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Monday, April 19, 2010

Tell your friends to shut up, Anat

Israel's Shin Bet secret police and military intelligence officers pressured journalist Anat Kam to urge Hebrew-language bloggers to delete their posts about her plight, reports Lisa Goldman in the Jewish Daily Forward.

Kam was told that her plea bargain would go better if the case remained secret, Goldman was told, relating that other bloggers had the same experience.

When an Israeli newspaper published Judith Miller's report with most of it blacked out in conformity with the gag order, a top government spokesman curtly denied ever having heard of Kam and said he hadn't read the newspaper that morning, Goldman relates.

David Ignatius argues in Sunday's Washington Post that America's best weapon in international affairs may be its First Amendment.

They're not so sure of that in Australia, where the plan for net nannies is gaining steam, according to the Brisbane Times.

Google News was rebuked by writers for The Public Record for blacking out one of its articles. Jason Leopold said the blackout of David DeGraw's article criticizing welfare for the power elite was a first for the Public Record. Google News previously had rejected DeGraw's own site.

DeGraw says no response was received from Google concerning the blackout.

Bill Clinton, without mentioning the Tea Partiers, is following the CNN tack of tying their "extreme" speech to domestic terrorism, citing the rhetoric prior to the Oklahoma City bombing.

In a New York Times op-ed today, Clinton blamed the Oklahoma City bombing on a "vocal minority" who expressed the "belief that the greatest threat to American freedom is our government, and that public servants do not protect our freedoms, but abuse them."

Is he serious? He thinks that point of view is too radical? Well, he once scolded a questioner for doubting the government's veracity about 9/11. And I guess he forgot about the Pentagon papers, Watergate, the Church committee and NSA scams to eavesdrop on you without any kind of how do you do.

CNN has been running a series of features the point of which seems to be to suggest that if the system isn't treated with all due deference, someone might blow something up. The problem is that that possibility is always true.

Really it seems that Clinton and CNN want to justify "consensus gag orders," whereby so-called mainstream media decline to cover certain matters or quote certain people. We all know where that leads: financial meltdown, for example.

As a veteran conspiracy theorist, I can't help but wonder whether this attack on free speech is a smokescreen to cloud out the Anat Kam sensation. But, really, I think it's mainly an attack on the Tea Partiers.

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