By Al Benson Jr.
About five years ago now there was a big flap over Abu Ghraib, an Iraqi prison where American soldiers practiced various forms of torture, both emotional and physical, on various Iraqi prisoners. It was all a part of George Bush’s “experiment” in “democracy” in Iraq. Some people were shocked when they read about this. They wondered how Americans could do such things—after all, aren’t we the moral leadership of the world? Sorry to say we are not. With what we have elected to the presidency for the last four or five terms, how can we claim any kind of moral leadership anywhere? You’d be surprised, but I have had Christians to defend torturing terrorists to me. They seem to feel that because they are terrorists, or have been accused of being terrorists, that to torture them is okay. My response to this is that, as Christians, if we engage in this sort of thing then we are no better than they are. I have a hard time believing that the Lord Jesus would endorse torture.
But is the concept of torture, secret police and military prisons something new in our day and age in America? Again, sorry to say it isn’t. Americans have been partaking of torture and the secret police syndrome, in one form or another at least since the advent of the Lincoln administration. Mr. Lincoln and his associated seem to have had a paranoid fear of disloyalty to the federal government (most dictators have this) to the point where thousands upon thousands of Northern civilians were arrested and hauled off to prisons on the basis of nothing more than vague suspicion or some grumpy neighbor’s hearsay accusation.
In his book In The Shadow Of Lincoln’s Death Otto Eisenschiml noted: “In his vast arsenal of power Stanton had one weapon which was formidable beyond any other: the military prisons. Within their silent walls he could bury his enemies with no fear of consequences.” Given today’s political climate, does that sound familiar? I’m sure those FEMA camps are not being built for foreign dignitaries.
After the writ of habeas corpus had been suspended, which was a writ guaranteeing a judicial hearing to anyone arrested, according to Eisenschiml: “…those whom the military chose to arrest could be held without recourse to the courts and even without charges being preferred against them.”
Military prisoners were almost never allowed to see a lawyer to seek legal counsel. Their whereabouts was usually not even known to their families or friends and many were informed that should they attempt to seek legal counsel, such an action would go against them. In other words, defending yourself legally was out of the question. Such efforts would, according to Eisenschiml, result in “quick reprisals.” Now many will, no doubt, be tempted to think that Edwin Stanton did all this on his own—a rogue government employee. However, Eisenschiml has observed that “On September 24, 1862, Lincoln issued a proclamation giving Stanton’s promiscuous incarcerations his full backing.” So Lincoln didn’t even try, much like the head of our current Marxist regime does, to claim he had no knowledge of what was going on. That seems to be the increasing cop-out with our current Chief Commissar—all these rogue employees running around doing their thing and he knows nothing about any of it. With as little knowledge about the happenings in his administration as he seems to have you almost have to wonder why he should be president.
And Stanton, in order to solidify his control, organized a Secret Police system. Yes, folks, you read that right—secret police during the Lincoln administration. While it started out small, it grew rather quickly, as do all totalitarian schemes and eventually it morphed into something called the “National Detectives” which came under the control of one Colonel Lafayette C. Baker, another rather unsavory character. This force eventually grew to number about 2,000, and when Baker was appointed Provost Marshal of the War Department, this gave him almost unlimited and uncontrolled power. “Secret Police” in America in the 1860s! When was the last time you read about this in your “history” books? I read lots of history in my younger years and I never came across this. It almost sounds like a scenario out of some old Cold War movie about the Soviet Union. Unfortunately it isn’t. It was real and it happened right here in the United States of Amerika! And it set a precedent for what our present regime is doing in regard to our civil liberties, or rather the lack of them. If you are wondering why your “history” books never bother to mention any of this, you should (wonder). And if this slight omission leads you to do a little research to find out what other “slight omissions” have occurred in our “history’ books, so much the better.
Forty-eighter socialist Carl Schurz, one of the leading lights dealt with in our book Lincoln’s Marxists (Pelican Publishing, Gretna, Louisiana) even felt called upon to apologize for the Lincoln administration’s usurpations against U.S. citizens’ God-given rights when he wrote: “The government was under the stress of circumstances, doing things highly obnoxious to the fundamental principles of constitutional liberty. It incarcerated without warrant or due process of law, men suspected of aiding the rebellion…On the plea of urgent necessity…it adopted methods…familiar to despotic rule…” Leave it to a socialist to apologize for Lincoln’s high-handed treatment of American citizens. The leftists will always apologize for government usurpations, claiming that, due to the current situation they are “necessary.” Bovine fertilizer!
Probably one of the most infamous prisons in the federal system at that time was Old Capital prison in Washington. In 1869 a Washington resident wrote that: “Stanton was an able and true man, and a good Secretary, but he was a despot also, and too hasty to arrest men upon every slight proof; …Ex-Chief Detective Baker sent, perhaps, the majority of prisoners to this institution. He had reduced blackmailing and intimidation to a science, and those who would not comply with his unlawful demands were moderately sure of a residence in this place. These arbitrary acts are a blight upon the country…” A condemnation of the activities of Baker and Stanton, even if a moderate one.
As we go along and learn more it becomes more and more clear that the true Yankee/Marxist mindset is one with a totalitarian, collectivist worldview, where the central government is supreme in all things and all citizens are merely “cogs in the wheel” of the Yankee/Marxist empire—to be used until they wear out, and then tossed away and replaced with more government-educated cogs. Needless to say, when Northerners, mostly Democrats, protested Stanton’s dictatorial actions, Mr. Lincoln, also with a dictatorial mindset, took pains to defend those actions.
To be continued.
(The Homeschool Mini-History Series is still available. History may be written by the victors but the truth does not change.)