excerpts from the book
An Act of State
the execution of Martin Luther
by William F. Pepper
Verso, 2008, paperback
In spring 1966, US carpet-bombing had systematically devastated
ancient village-based rural culture in South Vietnam as napalm
rained from the sky, slaughtering helpless peasants.
Dr. [Martin Luther] King planned to move into mainstream politics
as a potential candidate on a presidential ticket with Dr Benjamin
Spock in order to highlight the anti-poverty, anti-war agenda.
He called for conscientious objection, political activity, and
a revolution in values to shift American society from materialism
to humanism. As a result, he came under increasing attack.
In excess of 1,300,000 [Vietnamese] people were killed ... and
many others were maimed for life.
By 1970, Vietnamese babies were being born without eyes, with
deformed hearts and stumps instead of legs. Six pounds of toxic
chemicals per head of population were dumped on the people of
Vietnam. President Reagan referred to this as a "noble cause."
When business speaks with one voice, as it did in respect to the
[Vietnam] war or the purported extreme threat of war at the time
when Martin King set himself up in opposition, the relevant government
agencies and their officials become mere footsoldiers for the
mighty economic interests.
When Martin King began to crusade against the war, he would cast
a long shadow over the economic forces of America. Little wonder
that they shuddered at the possibility that his efforts might
result in the tap of the free-flowing profits being turned off.
Should the American people come to demand an end to the war and
should the war end, the losses were not something they could accept.
Perhaps it was for this reason alone that
King had to be stopped.
By mid-1967, [Martin Luther King] began to formulate a strategy
to address the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The
project gradually took the form not of a march by itself but the
extensive Poor People's Campaign and mobilization culminating
in an encampment in the shadow of the Washington Memorial. The
projection was for the establishment of a tent city of some 500,000
of the nation's poorest and most alienated citizens, who would
regularly lobby their elective officials for a range of socio-economic
legislation. They would remain as long as it took to get action
from the Congress.
If the wealthy, powerful interests across
the nation would find Dr King's escalating activity against the
war intolerable, his planned mobilization of half a million poor
people with the intention of laying siege to Congress could only
engender outrage - and fear.
They knew that it was not going to be
possible for the Congress to satisfy the demands of the multitude
of poor, alienated Americans led by Dr King, and they believed
that the growing frustration could well lead to violence. In such
a situation with the unavailability of sufficient troops to control
that mass of people, the capital could be overrun. Nothing less
than a revolution might result. This possibility simply could
not be allowed to materialize, and neither could Martin King's
crusade against the war be permitted to continue.
In January 1979, the House Select Committee published its final
report on the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin King.
It found no evidence or complicity on the part of the CIA, the
FBI, or any other government agency in the assassination of Martin
In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of
President John F. Kennedy, bureau [FBI] officials met in Washington
to explore ways of "neutralizing King as an effective Negro
A massive [FBI] campaign was under way from 1964 aimed at destroying
[Martin Luther King] through dirty tricks and media manipulation.
Steve Tompkins, the former Commercial Appeal investigative reporter
had spent 18 months researching a front-page piece on the role
of army intelligence in surveying and infiltrating black organizations
and civil rights groups. It had been published on March 21 1993.
Army intelligence had spied on Dr King's family for three generations.
The article noted that there was an extraordinary fear in official
circles about what would happen if Dr King was allowed to lead
masses of American poor into Washington that spring. It stated
that army intelligence was "... desperately searching for
a way to stop him..." The article also noted in passing,
and without comment, that there was a Special Forces Alpha 184
sniper team in Memphis on the day of the killing [of Martin Luther
[Steve Tomkins] had come to believe that after talking with a
former [Army] Special Forces soldier now living in Latin America,
in addition to surveilling Dr King on April 4 1968, the army in
Memphis was implicated in the assassination.
[The former [Army] Special Forces soldier
now living in Latin America said he was relieved to be away from
the Special Forces, stating, "Most of these people are the
dregs of humanity, real slime. They'd kill you, your mother, or
your kids as soon as look at you."
The role of the army and the other cooperating government agencies
in the assassination of Dr King has been one of our nation's deepest,
darkest secrets. I have only been able to uncover it by piecing
together the accounts of Warren and Murphy [aliases of Army Special
Forces soldiers] with those of other participants, people who
were in strategic positions with access to information, and analyzing
relevant army intelligence documents, files and other official
records which have never been made public.
In 1967, Military Intelligence formed part of the US Army Intelligence
Command (USAJNTC) based at a military compound based at Fort Holabird,
Maryland. By 1968 the Investigative Records Repository (IRR) was
housed in a huge two-story steel room, containing more than seven
million brown-jacketed dossiers on American citizens and organizations.
They included files on allegedly subversive individuals, who,
according to army intelligence, were "persons considered
to constitute a threat to the security and defense of the United
States." There were files on the entire King family.
US Army Military Intelligence Groups (MIGs) ... employed 798 army
officers and 1,532 civilians including 67 black undercover agents.
Of this total force, 1,576 were directly involved in domestic
intelligence gathering, and of these "spies," some 260
The MIG officers were responsible for
eye-to-eye surveillance operations which included audio and visual
recordings of people and events designated as targets. Dr King
was a target and throughout the last year of his life was under
surveillance by one or another MIG team.
Warren and Murphy [aliases of Army Special Forces soldiers] ...
were part of an eight-man "Operation Detachment Alpha 184
team - a Special Forces field training team in specialized civilian
... Warren and Murphy stated that the
team was specifically briefed before departing from Camp Shelby
for Memphis at 4:30 AM on the morning of April 4 1968. During
the half-hour session the team was left in no doubt as to its
mission. On the order they were to shoot to kill - "body
mass" (center, chest cavity) - Dr Martin Luther King Jr and
the Reverend Andrew Young.
They were shown "target acquisition
photos" of the two men and the Lorraine Motel. The team's
pep talk stressed how they were enemies of the United States who
were determined to bring down the government. Warren said that
no one on the team had any hesitancy about killing the two "sacks
... The [CIA] contact took them to the
roof of a tall building that dominated that downtown area and
loomed over the Lorraine. Their guide provided them with a detailed
area-of-operations map, pictures of cars used by the King group,
and the "Memphis police TAC" radio frequencies.
... Finally, near what Warren termed the
"TTH" (top of the hour - 6:00 PM)) King came on to the
balcony... Warren recognized his target, Andrew Young, putting
on his coat, and took aim, holding him in his sights... Warren
kept Andy Young in the cross hairs of his scope, and then, he
said, just after TTH, a shot rang out.
It sounded like a military weapon, and
Warren assumed that the other sniper unit had jumped the gun and
fired too soon because the plan was always for a simultaneous
shooting [of Martin Luther King and Andrew Young]... the team
leader came on and ordered the team to disengage in an orderly
fashion and follow the egress routes assigned to them out of South
Europe's decimation of the world's tribal peoples sprawled across
five continents over five centuries, put the Europeans in possession
of most of the world's material resources, and caused the deaths
of hundreds of millions and the complete extinction of distinct
tribal peoples. Continuing still, it constitutes the most persistent
act of human destructiveness in the history of our species and
In the North American theater of this
conquest, the European immigrant descendants carried the materialistic
torch forward against the native Americans. Through genocidal
actions, lies, broken agreements, and incarceration on reservations,
tribe after tribe was subjugated in much the same fashion as was
visited upon their brothers in Tasmania, Mexico, Africa, and elsewhere.
During these four hundred years, when
not openly supportive of the conquest of materialism, organized
religion continued to attempt to minister to a vastly less significant
spiritual life whilst the increasingly mainstream secular society
embraced the physical world as the primary reality and materialism
as the dominant value. These values ultimately led to economic
growth, and the indulgence of our physical appetites became the
primary purpose of human activity.
Riding the Copernican wave over the last four hundred years, economists
have gradually attempted to elevate their craft to the level of
pure science, focusing on the behavior of markets involving prices
and flows of money which are easily measured. All values are reduced
to market values and market prices. Air, water, and essentials
of life provided freely by nature are valueless unless scarcity
sets in. Gold, diamonds, and other precious metals, and stones
which are relatively useless in sustaining life, are valued highly.
The value of a human life is determined by calculating a person's
lifetime earning potential. Thus, it has been said that economists
know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
The state of the world that Martin King and his colleagues inherited
was an increasingly dehumanized society which defined the success
of human beings in terms of the amount of money they made. Life
energy was devoted to and traded for the acquisition of money.
The amount one had determined one's feeling of self-worth.
The seemingly insatiable quest for money
and material consumption which he confronted then, and which has
grown in exponential proportions today, is a consequence of a
society that is incomplete and dysfunctional, which denies and
co-opts the spiritual side of life by allowing monetary values
to become the primary foundation of cultural values and relationships.
Martin knew, as did Gandhi, that people
who experience an abundance of love in their lives rarely seek
comfort and meaning in compulsive, personal acquisitions. For
those deprived of love, no amount of material acquisition, consumption,
and indulgence can ever be enough. A world starved of love, in
which human caring and the spiritual dimension are de-emphasized,
will eventually become one of material scarcity, massive inequality,
overly stressed environmental systems and developing social disintegration.
Arnold Toynbee noted that civilizations in decline were characterized
by a tendency toward standardization and uniformity, in contrast
to the stimulation of diversity which occurs during a growth period.
As the growth of corporate power parallels the increasing dominance
of materialism, the movement for community control and localization
becomes the natural reaction to the process of societal dehumanization.
In the post-Second World War world, realpolitik, the political
brother of materialism, ruled the day. The entire German intelligence
apparatus under Hitler was assimilated into the American intelligence
establishment and set the tone for much of the United State's
Cold War anti-Soviet policies. War criminal Nobusuke Kishi, the
former minister of munitions in Tojo's war cabinet, was put in
as Japan's prime minister in 1957, and the CIA financed and firmly
planted one-party rule in Japan which legitimated Japan's role
as a satellite of the United States. Rather than liberating colonized
peoples around the world, as promised, in national mass movements
of liberation in Indochina, Malaya, and Indonesia against the
French, British, and Dutch, the Americans turned up on the side
of European imperialism.
In South Korea, a brutal dictatorial government
was set up and defended by the US government. From 1961 to 1993,
the Americans supported the regimes of three army generals. During
the 1980s, two senior CIA officials were sent as successive ambassadors.
Only the actions of the Korean people themselves through demonstrations
and street confrontations in 1987 finally brought democracy to
the fore. The eventual prosecution and conviction on grounds of
sedition, state terrorism, and corruption of two surviving dictators
received only minimal coverage in the United States media. The
post-war legacy that caused Martin King to accuse his government
of cultural betrayal included the following legacy of American
1. Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang
Ching-kuo in Taiwan. (Taiwan started to democratize only in the
1980s after the Carter administration had broken relations with
2. Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines
(brought down by Corazon
Aquino and her People Power movement after
Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush had hailed him as a democrat).
3. Ngo Dinh Diem (assassinated on American
orders), General Nguyen Khanh, General Nguyen Cao Ky, and General
Nguyen Van Thieu in Vietnam.
4. General Lon Nol in Cambodia (and eventually
Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge).
5. Marshal Pibul Songgram, Sarit Thanarat,
Praphas Charusathien, and Thanom Kittichorn in Thailand.
6. General Suharto in Indonesia.
This legacy in East Asia was mirrored
in our own hemisphere where dictators and oligarchs fronting for
American corporations were put in power and maintained often by
the most brutal state terroristic acts including the use of death
and torture squads in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador,
Panama, Haiti, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay. It is not
necessary to detail here these extensive covert operations, most
of which have been hidden from the people who pay for them, the
American citizens. Suffice it to say that the post-1945 worldwide
satellite system of states which it has constructed and sustained
on authoritarian foundation is remarkably similar to that of the
"evil empire" - the old Soviet Union.
Postwar America [WWII] began to breed a military establishment
which would gradually grow beyond civilian control. By the year
2000, the pre-1960 warning of President Dwight Eisenhower about
the power of the military-industrial complex was all too real...
in our lifetimes, the American military establishment has virtually
become an autonomous system. It is today an entirely mercenary
- voluntary - force increasingly separate from all but the transnational
corporate interests it protects.
The Pentagon sets its own agenda in collaboration
with its transnational corporate masters. Gone is the older notion
that the military is only one of several means that a democratic
government uses to implement its policies. As their size and prominence
grow, the armed forces of any empire tend to overshadow and displace
other instruments of foreign policy. Militarism rules abroad and
sets the tone at home.
[There is] virtual autonomy of the military in contemporary American
society. Health and welfare programs receive ten percent of the
discretionary budgetary funds, education receives six percent
while the defense budget consumes fifty percent of the total.
There is no rational justification for this state of affairs other
than the fast that it is driven by the greed of the defense contract
The growth of militarism ... may finally cause the end of democracy
in America, with the unraveling ultimately resorting from an economic
collapse spurred on by the exploitative hegemony called globalization
by which America seeks to impose its model on the major economies
of the world - a model in which unbridled, non-value-producing
speculators thrive and consumerism is a sacred activity.
[John] Ruskin contended that criminals should be regarded by their
society as any other manufactured product. They are products,
which we turn out. We will need fewer prisons, he said, if we
seek a system that will develop ,. honest men rather than one
which regards criminality as inevitable and / thus focuses on
punishing its criminal products.
Anticipating our contemporary environmentalists,
Ruskin despised a world, which he saw emerging, where the deification
of money - the physical symbols of the wealth of the day - eclipses
the intrinsic value of joyful human labour. "As the art of
life is learned, it will be found at last that all lovely things
are also necessary; a wild flower by the wayside, tended corn,
wild birds and creatures of the forest, as well as the tended
cattle; because man doth not live by bread only. "66 He saw
the timeless beauty of all things on earth surrounding humanity
and establishing for all time an endless, lasting chain of brotherhood,
linking one generation to another in a way that man's ephemeral
riches could never sustain.
Ruskin was appealing to activist prophets
of the oppressed like Gandhi and King because he never knew from
around which corner genius would come, not to put money in someone's
pocket but to enhance the quality of life in his or her time and
place. As a much younger man, I remember being impressed by an
engraved quotation of Ruskin's on a public building: "A man
never stood so tall as when he stooped to help a child."
This, I thought, from a specialist in
pre-Raphaelite art. He led me to T. E. Lawrence. Ruskin led Gandhi
to a vision of justice denied him by his British legal training.
Indirectly, then, Ruskin, a link in the long chain of prophets
and visionaries, had his impact on Martin King. As though anticipating
the depth of feeling of seers like Gandhi and King when coming
face to face with the misery of the poor, Ruskin asked: How is
it possible to desire luxury and wealth if the accompanying suffering
is clearly seen existing side by side with such affluence? Only,
he said, could the most ignorant and cruel man sit at such a feast
of plenty, and even then, a blindfold would likely be in place.
Gandhi saw [John] Ruskin as the product of a realm which tended
to afford reverence and a special place in history for those whose
words and deeds epitomized the conscience of the nation at the
time. Had not the moral power of Thomas a Becket caused Henry
II to walk on his knees from Canterbury city limits to Becket's
tomb in the cathedral? Had Thomas More in death not sealed Henry
VIII's moral bankruptcy for all ages of Englishmen? Did not T.
E. Lawrence's bold public repudiation of the king's honours inspire
future legions in support of the anti-imperialist ethic of the
right of people everywhere to self-determination?
In such circumstances, the English were
predictable and Gandhi knew it. He understood that there was no
way that the political descendants of Becket, More, Bacon, and
Coke, and the cultural heirs of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Byron,
Blake, Ruskin, and Lawrence, would long tolerate the slaughter
of unarmed Indians who themselves laid claim to their lush 5,000-year-old
Indus Valley civilization which they sought to reclaim armed only
with their moral integrity and a willingness to be beaten, tortured,
arrested, and die. Gandhi reasoned that at some point, the word
would go out from the government of the day - enough, no more.
He was right.
Martin King's transfer of energy and resources to oppose the war
was a move beyond the traditional civil rights struggle and few
of his colleagues cared to link up the denial of civil liberties
and existence of dehumanising poverty at home with the daily atrocities
being committed on an ancient people by a new colonialist crusade
10,000 miles away. Not only would they reject the relationship
but most, ignoring the moral dimension, would trade off some progress
on the home front rights issues for providing support of the war
He refused, and thus alienated most of
his own as had Gandhi on the Muslim state issue. Amongst those
offended by his commitment to end the war were powerful economic,
military, and political leaders - including the president - who,
so they thought, had bought his allegiance by facilitating the
passage of civil rights legislation. They and the powerful corporate
interests in the shadows felt betrayed.
... When Dr King came out formally in
opposition [to the Vietnam War], popular support of the military
adventure was lacking. The people reacted to the lies they were
told. The body bags were increasing, and all for what? On the
subjective side of the equation, no leader had emerged by 1967,
who could articulate the tragedy of the powerful few benefiting
from the wasting of resources of many. No one had emerged who
could bring together the disparate groups in opposition to the
continued degradation of the cultural life of his native land.
... To the chagrin of the powerful economic
interests and their steward government, [Martin Luther King's]
leadership against the increasingly unpopular Vietnam adventure
had public approval and support. The vehicle for the expression
of this growing anti-war movement, nonviolent action, and civil
disobedience which included draft resistance and flight, draft-card
burnings, peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins and teach-ins had an
impact across the country. It all began to unravel, however, as
indignation and anger took a more violent turn.
The Pentagon demonstration involving some
200,000 largely middleclass Americans coming on the heels of the
1967 urban riots was regarded as a preview of what would happen
in the nation's capital with the Poor People's Campaign.
Objectively, the nation's poor were in
bad and worsening condition. They were suffering at home so that
their own young could be cannon fodder 10,000 miles away. Martin
King agonized over the problem of the Vietnam War. Whenever he
expressed concern for the people of Vietnam and the American soldiers
sent over to kill them, he was attacked by fellow civil rights
leaders, members of Congress, and brother clergymen for not concentrating
on civil rights.
With the steady deterioration of the quality of life in urban
America, city after city erupted in violence for the next six
months of 1967. Military intelligence was derived from those urban
riots that Martin King had singular popularity amongst the urban
poor and that he had every intention of mobilizing the largest
gathering of American poor ever assembled in the nation's capital.
It was to be a peaceful encampment to remind the Congress that
these legions of poor people existed, that they had faces and
voices, families, rights, and hopes which were unfulfilled, and
they were not going to go away.
Like Gandhi's ragged forces confronting
the might of the British Empire, Martin King's equally unkempt
wretched of America were scheduled to come to the seat of power
and demand the unthinkable the reallocation of resources and priorities
in the richest country on earth so that no child would go to bed
hungry, health care and education would be available to all, and
basic food, shelter, and clothing would become a right of every
From the moment that he formally opposed the war [Vietnam], followed
by his commitment to the Poor People's Campaign, Martin King began
a fateful struggle against another type of colonial domination
and another colonialist master. This enemy would emerge as the
most powerful domineering force ever to span the globe. During
the last year of his life, he became locked in a deadly struggle
with the behemoth of transnational corporate colonialism and the
awesome power of its steward state, the United States of America.
Whilst the earlier forms of oppression
confronted by Gandhi and King were in decline, when King turned
his attention to economic injustice, it was another matter. He
had come to realize that the fundamental, underlying injustice
in American life was the exclusion of the poor of all races and
cultures from the opportunity to attain even the bare minimum
of the necessities of life. Martin King then, entered a new and
different arena. [Martin Luther King] was involved no longer
in fighting regional, social injustice but rather in attempting
to confront the core issue of economic injustice in American society,
which went hand in hand with waging a costly war and the growth
of militarism. This new struggle brought him into direct conflict
with the federal government and its numerous agency surrogates
whose mission it was to serve and protect American corporate interests
at home and abroad.
Martin King never lost hope that the system could be compelled
to live up to its stated ideals and respond to the genuine needs
of its poorest citizens. He was hardly a revolutionary up to the
time of his death, but this is not to say that he - like any of
us - was not subject to the process of radicalization.
Had he lived and been confronted with
the abject failure of liberal democracy to alleviate the suffering
and deprivation of its teeming masses, his formidable conscience
might well have required him to advocate root and branch reconstruction
of the government of his native land, as, in fact, ed by Mr. Jefferson
as the responsibility of each new generation.
The corporate-dominated economy and the transnational corporate
state had consolidated its power over almost every aspect of public
and private life in his native land, and under a formal globalization
movement the transnational corporations were extending their tentacles
all over the planet.
Footsoldiers like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald
Reagan, the ever-dutiful Bush family, Helmut Kohl, and a list
of Japanese tenders had diligently kept the faith. Working with
the timeworn International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank
and ultimately with the new engine of globalization, the World
Trade Organization, they ensured that the interests of capital
were nowhere endangered by the needs of the world's three billion
poor to eat, have shelter, clothing, sanitation, medical care,
The framework for the post-1945 economy had largely been worked
Out by the United States and Britain. It called for the creation
of three multilateral institutions - the World Bank, the IMF,
and an international trade organization... With the demise of
the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s, however, there
were no longer any alternatives or restrictions on the planet
to the spread of corporate colonialism.
On that New Year's Day in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO)
was quietly born during the Uruguay round of GATT. In low-income
"developing countries," the World Bank and the IMF had
institutionalized the doctrine that extensive borrowing was the
way forward. Thus, subject economies became enslaved to repayment
schedules and loan conditions which invariably required the cutback
of necessary social services and population assistance programs,
whilst the loan funds found their way back to Western corporations.
... With the way clear for the WTO, the
world's largest corporations are now represented by a global body
with legislative and judicial power committed to protecting their
rights against the intrusion of governments and the citizens to
whom those governments are theoretically responsible.
... Any national law requiring imported
goods to meet national health, safety, labour, or environmental
standards may be declared an unfair trade practice by the WTO
if the legislation requires stricter standards than the international
standards accepted by the WTO.
We have come to live in a nation dominated by avarice and acquisitiveness...
We see a culture where people have increasingly less value and
where corporate and banking institutions determine public policy
and thus the interests of capital take precedence over people.
America has clearly emerged as the greatest purveyor of state
terrorism on the planet. If there is any doubt one only has to
consider, amongst others, the incidents of American intervention
in Guatemala, Iran, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba (ongoing for 43 years),
Chile, Uruguay, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and, most recently, Venezuela.
Arnold Toynbee, in his 1948 work Civilization on Trial
Civilizations ... come to birth and proceed
to grow by successfully responding to successive challenges. They
break down and go to pieces if and when a challenge confronts
them which they fail to meet.
The blame for the initiation planning conspiracy, and execution
of the killing [of Martin Luther King] should be laid squarely
on the shoulders of agents of the h government of the United States
in collaboration with Memphis operatives of the Marcello criminal
As horrifying as that fact is, it gets
worse when one realizes the extent of the military's involvement,
from the coordination of the flow of events down to the last detail,
including the selection of the back-up team by the head of the
902nd Military Intelligence Group. Even prior to the assassination,
the use of military intelligence to spy on Dr King and other Americans,
leading to other army sharpshooter actions against targeted civilians,
makes it clear that for a half century or more the military have
been heavily involved in the domestic affairs and life of the
nation. Very few people at the time knew, or even now know, the
extent of this involvement. It is only in retrospect that we begin
to get a glimpse of how widespread this activity was in the 1960s.
[Hugo] Chavez more than anyone drawing a breath, carries on and
expands [Martin Luther] King's struggle on behalf of the wretched
of the earth. He is a revolutionary leader deeply committed, as
was [Martin Luther] King, to liberating the poor from the impoverishment,
physical deprivation, and exclusion that denies all life in the
face of the challenge to survive.
Corporate capitalism continues to grow more avaricious, pursuing
control over the natural resources of the planet with unprecedented
Capitalism has been shaped by the Washington Consensus, which
was formed around the neoliberal policies that had been imposed
on developing countries by Milton Friedman's Chicago Boys, and
on Eastern Europe by Jeffrey Sachs. The Shock Doctrine, as recently
described by Naomi Klein, involves cutting back or eliminating
social programs, privatization, tax cuts and incentives for the
wealthy, and increasing prices on strategic goods - gasoline,
fuel oil which affect the poor more than any other segment of
The American people have been swept along to accept previously
unthinkable restrictions and acts upon both citizens and foreigners.
The mainstream corporate media has consistently
supported the effort to coerce an entire population of "good
Americans" - our equivalent of the "Good Germans"
- to accept these draconian controls.
The American government could already be described as authoritarian...
Due process of law and the right of habeas corpus, which for centuries
have characterized the rule of law in democratic states, have
been eliminated. At the discretion of the president, non-citizens
and citizens alike may be classified as enemy combatants, picked
up and held for an indeterminate period of time without access
to counsel. A network of secret prisons and / camps is being established
both inside and outside of the United States. Paramilitary forces
or private mercenary armies are being developed to make up for
the inadequate numbers of the existing volunteer army. This is
effectively resulting in the privatization of the US military.
One of the characteristics of tyranny is the monitoring and surveillance
of citizens. Done primarily as a means of control, this has existed
in every authoritarian state, not to mention totalitarian dictatorship,
which seeks total control of the population. The defense is almost
always based on national security grounds.
Anti-war protesters in 1917, after the Espionage Act was passed,
were often arrested and sentenced... Today's Espionage Act, ostensibly
\directed at domestic terrorism, is just as wide-ranging.
On October 23 2007 the House of Representatives - by a vote of
404 to 3, with others not voting - passed the Violent Radicalization
and Homegrown Terrorism Bill.
... The bill is designed to identify which
ideas are likely to radicalize the American people and promote
dissenting activity. A nationwide network of academic researchers
is charged with the responsibility of identifying certain ideologies
and the thoughts that underpin them. Thus, it is a pre-criminal
thought control piece of legislation amending the Homeland Security
Act, and has moved stealthily through two committees of the House
of Representatives. While not criminalizing "thought crime"
at this juncture, it sets up an elaborate foundation for that
move in the future.
The definitions section 899A [of the Violent Radicalization and
Homegrown Terrorism Bill passed by Congress in 2007] is revealing.
(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION - The term
"violent radicalization" means the process of adopting
or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating
ideologically based violence to advance political, religious,
or social change.
(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM - The term "homegrown
terrorism" 7 means the use, planned use, or threatened use,
of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or
based and operating primarily within the United States or any
possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United
States government, the civilian population of the United States,
or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social
(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE - The
term "ideologically based violence" means the use, planned
use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual
to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or
SEC. 899B. FINDINGS [of the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown
Terrorism Bill passed by Congress in 2007]
The Congress finds the following:
(1) The development and implementation
of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent
radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence
in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.
(2) The promotion of violent radicalization,
homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence exists in
the United States and poses a threat to homeland security.
(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating
violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the
homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing
access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda
to United States citizens.
(4) While the United States must continue
its vigilant efforts to combat international terrorism, it must
also strengthen efforts to combat the threat posed by homegrown
terrorists based and operating within the United States.
(5) Understanding the motivational factors
that lead to violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and
ideologically based violence is a vital step toward eradicating
these threats in the United States.
[This is] a frontal assault on the First
Amendment that would likely have sent Mr. Jefferson, Justice William
0. Douglas, and Martin Luther King to prison for their words and
The forces running the corporate state ... are surely now aware
of the impending disaster. Their fear and anxiety is caused by
the realization that when the impoverished masses have lost all
or most of what they had, they will organize and take to the streets.
Hence, every means of mass control is being put in place by the
legislature and by executive order, to provide for the use of
force to control the population. A pretext for the declaration
of martial law and the wholesale detention of American
citizens must not be ruled out during a period of decline and
The Defense Authorization Act gives the Executive the power to
move National Guard units anywhere in the country, without regard
for the wishes of the state governors, and to declare martial
law. This declaration would authorize the detention of dissenting
citizens who could then be picked up and held incommunicado for
an indefinite period, without access to counsel or the courts.
This is nothing short of a militarization of the Republic.
The ... Defense Authorization Act of 2007
was signed into law on October 17 2006 ... allowing the President
to declare a public emergency and station National Guard units
anywhere in the country in order to "suppress public disorder"
- measures that had long been prohibited by the 1807 Insurrection
Act. This Defense Authorization Act, one section of which is called
"Use of Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies," gives
the President unitary power to determine that an emergency exists
in any state sufficient to require the use of the armed forces
without the consent of the state government. Previously, gubernatorial
requests for such action had been the rule. Section 333 of the
Act allows the exercise of this power "in the order to suppress,
in any state, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination
America is now confronted with a de facto repeal of the 1878 Posse
Comitatus Act, which made it a criminal offense for anyone to
use any section of the US military forces for domestic law enforcement
purposes. In the face of this effective repeal, the media and
the Congress have been silent and complicit, and the citizens
go about their business unaware of the fact that the soul of any
functioning democracy - the existence of checks and balances between
the branches of government - has disappeared.
Enabled by the Defense Authorization Act , the president
can now declare martial law, transfer military technology to militarized
domestic police forces, and detain dissenting citizens virtually
at will. These detainees could be held in camps that are now being
constructed and refurbished by Kellogg Brown and Root, ostensibly
for illegal immigrants.
The unitary presidency has been granted the authority to order
kidnapping, detention, and torture abroad under the Military Commissions
Act of 2006. This act authorizes extraordinary rendition, which
inevitably means foreign detention and torture of anyone the President
determines to be an unlawful combatant.
[The] process of incrementally closing down what is left of an
"open society" has been a part of the political program
of every dictatorship. Control over the major sources of mass
information through an elaborate filtering system, ultimately
presided over by compliant editors, is essential to creating homogenous
views in a population who, in many instances, are already conditioned
not to want to know. Allowing peripheral dissent still affords
rulers the opportunity to claim that other views are allowed.
The reality is that it is a fringe activity, irrelevant to the
dominant system of control.
History is ultimately written by those in power, and it must be
framed to support the love of the homeland and all of its virtues.
The movement from democracy to fascism has historically involved
the criminalization not only of active dissent, but also of speech
and ideas... the Violent Radicalization Bill, which is clearly
on that track, is an attempt to legitimize an effort to identify
words and thoughts that may be capable of radicalizing citizens
of the Republic. As a part of this process, the narrow constitutional
definition of treason is expanded to a new level. Unpatriotic
speech or slander against the president, the government, or the
state becomes treasonous.
The Defense Authorization Act of 2007 has laid the foundation
for martial law, since it empowers the president to order' National
Guard troops from one state to any other to respond to what the
president sees as a national emergency ... the occurrence of another
"terrorist act" could provide the government with the
excuse it needs.
The American Republic survived the 1917 Palmer Raids, the attacks
of Senator Joe McCarthy, and the red scares of the Cold War, but
never has liberty, the rule of law, our constitution, and representative
democracy experienced such a sustained attack, on as many fronts,
as it has since September 11 2001.
The Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution and its commitment to the
poor as the most important movement on the planet. [Hugo] Chavez
fully embraces the values that inspired by [Martin Luther] King
to help the poor and marginalized. Corporate media will continue
to distort and misrepresent what is going on there, as it will
with respect to very non-capitalist, cooperative effort.
Martin Luther King page