FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Ferguson No-Fly Zone was a Censorship Ploy

For nearly two weeks in August, the US Federal Aviation Administration imposed a “no-fly zone” over the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, where protests raged over the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The stated reason for the “no-fly zone” was that shots had been fired at a police helicopter.

Now, thanks to an Associated Press investigation, we learn that the real purpose of the airspace exclusion was to hamper media coverage of the protests. Commercial and law enforcement traffic flew unhindered over Ferguson, which lies across major flight paths into and out of Lambert-St.Louis International airport, a major hub. The helicopter shooting incident likely never happened: Per the AP account, “police officials confirmed there was no damage to their helicopter and were unable to provide an incident report on the shooting” and an FAA official described the incident as an unconfirmed rumor.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. At every level of 21st century political government, secrecy is the watchword and disclosure comes slowly, partially and begrudgingly if at all. For US president Barack Obama’s “most transparent administration in history” in particular, every day is a Spongebob Squarepants re-run — the episode about “Opposite Day.”

A brief recap:

* Wikileaks founder Julian Assange remains imprisoned in Ecuador’s London embassy more than two years after taking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden, which he convincingly claims wants to extradite him to the US for punishment after he revealed embarrassing US state secrets (Assange has offered to acceded to extradition on spurious claims of sexual assault if Sweden promises not to hand him over to the US; the Swedish government refuses to so bind itself).

* Former US Army private Chelsea Manning languishes in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth under a 35-year sentence for leaking those secrets to Assange.

* Journalist and blogger Barrett Brown spent nearly two years in pre-trial detention on various trumped-up charges for his alleged role in promoting the hacktivist group Anonymous — the last year-plus under a gag order on both himself and his attorneys to keep you from hearing things the state doesn’t want you to hear.  In March of this year most of the charges were dropped. Brown faces a maximum sentence of 8 1/2 years under a plea bargain on the other charges. For talking. To you. About the government.

* Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is well into his second year of political asylum in Russia after exposing the NSA’s illegal domestic spying operations and fleeing to avoid becoming a political prisoner like Assange and Manning.

– Jeffrey Alexander Sterling stands charged with “espionage” for allegedly revealing details of a black-bag US intelligence scheme, “Operation Merlin,” to a reporter. That reporter, James Risen, stands threatened with jail unless he gives up Sterling (or someone else) as his source.

Yes, I could go on … but this is a newspaper column, not a book. Anyway, you get the point: “Your” governments want very badly for you to know very little about what they do.

Why? Because every detail available to you militates toward the conclusion that not only do you not need “your” governments nearly as badly as the politicians want you to believe, but that continuing to submit to those governments’ rule is a really bad idea. Time to abolish the state.

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
George Wuerthner
The Highest Use of Public Forests: Carbon Storage
Ralph Nader
It is Time to Rediscover Print Newspapers
Nick Licata
How SDS Imploded: an Inside Account
Rachel Smolker – Anne Peterman
The GE American Chestnut: Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?
Sam Pizzigati
Can Society Survive Without Empathy?
Manuel E. Yepe
China and Russia in Strategic Alliance
Patrick Walker
Green New Deal “Climate Kids” Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation
Colin Todhunter
Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India
Robert Koehler
The Armed Bureaucracy
David Swanson
Anyone Who’d Rather Not be Shot Should Read this Book
Jonathan Power
To St. Petersburg With Love
Marc Levy
How to Tell a Joke in Combat
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail