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Freedom of Speech, American Style

December 30, 2008

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Pakistani American Javed Iqbal was recently convicted of “providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization” by the US Government.

Iqbal’s crime?

Providing satellite transmission services for Hezbollah’s television channel Al Manar.

In particular, Iqbal’s terrorist-supporting activities entail the fact that “between about September 2005 and August 2006 he provided satellite transmission services through his Brooklyn-based company HDTV Ltd to Al Manar, in exchange for thousands of dollars payment.”

That’s it.

No anthrax. No shoe bombs. No ricin.

No box cutters supposedly used to hijack airplanes. 

No backpack nukes ready to be detonated on the White House lawn. 

Just providing satellite services to a Hezbollah television station.

This case is yet another example of how the USA manipulates its bogus “War on Terrorism” to criminalize and repress political dissent (not to mention waging barely disguised wars of aggression against other countries).

In this instance, Hezbollah–which arose as a guerrilla organization against the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon in the 1980s–is defined as “terrorist” since it opposes Israeli (and American) geopolitical expansionism. 

But then again, the American Empire and its media often define those Iraqis and Afghanis resisting Western occupation and colonial rule of their nations as “terrorists” as well.

Inside the Homeland, the USA has recently used “anti-terrorism” legislation to charge protestors at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis with terrorism.  As suggested by WSWS.org, what’s striking about this case is that protestors

have been arrested and charged as terrorists for no other act than planning to protest and obstruct a political event….

The charges are predicated on an a priori assumption of guilt; not on what actually happened, but what might have happened had no arrest been made.

Furthermore, the charges are almost entirely based upon the evidence of two confidential paid informants.

[Bruce] Nestor pointed out in an earlier interview with the Minnesota Independent that “the most outrageous allegations made by the authorities are not supported by any evidence other than the statement of the confidential informants. They’re not supported by the evidence seized.”

The physical evidence gathered by law enforcement was even more threadbare than the purchased testimony of informants. “We have the sheriff displaying a single plastic item that he claims was a shield,” Nestor said, “as if one shield was going to protect demonstrators from 3,500 armed riot police who have projectile-tear-gas weapons.” In addition, police seized a rusty hatchet, nails, lighters and other common household items as evidence, and rather ludicrously reported discovering “weaponized urine.”

Weaponized urine.

What creative rationalization will the USA and its allies think of next in their global Terror War?

Weaponized dog poop?

UPDATE:

Israel has recently launched an attack on the Gaza Strip in “retaliation” for rockets fired by Palestinian militants. Over 300 Palestinians have been killed so far, with possibly thousands more injured. And there are reports that Israeli troops are massing for a ground invasion. The American media has predictably depicted this Israeli assault as an unfortunate though ultimately understandable measure in the broader War on Terror.

This type of “journalism” should not be surprising. Israel is America’s regional gendarme/client state in the Middle East, and guilt for this Gaza attack falls on both Washington DC and Tel Aviv.

 

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