Freedom come, freedom go

Posted by Skylar Browning on Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Here's a pleasant read for the day after celebrating our glorious nation. The Boston Phoenix published its annual Muzzle Awards, which highlights enemies of free speech and personal liberty within the last year. The Phoenix version focuses on events in New England, but they're hardly local-only stories.

Here's just one example about David House, a founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network:

Last November, House, a Cambridge resident and former MIT researcher, arrived at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago following a vacation in Mexico. According to a lawsuit later filed on his behalf by the ACLU of Massachusetts, federal agents stopped him, seized his laptop computer, a flash drive, a digital camera, and his cell phone, and kept them for 49 days while they inspected the contents.

The agents also interrogated him about Manning, the Army private suspected of providing confidential US documents to WikiLeaks. In a classic example of guilt-by-association, the feds decided that House's activism on Manning's behalf was enough to raise suspicions. House, to his credit, has stayed strong, refusing recently to testify before a grand jury looking into WikiLeaks and calling the investigation "Nixonian."

There are 11 examples in all, but I think my favorite is when Boston Mayor Tom Menino objected to the T-shirts on display at Nike's Newbury Street store and demanded they be removed. Just don't do it, mayor.

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