Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


D. Colmes: Saving The Internet Is Saving Freedom

Saving The Internet Is Saving Freedom


By Doris Colmes

Way back in Viet Nam times, not only didn’t we have the internet, we didn’t even need it. Hey, we were out there marching and hollering because we were all pretty much aware of the lies our government was attempting to foist on us. How so? Well, for one thing, the Viet Nam war was the first war ever to be reported via live TV. This meant that TV reporters, TV cameras were out there, shooting the truth. This meant photographing for eternity, that little girl fleeing naked from napalm. It meant photographing for eternity an “allied” officer shooting a dissenter in the head as the dissenter knelt in the dirt at the officer’s feet. And it meant photographing for eternity that famous, infamous wagon-load of injured U.S. soldiers being transported out of a battle zone. Hordes of helicopters flying over villages “destroyed to keep them safe from the Viet Cong,” replete with the murdered lying in the mud. I was all there for us to see.

If our government was hiding its true motives for involving the U.S.A. in a manufactured war, lying blatantly about the Vietnamese sinking ships in the Gulf of Tonkin, it didn’t matter. All of us who protested were able to access media, were able to watch live coverage of this sin against humanity on TV and decide for ourselves how we wanted to deal – or not deal – with it. .

All that has changed. This time around, all media is censored, only news that the government believes will assist in propaganda efforts is being released, and that ain’t much. Apparently, the “Decider” running this Iraq version of Viet Nam has decided that even a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Therefore, in today’s Iraqi Viet Nam re-play, you may view soldiers in Baghdad, rifles at ready, gaining forcible entry into homes, charging upstairs while occupants watch silently We may view soldiers in their tanks and humvees driving along roads surrounded by unexploded “I.E.D,s” (improvised Explosive Devices) along with lots of photos of Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts.

But, if you want to see what infants severely deformed by their father’s Depleted Uranium absorption look like; if you want to see what the actual demolition of an entire city (Fallujah) looks like; if you want to see Afghanistan again under Taliban rule; if you want to see the actual face of war, you need the internet.

Turn on the morning TV news, and you get to learn how the latest celebrity is getting divorced, having a baby, living in Bahrain, dating his ex mother-in-law. Read the newspaper, and learn how the city is reconstructing a sewer pipe, closing schools for lack of money, or messing with local taxes. Oh, sure, there are some choice items, such as the third highest CIA director being chased down for some scandal or other, how Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff are being tried by jury (any year now?) but the actual news behind our government’s decisions, behind how the wealthy are being spared taxation, how a horde of guilty secrets, secrets that affect us all, beginning with our wallets and ending with our actual safety are being hidden? For that, you need the internet.

Except, folks, right now, this very moment, our government is attempting to rid us of internet freedom, and, in that process take away another big chunk of the First Amendment. How so? Here goes:

The United States Congress is currently drafting a bill known as “The Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Efficiency Act of 2006”, known as “COPE.” This means privatizing the Internet, by allowing such private corporations as AT&T, BellSouth, Verizon and others to actually own it, and, in the process operate the internet and other digital communications services as private networks. The bill very, very clearly states that “certain classes of Internet providers may-- not unreasonably-- impair, interfere, restrict or limit applications or services such as Web sites or voice-over IP phone connections.”

On April 26, 2006, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications rejected an amendment to the bill (the Markey Amendment written by Ed Markey, D-Mass) that would have strengthened provisions for network neutrality. That amendment was defeated by a vote of 28 to 8. (see end notes for URLs)

I clearly and irrefutably understand what the First Amendment is all about. Freedom of Speech is sacred to me. I do – via extraordinary experience as a ten year old Jewish kid in Nazi Berlin – understand what the denial of this freedom can mean.

“Regulating” the internet, charging for its use, even “monitoring” it, is simply one more step towards fascism. When I can’t say what I feel, when I can’t express these feelings freely on the internet, I am being muzzled. (Been muzzled on pain of death before, so believe it: been there, done that)

I do not care a hoot who invented it. For all we know, it fell out of a Pentagon DOD window, onto the head of a fifteen year old computer geek who ran with it. What I care about is what it has become: A free and open avenue of communication.

What matters is that it is ours now: Ours, all of us with access to it. And even those who don’t use it own it. We made it, we use it – and for what? Well, amongst other things we use it to exchange the truth, that’s for what! From the Moscow Post, to the conservative Manchester Guardian, from reputable U.S. and international internet sites, we get to learn what our own media conceals. And then, are free to exchange this information with fellow internet users all over the planet. In the process, we make friends, socialize a bit, and get to know whose information is trustworthy and who’s just in it for laughs, or to “spoof” or “spam.”

I am also completely aware (again via past personal experience in Nazi Germany) of the degree to which this administration has actively censored, regulated and propagandized all news media, both print and TV. But, via the internet, I can get actual news from the European media, a bit above and beyond what is force-fed us here. Those idiot “celebrity” articles mentioned earlier, are a tried and true way to divert our citizenry’s attention from actual news. In Nazi Germany, all it took was Nazi heroine Leni Riefenstahl flying an airplane with her hair streaming, or climbing up a mountain wearing a radiant smile along with her cleats.

If we are deprived of free and complete and independent access to the Internet, we will lose the last vestige of getting the real news, and the last vestige of free and open communication available to any of us.

I just wrote a scathing letter to my legislative representatives, stating – amongst other things – “Please remember: I am old, but I sure vote.” All of you who read this, must do the same. Let them know how you feel. Let them know. After all, you are undoubtedly reading this very article on an internet site, are you not?

End Notes, Sources and Resources:

Wallace Koehler at: wkoehler @ valdosta.edu
http://mydd.com/images/admin/Markey_Net_neutrality_Amendment.pdf
http://www.democraticleader.house.gov/issues/net_neutrality_/index.cfm

Gun Owners of America at: http://savetheinternet.com/=coalition
http://commerce.senate.gov/pdf/cerf-020706.pdf
http://www.doontmesswiththenet.com
http://savetheinternet.com

US Congress drafting bill that may affect internet freedoms at:
http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/US_Congress_drafting_bill_that_may_affect_internet__freedoms

Additional Contacts

National Cable & Telecommunications Association at:
http://www.ncta.com/IssueBrief.aspx?contnentID=2715

Common Cause, “Hands off Our Internet!” at:
http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b-1386967

*************

(Doris Colmes is an independent writer in Portland, Oregon. Her book, “The Iron Butterfly” was published in 2002, and she received the Kay Snow Award for non-fiction in 2003. She can be reached via: www.doriscolmes.com )

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news