|Is this the end of protests?
If western governments need to keep ramping up censorship, propaganda and the persecution of journalists in order to defend western freedom and democracy, is it really freedom and democracy? And, is it worth defending? —Caitlin Johnstone
Canceling Free Speech
by C.A. Matthews
The best thing about being American, in my opinion, is The Bill of Rights. The best amendment in particular is the First Amendment and the part where it says that We the People have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. But Americans can’t even depend on that bit anymore, and it sucks.
Thanks a lot, fascists!
If you don’t equate free speech with our right to assemble and protest, then perhaps this recent incident involving arresting the bail fundraisers for the Cop City (Weelaunee Forest) protesters in Atlanta won’t upset you like it does me:
Rights advocates warned Wednesday that the arrests of three board members of an Atlanta-based bail fund could mark the beginning of a new era in the United States’ treatment of peaceful protesters—one in which both demonstrators and those who support them are targeted by law enforcement.
...The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Atlanta Police Department carried out the arrests of Marlon Scott Kautz, Savannah Patterson, and Adele Maclean of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund (ASF).
The group offers financial support to people who have been arrested for protesting, including the dozens of people who have been detained for resisting the development of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, also known by critics as Cop City—a $90 million police training facility that would take up 85 acres of publicly-owned forest. From ‘Behavior of a Fascist Police State’: Legal Aid Organizers Arrested After Backing Cop City
So much for the First Amendment!
The fact of the matter is that free speech has been weaponized. (Read Weaponizing Free Speech for a sample or two of what I mean.) Anyone expressing an opinion that isn’t sanctioned by the status quo can expect to be censored, arrested, charged and/or thrown into jail without even the possibility of being bailed out.
To this black mark on the First Amendment and The Bill of Rights I say: God bless America! Let “freedom” ring! (Yeah, right. *cough, cough*)
living in an era of “Cancel Culture.” Free speech isn’t seen so
much as a right as a suggestion. If
what you say doesn’t upset the powers-that-be and their sycophants and paid trolls, you’re okay, but
don’t you dare express an opinion they don’t like. Oh no. They can't have critical thinkers who can read between the lines, can they?
This fascistic outlawing of protesters is not just happening in the US—it’s a worldwide phenomenon. A recent video from The Juice Media out of Australia demonstrates just how inventive a “Five-Eyes democracy” can be when it comes to squashing voices of dissent.
This short video says it well. You don’t like something your government is doing (or allowing a big corporation to do) and you and your friends get out in the streets to protest it—you’ll wind up in jail and totally bankrupt. “Cool and normal” as the Aussies say. That phrase translates to roughly, “Bend over and take it,” in American English.
Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly have been effectively canceled. God bless… the fascists, or so it seems.Persons of conscience are being forced into making one of two difficult choices: Go along with whatever those in charge of our “democracy” tell you is “correct thinking” nowadays and shut up, or if you can’t “love it” you're told to “leave it.”
But where can we go? More importantly, why should we be forced from our homes because fascists desire endless wars for oil and want us to cooperate with the immoral death machine, a.k.a. the Military-Industrial Complex? Don’t we lovers of peace and harmony deserve to live here as much as the warmongers?
God bless... those who don't believe the lies.
The West sure loves to brag about its love of “freedom and democracy” and its “free press,” but it sure doesn’t act like it gives a flying Flag Day about them. Without independent journalists and media outlets, we wouldn’t have known about the jailing of the Atlanta protesters and their bail bond funders. Without the indies' reportage, we wouldn’t know about the US national security apparatus funding and endorsing coups d’etat around the globe, would we?
Journalists of integrity are fast becoming a rare and endangered species. They find themselves harassed and threatened with prison. Journalist Matt Taibbi did after his Congressional committee testimony concerning the Twitter Files. (Read Digital McCarthyism about how Taibbi was called a “so-called journalist” by members of Congress.) Reporters Veronica Coit and Matilda Bliss in North Carolina were actually arrested and charged with trespassing while covering the eviction of homeless people in Asheville’s Aston Park. During their trial, Judge James Calvin Hill refused to acknowledge their press status or that this was a First Amendment case. He found the duo guilty. In his decision, Judge Hill stated, “They may be journalists, but there was no evidence provided to the court that they are journalists.”
American reporter Gonzalo Lira is now sitting in a Ukrainian jail because of his in-depth coverage of the war in Ukraine. When asked if the US government would help free Lira, a government spokesperson wouldn’t say if US officials would even consider asking their Ukrainian counterparts for his release. Our so-called “representatives” are okay with letting a journalist rot in jail.
No precedence there, is there?
Meanwhile in the UK, journalists can find themselves treated like terrorists, grilled for hours, and their computer devices taken. This is what happened to The Grayzone’s Kit Klarenburg.
As soon as journalist Kit Klarenberg landed in his home country of Britain on May 17, 2023, six anonymous plainclothes counter-terror officers detained him. They quickly escorted him to a back room, where they grilled him for over five hours about his reporting for this outlet. They also inquired about his personal opinion on everything from the current British political leadership to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. From British police detain journalist Kit Klarenberg, interrogate him about The Grayzone
Aw...the smell of “freedom and democracy” wafting in on the early summer’s air! It covers over the stench of those pesky truth-telling reporters like Kit, Gonzalo, Veronica, Matilda, and Matt. Kit might even find himself locked up at Belmarsh Prison with fellow truth-seeker Julian Assange if a judge decides he's “not a journalist.” I sincerely hope not.God bless... independent voices who keep reporting what's really happening in the world in spite of threats from the fascist state.
This summer isn’t particularly a good time of the year for me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy sunshine and picnics, because I do. It’s just that I’m not that into American “patriotic holidays” like Memorial Day, Flag Day, or the Fourth of July. There’s not much to celebrate when your mind connects these holidays with endless wars for American hegemony, senseless killing for profits, and locking up persons who protest violence and report on war. Others simply associate these holidays with hot dog eating contests, fireworks, parades, and apple pie, but I just can't anymore.
There’s little joy to be found in any patriotic holiday pretending to be supportive of our First Amendment rights like free speech and freedom of assembly while our so-called “elected representatives" are ripping those very rights out of the people's hands. The fascists in power have ruined things for me. I honestly can’t see myself wearing red, white, and blue and waving a little flag while watching an Independence Day parade ever again.
I just can’t, knowing what I know. I can’t approve of the evil status quo hiding behind those once sacred symbols of the flag and The Bill of Rights. I’ll have to find myself another holiday to celebrate this time of year.
I know… Happy Bastille Day!
Related Articles and Other Insightful Links:
Honest Government Ad | Anti Protest Laws (SA) https://youtu.be/kecnSHmznic
The Crushing of Free Press Continues https://www.youtube.com/live/ggZHodvFu50
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker https://pressfreedomtracker.us/
If the Police Can Decide Who Qualifies as a Journalist, There Is No Free Press https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/02/if-the-police-can-decide-who-qualifies-as-a-journalist-there-is-no-free-press/
British police detain journalist Kit Klarenberg, interrogate him about The Grayzone https://thegrayzone.com/2023/05/30/journalist-kit-klarenberg-british-police-interrogated-grayzone/
State Department Won’t Say If It’s Working to Free US Citizen Detained in Ukraine https://scheerpost.com/2023/05/29/state-department-wont-say-if-its-working-to-free-us-citizen-detained-in-ukraine/
15 Reasons Why Mass Media Employees Act Like Propagandists https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/15-reasons-why-mass-media-employees
Authoritarianism Keeps Surging In Western "Free Democracies"
‘Behavior of a Fascist Police State’: Legal Aid Organizers Arrested After Backing Cop City https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/01/behavior-of-a-fascist-police-state-legal-aid-organizers-arrested-after-backing-cop-city-protesters/
Arrest Of Bail Fund Organizers In Atlanta Sets A Dangerous Precedent https://popularresistance.org/arrest-of-bail-fund-organizers-in-atlanta-sets-a-dangerous-precedent/
The Empire! "We're Coming For All Of You!" https://indienewsnetwork.substack.com/p/the-empire-were-coming-for-all-of/comments
Supremes Declare War on Wetlands https://scheerpost.com/2023/05/31/supremes-declare-war-on-wetlands/
Lee Camp: The Threat Of Dangerous Ideas And Why We Need Them (podcast) https://popularresistance.org/lee-camp-on-the-threat-of-dangerous-ideas-and-why-we-need-them/
Dozens of GoFundMe Users Seek Funds to Flee States Passing Transphobic Laws https://scheerpost.com/2023/05/31/dozens-of-gofundme-users-seek-funds-to-flee-states-passing-transphobic-laws/
Nearly Half Of Earth’s Animal Species Are In Decline
Police Use Water Cannons, Mass Arrest At Extinction Rebellion Protest https://popularresistance.org/police-use-water-cannons-mass-arrest-at-extinction-rebellion-protest/
The War We’re Finally Allowed to See https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/01/patrick-lawrence-the-war-were-finally-allowed-to-see/
G7 Versus Diplomacy for Ukraine https://consortiumnews.com/2023/05/31/g7-versus-diplomacy-for-ukraine/
Drone attack on Moscow aims to escalate US-NATO war with Russia https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/05/31/furs-m31.html
China builds global alternative as US-led financial order decays
FBI Reopens Assange Investigation https://scheerpost.com/2023/06/01/report-fbi-reopens-assange-investigation/
The Slow Ethnic Cleansing of Ein Samiya’s Bedouin Community
Weaponizing Free Speech https://continuousrev.blogspot.com/2023/04/weaponizing-free-speech.html
Digital McCarthyism https://continuousrev.blogspot.com/2023/03/digital-mccarthyism.html
Breaking News: Dr. Cornel West Announces He is Running for President https://chrishedges.substack.com/p/dr-cornel-west-announces-he-is-running
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