Tuesday, February 6, 2007

North America on ICE

It's been a long time… I shouldn't have left you… without a strong rhyme to step to

Eric B. & Rakim, 1987

A lot's gone down during my hiatus. For example: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been hard at work deporting hundreds of Mexican people who are in this country illegally.

You all know about ICE right?

ICE is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). And, as ICE is charged with the enforcement of over 400 federal statutes, ICE Special Agents quite possibly possess the broadest investigative authority in the United States Government. Also ICE is the largest special weapons and tactics (SWAT) unit that has ever been mobilized!

But why is the Department of Homeland Security, whose stated mission is to prevent and deter terrorist attacks, throwing so many resources behind an agency whose activities have little or no connection to "terrorism" at all?

The answer is clear: there is no terrorist threat. Why throw money and resources at an imaginary problem?

Okay but wait… if there's no terrorist threat, then what the hell is the DHS for?! The answer to this question should be obvious but many of us are too consumed by fear (fear spread by the DHS itself) to realize it. Think of the words "Department of Homeland Security" carefully. It tells us our home is in danger and we need this state institution to protect us. But we don't need it to protect us from foreign invaders since we have the Department of Defense for that. We need it to protect us from the evil terrorists! But who are the evil terrorists?

Consider that, in immigration raids now, ICE Special Agents are using the classic "darker than a grocery bag test" to separate the illegal from the legal immigrants. Moreover, in their press releases, ICE personnel have been equating illegal immigration with crimes that are much more repulsive to the public at large and that have long been associated in the news media with people of color -- like dope peddling, murder, rape, sexually abusing children and theft. Right now the line is that they are going after criminals and illegal immigrants but, given the Patriot Act, the terrorism law and the investigative powers ICE possesses, it is likely that the definition of a "terrorist" will grow increasingly broader.

In other words, the purpose of the DHS is to continuously create and violently suppress "terrorists" whenever the need arises, in the interest of ensuring the power of the state. That is to say that the DHS is nothing less than a terrorist institution. The most obvious parallel here is with the original terrorist body, the notorious Committee of Public Safety (Comité de Salut Public) of the Jacobins which presided over the infamous Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. Both institutions use fear and violence to maintain order and, ultimately, to suppress dissent and preserve power. Another such organization that comes to mind is the Ku Klux Klan.

So when John Kerry says he "will hunt down and kill the terrorists," he is not only supporting actual terrorism abroad in the form of military interventions in the countries of Asia and elsewhere, but he is also supporting actual terrorism right here in the 50 states. It's time to recognize that the discourse of anti-terrorism in facts supports the biggest agent of terror in the U.S. and the world, the U.S. Government, which executes its reign of terror through the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, and justifies it principally by racism.

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