Censorship exists to some extent in all modern countries, including the U.S.A., the U.K., Germany, France, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. However, it is worse in some countries than in others. A government which censors the information available to its people, other than in a state of national emergency (e.g., a sudden attack by a hostile military force) is a government which seeks to keep the people in a state of ignorance, and should not complain if the people have no loyalty to it.

The Bill of Rights

From the first article of the Bill of Rights

Void where prohibited Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. — The first article of the Bill of Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

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.

The full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is also available (along with the U.N. Convention on Genocide and other human rights documents) at the on-line version of COMMON RIGHTS & EXPECTATIONS.

But in 2005 the UN adopted a resolution including A Universal Ban On Revisionism, in violation of its own Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Censorship of Criticism of Israel

Those who deny (in the words of Robert Fisk) "that the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israel, its use of extrajudicial executions against Palestinian gunmen, the Israeli gunning down of schoolboy stone-throwers, the wholesale theft of Arab land to build homes for Jews, is in some way wrong" would like all criticism of Israel to be labelled as "antisemitic" thus branding the critic's statements as heinous and unworthy of consideration. This is a tactic designed to derail criticism of the actions of a state whose violations of the human rights of Palestinians have made it contemptible in the eyes of the world. Supporters of Israel, unable to refute such criticism, are now trying to make it illegal.

[A proposed] amendment to Title VI of the Higher Education Act ... [whose purpose is] to require denial of federal funds to any university whose faculty or students, perhaps even guest lecturers, make statements that are in any way critical of Israel ... is an echo of Nazi, Communist and other totalitarian forms of censorship. — Terrell E. Arnold: Against The Law To Criticize Israel?

Some claim that the U.S. government has been subverted to serve the interests of Israel.

On October 16, 2004 President Bush signed into law the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. It establishes a special department within the U.S. State Department to monitor global anti-Semitism, reporting annually to Congress. ...

Here is a list of beliefs or activities the U.S. government now considers anti-Semitic:

1. Any assertion "that the Jewish community controls government, the media, international business and the financial world" is anti-Semitic.

2. "Strong anti-Israel sentiment" is anti-Semitic.


14. Alleging that Mossad was behind the 9/11 attack is anti-Semitic.

— Rev. Ted, The Real Motive Behind 'Dept Of Global Anti-Semitism'

See also: The Secret Relationship Between Israel and Oil: What the US Media Hides
But it seems this site has been "disappeared"; read this article here.

Some people (could they be Jews?) want to suppress not only any criticism of Israel, but also any mention of Israel. A philosophy professor has been fired for, among other things, allowing the students in his World Religions class to ask any questions they wish and for permitting discussion of Zionism. Unbelievable? Read about it here.

As noted elsewhere, censorship can be accomplished by suppression of any mention. A blatant example of suppression in the U.S. of unflattering news about Israel is the following. On September 11, 2013 (the 12th anniversary of 9/11), The Guardian (UK) published this article (and, no, the date of publication is not a "coincidence"):

NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel

The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals. Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.

News? You betcha! Incredible! Amazing! But do we find any mention of this in two of the major U.S. newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times? Examining the online version of The New York Times for September 11, 12 and 13 reveals no mention of this, and a search for "NSA Israel" (from their home page) does not turn up anything. When we turn to The Washington Post for the same dates there is also no mention of this on their home page. But when we do the same search (from their home page) we find an article, The NSA is sharing data with Israel. Before filtering out Americans’ information.. This in the Technology Section. But not mentioned in the Business Section, despite the high probability that Israel is scanning the unfiltered NSA data for information it can use to compete against U.S. businesses. But since this is unflattering information about Israel, neither of these supposedly prestigious U.S. newspapers sees fit to mention it on their home page.

Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid

This is the Executive Summary accompanying the report by the UN's Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA).

This report concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole. Aware of the seriousness of this allegation, the authors of the report conclude that available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law.
The report evoked a hysterical reaction from the US and Israel, and one of its principal authors at ESCWA (Rima Khalef, U.N. Under-Secretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary) was forced to resign her position. The other was Richard Falk, American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, who could not be fired.

The full report, which has been suppressed (censored) and removed from ESCWA's website, is here.

Further remarks concerning Israel may be found in the section on Zionism.

Censorship in the United States

This is a huge topic. Here we only touch upon it. Americans know little about censorship in America partly because of censorship in America and partly because they mostly don't care to know.

Put briefly, the "official version" of reality in America is a product manufactured by the U.S. government and the U.S. mainstream media, and fed to a (to some extent) unsuspecting public which (mostly) consumes it uncritically (since most people "educated" in the U.S. have never been taught to think critically), thereby making things easier for the ruling elite (easier, that is, for them to pursue their plans for global domination and enslavement of all human beings on the Earth). The successful promulgation of the official version of reality requires the suppression (censorship) of alternative versions.

For an example of a critical assessment of one part of current U.S. official reality, and the defense of an alternative view (never discussed seriously in any government-controlled newspaper or magazine, even those, such as The Nation, which purport to be critical of U.S. government policies), see The World Trade Center Demolition and the So-Called War on Terrorism.

Censorship in America works partly by ignoring whatever is inconsistent with the official story. For example, Michael Meacher, who was environment minister in the U.K. government from May 1997 to June 2003, published in The Guardian (UK) an article entitled "This War on Terrorism is Bogus". You'd think this would be of interest to many Americans, bombarded daily with messages from the Bush Administration about how nobly it is acting to defend Americans from those evil "terrorists" and their "Terror". But almost all Americans never had a chance to read Meacher's article because they never heard about it — it was totally ignored by the mainstream media in the US and in Canada (except for a brief mention in the Toronto Star). Readers of this website can read it here:

Michael Meacher: This War on Terrorism is Bogus

Censorship at Voice of America

Voice of America, a federally supported international broadcasting organization, decided not to air a story that included parts of a rare interview with the leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taleban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, officials said.

The decision came after Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and senior National Security Council officials told the organization's governors that it would be tantamount to granting a platform to terrorists. The governors then told employees to kill the story.

The Taleban had offered the organization an opportunity to interview Mr. Omar, which was done before the governors' orders.

"I was stunned, absolutely stunned," said an agency journalist who asked not to be named. "It goes against every principle of journalistic ethics."

— "Taleban Interview Suppressed", International Herald Tribune, 2001-09-24, p.6.

Perhaps the governors should request an interview with Richard Armitage about his trafficking in heroin (on behalf of the CIA) with warlord Khun Sa in the Golden Triangle (see Bo Gritz Letter to George Bush). Listeners to VOA would no doubt find this very interesting, if they were permitted to hear it.

Censorship of UFO reports

... is the story of how elements of the U.S. government, using standard methods of censorship and propaganda, as well as covert ties to well-known news organizations, attempted to hide the existence and activities of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) from the American public. ...

The author reviews the history of the UFO controversy for evidence of standard censorship methods and shows that, indeed, most of the same censorship techniques employed during other national crises have been applied to managing information about UFOs. This censorship, whether the result of a centrally orchestrated campaign or a remarkable series of coincidences, has made it possible for false and misleading information about UFOs to be foisted on the American public.

The Missing Times : News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-up

A variety of censorship occurs when a "news" source claims to provide information about some subject but actually ignores the important information and presents instead disinformation. A good example of this is the ABC program on UFOs that was aired in March 2005. Read more about this in Dr Steven M. Greer's Peter Jennings Defrauding: Inside the ABC News UFO Documentary Hoax. This is basically the way the US mainstream media works: providing sophisticated (or blatant) disinfo to hide what is really the case.

Self-Censorship in authoritarian societies

One important insight is how hierarchical authoritarian social systems function. Top down directives and commands, especially if they carry the weight of threats of censorship and punishment serve to keep any dissent in check. There is a great deal of self-censorship operating in all institutions in the United States. It is also important to recognize the role of a shared ideology among the decision makers, or perhaps more specifically the role of what social psychologists, in studies of organizational behavior, call "groupthink." Groupthink is decision making characterized by uncritical acceptance of and conformity with the prevailing view. Thus, the will of a few key persons can be spread within and across government agencies.

September 11th And The Bush Administration

See also the book Into the Buzzsaw: "Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press"

Censorship of reports of torture

Military autopsy reports provide indisputable proof that detainees are being tortured to death while in US military custody. Yet the US corporate media are covering it with the seriousness of a garage sale for the local Baptist Church. ... Anthony Romero, Executive Director of ACLU stated, "There is no question that US interrogations have resulted in deaths." ACLU attorney Amrit Sing adds, "These documents [in the ACLU report] present irrefutable evidence that US operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations." ... A Nexus-Lexus search November 30, 2005 of the major papers in the US using the word torture turned up over 1,000 stories in the last 30 days. None of these included the ACLU report as supporting documentation on the issue. — Peter Phillips, Hard Evidence of US Torturing Prisoners to Death Ignored by Corporate Media

Censorship of criticism of the American Diabetes Association

[Steven Cooksey's] website, Diabetes-warrior.net, features several nutritional recommendations as well as many pointed critiques about the ADA’s policies. In a recent post, he rips the ADA and details how he maintained a steady blood sugar without following any of the agency’s guidelines. ... It was that unwavering disdain for the ADA that likely earned him the censor-happy attention of the organization. Earlier this year, Cooksey spoke out against an ADA supporter at a diabetes seminar and, if his website is any indication, it’s not hard to imagine he probably didn’t mince his words. Shortly after the event, though, he received a notice from the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition informing him that, because he was blogging about his positive experience with the Paleo diet and offering up advice to readers and acquaintances, he was illegally giving dietary advice without a proper license. — Drew Bowling, Censored Blogger: "People Need to Know the Truth"

A conspiracy of lies, manipulation and disinformation

At this time in history, it is incomprehensible how a nation can enjoy the benefit of the most sophisticated communications technology in world history and remain so uninformed ... or dumbed down. The policies being carried out by the US government that are destructive, both domestically and around the world, are being conducted under a veil of secrecy. The only possible way this dumbing down or control of information could occur is that it has been socially constructed. It is a conspiracy of lies, manipulation and disinformation which increasing numbers of Americans are aware of and should be calling it treason. — Leuren Morat, THE KISS OF DEATH — NUCLEAR WEAPONS STEALTH TAKEOVER

Censorship of the Report of the League of Arab States Mission to Syria

Or more fully, censorship of the "Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012".

An anonymous commentor wrote: "We are being repeatedly lied to about the situation in Syria by our wonderful liberal media. The Arab League Monitors' Report was deliberately not translated into English for fear we might obtain an alternative view." Actually it was translated into English but the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) prevented publication on the Arab League's website and the complicit Western media made no mention of an English translation, effecting censorship by the usual method of simply ignoring what is to be censored.

But it was leaked. Click on this link for the English translation of the Report of the League of Arab States Mission to Syria (a 194 KB PDF file).

In Exposed: The Arab agenda in Syria Pepe Escobar says:

Essentially, the GCC created an Arab League group to monitor what's going on in Syria. The Syrian National Council — based in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries Turkey and France — enthusiastically supported it. ... When the over 160 monitors, after one month of enquiries, issued their report ... surprise! The report did not follow the official GCC line — which is that the "evil" Bashar al-Assad government is indiscriminately, and unilaterally, killing its own people, and so regime change is in order. ...

So the report was either ignored (by Western corporate media) or mercilessly destroyed — by Arab media, virtually all of it financed by either the House of Saud or Qatar [the dominant members of the GCC]. ...

The report is adamant. There was no organized, lethal repression by the Syrian government against peaceful protesters. Instead, the report points to shady armed gangs as responsible for hundreds of deaths among Syrian civilians, and over one thousand among the Syrian army, using lethal tactics such as bombing of civilian buses, bombing of trains carrying diesel oil, bombing of police buses and bombing of bridges and pipelines.

Once again, the official NATO-GCC version of Syria is of a popular uprising smashed by bullets and tanks. Instead, BRICS members Russia and China, and large swathes of the developing world see it as the Syrian government fighting heavily armed foreign mercenaries. The report largely confirms these suspicions.

In early February 2012 the "slaughter" in Syria was usually the lead story on BBC TV. Lies and more lies. The BBC is basically a propaganda and disinformation outlet for the Western imperialist powers.

Further reading:

Censorship in Germany

Publicly challenging Jewish "Holocaust" claims will lead to a prison sentence in most Western countries. And truth is no defense. The mere revealing of the lies and their machinations is deemed antiSemitic, you see. In fact, attempting to defend oneself against these charges in court, once one is charged in some countries, such as Germany, will result in fresh charges being filed. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Repeating the offensive statements in court is a separate offense! — Edgar J. Steele, The Truth Shall Make You Mad

Steele is not making this up. The lawyer of a person on trial in Germany for the "crime" of denying that six million Jews were killed during WW II cannot defend his client without himself being subject to prosecution under the same law. This is the case with the retrial of Frederick Toben. The judge in this case (Judge Adam) refuses to accept the defendant's choice of lawyer (Horst Mahler) but has ordered another lawyer (Michael Rosenthal) to act as defense lawyer. Mr Rosenthal has said that if forced to do so he would simply sit in the courtroom and say nothing, since to say anything in defense of his client would make him liable for prosecution.

For more on this topic see Ernst Zündel and the Zündel Heresy Trial.

Articles on other websites concerning censorship (including repression of criticism) in Germany:

Censorship in France

Internet Censorship

Many countries — including the UK — use filtering systems to limit access to outlawed material: in the UK the independent Internet Watch Foundation lists sites internet service providers (ISPs) are asked to block. The list is secret, and frequently updated.Google and Yahoo criticise Australia's 'heavy-handed' internet filter plans

Say NO to net censorship. In "Act Locally to Fight Net Censorship" Rich Burroughs interviews Jon Lebkowsky; an article from Cause for Alarm, May 1996.

If "act locally" becomes the net.activist's meme of choice in late 1996, it will be largely due to the efforts of Jon Lebkowsky, among others. ... Why is Lebkowsky all riled up? "The Exon bill, from which the CDA evolved, hit me pretty hard," he said. "I realized that ... repressive political groups were organizing effectively while progressives and civil libertarians were in disarray."

Another vocal defender of freedom of speech on the Internet is Declan McCullagh. Many of his articles are archived at the EFF "Declan McCullagh Publications" Archive. Notable among these is the article he wrote with Brock Meeks:

Keys to the Kingdom

Banned by Cyber Patrol This article, which won the top award for "Best Online Feature" from the Computer Press Association, exposes the hidden agendas of so-called blocking software programs. The CPA judges said that this article reveals:

that parental control software — which ostensibly filters out pornographic Internet sites — actually restricts access to all types of material both innocuous and important. Thus, software users unwittingly restrict their rights of free speech and access to information.

Global Internet Liberty Campaign Censorware: A Post-CDA Solution?

Barry Steinhardt: Open letter to the Internet community concerning the recent White House "Summit" on Internet content rating and filtering.

ACLU white paper: Fahrenheit 451.2: Is Cyberspace Burning?
How Rating and Blocking Proposals May Torch Free Speech on the Internet

Blacklisted by Cyber Patrol
A report from The Censorware Project.

Jonathan Wallace: The X-Stop Files
"Self-proclaimed library-friendly product blocks Quakers, free speech and gay sites."

Jonathan Wallace: Congress' Censorware Boondoggle

Nancy Willard: Filtering Software: The Religious Connection

The delegation of responsibility for making decisions about the appropriateness of information for students to filtering companies when there is evidence of affiliations with conservative religious organizations that may be affecting blocking decisions and when there is no mechanism in place to ensure the constitutional rights of students to access information are protected raises significant concerns that must be addressed.

Liz Burbank: The US “war on the internet”

Alex Newman: UN Plots War on Free Speech to Stop “Extremism” Online

The United Nations Security Council wants a global “framework” for censoring the Internet, as well as for using government propaganda to “counter” what its apparatchiks call “online propaganda,” “hateful ideologies,” and “digital terrorism.” To that end, the UN Security Council this week ordered the UN “Counter-Terrorism Committee“ .... to draw up a plan by next year [2017] ... for a UN-led crackdown on freedom of speech and thought online.

Soeren Kern: European Union Declares War On Internet Free Speech

The European Union (EU), in partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft, has unveiled a “code of conduct” to combat the spread of “illegal hate speech” online in Europe.  ... Opponents counter that the initiative amounts to an assault on free speech in Europe. They say that the EU's definition of “hate speech” and “incitement to violence” is so vague that it could include virtually anything deemed politically incorrect by European authorities, including criticism of mass migration, Islam or even the European Union itself.

SOPA: the Latest Attempt at Internet Censorship

SOPA is legislation currently (December 2011) working its way through the U.S. Congress, which would effectively enable anyone with a grudge against any website to attempt to have it shut down. See SOPA Is "Unconstitutional", Would "Criminalize" the Internet ... Modeled On China, from which the following is taken:

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe is one of the top constitutional experts in the country, and wrote one of the main treatises on the subject. Tribe wrote a letter [archived here] to Congress last week stating that SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) is unconstitutional.

As The Hill notes [Legal expert says online piracy bill is unconstitutional]:

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert at Harvard Law School, argues [SOPA] violates the First Amendment in a memo sent to members of Congress on Thursday.

The bill would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines, Internet providers and payment processors cut ties with websites "dedicated" to copyright infringement.

Tribe argues the bill amounts to illegal "prior restraint" because it would suppress speech without a judicial hearing.

Censorship of Essay Against Genocide

One of the means whereby censorship occurs is the refusal by publishers to publish information and commentary which are embarrassing to the powers that be.  An example of this is the censorship of the essay against genocide written by John Bart Gerald.
I began submitting the essay in 1992. Through thirty-five years of submitting my writings for publication, and often of controversial material, I was never treated as badly. Submissions were returned unacknowledged, or with undated form letters, or "lost" requiring re-submission, or my submission was ignored until I telephoned and pressed for some response. Sequential submissions require a rapid reading for timely issues. Submissions to Harper's, for example, where my writings had previously appeared, took nearly eight months before the piece was rejected. Beyond my own chances to put food on the table, the shut out suggested a wider policy that would attempt to ignore the Convention on Genocide and its applicability to American actions.  — J. B. Gerald: Suppression of the Convention on Genocide: Personal Encounters

Illegal Information?

Stop Senate Bill 1428

Lycaeum's home page has been blackened in protest of legislation currently working its way through the US Senate. The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999, led by Senators Hatch and Feinstein, would effectively end free speech on the Internet under the guise of protecting people from methamphetamine. Publishing drug information on the Internet would become a felony, punishable by up to ten years in federal prison. Simply linking to a web site containing drug information will also become a crime ... This is a misguided attempt to suppress the truth in a war where disinformation, censorship, and outright lies are too often the prohibitionists' main tools. If this bill becomes law, sites such as the Lycaeum and Erowid could disappear from the web entirely, and the door to further censorship on the Internet will be wide open. — http://crystalmeth.amphetamine.com

Operation Mockingbird

Project Censored

Censorship has been present in the U.S.A. for quite a while, but of course the mainstream media do not report it (since they collaborate in it). Project Censored (at Sonoma State University) has for several years given publicity to news stories of great interest to the American public which, for some strange reason, don't seem to get much attention in the mainstream press. See, for example:

The top 25 censored news stories in 1998:


and The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2002-2003:

#1: The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance
#2: Homeland Security Threatens Civil Liberty
#3: US Illegally Removes Pages from Iraq U.N. Report
#4: Rumsfeld's Plan to Provoke Terrorists
#5: The Effort to Make Unions Disappear
#6: Closing Access to Information Technology
#7: Treaty Busting by the United States
#8: US/British Forces Continue Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons Despite Massive Evidence of Negative Health Effects
#9: In Afghanistan: Poverty, Women's Rights, and Civil Disruption Worse than Ever
#10: Africa Faces Threat of New Colonialism
#11: U.S. Implicated in Taliban Massacre
#12: Bush Administration Behind Failed Military Coup in Venezuela
#13: Corporate Personhood Challenged
#14: Unwanted Refugees a Global Problem
#15: U.S. Military's War on the Earth
#16: Plan Puebla-Panama and the FTAA
#17: Clear Channel Monopoly Draws Criticism
#18: Charter Forest Proposal Threatens Access to Public Lands
#19: U.S. Dollar vs. the Euro: Another Reason for the Invasion of Iraq
#20: Pentagon Increases Private Military Contracts
#21: Third World Austerity Policies: Coming Soon to a City Near You
#22: Welfare Reform Up For Reauthorization, but Still No Safety Net
#23: Argentina Crisis Sparks Cooperative Growth
#24: Aid to Israel Fuels Repressive Occupation in Palestine
#25: Convicted Corporations Receive Perks Instead of Punishment

Stephen Lendman: Reviewing Project Censored's Latest [2008-2009] Top 25 Censored Stories

#1: US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street
#2: US Schools Are More Segregated Today than in the 1950s
#3: Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates
#4: Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina
#5: Europe Blocks US Toxic Products
#6: Lobbyists Buy Congress
#7: Obama's Military Appointments Have Corrupted Pasts
#8: Bailed Out Banks and America's Wealthiest Cheat IRS Out of Billions
#9: US Arms Used for (Israel's) War Crimes in Gaza
#10: Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt Illegitimate
#11: Private Corporations Profit from the Occupation of Palestine
#12: Mysterious Death of Mike Connell — Karl Rove's Election Thief
#13: Katrina's Hidden Race War
#14: Congress Invested in Defense Contracts
#15: World Bank's Carbon Trade Fiasco
#16: US Repression of Haiti Continues
#17: The ICC Facilitates US Covert War in Sudan
#18: Ecuador's Constitutional Rights of Nature
#19: Bank Bailout Recipients Spent to Defeat Labor
#20: Secret Control of the Presidential Debates
#21: Recession Causes States to Cut Welfare
#22: Obama's Trilateral Commission Team
#23: Activists Slam World Water Forum as a Corporate-Driven Fraud
#24: Dollar Glut Finances US Military Expansion
#25: Fast Track Oil Exploitation in Western Amazon

For information about books which were banned (perhaps some still are) but which are now available online see:


Sex, Laws and Cyberspace

Book This is a low volume mailing list concerning free speech issues in cyberspace. It is produced by Jonathan Wallace and Mark Mangan, the authors of Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace (Holt, 1996) and the CDA pages.

To subscribe send email to Jonathan Wallace, jw@bway.net.

See also Jonathan Wallace's analysis of the CDA decision:

The Supreme Court's Masterful Reno v. ACLU Opinion

The CIA and the Attempted
Suppression of "The Crimes of Mena"

The CIA has an active censorship program. See:

An attempt was made to suppress the publication in the Washington Post of an article by Sally Denton and Roger Morris called "The Crimes of Mena". This article concerned a CIA agent by the name of Barry Seal who was murdered in 1986 by agents of the Medellin drug cartel. Seal smuggled tons of cocaine into Mena, Arkansas, and had close links to the CIA. Someone did not want this story published.

The attempt at suppression of this article did not succeed — indeed it simply drew more attention to it. It was published in Penthouse magazine, and it is now available here on Serendipity:

The Fight Censorship Mailing List

This is a mailing list maintained by Declan McCullagh. The following appeared in June 1997 in a discussion of a sensationalist anti-net article in the New York Times:

Very few 'pro internet' stories deal with the REAL benefits of the Internet
— the breakup of the media monopoly, the 'everyone is a reader, everyone
is a writer' concept, the building of communities of interest rather than
coincidence. We all know about children meeting Evil Predators on the net
— why not stories about children meeting mentors, teachers, or counselors?
Rather than "My wife left me for her cyberlover!", why not "I met my wife
thanks to our shared interest in barbed-wire collecting"?

Let's look at that drug story. Why not write it like this?
"After decades of getting only one side of the story from teachers,
government, and a lapdog media, teenagers are now able to easily access
both pro- and anti- drug information on the Internet, and chat with each
other about their drug experiences in secure anonymity, permitting them to
make up their own minds on this complex issue.

Because Internet access is so inexpensive, people do not need the support
of advertisers or subscribers to post any information they wish — so views
outside the mainstream, which would never be aired in traditional forums,
can reach anyone with a modem, anywhere in the world. Further, the
interactive nature of the net makes it easy for people on all sides of a
debate to fire off points and counterpoints, so that the audience (who can
become participants at will) can make up their own minds, ask questions,
and raise issues that neither side might choose to raise on their own.

"It's wonderful for kids", says Mr. Fictional, teacher at Utopia Public
School. "We don't want them to 'Say No to Drugs' out of fear or ignorance,
but out of a reasoned understanding of the harm drugs can do to them — and
that means they need to get the facts, not a lot of scare tactics. The
government would never let us teach the 'straight dope', if you will, but
we can turn kids on to the net and let them learn for themselves."

There. There's all the "facts" — but a very different spin, no?

Pastor Niemöller Quote

The following is reproduced here because of its relevance to this critical moment in history. This is adapted from a statement by a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps (Pastor Martin Niemöller).

First they came for the hackers.
But I never did anything illegal with my computer, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the pornographers.
But I thought there was too much smut on the Internet anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the anonymous remailers.
But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from anon.penet.fi, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the encryption users.
But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

— Alara Rogers, Aleph Press

In September 1996 anon.penet.fi ceased operations (as a result of attempts by the Scientology organization to force the operator to reveal the identity of people who had posted anonymously certain documents concerning that organization).

Censorship and the "War on Terrorism"

In response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon President George W. Bush announced a "war on terrorism" and told the American people that they have to sacrifice their civil liberties in support of his "war", which most people seem willing, sheep-like, to do. A tidal wave of jingoism has engulfed the U.S., and any criticism of the President or the U.S. is deemed "unpatriotic" and is often punished by loss of employment.

But a war requires an identifiable enemy.  A war is a war between two or more opposing sides.  A "war" in which one side is invisible, such as this "war on terrorism", is a fantasy — a pretext to restrict civil liberties, to impose censorship and to engage in other activities not acceptable in a democratic society in peacetime.

A copy of the Serendipity website is available on CD-ROM.  Details here.

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