Obama’s Stasi : growing up big and strong in Amerika


Peter van Buren, persecuted by the US State Department for blowing the whistle on mis- and malfeasance in Iraq

Left behind : What we lost in Iraq and Washington, 2009-2012

As our government accumulates ever more of what it thinks the American people have no right to know about, there will only be increasing persecutions as prosecutions. Many of the illegal things President Richard Nixon did to the famous Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg are now both legal (under the PATRIOT Act) and far easier to accomplish with new technologies. There is no need, for instance, to break into my psychiatrist’s office looking for dirt, as happened to Ellsberg; after all, the National Security Agency can break into my doctor’s electronic records as easily as you can read this page.

With its aggressive and sadly careless use of the draconian Espionage Act to imprison whistleblowers, the Obama administration has, in many cases, moved beyond harassment and intimidation into actually wielding the beautiful tools of justice in a perverse way to silence dissent. More benign in practice, in theory this is little different from the Soviets executing dissidents as spies after show trials or the Chinese using their courts to legally confine thinkers they disapprove of in mental institutions. They are all just following regulations. Turn the volume up from six to 10 and you’ve jumped from vengeance to totalitarianism. We’re becoming East Germany.

There has been a personal price to pay for my free speech. In my old office, after my book was published in September 2011, some snarky coworkers set up a pool to guess when I would be fired — before or after that November. I put $20 down on the long end. After all, if I couldn’t be optimistic about keeping my job, who could?

One day in October, security hustled me out of that office, and though I wasn’t fired by that November and so won the bet, I was never able to collect. Most of those in the betting pool now shun me, fearful for their own fragile careers at State.

I’ve ended up talking, usually at night, with a few of the soldiers I worked with in Iraq. Some are at the end of a long Skype connection in Afghanistan; others have left the military or are stationed stateside. Most of them share my anger and bitterness, generally feeling used and unwanted now that they need a job rather than rote praise and the promise of a parade.

About jfl

A 66 year-old American male living in Chiangrai, Thailand
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2 Responses to Obama’s Stasi : growing up big and strong in Amerika

  1. charlie says:

    Just a thought on this.
    Maybe the reason for all the new “security” laws being passed and those that are made up by the executive branch are because they DO just use the troops until they are no longer fit for duty, then toss them aside on the trash heap. This is basically what was done to the Vietnam veterans, though we did get some educational benefits and the economy was not as bad in the early 1970′s as it is today.
    The powers that be may realize that all the discarded troops might get very pissed off at the abuse they have had to deal with and the gross lack of decent medical/psychiatric care after they are no longer fit for duty or discharged after their enlistment is over. They do know tactics and are combat hardened. Who knows if they might revolt or stage some sort of rebellion? If they did organize and confront the local police, guess who wins that one? Hint, not the cops.
    The government needs to keep a lid on this possibility. That may be the reason why they keep pushing various assaults on free speech and the internet such as the idiot “SOPA” and others. It may also be part of why they have cracked down on the Occupy movement. Divide and conquer. Just a thought. I may be way off base, or, maybe not.

    • jfl says:

      I think you’re right on target, Charlie. The message is “resistance is futile”. Of course it’s not futile at all… it’s all in our minds. They remain in power because we allow them to, because they have got us to control ourselves.

      We don’t need to go out of control we need simply to take control.

      It’s a very satisfying movie, playing in my head… the good guys, abused, rising up and turning the weapons given them by the 1% to kill the 99% worldwide around, and watching the surprised 1% spit out their cigars and spill their champagne as they taste hot lead.

      But that’s not what would happen, as I’m sure you’re more aware than I am Charlie. Hedges has a brief reporter’s-eye view of Sarajevo that is undoubtedly much closer to reality than anything I can imagine.

      But the power is with the people and especially with the troops. The Vets march in support of Occupy, and the Marine Seargent at Times Square were met with silence by the boys in blue. The campaign in support of Bradley Manning is much more stalwart, much better organized than any other … and it’s presumably run by military and ex-military friends of Bradley Manning.

      The troops led the movement that finally ended the Vietnam war and they will lead the movement that ends this string of Bush/Obama aggressions, and with them all the accoutrement… the Espionage Act, the PATRIOT Act, the NDAA, the National Defense Resourses Preparedness Executive Order… all that traitorous, unAmerican crap.

      The people at large need leadership and the people who have served in the military, had and have their skin in the game, are in position to provide it.

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