Behind the War on Terrorism

 

 

            Behind the “War on Terror” lies the true war, the Class War. This is the de facto but undeclared war against all of humanity waged by multi-billionaires and their sycophants. And no, this is not another grand conspiracy theory. This war has been going on ever since man first became intoxicated with the concept of wealth & power. I first began to take notice of this pathology when Ronald Reagan was elected president.

 

            Reagan was the ultimate P.R. ad-man for the multi-billionaires’ club because he’d  spent 20 years as the public spokesman for G.E., the corporate behemoth that “brings good things to light” —that is, if you consider nuclear power plants and weapons good things? It wasn’t until Reagan assumed the throne of American power with his amiable, ah shucks folks, bumbling manner & public gaffes, that I developed an interest in politics. I sensed that Reagan’s apparent humbleness was a façade and I began to fear what might be behind the public persona of this man. A few years later in the winter of 1985, my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Europe and one, bitterly cold day in Paris, a reporter and his cameraman asked me my opinion of Reagan’s recent speech in which he talked about fighting “limited nuclear war” against the Russians in Europe. I told the reporter that I thought Reagan was a stupid moron that scares the Hell out of me.

 

            This astonishingly ignorant statement by Reagan reveals one of the key weapons or tools the powers that be use against us in their propaganda campaigns and that is fear. Reagan’s absurd statement was designed to scare the Russians and to push their leadership to the peace negotiating table out of fear that this crazy, American cowboy president might actually launch a nuclear attack against Russia. At the same time, the American public was being played because we were being led to believe that we had a strong leader who stood up to the Russians and of course, we must keep on pouring billions & trillions of tax dollars into the “Defense Industry” lest we fall behind in the “arms race” and not be able to negotiate from a position of military superiority.

Viktor Bout

   

            With this in mind, a recent news story on Democracy Now! inspired me to write this essay.  The story of the sentencing of Viktor Bout to 25 years in prison, not for arms smuggling but for conspiracy to commit terrorism. Viktor Bout is the real life character that Nicolas Cage played in Lord of War.  Only a nation as arrogant as America and run by a power elite with so much hubris, could display such blatant hypocrisy while boasting to the world that we are the land of Law & Order. In a nutshell, the “War on Terror” has replaced “National Security” as the new blanket phrase which covers every covert, illegal, immoral, anti-democratic action or program undertaken by our clandestine, “intelligence” agencies.

 

            Here are some of the more salient aspects regarding the conviction of Viktor Bout. In the Democracy Now! report, the guest, “Kathi Lynn Austin, former U.N. arms trafficking investigator and executive director of the Conflict Awareness Project, which tracks global weapons traffickers, exposing the illicit world of war profiteering,” provides the background to this story. These facts are all taken from the Democracy Now! report unless otherwise stated. Viktor Bout (pronounced ‘boot’) is known as the “Merchant of Death.” By the way, remember when war profiteering was illegal? The powers that be are very clever though and in their sinister machinations came up with just changing the name of what used to be honestly called “The War Dept.” to “The Defense Dept.” and now all the weapons manufacturers are called defense contractors. Oh, here’s a little known fact I learned years ago as I was growing up in L.A., half of the jobs in L.A. are either directly or indirectly related to the Defense Industry. They’ve closed-down and shipped-out just about every type of manufacturing in this country except the manufacturing of weapons. Gee, I wonder why?

 

            Back to the Merchant of Death. In the formal court case of Viktor Bout, they allowed the American companies to avoid exposure of their collusion with Bout (Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown, & Root, etc.) Wonder why they did this? These companies were doing business with him during the Iraq war even after U.N. sanctions against him in 2004. Bout trafficked to dictators in Africa, South America, the Middle East, & even Rwanda after the Rwanda genocide. Bout was given the minimum sentence for his crimes. [can’t help but think that because he has extensive contacts with the highest U.S. officials in the Defense Dept., he cut a deal with them & I wouldn’t be a bit surprised that after awhile when the spotlight on him has faded, if he miraculously escapes & we never hear from him again] Bout said that if the same standards were applied to U.S. arms suppliers, they would all be in jail too. Can’t disagree with you there. Ms. Austin has been tracking Bout’s activities for 15 years as well as other arms traffickers and she has testified before Congress and spoken to the State Dept. but all to no avail because his “services were too valuable.” Makes me wonder what he did to piss off his buddies in the Defense Dept. for them to finally arrest him? Also reminds me of the typical fate of whistleblowers in America i.e. instead of listening to their findings, they, the whistleblower are persecuted and prosecuted while the criminals go unpunished. Note Obama’s recent rhetoric praising whistleblowers in foreign lands and also note that Obama was a professor of Constitutional law, yet his administration has gone after U.S. whistleblowers with a vengeance and more than any other administration?

 

            Moreover, Bout wrote to the judge in his case, “Look, I’ve worked also for U.S. companies and flown 140 flights and they paid me $6 million dollars….at the time of these services for the U.S. government, it was in violation of a U.S. law, an executive order signed by President Bush and in violation of U.N. sanctions?” Kathi Austin “the hypocrisy is really what’s making this case.” You can say that again! But hypocrisy doesn’t worry the power elite because they count on an apathetic U.S. audience with historical amnesia and too preoccupied with watching sports, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, and other such pablum for the mind. In an interview with Voice of Russia because Bout was a former Soviet Air Force officer (wonder why he had the connections to Soviet weapons? Looks like Hollywood created Nicolas Cage’s relative to help the story line), Bout commented on his celebrity since the movie Lord of War came out and how people loved having their picture taken with him like he was some sort of prize animal trophy “But who, in the first place created this animal?” Ah yes! This is the $64,000 dollar question and you can be sure it will never be raised in our corporate-owned media because it goes to the heart of the whole war on terrorism and American war profiteers. The answer is simple and complex but in short, it’s those billionaires that I mentioned at the beginning of this essay who created animals like Viktor Bout.

 

            Proceeding even deeper into this labyrinth of lies that we call national defense is another glaring example of U.S. hypocrisy in these matters i.e. “the Dept. of Justice prohibits American companies from doing business with people on their list such as Bout and at the same time, the Dept. of Defense continues to do business with people like Bout.” Looks like “Defense Dept.” (War Dept.) wins? In other words, war trumps justice or might makes right! Remember reader, America stands for freedom, democracy, truth, justice, blah, blah, blah and that’s what our soldiers are fighting for and protecting. In conclusion, Ms. Austin responds to a question with “I think you’ve touched upon the problem. There is what is called the legal trade and then there is the illicit black market trade.” She goes on to inform us that in July of this year at U.N. headquarters there are going to be negotiations for a conventional arms trade treaty but unless the arms trade treaty includes these types of intermediaries; the arms traffickers, the brokers, the transport agents, the financial agents, then—unless that treaty includes their activities, then we will continue to see the black market thrive.”

 

            And speaking of the black market in weapons, do you recall the concern about Soviet nuclear weapons and plutonium for sale on the black market? Sorry but I’ve become far too jaded or cynical to believe that the hypocrites on high in D.C. will ever do anything serious about these dangers because they’d have to reveal their part in creating this witch’s brew of terrorists & weapons of mass destruction engulfing our world!

genocide in Rwanda

 

            As for the upcoming so-called negotiations on conventional arms trading this summer, I’m sure they’ll be about as useful as a screen-door in a submarine considering the following facts. At the end of the movie, Lord of War, there was a statement shown on the screen which pointed out that the five nations who sell the most weapons are the U.S., U.K., Russia, China, & France and they are the five nations that make up the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. In other words, these five nations have veto power over the other ten nations on the U.N. Security Council which rotate in and out. And here are figures on arms sales that a friend just posted on Facebook: Six countries supply 74% of the world’s weapons; U.S. $12.2 billion, Russia $5.2 billion, Germany $2.6 billion, U.K. $2.3 billion, China $2.2 billion and France $1.4 billion. Now the United Nations Security Council’s mandate is to ensure Peace & Security throughout the world. But we know that when it comes to profits vs. people those profits always wins. So I wouldn’t be holding my breath regarding the upcoming arms negotiations on conventional weapons this June because America is the most aggressive warmongering country on Earth and our leaders are Hell-bent on ruling the world.

 

            You may be thinking right about now, oh brother, another conspiracy nut? Well, do your own research and look up the terms Full Spectrum Dominance and P.N.A.C. (Project for a New American Century) I first heard of “Full Spectrum Dominance” several years ago while channel-surfing late one night. I believe it was on Free Speech T.V.  And I first thought, another nut-case, conspiracy extremist just trying to scare people into not thinking but as I watched, the presentation seemed balanced and reasoned. One of the key producers of the film was Bruce Gagnon and his revelations regarding the dangers of having plutonium on board space shuttle flights did indeed worry me. Add to that the  news that our government does indeed have a published blueprint for ruling not only the entire planet but also for the total domination of outer space with an elaborate system of laser-equipped satellites that can target anyplace on Earth, and you have the nightmare scenario that the overwhelming majority of us aren’t even aware of. By the way, again lest you think this the ravings of a paranoid person, with a few keystrokes on your computer you will discover that “Full Spectrum Dominance” is an official U.S. Air Force document and publication and you can download it for yourself to peruse and study and the P.N.A.C. document is also available. A few key notes re; P.N.A.C.; it was a think tank that came into being in 1997 (pre-9/11) and in it, the authors of the document voiced the need for another Pearl Harbor type of event that would provide the justification for implementing their Project for a New American Century. This is why the horrific events of September 11, 2001 were a godsend to these vile plotters and schemers and would-be masters of the universe such as Paul Wolfowtiz, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, etc. and also reveals why they deliberately lied us into the war against Iraq which had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11. And one last point before I move on, this “Full Spectrum Dominance” is simply Reagan’s Star Wars Program or S.D.I. (Strategic Defense Initiative) recycled. Again if you do a little research, Reagan’s S.D.I. program was forced underground so-to-speak because of the overwhelming evidence that it was a ludicrous idea and could be thwarted very easily. But, as usual, common sense never enters the brains of these warmongers and war profiteers and they don’t give a damn that they are bankrupting America while they enrich themselves and their co-conspirators. Let me share one last bit of information with you before I move on; on the wall of my home, I have a copy of a historical document that was sent to the president of the United States and to Congress and which was a full page ad in the Sunday edition, November 13, 1983 on page E 22 of The New York Times under the heading “1,500 American physicists and 11,500 physicists worldwide call for a halt to the Nuclear Arms Race.” Under the brief statement are the signatures of every American physicist who signed the document. It was documents and public outrage that forced the “Star Wars” planners to go underground and appear to have publicly abandoned their project. Gee? I wonder why America can’t afford health care for all its citizens, a decent public education system, etc.? President Eisenhower warned us of the growing power of the Military/Industrial Complex and he wanted to add Congress to that complex but was persuaded to leave Congress out because that was hitting a little too close to home.

Full Spectrum Dominance

 

            Let’s review briefly what the War on Terror has given us since it’s official PR launch by the Coward from Crawford and the assorted other patriots who avoided going to Vietnam by filing for college deferments. Oh yeah, just heard that the super patriot, Ted Nugent, who recently made headlines with his thinly veiled threats against President Obama avoided going to Vietnam by pissing and shitting his pants for ten days so they’d reject him. How’s that for patriotism?

 

The Patriot ActThe Patriot Act in a Nutshell
The Associated Press, Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Some of the fundamental changes to Americans’ legal rights by the Bush administration and the USA Patriot Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack:

Freedom of association: To assist terror investigation, the government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity.

Freedom of information: The government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public-records requests. “Sensitive” information has been removed from government Web sites.

Freedom of speech: The government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.

Right to legal representation: The government may monitor conversations between attorneys and clients in federal prisons and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

Freedom from unreasonable searches: The government may search and seize Americans’ papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

Right to a speedy and public trial: The government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

Right to liberty: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them. “Enemy combatants” have been held incommunicado and refused attorneys.

corporate personhood

 

Homeland Security

See also: Criticism of government response to Hurricane Katrina

[edit] Excess, waste, and ineffectiveness

The Department of Homeland Security has been dogged by persistent criticism over excessive bureaucracy, waste, ineffectiveness and lack of transparency. Congress estimates that the department has wasted roughly $15 billion in failed contracts (as of September 2008[update]).[49] In 2003, the department came under fire after the media revealed that Laura Callahan, Deputy Chief Information Officer at DHS with responsibilities for sensitive national security databases, had obtained her advanced computer science degrees through a diploma mill in a small town in Wyoming. The department was blamed for up to $2 billion of waste and fraud after audits by the Government Accountability Office revealed widespread misuse of government credit cards by DHS employees, with purchases including beer brewing kits, $70,000 of plastic dog booties that were later deemed unusable, boats purchased at double the retail price (many of which later could not be found), and iPods ostensibly for use in “data storage”.[50] [51] [52] [53]

[edit] Data mining (ADVISE)

The Associated Press reported on September 5, 2007, that DHS had scrapped an anti-terrorism data mining tool called ADVISE (Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement) after the agency’s internal Inspector General found that pilot testing of the system had been performed using data on real people without required privacy safeguards in place.[54][55] The system, in development at Lawrence Livermore and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory since 2003, has cost the agency $42 million to date. Controversy over the program is not new; in March 2007, the Government Accountability Office stated that “the ADVICE tool could misidentify or erroneously associate an individual with undesirable activity such as fraud, crime or terrorism.” Homeland Security’s Inspector General later said that ADVISE was poorly planned, time-consuming for analysts to use, and lacked adequate justifications.[56]

[edit] Fusion centers 

Main article: Fusion center

Fusion centers are terrorism prevention and response centers, many of which were created under a joint project between the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice‘s Office of Justice Programs between 2003 and 2007. The fusion centers gather information not only from government sources, but also from their partners in the private sector.[57] [58]

They are designed to promote information sharing at the federal level between agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice, US Military and state and local level government. As of July 2009[update], the Department of Homeland Security recognized at least seventy-two fusion centers.[59] Fusion centers may also be affiliated with an Emergency Operations Center that responds in the event of a disaster.

There are a number of documented criticisms of fusion centers, including relative ineffectiveness at counterterrorism activities, the potential to be used for secondary purposes unrelated to counterterrorism, and their links to violations of civil liberties of American citizens and others.[60]

David Rittgers of the Cato Institute has noted

a long line of fusion center and DHS reports labeling broad swaths of the public as a threat to national security. The North Texas Fusion System labeled Muslim lobbyists as a potential threat; a DHS analyst in Wisconsin thought both pro- and anti-abortion activists were worrisome; a Pennsylvania homeland security contractor watched environmental activists, Tea Party groups, and a Second Amendment rally; the Maryland State Police put anti-death penalty and anti-war activists in a federal terrorism database; a fusion center in Missouri thought that all third-party voters and Ron Paul supporters were a threat….”[61]

[edit] MIAC report

The Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) made news in 2009 for targeting[vague] supporters of third party candidates (such as Ron Paul), pro-life activists, and conspiracy theorists as potential militia members.[62] Anti-war activists and Islamic lobby groups were targeted in Texas, drawing criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union.[63]

According to the Department of Homeland Security: [64]

The Privacy Office has identified a number of risks to privacy presented by the fusion center program:

  1. Justification for fusion centers 
  2. Ambiguous Lines of Authority, Rules, and Oversight
  3. Participation of the Military and the Private Sector
  4. Data Mining
  5. Excessive Secrecy
  6. Inaccurate or Incomplete Information
  7. Mission Creep

[edit] 2009 Virginia terrorism threat assessment

In early April 2009, the Virginia Fusion Center came under criticism for publishing a terrorism threat assessment which stated that certain universities are potential hubs for terror related activity.[65] The report targeted historically black colleges and identified hacktivism as a form of terrorism.[66]

[edit] Mail interception

In 2006, MSNBC reported that Grant Goodman, “an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words “by Border Protection” and carrying the official Homeland Security seal.”[67] The letter was sent by a devout Catholic Filipino woman with no history of supporting Islamic terrorism.[67] A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection “acknowledged that the agency can, will and does open mail coming to U.S. citizens that originates from a foreign country whenever it’s deemed necessary”:

“All mail originating outside the United States Customs territory that is to be delivered inside the U.S. Customs territory is subject to Customs examination,” says the CBP Web site. That includes personal correspondence. “All mail means ‘all mail,’” said John Mohan, a CBP spokesman, emphasizing the point.[67]

The Department declined to outline what criteria are used to determine when a piece of personal correspondence should be opened or to say how often or in what volume Customs might be opening mail.[67]

Goodman’s story provoked outrage in the blogosphere, [68] as well as in the more established media. Reacting to the incident, Mother Jones remarked that “[u]nlike other prying government agencies, Homeland Security wants you to know it is watching you.”[69] CNN observed that “[o]n the heels of the NSA wiretapping controversy, Goodman’s letter raises more concern over the balance between privacy and security.”[70]

the true rulers of the world

In July 2006, the Office of Personnel Management conducted a survey of federal employees in all 36 federal agencies on job satisfaction and how they felt their respective agency was headed. DHS was last or near to last in every category including;

  • 33rd on the talent management index
  • 35th on the leadership and knowledge management index
  • 36th on the job satisfaction index
  • 36th on the results-oriented performance culture index

The low scores were attributed to major concerns about basic supervision, management and leadership within the agency. Examples from the survey reveal most concerns are about promotion and pay increase based on merit, dealing with poor performance, rewarding creativity and innovation, leadership generating high levels of motivation in the workforce, recognition for doing a good job, lack of satisfaction with various component policies and procedures and lack of information about what is going on with the organization.[71] [72]

[edit] Inside the DHS

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2011, the department’s inner workings will be featured on the AMC reality television program Inside the DHS. Secretary Napolitano will appear on it.[73]

 

          This was copied from the Wikipedia entry on the subject and Wikipedia is often criticized as not having valid credibility, etc. but I rarely hear the same critics apply the same standards to FOX News. At least with Wikipedia, you can follow their suggested links. Bottom –line, as I learned many years ago, we can/should check out the credentials of the person writing/speaking and we can/should check out what other “experts” in the area of discussion, have to say about the author we are investigating.

 

          In conclusion, as a result of the “War on Terrorism,” we also have to live with the shame of our despicable behavior as revealed in our treatment of prisoners in Abu Gharib and other military prisons operated by us and our “allies” around the world. In addition, America’s reputation as the defenders of freedom and democracy ring hollow to the world thanks to our treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo. Several hundred men have been detained & tortured there and it has been revealed & proven that the overwhelming majority of them are innocent and were arrested merely on the say-so of informants, many of whom had personal grudges against the individuals or simply wanted the reward money offered by the U.S. Oh yeah, this vague, ambiguous “War on Terror” also gave us the Iraq war if you want to call it a war? I say it was more like a 200 pound man beating the Hell out of a five year old child in terms of the challenge/threat posed by the Iraqi army and Saddam Hussein. Yep, another great moral victory for the United States of Amnesia to borrow a line from Gore Vidal. And don’t forget our “excursion” into Afghanistan, the longest “war” the U.S. has ever been in. Never mind the fact that no nation, throughout recorded human history, including Alexander the Great and the Russian Empire, has ever conquered Afghanistan. By the way, why are we in Afghanistan again? I seem to forget? And last, but certainly not least, we have the total surveillance state thanks to the War on Terror! Here is the Project for a New American Century’s declaration of intent or manifesto if you will, in brief:

a must see documentary guaranteed to blow your mind!

 



 
 
 

 








 

 

June 3, 1997

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America’s role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world’s preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital — both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements — built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation’s ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Elliott Abrams    Gary Bauer    William J. Bennett    Jeb Bush

Dick Cheney    Eliot A. Cohen    Midge Decter    Paula Dobriansky    Steve Forbes

Aaron Friedberg    Francis Fukuyama    Frank Gaffney    Fred C. Ikle

Donald Kagan    Zalmay Khalilzad    I. Lewis Libby    Norman Podhoretz

Dan Quayle    Peter W. Rodman    Stephen P. Rosen    Henry S. Rowen

Donald Rumsfeld    Vin Weber    George Weigel    Paul Wolfowitz

 

 

 

     

         I suggest you do a little research into the background of this rogues’ gallery of cockroaches who signed-on to the P.N.A.C. if you’d care to understand on an even deeper level what’s going on. This so-called “War on Terror” is a totally artificial construct and was never necessary. It is simply a smoke-screen for the billionaire oligarchs & plutocrats assault on mankind. If there were the slightest bit of sincerity regarding bringing those individuals responsible for the attacks on 9/11 to justice, all that would be necessary, as others have pointed out, would be to pursue the perpetrators legally and with a highly-skilled group of individuals who speak the various dialects/languages of the regions (Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc.) who could go undercover and infiltrate the various organizations until they gathered the intelligence and then capture and bring the guilty parties to court where they could be prosecuted in public court for all the world to see. This would enhance American credibility and our respect for law and order. Instead, we have become the lawless nation that regularly violates international law and all standards of human decency! If our “War on Terror” were sincere or genuine, our government wouldn’t have allowed individuals like Viktor Bout to continue selling weapons for so many years.

 

          The writing has been on the wall for many years, clear for all but the willfully blind. The far Right-wing, reactionary extremists have long ago declared their goal of completely eliminating all of FDR’s New Deal and today, via The Tea Party, they are in control of the Republican party and that’s why we’re experiencing the vicious onslaught or Class War against all that aren’t members of the 1% ruling America and the world. Finally, this my friends is why my blog site is called Corporate Cockroaches i.e. the corporate conglomerates that are de facto ruling our planet, need to have the light of truth shined on them because like real cockroaches, once you turn on the light, they run and hide. Moreover, it’s very sad that because of the successes of the Right-wing ideologues over the decades with their perpetual propaganda war against the American public, the blame or focus has been on communism when in fact, our true enemy, and the real enemy of all mankind is fascism. And again because most Americans have little interest or knowledge of history, let me remind you of a quote by Hitler’s fascist ally, Benito Mussolini:

 

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

 

          Sorry to end on such a depressing note but burying our heads in the sand won’t make our troubles disappear. Here is a list of the warning or tell-tale signs of creeping fascism from a brilliant and beautiful (don’t mean to sound sexist, simply saying that I find her attractive) author who also happens to be a Rhodes Scholar, her name is Naomi Wolf:

 

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy – but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree – domestically – as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government – the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens’ ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors – we scarcely recognize the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don’t learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of “homeland” security – remember who else was keen on the word “homeland” – didn’t raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable – as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realize.

Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a “war footing”; we were in a “global war” against a “global caliphate” intending to “wipe out civilization”. There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the Second World War, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space – the globe itself is the battlefield. “This time,” Fein says, “there will be no defined end.”

Creating a terrifying threat – hydra-like, secretive, and evil – is an old trick. It can, like Hitler’s invocation of a communist threat to the nation’s security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the “global conspiracy of world Jewry”, on myth.

It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain – which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks – than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe are that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilization as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

Guantanamo

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal “outer space”) – where torture takes place.

At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, “enemies of the people” or “criminals”. Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders – opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists – are arrested and sent there as well.

This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.

With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA “black site” prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.

Gulags in history tend to metastasize, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalized. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can’t investigate adequately.

But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don’t generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: “First they came for the Jews.” Most Americans don’t understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.

By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People’s Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favor of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

Blackwater mercenaries patroling New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

When leaders who seek what I call a “fascist shift” want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorize citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America’s security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution

Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode – but the administration’s endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.

Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for “public order” on the next Election Day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station “to restore public order”.

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

In Mussolini’s Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China – in every closed society – secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbors to spy on neighbors. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens’ phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.

In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about “national security”; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

Occupy Wall St.

The fifth thing you do is related to step four – you infiltrate and harass citizens’ groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favor of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.

Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 “suspicious incidents”. The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organizations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track “potential terrorist threats” as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as “terrorism”. So the definition of “terrorist” slowly expands to include the opposition.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a “list” of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.

In 2004, America’s Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela’s government – after Venezuela’s president had criticized Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, “Because I was on the Terrorist Watch list”.

“Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that,” asked the airline employee.

“I explained,” said Murphy, “that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution.”

“That’ll do it,” the man said. 

Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of “enemy of the people” tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.

James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.

Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.

It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can’t get off.

7. Target key individuals  

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don’t toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile’s Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not “coordinate”, in Goebbels’ term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically “coordinate” early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalize or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.

Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that “water boarding is torture” was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.

Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were “coordinated” too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.

8. Control the press

Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s – all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened “critical infrastructure” when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.

Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy – a form of retaliation that ended her career.

Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organizations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC’s Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN’s Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organizations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.

Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.

You won’t have a shutdown of news in modern America – it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it’s not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can’t tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

9. Dissent equals treason

Cast dissent as “treason” and criticism as “espionage’. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalize certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of “spy” and “traitor”. When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times’ leaking of classified information “disgraceful”, while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the “treason” drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.

Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and “beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death”, according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.

In Stalin’s Soviet Union, dissidents were “enemies of the people”. National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy “November traitors”.

And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realize that since September of last year – when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 – the president has the power to call any US citizen an “enemy combatant”. He has the power to define what “enemy combatant” means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define “enemy combatant” any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.

Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin’s gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantanamo’s, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)

We US citizens will get a trial eventually – for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. “Enemy combatant” is a status offence – it is not even something you have to have done. “We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model – you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we’re going to hold you,” says a spokeswoman of the CCR.

Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests – usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn’t real dissent. There just isn’t freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.

10. Suspend the rule of law

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the National Guard. This means that in a national emergency – which the president now has enhanced powers to declare – he can send Michigan’s militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state’s governor and its citizens.

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears’s meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole’s baby, the New York Times editorialized about this shift: “A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night … Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any ‘other condition’.”

Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act – which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch’s soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias’ power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.

Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini’s march on Rome or Hitler’s roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.

It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere – while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: “dogs go on with their doggy life … How everything turns away/ quite leisurely from the disaster.”

As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are “at war” in a “long war” – a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president – without US citizens realizing it yet – the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions – and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the “what ifs”.

What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack – say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani – because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.

What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.

Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us – staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody’s help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.

We need to look at history and face the “what ifs”. For if we keep going down this road, the “end of America” could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before – and this is the way it is now.

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … is the definition of tyranny,” wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.

· Naomi Wolf’s The End of America 

 

            Our “representatives” (corporate whores) in Congress, signed-off i.e. tossed our hard-won by blood, sweat, & tears, rights as American citizens, into the gutter  in an instant and without even bothering to read what they approved with their signatures. The War on Terror is really a fascist war on people and a push to return to the Dark Ages and Feudalism and the Divine Rights of Kings!

 

          —Rob DeLoss, Portland, OR April 21, 2012

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