Freedom of speech

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Concept.png Freedom of speech  Sourcewatch
Freedom of speech.jpg
A fundamental freedom which is being rapidly curtailed by the so-called "War On Terror"

Concepts of freedom of speech can be found in early human rights documents.[1] England’s Bill of Rights 1689 legally established the constitutional right of 'freedom of speech in Parliament' which is still in effect.[2] The US Constitution also grants freedom of speech, though it has been deemed not to apply in certain circumstances.

“Take away freedom of speech, and the creative faculties dry up.”
George Orwell (28 April 1944)    —   [3]

Official Narrative

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." Article 19 additionally states that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities... [and may] therefore be subject to certain restrictions... [when necessary] [f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others... [or] [f]or the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals".[4]

Problems

The commercially-controlled media is highly partisan in its application of "Freedom of speech", as its control by the deep state might suggest. It is used to spread incitements to murder. It also unquestioningly echoed establishment allegations that at least one page on this website was "clearly anti-semitic" - but without naming the site or linking to it so as to allow readers to check for themselves.[5][6][7][8]

Censorship

Freedom of speech banksy.jpg
Full article: Internet/Censorship

A suite of technological advances (primarily the internet) has facilitated global exchange of ideas, allowing thoughts to be disseminated not based upon the social position of those who express them, but upon the ideas' own merit. This appears to have caused concern amongst the establishment, who are attempting to rollback this development by a variety of tactics. In 2015, a municipality in Canada announced that it had been taking legal action against people caught insulting police officers online, and floated the idea of fines for anyone caught insulting that municipal employees or police online.[9]

Geographical Limitations

Increasingly, restrictions are being set on the freedom to protest at events such as the G20 meetings. These are apparently enforced sometimes without any legal review.[10]

Schools & Universities

In USA, the constitutionally protected right of freedom of speech has been deemed not to apply in schools or universities. The FBI is instructing high schools across the country to report students who criticize US government policies and “western corruption” as potential future "terrorists", warning that “anarchist extremists” are in the same category as ISIS and young people who are poor, immigrants or travel to “suspicious” countries.[11]

A 2016 survey found that US college students had been conditioned not to exercise free speech, to the extent that "69% of students said colleges should be able to limit the use of slurs and other language that is intentionally offensive to certain groups" and 63% of students said colleges should be able to restrict clothing on similar grounds.[12]

Instead, these institutions devise policies which limit how much speech is permissible. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, has a strong policy prohibiting the distribution of fliers. Prohibited on over 99.99% of their campus, it is permitted only within a small "free speech zone" if the fliers are approved and the distributor has a "permit" signed by an administrator. This policy is facing a legal challenge by Nicolas Tomas after he was stopped by police on February 4, 2015 for handing out fliers.

Subject Limitations

Left (legal "free speech"), a Charlie Hebdo cover of July 2013, referring to the killing of Egyptian protestors after the military coup.
Right (illegal "defense of terrorism") posted on the net in 2015, referring to the Charlie Hebdo shooting.[13]

Free speech is not free if certain topics are off limits. It is interesting that some nations explicitly prohibit certain the public expression of dissent with the official narrative of certain topics (most notably The Holocaust).

The Holocaust

Many European countries have laws forbidding or limiting critical discussion of the Holocaust narrative. These include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Switzerland. In practice, the extent to which these are enforced varies, but some people have been jailed for years for simply publishing an opinion.

Antisemitism

This is probably the most common use of generally phrased laws about "race hatred". Six people were convicted of this in Italy in the wake of Charlie Hebdo.[14] In February 2015 in UK, Rev. Stephen Sizer posted a Facebook link to the Wikispooks page "9-11/Israel did it" (not alleging that he believed the article true, merely stating that "It raises so many questions"). The commercially-controlled media and Church of England were quick to accuse him of "antisemitism".[15]

"Terrorism"

Under cover of the "War on Terrorism", freedom of speech has been rapidly curtailed since 9/11. In January 2015, less that a week after freedom of speech was celebrated in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, dozens of people were arrested in an act of mass censorship by the French government.[13] In 2016, a woman was questioned after “suspicious behaviour” - i.e. reading a book about Syrian culture.[16] In November 2016, a teenager was found guilty of breaking anti-terror laws after naming his wifi network "Daesh 21".[17]

9/11 Attacks

In 2006 Clare Swinney brought a complaint to the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority pointing out that TVNZ's claim that Osama bin Laden organised the 9/11 attacks was an outright lie. Shortly afterwards, she was incarcerated for 11 days in a psychiatric ward and subjected to compulsory treatment, The head psychiatrist told a judge that she should remain in hospital as her belief that 9/11 was an inside job was evidence she was "delusional". The judge agreed.[18] An FBI internal memo suggested that "Conspiracy theories about Westerners. e.g. the CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands" were a "potential indicator of terrorist activity".[19]

France

The first legal restrictions on freedom of speech occurred in France in 1893, as a response to the anarchists' "propaganda of the deed". On December 11, 1893, two days after Auguste Vaillant bombed the National Assembly, it was made illegal to advocate any crime.

UK

In May 2015, David Cameron announced a plan to give "the police powers to apply to the high court for an order to limit the “harmful activities” of an extremist individual. The definition of harmful is to include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress or creating a “threat to the functioning of democracy”. He did this in the name of free speech, stating further "For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone... Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law."[20][21]

US

In 1919, a unanimous Supreme Court verdict decided that freedom of speech was not absolute. Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous argument that people may not cause a panic by shouting "fire" in a theatre was used to prosecute Charles Schenck and Elizabeth Baer, who in 1917 mailed over 15,000 people liable to conscription in World War I, encouraging them not to submit to the draft, instructing "Do not submit to intimidation" and "Assert your rights".

In 2013, a US judge ordered Roger Shuler, author of the Legal Schnauzer blog, arrested until he removed certain material (alleging "a sordid affair between a powerful Republican scion and a lobbyist") from his website. After 5 months in jail he removed the material.[22] This was done without a court hearing on the nature of the material, and the judge unilaterally banned him from reposting the allegations, without any formal discussion of their truthfulness or otherwise.[23]

In 2014, San Diego prosecutors have charged a rapper whose album they allege “willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by [gang] members.” The charges were dismissed in 2015.[24][25]

In 2015, a woman was stopped and interrogated by police for wearing a shirt with arabic writing on it. In August 2006, a man was prevented from boarding a flight unless he cover up this same shirt.[26]  

Related Document

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TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Tactics of Organized Jewry in Suppressing Free Speechspeech transcriptJune 2002Tony MartinAn edited transcript of Prof. Martins address to the 14th Conference of the Institute for Historical Review in Irvine, California about the tactics of organised Jewry in suppressing information they deem harmful to them


References

  1. Smith, David (2006-02-05). "Timeline: a history of free speech". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  2. Williams, E. N. (1960). The Eighteenth-Century Constitution. 1688–1815. Cambridge University Press. pp. 26–29. OCLC 1146699. 
  3. a b The Tribune
  4. "Article 19". International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by UN General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 23 March 1976). 23 March 1976. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  5. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2946831/Priest-banned-using-social-media-sites-six-months-posting-anti-Semitic-comments-claiming-Israel-9-11.html
  6. http://rt.com/uk/230883-vicar-9-11-banned-facebook/
  7. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-surrey-31298113
  8. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11399986/Vicar-who-blamed-Israel-for-911-attacks-is-banned-from-writing-about-the-Middle-East.html
  9. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/granby-moves-to-fine-people-insulting-police-on-social-media-1.3045816
  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G-XIIks1RE
  11. http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/fbi-has-new-plan-spy-high-school-students-across-country
  12. http://www.activistpost.com/2016/04/survey-college-students-afraid-to-speak-freely-because-they-might-be-offensive.html
  13. a b http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/france-begins-jailing-people-ironic-comments
  14. http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/rome-convicts-6-for-anti-semitic-slogans-1.1807034
  15. http://unwelcomeguests.net/721
  16. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/04/british-woman-held-after-being-seen-reading-book-about-syria-on-plane
  17. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/05/french_teen_suspended_sentence_wifi_network/
  18. http://uncensored.co.nz/2008/08/27/apology-from-hospital-for-misdiagnosis-as-delusional-owing-to-political-beliefs-at-last/
  19. http://www.hangthebankers.com/fbi-questioning-911-makes-you-a-potential-terrorist/
  20. UK Plans To Do Away With Free Speech... In The Name Of Free Speech
  21. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/13/counter-terrorism-bill-extremism-disruption-orders-david-cameron
  22. http://whowhatwhy.org/2013/11/25/in-jailhouse-interview-alabama-blogger-says-he-wont-budge/
  23. http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2014/04/legal_schnauzer_blogger_freed.html
  24. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-rap-singer-20141120-story.html
  25. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/San-Diego-Tiny-Doo-Rapper-Gang-Conspiracy-Case--296455551.html
  26. http://gothamist.com/2015/09/24/nypd_security_theater.php
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