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  • “When even one American, who has done nothing wrong, is forced by fear to shut his mouth, then all Americans are in peril.” ~ Harry S. Truman

    I intended to write something light and funny today, but I’m a haunted man this morning…

    Imagine Franz Kafka and Lewis Carroll collaborating on a book. Imagine menacing shadows, sinister whispers, wild leaps into illogic and the volume of the dread amplifier cranked up to a permanent 11. Now imagine that this is no longer a fanciful literary experiment but the story of your life.

    In her absolutely riveting memoir, “Classified Woman,” Sibel Edmonds describes herself as “the most gagged woman in America.” Edmonds was born in Turkey, raised in Iran and emigrated to the United States in 1988. Fluent in both Turkish and Farsi, she was hired by the FBI to work as a translator in its Washington, D.C., Field Office shortly after 9/11. While there she discovered shocking evidence that her department had been infiltrated by foreign criminal organizations involved in narcotics, the illegal arms trade, the nuclear black market and the sale of state secrets to the highest bidder. She took her findings to her supervisor, who repeatedly told her to drop the matter. Undaunted, Edmonds went above his head to complain, but the higher up the ladder she went, the harder she was smacked down. She followed the money trail and saw that it led to the halls of Congress, the Pentagon, the State Department and even the White House – men and women who happily sold you and me out for another fix of money and power, all in the name of national security.

    For her troubles, Edmonds was fired, smeared, intimidated, threatened, censored and dragged through the seven circles of judicial hell. She lost case after case because anything damaging to the reputation of the government, anything bringing to light the widespread incompetence and corruption of those charged with protecting us, was declared a state secret and not admitted into testimony (including a report from the Department of Justice that totally vindicated Edmonds and confirmed her accusations). Edmonds finally took her case to the public, only to see her quest for justice thwarted at every turn. Exhausted, betrayed, frightened, shattered, she refused to surrender.

    This is not a conspiracy theory. It happened. It is not just an American problem, it’s a British problem, a Peruvian problem, an Indian problem, an Australian problem, a Chinese problem – anywhere that fear has become not an emotion but the official state policy.

    To those inclined to say, “Well, that all happened during the Bush regime. We know those were some bad actors,” I reply: lay not that soothing unction to your soul. The present Administration has persecuted, prosecuted and jailed more government whistleblowers and truth-tellers than any of its predecessors.

    It is grim situation but one not devoid of hope. The fact that “Classified Woman” has been published at all is one small proof. Edmonds approvingly quotes Samuel Adams: “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”

    Please read this book. Educate yourselves. Stand up for your civil liberties. When you’re already drowning, it’s far too late to worry about making waves.

    Image source: "Paranoia" by Bvk.png
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