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.