Monday, February 28, 2005

Cracking Down on Internet Dissent

Two very similar stories are running on Aljazeera today, about governments cracking down on people who have been using the internet to publish their views.

In China, a 40-year-old man has been detained since October, accused of having

"incited subversion of state power and overthrow of China's socialist system"

Friends of freedom have been trying to help. According to the article in Aljazeera,

Internet surfers have flocked to Du's defence, even posting an online petition at saying he had not called for the overthrow of the Chinese government.

I've tried the link myself but got "404: Not Found". Big surprise there!

Meanwhile, in Bahrain, a 27-year-old man has been arrested and is being held

for allegedly stirring hatred against the government and spreading false news that could jeopardise state security.

How ironic. If spreading false news were illegal in the United States, half (or more) of the mainstream media would be in serious jeopardy. Instead the false news continues to be spread, the spreading of actual news continues to be suppressed, and the decline of American journalism continues at an ever-increasing pace.

I'm not sure what we can do for the Chinese or Bahrainain dissidents. I'm not even sure what we can do for our own dissidents. But the real news is still out there. It's just a bit harder to find these days. Please, if you haven't already, visit some of the websites which are still reporting real news. Here are a few of my favorites:

If you would like to recommend one or more other real-news sites, please leave a comment for me. I will do my best to incorporate your suggestions.

It's been a long time since I posted a song. This one's an obvious choice. It's by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones:


What are we gonna do now?

Taking off his turban, they said: Is a man a Jew?
'Cos they're working for the clampdown
They put up a poster saying: We earn more than you!
When we're working for the clampdown

We will teach our twisted speech
To the young believers
We will train our blue-eyed men
To be young believers

The judge said five-to-ten but I say double that again
I'm not working for the clampdown
No man born with a living soul
Can be working for the clampdown

Kick over the wall, cause governments to fall
How can you refuse it?
Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
D'you know that you can use it?

The voices in your head are calling
Stop wasting your time there's nothing coming
Only a fool would think someone could save you
The men at the factory are old and cunning
You don't owe nothing, so boy get runnin'
It's the best years of your life they want to steal

You grow up and you calm down
You're working for the clampdown
You start wearing blue and brown
And working for the clampdown

So you got someone to boss around
It makes you feel big now
You drift until you brutalize
Make your first kill now

In these days of evil presidentes
Working for the clampdown
Lately one or two has fully paid their dues
For working for the clampdown
But ha! Gitalong! Gitalong!

Workin' hard in Harrisburg
Workin' in St. Petersburg
And I've given away no secrets
Who's barmy now?