Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dissent in the Age of Obama

Cindy Sheehan

 by Al-Jazeera English

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the
alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the
servants of tyranny a good conscience.”
- Albert Camus

Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) raided the homes
of at least eight anti-war/social justice activists here in the US.

I happen to be a prominent anti-war activist myself, and have joked
that I am a “little hurt” that I was not raided and perhaps I should try
harder. Even though, we have the urge to try and be light-hearted in
this time of an increasing police state, with civil liberties on the
retreat, it really isn't funny considering that the activists could face
some serious charges stemming from these raids.

I have felt this harassment on a smaller scale myself and I know that
defending oneself against a police state that has unlimited resources,
time and cruelty, can be quite expensive, time consuming and annoying.

There is nothing noble about an agency that has reduced itself to
being jackbooted enforcers of a neo-fascist police state, no matter how
much the FBI has been romanticised in movies, television and books.
 
For
example, in one instance, early in the morning of September 24, at the
home of Mick Kelly of Minneapolis, the door was battered in and flung
across the room when his partner audaciously asked to see the FBI’s
warrant through the door’s peephole. At Jessica Sundin’s home, she
walked downstairs to find seven agents ransacking her home while her
partner and child looked on in shock.
 
These raids have terrifying implications for dissent here in the US.

First of all, these US citizens have been long-time and devoted
anti-war activists who organised an anti-war rally that was violently
suppressed by the US police state in Minneapolis-St. Paul, during the
2008 Republican National Convention. Because the Minneapolis activists
have integrity, they had already announced that they would do the same
if the Democrats hold their convention there in 2012.
 
I have
observed that it was one thing to be anti-Bush, but to be anti-war in
the age of Obama is not to be tolerated by many people. If you will also
notice, the only people who seem to know about the raids are those of
us already in the movement. There has been no huge outcry over this
fresh outrage, either by the so-called movement or the corporate media.

I submit that if George Bush were still president, or if this
happened under a McCain/Palin regime, there would be tens of thousands
of people in the streets to protest. This is one of the reasons an
escalation in police state oppression is so much more dangerous under
Obama - even now, he gets a free pass from the very same people who
should be adamantly opposed to such policies.
 
Secondly, I
believe because the raids happened to basically ‘unsung’ and unknown,
but very active workers in the movement, that the coordinated, early
morning home invasions were designed to intimidate and frighten those of
us who are still doing the work. The Obama regime would like nothing
better than for us to shut up or go underground and to quit embarrassing
it by pointing out its abject failures and highlighting its obvious
crimes.

Just look at how the Democrats are demonising activists who are
trying to point out the inconvenient truth that the country (under a
near Democratic tyranny) is sliding further into economic collapse,
environmental decay and perpetual war for enormous profit.
 
Barack and Joe, the commandantes
of this police state, say that those who have the temerity to be
critical are “asleep” and just need to “buck up". White House
spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, recently stated that we on the “professional
left” need to be “drug tested” if we are not addicted to the regimes’
own drug: the Hopium of the Obama propaganda response team.
 
It
seems like, even though some of those that have been nailed to the cross
of national security do activism around South America, most of the
activism is anti-war and pro-Palestinian rights. Being supportive of any
Arab or Muslim, no matter how benign or courageous is a very dangerous
activity here in post-9/11 America.
 
The Supreme Court just
decided (Wilner v. National Security Agency) that the National Security
Agency (NSA) did not have to disclose if it was using warrantless
wiretapping to spy on attorneys representing the extra-legal detention
of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Obtaining warrants, with cause,
and attorney-client privilege were important principles of the US
justice system, but even the neo-fascist Supreme Court is undermining
the law - talk about “activist” judges!
 
Not only have activists
been targeted here in the States, but Obama has ominously declared
himself judge, jury and executioner of anyone that he deems a national
security “threat". These are the actions of a tyrant and another assault
against our rights and against the rule of law from a person who
promised “complete transparency” from his administration.
 
We
have learned that Obama’s first victim under his presidential execution
programme is Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Muslim who is now in Yemen.
Without showing proof of al-Awlaki’s so-called executionable offenses
and without a trial in a court of law, Obama has unloosed his hit squads
on Awlaki. Is there anyone out there reading this who does not believe,
or fear, that this programme could quickly descend into summary
executions within the borders of the US?

Al-Awlaki’s father has filed a motion in federal court to stay the
execution of his son until he gets his constitutionally guaranteed
rights to due process, but Obama’s justice department has refused to
cooperate stating that to do so would ‘undermine’ that fabled, exploited
and ephemeral ‘national security'.

When Obama behaves like Bush, only on steroids, he amply demonstrates
why other people hate our country so much. Persons in other countries
are not nearly as blind as Americans. They know that even though Obama
went to Cairo to blather about building understanding between the US and
the Muslim world, actions speak louder than words and Obama’s actions
drip with carnage and pain.

Obviously, the suppression of dissent here in the US, while
outrageous and inexcusable, has not reached the level of the McCarthy
witch hunts of the 1950’s - yet.

The longer we Americans remain silent in the face of these injustices, the more they will continue to occur and escalate.

Make your voice heard!


© 2021 Al-Jazeera English
Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of three books: "Not One More Mother's Child,"  "President Bush," and "Peace Mom: A Mother's Journey Through Heartache to Activism."

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Rosenworcel FCC Confirmation Hailed as a Step Toward a 'Just and Democratic Media System'

"We're immensely pleased that the agency is being led by such a great champion of an open internet and of bringing affordable broadband to everyone in the United States."

Jake Johnson ·


'I'm Asking You To Help': Amazon Employee Describes 'Sheer Brutality' of Work to Senators

"Amazon's high-tech sweatshop caused me to develop plantar fasciitis... I take what little time I have to run to the bathroom just to cry."

Jessica Corbett ·


Potential 'Major Breakthrough' as French Arrest Suspect in Jamal Khashoggi Killing

A former U.N. expert said the suspect may know where the Washington Post journalist's body is located.

Julia Conley ·


Kshama Sawant v. 'Real Estate Tycoons and Developers' on Final Day of Seattle Recall Vote

"Once again, the wealthy and special interests are making a power grab for Kshama Sawant's seat because she has the guts to stand up for working people," Sen. Bernie Sanders recently said in support of the socialist council member.

Brett Wilkins ·


Greenpeace Activists to Canadian Banks: 'Stop Funding Climate Chaos and Injustice'

"We are not going to let bank CEOs ignore the deadly consequences of their actions."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo