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Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, and Irwin Schiff’s Legacy of the Freedom of the Press

As the U.S. government persecutes and imprisons Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning for their dissidence and their informing the American people of the crimes committed by their rulers, the Trump administration is threatening yet another war, against Iran, for no good reason.

Over the decades and centuries, we can see why the agents of the United State don’t like the freedom of the Press. And the U.S. government’s imprisonment of dissidents doesn’t just apply to the government’s foreign policy, but has applied to its domestic policy as well.

Carl Watner writes about the silencing of dissent in this article at the Voluntaryist, using tax protester/dissident Irwin Schiff as an example. Irwin was sentenced to jail for years and years for not filing taxes. But really, it was his tax-opposition activism and his best-selling books that were the real reasons why Schiff was confined to prison for so many years.

Irwin Schiff’s books, The Biggest Con: How the Government Is Fleecing You, How Anyone Can Stop Paying Income Taxes, The Great Income Tax Hoax: Why You Can Immediately Stop Paying This Illegally Enforced Tax, and The Federal Mafia: How It Illegally Imposes and Unlawfully Collects Income Taxes, exposed U.S. government’s fraudulent income tax, and turned him into a political prisoner. (And no, I am not suggesting or encouraging anyone to be a tax protester or to withhold income taxes. I myself have not done and would not do anything illegal. I also hardly have much of an income.)

It was Schiff’s book, Federal Mafia, that was supposedly banned by the judge. According to Wikipedia, “the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the book to be fraudulent and upheld an injunction issued by a U.S. District Court in Nevada under 26 U.S.C. § 7408 against Irwin Schiff and associates Cynthia Neun and Lawrence Cohen against the sale of this book by those persons.” However, Schiff has been able to give the book away for free on his website (although, as you can see by clicking on the link in the previous paragraph, it is available now at Amazon).

And I believe the current situation with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning is a similar situation. Just as the feds don’t want the American people to know the truth about their illicit apparatus of theft and plunder, in the Assange/Manning case the feds don’t want you to know about the war crimes and other evil crimes of the U.S. government — so, they are imprisoning Assange and Manning.

The Schiff case and the judge’s literally banning one of Schiff’s books was a case not as much about the income tax but freedom of speech and freedom of the Press.

While Carl Watner does not address the WikiLeaks case, in regards to the freedom of the Press Watner does address the Irwin Schiff case. Watner writes,

In Schiff’s case, the judge tried to prevent Schiff from “poisoning the minds of the people.” There was no way that the government could allow Schiff to refuse to pay his taxes, and get away with it. The Bolsheviks of the Russian Revolution were the first to use the term “poison” with regard to “contaminating” people’s minds. It was they who labeled the capitalist press “poisoners of the mind of the people.”

State hegemony and the ability to command obedience actually grow out of ideas. It is ideology, not force or its threat, which causes most people to obey. That is why governments are so concerned about the unrestricted exposure of their people to a wide variety of ideas, particularly to those ideas which question its legitimacy. It would be suicide for a State to stand idle while it was being criticized and its power base was being undercut. If the State is to remain in control, it can never reconcile itself to unrestrained freedom of the press. Whether the State is trying to retain its legitimacy or fight for its life, as in time of war, it must generally control what the people think.

So, as the Trump administration seems to be threatening to attack Iran, and for no good reason just as the Bush administration attacked Iraq and Afghanistan, there are a lot of people including those shameful members of the compliant news media who obediently believe the feds’ outright propaganda and lies to justify another war of aggression.

So, we need truth tellers like Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, like Irwin Schiff, to use their freedom of the Press to let the American people know the truth of the criminal racket that is their U.S. government.

Published inAuthoritarianismBureaucracyCensorshipCivil LibertiesFraudFreedom of SpeechNational Security StateTaxationVoluntaryismWar Crimes