Library of Congress Staff Target of Threats


Former Army reservist Lynndie England, a symbol of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, was set to discuss her biography Friday at the Library of Congress as part of a veterans forum on Capitol Hill, but her lecture was canceled after several staff workers received threats, according to the Associated Press.

More here.


It's sad that neither the AP or NPR article mentions the nature of the threats. It would be helpful to know whether the threats are from the left, right, or al-Qaeda. It's also sad that LC showed it can be cowed. It reinforces the idea that threats work. It will lead to more threats against events not in favor with different interest groups.

It would be an act of nonviolent resistance to have held it anyway. Probably nothing would have happened. But if it had, you'd just file it under "Freedom isn't Free." It doesn't matter how many soldiers this country has if people and institutions won't exercise freedoms granted by our constitution.

If England is unrepentant, then this could have been a good forum to give her hard questions and the feedback that what she did isn't ok. It would also have been good to schedule an anti-torture panel after her talk.

But this opportunity has been lost to threats of violence. How many more events will be lost because of institutions fearful of risk?
"No doubt another may also think for me; but it is not therefore desirable that he should do so.." - Thoreau

Article in the Washington Post

David Moore of the Library of Congress is quoted as saying that the cancellation of England's appearance at the Library is a blow to free speech. However, Moore was less enthusiastic prior to the event, when he yielded to pressure from England's handlers to exclude the author of England's biography [Gary S. Winkler] from speaking at the Veterans' Forum as well. Instead, Moore chose celebrity over the truth.

Gary S. Winkler

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