How ‘Enemy-Creep’ Is Guantanamo-izing America

110224-N-8241M-110Via Guernica, Karen Greenberg sounds the warning on what she terms “enemy creep.” Treatments once reserved for foreign terror suspects will be applied to the U.S. populace, as the definition of the “enemy” continually expands.

It has been a persistent worry of civil libertarians that violations of the rights of non-citizens would eventually contaminate the ways citizens are treated, too; that a process of “enemy creep” would, in the end, result in the Guantanamo-ization of American terrorism suspects.

When rights were first denied to captives at Guantanamo Bay, the Bush administration argued that a prison in Cuba should not be considered subject to the constitutional principles that apply to Americans everywhere or to anyone within the territorial boundaries of the U.S. It is, however, quite another matter, as in the King hearings, to single out Muslims or others in our midst as potential terrorists and then to argue that when arrested—even if they are U.S. citizens or captured or tried on U.S. soil—they should be denied the protections of U.S. law.

At the moment, the most alarming example of “enemy creep” can be found in the case of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who allegedly downloaded hundreds of thousands of classified documents from Army computer systems and turned them over to WikiLeaks. He is now being held on 24 charges in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement in a brig at Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, while awaiting a court martial slated to begin later this spring.

There, among other punitive forms of treatment, he has reportedly been denied his clothes at night (though he is now apparently allowed to sleep in a coarse, tear-proof gown), supposedly as a form of self-protection. In captivity, nakedness, as the infamous abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison demonstrated, is above all a form of humiliation, and often the first step towards physical and sexual abuse, including torture. Manning, neither Muslim nor accused of terrorism, is nonetheless clearly considered by his captors an enemy of the nation, a traitor. As a result, he is being kept under conditions which should make Americans take note of the blurring of, and crossing of, previously sacrosanct lines and the dismantling of long-established rights when it comes to defining and punishing “the enemy.” Though no jihadi terrorist, Manning, too, is being punished before being tried for the crime of threatening national security.

Thanks to Mukasey, Kaplan, King, those overseeing the treatment of Manning, and others, the embrace of cruel standards when it comes to alleged enemies of the state is gaining traction. These officials and former officials seem to be part of a process, remarkably uncommented upon, that is turning previously unthinkable rhetoric into normal discourse and intolerance into a rationale for challenging the rights of anyone accused of violating the country’s security.

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  • robertpinkerton

    In her Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt argued that inevitably imperial methods come home to the metropolis.

  • Anonymous

    In her Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt argued that inevitably imperial methods come home to the metropolis.

  • http://twitter.com/MiddleAmericaMS MiddleAmericaMS

    Fascism-Lite

    Brought to you by the right-wingers of America

  • https://twitter.com/#!/MiddleAmericaMS MiddleAmericaMS

    Fascism-Lite

    Brought to you by the right-wingers of America

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    It’s not really ‘creep’…if its the original endgame and all the rest was just the lead up. Drug War, Terrorism War, Iraq, Afghanistan…what have you…they’re just stopping points with a few resources and premium locations for hegemonic influence. The endgame was always a winnowing away of civilian/human rights and a freeing up of capital by gutting public expenditures…to turn the tide away from government as servant to citizens…and shift its gears to government as servant to business. It has never been anything less than the return of feudalism—economic style for a new era. It had its birth in the 1860s with the arrival to power of various robber barons in the newly formed Republican party…and found plentiful allies and lickspittle henchmen in the other parties ranks. The Depression and resulting New Deal, the rise of labor, the Civil and Equal Rights movements…were insults the elite have never forgiven or forgotten…and they have chipped at them for decades. With propaganda stylings gleaned from the most skillful purveyors and marketing experts working around the clock to sell an ideology of passivity and ignorance…this failed experiment in independence has finally run its course. A few hundred years was a good run…but it looks like no one wants to fight for a few more centuries of prosperity and relevance…shit…about half the country is actively working to make sure we don’t last another decade as free people even while they chant words like ‘patriotism’ and ‘freedom’…and the other half barely cares or even notices. Whats left of the liberal fringe is outnumbered, outgunned and out financed. If you wrote “patriotism” on a giant poison dick…the entire conservative wing of this country would suck it til they died…but they wouldn’t extend a hand to a fellow citizen in need, stand up for their rights, or protect the rights of those weaker than themselves.

    We’re just fucked.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    It’s not really ‘creep’…if its the original endgame and all the rest was just the lead up. Drug War, Terrorism War, Iraq, Afghanistan…what have you…they’re just stopping points with a few resources and premium locations for hegemonic influence. The endgame was always a winnowing away of civilian/human rights and a freeing up of capital by gutting public expenditures…to turn the tide away from government as servant to citizens…and shift its gears to government as servant to business. It has never been anything less than the return of feudalism—economic style for a new era. It had its birth in the 1860s with the arrival to power of various robber barons in the newly formed Republican party…and found plentiful allies and lickspittle henchmen in the other parties ranks. The Depression and resulting New Deal, the rise of labor, the Civil and Equal Rights movements…were insults the elite have never forgiven or forgotten…and they have chipped at them for decades. With propaganda stylings gleaned from the most skillful purveyors and marketing experts working around the clock to sell an ideology of passivity and ignorance…this failed experiment in independence has finally run its course. A few hundred years was a good run…but it looks like no one wants to fight for a few more centuries of prosperity and relevance…shit…about half the country is actively working to make sure we don’t last another decade as free people even while they chant words like ‘patriotism’ and ‘freedom’…and the other half barely cares or even notices. Whats left of the liberal fringe is outnumbered, outgunned and out financed. If you wrote “patriotism” on a giant poison dick…the entire conservative wing of this country would suck it til they died…but they wouldn’t extend a hand to a fellow citizen in need, stand up for their rights, or protect the rights of those weaker than themselves.

    We’re just fucked.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    It’s not really ‘creep’…if its the original endgame and all the rest was just the lead up. Drug War, Terrorism War, Iraq, Afghanistan…what have you…they’re just stopping points with a few resources and premium locations for hegemonic influence. The endgame was always a winnowing away of civilian/human rights and a freeing up of capital by gutting public expenditures…to turn the tide away from government as servant to citizens…and shift its gears to government as servant to business. It has never been anything less than the return of feudalism—economic style for a new era. It had its birth in the 1860s with the arrival to power of various robber barons in the newly formed Republican party…and found plentiful allies and lickspittle henchmen in the other parties ranks. The Depression and resulting New Deal, the rise of labor, the Civil and Equal Rights movements…were insults the elite have never forgiven or forgotten…and they have chipped at them for decades. With propaganda stylings gleaned from the most skillful purveyors and marketing experts working around the clock to sell an ideology of passivity and ignorance…this failed experiment in independence has finally run its course. A few hundred years was a good run…but it looks like no one wants to fight for a few more centuries of prosperity and relevance…shit…about half the country is actively working to make sure we don’t last another decade as free people even while they chant words like ‘patriotism’ and ‘freedom’…and the other half barely cares or even notices. Whats left of the liberal fringe is outnumbered, outgunned and out financed. If you wrote “patriotism” on a giant poison dick…the entire conservative wing of this country would suck it til they died…but they wouldn’t extend a hand to a fellow citizen in need, stand up for their rights, or protect the rights of those weaker than themselves.

    We’re just fucked.

    • E.B. Wolf

      “If you wrote “patriotism” on a giant poison dick…the entire conservative wing of this country would suck it til they died.”
      I’d be laughing even harder than I am if it wasn’t so literally true.

      *(slurp, slurp) And we have to fight for good christian family values! (slurp) ..and the free market! (slurp)*

  • E.B. Wolf

    “If you wrote “patriotism” on a giant poison dick…the entire conservative wing of this country would suck it til they died.”
    I’d be laughing even harder than I am if it wasn’t so literally true.

    *(slurp, slurp) And we have to fight for good christian family values! (slurp) ..and the free market! (slurp)*

  • KG

    The idea that we might learn from our mistakes is comical at best. See: Japanese-Americans during World War II.

    Unfortunately, this is taking it even further.

  • http://worldwithinsight.com/ Kyle Greggory

    The idea that we might learn from our mistakes is comical at best. See: Japanese-Americans during World War II.

    Unfortunately, this is taking it even further.

  • Anonymous

    I say, that if we ever turn this SH-t around, we make sure those behind things like this are LITERALLY tried as “Traitor” themselves or at least made to feel as them, along with their families the rest of their lives. For, in their fake “Fighting EVIL!” whatever they’ve become worse traitors than Arnold or Ames…

    They’ve, in trashing the constitution have admitted to every Monarch, every Pirate, every two-bit dictator and mass murdering evil dictator; “You were right. Our ideals are false, just a lie. They are paper thin and blow in the wind. We can’t bear giving up ANY power. We are just fakes, and our only merit is being stronger than the next dictator.”

    In short, the work of the Founding Fathers now stands in FAILURE thanks to them.

    Traitors is the word for them, not people like Manning at least brave enough to expose their CRIMES.

  • greengestalt

    I say, that if we ever turn this SH-t around, we make sure those behind things like this are LITERALLY tried as “Traitor” themselves or at least made to feel as them, along with their families the rest of their lives. For, in their fake “Fighting EVIL!” whatever they’ve become worse traitors than Arnold or Ames…

    They’ve, in trashing the constitution have admitted to every Monarch, every Pirate, every two-bit dictator and mass murdering evil dictator; “You were right. Our ideals are false, just a lie. They are paper thin and blow in the wind. We can’t bear giving up ANY power. We are just fakes, and our only merit is being stronger than the next dictator.”

    In short, the work of the Founding Fathers now stands in FAILURE thanks to them.

    Traitors is the word for them, not people like Manning at least brave enough to expose their CRIMES.