Terrorist or Patriot?

Every American could – literally – be labeled a suspected terrorist under current governmental criteria.

Specifically, the following actions may get a U.S. citizen labeled as a suspected terrorist today:

Holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:

See Something, Act Like a Snitch in Nazi Germany, Stasi East Germany or Iraq

I initially thought that Paul Joseph Watson was overreacting when he claimed that a Homeland Security video paints the following activities as signs of potential terrorism:

  • Opposing surveillance
  • Talking to police officers
  • Wearing a hoodie
  • Driving a van
  • Writing on a piece of paper

But Watson makes a brilliant point about Homeland Security’s “See Something Say Something”campaign, and how accusations of terrorism actually spread:

As Robert Gellately of Florida State University has highlighted, Germans under Hitler denounced their neighbors and friends not because they genuinely believed them to be a security threat, but because they expected to selfishly benefit from doing so, both financially, socially and psychologically via a pavlovian need to be rewarded by their masters for their obedience.

At the height of its influence around one in seven of the East German population was an informant for the Stasi. As in Nazi Germany, the creation of an informant system was wholly centered around identifying political dissidents and those with grievances against the state, and had little or nothing to do with genuine security concerns. [Indeed, the American government has been using anti-terror laws to crush dissent and to help the too big to fail businesses compete against smaller businesses (and see this. And the Department of Homeland Security has been distracted by activities which have very little to do with terrorism.)]

This is the kind of society the Department of Homeland Security is, whether deliberately or inadvertently, recreating in 21st century America.

Gellately’s website notes:

“I started to read these files about all the victims in just one region of Germany that the Gestapo had processed,” Gellately says. “It would have taken a large force of secret police to collect information on so many people. I needed to know just how many secret police there really were. So I asked an elderly gentleman who would’ve lived through those times, and he replied, ‘They were everywhere!’”

That was the prevailing myth.

“But I had evidence right there in my hands that supported a different story,” Gellately explains. “There were relatively few secret police, and most were just processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact. It wasn’t the secret police who were doing this wide-scale surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary German people who were informing on their neighbors.”

***

As he was uncovering who was acting as the Gestapo’s unsolicited agents, he also began to discern what motivated neighbor to inform on neighbor. The surviving myth told the story of informers who were motivated either by a commitment to the Third Reich or by a fear of authority.

But the motives Gellately found were banal—greed, jealousy, and petty differences.

He found cases of partners in business turning in associates to gain full ownership; jealous boyfriends informing on rival suitors; neighbors betraying entire families who chronically left shared bathrooms unclean or who occupied desirable apartments.

And then there were those who informed because for the first time in their lives someone in authority would listen to them and value what they said.

***

Backing Hitler also challenges conventional views on the nature of modern dictatorships. Perhaps as a way for us to believe that “it couldn’t happen here,” we have viewed the Holocaust as an atrocity that was the work of a handful of evil men. Gellately, however, presents persuasive evidence that Hitler and the Third Reich were able to build a consensus for their policies.

“They began with small violations of the rights of Jews and other minorities, and then ratcheted up their racism and persecution only when they saw implied consent from the German people.” Gellately says. “Many Germans disapproved of Hitler’s fascism and brutality, at first. But after the long economic depression following the First World War, the German people allowed the thriving economy and return to law and order under Hitler to mute their concerns. People had jobs and the streets were safe. Hitler was managing a fine balance of consent and coercion.”

The same dynamic played out in Iraq. People turned their neighbors in to the American military pretending they were Al Qaeda, based on petty jealousies or just wanting to get a reward. Specifically, neutral observers say that most of the Iraqis tortured in Iraq were innocent farmers, villagers, or those against whom neighbors held a grudge. Iraqis received a cash reward from the U.S. military for turning people in as “suspected terrorists”. See this movie.

The number two man at the State Department under Colin Powell (Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson), the commander of the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and official U.S. military records all confirm that virtually all of the people turned in and subsequently tortured were innocent.

Courtesy of http://www.infowars.com

2 responses to “Terrorist or Patriot?

  1. Common sense says that this should rule me out as a terrorist:
    http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Pacifism-Fruit-Narrow-ebook/dp/B005RIKH62/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329238377&sr=8-1
    But that also makes me fit into some of your categories above.

    Of course, common sense has been officially banned from all government training of bureacrats. You ought to see the Catch 22s placed on the return path of the wife of a U.S. citizen who has her permanent resident card. A citizen’s spouse is treated worse than the average immigrant.

  2. Pingback: the Knowledge of Good and Eve: a parable about Ron Paul, myths, and Santa « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality

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