First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
“My friend Lisa first shared that quote with me long ago. Like me she started protesting and sounding the warning alarms long before the rest of the world woke up and realized how bad things were going to get. Like me, she ran a website along with a third friend, Mike. Together we raised our little voices up in protest.
And we raised our little voices up a little too loudly. The websites and the commentary and the protests that we shared were deemed belligerent. We were all deemed to be, “non-state actors” who possessed the “potential for the dissemination of ideas and information not consistent with US government themes and messages, commonly known as free speech.”
So we were all taken out; taken into….custody. I don’t know where they are and they don’t know where I am. I’m here in the Coleman Federal Adjustment Camp with no connection to the outside world and no way for the outside world to contact me. I may never experience freedom again. I may never see the outside world, the world beyond the fences and the concertina wire.”
I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say, but it’s the honest to God truth. Oh sure, I’ve heard the stories of joy and redemption and inspiration from other fathers, and I certainly wish I could identify with them, but I can’t. For me the birth of my first child, my son, brought nothing but the most profound sadness and wretched, gripping grief into my life. I wasn’t there the day my son was born. I’ve never seen his face or heard his cry. I wasn’t there when he took his first breath and I couldn’t share in that moment when his life came screaming into the world.
Instead, I was locked away, a prisoner from the world. I have not been charged with any crime and, to the best of my knowledge, I won’t ever have the privilege of a trial. The worst of it all however is that I’m locked away here, stuck in limbo—a prisoner subject to indefinite political detention. Even though I have committed no crime I have no idea when, or if, I will ever be released from here….or whether I will ever get the chance to see my lifeblood, my first born son.
First They Came For The Lawyers…..
By the time President Barak Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 in late 2011, any thinking person who cared to pay attention understood the law contained provisions that would allow the United States government to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely with no evidence, with no charges and with no trial. In the months between when the legislation was debated in Congress and eventually signed by the President several loud voices were howling in protest about the new law, warning that it ushered in a dangerous and unprecedented new era of government-sponsored terror and that we would all eventually pay a heavy price for the unfettered power the legislation gave to the government.
But not enough people cared to get involved. There were no protests. There was no uproar. In a country with more than 300 million people hardly anyone spoke out at all. And so, with the stroke of a pen in late 2011, the President who promised to usher in a new era of openness and dialogue and respect for human rights enacted a law that utterly decimated the most fundamental American right, the right to live free in a nation that respected the due process of law.
According to official Soviet estimates, more than 14 million were sent to the Gulag between 1929 and 1953, with another 7 to 8 million deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union. It is estimated that up to 43% of them died of diseases or malnutrition. But, all of that was only the tip of the iceberg… en total, it is estimated that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of some 60 million people. (Martin Andelman)
Even the most paranoid and conspiratorial were not prepared to suggest that the passage of the NDAA was going to lead to a Stalin-scaled Bolshevik Revolution within the United States of America but when you become the target of the Section 1031 of the NDAA, it didn’t matter how many other people are were joining you on the government-sponsored trip to hell. But in the years leading up to the passage of the NDAA, the United States of America practiced establishing and running real world incarnations of hell, both on American soil and abroad.
Hello Lt. Kaffee, What Brings You Here to Shangra La?
The Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility was a special version of hell created right here on earth just a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida. In the years after 9/11, the United States Government used the camp to house, detain and torture a total of 775 men who were deemed enemy combatants of the United States of America. It is absolutely undisputed that the vast majority of prisoners held in the facility were released without being charged and that they were subjected to torture, administered by the United States government, while they were guests on the tropical resort called Gitmo. By the time Section 1031 of the NDAA was signed into law, we had all seen the images of the Gitmo prisoners in their bright red jumpsuits. We all knew that these prisoners had been subjected to torture and unspeakable abuses, but save a few voices, no one cared to take any sort of a stand in opposition. Instead all of America stood silently as images of Gitmo flashed across the evening news….after all, these animals were Enemies of The State…..Right?
Of course, we all know that this is not the case at all. We all now know that while some of America’s guests at Gitmo did indeed harbor ill will toward this nation, too many of them were released without charge…their closest connection to being any real danger to this country was the thought crimes they most certainly committed. And if the United States Government were able to unilaterally determine that citizens of other countries were enemies of the state, use this determination to kidnap them, hold them hostage with no trial and torture them, then why should any American not think that such extreme measures would eventually be used against us?
In considering this, it is important to keep in mind that many of the 775 prisoners that were housed at Gitmo did nothing more than think bad thoughts about the United States of America, say bad things about the United States of America and associate with other people who did the same things. And while the Gitmo prisoners probably expressed fairly radicalized views of America, no one really knows whether the thought crimes they were tortured for were any more damming than the kind of critical political speech people like me were engaging in on a regular basis…and my political speech was even more controversial and dangerous to my personal liberty because I dared to challenge not just the government itself but also the businesses with unlimited resources that bought and controlled every single aspect of our government.
Free Speech…Trust Me, It Ain’t Free At All
I had long ago disregarded as foolish and naive anyone who didn’t fully accept the absolute, undeniable fact that the United States of America had become completely corrupted and that our allegedly representative democracy was for sale at all levels. Laws and lawmakers were bought and sold. Prosecutions could be avoided and persecutions directed by campaign contributions. Elections were no longer contests to express the will of the people, they were contrived ceremonies, orchestrated by those in power who sought to consecrate a more perfect union between corporation and state. It drove me absolutely bonkers that the vast majority of Americans cared more about Dancing With the Stars or the National Football League than something that really mattered like the pervasive corruption and absolute evil that that had infiltrated and destroyed a theory of government that was once the envy of all the world.
Be sure to read the rest of Matt’s “vision” here…