Tag Archives: Free Speech

Loomer: Is the Next Step For Cancel Culture To Drive Certain People From All Society?

Loomer – Is the Next Step For Cancel Culture To Drive Certain People From All Society? – powered by ise.media

Exclusive. Laura Loomer: Is the Next Step For Cancel Culture To Drive Certain People From All Society?

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Watch our full 25 minute interview with CreateTailwind here: https://fb.watch/3R7WpToKwJ/

Are We Watching the DEATH OF FREE SPEECH?

Are We Watching the DEATH OF FREE SPEECH? – powered by ise.media

Is the goal of the establishment in politics, media and big tech to completely censor all speech and control what is said, thought and believed in all of society?

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Dems Want A War on Domestic Terror

Dems Want A War on Domestic Terror – powered by ise.media

Now that the Neo-Liberal order has taken control of all branches of the Federal Government, media, big tech and academia, the new push for is a “war on domestic terror”. Plus, there is now talk of “deprogramming” Trump supporters. I speak with Gad Saad, author of The Parasitic Mind about how to overcome this. Saad explains that 10’s of millions of Americans must now channel their “inner honey badger.”

Check out our sponsor CreateTailwind.com and watch our 25 minute interview on how to “Secede from the Banking System” here.


ISE Media Is Now Live

In 2018, investigative journalist and Truth In Media founder Ben Swann announced plans for a platform providing a space for independent journalism, entertainment and other media to produce content without fear of censorship that has been spreading across existing mainstream platforms. Ever since this announcement, the Isegoria team has been working diligently to make this project a reality. We have been honored to receive support and encouragement from our audience while in early stages of development.

Watch the announcement video here.




The Isegoria team is thrilled to announce that we have launched the beta version of ISE Media, the media platform of Isegoria. In our first phase, ISE Media will be streaming original content produced by Ben as well as other exciting content partners that we will be announcing soon. This content will be exclusive or semi-exclusive to ISE Media and will not be available anywhere else.

Register your ISE Media account by clicking here.




ISE Media is not simply for the people; it is also powered by the people. We are excited to share that you can own part of ISE Media by participating in our equity crowdfund campaign. When you contribute to this campaign, you are not just making a donation- you actually own a part of ISE Media and have a say in the content and direction on the platform. Owning a part of ISE Media also means that you are ensuring accountability and keeping Isegoria in check, unlike mainstream media conglomerates.

With your participation, you will also be helping Isegoria launch the next phases of the ISE Media platform:

  • ISE Quality: a section tailored for independent channels producing content that has been purged from other platforms. Isegoria may pay content creators to make content exclusive to their platform. Voting rights for ISE consumers may move content from the Quality channels to the ISE streaming lineup.
  • ISE Indie: this section is for independent journalists and content creators who are not large enough to have enough ongoing content to populate a channel.These creators may present project proposals to the ISE treasury subject to a vote from the ISE community. This vertical in particular will help combat the issue of independent media being unable to find a funding mechanism and will help to combat corporate entities attempting to cut off advertisers to independent journalists.


Click here to own your piece of ISE Media.



Right now, ISE Media is open for user registrations. After registration and signing in, you will also be able to follow the available content creators currently on the platform and add other users to your network, comment on content, and send private messages. In the next phase, ISE Media will offer users their own profile feed.

As you already know, the tech world continues to censor and ban quality content every single day simply because it dissents from mainstream narratives. By participating in this crowdfund and joining the platform, you will be directly supporting free speech that big tech keeps trying to silence. Come join us and build a platform for the people, by the people.

Visit https://wefunder.com/ise.media/ to learn more and participate in the ISE Media crowdfund campaign.

Protecting Free Speech with Unstoppable Domains

This article contains affiliate links. With every domain purchase you make, you directly support Truth In Media.

In recent years and months, independent content creators have seen their work erased from the web by centralized entities. It’s more important than ever for people to be able to protect their content without fear of being shut down.

Software company Unstoppable Domains is aiming to put an end to online censorship by providing blockchain-based domains. While offering free speech protection in its mission to provide uncensorable websites, Unstoppable Domains also aims to simplify sending and receiving crypto payments.

Unstoppable provides two services: an address for receiving crypto payments, as well as providing a blockchain domain that cannot be censored. Rather than sharing a lengthy, complicated conventional cryptocurrency wallet address, Unstoppable Domains provides a “yourname.crypto” address for sending and receiving crypto payments. The system currently supports over 20 cryptocurrencies with plans to include more.

When you buy a domain, it will be stored in your cryptocurrency wallet, and in this wallet your domain can’t be transferred or removed by anyone but yourself. Unstoppable Domains currently supports two domain extensions: .zil, a low-fee extension on the Zilliqa blockchain, and .crypto, which is on the more widely known Ethereum blockchain. 

Bradley Kam, Co-founder & head of business development at Unstoppable Domains, illustrated the distinction between conventional .com websites and what Unstoppable is offering: “The way it works in the current domain world is there’s one centralized registry, and then there are permissioned writers to that registry like GoDaddy and Google Domains. And they have the ability to move your domain and they have the ability to take your domain. That’s the biggest difference is that this is a censorship-resistant system, and they also work in payments.”

Unstoppable Domains is a sponsor of the Truth In Media with Ben Swann podcast. For every domain purchase you make, you are directly supporting Truth In Media while also helping to ensure your own content cannot be removed. Visit truthinmedia.com/unstoppable to learn more about how to set up your own payment address and domain while helping support Ben Swann and Truth in Media.


Teacher Placed On Leave After Questioning School Walkout

Rocklin, CA— California high school history teacher Julianne Benzel is on paid suspension after engaging her students in a discussion where she shared her perspective on the politics of organized protests in anticipation of the National School Walkout, which took place on the morning of March 14.

“We had a dialogue in class about it in Thursday and Friday. And today I received the call. So I am aghast,” Benzel told CBS Sacramento.

Benzel said that she questioned her students as to the appropriateness of schools sanctioning a protest against gun violence and whether the school administration was willing to allow protests for other causes, but she noted that she never discouraged her pupils from taking part in the walkout.

“If you’re going to allow students to walk up and get out of class without penalty then you have to allow any group of students that wants to protest,” Benzel said.

“And so I just kind of used the example which I know it’s really controversial, but I know it was the best example I thought of at the time,” Benzel told CBS Sacramento. “[If] a group of students nationwide, or even locally, decided ‘I want to walk out of school for 17 minutes’ and go in the quad area and protest abortion, would that be allowed by our administration?”

According to Benzel, her students understood the purpose of her discussion, but on Wednesday, she received notification that she was being placed on leave. While students were walking out of class, Benzel was informed she was being placed on paid administrative leave.

“I didn’t get any backlash from my students. All my students totally understood that there could not be a double standard,” she said.

School officials didn’t elaborate on the specific nature of the issue, but released a statement reading in part:

A Rocklin High School teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave due to several complaints from parents and students involving the teacher’s communications regarding today’s student-led civic engagement activities.

Benzel said that she hopes the national student walkout will facilitate broader discussion not focused entirely on second amendment gun rights, but also on free speech.

Student Nick Wade, who didn’t walk out, told CBS13 that he believes the politics behind the protest played a large role – and that protests related to a more “conservative” cause would likely be denied by school officials.

“I feel like if we were to go to school and say something like I want to walk out maybe for abortion rights, then you know they probably wouldn’t let us because that’s more of a conservative push. But someone wants to say let’s walk out for gun control then the school’s going to go with it because it’s more of a popular view,” said Wade.

Benzel told the news station that she acquired legal counsel and plans to meet with the school administration on Thursday.

Florida Bans So-Called Campus ‘Free Speech Zones’

(DCNF) Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Sunday eliminating “free speech zones,” which are known for restricting free speech on campuses to a certain location.

SB 4, which also enables students to levy state lawsuits against public universities that violate students’ rights to expression, cleared the Florida Senate in a 33-5 vote after passing the state House in an 84-28 vote, reported the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a free speech nonprofit group.

“Students at public colleges and universities in Florida should not have their free speech quarantined by overly restrictive policies,” FIRE legislative and policy director Joe Cohn said in a press release. “Now that Florida’s Campus Free Expression Act is law, these egregious policies of censorship must be rescinded immediately.”

Florida is the ninth state to ban “free speech zones” and FIRE’s executive director Robert Shibley mentioned in a press release his hope that the U.S. would proceed with a nationwide ban on the policies restricting student speech.

FIRE has cataloged how friendly 13 Florida universities are to free speech, judging them with a colored system in which a green light signifies a full embrace of free speech and a red light indicates significant resistance in terms of policies. The nonprofit rates the University of Florida and the University of North Florida with green lights, the University of Miami and Florida State University with red lights, and the remaining seven schools with yellow lights.

“Today is a huge victory for current and future college students across the Sunshine State who will no longer be discouraged from fully expressing their ideas and beliefs,” Demetrius Minor, Florida’s coalitions director for center-right young adult advocacy group Generation Opportunity, said in a press release. “We thank Governor Scott, as well as Speaker Corcoran, Senate President Negron, Rep. Rommel, Sen. Baxley and others who fought hard to ensure that Orwellian “free speech zones” are a thing of the past in Florida.”

Written by: Rob Shimshock
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This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

DONEGAN: Citizens United Ruling Lets Advocacy Groups Expose Politicians’ Voting Records

Since the dawn of human history, wealthy people have had a disproportionate level of influence over the political process, regardless what policies are enacted in an effort to prevent it. When the Supreme Court overturned the government’s ban on citizens organizing in groups and expressing themselves in political advertisements via the Citizens United v. FEC ruling, some well-meaning politicos declared that moneyed interests would soon buy up the U.S. government, creating an impermeable billionaires’ club establishment that can never be defeated politically.

In reality, Citizens United v. FEC has, rather than further entrenching existing industrial complexes, unleashed a multi-billion dollar negative advertising machine, trashing candidates from coast-to-coast by exposing their voting records to voters, most of whom have little time in their day-to-day lives to follow all of their legislators’ moves. If a candidate for re-election votes in a way that is offensive to an advocacy group, that group can now blanket the airwaves with ads educating voters on that fact.

Meanwhile, the criticism that free speech in political advertising will favor billionaires at the expense of the poor assumes that people align politically on the basis of their income level, rather than their political views. In reality, rich and downtrodden Americans alike each have their own opinions and often align individually on issues. The 2016 presidential race, where billionaire Donald Trump is attempting to seize the Republican nomination while the even-richer Koch brothers fight against him, shows that America’s ultra-wealthy are not in lock-step agreement with each other. Prior to the Citizens United ruling, a candidate like Donald Trump would have had an even larger advantage than he does now that the Koch brothers can weigh in on the race with advertisements letting citizens know what to expect from a Trump presidency.

On the center-right side of the political spectrum, billionaires like socially-conservative Sheldon Adelson fight for different candidates and issues than the more libertarian-leaning billionaires like PayPal founder Peter Thiel. Leftist George Soros can do battle dollar-for-dollar with nearly any conservative-leaning ultra-wealthy philanthropist.

Citizens United allows companies to educate voters when regulations will have an impact on their prices and products. It allows policy advocates to raise money, often from smaller donors through fundraising vehicles like money bombs, to educate voters when the outcomes of elections will affect the issues that are important to them.

Prior to the Citizens United ruling, it was already impossible for a candidate to win a state-wide political race without a massive war chest filled with donations, and nothing in that sense has changed. The wealthiest people can always hire lawyers to conjure loopholes through which their interests can be achieved no matter what laws are passed in an effort to block them. However, Citizens United has opened up political advocacy to groups funded by large numbers of small donors who previously couldn’t use billionaires’ legal maneuvers to sidestep campaign finance limits.

Citizens United has also evened the playing field between citizens and owners of corporate media outlets. What is the fundamental difference between a billionaire starting a media company that publishes opinion articles and an advocacy group expressing a political viewpoint by purchasing a commercial on that same media outlet to expose a vote from a politician’s record that the media is not publicizing?

Regarding the 2016 presidential campaign, Politico’s Jack Shafer wrote, “The best-financed candidates seem to be enjoying no dramatic advantage over their less-well financed opponents. On the Republican side, Jeb Bush has collected $120 million in donations to lead all Republicans in the money sweepstakes, yet he trails Donald Trump badly in the polls. Trump has raised a mere $1.9 million—and $1.8 million of that is a Trump loan! Ben Carson is beating both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in the polls despite raising a fourth of their loot.

He added, “On the Democratic Party side, poll leader Hillary Clinton leads the money race with $67.8 million, but her poll numbers are dropping at about the same rate that Bernie Sanders’ are rising, and the Sanders campaign has raked in only $15.2 million.

It is also worth noting that prior to the Citizens United ruling, billionaire Donald Trump still would have been able to self-finance his own campaign. Now that free speech has been unleashed in political advertising, advocacy groups and other wealthy individuals can self-finance the opposition to a candidate’s campaign, thus neutralizing, rather than empowering, particular moneyed interests’ control over politics.

Missouri Gov. Signs Law Banning ‘Free Speech Zones’ On College Campuses

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed the Campus Free Expression Act (CAFE Act) into law on Tuesday, making Missouri the second state to prohibit public universities from limiting student speech to a designated “free speech zone.”

Senate Bill 93, which was created to “protect free expression on the campuses of public institutions of higher education,” designates that all outdoor areas of the campuses of public universities will be recognized as traditional public forums.”

The CAFE Act states that any individual may freely engage in “noncommercial expressive activity” as long as the individual’s conduct is “not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the institution’s functioning.”

The act, which was sponsored by Republican state Sen. Ed Emery, also notes that universities “may maintain and enforce reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions in service of a significant institutional interest” at times when such restrictions “employ clear, published, content and viewpoint-neutral criteria, and provide for ample alternative means of expression.”

“This act may be enforced in a court of competent jurisdiction by the attorney general or any person whose expressive rights were violated under this act,” Emery wrote. “A person may recover compensatory damages, reasonable court costs, and attorney fees.”

If a court finds an institution in violation of the new law, the CAFE Act states that it must award no less than $500 for the initial violation, and $50 for each day the violation continues.

Joe Cohn, the Legislative and Policy Director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), said that while “one in six public colleges in the United States use free speech zones to restrict student speech,” the CAFE Act lets Missouri “statutorily ensure that its public colleges and universities will no longer be among them.”

FIRE noted that the CAFE Act received “overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate,” and was passed by a unanimous 34-0 vote before being passed in the House of Representatives.

Virginia became the first state to ban “free speech zones” on college campuses, when it enacted House Bill 258 in April 2014, which prohibits public universities from “imposing restrictions on the time, place, and manner of student speech that occurs in the outdoor areas of the institution’s campus and is protected by the First Amendment.”

“The fact of the matter remains that universities have a track record at silencing free speech, especially in cases that they disagree with,” said Republican state Rep. Rick Brattin, who handled the bill in the House.

Brattin told the Missouri Times that the CAFE Act became necessary when lawmakers discovered that the West Plains campus of Missouri State University designated a basketball court near the student rec center as its only free speech zone.

“Free speech is not a right or left issue,” Brattin said. “It’s an individual liberty and freedom we all hold dear to our heart. It’s sad that it comes to this point that we have to pass legislation to uphold these First Amendment rights.”

Jason Stapleton The New Tolerance America’s War on Speech

On today’s show Jason will be talking about the free speech and the direction it is heading.

The Jason Stapleton Program is live from 11:05 am to noon eastern. Enjoy replays from earlier episodes before and after the live show. You can also find recorded episodes on iTunes.

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TN City Bans Negative Social Media Comments About City Government, Employees, Contractors

Social media and mobile technology have empowered civic activism on levels before unseen. Matters that once went on behind closed doors now emerge in vivid detail on YouTube, and activists, alternative media journalists, and everyday people use sites like Facebook and Twitter to express themselves on issues that would have in the past been ignored by mainstream media outlets. However, the increased transparency and civic engagement come at a cost to elected officials and bureaucrats who prefer doing business in smoky backrooms without debate or public comment.

According to Chattanooga Times Free Press, city officials in South Pittsburg, TN have been overwhelmed by negative comments on social media and consequently enacted a new policy, passed in a 4-1 vote at a December city commission meeting, banning all elected officials, city employees, city contractors, and anyone else doing official business with the city from making any negative comments on their private social media accounts about anyone or anything with any connection to city government. The policy falls short of criminalizing negative comments by citizens not directly affiliated with the government, but does force elected officials, contractors, city employees, and anyone else doing business of any kind with the city to sign a contract which stipulates that they be punished in the event that they violate the rule. The rule specifically states that affected parties are banned from making negative social media comments about the city itself, its elected officials, and its associates, which would seemingly include private contractors.

Commissioner Jeff Powers, a supporter of the policy, explained his frustrations with social media comments to Chattanooga Times Free Press, “It seems like every few meetings we’re having to address something that’s been on Facebook and created negative publicity.” He also said, addressing critics of the policy, “The first thing everyone wants to say is ‘I can’t post anything on Facebook.’ Well, you can. Just not [anything] that sheds a negative light on any person, entity, board or things of that nature. You can go ahead and post all you want.”

Commissioner Paul Don King, the lone board member who voted against the measure, said, “But what we [the board] are trying to say is that if I’m a city employee, you’re trying to tell me what I can say at night. I call that freedom of speech. I can’t understand that.”

Mayor Jane Dawkins said the measure was aimed at silencing what she called “out-and-out lies and untruths.” City Attorney Billy Gouger gave his opinion on the rule’s impact on freedom of speech, “What this policy tries to do is reconcile that right with other rights.”

Banning elected officials from making negative comments about the city or other elected officials seemingly transfers significant power to an administration backed by a majority, as dissenters, such as Paul Don King in this case, could in the future be accused of violating the rule while advocating policy positions on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Also, city employees appear to now be banned from commenting on their consumer experiences with private businesses that incidentally have contracts with the city.

Satanists in Florida to put up a display in the state’s capitol

The state of Florida has agreed to allow the Satanic Temple to put up a holiday display in the state’s capitol building alongside displays from other world religions.

This comes one year after the religion of Pastafarianism was allowed to place a holiday display in the state’s capitol next to other religious displays, but denied the Satanic Temple the same right.  According to Slate, the government of Florida called the temple’s display then, “grossly offensive.”

This year, according to io9, the temple reapplied for permission to put up a holiday display with the backing of some free speech groups such as the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.  The temple and these free speech groups reportedly, “threatened to sue Florida for violating the temple’s free speech rights if the state refused to permit its display.”

Spokesman for the Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves said, according to Miami CBS Local, “the difference seems to be in the fact that this time around we arrived with lawyers.”  Greaves continued by saying, “We hope that, this holiday season, everybody can put their religious differences aside and respect that the celebratory spirit of responsible hedonism is available to all.”

Not all Floridians are upset with this decision to allow the Satanic Temple to place a holiday display next to other religious displays.

The president of the Florida Prayer Network, Pam Olsen, said she does not have a problem with other groups putting up displays since it is their right to freedom of speech.  However, she said she is worried people are putting up displays in opposition to her group’s nativity scene rather than to wish people a happy holiday.

“This is not a religious endorsement by our state government. It’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and we will all be up there,” said Olsen in a statement.  “But are they really putting them up to wish everyone a happy holiday from the atheists and the Satanists?”

The holiday display from the Satanic Temple is said to be a picture of an angel falling into a pit of hell fire.

Is the internet protected by the First Amendment? The Supreme Court will decide

The Supreme Court is set to hear a case which could settle if the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech extends to the internet and social media.

The case is Elonis vs. United States, where Anthony Elonis will argue posts he made on Facebook were made in jest and not meant to be taken seriously.  Elonis was previously convicted by a federal court for these posts, saying they were of a threatening nature and therefore not protected.

All of the posts in question were viewed by Elonis’ ex-wife who said she felt threatened by them and by Elonis.

One such post reads, according to the Huffington Post, “There’s one way to love you but a thousand ways to kill you. I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts.”

The LA Times also says other posts made by Elonis mentioned killing an FBI agent, as well as massacring a kindergarten class.  Elonis testified his posts were never meant to frighten anyone, and he also said his posts were a spontaneous form of expression similar to rap lyrics.

John Elwood, Elonis’ attorney, told CNN he agreed the posts were cathartic for Elonis.  “There’s a reason why all these graphic songs were written when Eminem wrote these things and he hasn’t been prosecuted for a felony for writing these songs which are virtually indistinguishable about his ex-wife,” said Elwood.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. is representing the government in the case and disagrees, saying, “A bomb threat that appears to be serious is equally harmful regardless of the speaker’s private state of mind.”

The Justice Department weighed in on the situation saying no matter what the speaker believes about his comments, if someone feels threatened by the comments, those comments are not protected speech.

Some civil liberties groups such as the ACLU, are siding with Elonis, saying “A statute that proscribes speech without regard to the speaker’s intended meaning runs the risk of punishing protected First Amendment expression simply because it is crudely or zealously expressed.”

Arguments from both sides will begin Monday.

Students Reprimanded for Handing Out U.S. Constitutions Outside “Free Speech Zone”

Last week, four students at Southern Oregon University were told by administrators that they must stop handing out copies of the United States Constitution on campus, or else the Police would be called, and disciplinary action would taken against them.

The administrators confronted the students, who were affiliated with Students for Concealed Carry, and reprimanded them, due to the fact that they were handing out literature, in an area that was outside of the university’s designated “Free Speech Zone.”

Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a nonpartisan student organization that promotes students’ rights to carry concealed weapons on campus. One member of the group, Stephanie Keaveney, told Campus Reform that administrators alleged that the four representatives from SCC had caused an “immediate panic for the safety of students in the face of gun violence, or the promotion of such.

We encountered wild accusations that because the event was affiliated with SCC, there was legitimate fear for the imminent danger of students on campus,” Keaveney said.

The university’s family housing coordinator, Allyson Beck, was the first one to confront the students, who were handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution near an on-campus residence hall.

We have our free speech zone,” said Beck. “I understand that you may not like it, but that’s where it is.

The director of university housing, Tim Robitz, also approached the students. “I would very much like you to leave,” said Robitz. “If you would, please, because the students have the right to be able to come by here without you guys, you know, invading their space and asking them to do something.

Thank you for coming down here and explaining to us the unconstitutional policies here on campus, but we’re not going to move,” said one of the students from SCC.

Campus Reform reported that even though, as one student claimed, some of the administrators resorted to “personal attacks” and threatened disciplinary action, the students refused to leave, and the administrators eventually left them alone.

Although campus police claimed they had received a complaint from a student who said he felt “uncomfortable,” they did not ultimately confront the students. The members of SCC insisted that they had not heard any complaints.

Students on this campus were in no way framing themselves to be a legitimate threat to safety or inciting unlawful behavior,” said Keaveney. “This action was only related to SCC in that its members on this campus believe in order to fight for our second amendment rights; we must first be free to exercise our first amendment rights.”

Watch the full video here:


Obama Has Sentenced Whistleblowers to 10x the Jail Time of All Prior U.S. Presidents Combined

James Risen, an Investigative Journalist, and veteran New York Times Reporter, is now another name on the list of Journalists being prosecuted by the Obama Administration. Risen, whose reporting on warrantless wiretapping was published in 2006, is now facing jail time for the same material that earned him a Pulitzer Prize.

According to Democracy Now, Risen’s original story was supposed to be published in the New York Times prior to the Presidential election in 2004. However, the report was not published until 2006, because Risen was under “government pressure,” due to the fact that his article could have had an effect of the outcome between candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry.

The same accounts included in the report, were also detailed in a book authored by Risen, titled, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.

Now, Risen could face time in prison if he refuses to testify at the trial of ex-CIA analyst Jeffrey Sterling. Prosecutors claim Sterling gave Risen information on the CIA’s role in interfering with Iran’s nuclear program.

In a 2006 article from Risen, which includes excerpts from his book, he addressed the fact that although President Bush had insisted Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, the country received blueprints to build a bomb in 2000, which came directly from the CIA.

According to Democracy Now, because of his revelations, Risen has been “pursued by both the Bush and Obama administrations in a six-year leak investigation,” and he has vowed to “go to jail rather than testify at Sterling’s trial, which is set to begin in January.”

When it comes to prosecuting whistleblowers, the Obama Administration holds the record with eight, which is more than double the three who were prosecuted by previous presidents.

The three journalists who were indicted prior to Obama’s presidency were Daniel Ellsberg in 1973, Samuel Morrison in 1985, and Larry Franklin in 2005.

Since Obama’s time in office, those prosecuted include Thomas Drake and Shamai Leibowitz in 2010, Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou, and Donal Sachtleben in 2013, and Stephen Kim in 2014. The cases of Jeffrey Sterling and Edward Snowden are currently pending.

In addition to increasing the number of journalists indicted, Obama has also increased the price each one is forced to pay.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), due to press freedom concerns, “sentencing in media leak cases has historically been relatively light,” with only 24 months of jail time for the three whistleblowers prosecuted from 1973 to 2005.

However, ACLU noted that Obama has “secured 526 months of prison time for national security leakers,” with the majority given to Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced to 35 years.

Despite the fact that the odds of succeeding as a whistleblower, under the current administration, are not in his favor, James Risen told Democracy Now that he refuses to back down.

Risen said that “staying aggressive and continuing to investigate what the government is doing,” is the only thing the government respects, and is ultimately the only way to maintain press freedom.

I want to keep finding out the truth,” said Risen. “It’s the thing I’ve tried to do my whole life, is be a reporter and be a writer. It’s the only thing I know how to do.”


(VIDEO) 1st Amendment Free Zones: Cops threaten anti-common core group for walking in Christmas parade


“Apparently there are 1st Amendment free zones in America,” says Johnnelle Raines who is an anti-Common Core activist. She was shocked when she was told by the event planner that her group could not be in the Easley Christmas parade in South Carolina. The event planner abruptly told her, “we do not allow political messages in our parade, whatsoever. I will get the police chief over.”

Raines told Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook that she already paid to be in the parade and the application was approved (see document here). There is no mention of any group restrictions in the application. Raines told Cook, “I feel discriminated against and my 1st Amendment rights have been violated.” Raines believed that she was singled out because of her opposition to Common Core.

Raines refused to leave. She was threatened by city police who told her to remove the signs they were holding. Raines asked the officer, “What is political about this sign? Can you tell me what’s political about that?” “I cannot, but I’m not the one who is making that decision” the officer said.

Raines asked, “Can you cite the law that keeps us from bringing a sign in the parade? Is there a law?”

The officer said, “It’s a city event. We can dictate and put in restrictions of what we allow in the parade.”

Activist Jim Hargett told Cook, “I was prepared to be arrested and thought I was for a moment, but then the officer walked away.” Because the children in our group were so upset we decided to go ahead and walk in the parade without signs. Hargett said that his 1st Amendment rights have been violated before.  “One of the assistant principals of a Greenville county school called the cops because I was passing out anti-common core literature on a sidewalk in front of a school.”

Cook called the City of Easley police department but no one was available for comment.

“This experience has taught the children here today a valuable lesson of how important free speech really is,” Raines said.

Muslims or Bikers, We All Have The Right To Free Speech

Wednesday hundreds of thousands converged on Washington D.C. for marches relating to the anniversary of 9/11. The first march was the Million Muslim March, which later changed its name to “Million American March Against Fear”. The group was able to get a permit for their march from the US National Park Service. Though in actuality, only a few hundred people actually turned out and many of those may not have been Muslims at all.

Muslims Washington DC

Simultaneously, as our Kristin Tate reported, another group was denied a permit request by the NPS. That group called ” 2 Million Bikers” wanted to ride through Washington, DC on September 11th. They wanted to do this to honor all of the victims killed during the 2001 terrorist attacks. They did arrive in D.C. and as you can see from the photos, the turnout was very large.

Bikers Washington DC

Throughout the day yesterday and into today headlines are pitting the bikers against the Muslims. Why would NPS discriminate against the bikers but support the Muslims? Why would Muslims be so insensitive to march in D.C. on September 11th?

This is the left/right game. Don’t fall for it!

The reality here is that both of these groups have every right to march on Washington. Media on the right and left are working very hard today to pit these groups against each other. It is shameful. The reality is that American Muslims have every right to march on Washington for whatever message they want to express. Similarly, the bikers have a right to do the same.

The problem between these groups is not that they both want to march on Washington, the problem is that the National Park Service believes they have the power to decide who can march and who cannot.

The First amendment protects our right to speech and our right to peaceably assemble. The Bill of Rights does not state that your right to do so can be suspended because of traffic concerns or because an area might become too crowded.

When a right can be taken away simply because the National Park Service believes that it can or because local, state or federal lawmakers believe that it can, then it wasn’t a right to begin with. It is a privilege.

The right to assemble and the right to air our grievances is not a privilege. But that is the game we find ourselves playing when one group of citizens begins to argue that another group has been given “privilege”.

Under the Constitution, the American Muslims who marched on Washington D.C. need no permit and no “privilege” to make their voice heard. Under the Constitution the American bikers who rolled into D.C. do not need that privilege either.

The reality of what happened in D.C. yesterday is that both groups suffered a violation of their Constitutional rights. Both have an equal right under rule of law. By making one group (Muslims) obtain a permit and by denying a permit to the other (bikers), every one of those Americans had their First Amendment rights trampled.

Exclusive: NSA Using Copyright Claims To Crush Free Speech?

Update: Dan McCall tells BenSwann.com that it is no longer just the NSA that is claiming trademark infringement. He has now had any of his shirts with DHS parodies also removed from the Zazzle marketplace. DHS is also claiming the that parodies infringe on their trademark. McCall is talking with attorneys and may take the issue to court.

Ben Swann Truth in Media

Episode 3

NSA Using Copyright Claims To Crush Free Speech?


Can a government agency block criticism by claiming copyright infringement? Sounds a bit ridiculous but it is happening.  The NSA is effectively stopping one small business owner from criticism, claiming that by using its name he has infringed on their copyright.

Can they do that?

The first step toward truth is to be informed.

This is a story I had a hard time believing until I looked into it for myself.  Here is the backstory.

Dan McCall is the owner of a company that makes snarky t-shirts.  The company is called Liberty Maniacs. Liberty Maniacs carry a number of t-shirts dealing with lack of privacy and the growing police state.  They sell on a site called www.Zazzle.com

None of it has been a problem—until Liberty Maniacs released a shirt called “The NSA.”

The image looks like the NSA logo but has a motto that is clearly a pun—“Peeping while you are sleeping”—followed by the phrase “The NSA, the only part of government that actually listens.”

Shortly after the shirt went online, www.Zazzle.com pulled the shirt from its website, sending this message: “Thank you for publishing products on Zazzle.

Unfortunately, it appears that your product, The NSA, contains content that is in conflict with one or more of our acceptable content guidelines. We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly.

“Policy Notes: Design contains an image or text that may infringe on intellectual property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and we will be removing your product from Zazzle’s Marketplace due to infringement claims.”

Dan McCall, the owner of Liberty Maniacs spoke with me via Skype and says there were multiple items dealing with the NSA that were pulled down from Zazzle.

“In terms of shirts, two, and then maybe four or five bumper stickers.  Basically anything remotely relating to the NSA was taken down.  So I’m not sure if that was subsequently a blanket policy that Zazzle themselves put up because they don’t want to deal with the hassle and they didn’t want to spend time interpreting each thing knowing they would run into problems or if they were plugged into NSA legal and they were watching things as they go,” says McCall.

So to be clear, McCall was using the NSA logo, the NSA claimed copyright infringement and Zazzle.com pulled the content down.

In fairness, what McCall was doing does use the official logo of a government agency.  Can anyone just use that logo?  Actually, yes.  According to both the Electronic Freedom Foundation and the American Bar Association, “parody is recognized as a type of fair use, like other commentary and criticism, and courts recognize that a parody must often take recognizable elements from the work it comments upon.

Courts do distinguish parody from satire. Parody copies from the object it mocks…”

You can’t claim copyright infringement if your logo or image is used as part of a parody.  So the next question, is this logo a parody?

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, a parody “is the use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works. Like other forms of comment or criticism, parody can provide social benefit, by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one.”

“According to the [U.S. Supreme] Court, a parody is the ‘use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s works.’ Id. at 580. Like other forms of comment or criticism, parody can provide social benefit, ‘by shedding light on an earlier work, and, in the process, creating a new one.’ Id.” –Juli Wilson Marshall, Nicholas J. Siciliano, Latham & Watkins LLP

McCall says, “I tried to visually take the most obvious direction at pointing at them that I could. It was their logo.  I just tried to adulterate it a little bit and put a few jabs in there and that will be it. So it wasn’t a huge design coup and it did the job basically.”

Now, what might be the most interesting twist in this entire story is that while the NSA is claiming copyright infringement against McCall for his parody, the NSA itself is facing accusations of true copyright infringement.

Take a look at this image.  This is the official NSA logo for the Prism program. Prism is, of course, the program that deals with NSA spying via email and phone records.

According to reports from England, the Prism image used here is being used without permission.

Adam Hart Davis is a well-known BBC presenter and the image belongs to him.  Here is the Davis pic.  As you can see, the NSA image is just Davis’ picture flipped upside down.  Adam’s son, Damon, who wrote about this in the Register Newspaper, claims that the image is free for use, but a donation is requested and, at minimum, use of the image requires a link to his photo gallery and acknowledgement, none of which he has received from the NSA.

What you need to know is that because the work put out by Liberty Maniacs is clearly a parody, it is not copyright infringement.  That is the easiest part of this story.

But the bigger issue here is the issue of free speech. It is a first amendment issue. McCall sees it that way as well.

“First amendment issues affect everybody and it specifically affects everybody who is expressing themselves—any artist, whether on the right or on the left or in the middle or whatever side.  If you are not allowed to express yourself artistically or in many other ways, we have taken a turn for the worse,” says McCall.

Bottom line, there is no gray area here.  But the NSA is a very powerful government agency. They don’t need a gray area or even to be right to get companies like Zazzle.com to cooperate.

This is why Internet piracy bills like SOPA and PIPA and CISPA are so dangerous.  If those bills become law, all the feds have to do is claim copyright infringement to shut down an entire site.  They don’t have to be right.

Dan McCall’s story is just a taste of what happens when government agencies decide they will enforce laws but not be subject to them.

And that is Reality Check.