Authoritarian Cass Sunstein previously called for banning opinions that differed from government

Steve Watson
Aug 22, 2013

Image: Wikimedia Commons

One of the men heading up the so called “independent” panel to review the NSA’s domestic spying programs will be Cass Sunstein, the former Obama regulatory czar, who has a history of seeking to strictly control information and stifle dissent against government.

The announcement came yesterday with the president describing the panel as a “high-level group of outside experts” that will examine potential abuses of the NSA’s data gathering programs.

Insisting that the group is completely independent of government, despite the fact that all of those on it are former White House and intelligence agency officials, the administration also announced that the group will determine if “insider threats” and unauthorized disclosures are “appropriately” accounted for by the government.

In addition to Sunstein, the panel will be manned by lifelong CIA official, and recent acting head of the agency, Michael Morell, former senior White House adviser Richard Clarke, and former Obama special assistant Peter Swire.

The group will have 2 months to prepare a report for director of national intelligence James Clapper, who has already admitted to lying to Congress about the NSA’s spying techniques. Clapper will then brief the President and submit a report on what is effectively his own spying program.

Critics will certainly argue that the likelihood of this panel finding anything remotely amiss with the NSA’s actions is a long shot at best. Indeed, with Sunstein’s record they are likely to advocate beefing up the NSA’s architecture and expanding the crack down on whistleblowers.

During his time in the Obama administration, Sunstein called for taxing or banning outright, as in making illegal, opinions, ideas and information that the government does not approve of.

On page 14 of  a 2008 paper, Sunstein proposed that “under imaginable conditions” the government “might ban conspiracy theorizing” and could “impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories.”

Sunstein outlined plans for the government to infiltrate “conspiracy groups,” including those with questions pertaining to the 9/11 attacks, in order to undermine them via postings on chat rooms and social networks, as well as at real meetings.

The specifics of the plans must be read in full in order to gauge their extreme nature and the threat that Sunstein’s suggestions pose to freedom of speech.

Sunstein’s definition of a “conspiracy theorist” also encompasses those who question the notion of manmade global warming and, most bizarrely, anyone who believes that sunlight is healthy for their bodies.

Presumably if Sunstein had been in power in the latter middle ages he would have attempted to tax and then ban the work of Galileo Galilei for subscribing to the theory that the Earth was not the centre of the universe and that it actually revolved around the Sun.

Sunstein also advocated Internet censorship via enforced and regulated links to government approved opinions in news pieces. In other words, he called for  an internet ‘Ministry of Truth’.

Sunstein himself later retracted that proposal, explaining that it would be “too difficult to regulate [the Internet] in a way that would respond to those concerns,” and admitting that it was “almost certainly unconstitutional.”

Sunstein has also called for the re-writing of the First Amendment, and has even proposed a mandatory celebration of tax day in America.

It is clear that Sunstein has little value for constitutional protections, and believes that questioning government should be outlawed. Therefore placing this man on a panel set up to examine and assess government abuses of power, is utterly ridiculous.


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’, and He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

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