Free Speech Under Siege in U.S.

By Phil Giraldi

Thanks to the Bill of Rights you can currently say anything you want in the United States as long as it doesn’t offend those who are powerful. If you do upset the oligarchs who run our country through corruption of public officials, they have a thousand ways to get you. I recently wrote an article on the use of lawfare to block people and views one objects to by taking them to court on some pretext and bankrupting them through legal fees and penalties. The court system hardly represents the people. It represents the big money interests that the judges consider their real peers in the establishment,

The United States has in fact embraced the suppression of unpopular views and the nations and groups that it finds offensive through the use of sanctions, which are essentially punishments doled out arbitrarily as the government can issue a sanction without having to provide any evidence or make a case. And, when the White House sanctions a foreign government or group, secondary sanctions kick in to prevent anyone from exchanging goods or services with the targeted entity.

I recently was on the receiving end of a Department of the Treasury demand that I stop writing for a foreign website which had been sanctioned. I was warned that I might be subject to a $311,562 fine if I failed to comply. Insofar as I could determine, the foreign website was only guilty of having strongly condemned United States foreign policy, as do I and many other Americans.

In a system as corrupted as the U.S. federal government, it is inevitable that powerful groups will surface that will be able to dictate what is acceptable and what is not. That very often comes down to what might once have been regarded as free speech issues. The Democratic Party might reasonably be described as a group of satrapies representing certain special interests, most visibly homosexuals, blacks and Jews. The balancing act required to keep all the subsets under control frequently strains credibility.

In late January, Joe Biden made an impassioned speech demanding that the so-called Equal Rights Amendment should immediately become part of the U.S. Constitution because it is “the clear will of the American people.”

Ironically, Joe heads a government that believes that race and gender discrimination is okay as long as it is directed against white men. He is also currently pushing for national education reform, which some refer to as either dumbing down or reverse racism, designed to bring more “diversity” and “equity” into the system. Doing so, of course, will require “affirmative action”-style discrimination based on race, and the president is also pledged to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice based solely on skin color and gender, not on qualifications or preparation for the position.

Other candidates need not apply, and “equal rights” depend on who you are. A leading candidate reportedly is black, a woman and also Jewish, which checks just about all the boxes Biden wants checked.

So Biden either understands the meaning of the words and expressions he uses, or he doesn’t. He probably thinks it doesn’t matter as he is speaking to a receptive and not very critical audience, that includes his mainstream media allies. And there is also Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who is there to poke the president in the ribs when Biden is hesitating or has to sound or look presidential.

George Orwell’s “Newspeak” is definitely on the way. January 27 was International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and some of the antics engaged in by presumably well-educated adult politicians and government officials perhaps offer a glimpse into what is coming in terms of the waning ability to speak one’s mind. The United Nations approved an Israeli motion calling for a crackdown on “Holocaust denial,” and Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan demanded that such content be banned from social networking media worldwide. He claimed that:

Holocaust denial has spread like a cancer. It has spread under our watch. It has spread because people have chosen to be irresponsible and to avoid accountability. . . . As you dodge responsibility, evil grows. . . . Social media giants can no longer remain complacent to the hate that spreads on their platforms.

To be accurate, the avoiding accountability claim sounds more like Israeli behavior than that of the alleged deniers. To cite Orwell again, what Israel and the United States understand is that when it comes to establishing the preferred narrative, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. . . . The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.”

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The irony is that free speech is already a distant memory in Europe, where Orwell opined that, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” Constitutions guaranteeing a right to free speech proliferate in the Old World, but are ignored by governments, particularly if one is addressing almost anything having to do with World War II.

Witness how in Europe the issue of so-called “Holocaust denial” has been widely criminalized by way of so-called “memory laws.” Memory laws:

 . . . prohibit the denial, justification, or trivialization of the crimes committed by the Nazis during World War II. . . . France has had a ban on Holocaust denial in place since 1990. Austria’s ban was adopted in 1992, and Belgium’s is from 1995. Germany itself did not adopt an explicit ban until 1994, though it countered Holocaust denial before then through laws against defamation, incitement, and disparaging the memory of the dead. . . . Holocaust denial laws were also approved in the 1990s by the European Court of Human Rights (under the Council of Europe), which stated that the negation or revision of “clearly established historical facts—such as the Holocaust . . . would be removed from the protection” of free speech under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Bear in mind that “Holocaust denial” includes any questioning of any aspect of the standard narrative. Interestingly, a bit of pushback against a Holocaust exemption for free speech appeared in an issue of Foreign Policy magazine, entitled “First they came for the Holocaust Deniers and I did not speak out.” The author of the article, Jacob Mchangama, observes how hate speech and similar legislation has an unfortunate tendency to propagate and be used by governments to block all kinds of speech and writing that is actually quite innocent of any agenda but disapproved of by those in power. He cites how, in 2014, a Russian blogger named Vladimir Luzgin was arrested and imprisoned after writing quite innocently on social media that communist Russia and Nazi Germany collaborated to invade Poland in 1939 and thus began World War II. His account was correct in the eyes of many historians, but the way it was presented offended someone in power and he was found guilty of misrepresenting the historical record relating to the “Great Patriotic War against Germany.”

It is not completely clear what kind of Brave New World the Democrats are intent on creating, but once free speech goes and the universities go fully “woke,” there will no longer be platforms to challenge the status quo. Publication like American Free Press will continue to come under pressure to toe the line or the arbiters of decorum in Washington will make sure that the message is received that there will be consequences. We have entered into a strange twilight zone where what really happens now and what happened in the past will not be subject to examination or debate.

Will it be a better or safer world because of that? Undoubtedly no, and one can only hope that most of us will survive it and come up with something better to replace our tottering republic.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest. Other articles by Giraldi  can be found on the website of the Unz Review.

1 Comment on Free Speech Under Siege in U.S.

  1. An Equal Rights Amendment sounds like a cherry on top. We need a practising Protestant fundamentalist culture to upset applying Constitutional principles and that is out of time.

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