Saturday, October 27, 2007

Intimidating & Silencing Peace Activists

There are number of ways in which a government can intimidate & silence the voices of dissent in a country .We know this for example by the way in which the Soviet Union or the current regime in Burma have dealt with dissidents - from the extremes of imprisonment & torture & murder to characterizing the dissenters as irresponsible as not knowing the facts to being insane or immoral or as crazy anarchist who wish only to destroy the country in which they live , as being unpatriotic & dangerous or as working for the enemy as Fifth Columnists which many were accused of in the McCarthy Era in the United States -

The authorities can use legal means to try to intimidate & hopefully silence dissenters & dissidents . They can also pressure the media so that certain stories do not receive wide coverage or that dissidents are not given a fair hearing in the media .

For instance in the United States when there have been massive demonstrations against the War in Iraq the Media has down-played the numbers involved - if a hundred thousand march the media characterizes the march as being in the thousands - if a million across the country in different cities on the same day march the media says tens of thousands marched across the country etc.
Or for example when a small group taking part in a march throw rocks & bottles at police or soldiers the media describes all of the marchers of becoming extremely violent & belligerent -

The old standby which seems to work best is for the media in an interview to question the loyalty & patriotism of those who actually question the policies of the current regime as we saw in the clip of Bill O'Reilly interviewing & then attacking former Col. Ann Wright who is an anti-war activist & in that piece O'Reilly cuts her microphone off as if she were some sort of ranting loon.( which one might expect if the individual were some Nazi White Supremacists nut job or whatever but not when the individual who has some credentials & experience which lends some authority to what they are talking about so Bill does not like Military officers who do not agree with him or his holier than thou president Bush that is who gets his orders direct from God )

One wonders if our society that is in Canada & the United States now sees anyone who disagrees with the present Regimes foreign policies or who dares to question these Regimes actions regarding renditions & torture as unreasonable. This is the tactic of saying all reasonable people in Canada or the United States agree that the War in Iraq is just & necessary & that renditions & torture are absolutely necessary & only those who are disloyal & unpatriotic would question these policies .

As for the War in Iraq what the media has done is to sanitize the war as if only a few people have been killed some 4,000 Americans & maybe ten to 15, 000 Iraqis when in fact well over 6000,000 Iraqis have been killed since the Americans invaded & occupied Iraq which is a sovereign nation -

The other tactic used by the governments involved is to claim that the problem in Iraq is the Iraqi people who are a brutal, barbaric , soulless people & therefore deserve what they get - Iraq in other words would be a better country if there were a lot fewer Iraqis or better still no Iraqis - go figure-

This reminds one of the attitude of the European settlers in North & South America who believed that the Americas would be better off without the Native Americans that is the 'Indigenous Peoples ' so the Europeans being superiour to all other peoples exterminated those pesky 'Indigenous Peoples - is that what The Bush Regime & the Neocons are trying to do in Iraq wipe out as many Iraqis as necessary so the Americans can take full advantage of the natural resources of Iraq while preparing to do the same if possible in Iran or Syria-

Medea Benjamin of the Anti-war group CODEPINK on Hannity & Colmes

Hannity characterizes the actions of Code Pink activists at a local recruiting outlet as the destruction of property & an attack on the US military & as denying the right of the military officials to speak their piece as if the American administration & the US military does not have a significant voice in America & in the Media who often act as shills for the Bush Regime-

- But what did the Code Pink do that could be considered immoral & criminal- The Code Pink anti-war activists wrote with chalk on the side of a building & put up hand written posters which could easily be taken down - they didn't use spray paint or smash the windows or beat up recruiters .

Meanwhile Colmes characterizes the protest against the War in Iraq as anti-us military & as unpatriotic - or to put it another way since it is because of the current administration & the US military that Americans have freedom of speech in Colmes ' view they therefore shouldn't use their freedom of speech to criticize in any way shape or form the US military or the US government - so what's the point of freedom of speech if one can't use it to criticize the policies of those in authority - what in the world is Colmes & Hannity talking about -
Further it is surely wrong to imply that to question a particular US administration's policies is therefore to question the very existence of the United States or the US Military.

And to question how the US military is acting in Iraq during this war is not to condemn all of the current & past members of the US military.
Are Hannity & Colmes suggesting that one can speak out in America exercising their first amendment rights only if they speak out about less important issues & especially not on issues which are characterized as pertaining to national security -

They forget that sometimes in order to protest against certain policies or laws that one may need to break other laws in order to be heard or noticed.
Hannity & Colmes therefore must see the Civil Rights movement & its members as immoral criminals out to destroy America & the American Way of Life which many Americans believed was just wonderful the way it was & only unpatriotic Americans would insist on changing it .For they surely must believe that the activist in the South in the 1950s & 1960s who broke segregationist laws were not decent & good law-abiding Americans .

But sometimes in order to change laws which are unjust one has to take action & sometimes break laws in order to get media attention & to wake the nation's citizinry up as in waking Americans up to the injustices of the Jim Crow laws & eventually have these laws overturned -

So many Americans like Hannity & Colmes or Bill O'Reilly & other Media shills I guess like J. Edgar Hoover they must believe that Martin Luther King was America's no. 1 criminal & enemy of the State & that the Black Americans who were hosed down in the streets who were set upon by attack dogs or who were whipped & beaten or even shot to death must have deserved it - is this really what the Neocons & their media & the Religious Right believe -

Mahatma Gandhi used the tactic of civil disobedience to try to change unjust laws under British Rule & to get the British out of India.
In Burma the Buddhist monks led illegal protest in the vain hope of overthrowing the illegitimate Junta Regime-
But the problem is that those who believe in the absolute right of the rule of law see no difference between any ordinary law breaker & those who take part in " Civil Disobedience " & even those who take part in legal protests if what they are protesting against is accepted as true or just by the majority or even a large powerful minority in a country -

Anyway here are a few more video clips of interest:

Col. Ann Wright : Demanding the end of American War Crimes.

October 23rd 2007 - video of Medea Benjamin and CODEPINK delivering a petition with 20,000 signatures to the Canadian Embassy in response to peace activists being denied entrance into Canada.

Wednesday October 24th 2007

Medea Benjamin was filmed making statements about her unlawful arrest after being removed from a Congressional hearing for holding up a peace sign.

American Peace activist Rev. Lennox Yearwood attacked, arrested and hospitalized

Rev. Yearwood said as he was being released from the hospital to be taken to central booking, "The officers decided I was not going to get in Gen. Petreaus' hearing when they saw my button, which says 'I LOVE THE PEOPLE OF IRAQ.'"

Capitol Police are not saying what the charges are, but an inside source has said that the charge is assaulting a police officer. Rev. Yearwood is scheduled to be transferred to Central Processing to be arraigned tomorrow morning.

Take care,

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