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Soft Dictatorships and the Misrule of Law

recorded 11/9/07

1) 2:05 Radio Essay - short - Mp3

2) 4:19 Radio Essay - long - Mp3

Soft' Dictatorships & the Misrule of Law

[col. writ. 11/8/07] (c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal


    It has been over a week since the eruption of the so called State of Emergency in Pakistan, and already, despite occasional rhetorical terms of excitement, there has been a tacit acceptance by the U.S. government of what should have been unacceptable.

    In Pakistan, the unelected military leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has already gotten the nod to continue the repression of the nation's judiciary, lawyers and civil society activists for the next 3 months (until Feb. 2008)

    Despite initial rumblings of State Dept. protests, now even the threat of withholding military funding for the Pakistani dictatorship is (to borrow a phrase from U.S. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA.) "off the table."

    So, despite any words, in deed, the U.S. has thrown Pakistan a timeline of acceptability for a campaign of repression against any prominent figures who have spoken out against the nation's military rule.

    Notice, if you will, how Americans have given the OK to February elections, but have fallen silent about the government's blatant reshaping of the Supreme Court.

    Indeed, in addition to publicly beating lawyers, the Pakistan government has been adept in pulling the plug to television, cable, and internet media, only allowing state channels to air.

    One wonders, why is the U.S., Pakistan's chief funder, so silent in the face of such actions by the deeply unpopular dictator, Musharraf?

    Because the U.S. knows that anybody else in the country, from any other sector of society, would find more popular support if they opposed U.S. actions - not followed them.

    In other words, the U.S. wants a deeply repressive satrap, or puppet - for anything approximating popular support will, by necessity, follow different paths than those the U.S. prescribes for them!   In a real sense, we are seeing the same thing we saw during the so called 'Cold War', where the U.S. supported brutal, undemocratic dictators the world over, for strategic reasons, against the wishes of their own people.

    Musharraf is riding the tiger, and in many ways, he can't let go.

    That tiger isn't the new bogeyman, terrorism - it's the U.S., which has managed to push its massive thumb into the eye of millions of Muslims around the world.

    How can it now, realistically, openly oppose a dictator, who has been doing openly, what the Bush regime has been doing by subterfuge.

    The U.S. used  lies and pretexts to invade, destabilize, and virtually destroy a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, and has followed that grand spectacle with secret prisons (so called 'black sites') overseas, mass wiretaps of mega millions of American communications, violation of the FISA act, torture - the shredding of the Constitution.

    How can the U.S. honestly criticize Pakistan for shredding its constitution, when the U.S. Constitution lies in tatters?

    According to some reports, Pakistan's military has become an economic powerhouse, owning almost everything worthy of being owned.  They therefore have more than military power - they have financial power to influence Pakistani society.

    How can the U.S. criticize kleptocracy in the face of Halliburton, Blackwater, the bursting coffers of Exxon, or other corporate citizens that have swelled at the public trough?

    It is true, the Bush regime hasn't removed Supreme Court justices, or beaten lawyers in the street.  Yet.

    Then again, there aren't thousands of lawyers on the march, protesting the daily assaults on their Constitution, or for judicial independence.

    While they may tear out their hair in quiet isolation and frustration, they haven't felt the need to emulate their Pakistani counterparts.

    There are many roads to dictatorship, and some (as in German history, for example) do not evoke widespread opposition.

    The day may come when we begin to envy the Pakistanis for fighting for their rights.

    But that day has not yet dawned.

--(c) '07 maj

[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.


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