Attacking Dissent

Paul Craig Roberts announces that the US is a police state. Mr. Roberts points out that the recent raids on anti-war activists portend future prosecutions for anyone who opposes the empire. Mr. Roberts stance is well justified.

Picking out communists, and other politically unpopular targets, is standard operating procedure. If you can establish that the politically unpopular may be attacked, then attacking other dissidents becomes much easier.

The federal material support for terrorist laws are vague and flexible enough to serve as a vehicle for all sorts of mischief. The law criminalizes speech furthering lawful activities. If you can criminalize speech furthering lawful activities, why even bother to pretend that you have a First Amendment?

One of the pernicious aspects of the current raids is that the government has seized records from a large number of people. Anything the FBI found, whether it pertains to a material support charge, or any other federal law, can be used as a basis for bringing charges.

Given the number of laws at the disposal of prosecutors, virtually anyone can be convicted at any time. There are an enormous number of vague and elastic federal laws armed with draconian punishments. Hence, federal prosecutors can almost invariably get a defendant to plea bargain rather than fight. The principle was eloquently expounded by Jay Leno in the documentary A/k/a Tommy Chong.

In the past, wars have been the locus for repression. Lincoln jailed political opponents during the Civil War, as did Wilson during the first World War. Other examples abound. In the past, the repression has ceased with the war. Now, the wars are expected to last forever no matter who is in power. The question now is whether the storm will ever abate, or will arbitrary power be granted to the government endlessly.

As Orwell said, “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”

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Posted September 26, 2010 by Brian Cantin in Uncategorized

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