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Facebook Shuts Down “Free Ricardo Palmera!” Group

By Josh Sykes |
July 2, 2010
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Asheville NC - In a move to censor the voices of solidarity and human rights, Facebook shut down the "Free Ricardo Palmera!" page, claiming it violates their terms of use.

The Facebook message stated, “The group ‘Free Ricardo Palmera!’ has been removed because it violated our Terms of Use. Among other things, groups that are hateful, threatening or obscene are not allowed. We also take down groups that attack an individual or group, or advertise a product or service. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled.”

On June 30, Tom Burke of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera responded to the announcement, saying, “By shutting us down, Facebook is taking the side of the death squads in Colombia. We will not be silenced - not by death threats from Colombian intelligence agents and not by Facebook. We will use every means available to express support for Professor Palmera and his just struggle for freedom. We reject Facebook’s claim that a campaign for human rights, for prisoners’ rights, and against the U.S. government’s violation of the sovereignty of the Colombian people is somehow anything other than peaceful.”

The “Free Ricardo Palmera!” group, with more than 700 members from all over the world, but especially Latin America and the U.S., existed for many months prior to the abrupt shutdown. The “Free Ricardo Palmera!” page was a valuable and important resource for getting the word out about the injustices done to the Colombian revolutionary Ricardo Palmera and the continuing U.S. attacks on the Colombian people.

Tom Burke said, “We, the administrators of the group "Free Ricardo Palmera," never ‘attacked’ anyone. Our protests made a mockery of the U.S. Justice Department’s trials and railroading of Ricardo Palmera. The U.S. State Department is upset that their plans to criminalize Professor Palmera and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia failed. It is Ricardo Palmera and the Colombian people who are under attack here. The U.S. war in Colombia, known as Plan Colombia, has displaced over 4 million Colombians - made them landless and homeless. Every week Colombian government death squads murder a trade unionist. Now the U.S. government is building and ‘refurbishing’ seven new military bases in Colombia.”

Burke continues, “We never posted anything hateful or threatening. It is Facebook that is revealing itself to be hateful towards and practicing censorship towards groups organizing for progressive social change.”

He suggests, “Do a search for Chiquita on Facebook. There is a U.S. corporation that admitted to paying $1.7 million, shipping weapons from Panama, and directing [government] AUC death squads that murdered hundreds of labor union leaders on the banana plantations. Chiquita admits that, yet Chiquita has several pages on Facebook. This is a political attack, it is meant to silence social justice in every way. This is an attack on Professor Palmera, a Colombian political prisoner extradited to the U.S., who suffers 23- hour solitary lockdown in Colorado's Supermax Prison, the threat of electric shock torture and the forced kidnapping from his country by the U.S. It is obscene.”

For more info on Palmera see here: http://www.fightbacknews.org/2010/6/22/prisoner-us-empire-colombian-revolutionary-ricardo-palmera

The censorship of the “Free Ricardo Palmera!” page follows a series of recent attacks by Facebook on activist groups, including shutting down a group in solidarity with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the 800,000 member Boycott BP page. After a campaign opposing it, the Boycott BP has been reinstated. Apparently the U.S. government and big corporations have great influence over Facebook policies and decisions.

Tell Facebook that you are outraged:

156 University Avenue, Palo Alto CA

(650) 543-4800

Call Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, and tell him to

  • Stop the Assault on Progressive Causes!
    Reinstate the Group “Free Ricardo Palmera!” Now!

There is new protest group created here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=129314173775448

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