Glenn Greenwald, author of How Would A Patriot Act?, discusses the teetering stance we in America have as we dance on the top of a pivot point of unfathomable importance between liberty and oppression in a recent post The thug and intimidation tactics of the Far Right go mainstream.
I’ve been beating this drum for well over a year. The storm trooper-esque para-military tactics of intimidation of individuals is coming to a street near you… (They are called Goon Sqauds in case you don’t know.) In fact it may be coming to your house if you don’t support Horowitz, White supremacist, extremist pro-life groups and other people in America masquerading as mainstream folks who want to force everyone to live by their rules that are in strict conflict with the intent and letter of our constitutional rule.
I’ve had police intimidate my family when I’m not home. “We can arrest her if anyone presses charges,” announced cops who showed up at my door last year apparently just to f*ck with my family. Rather senior friends of mine, elderly ladies who reside together, have had men show up at their door asking why they aren’t patriotic and why they don’t support the troops… A man dressed head to toe in full desert fatigues, who I could name but refuse to as I will not sink to their level, has insinuated that I should be executed as a traitor (hung actually) when I’ve held the sign “Bring the Troops Home Now” at Wednesday morning counter-recruiting protests here in Tucson. Another man insults me about body odor, of all the ridiculous things, for having raised arms as I hold up a sign. He yells in my face, steps into my space (within an inch of touching me) as the underage teens who do his bidding come to stand behind me and effectively “surround” me. The pro-war folks, who proudly “report back” on Free Republic also call the women peace folks by first name in a clear intimidation tactic to let us they know exactly who we are.
It is interesting to note that this surround and intimidate tactic is the very same tactic that was used on me by the recruiters the first time I interacted with them. I naively went to them to find out how to get my at that time 15 yr. old kid’s name off an Army mailing list that was trying to get more information through freebie offers.
That horrible experience convinced me I had to start protesting recruiting tactics. I was distraught when I went in and was very angry but the recruiters only intentionally fed on my anxiety and revved up my anger. All I wanted was a phone number, which one recruiter had started to find for me, when another one signaled his buddies to gather round and encircle me. I sat down in a chair and said I would wait for the number to get my kid off the list. They called the cops on me. I left. These jokers are the lowest rung on Donald Rumsfeld’s fascist ladder and seem to immediately choose intimidation tactics whenever dealing with any situation that isn’t their control. I wasn’t a counter-recruiting activist at that point – I had mixed feelings about “supporting our troops.” But after that horrible treatment and intimidation I began to attend the protest occasionally but kept clear of the recruiters.
I became even more convinced that I had to be there in protest after I was arrested almost a year ago along with five Raging Grannies. I was not protesting that day and was just taking pics for this blog of what turned out to be the first attempt by any group of Raging Grannies to enlist in the U.S. Army when the same recruiter who had decided to intimidate a mother coming in to get some info from them singled me out from all the press there to call onto private property and have arrested. (The cops later decided to arrest other journalists to cover their asses when I asked why I was the only non-granny being arrested. I still feel bad about that.)
It is just a suspicion, based on observation, and I can’t prove it, but I think the recruiters are training these supposed counter-protesters in military tactics “appropriate” to use on the peace protesters. I also cannot prove it, but neighbors in the area who have to remain anonymous for fear of eviction or retaliation have stated that the extremist owner of the property that houses the recruiting center offices actually pays at least some of the pro-war people to protest. It is interesting that so many middle aged right wing folks and families can afford to protest during the work day. Most of the peace folks are retired and that is why they can afford to be there every week.
We have to stop this emergent police state and militarization of the entire border region… NOW. It may take a while to get to the heartland, and for middle America to wake up– unless this gets coverage and massive grassroots email awareness campaigns –and by then it will be too late.