“Terrorism” is now a fabrication of a national security state

This is not a conspiracy theory. To say that terrorism is a fabrication of a national security state is to say that when the label “terrorist” starts being indiscriminately applied to anyone who threatens the government we have taken another step towards totalitarianism.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, is calling for WikiLeaks to be designated a terrorist organization.

At Slate, David Weigel writes:

As Republicans come into power, they’re going to explore what can be done. They can’t do much. But let’s be honest. The quest to find some way to define Assange’s group as terrorists is not about fighting terrorism. It’s about indulging the fantasy, well put by Cornell law professor William Jacobson, of Assange being hunted down like a Robert Ludlum villain and possibly “killed while resisting arrest.”

And all of this assumes there’s something talismanic about declaring someone a “terrorist.” In reality, American agents could capture any boogeyman they wanted and prosecute him in the United States. The 1992 decision in U.S. v. Alvarez-Machain affirmed that the government was within its rights when a Mexican citizen was abducted and brought to the U.S. to be tried for the murder of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent. “We have kidnapped people to bring them to justice,” explains David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown. “Whether it applies in this case, I don’t know.”

It probably doesn’t. What’s being lost in the James Bond scenarios about taking down WikiLeaks is that its current, highly embarrassing leaks don’t actually threaten American intelligence assets. They create problems for diplomats, and by extension they embarrass the United States. They cause the State Department to lose face. That’s not terrorism as we define it.

So how does King or anyone else turn Julian Assange into a terrorist? They either have to define terrorism in some real way that would eventually open up media organizations to terror charges of their own, or WikiLeaks actually has to do something materially to benefit terrorists. Neither scenario seems likely. What is likely: None of this gets past the shouting stage.

Weigel’s analysis may be sound in the short term but the broader question is not legal. It is whether in American popular discourse the term “terrorist” continues to acquire legitimacy in broader and broader applications or whether those who criticize the term’s flagrant abuse are able to shout louder and get more widely heard. So far the terrorists are winning.

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Comments

  1. If Assange is a terrorist the US is the epitome of terror.

  2. From a guy who cares so little about spying on the US that he wants to have Jonathan Pollard pardoned, this latest call from Mr. King is indeed surprising.

  3. DE Teodoru says

    So what did Wikileaks leak?
    (a) low level cable traffic and “up-to” reports showing two things:
    1. our .gov bureaucracy is full of “bend over” job acquire-ers who enjoy the fruit of cover-up through arrogance and bravado;
    2. a massive bureaucratic machine of ass-coverers whose main answer to consistent below the norm performance is: our allies are all jerks….
    (b) when a whole machine’s parts are defective, the product of that machine is inevitably defective.

    For a decade the “ain’t my kid going to war” disconnected sunshine-patriots have willfully elected to postpone inevitable defeat of our dying Rome-like incompetent generals over saving the lives of our mom and dad soldiers from the incompetence of their ass-kissing political commanders. Everything that had made America “mankind’s single greatest hope” has been devoured by corporate cannibalism. Americans are pissing on the Founding Fathers’ graves by considering their inherited precious freedoms and dignities as mere commodities to be sold to the highest bidder. We are educated by schools and home cable TV through an advertising medium so geared towards idiots that we in effect consider idiocy the national standard of “adequately acceptable.”

    Wikilieaks offers us no big secrets from within the strategic level. It only blows away the blue smoke that made most Americans willfully blind to the fact that the Empror and his realm wear no competence work clothes, coming to work mentally “naked.” WE are slapped in the face with the nuts and bolts that keep the great engine of US Gov humming as a lies machine covering up poor maintenance. And damned by their own words, they are telling us that, once niched in their bureaucratic slots they owe us nothing as they are beholden to the corporate predators that make mediocrities and incompetents the equivalent of “Lucky Pierre” who won the lottery and is now set for life without having to work another day in his life, accountable to no one, never having to meet any standards again.

    The media critics who attack Assange are personalizing legalistic gibberish like a lynching mob, just getting even for not having been among the chosen few who get the pooper-scooper scoop lock, stock&barrel as did six media outlets. Liberals, once again, prove, as they did in the early years of THEIR Vietnam War, that anyone who shows them up to be reckless and incompetent idiots will be suppressed by their “power” machinery (reinforced by media machinery) much as by the Republicans. Note that Dems are going after Assange much as did the Republicans after Elsberg. In fact, speak truth about Israel and it is well paid media liberal thugs who’ll go to crush your skull (not dirtying their hands but paying off people to do it).

    When the US becomes the land of mediocrities thinking themselves entitled to the high-life at whatever the cost to the “lumpen masses” democracy is the next big victim. Since the lower classes can’t be touched for fear the down-trodden will arm and engage in violent crimes against the rich, as in Brazil, the rich seek to make-up their losses due to their incompetence by taking from the docile Middle Class. More and more of America’s wealth is squeezed out of the Middle Class by Gov functionaries whose remuneration far exceeds their competence as reward for loyalty to corporate predation. The Middle Class is in America, as in Israel, the “lumpen proletariat” exploited by the totally unproductive rich who manufacture financial flim-flam instead of products and commodities.

    The real issue is not Assange but rather whether the American Middle Class will sacrifice its culture of freedom& quality for a culture of blind revenge against shadow targets. A slimy low life lawyer like Holder (who had to apologize for being a slime lawyer for Bill Clinton) is now about to make decisions way above his competence (but in his pay grade) which will satisfy the Establishment at the expanse of the founding principles of these United States—this is his follow-up to his Gitmo BS. Assange is the new Socrates whose crime was to hold a mirror before the Establishment to expose the naked Emperor and his courtiers for all to see. Real American “working stiffs” of the next generation will have to sacrifice their pensions for the high life costs of incompetents at DoD and DoS of this generation.

    I don’t agree with Assange on one point: Hillary should NOT resign. Rather, she should stay in place so that when she replaces Obama on the Dem ballot in 2012 we will have had a full four years of her utter incompetence, lack of grace and lack of both standards and qualities to fully appreciate when we imagine her taking that 3 AM call. It is better for the New Rome to fall naked now– exposing its cankered private parts– instead of covering up so that the “my soul at highest price” citizens will have no illusion that it was all done in their name.

    So now a pseudo-Mafioso like King, a Congressman forever in knee pads, is trying to look other that what he smells like by calling for Assange’s head. But we who have been close enough to smell the breath of his ilk at the Capitol, know very well what “business as usual” is all about in Wash DC and all those OFFICIAL memos Wikileaks exposed WITHOUT ANY COMMENTARY scream at us: WAKE UP YOU DAMN FOOLS AND DO SOMETHING TO LEAVE SOMETHING FOR YOUR KIDS THAT’S MORE LIKE WHAT YOUR PARENTS LEFT FOR YOU. The worst part of Nixon (and that was less than 50% of him) was 100% of your average American shmuck!

    Assange killed any prospects for: “Wow! I had no idea…nobody ever told me.” Thanks Wikileaks, at least now I can look at my geriatric peers and say: I TOLD YOU SO, YOU OLD S–Ts!

  4. DE Teodoru,

    I have been following your comments regarding articles posted at warincontext for some time now. I find not only many new insights to ponder in them but also that they are especially expressed in a written style that really ‘grabs’ me.
    I have opened a new Word file to compile them for review. Today’s posting will begin it. I find it as one of your best to date – a fine companion and fitting comment on Paul’s article.

  5. DE Teodoru says

    Thank you BillVZ…alas I find myself going from an angry young anti-Communist at UC Berkley in 1960s– full of confidence in America’s educated student activists (left&right) at the time because they ALL advocated MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE instead of just anti-American Revolution– to a post-9/11 desperate old man who survived the World Trade Center. I now know how concerned citizens felt during the years of the fall of the Roman Empire when client states could maneuver the dull-witted emperors and Senators. I weep for I am an American by choice not chance and all my kids and grandkids are 100% American. America used to reward and recognize excellence with serious consideration of ideas. Now it treats them on the basis of its entertainment value or sycophancy to power, rewarding “politically correct” thinking with dangling carrots, much as is made to make a donkey forever pull a load trying to get to the carrot that he can never reach. We’ve gone from a disgusting Clinton Era to a retarded Bush Era and now to a “yes mas’a” Obama era; I’ve been weeping all the way as I look up to God and ask: what ever happened to the moral socially conscious kids of the 60s, Lord?

    I am also obsessed with protecting our fellow American Jews– who almost all are 100% American as they chose to live here rather than in the shysters run so-called Jewish state that fleeces them through guilt-trip hasbara– from an American Krystalnacht as backlash to the killing of our mom&dad soldiers in wars provoked by their hasbara. Such a Krystalnacht would devastate some of the most productive and socially conscious elements of our society. While I don’t share the notion that Obama is an illegitimate president because he’s not American born, I do feel that he’s becoming an illegitimate president if he keeps bowing to Israel’s leaders and their American agents, muttering only “yes mas’a.” That is NOT why Ted Kennedy’s crowd picked him; he was expected to cure the ptomaine poisoning America would suffer from eating a Bush sandwich on Clintons. I want to see America rise again, serving its people, not foreign interests that fund political campaigns. Listening to a long train of Republicans&Democrats insist that: “In politics three things get you elected: 1) MONEY; 2) MONEY; 3) MONEY,” I get totally discouraged for the sake of my AMERICAN kids&grandkids. HOW ABOUT YOU ALL? That was what Roman politicians thought in the empire’s dying days, especially as foreign money then too easily bought influence at the top while the masses were “entertained”!

  6. DE Teodoru December 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    It is a small world. I am not only one of your generations geriatric peers but also a contemporary former inhabitant of Berkeley/Oakland during the fifties and sixties.While not attending U.C. Berkeley ,as such, I was a most apt student of Berkeley life on Telegraph Ave.,Moes’ Books, Pauline Kaels Cinemas and even hugging trees on tight wad hill.I was a feisty youth of the time who was in descent of the anti-communists, fluoride in the water- “the Communist are coming” part of America.
    With the accepting of a job in South East Asia in 1979 I and my family left the U.S. and had our eyes opened to how America is perceived from afar. I still do not reside in the land of my birth.

    While at the time too young to understand it – President Roosevelt gave a Fireside Chat about what was referred to as self evident economic truths – a second Bill of Rights. To him all of those rights spelled security for America and with that security America’s own rightful place in the world.The accomplishment of both of those would depend in large part upon how fully those and similar rights would be carried into practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home, there cannot be lasting peace in the world.
    These were values that my family impressed upon me and I hold to this day; what I would want for citizens of America and my children and their families.
    The anticipated fruit of those truths are no longer available and the security and peace that would follow for the U.S. at home and for the world did not come to fruition.What the world sees and America is experiencing is a collapsing empire.It’s fall is assured.

  7. DE Teodoru says

    Where have all the young men gon,
    Where can they ever be..
    Gone to battle every one…

    Only the asholes left to run the military!

    Thanks for the memories, BillVZ. In those days we not only discovered the First Amendment (Cal Conservatives for Political Action and New Left coalition to demand free speech) but also macromolecules that changes biology and medicine forever. Of course, Obama care will be a throwback to 1950s so it can be said that we give to all without saying what we give them…..The world is round and the USSR has moved to North America a bit at a time with state capitalism and oligarchs while the rest of us eat BS thinking it is Milky Way.

    Wikileaks was far more courageous than anything before, except for Scott Ritter, the ex-Marine weapons expert on UNSCUM that spoke out on the fraudulent Iraq WMD Mossad fraud and– guess what?– he too was charged with sexual assault against a femile minor, like Assange. Maybe that chick gets around and disappears only after the prosecution in the media so she won’t have to testify in court.

    Obama and Holder are monuments to the failure of Affirmative Action as it can’t teach you the moral principles you’re saupposed to learn in your first seven years at home. These two guys are glogging up with feces the path for able African Americans in the future. Holder has a long dirty trail; but Obama morally freezing up is a far more painful shock than Bush proving that he lacks the forebrain of a human and has only the hindbrain of a wessel.

    And still, OUR Telgraph Ave. was a place where each step was an intellectual wonder. Now it is only a slippery path of vomit from all the neo-hippies on campus drunk on Saturday Night Fever and designer drugs…Well, we screwed their future so we really have no right to crticize their present!