OPOL's current diary, The Democrats Have No Clothes, reminded me once more of a diary I hadn't written. It's an important one, I think, so I won't hold it against him. :)
He made several points that need to be hammered into our skulls, apparently, but the one I'm focusing on here is:
...if you truck with the rebels or tell the damned truth, you will be crushed.There are plenty here among us who -- when confronted with evidence of this administration's extreme lack of transparency and outrageously brutal clampdown on whistleblowers -- respond mockingly by saying, "oh, I'm being oppressed, I'm being oppressed!"
The only actual patriots on the horizon are shackled and chained...or dead.
As if to suggest evidence of state secrecy and repressions are unremarkable and concerns with such are dramatic. As if to suggest that they, too, weren't appalled when the Bush administration threw the Bill of Rights out the window. As if the Obama administration hasn't clearly embraced and expanded upon them in our names. As if they aren't obviously engaged in the Democrat's version of my administration right or wrong.
Rebuttals to attacks on these actions by the administration spin around 1) Clintonian debates about what whistleblowing is and is not, 2) whether it is even necessary (right, in the digital age, with corporate media and no investigative journalism to do the job of keeping governments honest), and 3) the dismissively declared "just desserts" for those thus, since it's clearly "not whistleblowing", knowingly breaking the law. They deny it, but they would shriek if the Pentagon Papers were released today. They would declare it illegal. They would support the repression of it.
One thing (among many) that is neglected among this hypocrisy and disregard for transparency and the rule of law is the value and significance of dissent in a democracy. Even more so when it is being so openly repressed.
A couple of weeks ago, Chris Hedges wrote an excellent piece for Truthdig, where he resides as a columnist, entitled "Rebels Stand Alone." The centerpiece is the description of The White Rose, a resistance movement in Nazi Germany, and "Operation Overcoat." I highly recommend the article and I will only be recapping the barest details here.
The White Rose distributed thousands of leaflets and smuggled them out of the country. The leaflets were then air dropped over Germany by the Allies. All six members of the White Rose were executed. Parts of what is known is due to a woman "who hid leaflets for the group in her closet and helped make stencils used to paint slogans on walls." She was later caught but fortunate to only be imprisoned and then released.
"Operation Overcoat" was a precursor to the "Operation Valkyrie" action (of Hollywood fame) in which Claus von Stauffenberg -- the administrative mastermind of the resistance within the military, which sought to assassinate Hitler and take over the country -- was ultimately forced to personally attempt the assassination and then instantly summon the rest of military command to immediately come to his side. In "Overcoat", Axel von dem Bussche, a young co-conspirator, was to be the assassin. The meeting in which he was to undertake this attempt was canceled due to a train bombing, and von dem Bussche was then sent to the front, where he lost a leg.
99-year-old Liselotte Furst-Ramdoh, the woman who aided The White Rose, was interviewed a couple of weeks ago by the BBC. Statements she made then reminded Hedges of his interview of von dem Bussche in 1989, when the Berlin wall came down.
“At the time, they’d have had us all executed,” she said in speaking of most Germans’ hatred of resisters during the war.And that speaks volumes to the demonization, ill-treatment and mockery of "due process" received by Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and John Kiriakou. The law is always used against dissenters. And when it is not sufficient, it is amended or bent to shape the goals of the state and the powerful who corrupt it and toy with its very existence. And that is, in turn, willingly if not enthusiastically accepted by dutiful followers of the established order.
Although history has vindicated resistance groups such as the White Rose and plotters such as von dem Bussche, they were desperately alone, reviled by the wider public and forced to defy the law, their oaths of national allegiance, and public opinion. The resisters, once exposed, were condemned in vitriolic terms by most of the German public, and their lopsided trials were state-choreographed lynchings. Von dem Bussche said that even after the war he was spat upon as he walked down a city street. He and those like him who made a moral choice to physically defy evil teach us something extremely important about rebellion. It is, when it begins, not safe, comfortable or popular. Those rare individuals who have the moral and physical courage to resist must accept that they will be pariahs. They must live outside the law. And they must be prepared to be condemned.
It also speaks volumes about those who vilify dissenters and defend iron-fisted state clampdowns. It is to be expected.
Now, defenders of the realm will argue that the comparison is absurd. That America is not Nazi Germany and Obama is not Hitler. And that's true. But the existence of Naziism in Germany was not monolothic. It had a trajectory. At one point much earlier its grip was not so firm, its desire to control not so bold. As with McCarthyism, these things have a beginning which most people refuse to acknowledge, even when much later they are obvious. Which is exactly how they happen. Thank god for Joseph Welch.
[And then there are the War Crimes and numerous smaller atrocities, incidences of soldiers running amuck that read like individual scenes from any other war, like the war being conducted by Nazi Germany. And our gulag, Guantanamo.]
You know, "first they came for the communists..."?
Well, first they came for the "enemy combatants, then they came for associates of the enemy combatants, then they came for innocent bystanders, then they came for whistleblowers, then they came for the occupiers, ..." And then the Republicans took over.
As they say, what the FUCK COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG???!!!
“Somebody, after all, had to make a start,” one of the White Rose members, Sophie Scholl, said on Feb. 21, 1943, at her trial in a Nazi court. “What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”Aaron Swartz, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, John Kiriakou are some people who were trying to start it all.
Anonymous continues to try and start it all, to reverse the disturbing trend toward greater and greater state secrecy, surveillance and repression.
After all, the Abolition, Suffragism, Labor and Civil Rights movements took similar courage against established authority, by individuals. And they took time. A long, long time. Why? Because every step of the way the vast majority of people disliked the dissent. Even among those sympathetic to the cause. Even late in the game, when sympathizers were numerous, there would be those who would be criticizing them for their tactics. Claiming they were going too far. Decrying the level of conflict. Promoting socially accepted, state sanctioned, inconspicuous, easily controlled alternatives. And submission.
Well, someone has to start. And more have to follow. And most, including many Democrats, including many kossacks, will deride and attack people for not accepting the planned ineffectiveness of incrementalism produced ever so meagerly through the system, in the face of the Class and Climate Wars. If it comes to it, they will don the kevlar against dissenters, as one kossack threatened when Occupy was active.
Whether or not today's rebels are ever widely revered, as they have come to be in modern Germany, is beside the point. What's relevant is that they were sorely and justifiably needed, they've done their jobs and, due in no small part to the incrementalists, as in all such times when power vigorously silences truth and justice, more must and will follow. Because the Joseph Welches in American government today are roundly ignored, by Republicans and Democrats alike, it must and will escalate.
This is from the "disclaimer" to http://www.transitionus.org/Transition U.S.'s quick-guide, "Transition 101", to the thinking behind Transition Towns.And if they fight us while we try to defuse concentrated power and save the planet...?
What we are convinced of is this:
If we wait for the governments, it'll be too little, too late
If we act as individuals, it'll be too little
But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.
Related to Operation Valkyrie, please also see jlms qkw's diary on Captain Ewald von Kleist, A Brave Man Died Today. That was the previous nudge I got to write this diary. :)