The National Security Blight

by NORMAN POLLACK

A blight impairs or destroys something, here, the National-Security State, which Obama, his Administration, and personifying these trends of lawlessness and government violative of the US Constitution, the Department of Justice under Eric Holder, not merely impairs but is actively destroying the democratic civil-liberties guarantees of a free society.  The Justice Department a vehicle of injustice reminds one of A. Mitchell Palmer and the Red Raids under Wilson, only now, under Obama, subversion (aka, terrorism) is defined in wider terms, as sedition, a crime against the State, whenever its own crimes are revealed by whistleblowers and made public.  E.g., Bradley Manning is a terrorist by the Obama-Holder reckoning (and AG Holder cannot use the lame excuse of recusal when he actively has prosecuted Espionage Act cases, specifically against whistleblowers), because he made possible the divulgence, so that the public may know, of government practices, enshrouded in heavy layers of secrecy, that cannot stand the light of day—nor pass any meaningful democratic “smell” test.

Obama-Holder, Siamese twins when it comes to the deprivation of civil liberties (how many Court filings has DOJ entered to deny habeas corpus rights to detainees?!), like Obama-Brennan, Siamese twins when it comes to targeted assassination, as part of the planned continuity of the armed drone program as the prerequisite for binding future administrations to the acceptance of the doctrine of permanent war, to which Holder-DOJ contempt for civil liberties perfectly fits, points the way to station two or three on the slippery slope toward fascism in America.  Holder’s appearance before House Judiciary yesterday (May 15) is a disgrace, as much for what he was allowed to get away with, as for what he said.  And what he said bears scrutiny: “There should be a shield law with regard to the press’s ability to gather information and to disseminate it.  The focus should be on those people who break their oath and put the American people at risk, not reporters who gather this information.” (Italics, mine)

With friends of a free press like that, what’s any longer to worry?  Plenty.  First, his gobbledygook in fact focuses on the whistleblower, here rendered an enemy of the State, AND made into a positive menace, the domestic terrorist in our midst whom we must resolutely squelch (think Bradley Manning, yet also a message of stern warning to all others of harsh treatment from the Government, at the least, solitary confinement and sleep deprivation while awaiting trial—somewhat beyond A. Mitchell Palmer’s Boys), all for what?  For speaking truth to power—a power getting increasingly out of hand, and to which most liberals and progressives appear to have submitted to, and then praised because somehow less horrendous than what the other major party has on offer.  And second, finally, Holder’s statement is at one with the phony retreat of the Administration, indeed, serves to introduce it, following the news of spying on the Associated Press.  Specifically, Obama has called on Sen. Schumer to re-introduce his bill on the so-called protection of the press, so-called because this is a shabby attempt for the Administration to have its cake and eat it.  Protection—to a point, on civil cases, less so, criminal cases, NONE WHATEVER on national-security cases.  It is fitting Schumer should introduce this sham, for it illustrates the integrated nature of national-security: a leading protector of Wall Street is also an enabler par excellence of American militarism.

Even the criticisms made of Obama, superficial in the extreme, today’s New York Times piece by Peter Baker on how POTUS has temporarily lost his way and is chagrined by the obstacles thrown in the way of his noble plans (what plans? how noble?) as a case in point, fail to touch on the broad area of civil liberties.  Yet the Constitution is fast going down the tubes as we, the nation, sit on our collective hands and cheer on the warmaking machine.

Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

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