Friday, April 16, 2010

when it comes, it will be wrapped in a flag...

In a freewheeling conversation with two brilliant artists last night, my favorite topic of the month came up -- are we seeing a resurgence of American fascism?

My interlocutors think I'm way off -- fringe madness has been with us before and will continue to rear its ugly head whenever cultural privilege and economic security are threatened. I sincerely hope they're right and I'm dead wrong. But items like this make me less sure that I am:
Porter J. Goss, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2005 approved of the decision by one of his top aides to destroy dozens of videotapes documenting the brutal interrogation of two detainees, according to an internal C.I.A. document released Thursday.

Shortly after the tapes were destroyed at the order of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, Mr. Goss told Mr. Rodriguez that he “agreed” with the decision, according to the document. He even joked after Mr. Rodriguez offered to “take the heat” for destroying the tapes.

“PG laughed and said that actually, it would be he, PG, who would take the heat,” according to one document, an internal C.I.A. e-mail message.
(Because obstruction of justice is hilarious.)

The most terrifying element of totalitarianism isn't state violence against its own citizens -- it's how arbitrary the causes of that violence can be. It's really a system of you're-under-arrest-because-I-don't-like-your-face.

When intelligence agencies destroy inconvenient evidence of criminal activity, can't produce evidence claimed to get us into war, and the only people who go to jail in the whole affair are journalists -- that's fascism, folks. No Church Committee in the world can save you.

When you come see our production of War Crimes in June (You are coming, right?), you'll see that we depict a abortive genocide on American soil eight years from now. I don't refer to any particular president or administration, but it's not thirty years in the future either.

That's because the totalitarian threat is both us and not-us. We're living with overlapping narratives: we have the first black president, and a president who orders the extra-judicial assassination of American citizens at the same time.

Thank goodness he's using an agency that places such high value on evidence and the rule of law.

No comments:

Post a Comment