by Justin Gardner
While mainstream media has dutifully echoed the U.S. government narrative that Russia is to blame for increasing tensions, we at the Free Thought Project have reported on the numerous ways in which the U.S. has actually been the provocateur.
Earlier in 2016, a U.S. military official said the U.S. “needs and wants Russia as an enemy,” which was followed by a litany of falsehoods about Russian threats from elected and appointed officials. A hacked email showed a NATO general plotting conflict with Russia, as American and NATO military forces amass along Russia’s borders.
U.S. intervention in Syria has provided the perfect context for escalating tensions. In its effort to topple the Assad government, the U.S. nurtured the Salafist fundamentalist sect in Syria, which went on to become a major part of ISIS. As U.S. military operations get dangerously close to Syrian or Russian forces (invited there by Assad), any “accidental” strike could be the spark for World War III.
If this were not disturbing enough, the reality in the homeland is downright frightening. Since 9/11, the U.S. military/surveillance state has been able to use – and perpetuate – the specter of terrorism to dismantle the rights of its citizens.
In order to sustain public support for its war-making, the State must suppress dissent. If it cannot achieve this through media control and other subtle means, it is prepared to take more forceful measures.
According to retired Army Major Todd Pierce, the U.S. government has everything in place to round up antiwar dissenters and put them in military detention.
In an interview with Mondoweiss, Pierce – who served in the 349th Psychological Operations Company and the 205th Infantry Brigade as a senior NCO, then as Judge Advocate General until 2012 – said:
Well let’s say we do ramp up a war with Russia and we do get a more active antiwar movement. Say a Donald Trump who’s already let everybody know what he thinks of the constitution, or Hillary Clinton.… And Obama has said he can kill American citizens. The military goes to them and says hey, these dissenters are going to cause us to lose a war, like the Vietnam war. Let’s put them in military detention, let’s impose censorship. Everything’s in place right now.
Pierce is a self-professed former neoconservative until the Gulf War began opening his eyes to the folly of U.S. imperialism, and then he personally witnessed how government began using 9/11 to assume totalitarian control in the name of fighting the tactic of terrorism. He now works as a Guantanamo defense attorney.
We have total surveillance of the US population through the NSA. That’s what these huge data storage facilities are about, to store all the data that they’ve gathered. They’ve gone to the public and say, We’re not listening to your phone calls. But what they are doing is storing it. It’s all there, just like a huge data file. Like the Stasi– they would go look at their file on someone, and go use that against them. Well, we have all that data collected, including people’s attitudes. So if the day comes, which if people like Vermeule and Posner have said, we may have to impose censorship and have military detention.
Pierce’s fears were further confirmed when West Point began hiring constitutional law teachers who openly professed that “we are going to have to start putting law professors into military detention, and take other legal measures because they are subverting our will to fight.”
Other professors at Harvard and University of Chicago were saying it’s time to revisit the writings of Carl Schmitt, who wrote actively to justify the Nazis and cement their power in Germany, and “spoke of the need for a dictatorship in 1922.” The professors even wrote their own book about centralized military authority, called The Executive Unbound.
Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act was perhaps the crowning achievement of the totalitarian U.S. State, which removed the right of habeus corpus during this never-ending war on terror – meaning that American citizens suspected as “belligerents” can be subject to military law and indefinite detention.
This is not the only possible fate that awaits American citizens should major war break out and government essentially becomes a military junta.
Pierce explains how he was in the court when the Obama administration argued they have the power to kill American citizens, as part of a sweeping authoritarianism granted unto itself to take “any means necessary” in the war on terror.
Obama demonstrated this power in 2011 by assassinating Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen in Yemen, and then his 16-year-old son “for good measure.”
Pierce is not alone in his well-informed, deep concerns for the proto-fascist trajectory of the U.S. government. He is part of a Veteran Intelligence group that includes four NSA whistleblowers, who were all arrested by the FBI at gunpoint but were able to avoid prison by “turning the tables and showing that the government was making things up.”
We’re a more sophisticated form of what I think has to be called fascism. The term fascism was applied to the way the communists and Stalin got on as well. You bring the term fascist to what it really means, and that ultimately is, ultramilitarism and authoritarianism combined with an expansionist foreign policy. And that’s us—what you can see us becoming.
The fascist path is being subtly applied at home, but is already the guiding principle of foreign policy. Doctrine is now in place that says the U.S. can kill any non-U.S. person who it deems to be the enemy, and this is already being carried out with targeted drone strikes in numerous countries where no war has been declared.
One of the people [unnamed colleague] I disagree with most is very supportive of what we have been doing. But he sort of slipped one time and said, this military commissions act, it’s almost like we are exercising martial law over the whole world. We are. We are taking those precedents from our own martial law period over our own territory and applying it to the world. Someone who may be anti drone warfare in Afghanistan or Pakistan is guilty of a war crime, and gets targeted with a drone attack.
So we are doing to the Mideast and other parts what the Germans did to Europe in World War 2. They held that any anti-German opinion was basically a war crime. And putting aside the Jewish issue—but non Jewish people who might be opposed to the Nazis invasion, before the Germans invaded, they would be put into military detention.
That’s the problem with the idea that you’re at war, because you adopt the most extreme understanding of who the enemy is and then justify killing them or putting them in military detention because they’re the enemy.”
And, as Pierce notes, “when you wage a totalitarian foreign policy like that it eventually spills over more and more into your domestic system, and we’re seeing this in Section 1021…”
Essential to this creeping fascism is the State’s mastery of propaganda, while sustaining the illusion that democracy is a meaningful protection against government abuse of power.
After the antiwar movement ended the Vietnam War, the military machine ramped up its effort to control the narrative, building on Cointelpro to identify and neutralize subversive elements. At the same time, it looked for ways to glorify the military, such as the Defense Department’s collaboration with Hollywood on the movie Top Gun and the infusion of militarism with American football.
Fascism’s founding principle is how to manipulate the masses. So propaganda was always central to fascism.
Totalitarian democracy allows for the form of democracy, but it requires the fascist principle that all the people must be driven to the same ideas. And of course militaristic and authoritarian because you can’t have dissenters in a fascist state, or not too strong of a dissident movement.
As Pierce notes, American generals would have bankrupted the country pursuing their crusade in Vietnam, had it not been for the antiwar movement. He said that we now face a situation like Communist Russia, which bankrupted itself through perpetual war, or Nazi Germany’s failure at Stalingrad, which caused Germans to reconsider their ongoing conquest of Europe.
Only, things are more subtle for the United States. “We’ll just slowly erode our economy and– again, we’re doing it already, but we can conceal it,” said Pierce.
In Nazi Germany, the White Rose antiwar dissenters managed to have a significant influence before and after their execution – helping to expose the atrocities Germany was carrying out in Eastern Europe and contributing to the end of Nazi reign.
Today, the U.S. government does not need to execute dissenters; it can simply make them disappear through indefinite military detention, using a vast surveillance empire, while the “war on terror” goes on endlessly.
“It’s those people who see what’s wrong that have to try and change the dominant narrative to one of truth, to what is truthfully taking place,” said Pierce.
Now more than ever, we must expose the truth of U.S. foreign policy – the fascist, violent political machinations that are bringing the country to the brink of collapse and the world to the brink of war.
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