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Est. April 5, 2002
October 18, 2018 - Issue 760

"NATIONAL Security"
is a
Blanket Cover for Repression


"'National security' is used to make the people fearful,
to make them bend to the demands of unstable leaders
and to make them pliable and pacified. 
It's an old story that needs to be changed."

Around the world, atrocities are being perpetrated on a daily basis by governments, by militaries, by death squads, and by other entities, in the name of “national security.”

In most cases, “national security” is defined by the perpetrators of the carnage and, because the acts are committed within the structure of nations and official governments, however illegitimate, the crimes usually are not investigated and the perpetrators usually are allowed to roam free, that is, if the president or prime minister doesn't give the general or some other person involved in the crimes a medal for “valorous service.”

A small number of cases (among the vast number that exist) come to mind to illustrate: Honduras, the Gaza Strip, and the United States. This week, President Trump threatened the government of Honduras with a cut in foreign aid, if it could not stop the mass migration of its people to the U.S.-Mexican frontier, where they have been coming to excape the violence and death that has existed in that country for years.

In January 2017, reported: “Collusion between Honduran military forces, big business and U.S. assets has led to Indigenous communities being kicked off their lands and critics of the Honduran state being murdered. I (writer Antony Loewenstein) spoke to human rights workers, Indigenous leaders and victims of state aggression along with officials at the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa to understand how this state has become one of the most violent countries in the world since a 2009 coup backed by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The human toll continues to be devastating, with a 2016 U.S. State Department report acknowledging that the majority of illicit drugs entering the United States still arrive through Central America.”

Little has changed in Honduras and its people continue to flee the violence and head north, to where they believe they will be safe or at least, safer than in their home country. But, earlier this year, they have encountered something that they find even more cruel than the disappearances and murders in their own country and that is the separation of parents and children, some as young as one or two, by the Trump Administration. Trump has said it has to do with national security and should serve as a warning to those entering the U.S.: If you want to keep your children, do not enter the U.S. illegally, not for asylum or any other reason. That, the administration says, is for national security.

And, there is the matter of “national security,” as Israel Defense Force snipers execute Palestinians who gather at the “border” between Gaza and Israel, demanding their right of return to their own homes, as promised 70 years ago, when they were driven into exile and into refugee camps. The promise that they could return after Israel was created has not been fulfilled and may never be. There is that little problem of fecundity. From the Israeli viewpoint, the approximately 750,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes and villages have increased to millions living in the West Bank and Gaza and there are now public relations efforts to make the world more sympathetic to the idea that only those who actually left the land could return. Surely, many if not most, of those would be very old or dead and the “problem” would be solved. Obviously, the Palestinians do not see it that way, since the sons and daughters of Palestinians are still Palestinians and still demand the right of return to their ancestral homes and villages. The dilemma for Israel is that they have usurped much of the land of return and, if there is a single state with two peoples, the Israelis will soon be outnumbered. National Security.

Similarly, the U.S. has a great dilemma: It has expressed its hegemony over the entire Western Hemisphere going back to the beginning of the nation, taking over the natural resources, including agricultural resources. It has done so through various means, but mostly, it has done so through the use of its powerful military and its overwhelming economic power. It has even run one country, Haiti, for a number of years, so that its revolution (one of the world's oldest and the first black people's revolution) could never be fulfilled. The evidence for that is the condition Haiti is in today. Race and racism certainly played a major part, but it also was in the interest of “national security” for the U.S. The meddling and interference in other countries are primary reasons for the “immigration problem” at the southern frontier.

Now, the U.S. must deal with the chaotic situation that its policies in the hemisphere have created. It is always unwise to unseat a democratically elected president, to install an authoritarian or dictator, just because the latter will do the will of the U.S. But, that's what has been done, time and again, not just in Central and South America, but in other parts of the world. But rather than understand the problems these policies have caused, multiple U.S. administrations have blamed the refugees, not their own policies. This has been ramped up by Trump, who rode to Electoral College victory by his fear-mongering, racism, and white supremacist rantings on the campaign trail, again, all in the name of national security.

And it is “national security” that keeps Palestinians in the ever-shrinking portions of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which is generally described as an open air prison for some two million Palestinians. The recent declaration of war (although he didn't say the exact words) by Prime Minister Netanyahu against the Gazans' demonstrations and rallies at the border fence in their demands for the right of return is an example of hubris against an oppressed people, who he described as “terrorists.” As he does so, he should readily recall the “terrorists” who helped drive the British and Palestinians out of what would become Israel. Now, those same people who were driven out want to return and “national security” is at stake.

In Honduras, the killing of peasants and villagers is a matter of “national security.” There are several factions at work, including the government that was installed on the watch of Secretary of State Clinton, there are the drug lords and their troops, there are free-lance death squads (some in the police establishment), and there are those who think little of environmentalists who oppose the destruction of the rivers and the forests to build unneeded dams and set their agents against the resisters, assassinating them with impunity. And always, in addition to the drug trade is the possibility that some seek democracy and could be “socialist- or communist-leaning.” It's no wonder that, even in remote villages, the people do not feel safe and feel forced to abandon their homes and head north.

In the U.S., national security is used as an excuse to shrink civil liberties. It has become a surveillance state, with cameras everywhere and the use of computers to track citizens' every move (it may not be at the stage in which every move is tracked, but such is possible). With militarized police forces and the use of troops to perform some police functions, the country is looking more like a developing country than a very advanced society with the most powerful weapons and military. In fact, “national security” in the Trump era has become such that the people are further bled economically so that the president can brag about his powerful weapons systems and his troops, putting ever more of the people's tax money into the military and defense. The people can take only so much deprivation (think access to health care) and abuse before they respond and not always in a good way. This condition seems to be coming. “National security” is used to make the people fearful, to make them bend to the demands of unstable leaders and to make them pliable and pacified. It's an old story that needs to be changed. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.




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Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield, MBA
Peter Gamble

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