America touts itself to be the Bastian of Freedoms. Everything we do in this country is based on the concept of Freedoms. In one week I hear the phrase “I can do whatever I want, it’s a free country” at least a dozen times. That statement is inaccurate is so many ways. America is the definition of a Capitalist state, which means everything has a price tag, including your country. And you can’t do whatever you want, because of laws.
Like you can’t masturbate in front of a church on Sunday as the congregation is leaving. That’s just rude and unnecessary, even if you say it’s a protest. I’ve never been to a protest that felt that good. Look if public urination is considered exposing yourself and can get you put on a list, then rubbing one out in front of the Lord is putting you on all of the lists. So it turns out that you can’t do whatever you want.
Regardless, there are certain freedoms that America does have that we often take for granted or just forget about. A lot of these freedoms involve the First Amendment. It grants Americans the right to free speech, religion, expression, protesting and petitioning the government & the press. Freedom of the Press ensures that journalists can tell us the truth even when our government isn’t.
Freedom of the Press is for everyone that publishes information, not just “good” journalists. And if it were only for “good journalists” then how can we explain Brian Williams’ career or Tucker Carlson’s or Rachel Maddow’s or Anderson Cooper’s or the old prospector outside my apartment that keeps yelling ‘EXTRA EXTRA, Read all about it!” These people aren’t good journalists. Brian Williams orgasmed over a war on National TV, Rachel Maddow has been spreading a conspiracy theory for 4 years and that prospector won’t stop looking for gold in my car!
These folks are at best corporate propagandists and one prospector that’s going to get sued! It’s a Honda, Randy there’s no gold in there!
But if you think journalists have too much Freedom, then fear not, there’s a nice authoritarian law put into place to ensure that Press Freedoms are indeed limited. On June 15, 1917, 2 months after America entered World War 1, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson & Congress passed the Espionage Act.
The Espionage Act made it a crime for any persons to convey information to interfere with the United States Military, the war effort or promote the success of the country’s enemies. And if you’re found guilty under the Espionage Act you go to prison for about 20 years and be fined up to $10,000. Now this was in 1917, so with the cost of inflation, that’s like million dollar fine and over 100 years in prison!
The issue with the Espionage Act is the language in the legislation was vague enough to go after anyone they saw fit, including folks that remained neutral about World War 1. If you were an entertainer and didn’t say “give it up for the troops” every 12 minutes, legally they could kill you, because clearly you’re commie pinko freedom-hating bastard. It put nationalistic pride into law. This is the authoritarian Pandora’s Box that has led to striping away American’s most fundamental rights. And because of fear, the American public has done so willingly!
But fear not, Woodrow Wilson didn’t stop there! In 1918 he signed the Sedition Act which banned the “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the U.S. government, the Constitution, the armed forces, or the American flag.” This was the Jelly to the Authoritarian Peanut Butter that was the Espionage Act. This made sure you couldn’t call any politician a ‘Fuck Nugget’ in writing or out loud!
Now you’d think this was about foreign spies coming into the United States to steal state secrets, American jobs and white women! But in reality this was act was put into place to persecute Socialists, Pro-Labor & Anti-War activists! In 1918 there was a Socialist named Schneck who was passing leaflets, discouraging men to join the war and was arrested under the Espionage Act. He didn’t even make pamphlets or a brochure! He was imprisoned for a single 8 and half by 11 sheet of paper.
The Supreme Court in 1919 determined the Espionage Act specifically was not violating the Freedom of Speech or Press by jailing people for speaking or reporting the misdeeds of America. You might not be able to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater but you can yell “terrorism” in a Paranoid nation till all the brown countries bend the knee to your whims.
How are you supposed to let people know there’s a fire? The most dangerous game of telephone? “There’s a fire, pass it on!” By end of it some guy is going to make it about his dick! Maybe a proclamation of sorts. “Hello, I’d like to make the following statement. We did not start the fire, but there is one burning. It wasn’t always burning, because that’s not arson works. We should probably leave this theater and catch a different showing of Eat, Pray, Love!”
Also in 1918, Socialist Presidential Candidate Eugene Debs was arrested in Canton, Ohio under the Espionage AND Sedition Act for giving an Anti-War speech. Sidebar: Mark Ruffalo is not the reincarnated version of Eugene Debs, no matter how much we want that to happen. But I will say, Professor Hulk is a Socialist because he was anti-war, pro-science and shared his tacos!
Debs was sentenced 3-10 year terms in Prison in 1918, where he ran for President and got a MILLION votes! His sentence was then commuted because the courts decided the Sedition Act was too crazy, but they kept the Espionage Act in place, just to balance things out. Look under the Sedition Act you couldn’t criticize what the American Military was wearing for Fucks sake! Which begs the question, what did Woodrow Wilson have in mind for the troops? Star spangled capes and a tutu? Honestly I think he wanted all the troops to dress as Uncle Sam on the battlefield.
The ultimate proof that these pieces of Legislation were not about spies or Russians stealing our women & drinking our vodka, is Wilson’s 1915 State of the Union Address. This was given 2 years before America entered the war!
“There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit, born under other flags but welcomed under our generous naturalization laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America, who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes to strike at them, and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign intrigue…”
The beginning of this statement is basically Wilson stating that he’s embarrassed that America is nation of Immigrants and that naturalization is a favor bestowed upon them by the graces of the Bank-owned Government! He makes the “good immigrant” argument. It’s the argument that if you’re an immigrant and you do exactly what you’re told, when you’re told, you get the gifts of Citizenship where a bunch of white liberals will yell at you to vote for other old white war mongering liberals!
His statement about pouring poison is xenophobic, and is arguing that foreign cultures are tainting the proud American culture of stealing cultures from Black, Brown & Indigenous people! How is America is supposed to steal it if they just bring it into the country to share with us willingly! RUDE!
His last statement makes the titans of Industry sound like a defenseless sheep in a den of wolves! These Uber Capitalists were the ones that enacted the Federal Reserve, which funded American wars and they were enriching themselves from both sides. Don’t forget, John D. Rockerfeller was selling the Nazis American Standard Oil!
The good name of the Government he speaks of is the one that has used military force countless times to attack, maim and kill Striking workers. Remind me again what kind of a Democracy does that? Oh right an authoritarian Democracy. One where you get choose your masters. One where you get to choose between healthcare and your job. One where you choose between crippling debt or having a home. You get the idea.
Standing up for worker rights and ensuring that the working class is taken care is not foreign intrigue! It’s the most domestic issue there is! Calling it foreign intrigue means you’re willing to not just use the Military against people fighting for the rights of people.
Wilson goes on to say: “I urge you to enact such laws at the earliest possible moment and feel that in doing so I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out. They are not many, but they are infinitely malignant, and the hand of our power should close over them at once. They have formed plots to destroy property, they have entered into conspiracies against the neutrality of the Government. They have sought to pry into every confidential transaction of the Government in order to serve interests alien to our own. It is possible to deal with these things very effectually. I need not suggest the terms in which they may be dealt with.”
This is a declaration of war on American citizens that want to improve the lives of other Average American Citizens! If you played the audio of one of Wilson’s speeches over the video of one of Hitler’s speeches they almost sync up. Replace the word Jews for Socialist and it’s pretty damn close. Interesting how Wilson refers to people asking a government to practice social responsibility, have transparency, and equality for ALL its people as anarchists who are malignant and must be crushed by the hand of the government.
Remember the 2 people in 1918 that were arrested were Socialists passing out information and giving a speech. They were speaking out against violence, not creating it as Wilson suggests & invokes in his address. He ends that statement with a cryptic message of not having to say what measures must be taken to deal with the threat. It’s the “wink wink nudge nudge” of authoritarianism!
Now it did take Congress about 2 years to pass the Espionage Act. After peace talks with Germany went South in February of 1915, the Senate passed it immediately, but the House dragged their feet. Before the bill was passed they amended a few points which included tighter restrictions on Freedom of the Press.
As many freedoms as the American Bill of Rights grants us, the one that the government has used against us the most is the Freedom of Fear. Fear is how Americans vote, what the Religious Industrial Complex uses, and how Americans treat their neighbors. Presidents like Wilson have legislated that Freedom of Fear into things like the Espionage Act, which eventually gave birth to the Patriot Act, the Rosemary’s Baby of legislations.
This is not what we need. What we need is the Freedom of Education, Enlightenment, Transparency and Equality. Those freedoms would eradicate the need for bills like the Espionage Act.
Since the Espionage Act was kept in place by the Courts, it got the chance to grow up! Along the way, 52 Americans were convicted under the Espionage Act. It was no longer just targeting peaceniks, Socialists and anyone fighting for equality, but it was pushing the Red Scare and helping pave the way for McCarthyism 2.0.
McCarthyism Prime was happening all through the late 1800s and early 1900s with the smearing of the Labor Movement driven by Eugene Debs, Mother Jones and the International Workers Of The World being dubbed as anti-Freedom Commie Bastards. Anyone who was motivated by greed looked at them as a threat to their bottom line. So the Espionage Act aided in this Red Scare.
McCarthyism 2.0, reinforced by the Espionage Act, was going after anyone they believed was treasonous, like average citizens Ethel & Julius Rosenberg, who were given the death penalty for suspected ties to Communist Russia. Boy it’s nice to see a piece of authoritarianism graduate from a fine and jail time to straight up murder. They grow up so fast! One day they’re jailing Socialists and then the next they’re murdering regular citizens without concrete evidence! Sorry guys, fascism just makes me emotional!
But over the course of the last 40-50 years the Espionage Act has been a key factor in discriminating against Whistleblowers who reveal America’s corporate war crimes. The Espionage Act at this point should just be called the “Kill The Messenger” initiative, or “Operation Fuck Your Mailman”. That second one is some of our fantasies and the name of a really fun porno.
In 1971 a former Military Analyst working for the RAND corporation, Daniel Ellsberg, revealed the Pentagon Papers. He didn’t sell the Pentagon Papers to Chinese, Vietnamese or Russian intelligence, he freely gave them over the New York Times, who then published pieces of the 7000 page document. And yes, the Pentagon Papers did also reveal that Lydon B. Johnson was the only President that didn’t wear pants during the meetings about Vietnam!
Now despite NOT being mentioned in the Pentagon Papers, Richard Milhouse Nixon, America’s Premiere Paranoid President, decided that he had to take Ellsberg down! Ellsberg was already facing 115 years in prison under the Espionage Act. Boy do you think authoritarians realize most humans don’t live that long. And even if they did, to have a centennial human in a prison is the abject definition of Elder Abuse!
Nixon made a critical error when hired goons, the same one that would be later involved in the Watergate scandal, to break into Ellsberg’s doctor’s office to find dirt on him. When they were caught, it led to a mistrial and Ellsberg’s eventual freedom. Say what you will about Nixon, the man is consistent at being a crook!
The thing is Nixon had a way to make himself look good at the end of this. War Criminal Henry Kissenger pointed out how this could be spun as the Democrat’s war and gave them an opportunity to pull out of Nam. Instead of that, Nixon decided to decrease ground troops after 100k American soldiers died and increase bombings! This is similar to how Obama handled the Middle East by decreasing ground troops but increasing Drone Warfare and wedding explosions.
Ellsberg was just the first of a long list of Whistleblowers that the United States government has persecuted under the Espionage Act. The most famous of these victims is a former NSA analyst, Edward Snowden or as some folks might know as a woke Joseph Gordon Levitt look alike.
Edward Snowden revealed that the United States government was collecting mass amounts of data and using our cellphones to spy on the American people as if we were all spies. The United States government is basically that one friend thinks everyone is talking about them all the times and freaks out on strangers at bars. Making wing night really awkward all the time!
Once he found this information, Snowden freely gave the information journalist Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept. Again, he didn’t sell it to China or Russia or a balding super-villain living in a volcano!
This an argument used against Whistleblowers daily on corporate media! “Well he could have sold it foreign intelligence!” Yeah but he didn’t. “But he COULD HAVE though!” Yeah but fuckin’ didn’t! “But what if…” How are you a news network!?
Because the United States hates getting caught with it’s pants down – which some believe is because the US has a complex about it’s dick size not measuring up to the rest of the world; which is why the US should use the metric system, but that’s a different subject for a different a time – they tried to get Snowden’s asylum requests denied by virtually every European country.
Snowden eventually was granted asylum in Ecuador but had to get there from Hong Kong, which meant he’d have to fly through Russia. The US intelligence service & the Obama Administration knew his flight landed in Moscow when they revoked his passport, stranding him in exile in Russia. This gave them the opportunity to claim that he was a Russian spy and the NSA can finally live out their James Bond fetish. They can finally become a Bond girl as an entire agency! The NSA can be transformed from the National Security Agency to the National Pussygalore Agency! It’s fun when dreams come true at the expense of innocent people right?
Now, there are those that think Snowden can just come home and face the music, but the music would be listening to Nickelback in a jail cell for life without a fair trial. And the denial of a fair trial was under the Obama Administration, who invoked the Espionage Act more than any other President!
The Obama Administration had every opportunity to undo the legacy of Democratic Authoritarianism that was left behind by their predecessors but they didn’t. Obama exiled Snowden and he only commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence. Manning was the US Army Solider that revealed documents proving the American Military was killing Afghani civilians and international journalists to Wikileaks. If Obama truly believed these war crimes are something the country should atone for, he would started by completely pardoning Chelsea Manning.
Thanks to Obama handing the keys to a Dictator’s playbook, the current President, and best CIA asset, Donald Trump is now prosecuting even more Whistleblowers under his regime. Daniel Everett Hale is one of these Whistleblowers.
In 2015 the Intercept put a series of stories called the Drone Papers, which outlined how the Obama Administration was using inaccurate technology and Kill Lists to take out people they considered “dangerous”. [ESA 10]
When I was High School, a girl that had a crush on me put me on a kill list when I didn’t reciprocate her feelings. I was number 4, which honestly hurt a little. I wasn’t even in the top 3, come on! It must have not been that much of a crush! The school administrators found out and suspended her from school and ensured she got psychiatric care. When a 15 year old has a kill list she’s removed from society, when a President has one, he gets the Nobel Peace Prize. I think that’s not just an insult to what the prize represents, but all the words in “Nobel Peace Prize”.
Hale was arrested and indicted for revealing information to a journalist and currently faces 50 years in prison. You know who is facing 0 years in Prison, the people that had a kill list and used million dollar drones to reign death from the skies! Which is also the title of the newest Stephen Segal film going right to VHS. The Espionage Act protects real sociopaths and murderers but ensures the people who had a conscience about their misdeeds face a lifetime in prison.
The primary reason these Whistleblowers are villainized is because calling out American War Crimes is deemed treasonous. So what is treason? The entire Confederacy should be considered treasonous but instead of calling them that, we put up statues of them and name streets after them. There were US bankers helping the Nazis funnel money, like Prescott Bush and we let his kids & grandkids become Presidents and lead into more wars!
Major US corporations like the Rockerfellers, GM, Ford all aided the Nazis and we hail them as the pride of American innovation! My first car was a 1996 Ford Taurus and it was piece of shit! It would give me trouble all the time and now that I know Ford was helping the Nazis, that makes sense. This is just one small way that Nazi Sympathizer gets a win over minorities.
The obvious one that we’ve seen time and time again is the militarized police be unleashed on protesters asking for less militarized police and to stop murdering innocent civilians! This is a war on American Citizens by the government. And remember Eugene Debs said that the working class don’t declare war or peace, only the oligarchs do that. That has not changed. Rich politicians from Trump to Pelosi to McConnell to Schumer have used their Militarized Police to continue creating upheaval through an emboldened racist system. So wouldn’t that make anyone that uses that cops to wage a war on our streets treasonous?
Whistleblowers aren’t treasonous. They’re heroes. They’re shedding light on a governmental misdeeds and they shouldn’t be punished for that. They should be rewarded. We should be putting authoritarian treasonous war profiteers in prison and giving these Whistleblowers the Nobel Peace Prize!
The most prominent case showing the true brutality of the Espionage Act is regarding the trial of Julian Assange. The Australian publisher is facing 175 years in prison if he is extradited to the United States for revealing how American soldiers are committing war crimes in the Middle East, the CIA is using smart devices to spy on citizens, UK credit card companies are defrauding their customers, how insane Scientology REALLY is and so much more! Julian Assange & Wikileaks revealed so many different kinds of War crimes and Corporate Fraud that Skittles is coming out with a new bag of flavors to capitalize on these tragedies! Skittles: Taste The War Crimes!
Currently Julian Assange is in Belmarsh Prison, which is the UK’s Guantaemo Bay. The UK decided, why let America have all the fun! They can torture people willy nilly too! After all they are the OG Imperialists! And he is being tortured. UN Rapportuer on Torture, Nils Melzer has confirmed that Assange is a victim of torture!
To recap why he’s in Belmarsh, Assange was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had lived in asylum for 7 years, when the conservative President of Ecuador revoked his asylum and sent in the UK police. He was sent to prison was supposedly skipping bail for a trial in Sweden for a crime he did not commit. Even Sweden was like “wait what’s happening?”
He was supposed to be in Belmarsh for 50 weeks. That was determined in April of 2019. He’s now well past that 50 week mark and is still in prison! And because of his deteriorating health conditions he’s at a high risk of getting COVID-19, especially in a prison where the guards and the prisoners are not wearing masks. I think by proxy that makes the Espionage Act anti-mask!
Earlier this year, his extradition trial began where he was subject to disorienting conditions from being moved to different rooms, strip searched and kept in a clear box away from his attorneys during the trial. I’ve seen serial killers that have said they’re willing to eat the judges face receive better than this. Hell we let a war criminal finger paint and sell them on Etsy, while we keep a publisher in abhorrent conditions.
While the UK courts and the American government are trying to win the “World’ Greatest Authoritarian” mug, corporate media has been spreading lies and smears about Julian Assange. Last year after his arrest CNN ran an expose, which revealed how horrible Julian Assange truly was. They claimed Assange smeared feces on the wall and punched guards in the face. When asked for proof, CNN threw a smoke bomb and disappeared into the Fox News building. CNN is smearing shit on the name of journalistic integrity. They’re the National Enquirer of corporate news.
The reason CNN is running these type smears on Assange is because he revealed the collusion between the DNC and the Clinton Campaign in 2016. And because we have a 3 way love affair between paranoia, spy movies and no accountability, CNN & MSNBC went down the McCarthyist rabbit hole yet again!
They began by saying Assange was turning the Ecuadorian Embassy into an Election Meddling HQ, like Julian Assange was part of the Exiled Legion of Doom who use their superpowers of the press to bring down to the Good guys of American government so that they may continue Drone Bombing innocent civilians…you know just like the good guys do!
CNN claimed that he met with Russians! Which is true, he met the anti-Kremlin activist group called Pussy Riots. Perhaps CNN isn’t mature enough to say pussy without giggle for 48 minutes. We know Ben Shapiro can’t say the word at all, so that makes CNN the Ben Shapiro of corporate news!
This is a typical McCarthyist move, to compare the people of Russia to its leaders. If all Russians are Kremlin puppets, would that make all Americans Trump Supporters! Wave those MAGA flags CNN! Let the global xenophobic hate over invisible lines commence!
CNN also claims that Assange met with Russia Today, or RT, journalists. RT is Russian state television so it’s clearly connected and controlled by Russian Intelligence! Just like BBC is connected to MI-5 and NPR is funded by the American Military. Oh wait? It is!
MSNBC, Fox News, NPR and CNN bolster CIA talking points, as CNN is did with that smear piece, so how can trust them? Besides we know that Former Director of the CIA & current Secretary of State and America’s Deadiest Carebear, Mike Pompeo was encouraged to lie in the CIA. The experiment being, how many times will these dopes believe our McCarthyist bullshit! Why would we believe anyone who’s part of a narrative of willful lies. Besides, the RT journalists went to interview Assange and get an accurate view of the story, something no Corporate American Journalist did!
CNN also claimed that Putin rushed to Assange’s aid like the ending of Rom Com, where the hero has to run through an airport to get to his lover! Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Committee to Protect Journalists, ACLU, Reporters Without Borders, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Center for Constitutional Rights are all defending Asange. Are they Kremlins toadies now? This is what binary thinking does, it’s strips away your logic.
Now all of CNN’s information comes from a security company from Spain that was hired by the Ecuadorian Embassy to protect it in case anyone came to harm Assange. The company, Undercover Global, set up cameras & audio recording equipment to keep an eye on Assange. As Fidel Narvaez, a former Ecuador Embassy Diplomat, says, an embassy isn’t a prison, so UC Global’s surveillance was treating Assange as a criminal.
UC Global sold their surveillance tapes to the CIA and amplified their spying on behalf of the CIA. In fact David Morales, UC Global’s CEO would call them his “American Friends” in meetings. They went as far as putting cameras in the women’s bathroom to spy on Assange’s meetings. Not just that, but when they found out about Assange’s fiancé and kids, he tried to hire someone to steal dirty diapers from the trash to get a DNA sample from the feces. Congrats, Mr. Morales, you’re now officially grosser than Jeff Bezos! What an accomplishment!
Spying on Assange especially in the women’s bathroom is a clear violation of Attorney-Client privileges and Lady-Bathroom privileges. All of this was done was validate and bolster the Espionage Act to ensure that those in power are able to commit their corporate war crimes without accountability or punishment. There is no reason this trial should continue and there is no reason why Julian Assange should remain in prison!
Remember Daniel Ellsberg’s case was done when they found out the Nixon was trying to steal documents from Ellsberg’s doctor. Julian Assange was spied on and tortured by the American government and is still undergoing a trial. The UK judge was aware of UC Global’s actions within the embassy and is still allowing it! This is a desperate attempt to ensure that the Espionage Act can crush dissent as Woodrow Wilson wanted.
The case now is about whether Julian Assange caused harm instead of just inform the public about government misdeeds. And both those things are right. To those in power, what Assange and any whistleblower reveals is to inform the public about the wrongdoings of those in power. The only people that are harmed by this are THOSE IN POWER!
These people don’t have defense for their criminal activities so they use propaganda and authoritarian tactics to smear Assange’s character. Look at the way Mike Pompeo talks about this man. First of all Assange doesn’t have a state because he’s not from the United States, he’s Australian.
That’s hard slam too, he took away Assange’s state! Is he solid? Gaseous? Liquid? Pompeo just took all those qualities away because he and the CIA got caught spying on the citizens of America and Assange himself. Assange doesn’t need a state because he’s transcended that. The Truth has no state, it just is.
Assange’s trial sets the precedent that the US Government will be able to arrest people for publishing information that isn’t flattering to them. Basically when the US government asks “Does this law or war make me look like an authoritarian dictator with an assassination complex?”, and we answer YES, because that’s the truth, they get to imprison and torture us!
This opens the door to any global government to extradite people from the US and try them under their version of the Espionage Act. This affects the people’s right to know. It’s about transparency. Corporate Ad Gag laws, which are laws that prevent journalists from talking about the horrors of things like factory farms, in tandem with an authoritarian governments & legislation like the Espionage Act would mean that we don’t know where our food comes from, how we are endangering the planet, why we are at war and how the Intelligence Industrial Complex is going to create another false coup!
This is about our Freedoms. Our freedom to criticize and push back against a government that distrusts us and uses fear as a prime motive to strip us of our rights. This is about ensuring that when these people in power are caught with their pants down committing heinous crimes they are punished for it. We don’t have any freedoms if whistleblowers are kept in prison under the Espionage Act.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!