“First comes the smear
campaign, in which any misdeed or criminal past, no matter how minor, is pored
over with revelatory glee. Then we will be told that the stormtrooper involved
feared not just for his safety, but for his very life. The harmless object in
the insurgent’s hand? It looked like a thermal detonator. It looked like a thermal
detonator – to someone very familiar with thermal detonators. The story will also
report lots of furtive and aggressive movements, of violent resistance to
arrest. In many cases, Imperial reports are filled out – under penalty of
perjury – attesting to these facts; but those facts are then flatly
contradicted by what everyone can see with their own eyes. Imperial Officers
are caught on tape manipulating evidence or rehearsing improvised fictions. The
familiarity feels as if it can’t be coincidental, but is more like the product
of selections from a playbook – one that undoubtedly proved more effective
before holocomms became so ubiquitous. And finally, there is the most salient
sameness of all: like a prolific holo studio specialising in one particular
genre, the greatest stormtrooper brutality holoshows – in number and quality –
are produced by the Empire.”


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