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American Censorship is Bad for Peace

I cannot sit back and allow the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids. — General Jack D. Ripper in Dr Strangelove Most people would agree that in any modern, wealthy, multicultural, free, non-colonized, democratic society, people have the right to know what is going on in their community. In fact, […]

The post American Censorship is Bad for Peace first appeared on Dissident Voice.

I cannot sit back and allow the international communist conspiracy to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids.

— General Jack D. Ripper in Dr Strangelove

Most people would agree that in any modern, wealthy, multicultural, free, non-colonized, democratic society, people have the right to know what is going on in their community. In fact, in order to fulfill their various responsibilities as citizens, consumers, workers, company presidents, government officials, family members, etc., they have to know what is going on. We want and need to know what our own government and foreign governments are doing; what products, services, and sociopolitical programs are available in our country; and what medical choices we have when we are sick or injured. There are exceptions, such as children and psychopaths, but in general, all people have the right to benefit from the knowledge in libraries, on the Internet, in museums, and in doctors’ offices. In U.S. cities, almost everyone has a right to a library card.

During a “state of exception” or a state of emergency though, some convincingly argue that you do not have the right to certain dangerous information. The United States is officially not at war yet with Russia; we just supply their enemies with lots of expensive weapons. But if and when we are at war with Russia, do U.S. citizens have a right to hear Vladimir Putin speak? When we are under attack by a lethal virus, do we have the right to hear about all the various methods of protecting our health, even alternative, traditional, foreign, naturopathic, or unorthodox methods?

Some would say “no.” Just as you must not be allowed to buy enriched uranium and download from the Internet blueprints for how to make a nuclear bomb, you do not have the right to protect your health from SARS-CoV-2 without using mRNA vaccines. And people who advocate for the Russians, who love Russia, work with Russian companies, promote positive images of Russia, and facilitate the spread of state-sponsored, pro-Russia propaganda must be silenced or banned. Like hate speech, there are certain statements that are just beyond the pale, that are too dangerous and must be suppressed. Some, such as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, argue that when teens are jumping out of windows, the government has a responsibility to step in and prevent people from reading posts encouraging them to engage in this dangerous behavior. With the Supreme Court case of Murthy v. Missouri, Americans are now forced to think about exactly how precious our First Amendment is, and when we prioritize free speech over health and safety.

In the U.S. today, the government is censoring people and publications on both the Left and the Right, the typical library book-banning activities are up, and there is evidence that artificial intelligence (AI) systems are now doing some of the censorship work, strengthening the hand of the government vis-a-vis the people in ways generally only seen during great crises or wars. (This is documented in the downloadable report from the U.S. House of Representatives “The Weaponization of the National Science Foundation: How NSF Is Funding the Development of Automated Tools To Censor Online Speech”).

Here we delve into two cases of the Government suppressing free speech, one on the “Left” of the political spectrum and one on the “Right.” On the Left we see the anti-racist and anti-imperialist, African-American activist Omali Yeshitela and two other socialists. On the Right we see people such as Jill Hines, co-director of conservative Health Freedom Louisiana, and Jim Hoft, founder of Gateway Pundit, a right-wing news site that reportedly has published threats against election workers for false claims of election-rigging. Suppressed along with these two on the Right but actually going beyond political categories, we see Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, epidemiologists that raised questions about government pandemic policies, and professor of psychiatry and human behavior Aaron Kheriaty, who was dismissed by the University of California, Irvine, for refusing an mRNA shot. And finally, we see the suppression of millions of people who do not identify with either the Left or the Right, some of whom are not conspiracy theorists, who have expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s public health measures that were taken in response to SARS-CoV-2.

Silencing African-American Socialists

In April of last year the “Uhuru 3,” Omali Yeshitela, an African-American man born in 1941; Penny Hess, a white woman over the age of 70, who is the chairperson of the African People’s Solidarity Committee; and Jesse Nevel, a young, white man who is the “National Chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the mass organization of the African People’s Solidarity Committee,” were charged by a federal grand jury with acting as unregistered agents of the Russian government. The Biden administration apparently considers them major threats to U.S. national security.

Yeshitela’s political roots go back to the Civil Rights Movement as a member of the legendary Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In 1972, he and others felt the need to move beyond protests and to capture political power, so they formed the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). This was and is an internationalist Black Power movement, or African internationalism, and has been developed over 50 years, fighting against colonialism, and this is not the first time that their free speech rights have been violated, he says.

Yeshitela explains that he got in trouble with the law this time by touring the U.S. in 2016 to gain support for a movement charging the U.S. with genocide, and going to Russia to speak about self-determination with a Russian NGO, not for the government of the Russian Federation. According to Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors, for the sacrifices he made for white, capitalist Russia, he has received the whopping sum of $7,000. In a summary of the case in October, the Grayzone’s Anya Parampil warns that “lawyers for the Uhuru 3 maintain that the DOJ’s justification for prosecuting their clients sets the stage for the US government to legally harass and prosecute other Americans who criticize US domestic and foreign policy, particularly where designated enemies like Russia or China are concerned.”

Award-winning peace advocate, spokesperson for the Black Alliance for Peace, and 2016 candidate for U.S. vice president on the Green Party ticket Ajamu Baraka has provided insightful analysis of this case. Early on in the “Russiagate” hype, he warned that those fearmongering about Russia would soon target anti-capitalist, Black liberation movements, just as they did at the end of the Second World War, when peace activists including W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) and Paul Robeson (1898-1976) suffered government oppression. (Robeson also charged the U.S. government with genocide. He did so in 1951 for their failure to stop U.S. lynchings).

Like Noam Chomsky, Baraka categorizes the U.S. as a lawless, “rogue state.” He warns that our “national security state” is engaging in systematic repression against anyone who opposes them, including “the Left” (from around 7:30 in the video). For example, people who protest “Cop City” are being labeled as “domestic terrorists.” What we are looking at is “McCarthyism 2.0,” he suggests. The Peninsula Peace and Justice Center is one of the few organizations standing up for the Uhuru movement’s right to free speech.

As Chomsky once said, “Democratic societies can’t force people. Therefore, they have to control what they think.”

Silencing Opponents of Government COVID-19 Policies

Besides the violations of free speech that have resulted from Russophobia, Afro-phobia, and reparations-justice-phobia, we are now also facing such violations caused by SARS-CoV-2-phobia, the biosecurity panic, and the war on the virus. In the opinion of Benjamin Wallace-Wells writing for the New Yorker, “the most eyebrow-raising revelations in the Twitter Files, documented mostly by Matt Taibbi and Lee Fang, concern the extent to which the F.B.I. and the Pentagon were interested in controlling what was seen on the platform.” For instance, Lee Fang has written about a British company called “” According to AP, they are “an established social enterprise bringing credibility and confidence to news and social discourse,” and they launched an app in the U.S. in 2020 that enables “users to receive personalized, verified and in-depth information on any storyline in order to restore digital trust.”

Such words might make some people feel safe, but Lee Fang warns about the American censorship advocate Brian Murphy, who used to be an FBI agent leading the intelligence wing of the Department of Homeland Security, and is an executive of Murphy has argued that the U.S. government must now rein in the social media companies, and we, U.S. citizens, must give up some of our freedoms that we “need and deserve” so that we can get our “security back.”

“Since joining the firm, Murphy has met with military and other government officials in the U.S., many of whom have gone on to contract or pilot Logically’s platform.” The company Logically is doing work outsourced to them by the British government. The government agency responsible, called the “Counter Disinformation Unit” or “CDU,” were targeting a “former judge who argued against coercive lockdowns as a violation of civil liberties and journalists criticizing government corruption. Some of the surveillance documents suggest a mission creep for the unit, as media monitoring emails show that the agency targeted anti-war groups that were vocal against NATO’s policies,” Fang explains. Apparently, not only groups that opposed lockdowns but also groups that promote peace are being surveilled and flagged as dangerous, by a foreign company based in a foreign country.

Not long ago, few would have guessed that Stanford University would be against free speech, but now it appears that some segment of the university is actively participating in censorship, as a kind of government proxy. Professor Jay Bhattacharya at the Stanford School of Medicine, who is an expert on health policy at Stanford University, and who holds an M.D. as well as a Ph.D. in Economics, has summarized the free speech case Murthy v. Missouri that is currently before the Supreme Court. He points out that Stanford University, his own employer, has a program called the “Stanford Internet Observatory” (SIO) (10:00 to 12:00 in the video) who describe themselves as a “cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies, with a focus on social media.” The program was founded in 2019.

In an appellate court struggle, his own university weighed in against him, and they claimed that the Stanford Internet Observatory is not a government cut-out, is just doing research, and is not meant to violate the 1st Amendment. He describes that as “disingenuous.” Stanford has a rule that they require researchers to adhere to, like universities around the world, that human subjects of a research project must not be harmed by the research. Yet this Internet Observatory is basically making a list, effectively a blacklist, of organizations or people to suppress. That would constitute an ethics violation, since the subjects of the research are U.S. citizens, and their rights under the 1st Amendment have been violated. Either this is not research, or it is unethical research, Bhattacharya argues.

In his expert opinion, the U.S. government is “the number one source of misinformation during the Pandemic.” His “short list” of their misinformation includes the following:

  1. The government overestimated the lethality of COVID-19.
  2. The risk to children was minimal, but the government talked as if everyone was equally at risk.
  3. The government suppressed the “idea of immunity after COVID recovery,” and made people wait for the vaccine.
  4. Evidence that masking was ineffective was available during the early stages of the pandemic. There was no consensus among scientists that masks worked, but the government recommended masks anyway.
  5. The government promoted the illusion that there was a consensus about lockdowns and censored the Great Barrington Declaration.
  6. The government censored people who provided evidence that the vaccines were not safe and effective, even after evidence emerged that there was a risk of myocarditis.

(12:00-17:00 in video)

In May of last year, the “New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s ongoing efforts to work in concert with social media companies and the Stanford Internet Observatory’s Virality Project to monitor and censor online support groups catering to those injured by Covid vaccines.”

The Stanford Internet Observatory is a proud member of the “Election Integrity Partnership” (EIP) along with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (“DFRLab”), Graphika, and the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public. The Atlantic Council are notorious militarists.

In his Twitter Files, Matt Taibbi calls the Stanford Internet Observatory the “ultimate example of the absolute fusion of state, corporate, and civil society organizations.” The DFRLab is partially funded by the Global Engagement Center (GEC). And they, the GEC, are part of the State Department. Taibbi views the GEC as part of the “Censorship-Industrial Complex,” along with organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the DFRLab itself, and Hamilton 68’s creator, the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD). In other words, it appears that many of the same organizations that have engaged in fear mongering over Russia or promoting militarism have also engaged in censoring Americans.


The U.S. has become a nation-state that is obsessed with national security. Ajamu Baraka sums up our situation best:

It’s us today but it’s you tomorrow, if you persist in any kind of oppositional politics, because the ruling element in the U.S. is serious. They are serious about attempting to maintain their hegemony, and their global hegemony. And the notion, of some of the values of the liberal framework, liberal philosophy, liberalism—they have completely abandoned that. They have jettisoned that. And basically they are engaged in lawlessness. The U.S. is now a rogue state. What we have domestically in the U.S. is systematic repression from a national security state that seems to be completely unbound by any kind of standards beyond its own. (From 6:50 to 7:40 in video).

Then Baraka raises a very important question, i.e., “Where is the opposition?” Our national security state is currently run by “liberals,” people who are supposed to care about freedom of speech and freedom in general, like their liberal predecessors who espoused the idea that freedom was an essential condition for happiness. (Never for people of African or Native American descent or for women, but they did espouse it for wealthy white men). Instead of protecting our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” they are giving us “death, shackles, and misery.” Now the question is, “What are we going to do about it?”

We need free speech if we are to build peace. Today they are coming for militant revolutionaries who reject white supremacy, for the narrow-minded Right, and for the medical scientists who recommend a different approach from the government’s approach to SARS-CoV-2. Without a thriving movement against the current censorship, the U.S. government, along with the companies that help the government censor people, could easily pull the rug out from under our feet, even as we diligently work for peace and human rights. Do not be surprised if tomorrow the FBI, or the “Blob,” (i.e., the foreign policy establishment including the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA), or any of the many companies that work for them in this constantly expanding biodefense industry come after you next.

The post American Censorship is Bad for Peace first appeared on Dissident Voice.

This content originally appeared on Dissident Voice and was authored by Joseph Essertier.

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