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Censorship Industrial Complex

Assistant AG tells House committee she’s ‘not familiar’ with major social media censorship lawsuit


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From LifeSiteNews

By Ashley Sadler

“If the allegations made by the plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack on free speech in United States history”

The assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division stunned a Republican lawmaker in a Tuesday hearing when she said she hadn’t heard of a major First Amendment lawsuit currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case alleges that members of the Biden administration colluded with social media companies to suppress content deemed to be “misinformation,” including COVID-19-related content and information related to Hunter Biden.

In a Tuesday hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, Assistant AG Kristen Clarke said she was “not familiar” with the ongoing litigation in the first amendment lawsuit Missouri v. Biden, a major case that LifeSiteNews has extensively covered.

Clarke made the remarks after Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina cited a July 4 opinion by Judge Terry Doughty stating that the plaintiffs “are likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment claim.” 

“If the allegations made by the plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack on free speech in United States history,’” Doughty said in his opinion, which Rep. Bishop referenced in the Tuesday hearing. The U.S. Supreme Court has subsequently agreed to take up the case, now dubbed Murthy v. Missouri.

READ: Supreme Court will decide whether Biden admin illegally pushed Big Tech to censor conservatives

Noting that the litigation has been strictly civil to date, Bishop asked Clarke whether “any criminal investigation or criminal prosecution of the persons responsible for that activity” is “underway in the [DOJ] civil rights division?”

“Congressman, I’m not familiar with this litigation, but [I’m] happy to bring your question back,” Clarke said.

Bishop asked Clarke to confirm whether she was saying she was “not aware of the Missouri v. Biden litigation that is currently being taken up by the United States Supreme Court.”

“Is that correct?” Bishop said.

As LifeSiteNews has reported, the First Amendment lawsuit argues that numerous Biden administration officials had “colluded with and/or coerced social-media platforms to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content.”

“In their attempts to suppress alleged disinformation, the Federal Government, and particularly the Defendants named here, are alleged to have blatantly ignored the First Amendment’s right to free speech,” the lawsuit claims.

The plaintiffs in the case are two states, Missouri and Louisiana, along with three doctors who have publicly spoken out against the prevailing COVID-19 narrative: Aaron Kheriaty, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and Dr. Jayanta “Jay” Bhattacharya. Co-Director of Health Freedom Louisiana Jill Hines and Jim Hoft, owner of the news site The Gateway Pundit, are also plaintiffs in the case.

RELATED: This Supreme Court case could strike a blow against the Deep State and Big Tech

In September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit allowed the suit to proceed against the Surgeon General as well as members of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the CDC, and the FBI.

According to the filing, the plaintiffs allege that government officials employed “public pressure campaigns, private meetings, and other forms of direct communication” against so-called “disinformation,” “misinformation,” and “malinformation,” and “colluded with and/or coerced social-media platforms to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social-media platforms.”

Per the Fifth Circuit, the plaintiffs “had posts and stories removed or downgraded by” social media companies that government officials had “urged … to remove disfavored content and accounts from their sites.”

The federal court noted that the plaintiffs said the content that was “removed or downgraded” had “touched on a host of divisive topics like the COVID-19 lab-leak theory, pandemic lockdowns, vaccine side effects, election fraud, and the Hunter Biden laptop story.”

“The Plaintiffs maintain that although the platforms stifled their speech, the government officials were the ones pulling the strings,” the ruling stated.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in late October to take up the case, though it has allowed the Biden administration to continue its communications with social media companies in the meantime.

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Censorship Industrial Complex

Trudeau government abandoning long-threatened ‘hate speech’ bill after backlash

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre has warned that Trudeau’s desire to censor online ‘hate speech’ is nothing more than a ‘woke authoritarian’ tool to silence views that Trudeau dislikes.

The Liberal government is shelving its long-threatened bill to regulate truth and “disinformation” on the internet.

According to information obtained on February 21 by Blacklock’s Reporter, the Liberal government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is abandoning legislation to regulate “hate speech” on the internet following feedback from Canadians that they consider the measure unconstitutional.

“The government heard from Canadians and stakeholders that while false and misleading information online can carry significant consequences, creating legislation and policies that restrict or otherwise limit speech based on the veracity of information would undermine freedom of expression to an unacceptable degree,” Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc wrote the Commons ethics committee.

The committee had previously recommended legislation to “hold online platforms accountable for publishing false or misleading information”; however, LeBlanc replied that internet literacy programs were sufficient to regulate Canadians internet use.

“Legislation is not the only tool in the government’s toolbox to combat false or misleading information,” he said.

Additionally, most of 9,218 petitioners to the Canadian Heritage Department condemned the proposed legislation as unconstitutional.

Likewise, according to Privy Council research in 2023, most Canadians opposed the measure, saying that “it was of critical importance for Canadians to be able to leave comments and have their voices heard regarding initiatives and policies important to them.”

“While most believed harmful content online represented a growing concern few felt it to be a major issue at present,” the report said. “Several were of the view that individuals were typically able to avoid harmful content by blocking it or not utilizing platforms on which it was present.”

The legislation was first proposed in 2021, when the Trudeau government suggested that a “Digital Safety Commissioner” should police “content moderation” on the internet. Those who violated the “content moderation” would face up to $25 million in fines.

“I think everybody in this country, and especially elected officials, have, I think, a responsibility, a duty to ensure that we protect our institutions and that the last thing we should try to do is to somehow diminish them just in the hope we can score points,” he added.

While Liberals support the measure, Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre recently declared that Trudeau’s desire to censor online “hate speech” is nothing more than a “woke authoritarian” tool to silence views that Trudeau dislikes.

“What does Justin Trudeau mean when he says the worst hate speech?” he questioned during a press conference earlier this week. “He means speech he hates.”

Poilievre warned that Liberals would label anything they disagree with as “hate speech,” referencing former adviser Gerald Butts said that it was “hate speech” to criticize Trudeau for using the term “peoplekind,” labelling those who made fun of Trudeau as “Nazis.”

Poilievre also reminded Canadians that Trudeau branded Canadians who protested COVID regulations in the Freedom Convoy as “a small fringe minority” with “unacceptable views.”

“I point out the irony that someone who spent the first half of his adult life as a practicing racist, who dressed up in hideous racist costumes so many times he says he can’t remember them all, should then be the arbiter on what constitutes hate,” said Poilievre.

“What he should actually do is look into his own heart and ask himself why he was such a hateful racist… And maybe in that way, rather than through coercion, he could help us all in the fight against real hate,” he added.

While the bill regulating “hate speech” seems to have been abandoned for now, since taking office, Trudeau managed to pass bills C-11 and C-18, both of which restrict free speech over the internet.

Bill C-11, or the Online Streaming Act, became law last year and now mandates that Canada’s broadcast regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), oversee regulating online content on platforms such as YouTube and Netflix to ensure that such platforms are promoting content in accordance with a variety of its guidelines.

Recently, Canadian law professor Dr. Michael Geist warned that new powers granted to Canada’s broadcast regulator via Bill C-11 will not stop at “Web Giants” but will lead to the government going after “news sites” and other “online” video sites as well.

Trudeau’s other internet censorship law, Bill C-18, the Online News Act, was passed by the Senate in June.

This law mandates that Big Tech companies pay to publish Canadians content on their platforms.

As a result, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, blocked all access to news content in Canada.

Critics of Trudeau’s recent lawssuch as tech mogul Elon Musk, have said it shows that “Trudeau is trying to crush free speech in Canada.”

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Censorship Industrial Complex

Kennedy, CHD win injunction in landmark censorship case against Biden administration

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From LifeSiteNews

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website.

The court recognized that the “right of free speech is a fundamental constitutional right that is vital to the freedom of our nation, and the Kennedy plaintiffs have produced evidence of a massive effort by defendants, from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content.”

A federal judge on Wednesday handed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Children’s Health Defense (CHD) a partial win in their landmark censorship case alleging the Biden administration colluded with social media platforms to unlawfully censor online content.

Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting key Biden administration officials and agencies from coercing or significantly encouraging social media platforms to suppress or censor online content.

However, Judge Doughty simultaneously issued a stay on the injunction until 10 days after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar case, Murthy v. Missouri.

That case, filed in May 2022 by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana and several individual plaintiffs, was originally filed as Missouri v. Biden.

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on March 18 on a preliminary injunction in Murthy v. Missouri.

Mary Holland, CHD president, told The Defender that the Valentine’s Day ruling was “a welcome Valentine to the Kennedy plaintiffs,” and “an important victory for the U.S. Constitution.”

She added:

“In a thorough decision, Judge Doughty reasoned that the plaintiffs do have ‘standing’ or the right to sue and be heard; that the defendants have engaged in coercion or significant encouragement to censorship and joint action with social media platforms; and that the court is required to issue the preliminary injunction.

“Further, because it is well-established that violations of free speech rights constitute irreparable injury, the Court acted even before an ultimate decision from the Supreme Court in Murthy v. Missouri. Judge Doughty wrote: ‘This Court … finds the balance of equities and the public interest strongly favors the issue of a preliminary injunction.’

“No doubt the Supreme Court will take account of this ruling as it hears oral arguments in Murthy v. Missouri on March 18.”

The suit was filed on behalf of the more than 80% of Americans who access news through social media.

Judge Doughty consolidated Kennedy v. Biden and Murthy v. Biden in July 2023. Both cases were being argued in his court and had the same defendants and many common legal and factual issues.

Although the cases were consolidated, Doughty ruled that the District Court continues to have jurisdiction over Kennedy and CHD’s separate motion for a preliminary injunction, underscoring the fact that a delayed ruling would delay Kennedy from vindicating his claims.

The U.S. Department of Justice did not respond to The Defender’s request for comment.

‘The right of free speech is a fundamental constitutional right’

In his 24-page ruling, Judge Doughty found that several of the defendants in the Kennedy et al. v. Biden lawsuit were violating the plaintiffs’ free speech rights under the First Amendment, causing irreparable harm. He ordered them to cease these violations.

The court recognized that the “right of free speech is a fundamental constitutional right that is vital to the freedom of our nation, and the Kennedy plaintiffs have produced evidence of a massive effort by defendants, from the White House to federal agencies, to suppress speech based on its content.”

Plaintiffs alleged Biden administration officials “waged a systematic, concerted campaign” to compel the nation’s three largest social media companies to censor constitutionally protected speech.

The government, the lawsuit alleges, pressured social media platforms to directly suppress or censor Kennedy and CHD from major platforms and to do the same to content containing views about COVID-19 and other issues that contradicted the government narrative.

Kennedy and CHD argued the court should rule on the preliminary injunction now, because the case is different from Murthy v. Missouri, asks for a more specific injunction and because the defendants singled out Kennedy, who is a U.S. presidential candidate, for censorship.

In determining the merits of the plaintiffs’ motion, Doughty first had to rule on whether the plaintiffs had standing. On that issue, “the court provided strong concrete examples of government coercion or encouragement to censor, particularly with respect to Mr. Kennedy and CHD,” said Kim Mack Rosenberg, CHD general counsel.

Doughty cited evidence that defendants labeled Kennedy as part of the “Disinformation Dozen” who were eventually censored from social media and that some of CHD’s social media posts were also censored.

He also noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked with the Virality Project to reduce or delete social media posts by people and organizations they believed to be spreading “misinformation” about COVID-19.

The Virality Project explicitly listed Kennedy and CHD in the fifth and second place as the highest performing weekly social-media engagement incidents, he wrote.

“This evidence also was key in the Court’s decision that plaintiffs met all the requirements to support issuing the injunction and that the balance of equities favored plaintiffs here,” Mack Rosenberg added.

Doughty also found the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim, writing:

“As in Missouri v. Biden, the White House Defendants and the Surgeon General Defendants both coerced and significantly encouraged social-media platforms to suppress protected free speech.

“This Court further finds the CDC Defendants, the CISA [Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] Defendants and the FBI Defendants significantly encouraged social-media platforms to suppress protected free speech.”

Defendants ‘likely’ to use their power to suppress alternative views in the future

The defendants have argued that the actions at stake occurred in the past and cannot be remedied by issuing an injunction prohibiting future actions and that there is no “imminent harm” to the defendants because the COVID-19 pandemic and the election where the alleged conduct occurred are in the past.

However, Doughty ruled that the alleged past actions also indicate there is a substantial risk of likely future harm.

“Defendants apparently continue to have meetings with social-media companies and other contacts,” he wrote, adding:

“Although the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer an emergency, it is likely that in the event of any other real or perceived emergency event, the Defendants likely would once again use their power over social-media companies to suppress alternative views.

“And it is certainly likely that Defendants could use their power over millions of people to suppress alternative views or moderate content they do not agree with in the upcoming 2024 national election.”

Although Doughty granted a substantial part of Kennedy et al.’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the White House, the surgeon general, the CDC, FBI and the CISA, he also denied the request for an injunction against several other agencies.

The injunction excluded the U.S. Department of State, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, who were also included in the plaintiffs’ request.

The Defender on occasion posts content related to Children’s Health Defense’s nonprofit mission that features Mr. Kennedy’s views on the issues CHD and The Defender regularly cover. In keeping with Federal Election Commission rules, this content does not represent an endorsement of Mr. Kennedy who is on leave from CHD and is running for president of the U.S. as an independent candidate.

This article was originally published by The Defender — Children’s Health Defense’s News & Views Website under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Please consider subscribing to The Defender or donating to Children’s Health Defense.

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