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page november 2007
Top Priority: Stop War with Iran
“A Coup Has Occurred”
think nothing has higher prioritythan averting an attack on Iran,which I think will be accompanied bya further change in our way of governing here that, in effect, will convert us intowhat I would call a police state.
War with IranMeans Police State Here
If there’s another 9/11 under this regime… it means that they switch on the full extentof all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly
at rst, but eventually leaked out and known
and accepted by the Democratic people inCongress, by the Republicans and so forth.Will there be anything left for the National Security Administration (NSA)
to increase its surveillance of us? … They
may be to the limit of their technical capa- bility now, or they may not. But if they’renot now they will be after another 9/11.I would say after the Iranian retalia-
tion to an American attack on Iran, youwill then see an increased attack on Iran
an escalation which will be also accom- panied by a total suppression of dissent inthis country, including detention camps.It’s a little hard for me to distinguish thetwo contingencies; they could come together.
Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which
Iran’s reaction against Israel, against our ship-
ping, against our troops in Iraq above all, pos
-sibly in this country, will justify the full panoply
of measures that have been prepared now,
legitimized, and to some extent written into law.
Democrats Won’t Protect Us
This is an unusual gang, even for Repub
licans. [But] I think that the successors to thisregime are not likely to roll back the assault onthe Constitution. They will take advantage of
it, they will exploit it.Will Hillary Clinton as president
decide to turn off NSA after the last veyears of illegal surveillance? Will shedeprive her administration of the ability
to protect United States citizens from possible terrorism by blinding herself and deafening herself to all that NSA can
provide? I don’t think so.
Unless this somehow, by a change inour political climate, of a radical change,
unless this gets rolled back in the next
year or two, before a new administration
comes in and there’s no move to do this at
this point unless that happens I don’t see ithappening under the next administration,whether Republican or Democratic.
The Next Coup
Let me simplify this and not justto be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I
woke up the other day realizing coming
out of sleep that a coup has occurred. It’snot just a question that a coup lies ahead
with the next 9/11. That’s the next coupthat completes the rst.The last ve years have seen a steadyassault on every fundamental [principle]
of our Constitution, … what the rest of the
world looked at for the last 200 years as
a model and experiment to the rest of the
world in checks and balances, limited gov
ernment, Bill of Rights, individual rights
protected from majority infringement bythe Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.
There have been violations of these
principles by many presidents before. Most
of the specic things that Bush has donein the way of illegal surveillance and other
matters were done under my boss, LyndonJohnson, in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.
I could go through a list going back
before this century to Lincoln’s suspensionof
in the Civil War, and
before that the Alien and Sedition Acts in
the 18th century. I think that none of those
presidents were, in fact, what I would callquite precisely the current administration:domestic enemies of the Constitution.
I think that none of these presidentswith all their violations, which were
impeachable had they been found out at
the time and in nearly every case their violations were not found out until theywere out of ofce so we didn’t have theexact challenge that we have today. Thatwas true with the rst term of Nixon and
certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others.
They were impeachable, they weren’tfound out in time, but I think it was not
their intention in the crisis situations that
they felt justied their actions to changeour form of government.
By Daniel Ellsberg
(Text of a speech delivered at American University, September 20, 2007)