AMY GOODMAN: Bruce Afran, talk about the significance of the extent to which she struck down this statute.
BRUCE AFRAN: Well, it’s quite incredible, in a sense, because it’s rare that statutes are struck down completely. Judge Forrest struck down the entire provision of the NDAA governing indefinite detention of civilians and U.S. citizens. She said this provision is overbroad. She said it clearly embraces speech, even if it doesn’t intend to. And she criticized the government severely, because it refused to acknowledge in court that First Amendment activities would not bring someone into a state of indefinite detention. And five times, Judge Forrest asked the U.S. attorney, “Will you agree that First Amendment activities will not bring someone under the scope of this law?” And the government five times said, “We can’t answer that question.”
AMY GOODMAN: Now, President Obama signed it, but he was opposed by key members of his administration—for example, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta—
CHRIS HEDGES: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: —FBI Director Robert Mueller, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
CHRIS HEDGES: That’s what’s so interesting. None of the Pentagon, the FBI, as you—Mueller and everyone else, as you pointed out—none of them supported the bill, even to the extent where Mueller and others were testifying before Congress that it would make their work more difficult. And yet it passes anyway. And it is a kind of—I think it’s a kind of mystery to the rest of us as to what are the forces that—when you have the security establishment publicly opposing it, what are the forces that are putting it in place? And I can only suppose that what they’re doing is setting up a kind of legal mechanism to criminalize any kind of dissent. And Bruce can speak to this a little more. But in the course of the trial, with Alexa O’Brien, US Day of Rage, that WikiLeaks dump of five million emails of the public security firm Stratfor, we saw in those email correspondence an attempt to link US Day of Rage with al-Qaeda. Once they link you with a terrorist group, then these draconian forms of control can be used against legitimate forms of protest, and particularly the Occupy movement.
Chris Hedges’ intellectual gift has been marvelously applied to providing us an insightful and comprehensive overview of our current socio/economic environment. Listen to this interview.
“The elite within the Corporate State understand, far better perhaps than we do, the political turmoil and dislocation that we are about to enter with the collapse of globalization and the reconfiguration of not only American society but the global society into a form of neofeudalism with a rapacious, tiny, totally empowered oligarchic elite ruling over a vast underclass…. and they [the elite] have put into place the security and surveillance state to essentially permit these corporate forces to continue to disembowel the nation.
… They anticipate turmoil and unrest. The kind of lifestyle, the kind of consumption that we have carried out is just not sustainable and they now it.
Harbingers of what’s to come…
The purpose of bread and circuses is… to distract, to divert emotional energy towards the absurd and the trivial and the spectacle while you are ruthlessly stripped of power.
I used to wonder, is Huxley right or is Orwell right? It turns out they’re both right. First you get the new world state and endless diversions and hedonism and the cult of the self as you are disempowered. And then, as we are watching, credit dries up, the cheap manufactured goods of the consumer society are no longer cheap. Then you get the iron fist of Oceania, of Orwell’s1984. That’s precisely the process that’s happened. We have been very effectively pacified by the pernicious ideology of a consumer society, which is centered around the cult of the self, kind of undiluted hedonism and narcissism. That became a very effective way to divert our attention while the country was reconfigured into a kind of neofeudalism, with a rapacious oligarchic elite and an anemic government that no longer was able to intercede on behalf of citizens but now cravenly serves the interests of the oligarchy itself.
Imperial power is a disease, because the techniques of imperial power, which is all about not only control through force but the looting of natural resources, not about democracy, the techniques that imperium uses abroad it soon uses at home. That’s what Thucydides wrote, that the tyranny that ancient Athens or the Athenian empire imposed on others, it finally imposed on itself. That’s what destroyed Athenian democracy; it was destroyed from within. That’s precisely what’s happening. What is Homeland Security? It’s the most intrusive government institution in the history of America. And yet we accept it. We accept it because we’re made afraid of terrorism.
So I think we’d better grow up. You strive towards a dream. You live within an illusion. We are the most illusioned society on the planet. We have to become adults. And it’s hard, it’s painful. I struggle with despair all the time. But I’m not going to let it win. I don’t have any false illusion that I’m going to build some great populist movement or be part of some great populist movement that’s going to overthrow the corporate state and impose light and goodness. Yet, I think it is incumbent upon all of us that at the same time we recognize how dark the future is, we also recognize the absolute imperative of resistance in every form possible.
— Chris Hedges in interview “Empire abroad, tyranny at home“