America: Freedom to Fascism

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America: Freedom to Fascism is a 2006 conspiracy film by Aaron Russo, covering a whole bag of conspiracy subjects (ID Cards, globalization, false flag terrorism, the IRS, etc.), but primarily focusing on the illegality and immorality of both income tax and the Federal Reserve.

In the film, Russo trots out predictable Libertarian nonsense about how the Federal Reserve is not a government agency and is in fact a system of privately-held for-profit corporations, that dollars are actually valueless as they are not backed by gold, and that the federal income tax was never actually ratified and is wholly unconstitutional.

Promotional lies[edit]

Before the film even premiered in the US, Russo engaged in distortion and deception to promote it. Prior to its limited release in July 2006, Russo put out promotional material stating that the film and was shown to "packed audiences" and "received widespread acclaim" and "standing ovations" at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival (these claims are repeated on the still-functioning Freedom to Fascism website [1]). However, according to a New York Times article, the film was not even on the program at the Cannes Film Festival that year, much less shown more than once. In reality, Russo rented an inflatable screen and showed the film on the beach in Cannes whilst the Festival was running, to an audience somewhere in the region of 50 people[2].

Quote Mining[edit]

As with many films of its ilk, America: Freedom to Fascism features many quotes being taken out of context in order to make them seemingly agree with Russo's viewpoint, or to wholly misrepresent what a particular figure said and make it sound sinister.

Quotation of U.S. District Judge James C. Fox[edit]

Aaron Russo reads a quote attributed to U.S. District Judge James C. Fox:

If you...examined [The 16th Amendment] carefully, you would find that a sufficient number of states never ratified that amendment.

The film does not mention the specific court case, which is Sullivan v. United States in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, case no. 03-CV-39 (2003).[3] In the case, the plaintiffs attempted unsuccessfully to prevent the deployment of troops to Iraq. The comments with respect to the Sixteenth Amendment did not constitute a ruling in the case (see Stare decisis) and were mentioned only in passing (see Obiter dictum). The transcript reads (in part):

I will say I think, you know, colonel, I have to tell you that there are cases where a long course of history in fact does change the Constitution, and I can think of one instance. I believe I'm correct on this. I think if you were to go back and try to find and review the ratification of the 16th amendment, which was the internal revenue, income tax, I think if you went back and examined that carefully, you would find that a sufficient number of states never ratified that amendment...And nonetheless, I think it's fair to say that it is part of the Constitution of the United States, and I don't think any court would ever...set it aside.

The comments by Judge Fox were mentioned in passing, without judicial review, and in a case that has nothing to do with the 16th Amendment.

Quotation of Mayer Amschel Rothschild[edit]

A popularly-alleged quote by Mayer Amschel Rothschild is displayed:

Give me control of a nation's money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.

The narrator in the film then states "[Rothschild] knew that he and the other bankers would now control the laws of the nation," which gives the impression that Rothschild was involved in passing the Federal Reserve Act. The Federal Reserve Act was passed, however, in 1913; Rothschild died in 1812. Paul M. Warburg, a representative of the Rothschild banking dynasty in England and France, did play an essential role in the creation of the Federal Reserve.[4]

Quotation of President Wilson[edit]

Aaron Russo reads a quote widely attributed to Woodrow Wilson:

I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. We are no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.

This is a well-known conflation of several quotes, only two of which can actually be attributed to Woodrow Wilson. The source of the first two sentences is unknown, and nowhere on record can be found to be said by Wilson. The third sentence (although slightly altered in this version) is found in the eighth chapter of Wilson's book, The New Freedom,[5] and originally reads:

A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who, even if their action be honest and intended for the public interest, are necessarily concentrated upon the great undertakings in which their own money is involved and who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom.

The final sentence (beginning with "We are no longer..."), although again slightly altered from its original version, can also be found in The New Freedom (ninth chapter), and in its original context, reads:

We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world--no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.

Quotation of Mussolini[edit]

Similarly, Russo uses a quotation that has for some time been attributed to Benito Mussolini, the authenticity of which has been called into serious doubt.[6]:

Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.

Probably, the complete quote in Italian is:

"il corporativismo è la pietra angolare dello Stato fascista, anzi lo Stato fascista o è corporativo o non è fascista"[7]


"corporatism is the corner stone of the Fascist nation, or better still, the Fascist nation is corporative or it is not fascist"

Quotation of President Bill Clinton[edit]

The film displays a quote:

"We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans." Bill Clinton, March 11, 1993

What Clinton actually said (on March 1, 1993[8]) was:

We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans to legitimately own handguns and rifles—it's something I strongly support—we can't be so fixated on that that we are unable to think about the reality of life that millions of Americans face on streets that are unsafe, under conditions that no other nation—no other nations—has permitted to exist.

Quotation of Charles Rossotti[edit]

The film shows part of a story on 60 Minutes from April 3, 2001 where, then IRS commissioner Charles Rossotti, states:

"But when the matter is put to the test, which means in terms of court and enforcement action, there is a 100 percent success rate in shooting down these arguments."

This followed by a short clip of Disney's Pinocchio with his nose growing, implying that Rossotti was lying. It is implied by the placement of the Rossotti clip that he is referring to a 100% success rate in 'shooting down' the arguments of individuals who argued that there is no law requiring them to pay taxes. The broadcast, however, was specifically regarding small business owners who had stopped withholding taxes from employee paychecks, and it is about this issue that his statement was made.[9]

Quotation of Judge Kent Dawson[edit]

Russo includes in text the following from a case against Irwin Schiff[10]:

Irwin Schiff: "But the Supreme Court said ..."

Judge Dawson: "Irrelevant! Denied!"

Irwin Schiff: "The Supreme Court is irrelevant???[sic]"

Judge Dawson: "Irrelevant! Denied!"

This is followed by Russo's verbal statement:

"Here we have a federal judge railroading an American citizen by saying Supreme Court decisions are irrelevant."

The first line of Schiff's statement in full is "But the Supreme Court said in the Cheek decision". In what follows, Dawson was stating that the Cheek v. United States decision was irrelevant to the particular argument that Schiff was trying to make at the time and not that Supreme Court decisions in general are irrelevant.

First Amendment[edit]

In the film, it is stated:

On August 31, 2005 federal judge Emmet Sullivan ruled the government does not have to answer the American people's questions, even though it is guaranteed in the First Amendment.

The text of the first amendment is as follows:

"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."

In other words, while you have the right to ask questions to the government, nowhere does the First Amendment say that the government has to answer you.

External links[edit]