Friday, December 31, 2010

WikiLeaks, Secrecy States and the Call for Blood

Leave it to veteran pacifist David McReynolds to point out the pathology of the right's latest calls for violence. David has been emailing a group including me almost daily pointing out the ways in which right wing hawks' current call for blood is the culmination of the the violent secrecy state. At a time when almost 20% of Americans are unemployed, underemployed, and in general, employment-challenged; at a time when we are fighting two illegal wars and watching our domestic infrastructure crumble and social programs dry up because of it; after we've suffered the worst oceanic oil disaster in human history; what does the right do? Call for the assassination and/or execution of people leaking and disseminating classified documents. Rather than being outraged at the content of the documents, conservatives want to send one of our James Bonds out to assassinate the founder of the web page releasing that information.

This isn't just a couple of over-exposed loonies, not the hideous hybrid created by the joining of Ann Coulter and Michael Savage, not just Alan Dershowitz writing another book. The calls for assassination are coming out of the conservative woodwork. It's crass opportunism rather than sound policy analysis, of course, but it provides further proof that, as conservatism circles the drain, its adherents will go to ever greater lengths to demonstrate their verility and marketability. Nor should we forget that what passes for analysis from the conservative side is mostly provided by politicians who are receiving bonifide paychecks from Fox News.

As I said on Wednesday's podcast, Bradley Manning is the whipping boy for the secrecy state. Even if the "limited" solitary confinement of Manning is not torture, it's not clear what the policy purpose of such confinement is if it's _not_ punitive. And, of course, if it is punitive, it is unconstitutional and even violates the UCMJ's Article 13: "No person, while being held for trial, may be subjected to punishment or penalty other than arrest or confinement upon the charges pending against him, nor shall the arrest or confinement imposed upon him be any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence..."

Unnecessary, unlawful confinement and drain-circling political figures trying to make their name, or keep their name, by calling for murder: These are the whines of a dying military-industrial complex and spokespersons desperate to make a few more bucks before the collapse of empire. We need to keep articulating the alternatives in 2011.

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