By Yvonne Ridley
AMERICA is still embarrassed by the infamous McCarthy Hearings which ruined the lives of thousands of innocents during the Fifties.Anyone then, suspected of being linked to communism was arrested, interrogated and either imprisoned or forced to give names of others suspected of communist tendencies.
And so the fear and intimidation spread like a great plague across the USA.
Names were blacklisted, careers and lives ruined as the authorities ruthlessly traded on peoples' fears, paranoia and weaknesses.With little or no evidence people were found guilty and anyone daring to question any of the actions and the wild accusations also had suspicion cast upon them.
But hey folks, that was back in the Fifties and various administrations resolved the same insane hysteria, hatred and fears would never again cast a dark shadow across the Land of the Free.
Sadly, the Salem-style witch hunts have returned, but
the new villains are no longer communists. The Red Scare has been replaced by those who shout Viva Palestina!
From the very highest law-makers right down to ordinary John Doe there is an irrational fear so great that it holds many of them hostage in their homes, workplaces and schools. Their vision has become so skewed they are unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not.
And so when they're told that heavily armed Israeli soldiers shoot peace activists at near point blank range because they are defending themselves, few dare to question.
When they see babies dying on the Gaza Strip because of lack of medical equipment because of the Israeli-enforced blockade, they remain silent.
And even fewer dare to criticize Israel.
Millions upon millions of Americans wake up frightened, go to sleep frightened while others feed on the hatred and bile spewed out by politicians, preachers, academics and the media who tell them Israel is good and Palestine is bad.
There are some politicians who want to see the heroic Americans who boarded the Free Gaza Movement boats, joined the Viva Palestina convoys and the recent Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla prosecuted as terrorists.
Today I trolled through some of the pages in the American media and there, among the column inches, are stories that perfectly illustrate the Zionist Fear Factory in operation.
The Los Angeles Times reveals that UC Irvine has told its university students that the Muslim Student Union will be suspended for one year because it dared to criticize Israel and protested during a speech given by the Israeli Ambassador. So there you have it – freedom of speech is now banned.
The unprecedented action also sends out a chilling message to students across the USA who might consider demonstrating, rallying or protesting against the Zionist state and its supporters. Free speech, it seems, is a thing of the past in Barack Obama's America.
And should you be in any doubt, read a story about the latest decision to emerge from the US Supreme Court. In a majority 6-3 ruling it becomes virtually impossible for anyone to put food into the mouths of malnourished babies in Gaza or to give money to a charity to do the humanitarian act for you.
Insane as it sounds, it is now a crime in America to work for peace and human rights in Gaza because the day-to-day running of The Strip is carried out by the democratically-elected Hamas government. Therefore it would be virtually impossibly to bypass Hamas to operate in Gaza.
In an astonishing McCarthy-like ruling any American who even offers advice to banned organizations like Hamas, including legal assistance and information on conflict resolution, will be prosecuted as terrorists. Be afraid, be very afraid … this is happening in the USA, here and now.
Barack Obama's barmy administration reckons that even giving advice intended for peaceful purposes will amount to "material support" for terrorism.
"The supreme court has ruled that human rights advocates, providing training and assistance in the nonviolent resolution of disputes, can be prosecuted as terrorists," said David Cole, a Georgetown university law professor who argued the case before the court. In the name of fighting terrorism, the court has said that the first amendment [on free speech] permits congress to make it a crime to work for peace and human rights. That is wrong."
The ruling is designed to intimidate Palestinian supporters and their fundraising activity. Some have already been prosecuted and jailed for raising cash for social groups dealing with issues such as housing and welfare in Gaza.
The government's case was enthusiastically argued in February by Elena Kagan, who is now the Obama administration's nominee to the supreme court. She said: "Hizb'Allah builds bombs. Hizb'Allah also builds homes. What Congress decided was when you help Hizb'Allah build homes, you are also helping Hizb'Allah build bombs. That's the entire theory behind the statute."
Well if that's the case an interesting legal situation looms on the horizon – unless all of this legislation is purely designed for Palestinian supporters.
A Congressional subcommittee, led by Representative John F. Tierney, Democrat of Massachusetts, has uncovered evidence showing US tax dollars are funding the Taliban.
The source is a Pentagon-issued $2.1 billion dollar contract called Host Nation Trucking, which pays for the movement of food and supplies to some 200 American bases. It appears Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week and then funneling the spoils to warlords and the Taliban in return for a safe passage. In short, the US is financing the enemy and undermining international efforts to stabilize the country.
Hmm, isn't this material support for terrorism? I think we need to have the Commander in Chief charged with immediate affect.
* Journalist Yvonne Ridley is one of the founders of Viva Palestina and European President of the international Muslim Women's Union. She presents the current affairs weekly show The Agenda and co-presents Rattansi & Ridley both for Press TV.