Democracy Sidebar: A Case in Point

Southern California activist Jim DeMaegt was visited by the secret service in January in relation to an email allegedly threatening George Bush. We believe the email in question was one sent to the BDS-LA listserv (and perhaps others) on December 31 entitled “Internet Indictment of G.W. Bush and Call for Hanging Until Dead at the Capital Rotunda.” In reading Jim’s email, it is clear that he neither had the ability nor the intent to literally hang the president, but was rather commenting on the verdict rendered against Saddam Hussein for his crimes in Iraq. In the course of questioning he was arrested for obstructing an officer.

The notion that political leaders have the ability to speak of their dissatisfaction with foreign leaders, render war, death and destruction upon people within those countries, and call for, and celebrate, the execution of such leaders, while the general populace cannot so much as speak negative or threatening words (whether literal or facetious) against the president of the United States reveals how grossly ideas of freedom of speech have been skewed.

Jim is set to be arraigned on March 5 and I think that this would be a good opportunity for us to bring freedom of speech concerns back into the forefront of our dialogue and struggle. Of course we cannot forget that cases such as these occur frequently, with little or no public knowledge and no opportunity for redress, especially for Muslims...And on more serious charges than obstruction, or arrests with no charges at all.

–Ashley Osofsky

Here is the email that Jim DeMaegt sent out shortly after the hanging of Saddam Hussein that caused the visit by the Secret Service:

We, the People of the United States of American, and We the Citizens of Every Nation and Every Region Across the World hereby indict George W. Bush for crimes against Humanity and for the Oppression and the Murder of millions and millions of people around the World.

We call for the Internet Trial and Conviction of G.W. Bush and we call for his Punishment after being Convicted for his Crimes against Humanity by being Hanged Until Dead at the Capital Rotunda.

All parties and people are encouraged to submit all evidence of G.W. Bush’s Crimes Against Humanity to the Internet Court.

And a Jury Pool from throughout the Internet World is being assembled to Stand in Judgment of the War Criminal G.W. Bush.

May Justice Be Served.

Posted: Thu - March 1, 2007 at 07:00 PM