Response to Jeremy Hammond

I don’t think since my personal ordeal began that I’ve ever been so confused or at a loss for finding quite the right words.

And that’s saying something coming from someone who is saying that he was drugged out of his mind for a time, or some similar method of interfering with normal brain function as part of a government effort to prevent the truth coming out about other governmental wrong-doing.

I say this because first and foremost, I do not believe that in a country where the things that Jeremy Hammond details actually do happen that he should be anywhere at the top of the list of people behind bars. The idea that he does at all stems from breaking the law–which he admits–in order to expose entities and people in positions of power and public trust breaking laws. As far as whistleblowing and journalism is concerned, it fits too well within the way we always seem to discover the truth, not because one of our elected leaders had a stroke of conscience, but because others knew something was wrong and broke the law to find out what it was. Witness the break-in at Media, Pennsylvania that lead to the discovery of one–just one, there may have been more that we still don’t know about–illegal program and associated abuses of power on all levels of government we now refer to as COINTELPRO. I know that similar is happening today, regardless which entity or entities it is that carry it out. I know. In fact I’d call it worse that the days of J. Edgar Hoover but that may be because I’m biased due to having been on the receiving end of it. It’s been hell and I wasn’t even an anarchist, terrorist, subversive, nor particularly a threat to the social order much less some kind of criminal. Just a witness, really, at the heart of it regardless of why those who carried it out thought that they did so.

You understand that? I hesitate to say I lost everything, because I do have some friends even though I lost the ones I had for decades. I’m not homeless, though that is due entirely to the kindness of a few people. I did lose my home and my long-term relationship, which I fully expected to see through to my twilight years. I lost my career as well, but freely admit That money, or at least more money than I need, Is low on my list of priorities. The Job loss contributed to the destruction of my relationship and loss of friendships, so in that regard, as a destabilizing event, it still ranks as an important loss.

Knowing that and knowing that my government, directly or indirectly, was responsible, wouldn’t I be on some level justified if I had decided to take violent action against the government? I did all the things someone is supposed to: contacted the Department of Justice, the Inspectors General of the most likely culprits, wrote my representatives and other government officials, civil rights groups, journalists, and still others…to no avail. At all. I even engaged in some political underhandedness as a favor, albeit the first time without realizing that that was what I was doing, that I had been manipulated to do so, but accepted that as a price to pay for my freedom. Similar in that regard to Jeremy Hammond, that freedom didn’t happen but rather this was followed by further loss, pain, harassment, etc. I not only agree with Jeremy Hammond’s assertion that voting is not going to solve this, but said so–before I read and likely before his letter was posted–that same thing in the long post below. It won’t. The system is broken. Voting won’t fix it. Not even if we managed to vote a third party in complete control of Congress and the White House. The system extends far beyond those two entities and includes the good ol’ boy networks at the Pentagon, the rest of the intelligence community, Wall Street, the mainstream media, entertainment industry, the banking system, powerful individuals, and more. We don’t get to vote them out.

Still, I have a problem. I’ll just quote the paragraph where this occurs and state, he is almost describing me perfectly. Almost.

Those who advocate or participate in militant direct action are often snitch-jacketed as “agent provocateurs” by pacifists who sometimes go so far as to say that the government wants us to resort to violence. Such conspiracy theories are naive and dangerous: of course the ruling powers would prefer that those they screw over only voice their anger in established reformist channels such as the courts, elections and peaceful protests. They want us predictable and non-threatening to their business as usual, which is of course the greatest everyday violence of imperialism, racism, and economic inequality.

I’ve also said my piece about peaceful protest, though my complaint was that they usually use ineffective arguments, that FBI and other entities seek to “box” us in to logic that only “preaches to the choir” or otherwise fails to persuade a significant new portion of the American public to take similar action. I’ve also seen, as I also blogged recently, sabotage while working for Clean Water Action in Minneapolis. Black ops designed specifically to degrade their effectiveness and to cause them to lose precious dollars dealing with delays and repairs.

He is also correct that the opposition, the Deep State, not only breaks the law at every turn and does not ever face any consequences for it, but purposely sets out to undermine peaceful, Legal, protest using the very same court system coupled with influence over legislators to make such legal acts illegal via the death of a thousand judicial cuts. We agree again there. I have little faith in a legal system that can’t even challenge the omniscience of the President in wartime, an interpretation that underlies nearly every awful thing that this country has done since 9/11 under the guise of protecting us when in actuality it is for the self-dealing advantage of a few well-connected unscrupulous liars, a repeat of the fortunes made from WWII in defense and the ones made in defense and the intelligence sector due to puffing up the Soviet boogeyman. They wanted more, wanted to become rich or richer and played to the lowest common denominator–fear–because it works. It works in part because our society is so at odds with reality in terms of relative physical effort for many of us, that we fear deep down losing that cushiness. Let me tell you from experience, that’s not the important part. Pity those who think otherwise.

“… courts, elections and peaceful protests.”

We almost agree. Mr. Hammond, who though I have never had the chance to meet, merely seen him at his kangaroo sentencing hearing, I love. That’s true. I cannot help but love someone so willing to sacrifice so much for others. And he did. Not because he was propagandized into fighting an “us against them” war for special business interests who have no compunction about sending others to risk their lives for an increase in stock margins or prestige as a “wartime President,” or lucrative defense contracts, but because he saw and sees the injustice committed by our system that, as Thomas Drake sort of noted, has a strong allergic reaction to criticism and no conscience whatsoever about what the criticism is about.

Further, Jeremy has twenty to thirty IQ points on me. He is a very, very smart man.

This is where I am unsure about what to say. Is the fact that I believe, if in some sort of self-deluding way so be it, that I would, in his position have realized sooner that to some extent I was being used by the government? Was being entrapped? Set up?

Or is that a way of covering up cowardice? Is that just fear talking? Or do I see the ways of this beast clearer, perhaps due to my experience both as being older and having lived close to the heart of it and then seeing what it can do to someone up close?

Further, I have to disagree on a point or two. Yes, Apartheid ended in part due to violence. And I’ve no doubt that there was some level of technological difference between the government and the governed.

But first it seems clear to me that the US government does want violence and when it finally manages to provoke it, it will unleash hell upon us in part due to really unbelievable technological advantage. It will react like it did with the Native Americans and that wasn’t always even bows versus rifles. They eventually got some reparations, but there was a holocaust first. We at least have some advantage in the Internet, as long as that lasts with men who want to destroy that as well, and a President who calls what we know to be true about the TPP “conspiracy theory.” Truly, he will not escape history’s judgment and sadly be viewed worse than his predecessor if for no other reason than he is a worse liar.

But the Department of Homeland Security, for example, has facilities that will double as makeshift prisons, the drone rollout will happen eventually, mass surveillance will only improve and increase, the Department of Defense will eventually be the de facto peace keepers on American soil, and all of that is part and parcel of The Plan. It’s not just peaceful protest that they consider controlled, it’s violence as well. The powerful sit in their castles protected and it’s the 99% who will not only pay the price in blood, but be the ones carrying out the dirty work upon their fellow man and woman. And they’ll do so because the media will tell them it’s okay and whatever is left will look on and just be glad it’s not them being tortured.

To say nothing of the crowd control stuff that Jeremy notes from the NATO protest.

That’s almost certainly going to happen. Wish it were otherwise. Wish I were being paranoid. Wish I were merely the subject of Cass Sunstein’s efforts to create a web of conspiracy theories. {Note I said merely. Some of what I’ve written in the past may be, though certainly not what I intended in doing it. There’s not a single power involved doesn’t use people cruelly}.

But what about Gandhi? What about Martin Luther King, Jr.? What about thinking outside the box? What about winning the war of opinion by being, not merely appearing to be, the better persons?

Or am I being a coward again?

I don’t know. I’ve changed my mind on many issues since 2009. Mostly this is because I’ve learned a lot. Certainly, top scientists, especially climate scientists, have said that sabotage is the only solution that they see to altering our course there.

The other is clear, reduce demand by reducing population. It’s obvious. It’s clearly not beyond the mindset of some of our oligarchs. And resorting to killing, as opposed to interfering with machinery and systems, would tend to give them the excuse to begin midnight roundups and disappear people based on rumor.

Is it that killing is what they do, what the Deep State does, makes much of its money doing? Are we stooping to their level if we engage in the same? Will we create a permanent sort of Israeli-Palestinian state here in the US? Is that advantageous in any way? Don’t those kinds of acts, eye for an eye, tend to make our opponents dig in further to their positions, give those who have become addicted to power and cruelty an excuse to enjoy themselves, perform the kinds of atrocities and crimes against humanity that we already have an inkling about happening on slightly smaller scales? Will it help, or actually hinder, our ability to break out of our cycle of violence that includes all those social injustices Jeremy enumerated?

Or do I say that because I worry about Jason? I happen to think he’s important as the person he is and not to be a human sacrifice to prove a point. Wish we had met. You inspired me without having to use Molotovs.

And I feel much the same about the activists I’ve had the honor of meeting. Good smart people who can manage to alter courses without Civil War. I hope.

(Or is it because I know one goddam whistle blown could end all of this with minimal casualties? You see why I ask, whatever-your-name is? You see why I think that this is the best way? The truth, my man. I don’t want to see you swallowed alive either. But by now you surely realize that I, I mean we, won’t sit idly by and allow that to happen without raising hell. And believe me, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Know it won’t be easy, but you won’t be abandoned.

I’m at least partially relieved that it’s not my call, merely my suggestion to you. The stress is, I’m sure, enormous.)

And that’s what I mean about thinking outside the box. Show the Deep State’s true face to the American public and watch it all change overnight. Now. Before they can mobilize their [this group] “deserves torture,” as they’ve already managed to do with Muslims via propaganda ploys learned from Nazis. Take for example some has-been’s recent comment calling waterboarding the US’ way of giving Muslims a Christian baptism. It serves to inflame and is about as opppisite a Jesus position as one can imagine. But then those who love their killing would need to convince themselves and others that God approves.

Finally, I single out that one paragraph because I pretty much agree with the rest, and as noted even parts of that one. I hope that that is obvious to anyone who reads the blog, follows on Twitter. Read Hammond’s entire letter. He calls it on the NATO 3.

And especially the part about solidarity.

FreeJeremy.net, “MAY DAY MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY WITH NATO 3,” Jeremy Hammond, 1 May 2014:

freejeremy.net/yours-in-struggle/may-day-message-of-solidarity-with-nato-3/

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