I'm sure that if I had met Paul Craig Roberts 25 years ago -- or indeed, had even known of his existence -- I would have felt strongly antagonistic toward this Reagan Administration apparatchik and all that he stood for. And for all I know, if I met him today, I still might find that we were at loggerheads on some issues, maybe many issues.
But I must say there are few people out there today speaking truth about power with the unblinking, unvarnished ferocity of Roberts. (And as I've noted here before, it is speaking truth about power -- not the old cliché of "speaking truth to power" -- that we so desperately need. There's no point in speaking truth to power -- power already knows the truth of its monstrous crimes, and it doesn't give a damn.) Time and again, I've started to write a post about some outrage only to find that Roberts has already been there, laying into the issue with a flaming brand.
And so it was today, when I came in from a gorgeous autumn afternoon -- one of those bright, crisp, golden days that break through the English gloom like some rare flower -- and saw the stories about the FBI raids on antiwar activists across the United States. I know that domestic duties -- that is to say, the actual living of one's life, the common and deeply meaningful byt that lies far beyond the howling madness of power -- would as usual keep me from writing until the wee hours, but I thought: I'll have to take this up later, I think I have something to say about this.
But by the time that night had come, and duties were done, and loved ones were asleep, I found that, once again, Roberts was already on the case. He too had something to say -- everything that I was going to say, in fact, and more. So I'll just let Roberts speak the truth, beginning with his title: "It is Official: The US is a Police State":
Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: "The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that — the old view." The new view, Napolitano said, is "to counter violent extremism right here at home."
"Violent extremism" is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning’s FBI foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with "the material support of terrorism," just as conservatives equated Vietnam era antiwar protesters with giving material support to communism.
Antiwar activist Mick Kelly, whose home was raided, sees the FBI raids as harassment to intimidate those who organize war protests. I wonder if Kelly is underestimating the threat. The FBI’s own words clearly indicate that the federal police agency and the judges who signed the warrants do not regard antiwar protesters as Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, but as unpatriotic elements offering material support to terrorism.
"Material support" is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government’s lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government’s declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason.
I agree that the threat goes far beyond mere harassment. Roberts goes on to spell out one of the first thoughts I had on reading these stories: that those who are accused of the slightest association with "terrorism" -- on little evidence, on manufactured evidence, or no evidence whatsoever -- are now subject to the merciless, lawless mechanisms of the Terror War state:
As this initial FBI foray is a softening up move to get the public accustomed to the idea that the real terrorists are their fellow citizens here at home, Kelly will get off this time. But next time the FBI will find emails on his computer from a "terrorist group" set up by the CIA that will incriminate him. Under the practices put in place by the Bush and Obama regimes, and approved by corrupt federal judges, protesters who have been compromised by fake terrorist groups can be declared "enemy combatants" and sent off to Egypt, Poland, or some other corrupt American puppet state — Canada perhaps — to be tortured until confession is forthcoming that antiwar protesters and, indeed, every critic of the US government, are on Osama bin Laden’s payroll.
Of course, they can also just be killed outright, without charges, without due process, at the lawless whim of the president or one of his designated minions -- or indeed, one of the literally thousands of people, many of them foreigners, that the United States government now pays to roam various regions of the earth killing people: blowing them up in their houses, murdering them in their beds, machine-gunning their children, drone-bombing their neighborhoods, knifing them on street corners, pushing them out of windows, poisoning them in restaurants, whatever. Just this week, the lawyers of the Peace Laureate were in federal court trying zealously to quash a civil lawsuit that would threaten the president's unrestricted power to kill American citizens without the slightest pretense of due process, if he feels like it.
(It is astonishing -- unbelievable -- that one could even write such a sentence, that this is the kind of state we live in. That is, it would be astonishing and unbelievable -- if I hadn't been writing sentences just like it for almost nine years, since my first piece on George Bush's assertion of this universal power of life and death, back in November 2001.)
Roberts notes the deeper implications of the "terrorism" taint that the government of the Peace Laureate is now smearing across the antiwar movement:
Almost every Republican and conservative and, indeed, the majority of Americans will fall for this, only to find, later, that it is subversive to complain that their Social Security was cut in the interest of the war against Iran or some other demonized entity, or that they couldn’t have a Medicare operation because the wars in Central Asia and South America required the money.
Americans are the most gullible people who ever existed. They tend to support the government instead of the Constitution, and almost every Republican and conservative regards civil liberty as a coddling device that encourages criminals and terrorists.
The US media, highly concentrated in violation of the American principle of a diverse and independent media, will lend its support to the witch hunts that will close down all protests and independent thought in the US over the next few years. As the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels said, "think of the press as a great keyboard on which the Government can play."