Je suis gagged
February 27th 2015, 12:39 | Lynne Mctaggart
Since January, all of us in the West have been horrified by the spectacle of Islamic fanatics storming into the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and assassinating 10 of its staff, including its editor,St'ephane Charbonnier, and his police bodyguard.
It shocks us precisely because we believe that one of our most fundamental freedoms, the right to free speech, is presently under threat by the most militant of political extremists, and preserving it has now become a life-or-death matter.
During a January BBC One Question Time about the shootings, that week's panel made a number of high-minded statements about the importance of "standing shoulder to shoulder" with France to safeguard freedom of the press, and tut-tutted over the newspaper editors around the world "bottling it" and being too frightened to publish the offending cartoons.
Our "hard fought" freedom of speech is also about "the right to criticize, satirize and show disrespect for" things, Labour Party Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall said.
"If I were able to orchestrate one reaction to yesterday, I would want every single editor of every paper in Europe and the rest of the world to carry their cartoons," Conservative former Home Secretary David Davis chimed in.
Business as usual
The point is, when it comes to the free dispersal of information, Wednesday's attack is only a more savage version of what is already taking place here in the UK and in America, only this time the terrorists are all those social structures meant to safeguard our right to free speech.
Let's examine a few inconvenient truths, which represent just those examples of press suppression that we have personally experienced-mainly relating to the freedom to publish any information that places modern medicine in a less than favourable light.
.In all of its literature to parents, the Department of Health does not publish one word of information about potential side-effects or lack of efficacy of any vaccine, even though this material is freely available in other countries.
.In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the major government agency charged with studying vaccines, has consistently buried unfavourable data about the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and its link to autism by massaging the data.
.When a CDC whistleblower scientist recently blew the story about the CDC burying these data-a scandal of Watergate proportions-not one major paper in the US or UK was willing to carry the story.
.Although this magazine supplied every major newspaper in Britain with reams of scientific evidence on the dangers of the cervical cancer vaccine (a controversy that had been well covered by the American press years before), not one British newspaper was brave enough to publish it for fear of "offending" the Medical Establishment or "frightening" patients into not trusting their doctors.
.Some years ago, we were invited to write a column for London's Times newspaper. My first article was about the MMR and revealed secret documents I'd obtained from a whistleblower inside a CDC panel. The Times allowed the UK government to respond, but refused to allow us the right of reply. That was the moment we quit the column.
.The Times, London's paper of record, also refused to allow What Doctors Don'tTell Youto correct its 1 November 2013 article, which quoted 'experts' (all members of a Big Pharma-sponsored lobbying group) claiming this magazine should be banned, even when the article was filled with false information. The Times also refused to publish any letters of support from our readers.
.Wikipedia, which appears to have disdain for alternative medicine, allows any troll to stampede the pages of advocates and researchers of alternative medicine and paint them in an unfavourable light. Any attempts to correct clear factual errors are quickly changed back to the original.
.WH Smith, the so-called UK 'champion' of the small press, will not carry this magazine because the same pharmaceutically supported lobby group mentioned above orchestrated a phony, staged campaign protesting against it.
Needless to say, I am not making comparisons between WDDTY's own experience of censorship with the horrific shootings in Paris; I'm talking about hypocrisy. Despite all the prettily turned phrases about our 'hard-won' press freedoms, we no longer have freedom of the press but a corporate-controlled press and information system.
As broadcaster and columnist Julia Hartley-Brewer put it, "Freedom of speech and religion goes hand in hand with freedom to offend. We have the right to offend in this country. If we don't stand up for that, we will see our freedoms ebb away very quickly."
But not, it seems, when it comes to an alternative view of health and medicine. In that case,Je suis Charlie.