On this poignant day of remembrance Sunday our thoughts are with many of the fallen who have died over the decades for our Country, I was thinking about the wars that have claimed the lives of many of these brave young men and women and what causes those wars were fought for.
WW2 was fought against a man that wished to control the world; if he had been successful we would now be living in a country where the state aimed to control our lives, our actions and our beliefs.
If one of those soldiers who lost their life fighting for freedom of speech we able to come back today in 2011 and look at the ways governments tried to control the information we receive from every angle, to restrict our access to information they do not want us to see and put a spin of every piece of information we do get to see, I wonder if that soldier would think WW2 may have been fought for nothing?
There is a serious battle being waged by the governments of the world against the Internet and more importantly, how freely available information which is critical of them can be easily shared. You only need look at the open pursuit of Julian Assange who has now been detained under house arrest for nearly 350 days and has yet not been charged with any crime, in effect for daring to leak information that showed the US in a bad light.
Following a recent call from the sinister Homeland Security to form partnerships with hotels to recruit citizen spies in the US, the Sheraton group of hotels has blocked access to websites critical of the US like InfoWars, ActivistPost & FederalJack. These were blocked by the chain to ‘protect against today’s most damaging Internet threats’, (don’t worry though you can still get hard core pornography on their hotel cable TV).
Following Senator Joe Lieberman’s Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, Obama now has the right to an Internet ‘kill switch’ meaning he can shut down the Internet for up to four months without Congressional oversight. Soon when the US invades the opulently oil rich Iran, it can feel safe knowing if there is a huge public outcry it can simply switch off our information outlet until the storm has blown over.
The governments of the West by and large have already won this same war on mainstream media. We were led vociferously by our broad sheets and tabloids into a ‘war’ with Iraq based on fabricated evidence, there were few dissenting journalistic voices heard as the state ‘spun’ us into the war (the UK government spends more on PR than any other company in the UK including Saatchi & Saatchi). It is fair to say that many of today’s main stream journalists have been relegated to nothing more than stenographers.
The same cannot be said about the journalists and bloggers of the internet. They are more than happy to voice their opinions, to criticize what they disagree with and openly share informations that contradicts the official version of events. This intellectual wild wild west makes the internet the last frontier for freedom of speech and the state clearly aims to tame it by taking control of what we see, what we read and how we connect with each other.
Our government is supposed to be democratically elected to carry out the collective will of the people NOT to control us and keep us passively obedient by misinformation and propaganda. What will our role be in the state battle against freedom of speech? Are we just going to let them get away with it? It is time to marshal that ‘Dunkirk’ spirit and fight for freedom of speech on our own desktops, iPods and laptops. In the 30s many brave men and women saw the future under a despot and decided the cause fighting for freedom of speech was a cause worth giving their lives for, let us make sure that they did not die in vain.
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. George Orwell