DEJA VU – All Over Again!

DEJA VU – All Over Again!

By Jim Muir


“Work Makes You Free”
Main Gate at Auschwitz

“First they came for . . .”  is the opening of a famous statement and provocative poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892 – 1984) about the sloth of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. The content of the groups was allegedly presented differently by him on different occasions – as his awareness of events or changing times dictated.  The fact that the group content changed as the occasion dictated is perfectly normal and acceptable given the fact that the essential message of the poem was to demonstrate how permitting a slow but steady disenfranchisement of one discrete group after another would lead ultimately to the loss of personal liberty for all.  In its most widely known version, the poem reads as follows:

First they came for the Jews,

And I didn’t speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the communists,

And I didn’t speak out because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

And I didn’t speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,

And there was no one left to speak out for me.

Given the current obsessive preoccupation of the quintessential National Security State (aka the United States of America) to hide from public view its many and varied crimes against humanity, against foreign nations and against its own populace, one should be rightly concerned about one’s own potential risk of being ultimately a victim of the ongoing assault against personal freedoms formerly protected by the Bill of Rights, which freedoms have already been seriously abrogated by the trump card known as “National Security.” 

Thus we have the recent prosecution of Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and the attempts to cause the extradition and prosecution of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange for publication of classified or secret information that discloses the extent of criminal activity by the U.S. Government.  These efforts by the U.S. Government are officially and primarily based, inter alia, on alleged violation of provisions of the Espionage Act which prohibit aiding and abetting the enemy.  In reality, however, since the Government has been unable to demonstrate any specific instance of any enemy being aided or abetted, we can only conclude that these efforts are based on the need of the military/industrial/government complex to prevent knowledge of its illegal activities from being known to the public.

Beyond the above considerations, we should remember that the actions for which Manning has been convicted and sentenced and for which the Government wishes to prosecute Snowden and Assange are actions for which they would have been prosecuted for not, repeat not, performing under the provisions of the Nuremburg Charter.

In the hope of generating a little more concern on the part of the U.S. population, we should perhaps rewrite Niemoller’s poem as follows:

First they came for the whistle blowers,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a whistle blower.

Then they came for the journalists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a journalist.

Then they came for the publishers,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a publisher.

Then they came for me,

And there was no one left to speak out for me.

Finally, while contemplating the looming loss of all personal liberties in a national security state, it might be wise to remember and ponder the statement by Thomas Jefferson who was a zealous defender of individual liberties versus a tyrannical government:  “I would rather have newspapers with no government than a government with no newspapers.”


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