TrebleThink: the new American hypocrisy

George Orwell is just so old-world, retro and quaintly Brit­ish.  Gone are the days of simple Double­Think.  The Amer­ic­ans inev­it­ably had to super­size the concept.

Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton was last week speak­ing at the George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity about polit­ic­al act­iv­ism and free­dom of expression:


Now we appear to have entered the realm of TrebleThink.

McGovern_injuries1 McGovern_injuries2At the meet­ing Ray McGov­ern, army vet­er­an, long-term CIA ana­lyst, and now inter­na­tion­ally-renowned peace act­iv­ist chose to exer­cise his right to free­dom of expres­sion by stand­ing up and silently turn­ing his back on Clin­ton dur­ing her speech.

For his pains 71-year-old McGov­ern sus­tained pain­fully injur­ies while being for­cibly removed by name­less “secur­ity per­son­nel”, before end­ing up in a tiny police cell.  On his even­tu­al release he had to take a taxi to hos­pit­al for treat­ment.

Hil­lary Clin­ton did not even stumble over her words dur­ing McGov­ern’s arrest.

The start­ling hypo­crisy of Clin­ton’s speech is clear on three dif­fer­ent fronts:

1) She is defend­ing the rights of act­iv­ists in the Middle East to speak out against cor­rupt gov­ern­ments, while ignor­ing the bru­tal­isa­tion of a fel­low cit­izen for silently using those very rights in America.

2) She’s doing so while speak­ing out about the vital role of inter­net freedoms — indeed stand­ing behind a podi­um with the words “Inter­net Free­dom” writ­ten on it — in inform­ing cit­izens and spread­ing demo­cracy.  Yet at the same time a secretly-con­vened US Grand Jury is frantic­ally scrab­bling around for any pre­text what­so­ever to pro­sec­ute Juli­an Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.  And yet anoth­er is invest­ig­at­ing attacks against the col­lab­or­at­ing US cor­por­a­tions that pulled the plug on Wikileaks sup­port last year.  Iron­ic­ally, on the same day as Clin­ton’s speech, Twit­ter was in court fight­ing US gov­ern­ment attempts to obtain per­son­al inform­a­tion of alleged Wikileaks sup­port­ers.  No doubt Clin­ton would con­demn the former Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment if it had done the same thing.

3) And let’s not for­get that the USA is host­ing the UNESCO World Press Free­dom Day this year too.  This was announced on the very day Juli­an Assange was arres­ted in the UK.

The hypo­crisy is flag­rant. As I said, wel­come to the world of Treb­le­Think.  You read it here first.…


New York INN conference: How the world changed after 9/11

INNIn Septem­ber 2010 I was invited over to New York to speak at a tele­vised 2‑day sym­posi­um organ­ised by the inde­pend­ent TV and radio sta­tion Inter­na­tion­al News Net (INN).  The top­ic under dis­cus­sion was “How the world changed after 9/11”.

Speak­ers were invited from around the world to par­ti­cip­ate in pan­el dis­cus­sions focus­ing on dif­fer­ent areas that have been notice­ably degraded and cor­rup­ted since 9/11 in response to the end­less “war on ter­ror”: civil liber­ties, the rule of law, intel­li­gence, polit­ics, eco­nom­ics, and the media.  Some of the dis­cus­sions fea­tured aca­dem­ics, pro­fes­sion­als and sci­ent­ists ques­tion­ing the asser­tions of the offi­cial US gov­ern­ment account of 9/11 itself — the jus­ti­fic­a­tion for so many ensu­ing horrors.

NYC_Sept_2010_on stageI was on the same pan­el as Ray McGov­ern (army vet­er­an and long-time CIA ana­lyst), Coleen Row­ley (FBI whis­tleblower), and Dr Kath­er­ine Albrecht (digit­al pri­vacy cam­paign­er).  The title of the ses­sion was “Good­bye Fourth Amend­ment”.  As I poin­ted out at the begin­ning of my talk, at least the US has a writ­ten con­sti­tu­tion to shred — some­thing the UK nev­er quite man­aged to produce.…

Here’s the film of my ses­sion. DVDs of this and all oth­er pan­el dis­cus­sions are avail­able from INN.