Timebends: Parsing Progressive Perspectives on Power’s Abuses
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Written by Chris Floyd   
Friday, 09 July 2010 12:10

Imagine how great the "progressive" furor would be if the Bush Administration had suddenly denied a visa to an award-winning Colombian journalist because of his reportage on human rights abuses by his American-backed government.

Would we not have heard, rightly, how this draconian action exemplified the administration's tyrannical nature, its use of raw, arbitrary power to throttle any voices trying to shed light on the very murky corners of the Drug War and Terror War operations in Colombia that are armed and funded with billions of dollars from American taxpayers?

Would this not have been added to a long train of similar abuses of power – arbitrary confinement and indefinite detention; concentration camps; shielding torturers;  escalating pointless wars and killing countless civilians; running secret armies, assassins and covert operations throughout the world, etc. – and served up as a damning indictment of a lawless regime?

So now let us see what our leading progressive lights have to say about the case of Hollman Morris, “a prominent Colombian journalist who specializes in conflict and human rights reporting,” who has just been denied a visa by the Obama Administration, preventing him from taking up a fellowship at Harvard University, as AP reports.

Morris – who “produces an independent TV news program called "Contravia," [that] has been highly critical of ties between illegal far-right militias and allies of outgoing President Alvaro Uribe, Washington's closest ally in Latin America" – has been to the United States many times before. In fact, he was free to enter the country under the loathed Bush Administration. But now, in our bright and glorious progressive era, he has suddenly – dare we say arbitrarily – been declared “permanently ineligible for a visa under the ‘Terrorist activities’ section of the USA Patriot Act,” AP reports.

What are Morris’ crimes? Well, the American-trained Colombian security organs declared that the reporter had exhibited "opposition tendencies to government policies." God knows that kind of thing can’t be allowed in any colony – sorry, client state – sorry, sovereign ally of the United States. And so they put him under surveillance – years ago. He also – horrors – acted as a go-between Colombian rebels and French diplomats trying to free Ingrid Betancourt, who had been held hostage for years. All of this pre-dates the current administration.

Of course, as we all know, the Supreme Court has now accepted the Obama Administration’s earnest argument that anyone who tries to do anything that might lead to the peaceful resolution of any situation that might possibly involve a group that has been arbitrarily declared a “terrorist organization” by His Potomac Majesty is, perforce, also a terrorist, and thus unfit to pass the gates of God’s shining city on the hill.

We realize, of course, that Morris’ case – and the whole bill of indictment cited above, wherein Obama has continued and often expanded the crimeful policies of his predecessor – is not nearly as important as, say, a progressive blogger temporarily being denied access to witless talking heads shows on a corporate TV network.  That, as they say, is some serious shit. Still, we wait with trembly anticipation the coming firestorm of righteous progressive anger that will, no doubt, soon engulf the Obama Administration for its repressive, Bush-like handling of Morris. You know it’s coming. Any minute now. Just you wait and see.

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