Forsake the Empire, Seek the Kingdom!
Tags >> Persecution
Posted by: Will Grigg
on Apr 30, 2009
The ever-metastasizing Homeland Security apparatus.
Whether or not a given calamity is the product of deliberate, organized human malice, the DHS is structured to pursue only one approach: It will expand the power of the political class while radically regimenting the lives of the productive. This means more arbitrary power in the hands of bureaucrats and their armed enforcers, and greater restrictions on freedom of movement.
In Mexico, where the impact of the current outbreak has been most pronounced, the government has employed its emergency powers to shut down most of the country's commercial activity. Assuming that Mexicans comply, this order is tantamount to placing the entire population under quarantine -- which is to say, under house arrest. Don't imagine for a pico-second that officials on this side of the Rio Grande aren't taking notes.
Social engineers despise genuinely autonomous individuals, people with the means to come and go as they will without permission from their superiors. Those who fancy themselves to be society's supervisors would love to pin the rest of us down like butterflies in a lepidopterist's display case, or cattle-pen us in urban reservations we can leave only with the state's generous permission -- and, even then, only if our movements can be tracked and recorded and used against us later.
Tased and abused: Pastor Steven Anderson displays some of the handiwork of the intrepid sentinels of our sacred southern frontier. Beaten and tased for refusing a warrantless search at a "border checkpoint" well inside the U.S., Anderson is seen above after receiving medical attention. Below, right: Anderson with his wife -- who was born in then-Communist Hungary -- and three of their five children.
These ill intentions are made obvious in the increasing use of checkpoints of various kinds -- sobriety roadblocks, seatbelt and child safety seat inspections, even "border enforcement" barricades established as much as 100 miles inside the territory of the United State(s).
Pastor Steven Anderson, the Baptist preacher from Tempe, Arizona who was recently beaten and tased by Border Patrol Brownshirts near Yuma, can attest to the fact that it is potentially fatal for Americans to demand they be treated like citizens rather than serfs at such checkpoints.
Anderson, who supports himself and his ministry through a full-time job selling and installing security systems, frequently travels throughout the Southwest. In a recent telephone interview he explained to me that until recently he endured the Border Patrol checkpoints as a nuisance. However, he continues, "I just got sick of being treated like a criminal or a terrorist in my own country, and decided that it was time to start asserting the rights that the Constitution guarantees to me."
After he refused to permit an unconstitutional search of his vehicle during his most recent checkpoint stop, Anderson found himself face-down in a pile of broken glass after Border Patrol and state police shattered the windows of his vehicle. Despite the fact that he put up no resistance, Anderson was beaten and tased repeatedly while pleading for mercy.
Predictably enough, after being subject to a criminal assault conducted under color of state "authority," Anderson was charged with "disobeying the orders of a law enforcement officer." That charge reflects the fundamental assumption of martial law: The demands of anybody in a government-issued costume are to be obeyed by civilians without hesitation, even when they have no legal or constitutional justification.
The Regime insists that constitutional guarantees against warrantless (and suspicion-less) searches don't apply at border checkpoints. Given that an estimated two-thirds of the population live and work within this exclusion zone -- what the ACLU aptly calls a "Constitution-Free Zone" -- it would be wise to see Pastor Anderson's experience as a foreshadowing of outrages soon to come as our rulers constrict our freedom of movement.
Another manifestation of this urge to pen up the population is the proliferation of narcotics enforcement exercises involving school lockdowns. Exercises of that kind take place somewhere in this country every week, and they tend to happen with greater frequency in the Spring.
Typically such raids produce little or no evidence of narcotics activity, and are justified as a way of demonstrating a community's "commitment" to suppressing the consumption of certain proscribed substances.
Following one such "routine" warrantless drug sweep at Maricopa High School in Arizona, school and police officials explained that its purpose, in addition to sending the familiar "message" about narotics use, was to provide "several police agencies and canine officers a chance to practice their skills in drug detection," and to offer the police dogs in particular "a chance to work in a real life atmosphere rather than the `sterile' conditions they train in." So teenagers were given the opportunity to be treated as prisoners while being used as guinea pigs in a police training exercise.
The assumption here appears to be that both sets of skills -- those of police in exerting control over civilian populations, and those of civilians in submitting to such impositions -- will become increasingly useful in the future.
Rin-Tin-Tin he ain't: This noble German Shepherd had the misfortune of being trained as a narcotics-sniffing dog, an unconscionable act of government animal abuse. This beautiful but unfortunate canine is seen at a recent drug "lock-down" at an Arizona high school.
Chances are, we'll see opportunities for the use of both skill sets as the Swine Flu "crisis" unfolds. Shortly after 9/11, the Department of Health and Human Services disseminated a Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA).
As health freedom activist Susan Blevins observed in a critique of the model act, that template was designed to give "state public health officials broad, new police powers ... in the name of controlling epidemics of infectious diseases during public health emergencies."
Both the powers and the circumstances defining a "health emergency" were quite broadly defined in the proposed act. Among the specific dictatorial functions authorized by the MSEHPA, Blevins listed the following:
*Governors and public health officials could order the compulsory medical examination of anyone suspected of carrying an "infectious disease";
*State officials would be permitted to order compulsory vaccinations, quarantines, and detentions;
*Doctor-patient confidentiality would be abolished, and all health care workers would be forced to report all cases in which an individual posed a "significant risk" to public health;
*Pharmacists would be required to report any "unusual" prescription rates suggestive of the spread of epidemic diseases;
*Governors and health officials would be authorized to set aside, at their discretion, laws dealing with privacy, medical licensure, and property rights in order to address the health "emergency";
*Seizure and state control of private property, including pharmaceutical plants, media and communication facilities, and residential health care centers, would be allowed;
*State governments would be authorized to mobilize the "organized militia [that is, the National Guard] into service to the state to help enforce the state's orders";
*Public officials would be permitted to impose rationing of food, fuel, and various other critical commodities, including explosives and -- most critically -- firearms.
Given the scope and invasiveness of the MSEHPA, resistance coalesced among freedom activists, particularly those particularly concerned about privacy and the right to armed self-defense. Some of the most onerous aspects of the model legislation were modified. To date, according to The Center for Law & the Public Health at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted a total of 66 measures incorporating provisions derived from, or inspired by, the MSEHPA.
Just days ago, the Massachusetts legislature passed a Disaster and Pandemic Preparation and Response Bill that incorporates some of the model legislation's draconian elements, including provisions for mandatory quarantine (once again, a form of house arrest), seizure of property, and rationing of various commodities at the discretion of the State's Medical Commissioner -- a position better suited to a title such as "czar" or "commissar."
Prior to the most recent Swine Flu outbreak, the Massachusetts Pandemic Response Bill had been dammed up in committee. This changed very quickly in response to the media-abetted public furor over a flu outbreak that -- so far -- while admittedly nasty and worrisome, shows few signs of growing into authentic pandemic.
As I've noted before, we're already on the wrong side of the Rubicon regarding the militarization of domestic law enforcement and emergency response agencies. In Mexico, the role of the military in response to the outbreak is becoming increasingly overt and heavy-handed. As Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive points out, here in the U.S., the prospect of a pandemic may result in a more expansive role for the Pentagon's NorthCom in administering public affairs.
NorthCom, it should be remembered, is in charge of the combat team now permanently assigned to domestic missions -- including, as something other than luck would have it, dealing with national "health emergencies."
Whatever its immediate impact on public health, the current flu outbreak will do a great deal to exacerbate the infection of police state militarism afflicting our body politic. It's quite likely that this year's flu season will turn out to be perfectly unexceptional. But this won't deter our rulers from exploiting this opportunity to capitalize on public fear as a way of advancing a sinister redefinition of civic "normalcy."
On sale now.
Dum spiro, pugno!
Posted by: Will Grigg
on Apr 24, 2009
Over the past two weeks, the leading voices of Republican conservatism have caught themselves in the coils of a similar snare.
A fortnight or so ago, GOP-aligned pundits and activists let loose a protracted communal howl of outrage prompted by disclosure of a Department of Homeland Security assessment identifying "rightwing extremism" as a potential breeding ground for domestic terrorism. Much of the indignation was purely theatrical, of course with folks like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson preening as supposed victims of official persecution.
Immediately after laying claim to the status of innocently accused terrorist suspects, the same retinue of Republican hacks -- without breaking stride, mind you -- redirected their energy into the defense of torture as a means of interrogating terrorist suspects.
The time-frame in which this turnaround took place shouldn't have over-taxed the attention span of the typical talk radio addict, and the implicit logic of these positions should have been obvious even to people habituated to reflexive sloganeering, rather than ratiocination.
Yet there it is: In defending the atrocities committed by the Bush administration, the Republican-centered conservative movement effectively endorsed the proposition that it is entirely proper for the government to torture terrorist suspects -- including, presumably, "rightwing extremists" deemed a domestic terror threat by the incumbent government.
This irony is reinforced by the fact that the Bush/Cheney wing of the conservative movement champions the use of torture techniques that were devised by Soviet and Chinese Communists for use against American military personnel, as well as one particular method -- controlled drowning, also known as "waterboarding" -- that was favored by Cambodia's hyper-murderous Khmer Rouge.
It didn't work then, either: Waterboarding as carried out by U.S. and allied troops in Vietnam.
Twenty years ago, as the Soviet Empire began to implode, many people -- myself among them -- objected to the fact that the term "conservative" was routinely used in the media to describe the most doctrinaire elements of the Communist Party.
The remnants of the Republican-centered conservative movement appear determined to vindicate that useage as they rally in defense of the Leninist principle of unfettered state power vested in an executive oligarchy, and the practice of torture as the defining privilege of that ruling elite.
One of the brightest luminaries in the conservative blogosphere insists that any effort to prosecute Bush administration officials for ordering and carrying out torture is nothing less than an effort "to criminalize what are essentially policy differences."
Ah, yes, of course: When crimes are committed by governments, they are magically transformed into "policy." So when a Republican administration institutionalizes the use of torture techniques that were prosecuted as war crimes following WWII, we're to believe that those crimes were sanitized through the redemptive power of the executive branch.
Some of the more sophisticated members of the GOP's PR apparat -- for instance, attorneys David Rivkin and Lee Casey, who served in the first Bush administration and defended every expansion of presidential power under Bush II -- took a Baghdad Bob approach (that is, brazen, defiant denial of the obvious) in dealing with recently disclosed memoranda and other documents relating to the Bush administration's torture program.
Following the document dump, Rivkin and Casey blandly insisted that "The Memos Prove We Didn't Torture" because, inter alia, the illegal "enhanced interrogation" methods used by the CIA weren't carried out to the uttermost extremes permitted by "policy." (This reminds me of Cicero's ironic observation in one of his Philippics that the tyrant Antony occasionally refrained from murdering people, then demanded honor as a humanitarian for sparing their lives.)
Besides, Rivkin and Casey continue, the use of "enhanced" interrogation techniques (which is exactly the same phrase, translated from the German, that the Nazis used to describe exactly the same methods) saved us from a post-911 "second wave" of terrorist attacks.
For example, the repeated waterboarding of al-Qaeda thug Khalid Sheik Mohammed supposedly helped abort a plot involving "the crashing of another airplane into a building in Los Angeles." The inclusion of that detail demonstrates the patent dishonesty of Rivlin and Casey's argument (an old Bush White House soundbite that was also regurgitated by former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen), since Mohammed wasn't captured until more than a year after the supposed plot to bomb L.A. was foiled.
It is now clear to the point of being irrefutable that the origins of the Bush administration's torture program had nothing to do with protecting the United States from al-Qaeda terrorist plots. Instead, the objective was to compel detainees to provide "confirmation" of a supposed operational connection between Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda, thereby forging (in the sense of "fabricating") a link to 9-11 that would offer a pretext for the war Bush and his handlers plotted even before they were settled in at the White House.
How the Khmer Rouge did it: Waterboarding as practiced by the murderous Cambodian Communists.
This is an entirely appropriate -- which is to say, Soviet-inspired -- use of torture. As a method of extracting reliable intelligence, torture is notoriously ineffective and counter-productive. But it is a splendidly effective way to extort false confessions from victims.
As employed under Stalin, the Soviet methods that inspired Bush's torture program were intended to ratify the policy decisions of the ruling elite, not to acquire objective intelligence that might contradict the designs of the Dear Leader and his comrades.
Vladimir Bukovsky, the heroic former Soviet dissident who was sentenced to the psychiatric gulag in the mid-1960s, warned in 2005 that institutionalizing torture would corrupt and ultimately ruin whatever law enforcement or intelligence body carried it out. It would cultivate an entire population of professional torturers, individuals whose work requires them to emancipate the worst elements of human nature for use against the helpless.
Not mentioned by Bukovsky, but becoming apparent now, is the damage that a program of torture can do to principled people who refuse to carry it out.
The suicide of Army Spec. Alyssa Peterson, which I described nearly three years ago and is receiving renewed attention now, was her desperate, despairing reaction to orders that she participate in the torture of detainees in Iraq. The Pentagon reacted to her death by carrying out the now-expected cover-up, which included destroying all of the critical records of the "interrogations" she refused to participate in.
Like others in the employ of governments throughout history who rebelled at carrying out the order to torture other human beings, Spec. Peterson was able to recognize that even the enemy is made in the image of God. Torture is the repudiation of this idea of shared humanity; it treats the victim as something to be molded, through pain and terror, into a shape more compatible with the State's designs. But that process inevitably re-shapes those who carry out the torture as well.
The torture regime created under Bush and Cheney implicated the political leadership in both branches of the Ruling Party. Its infection has deeply penetrated the tissue of the Homeland Security system. It has created what could become a self-sustaining corps of professional torturers whose depraved talents will not be employed only against foreigners, but will very quickly become "policy" in dealing with certain troublesome elements among the citizenry as well. That corps, incidentally, includes a large number of medical professionals who -- in a collectivist perversion of their Hippocratic obligations, collaborated in the torture of detainees -- including, God forgive us, children who were seized in order to gain blackmail leverage over a parent.
In a profoundly sobering essay published by Foreign Policy, former Bush administration National Security Council member Philip Zelikow points out that there simply is no legal firewall protecting U.S. citizens from the torture methods used against foreign terrorist suspects.
Referring to the series of legal memoranda issued by Jay Bybee, John Yoo, and others in the Bush administration's Office of Legal Counsel, Zelikow observes: "Once you get to a substantive compliance analysis for `cruel, inhuman, and degrading' you get the position that the substantive standard is analogous to U.S. constitutional law. So the OLC must argue, in effect, that the methods and conditions of confinement in the CIA program could constitutionally be inflicted on American citizens in a county jail."
"In other words," he concludes, under the official assumptions embedded during the Bush administration, "Americans in any town could constitutionally be hung from the ceiling naked, sleep deprived, water-boarded, and all the rest -- if the alleged national security justification was compelling."
During the Cold War, there was never any realistic prospect that the Red Army would conquer the United States. In much the same fashion, it is entirely inconceivable that Sharia law will be imposed on Americans any time in the foreseeable future.
But owing to the triumph of totalitarian "conservatism" during the Bush era, it's all but inevitable that, in the near future, innocent Americans who fall into the hands of their own government will be subject to Soviet-style "enhanced interrogation" techniques. It turns out that the United States did indeed "overtake" the Soviets after all.
Obiter dicta --
For those who are interested, I've been regularly submitting items over at Lew Rockwell's blog. Please check out the Liberty Minute archive, as well.
On sale now.
Dum spiro, pugno!
Posted by: Keith Humphrey
on Nov 29, 2008
When Israel conquered idol-worshiping nations, rather than casting away the worthless idols of their defeated adversaries, they assimilated them. The idols that failed to deliver the heathen from defeat became the snares for the people who once trusted in the one true God. In the past century, America has prevailed against the ideologies of Fascism and Socialism, but only to gradually assimilate, and eventually embrace them.
It is easy for anyone with a government-school education to denigrate the German people, but not many consider the real strength and vitality of Nazi Germany, and the belief they had that their Third Reich could last for a thousand years. How do you think the people of the Soviet Union felt to see their empire disintegrate around them, who thought it would outlast all other nations? Empires collapse, nations fall, and people who trust in a lie will ultimately be ashamed.
Those who understand the times have become increasingly alarmed by the accelerating decline of America, and the thick darkness that has blanketed the Christian churches. There has been more talk these days about economic collapse, supply shortages, civil unrest, totalitarian oppression, and the shift towards global government. People react as if it were the end of the world, but it is not. It is only the beginning of the end of the American Empire. We should not be alarmed at these things, as if the world had fallen from the hands of providence. This would not be the first global government. There is nothing new under the sun.
Consider the young men of the Babylonian captivity. They were deprived of their homeland, their property, their families, their freedom, and their manhood. They were forced into life-long slavery to a totalitarian global dictator, who commanded all people to worship an image of himself on pain of death. Compliance was universal. There was no place for them to run or hide. They stood strong and defiant, and they were delivered. This was a classic example of interposition, nullification, separation, and deliverance. Under the Medo-Persian global empire, when prayer to God was outlawed, Daniel continued to pray in plain view, and in bold defiance of the law. In the aftermath of the Macedonian global empire, Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the temple and sought to abolish worship of the one true God. Judas Maccabeus and his followers resisted to the utmost, using guerrilla warfare tactics against the occupying enemy forces. In the world government of Rome, the apostle Paul went straight into the belly of the beast, to testify before Caesar, willing to lay down his life in furtherance of the gospel.
Fear is not a Christian virtue. While there is a certain wisdom in making what preparations we can, as when Joseph laid in store for the famine he knew was coming, there is a deeper wisdom in making preparations that will preserve our lives until the world to come. Let us cast our cares upon God, and seize opportunities to lay up treasure in heaven while it is yet day. Let us not fear those who can only kill the body; and let us invest our lives securely in Christ, that they might be preserved unto life eternal.
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