Friday, January 27, 2017

Jacob G. Hornberger: Copying the communists

  The biggest mistake the American people ever made was the conversion of the federal government from a constitutionally limited republic to a national-security state, a type of governmental apparatus that characterizes totalitarian regimes. A national-security state consists of a large, permanent military establishment and a secretive “intelligence” agency with omnipotent powers and whose purported mission is to gather “intelligence” about supposed threats to the country.

  That fateful decision ended up costing the American people their founding governmental structure of a republic. Even worse, it stultified the consciences of the American people, leading them to defer blindly to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA as those three components of the national-security establishment led the country increasingly toward the dark side that characterizes totalitarian regimes.

  A few days ago, the Washington Post reported on the travails of Li Chunfu, a Chinese lawyer who was recently released after 500 days in secret detention by the communist regime that rules China. Described by the Post as a “lively and tough human rights lawyer” before he was incarcerated, he came out of jail as a “thin, pale and sick man, a fearful and paranoid person who seemed to have been broken by the system.”

  He wasn’t the only one. According to the Post, there were 300 other lawyers who were rounded up in July 2015 as part of a nationwide crackdown on independent-minded lawyers who favor a judiciary that is independent of the executive part of the government.

  No judicially-issued arrest warrants. No formal criminal charges. No due process of law. No grand jury indictment. No habeas corpus. No trial by jury. No civil lawsuits for kidnapping or unlawful detention.

  Just raw governmental power, the type of omnipotent power that characterizes communist and other totalitarian regimes.

  That wasn’t all. The Post writes: “In statements to the China Change website, relatives and fellow lawyers said Li had been severely tortured and drugged during detention.”

  There is something important to note: Like the United States, China is a national-security state. Like the United States, it has a large, permanent military establishment and a secretive national intelligence force with omnipotent powers.

  The thing is this: China’s treatment of Li and those other innocent Chinese lawyers should not surprise us. After all, this is a communist regime we are talking about. That’s the type of things that communist and other totalitarian regimes are known for.

  What should shock the consciences of the American people is the fact that their government — the U.S. government — does the same things as the communists in China.

  Torture? It has been part and parcel of the U.S. military and CIA since the Vietnam War and even before.

  Assassination, which is really nothing more than legalized murder, has also been part and parcel of the U.S. national-security state since at least 1953, when the CIA established a secret kill list of Guatemalan officials to be assassinated during a regime change operation that destroyed the country’s democratic system.

  MKULTRA, the CIA’s medical experimentation program that would have made any communist and, for that matter, any Nazi, ache with envy. After the program came to light, the CIA ordered the destruction of all MKULTRA records so that Americans would never learn the full extent of what CIA officials had done and to whom they had done it. Needless to say, no one got punished for that intentional destruction.

  Secret surveillance, especially by the NSA, so thorough and complete that the surveillance conducted by the Gestapo and the KGB pales to insignificance in comparison.

  Look at the Pentagon-CIA torture center and prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. It is a mirror image of how the Chinese communist regime has treated Li Chunfu. Indefinite detention, in some cases far exceeding the 500 days that Li was incarcerated. Torture. Kangaroo legal proceedings. Denial of speedy trial. Denial of due process of law. The use of evidence acquired by torture. The use of hearsay. Denial of trial by jury. Judgments and orders brought about by political pressure. Extra-judicial executions.

  And now, reflecting the ever-increasing militarization of America and the glorification of the national-security state that the federal government has become, Americans will soon be beholding the spectacle of military parades all across America, enabling them to ogle all the weaponry and express gratitude for all the torture, assassinations, and destruction of civil liberties that have come with a national-security state.

  Now is the time for some serious soul-searching and exercise of conscience on the part of the American people. Americans need to be asking themselves some critically important questions.

  Should the U.S. government be torturing people and keeping them incarcerated indefinitely without benefit of due process of law and trial by jury, as the Chinese communist regime has done to Li Chunfu?

  Should the U.S. government be assassinating people and engaging in extra-judicial executions?

  Should the U.S. government be spying on the American people?

  Should the U.S. government be affecting regime-change operations and otherwise interfering with the political processes of other countries?

  Should the U.S. government be supporting brutal dictatorships with U.S. taxpayer money and U.S.-taxpayer provided weaponry?

  Indeed, is it time for the American people to recapture their founding principles and convert the federal government from a Cold War-era national-security state back to the constitutional republic that was bequeathed to us by America’s Founding Fathers?

  About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

  This article was published by The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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