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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/4/14

America's "Gestapo" like State

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The "all seeing eye"

This morning I came across a quote in the ICH, "Information Clearing House", by Sheila Fitzpatrick [i] , an Australian-American historian and researcher, describing the Nazi "Gestapo" after Hitler came to power in 1933, "The mission of the Gestapo expanded steadily as, from 1933 onward, 'political criminality' was given a much broader definition than ever before and most forms of dissent and criticism were gradually criminalized. The result was that more 'laws' and law like measures were put on the books than ever".

Her quote struck a chord in this writer as it pretty much describes what's been occurring in America since 9/11.

Substitute the year 1933 with 2001, the Gestapo for official Washington and the "unitary executive" approach to the presidency expressed by George W. Bush, in particular his use of Justice Department memos justifying any action taken by the president as legal, that can't be challenged by the Congress or the courts- interpreted by the executive as outside their jurisdiction - and all kept secret for reasons of national security.

Under this interpretation of the presidency we got the "enhanced interrogation" of suspects-"legalizing" torture, the indefinite detention of those suspects, suspension of habeas corpus, establishment of CIA "black sites"-secret prisons in Poland and Romania that came into being as part of the Agency's extraordinary rendition "activities". Then there's the NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by Barack Obama in 2010 whereby the president can authorize the military to hold anyone in indefinite detention, including American citizens, as long as we are at war-essentially forever with the unending "global war on terror". Add in the president authorizing the assassination of anyone, anywhere, including Americans-he alone deems a threat to America, acting as judge, jury and executioner, and what we have is a totalitarian dictatorship masquerading in the guise of a representative democracy, cloaked under the cover of the Constitution-nothing more than a mere impediment to disregard and get around as necessary.

Let's not forget the persecution of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden exposing illegal NSA surveillance, the hounding of journalists like Glenn Greenwald who brought to light the Snowden revelations, the current prosecution of New York Times journalist James Risen who has steadfastly refused to disclose his sources.

Then there's the occupy movement that revealed the inequities defining what was happening in America only for it to be infiltrated with agent-provocateurs and government saboteurs committing violence justifying the step by step dismantling of the occupy encampments through coordination of local, state and federal law enforcement and is there any doubt we have a "Gestapo" like police and surveillance state presence in America?

Returning to Fitzpatrick's quote is there not "political criminality" in America, "dissent and criticism" criminalized and more "laws" and "law like measures put on the books"?

Sure we don't have Gestapo like police lurking in the shadows everywhere but with the NSA's pervasive surveillance of every electronic communication, surveillance camera's on our streets, cell phones monitored, GPS devices in our cars, credit card transactions made known to the government and our computers sabotaged by "back door" entry into software manufactured and captured by the NSA, again are we not monitored by a "Gestapo" like presence in America?

What's amazing is the people in America are seen by their government as the enemy yet most Americans seem not realize it, are oblivious, indifferent, insouciant or believe they can't do anything about it or to use today's common vernacular, it's "whatever".

[i] Sheila Fitzpatrick-Source: Accusatory Practices: Denunciation in Modern European History, 1789-1989, 1997, ICH-"Information Clearing House", October 4, 2014.

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