Wednesday, April 25, 2007

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, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

By Naomi Wolf

04/24/07 "The Guardian" -- -- 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 recognise 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 realise.

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 civilisation". 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, 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 is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

2. Create a gulag

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 metastasise, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. 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 favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

3. Develop a thug caste

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 terrorise 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 neighbours to spy on neighbours. 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.

5. Harass citizens' groups

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 favour 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 organisations 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 criticised 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 penalise 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 "waterboarding 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 organisations 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 organisations 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 criminalise 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 realise 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 Guantánamo'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 editorialised 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 realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means a 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: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be published by Chelsea Green in September.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

War and the Police State: Complicity of the American People

By Donna J. Thorne

Global Research, April 21, 2007

"We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not..? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know.. it — now." Patrick Henry, 1775.

In this era of perpetual warfare, escalating domestic tyranny, government-sanctioned torture, and a Nazi-like pursuit of Middle-East domination, one would expect, at the very least, an audible outcry from the People who proclaim resolute devotion to the ideals of liberty and justice for all. Yet for the most part, Mainstream America continues to assume a posture of apathy, bitterness, or eery silence.

When confronted with hard facts and scientific evidence linking key government officials to the attacks of 9/11, ostensibly intelligent, levelheaded people angrily and defiantly reject said information without a moment's deliberation. Sincerely compassionate and peace-loving individuals support the criminal invasion of Iraq and close their eyes to the U.S. slaughter of 600,000 Iraqi civilians, choosing instead to believe in the myth of American supremacy, at the heart of which lies the notion that foreigners alone are capable of such atrocities. And now, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent establishment of Homeland Security, previously rigid supporters of civil rights quietly tolerate the piecemeal deconstruction of the U.S. Constitution under the pretext of protection, and to their own peril, disregard increasingly strident warnings and signs of a growing and imminent police state. Clearly, Mainstream America has surrendered to the subjugation of a power-crazed, despotic administration whose control continues to expand exponentially with each passing rumor of imminent peril .

Why,when confronted with a black-and-white record of autocratic offenses, are so many sensible Americans ignoring and even endorsing the current administration as it openly paves a tyrannical road to hell? Are we so deluded by rhetoric and weapons-grade propaganda, that we are no longer able to distinguish truth from fiction, thereby allowing, if not abetting our own enslavement ?

Inarguably, a collective set of circumstances exist to explain the acquiescence of the American People. What follows is the first in a series of explorations by which this writer will attempt to identify possible core factors contributing to the scourge of apathy in American society today.

Fear, the Nemesis of Rationality

One cannot analyze the dynamics of a post 9/11 society without examining one of its principal characteristics: fear, anxiety, dread, apprehension… in a word, Terror. To those who benefit from its proliferation, fear is a currency, a commodity, and a powerful marketing tool. If one is aware of the devices by which leaders have garnered power and support for any given war or agenda historically, one can easily discern the same machinations at work today. A key ingredient to any successful war rally or acquisition of power is the exploitation of fear through the manipulation of perception.

On September 11, 2001, corporate media and the government elite launched an aggressive political and media campaign upon and against the American people. With Madison-Avenue expertise, purveyors of fear heightened our perception of imminent threat by inundating the airwaves with continual, repetitive, easily-learned sound-bytes, words brimming with emotionally-charged meaning, "…Bin Laden, Taliban, Axis of Evil, Saddam Hussein, Terror-Threat, Terrorist…" with just enough intensity to successfully persuade the American people to procure security at any cost.

Comprehensive and firmly-entrenched fear is the means by which the current administration manages to sell the "War of Terror" and, allowed to flourish, has solidified mechanized cooperation from the masses as our leaders appeal to the most basic of all human needs-- security.

The groundwork has been laid. Today, newly identified "threats" are announced with almost predictable regularity. Now firmly embedded in the collective unconscious of America, fear is employed to rationalize unprecedented dictatorial powers in the White House, to justify the erosion of privacy and the stripping of human rights once sacredly guarded by the Constitution. Yet, what should one expect from an administration whose platform is built upon a substratum of fear, except for fear itself?

Fear attempts to silence dissenters. As the Truth Movement gains momentum and amasses credibility, the fear profiteers have begun heralding yet another "threat" to National Security - inquiring minds. This is both good news and bad news. We are no longer ignorable. Fearing exposure, the Czars of Propaganda know that "Truthers" must be branded and discredited if government corruption and corporate fraud is to flourish unabated. This said, prepare for an intensified Smear-and-Fear Campaign. Any group or individual who vocally questions the official story of 9/11 or who exercises the right to demand Government accountability will be labeled "Anti-American and Anti-Patriotic".

A well-documented strategy of propagandists throughout modern history, dissolving credibility through character assassination is a calculated tactic utilized to persuade the uninformed public to turn a deaf ear, to, in effect, remain uninformed. It remains to be seen if this line of attack will succeed, and success is dependent upon each individual proponent of freedom. As with the human longing for security, the natural desire for affiliation and acceptance works in favor of the war-mongering, power-hungry elite, for they know only the bravest of the brave will dare risk ostracism for a noble cause.

Fear begets fear and dulls rationality. Under fear's influence, the autonomic nervous system shifts into fight-or-flight mode. Perhaps this either-or response clarifies the bipartisanship of laboring freedom fighters and the willingly deceived. The former empower themselves with knowledge. The latter, so fearful of annihilating reassuring illusions, continue to defend the crimes of their pseudo-conservative leaders, and in so doing, stave off the anxieties which would surely accompany enlightenment. So desperate to believe in an imaginary benevolent Big Brother, We the People unknowingly and sometimes willingly turn a deaf ear to the truth, choosing instead to believe a lie. We lull ourselves into complacency or forced submission. We allow fear to breed a culture of silent ignorance and unthinking loyalty by which dictatorial regimes are allowed to flourish.

We would do well to remember, a fear-struck population is easily led.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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© Copyright Donna J. Thorne, Global Research, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

WSWS : News & Analysis : North America
Posada Carriles: terrorist who killed 73 in plane bombing walks free
By Bill Van Auken
20 April 2007

“I vowed that if you harbor a terrorist you’re equally as guilty as the terrorist. That’s a doctrine. In order for this country to be credible, when the President says something, he must mean it.” President George W. Bush, April 10, 2007, American Legion Post 177, Fairfax, Virginia.

“Part of our doctrine is if you harbor a terrorist, you’re equally as guilty as the terrorists.” President Bush, April 5, 2007, Fort Irwin, California.

A cell door in New Mexico swung open Thursday and Luis Posada Carriles—a man wanted for an act of terrorist mass murder—went free, making his way to Miami escorted by US Marshals and his lawyer.

So much for the Bush doctrine. Washington is now openly harboring a terrorist who murdered 73 people by organizing the planting of a bomb on a civilian airliner in 1976. The Cuban passenger plane, which had originated in Venezuela, blew up over the Caribbean waters of Barbados. At that time, it constituted the most deadly act of terrorism ever carried out in the Western Hemisphere.

Among the dead were all 24 members of the Cuban fencing team, many of them teenagers, who had just won the 1975 Central American-Caribbean championship. Also killed were several Guyanese medical students, aged 18 and 19.

It is worth remembering these young victims as shock and sorrow is felt throughout the United States over the slaughter of a similar number of students of roughly the same age at Virginia Tech.

The release of Posada Carriles followed a ruling by the US Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Tuesday rejecting a government prosecutor’s motion that the confessed terrorist be kept in prison.

He has been in custody since May of 2005. The court refused to hold him, however, because he is not charged with the crimes of mass murder, terrorism and assassination, but rather with run-of-the-mill immigration offenses: entering the country illegally and lying to US immigration officials.

He is now free on bail, awaiting a May 11 trial on charges of lying to immigration agents. The only penalty for such an offense is deportation.

No country in the world, however, will agree to take Posada Carriles off Washington’s hands, save two. The first is his native Cuba, whose citizens constitute the majority of his victims, and the second is Venezuela, where he became a naturalized citizen and secret policeman, and from which he plotted the 1976 airline bombing.

Venezuela formally demanded that the US extradite the terrorist to face trial for this crime in June of 2005 under existing treaties between the two countries. Since then, the Bush administration has simply ignored the extradition request.

As he awaited the completion of his trial and sentencing in the airline bombing case, Posada Carriles escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985, and had remained under US protection ever since, working with CIA operatives in Central America in the illegal “contra” war against Nicaragua.

Venezuela clearly has every legal right to demand that he be sent back to confront the verdict that he evaded more than 20 years ago. However, a US immigration judge, acting on behalf of the Bush administration, ruled that he could not be sent to Venezuela because he might face torture there.

This claim is both spurious and outrageous. There is no evidence of systemic torture in Venezuela. If this rule were applied consistently, no undocumented immigrant caught by border agents could be sent back to Mexico, Brazil or a number of other countries in Latin America where abuse in prisons is equally if not more common.

Moreover, coming from the US government, which has both tortured and organized the “extraordinary rendition” of its detainees to countries specifically chosen because they will be tortured there, the invocation of international treaties against torture to shield Posada Carriles is breathtaking in its hypocrisy.

Finally, it is worth noting that Posada Carriles himself was employed as a senior official in the Venezuelan secret police, the DISP, in the early 1970s, when torture was endemic, and has been charged with both the torture and extra-judicial murder of leftist activists in that country.

Responding to the freeing of Posada Carriles, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez compared the fugitive to Osama bin Laden and described him as “the father of all terrorists on the American continent.”

“We demand that they extradite this terrorist and murderer to Venezuela rather than keep protecting him,” Chávez said. He continued by condemning Washington’s cynicism: “They say they fight terrorism, (but) there it is! Their mask keeps falling off.”

The Cuban government also reiterated its call for the extradition request to be honored. “For two years they have protected Posada Carriles with judicial subterfuges to evade their duty to extradite him to Venezuela or try him for terrorism,” Ricardo Alarcón, president of the Cuban parliament, said Thursday.

The Bush administration refuses to extradite Posada Carriles, because he was Washington’s own terrorist, trained and paid by the CIA to carry out acts of terrorism. To place him on trial would threaten the exposure of a long history of international aggression and criminality organized by US imperialism, ranging from terrorist attacks on Cuba and assassination attempts against its President Fidel Castro to the airline bombing—which took place when Bush’s father was the director of the CIA—to the dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s.

So the Bush administration harbors the terrorist and, under the “Bush doctrine” is “equally as guilty” as this confessed and convicted mass murderer.

Cited as a reason for invading both Afghanistan and Iraq, and now again invoked in preparation for yet another war against Iran, this supposed principle—held up to the mirror of Posada Carriles—is revealed as nothing more than cynical pretext for pursuing the aims and interests of America’s ruling elite by means of military force and massive state terror.

See also:
“Outlaw regimes” and the harboring of terrorists: the case of Posada Carriles
[23 September 2006]

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bush administration pushes for expansion and deepening of police state
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor

Apr 16, 2007, 00:30

The George W. Bush administration seized the White House in 2000 by way of an openly stolen election, then cemented its criminal power into place with the unprecedented 9/11 mass murder, and its two resulting abominations: the fabricated “war on terrorism” (the pretext for endless global war), and the USAPATRIOT Act (the full-scale destruction of the Constitution, and the militarization of the US homeland).

The deepening of the war and security state continues unabated and relatively unopposed, in spite of meager posturing of (largely complicit) congressional Democrats. Nothing has been done to stop, reverse or undo the Bush administration’s boundless criminality, its wide open corruption, or the absolute and systematic rape of law itself. Few if any of Bush’s criminals have been brought to justice.

Three new examples leave no doubt:

* In yet another attack on the separation of powers, the Bush administration is pushing for a “war czar”, giving the White House even more centralized war power, over and above the power it already wields through the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA. Through the concocted war and intelligence “czars,” the White House inner circle -- Bush, Cheney, Rove, etc. -- wields total dictatorial power, and the power to bypass and silence any hint of opposition from the rest of the government.

Mike McConnell, the National Intelligence Director (intelligence “czar” himself) is pushing for greatly expanded power to spy on US citizens and potential “terrorists.” McConnell is requesting more warrantless wiretapping and surveillance of US citizens, and more spying without Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court approval or other court orders.

McConnell is also demanding that telecommunications companies receive immunity from civil liability for “cooperating” with the Bush administration. Two companies, AT&T and Verizon, now face lawsuits for handing phone records to the NSA. AT&T’s “secret rooms” provided the Bush administration direct access to the lives of US citizens.

See: “Bush administration caught red-handed spying on US citizens”

The Bush administration wants not only the full legal authority, but the permission, to violate and destroy the lives of anyone it targets.

* It is a fact, detailed in a new investigation by Jeremy Scahill, that Blackwater, the private mercenary firm, manages and runs many aspects of the Bush administration’s criminal wars all over the world, as well as domestic “security” operations (such as police operations in the post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans). Blackwater, one of the many poison-fanged corporate military faces of Bush-Cheney’s neocon political apparatus, headed by hardwired Bush-connected neocon military-intelligence figures, is above the law -- not controlled by either the US military or the US Congress. Blackwater, which is thriving, and building new facilities all over the world, including the United States, is the face of the new international and homeland security state -- a criminal state.

As written by Mike Ruppert in Crossing the Rubicon, “American fascism is something different now. It’s not just private, elite control over the legal system, nor private evasion of the rule of law. It’s a crisis-induced transition from a society with a deeply compromised legal system to a society where force and surveillance completely supplant the system.”
Consider the system supplanted.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

Thursday, April 12, 2007

R.I.P., Kurt

Custodians of chaos

In this extract from his forthcoming memoirs, Kurt Vonnegut is horrified by the hypocrisy in contemporary US politics

By Kurt Vonnegut

06/17/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you." A lot of people think Jesus said that, because it is so much the sort of thing Jesus liked to say. But it was actually said by Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, five hundred years before there was that greatest and most humane of human beings, named Jesus Christ.

The Chinese also gave us, via Marco Polo, pasta and the formula for gunpowder. The Chinese were so dumb they only used gunpowder for fireworks. And everybody was so dumb back then that nobody in either hemisphere even knew that there was another one.

We've sure come a long way since then. Sometimes I wish we hadn't. I hate H-bombs and the Jerry Springer Show

But back to people like Confucius and Jesus and my son the doctor, Mark, each of whom have said in their own way how we could behave more humanely and maybe make the world a less painful place. One of my favourite humans is Eugene Debs, from Terre Haute in my native state of Indiana.

Get a load of this. Eugene Debs, who died back in 1926, when I was not yet four, ran five times as the Socialist party candidate for president, winning 900,000 votes, almost 6 percent of the popular vote, in 1912, if you can imagine such a ballot. He had this to say while campaigning:

"As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.

"As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it.

"As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

Doesn't anything socialistic make you want to throw up? Like great public schools, or health insurance for all?

When you get out of bed each morning, with the roosters crowing, wouldn't you like to say. "As long as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it. As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

How about Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes?

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

And so on.

Not exactly planks in a Republican platform. Not exactly George W Bush, Dick Cheney, or Donald Rumsfeld stuff.

For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.

"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

It so happens that idealism enough for anyone is not made of perfumed pink clouds. It is the law! It is the US Constitution.

But I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened instead is that it was taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d'état imaginable.

I was once asked if I had any ideas for a really scary reality TV show. I have one reality show that would really make your hair stand on end: "C-Students from Yale".

George W Bush has gathered around him upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka Christians, and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or PPs, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences.

To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete's foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr Hervey Cleckley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia, published in 1941. Read it!

Some people are born deaf, some are born blind or whatever, and this book is about congenitally defective human beings of a sort that is making this whole country and many other parts of the planet go completely haywire nowadays. These were people born without consciences, and suddenly they are taking charge of everything.

PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

And what syndrome better describes so many executives at Enron and WorldCom and on and on, who have enriched themselves while ruining their employees and investors and country and who still feel as pure as the driven snow, no matter what anybody may say to or about them? And they are waging a war that is making billionaires out of millionaires, and trillionaires out of billionaires, and they own television, and they bankroll George Bush, and not because he's against gay marriage.

So many of these heartless PPs now hold big jobs in our federal government, as though they were leaders instead of sick. They have taken charge. They have taken charge of communications and the schools, so we might as well be Poland under occupation.

They might have felt that taking our country into an endless war was simply something decisive to do. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin' day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they don't give a fuck what happens next. Simply can't. Do this! Do that! Mobilise the reserves! Privatise the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody's telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: only nut cases want to be president. This was true even in high school. Only clearly disturbed people ran for class president.

The title of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is a parody of the title of Ray Bradbury's great science-fiction novel Fahrenheit 451. Four hundred and fifty-one degrees Fahrenheit is the combustion point, incidentally, of paper, of which books are composed. The hero of Bradbury's novel is a municipal worker whose job is burning books.

While on the subject of burning books, I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and destroyed records rather than have to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.

So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.

And still on the subject of books: our daily news sources, newspapers and TV, are now so craven, so unvigilant on behalf of the American people, so uninformative, that only in books do we learn what's really going on.

I will cite an example: House of Bush, House of Saud by Craig Unger, published in early 2004, that humiliating, shameful, blood-soaked year.

In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African-Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appallingly powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed.

In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as Nazis once were.

And with good reason.

In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanised millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want.

Piece of cake.

In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanised our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class.

Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything.

Piece of cake.

The O'Reilly Factor.

So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called In These Times.

Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic New York Times guaranteed there were weapons of mass destruction there.

Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the first world war. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the first world war so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.

Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you?

Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people, too. I am a veteran of the second world war and I have to say this is not the first time I have surrendered to a pitiless war machine.

My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse."

Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas

Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations, and made it all their own?

© 2005 Kurt Vonnegut Extracted from A Man Without a Country: : A Memoir of Life in George W Bush's America.

The Great American Catalyzing Event

System Embedded

By Manuel Valenzuela

04/11/07 "ICH' -- -- Somewhere inside the halls of governance, where power and control and greed unleash their fiery cocktail of wickedness, where corrupt men and criminal cabals strategize over master plans of delusion and domination, there lies an unnerving fear of a movement, still in its infancy, of a mass tectonic shift in human energy. This movement, while barely growing legs, gaining experience and slowly learning the massive power within its grasp, is the tremor being felt underneath the putrid and rotting nest of corruption and criminality called Washington.

This movement, while still learning to fly, while still small compared to what it will invariably become, is the harbinger of a revolution to end all revolutions, the inevitable, and end result, of a system that through its principles begets greed, injustice, criminality, exploitation and inequality. It is this system, which controls the present state of human affairs, which by its implementation and maturation, indeed by its very nature, has overextended itself to the point of eventual decline and fall.

Devastating humanity and the planet through its hypnotizing allure of wealth and power, where only a few benefit and the many suffer, the system has for years been planting the seeds of its own demise. By creating unfathomable levels of animosity, anger and resentment through its dependence – and insistence – on the creation of vast inequality, by becoming the assembly line of greed, that blinder of empathy and humanity, and by giving birth to the idea that the Almighty Dollar is worth more than human beings, the system, and its greatest defenders, have slowly, but surely, been assuring the eventual decimation of the human imbalance they cherish and the narcotic they have become addicted to.

It is has been the steady rise of greed, birthed through the system’s very essence, that has assured its decline and fall as well. A system dependent on exploitation of human beings, of natural resources, of the planet itself, of maintaining a caste system of inequality that is designed to make the rich richer and poor poorer cannot sustain itself, especially in this so-called democratic stage of human development. By its very nature the system creates the vices of greed and exploitation, the need to possess and control power, the necessity to control human beings.

Indeed, the system thrives because its success depends on unleashing the worst vices in the human condition. The system fosters our selfishness and greed, our mammalian urges of domination and hierarchy, of power, of possession of territory – and ownership of objects –, our ingrained desire for procreation – wealth and power assures the selection of the best possible mate – and the uncompromising desires of comfort and security. Thus, like a parasite, the system has attached itself to our civilization, and has succeeded accordingly, because its existence is dependent on those vices the human animal has the hardest time controlling and defeating. In short, the system has become our master through the exploitation of our weaknesses, through our own mammalian instincts, behavior and psychology.

Capitalism, for this is what the system is called, has become predatory and pathological over the decades because it is easier for humankind to fall prey to our temptations and addictions than to devise a system that directly contradicts our wants and needs, our instincts and behaviors. Capitalism succeeds because it is a system designed to thrive under the mammalian psychologies that have evolved for millions of years, from days as rats to days of primates. A species of high intelligence and brain capacity is still enslaved to our evolutionary journey, and our insistence on the present system, even as corrupted as it has become and as terrible as it is for the vast majority of humans, is but one manifestation of this. Capitalism is designed for the minds of primitive primates, not enlightened humans. It exists because it captures our instincts and behaviors, not our thinking, reasoned minds.

Undoubtedly a better system exists, and has indeed already been thought of, yet until we realize that we are in fact mammals, think like mammals and behave like mammals, and not some all important being molded in the image of an omnipotent and omnipresent invisible god, we will remain lingering in a system that continues to deteriorate both humans and the planet. Our society and psychology must be understood for what they are, not what our delusions and our primitive theologies make them out to be.

Capitalism is thus a system for a primitive society, for a society that cannot escape its addictions and control over its vices and animal psychology; a better system, one that evolves forward and does not remain stagnant, one that depends and thrives on our virtues and our human intelligence, awaits an enlightened society, an awakened species. For what is harder and more difficult to follow, implement and accomplish, the social and communal philosophies of Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, putting humanity above and beyond the selfish inclinations of the self, where our mammalian psychology are put aside in favor of our enlightened, human intelligence or the philosophies of capitalism’s staunchest supporters and creators, leaving our destiny to the easy flow of our mammalian condition, becoming addicted to the cheap allure of a materialist and consumerist society? Based on society today, it is easy to decipher the answer. It is easy to see that we have evolved society, but society has not evolved us.

After all, our instincts, behaviors and psychology simply exist; they simply are wired into the human condition. It is the outside the box thinking of the great philosophers – those enlightened beings rare in existence yet resplendent with thought – on the other hand, that is harder to implement, for it contradicts the very behaviors we have evolved under, putting us at odds with our primitive selves. Yet it is these more difficult ideas that will inevitably be the salvation for humanity, for the system as we know it is slowly, yet assuredly, helping us dig our own mass grave. Only by understanding who and what we truly are, only by fighting against our mammalian behaviors, and only by using the intelligence of enlightened beings and not of primates can we alter and/or abolish a system that will invariably, and conclusively, collapse both society and our humanity.

The Seeds of Greed

The movement growing in our midst, presently in its infancy, but which rises stronger each day, had as its conception a most horrific and tragic event, one that shifted the reality of America, and the world, towards the precipice of human wickedness. This event, born of controlled demolitions and orchestrated criminality became, to those seeking it, a new Pearl Harbor, an event mobilizing a nation for war. Its architects, delusional and pathological, both Machiavellian and Faustian, envisioned a catastrophic and catalyzing event that would unleash a 1,000 year reign dressed in imperial wealth and power, having America become the new, and better, Rome.

As grand masters of an event that would define their triumph, that would alter the course of history, that would usher in a new era of power and control, the architects of 9/11 waited patiently for the perfect circumstances to arrive, waiting in the wings, behind the scenes, eagerly anticipating their opportunity. In the meantime they planned, strategized, and set their plan in motion, meticulously recruiting like-minded individuals, methodically putting together all the separate parts that would eventually create one wondrous whole. In their delusions they wrote manifestos, policy papers and philosophies. Blinded by greed, they saw only what they wanted to see; with tunnel vision eyes seeing a future written in ignorance, incompetence and delusion. The world would accept their vision of tomorrow, for what was to come would hypnotize the world entire to their ideology, hidden in fear, terror and insecurity.

Upon the stolen election, selection and ascension to the throne of a very useful puppet, a village idiot really, the architects of a catastrophic and catalyzing event set their machinations upon the halls of governance. They strategically placed and appointed themselves inside the most important offices of power, from the White House to the Department of State to the Pentagon, the easier to manipulate and control what was to come. Most importantly, they had the ear and mind of the emperor, an individual so weak-minded in character, so ignorant and incurious in intelligence, so insecure in psychology and corrupt in being that they would be able to implement their vision without hindrance, without accountability.

When that fateful day arrived, shocking and awing the people of the world, burying America under clouds of pulverized concrete, furniture, equipment, wires, asbestos and human remains, filling our streets with toxins and poison, entrancing millions through horrors never before seen, civilization as had existed before was altered. In the days that followed nobody could have envisioned what was to come, what the new Pearl Harbor was designed to accomplish. The architects had destroyed 3,000 lives, and the World Trade Center, to achieve the catastrophic and catalyzing event they so desperately needed.

In the aftermath of demolished buildings and decimated lives, millions of Americans had their psychology altered, rewired and remolded as a result of watching mass murder taking place on the television monitor. Repeated countless times, the horrors of 9/11 were shown in a constant stream of terror, pounded into the American psyche like a nail being driven to the ground by a hammer. The psychological war upon the populace had commenced; the incessant saturation into the airwaves of propaganda and manipulation had begun.

The American people, most still shocked and awed, most engendering inside them insecurities and fears never before felt, were hypnotized by the clouds of 9/11, unable to question the government and corporate version of events. In time of great fear and terror, in time when most needed comfort and protection, the government was the one entity we could count on, the one entity we could place blind faith in. To hundreds of millions of Americans, the government, epitomized by the Bush administration, became security, protection and vengeance, truth, integrity and trust. In it we placed our lives, our futures, and our complete faith. Psychologically traumatized, our minds torn to pieces by horrors unleashed inside our shores, truth became whatever government told us; reality became anything the corporatist media aired.

Yet inside government, inside the corporatist world, higher and higher levels of greed began to manifest themselves. The military-industrial energy complex (MIEC) smelled blood in the Middle East, with billions of dollars in profits awaiting those who profit in death and destruction, those who manufacture and market the machines and weapons of human wickedness. Hypnotized by the Almighty Dollar and by the pursuit of power and control the MIEC has destroyed Iraq, its infrastructure and its society so that it can later claim it rebuilt it, so that it can have an excuse for pillaging over a trillion dollars from the American taxpayer. For these conglomerates and their directors, war is their lifeline, their livelihood, their manna from heaven; living well from the killing of human beings. To the MIEC, human blood is the oil that greases its assembly lines and feeds its bank accounts. It is the reason war is fought.

Thanks to the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of billions of dollars have been pillaged from America’s treasury, in essence shifted away from the People and towards the pockets of the MIEC. Today, the MIEC’s power is astounding and absolute. It has become a war machine; its funding grows exponentially. It owns and controls the Pentagon and the military, the White House and the Presidency.

For the energy giants, those in bed with the White House, billions of dollars in profits awaited them, for global insecurity and conflict, especially in regions vital and strategic to American and British petroleum interests, are the golden chalice from which they drink from. To the corporatist world, war is the instrument by which the oasis of the Almighty Dollar flourishes. To them, war is a necessity, much like the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat. To the energy conglomerates, the aspirations of empire are the means by which to conquer, exploit and pillage enormous reserves of third-world oil. To them, empire is synonymous with the control of the world’s energy supplies, which is about as powerful as an entity can get. To these corporatists, black gold is green dollar. Through control of all aspects of Middle East oil, rivals and friendly governments alike must bow down in obedience and kiss the imperial ring.

Not to be outdone, greed became a pervasive symptom to the neocon vultures nesting in the highest echelons of governance, as well as the myriad number of neocon stenographers entrenched in America’s corporatist media. Most of them long-standing members of PNAC, most fervent and staunch defenders of Israel, with most holding dual citizenship, most rabidly pro-Zionist, possessing strong connections with the Israeli right wing Likud political party, most espousing the principles of AIPAC, the neocons wanted nothing better than to invade several Middle East nations, both for the imperial aspirations of America and, most importantly, for the short-term protection of their mother-country, Israel. After 9/11 both the neocons in government and those in the corporatist media galvanized their energy and power in pursuit of preemptive wars of aggression against several Middle East nations, including Iraq, Iran and Syria.

The greed of the architects of 9/11 became so endemic, so pervasive, the longer their blueprint to their Machiavellian plans was used, the more billions of dollars their thieving pockets collected, that mistakes became as common as their lies. Once they acquired billions, they wanted billions more, unable to control their vices and their addictions. Their greed angered and upset citizens, causing a thirst for knowledge about corruptions and crimes. Their arrogance became so self-defeating the more they were enamored by the new Pearl Harbor they had masterfully pulled off that they began overreaching, demanding policies unpopular and corrupted, manufacturing ceaseless lies in their media, thinking themselves masters of reality and destiny. The longer their reign lasted, basking in the aura of grandeur, the greedier their kind got, the more lies they told.

Such was their arrogance that they blatantly lied – almost without caring if they got caught – an entire nation into a war of choice. Thinking themselves masters of reality, they attempted to cajole hundreds of millions into an illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq by creating reality itself, as if the world would never realize the lies and manipulations. Using the scars of 9/11 against the people, they concocted lies and deceptions and manufactured propaganda to push the nation to war. This grand lie, a noble lie as they would label it, was the beginning of the end for the architects of 9/11, for in this purposeful deception, based on lies stacked upon more lies, millions of individuals became aware that if a government could lie a nation to war, it could lie to a nation about anything. When one lie was destroyed, another would take its place, until an avalanche of lies covered an entire mountain of reality. The lying became so endemic, so obvious, that millions began suspecting that lies were being told about more than the Iraq war.

The debacle in Iraq accelerated the awakening of millions more whose discontent at a war destined to be lost the moment it was begun continued to grow. The Iraqi resistance, comprised of average citizens, became in short-time an army of freedom fighters whose purpose was to rid their lands and cities of the occupying power. Slowly, yet surely, they have bled the great American military in a classic case study in guerilla warfare.

Because of the sheer ignorance and idiotic incompetence of the neocon armchair warriors who could plan new Pearl Harbors but not invasions and occupations of ancient lands, the Iraqi resistance brought about the debacle and quagmire that exists today. Without their efforts, the delusional neocon plan of attacking Iran, Syria and other nations has been trapped in the sand. Regrettably, without the loss of American blood in Iraqi soils and without the readily apparent defeat of America’s military industrial complex in Mesopotamia, the American people would never have turned against the war.

Without defeat and debacle, without having won the battles but lost the war, the American people would never have seen the litany of lies, the greed of the MIEC, the ideology of the neocons. Had victory been achieved in Iraq, parades and confetti would have been seen, celebrations would have been glamorized and propaganda would have successfully covered up the lies and the pillaging of our treasure. In defeat, Americans have been allowed to see the countless lies and the incomprehensible corruption and the incompetent cover-up of a lost war. We have been allowed to experience the criminality and the incompetence. Victory, in the words of John F. Kennedy, “has a thousand fathers and defeat is but an orphan.”

A Movement Rises

As the clouds of 9/11lifted from our collective minds, evaporating with each new lie concocted by government or by those in power, as the healing of psyches intertwined with the passage of time, and as distance separated us from memories of collapsing towers, more and more people throughout the world began to wake from their slumber, as if the war crimes and the torture and the rendition and the mass murder and the dehumanization of Iraqis possessed strong and odorous smelling salts. With the discovery of what the government was doing to our civil rights and freedoms and liberties, to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, more and more citizens began snapping out of the hypnotized state fear and terror had insulated them with. Soon millions of Americans were once again questioning their government, questioning authority.

What began as a small trickle of individuals who always suspected government complicity in the attacks of 9/11 soon began to mutate into ever larger groups of truth seekers, people who used the Internet to research what seemed almost impossible to believe. Millions of Americans that had escaped the echoing sirens and colors of alarm and fear and insecurity spawned by 9/11 began to take notice of a perpetual stream of government lies and propaganda and mass manipulations. The government they thought could not and would never lie to them suddenly became a pathological liar, manipulating wounded psychologies using fear and terror. Through the Internet the truths of reality became apparent, escaping the veil of fiction for too long prevalent in the corporatist media. It soon became apparent that the government of fantasy was not that of reality.

The events of 9/11, after the period of shock and awe faded away, and combined with the blatant crimes, corruption and abuse of power of all branches of government, became like a giant clap of thunder to millions of Americans, its resounding noise reverberating throughout body, mind and spirit, its stalwart force waking slumbering automatons up and rupturing a fissure from where truth could enter and fiction escape. History will one day recognize 9/11 as the catastrophic event that had the unintended consequence of snapping back to life a population that had for too long been sleepwalking through life, its collective brain catatonic, flat-lining to the whims of distraction, propaganda and corporate infotainment.

The new Pearl Harbor was such a horrific event, of such profound importance and mind-changing dimensions for the American people, and its lies and deceptions so obvious and apparent, that its criminality has completely transformed the views and beliefs of millions of Americans. For too long insulated by friendly shores, for too long captured in a bubble of fiction and fantasy by corporatist media, for too long innocent and naïve and unaware of what was done to the world in our name, Americans have now been attacked with an event that has shaken the foundations of belief and thought. To millions of Americans, the brainwash education of youth, where black is white and grey does not exist and where good always triumphs over bad and where America is always good has been eroded.

The shroud blinding us to America’s imperial crimes throughout the world, and throughout her short history, is coming undone the more Americans discover what has been hidden from us. Together with the advent of the Internet, 9/11 has catalyzed millions of individuals to research truth too long coded in mirages and façades. No longer dependent on corporatist media for information and reality, those seeking truth can see the what globalization really is, namely the exploitation by developed nations of labor and consumer from the third world along with the pillage of third world resources and wealth. This curiosity of the American mind has led millions to understand 9/11 in a new light, seeing that the American empire, already possessing much of the globe through its control of puppets and proctors, through its control of the World Bank, IMF and WTO, and in competition from growing rivals, needed the means by which to lay claim to and control of billions of gallons of Middle East oil. He who controls the oil controls the world, after all.

Possessing both an economy and a standard of living that is not sustainable in the long run, that is, in fact, based on perpetual and excessive consumption and production, demanding higher levels of production every year, the MIEC and corporatist elite understand that in order to maintain the McMansion and gas-guzzling SUV lifestyle, full of toys and gadgets, full of overabundance and materialism, gluttony and greed, the American empire must be maintained and even expanded. The people residing inside the empire must always retain the comfort and lifestyle they at present possess, lest they begin rise in anger at dwindling standards of living. The control and acquisition of oil, and thus the events of 9/11, thus take on new meaning. Imperial hegemony in the 21st century, in a civilization dependent on petroleum, has as its basis the control of the remaining fields of oil. Like it or not, a major reason 9/11 occurred is our unsustainable and uncompromising standards of living, our insatiable greed and materialism.

This reality the growing movement must realize, for to understand 9/11, and therefore to defeat it, we must know its architects. We must know and understand our way of life, our gluttonous consumption patterns and our love of materialist goods. If this movement wants to change the present course of America, we must change ourselves, our ways of life, our society and our conditioning as producers and consumers. We must stop being cogs in the system and start clogging the system, as always understanding that the system will not be easy to defeat because of its genius, namely, using our own vices against us, controlling us through our own behaviors and psychology. The system thrives because of our inability to control our instincts, our animal society, and our primitive urges. It feeds off our pleasures and our addictions, our likes and wants, demanding we feed it through our growing greed and selfishness. This the movement needs to remedy.

As the days and months turned into years, as fear and terror and insecurity dwindled in the collective mind of the American populace, and as 9/11 becomes easier to bear and deal with again, its toxic memories now stored and faded, millions of people are starting to investigate the events of the new Pearl Harbor on their own, using the great tools of the Internet to search for truth. For this movement, more than any other that has ever risen, has the devastating weapon of knowledge at our disposal. At no other time has the collective brain and intelligence of humanity been allowed to unite and join forces. At no time in history have millions of talented minds been allowed to see each other’s views, beliefs, research and investigations. The Internet has become the movement’s consciousness, the tool that has been and continues to wake millions of minds to the realities of present day America.

Without the Internet, the movement would have a very difficult time getting off the ground. Indeed, there would be no movement that continues to grow today without the Internet. It has been our great emancipator, our freedom fighter, our battle field, freeing us from the shackles of corporatist fiction and the dungeons of ignorance, allowing us to see light where only darkness once thrived. What the printing press did to humankind the Internet has surpassed tenfold, creating out of nothing entire communities with common thought and purpose. In their now extinct mindset, the architects of 9/11 never counted on the power of the people through the power of the Internet. All that would have been hidden in years past comes into existence on the Internet, allowing us to see, at our convenience, perfect controlled demolitions. We can read and study evidence, research and opinions. We can, at the click of the mouse, educate ourselves about an entire catastrophic and catalyzing day back in 2001.

Combining the Great Emancipator with the collective brainpower of humankind, guided by millions of eyes and hands, the movement will continue to grow in force, becoming the tremor being felt underneath Washington. What the anti-war movement could not achieve after the Vietnam War, with its millions of peace loving hippies promising to change the world, the Truth Movement will accomplish. We have no choice, for to fail is to regurgitate Vietnam, Iraq and more 9/11s into the mouths of our progeny.

It must be remembered that as valiant, powerful and as wonderful as the Vietnam War movement was, the system was invariably not altered or abolished. Rather, it grew stronger. The system outlived the movement, it outlived the peace and love and anti-war generation. In fact, it gobbled that generation up, eating up millions of individuals who had promised a better world, a more just society. Millions of so-called hippies became but cogs in the system, turning free thinking minds into the automatons of the corporatist world. Many sold out once cherished principles to the pursuit of wealth and power and material goods, becoming compliant and obedient members of the system they once despised. Today, many of these free love, communal rights followers are proud owners of McMansions, SUVs and a growing treasure chest of debt.

The power of the system and that of its masters cannot be underestimated, for it will erode beliefs and opinions and the constructs of the movement itself. Simply learn from the hippie generation. The system ran over them like road kill, as if the movement never existed. After Vietnam, it never skipped a beat, gaining power, enriching the system further, corrupting the nation once again, and setting up the blueprints for the continuing and perpetual war against the American people. Today, the corporate world has full power and control over the state and through the state, full control and power over the People. Many who lived and experienced the late 60’s and early 70’s never thought they would see another Vietnam, yet here we are, once again. They thought they would never see the monolithic corruption of those in power, yet here we are, once again. They thought the military industrial energy complex would finally meet the justice and accountability it deserves, yet here we are, once again, its power over us greater than ever, its ability to dictate war and profit mightily from it remains undisturbed.

The more things change, the more things stay the same and, as can be seen with the Vietnam example, there will always be a group, a cabal of criminality, that will run amok of human standards of decency, always eager to concoct wars and wage battles, either for ideology, for profit, for power, or for all three combined. Under the system, there will always be warmongers, and by consequence, war.

The Cold War was an excuse to control the populace through fear and insecurity, using the dreaded Communist as enemy extraordinaire. Through this ploy, the elite and the MIEC grew tremendously wealthy. The same Cold War tactics are being used again, though this time the enemy has no nation, no flag, no face. This time the dreaded enemy of America is ambiguous and even deadlier, a dark-skinned evildoer that terrorizes minds, lurks in closets and can attack at any moment. This enemy, of course, hates America for its freedoms, for its rights, for its way of life.

Nobody ever said the elite and the MIEC do not evolve better systems of control with the passage of time. Nobody ever said they were not intelligent at marketing fear and terror and insecurity, the better to do as they please with America, and the world.

The Ripple of Momentum

The system will always face challenges, like the Vietnam anti-war movement, just as it will always produce neocons and their kind. The neocons are nothing new, or different, simply a new generation of warmongers and delusional Machiavellians, eager to plunge the world in war and eager, as always to decimate democracy at home and hundreds of thousands of lives abroad. The system has not remained in power decade after decade for being nice and honorable; indeed, it is ruthless, murderous, tyrannical and wicked. It will fight tooth and nail to retain its preferred imbalance, for its lifeline is a system that grants much to the few and little to the many. It feeds off exploitation of human flesh, the destruction of the planet. It will destroy the movement if the movement touches off a raw nerve. The system has the power of the state, of the military, of the police force, of the intelligence infrastructure. It has the power of unlimited financing, the power over the ignorant, the army of good Americans.

To fight the system the movement must rely on the one thing it has a comparative advantage in, namely, truth and power of the people. It must rely on the anger over what was done on 9/11, the resentment of people fed up with the system itself. It must strike like a virus, attacking from within the corporatist world, using the power of individuals that work or reside within to destroy the system from inside, much like cancer does to the human body. It must spread knowledge and truth, it must demand change, it must protest in public, building empathy in and for the movement, not fear or animosity. It must control the channels of knowledge and information, through education of the masses first, dissemination of information, awareness, raising anger and animosity for what was done to 3,000 innocent men and women within our shores, what was done to 3,200 of our bravest in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what is being done to thousands of New Yorkers whose labored breath and sickened bodies are the reward and thanks from the system for being First Responders. The death of one million Iraqis and the displacement from their homes of two million more needs to see light of day as well, for this is what the system has imported into Iraq.

The movement is growing, and will continue to do so, for truth is universal. Indeed, the 9/11 Truth Movement is not an American monopoly, it is a human monopoly. Movements are sprouting like wildfires through all corners of the globe, just as they are in America. The system is a global emperor, affecting every inch of the planet. Perhaps for this reason we are joined in solidarity with those from other nations, for they know, better than we, what it is like to be at the bottom of the American stomping boot. It is they, because they can escape the filter of propaganda and lies we are subjected to by the corporatist media, that know reality better than us. It is they, more than us, that understand a system that destroys human beings, body, mind and soul, eroding the fabric of humanity by the laborious shedding of blood, sweat and tears. It is they, more than us, that understand that 9/11 and its architects has everything to do with imperial aspirations and control over the world’s population. They are our brothers and sisters in arms, and they should be welcomed with open palms.

This movement is a truth movement, yet it is a movement to change the system that has for too long dominated human society. This movement has uncovered the truth, yet it must also alter or abolish the system itself. For what good does knowing the truth do if the same system that created 9/11 is allowed to once again roam freely in power and control? If the system is not changed, if it does not evolve, we the People will see many more 9/11’s, many on a grander scale, many created for one purpose: control. This movement is a movement to build solidarity among the People, to build constructs of knowledge and create a system beneficial to all, not just the few elite.

This movement should send shockwaves of fear and insecurity into the nervous system in Washington, a bastion of corporatist thought, where only the concerns of the corporation get heard. It should inflict panic in the minds of our so-called leaders, both Democratic and Republican politicians, one only slightly less corrupt than the other, whose only purpose in life is lying and cheating and cajoling their way through life, caring not one ounce for their constituents, caring only for themselves and their ever-growing bank accounts. This movement can and should change the system hijacking America in Washington, of corruption and criminality and perpetual dishonesty. We should make clear that one should not be born in wealth in order to become a Washington politician. Our movement should strive to take back America and the world away from our corporate masters, that Leviathan of exploitation, returning it to humanity, finally placing people over profit.

As this movement grows and gains strength, as it gains wisdom and experience, as it combines its many groups into one collective whole, exposing the world entire to the crimes done the American people on 9/11, those in Washington who have ignored our call for democracy and restoration of the Constitution, those who refuse to listen to our calls asking to end the illegal war in Iraq, and those whose pockets are lined with the Almighty Dollars provided by the corporate world will tremble in fear of the approaching storm, shocked and awed by a mass tide of angry Americans demanding justice and truth. They will be unable to protect each other through fictional investigations and farcical hearings. They will not be allowed to whitewash reality and the truth. It will be our right, enumerated to the People, as written in the Constitution itself, to alter or abolish government if it has stopped functioning as a servant to the People. For contrary to belief, we are its Masters, not its Slaves.

What started as a ripple has turned into a massive tidal wave, heading not towards any shore or village, but straight to Washington. We are many, though still young, in a short time, millions more will join, for truth cannot be hidden for long. The events of 9/11 have indeed become a catalyzing event that is transforming America, though not the way its architects envisioned. It has made us aware, knowledgeable, and angry, it has created a deep tremor that everyday inches closer to the surface. Through demolished towers and ash filled clouds the many have woken up, awake from our slumber, slowly, but surely, destroying the brainwashing and propaganda and control we have been bombarded with all our lives. We are seeing the light, many for the first time, of madness and malevolence and great degrees of human wickedness. The Great American Catalyzing Event has arrived, not with a whimper or in silence, but with the growing momentum from which great movements are born.

It has taken several years, and it might take several more, yet The Great American Catalyzing Event has indeed sprung life back to the People. We have woken from dark days and darker nights. We are tired of the lies, of the gatekeepers, of the corporatist media, politicians and the elite. We have had enough of the system that controls us. We have had enough killing, murdering and war. We are through with warmongers, war profiteers and corrupt, immoral leaders. We seek justice, more equality and, above all, truth. The Great American Catalyzing Event has woken a sleeping giant, tens of millions strong, our communal brain using the talents and abilities and potential of people everywhere.

Though we do not have the power of the system, we are the sparkplugs in it, living inside it, working under it, understanding its prowess, its abilities, its weaknesses and its vulnerabilities. We are engineers, actors, directors, scientists, students, teachers, writers, technicians, doctors, lawyers, information technology experts, drivers, truckers, nurses, garbage collectors, activists, janitors, housewives, executives and gardeners. We are America. We are the World. We are the many, the masses, the salt of the earth, the cogs making the system run, yet also the cogs that can make it stall. We must use our collective talents and abilities to build a better Movement, using our skills to best curtail the power of the system.

The law of unintended consequences has introduced the 9/11 Truth Movement to the World, thanks to The Great American Catalyzing Event, that new Pearl Harbor the architects of mass murder spawned. We did not start this war upon the American People, upon the Iraqi People, upon Muslim People. But we are going to try our hardest to end it. The Movement grows, and with it so too does courage, and bravery and the uncompromising belief that the mass of humanity is worth more than the individual self. This Movement shall take us forward, into new enlightenments, into new rebirths, into an inherited world for our children free of the demons afflicting us today. Yesteryear’s mass movements grew in time and space, in patience and understanding, in having the support of the masses. They achieved their goals because from a single ripple a massive tidal wave rose, bringing truth to power and power to the People.

Let us become the giant wave that will inevitably come crashing down upon the shores of the system and the people that hold its levers. Let us change, alter or abolish the system, let us return and restore the nation to the People, let us finally, and emphatically, join hands in unison in pursuit of a better tomorrow, using strength in numbers to defeat strength through wealth. We did not choose this upon ourselves, yet we have chosen to carry the torch of those that have come before, brothers and sisters in struggle, guided by their strength and bravery and conviction, in time passing a flaming and energized torch to a new generation that will one day recognize the patriots of early 21st century America for the sacrifice and courage they exhibited and the enormous contribution they made to humankind.

Let the awakening continue.

Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet essayist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, and at as well as at other alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela is also author of Echoes in the Wind, a fiction novel. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at