IS FREEDOM OF SPEECH UNDER ATTACK IN THE WORLD?

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According to Wikipedia, Freedom of Speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas. Since America’s founding 237 years ago, the Constitution has stipulated many of the rights guaranteed to all Americans. Specifically, I would like to place an emphasis on the First Amendment to the Constitution. The 1st Amendment guarantees all American’s have the right to speak out without fear of repercussions. In my opinion, freedom of speech is meant to protect unpopular speech not only pleasant speech. Throughout the remainder of this column, I plan on introducing three people who have been ‘victims’ of the War on Free Speech.

Allow me to begin with Mr. Lars Hedegaard. Mr. Hedegaard is a historian, high school teacher, journalist and author from Denmark. In 2004, he established the International Free Press Society. He describes himself as a Marxist. He was politically active in the Danish Socialist Workers Party until the early eighties. He has been an outspoken critic of radical Islam. Let me be perfectly clear, he has been a critic of radical Islam not mainstream Islam. In 2011, he was convicted of hate speech under Danish law and fined. Fortunately, Mr. Hedegaard appealed the verdict and the Danish Supreme Court overturned the decision. As a result, in 2012, the court acquitted him in an unanimous vote. Most recently, on February 5th of this year, an unidentified individual disguised as a postman attempted to assassinate Mr. Hedegaard in his private residence.

The second person that I wish to write about is Mr. Geert Wilders. Mr. Wilders is a politician from the Netherlands who came under attack for his anti-Islam statements and remarks. He was accused of and brought up on charges of inciting hatred and promoting discrimination against the Dutch Muslim community. Ultimately, he was acquitted by the Dutch court of hate speech and discrimination. They ruled that his anti-Islam comments, while may be interpreted as as offensive to many Muslims, fell within the realm of political speech.

The third and final person that I want to write about is Dr. Michael Savage. Currently, Dr. Michael Savage is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host of The Savage Nation. Dr. Savage has been one of America’s leading voices on domestic current and foreign affairs since 1994. Dr. Savage considers himself an independent conservative and not a card carrying member of the Republican Party. Prior to entering the world of television and radio, Dr. Savage has received masters degrees and a Ph.D ranging from Biology to Nutritional Ethnomedicine. Unlike Mr. Hedegaard and Mr. Wilders, Savage has not actually been charged with specific hate crimes. Dr. Savage has been unfairly persecuted by some far-left media groups such as Media Matters for America and by a foreign government. On May 5, 2009, Savage has been banned from entering England. He was placed on a list of 16 “undesirables” prohibited from entering the country. This list included Islamic terrorists, Neo-Nazi’s and Russian gang members. He has been accused of spreading anti-Islam sentiments in order to ferment violence and discrimination against British Muslims. His words have been taken completely out of context in my opinion.

CHUCK HAGEL’S WORLD VIEW

Why is the former ‘republican’ Senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel the wrong pick for Secretary of Defense? During the course of this article, I will be outlining several points on why Mr. Hagel is not an appropriate choice for Secretary of Defense. In short, I will be covering in depth Mr. Hagel’s views on the role of the United States in foreign affairs, his views on the Palestinians and Israel, and his views on terror-sponsoring nations such as Iran and Syria going all the way back to 1998.

In 1998, after meeting with the Syrian dictator Hafez Al-Assad, Mr. Hagel stated to the news media that’s it was a productive meeting. Specifically, Mr. Hagel said, “Peace comes through dealing with people. Peace doesn’t come at the end of a bayonet or the end of a gun.” In October 2000, Hagel was one of four Senators who refused to sign a letter expressing support for Israel during the Palestinian intifada. In November 2001, Hagel was one of 11 Senators who refused to sign a letter asking President Bush not meet with Yasser Arafat until Arafat’s Fatah terrorists stop attacks on Israel. In 2001, Hagel denounced proposed sanctions on Iran, stating they “isolate us”. Also, Hagel voted against the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act which passed 96-2 in the Senate which helped withhold Iran and Libya money that would be spent on supporting terror or acquiring weapons of mass destruction. In 2003, Hagel refused to vote on the Syrian Accountability Act authorizing sanctions on Syria for its unwavering support of terrorism and its occupation of Lebanon. In July 2006, Hagel requested President Bush’s administration to open direct talks with Iran and Syria, over their sponsoring of terror attacks on Israel by the terrorist group Hezbollah. The following month, Hagel refused to sign a letter asking the EU to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization. In 2007, requested President Bush to have “direct, unconditional” talks with Iran to create a “historic new dynamic in US-Iran relations.” Hagel voted to oppose Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. By November 2007, Hagel stated that he believed “Continued hostile relations between the United States and Iran will have the effect of isolating the United States.” In 2008, Hagel voted against legislation which would impose sanctions on countries conducting certain business with Iran. It passed 19-2 in the Senate Banking Committee.

In conclusion, I believe that former Senator Chuck Hagel shares the same views regarding Israel and the Palestinians as President Barack Obama. As I have recently discovered, he believes that Iran has the right to possess nuclear weapons Even though the ‘President’ of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the ruling Mullahs have specifically said that Israel and all of the Jew’s need to be wiped off this earth. Mr. Hagel believes that the United States and Iran needs to come to the bargaining table to have ‘peaceful negotiations’. Mr. Hagel believes that the nation of Israel needs to reach out to the Palestinians in order to forge a lasting peace. Mr. Hagel constantly places blame on Israel for Palestinian terrorism. Mr. Hagel has absolved the Palestinian leadership of responsibility for their campaign of terror over the Israeli people.