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OfflineRonoS
DSYSB since '01
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Registered: 01/26/01
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Free Speach = Treason???
    #1295305 - 02/10/03 05:56 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

New York Sun suggests treason prosecution for free speech (2/7)
By Brendan Nyhan
Since Sept. 11, 2001, we have documented http://www.spinsanity.org/topics/ many instances in which pundits and politicians have tried to demonize dissent, suggesting that it is unpatriotic and even that it aids the enemy. But none has gone so far as to suggest an actual prosecution for treason simply for voicing one's political views - until now.
In an editorial http://www.nysun.com/sunarticle.asp?artID=529 yesterday, the editors of the New York Sun, a conservative newspaper founded last year, call on New York City to obstruct a protest against a potential war in Iraq for as long as possible and to monitor the protestors for "an eventual treason prosecution." This breathtaking article is a direct attack on the free speech rights of every American.
The Sun begins with this paean to obstruction of the constitutional right to political protest:
Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly are doing the people of New York and the people of Iraq a great service by delaying and obstructing the anti-war protest planned for February 15. The longer they delay in granting the protesters a permit, the less time the organizers have to get their turnout organized, and the smaller the crowd is likely to be. And we wouldn't want to overstate the matter, but, at some level, the smaller the crowd, the more likely that President Bush will proceed with his plans to liberate Iraq. And the more likely, in that case, that the Iraqi people will be freed and the citizens of New York will be rescued from the threat of an Iraqi-aided terrorist attack.
As the Sun goes on to say, the city objects not to the demonstration itself, but to the demonstrators' plan to "march down First Avenue near the United Nations," which would obstruct traffic and require police protection. But the editors' logic is clear -- irrespective of these factors, it is desirable to obstruct free speech rights in order to advance a particular political cause. No matter that public officials are obligated not to discriminate between groups in this way. This shows a willful disregard for the legal principles of free speech, though the editors grudgingly concede later in the piece that the demonstrators "probably" have a right to hold their protest.
But "[s]o long as the protesters are invoking the Constitution," the Sun continues, "they might have a look at Article III," which provides a legal definition of treason, including the requirement of two witnesses for a treason prosecution. How is the protest in any way relevant to treason? Check out this pseudo-logic: "There can be no question at this point that Saddam Hussein is an enemy of America... And there is no reason to doubt that the 'anti-war' protesters -- we prefer to call them protesters against freeing Iraq -- are giving, at the very least, comfort to Saddam Hussein."
Do conservatives who oppose invading North Korea give comfort to Kim Jong Il? Or what about those who opposed the NATO intervention against Serbia - did their position necessarily give "aid and comfort" to Slobodan Milosevic? Of course not. There are many horrible anti-American regimes and dictators in the world. Opposing an intervention against one is neither "aid" nor "comfort"; it is a legitimate expression of democratic views about US foreign policy. To suggest otherwise is simply an attempt to stigmatize dissent.
But the Sun is not content to merely hint that opponents of an invasion of Iraq are treasonous. It states this accusation outright based on its two-part syllogism above:
So the New York City police could do worse, in the end, than to allow the protest and send two witnesses along for each participant, with an eye toward preserving at least the possibility of an eventual treason prosecution. Thus fully respecting not just some, but all of the constitutional principles at stake.
Even White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who has seen fit to try to intimidate critics of the administration http://www.spinsanity.org/columns/20030106.html in the past, called protests against the war patriotic during his White House briefing http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030206-13.html yesterday:
It is emphatically a patriotic act for people to protest on behalf of whatever cause they see fit in our country. And if some differ with the President and call for the use of no force and take to the streets peacefully to protest that, that's the finest tradition of America. It's not new. It's been the way the American people communicate with their government for hundreds of years. We settle our differences in this country through elections and through peaceful protest.
With war looming and commentators like Ann Coulter peddling treason accusations in her syndicated column http://www.townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/ac20030206.shtml and an upcoming book http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400050308/spinsanity-20/ , we must take a stand against the use of such tactics. Treason is one of the most serious accusations imaginable. It must not be used to poison political debate.


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"Life has never been weird enough for my liking"


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OfflineBowlKiller
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Registered: 09/22/02
Posts: 757
Last seen: 12 years, 7 months
Re: Free Speach = Treason??? [Re: Rono]
    #1320321 - 02/19/03 07:05 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Police are being trained to target patriotic americans. They are lumped in with extreemists and terrorists. So for example if you have someone speaking freely about things then cops will not hesitate to detain that individual. Now remember because of the patriot act (the naming of such an act is so ironic its shameful) such persons who are detained for free speach i.e. treason, will have no recourse vs. this unlawful act.

Its going to happen, but wait it is already happening!! It is going to happen to you or someone you know.

And some still question the fact that America is quickly heading into a police state.


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OfflineEllis Dee
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Registered: 06/30/01
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Re: Free Speach = Treason??? [Re: Rono]
    #1320470 - 02/19/03 08:07 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

As Bush leads America on the road to fascism you can expect more of these Mussolini style infringments on basic freedoms and human rights.


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"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,


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Offlinepattern
multiplayer

Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 2,183
Loc: Canada
Last seen: 2 years, 3 months
Re: Free Speach = Treason??? [Re: BowlKiller]
    #1320531 - 02/19/03 08:57 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

> And some still question the fact that America is quickly heading into a police state.

Two years ago I firmly believed that the USA was the greatest country on Earth.

RIP American dream, I hope you come back one day.


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man = monkey + mushroom


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OfflineJoker902
anti FOB

Registered: 01/09/03
Posts: 87
Loc: MI
Last seen: 11 years, 8 months
Re: Free Speach = Treason??? [Re: pattern]
    #1320641 - 02/19/03 10:36 PM (14 years, 4 months ago)

i myself am an american & have lately been thinking about moving to canada... thats what this country is all about, free speech & the right to voice your own opinion @ any given time... if we cant even speak our minds whats the point in living in this fucked up country we call home?


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 12,949
Loc: Dominican Republic
Last seen: 2 years, 5 months
Re: Free Speach = Treason??? [Re: Joker902]
    #1320929 - 02/20/03 04:32 AM (14 years, 4 months ago)

Time for a reality check, here, folks.

This is a newspaper columnist (a private citizen) expressing his opinion, not a government official. It should come as no surprise to anyone that a newspaper (especially a NEW newspaper trying to break into an extremely crowded market) would from time to time print controversial editorials following the dictum "there's no such thing as bad publicity."

There's a lot of you who have been moaning that the "media" tends to ignore the peace demonstrations. Well, here's one media outlet which is not ignoring them. That columnist is looking at them from a different angle than most of you do, but so what? If he had had his column pulled would you not consider that "censorship of free speech"?

pinky


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