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Leftist journalist Chris Hedges: In 'lynching the Deplorables,' the Democratic establishment is 'shredding civil liberties'
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Leftist journalist Chris Hedges: In 'lynching the Deplorables,' the Democratic establishment is 'shredding civil liberties'

Just prior to Tucker Carlson's exhibition of footage calling into question the claims and intentions of those on the January 6 committee, leftist journalist Chris Hedges penned an article condemning the Democratic establishment for "polarizing the country and shredding civil liberties."

Hedges, who previously wrote for the New York Times, NPR, Truthdig, and other publications, noted Sunday that he is no fan of Trump supporters, Christian nationalists, and so-called conspiracy theorists. Notwithstanding his antipathies for elements of what some characterize as the far right, the veteran reporter indicated that he still cannot — and others should not — support "the judicial lynching against many of those who participated in the Jan. 6 events, a lynching that is mandating years in pretrial detention and prison for misdemeanors."

After all, "Once rights become privileges, none of us are safe," wrote Hedges.

In October 2021, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth determined that a Jan. 6 prisoner's civil rights had been violated, reported Reuters.

Lamberth said, "It is more than just inept and bureaucratic shuffling of papers. ... I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abridged. I don't know if it's because he is a Jan. 6 defendant or not, but I find that this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States ... for a civil rights investigation."

The prisoner in question, former Proud Boys member Christopher Worrell, has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and broke his hand while in custody. Despite a surgeon recommending that he undergo surgery to repair his hand, the Department of Corrections apparently didn't bother providing the doctor's notes to the U.S. Marshals Service, necessary for the surgery to take place.

The cancer patient languished in jail for months before getting the treatment he needed.

Hedges noted that the mistreatment over 1,000 people arrested and charged so far for participations in events on Jan. 6, including Worrell, has been celebrated or at best ignored "by Democratic Party supporters and much of the left."

He noted that while partisans may have enjoyed the persecution and prosecution of those they are convinced are their foes, no doubt with the help of former ABC news chief James Goldston's dramatic framing, "these show trials will come back to haunt them."

Hedges wrote that the same Special Administrative Measures established by the Clinton administration, originally brought to bear against convicts who ordered murders from prison and mass murderers, are now used to isolate "all manner of detainees before and during trial."

SAMs "severely restrict a prisoner's communication with the outside world; prohibiting calls, letters and visits with anyone except attorneys and sharply limit contact with family members," wrote Hedges. "The solitary confinement-like conditions associated with SAMs undermine any meaningful right to a fair trial according to analysis by groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights and can amount to torture according to the United Nations."

Joseph D. McBride, a lawyer who once provided free legal advice to members of the Occupy movement in New York City, now represents several individuals charged in the Jan. 6 protests.

McBridge told Hedges, "The post 9/11 model is being applied to American citizens."

Like those Muslim Americans who had their rights trampled with the help of the Clinton-era measures, despite having had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, Islamist attacks on the United States or the 19 hijackers responsible, McBride suggested that Jan. 6 protesters are now considered to be "a threat based on who they are, what they look like, what they believe in."

Statists have decided to hound "a new group of people, primarily white Christians, Trump supporters, for now," said McBride.

Hedges noted that while Ryan Nichols — a Marine Corps veteran previously without a criminal record — is now living under strictly controlled house arrest in Texas, he spent much of his two years of pretrial detention in solitary confinement.

Nichols, who ran a search-and-rescue nonprofit, was accused of assaulting officers and obstructing an official proceeding. He faces 20 years in prison and is scheduled to go on trial March 27.

FBI agents blitzed his house on Jan. 18, 2020, after arriving in armored vehicles and cutting power to his house.

Nichols' wife told Hedges, "We didn’t know anything was wrong. They asked Ryan to come in for questioning. Ryan went and turned himself in. They arrested him and I didn’t see him again for over a year and a half."

Nichols reportedly got the mass-murderer treatment: roughly 22 months in solitary confinement, which landed him on suicide watch, strapped to a bench in a room where the light was permanently on.

While her husband wasted away, Bonnie Nichols said her financially stressed family, including her two young boys, would routinely receive death threats.

"We are God-loving patriots," said Bonnie Nichols. "Who’s going to be next? It’s not about Republican or Democrat or white or black, Christian, or Muslim. We are all children of God. We are all U.S. American citizens. We are all entitled to our constitutional rights and freedom of speech. We can all come together and agree on that, right?"

Concerning the thousands arrested and charged so far in connection with Jan. 6, and the 476 who pleaded guilty "in what has been the largest single criminal investigation in U.S. History," Hedges noted that with the exception of "a few of the organizers of the Jan. 6 protest such as Stewart Rhodes, who founded Oath Keepers, [who] may conceivably be guilty of sedition, and even this is in doubt, the vast majority of those caught up in the incursion of the Capitol did not commit serious crimes, engage in violence or know what they would do in Washington other than protest the election results."

McBride suggested to Hedges that the undue severity of their treatment was the result, in part, of propaganda advanced by the media, the Biden White House, the Democratic Party leadership, and a tainted Washington jury pool of people with links to the federal government.

"The D.C. jury pool is poisoned beyond repair," said McBride. "When you just look at what the January 6 Committee did alone, never mind President Biden’s speeches about ‘insurrectionists,’ ‘MAGA Republican extremists’ and all this stuff, and if you just consider the fact that D.C. is very small, that people who work in the federal government are all by definition, kind of victims of January 6 and what happened that day, their institutions and colleagues were ‘under attack.’ How can anybody from that town serve on a jury pool? They can’t. The bias is astounding."

Hedges underscored that this political theater, which has involved the performance of real sacrifices on stage, is "exacerbating the growing tribalism and political antagonisms that will increasingly express themselves through violence."

"We are complicit, once again, of using the courts to carry out vendettas. We are corroding democratic institutions," he added. "We are turning those being hounded to prison into political prisoners and martyrs. We are moving ever closer towards tyranny."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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