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Is It Time to Move to Canada?
(Anis Shivani, Counterpunch, January 18, 2003)
The government has been conducting an unprecedented campaign of psychological warfare against Americans. . . . The more we lose our formal, procedural freedoms at home, the more obsessively the dissenting media latch on to Palestine and Iraq. The world's worst propaganda sheet's [The Nation] former other stylist, in a prolonged fit of fanciful insanity, wants to bring democracy to Iraq, while being completely blind to the totalitarian transformation occurring right here under his contrarian nose. The world's worst propaganda sheet joins Naomi Klein, the Canadian student of protest currently at the London School of Economics, in asking for more funds for bioterror preparedness (leaving out a discussion of how those with weakened immune systems might be affected by mass vaccinations). . . . These are signs of massive psychological dissonance. In the last two years, the world's most advanced democracy, at least in terms of its formal acclamation of human rights, has become potentially the most dangerously totalitarian regime in recent history (the liberal journals always tell us, we're not there yet). The Progressive, The Nation, In These Times, Mother Jones, The Village Voice and all the rest have failed to note this transformation, or collapse, in these stark terms. They talk about "secrecy" in government, to echo the New York Times. This is like talking about the difficulty of journalists obtaining court records on the deportation of Jews during the Nazi reign of terror (the same routinization of evil, making it banal by bureaucratization, is in operation in America today: for instance, the mass deportation of Arab and Muslim men under the guise of following immigration technicalities that have never been enforced). . . . The most sweeping set of changes in American history has occurred in two short years, all our cherished freedoms annihilated beyond recognition, and the happy-faced dissenters and self-proclaimed contrarians have for the most part failed to raise the alarm. . . . In fact, there are mass arrests and mass deportations, with the potential for rapid escalation. . . . Events have lost all connection with facts. The worst economic crisis in either two decades, three decades, or seven decades, depending on the angle of concern, failed not only to result in loss of congressional representation for the ruling party, but led instead to historic, unprecedented gains at all levels of government. . . . The aim of this regime is to cleanse the entire country of undesirables, eventually including whites, the elite, the intellectuals, the rich, the privileged, everyone. In the next stage of the crackdown, borders will be shut down, people will not be allowed to leave, and emergency powers will let them coerce us into feeling completely naked and exposed. . . . What's in store for the next couple of years? Surely, no Democrat will dare to call for suspension of the Patriot Act or any part of Homeland Security. Optimists are mistaken to have any hope for 2004; this regime can change the whole subject of discourse to terror should the need arise. If the economy starts doing better, there may not be as much need to declare an emergency, to give unprecedented search and arrest powers to the military. But they may do that anyway, just to make the point, just to show us that they can do that if they want. . . . We are now living in potentially the most totalitarian regime the world has seen since the catastrophes of the middle of the last century. . . . The FBI can now spy on political groups without warrants, without the primary purpose being intelligence gathering. . . . The FBI on New Year's Eve put out pictures of five men it said were of Middle Eastern descent ... Now the FBI has admitted that the whole story was made up ... A Canadian Mountie told the Toronto Globe and Mail, "It was a slow week at the White House. They needed something to stir the pot because nothing was happening in Iraq." . . . Bookstores and libraries have been complicit for some time now in giving the FBI information about customers' and clients' reading habits. Bookstore employees and librarians may not divulge to patrons that they are being surveilled; this would subject employees or librarians to criminal prosecution. . . . Internet service providers, as part of "The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace" prepared by the president's Critical Infrastructure Board, are to take part in universal surveillance of internet use. . . . The official calls it ten times worse than Carnivore, because "Carnivore was working on much smaller feeds and could not scale," while "this is looking at the whole Internet." . . . The Denver police recently revealed that they have gathered information on thousands of political activists going back to the 1950s. . . . The foreign intelligence agencies are back in the business of domestic spying, and more ominously, the focus has shifted to military intelligence agencies linking up with local police to infiltrate and disrupt political groups. ... This program is being tested in San Diego, Baltimore, Seattle, St. Louis, Portland, and Norfolk. . . . At no point in our degeneration did liberals in the established media come out to protest the gravity of the situation. They have always underestimated the powers they were up against. Where has the smallpox threat come from? What information does the government have that leads it to believe that this is a real threat? Why is nobody asking this question? Will the military be involved in quarantining large segments of the population if mass vaccinations are ordered? Will door to door searches be permitted? Is the INS special registration a mere prelude to registration (next of Middle Easterners, South Asians, and Muslims, even if citizens), detention, and deportation on a colossal scale? How many other Americans will fall under the ambit of "enemy combatant?" . . . Do Americans seek refuge in Canada? Do we go to Britain, France, Italy? Do we figure out how to protect ourselves from smallpox vaccinations, although the trap is so elegantly laid that there seems no escape from it? Do we destroy the papers and documents in our homes, so that the wrong hands don't get a hold of them? Do we cease "dangerous" email and phone conversations? Do we continue to risk flying, despite the fact that any of us might at any time end up on a no-fly list, and face harassment, arrest, even torture, depending on what other disagreeable parts of our lives the government databases can get hold of? Do we drive and walk around and travel like cowards, afraid of the cop pulling us over, interrogating us about anything he wants to, making us feel naked and exposed and weak? Do we disconnect our association with organizations and interests that we feel may taint us by guilt with association? Do we cease all activity, all thought, all dissent, all individuality, because anything different we do stands out, noticed by the snoops and spies? Do we cease to exist as human beings? Is there any way to stop this dehumanization before we lose memory of how things used to be?

posted by Lorenzo 12:21 PM

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