tv Glenn Greenwald Our Civil Liberties at Risk LINKTV October 9, 2016 4:00am-5:01am PDT
[applause] thank you. thank you very much, and good evening to every body. thank you so much for coming out tonight. to o the musliml legal fund for inviting me here and for the outstanding work they do. i'm asas genenuine as i can be n i say everyryone in those two organizations is extxtremely impressive, even insnspiring toe because of the workk they do in
areas where very few otherer organizations are able or willing to venture. i'm truly delighted to participate in any event they sponsor any work they do. fofor the last 6, 7 years, i hae been writing about the systematic erosion a and attackn civil liberties in the united ststates and the war on terror that justitifies those erosions that drivivesphobia those. the past few yearsrs i have been spending an increasing amount of time traveliling around the country speakiking about these issusues at events lilike this, similalar offense on college campuses and in large and midsized american cities. reason that t so importatant to me and i have come to value that experienence and thehe reason 'd continue t to do it is it enabls me to meet many of the people whose lives have been devastated by the injustitices we have bebn
talking about this evening and that i spend so much time writing about and advocating.. i ifeason that so importata, you spend a lot of time thinking about these issues and writing about them without having the human interaction, it is very easy to see these injusustices s abstractions. it''s importantt that even if yu bebecome somebody who is objectg to thehem on a theoretical level in terms of the concecept and threat they pose to liberties that we consider s so important that o one not lose sighght of e fact each h and every instance n which thesese injustices manifit do actually harmonon sometimes devastate the lives not only of the individuals s who are targed by t them but i holdd it in you familyly members and frienends d members ofof theirir community s well, and it's only by going around and having those interactions is s that personalized aspect of t these isissues r really in a visceraly brouought home and conveyed. it's rereally that experience tt has emboldened me more than ever
before to continue to workrk on these issueses. and what's really amamazing abot the persecution of muslims and the attack on civil liberties and the e united states s is the magngnitude of it isis so greatt itit really is a case in almost every single city i have beeeeno there are people there toto m mt who have been directly harmed by these kinds of travesties. a lot of times when i get to the city, i am not even awaware thee arare people in those placeses e it's just that they are so common that it ends up in a most every placace i go these experiences happen. lastto give an example, week i spoke to the ununiversity of missouri law school, in columbia, missouri, a pretty smalall typical american college town. unbeknownst to me prior r to my arrival, that happens to be the moody lives.r.r. i was able to meet his son and son-in-law and hear about his truly amazing and genuinely
disturbing experiencnce. was a stutudent whoho decided to come to the united states to pursue a phd in nuclear engineering. he arrived at the e university f missouri to study and obtained his phphd and decided along with his wifefe he wanted to ststay n the united statates and wowork n the united statetes rather than rereturning to iraq. work as aand got research professor at the university of missouri, became an integral part of the columbia community. he and his wife ultimately had five children, all of them american-born n u.s. citizens. the problem is beginning of the early 199090's, for the next decade, he had numerous family member still in iraq, including 11 siblings, along with his elderly mother who was blind. millionss of anan iraqis, his family members were not just sufferingng great deprivation, although they were, they were lititerally on the
boundary of starvation, typically unable to f feed themselves in anany way that provides major sustenance. this iss incredibly common among ththe regime sanctions. although he was earning a modest salary, he simply could not in good conscious l live even what was really a lower middle-class american existence with some discretionary fununds while his family was suffering so greatly in iraq. he began to find ways to send very small amount of money back to his family in a rack, but a -- literally 1010, $15, $2020 peper month to allow them to eat and buy medicine. when others figured out he had no figured out a way to do this, they wanted to send money back to their families. on behehalf of 13 families, he spent v very small amounts backo erect, never more than $100 a month for anyone family, enough
to basically sustained 13 families. he did this for a decade. when the sanctions on the regime were lifted. and 202003 he became an outspoken advocate of the proposed attttack on iraq. as a nuclear engineer, he was incrededibly well-l-suited, very credible to argue e that saddam had no active program, that the war was being sold based on an in l litany of misinformation about a rack -- about iraqi weapons of mass to russian, arguing that removing saddam by foreign popowers would spawn h n suffering, basically warning of everything that would happen. as a result he attracted a lot of attention from the u.s. government. blue, 35out of the federal agents showed up at his home, armed, while his two
teenage children w were there, showing a search warrant for his home, spending the next nine hours in hihis house removing everything they could find. passports, documents, photos, marriage license, heieirlooms, huge documents. beenich they have never returned to them. onlyly three years latater did e learn the charge the government was able to indict him for. it was basically a single count ofof technically violating the w that's part of the sancnction on the regime that aren't any american from sending money back to a rack -- sending money back to iraq. the u.s. government acknowledged that every p penny that he sent was intended only for purely humanitarian assistance for these 14 families. intended forit those purposes, even the government acknowlwledging the money never went everywhere --
anywhere but those recipients to buy food, by shelter, medicine. nobody contends that a single tony went toto saddam's regime buy weapons, to o terrorist groups, anything else. yet the u.s. government indicted him for what i think he called, aptly, a crime of compassion. two months ago, he stood in a federal court in missouri expecting to receive probation because what he was accused o of the wing has n not been a crime now for nine yearars. yet t he was sentenced to ththre in federal prison, which he beganan serving two wes ago at fort leavenworth. i was able to speak to his son and son-in-law on thee devastation this has wrereaked n dr. moody also his family. he has several college-age students. has another son who is 16 years old and is a junior in high school, and his brother
told me about the way in which this has affected his brother at a very vulnerable time, six years old, to hahave his father disappear. 60-year-old man, highly educated, now consigned to a cage for the next three years for literally having done nothing other than try to save his famimily from starvation, starvation that occurred because of the same government that just prosecuted him for doing that. this is the kind of story that if you go into muslim communities in the united states you will hear over and again. it's the sort of thing you can become angry about if you tnk about it or read about it without the human connection. it takeses on a different dimensioion when you realize the are all human beings whose wives have ashlock said been destroyed in the family members continue to suffer. it's not just meeting the aims of these injustices that makes my going around so valuable but
also the people who are fighting them and combatingng them on a daily basis, usually in obscururity and often at great personal risk to themselves. the unitedways states government has terrorized muslsl communitities using the w is to use material stuck boards statutes -- ethereal support statutes to make it a felony punishable by decades in prison to have any involvement wiwith y elelement t t united states government deems off-limits comer reregardless of whatat tht entails. it's really quite risky, quite scary for p people, esespecially muslim activists and lawyers, to providee aid to people accused y the government of materially supporting tererrorism, to prove legal networorks, financing forr them, a support network and infrastructure so the u.s. government's goal of disappearing them, having us forget they even exist. the two organizations who have
sponsored this event tonight our organizatitions i have really ce to know very well over t the pat year. they're doing brave and important work. without them, many of the people targeted by the u.s. government would have no defenses. one of the things i think about quite a bit and i debate with myself quite a bit about and go back and forth on is when i think about these issueues of civil liberties, abuses, the like. whether or not thehere is really anything unique about the way in whicich primarily muslim americs and others in the uniteded stats hahave been targeted with this kind of persecution. as alluded to earlier tonight, the history of the united states is one that has a continuous stream of minority groups who have been targeted landscape goaded and victimized by abususs of power, african-americans being ththe most commoand consistent example, but other groups as well, whether
immigrantsts or accuse communiss were japanese-americans during world war ii have been similarly targeted based on the knowledge that these marginalized minority groups that the government can seize power without anyone much caring about it. the air is an argument that the muslims are the latest in this continuum, the cururrent exampme that hasas replaced communists d other groups as this favorite group from the u.s. govovernment to target and demonize to justify abuses of power. there is an argugument that one should look atat it that way.. i actually think there are some unique attributes about this persecution that distinguish it from those other prior examples. i think is very difficult to compare injustices quantitatively to see which arae better or woworse. it's not profitable to do that, there are unique attributes to the way in which the civivil liberties are being justified. the first of those unique
attributeses is all of the civil liberties abuses are taking place within the context of multiple wars. the reason why that is so important is because the number one tactic of the government in vogue, true since e the historyf war was begun, is the enemy of the war has to be dehumanized, has to be completely demonize to the point of almost subhuman state of nonexistence. the reason for this is even the most sociopathic citizenry willl not sustain very long a knowledge that it is supporting a continuous killing of their fellow human beings. it''s why thosese people have te dehumanized, so that knowledge can be abated. what you have over the past 11 years of continuous bombing and killing and attention and torture is the continuous dehumanizatition of the victimsf this violence which no most every case are muslims.
you have americacan politicians who will stand up and say, we are not at war with islam, we understand the majoritity of muslims are peaceful, and we are only interested in punishing and bringing to justice those muslims work stream s who were viololent. the reality, the impact of this this constant- of dehumanization is to render muslims completely voiceless. the most striking instance of how potent this dehumanizatioion is occurred recently. to m me at least. if you look back at what happened in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack, what was amazing about the media reaction of the mayor can people was that for decades there had been this list of grievances in the muslim world about the united states, that it supports dictators, that it brings violence to the muslim worldld, that it renders the wishes of powerless and
irrelevant, that it steadfastly supports israeli aggression, a whole litany of grievances that if you pay attention to the discourse of the muslim world or you would be familiar with. after 9/11, the reaction of the majority of americans, which was quite genuine, was bafflement. it was, i don't understand why anyone would possibly want to attack the united states. wewe are such a peaceful nation. all we want t do is go about livingng our lives with freedom and liberty, yet people seem to really hate us and it's impossible to understand why. the question that was asked of the mirkin people was -- of the american people was the famous "why do they hate us" question, and the u.s. government needed to provide an answer bececause people wanted to know why they were attacked. the answer was, they hate us for our freedom. what's remarkable aboutut that, that was understandable because muslims and their grievances have beenn basically excluded
completely from public discourse. the e reason americans did not know that is because they were not subjected to it. they were never exposed to it. 11 years later, here we are,, after the united states has full-scaletwo ininvasions and i invasions of predominantltly muslim couountr, has bombed many others, has created a worldwide torture regime, has created a lawless prison in the middle of the ocean that has brought thousands of muslims, and even after all this violence and aggression and lawlessness, a full decade's worth, when recent protests broke out in the muslim world that were anti-american directed at the united states, that same question arose, why could they possibly be so angry at us? it has evolved to the point where there was bafflement they were not grateful to the united states for all the freedom we brought them. this to me really underscores
how completely muslims are excluded from anything we think about or talk about in the united states. themve debates about without their participation, we have d discussions aboutut whaty are thinkingng without actually hearing what they are thinking. we have constant reports about who we arere killingng and how y people we are e killing g withot ever stopping g and thinking abt who those people are or whether they have done anything that warranted that violence. so much so it was recently revealed a couple montnths ago y the new york times the obama administration has adopted a new definition of mililitants, which says that any military aged male and a strike zone, meaning any male who dieies above the age of 16 or below the age of 55, is automatically deemed a militant without knowing anything else about them. this is how we have come to think about muslims, to the extent we think about them all, they die at the hands of our violence justitifiably because even when we don't know anything
about them, we assume they are militants or terrorists. this has been so indoctrinated fofor so many years in the mindt ofof americans that i think it really distinguishes this form of persecution from prior once. i don't mean it i i mean it is a u unique form f hohow this persecutionon is justified. another unique attribute of the current persecution campaign is that as we move further away from the prerecipitating e even, in justifypitated the abuses, the 9/1111 attack, e injustices actually worsen. to b become more extrereme, not less. what is amamazing about that, if you look at the precipitating event thatat led to the intermrt of japanese americans, the attack on pearl harbor and the war with the japapanese, the japaneseon against americans was very intense during the initial conflict, but
after the initial trauma wore off, the persecution lesson. japanese-americans were integrated back into thehe american communityty relatively quickly. as the country moved a away from the precipitating event, the persecution got better gradually. what you see in n this campaigns the opposite. we have one successful terrorist attack on u.s. soil 11 years ago, get if you look at such -- things never get better. never or the abuses curtailed. even f further away from the 9/11 attack, things cocontinue to worsen. you see far more fbi raids and arrests where the fbi creates and funds and conceals a plot that it t tricks young muslims into joining, then they trumpet that they have dismantled the
plot. then they y put them in prison r decades, far more so now than 10 years ago. when you look at the form of material prosecutions, they are far more remote connections to his designated terrorist groups, literally 20 two-year-old muslim americans who upload youtube videos critical of u.s. foreign policy are being indicted based on the grounds of the youtube video encouraging support for terrorist group, done in coordination with them, therefore being indicted. far less proximate to any terrorist organization then materialal s support was 10 yeas ago. then probably the most disturbing example is the claim by the o obama administration tt it actually has the ability to target even american citizens for e extrajudicial assassinati, to kill anybody a president decides without a whit of
transparency is guilty of terrorism, a power that not even george bush and dick cheney attempted. you see the worsening of this trend rather than the curtailment. i think that is also unique. importation ofhe the war that i just described onto american soil progressively as we momove further away from 9/11. one of the things that m made te post 9/111 theories of dicick cheney a and george bush so extremist isis there is no more limimitless power t that a prest han the power he can exercise during a theater of war. on a battlefefield, there really is no law. everybody acknowledges that. terrorist t say when men take up arms, , law false. more is the u ultimate expreresn of lawlessneness in lilimitless
powerful stuff on the battlefifield, people shoot each other without having trials or due process.s. everyone agrees s that is war to nobody thinks soldiers have to give o opposing soldiers a trial before shooting them. that is what war is. what made these post-9/11 theories s so radical is t the assertion was made for the first time theaters of war were no longer confined t to find a physical faces, the battlefield. it was now thehe case the entire planet was thehe battlefield. including u.s. soil. therefore, the limitless power that the p president can exercie on a battlefield are now no longer confined to physical spaces. essentially the president is omnipotent everywhere because that is where the battlefield is found. what you havave seen the past several years, the concern was at some point the world as a battlelefield and the prpresidet can exert more power is inside the united states. what you have seen over the last couple years is very much moving in that direction.
security.s. national officials five years ago talked about al qaeda as the greatest nationalal security threat werel qaeda and the arabiaian peninsua or various affiliates, now they talk about almost uniformly the greatest threat eating what they call homegrown terrorists. what you have seen the civilil liberty abuses, new ones, spreading up almost exclusively on american soil. two o years ago, the obama juste departmentnt announced new rules where miranda rights were diluted. deluded -- you have legislation being proposed to strip people of citizenship a and eliminate legl protections they have. and the end of last year, you had the e national defefense authorization act which codified the power, , probably the most un-american power there is, looking at america and he romanticize sent, on u.s. soil as well.
you see this incncredibly rapid importation of war theory that used to be applied both outsidie the united states now being applied o on u.s. soil, to the u.s. citizenens and those being residents of the u.s. i also think that is unique. a attribute i want to talalk about t that i think distinguishes this current prosecute -- persecution campaigngn is the e way in which extremism rapidly becomes normalized. this is probably the most difficult to describe, but also the most o odious. think about what happened in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. the country was traumatized by the attack. the political and m media class became mac we us into political power. whatever the u.s. government wantnted, everybody was willingo give themm for the mt t part. very few objbjected in that immemediate timeframamafteter te attack. acquiescent, even
submissive all mosost every secr of american society was to the u.s. government, when the government stood up and introduce the patriot act, that really set off lots of alarm bebells. go back to october and november i in01 and you will find most major american newspapers people reacting wiwith a fair amount of alarm over the fact the government had now suggested and opposed that thehey seize nw surveillance and detention powers that were quite radical. the patriot act became the and thef extremismsm danger of overreach on the part of the government. so much so that when the u.s. congress, as compliant ass they were, and acted the patriot act by an overall majority, even the u.s.s. congress two weeks after september 11 inserted into the patriot act a provision that says the power this law creates will expire in four years.
the reason being that everyone recognized this was an incredibly radical piece of legislation and that nobody wanted this to become permanent as p part of america's political landscape. it was justified only because the situation was so extreme. later, thears situation was no longer extreme and the idea was those powers could be curtailed and everything would return to normal. later, in 2005, the patriot act came up for renewal and it was renewed with almost no debate by a vovo of 89-10, even in the face of abundant evidence powers had been abused. in 2009, the obama administration issued a statement saying they wanted the patriot act quickly renewed. the handful of senators said, maybe we should modify this a tiny bit because there are some abuse taking place and this will help prevent that, and they wewe immediately accused by harry reid, the democratic majority
leader, of risking a terrorist attack on the united states and a quickly passed with almlmost o debate. nobody thinks the patriot act is radical anymore, even thougugh after 9/11 it was viewed as that because extremism becomes normalized once we accept it for a long enough time. it blends into the woodwork and becomes a permanent fixture in american political culture. one other example of that is i mentioned a little bit ago the obama administration has claimed the power to target american citizens even for j judicial and extrajudicial assassination with no charges, no due process, no oversight, no judidicial review. look atmazing is if you what the controversies were of the bush administration, things that had democrats and progressives running around with hysteria, screaming and yelling in p protest, the s shredding oe constitution, the e war on
americican values,s, the things george bush and dick cheney did to provoke that protest were things like asserting the power to detain people, including american citizens, without due to eavesdropimply on the conveversations of ameren citizens without first going to court and getting judicial review. this was years ago, considered so extreme asas there was no insult you coululd expres that would be considered too extreme for how radical these powers were, yet here we are three years later and the current president is asserting that the power to detain people without charges, a although he s doing that, and not merely the power to ease drop on conversations without going ththrough court, thohough he is doing that as well, but also the power to execute people, to assassinate people without going to court or invoking j judicial review. yet there is very little controversy becausert time ago has now become normalized.
the reason why i consider this to be the most odious aspect of all these developments was rereally underscored a few monts ago. i was speaking at a college in indiana, purdue university, and several highgh school students o write for their high school newspapers drove several hours to hear me speak. i tatalked about the state of civil liberties in the united states and the way these russians had taken place. they interviewed me after for their high school newspaper. one of the things they said, they said a lot morore interereg things than i did because it reallyly has an impact. one thing they put it ouout as they s said, look, you keep talking about all these changngs to the civil liberties landscace and d the way in which we have freedoms in this country, but one of the things you keep talking about is you make it seem like there are these great changes, there was the world pre-9/11 and now post-9/11. they told me e for people who ae ouour age, 15, 16 years old, we
were four years old at the time of 9/11. really, there is no pre-9/11 world we know. our political consciousness has been shaped almost exclusively by the post-9/11 world. as is all l we know. what we consider extremist and radical and threatening is for them increasingly more and d moe americans coming of age in the post-9/11 world all they know. it's normal. not objectionable, something they don't even pay much thought to in terms of questioning are challenging because it's the only experience they've had. that underscores why this long time in which these russians have been permitteted to take hd or so significant. important issue to me whenever i write about these issues is the term civil liberties. people try to guess about my
political ideology or where i am on the spectrum of political ideology and believe. that's alwaysyshe phrase -- that's really the only phrase i accept. the reason is i considider it completely central to everything we are talking about tonight. in order to have that discussion, i think it is important to step back. so many terms in our political discourse are terms ththat get thrown around all the time without paying attention to o wt they mean. we heard before the term internal support thahat sends people to prison for decades even though almost nobody can say what it means. the term terrorist and militant are terms that are at least as consequential, yet almosost have no real dedefinition. i think civil liberties is the same way. everybody talks about, yet very few people stop and think about what it means. the reason that's important to do is it actually has a very clear meaningng, one thatat is pretty s simple. all civil liberties really means
is the list of limitations that we have imposed on what the government can do to us. it's the things that firstst wee conceiveved by the foununders to prevent a replica of the monarchy they had just fououghta war t to liberate themselves frm an over the next two under 50 years it h has been added to and elaborated on in all kinds of ways. it's s the list of limits we hae imposed on the government.t. we don''t neneed to guess what y are, we have a c constitution ad bill of rights that tells us what those limits are. ..ose limits are very clear they are intended to be very clear. they are absbsolutist in their nature. anybybody can read them and seee what they say. the first amendment saysys congress shall make no lawaw abridging freedom of speech. before t the men it says nononef us will be subject to unreasonable searches of our person our home withthout probae cause.e. the e fifth amendmenent says tho person shall be e deprived of le or liberty witithout due process
of law. these are exexactly the limitations that we have allowed the government systematicacay to transgress without much backlash or objection. i just want to spend a little time as the last main point to talk about thinking about t what the implications are of allowing the government literally 2-wood nor all of the limitations -- alallowing the governmenent to ignono all the limitations we have told them they have to abide by for us to consider their power legitimate. some of those implications are fairly obvious. if you allllow the government to transgress these themes that you have a government of the lawless, that means as citizen we lose crucial rights to change our society, touches what freedom of speech and freedom of the press is intended to guarantee. it means we lose the right of privacy if we can be eavesdrop on without a demonstration we
have done anything wrong to a court of law, if we can be killed or imprisoned without due process. i means we are at the mercy of the government. but there is something more insidious about allowing the government to violate the civil liberties systematically that i think is to me the most important. it's a little difficult to describe, but i think it's worth doing because it's not very obvious. the main implication of allowing this to happen, allowing the government across these lines without implications or repercussions is itit fundamentally changes the relationship between the citizenry and the government. what i mean by that is this, i n an ideal world, peopople exercie , they have fear over the people they are exercising power thatat if they abuse that power, bad things will happen. that fear has always been a to thery deterrent temptation to abuse power. that's what happens in an ideal
society that a government fears it citizenry. look at what happened when tyrants and kings abuse their power. look at the world and history and you can see what happened to kings. they see of rulers abuse power, they have something to fear. in a tyranny, the opposite happens. overtyranny, the people whom power is exercised fear the people who are exercising power. i think very much that is what has happened in the united states is the climate of fear that has been created and that is increasing, t that is being bolstetered all the time and has changed relationship between the citizenry and the government. i want to share an anecdote about when i first really realize this not in a theoretical way but a a very visceral way and s started thinking about it more. in january 2010, the firstt time i ever wrote about you ororganization wiki leaks, devod to transparency and exposing
secret goverernment wrongdoing. january 2010 was a time when almost nobody had heard of wiki leaks, including me. the way that i came to learn about wiki leaks was that the had prepared d a totop-secret report. in this report it decreed that wiki l leaks was an enemy of the state, a threat to national sesecurity. prepared as top-secret plot at ways to destroy wiki leaks, to expose feed them faketo documents that when published would destroy their credibility. ironically enough, this top-secret pentagon report about wiki leaks was linked to a few weeks -- it was leaked to wiki leaks, which published it. the new york times wrote an article about this in 2010, which is very y short because nobody knew who this group was in a talked about this weird, smalll transparency y group had
been decreed as an enemy of the state by the pentagon and had plotted to destroy it. i remember reading t this artite thinkiking that an group t thate pentagon had d declared an enemy of the s state in secret was a group that merited a lot more attention and probably a lot of support. i did a bunch of research and found out wiki leaks had brought trtransparency in n all sorts of important ways to other parts of the world, africa, berlin, exposing the secrets of corporations and the government's. i talked about the promise that i i thought wiki leaks held for exposing the worlds most powerful factions in bringing liked what they were doing. i interviewed the group's founder and publish the audio tape of the interview. at the end of the article, i incurred people to donate money to the organization because i knew they were sitting on a bunch of important secrets. this was before they had releleased the video of the baghdad incident where megan soldiers and apache helicopters killed in unarmed journalisisand
civilian, before all the big newsmaking leaks. they c cannot process these leas and they made it more, so i encourage people to donate money to them and provideded a l linko how they could d donate moneneyo them by paypal or to their bank accounts and other information. ,n r response to that article specifically in response to my anchor u urging people to o done money to wiki leaks, i had dozens of people, literally dozens and dozens in various , and the comments section, events like this say to me essentially somethingng along the lines of, look, i concur completely with what you wrote about wiki l leaks, i see t the valulue in the work they are dog in the promise t they hold. i definitely want to support them. my fear, though, is if i wire money to wiki leaks or use paypal, i will end up on a governrnment was somewhere.
or even worse, if at some point wiki leaks is formally decreed to be a terrorist organization i could be subjected to liabilili, criminal liability for materirially supporting a terrorist group. these are not people prone to weird conspiracies that you hear from occasionally. these are very sober, rational amamericans. the reason i found that strtrikg is because these were american citizens who were petrified of exercising their core first amendment constitutional right, which is what donating money to an organization or political causes. they were petrified they would be punished if they e exercisedd those rights. what made it more remarkable is wiki leaks was an organization, is still an organization thatt has never r been charged with little loan convicteted of any crime. yet here we are with all kinds of people voluntarily relinquishing their own rights at all fear the government would
abuse its power and punish them for exercising the right the constitution guaranteed.d. the reason i f found that so significant is you can provide all the rights you one on a piece ofof paper w word piece of parchment, but if you intimidate the citizenry from exexercising their rights, signaling there are no limits which the government has to abide by, those rights become completely worthless. one other antidote. 10 months after i wrote that first article abouout wiki leak, i was the first person to write manning, the extremely inhumane and detention conditionsns of long-term solity confinement without beingg convicted of any crime, all caps of harassment designed t destroy y them psychologicallyl. at the time i wrote the article, a lot of people were asking me -- i was asking myself, too -- why would the u.s. government
subject this 23-year-old army private to ththis form of serers oppressionon? au and investigatition concluded was that conclcluded it was inhumane and borderline torture. ,t did not make sense to me because it turned manning into a martyr even if people israelel with what he did. they were sympathetic to the mistreatment. it risked having statements he made while in custody excluded from any trial on the ground it was forced. it created a small scandal. even o obama's chieff s spokesmn publicly denounce the treatment and resigned after he criticized the president for it. it did not make sense to me why they would want to subject him to this kind of abusive treatment that the whole world could see.e. after a little time thinking about that, i realized the reason they did that is the same reason that they are so aggresessively putting fear into
people's hearts about supporting wiki leaks and threatening to prosecute wiki leaks, it's the same reason the u.s. government spends all those years a abductg thousands of peoeople from aroud the world and shipping g them ta lawlwless prison in the middle f the ocean and dressing them in .range jumpsuits and shackles the reason is it wants to o sena signal to anybody who may oppose them or try to impede their will in any way. itit wants everyone to knonow te are no limits on what we can do to youou. if you oppose us.. if you want to expose things we have done in secret that are a legal or deceitful or wrong, look at what we have just done to bradley manning. if you want to oppose our foreign policy, look at the people on this board that wewe sent to prison for decades for doing, really, nothing. if you want to oppose our foreign policy, look at the guantánamo detetainees who have been tortured and are starting to die in that camp without any
hope of ever escapaping. it is a purposeful way of creating this climate of fear as a means of pacifying people and preventiting anybody from opposg or meaningfully challenging what they are doing even when it comes to exercising the rights of the constitution. of fear is most palpable to me when i speak to people who live in muslim communities in the united states, where they believe, many of them, with great reason, that every conversation they have on their televivision and everyry e-mail exchange they have with their friends or family are being monitored and recorded and explored. where they fear whenever somebody new shows up at theirir mosqsque that this is not a stranger whom they can befriend, that somomebody sent by the fbio trick and dececeive them and get things to prosecute the mamaster rerest. it's people who are petrified of expresessing political opinions because those political opininis can be u used to convincnce a jy
they intntended to harunited states. look at the rights that people are petrified in the united states, muslim communities, of exercising the r right to priva, the right to free speech, the right to association. the core rights the constitution guarantees, , that america is defined by, that people on the road a are relinquishing out of fear -- that people on their own are relinquishing out of fear. it's very easy to intimidate people out of exercising their rights while preventing them from even realizing it's happening. you can reach the point where you essentially tell yourself you have no real interest in opposing the government, you have no interest in protesting what they're doing or objecting to what they're doing, when in reality you have been intimidated out of it. the socialist activist rosa luxemburg said he does not move does not notice the chain. convince yout can that you actually don't want to
do any of the things you are actually not able to do, you won't even realize you have been restricted in any meaningful way. you will think you are free, even though you been intimidated out of it. the only other pointnt i want to happens is ifwhat you gather at an event like this and talk about all the horrible things taking place and y you dissect them and analyze them and focus s on the harm it's doing, one of the things you can do is sort of spread this horrendous gloloominess. everybody walks out depreressed. like, i just listened to the last few things over an hour, i want to jump off a bridge. i think it's important to think about why that's not a rational reaction. not for rosy eyed reasons, but because reality suggest there is no need to think that way. temptations for
groups historically in the united states will a been targeted for persecution is to believe that they can simply go in hide, that they can stay object, tole, not nothing, andndhey will be left alone. that never works. there was this woman a at an evt i wawas at at t the university f mimissouri last week whoo was oe of the earliest founders of the st. louis chapter of care. which she described was fascinating. she talked about how prior to 9/11 when they start the st. louis chapter of care, she and her fellow muslim activist thought they would have this nice innocuous little group. they would create t-shirts that said muslims care, a play on the word, they would have bake sales and show the community they were happy,y, fun peoeople a and note waves. she said after 9/11, when the entire world changed for muslims in america, she realized that is not a solution.
that is what makes communities vulnerable, by notot demanding their rights they will curry favor and protect themselves stop the only way she realized for muslims or any other group in history to have improved their situation is to find allies outside of the group and band together and demand those rights rather than hoping they will be accorded to o them. there is a lot of sentimenent in the united states that makes clear there was really grounds for optimism f for believing that's true. a couple months ago therere wasa mosque in joplin, missouri, that had been the target of arson and other vandalisism over the past sevevel years that earneded to e ground. leaders in that community set a goal o of a quarter million dollars they wanted to r raise oaltat'll is an optimistic ga to rebuild the mosque. i wrote about it and several other people wrote about it, and within 24 hours they had wildly
exceceeded their goal, r raising almost double the amount. now they are not only going to just rebuild the mosque, theyy will build a much larger and more modern mosque with a muchch greater p presence that can d da lot t more for the community. these are the kinds of sentiments that we see quite pervasively in the united states that need to be tapped to redress these problems. optimism isson for that the uninited states was but on a foundation, a premise that injusticeses were always going o take place, that the nature of leaders and human nature is such that power would be abuse. we have lots of differerent institutions that are designed to safeguard those rights and prevenent those abuses, but they don't do it on around. but they are there. really are organizations out there that you can participate in and join and support in all kinds of ways that are very effectively fighting against these abuses.
the two groups that are the sponsorsrs of this evening's evt and have invited me to go around the country for four-day speaking about different issues are the groups that i think deserve your support the e most. that is really why i'm genuinely excited to be part of this four-day event, to talk abobout thesese issues with each of you, and i really appreciate your coming tonight. thank you very much.