A little-noticed provision in a homeland security funding bill could end efforts to make public photos of prisoners abused in US custody abroad, the American Civil Liberties Union stated on Wednesday.
Members of the House and Senate have added a provision proposed by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to the funding bill that would make such photos exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, meaning that, if the law is upheld, the Pentagon could continue to suppress the photos, the ACLU said.via Congress moving to block release of torture photos: ACLU | Raw Story. Which leads us back to that impossible to answer yet constantly gnawing question: what is free speech? It is abundantly absurd (if not thoroughly frightening) that Scalia and the Court in general responded favorably to the idea that the torture of animals is protected under first amendment rights. Not all images are actually free speech. We censor all sorts of erotic and even potentially erotic images of children and even teenagers. In part, because we as a society have deemed such speech "dangerous" because the images can condone and even incite sex with children and teenagers. In other words, it is not just the images, but that the images might constitute action that makes them illegal. Why would we feel differently about animal torture? In my city, when a local white supremacist sliced a pig open with a chainsaw on his public access show, some insisted it was "protected speech." I believe they were wrong. There is a lot of evidence that the torture of animals- whether for erotic purposes like snuff films or political purposes like the Aryan Nation- is the sort of speech that constitutes action. It's like yelling "fire" in the crowded theater. People will be moved to act- to imitate the acts and even to expand the objects of their torture: first little kittens, then pigs, then people. But how can this sort of speech be protected and visible to all and yet the sort of speech that might be called the opposite of yelling "Fire!", the sort of speech that might convince people not to commit atrocities against other humans, is being kept from view? If the photos of US soldiers torturing prisoners in "our name" could lead to an end to such practices (and the wars that justify them), then they constitute positive actions- like yelling "stay calm" and "form a single file line" in the event of a fire in a crowded theater. So the answer to the question: what is free speech and what is censored? Free speech is speech that doesn't threaten power. Go ahead and look at the tortured animals, America. Hell, masturbate to it. Justice Scalia thinks that's okay. But don't you dare take a peek at state-sponsored torture. That must be kept secret.