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Celebrity castigations a microcosm of the broader attack on freedom

Steve Watson | February 28 2006

There has recently been a spate of reports concerning the castigation and investigation of various celebrities who have voiced a political opinion that is critical of the government, the "war on terror" or the war in Iraq.

This is a dangerous indication that our society as whole is systematically being deprived of freedom of speech and being coerced into a mindset that says those who question their government are traitors.

We undoubtedly live in a celebrity obsessed society and the media drives this forward to its full advantage. The way the political opinions of those in the limelight are portrayed in the mainstream media is communicated to a mass audience and becomes a microcosm for political opinion in general.

The attempt at utter destruction of the reputation of George Clooney in the press recently reveals this very premise.

Clooney - known as a prominent critic of the Bush government - told the BBC that he had been "nailed" in the American media following his vocal opposition to ongoing conflict in Iraq.

"I've been nailed in the American press as a traitor to my country because I said we should ask questions before we went to war," he has commented.

"But I never held a press conference saying 'this is what you should think'. I asked questions and said 'these are the questions that I believe I have the right to ask' - which is what our government was founded on."

Clooney has also famously been branded a "traitor" by the US media for expressing his opinions.

Since when was anyone a traitor for suggesting we should be keeping the government in check? Were the founding fathers traitors? Yes they were. They were traitors to the crown, to the rulers, who wished to continue their Iron fist reign. The foundation of America was treasonous only to the power hungry and the ruling elite because a few dared to suggest that the people should enjoy greater freedoms and equalities and that THEY should be served by those who are elected to run things.

Clooney's two current movies, Good Night, And Good Luck and Syriana, are social commentaries that have subtle political overtones relevant to current events. However, they are in no way extremely anti-government or radically political.

Despite this Clooney continues to be portrayed by the media as a dangerous left-wing critic whose anti-war opinions are not indicative of Americans, despite the fact that THE MAJORITY now believe the war was a mistake and want immediate withdrawal.

Clooney has also been targeted for suggesting in Syriana that the government does not listen to the people.

He has commented that "the three branches of the US government are "all on the same side" and therefore the idea of Syriana was to be an "opposing voice... to say, 'at the very least, you have to be allowed to ask tough questions'."

HOW DARE YOU CRITICISE YOUR COUNTRY!

In another recent "celebrity revelation" it came to light that the singer Morrissey had been detained and questioned by the FBI.

His crime? "Speaking out against the American and British governments."

Morrissey was quoted as saying that he had been "investigated, interviewed and taped" in order to determine whether or not he was a threat to either governments.

"I don't belong to any political groups, I don't really say anything unless I'm asked directly and I don't even demonstrate in public...My view is that neither England or America are democratic societies. You can't really speak your mind and if you do you're investigated." Morrissey commented.

One of Morrissey's recent songs was a proudly patriotic composition that relayed the message that to him being British was not about being coerced to think in whatever way the state wishes, but to enjoy hard earned freedom of expression. The lyrics to Irish Blood, English Heart are as follows:

Irish blood, English heart, this I'm made of
There is no-one on earth I'm afraid of
And no regime can buy or sell me

I've been dreaming of a time when
To be English is not to be baneful
To be standing by the flag not feeling
Shameful, racist or partial

Irish blood, English heart, this I'm made of
There is no-one on earth I'm afraid of
And I will die with both my hands untied

I've been dreaming of a time when
The English are sick to death of Labour
And Tories, and spit upon the name of Oliver Cromwell
And denounce this royal line that still salute him
And will salute him forever

Is it now traitorous to hold these views? The FBI and British special branch certainly seem to think so.

Yet another celebrity thought criminal was revealed recently in the form of rock star and stand-up comedian Henry Rollins.

The dastardly deed carried out by renowned hardman Rollins was.... reading a book on an aeroplane.

Rollins was reported to the Australian authorities for reading a book entitled Jihad: The Rise Of Militant Islam In Central Asia.

Rollins then received a letter from the Australian government warning him not to read such books in future. His response was to post the letter on his website and tell the Australian government to "go f***k themselves."

The government of Australia is actually telling people what they can and cannot read. And now it seems that if you want to actually learn about something (like Jihad), in order to attempt to understand the premise, then you yourself are considered to be sympathetic to that subject.

Let's put this into context. If a student reads about the rise of the Nazi party does that make him or her a fascist? If you pick up a book about a serial killer, does it mean you want to go out and murder scores of people?

Whilst movies like Clooney's or songs like Morrissey's are portrayed by the media as unpatriotic and unrepresentative of our societies, those that tow the government line are lauded and praised to the hilt.

Several new movies and TV productions have and will continue to uniformly reinforce the official line on the events of 9/11, an line that over half of New Yorkers believe to be lies.

Whilst actors like Clooney are castigated, others such as arch Neo-Con Bruce Willis will be given glowing praise as he produces his pro-war Iraq film that relates "the success" of liberating the Iraqi people.

The state cringes when movies that actually make people think hit the big screen but they salivate when an audience can be hoodwinked into buying their crap through the medium of entertainment.

It is no surprise that another movie that has involved Clooney is the upcoming blockbuster A Scanner Darkly which further highlights a growing movement within Hollywood to push the genre firmly towards the direction of subtle social commentary that involves questioning, thinking and warning.

In the post 9/11 world there has been renewed attempt to make it seem like these kind of productions and the views behind them are somehow dangerous or unpatriotic, when exactly the opposite is true.

We are led to believe by the media that no one really thinks in this way and they are the strange views of someone who has spent too much time in the public eye and has become too self important and perhaps a little paranoid.

In reality the progressive views of people like Clooney, who have carefully learned their trade over many years, picked thought provoking and informative projects to be involved with and not simply been thrust into the limelight via the latest Hollywood blockbuster, are a microcosm for society as a whole.

Sadly the relentless attack on these people is also indicative of the relentless attack on freedom of expression and intelligent thought on a wider scale.

INFOWARS: BECAUSE THERE'S A WAR ON FOR YOUR MIND


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