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Going to the Southern Mexican Border

In Geography/ Spatial Justice, The Revolution on June 6, 2015 at 11:38 PM

Long thought of as the “forgotten” border, the political division between Mexico and Central America is about a 714 mi (1149km) stretch of mostly sparsely populated land—about a third the size of the more (in)famous northern border.

About three-quarters of the southern border is shared with Guatemala, and the highest percentage of that is shared with Chiapas specifically.

For a good part of this month (June 2015), I’ll be staying in the border city of Tapachula to study both the militarization of the border and its impact on this growing city. Located in the incredibly fertile Soconusco region along the Pacific Ocean, Tapachula is the largest city in the border zone, and is currently the second largest city of Chiapas (after that state’s capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez).

Some other facts and figures relating to Tapachula, Chiapas, and the militarization of the southern border:

Central American Migration

  • Over a century of U.S. imperialism in Central America, a brutal period of civil wars in the 1980s, and a continued legacy of government corruption in the region’s Northern Triangle (as witnessed by this year’s large mobilizations in Guatemala and Honduras), continues to prop a humanitarian crisis whose roots are left untouched on all sides of national borders.
  • The most-trafficked route for Central American migrants on their way through México has historically begun in Tapachula. (This was highlighted in the acclaimed film about the treacherous northward journey, Sin Nombre (2009).)

Mexico’s Involvement

  • Tapachula has the notorious distinction of being home to Latin America’s largest detention facility—the euphemistically-named Estación Migratoria Siglo XXI (“21st Century Immigration Station”).
  • While Chiapas isn’t new to militarization—as those who are familiar with the Zapatista revolution are very much aware—the focus on the southern border has resulted in an increase in the number of checkpoints and roadblocks with a concomitant rise in human rights abuses.
  • Last year (2014), Mexican president Peña Nieto launched the Programa Frontera Sur –a program purportedly aimed at “protecting” migrants and boosting security that has, in actuality, has done little more than increase migrant “huntings” and deportations.[i]
  • According to a report released by the NGO Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Chiapas was the Mexican state with the largest number of deportations in 2013 (32,452)[ii]. This has likely increased by several thousands since since the start of the Frontera Sur program.[iii]

United States’ Involvement

  • Responding to the growing number of Central American migrants, the U.S. Department of Defense quietly launched a “Mexico-Guatemala-Belize Border Region Program,” with as much as $50 million of counter-drug money being spent on “patrol boats, night vision equipment, communications equipment, maritime sensors, and associated training.” This is in addition to the billions already funneled to the Mexican government since 2008 by way of the Mérida Initiative[iv].
  • WOLA’s report also details how the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holds an office in Tapachula, supposedly “to build capacity in the identification of aliens from countries of national security concern.”
An image of the Usumacinta River, between Chiapas and Guatemala. Photo by thelmadatter http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Thelmadatter Licensed under CC by 3.0

An image of the Usumacinta River, between Chiapas and Guatemala. Photo by thelmadatter Licensed under CC by 3.0

[i] http://www.animalpolitico.com/2015/04/programa-frontera-sur-el-discurso-de-derechos-humanos-con-el-que-mexico-caza-a-miles-de-migrantes/

[ii] Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), 2014: http://www.wola.org/publications/mexicos_other_border

[iii] http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-migrants-crackdown-20140907-story.html#page=1

[iv] Federation of American Scientists, 2015: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41349.pdf

Wars on All Fronts: Why Solidarity Among People of Color Matters

In Decolonization, History, The Revolution on August 18, 2014 at 1:49 PM
Art by Melanie Cervantes at Dignidad Rebelde (dignidadrebelde.com)

Art by Melanie Cervantes at Dignidad Rebelde (dignidadrebelde.com)

I was in San Pedro Sula when the first bombs from the latest Israeli offensive were dropped onto Gaza. I was already in bed, but my decision to jump into the Facehole kept me thinking.

It was my last night in the city that gave birth to my mother, and where a good deal of our family still lives. And having had the opportunity to experience—if only tangentially and precariously—life in what bourgie whites have dubbed “the most violent city in the world,” I tried to relate what I saw and heard to the news accounts coming out of my MacBook. Before I even had time to process my thoughts on this emotion-ridden trip, I saw (in one of those brief moments of Internet access) a post on my Facebook News Feed from the Electronic Intifada: an unmistakable cloud of dust over buildings in Gaza City. It was, supposedly, the culmination of a series of events that could be traced back to Nakba Day, when two Palestinian youths were shot dead by Israeli soldiers. It was a culmination of events that brought on a full-scale bombing by one of the world’s most well-equipped military regimes in the world. (As of 2009, Israel’s military was only second to the United States in terms of per capita spending)

It was already almost midnight as I read about it on my smartphone. Gang-based terrorism keeps most of the San Pedro Sula indoors by nightfall, so it was, for a New Yorker like myself, more solemnly dark and quiet than I was used to. I had spent a good part of the past week reflecting on something that has been making headlines for months, but now it felt all-too-real in its complexity: What were the factors that would propel people to flee a narco-run Honduras, risking their lives to avoid a destiny of insecurity, if not death? What was driving this renewed genocidal impulse against Palestinians? And in this latest show of force on a marginalized, Black community in a St. Louis suburb, I’ve been made to wonder again, now from the luxury of my Brooklyn apartment: what does it mean to be an American citizen and a person of color in a time of ongoing wars?


Coming back from Honduras, I didn’t know what to make of the relative lack of non-Arab people of color at the Palestine solidarity marches. Where are the people who came out on May Day to protest the Deporter-in-Chief? Where are the people who made their beautiful voices heard on Union Square—and in the spontaneous follow-up march—the day after Trayvon Martin’s killer was acquitted last summer? Likewise, are the Arab youth who made their way to the United Nations some weeks ago also seeing an image of their brethren in the Brown children being deported at the border, or the unarmed Black youth gratuitously shot multiple times by hyper-armed, racist Pigs?

This brings me to the point of this exercise: Solidarity. Lately, the most inspiring, hope filled moments in this time of War—in Gaza, in urban America, in the borderlands—have been during the courageous displays of crucial love and support, even when these displays were no more than symbolic. It has been demonstrated in protest signs, joint letters (examples: here and here), and countless alliances; here, too, social media seems to have played a role in at least making them more visible (if not also helping facilitate the exchanges).

So having, like many of my friends, absorbed most of my news media through my Facebook and Twitter accounts, my online Walls have forced me to home in on the linkages between the issues that matter to me. While we’re often inured into parsing issues by region (e.g. the Middle East, urban America, the Southwest), exhibitions of solidarity also have the potential to break down the dictatorial walls of rigid disciplinarity and news-mandated regionalism, and help us see common ground and common goals. After all, as frustrating as it is for me to choose between a march for affordable housing in Manhattan, and a concurrent march for Palestine in Brooklyn, or between a bus trip to Ferguson and a bus trip to Nogales, having to ghettoize the world’s problems the way we do our cities strikes me as counter-revolutionary. (This is not to argue in defense of large mobilizations versus smaller formations, but, rather, that when we make our way to our respective marches and rallies, we should have the plight of others in our heart as well)

Our data-drenched world also has the potential to facilitate a broader, more critical understanding of what has long been intuitively felt: the same multinational corporations, like Elbit Systems or Caterpillar, will be as involved in the destruction of communities at the US-Mexico border as they are in the construction of Israeli settlements and separation barriers that torment Palestinians in the West Bank. The back-and-forth exchange in surveillance and “defense” technologies, as well as policing tactics, between the states of Israel and the United States will end up producing analogous outcomes against Black and Brown people around the world. The flip side of this liberalized exchange, however, is the accessible, live action sharing of information between peoples struggling for liberation, as was seen in the Tweet suggestions between protestors in Palestine and Missouri, both of whom have faced the tear gas canisters manufactured by Pennsylvania-based Combined Systems Inc.

Shedding light on the crucial linkages between mass incarceration, militarized policing, immigration politics and the War on Terror is not merely an ideological exercise—it is a necessary part of the struggle for liberation. As the error-prone militant groups from the early ’70s themselves realized, tracing out the different ways in which oppressive neo-colonial logics and technologies work to ‘divide and conquer’ is part of the ongoing work against capitalist white supremacy. And so I put myself to work researching around three battleground areas: Gaza, criminalized/gentrified America, and the US-Mexico border.

And then the political economy crept back in again. I realized these issues, while rising in prominence in the last decade, had common roots in the 1980s—the same period most commonly attributed with the rise of global neoliberalism. As made evident in David Harvey’s iconic A Brief History of Neoliberalism (among other texts), the decade saw: the roll-back of the welfare state; the growth of austerity programs locally and abroad; the pummeling of poor (er, colonized and robbed) economies; the rise of civil wars in Central America and the concomitant migrant refugee crisis; the crack “epidemic” and the rise of the War on Drugs (and with it, the beginning of the rise of mass incarceration); and, lastly, the beginning of the first Intifada.

Recognizing the perverse capitalist incentives that enable for these common oppressions, and tracing the genealogies of colonial thought that make themselves manifest in the undying quest to destroy the livelihoods of people of color, one comes to see that solidarity is not only useful—it is essential. And resistance is not simply justified—if we are to survive, it is mandatory. That protestors in Ferguson and Gaza need even supply a rationale—that resistance under occupation is justified—already speaks to the heavy hand the State exerts in the colonized mind.

In speaking about solidarity with Palestine (or about child migrants or the gunning of black youth, for that matter), it’s not enough to talk about “humanitarian crises” and the condescending “poor people” of Gaza. This dispels actions abroad as something that is out there, when the reality is that they are just as much in here. If there is a message I would like to emphasize above all others, it is that this is not a “Middle Eastern conflict”—this is (for those of us in the United States, but also everywhere) just as much about us, and our complicity as purveyors of genocide, as it is about the people who are resisting.

And in directing this message particularly to the people of color of the United States (“people of color” being as problematic a phrase as any, but being useful in this context), the intent should be clear: a failure to show solidarity among ourselves is not merely a tactical error. It’ll be a perpetuation of the colonial divide and conquer strategy that killed off my ancestors in the Native American Holocaust. The tired ol’ adage of people not knowing their history will be ever more real in this context.

 

Between Light and Shadow: the last words of Subcomandante Marcos

In Decolonization, Geography/ Spatial Justice, The Revolution on May 26, 2014 at 4:44 PM

 

EZLNDelivering his “last words” on May 24th, 2014—more than 20 years after the Zapatistas first launched their counteroffensive against NAFTA-mediated neoliberalism—Subcomandante Marcos was indelibly poetic and forceful. I’m sure numerous articles analyzing the Zapatista spokesperson are forthcoming (not to mention the numerous misnomers, equivocations, and otherwise hostile corporate interpretations), but I couldn’t resist the urge to share his powerful speech. In it, he runs through themes of primal importance to revolutionary struggles today, as pertinent to indigenous survival as to the larger preservation of humanity.

Talking in the aftermath of the murder of Galeano, a Zapatista teacher killed by a state-infiltrated farm workers collective (Central Independiente de Obreros Agrícolas y Campesinos Histórica, or CIOAC-H), he conjures up themes of memories, dreams, illusions, and holograms to discuss what is imminent in the struggle of La Realidad (“The Reality”), the telltale site of the murder. Speaking to the pain and rage of the loss of Galeano (as well as the loss of twenty years of Zapatista insurgency, and 500 years of indigenous resistance), his last words will likely leave an imprint as powerful as those of fallen revolutionaries like Malcolm X or Huey Newton.

Except that Subcomandante Marcos is an illusion. A hologram. A strategic fabrication. A spokesman placed before the media, a play of light and shade.

Speaking towards an audience of alternative media reporters, he talks about how indigenous leaders in Chiapas decided to construct the personage that became Subcomandante Marcos [self-translated; original transcript here; audio here]:

 

“Just days [after the initial uprising in January 1994], with the blood of our fallen still fresh along city streets, we realized that those on the outside didn’t see us. 

Accustomed to looking down on the indigenous, they didn’t look up to see us.

Accustomed to seeing us humiliated, their heart didn’t understand our dignified rebellion.

They focused, instead, on the only mestizo wearing a balaclava.

Our chiefs then said:“They only see things on their own level, as small as they are. Let’s put someone on their level so that they can see him and, through him, they can see us.”

Thus began a complex maneuver of distraction: a magic trick that was terrible and marvelous; a mischievous move the indigenous heart that we are: the indigenous wisdom defied modernity in one of its strongholds: the media.Thus began the construction of the character named “Marcos”.

I ask you to follow me in this reasoning:

Suppose there is another way neutralize a criminal. For example, creating his murder weapon; making him believe it is effective; order him to construct, on the basis of its effectiveness, his entire plan so that, in the moment in which he prepares to shoot it, the “weapon” turns back to what it always was: an illusion.

The entire system, but especially its media, play a game of building reputations only to destroy them if they don’t bend to their designs.

Their power resided (now no longer, as they’ve been displaced by social networks) in deciding who and what existed in the moment in which they chose who named and who silenced.

Anyway, do not pay me much attention, for as has been demonstrated in these 20 years, I know nothing of mass media.

The fact is that the SupMarcos went from being a spokesperson to being a distraction.

If the path of war–that is, of death–had taken us 10 years; that of life took longer and required more effort, not to mention blood.

Because, believe it or not, it is easier to die than to live.”

 

In speaking to the power of story-telling, illusions, and the violent coercive power of the statist, corporate media, Marcos—the hologram spokesman of the Zapatistas—deepens the linkage between hegemony (ideology) and material reality.

Undoubtedly, the media has long played an important role in projecting images and representations of the Zapatistas and their struggle against neoliberalism and State violence; many have even suggested that the survival of the indigenous rebellion in Chiapas necessitated something of a spectator “global civil society” (including its alternative media) to keep eyes on the State. Today, social media platforms are recent entrants to the mix of representation, helping project the voices of countless indigenous freedom fighters from Chiapas and beyond.

And at the crossroads of “vague geographies,” cyberspace, historical memory, and trans-generational story-telling, there arises in the physical death of Galeano the symbolic death of Marcos. The insurgency has decided that Marcos, the iconic image of the EZLN, had become obsolete:

“…we realized that there was now a generation that could look at us upfront, that could listen to us and speak to us without waiting for a guide or leadership, nor wanting submission nor following.

 Marcos, the personage, was no longer necessary.

The new stage in the Zapatista struggle was ready.”

 In its stead shall thrive the resurrected Subcomandante Galeano, who states after Marcos disappears: “Ah, so that’s why they said that when I’d be reborn, I would do so in the collective.”

Between Light and Shadow, Fantasy and Reality. A comrade dead, another resurrected.  ¡Pa’rriba Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano!

Voten Galeano Vive

That Thing About May Day

In Geography/ Spatial Justice, Identity Politics, Philosophical Musings, The Revolution on May 1, 2014 at 2:34 AM

Image           There’s something about May Day that still does it for me. Jaded as I am about many of the current leftist political formations in the U.S.—with its constant back-and-forth wrangling around sometimes tepid, sometimes fascist, routines around political correctedness and “privilege”–I still find myself drawn to the basic message of the big ol’ General Strike. As I re-examine the May Day poster circulated by Dignidad Rebelde two years ago at a peak of revolutionary revival, there is something very material, very real, very primal about its messaging: “TOMA LAS CALLES” and “Ni Trabajo, Ni Escuela, Ni Compras, Ni Actividades Bancarias” (“Take the Streets” and “No Work, No School, No Shopping, No Banking”).

I’m torn, however, by a confluence of different thoughts and feelings that have arisen from a decade of community organizing and nearly three years of chronic pain. In thinking about the post-Occupy landscape of New Left movements and their linkage to the radical origins of May Day, I feel a faint nostalgia and sense of loss. Behind me are the days of organizing against gentrification or police occupation or wage theft …and ahead? After all is said and done, where has my endless critique taken me?

Into this downward spiral, I wonder:

  • Where am I in this new swirl of discombobulated movement activity?
  • How did I survive a traumatic autoimmunological assault on my midbrain, the torture of endless head pounding, and a dragnet that nearly sucked me into a suicidal black hole?
  • How did I survive the soul-crushing loneliness wrought by my positionality as a sick and queer working-class second-generation immigrant with roots in the global south?

These questions have plagued me in such a way that they challenge my pursuit of an impermanence-appreciating dharmic temporality. I become lost in this haze of old wounds and a pessimism about the future. And as another May Day rolls along, I am made aware of the stark reality: I have become another one of those revolutionaries who receded into the shadows. The disaffected New York City leftist.

But maybe there’s room to hope. After all, May Day has something to it, something that captivates my often-schismatic and contradicatory personas and sensibilities.  Being a bit older and weighed down by a baggage of pain-induced awareness, I appreciate the simplicity of a call to take the streets and stop working. In a city like New York, it’s simple…yet complicated.

The geographer geek in me also realizes the importance of claiming public space in a city wrecked by incessant privatizations and realtor usurpations. In a time when political questions around space have commanded the public imagination, when neoliberal gentrification has turned neighborhoods into warzones, and when Facebook event invites have become poor substitutes for wheat pasting and door-knocking …there’s just something about an event that does the damn job of bringing workers, immigrants, students, and the unemployed together into the same physical space. In an alienated metropolis like New York, where “business as usual” foments multiplicative forms of postmodern isolation (I think of spiraling “intersectional” subject formations and cyber-addictive social withdrawal), there’s something powerful in simply standing our ground, together, in a space we can claim.

Image

Two Years ago at Union Square

After all, how often to the disparate groups of the New York Left—separated by ideologies, positionalities, boroughs and neighborhoods—physically congregate? For all its ugly shortcomings, I think my slight nostalgia for old labor politics stems from a basic appreciation of taking the streets. And although many rallies at Union Square are admittedly redundant and stale, I appreciate the importance of such convergence. Even if only temporarily, the centrifugal machine-logic of the city is arrested as otherwise far-flung people chant, commiserate, gossip, and bullshit.  Even when the chants become repetitive to the point of irrelevance, it is the very real, material gathering of people that sparks possibility. For who knows what will spark the next revolutionary moment?

I might have become disillusioned with many things, but I also understand that the ongoing capitalist wreckage won’t be stalemated by cynicism. Neither will it be arrested by an imprisoned imagination or a blasé mentality. And it most certainly won’t happen with business as usual.

Image

Pigs protecting the heart of the heart of capitalism: Wall Street.

The Espionage Act and the War on Whistleblowers

In History, The Revolution on July 30, 2013 at 11:13 PM
if you see something_war crimes

The image of Bradley Manning has become iconified as a symbol against criminal government secrecy.

Although Bradley (aka Breanna) Manning was found ‘not guilty’ of the worst offense of “aiding the enemy,” the young private was nevertheless found guilty of 7 out of 8 espionage charges (not to mention a number of lesser charges, including theft and computer fraud). Given the public outcry, numerous articles, and various organizational press releases pertaining to the government’s harsh penalization of whistleblowing, I’ve been intrigued by what has thus far received little attention from the press: the very meaning of espionage.

Undeniably, the charges used against Manning this month, some three years after his initial arrest, have become more important to the Amerikan people in the aftermath of the NSA scandals. However, the history of the legislation under which he and fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden have been charged has been poorly discussed. So has the fact that this law has been sparsely used since the end of the Vietnam War.  Sparsely used, that is, until President Obama.

Collateral Murder: This video of a 2007 airstrike in Baghdad against mostly unarmed civilians (published by Wikileaks in 2010) made Julian Assange’s news site famous while alerting millions around the world about the newest, video game-like predilections of war.

The “espionage” charges of which I allude to actually trace back to a piece of legislation passed nearly a century ago: the Espionage Act  of 1917 (currently under U.S.C. §794). Passed a few months after the united states’ entry into World War I, the Act builds upon the myths of the nation-state in penalizing anyone held to jeopardize “national defense.” It was based on an earlier Defense Secrets Act (1911), the British Official Secrets Act (1911, 1889),  and has its earliest roots in amerikkka’s Alien and Sedition Acts (1798). The Espionage Act also has, in its relatively short history, been utilized to persecute individuals who have strongly questioned or opposed military activities in a country that has perfected the art of “rationalized barbarism.” This, of course, included revolutionary socialists, communists, and anarchists, such as Eugene V. Debs (Socialist Party presidential candidate and co-founder of the Industrial Workers of the World), Victor Berger, Emma Goldman, and Alexander Berkman–all of whom protested the country’s participation in the first World War.  And following a bombing attributed to anarchists (the Palmer Raids supported by J. Edgar Hoover), the Act and a now-repealed amendment, the Sedition Act of 1918, was used to deport several hundred foreign-born residents, including Goldman and Berkman. Espionage was also the charge used to justify capital punishment for the Rosenbergs.

Since the 1950s, however, the Espionage Act was rarely ever used by government prosecutors (and even more rarely used in a successful conviction). In a case that has since drawn many parallels to Manning and Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony Russo were charged with espionage for leaking classified military information they first examined in 1969. The Pentagon Papers, published as a front page article in the New York Times in 1971, detailed the Department of Defense’s involvement in Indochina during the Vietnam War, including previously unreported Marine Corps attacks and bombings in Cambodia and Laos. Fortunately for them, the two men were freed after a judge declared a mistrial given court “irregularities.”

Yet since the release of the Pentagon Papers, and perhaps because of the end of the Cold War, high-profile cases utilizing the Espionage Act have been less publicized. And for reasons that are not all-too-clear, we’ve seen, since Obama’s ascendancy in 2009, nine cases of espionage –more than under Bush, and perhaps more than any other president. (Two news sites, Slate and The Week, report that the Obama Administration has charged more people under the Act than all other presidents combined. This may be referring to charges against whistleblowers specifically, but does not seem to be true in general). Among those charged with espionage under Obama:

  • Thomas Drake, a former NSA senior executive who leaked to a Baltimore newspaper against the government waste within the agency’s use of the Trailblazer program.
  • Shamai Leibowitz, a contracted translator for the FBI who released information about a potential Israeli attack against Iran to a blogger.
  • Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a nuclear proliferation specialist working as a contractor for the State Department, charged with leaking information about North Korea to Fox News.
  • Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged with leaking information about Operation Merlin (an alleged, covert u.s. operation to provide Iran with a flawed design for building a nuclear  weapon) to a journalist.
  • John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst who was charged for disclosing classified information connecting waterboarding to other CIA officials, particularly in the infamous interrogation of Abu Zubaydah.
  • Edward Snowden, the Booz Allen Hamilton contractor working for the NSA, was charged with espionage on June 14, 2013.

As can be noted in all of these cases–which also have little or nothing to do with an endangerment of Amerikans’ safety–the defendants were punished or harassed some time after leaking to a news agency. That is, not only have there been an unprecedented number of charges under the Espionage Act, but these charges were also distantly removed from what the legislation was originally intended to prosecute against: an infringement upon national security.

Of course, “national security” has been used to justify a panoply of governmental misdeeds, from border militarization to indiscriminate wiretapping. Should we be surprised that whistleblowing, surveillance, immigration, racial injustice, and “national security” were all significant news-making themes this summer? After all, the states of the world–amerikkka in particular–can only maintain their power through intricate, inter-meshed systems of governance that rely on information and knowledge production as much as (if not more than) military arsenal and weapons of mass destruction. And in trying to assess what is happening in our world, what source is more important for civilians than news media? After centuries of empire-building, the united states has acquired a considerable skill set in the art of manufacturing consent.

fahrenheit_451Although many parallels have been drawn with respect to Orwells’ 1984, there is another novel with dire, futuristic implications that is relevant here in the war against whistleblowers. In Ray Bradbury’s dystopian Fahrenheit 451, a fascist regime is able to maintain power by literally setting books–all books–on fire. It is a very simple, well-recognized fact: regimes of control depend most importantly on a regulation of knowledge. And in Bradbury’s grim future, civilians are coerced into obedience using various forms of shallow, technologically-based entertainment, created and deployed to sedate the masses away from critical reflection and engagement. This is not much different than what we see in contemporary amerikkka. Much ink–or, to use a more up-to-date example, ‘gigabyte storage’–has already been used in describing Amerikans’ lack of interest in world events or popular struggles. And there is indeed a correlation between this political apathy and comprehensive oppression through labor-based dehumanization and the ‘need’ to utilize mass technologies of distraction.

Whistleblowing is particularly dangerous in a heavily militarized, faux-republican state like the united states, where all sorts of war crimes need to occur without mass resistance. Whistleblowing is akin to giving books to the people of Bradbury’s world. It punctures the intricately fabricated world the elite have fabricated for the rest of us. And when the damage is beyond repair (as when Manning gave hundreds of thousands of documents to Wikileaks, or Snowden to the Guardian), seek to distract, vilify, or make examples of.  Should we be surprised that the masterful, rhetorical regime that is the Obama administration has been able to conduct atrocities under the aegis of national security–with the masses being none the wiser? Should we be surprised that Manning and Snowden have been vilified, turned into the pariahs of news chicanery at the expense of the actual issue of state violence against civilians? And who ingenuously believes that these two whistleblowers were actually attempting to aid an “enemy” (unless, that is, we interpret the state as considering us, the people, its ‘enemy’)?

Much like with the anti-war activism during World War I, the government is implementing ‘espionage’ to punish anyone who poses a threat to the growing war machine. If history has anything to teach us, it’s that the war against a ‘foreign’ threat is actually a war against something much closer to us than we realize. It’s a war against truth.

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