Saturday, May 05, 2007

Public Enemy

Public as Enemy: Targeting You
by C. L. Cook

here will be investigations, promise the L.A. Police Department in wake of that entity's unprovoked attack against ethnic and social justice activists taking part in the nation-wide May Day immigrant rights demonstration.
While police brutality during protests is nothing new in America, what is different in this case was the L.A.P.D.'s brazen attacks against journalists; that is to say, capital "M" media workers, not the bloggers, Indy Media types, or assorted riff raff well used to officially sanctioned State violence employed against civilian demonstrators.This time the goon squad chose going after corporate T.V. crews covering the family-orientated events for FOX, and the Big 3 networks.

Though the little people too, naturally, received their lumps from the unrestrained police demonstration of raw malice and utter disregard for the people and principles they have been sworn to "serve and protect." It is reported, hundreds of "rubber" bullets, and tear gas cannisters were fired at the peaceful demonstration, many striking people in the back, as a police motorcycle charge followed by truncheon wielding riot cops stampeded the crowd.

Fill 'er Up

The May Day march is the second to focus on immigration issues since a Bush administration hard-line approach against "illegals" already working in the United States took effect last year. This year's latest effort, like those announced by the military in the on-going destruction of foreign lands, until recently dubbed 'The Global War on Terror,' the Immigration and Custom Enforcement branch, (ICE) too brands its actions; the latest sold as, 'Operation: Return to Sender.' But before the unfortunates caught up in ICE's broadening dragnet searches, there are mandatory stays in "immigration prisons." It's a very profitable, and growing sector of the so-called 'Prison-Industrial Complex,' and one White House favoured contractor, Halliburton has been quick to exploit. Halliburton, the infamous serial fraudster, renowned for its criminal billing practices and its cozy relationship to the current administration through former CEO, Dick Cheney, last year landed a 1.4 billion dollar contract to construct concentration camps across the nation looks ready to start filling them up.

Law suits have been filed, and the American Civil Liberties Union, (ACLU) has, as ever, jumped into the fray, issuing strongly worded condemnations of the police action, etc., comparing the attack against the journalists as a repeat of similar blatant attacks carried out during the year 2000 Democratic National Convention. Those law suits will wend their weary way through the court system recently cited in the news as corrupted by the Republican Party political hacks controlling the Attorney-General's office. They may, under a possilbe future Democratic Party administration, eventually make it to the Supreme Court, stacked with the political hacks that made that 2000 election year a memorable precedent-setting one for the American political process. But by 2010, or whenever the facts finally see the light of a legal ruling, who will still care?

The Media is the Message

And that message is: Watch Your Step! As witnessed during the American military rampage through Afghanistan and Iraq, the shots across the media bow are no bluff. The Arab al-Jazeera network has the distinction of being the first news organization to have its headquarters in two war zones targeted and destroyed by the U.S., while scores of network and independent journalists, and their local support staff, are dead or wounded, killed and maimed since George W. Bush's ascension at Century's end. But is it fair and/or balanced to lay this at the feet of Bush and Gonzales, Cheney, Halliburton, and the L.A.P.D., when the Clinton administration bombed media operations in Yugolsavia, and killed dissenting citizens with impunity in Waco, and on Ruby Ridge?

A Growing "Enemies" List

Recall Richard M. Nixon, the extra-legal creep President, whom's bell tolled on the lawn of the White House, waving farewell to American public life from the doorway of his get-away chopper, escaping two steps ahead of impeachment, and perhaps worse? Nixon's infamous list, one then White House Counsel John Dean insists the Tricky One never saw, grew from a modest 20 names, to more than 30,000 before its titular author's career crashed. Likewise, the enemies list of this administration has, from tiny acorn size exploded to include an estimated 80,000 Americans (and foreigners), contained in the files of Homeland Security, and the plethora other alphabetized agents of the overarching American security apparatus; but to end there would do disservice to Georges' Bush and the efforts of their dedicated coterie. As a recently revealed army publication spells out to the soldiers of the realm, journalists are to be now considered "enemies" on a par with al-Qaeda, warlords, and drug cartels. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the army's Operational Security Guidelines (OPSEC), encourages the troops' keep an eye peeled for skulking journos, and any who would stoop to whisper in their pointed, rodent-like ears; to whit:

"[C]onsider handling attempts by unauthorized personnel to solicit critical information or sensitive information as a Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the U.S. Army (SAEDA) incident."

This directive applies too to the DoD contractors, a growing percentage of the "boots on the ground" forces overseas, and witnessed in the body of Blackwater, sent in as the Bush administration's reaction to Hurricane Katrina's landfall in New Orleans, and the subsequent breaching of the levies there, at home too. But the list doesn't end with the 80,000 individuals, or the entirety of the unimbedded press corps; American soldiers fond of blogging their thoughts from the front, or anywhere else are to be considered suspect too, that privilege recently curtailed, perhaps to be eliminated completely. Falling too under the shadow of this broad blog security umbrella would be those hundreds of thousands of Americans (and foreigners) who for reasons suspect by the administration continue to criticize U.S. policies at home and abroad, using the "internet."

Can't We All Just Get Along?

The answer to that famous question, posed most famously by L.A.P.D. beating survivor, Rodney King is: "Yes!" But, in George W. Bush's America, and the pseudo-vassal nations in its orbit, getting along means going along; nothing short of total adherence to the Leader and his Party line will due. Whether you be tinker, or tailor, soldier, or sailor, woe betide you if you fail, or are perceived to have failed to live up to those expectations of citizenship. You are, in short, either with US or you are the Terrorists.

As the CJR quotes Major Ray Ceralde, reputed author of the army's OPSEC paper:

"A person doesn’t have to be in the military or government to support OPSEC… As a Nation, we are in this fight together, and all Americans are encouraged to practice OPSEC."

Truly, an Army of One(ness); a nation divided upon itself, fulfilling at home what it accomplishes "over there," and bringing the terror back to the Homeland.

C. L. Cook is a contributing editor to, and host of the weekly public affairs program, Gorilla Radio. You can check out the GR blog here.
For more on the targeting of civilian populations by police and military, please see:
The Lancet Study of Iraqi civilians killed since the invasion of March, 2003.
The ACLU reaction to the storming of the march in L.A.
Democracy Now! coverage of draconian immigration policies under Bush

Tricky Dick Nixon's Enemies List

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