Thursday, November 22, 2012

Naomi Wolf's "The End of America"

I had reviewed Naomi Wolf’s “Give Me Liberty” on Nov. 3, 2008 on the Books blog.  Here earlier book “The End of America”, from Chelsea Green, in 2007, becomes this 75-minute film from Indiepix.

This film consists largely of a lecture by Wolf where she outlines the ten steps that turn a democratic society in to a totalitarian state. She says that the Bush administration has followed these steps since 9/11.

Here is the list of the “Ten Steps”: invoke an internal and external threat; secret prisons where torture or extreme rendition (enhanced interrogation) takes place; develop a paramilitary force; surveil ordinary citizens like me, and keep “lists”, like the TSA No-fly list; infiltrate citizens’ groups;  detain and release ordinary citizens;  target key individuals (like the Dixie Chicks); restrict the press; label speakers as treasonous;  subvert the rule of law.

There are many notes and examples for each step, and she often compares the steps taken by the Bush administration to those of Nazi Germany. She mentions that until 1933, Germany had gay rights and an open society.  The film introduces its subject matter with some graphic, but brief, footage from 9/11 and the 2004 commuter train attack in Madrid and 2005 underground attack in London.

The Geneva convention was said not to apply the “war on terror”; it does not allow the military to torture under any conditions of war.  I remember this from my own Basic Training in 1968!

The president can declare anyone an enemy combatant. Theoretically, a blogger could be accused of “aiding the enemy” under the Patriot and Military Commissions Acts. Wolf says that this provision is an existential threat to journalists.

She describes Blackwater in Iraq as a paramilitary force.  But she says mercenaries shot at civilians in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Naomi Wolf says she is on the TSA watch list, was is Drew Griffin. So was Iraq war critic David Antoon, who says his boarding passes (and all those of family members) have “4S’s” on them.  I never looked at mine!

Chaplain James Yee was held in solitary confinement for 76 days for supposedly using classified information for a master’s paper. Another man was sent back to Syria where he was bodily tortured.

Dan Rather apparently lost his anchor position with CBS under pressure from the Bush administration; and the Valerie Plame (“Fair Game”, Nov. 5, 2010) incident was mentioned.

She discusses the jailing of Josh Wolf, who refused to turn over a video of a protest he had filmed.  He was sentenced to prison, and stayed in a small cell for 8 months.

At the end, she notes that dissent was perceived as a duty by the Founding Fathers.

W. once said, “If this was a dictatorship, it would be a lot easier.  Just as long as I’m the dictator.”

The website for the American Campaign Freedom is  this

The film is directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg. The official site is here

Mark Molaro interviews Naomi Wolf in this YouTube video.

 The film “Red Dawn 2” is reviewed today on the “Films on major threats to freedom” blog. 

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