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US Ambassador stifles free speech

US Ambassador stifles free speech

At lunchtime yesterday, the US Ambassador walked out of a public meeting, denying the people of New Zealand a rare opportunity to communicate directly to a senior representative of the United States government.

Peace Action Wellington had taken over the running of the meeting, to facilitate a more balanced event than the planned US propaganda speech. 'To listen to him and have some polite exchange is an insult to freedom of speech in this context.' said Peace Action Wellington member Don Franks.

The meeting began with a minute of silence for the thousands of innocent civilians murdered by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by a minute of rage against the murderers. Then, after an introduction from a Peace Action Wellington representative, the floor was opened to the public. Unfortunately, Ambassador Swindells chose to depart the meeting rather than listen to the concerns and questions of the attendees.

The Ambassador's own free speech was not impeded in the least, as the text of his planned presentation was made freely available online and widely reported in the mainstream press. As expected, it contained nothing surprising, confirming that a free exchange of views would have been far more valuable. However, the current US government only approves of "free speech" when they are the ones doing the speaking.

The current administration of the US insulates itself from the voices of the people to an astonishing degree. "President" Bush has admitted that he does not read the news, and relies exclusively on briefings from his own staff.

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