“Great Champions of Freedom of Expression”?

January 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


In condemning the murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists in France, the U.S. rulers are posturing as great champions of free speech and expression. But what’s the reality?

» Murder, Spying, and Police Dirty Tricks in the 1960s. During the 1960s, revolutionaries like Black Panther Fred Hampton and author and prisoner George Jackson were murdered by police for exposing the system’s crimes and advocating revolution. The government engaged in massive spying against the Black liberation struggle, the antiwar movement, and progressive artists, as well as secret attempts under the FBI’s COINTELPRO program to disrupt, discredit, and suppress them.

» Murder, Targeting, Jailing of RCP Supporters. On April 22, 1980, Damián García was murdered while building for May 1st, 1980 in a Los Angeles housing project, as a police agent stood nearby. Damián’s killer declared, “You hate the government, I am the government, your flag is red, mine is red, white and blue.”

There were attempts to frame RCP Chairman Bob Avakian and to send him to jail for decades for a speech before a demonstration. There have been arrests, beatings by police, and often imprisonment of hundreds of RCP supporters for essentially acts of free speech.

» Spying on Hundreds of Millions, Criminalizing Online Speech. Today, the U.S. conducts blanket surveillance of tens, probably hundreds of millions of phone and Internet communications—here and around the world. And it is criminalizing oppositional political speech online, including in social media. In Britain, some 20,000 people have been investigated for online comments. Glenn Greenwald reports that a British youth was jailed in 2012 for condemning British soldiers in Afghanistan (The Intercept, January 6, 2015), and that in December 2014 police in Massachusetts “issued a criminal summons to 27-year-old Charles DiRosa for posing an ‘anti-police Facebook post.’”

On June 4, 2014, hundreds of New York police launched a military-style raid on two Harlem housing projects, arresting 40 for an alleged gang “conspiracy.” The pigs’ so-called case was based on tens of thousands of tapped phone calls from jail, hundreds of hours of surveillance video, and police spying on over a million social media pages. (See “NYPD Terrorizes Harlem Neighborhood—Seizes Dozens of Youth.”)

» Imprisoning and Persecuting Whistleblowers and Truth-Tellers. When journalists, government, or military personnel and others try to expose the crimes being committed by the U.S., they are ruthlessly hunted down, persecuted, and jailed. The only person imprisoned over the U.S.’s illegal and immoral torture program was a former CIA agent who tried to expose it—John Kiriakou. Private Chelsea Manning has been held in conditions amounting to torture and sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking documents exposing U.S. war crimes, lies, and other machinations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden was forced to flee the U.S. in order to expose the truth about the U.S.’s massive spying programs.

» Supporting Police State–Torture Regimes Around the World. A list of U.S. allies reads like a who’s who of military juntas and torture regimes where dissenters and radicals are rounded up without trial and tortured. One is Saudi Arabia, a key ally, where the legal penalty for journalists who “insult Islam” is flogging, and where beheadings are routinely carried out.


Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.