REMINDER: Tonight, 7 p.m. Eastern Time, via Zoom: Tufts University professor of law Michael Glennon‘s presentation as part of our ongoing conference series on restoring civil liberties in America. To receive a zoom link, register at our conference web page. Registration fee: FREE.
One of the worst consequences of converting the federal government to a national-security state has been the stultification or warping of the consciences of the American people. With unwavering allegiance to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, all too many Americans have sacrificed their sense of right and wrong at the altar of “national security,” the two-word term that has become the most important term in the political lexicon of the American people.
The best example of this phenomenon is the CIA’s power of assassination. Most Americans have come to passively accept this power, with nary a thought as to the victims against whom it is carried out and under what what circumstances it is carried out.
Consider recent revelations that the CIA was planning to assassinate Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, for disclosing dark-side secrets of the U.S. deep state to to the world.
That’s why U.S. officials have pursued him with a vengeance — not because he lied about the Pentagon’s and the CIA’s dark-side activities but rather because he disclosed the truth about them.
That’s why they were seeking to murder him — to silence him, to punish him, and to send a message to other potential disclosers of dark-side secrets of the national-security establishment.
But anyone with a conscience that is operating would easily see that assassinating Assange would be just plain murder. And at the risk of belaboring the obvious, the murder of an innocent person is just plain evil.
Yet, the reaction to all this from the mainstream press has been one great big collective yawn. No big deal. It’s just another state-sponsored assassination intended to protect “national security.” If U.S. national-security state officials have decided that Assange needs to be taken out, then that’s just the way it is. That’s why we have a CIA, after all. We have to defer to its judgment, even if it means sacrificing our consciences in the process. After all, that’s its job — to protect “national security.”
By the way, there is virtually no doubt that if they could get away with assassinating Edward Snowden for disclosing the truth about NSA dark-side activity, they would murder him too. The probable reason they haven’t assassinated Snowden is because they haven’t figured out a way to get the assassins out of Russia.
When the federal government was converted to a national-security state after World War II, the American people made an implicit bargain with the devil. The bargain empowered the national-security establishment to engage in dark-side activity, including assassination. But another part of the bargain was that officials would keep their dark-side activity secret from the American people so that people wouldn’t have to deal with their consciences over a governmental entity that was assassinating people.
Assange’s and Snowden’s great “crime” was in violating that pact. By bringing dark-side activity to the attention of the American people, they ran the risk that people’s consciences might start operating.
So far, there appears to be no risk of that happening. Consider, for example, the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani. That was just plain murder. Iran and the United States are not at war with each other. Sure, we are told that Iran is a “rival,” an “enemy,” an “opponent,” or an “adversary,” but does that morally entitle U.S. officials to murder Iranian officials? It does not, just as it doesn’t entitle Iranian officials to murder U.S. officials.
Again, however, the reaction among the mainstream press to the assassination of Suleimani was one great big collective yawn. Revealingly, there was also no moral outrage expressed among church ministers across America. If the Pentagon and the CIA deemed it necessary to assassinate Suleiman, that’s all we need to know.
To get America back on the right track, what we need is a moral awakening, one that entails the operation of conscience. If that day were to come, there is no doubt that the American people would cast the CIA into the dustbin of history, where all evil agencies belong.
Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.