If you have an hour to educate yourself about the Wikileaks organization, their work, their philosiphy, and Julian Assange. I won't write anything else about it. Just see it.
If you wan to know what it the make of these shoes, drop me a line.
Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's recent sentencing to six years in prison the government policies. He has also be banned from writing and making movies, giving interviews, and travelling abroad for 20 years. The message is that the smallest criticism would result in dire consequences.
On this side of the Atlantic, in the land of the free, such sentencing does not exactly take place. However, many Americans have had their lives affected, some greatly, when they spoke against the US government’s policies or those of its allies.
Bill Maher, a late night talk show host saw his show,’Politically Incorrect’ cancelled by the ABC network when he stated on the air, ”We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly”.
Soon after, Iri Fleischer did issue his now-famous White House Press statement that “People have to watch what they say and watch what they do.”
Ward Churchill, a professor at the University of Colorado, started a controversy when he wrote an essay that compared some 9/11 victims to ‘Little Eichmanns’. He was fired from the university in 2007.
NBC Correspondent, Peter Arnett, was also fired from NBC in 2003 for appearing on Iraqi TV and stating that the coalition forces’ plan had failed.
In times of high patriotism, it is not wise to be against the state even in America.
Another case of consequences for speaking his mind is the case of Norman Finkelstein, a DePaul University in Chicago. He lost his tenure after a powerful media personality, Alan Dershowitz, attempted to have the university deny him his tenure. Placed on administrative leave, Prof. Finkelstein resigned after he reached a settlement with DePaul.
One case of an American who was patriotic but saw his life go down the drain is Steven Hatfill. The second and last suspect of the anthrax attacks in 2001 in the US. He was a physician, biologist, and bio-weapons expert who worked for the DOD.
After media pressures, the US department of Justice identified the government scientist as a “person of interest.” He lost his job and was followed by the FBI. His life was almost destroyed and he could not find a job anywhere: Institutions must find him too hot to handle (“hire”).
At one point, Louisiana State University offered him a job, and then retracted it. He sued the government for running his reputation.
So, can we speak out what we think? Sure, if we do it at home, in the bathroom. Otherwise, it is at our risks? However, unlike Iran, where the government goes after you if you speak out, in America it is the government media dogs that will make you loose your job and your income.
A few days ago, movie maker and star Ben Affleck was interviewed on NPR. He indicated that he had difficulties to find financiers for The Company Men, a movie with stars such as Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner.
Ben Affleck said that movie financiers were nervous about financing a movie about people who have lost their jobs. However, he added that the nervous ones would have knee-jerk reactions and worry about the lack of audience for such a movie. Instead, I think the financiers do not want to finance a movie about reality in America. Such a movie would be an anti-thesis to the myth of opportunities that many do not have in America. To bring human stories to the public is too hot to handle for them.
He then compares his movie to movies about the Iraq movies, a painful theme that the American public wants to forget. It seems to me that Hollywood is very ready to finance movies about anything but reality. It does not want raise concerns or give a chance to people to think. And Hollywood does not want to challenge the US government by bringing national and foreign issues to the movie theaters.
Could that be called auto-censorship?
For a while, I could not find a lot of information about leaks from the US embassy in Algeria that Wikileaks released. Well, DNA (derniere nouvelles d'Algerie) has quite a few.
You can find them at the DNA website.