December 10, 2001
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"Since lives and liberties depend on clarity, not obfuscation, and upon reason, not hyperbole, let me take this opportunity to be clear."
"[...]Since 1983 the United States government has defined terrorists as those who perpetrate premeditated, politically motivated violence against noncombatant targets. My message to America this morning then is this: if you fit this definition of a terrorist, fear the United States, for you will lose your liberty."
"We need honest, reasoned debate, and not fear-mongering. To those who pit Americans against immigrants and citizens against noncitizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil."
Attorney General John Ashcroft, testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, December 6, 2001.
Now, if Bush Senior, once, could refer to newly elected Senator Wellstone by this rather prosaic question, "Who is this chicken-shit?" then I guess I am at most a fly-shit would not even register on the immaculate window panes of the sanctified White House.
So, as a fly-shit I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify a few thoughts, and as you'll see I am a little irritated or hurt, or pained to use words of the Suburbs of good will this morning (it's 3 AM; I have not been sleeping well lately).
First thought coming to mind is that not only is John Ashcroft possibly the most reactionary Attorney General in US history (I say possibly for chances are this reactionary country may have seen worse in its short existence) but he is truly an asshole. So far as I am concerned he can take his civilized discourse and ramp it up his...
You see, I am one of those twenty million people who, at the stroke of a pen, have lost his civil liberties. I can be arrested without notice, without a warrant. I can be jailed in secret, no right to counsel, and if a military attorney is eventually assigned to me, the attorney-client privilege is revoked. Ashcroft and his henchmen can listen to all the conversations. I can be deported with no recourse. I can be tried in a military tribunal and convicted of whatever cooked-up charges by only two thirds of the so-called jury; and I can be executed just like that (this death penalty, arm of state terror by excellence!). In clear and non-obfuscated words, I have lost my civil rights simply because I am not a citizen. I am an immigrant.
So, Ashcroft, let me ask you: Who is pitting "Americans against immigrants and citizens against noncitizens?" WHO?
My young friend, Will, says, "Oh, but not you Gilles... You are....you are....one of us." Then he is lost for his words as he realizes that indeed I am not one of them, Americans. I am one of them, ALIENS; a Martian who has lived here for 19 years, worked, paid my taxes, laughed and cried, loved and despised (sorry I do not know how to hate), and at a stroke of a pen...
"You will not be in jail as you are not a 'terrorist,' even in the mildest sense," writes Jeff, another young friend. Oh yeah, and on what planet do you live, Jeff? Can you understand, can you experience how I feel? I don't think any one of my friends, my American friends, can. Not even Jan, my companion of 12 years can. I see it in her eyes. I see it in the glaze of incomprehension that I face with her, or with my neighbors. Jeff even "believes" that democracy is a right! Democracy, in America... at a stroke of a pen...
Hyperbole? According to the Center for Civil Rights, "In times of intense political hysteria, in times of great struggles for economic and political rights, and in times of actual or impending wars, the government has responded to dissent by suppressing it in violation of the very principle that defines us--the right of free expression. Police have attacked peaceful protesters with deadly force. Courts and congressional inquisitions have pilloried persons guilty of no offense but harboring unpopular beliefs. Secret police have spied upon citizens and wreaked havoc upon their personal and political lives. Loyalty boards and other government agencies have destroyed the reputations and livelihoods of 'undesirables,' interned them in concentration camps, and expelled or sought to expel them from the country. Political repression in America has been brutal and doggedly persistent." Take a moment and go read the experiences of a few dissenters over the years. Read, READ, for good sake; it may open your eyes!
I am scared shitless. I have never been as scared as I am, even when, as a child, my father was beating me week after week as if I were a worm, a fly-shit. "You aren't my son anymore," he would say. "Change your name," he'd demand. "I'll pay you not to see you again," he'd offer. "Everybody has a price," he'd assert.
I guess my father was an American in disguise. He understood the meaning of money. I for one have NEVER been bought. I have not changed my name and this destroyer is still my father, whether he wants it or not a terrorist father if you want to know how I really feel.
How do I feel, really? I left a prison and have buried myself in a bigger jail ever since I've reached this land. A mythological land where the reality is made of power and money, destruction and pilferage of all living creatures, where even the air you breathe and the water you drink are commodities. It's patriotic to go to the Mall, see. Everything has a price here. Even friendship is accounted, like a balance sheet. Dad, you should have been the one to emigrate here. Not me!
I beg Jan to please not let me die here, me and my dog, Priam. Jan and Priam. My loves. And Swans. I am desperately looking for a far away place, in Hawaii, in up-state New York, in Northern Maine, where I can hide in peace, away from this barbarity.
"Peace-loving people," Ashcroft? Where? Who? 90 percent or more of these people applaud the terror that their government and their military not mine, remember I am just a fly-shit, a Martian, an ALIEN are raining on the Afghans, have been raining on the Yugoslavs, and the Iraqis, and, and, and... It never stops. Some 250 million "terrorist Pontius Pilate," either silent accomplices or vocal supporters, 100 million of them making a living from or around the military; the most militarist and aggressive and racist country in the world and in history. Peace-loving people, my ass! And my taxes are paying for this. Not in my name, Ashcroft, not in my name!
One can't even criticize the repulsive actions of this and past governments (the Republicrats, the two sides of the same coin, this oligarchy closing real fast on a modern-day fascism or despotism) without being branded of "aiding the terrorists." Ashcroft, why don't you send a couple of your henchmen and have them brand on my forehead the word UN-AMERICAN, like a Texas Steer? Surely, your anointed boss will appreciate the exercise.
Do I have a twisted, a sick mind? Let see: "Since 1983 the United States government has defined terrorists as those who perpetrate premeditated, politically motivated violence against noncombatant targets," says Ashcroft. Well, if this is the official definition of terrorism, then how can we hear ad nauseam that the attack on the USS Cole was a "terrorist" attack? And what was the pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, if not a "noncombatant target" and its bombing a "premeditated, politically motivated violence?" A mistake? Yeah, and 9/11 was a mistake too, right?
Terror is terror is terror. Twisted, sick mind, evildoers? Take a mirror, Ashcroft, and have a good, a deep look at what you see.
Paranoid? Well, look at who's talking about Kangaroo courts and dictatorship. "The Uniform Code of Military Justice demands a public trial, proof beyond reasonable doubt, an accused's voice in the selection of juries and right to choose counsel, unanimity in death sentencing and above all appellate review by civilians confirmed by the Senate. Not one of those fundamental rights can be found in Bush's military order setting up kangaroo courts for people he designates before 'trial' to be terrorists." William Safire, The New York Times, Nov. 26, 2001.
"Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney general, a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens." William Safire, The New York Times, November 15, 2001.
"[Bush order] covers millions of residents in this country: people with green cards. Any one of them could be brought before a military tribunal, instead of a regular court, if the president said he or she has 'aided' terrorism or 'harbored' a terrorist," wrote Anthony Lewis on Nov. 24, in The New York Times.
And what does Ashcroft says: "[Those] tactics only aid terrorists."
You know what, Ashcroft, I am not afraid of the "terrorists." I am afraid of you. I think, seriously think, that the probabilities are far greater that you and your henchmen, to preserve the power and privileges of the very few, will harm me much more than the "terrorists" ever will.
I guess the polls will make you feel right about it. 90 percent will either applaud or be indifferent as they are on their way to the Mall. The remaining 10 percent will be powerless anyway, hunkered down in their daily lives, fearing fear itself, having no recourse to their representatives since the latter are not really elected they purchase their offices (how much did the new Mayor of New York City spend on his election, $69 million?) like the bourgeois used to in monarchic France (remember "la noblesse de robe?").
I am an alien, Ashcroft, a Martian, an immigrant, a fly-shit. Come and get me. You know my address. Come and burn down our home in the name of your fucking truth and your fucking civilization, and your fucking flag. Send your henchmen in the middle of the night to kill me. As Boris Vian said, you can "warn your police that I'll be unarmed and that they can shoot." Just don't harm Jan and Priam.
Me, I'll spit on you from my grave, not as an American, mind you, but as a Human; not as a materialistic slave like you, but as a free spirit, like an eagle in the Rockies.
This is not the America I wanted. This is not my America. This is NOT America, period.
Letters to the Editor (added, January 1, 2002)
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This Week's Internal Links
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When Did The Lies Begin? - by Milo Clark
We May Have Waited Too Long - by Deck Deckert
A Power Game Made in Serbia - by Mile N. Tankosic
Support Christ and Your Local Library - by Matthew J. Barry
Freedom - by Ambrose Bierce