This past December, when the country was distracted by healthcare reform and the awarding of questionable nobel peace prizes, a bill quietly passed the US House of Representatives that flies in the face of one of the most basic tenants that the Unites States was founded on. Introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (pictured left), H.R. 2278 would allow the US to classify any satellite provider that carries broadcasts deemed by the government to be of a terrorist nature as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists” and to “consider implementing other punitive measures”. Additionally it says that as a policy the US should “urge” governments and investors to oppose transmitting “terrorist” networks. The bill passed with only 3 dissenting votes and has been sent to committee in the Senate for consideration.
When I first read this bill a chill shot down my spine. I find it utterly repulsive that a bill that instructs the government to limit free speech would even be penned by anyone who took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”, even more so by the fact that it passed almost unanimously. Worse still is how vague the language of the bill is. Who is to decide what is a “terrorist” broadcast and what is not. There is nothing to stop the government from labeling any broadcast that is opposed to US foreign policy as “terrorist”. Simply carrying these “terrorist” broadcasts allows the US to label satellite carriers as terrorist organization and/or take “other punitive measures” against them. Does this mean the US will use foreign governments or private contractors to attack networks that will not block broadcasts that are not US approved like we are currently doing to other terrorist organizations overseas? The bill also contains an edict to “urge” investors with the ability to influence what broadcasts the networks carry to block anti-US stations. Will this “urging” be at the barrel of a gun with investors facing being labeled a terrorist, or worse?
As much as I don’t want to be the target of a terrorist action, I am a firm believer in free speech. If someone hates the US with every fiber of their being (and with the recent actions the US has taken it’s easy to see why), I believe they have the right to tell others about it and make their case in a public forum, regardless if they enjoy the protections of our Constitution or not. If this bill passes, it is a slippery slope that will lead to US broadcasts being labeled as terrorist for criticizing the government (we are already labeling US citizens as terrorists and marking them for assassination without trial) and the end of free speech. This bill needs to die before it even reaches the full Senate for a vote, so if your senator is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, please consider urging them to reject this outrageous affront to free speech.
On February 9, 2010
By John D
In Conspiracy, politics
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