Bloggers Who Criticize Government May Face Prison
Bill would allow rounding up and imprisoning of non-registered political writers
Thursday, January 18, 2007
You’d be forgiven for thinking that it was some new restriction on free speech in Communist China. But it isn’t. The U.S. Government wants to force bloggers and online grassroots activists to register and regularly report their activities to Congress in the latest astounding attack on the internet and the First Amendment.
Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of GrassrootsFreedom.com, a website dedicated to fighting efforts to silence grassroots movements, states:
“Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history, critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.”
In other words Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats may redefine the meaning of lobbying in order that political communications to and even between citizens falls under the same legislation.
Under current law any ‘lobbyist” who ‘knowingly and willingly fails to file or report.” quarterly to the government faces criminal charges including a possible jail term of up to one year.
The amendment is currently on hold.
This latest attack on bloggers comes hot on the heels of Republican Senator John McCain’s proposal to introduce legislation that would fine blogs up to $300,000 for offensive statements, photos and videos posted by visitors on comment boards.
McCain’s proposal is presented under the banner of saving children from sexual predators and encourages informants to shop website owners to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who then pass the information on to the relevant police authorities.
Despite a total lack of any evidence that children are being victimized en mass by bloggers or people who leave comments on blog sites, it seems likely that the proposal will become legislation in some form. It is well known that McCain has a distaste for his blogosphere critics, causing a definite conflict of interest where any proposal to restrict blogs on his part is concerned.
In recent months, a chorus of propaganda intended to demonize the Internet and further lead it down a path of strict control has spewed forth from numerous establishment organs:
During an appearance with his wife Barbara on Fox News last November, George Bush senior slammed Internet bloggers for creating an “adversarial and ugly climate.”
– The White House’s own recently de-classified strategy for “winning the war on terror” targets Internet conspiracy theories as a recruiting ground for terrorists and threatens to “diminish” their influence.
– The Pentagon recently announced its effort to infiltrate the Internet and propagandize for the war on terror.
– In a speech last month, Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff identified the web as a “terror training camp,” through which “disaffected people living in the United States” are developing “radical ideologies and potentially violent skills.” Chertoff pledged to dispatch Homeland Security agents to local police departments in order to aid in the apprehension of domestic terrorists who use the Internet as a political tool.
– A landmark legal case on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America and other global trade organizations seeks to criminalize all Internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively shutting down the world wide web – and their argument is supported by the U.S. government.
– A landmark legal ruling in Sydney goes further than ever before in setting the trap door for the destruction of the Internet as we know it and the end of alternative news websites and blogs by creating the precedent that simply linking to other websites is breach of copyright and piracy.
– The European Union, led by former Stalinist and potential future British Prime Minister John Reid, has also vowed to shut down “terrorists” who use the Internet to spread propaganda.
– The EU also recently proposed legislation that would prevent users from uploading any form of video without a license.
– We have also previously exposed how moves are afoot to clamp down on internet neutrality and even to designate a highly restricted new form of the internet known as Internet 2.
Make no mistake, the internet, one of the greatest outposts of free speech ever created is under constant attack by powerful people who cannot operate within a society where information flows freely and unhindered. All these moves mimic stories we hear every week out of State Controlled Communist China, where the internet is strictly regulated and virtually exists as its own entity away from the rest of the web.
The phrases “Chinese government” and “Mao Zedong” have even been censored on China’s official Web sites because they are “Sensitive phrases”. Are we to allow our supposedly Democratic governments to implement the same type of restrictive policies here?
Under section 220 of the lobbying reform bill, Infowars.net could be required to seek a license in order to bring this information to you. IF we were granted a license we would then have to report our activities to the government four times per year in order to bring you this information. Does that sound more like free speech or more like totalitarianism?
As well as calling the Senate you should go to GrassrootsFreedom.com which has a petition that you can sign against Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill.
Paul Joseph Watson contributed to this report.