Curbing Free Expression

by Jay Taber I'm not all that worked up about the Supreme Court's formal recognition of corrupt government; it doesn't really change the field of conflict. The announcement by White House info officer Sunstein, however, recommending massive infiltration of peace groups by FBI agents in order to set activists up for arrests, does. Bush test drove that unconstitutional policy at the RNC and DNC conventions, but Obama wants to extend it to criticism and normal protest, in addition to civil disobedience. A concern for journalists as well. The first test will be March when Veterans for Peace and Cindy Sheehan set up a peace camp at the Washington Monument. It's also a break between pro-war progressives and IVAW, which makes for an interesting but unavoidable escalation of social conflict. So Obama appointee Cass Sunstein advocates arresting anti-war activists and critics opposed to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Well, if the White House information officer is that afraid of Cindy Sheehan, Amy Goodman, and Veterans for Peace, then it’s surely time to send a donation to Peace of the Action. While the Department of Justice has been harassing anti-war activists since the 1960s, this is the first mention of it being a government policy to curb free expression through illegal means. I suspect the Obama White House is floating this idea for three reasons: 1. to see how much opposition it generates, 2. to demoralize the anti-war movement, and 3. to make anti-war activists legitimate targets of derision by media, local law enforcement, and vigilantes. None of this is good news. But if you think back to what happened in the Nixon White House (Watergate) and the Reagan White House (Iran-Contra), it's not something we haven't dealt with before. They'll push until we manage to raise a ruckus and stop them. In the meantime, our online discussions and mentoring are helping prepare a cadre of operatives across the country to do our part. It'll be a mess as usual, but then nobody said liberty comes cheap.

*More of Jay's writing is available at http://www.jaytaber.com/

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