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Someone You Love: Coming to a Gulag Near You

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Posted on Apr 2, 2012

By Chris Hedges

The security and surveillance state does not deal in nuance or ambiguity. Its millions of agents, intelligence gatherers, spies, clandestine operatives, analysts and armed paramilitary units live in a binary world of opposites, of good and evil, black and white, opponent and ally. There is nothing between. You are for us or against us. You are a patriot or an enemy of freedom. You either embrace the crusade to physically eradicate evildoers from the face of the Earth or you are an Islamic terrorist, a collaborator or an unwitting tool of terrorists. And now that we have created this monster it will be difficult, perhaps impossible, to free ourselves from it. Our 16 national intelligence agencies and army of private contractors feed on paranoia, rumor, rampant careerism, demonization of critical free speech and often invented narratives. They justify their existence, and their consuming of vast governmental resources, by turning even the banal and the mundane into a potential threat. And by the time they finish, the nation will be a gulag.

This is why the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was contested by me and three other plaintiffs before Judge Katherine B. Forrest in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Thursday, is so dangerous. This act, signed into law by President Barack Obama last Dec. 31, puts into the hands of people with no discernible understanding of legitimate dissent the power to use the military to deny due process to all deemed to be terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers, and hold them indefinitely in military detention. The deliberate obtuseness of the NDAA’s language, which defines “covered persons” as those who “substantially supported” al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” makes all Americans, in the eyes of our expanding homeland security apparatus, potential terrorists. It does not differentiate. And the testimony of my fellow plaintiffs, who understand that the NDAA is not about them but about us, repeatedly illustrated this. 

Alexa O’Brien, a content strategist and information architect who co-founded the U.S. Day of Rage, an organization created to reform the election process and wrest it back from corporate hands, was the first plaintiff to address the court. She testified that when WikiLeaks released 5 million emails from Stratfor, a private security firm that does work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Marine Corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency, she discovered that the company was attempting to link her and her organization to Islamic radicals and websites as well as jihadist ideology.

Last August there was an email exchange between Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice president for counterterrorism and corporate security and a former deputy director of the counterterrorism division of the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, and Thomas Kopecky, director of operations at Investigative Research Consultants Inc. and Fortis Protective Services LLC. In that exchange, leaked Feb. 27 by WikiLeaks, Kopecky wrote: “I was looking into that U.S. Day of Rage movement and specifically asked to connect it to any Saudi or other fundamentalist Islamic movements. Thus far, I have only hear[d] rumors but not gotten any substantial connection. Do you guys know much about this other than its US Domestic fiscal ideals?”? 

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Burton replied: “No, we’re not aware of any concrete connections between fundamentalist Islamist movements and the Day of Rage, or the October 2011 movement at this point.”

But that changed quickly. Stratfor, through others working in conjunction with the FBI, soon linked U.S. Day of Rage to al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.

In early September, U.S. Day of Rage, which supported the Sept. 17 call to occupy Wall Street, received Twitter messages that falsely accused it of being affiliated with terrorist groups. The messages came from a privately owned security and intelligence contractor, Provide Security, managed by Thomas Ryan, who works for U.S. military and government agencies, and Dr. Kevin Schatzle, a former FBI, Secret Service and New York City Police Department counterterrorism agent who is on the advisory board of a private intelligence firm that sells technology to profile and interrogate terrorism suspects. On Sept. 1 U.S. Day of Rage received three private, direct Twitter messages that read:

“Now you are really in over your head with this. Muslims from an Afghanistan Jihad site have jumped in. ...”

“You seem peaceful, but #Anonymous will tarnish that reputation and FAST! They plan to hack NYPD and Banks for #OccupyWallStreet with #RefRef.”

“Just a heads up. I watched your training videos, but do you realize the #Anonymous relationship/infiltration will cause you MANY problems.”


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By charlesfrith, April 2, 2012 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

The US needs to crush dissent at home like it has done
internationally. It has lost the moral argument and
must rely on force from here on.

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By Fullblad, April 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Well they’re almost there. Of course they could trump
up charges on anyone, any time, about anything, from
shoplifting to murder. However, they might be proven
wrong and their game exposed. So what could be better
than to just whisk anyone away, any time, for any
length of time, on charges that would never see
judicial review or the light of day other than to
themselves. I can see it all now; the emperor’s…
oops president’s minders don’t like the meddling of
Joe or Josephine Occupy, alerting the sheep about
wolves, becoming much too assertive, time to detain
them… for shall we say 25 years or so. Yes a return
to feudalism for the masses with revolutionaries
destroyed even more efficiently than Macarthy ever
dreamed of. My God how did we ever get here?

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By prisnersdilema, April 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Chimerica, has become another country.

http://america-underwater.tumblr.com/

One that is ruled by a crime syndicate of banks that is above the law.

Of course they will use government to hide their larcenies and abet their crimes,
and then finally, to prevent the people from having recourse.

Soon they won’t even bother to justify their torments of the people, because they
know there is nothing you can do.

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By Concerned Canuck, April 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Ed Romano: consider this a LMFAO high five! Dude, you made my week! Yes, they have
our numbers. But, being 40+, we simply don’t have as much to loose as the younger
crowd, which makes us all the more dangerous, I think!  Seriously, in Canada and the US,
we’re dealing with the same government problems, requiring the same soloutions. So,
let’s go educate the kids!

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By Alan MacDonald, April 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

S. Wolf Britain, in saying what you do, “It has literally gotten to the point that, as a
significantly, physically disabled person with three
autoimmune diseases, I now hope that I will die soon of
natural causes so that I won’t have to go through being
terrorized by “my own” government”, you sound a bit like the elderly, tired, and sick Kurt Vonnegut somewhat before he passed on.

But Vonnegut wrote a last non-fiction account of how he felt about his former country, “A Man Without a Country” which IMHO, turned out to be the greatest and most moving critique of the downfall of America into this DGE (Disguised Global Empire) ever written—- although Morris Berman’s “Why America Failed” is also a fabulously accurate, but emotionally draining history of the death of any American Dream that has to do with democracy (instead of stuff) that has been written since F. Scott Fitzgerald penned a fictional version in 1925.

So, S. Wolf, thanks for your efforts also to characterize your sadness at what we have all lost.

Best,
Alan MacDonald

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By S. Wolf Britain, April 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

[Continued from below]

...It has literally gotten to the point that, as a
significantly, physically disabled person with three
autoimmune diseases, I now hope that I will die soon of
natural causes so that I won’t have to go through being
terrorized by “my own” government even though I am
truly harmless, a threat to no one, only stand for what
is truly right, and only represent those things that
are the highest in truly American principles of liberty
and freedom.

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By S. Wolf Britain, April 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

I’ll say, Brother Hedges! I hadn’t realized until I
read this article that the “intelligence” and
“security” apparatus in the U.S. is that HUGE, but it
is. All of this would make the WW2 era Nazis believe
that their system was inadequate, to recognize that
they never would have imagined in their wildest
dreams such an expansive “national security state”
apparatus, and to wish they could possess such a
colossal system.

Imagine, nineteen Arabian “hijackers” were allegedly
responsible for 9-11; but now, even though there is
very little credible threat from Americans wishing to
carry out “jihad” against the U.S. government, the
latter is going after all Americans. Prior to 9-11,
who would have ever thought that it could come to
this? We truly are living in an unbelievable waking
Orwellian nightmare in the U.S. right this very
minute.

As I alluded to in comments in response to your
previous article, “Totalitarian Systems Always Begin
by Rewriting the Law”, the U.S. government now has
the average inept, so-called “patriotic”, ignorant of
the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, “good
‘American’” citizen so paranoid that they really
believe that average Americans protesting the rise of
this horrific dream are potential “threats” simply
for defending those U.S. laws.

To think that someone like myself could simply write
an e-mail letter to a potential landlord that truly
said absolutely nothing wrong or illegal, and only
defended human rights and civil liberties, as well as
nothing but non-violence, and he would threaten to
refer that letter to a federal government agency
[USDA—-I don’t know to this day if he actually did
so or not… (yet?)] because of its alleged “tone”.

As I’m sure you and many others reading this are
well-aware, and to expand upon my allusion to it in
my comments in response to your aforementioned
previous article, most “Americans” are so willfully
ignorant of the U.S. Bill of Rights and Constitution
that they not only don’t understand what “protected
free speech” means, and what the types of speech are
that are supposed to be so-protected, including
“unpopular” and “offensive” speech, they literally
believe that such speech shouldn’t be allowed, is
supposedly an “illegal” offense in this terrorizing
government system in which we now live in the U.S.,
that they must report such “offenses” to that more
and more oppressive and repressive government, that
all such free speech must be stopped, and that police
action(s) must be taken against all “perpetrators” of
that speech to see to it that they are silenced.

This isn’t America anymore. This truly is a repeat of
the history of Nazi Germany, but this time on
steroids. And we truly have awakened into a
“Twighlight Zone” of George Orwell’s worst
nightmare… in the United States of America for
God’s sake! How did we let ourselves get to this
point?! Obviously, this spirit of such unconscionable
madness, though it remained dormant for a time, must
have always lay within us.

Now it appears we have gone beyond a turning point
past which there is no return; that it can only get
worse… and worse… and worse; and, as a result of
what I have already personally experienced thus far
at the hands of the beginnings of the U.S.
government’s “neo-‘Nazi’” terror(ism), I fully expect
to be taken away at any time now, because I can’t
live with blinders on and act like everything’s
“hunky dory”.

I try to remain positive and hopeful that the present
situation in this country will be turned around,
before it’s too late, by those among us with power
and influence who realize what’s happening and that
it must be stopped. But I have faced and watched so
closely for the past ten years the situation only
escalate more and more, such that I can’t hold out
much hope anymore that it will be reversed…

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By gerard, April 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Max:  I know you don’t understand me, and I understand why you don’t (and probably can’t) understand me.  Because of your conditioning.
Many people have the same difficulty.  But some do not.  The wall between them is permeable, but none of us know much about how to permeate it.
  Conditioning is a powerful inhibitor of change. That’s why authorities spend so much time and money trying to condition their constituents. 
  Fortunately people not interested in conditioning other people haven’t the money to try —even if they wanted to do so. That makes their work harder, but more interesting.
  So we fight on, making our little twisted jokes, setting our little traps, and being very disruptive in a kindly, old-womanish way. The lenses of our glasses are so thick that you can’t see our tears.  We are willing to go a long way to avoid the cold logic of absolutes.  We believe that the shortest distance between two points is not always or necessarily a straight line and that a little bit of love is better than no love at all, etc.

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By IMax, April 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

“Try not to fall into the intentionally created dichotomy of either/or—oppressor/victim.”

-

I have to say, I simply cannot wrap my mind around the dichotomous words of gerard.  She lives and breaths the OWS victim/oppressor message, speaking out so passionately on the subject of the oppressed and the oppressors, but, simultaneously, warns against falling into the oppressor/victim mentality.

I sincerely try to understand people like gerard.  I do this because, I believe, she sincerely seeks real peace amongst men.  Yet I continually see her words so deeply rooted in all the things she condemns and warns us against.  I am thoroughly perplexed.

Reasoning and kindness should be applied equally.  Not only toward those with whom you agree or find on the “correct” side of an issue.

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By heterochromatic, April 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Hedges’ assertion that we’re to be plunged into despotism is the sort of alarmist
crap that indicates a mind overburdened and no longer smoothly functioning in
this world.

the attachments to NDAA are worrisome and obnoxious and should be unwelcome
to all of us, but the sky isn’t falling, Chris….hang onto the Earth.

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By Ed Romano, April 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Concerned Canuck,  Sure, I know it isn’t safe to say certain things in the Land of the Free….. I also know that in this country you’re free to do whatever you want as long as you do exactly what you’re told, but at my age there isn’t a lot they can threaten me with. I’m poised to step out the exit door whenever I get the call - I hope it won’t be too soon, but my bags are packed. You reminded me of something John Garfield said at the end of that 1940’s epic, Body and Soul. The mob had paid him to throw a championship fight, but at the last minute he changed his mind and went on the win it. On his way back to the dressing room the mob boss stops him and says something like….You don’t think you’re going to get away with this, do you?....Garfield looks at him and returns a line the mob boss had said earlier in the film…What are you going to do, kill me? Everybody dies….I think that once you come to terms with that fact you find that you are a free man…..Of course, it’s not easy to do when you’re in the prime of life.
  You would think that the government and military would have learned by now that you can’t defeat a determined guerilla army on its own turf. Then again, perhaps they do realize it, but have to have a way to dispose of the billions of dollars worth of armaments and military equipment the corporate killing machine turns out every year….. Consume a hand genade, anyone?
  I’ve had sticky notes attached to my file for a lot of years. If I shut up now it’s not going to change their attitude toward me. At one time they   (the THEM ) were very efficient at screwing up my life. It’s probably one of the things government does best. Onward.

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By Blueokie, April 2, 2012 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

I was actually surprised that the court ruled the plaintiffs had the right to sue, of course, the Administration will shut down the proceedings and have the case dismissed at the first opportunity it can manufacture, via the Obama DOJ’s favorite canard of “protecting National security”, its get out of jail free card of choice.

At its height, the East German Stazi was known to have dossiers on one in seven East German citizens.  The NSA facility in Bluffdale Utah is being built to enable such dossiers on, at least, everyone on the North American continent, thus making it an exercise in futility to wonder if you’re on the “list”.  As the article
points out fifth columnists will be enlisted to build “cases” on anyone, not to mention the “private intelligence” firms that will cavalierly produce them in mass to justify their continued existence and increase their profit margins.

Both “parties” are working hard to restrict the right to vote to middle class white male ‘swing voters’ as this is the easiest group to convince such policies are necessary while insuring them it won’t apply to them….at first.  Note the many states where this group has been given a license to kill anyone who makes them uneasy already.  Remember in November that you won’t be given the choice between the “lesser of two evils”, you’ll be given the “choice” of the evil of two lessers.

Thank you Chris Hedges for pointing out not how much we stand to lose, but how much we’ve already given away, and how much more will soon be asked of us.

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By galeww, April 2, 2012 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Thank you Chris, Naomi, Cornell, Robert and all involved for participating in the lawsuit.  It’s a grand gesture and will serve as a historical reference point. A much needed one.  I’m sure the experience is profoundly disturbing. Do not lose hope. It’s all we have. 

I wish I could join you in Santa Fe—it would be an upper to be in the presence of my heros.  I will be with you in spirit. 
Gale Wheat

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By olenska, April 2, 2012 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

NATIONAL PETITION TO PASS THE DUE PROCESS GUARANTEE ACT AND REPEAL THE NDAA

We need one million signatures to sway members of Congress.. It is an election year, so this might do it. Here is the petition. Please circulate it. Many thanks
http://signon.org/sign/pass-the-due-process

On Dec.31st 2011 Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. Clauses in that bill legalize the indefinite imprisonment of any American citizen without charges, evidence, trial or legal representation - all of which violates the 1st, 5th and 6th amendments to the constitution - on the accusation, not proof, that the person has committed a “belligerent act” or “supported” a force hostile to the US. These terms were chosen for their vagueness, have no legal meaning, and can be used to justify the arrest and imprisonment of any person for anything. All members of Congress who voted “yea” to this bill violated their oaths of office to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”. All but 10 senators voted “yea” while the House was split.  Some members of Congress are moving to reverse the damage with the Due Process Guarantee Act, a bill that would restore the rights of Habeas corpus, trial by jury and legal counsel guaranteed in the Bill of Rights to all American citizens and legal residents. The bill is stuck in committee in both Houses and as of this writing does not have enough votes to pass.  Find your representatives and how they voted here: http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=147044 . Congress also passed the “Trespass Act”, a bill that would have made ML King’s March on Washington an illegal act. In addition, Senator Lieberman is sponsoring the “Enemy Expatriation Act” a bill that would remove all citizenship rights of any person accused (not proven) of having committed a “belligerent act”.

Please sign this petition. Our goal is one million signatures. Our signatures will be delivered to every member of Congress.

“We, the undersigned, request immediate passage of the Due Process Guarantee Act and pledge not to vote for any Member of Congress who does not support the repeal of the unconstitutional provisions of the NDAA .”

Will you sign this petition? Click here:

http://signon.org/sign/pass-the-due-process?source=c.em.mt&r_by=983602

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By ControlledDemolition, April 2, 2012 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Right on, Mr. Hedges!  And some cabal of sick puppies up in this hierarchy executed 911 ... which of course you don’t do without a patsy and a cover story.

So I have to agree with Pres. Bush: “The terrorists hate us for our freedoms.”  But that has been resolved—probably beyond their wildest dreams, as you write about.

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By gerard, April 2, 2012 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

How to stay sane?  Try not to fall into the intentionally created dichotomy of either/or—oppressor/victim. That’s probably the exact response
the oppressor wants to create because it is weakening,  demobilizing. 
  Fear is easily used to separate, isolate, imprison. If fear displaces creative and hopeful responses, the problem is made impossible before solutions can start because the people can’t think straight.
  Occupy is a tremendous resource. Kind humor is strengthening. Various and unique nonviolent alternatives to force are freeing. Faith in human unity across class, race, party and status is empowering. 
  Existence. Resistance. Persistance. And one more that we need to call upon now:  Perspicacity. And of course, love—or at least a “decent respect for mankind.” (And women and children and dogs and cats and ... of course ... the tomorrows at the edge of today!)

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By balkas, April 2, 2012 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

i think that people who equalize stalin’s gulags and his or soviet oppression/imprisonment
of some soviets with what nazis and facsists were doing to own dissidents [usually
communists and socialists] are in deep confusion or are deeply opposed to politico-
economic equality of the working classes.
there is no doubt that the people whom soviet govt was persecuting, killing, and sending
into prison camps were fascists or supporters of the american 1% and its brutal ideology
and not socialists or communists.
in short, one set of people were protecting landless peasants and workers; the other
protected an dprotects even now, banksters, plutocrats, warsellers.

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By DornDiego, April 2, 2012 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Keep on working, Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer.  We’ve passed through
paranoia to emerge into a fairly obvious national security state.  While it’s in this
stage of celebratory, triumph-of-the-will extremism we all have to speak of it to
friends and family.  We should be studying the 1920s and 1930s words of Nazis
and the actions of the National Socialists in Italy for metaphors of our own version
of militarized domestic thuggery, and the later construction of Stalinist penal
colonies that maintain the national security state by shutting down dissent.  The
world recognizes this desperate failure of law and democracy that came before our
own.  You don’t have to be a lefty or a right winger to do that; you just have to
pursue what is right and just, any way you can.
Keep it up Hedges and Scheer.  it won’t be fun, but it will preserve the record of
how this country died at the hands of its worst citizens.

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By IMax, April 2, 2012 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

One of the lessons Hedges and OWS learned long ago was that you can always expect the authorities to go after a mosquito with a shot gun. This tendency can actually benefit the rebellious because it can be used to garner scads of publicity…..

Hedges’ use of the word ‘Gulag’ is very powerful indeed.  Those predisposed to think like Hedges will be greatly effected.

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By Alan MacDonald, April 2, 2012 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

What Hedges points out is that the security services of a country which is captured and “Occupied” by any disguised Empire will either overtly or without thinking start to collaborate with the Empire in the background—- just as the French Vichy regime did for the Nazi Empire.

“Vichy” France and empire-controlled America are more similar than most Americans either know, or dare to say.

I have long posted about this corporate/financial/militarist (and media) Empire which has captured and now fully “Occupies” our former country by hiding behind the facade of its modernized two-party “Vichy” sham of faux-democratic and totally illegitimate government—just as surely as the Nazi Empire tried to hide behind the facade of its earlier single-party “Vichy” regime in captured and “Occupied” France during WWII.

This DGE (Disguised Global Empire) which has captured and Occupied  our former country is the seminal hidden cancerous tumor that is the proximate CAUSE all of the ‘symptom problems’ which the current Occupy movement is against, and will be the singular focus of the “Occupy Empire” movement as it increases its accuracy on the real target of Empire itself.

I challenge everyone in the Occupy movement to read the fabulously revealing book by Timothy Parsons, of Washington University in St. Louis, “The Rule of Empires: Those Who Built Them, Those Who Endured Them, and Why They Always Fall”.

While this book is on the leading-edge of analysis on the nature of Empires, Parson’s Chapter 7 specifically on the Nazi Empire’s semi-disguised occupation of “Vichy” France is “to die for’ in its comparison with the DGE that is currently occupying our former country (and others post-nation-state advanced former countries like; the UK, Germany, France, Israel, et al).

Parsons also tellingly critiques how the Nazi Empire in “Vichy” France allowed the French left and right movements to continue their powerless snipping at each other during it’s occupation, and how the controlling Nazi Empire hiding behind the Vichy facade smoothly and effectively manipulated all French people (left and right) to defuse any real threat to the empire itself.

Parsons’ description of how the Nazi Empire, though its use of the Vichy phony regime and its co-opted French police, allowed the movements to fight uselessly about various social and domestic ‘issues’, but insured that neither youth, intellectual, working-class, nor labor protests addressed the real underlying causal infection of the disguised Nazi Empire itself.

I would challenge and implore any and all members of the current Occupy movement to read Parsons’ ‘Chapter 7’, and not be shocked at the similarities to how the undiagnosed Empire hiding behind the facade of America is using up-dated versions of the exact same imperial control techniques and manipulation of domestic political protest that the Nazi Empire so effectively employed in occupied France more than a half century ago, now in America to blunt and distract any protest from actually gaining wide popular solidarity and being any danger to the disguised Empire itself.

This analogy of an obvious and proven history lesson of disguised imperial control, manipulation, and prevention of the Nazi Empire’s captured French ‘subjects’ to avoid any focus on a guileful empire itself, should be an understandable narrative and “teaching moment’ for the expanding audience of Occupy strategists who need to understand and then promulgate an educational, media, and confrontational strategy against the DGE Empire pathology that has attacked and will continue to oppress our former country, other countries, our human economies, our freedoms, and the environmental and social sustainability of our fragile world.

Liberty, democracy, justice, & equality
Over
Violent/Vichy
Empire,

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

Occupy Empire sign:
“The faces of Empire”
Obama = Petain
Romney = Hitler

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By Concerned Canuck, April 2, 2012 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Reply to Ed Romano: I took a bath back in 2008 as I watched my retirement savings go
“poof”!  Seriously, your analogy is quite correct and though probably shouldn’t be
discussed in the open, I’m quite sure that somewhere out in Cyberia, we both have sticky-
notes beside our names,so what the hell. Your talking about what War Studies geeks like
me call asymmetric warfare.  AW involves the use of the opponet’s strengths against
himself. Think VC and more recently the Afghan’s use of ultra low-tech persistent
defencive tactics and propoganda to undermine the West’s will to continue the Afghan
campaign.  It’s not rocket science, and the same principles can be cheerfully applied to
any David v. Goliath scenario.  “The Man” might come after your mosquito with a shotgun,
but if you tie his shoelaces together, it screwes up his aim! All you radical kids, come
listen to your elders!

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By Concerned Canuck, April 2, 2012 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Reply to Ed Romano: I took a bath back in 2008 as I watched my retirement savings go
“poof”!  Seriously, your analogy is quite correct and though probably shouldn’t be
discussed in the open, I’m quite sure that somewhere out in Cyberia, we both have sticky-
notes beside our names,so what the hell. Your talking about what War Studies geeks like
me call asymmetric warfare.  AW involves the use of the opponet’s strengths against
himself. Think VC and more recently the Afghan’s use of ultra low-tech persistent
defencive tactics and propoganda to undermine the West’s will to continue the Afghan
campaign.  It’s not rocket science, and the same principles can be cheerfully applied to
any David v. Goliath scenario.  “The Man” might come after your mosquito with a shotgun,
but if you tie his shoelaces together, it screwes up his aim! All you radical kids, come
listen to your elders!

Report this
Concerned Canuck's avatar

By Concerned Canuck, April 2, 2012 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Reply to Ed Romano: I took a bath back in 2008 as I watched my retirement savings go
“poof”!  Seriously, your analogy is quite correct and though probably shouldn’t be
discussed in the open, I’m quite sure that somewhere out in Cyberia, we both have sticky-
notes beside our names,so what the hell. Your talking about what War Studies geeks like
me call asymmetric warfare.  AW involves the use of the opponet’s strengths against
himself. Think VC and more recently the Afghan’s use of ultra low-tech persistent
defencive tactics and propoganda to undermine the West’s will to continue the Afghan
campaign.  It’s not rocket science, and the same principles can be cheerfully applied to
any David v. Goliath scenario.  “The Man” might come after your mosquito with a shotgun,
but if you tie his shoelaces together, it screwes up his aim! All you radical kids, come
listen to your elders!

Report this
Concerned Canuck's avatar

By Concerned Canuck, April 2, 2012 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Reply to Ed Romano: I took a bath back in 2008 as I watched my retirement savings go
“poof”!  Seriously, your analogy is quite correct and though probably shouldn’t be
discussed in the open, I’m quite sure that somewhere out in Cyberia, we both have sticky-
notes beside our names,so what the hell. Your talking about what War Studies geeks like
me call asymmetric warfare.  AW involves the use of the opponet’s strengths against
himself. Think VC and more recently the Afghan’s use of ultra low-tech persistent
defencive tactics and propoganda to undermine the West’s will to continue the Afghan
campaign.  It’s not rocket science, and the same principles can be cheerfully applied to
any David v. Goliath scenario.  “The Man” might come after your mosquito with a shotgun,
but if you tie his shoelaces together, it screwes up his aim! All you radical kids, come
listen to your elders!

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Lee Oates's avatar

By Lee Oates, April 2, 2012 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

For the last couple of years I have been repeating the simple warning that the US is drifting quickly into Facism at almost every level of government. Chris has pointed out very clearly “how” this is occurring.  The US is becoming a Terrorist State and its main victims are its own citizens.  Freedom of speech is becoming a myth.

I strongly disagree with our war in Afganistan and believe we are little better than the Russians in our invasion and violence there.  If America feels that an American citizen is no longer free to disagree, then as far as I am concerned, the security agencies (all 16 of them)can go straight to hell.  I would rather die in prison a free man than live under the shadow of a police state.

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tolstoy's avatar

By tolstoy, April 2, 2012 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

Judge Forrest “repeatedly asked for assurance that the plaintiffs would not be subject to detention under the NDAA.” This assurance, the government lawyers “refused to give.”

Orwell’s text: Ignorance is Strength. Keep ‘em ignorant, confused, frightened, conformist, quiet, obedient.

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By jujujoint, April 2, 2012 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

where do i sign up on the lawsuit? i guess, if it is criminal, we can’t do a class action? but seriously, i want to sign up in support of removing that act. is there somewhere to do that?

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By balkas, April 2, 2012 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

sorry about the trippling of one post. i only pressed “submit” once. but after some
delay the post appeared in triplicate.

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By balkas, April 2, 2012 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

pardon me if i appear tsaristic, but i gotta say this anyway: let’s not blame solely zimmerman or even all other headhunters for
‘suspicious’ faces—instead, let us blame the system which not only allows hunters to hunt people, but actually demands it.
of course, just like wars, abuse of women, exploitation, robbing by banks, etc., so is head hunting always done in name of s’mthing;
most of the time, in name of the greatest country in the world, land of the free and the brave, god bless america, rule of US by
glitterati; oops, very ‘loving/caring’ people on behalf of very ‘unruly and unthankful rabble’, etc.

caveat about words appearing in single quotes. such a label means: watch it, danger word! and also that the label is
nonelementaltistic; ie, that the entity so labeled does not exist apart from reality or ALL OF IT!
to be, is to be related, said an observer!
true, we may not ever KNOW ALL WE NEED TO KNOW; nor do we have to; however, sufficient onto the day is rigor thereof!

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By balkas, April 2, 2012 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

pardon me if i appear tsaristic, but i gotta say this anyway: let’s not blame solely zimmerman or even all other headhunters for
‘suspicious’ faces—instead, let us blame the system which not only allows hunters to hunt people, but actually demands it.
of course, just like wars, abuse of women, exploitation, robbing by banks, etc., so is head hunting always done in name of s’mthing;
most of the time, in name of the greatest country in the world, land of the free and the brave, god bless america, rule of US by
glitterati; oops, very ‘loving/caring’ people on behalf of very ‘unruly and unthankful rabble’, etc.

caveat about words appearing in single quotes. such a label means: watch it, danger word! and also that the label is
nonelementaltistic; ie, that the entity so labeled does not exist apart from reality or ALL OF IT!
to be, is to be related, said an observer!
true, we may not ever KNOW ALL WE NEED TO KNOW; nor do we have to; however, sufficient onto the day is rigor thereof!

Report this

By balkas, April 2, 2012 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

pardon me if i appear tsaristic, but i gotta say this anyway: let’s not blame solely zimmerman or even all other headhunters for
‘suspicious’ faces—instead, let us blame the system which not only allows hunters to hunt people, but actually demands it.
of course, just like wars, abuse of women, exploitation, robbing by banks, etc., so is head hunting always done in name of s’mthing;
most of the time, in name of the greatest country in the world, land of the free and the brave, god bless america, rule of US by
glitterati; oops, very ‘loving/caring’ people on behalf of very ‘unruly and unthankful rabble’, etc.

caveat about words appearing in single quotes. such a label means: watch it, danger word! and also that the label is
nonelementaltistic; ie, that the entity so labeled does not exist apart from reality or ALL OF IT!
to be, is to be related, said an observer!
true, we may not ever KNOW ALL WE NEED TO KNOW; nor do we have to; however, sufficient onto the day is rigor thereof!

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By balkas, April 2, 2012 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

it does seem that the TWENTY PERCENT, which always ruled the EIGHTY PERCENT, is more
frightened now than ever.
but not because it fears, i surmise, lack of security of US or some perils befalling US citizens from
any ‘alien’ person[s] or people]s], but because of coming perils to its privileged status, wealth,
econo-military-politico-educational powers, arising at home from the 80%.
[note, please, that i hyphenate economy, politics, military, education; because these are
inseparable aspects of ONE REALITY]
and why? well, because THE ONE PERCENT or even 00001% became overly hottie, snobbish,
snubbish, avaricious, disdainful, arrogant, thieving, since bush came to power in ‘01.
or he actually only thought he to came to power [just like obama?!] or does anybody know what
the hell he really thought/knew, if anything?
===
for the first time in US history, the iron rule by the ONE PERCENT [or 20%, if that is more
educational/factual], is being seriously challenged. and THE ONE PERCENT is much concerned by
or in fear of the rebellion.
====
and now there is china, india et al which are also challenging the ONE PERCENT’S right to rule not
only US ‘lower’ classes but other nations. thanks, bozhidar b.

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By Jim Yell, April 2, 2012 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some of the fault for our ignorance of history is sadly coming from the right wing which has been the cause of the sloppy history that is taught in American schools. Yes the forefathers were frequently hypocrits and did not intend to fully implement the theories of responsible government that became the foundations of our laws. We have always had a fractured political ethic, but the current move to create a police state, where no one has privacy, where no one can have private thoughts—all very Orwellian.

The best Emperors of Rome burnt the spy reports and reigned in what today would be called the intellegence community. Those with vested interest in creating false terror and threats in order to control and to increase their own privildge and weatlh.

It is no wonder that this process increased rapidly in the Presidency of a man whose grandparents where in sympathy with Hitler prior to WWII, but it is apalling that the first Black President has fallen right in line with those who would steal our rights and protections away from us. Our government is disfunctional.

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By Jerry Sheckels, April 2, 2012 at 7:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris I think perhaps you have misled the readers of your Article concerning the 2012 NDAA.
President Obama did in fact sign a continuance of the original act of the 2001 NDAA signed into law by George W. Bush in 2001. The act has been upgraded a number of times since its original introduction in 2001.
President Obama’s up grade did not change any of the assumptions or parts you have so described as Evil.  (no better way to desribe) Some of the evil parts of the law he signed into law last December 31, include ecomomic sanctions against Iran, commission reviews of the military capabilities of countries such as Iran, China, Russia. I guess these are seen to be extreme and radical. He did not create “The deliberate obtuseness of the NDAA’s langague, which defines “covered persons” .... Your orevious republican president is guilty of that feat. I guess you are one of those that harbor the though t that the majority of the American people are not aware why George W. Bush found it necessary to enact such a law. It was designed to give the government freedom to spy on the American people without having to abide with the Constitution of these United States.
I ask you why you did not include George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the framers of this ACT in your accusations against the present Presidentr?
After reading the NDAA of 2102 I personally discovered Obama has added a few provisions tot he original act of 2001, but is not guilty of the dangerous points you so clearly want the readers to believe he is guilty of.
I think you owe the readers of your misleading article an explanation of why youhave misled the peopel of who the real guilty parties were when the NDAA was originally inacted and has remained in force and substance except for the minor additions made by the Obama administration.
I’m sorry but when the Bush administration instituted the NDAA it is easily seen their intent was to make all Americans suspect by expanding the Homeland security apparatus to their advanage in order to simply spy on any American they want to find dirt on. Simply pat back time for the Richard Nixon flub of the century seen as illegal.
Obama has not changed that part of the original 2001 inactmernt of the NDAA law, political leaders still have the use of that illegal search and seizure process with out a warrant. The point is he did not create it as you (Chris Hedges) want your readers to believe.
Your complete article treads on slippery corrupt reporting. Your skillful use of the written word has been used to mislead the average reader. That is not reoprting of news, that is spreading hate, mis-trust and crap that are well known in news reporting that supports the GOP. Why do the GOP supporters have to use such deceptive measures to gain recognition? Why not report the real truth and facts?

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By Citizen Jimserac, April 2, 2012 at 7:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is more to the negative consequences of the Kafkaesque Keystone cops U.S. “intelligence” gathering amateurs than just the subversion of individual protected rights and the quiet alteration of the very nature and character of the U.S. mentioned by Hedges’ excellent and dire warnings.

As we now know, bickering between FBI, CIA and other agencies and individuals materially degraded safeguards and protections which might have stopped 9-11 dead it its tracks. Literally.  But didn’t. 

While the amateurs are busy deluding themselves with elaborate networks and computers spying on every American citizen, the overwhelming majority of which have nothing to do with terrorism, the REAL terrorists are given massive OPPORTUNITIES to do REAL TERRORISM - bombings and other dangerous acts, because of it.

Did not a knowledge of the very predictable organizational structure of the Nazi occupation forces actually facilitate the attacks of the French resistance? 

The key to the demise of the American $ecurity state apparatus is that they do not realize how close they are, despite all the warnings, dire threats and vague laws supported by constant media fear mongering, to the boy who cried “WOLF” !! one time too many and the consequent denunciations by clever young politicians who will exploit that the public is fed up with fiscal crises caused by nonsense such as this.  A terrorist is NOT under every bed and the American citizens, in the coming reaction, will not only shut down the profit making intelligence $cams but in all likelihood PROSECUTE those guilty who WILL be held responsible.  LET THAT BE A WARNING THAT THEY CAN COUNT ON.  Call it the NURENBURG warning, if you will.

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 2, 2012 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

The Terror war was the pretext for the one per centers, to install a totalitarian
regime in Chimerica.

Each, moment of fear, complete with multi colored terror warnings, was used to
create a regime, to protect the one per centers from their greatest fear, the
American people with their rights intact.

While they spread paranoia, and fear, they allowed the borders to remain a sieve.
While they talked about austerity, they stole trillions, and bought immunity.

While the talked about exporting Democracy to the world, they practiced murder,
and genocide, using a generation of desperate men and women as cannon fodder.

Just, as the European Aristocracy used to picnic on the battlefield, while armies
slaughtered themselves, they have engaged in unparalleled gluttony, while
reducing American soldiers to amputee’s and quadriplegics, poisoning their
families with depleted Uranium.

But if you bring these things up, you risk being labeled as a terrorist yourself. For
they view the truth as terror.

Who are these crippled monsters? We know them well in this country, they are the
corporate state, and the corporate political duopoly that licks their behind.

The truth is the only mirror in which they can view themselves, this is why they
must hide behind a cloud of lies.

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By bpawk, April 2, 2012 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

I can’t see much difference between Obama and Romney - with each passing day, Obama gets more right wing - and you say this is your left wing president! Obama and Romney should just rule together - Obama has moved to the right - Romney governed as a conservative - there’s not much difference here. Dumb and dumber.

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By jerry Lagadec, April 2, 2012 at 7:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I use to teach my students a simple poem that I penned” “RIDICULE IS THE TOOL OF THOSE WHO RULE”.Not exactly high verse…but easy to remember- which was my purpose. I’m sure that if you attempted to tell a good German citizen in 1935 that his country would gas millions of people in concentration camps, harvest their teeth, and use their skins for lampshades- which all occurred- you would have been met by ridicule whose essential purpose is to not just silence the exterior voices of dissent but more importantly, the interior voice that we are taught to ridicule ourselves: ” Of , come on Jerry…you really are over the top on this one; after all, this is Germa…America and things like that would never happen here.” Well, never have I wanted to be so wrong and suffer that justifiable ridicule, but I’m incapable of silencing that voice inside that says; “Be afraid…be very afraid”. I’m 69 years old, a veteran and have dual citizenship: French and American. My father was murdered by the gestapo two months after I was born..in a hospital where he was recovering from an operation.My uncle fought with the french underground. I know creeping fascism when I see it- I don’t need a frog- and so does Chris Hedges. I’m not laughing at him. If you are…well you’re a bit too overly confident in this so called democracy where we are watching the last shreds of it be fed to the hogs.Orwell was right if not modest in his assessment of the porcine talent for aggression and brutality.

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By Ed Romano, April 2, 2012 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

Grady, Enjoyed your piece counseling Hedges to be more careful about frightening the consumers, but if they are frightened by the thought of an encounter with the thought police now, they wouldn’t be much use when it comes time to erect the barricades anyway. I was what they call an Activist in my younger incarnation. Too old and achy now. Besides, I got used to taking a bath every day. But one of the lessons I learned in the great long ago was that you can always expect the authorities to go after a mosquito with a shot gun. This tendency can actually benefit the rebels because it can be used to garner scads of publicity….. Any of you kiddies who are thinking of taking on Goliath can ask me about some of the tricks that are fun to employ.

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By Arianna, April 2, 2012 at 6:45 am Link to this comment

We have surely gone more than half way down the slippery slope of tyranny.  The banks that control our elected officials have brilliantly crafted our slow demise, and the majority of us blindly continue to watch March Madness or American Idol.  We are at the abyss from which there is no turning back, unless
we all wake up and smell the foul stench that has blanketed our land.  It is not even the military that we have to fear.  The Department of Homeland Security
has ordered 450 million rounds of .40 caliber ammunition and an additional 175 million rounds of 5.56 caliber rifle ammunition.  They have also placed such a large order of MREs, that Mountain House Foods has stopped shipping orders to the general public.  It would indicate to me that something big is about to happen, and I can only hope that most of us that are aware, are locked and loaded.  The back side of this scary scenario is that Americans seem to be armed to the teeth as well. Gun sales have been off the chart. I hope it never comes down to a situation like that.  As far as NDAA, maybe I shouldn’t even be posting this stuff, let alone be reading Truthdig…....NOT!!  Alternative media like this is the only weapon we have against the WMDs(weapons of mass distraction) the establishment presstitutes are using against us.  Good luck Chris Hedges et al.

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By GradyLeeHoward, April 2, 2012 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

Just flew in from Europe. People in Berne,
Switzerland are worried about the USA getting more
dangerous. I turned 57 yesterday on the plane. I
was re-reading “Democracy Incorporated.”

Chris’s column this week is as likely to frighten
away dissenters as attract resistors. Combined with
the intensifying surveillance information coming
out this is the stuff deep fear and social anxiety
are made of. It’s like watching a dystopian movie
that never stops. If I were a functionary within
the National Security State I’d welcome and feel
good about giving people more scary truth than they
can handle.

We examined our house carefully upon arrival, even
parking at the curb rather than operating the
garage door. Some Zimmerman-like xenophobe who
fears short elders could be lurking with his Glock
to guard skidoos and costume jewelry from bad
elements.There had been a power disruption and all
the digitals were flashing. Strangely, the
microwave panel read “End.” as if some heatwrap or
spagetti dinner were still hiding to accost us. But
the voicemail and email were full of good wishes
and friendly updates, invitations.

What I’m worried about is that informed, involved,
empathetic people might start hiding from their own
shadows. I’m prepared for a sudden unexpected
confrontation or arrest. It worries me, especially
at bedtime.                         
                                             
But I never think about torture or interrogation
when the Sun beats the alarm to wake me, as
happened this morning. There’s what I must do
today, and what I wish to do today, and how I will
get by until the Harrisburg Women’s Rights Rally
April 28th. Got to get more memory cards for the
camera so we can sort the files manually, or hide
them if necessary. Who has the best price on a
stack of DVR- disks? The summer clothes in the
attic need to come down and the winter rags go up.

But I want to be near some like-minded people
today. I want them to laugh with me about the NDAA,
and the keystone cops, and the film I’m watching
(Fairy) about Fiona and all her scooter chases, and
foot chases, and car chases(Reminds me of Mr.
Hulo.) to save her baby Jimmy.And I’m chasing to
save our human rights-civil rights-labor rights
before they go off the cliff.

That cliff is called totalitarian fascism, and
Chris hedges is the catcher in the rye. You’re
frightening sometimes, Chris. Don’t chase the
cowards over the precipice.

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Concerned Canuck's avatar

By Concerned Canuck, April 2, 2012 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

Back in the 1990’s as an RCN officer, I had the honour of assisting then-LGen Dallaire
with the UNAMIR files from the Rwandian genocide. An indelible lesson I’ve carried ever
since, is that the veneer of civilization is very thin. Any nation, no matter how wonderful
the constitution, how gentle and peacefully the people, how seemingly strong the pillars of
its democracy, is vulnerable to the rot from inside. We might turn our eyes away and
pretend not to notice the sight or smell because the national edifice is so beautiful, but it
can happen anywhere. America, please don’t rest on your laurels. Your society is in grave
danger.

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thecrow's avatar

By thecrow, April 2, 2012 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Is this why you have been self-censoring about 9/11, Mr. Hedges?

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/then-they-came-for-me/

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By surfnow, April 2, 2012 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

With all of the endless stream of documentaries, workshops and museum exhibits devoted to the Holocaust, one of the most important lessons about that epic horror is rarely mentioned. And that is that the German people were people like anyone else- what happened there can and will happen again. Amerika The Homeland is the Germany of 1935, and far too few are recognizing it.

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By Rixar13, April 2, 2012 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

“In early September, U.S. Day of Rage, which supported the Sept. 17 call to occupy Wall Street, received Twitter messages that falsely accused it of being affiliated with terrorist groups.”

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sallysense's avatar

By sallysense, April 2, 2012 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

(shared this elsewhere… would like to share it here too)...

Our Constitutional rights belong to We-the-People of the United States. 

A high regard for our Constitution and citizenry will not allow those rights to be infringed upon. 

It takes a lesser regard for our Constitution and citizenry to infringe on those rights. 

And that disregard for our Constitution and We-the-People is happening through Section 1021 of NDAA 2012, which was approved by those elected to represent us.

Our Constitution and citizenry deserve full regard, not disregard.

We need Section 1021 of NDAA 2012 to be repealed.

H.R. 3785 was introduced (by Rep. Ron Paul) to repeal Section 1021 of NDAA 2012.

Here’s a link to contact your Congress representatives to support H.R. 3785.

http://www.petition2congress.com/5958/co-sponsor-hr-3785/

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By Fred Drumlevitch, April 2, 2012 at 4:10 am Link to this comment

A fine column, Mr. Hedges.

Unfortunately, those who most need its wisdom and its warnings fall into one of two groups: 1) a broad swath of the populace that, in its exaggerated fear, simply wants government to “keep us safe”, and is unlikely to read (and even less likely to heed) what you’ve written, and 2) those who serve as the apparatchiks of the security state, and who will file your column as one more piece of “evidence” in the dossier they are undoubtedly keeping on you.

This nation was once populated by individuals who braved countless hardships in order to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their descendents. Now it is filled with a people mostly all-too-eager to surrender their freedom, and a governmental-corporate-industrial-security complex intent on taking freedom away.

As I pointed out in a lengthy post on my own blog last September 10,
http://www.freddrumlevitch.blogspot.com/2011/09/national-security-and-american-people.html
we’ve begged our government to protect us from terrorism risks that are not only quite small by absolute metrics but also completely dwarfed by other dangers. Consider: In the ten years since 9/11, approximately 380,000 Americans have died in motor vehicle accidents, more than 125 times as many as were killed by those airline terrorists. During the past ten years, heart disease has claimed over 6 million American lives, more than 2,000 times as many as were lost on 9/11. Establishing a multitude of so-called “security” measures during the past ten years, both Republican and Democratic politicians together with enabling judges and the security-industrial complex have been all too eager to shred more than 200 years of Constitutional safeguards. Seeking absolute safety from terrorism, we are building an infrastructure for tyranny. And make no mistake, tyranny is by far the greater danger, clearly demonstrated by history. The three major totalitarian states of the 20th century are estimated to be collectively responsible for over 100 million deaths, many of them their own citizens. (See Matthew White’s detailed compilation of casualties at http://necrometrics.com/20c5m.htm for a sobering perspective on risk).

Keep up the good fight, Mr. Hedges. Perhaps the day will come when rationality and decency — rather than paranoia, demagoguery, militarism, corporatism, and abuse of power — can determine the course for this nation.

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By Bill Desmond, April 2, 2012 at 3:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Imagine a boot stamping on a human face.  Forever.”
-Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell), “1984”

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