elledark:

Americas New McCarthy’ism

One of the darkest and most shameful periods in Americas history was that of the ‘McCarthy Communist Witch-hunts’ in the 1950s. Joseph Raymond McCarthy, a bully and a drunk, was the Republican Senator for Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy made a name for himself by whipping up anti-communist hysteria in the country. He made wild claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States and he wielded great power.

Such was the climate of fear he created that just to be accused of being a ‘communist sympathiser’ was enough to ruin reputations and get people black-listed from their professions. The smears were used by corrupt politicians and big business, often in collusion, to settle scores. Ultimately a few brave people, at great risk to themselves, questioned the witch-hunt and the American people eventually sickened of McCarthy’s tactics. In the end his complete inability to substantiate his wild claims led him to be censured by the United States Senate.

Fast forward 50 years and we find the hysteria of ‘Terrorism’ has replaced that of ‘Communism’. The same shadowy ‘enemy’ enviously bent on destroying ‘Americas way of life’ (for no obvious reason), the same endless state of war to defeat this ‘menace’, the same ability to justify any injustice in the name of ‘national security’, the same ratcheting up of state spying and dirty tricks, the same ability to taint anyone by naming them a ‘sympathiser’ of the menace. The stage is set for the rise of another McCarthy and cometh the hour, cometh the man. Take a bow Senator Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Lieberman has gleefully become the public face of Americas persecution of Wikileaks. He has called for the infamous espionage law to be changed so Julian Assange can be prosecuted. He has leaned on businesses like Amazon and Paypal to make them pull the plug of Wikileaks. He has publicly and repeatedly equated both Julian Assange and Wikileaks with ‘terrorism’. This is the man who introduced legislation to strip Americans of their citizenship if they who give ’material support’ or ‘aid and comfort’ to the groups on Washington’s ‘terrorist list. ’Material support’ and ‘aid and comfort’ of course are frighteningly vague terms. In todays news Youtube has been officially leaned on and now let users flag and close down videos they think ‘promote terrorism’, which clearly will lead to abuse and vigilante censorship. Hysteria screams and reason is deafened.

If Joe Lieberman was some kind of malevolent maverick this might be less frightening but he’s not. He has power. He has juice. There is no-one in Washington,  in the Obama administration or opposing it, who is publicly challenging his poisonous attacks on constitutional rights and freedom of speech or his abuse of government power to strong-arm businesses into doing the governments dirty work for it. As in the days of the McCarthy witch-hunts, accusation is all it takes. If Joe Liebermann says you’re a ‘terrorist sympathiser’ then by God you are and you suffer the consequences. Screw the constitution and the justice system.

Leiberman is revelling in his self-appointed role as cheer-leader for Americas use of the ‘terrorist’ bogey-man to push ever further down the road to a fascist police state. The last ten years have seen them go a long way down that particular road already and many of the changes now seem irreversible. Thats the sad fact.

Meanwhile the ghost of Joe McCarthy stands in the wings applauding.

Ellie

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