A long time ago, I remember reading a disturbing magazine article that was written by Juan Bosch. He was the former president of the Dominican Republic, a small country in Central America.
Bosch, like any true son of a nation, stood with his people against the grasping Oligarchs. He favored modest land reform in his poverty-stricken country. That proved a little too much for the fat cat sugar plantation owners and the ambitious army generals. He was ousted after only seven months in office, in 1963, in a CIA-assisted military coup. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent in 20,000 Marines, on the pretext that the Dominican Republic might go communist. He feared it was another Cuba in the making. Sure, LBJ! Bosch died in 2001.
Anyway, getting back to Bosch’s commentary. He had predicted that America would one day look like a U.S. occupied Dominican Republic! His point was, and I’m sorry I can’t remember his exact words, that America would be corrupted by its underhanded role in replacing his and other governments around the globe. He saw a time when the U.S. would have its soldiers patrolling its own cities, airports, railroad stations, ports, public buildings and its capital. And, also that its citizens’ liberties would be unduly restricted by the federal government that had lost its moral compass. Sadly, that time is coming fast!
When I was in NYC, on Feb. 15, 2003, I got my first glimpse of Bosch’s view of this future, more sinister America. It was at an Anti-Iraq War rally. Instead of being allowed to march, as so many other groups are regularly permitted, (like the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day), the Anti-war activists were enclosed for miles, along First Avenue, in serial cattle pen-like enclosures, (mini-police-created-protest zones), which were patrolled by a horde of mostly angry cops, many on foot, and some on horseback.
Next, observe any major U.S. airport and you will also see exactly how Bosch’s words are ringing true today. The National Guard boy-ohs are out there in force, daily, carrying their loaded rifles. On any given day, too, your car may be stopped and searched going into an airport parking facility or on the approach road to any important public building. To get on a commercial airplane, you may be searched from head to toe.
Visitors to the U.S. Capitol in DC, state capitals, or to a local City Hall for that matter, must pass an obstacle course of security zones, metal detectors, surveillance cameras, i.d. check points, and, of course, the presence of the endemic police dogs. Local court houses resemble armed camps, where all visitors are subject to search by a deputy sheriff, or worse, some rent-a-cop with a third grade education and shiny toy badge.
Meanwhile, hundreds of immigrants are presently being warehoused by the Feds, under suspect legal authority, many without trial or charges. As for what is happening at Guantanamo, Cuba, where 660 Muslim prisoners are being detained at the sole “discretion of the Executive,” it is an international disgrace and a “legal black hole.” (See Human Rights Watch, Nov. 21, 2003, Kenneth Roth, hrw.org)
Bosch’s vision of a fascist America is taking shape, slowly. Much of it, we still can’t presently see or feel, since the Homeland Security Law and USA Patriot Act have yet to be fully implemented. There may be some who are now under wrongful police surveillance and don’t even know it. Tom Ridge, the Homeland Security czar, “may” be a decent guy. However, what will that agency look like if there is a contrived or genuine terrorist incident or incidents in this country, and a Right Wing creep, like an Elliott Abrams of Contragate infamy, takes it over? Huh?
Then, there was my experience of an anti-Iraq War rally in Washington DC, on Jan. 19, 2003, at Lafayette Park. I thought some of the cops on that day went out of their way to be unduly combative towards the protesters. I captured some of that happening on film at: http://homepage.mac.com/bhughes2/iMovieTheater75.html.
Another even more unpleasant incident that made me think of Bosch’s words was a rally for human rights, on Dec. 6, 2003, at York, PA. I had never seen so many armed, rough-looking policemen in my life, in one place and from so many different city, state and federal jurisdictions. Is this a sequel to the dark screenplay of William S. Burroughs’ “Blade Runner?” I thought (Check out my video of the event at: http://baltimore.indymedia.org/media/all/display/1979/index.php).
The protesters, when they reached the York Co. Prison, were all herded into a so-called, “free speech zone.” Before entering it, they were searched and deprived of any personal property the cops had arbitrarily decided they shouldn’t have. Once in the government-designated “zone,” the media wasn’t allowed to talk with any of the marchers. In fact, I saw a local female reporter almost bodily removed from the scene by a bully of a cop because she had dared to want to interview one of the protesters.
Also, when the activists were marching along the highway from the York Co. Prison to the Caterpillar plant, (the second site of the rally), the cops kept screaming at them, in a very hostile tone, to “get off the road.” This forced the protesters to walk in snow and slush that had piled up on the roadside as the result of a recent heavy storm. Some of the police, in my opinion, had consciously chosen to manufacture a “them vs. us” scenario. To those cops, the demonstrators weren’t citizens of our Republic exercising their right to protest the conduct of their government- – they were misguided individuals, who might be hiding Osama bin Laden.
Bosch’s prophecy is unfolding. The situation will only get worse, unless the people wake up. And, if you think our mostly cowardly Congress will act to remedy this serious matter, you better think again. It was that spineless Congress that first created this disgraceful mess!