Is the U.S. a Fascist Police-State? - by Gonzalo Lira

I lived in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship—I can spot a fascist police-state when I see one. The United States is a fascist police-state. Harsh words—incendiary, even. And none too clever of me, to use such language: Time was, the crazies and reactionaries wearing tin-foil hats who flung around such a characterization of the United States were disqualified by sensible people as being hysterical nutters—rightfully so. But with yesterday’s Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project decision (No. 08-1498, also 09-89) of the Supreme Court, coupled with last week’s Arar v. Ashcroft denial of certiorari (No. 09-923), the case for claiming that the U.S. is a fascist police-state just got a whole lot stronger. First of all, what is a “fascist police-state”? A police-state uses the law as a mechanism to control any challenges to its power by the citizenry, rather than as a mechanism to insure a civil society among the individuals. The state decides the laws, is the sole arbiter of the law, and can selectively (and capriciously) decide to enforce the law to the benefit or detriment of one individual or group or another. In a police-state, the citizens are “free” only so long as their actions remain within the confines of the law as dictated by the state. If the individual’s claims of rights or freedoms conflict with the state, or if the individual acts in ways deemed detrimental to the state, then the state will repress the citizenry, by force if necessary. (And in the end, it’s always necessary.) What’s key to the definition of a police-state is the lack of redress: If there is no justice system which can compel the state to cede to the citizenry, then there is a police-state. If there exists apro forma justice system, but which in practice is unavailable to the ordinary citizen because of systemic obstacles (for instance, cost or bureaucratic hindrance), or which against all logic or reason consistently finds in favor of the state—even in the most egregious and obviously contradictory cases—then that pro forma judiciary system is nothing but a sham: A tool of the state’s repression against its citizens. Consider the Soviet court system the classic example. A police-state is not necessarily a dictatorship. On the contrary, it can even take the form of a representative democracy. A police-state is not defined by its leadership structure, but rather, by its self-protection against the individual. A definition of “fascism” is tougher to come by—it’s almost as tough to come up with as a definition of “pornography”. The sloppy definition is simply totalitarianism of the Right, “communism” being the sloppy definition of totalitarianism of the Left. But that doesn’t help much. For our purposes, I think we should use the syndicalist-corporatist definition as practiced by Mussolini: Society as a collection of corporate and union interests, where the state is one more competing interest among many, albeit the most powerful of them all, and thus as a virtue of its size and power, taking precedence over all other factions. In other words, society is a “street-gang” model that I discussed before. The individual has power only as derived from his belonging to a particular faction or group—individuals do not have inherent worth, value or standing. Now then! Having gotten that out of the way, where were we? Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project: The Humanitarian Law Project was advising groups deemed “terrorists” on how to negotiate non-violently with various political agencies, including the UN. In this 6-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court ruled that that speech constituted “aiding and abetting” a terrorist organization, as the Court determined that speech was “material support”. Therefore, the Executive and/or Congress had the right to prohibit anyone from speaking to any terrorist organization if that speech embodied “material support” to the terrorist organization. The decision is being noted by the New York Times as a Freedom of Speech issue; other commentators seem to be viewing it in those terms as well. My own take is, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project is not about limiting free speech—it's about the state expanding it power to repress. The decision limits free speech in passing, because what it is really doing is expanding the state’s power to repress whomever it unilaterally determines is a terrorist. In the decision, the Court explicitly ruled that “Congress and the Executive are uniquely positioned to make principled distinctions between activities that will further terrorist conduct and undermine United States foreign policy, and those that will not.” In other words, the Court makes it clear that Congress and/or the Executive can solely and unilaterally determine who is a “terrorist threat”, and who is not—without recourse to judicial review of this decision. And if the Executive and/or Congress determines that this group here or that group there is a “terrorist organization”, then their free speech is curtailed—as is the free speech of anyone associating with them, no matter how demonstrably peaceful that speech or interaction is. For example, if the Executive—in the form of the Secretary of State—decides that, say, WikiLeaks or Amnesty International is a terrorist organization, well then by golly, it is a terrorist organization. It no longer has any right to free speech—nor can anyone else speak to them or associate with them, for risk of being charged with providing “material support” to this heinous terrorist organization known as Amnesty International. But furthermore, as per Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, anyone associating with WikiLeaks—including, presumably, those who read it, and most certainly those who give it information about government abuses—would be guilty of aiding and abetting terrorism. In other words, giving WikiLeaks “material support” by providing primary evidence of government abuse would render one a terrorist. This form of repression does seem to fit the above definition of a police-state. The state determines—unilaterally—who is detrimental to its interests. The state then represses that person or group. By a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court has explicitly stated that Congress and/or the Executive is “uniquely positioned” to determine who is a terrorist and who is not—and therefore has the right to silence not just the terrorist organization, but anyone trying to speak to them, or hear them. And let's just say that, after jumping through years of judicial hoops, one finally manages to prove that one wasn’t then and isn’t now a terrorist, the Arar denial of certiorari makes it irrelevant. Even if it turns out that a person is definitely and unequivocally not a terrorist, he cannot get legal redress for this mistake by the state. So! To sum up: The U.S. government can decide unilaterally who is a terrorist organization and who is not. Anyone speaking to such a designated terrorist group is “providing material support” to the terrorists—and is therefore subject to prosecution at the discretion of the U.S. government. And if, in the end, it turns out that one definitely was not involved in terrorist activities, there is no way to receive redress by the state. Sounds like a fascist police-state to me. ------------ Tuesday, June 22, 2010 Link to source: http://gonzalolira.blogspot.com/

agreed

Ever since I read Bertram Gross' book, Friendly Fascism (1980), I've been aware of this. Fascism refers to corporate/state control of the political economy, while Police State refers to the status of individual civil liberties (suppressed/denied). Good essay by Gonzalo Lira.

Many

see martial law as a next major step. What comes after that is anyone's guess. Most (!) important now, is to know how to sow and to grow, Major requirements; fresh water, grain, grain mill, bakery. All else will fall into place. Alone this knowledge is priceless. It need not be required in the next decade or decades. Alone this, can move mountains.

Terror list is vague

And since the list of potential terrorists includes gun owners, veterans and essentially anyone who openly expresses discontent with the fall of this republic called the USA, I see the possibility that gun confiscations can and probably will begin with the evacuation of the southern states. There have been trial runs and exercises already and all done under the guise of public health and safety. I see FUBAR getting his gear squared away. Oath keepers and other movements seems at this point unprepared. It does seem to me that history is used to make this whole effort to disassemble the USA, a sort of snort. I give to you the BP cunning and with it, the smooth and polished performer, Obama. Let us not forget, of course... the patrons of these arts, The world of deceptive finance and destruction. (too numerous to be recognized properly and too big to fail).

The Balloon evades the needle

A house made of cards, neatly stacked, statically perfect but not wind resistant. Rumsfeld & Co. can escape Justice but they cannot escape death.

Even more fu than that, is this:

I'm sure you remember Lynndie England and her boyfriend, Charles Graner. Well, Graner is in prison and he filed an appeal. Since the Obama administration adopted the Eichmann defense and said that people who committed crimes against humanity but were just following orders should not be prosecuted, you'd think that Graner's appeal might have had a chance. After all, he was in the military and he could have been court-martialed if he disobeyed an order or violated military orders. So he had to have been following orders, right?

Ah, but in our Kafkaesque fascist police state, the court won't allow him to prove that he was following orders. And, of course, there's also the possibility that if he were allowed to prove that he was just following orders, the people who gave those orders could be held liable, so therefore the fact that he was only following orders is irrelevant.

Not that Graner shouldn't be in prison, it's just that Yoo, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Obama, and everyone else who authorized and ordered torture should be there with him.

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/06/ap_military_graner_abu_ghraib_appe...

Military high court denies Graner appeal

The Associated Press
Posted : Saturday Jun 26, 2010 13:06:19 EDT

WASHINGTON — The military’s highest court has denied an appeal by the alleged ringleader of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003.

In a 4-1 decision Friday, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington affirmed Army Pvt. Charles Graner’s convictions for offenses that included stacking naked prisoners into a pyramid.

The defense maintained Graner’s actions were intended to soften up prisoners for interrogation. His lawyers claimed they were wrongly denied access to classified documents indicating the treatment reflected harsh interrogation techniques approved by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Three judges found that the documents weren’t relevant, and a fourth said the appeal should be denied for other reasons.

Graner is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

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