Those in power have always confused criticism of the government with threats to national security. This government has been no different. A flurry of blog activity, at Tiny Revolution, Digby, and editorial activity by Glenn Greenwald at Salon, has noted that the National Intelligence Estimate, which has become a national issue after suggesting the terrorist threat has increased, contains a less noticed passage about who counts as potential terrorist suspects. The now notorious passage says:And in case you missed it, I posted "Just (Too) Chillin'" the other day, quoting William Rivers Pitt's recent piece.
"Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age."
The Senate just passed a bill today that permitted treating certain American citizens as enemy combatants, nearly eradicated the civil rights of enemy combatants, and also expanded the category of persons who can be classified as enemy combatants. Put the two together, and one can see why various people on the left are feeling anxious. Indeed, Digby couldn't resist quoting Pastor Martin Niemoller's famous poem about the Nazis, and their progressive eradication of different levels of German society, each indifferent to the other's fate.
Is Bush's SS waiting in the wings to swoop down on the wide swaths of the left? In fact, while there have indeed been some authoritarian extensions of police powers against left-wing groups in the past years, including surveillance of marches, use of brutal tactics against protestors, and greater limitations of free speech, what is noticeable is the relative *lack* of such repressive measures against the 'left' broadly conceived. During World War I, the government shut down thousands of left-wing presses, swept up hundreds of left-wing leaders, and made public criticism of the war illegal, producing some of the most famous first amendment cases in our history. We know how devastating the McCarthy Era was, not just at the national level, but at the state and local level, as thousands of left-wingers and non-conformists were purged from public and private employment, media censored, political association directly criminalized, and domestic spying extensive. Compared to these episodes, what's striking is how non-threatening recent developments are . . .
The AWOT folks make some interesting and hysteria-calming points. Sooooo . . . giving it some more, maybe not quite so serious, thought:
- how hard would it be to round us pinko commie faggots up? Hard to tell. When I first started blogging about five years ago, there weren't a whole bunch of us left-bloggers around. But we now number in the thousands. I've got a fairly healthy link list, but I look at blogrolls on other lefty blogs and see hundreds of sites and blogs I've never heard of. It would probably take the entire FBI quite a few man-years to find us
- what would they do with us? Concentration camp(s)? Well that might be a good idea - can you imagine if they put all us raving, wacko, egotistic individualists together in a confined space? We'd beat the shit out of each other (or talk each other to death) in about two weeks. Either way . . . a bloodbath
- how would they prioritize? I mean, do you bust Huffington, Pitt, Ivins, Billmon, Cindy Sheehan, Digby, Atrios, etc. etc. first? Do you include Si Hersch and Bill Moyers in the first sweep? Not likely.
Do they also round up disenfranchised true conservatives who've begun to speak out? Maybe they could grab Arlen Spectre, Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich. Please.
What, then, about the folks living in the sub- sub-basement, like me? The biggest danger I pose, I think, is my potential for getting drunk again and puking on the data servers at Ft. Meade (if I could even find Maryland in a blackout). 'Course, if they snag me, my current living situation might improve. At least I wouldn't be homeless, and booze and dope would be harder to find
- these are just items about bloggers. What about all the members of all the organizations like A.N.S.W.E.R, WILPF, Veterans Against the Iraq War, Veterans for Peace, AFSC, Not in Our Name, and so forth?
All in all, I still think the greater likelihood is that martial law will be declared after another false-flag, domestic "terrorist incident". Unfortunately, I still think the potential for just that is dangerously high, depending on congressional balance after November. Keep your head down, Bubba.
As an afterthought . . . I've been looking for a site like this for awhile now: Shelter from the Storm is a very well-done, well-organized, and ultimately use ful site to help us get the hell out. The goodest stuff is here. So if you're scareder than I is, take a look. 'Cuz it ain't gunna git better fer a long damn time.
Before you leave, please visit the P! Amazon Store and vote in the lastest P!oll