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Tags: donald sutherland | deep state | anti-war | vietnam

Even Donald Sutherland Couldn't Escape Deep State

donald sutherland

Donald Sutherland (ANDREAS RENTZ/Getty Images for ZFF)

Larry Provost By Tuesday, 25 June 2024 02:02 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Last week's passing of the great actor Donald Sutherland recalls how he once was a victim of Deep State politics and surveillance.

Donald Sutherland was born in Canada and gained fame at a young age for his roles, particularly for his roles in military-themed films.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he played the rather idiotic Vernon L. Pinkley in "The Dirty Dozen," Hawkeye Pierce in "M*A*S*H," and the "beautiful and righteous" Sgt. Oddball in "Kelly's Heroes."

Despite the immense popularity of these films with veterans and the general population, these works were in many ways considered anti-war (the scenes of Telly Savalas or Jim Brown killing German civilians in "The Dirty Dozen" was considered monumental and appalling for its time). While these films were being made the Vietnam War was raging and Donald Sutherland was, despite his military roles, very much against that conflict.

He was placed under U.S. government surveillance as were the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, other activists, and even U.S. government officials who were in favor of Black civil rights and opposed to American involvement in a war far away.  Eventually such surveillance was ended and later declassified, being available at the George Washington University National Security Archive

Donald Sutherland was not intimidated by the Deep State surveillance but instead continued strong.

In later years, he performed in darker parts as military officials of great authority such as Mr. X in "JFK" (incorrectly based off Maj. Gen. Edward Lansdale, but a riveting performance nonetheless that is often seen as the highlight of that film) and the evil Gen. Donald McClintock in "Outbreak," who was willing to have an entire American town of virus-infected people wiped out in order to protect what was thought to be the perfect biological weapon in a virus.

Sutherland expanded his roles to also include those of humor and great care, the latter seen perhaps nowhere better than in the 1980 film "Ordinary People," one of the first major films to tackle mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The government surveillance of Donald Sutherland reveals a few things.

Many of the surveillance and other shady, if not illegal, activities on the part of U.S. agencies revealed by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church Committee took place across different political administrations, regardless of whether said administrations were Republican or Democrat.

However, in the collective cultural mindset, much of the surveillance is often blamed on conservatives, due to the Watergate and immediate post-Watergate congressional revelations. This assumption is incorrect for at least a couple of reasons.

First, save perhaps for the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon was not an ideological conservative (President Barack Obama said the most liberal American President in the second half of the 20th Century was Richard Nixon).

Secondly, some of the most explosive surveillance, such as that on Martin Luther King Jr., were originally ordered by President John F. Kennedy and his brother, the attorney general of the United States.

However, even if we disregard these arguments, which we should not, the surveillance of Donald Sutherland, of not long ago, causes deep pause in a republic such as ours. Human nature is just that, and there is not one party that is immune from the temptation to use political power immorally for their own ends.

Simply put, if a "conservative" Richard Nixon could have a progressive Donald Sutherland under surveillance, could a progressive administration order such surveillance and/or could the law be applied more harshly toward conservatives? Of course.

Donald Sutherland's greatest role, whether we agree with his politics or not, may have been his ability to stand up for what he believed in during a time where a sizable portion of the population did not hold his view. A Canadian by birth, he knew America and believed in the ideal that in this nation people should be free to express themselves without fear or repercussion.

It held true for him during the Vietnam War, and it should hold true for people of all political persuasions in a free-thinking society without being subject to official repercussions.

Quoting Donald Sutherland as Sgt. Oddball, that would be "righteous and hopeful, for a change."

*Views expressed in this article are those of the author and not any government agency.

Larry Provost has written for Townhall, Fox News, The Baltic Times and InFocus (Jewish Policy Center) and has appeared on several television outlets, including "FOX News @Night with Shannon Bream." He holds degrees from several colleges, and is a veteran of the World Trade Center search and rescue, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He and his wife are adoptive parents. Read more Larry Provost reports — Here.

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Last week's passing of the great actor Donald Sutherland recalls how he once was a victim of Deep State politics and surveillance.
donald sutherland, deep state, anti-war, vietnam
Tuesday, 25 June 2024 02:02 PM
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