John Serry’s blog entry was prompted by the intimidation of Pomona College Arango Professor in Latin American History and Professor of History and Chicano/a Studies, Miguel Tinker Salas. On March 7, Salas was “interviewed” (interrogated and harassed) by two members of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department working for the FBI Joint Task Force on Terrorism. Salas’ crime? He “teaches classes in Latin America history and has special research expertise in the history and politics of Venezuela,” more than enough to make him suspect in the eyes of the government.
Moreover, as of late various media outlets have asked Salas to “provide historical background on the growing tension between Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the George Bush administration. For instance, several outlets contacted him for a response after Donald Rumsfeld compared Chavez to Adolf Hitler. Most recently, Professor Tinker Salas was interviewed for ten minutes on CNN en Español about the history of U.S. intervention in Latin America,” according to Serry. “What has Venezuelan politics to do with the war against terrorism? Who officially sent out the thugs to pay a visit to my colleague? That ‘conversation’ was clearly meant to serve two purposes: to add to Professor Tinker Salas’s ongoing file in a fishing expedition to uncover something incriminating against him; and to let him know that THEY are watching, a not-so-subtle warning to intimidate in order to curb his speech.”
Get used to it, John.
Mr. Salas is but the tip of the iceberg. Millions of us—no doubt John Serry included, since he contributes a blog to the Huffington Post, a “liberal” website, actually rather milquetoast, but a threat nonetheless to the Straussian neocons—are subject to “investigation,” thanks to Bush’s NSA snoop program, recently allowed to go forward, in violation of the Constitution, as Congress has “cut a deal with the White House” to avoid a full Senate inquiry (even though such an investigation would have been akin to johns investigating prostitutes).
Recall a few short weeks ago Lindsey Graham, Congress critter-whore from South Carolina, demanding Bush move more aggressively against “fifth columnists,” that is to say millions of Americans who disagree with the occupation of Iraq. AG Alberto Gonzales, a torture advocate and apologist that would make Grand Inquisitor Thomás de Torquemada proud, told Graham the administration would very much like to pick his brain on the subject, or vise versa. Congress and the administration will be on the same page soon enough, probably as the shock and awe campaign against Iran gets off to a murderous start. Dissent will not be tolerated, as it now has a loud and growing voice on the internet.
Palmer’s raids, rounding up a mere 10,000 “subversives,” will look like child’s play when compared to what the Straussian neocons will do.
Of course, the NSA snoop and dossier program has nothing to do with “al-Qaeda” telephone calls or email messages. It is all about compiling lists to be used in the near future. History is replete with examples—Germany, Russia, Chile, and Indonesia—of dictators rounding up the opposition, sending them to camps, or “disappearing” and slaughtering them outright.
But history does have a funny habit of repeating itself. Miguel Tinker Salas and members of antiwar groups in Colorado, to name but two, have experienced the leading edge of the fascist wave coming to America, one terrorist event away from becoming a boot-in-your-face reality.
Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, after all, has not been awarded a $385 million dollar contract by Homeland Security to construct detention camps for nothing.
Intimidation of dissidents and efforts - both overt and covert - to squash dissident movements has a long sordid history in this country. The current NSA spy scandal, along with the various efforts to intimidate educators into silence is merely the latest. Red Scares, McCarthyism, concentration camps for Japanese Americans, COINTELPRO...it boils down to the general fear and distrust the ruling elites have for us so-called "unwashed masses." This bunch of power and wealth addicts may be merely more rabid than most, but the general rule of thumb holds: threaten an addict's source and an addict will go ballistic. Bet on it.