Totalitarian systems disempower an unsuspecting population by gradually making legal what was once illegal. They incrementally corrupt and distort law to exclusively serve the goals of the inner sanctums of power and strip protection from the citizen. Law soon becomes the primary tool to advance the crimes of the elite and punish those who tell the truth. The state saturates the airwaves with official propaganda to replace news. Fear, and finally terror, creates an intellectual and moral void.
We have very little space left to maneuver. The iron doors of the corporate state are slamming shut. And a conviction of Bradley Manning, or any of the five others charged by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act of 1917 with passing on government secrets to the press, would effectively terminate public knowledge of the internal workings of the corporate state. What we live under cannot be called democracy. What we will live under if the Supreme Court upholds the use of the Espionage Act to punish those who expose war crimes and state lies will be a species of corporate fascism. And this closed society is, perhaps, only a few weeks or months away.
Few other Americans are as acutely aware of our descent into corporate totalitarianism as Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 to The New York Times and is one of Manning’s most ardent and vocal defenders. Ellsberg, who was charged under the Espionage Act, faced 12 felony counts and a possible sentence of 115 years. He says that if he provided the Pentagon Papers today to news organizations, he would most likely never see his case dismissed on grounds of government misconduct against him as it was in 1973. The government tactics employed to discredit Ellsberg, which included burglarizing his psychoanalyst’s office and illegal wiretaps, were subjects of the impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon. But that was then.
“Everything that Richard Nixon did to me, for which he faced impeachment and prosecution, which led to his resignation, is now legal under the Patriot Act, the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] amendment act, the National Defense Authorization Act,” Ellsberg told me late Friday afternoon when we met in Princeton, N.J.
Manning, whose trial is likely to begin in early August, is being held in a medium-security facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He allegedly gave WikiLeaks more than 700,000 documents and video clips. One clip showed the 2007 Apache helicopter attack in which U.S. military personnel killed more than a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. Manning faces 22 charges under the Espionage Act, including aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet, theft of public property or records, transmitting defense information, and fraud and related activity in connection with computers. If he is found guilty he could spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Juan Ernesto Mendez, the U.N. torture rapporteur, has described Manning’s treatment by the U.S. government as “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” especially “the excessive and prolonged isolation he was put in during the eight months he was in Quantico."
I wonder what Chris Hedges former colleagues think when they read that? I guess I should specify "former colleagues at the New York Times."
I assume a Charlie Savage applauds him.
But do others?
Or does he scare them?
They're so used to not calling anyone out, to playing dumb in article after article, I imagine they must find reading Hedges very frightening.
I could be wrong.
"TV: Exploring offensive" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
If you wanted to find the most offensive network, we think the easy choice would be NBC. No, we're not referring to Brian Williams attempting to sing along with "Super Freak" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last Monday. That was certainly scary, but we're not willing to call it offensive.
[. . .]
And reading Elaine's post Friday applauding Fox News' Greta Van Susteren for calling out the vile, misogynist and cruel Louis CK, we were reminded yet again how NOW fails repeatedly. That Louis CK thinks it's okay to call special needs children vile names doesn't surprise us in the least. We've called him out repeatedly here. And we've noticed that NOW never said a damn word about any of his sexist comments. They were silent on Mad Men, they're silent on 30 Rock . . .
If you strike NOW as a show considered 'cool,' don't worry about a thing, they certainly won't call you out. But feminism is not partisanship, feminism is not whoring for a political party. When we reflect on how NOW's applied media 'criticism,' we think we've found the heart of that which is truly offensive.
I loved their piece and how they worked their theme throughout. I really think this was something and the sort of piece they do that you read and think, "Oh, that was good." But a week or two later, you grasp just how good it was.
On Smash (which I'll cover tomorrow), a few e-mails ask if I really hate Ivy? Absolutely. I can't stand her. I am using the character's name and not the actress. I am doing that intentionally because the actress may be doing a great job and may be selling the character as intended, as someone we boo and hiss and think, "If it weren't for her, poor Karen would be happy!" I don't hate the actress playing her, but, yes, I do hate Ivy.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):