But Saying So Might Land You In Prison
The hallmark of an effective dictatorship, whether that be Stalinist Russia or Hitler’s Germany, is the wholesale silencing of the opposing voice. Criticism of the government must be eliminated because the foundation of despots crumbles when their authority is questioned in a sober and educated manner. For those of us who don’t live in countries like China or Zimbabwe, a benchmark of how healthy our freedoms are is to judge how our government reacts to criticism. We should therefore be alarmed that a growing pretext is being set whereby it is either illegal or an act of political suicide to criticise President Bush.
Prior to September 11, jokes about George W. Bush’s questionable intelligence were the highlight of any given evening at the comedy club. Bush’s own words provided enough material to build on. Consider the following,
"I've coined new words, like, misunderstanding and Hispanically."—Radio-Television Correspondents Association dinner, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2001
"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.''—Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001
"Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning.” - Florence, SC, Jan. 11, 2000
"I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is underestimating."—U.S. News & World Report, April 3, 2000
Since the terrorist attacks, any questioning of Bush’s mental capacity is viewed as subversive activity. If you’re a politician, you must resign immediately. If you’re a member of the public, you may be subject to an FBI investigation.
In September of 2002, German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin suggested that Bush’s foreign policy was planned to distract from his domestic problems, a tactic used by Hitler. The media hijacked the comments and concocted headlines like ‘German Minister says Bush is new Hitler’. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, eager to childishly avenge German non-cooperation in the war with Iraq, responded by labelling the comments as "outrageous and inexplicable." Despite a public apology, Daeubler-Gmelin was subsequently forced to resign from office.
As an aside, in a decidedly unsophisticated propaganda crusade, the Bush administration has compared Saddam Hussein to Hitler. Hitler’s projected 1,000-year Reich was to be built by invading countries and setting up a pan-European empire. Ask yourself, how many countries has Bush threatened to invade compared to Saddam Hussein?
Just a month after Daeubler-Gmelin resigned, Francoise Ducros, a top aide to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, referred to President Bush as “a moron” at the NATO summit in Prague. The comment was made to a radio reporter and instantly became front-page news. In stark contrast with their reaction to Daeubler-Gmelin, the White House trotted out Flesicher to dismiss the comment as “something from someone who doesn't speak for the Canadian government.'' They wanted to keep Canada sweet because at that stage their unbridled support for a war on Iraq was on the verge of being secured. Ducros apologized but was forced to resign shortly after.
Just a day after Ducros quit, the British satirical cartoon show, 2DTV, were informed by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) that an ad for their Christmas video had been banned. The commercial featured a cackling Bush mistakenly putting the videotape in a toaster instead of a video player. The BACC ruled that the ad was offensive to Bush’s intelligence. This, despite the fact that the programme itself ‘offends’ Bush’s intelligence on a weekly basis. 2DTV produced a milder second version of the ad but this too was banned because it portrayed the President in a negative light. The realization that the man supposedly leading the free world in a war against global terrorism was in fact quite stupid is just too hot to handle.
The consequences of criticizing Bush were fully understood by these politicians and companies. However, at least they have a media platform on which to defend themselves. This saga takes on a more sinister tone when individuals are persecuted for daring to stand up to Bush.
A protest group called ‘Turn Your Back on Bush’ experienced the full force of the new post-9/11 dictatorship after they discovered the President was to fulfil a speaking engagement at Ohio State University on June 14 2002. Lost in the muddy nostalgia of a pre-9/11 America, where groups had at least some rights to assemble, the protestors thought they could rekindle the days where a Bush appearance went hand in glove with a chorus of boos from a sizeable minority. Not so, Richard Hollingsworth, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, warned the group that he was aware of their plans and that any protest would entail ejections and arrests being made. He also threatened undergraduates that their diploma would be stripped if they were to do so much as make a sound.
This had a massive chilling effect and only a handful of students and others actually did turn their back on Bush at the ceremony. One was ejected by police and his arrest was probably only avoided because he was carrying a three-year-old child. This enabled the Washington Post to state, "If there was a protest in the stadium, it was not visible to reporters." The Post could then concentrate on the sycophantic response of the audience to Bush’s every sentence with glee.
Richard Humphreys, a resident of Portland Oregon, was sentenced to three years in jail after he made a joke about President Bush during Bush’s March 2001 trip to Sioux Falls. The joke included the line "I said God might speak to the world through a burning Bush," which was taken as meaning Humphreys wanted to douse Bush in flammable liquid and set him ablaze. A bartender overheard and immediately alerted the police to the activities of this dangerous terrorist. The actual arrest was obviously made before September 11 but the way that event changed the mindset of the American authorities no doubt contributed to the ridiculous three year prison term, which was handed out in June 2002. This story was originally reported by CNN, who mysteriously chose to remove the article from their website just a few weeks after its appearance.
If you think that was an overreaction, just consider the case of a student at Bellbrook High School in Ohio. The unnamed teenager chose to wear a T-shirt with the words “not my president” superimposed over a picture of President Bush. When a crosshair was added to the design, two students came forward and complained to the school administrators. The Assistant Principal then made the decision to call the FBI because the high school kid could have been a terrorist planning to assassinate Bush. What’s even more absurd is that the FBI actually treated the case with the utmost significance and the investigation was eventually turned over to the Secret Service!
These are the real threats to America – not wide-open borders or Muslim fanatics – but high school children with political T-shirts. The authorities seem really keen on protecting us from terrorism, don’t they? In a gut-wrenching climax to the story, the two kids who snitched on the teenage terrorist were praised as heroes. The Assistant Principal said they had complied with the demand of the government - that citizens stand together with homeland security and keep an eye out for potential terrorist activity, for this, he was proud of them.
The liberties of Americans, as enshrined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, were erected on the foundation of logic that the citizenry has to watch its government like a hawk. Any government that is allowed to roam freely without checks and balances becomes tyrannical. History has proven this over and over again. In the new America, the government watches the citizens and in turn the citizens are told to watch each other. Criticism of the government is outlawed and anyone that does so is either ridiculed or thrown in jail. If America is to be rescued from being the home base of a global fascist empire, we need put our foot down. We need to criticize the government more than ever.
Then again, I might just be a terrorist and you should really call the FBI for the good of the Fatherland.
Paul Joseph Watson PropagandaMatrix.com
Paul Joseph Watson is a writer and researcher based in Sheffield, England. He is the Webmaster at both PropagandaMatrix.com and PrisonPlanet.com. Watson's new book Order Out of Chaos - published by Dandelion - will be released later this year.