degree, these campus uprisings have been characterized...

Corporations and Governments Are Still the Real Threats to Free Speech—Not Campus Activists

I find this statement in a New York Times oped (11/12/15), coming from Suzanne Nossel, the head of PEN America, to be absolutely stunning: Some...

Britain’s Tightens Grip In Suffocation Of Free Speech

‘Freedom of Press’ is published by the US-based Freedom House, an NGO established in 1941 that has been ranking countries worldwide since 1980 in...
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Video: Does Free Speech Have a Palestine Exception? Dismissed Professor Steven Salaita Speaks Out

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy8QTovJtt8&w=580&h=385] Democracynow.org - A new report by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal has documented hundreds of cases of Palestinian rights activists...

‘We Need Free Speech Protections Across All of Those Networks’

Janine Jackson interviewed Tim Karr on the telecom industry’s latest strategy against net neutrality for the September 11 CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited...

Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights

The Conservative party released its plan to scrap the Human Rights Act if it won the General Election. Secretary of State Chris Grayling said...

Free Speech Doesn’t Kill People

  Just hours after Deputy Darren Goforth was murdered in Houston allegedly by a black man there was an anti-police demonstration at the Minnesota State...
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Video: No way to Norway: Snowden may be extradited to US if comes for...

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bauZGaNnaDk&w=580&h=385] Norway won't guarantee the safety of whistleblower Edward Snowden, should he travel there to collect the 'Freedom of Expression' award he's been given...

Free Speech Replaced

When a Nobel Prize winner can be hounded from his university chair by the harridans of the Internet (or any other self-constituted group of...

Free Speech, RIP

In the United States, free speechers and anti-free speechers have long been at odds. But lately, the battle has been getting more and more...

Defend student free speech at Humboldt University! Stop state-sponsored censorship!

Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG) and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (WSWS) - The PSG and the IYSSE unequivocally support the Humboldt University students...

From Prison, Chelsea Manning Proposes Free Speech Protection Bill

Legislation would amend existing rules with an eye toward expanding transparency and access to information as well as free speech and press protections (Common Dreams)...

Criminalisation of Free Speech and Double Standards

In what appears to be another attempt to suppress criticism of Israel, the Canadian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel which...

Criminalisation of Free Speech and Double Standards

In what appears to be another attempt to suppress criticism of Israel, the Canadian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel which...
Microphone surrounded by crowd at Trafalgar Square.

How Zionists Are Destroying Free Speech In Universities

If our universities can’t stand up to the Israel lobby and uphold free speech, how will the international community ever stand up to the...

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Online Free Speech Case; Rutherford Institute Warns Against...

John W. Whitehead The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a case that will significantly impact expression on Facebook, Twitter and other social...

The End of Free Speech: FEC Democrats Move to Kill Political Dissent

Democrats on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) are planning to introduce new regulations regarding political content on the internet, in order to kill free...

The Home of the Free Speech Movement Suppresses Freedom of Speech

Dan Bacher In the home of the Free Speech Movement at the U.C. Berkeley campus, students got a rude awakening when what they describe as...

Free Speech Arrested: Police Union Seeks To Censor College Commencement Speech by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Linn Washington Police carp about college students’ selection of a prison inmate for their commencement speaker. It must have something to do with Mumia Abu-Jamal…the...

Lawsuits Launched to Protect Free Speech on College Campuses

Nonprofit's new project brings civil liberties lawsuits against four public universities. Deirdre Fulton A Philadelphia-based nonprofit devoted to defending free speech and civil liberties on college...

Free Speech Groups Issue New Guide to the International “Necessary & Proportionate Principles”

San Francisco and London — As the global debate over the intelligence programs revealed by Edward Snowden approaches its first anniversary, the Electronic Frontier...

Cambodia’s Draft Law Turns Free Speech into Cybercrime

KIMBERLY CARLSON Historically, Cambodia has been fairly lax in enacting legislation that stifles freedom of expression online–unlike its neighbors of Vietnam and Thailand– but with...

Free Speech, RIP: A Relic of the American Past

“The First Amendment was intended to secure something more than an exercise in futility.”—Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting in Minnesota Board for Community Colleges v. Knight (1984) Living in a representative republic means that each person has the right to take a stand for what they think is right, whether that means marching outside the halls of […]

Free Speech, RIP: A Relic of the American Past

John Whitehead  RINF Alternative News "The First Amendment was intended to secure something more than an exercise in futility."--Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting in Minnesota Board...

Free Speech v. Buffer Zone in Abortion Clinic Case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments for and against a Massachusetts law that forbids abortion opponents from entering a 35-foot buffer...

Russians set up free speech zones for Winter Olympics

bbc.co.ukJanuary 4, 2014 The Russian authorities are to set up a special zone for protest rallies...

New Facebook Page: Boycott A&E, Support Free Speech

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the...

A&E, Duck Dynasty, Free Speech And The Right to Religious Beliefs – CONTACT Information

By Susan Duclos



The news that broke yesterday was that Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the incredibly popular A&E show, expressed his opinion on homosexuality, then A&E suspended him from the show that averages over 14 million viewers, for said opinion.


Below the commentary will be the A&

E company information, along with a page where you can leave a comment, and contact information as well as information on their parent company Hearst.


When did having a belief, based in one's religion and using the constitutional right of free speech to give that opinion become a punishable offense?


His GQ quotes:

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

"Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

 "It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

Robertson also said and this is what most people are ignoring:


We never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven, hell. That's the Almighty's job. We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus—whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"

Whether you agree with his beliefs or not, everyone should be standing up for his right to express them... it is a basic constitutional right!


Many didn't agree with him, many do not share his belief, but how does their right not to have their feelings hurt become more important than his free speech rights and freedom of religion?


I see nowhere in the constitution where a person has the right not to have their feelings hrut or where because someone's words offended them they have the right to punish them.


NOWHERE.


A&E's statement shown below:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

Well, I can tell A&E that they have 14 million viewers and countless free speech proponents, along with an untold number of people who believe in freedom of religion, "extremely disappointed" in their stance all in the name of political correctness.


CONTACT INFORMATION FOR A&

E, HEARST AND DISNEY

Customer Service page where you can add a comment (many already are) found HERE.

Key Executives For A&

E Television Networks, LLC

Chief Executive Officer and President
President of A&E and BIO Channel
President of the History Channel
Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
Senior Vice President of Digital Media

Address:
235 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017
United States
Phone: 212-210-1400
Fax: 212-907-9497
Hearst is the parent company behind the network, so you can give them a call with a problem, concern or compliment about A&E customer service.
  • Hearst Television: 1-212-887-6800

[UPDATE] Hearst Corporation's number is (212) 649-2000.

Hearst also claims on a phone call that Disney owns half of A&E Television, so the Disney contact number is 818-460-7477

The Walt Disney Company contact form to leave  message on is found HERE.

When calling Hearst, it seems they deny involvement with A&E, but go to the Hearst website at the bottom and click the "more Hearst sites," the A&E website is listed clearly. Also Hearst's own contact page gives the same number and also, BONUS, offers a contact form.











Cross posted at Before It's News


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The Subtle Mechanics of Unfree Speech

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”—Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

A cascade of managerial and public relations blunders has prompted Florida Atlantic University administrators to introduce The Agora Project, a broad initiative intending to promote “the practice of civility and civil discourse in an environment of free speech, academic freedom and open dialogue.”

Faculty valuing free speech and academic freedom whose persistent efforts at cultivating such through their teaching and research will likely be intrigued in hearing of the Agora Project, an endeavor proffering “forums on the importance of academic freedom, academic responsibility, and freedom of expression;” the program even promises to “create workshops on how best to practice civil and respectful interaction with others; and provide opportunities to discuss, dialogue and debate matters relevant to FAU and to our world.”

One is to conclude that, left to their own devices, faculty members and students may never arrive at a rational approach toward civility. Moreover, they may even become suspicious in the event that they are force-fed such an agenda. Indeed, after the Delphi-style exercise was presented at a recent faculty meeting, a colleague quietly pulled me aside and remarked, “This isn’t about civility. It’s about control.”

Will this individual soon be vociferously questioning Agora? Likely no. Wouldn’t want to “rock the boat” and draw attention to her/himself. Could s/he perhaps be on to something? Likely yes.

Not coincidentally, Agora was unveiled by university administrators in August 2013, a few short weeks after a speech code issued by FAU’s Division of Student Affairs was condemned by the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and subsequently revised. “Here at FAU,” the original speech code reads,

we encourage our campus community to exercise this cherished freedom in lively debate. In fact, we protect and promote that right. What we do insist on, however, is that everyone in the FAU community behave and speak to and about one another in ways that are not racist, religiously intolerant or otherwise degrading to others. (Emphasis added.)

FIRE countered that such a policy could impinge on constitutionally-protected speech and expression, possibly quashing not only academic discussion and inquiry, but also protest and debate on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict under the guise of “religious intolerance.”

In addition, an injunction on “racist” speech might be used to discipline vibrant exchanges on immigration and affirmative action. “And the prohibition on ‘otherwise degrading’ speech could apply to speech on virtually any topic that offends another person,” FIRE contends.

 A cynic might conclude that The Agora Project is a backdoor effort to provide the basis for extending such criteria across each of the University’s constituencies—faculty, students, staff—with their implicit approval given the plan’s professed effort of consultation and engagement.

Along these lines, perhaps the endeavor is an effort to assuage certain communities who for some reason aren’t comfortable with or seek to discontinue open discussion, debate, and social protest—all of which are to be anticipated in a space devoted to the expansion of intellectual horizons.

Of course, those in the upper echelons of university oversight—the administrators and trustees—who are pushing for prospective speech protocols are exempt from such measures, as their actions and behavior are apparently beyond reproach.

For example, last spring then-president Mary Jane Saunders ran into a protesting student with her Lexus sedan, fled the scene down the wrong way of a one-way street, and was subsequently defended by FAU trustees while the police investigating the incident discounted Saunders’ clear commitment of one or more felonies.

In the wake of the “conspiracy theory professor” and “stomp on Jesus” controversies, and protests surrounding a deal that would name the university’s new football stadium after a transnational for-profit prison outfit, dental industry entrepreneur and Republican Party functionary Jeffrey Feingold remarked, “I don’t want hear any more people say they think the lunatics have taken over the asylum.”

Feingold went on to criticize continued use of a headhunting firm that identified administrative candidates including Saunders because it allegedly produces “losers.” He went on to suggest a remarkably bizarre and insulting conspiracy theory that nonviolent campus protests by FAU students—the very children of Florida taxpayers who’ve elected to attend FAU–may culminate in violent terrorist attacks comparable to the Boston Marathon bombings! Unsurprisingly, no media attention or faculty outrage is afforded Feingold’s truly wacko theory.

One might ask, how is anyone given license for such behavior and remarks? Well, in January the ever-modest Feingold gave FAU $250,000 to name the university’s Board of Trustees room after him. “From those to whom much is given, much is expected,” he dictated.

With the above in mind, one’s imagination needn’t work overtime to identify the likely proponents of The Agora Project and its velvet-gloved implementation of “free speech and civility.” When FAU’s head honchos recently sat down to discuss selection of a new president, FAU Foundation Board Vice Chair and former Virginia “super lawyer” Jay Weinberg observed,

Because we are a diverse university … that doesn’t mean that we tolerate bigotry or prejudice. You have to draw a keen distinction between free speech and hate speech. I think that [in light of] recent events at this university, we need a president that understands that and who will act decisively with respect to it.

In other words, a principal holders of the institution’s purse strings asserts that the ideal chief administrator should reprimand and perhaps even fire faculty and staff who articulate extraordinary perspectives—ones that may fulfill the arbitrary and Kafkaesque notion of “hate speech.” In Agora-speak, this would inevitably involve violation of proposed “respectful” and “civic” discourse with-a-twist etiquettes.

In the subtly forced conversation on “civility,” “academic freedom,” and “respectful interaction,” a more clear-cut definition of what exactly constitutes meaningful exchange has been wholly lost, or, perhaps more fittingly, supplanted. In reality, couldn’t such a discussion be targeting the ideals that provide the basis for better understanding “something important, something real” that “really bothers” certain individuals … thus challenging them to consider an issue, an event, or a problem at a far deeper level?

When a university ceases to be a place where a wide expanse of “controversial” ideas and dialogues can be spontaneously ruminated on, one can safely conclude that it has made the transition from sanctuary and laboratory of free thought and ideas to a mere appendage of the consciousness industry and workhouse of the mind.

-JFT

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Published time: March 26, 2013 10:35
Screenshot from YouTube user אני גבר

Social media crazes in the Israeli military have seen a number of soldiers behaving in ways “unbecoming of the spirit of the IDF" – videos of soldiers dancing to Internet fads like the Harlem Shake could damage the IDF's image, officials said.

It is believed that viral videos run against the government's attempts to use social media as an effective propaganda tool. Although the IDF boasts its own official Facebook page and Twitter feed, there are fears that 'unauthorized’ materials could harm the image of the military where most young Israeli men and women aged 18 to 21 are required to serve.

“Just as the government uses social media for explaining, for campaigning, for propaganda or for spinning, it also has to deal with private soldiers using new media. Every soldier is a broadcast station,” Israel’s Center for the Protection of Democracy Executive Director Yizhar Be’er told RT.

Israeli military commanders have been recently told to prevent soldiers from uploading material “not appropriate” to the IDF’s “spirit.”

“It’s the problem of free speech… I don't see how you can control it,”
said Dr. Yuval Dror, head of digital media studies at the Middle East college of management-academic studies.

The punishment for such behavior “unbecoming of the spirit of the IDF" can be strict. Earlier this year, two soldiers were sent to military prison for several weeks for posting a clip of their artillery battalion performing a version of the Harlem Shake.

Screenshot from YouTube user אני גבר

“Under the military code of justice, there is an offense... I think it is sergeant and above... which says in effect any conduct which is unbecoming an IDF soldier would therefore potentially at least expose you to criminal liability. Could actually find yourself in jail if you made an offense under that,” former IDF legal advisor David Benjamin told RT.

IDF officials were also incensed when a group of soldiers turned their patrol in Hebron into a dance number: A video titled 'Battalion 50 Rock the Hebron Casbah' featured six armed soldiers in bulletproof vests who start a Macarena-like dance after a Muslim call to prayer is heard.

“You have to remember that soldiers are 18-year-old kids,”
Gil Yogev, who was once an officer with the paratroopers' unit, told RT. Yogev said he would brief his soldiers regularly about what they could and could not post online, but many were careless or childishly unaware of the impact such material could have.

“It is not misuse of power, for them it is just fun,” Yogev added.   

“I don't think that the dancing is abusing power, I do think that putting your sniper aim on an innocent person is an abuse of power and I think that this is the distinction that the army should make,” Yuval Dror said.

Screenshot from YouTube user ניר הירשמן

“You have to remember that soldiers are 18-year-old kids,” Gil Yogev, who was once an officer with the paratroopers' unit, told RT. Yogev said he would brief his soldiers regularly about what they could and could not post online, but many were careless or childishly unaware of the impact such material could have.

“It is not misuse of power, for them it is just fun,” Yogev added.   

“I don't think that the dancing is abusing power, I do think that putting your sniper aim on an innocent person is an abuse of power and I think that this is the distinction that the army should make,” Yuval Dror said.

Sacha Dratwa, the head of the IDF’s social media unit, sparked controversy when he uploaded a Facebook photo with dark mud from the Dead Sea smeared on his face, and a caption reading “Obama style.” The picture provoked mixed reactions, with some accusing the 26-year-old of racism. Dratwa claimed he had been misinterpreted.

‘Americans denied right to free speech’

The US has eroded freedom of speech, moral values and human rights for the American people over the past decades, a political activist tells Press TV.

“[US President] Barack Obama came into office as a constitutional professor and we have seen him do more damage to our constitution than even George Bush did,” said Tighe Barry, an activist with the CODEPINK group.

The advocate further criticized Washington for manipulating the American public by denying them the information needed to make decisions in the political atmosphere.

“It is unfortunate because the people do need to have this information if they are going to make good decisions on what they want out of their foreign policy from their leaders,” said Barry.

Americans have known that their rights are being stolen but they do not want to know the extent of the loss of their freedoms, the activist added.

“They see it on their television sets. They see it in the way their leaders are composing themselves. They see it in the fact that every day you see different headlines of companies that have given up information to the government - your cell phones are now being tapped, we are being watched around the globe, our passports have special chips in them,” said Barry.


He went on to condemn the United States for failing to follow the principles of ‘freedom of speech’ in its foreign policy regarding censorship of Iranian media.

The United States imposed fresh sanctions last month on Iran that include bans on the country’s media despite Washington’s claims of protecting freedom of speech.

“As a matter of fact, we are seeing that the United States and its European and NATO allies seem to be putting pressure around the world to pigeonhole countries such as Iran, Russia and other ones that are not in the sphere of influence of the United States and the European NATO countries,” Barry concluded.

GMA/HGH/SL

‘Iran media ban violates free speech’

A political analyst says the move to take Iranian media channels off the air calls into question the West’s claim of defending freedom of speech, Press TV reports.

“It is really attacking the very fundamental principles which the Europeans claim to spread, which is freedom of speech and freedom of expression,” Intifad Qanbar said in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

“Who can decide what is good and what is bad? Why don’t they go and stop many of the hatred-promoting channels... which are spreading... hatred and war and terrorism across the air all over the world?” the analyst asked.

Qanbar criticized the move to take Iranian media off the air as “true hypocrisy” carried out on a “double standard basis.”

“You cannot just hush people whom you don’t like and claim to be democratic and claim to accept and respect freedom of speech as they continue to say," he pointed out, saying it carried a contradictory message.


In a flagrant violation of freedom of speech, the Spanish government ordered Madrid’s regional government to stop broadcast of Iran’s Spanish-language Hispan TV as of Monday.

This is not the first time that the Iranian media are being targeted.

In October 2012, Eutelsat SA and Intelsat SA stopped the broadcast of several Iranian satellite channels.

In November 2012, the Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (AsiaSat) also took all Iranian channels off the air in East Asia under pressure from the United States.

AR/HJL/MA

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“If people are silenced by their own elected representatives, how can they trust them to act in their best interests?” said NRDC senior attorney Kate Sinding. “The Sanford Town Board has taken away residents’ right to speak up on one of the most controversial and daunting issues facing them today, in the very forum designed to give them that opportunity. This is particularly troubling given the board’s history of unwavering support for fracking.”

On September 11, 2012, the Sanford Town Board unanimously passed a resolution forbidding further discussion about natural gas development during the public participation portion of Town Board.

The September vote was the most recent in a series of “pro-fracking” town board resolutions that actively lobbied the state to move forward with proposed natural gas extraction. As early as Governor Paterson’s administration, the Town Board urged the governor and legislature to open the state up to development. Last May, the board passed a resolution urging Governor Cuomo to lift the de-facto moratorium on fracking. Then on September 5th — days before the gag order passed—Town Supervisor Dewey Decker signed on to a letter urging Governor Cuomo to legalize fracking in the state.

In addition, the Sanford Town Board has shown ongoing support of fracking industry activities within its borders. These include leasing town land to an oil and gas company, and granting industry access to town resources for use in development.  Between 2008 and 2010, Sanford leased town land to XTO Energy for oil and natural gas extraction and licensed the company to use local roads for fracking-related activities.  Between 2011 and 2012, the town passed a resolution in support of Bluestone Gas Corporation’s application to build a local pipeline, granted Bluestone a waiver for certain road and insurance requirements and entered into an agreement with the company for road-use privileges. 

“At the September 2012 Sanford town meeting, when the board chose to cut off discussion of fracking and related issues, they ended any chance that I might have to affect the future value of my home, or the quality of the air I breathe, or the water I drink,” said Sanford resident Mike Musante, who attended the September meeting. “Without debate there is no democracy, only rule by autocrats.”

“I have not accepted that this board decision is legal or ethical. I feel bullied, stifled and frustrated. We should not have to fight for our basic First Amendment right of assembling peacefully and verbally petitioning the government. I plan to take that substantial energy of frustration and work toward a government that is responsive to the people,” said Barbara Lester, a Sanford resident. 

“We regret that the Sanford Town Board, in removing public participation from the democratic process, has left no alternative but litigation,” said Tom Wilinsky of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.

NRDC and CCSE filed their lawsuit on behalf of their members who are residents of Sanford, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Sanford is located in Broome County, in New York’s Southern Tier, along the Pennsylvania border and deep within the Marcellus Shale formation. It is a small, rural town with a population of about 2,400.

WATCH: Video of Silenced Sanford Residents on Kate Sinding’s blog, "You're silencing us" - Protecting Free Speech Rights in Sanford, New York.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

New York Fracking Gag Order Violates Freedom of Speech

SANFORD, NY - February 12 - The Town of Sanford, New York, is violating its residents’ First Amendment right to free speech by placing a gag order on discussion of proposed fracking in the state at town board meetings, according to a lawsuit filed today by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.

“If people are silenced by their own elected representatives, how can they trust them to act in their best interests?” said NRDC senior attorney Kate Sinding. “The Sanford Town Board has taken away residents’ right to speak up on one of the most controversial and daunting issues facing them today, in the very forum designed to give them that opportunity. This is particularly troubling given the board’s history of unwavering support for fracking.”

On September 11, 2012, the Sanford Town Board unanimously passed a resolution forbidding further discussion about natural gas development during the public participation portion of Town Board.

The September vote was the most recent in a series of “pro-fracking” town board resolutions that actively lobbied the state to move forward with proposed natural gas extraction. As early as Governor Paterson’s administration, the Town Board urged the governor and legislature to open the state up to development. Last May, the board passed a resolution urging Governor Cuomo to lift the de-facto moratorium on fracking. Then on September 5th — days before the gag order passed—Town Supervisor Dewey Decker signed on to a letter urging Governor Cuomo to legalize fracking in the state.

In addition, the Sanford Town Board has shown ongoing support of fracking industry activities within its borders. These include leasing town land to an oil and gas company, and granting industry access to town resources for use in development.  Between 2008 and 2010, Sanford leased town land to XTO Energy for oil and natural gas extraction and licensed the company to use local roads for fracking-related activities.  Between 2011 and 2012, the town passed a resolution in support of Bluestone Gas Corporation’s application to build a local pipeline, granted Bluestone a waiver for certain road and insurance requirements and entered into an agreement with the company for road-use privileges. 

“At the September 2012 Sanford town meeting, when the board chose to cut off discussion of fracking and related issues, they ended any chance that I might have to affect the future value of my home, or the quality of the air I breathe, or the water I drink,” said Sanford resident Mike Musante, who attended the September meeting. “Without debate there is no democracy, only rule by autocrats.”

“I have not accepted that this board decision is legal or ethical. I feel bullied, stifled and frustrated. We should not have to fight for our basic First Amendment right of assembling peacefully and verbally petitioning the government. I plan to take that substantial energy of frustration and work toward a government that is responsive to the people,” said Barbara Lester, a Sanford resident. 

“We regret that the Sanford Town Board, in removing public participation from the democratic process, has left no alternative but litigation,” said Tom Wilinsky of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy.

NRDC and CCSE filed their lawsuit on behalf of their members who are residents of Sanford, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Sanford is located in Broome County, in New York’s Southern Tier, along the Pennsylvania border and deep within the Marcellus Shale formation. It is a small, rural town with a population of about 2,400.

WATCH: Video of Silenced Sanford Residents on Kate Sinding’s blog, "You're silencing us" - Protecting Free Speech Rights in Sanford, New York.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

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Freedom, Power, and the Conservative Mind

On Monday the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that privately-owned corporations don’t have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the corporate owners’ religious beliefs.

The owners of Hobby Lobby, the plaintiffs in the case, were always free to practice their religion. The Court bestowed religious freedom on their corporation as well – a leap of logic as absurd as giving corporations freedom of speech. Corporations aren’t people.

The deeper problem is the Court’s obliviousness to the growing imbalance of economic power between corporations and real people. By giving companies the right not offer employees contraceptive services otherwise mandated by law, the Court ignored the rights of employees to receive those services.

(Justice Alito’s suggestion that those services could be provided directly by the federal government is as politically likely as is a single-payer federal health-insurance plan – which presumably would be necessary to supply such contraceptives or any other Obamacare service corporations refuse to offer on religious grounds.)

The same imbalance of power rendered the Court’s decision in “Citizens United,” granting corporations freedom of speech, so perverse. In reality, corporate free speech drowns out the free speech of ordinary people who can’t flood the halls of Congress with campaign contributions.

Freedom is the one value conservatives place above all others, yet time and again their ideal of freedom ignores the growing imbalance of power in our society that’s eroding the freedoms of most people.

This isn’t new. In the early 1930s, the Court trumped New Deal legislation with “freedom of contract” – the presumed right of people to make whatever deals they want unencumbered by federal regulations. Eventually (perhaps influenced by FDR’s threat to expand the Court and pack it with his own appointees) the Court relented. 

But the conservative mind has never incorporated economic power into its understanding of freedom. Conservatives still champion “free enterprise” and equate the so-called “free market” with liberty. To them, government “intrusions” on the market threaten freedom.

Yet the “free market” doesn’t exist in nature. There, only the fittest and strongest survive. The “free market” is the product of laws and rules continuously emanating from legislatures, executive departments, and courts. Government doesn’t “intrude” on the free market. It defines and organizes (and often reorganizes) it.

Here’s where the reality of power comes in. It’s one thing if these laws and rules are shaped democratically, reflecting the values and preferences of most people.

But anyone with half a brain can see the growing concentration of income and wealth at the top of America has concentrated political power there as well — generating laws and rules that tilt the playing field ever further in the direction of corporations and the wealthy.

Antitrust laws designed to constrain monopolies have been eviscerated. Competition among Internet service providers, for example, is rapidly disappearing – resulting in higher prices than in any other rich country. Companies are being allowed to prolong patents and trademarks, keeping drug prices higher here than in Canada or Europe.

Tax laws favor capital over labor, giving capital gains a lower rate than ordinary income. The rich get humongous mortgage interest deductions while renters get no deduction at all.

The value of real property (the major asset of the middle class) is taxed annually, but not the value of stocks and bonds (where the rich park most of their wealth).

Bankruptcy laws allow companies to smoothly reorganize, but not college graduates burdened by student loans.

The minimum wage is steadily losing value, while CEO pay is in the stratosphere. Under U.S. law, shareholders have only an “advisory” role in determining what CEOs rake in.  

Public goods paid for with tax revenues (public schools, affordable public universities, parks, roads, bridges) are deteriorating, while private goods paid for individually (private schools and colleges, health clubs, security guards, gated community amenities) are burgeoning. 

I could go on, but you get the point. The so-called “free market” is not expanding options and opportunities for most people. It’s extending them for the few who are wealthy enough to influence how the market is organized.

Most of us remain “free” in limited sense of not being coerced into purchasing, say, the medications or Internet services that are unnecessarily expensive, or contraceptives they can no longer get under their employer’s insurance plan. We can just go without.

We’re likewise free not to be burdened with years of student debt payments; no one is required to attend college. And we’re free not to rent a place in a neighborhood with lousy schools and pot-holed roads; if we can’t afford better, we’re free to work harder so we can. 

But this is a very parched view of freedom. 

Conservatives who claim to be on the side of freedom while ignoring the growing imbalance of economic and political power in America are not in fact on the side of freedom. They are on the side of those with the power. 

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Kiev’s War on Freedom

Kiev's War on Freedom

by Stephen Lendman

Western-supported coup-appointed putschists have no legitimacy. Waging war on freedom reflects official Kiev policy.

Washington endorses it. Upcoming sham May 25 elections exclude democracy from ballot choices.

They're at the same time as Kiev aggression continues. They're attacking Eastern Ukrainians.

They're murdering them in cold blood. So-called "anti-terrorist operation(s)" reflect state terrorism writ large.

Fascist regimes operate this way. They reemerged in Europe. Coup-appointed Kiev thugs represent its epicenter.

Upcoming elections are rigged. Democracy is pure fantasy. Results are largely pre-determined. 

Washington wants illegitimacy approved. So do rogue EU partners. They endorsed fascism. They deplore freedom.

Illusion substitutes for reality. Hypocrisy for legitimacy. Duplicity for fundamental democratic rights. 

What everyone deserves. What fascist ideologues prohibit. What Ukrainians face going forward.

Kiev escalated aggressive war. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashivich said:

"We state that the Kiev authorities are still not ready and do not want to fulfill the decisions agreed upon in the Geneva Declaration of April 17 and developed into a 'road map,' which was prepared and officially distributed by the Swiss chairmanship in the OSCE."

It repudiated violence. Kiev "intensifie(d) (its) punitive operations against its own people…"

It's waging lawless aggression. It's "bombard(ing)" Eastern Ukrainian "cities and settlements." 

It's attacking civilians with "heavy weapons." It ludicrously claims Sunday's sham elections represent democracy.

For all Ukrainians. Doing it fairly. Openly. Freely. Leaving no one out.

Under the barrel of a gun. During premeditated aggression. Excluding real choice. 

Targeting freedom. Wanting it entirely destroyed.  Wanting hardline/top-down ruthlessness replacing it. 

Wanting what Ukrainians nationwide deplore. What they reject.

May 22 brought good news and bad. RT International's stringer journalist Graham Phillips was freed.

He's lucky to be alive. Things could have turned out otherwise. As long as he's in Ukraine, he's endangered. He's vulnerable.

He was lawlessly abducted. He was held captive for 36 harrowing hours. He had no idea how they'd end.

Thankfully he's free. But not safe. He's OK, he said. He was intensively interrogated.

"All my work in order," he said. "(N)o charges. (N)o deportation." 

(N)o one laid a hand on me in anger. Ukrainian authorities treated me fairly."

At the same time, it was touch and go. Things might have turned out otherwise. 

Throughout his ordeal, RT supported him. So did his colleagues and followers, he said.

"Thank you so much for all your support during this. Some moments were a little bit difficult, but I knew you guys were there supporting me and that meant the world," he said.

He did so with genuine sincerity. His reporting was special. He did so in the line of fire. He endured clear and present dangers. They remain.

He represents the best of responsible journalism. So do other RT correspondents doing the same thing. And Russian colleagues.

War zone reporting is hazardous. It risks life and limb. Possible abduction, detention, and abuse exacerbate things. 

Phillips was taking photos near Mariupol. He did it "dozens of times" before, he said. Without incident.

"I was questioning these soldiers at the checkpoint in Mariupol on what happened on that day, and I've done that a lot of times before," he explained.

"And then they saw that I work for RT, and then things escalated after that. It got more serious this time." 

"They started phoning people and then I was detained. I had my things taken off of me and interrogated quite thoroughly."

"I was with soldiers at this point at a block post and then the SBU came. This is the Ukrainian Secret Services (SBU)."

Two locals working with him were released. Not him. Around 9PM Monday, he was taken away.

It was after spending around nine hours at a military checkpoint. He was transferred to Zaporozhye at "gun point."

He was sent to military barracks. "An SBU man made it quite clear that I was under detention," he said.

Kiev authorities accused him of spying. Working for RT is a "black spot," they said. He was viewed with "particular wariness," he explained.

He understands Russian. He speaks it. Questions asked included: 

"You are working for Russian TV?"

"What is your purpose?

"Are you a spy?"

At the same time, his interrogators were "all right," he said. "I mean they fed me."

"They looked after me, but I was held at gunpoint, and that was quite dramatic," he stressed.

Early Wednesday, interrogation ended. He was taken to Britain's Kiev embassy.

At the same time, its defense ministry press service said he was detained for "filming facilities which are forbidden from being filmed."

Phony charges claim anything. Phillips was lucky. Things could have gotten serious. 

He could have been detained longterm. He could have been tortured. 

He could have faced kangaroo court proceedings. He could have been imprisoned. He could have been killed.

Russian LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko remain detained. They're held incommunicado.

False charges claim they transported weapons. Others said they aided and abetted terrorists. They're "members of terrorist groups." 

They're journalists. They're not terrorists. They aided no one. They're not combatants. They were doing their job.

Challenging captors under duress isn't easy. Or refuting their lies.

On May 22, coup-appointed Kiev national security/defense council head Andriy Parubiy said investigating Sidyakin and Saichenkro continues.

It's up to "investigator(s) to decide whether to hand them over to the Russian side."

Putin denounced their detention. "It's absolutely unacceptable, and, of course, the question arises over the legitimacy of all political procedures in Ukraine," he said.

He called accusing them of carrying portable air defense system weapons "nonsense."

Russia's lower house State Duma passed a statement. It demanded Kiev release both journalists straightaway.

Russia's upper house Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matvienko said:

"We will succeed in freeing our two journalists and guarantee the freedom of their activities in Ukraine, including during large upcoming internal political events in Ukraine - the presidential election."

Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed outrage over Kiev denying OSCE representatives permission to visit both journalists. A separate statement said:

"This kind of lawlessness directed against Russian journalists, which has become a regular practice, confirms once again that the Ukrainian side is ignoring basic norms of democracy, in particular, freedom of speech."

Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Ukraine's military and security services of "dangerously interfering with press freedom."

It called for immediately releasing Russian journalists. Deputy Europe and Central Asia director Rachel Denber said:

"We're deeply worried about the fate and whereabout of (captive) journalists. Detaining (them) and then failing to provide information on what's happening to them or to respect their due process rights are serious violations that have to end."

"Failure to provide information on the whereabouts and fate of anyone deprived of their liberty by agents of the state, or those acting with its acquiescence, may constitute an enforced disappearance." she added.

Acting extrajudicially reflects police state ruthlessness. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki endorses the worst of its dark side.

She supports Kiev lies about Saichenko and Sidyakin supporting terrorism. She claims legitimate journalists doing their job responsibly aren't what they say they are.

She accepted Kiev Big Lies as facts. She did so at face value. She dodged questions about their veracity.

A next day follow-up statement softened too little to matter. She called on Ukrainian authorities to investigate what happened. 

She claimed no further updates on what's ongoing. She said nothing about refuting irresponsible charges. Effectively she endorsed them.

Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich accused OSCE's monitoring mission of suppressing vital information.

Inconvenient truths are buried, he said. Outright censorship, he claimed.

Facts are twisted to fit coup-appointed Kiev putschists' policies.

"We believe that the mission should work with citizens' direct appeals, especially considering that the tasks of interacting with civil society and monitoring human rights violations are directly sealed in the mission's mandate," Lukashevich said.

Ukrainian crisis conditions remain far from resolved. Ongoing conflict continues. It rages out-of-control.

It violates core rule of law principles. It enjoys full Western support. It bears repeating.

It targets Ukrainian freedom. It wants it destroyed altogether. It wants hardline fascist rule replacing it.

It's up for grabs how things will end. Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters are going all-out for fundamental rights everyone deserves.

Their struggle is ours. They deserve universal support.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

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Koch Brothers-Style Free Society

Koch Brothers-Style Free Society

by Stephen Lendman

Charles and David Koch are modern-day robber barons. They're multi-billionaires. Forbes estimates their April 2014 net worth at $40.3 billion each.

Charles is Koch Industries (KI) chairman and CEO. David is executive vice president.

They're $6 billion richer this year than last. They make money the old fashioned way. Behind every fortune lies a great crime, said Balzac. Maybe he was thinking of Charles and David.

KI is America's second largest private company. Agribusiness giant Cargill holds top spot. Its estimated 2013 revenues were $136.7 billion.

KI's are an estimated $115 billion. Both companies way outdistance number three ranked Dell. Its estimated 2013 revenues were $56.94 billion.

Heads of these and other industrial giants won't go begging. Koch brothers want lots more billions than already. 

Getting them any way possible alone matters. They go all-out for all they can. Charles was quoted earlier saying: 

"Most power is power to coerce somebody. We don't have the power to coerce anybody."

Their deep pockets do their coercing for them. They want unfettered market freedom. They each own 42% of KI. They prefer remaining private. Charles once said KI will publicly offer shares "literally over (his) dead body."

KI operates in dozens of countries worldwide. It's in 45 US states. It employs tens of thousands of workers.

Its businesses include manufacturing, energy, oil refining and distribution, chemicals, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper, chemical technology equipment, ranching, finance, commodities trading, plus other ventures and investments.

Both brothers buy influence. They finance radical right interests to get it. They bankroll neocon political action groups, think tanks, and ideologically over-the-top politicians.

They advance extremist limited government notions. They favor business friendly anti-populist policies. 

They abhor regulations. They want freedom to swindle, cheat and grab all they can.

They want state enterprises sold at fire sale prices. They want first dibs to buy them. They want minimal corporate taxes. Ideally they none at all. 

They want their personal tax obligation shrunk to as little as possible. They want ordinary people forced to pay more so they can pay less.

They want social justice eliminated entirely. They want trade unionism weakened. Ideally they want it gone.

They oppose universal healthcare, financial fairness, public education, and environmental sanity. They love job-killing trade deals.

They'll benefit hugely from Keystone XL's pipeline's completion. According to a report released last October, it represents a potential $100 billion windfall.

KI and both brothers separately own two million acres of Alberta, Canada land. It's where Keystone XL's proposed route begins.

KI subsidiaries benefit from pipeline construction. Tar sands oil development is on Koch Exploration Canada land. Koch Supply and Trading benefits from oil derivatives activities.

KI donated millions lobbying for Keystone XL's construction. Supportive think tanks and congressional members are beneficiaries.

Charles and David's influence is pernicious and then some. They want unfettered freedom replacing civil society restraints. They want information about their activities suppressed.

They want unchallenged control. They want nothing interfering with generating maximum revenues.

They donate millions annually to right wing causes. On March 27, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) headlined "Inside the Koch brothers' campus crusade."

It spans America. It philosophizes about the "moral imperatives of free markets and individual liberty."

It's proselytizing goes way beyond Capitol Hill. It focuses on winning hearts and minds of college students. 

It manipulates their minds destructively. It does so at 163 colleges and universities. They're in 41 states and the District of Columbia. Many are left of center. Some have liberal faculty members.

Koch Brothers want students turned against them. They want their vision taught in classrooms. They claim otherwise. So do recipient schools.

Funds aren't donated strings-free. Agenda politics comes with them.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) advocates entrepreneurship freedom. It abhors regulatory restraint. It wants minimal taxes. 

It wants "encroachment of government in the economic lives of citizens" halted. It wants nothing restricting what business wants to do.

It fronts for Koch Industries. In 2004, David Koch and KI board member Richard Fink were co-founders. AFP targets progressive initiatives. Millions are spent doing it. Funding surges in election years.

AFP's agenda is corporatist, soulless, anti-labor, anti-eco-sanity, and anti-fairness. It's against consumer protections. It abhors populism. It wants corporate crooks kept free from prosecution.

It's pro-business, pro-war, pro-privilege, pro-super-wealth, anti-dissent, anti-democracy, anti-civil and human rights, and anti-government of, by and for everyone equitably and fairly.

Charles Lewis serves as American University School of Community Investigative Reporting Workshop's executive director. Earlier he founded CPI.

"The Kochs are on a whole different level," he said earlier. There's no one else who has spent this much money." 

"The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation." 

"I've been in Washington since Watergate, and I've never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times."

Their lobbying expenses rank among America's highest. They go all-out to have their interests served.

Ideally they want their message alone getting out. They pressure employees to support candidates they endorse.

They warn them about dire consequences otherwise. Their jobs are on the line. They'll pay for disobedience.

What Charles and David say goes. They represent dual noxious influences. They're more dangerous than corrupt politicians in positions of power.

They wield their own irresponsibly. Super-wealth lets them do what they want. They take full advantage.

For every dollar spent, they expect huge returns. They take no prisoners. They're all take and no give.

They oppose labeling carcinogens found in their products. They want them freely used. 

They're mindless about potential harm to millions. Profits alone matter. People are expendable. Their welfare is unimportant. Business priorities count most of all.

Tony Carrk is Center for American Progress Health Care War Room director. In April 2011, he headlined "The Koch Brothers: What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right," saying:

"Any attempt to understand the modern conservative movement will eventually lead to billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch." 

"Using their vast wealth and connections, the Koch brothers are key players in bankrolling right-wing political action groups, think tanks, and individual politicians, using this array of political power to advance their ideological agenda of limited government and less regulation." 

"Chances are they are part of any recent right-wing attack you have seen lately."

Charles and David use their vast wealth, business empire, and "political network to pursue their right-wing agenda at nearly every level of government. "

"Whether they are contributing millions in campaign contributions, spending millions on lobbying, or investing millions in right-wing think tank and advocacy groups, the Koch brothers’ influence is pervasive."

Their extreme right wing agenda benefits them at the expense of popular interests. They want them eliminated altogether. 

They want unfettered freedom to invest, speculate, trade and accumulate maximum wealth unrestrained. They want nothing interfering in their right to do so.

Anti-government fervor was a Koch brothers opportunity. They helped organize and fund Tea Party protesters. They turned their private agenda into a mass movement.

They took full advantage shaping and controlling an anti-big government uprising. They turned it into serving their personal interests. 

They got millions of ordinary people to support what harms their own welfare. They got supportive right-wing media help. 

Talk show hosts, commentators, and other media figures joined the movement. The New York Times earlier called it "a diffuse American grassroots group that taps into anti-government sentiment."

It's well-organized. It's controlled top down. It's a combination of loosely affiliated organizations. They're ideologically anti-big government, anti-spending, anti-immigration, and anti-compromise.

They're organized, funded and controlled by right-wing corporate lobbying groups. They're manipulated to support business interests. 

Companies like KI benefit enormously. It denies involvement disingenuously. Its communications director said earlier:

"Koch companies value free speech and believe it is good to have more Americans engaged in key policy issues."

"(N)o funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties." 

Their activities declined significantly since 2010. According to Professor Theda Skocpol, chapters dropped from about 1,000 to 600.

It's still a "very good survival rate," she said. Most groups shifted from national to local issues.

Doing so affected their visibility. Chapters place more emphasis on getting preferred candidates elected than pubic events.

Involvement in 2012 Republican presidential primaries was minimal. Perhaps lack of enthusiasm for unimpressive candidates was responsible.

After Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, The New York Times called Tea Party lawmakers "indisputably at the core of the modern Republican Party."

Koch brothers influence is very much involved. They bankroll Tea Party candidates. They do so with company and personal contributions.

They're a pernicious influence on US politics. What benefits them harms most others.

They're not going away. Their financial clout hugely influences US policies. Americans get the best democracy money can buy.

A Final Comment

Wall Street Journal editors gave Charles Koch feature op-ed space. On April 2, he headlined "I'm Fighting to Restore a Free Society."

What he has in mind isn't fit to live in. He lied claiming his vision would "create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans."

He means super-rich ones like himself at the expense of all others. He claims to oppose big government.

He wants federal, state and local politicians as well as bureaucrats benefitting him. He wants government resources helping his interests.

He wants social America destroyed. He ludicrously claimed he's not "trying to rig the system."

Millions spent lobbying buy influence. They're not used for good will. They're investments. Effective ones reap huge returns. 

They go right to KI's bottom line. They fill Charles and David's pockets. They come out of ours.

His notion of "liberty" is more for him and less for us. Everyone should embrace his "vision," he urges.

America already is unfit to live in. Imagine one run his way. Orwell put it this way:

"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Israel Targets Fundamental Freedoms

Israel Targets Fundamental Freedoms

by Stephen Lendman

Numerous Knesset bills compromise speech, assembly, association and dissent. Israel's free press is endangered. 

Palestine is ruthlessly targeted. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) documents events daily. Monthly updates follow.

It's latest report covers March. "(N)o significant improvement" occurred, it said. Throughout the Occupied Territories, "violations against (Palestinian) journalists" increased.

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) target them with "stun grenades and rubber bullets…" Injuries result. Arrests follow.

On March 23, Israeli forces attacked AP photographer Iyad Hamad. He was covering Israeli soldiers. They were targeting Aida refugee camp Palestinian youths.

On March 29, IOF attacked journalists covering a Jerusalem Earth Day commemoration.

On March 7, Israeli settlers assaulted three Palestinian photojournalists. Abbas Momani, Maath Misha'al, and Abdul Karin Mesetif were victimed.

On March 16, settlers attacked Palestine Today TV correspondent Fida Nasser. IOF ignored their violence. 

They detained Nasser. She was preparing a report on how Jewish holidays affect Palestinians in Hebron.

On March 23, IOF detained six Palestinian journalists near Nablus and Bethlehem. Mohamed Assayed, Mohamed Hassan, Rami Abdu, Mousa Alshaer, Abd-Alrahman Younis, and an unnamed US photographer were targeted.

On March 29, IOF Al Roaya TV correspondent Ahmed Barahma and cameraman Mohamed Shousha were attacked.

They were en route to a village near Jericho to film "Bab Alkarama."

On March 2, OIF prevented Alquds Net correspondent Diala Jwehan from covering protests against closing the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

On March 18, Maan TV cameraman Jalal Hamied as well as photojournalists Abd-Alrahaman Younis and Mousa Alshaer were prevented from covering a Tekoa area military jeep rollover incident.

On March 24, IOF prohibited Shihab News Agency correspondent Amer Abu Arafa from covering Israeli forces raiding Hebron City near Alansar Mosque.

Journalist Diala Jwehan said she moved from one place to another to take photos. A "Special Forces man approached and he pushed me hard," she said.

"I was also approached by security men who were about to beat me, but colleagues quickly dragged me away from them."

Faten Alwan-Alhura said:

"(S)ecurity personnel in…civil cloth started pushing us and all the journalists who were present on site, including my colleague, Yahya Habayeb - (an) Alhura TV cameraman…" 

"(W)hen (she) asked him why are you doing this…he commanded me to stay away or he (would) confiscate the camera…"

"(W)hen (she) asked him what his name was, he told (her): 'you journalists need discipline,' and then he said: 'Thank your Lord that you are not a man." 

She demanded knowing the security person's name. She wanted to file a complaint against him. "I'm a ghost no one can punish me," he said.

Journalist Abu Taima expressed frustration saying:

"There is a heavy burden on Palestinian women, and for 20 years we have begged the successive governments to protect women by amending the legal penalties and personal status, but without a avail, and since all Palestinian laws guarantee citizens the right to freedom of expression, it is our right as journalists to express our opinions about the government's different policies especially those relating to women." 

"The attempts to intimidate women journalists, offending and abusing them in any form, and imposing censorship on their writing are unacceptable and contrary to the spirit of the laws."

Photographer Abbas Momani said:

"I went to cover the clashes happening near the Israeli settlement of Beit Eil, and before I arrived to the site, I was surprised by armed settlers, they attacked my car and began throwing large stones at it from within a walking distance, and I remained inside the car." 

"The Occupation soldiers did not interfere to prevent it or stop it, and the settlers were moved away by the soldiers after they caused major damage to my car." 

"Luckily I only got minor injuries in my left hand, but they caused major damage to the car, the windshield was crashed and many parts of the car were damaged."

Photojournalist Maath Misha'al said:

"While I was shooting the attack on Momani, a group of arm settlers attacked me and my colleague Mesetif, where one began to beat us and put his hand on the camera lens to prevent us from coverage, and told us that photography is prohibited, and I told him you are not entitled to prevent us and you do not have the authority to do so, he pointed the gun at me, and the situation was scary, so I screamed at the Israeli army, and they moved him away."

Soldiers nearby did nothing to help him while under assault. He could have been seriously injured.

Complaints when filed are whitewashed. Most often Israeli security forces are at fault. Palestinian journalists aren't safe. Attacking them is standard practice.

Fida Nasserfor said settlers attacked, beat and sprayed her with red wine. Soldiers detained her.

Police interrogated her. She was charged with assaulting female settlers. They testified against her. They lied. Their word against Fida's mattered most.

Incidents like these are commonplace. Palestinian rights are violated. Journalists aren't safe. They're fair game. They're targeted for doing their job.

Majd Kayyal is an Israeli Arab journalist/researcher/political activist. On April 12, Richard Silverstein reported his arrest on return from Lebanon and Jordan.

Israel calls him a national security suspect. He attended a Beirut event. It commemorated As-Safir's 40th anniversary. It's a supportive Hezbollah publication, said Silverstein.

Kayyal participated in a 2011 humanitarian flotilla to Gaza. He's involved with the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. He's linked to the Israeli Arab Balad political party.

His activism makes him vulnerable. He's a "ready target," said Silverstein. After his arrest, Israeli security forces raided his Haifa home. They stole his computer. They took other electronic devices and materials.

He's denied him access to counsel. Doing so is standard Israeli practice during interrogations. 

Kayyal's lawyer said "prohibiting a meeting with an attorney is a gross violation of the suspect's basic rights." 

Victims are isolated. They threatened. They're beaten. They're tortured. Some face rape and/or other forms of sexual abuse threats. They're forced to sign confessions. 

Innocence is no defense. Persecution is longstanding Israeli practice. Palestinians are criminalized for not being Jewish. Rogue states operate this way. Ruthlessness defines Israeli policies.

Silverstein posted an earlier Kayyal Mondoweiss interview. He was asked about being concerned about mistreatment for being Palestinian.

"I hope not, but usually Palestinian activists face more problems from Israeli armed forces," he said. 

"However, as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, it's extremely important to show the unity of the Palestinian people to the international community and remind the political leadership that they cannot abandon our rights and must include the status of '48 Palestinians in any just solution."

Asked how he sees today's Palestinian struggle, he said:

"I think that the Arab spring is the most inspiring and is providing us with a renewed motivation."

He misread events at the time. Arab spring was far from blooming. Conditions today in countries like Egypt and Bahrain are worse than ever. 

Iraq, Libya and Syria are cauldrons of violence and human misery. Saudi Arabian persecution continues unrelenting.

Tunisians where Arab spring protests began remain repressed. Yemenis got same old, same old under new leadership. Palestinian suffering remains extreme.

Kayyal was hopeful, saying:

"I see that we need to rebuild the popular struggle on the ground. We need to revitalize the participation of the youth and the students in forging a more powerful movement…"

"Now is the time to move beyond partisan problems and focus on the main target, which is the colonial and racist regime Israel has imposed on the Palestinian people."

His arrest "constitutes a severe assault on press freedom," said Silverstein. 

Israeli lawlessness is under gag order. Israeli media can't report what happened or remains ongoing. Doing so risks possible prosecution.

On April 14, Silverstein reported more. Kayyal's remand was extended until April 22. Doing so gives Israeli interrogators more time to brutalize him. 

He remains incommunicado. He's isolated from outside help. Police state ruthlessness defines official Israeli policy.

Silverstein got a copy of Israel's gag order (o139 blog). The Electronic Intifada obtained a copy of the charge sheet.

Kayyal is being lawlessly investigated for "unlawful travel to Arab counties." For "contact with a (so-called) foreign agent."

Israel lies calling doing so constitutes "serious offenses against the security of the state."

Jewish Israeli journalists travel freely to Lebanon, Jordan and other Arab countries. Some are told not to. Prosecutions don't follow.

Jewish justice is one thing. Arabs another. Even for Israeli citizens. Rights aren't apportioned equally. Racism is institutionalized. Persecution follows.

Kayyal's freedom flotilla participation to Gaza alone makes him an enemy of the state. He's a marked man. Expect justice systematically denied. Perhaps longterm imprisonment.

Thousands like him languish in Israel's gulag. It's one of the world's worst. Abuse and other forms of ill-treatment are common practice.

Palestinians have no rights whatever. Silverstein puts it this way. Israel is the only so-called regional democracy "where citizens are created equal and treated so - unless you're Palestinian."

Adalah criticizes Israel restricting Palestinian citizens from traveling to other Arab countries. Doing so "impose(s) severe limitations on social, cultural and religious ties between (them and) wider Arab and Muslim nations."

Translated court proceedings indicate Kayyal said:

"I ask to be told the names of the attorneys and the court gave me their names." 

"The court has explained to me about the prohibition from meeting attorneys until 14 April 2014, at midnight, and told me that the hearing was held in the presence of my attorneys, who asked the representative of the police questions." 

"The court has explained to me that my father, mother and brother were present in the courtroom. I have nothing further to add."

Full translated court proceedings were as follows:

At the Magistrate’s Court in Haifa

13 April 2013

Days of Arrest 23318-04-14 Central Unit vs. Kayyal

Before the honorable justice Dr. Zayed Falah

Petitioner: Police Central Unit Versus Suspect Majd Kayyal
Present

  • Attorney for the petitioner - Warrant Officer Marcel Daman
  • Attorney for the suspect - Adv. Aram Mahamid and Adv. Fadi Khouri

  • Suspect - no appearance (he is brought into the court after the interrogation by the attorney for the suspect and the summaries)

  • Relatives of the suspect – his father, brother and mother

Minutes

Attorney for the Petitioner

Restates the content of the petition. Presents the investigative file to the court for perusal. Presents secret material.

Attorney for the Petitioner, in response to questions from the attorney for the suspects:

Q: Are you informed about all the investigative actions taken to date:

A: No.

Q: Have you given the court all the investigative material that has already been collected?

A: Indeed.

Q: Does the material presented to the Court include investigative memoranda and investigative actions that have already been done?

A: Yes.

Q: Have you also conveyed all of the actions that are yet to be taken?

A: Yes.

Q: At what stage is the investigation?

A: The investigation is still at its very beginning. The suspect was only arrested yesterday. According to the material that was found, he is expected to be investigated a few more times and the full future plan is before the court. I cannot commit myself to the number of investigations because I am not an investigator.

Q: What is the suspect suspected of?

A: What appears in the warrant. Contact with a foreign agent, leaving the country unlawfully.

Q: Is there a version for the suspicions?

A: (it is) all before the court. I have not investigated him and I will not investigate him. It’s all by the Security Service (Shabak).

Q: About the foreign agent crime - is it known who he is?

A: I cannot specify. It is all in the secret report.

Q: What are the circumstances of the contact with the agent?

A: It’s indicated in the secret report. As to dates - there is no exact date, everything is in the secret report.

Q: About the two suspicions - are they related?

A: I think so.

Q: Did the contact with the foreign agent happen while he was carrying out the second offense?

A: The investigation is being performed by the security services. All the material is before the court, for perusal. I cannot specify beyond this.

Q: An order restraining a meeting with an attorney at 8. The arrest warrant was issued at 9:30. Explain the gap.

A: It’s a technical computer transaction, (it took) until we took out the computer. He was arrested yesterday evening. He was apprehended at 19:50 hours. This restraining order is under the responsibility of the security entities.

Q: In the matter of the order - did you explain the suspect that he is prohibited from meeting an attorney?

A: I did not review the content of the warning because the security service did the investigation. All the material is before the court and there is a secret report attached. The security services could not appear in court, and that is why I am here.

Q: Did he wish to give a message to his relatives?

A: I know that there was contact with his relatives. He was informed that he is under arrest. Beyond that I have no idea.

Q: Did you inform one of his relatives that he is restrained from contacting an attorney?

A: I have no answer about that. It is in the investigative material.

Q: Was the suspect investigated about one event or about several events?

A: All the material is before the court, all the actions taken from the moment he was arrested to this day. I cannot confirm the number of events.

Q: Can you confirm that the suspect cooperated in his interrogation and answered all the questions?

A: I have not reviewed what was investigated and asked. I was asked to come [here] for extension of the detention. The security services continue their investigation. All the material is before the court.

Q: How many investigative activities did you do yesterday?

A: A preliminary investigation and a continuation today. I don't know how many investigations were done yesterday. There was a preliminary investigation.

Q: Explain why you are asking for 15 days of detention?

A: These are serious offenses against the security of the state and there is material to be investigated.

Q: Are there details of all 15 days that require his continued detention, in the form of a work plan?

A: There are not specific details of each stage and what is done every day. The actions that are detailed could change, because they are dynamic. They cannot be done when he is discharged. The suspect was arrested at his home in Haifa.

Q: Was the search performed in one house or two?

A: The material is in the investigative file.

Q: Did you have a search warrant?

A: Yes. I know about the search warrant at the up-to-date address, which the Israel Police has. I know one address, (REDACTED) Street.

Q: Did you issue search warrants to two addresses?

A: I issued a search warrant for (REDACTED) Street, which is his address, as recorded in his personal ID card.

Q: Confirm that the suspect has no criminal record.

A: I did not examine his criminal record.

The attorney for the petitioner summarizes:
I repeat the petition. I ask that it be fully granted.

The attorney for the suspect summarizes:

This is a 23-year old journalist, with no criminal record, who was apparently apprehended on the Israel/Jordan border. 

Since his arrest he has not been permitted to consult an attorney. No notice was given to his attorney and/or his family to visit him in his detention nor with regard to the prohibition on his meeting an attorney. 

As you know, and it is decided law, that prohibiting a meeting with an attorney is a gross violation of the suspect’s basic rights. I ask the court to take this into account and examine how many actions are required when the suspect is under arrest. 

I ask that he be released immediately. Alternatively, that he be released under conditions. As another alternative, that the number of days required under detention be reduced.

The suspect is brought into the courtroom, his family and attorney leave the room.

The suspect:

I ask to be told the names of the attorneys and the court gave me their names. 

The court has explained to me about the prohibition from meeting attorneys until 14 April 2014, at midnight, and told me that the hearing was held in the presence of my attorneys, who asked the representative of the police questions. 

The court has explained to me that my father, mother and brother were present in the courtroom. I have nothing further to add.

Decision

1. I have before me a request to extend the suspect’s detention for 15 days, due to suspicion of committing the crimes of contact with a foreign agent and unlawful travel to Arab countries.

2. I have reviewed the evidentiary material presented to me and have been persuaded that there is reasonable cause to suspect that the suspect has committed the crimes he is charged with. 

I have also been persuaded that there is the risk that if he is released he could disrupt the investigation and endanger public security.

3. I have perused the secret report prepared by the Shabak, which I have marked BM/1. 

This report includes background, investigative actions taken, and investigative actions that are still required, and I have been persuaded that the security entities must be permitted to complete their investigation fully, to come to the study of the truth.

4. I considered the possibility of releasing the suspect for an alternative form of custody and come to the conclusion that at this stage, there is no space for any alternative.

5. I have taken into account the fact that an order has been issued to prohibit meeting an attorney and I have also taken into account that the court must be permitted to oversee the investigative actions performed by the security entities, and for this reason I have decided to grant a number of detention days (than those) requested.

6. For this reason, I am extending the detention of the suspect until 22 April 2014, at 10am.

7. I issue an order prohibiting publication with regard to all proceedings in this case until 22 April 2014 at 10:00 and the proceedings will be held in camera until that date.

These minutes constitute reference for the detention.
Handed down and informed today, 13 Nissan 5774, 13 April 2014, in the presence of those persons present.

(signature)

Dr. Zayed Falah, Judge

Note: Israeli media are forbidden from publishing this transcript. Israelis are denied permission to read it. 

Police states operate this way. Israel is one of the world's worst.

A Final Comment

On April 17, an Israeli court lifted Kayyal's gag order. According to Adalah:

"Following a request we submitted to the court, the gag order regarding the matter of a visit to Lebanon that foreign media have reported on will be canceled. The cancellation will take effect at noon" April 17 local time.

Lifting it doesn't help Kayyal. At the same time, he was released from detention. It doesn't matter. Israel wants him prosecuted. His fate hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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