A True American Hero
This was published in the Arcata Eye last week. Thought I'd pass it along.
Having examined the USA PATRIOT and Homeland Security Acts, and the draft Patriot Act II, "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," a bill far more severe than the first, I am alarmed! The bill would authorize secret imprisonment and deportation of U.S. citizens "inferred from conduct" by the Attorney General to be supporting "terrorists." It authorizes police takeover of local functions.
During the Reagan years, when I actively opposed the government's policies, I was identified as a "domestic security/terrorism" suspect, though my behavior was nonviolent. Such labelling directly led to my nearly being killed by the government and I suffer permanent maiming as a result. I fear worse fates for people who express principled opposition to their government today. Unprecedented nonviolent vigilance is required to prevent this from happening.
I have always been a responsible, law-abiding citizen. I was an honor student and all-around athlete throughout school. During four years in the U.S. Air Force, I served on an Inspector General's headquarters staff, graduated from security police and law enforcement school, and completed combat security training. I then led a 40-man combat security unit in Vietnam before being honorably discharged as a Captain.
Witnessing the slaughter of civilians in Vietnam provoked a new, critical perspective. I received a graduate degree in Corrections and a Juris Doctor leading to admission to the District of Columbia Bar in 1973. Then, during the 1980s, I documented first-hand the horrific repression of people in countries such as Nicaragua and El Salvador primarily attributable to U.S. policies. Three other veterans and I participated in a water-only fast at the U.S. Capitol in 1986, to protest Reagan's lawless policies, sitting as gaunt surrogates of the faceless poor being bludgeoned 3,000 miles away. Shockingly, we fasters became subjects of an FBI "Domestic Security/Terrorism" inquiry. Reagan's anti-terror campaign claimed that sitting at the Capitol drinking water for 47 days was a "conspiracy to coerce the government" to alter its policies by advocating nonviolent resistance.
One year later the Nuremberg Actions campaign at Concord Naval Weapons Station held daily vigils to protest illegal movement of munitions to Central America. On September 1, 1987, two other veterans and I began a previously announced 40-day fast on the tracks, knowing the penalty to be one year in prison and $5,000 fine. Similar protests at this and other sites had been routine, with trains stopping prior to arrests.
I was run over that day, almost killed, losing both legs below the knee, suffering a severe skull fracture, brain damage, and other injuries. Shocked, my lawyers and I investigated why the government tried to kill me and two fellow veterans in a common civil disobedience action. Having been earlier labeled a "terrorist" (a fact unknown to me at the time) is key to understanding the crime. The train was speeding more than three times the 5 MPH speed limit and the train crew was ordered on that day only not to stop, citing "hijack" fears.
I have written an essay,"War on Terror" - A Devil's Bargain, describing the government's grotesque behavior in my case, and the repressive atmosphere that existed during the Reagan years. It documents the attempt on our lives was made precisely because the government chose to use the term "terrorist." The December 21, 1987 ABC-TV report of FBI investigations of "domestic terrorists" under Reagan features the FBI agent who, based on conscience, refused orders to investigate us nonviolent veteran fasters as "terrorists."
In 2003, the U.S. government's "war on terror" resembles a fanatical holy war, reminding some of the early Hitler years in Germany. Certainly it goes further than the repressive policies employed by the Reagan administration. I anticipate that people such as myself, earnestly but nonviolently opposed to lawless government policies endangering all our lives, will be callously labeled as "terrorists," and will again be persecuted, perhaps killed.
Where do people like myself stand in today's United States? My personal case offers profound lessons for all of us. I urge the public at large and their elected representatives to take vigilant nonviolent action to protect all residents. Instructing and supporting government employees to uphold their oath to the Constitution, and to defy fear-based laws that egregiously violate the Constitution are critical. I urge all citizens of conscience to noncooperate with and resist the current government's lawless and criminal policies that will endangerous even more while seriously curtailing our civil liberties. I demand protection of Constitutional rights for myself and all residents of the United States. Only WE the People exercising vital imagination can stop our government's madness!
Essay "War on Terror" - A Devil's Bargain, and 5 minute video Of December 21, 1987 ABC-TV report of FBI "terrorist" investigation of Brian Willson available on request. See essays on my website: www.brianwillson.com from which I can be reached by e-mail.
S. Brian Willson, MS, JD, LL.D
Member, Humboldt Bay Veterans For Peace, Chapter 56
Mad River Watershed/Humboldt Bay
homepage: http://www.arcataeye.com/opinion/030303opinion02.shtml (scroll down)
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