Talk by Naomi Wolf, author of “The End of America”, October 14, 2007
Blueprint for shutting down a democracy:
- Leader manufactures or hypes a terrifying internal or external threat that doesn’t exist (WMD in Iraq).
- Create a secret prison system where torture takes place and often establish military tribunals (Gitmo, FEMA concentration camps). Start with a segment of the population that most of the population does not identify with, then branch out – Niemõller’s poem
- Create a paramilitary force (Blackwater). President can also nationalize National Guard in Alabama to perform martial law duties in another state.
- Create a surveillance apparatus spying on ordinary citizens (FISA). Security industrial complex was military industrial complex, shifted after Cold War. The watch list ensures that the security industrial complex will always have someone to surveil. This administration has put its enemies on the watch list – journalists, Code Pink, animal activists, etc.
- Arbitrarily detain and release citizens.
- Target key individuals (Dan Rather, Bill Maher, Dixie Chicks).
- Infiltrate citizens groups.
- Restrict the press. Bill Keller, NYT, Swift-Bacon – calls for him to be charged with treason. 1917 Espionage Act – last used to round up anti-war activists, etc., without warrants. Since these charges end in the death penalty, raises fear among dissenters. U.S. journalists seized and held without warrant for writing stories unfavorable to the administration.
- Expand the definition of terrorist, traitor, spy. Last fall, definition of “terrorist” was expanded to animal rights activists.
- Subvert the rule of law. Declare martial law.
U.S. Attorney’s scandal: I said at the time that I bet those attorneys are in swing states (they were). E-mails the White House isn’t turning over document the plan to fire all the attorneys – not used.
A closed society doesn’t look like Hitler’s Germany. A closed society still looks like an open society – still elections, just corrupted, like 2000 – remember Florida and the Republicans harassing the recount? There’s still a judiciary, but not free to adjudicate freely against the administration.
We must stand up for our democracy. That is our sacred duty as American citizens. We must do it now.