(Article republished from BillRiceJr.Substack.com)
Yesterday, I read the first 54 pages of a 354-page legal document that was filed with a federal district court in Louisiana on March 3, 2023.
I now better understand why some people believe this might be the most important legal case in U.S. history.
In a nutshell, attorneys for the plaintiffs are compiling and presenting a mountain of evidence that shows actors for the U.S. government have conspired to nullify the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
This Amendment was first for an important reason.
It states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The core issue at stake is should American citizens be allowed to have genuine “freedom of speech.”
In my view, the evidence already presented in this legal case proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a cadre of officials in government (and organizations working “in partnership” with government agencies) despise, fear and want to end “free speech.” In fact, they’ve already effectively blocked the free speech of millions of Americans.
In a democracy, free speech is vitally important as it makes dissent from prevailing narratives possible and thus protects the “natural rights” of citizens who may hold minority views. That is, without “free speech,” only the views of those who embrace “authorized” opinions would be allowed to participate in any meaningful way in democratic debates.
One can parse this lengthy document a thousand ways, but the bottom-line conclusion is that the U.S. government believes only its views should be allowed to be widely disseminated.
Even more terrifying, virtually all the important institutions in contemporary society defend and seemingly support the efforts of the federal government to censor any speech labeled “mis-“ or “disinformation.”
A few of my main take-aways from my (partial) reading of this must-read legal document:
The fact that attorneys general from at least two U.S. states have filed such a lawsuit provides hope that the entire country has not yet become disciples and enforcers of Big Brother.
It is also significant that the push-back to mass censorship comes from the state level of our “republic” and not from the federal government itself. That is, the Attorney General of the United States should have brought this case. Instead, representatives of the U.S. government are vigorously defending mass censorship, and the effort to “abridge the freedom of speech.”
This document is 354 pages because it’s replete with transcripts from legal depositions and exhibits that the public would not have seen absent the commencement of this legal proceeding.
The document also proves the power of legal “discovery” wherein defendants have to turn over all relevant evidence such as emails, meeting records, etc. (although plaintiffs argue that the defendants have still not turned over every piece of “discovery” requested).
A healthy democracy hinges on “fact-finding” and a “search for the truth.” This lawsuit has made it possible for the people who are following this case (not enough people) to learn more about the activities of the most powerful individuals who work for the most powerful government on the planet.
In reading this summary of evidence, I was struck by how easy it was for plaintiffs’ attorneys to build their case.
The attorneys, investigators and staffers bringing this case are clearly intelligent professionals who’ve been very thorough in developing their evidence and trying to prove their case. That is, if they get a fair hearing (which I’m not sure they will), they should win this case with ease.
However, this example made me think of all the lawsuits and “fact-finding” exercises that have NOT occurred with any of the litany of crimes and scandals of our Covid times (and even before Covid).
One strongly suspects that if other teams of competent litigators and investigators had employed the same tools of discovery and depositions, every scandal of our times would also be just-as-easily exposed.
Just like I think about all of the mainstream news articles that are off limits to alleged “watchdog” journalists, I also think about all the lawsuits and prosecutions that are apparently off limits to the people and organizations who could bring such cases.
The first paragraph of the “motion for the injunction” describes what the plaintiffs are trying to prove (and have already proven as far as I am concerned).
Laymen and legal scholars alike agree that the First Amendment does not compel any publisher to print any and all speech. For example, a private company like The New York Times can publish, or not publish, whatever speech it wants for whatever reason it wants.
The issue in this case is whether citizens living in the “town square” can use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. to share their opinions or facts.
Or, more specifically, can the government use its immense power to compel private companies to censor speech the government doesn’t like (speech labeled by the government as dangerous, extremist, false or basically “misinformation” or “disinformation” as the government defines these terms).
Plaintiffs argue that the federal government is using its power to abridge free speech. The federal government is doing this by threatening to effectively shut down social media companies who don’t comply with the government’s wishes.
The federal government could harpoon these companies by “reforming” or “amending” Section 230 of the CDA. This section grants legal immunity to such companies, meaning social media companies can’t be sued or criminally tried because of the speech of citizens who make posts on their platforms.
Paragraph 3 of the document explains the power of this “threat.”
“3. The threat of antitrust scrutiny or enforcement is also a major motivator to social-media platforms. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated that the threat of antitrust enforcement is “an ‘existential’ threat” to his platform.”
The evidence - presented on scores of pages - clearly reveals this “threat” was made explicitly, implicitly, publicly and privately over and over and over by myriad employees of the U.S. government, including the President of the United States.
This makes one (almost) feel empathy for these social media companies, which have had a symbolic bazooka pointed at their heads by the U.S. government dating to the day “Joe Biden” allegedly won the presidential election over Donald Trump.
I write that I “almost” feel empathy for these companies because if anyone skims this document, he will quickly see that virtually every employee and key executive of these companies was eager and happy to accede to the demands of their pro-censorship rulers.
Those who read this document will see never-ending examples of government officials brow-beating and intimidating social media companies for NOT censoring MORE.
To me, these companies appear almost masochistic - as in they seemingly enjoyed their incessant scoldings. For example, social media employees often thanked their government minders for pointing out their transgressions, which they seem overly-eager to correct. (Here, the Stockholm Syndrome comes to mind).
The “stick” of repealing Section 230 is not the only motivation social media companies have for complying with Big Brother.
Numerous “carrots” also exist as almost every one of these companies also profits from big contracts with the federal government and/or receives large sums of money (such as vaccine advertising spends) for supporting the authorized narratives (or, more precisely, silencing the non-authorized narratives).
The document makes many references to the Virality Project, an influential project commissioned by academics at Stanford University.
As I’ve written previously, the most important goal of the world’s real rulers in Covid times was/is the effort to fight “vaccine hesitancy.”
If people were hesitant about getting their Covid vaccines, the mRNA project would be a bust. Big Pharma and all the many entities that receives massive amounts of money from Big Pharma would not be pleased.
One thing that might make half the world skeptical of the “safe and effective” non-vaccines would be if the views of vaccine skeptics actually “went viral.”
This, very possibly, could have happened … absent mass censorship.
In my last article, I discussed several of the key “chess moves” our rulers have made to make sure they win this “game.”
Arguably, the most important move was making sure dissenting views did NOT go viral, a result which didn’t happen by chance … but by a coordinated effort to censor hundreds of millions of potential skeptics and critics.
Since the government doesn’t own Facebook (where two billion people share speech), the government had to “persuade” Facebook (Meta) to do their censoring for them.
In reading this document, I was also stunned when I thought about all the employees and organizations that were involved in the effort to defeat the threat of “vaccine hesitancy” (and protect all the other many untrue Covid narratives).
I stopped reading after 54 pages, but this was enough to see that the actors in this conspiracy (a cover-up of the truth) included the President of the United States, all his key White House employees, the CDC, the Census Bureau, The Surgeon General and his staff, officials in the NIH (such as Anthony Fauci), many of the key members of Congress, all the new “fact checkers” and probably the White House chef.
Time and again, plaintiff’s attorneys present examples where government officials cite articles written by “journalists” at The New York Times or Washington Post that were used as a weapon to demand even more censorship among social media companies.
Surreally, this means our “free press” has been one of government’s key allies in suppressing free speech.
Government contractors, non-profits and think tanks were also brought in to help with the vital censorship chess moves.
Another hallmark of a conspiracy would be any evidence proving a co-ordinated initiative. The plaintiff’s attorneys have done an excellent job proving this happened. For example, the authors of the legal brief repeatedly show how the words “accountable” and “transparency,” were used ad nauseam by all the censorship conspirators.
When government actors told social media companies they would be “held accountable,” this was a not-too-subtle threat that they better do as told … Which, sadly and not surprisingly, they did.
The conspirators also incessantly demand “transparency” from social media companies.
The government didn’t just ask social media companies to do a little more censorship for the good of the country, they demanded access to all the algorithms, data bases, search queries, content-moderation policies, etc. that would prove companies were censoring the content the government said must be censored.
Amazingly, companies like Meta complied …. so, apparently, officials at the CDC and The Census Bureau (which for some reason took a lead role in enforcing censorship) and key White House staffers were looking at the same tools Meta used to see what Covid topics were trending on their platform.
The government would then tell the companies to ban such speech on their platforms.
Not only did government actors hold a gun to the social media companies’ heads, they wanted to see (and even use) the very tools that allow these companies to know what their users were posting.
As we’ve learned from the “Twitter files,” government officials also repeatedly zeroed in on key “disinformation super-spreaders” and made sure they were banned and punished.
Victims/targets of these censorship efforts include high-profile Covid skeptic like Alex Berenson, Steve Kirsch and Robert Kennedy, Jr., but they might as well have included Bill Rice, Jr, whose Facebook account has also been suspended (for no known or stated reason) multiple times.
Per the copious evidence in this legal brief, every time Meta banned someone or said some topic was now taboo, government officials were rarely placated, and demanded even more censorship. And, again, government officials kept demanding “transparency” to see that thy’s will was being done.
The irony of course is that the U.S. government is the least transparent entity on the face of the earth.
To be clear and to state what should be perfectly obvious by now, the multi-faceted censorship and “disinformation” programs (which pre-date Covid) were created and enforced to make sure no real government “transparency” is/was possible.
For our government officials, transparency is like sunlight or a silver crucifix to a vampire.
I actually don’t know what the plaintiffs are demanding except for the government to cease and desist with its efforts to compel censorship.
Speaking for myself, I’ve already seen enough evidence where this U.S. citizen won’t be mollified unless we have criminal prosecutions, the impeachment of President Biden and the censure of all the members of Congress who bullied these social media executives.
Also, the companies that went along with this need to be boycotted by every citizen that still cares about the First Amendment.
I’d also note that while Twitter has (largely) turned over a new leaf under the ownership of Elon Musk, the rest of the social media companies are censoring left and right just like they’ve been doing since “Joe Biden” was sworn into office. (This tells me these companies are betting on “Biden” prevailing in this lawsuit).
For those who think the censorship regime only deals with Covid topics, I say you better think again … as this document also proves.
Plenty of sections of this document provide evidence showing that “disinformation” about Climate Change, election fraud and woke issues like “gender identification” will also continue to be subject to the whims of the government’s arbiters of truth.
For my part, I’m now convinced that what shouldn’t happen … will probably happen. This means, “Joe Biden” will probably win re-election and this case will probably be thrown out or the Supreme Court led by (captured?) John Roberts will ultimately side with the defendants.
If this happens, perhaps more Americans will belatedly understand the new legal precedent that has been set.
In the future, any speech that’s deemed “misinformation” by unelected bureaucrats (at say the CDC or EPA) can indeed be censored and banned.
It will be perfectly fine for presidents, Congressmen and surgeon generals to demand that social media companies censor unauthorized or “dangerous” speech. Furthermore, the government will be granted that “transparency” that tells them Meta or Google are following their orders.
In reading this document, I was struck by the fact Substack (as far as we know) has yet to be targeted by the Censorship Czars.
My guess is that if this case is decided in favor of the defendants, this will no longer be the case. The “dangerous misinformation” I’ve been posting (and my readers in the Reader Comments) will suddenly be fair game for censorship as well.
Substack is replete with writers challenging the false Covid narratives, but this speech platform is also full of skeptics of Climate Change, writers who might not support the Ukraine War or central bank digital currencies … authors who think election fraud is real and correspondents who don’t like the “woke” transgender and pronoun malarky.
For the past 240 years, Americans thought the First Amendment gave them the “freedom” to share their views on controversial topics. If Biden and the U.S. government wins this case, I suspect we’ll soon learn otherwise.
Read more at: BillRiceJr.Substack.com