July 25, 2010

The Civil Rights Movement in Reverse: Who's Next?

During the rise of Nazi Germany, a certain pastor named Martin Niemoeller was caught up in the patriotic fervor of the time and supported Hitler. However, after realizing what was actually transpiring, he decided to oppose Hitler and circulated a petition. By this time, however, it was too late for political change. He was tried and then imprisoned at various locations until he was finally freed by the Allies at the close of WWII.[1] Years later, another pastor named Martin, Martin Luther King Jr., also became involved as an activist. And he also ended up in jail due to his peaceful protests. King, who was instrumental in the US Civil Rights Movement, wrote the following famous quote from an Alabama prison: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Pastor Niemoeller also wrote a famous quote, which concerned Nazi Germany and how various people groups were pursued, as he apathetically stood on the sidelines and watched. By the time he did finally act, it was too late:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
  and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Fast forward to today. The American Civil Liberties Union has noted at least ten civil rights violations and trends which have occurred since September 11, 2001, and which have steadily worsened. Not only that, "the ACLU itself" testifies that, as an organization, it is under scrutiny and is already considered an enemy of the state.[2] By slightly adjusting Niemoeller's quote, the historic narrative mirrors our situation today, though not yet as serious as conditions were then:

Post 9/11: The Civil Rights Movement in Reverse

First they detained and tortured terrorist suspects, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a terrorist suspect;
Then they went after whistle blowers, and I did not speak out--
  because I was not a whistle blower
Then they went after journalists, and I didn't speak out--
  because I was not a journalist
Then they went after academicians, and I didn't speak out--
  because I was not an academician
Then they went after the Internet and bloggers, and I didn't speak out--
  because I was not a blogger
Then they came after me --
  and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Instead of addressing the long term illegal detentions terrorist suspects, held without legal trials, and the top down authorization of water boarding and torture, the Obama administration has turned a blind eye and a deaf ear, citing the State Secrets Privilege Act, as President G.W. Bush did before him, more than any other US president in history.[3] Instead of listening to whistle blowers, such as Sibel Edmonds, who was fired from the FBI in 2002 for reporting how various FBI issues somehow allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur, the Obama administration has continued to block the truth from coming out. A DOJ inspector general’s report described Edmonds’ allegations as credible, serious and warranting investigation.[4]

Instead of protecting UBS' Bradley Birkenfeld, who in 2007 blew the whistle on the biggest tax evasion scheme in US history, he is the only one being sent to prison.[5] Robert Wolf, the chair of UBS Americas, was Obama's prime fundraiser. Birkenfeld pointed out US politicians were hiding their wealth in offshore Swiss accounts but all the while it was Birkenfeld's neck that felt the tightening noose, as Obama chose rather to make golf arrangements with his partner Wolf rather than make good on his campaign promise to defend whistle blowers.[6]

Journalist Judith Miller spent three months in jail in 2005 for not revealing a CIA leak, regarding the never-found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. James Risen, a New York Times reporter, is presently being sued by the government in order to reveal his sources.[7] Risen won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for exposing President George W. Bush's illegal domestic surveillance program. Journalists are generally protected by the Constitution regarding all classified information, except for highly specific situations, such as troop movement, etc. Risen may face jail time if he doesn't reveal leaks he promised to protect.

What about visitors and personal property? As of 2008, DHA agents at U.S. airports and borders, etc., may officially and permanently seize electronic storage devices, including laptops, cell phones, portable music players and storage devices, such as portable hard drives.[8] In 2009, civil rights groups sent a letter to the Obama Administration in order to protest the refusal of visas to artists, writers, and academicians in general, on the basis of their political views.[9]

More recently, the US government has been going after the jugular vein of democracy, the main information and news platforms. Late June 2010, President Obama obtained authority by a key senate committee to shut down the Internet for a period of up to four months.[10] This draconian approach has only been pursued by one other country, China, who also cites this as a "security measure" but mainly uses this tactic to censor critics. And the most recent icing on the cake, the US Feds shut down over 73,000 Wordpress blogs early July 2010 with no legal due process and no adequate explanation.[11]

People hoped for change in President Obama, but the globalist, control-oriented agenda G.W. Bush advanced seems to be progressing equally well under Obama's leadership. One of the main lessons of Pastor Niemoeller's classic quote seems to be this: In terms of peaceful activism, sooner is better than later. The ACLU and Christians disagree on many issues, but the right not to be tortured, the right to a trial and the right of free speech are at least some issues we can all agree on.

Who may be next victim on the list in the Reverse Civil Rights Movement?

It may be anyone, but especially a person who identifies with the following quote:

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." - Martin Luther King, Jr.


[1] Franklin H. Littell, First They Came for the Jews, Christian Ethics Today (Issue 009 Volume 3 No 1 February 1997) http://www.christianethicstoday.com
[2] Top Ten Abuses of Power Since 9/11 (ACLU online, September 6, 2006) http://www.aclu.org/keep-america-safe-free/top-ten-abuses-power-911
[3] Ryan Singel, State Secrets Can't Hide CIA Torture Program, Appeals Court Rules (Wired online, April 28, 2009) http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/04/state-secrets-cant-hide-cia-torture-program-appeals-court-rules/
[4] Who's Afraid of Sibel Edmonds? (The American Conservative, November 01, 2009 Issue) http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/nov/01/00006/
[5] Ann Woolner, UBS Whistleblower Gets Rewarded With Prison Time: Ann Woolner (Bloomberg News, August 25, 2009) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aLtxtJDMz9P0
[6] Amy Goodman, Jailed Whistleblower: US Lawmakers Held Offshore UBS Accounts (Democracy Now, Amy Goodman Interviews NY Daily News' Juan Gonzalez, April 16, 2010) http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/16/ubs
[7] Howard Kurtz, After reporter's subpoena, critics call Obama's leak-plugging efforts Bush-like (The Washington Post,, April 30, 2010) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/29/AR2010042904656.html
[8] Agam Shah, US Border Agency Says It Can Seize Laptops (Washigton Post, IDG News Service, PC World, August 3, 2008) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/01/AR2008080102988.html
[9] Groups Call On Obama Administration To Stop Refusing Visas On The Basis Of Political Views, ACLU.org, March 18, 2009,
[10] Paul Joseph Watson, Obama Can Shut Down Internet For 4 Months Under New Emergency Powers (Prison Planet.com, June 25, 2010) http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-can-shut-down-internet-for-4-months-under-new-emergency-powers.html
[11] Kurt Nimmo, Feds Ignore Due Process, First Amendment, Shut Down Thousands of Blogs, (Prisonplanet.com, July 18, 2010) http://www.prisonplanet.com/feds-ignore-due-process-first-amendment-shut-down-thousands-of-blogs.html

1 comment:

  1. On a related note, how do you feel about what's happening with the Ron Paul supporters getting roughed up at the convention? Did they bring it on themselves?


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