Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Free Speech" in America and out of America

Two articles in today's Washington Post show us just how delicate free speech is in America and how it does not exist in some countries that believe they are the model for the world's freedoms.
Palin event canceled due to 'an onslaught of personal attacks
By Emi Kolawole

Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was scheduled to speak at an event for a Colorado nonprofit group May 2, but the event was canceled the day after it was announced due to "an onslaught of personal attacks" against Palin.

Palin was to speak at the Patriots & Warriors Gala at the Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale, Colo., which was billed as an awards banquet and fundraiser for military families in need and for a grief camp for children who had lost loved ones in combat.

But the event, sponsored by the Sharon K. Pacheco Foundation, was canceled Saturday, a day after it had been announced to the media. A press release posted on the sponsoring organization's Facebook page reads, "Due to an onslaught of personal attacks against Gov. Palin and others associated with her appearance, it is with deep sadness and disappointment that, in the best interest of all, we cancel the event for safety concerns."

The press release goes on to say that no direct threats were made against Palin, nor were any made against members of the organization's staff, but in light of the shooting rampage in Arizona last month, the negative rhetoric "raises concern for her safety and the safety of others despite the call for civility in America."

"The organization deeply respects Sarah Palin," reads the release, "and appreciates her willingness to come and honor our military. The organization plans to host the event at some point in the future, featuring another speaker."

The cancellation of the speaking engagement frees Palin to attend the NBC/Politico Republican presidential primary debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in California, also scheduled for May 2. But none of the potential 2012 Republican candidates have said they will attend.
(h/t Denver Post)
What a spoiled lot we are when we do not allow free speech of an opposing view to ours.
The same is true for the organizations who threaten and bully in Switzerland.  You will notice though, it was organized by an organization based in New York.  I am ashamed for some of my country men.
Bush trip to Switzerland called off amid threats of protests, legal action
by Peter Finn

A planned trip to Switzerland by George W. Bush was canceled after human rights activists called for demonstrations and threatened legal action over allegations that the former president sanctioned the torture of terrorism suspects.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and several European human rights groups
said they were planning to file a complaint against Bush and wanted Swiss prosecutors to open a criminal case against him once he arrived in the country. (ed.note there is nothing like a holier than thou to make the issues clear, politics is the issue)
In what would have been his first European trip since leaving the presidency, Bush was scheduled to speak in Geneva on Feb. 12 at a dinner in honor of the United Israel Appeal. A lawyer for the organization said Bush's appearance was canceled because of the risk of violence, and that the threat of legal action was not an issue.

"The calls to demonstrate were sliding into dangerous terrain," the lawyer, Robert Equey, told the Swiss daily Tribune de Geneve.

A spokesman for Bush said the former president regretted that his speech was canceled.

"President Bush was looking forward to speaking about freedom and offering reflections from his time in office," David Sherzer said in an e-mailed statement.

Sherzer said that Bush has traveled to Canada, Brazil, China, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East since leaving office.

Organizers of a rally outside the Hotel Wilson, where the speech was scheduled to take place, had called on demonstrators to each bring a shoe, an effort to echo the assault on Bush during a news conference in Baghdad in 2008 when an Iraqi journalist threw a shoe at him. ( oh yes, definitely politics!)The Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement that they had planned to bring the complaint under the Convention Against Torture on behalf of two of men, Majid Khan, who remains at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Sami al-Hajj, a former Al Jazeera cameraman who was released in May 2008. The 2,500-page complaint will not be filed in court, but will be released Monday at a media event in Switzerland."Whatever Bush or his hosts say, we have no doubt he canceled his trip to avoid our case," the Center's statement said. "The message from civil society is clear: If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."

A Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman told the Associated Press that the country's Justice Ministry had concluded that Bush would have immunity from prosecution for any alleged actions while in office. The Center for Constitutional Rights disputed that interpretation, arguing there is no such immunity under the Convention Against Torture.
The Center, and its European partners, earlier filed suits against former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other Bush administration officials in Germany and France. Those cases were dismissed.

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