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Before 9/11, They "Branded" To Make Examples of People Who Asked the Questions We've Asked & Made The Observations We've Made

Guest Tom Scully

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Guest Tom Scully

Before 9/11 :

..What do you do when you're branded, Will you fight for your name?"..

This is the opinion of a wikipedia "minder" who controls (prohibits) edits of the Lee Harvey Oswald page. In this wiki editors mind, he is "neutral" in his perspective because he fully buys into the method of "branding" people of the opinions and methods of inquiry I, and many of you, subscribe to. This "branding" works, it shuts most people up. No one wants to be "branded" as a fringe conspiracy theorist, especially merely for the offense of asking for evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. But, that is "fringe" thinking, fringe behavior, and it helps to explain why the LHO page on wiki, stinks.:


Talk:Lee Harvey Oswald

...Read through the long discussion above, for starters, to see why this is so complicated. As you will see in the discussion, those who think Oswald didn't shoot and kill Kennedy are at the fringe even among conspiracy theorists -- most conspiracy theories revolve around the idea that he was encouraged or helped (the help sometimes theorized to extend to there having been a second gunman somewhere) a/o that Ruby's killing of LHO was part of some coverup, a/o you name it. So the question in crafting a lead is how to treat, not some question of whether Oswald killed Kennedy, but the question of whether he was alone in doing so. That's what people get so upset about....

Now that guy is convinced he is equipped with a neutral, POV. Since 9/11, "branding" is passe, intimidation is the new technique, designed to stop you before your start!:


Monday, Jan 10, 2011 07:11 ET

Government-created climate of fear

One of the more eye-opening events for me of 2010 occurred in March, when I first wrote about WikiLeaks and the war the Pentagon was waging on it

(as evidenced by its classified 2008 report branding the website an enemy and planning how to destroy it).

At the time, few had heard of the group -- it was before it had released the video of the Apache helicopter attack -- but I nonetheless believed it could perform vitally important functions and thus encouraged readers to donate to it and otherwise support it. In response, there were numerous people -- via email, comments, and other means -- who expressed a serious fear of doing so: they were worried that donating money to a group so disliked by the government would cause them to be placed on various lists or, worse, incur criminal liability for materially supporting a Terrorist organization.

...But more significant than the legal soundness of this fear was what the fear itself signified. Most of those expressing these concerns were perfectly rational, smart, well-informed American citizens. And yet they were petrified that merely donating money to a non-violent political and journalistic group whose goals they supported would subject them to invasive government scrutiny or, worse, turn them into criminals. A government can guarantee all the political liberties in the world on paper (free speech, free assembly, freedom of association), but if it succeeds in frightening the citizenry out of exercising those rights, they become meaningless.

So much of what the U.S. Government has done over the last decade has been devoted to creating and strengthening this climate of fear. Attacking Iraq under the terrorizing banner of "shock and awe"; disappearing people to secret prisons; abducting them and shipping them to what Newsweek's Jonathan Alter (when advocating this) euphemistically called "our less squeamish allies";

throwing them in cages for years without charges, dressed in orange jumpsuits and shackles; creating a worldwide torture regime; spying on Americans without warrants and asserting the power to arrest them on U.S. soil without charges: all of this had one overarching objective. It was designed to create a climate of repression and intimidation by signaling to the world -- and its own citizens -- that the U.S. was unconstrained by law, by conventions, by morality, or by anything else: the government would do whatever it wanted to anyone it wanted, and those thinking about opposing the U.S. in any way, through means legitimate or illegitimate, should (and would) thus think twice, at least.

That a large percentage of those brutalized by this system turned out to be innocent

-- knowingly innocent -- is a feature, not a bug: that one can end up being subjected to these lawless horrors despite doing nothing wrong only intensifies the fear and makes it more effective. The power being asserted is not merely unlimited and tyrannical, but arbitrary. And now, the Obama administration's citizen-aimed, due-process-free assassination program, its orgies of drone attacks, its defense of radically broad interpretations of "material support" criminal statutes, and its disturbing targeting of American anti-war activists with subpoenas and armed police raids are all part of the same tactic....

UPDATE: 4 related items: (1) The Los Angeles Times has a surprisingly strong editorial today condemning what it calls the "indefensible" conditions of Bradley Manning's detention; (2) McClatchy's Nancy Youssef has a very good article examining why American journalists -- in contrast to journalists from around the world -- refuse to defend WikiLeaks from government attacks; (3) Forbes notes

that in the wake of speculation that the DOJ's pursuit of Twitter data may include the names of those who follow WikiLeaks on Twitter (I personally don't think it does include that), WikiLeaks quickly lost 3,000 followers on Twitter, presumably people now too afraid to continue to follow them; and (4) The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg notes the latest glorious milestone of our National Security State: "Guantanamo prison camps enter their 10th year tomorrow."

More: Glenn Greenwald

Edited by Tom Scully
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