There is a little-known anecdote about a German comedian during World War II. Some say it is about Karl Valentin, others say Weiß Ferdl, but the anecdote seems authentic and goes like this: the comedian came on stage carrying a portrait of Hitler and, without saying a word, hung it on the wall. He then stepped back to look at it, shook his head, took it off the hook and put it on the floor leaning against the wall. Once again he stepped back, looked and shook his head. He did this a couple of times and then said to the audience: “The Führer has gifted me his portrait. Now I don’t know what to do, hang it or put it against the wall.”
Steps were never taken against the comedian, who survived the war. This goes to show that, even during the Nazi regime and during the dark days of World War II, there was some freedom of speech.
It is a matter of debate whether in today’s Europe, especially in the so-called “European Union,” people enjoy the same degree of freedom of speech. The constraints on what citizens of EU member states (including comedians and other artists) are allowed to say and write are being tightened every day. This is part of a process that has been going on since the 1990s, but it has accelerated after the US unleashed its “War on Terror” after the demolition of the three WTC towers in New York in 2001. The screws were further tightened during the Great Covid Show and after the beginning of the Russian Special Military Operation in the Ukraine in 2022. This is hardly surprising because during all that time, the US Empire, often referred as “the World Community,” the “Collective West” or simply the “West,” has been at war with the rest of the world.
Of course, in war time, censorship is a necessary tool to feed the public propaganda and selected morsels of information and to make sure it does not question the purpose of the war, the way it is being fought and the decisions of the political leadership. The public is expected to behave a bit like society ladies before the advent of feminism, who were to stick to the simple rule of “tais-toi et sois belle” (keep silent and be pretty).
An excellent way of covering up the onslaught on free speech is to ceaselessly point to the curtailment of free speech everywhere else. That is precisely what the US Empire and its European vassal states have been doing for decades now. By loudly protesting the anti-free-speech acts of foreign governments, the US regime and its assorted satraps abroad have succeeded in drawing away the attention of a naively confident Western public from what is going on right in front of their own eyes. NGOs such as Amnesty International, Index on Censorship, Human Rights Watch and Reporters without Borders and the various outfits belonging to “philanthropist” George Soros’ Open Society Foundation all play along, giving their information on protestors and demonstrations in the West a veneer of objective impartiality.
The so-called mainstream media, consisting both of state outlets, such as the BBC, NPR in the US, ARD and ZDF in Germany and similar organizations all over the US Empire, and of privately owned conglomerates, invariably join the wailing chorus of indignation whenever a courageous journalist outside the West gets into a conflict with the authorities in his country.
Most remaining holes in the wall of censorship, propaganda, lies and manipulation surrounding the average citizen in the “Collective West” are closed by social media such as Facebook, Instagram, the Google search engine, YouTube, and by online (book) stores such as Amazon.
In the West, what is considered free speech takes place within an ever more restricted frame that consists of gender lunacy, “wokeism” (including “Critical Race Theory”), political correctness, forbidden “hate speech,” linguistic correctness (that prohibits to apply terms such as “fat” and “ugly” to individuals), fake science (anthropogenic climate change, the official Covid narrative) and, since early 2022, of the official state narrative concerning events in the Ukraine.
And yet, it seems that more and more citizens are opening their eyes and starting to look for alternative sources of information. This is enough to send the authorities into a frenzy. Thus, they are trying desperately to silence wayward journalists and alternative media. However there is nothing they can do against the public abandoning the remaining “trusted media” of yore, namely newspapers and TV channels. Radio has long ceased to be a source of information that the public relies on, and newspapers and TV channels are in the process of joining it in the quality of a relic of a bygone age.
Among the first victims of censorship and the repression of free speech in the West is French journalist Thierry Meyssan. In 2002, by publishing a razor sharp analysis of the official fake narrative on the destruction of the WTC towers (9/11 The Big Lie), Meyssan made himself an enemy of the US. As a result, he was blacklisted all over the West. When I proposed the Dutch “quality newspaper” NRC-Handelsblad to discuss his book, it was laughingly rejected: they did not give space to “conspiracy theories,” which was about the first time I ever heard that term. In 2008, after exposing French president Nicolas Sarkozy as a US shill, if not an outright CIA operative, Meyssan was forced to leave France.
In the Netherlands, when journalist Micha Kat began to expose the inner workings of the entire political system based on debauchery, crime, pedophilia and blackmail, he became the target of the joint forces of the state and the media, and now finds himself in jail for two years. Willem Engel, Dutch scientist and leader of the anti-jab movement during the Great Covid Show, has also been the target of concerted attacks by the authorities, trying to silence him in any way possible. Liquidation is, of course, the solution of last resort. In 2004, Theo van Gogh, influential Dutch film maker and journalist who enjoyed an immense popularity, was eliminated in that way by order of the Dutch spy service. They used a Muslim perpetrator to make it look like an Islamic terror attack. In 2022, Belgian “conspiracy theorist” Yannick Verdyck was shot and killed by a police hit squad that had broken into his home allegedly looking for an illegal weapons cache.
Then there is the shameful case of Australian journalist Julian Assange whose extradition from England was requested by the Swedish government, on the basis of highly questionable and trumped up charges for sexual assault. Then, from 2012 to 2019, he found safety in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. At the moment, he is fighting his extradition to the US, where he is charged with violating some obscure US law. This in spite of the fact that he is not a US national and certainly did not do anything illegal on US territory. The treatment meted out to Assange at the behest of the US by two of its European vassal states just proves that all those supposed Western values are a total sham.
After decades of harassment by the police, in coordination with corrupt public prosecutors and judges, most dissidents (journalists, bloggers, video bloggers etc.) in Europe now know they need to be very careful. Those who cannot stand the pressure just stop doing what they had been doing, while only a valiant few stand their ground.
The Great Covid Show introduced a wave of repression of a new category of dissidents, namely medical specialists, including physicians, pharmacologists, microbiologists, immunologists and virologists who, on the basis of their professional knowledge and hard facts, publicly questioned and opposed government policies. In their campaign to repress these voices, EU governments found new allies: national health authorities, universities and professional organizations. Physicians who dared to publicly criticize state anti-Covid measures were silenced in ways that so far had only been seen in ruthless military dictatorships. In 2020, Swiss cardiologist Dr. Thomas Binder was arrested in his own home by a group of sixty heavily armed police officers, including members of the local police anti-terrorism unit, and forcibly hospitalized. Dr. Binder was forced to take psychiatric drugs before he was allowed to go home.
Furthermore, all over Europe, physicians were intimidated and threatened with retraction of their license to practice for not strictly obeying the most outrageous Covid regulations imposed by the government. To the government, it made no difference that those physicians were just being loyal to their hippocratic oaths and their patients. The toughest restrictions were imposed on those physicians who reported on social media what was going on.
The Russian SMO in the Ukraine has opened a new chapter in the shameful story of repression of free speech in Europe. Ursula von der Leyen, the unelected corrupt woman acting as president of the European Commission, immediately outlawed popular Russian news outlets such as RT and Sputnik, thus taking the Europeans back to the days of Nazi rule, when they were prohibited from listening to radio broadcasts from England. Here was another German telling Europeans what they were allowed to read, watch and listen to. Hardly surprising that many Europeans like to refer to the EU as the “Fourth Reich.”
As if that were not enough, Germany and England began to attack independent journalists reporting from the Donbass. Alina Lipp from Germany had her bank account frozen and is charged with supporting state violence, punishable with a lengthy prison sentence. Like Alina Lipp, British journalist Graham Phillips also had his bank accounts seized (and his home impugned), just for the crime of telling his large online audience about events in the Donbass. Needless to say, the kind of things on which these two valiant journalists report will never make it to the programs produced by BBC, ARD and ZDF.
One would assume things could not get any crazier or more shocking than this, but there seems to be no limit to the shameless audacity of European rulers, especially if they belong to so-called “Green” parties. Just a few weeks ago, Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen (Green Party) ordered the national spy agency to build a case for insult against Florian Machl, editor of the online news outlet Report24. Machl is facing a prison sentence of three years.
In Germany, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Green Party) also felt insulted and therefore unleashed the state authorities against the popular video blogger Tim Kellner, who is threatened with eight months in jail. The only way he can escape the sentence is by remaining silent for three years.
All things considered, these Green politicians, supposedly staunch defenders of democratic values, behave far worse than their favorite bogeyman from history. What is especially shocking is the pathetic pettiness of their behavior. One does not know whether to laugh or to weep.
Laughing will only increase the anger of people like them, if only one thinks of the way French comedian Dieudonné Mbala Mbala was criminalized, censored, banned, and canceled, merely for making jokes about topics that have been taboo for generations.
Just recently, Björn Höcke, leader of the AfD in the Thuringian regional parliament in Germany, was indicted for “hate speech.” His crime: during a campaign speech in 2021 he said “Alles für Deutschland!” (Everything for Germany!).
Given the venerable tradition of censorship in Europe, ranging from the Vatican through François Guizot and Prince Klemens von Metternich in the 19th century to 20th-century authoritarian, fascist, national socialist and communist dictatorships, the current wave of repression can hardly be considered unusual.
It is safe to say that freedom of speech in Europe has existed only briefly during the 20th century and only in a few places. Today, it is dead and buried. By the looks of it, freedom of speech will not come back to life anytime soon.