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What Passes for Journalism and Opinion in America

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

By Steve Lendman

What Passes for Journalism and Opinion in America

On the 10th 9/11 anniversary, a September 9 Washington Post editorial highlights what readers hungry for news and information face. Titled, “Ten years after Sept. 11: The gains outweigh the mistakes,” it says:

“(C)onventional wisdom (suggests) “We will be hit again” to “Osama bin Laden won by provoking us into a decade of overreaction.”

Fact check

Bin Laden had nothing to do with a US state-sponsored attack. Criminal militarists, in fact, planned permanent war on humanity “overreaction.”

America “made big mistakes over the past decade…But the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon alerted Americans to genuine dangers that only a relative few had previously noticed.”

Fact check

Americans only are endangered by rogue government elements, not “crazed Arabs” wanting to harm them.

“The overreaction argument holds that al Qaeda goaded the nation to curtail civil liberties and construct a monstrous homeland security apparatus while bungling into adventures abroad that birthed new enemies….”

Fact check

Clinton’s 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act followed the 1995 false flag Oklahoma City bombing.

Air Force General Benton K Partin (a noted explosives and ordnance expert) revealed that high-grade military explosives, detonators, and proper internal placements heavily damaged the Murrah building and 300 others within a sixteen-block radius.

The 300 + page USA Patriot Act was written well in advance of 9/11 as were plans to establish a “monstrous homeland security apparatus” now in place.

Moreover, “adventures abroad” weren’t “bungl(ed) into.” They were planned months or years in advance, ready to be launched at a chosen moment.

“The United States went to war in Iraq on the basis of faulty intelligence.”

Fact check

US lies became pretexts for wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other nonbelligerent states. Lies launch all wars, not “faulty intelligence.”

With America at war, “(t)here’s a danger that the nation will, once again, withdraw too soon from the challenges. Al Qaeda (is) a well-organized, capable organization intent on causing America mortal harm.”

Fact check

America’s wars create problems. They never solve them.

In the 1980s, Al Qaeda was a US creation to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Ronald Reagan called them “freedom fighters.” Today they’re “terrorists.”

“Confronted with those realities, (Bush and Obama) accepted the same strategic truths: the United States must protect itself at home as much as it sensibly can while taking the fight to its enemies overseas….”

Fact check

America’s had no enemies since Japan surrendered in August 1945, except manufactured ones to justify permanent wars, because the business of America is war.

“Given the scope of the challenge, the country should give itself some credit for what it has achieved.”

Fact check

America’s “achieve(ments)” can be simply explained. They’re lawless, preemptive, permanent imperial wars on humanity, causing millions of deaths and injuries, as well as vast destruction.

On this 9/11 day or any other, it’s hardly a legacy to exude pride. It’s far worse than shame. It monstrously describes the rotting stench of out-of-control imperialism, ravaging planet earth to achieve hegemony.

“There was in fact no large-scale assault on personal freedoms – no equivalent to the Supreme Court-sanctioned roundup of Japanese Americans, no repeat of the Red Scare infringements on freedom of speech and association.”

Fact check

A monstrous police state apparatus followed 9/11, including repressive legislation, presidential directives and executive orders, a total surveillance society, and virtual war on democratic freedoms.

Muslims and so-called undocumented immigrants (mainly Latinos) are today’s Japanese!

Latinos are persecuted, detained, then deported for needing work to support their families back home because NAFTA destroyed their livelihoods.

Muslims have been targeted, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, and convicted on bogus charges.

Afterwards they’ve been incarcerated for extra harsh treatment as political prisoners in segregated Communication Management Units (CMUs), in violation of US Prison Bureau regulations and the Supreme Court’s February 2005 Johnson v. California decision.

That’s police state harshness, also unleashed ruthlessly against other designated domestic and foreign targets.

“The Patriot Act enabled a modest, mostly court-supervised expansion of law enforcement vigilance.”

Both Bush and Obama administrations insisted “that the US war (is) not against Islam.

And though it took too long, (political Washington) eventually made clear that torture is not acceptable.”

The editorial’s concluding comment praised those “who have fought and worked to keep the country safe.”

Fact check

The Patriot Act eroded four Bill of Rights Freedoms, including due process; free expression, association and assembly; legal representation; and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Moreover, state-sponsored Islamophobia rages, and torture is official US policy. It continues out of sight and mind in numerous prison hellholes, including in America.

That’s today’s state of the nation, but it didn’t happen by chance. It was well-planned long in advance and carefully implemented. As a result, in America’s post-911 world, no one anywhere is safe, including at home.

Fundamental international and constitutional laws are in tatters, replaced by out-of-control rampaging to advance America’s imperium.

As a result, the nation never has been less safe or free, and the worst is yet to come.

The Post editorial can be summarized in two words – disgraceful and scandalous.

But what else could be expected from a leading US broadsheet, infamous for publishing managed news, commentaries and opinions, especially about what’s most important.

A September 9 New York Times editorial matched the Post’s reinterpretation of hard truths neither paper will address. Headlined “A New Start for Libya,” it says:

It “would be unrealistic to expect a smooth transition in the early days of Libya’s post-Qaddafi era.” However, “(t)here are also signs of progress on military, diplomatic, economic and political fronts.”

Fact check

Dozens of previous articles explained reality on the ground in Libya, described as:

— a Nuremberg level crime;

— US/NATO state terror on a ferocious scale;

— NATO called a killing machine;

— initiated was months of planned bloodbath;

— the genocidal rape of Libya;

— NATO’s latest charnel house;

— besieging and terror bombing cities;

— carving up the Libya corpse for profit;

— Libya, Inc.: coming waste, fraud and other forms of plunder on a grand scale; and

— American and Western media cheerleading war and its fallout, inflicting daily crimes and atrocities on a massive still ongoing scale.

Libya pre-March 19 no longer exists. It’s been laid waste by US-led NATO terror bombing and paramilitary killers on the ground.

They were enlisted, armed, funded, and licensed to slaughter, maim, terrorize and loot. They’ve taken full advantage.

As a result, minimally over 100,000 Libyans were killed, multiples that number injured, and many more aggrieved family members affected.

Moreover, war keeps ravaging Libya, inflicting many more daily casualties.

With a population 50 times Libya’s, if America experienced a similar catastrophe, the toll would be five million dead, perhaps another 25 million injured, and multiple numbers of aggrieved family members.

It would be an unprecedented disaster.

Imagine if a foreign journalist or opinion writer called it “a new start.”

The Times said “there is reason to be encouraged,” despite migrant African workers being terrorized and slaughtered, while admitting “(m)uch hard work remains.”

Two late August Times op-eds were just as disgraceful. On August 29, Roger Cohen headlined, “Score One for Intervention.” He compared Libya’s “successful Western invention” with its 1990s Balkan wars and 1999 Serbia/Kosovo terror bombing.

From March 24 – June 10, NATO’s “success” included around 600 aircraft flying about 3,000 sorties. They dropped thousands of tons of ordnance plus hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles. To that time, the attack’s ferocity was unprecedented, given the destructiveness of modern weapons and technology.

Nearly everything was struck, causing massive destruction and disruption. Included were known or suspected military sites and targets; power plants; factories; transportation; telecommunications facilities; roads, bridges, rail lines, and other infrastructure; fuel depots; schools; a TV station; China’s Belgrade Embassy; hospitals; government offices; churches; historical landmarks; and more in cities and villages throughout the country.

An estimated $100 billion in damage was inflicted. The humanitarian disaster was horrific. Environmental contamination was extensive. Large numbers were killed, injured or displaced. Two million people lost their livelihoods. Many their homes and communities, and for most their futures from what America planned and implemented jointly with NATO.

They replicated it in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

“Score One for Intervention.”

For years, Cohen’s produced numerous pro-war trash pieces like other corporate media scoundrels, selling their souls for a buck.

On August 31, so did Nicholas Kristof in his op-ed titled, “Thank You, America!” claiming fake Tripoli celebrations portray Americans and NATO partners as “heros.”

He, in fact, was there and knows, but lied, calling it “a historic moment….a rare military intervention for humanitarian reasons….a model (for future) intervention(s).”

Ignoring reality on the ground, he claimed “no looting (and) little apparent retaliation,” despite Tripoli streets strewn with corpses and its residents cowering inside homes in fear.

Instead, he hailed “great progress in the last few days. Tripoli now feels reasonably safe….Pro-Americanism now is ubiquitous.”

His contempt for civil values and intellectual dishonesty didn’t even match the level of a B horror movie script.

A previous article said corporate media scoundrels like him prostitute themselves daily, making street whores, pimps, and dope peddlers look respectable by comparison.

They indeed reveal the shocking state of America’s journalism and opinion.

Another article imagined freedom from all managed news and commentaries. Avoid them and make it happen.

Final 9/11 Comments

On September 9, a Washington Blog.com posting headlined:

“High-Level Officials Eager to Spill the Beans About What REALLY Happened on 9/11….But No One in Washington or the Media Want to Hear”

“9/11 Commission Admits it Never Got the Facts….But No One Wants to Hear From the People Who Know What Happened”

9/11 Commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton said:

“I don’t believe for a minute we got everything right,” adding that the commission was set up to fail.

Commission member Bob Kerrey said:

“There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version,” adding commission members didn’t have access to important information.

Other commission members also expressed frustration because key facts were suppressed, misrepresented, and military officials lied.

Commission member Max Cleland resigned in disgust, calling the inquiry “a national scandal.”

Senior Commission counsel John Farmer said “At some level of the government, at some point in time….there was an agreement not to tell the truth about what happened,” adding:

“I was shocked at how different the truth was from the way it was described.” A “culture of concealment” describes the spin that became the official story.

All Commission members and various other present and past government officials knew that 9/11 mythology substituted for full disclosure.

To this day, nothing changed as Americans commemorate what’s best described as “The Big Lie of Our Time.”

As a result, the price they keep paying is incalculable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Fundamentalism Kills

People embrace and mourn at the massive flower field laid in memory of victims of Friday’s twin attacks in Norway.

By Chris Hedges

Fundamentalism Kills

The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.

The battle under way in America is not between religion and science. It is not between those who embrace the rational and those who believe in biblical myth. It is not between Western civilization and Islam. The blustering televangelists and the New Atheists, the television pundits and our vaunted Middle East specialists and experts, are all part of our vast, simplistic culture of mindless entertainment. They are in show business. They cannot afford complexity. Religion and science, facts and lies, truth and fiction, are the least of their concerns. They trade insults and clichés like cartoon characters. They don masks. One wears the mask of religion. One wears the mask of science. One wears the mask of journalism. One wears the mask of the terrorism expert. They jab back and forth in predictable sound bites. It is a sterile and useless debate between bizarre subsets of American culture. Some use the scientific theory of evolution to explain the behavior and rules for complex social and political systems, and others insist that the six-day creation story in Genesis is a factual account. The danger we face is not in the quarrel between religion advocates and evolution advocates, but in the widespread mental habit of fundamentalism itself.

We live in a fundamentalist culture. Our utopian visions of inevitable human progress, obsession with endless consumption, and fetish for power and unlimited growth are fed by illusions that are as dangerous as fantasies about the Second Coming. These beliefs are the newest expression of the infatuation with the apocalypse, one first articulated to Western culture by the early church. This apocalyptic vision was as central to the murderous beliefs of the French Jacobins, the Russian Bolsheviks and the German fascists as it was to the early Christians. The historian Arnold Toynbee argues that racism in Anglo-American culture was given a special virulence after the publication of the King James Bible. The concept of “the chosen people” was quickly adopted, he wrote, by British and American imperialists. It fed the disease of white supremacy. It gave them the moral sanction to dominate and destroy other races, from the Native Americans to those on the subcontinent.

Our secular and religious fundamentalists come out of this twisted yearning for the apocalypse and belief in the “chosen people.” They advocate, in the language of religion and scientific rationalism, the divine right of our domination, the clash of civilizations. They assure us that we are headed into the broad, uplifting world of universal democracy and a global free market once we sign on for the subjugation and extermination of those who oppose us. They insist—as the fascists and the communists did—that this call for a new world is based on reason, factual evidence and science or divine will. But schemes for universal human advancement, no matter what language is used to justify them, are always mythic. They are designed to satisfy a yearning for meaning and purpose. They give the proponents of these myths the status of soothsayers and prophets. And, when acted upon, they fill the Earth with mass graves, bombed cities, widespread misery and penal colonies. The extent of this fundamentalism is evident in the strident utterances of the Christian right as well as those of the so-called New Atheists.

“What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?” Sam Harris, in his book “The End of Faith,” asks in a passage that I suspect Breivik would have enjoyed. “If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.”

“We are at war with Islam,” Harris goes on. “It may not serve our immediate foreign policy objectives for our political leaders to openly acknowledge this fact, but it is unambiguously so. It is not merely that we are at war with an otherwise peaceful religion that has been ‘hijacked’ by extremists. We are at war with precisely the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran, and further elaborated in the literature of the hadith, which recounts the sayings and teachings of the Prophet.”

Harris assures us that “the Koran mandates such hatred,” that “the problem is with Islam itself.” He writes that “Islam, more than any other religion human beings have devised, has all the makings of a thoroughgoing cult of death.”

A culture that exalts its own moral certitude and engages in uncritical self-worship at the expense of conscience commits moral and finally physical suicide. Our fundamentalists busy themselves with their pathetic little monuments to Jesus, to reason, to science, to Western civilization and to new imperial glory. They peddle a binary view of the world that divides reality between black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. We are taught in a fundamentalist culture to view other human beings, especially Muslims, not as ends but as means. We abrogate the right to exterminate all who do not conform.

Fundamentalists have no interest in history, culture or social or linguistic differences. They are a remarkably uncurious, self-satisfied group. Anything outside their own narrow bourgeois life, petty concerns and physical comforts bores them. They are provincials. They do not investigate or seek to understand the endemic flaws in human nature. The only thing that matters is the coming salvation of humanity, or at least that segment of humanity they deem worthy of salvation. They peddle a route to assured collective deliverance. And they sanction violence and the physical extermination of other human beings to get there.

All fundamentalists worship the same gods—themselves. They worship the future prospect of their own empowerment. They view this empowerment as a necessity for the advancement and protection of civilization or the Christian state. They sanctify the nation. They hold up the ability the industrial state has handed to them as a group and as individuals to shape the world according to their vision as evidence of their own superiority. Fundamentalists express the frustrations of a myopic and morally stunted middle class. They cling, under their religious or scientific veneer, to the worst values of the petite bourgeois. They are suburban mutations, products of an American landscape that has been perverted by a destruction of community and a long and successful war against complex thought. The self-absorbed worldview of these fundamentalists brings smiles of indulgence from the corporatists who profit, at our expense, from the obliteration of moral and intellectual inquiry.

Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce’s “Ulysses” acidly condemned all schemes to purify the world and serve human progress through violence. He said that “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” Dedalus in the same passage responded to the schoolmaster Deasy’s claim that “the ways of the Creator are not our ways,” and that “all history moves towards one great goal, the manifestation of God.” A soccer goal is jubilantly scored by boys in the yard outside the school window as Deasy expounds on divine will. God, Dedalus tells Deasy as the players yell in glee over the goal, is no more than the screams from the schoolyard —“a shout in the street.” Joyce, like Samuel Beckett, excoriated the Western belief in historical teleology—the notion that history has a purpose or is moving toward a goal. The absurdity of this belief, they wrote, always feeds fanatics and undermines the possibility of human community. These writers warned us about all those—religious and secular—who call for salvation through history.

There are tens of millions of Americans who in their desperation and insecurity yearn for the assurance and empowerment offered by a clearly defined war against an external evil. They are taught in our fundamentalist culture that this evil is the root of their misery. They embrace a war against this evil as a solution to the drift in their lives, their economic deprivation and the moral and economic morass of the nation. They see in this conflict with these dark forces a way to overcome their own alienation. They find in it certitude, meaning and structure. They believe that once this evil is vanquished, an evil that extends from Muslims to undocumented workers, liberals, intellectuals, homosexuals and feminists, they can transform America into a land of plenty and virtue. But this fundamentalism, which cloaks itself in the jargon of scientific rationality, Christian piety and nativism, is a recipe for fanaticism. All those who embrace other ways of being and believing are viewed, as Breivik apparently viewed his victims, as contaminates that must be eliminated.

This fundamentalist ideology, because it is contradictory and filled with myth, is immune to critiques based on reason, fact and logic. This is part of its appeal. It obliterates doubt, nuance, intellectual and scientific rigor and moral conscience. All has been predicted or decided. Life is reduced to following a simple black-and-white road map. The contradictions in these belief systems—for example the championing of the “rights of the unborn” while calling for wider use of the death penalty or the damning of Muslim terrorists while promoting pre-emptive war, which delivers more death and misery in the Middle East than any jihadist organization—inoculate followers from rational discourse. Life becomes a crusade.

All fundamentalists, religious and secular, are ignoramuses. They follow the lines of least resistance. They already know what is true and what is untrue. They do not need to challenge their own beliefs or investigate the beliefs of others. They do not need to bother with the hard and laborious work of religious, linguistic, historical and cultural understanding. They do not need to engage in self-criticism or self-reflection. It spoils the game. It ruins the entertainment. They see all people, and especially themselves, as clearly and starkly defined. The world is divided into those who embrace or reject their belief systems. Those who support these belief systems are good and forces for human progress. Those who oppose these belief systems are stupid, at best, and usually evil. Fundamentalists have no interest in real debate, real dialogue, real intellectual thought. Fundamentalism, at its core, is about self-worship. It is about feeling holier, smarter and more powerful than everyone else. And this comes directly out of the sickness of our advertising age and its exaltation of the cult of the self. It is a product of our deep and unreflective cultural narcissism.

Our faith in the inevitability of human progress constitutes an inability to grasp the tragic nature of history. Human history is one of constant conflict between the will to power and the will to nurture and protect life. Our greatest achievements are always intertwined with our greatest failures. Our most exalted accomplishments are always coupled with our most egregious barbarities. Science and industry serve as instruments of progress as well as instruments of destruction. The Industrial Age has provided feats of engineering and technology, yet it has also destroyed community, spread the plague of urbanization, uprooted us all, turned human beings into cogs and made possible the total war and wholesale industrial killing that has marked the last century. These technologies, even as we see them as our salvation, are rapidly destroying the ecosystem on which we depend for life.

There is no linear movement in history. Morality and ethics are static. Human nature does not change. Barbarism is part of the human condition and we can all succumb to its basest dimensions. This is the tragedy of history. Human will is morally ambiguous. The freedom to act as often results in the construction of new prisons and systems of repression as it does the safeguarding of universal human rights. The competing forces of love and of power define us, what Sigmund Freud termed Eros and Thanatos. Societies have, throughout history, ignored calls for altruism and mutuality in times of social upheaval and turmoil. They have wasted their freedom in the self-destructive urges that currently envelope us. These urges are very human and very dangerous. They are fired by utopian visions of inevitable human progress. When this progress stalls or is reversed, when the dreams of advancement and financial stability are thwarted, when a people confronts its own inevitable downward spiral, dark forces of vengeance and retribution are unleashed. Fundamentalists serve an evil that is unseen and unexamined. And the longer this evil is ignored the more dangerous and deadly it becomes. Those who seek through violence the Garden of Eden usher in the apocalypse.

Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Copyright © 2011 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

 

The Corporate State Wins Again

By Chris Hedges

The Corporate State Wins Again

When did our democracy die? When did it irrevocably transform itself into a lifeless farce and absurd political theater? When did the press, labor, universities and the Democratic Party—which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible—wither and atrophy? When did reform through electoral politics become a form of magical thinking? When did the dead hand of the corporate state become unassailable?

The body politic was mortally wounded during the long, slow strangulation of ideas and priorities during the Red Scare and the Cold War. Its bastard child, the war on terror, inherited the iconography and language of permanent war and fear. The battle against internal and external enemies became the excuse to funnel trillions in taxpayer funds and government resources to the war industry, curtail civil liberties and abandon social welfare. Skeptics, critics and dissenters were ridiculed and ignored. The FBI, Homeland Security and the CIA enforced ideological conformity. Debate over the expansion of empire became taboo. Secrecy, the anointing of specialized elites to run our affairs and the steady intrusion of the state into the private lives of citizens conditioned us to totalitarian practices. Sheldon Wolin points out in “Democracy Incorporated” that this configuration of corporate power, which he calls “inverted totalitarianism,” is not like “Mein Kampf” or “The Communist Manifesto,” the result of a premeditated plot. It grew, Wolin writes, from “a set of effects produced by actions or practices undertaken in ignorance of their lasting consequences.”

Corporate capitalism—because it was trumpeted throughout the Cold War as a bulwark against communism—expanded with fewer and fewer government regulations and legal impediments. Capitalism was seen as an unalloyed good. It was not required to be socially responsible. Any impediment to its growth, whether in the form of trust-busting, union activity or regulation, was condemned as a step toward socialism and capitulation. Every corporation is a despotic fiefdom, a mini-dictatorship. And by the end Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs had grafted their totalitarian structures onto the state.

The Cold War also bequeathed to us the species of the neoliberal. The neoliberal enthusiastically embraces “national security” as the highest good.  The neoliberal—composed of the gullible and cynical careerists—parrots back the mantra of endless war and corporate capitalism as an inevitable form of human progress. Globalization, the neoliberal assures us, is the route to a worldwide utopia. Empire and war are vehicles for lofty human values. Greg Mortenson, the disgraced author of “Three Cups of Tea,” tapped into this formula. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq or Afghanistan are ignored or dismissed as the cost of progress. We are bringing democracy to Iraq, liberating and educating the women of Afghanistan, defying the evil clerics in Iran, ridding the world of terrorists and protecting Israel. Those who oppose us do not have legitimate grievances. They need to be educated. It is a fantasy. But to name our own evil is to be banished.

We continue to talk about personalities—Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama—although the heads of state or elected officials in Congress have become largely irrelevant. Lobbyists write the bills. Lobbyists get them passed. Lobbyists make sure you get the money to be elected. And lobbyists employ you when you get out of office. Those who hold actual power are the tiny elite who manage the corporations. Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, in their book “Winner-Take-All Politics,” point out that the share of national income of the top 0.1 percent of Americans since 1974 has grown from 2.7 to 12.3 percent. One in six American workers may be without a job. Some 40 million Americans may live in poverty, with tens of millions more living in a category called “near poverty.” Six million people may be forced from their homes because of foreclosures and bank repossessions. But while the masses suffer, Goldman Sachs, one of the financial firms most responsible for the evaporation of $17 trillion in wages, savings and wealth of small investors and shareholders, is giddily handing out $17.5 billion in compensation to its managers, including $12.6 million to its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.

The massive redistribution of wealth, as Hacker and Pierson write, happened because lawmakers and public officials were, in essence, hired to permit it to happen. It was not a conspiracy. The process was transparent. It did not require the formation of a new political party or movement. It was the result of inertia by our political and intellectual class, which in the face of expanding corporate power found it personally profitable to facilitate it or look the other way. The armies of lobbyists, who write the legislation, bankroll political campaigns and disseminate propaganda, have been able to short-circuit the electorate. Hacker and Pierson pinpoint the administration of Jimmy Carter as the start of our descent, but I think it began long before with Woodrow Wilson, the ideology of permanent war and the capacity by public relations to manufacture consent. Empires die over such long stretches of time that the exact moment when terminal decline becomes irreversible is probably impossible to document. That we are at the end, however, is beyond dispute.

The rhetoric of the Democratic Party and the neoliberals sustains the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists offer minor palliatives and a feel-your-pain language to mask the cruelty and goals of the corporate state. The reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism will be cemented into place whether it is delivered by Democrats, who are pushing us there at 60 miles an hour, or Republicans, who are barreling toward it at 100 miles an hour. Wolin writes, “By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes” that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party “pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system.” The Democrats are always able to offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate collectivism.

The systems of information, owned or dominated by corporations, keep the public entranced with celebrity meltdowns, gossip, trivia and entertainment. There are no national news or intellectual forums for genuine political discussion and debate. The talking heads on Fox or MSNBC or CNN spin and riff on the same inane statements by Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. They give us lavish updates on the foibles of a Mel Gibson or Charlie Sheen. And they provide venues for the powerful to speak directly to the masses. It is burlesque.

It is not that the public does not want a good health care system, programs that provide employment, quality public education or an end to Wall Street’s looting of the U.S. Treasury. Most polls suggest Americans do. But it has become impossible for most citizens to find out what is happening in the centers of power. Television news celebrities dutifully present two opposing sides to every issue, although each side is usually lying. The viewer can believe whatever he or she wants to believe. Nothing is actually elucidated or explained. The sound bites by Republicans or Democrats are accepted at face value. And once the television lights are turned off, the politicians go back to the business of serving business.

We live in a fragmented society. We are ignorant of what is being done to us. We are diverted by the absurd and political theater. We are afraid of terrorism, of losing our job and of carrying out acts of dissent. We are politically demobilized and paralyzed. We do not question the state religion of patriotic virtue, the war on terror or the military and security state. We are herded like sheep through airports by Homeland Security and, once we get through the metal detectors and body scanners, spontaneously applaud our men and women in uniform. As we become more insecure and afraid, we become more anxious. We are driven by fiercer and fiercer competition. We yearn for stability and protection. This is the genius of all systems of totalitarianism. The citizen’s highest hope finally becomes to be secure and left alone.

Human history, rather than a chronicle of freedom and democracy, is characterized by ruthless domination. Our elites have done what all elites do. They have found sophisticated mechanisms to thwart popular aspirations, disenfranchise the working and increasingly the middle class, keep us passive and make us serve their interests. The brief democratic opening in our society in the early 20th century, made possible by radical movements, unions and a vigorous press, has again been shut tight. We were mesmerized by political charades, cheap consumerism and virtual hallucinations as we were ruthlessly stripped of power.

The game is over. We lost. The corporate state will continue its inexorable advance until two-thirds of the nation is locked into a desperate, permanent underclass. Most Americans will struggle to make a living while the Blankfeins and our political elites wallow in the decadence and greed of the Forbidden City and Versailles. These elites do not have a vision. They know only one word—more.  They will continue to exploit the nation, the global economy and the ecosystem. And they will use their money to hide in gated compounds when it all implodes. Do not expect them to take care of us when it starts to unravel. We will have to take care of ourselves. We will have to create small, monastic communities where we can sustain and feed ourselves. It will be up to us to keep alive the intellectual, moral and culture values the corporate state has attempted to snuff out. It is either that or become drones and serfs in a global, corporate dystopia. It is not much of a choice. But at least we still have one.

American Interventionism: Protecting the Profit Machine

March 24, 2011: By Richard William Posner

American Interventionism: Protecting the Profit Machine

Why America is really so concerned about the push for democracy in the Middle East.

A Brief Refresher Course

America is the spawn of empire building and from the start has itself engaged heavily in that activity. In nearly all cases it has shown a preference for bribery, coercion, intimidation and force over diplomacy and cooperation.

As a nation founded on invasion, occupation and genocide, America has maintained its empire by those means to this day.

Although Spain began the slaughter with the voyages of Columbus, the British colonies that became the United States continued it with a vengeance.

On October 26, 1606, King James I of England granted a royal charter to establish The London Company, a for-profit, joint stock venture that was also known as the Charter of the Virginia Company of London. The company’s purpose was the colonization, for profit, of North America.

From the Start; Murdering the Real Americans

In 1607 the British arrived in Jamestown and, shortly thereafter, began the calculated extermination of the indigenous population. By 1890 an estimated 90,000,000 people, in North, Central and South America had been systematically slaughtered in the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.

The overt genocide in North America was curtailed after the infamous massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890.

I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream. And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth, — you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead. —

Black Elk, Oglala Holy Man on the aftermath of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, December, 1890. The United States Army Seventh Cavalry used Gatling guns to slaughter 300 helpless Lakota children, men and women.

Although efforts at limited, selective genocide have continued, they have become much more clandestine.

Lee Brightman, United Native Americans President, estimates that of the Native population of 800,000 (in the US), as many as 42% of the women of childbearing age and 10% of the men…have been sterilized… The first official inquiry into the sterilization of Native women…by Dr. Connie Uri…reported that 25,000 Indian women had been permanently sterilized within Indian Health Services facilities alone through 1975…

No one actually knows how many native women were sterilized during the seventies. You may rest assured that the eugenics movement, although out of sight, is not extinct.

Motivation for Mass Murder

Throughout most of American history, the primary motivation for innumerable annexations, invasions, occupations, coups, assassinations and the installation of genocidal dictators has been to advance the agenda of capitalist globalization and to protect the privatized profit machine wherever footholds have been established.

Whatever the nature of the “business” that has entrenched itself in any sovereign nation, it can count upon the protection of its private security company; the U.S. government.

Chiquita Banana Republic?

Jacobo Arbenz became the democratically elected president of Guatemala in 1951, winning 65% of the vote. In 1952 Arbenz announced an Agrarian Reform Program which threatened to nationalize the United Fruit Company (Chiquita Banana). Faced with the reforms of a socialist democracy, the corporation sought American intervention. (emphasis added)

The democratically elected, progressive government of Guatemala was overthrown in 1954 by a CIA-organized and funded coup. The pretense for this assault on democracy was the alleged, ubiquitous threat of Soviet takeover when, in fact, Russia had no interest in the country. They did not even maintain diplomatic relations. (emphasis added)

This act of U.S. terrorism resulted in one of the most inhumane chapters of the 20th century. A forty year reign of terror ensued, eight years of which was supported by the Reagan administration. This was a period of torture, military-government death squads, mass executions, disappearances and inconceivable cruelty resulting in the extermination of at least 200,000 civilians.

In 1982 Reagan went to visit General Efrain Rios Montt, possibly the worst of the military dictators, who had slaughtered the Guatemalan Indians and peasants indiscriminately. Montts’ actions had won him global condemnation. After meeting with the butcher, Reagan stated that the general was getting “a bad deal”.

This is but a single example among many. To gain further knowledge, try What Uncle Sam Really Wants by Noam Chomsky and Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions since World War II by William Blum.

Also visit Serendipity for some rather stark and ghastly revelations.

Ronnie Strikes a Blow for “Democracy”

In Nicaragua the proxy army of Ronald Reagan, AKA the Contras, was formed from the vicious National Guard of Somoza, a mercilessly repressive, U.S.-friendly dictator.

From 1981-1989 the Contras waged all-out war, on behalf of Washington, against the Sandinistas. Their goal was to destroy progressive government social and economic programs, which were not favorable to the capitalist “free market” agenda.

The civilian death toll was well over 13,000.

John Stockwell, 13-year veteran of the CIA and former U.S. Marine Corps major, had this to say about the American method of “spreading democracy”.

They go into villages. They haul out families. With the children forced to watch, they castrate the father. They peel the skin off his face. They put a grenade in his mouth, and pull the pin. With the children forced to watch, they gang-rape the mother, and slash her breasts off. And sometimes, for variety, they make the parents watch while they do these things to the children.

These are the activities done by the Contras. The Contras are the people President Reagan called ‘freedom fighters.’ He said: ‘they are the moral equivalent of our founding fathers’.

Source

The Addicted Empire

Venezuela is the largest oil producer in South America.

In 2002, a U.S. backed coup in Venezuela became a U.S. back-fired coup. The democratically elected Hugo Chavez was temporarily ousted and replaced by the Bush-approved businessman Pedro Carmona. The outraged response from the people of Venezuela, including most of the military, was so overwhelming that the U.S. puppet was forced to give up his stolen prize after less than 48 hours. He fled Venezuela after he was placed under house arrest pending trial for his part in the failed coup, sought and was granted asylum by Colombia and later turned up in Miami. (emphasis added)

The American instigators/enablers of this recent “intervention” were appointees to the Bush administration whose careers were established orchestrating the dirty wars of Ronald Reagan.

The reason this coup was attempted and why Chavez has a target painted on his back by America can be summed up in a single word: oil. That’s probably the single most important commodity on Earth today, though water may soon overtake it, but that’s another discussion. America’s petroleum industry wants global control of oil production and the profits from it. They don’t want to share those profits with the People of Venezuela or anyone else, but that’s exactly what they’ve been forced to do by the Chavez government.

Since Venezuela is a democracy — in fact, and not in name only like the U.S. — there is a much stronger social component. That is to say, the government attempts to act in the best interests of the majority of the citizens rather than in service of powerful special interests.

The social democracy of Venezuela is hindering the capitalist profit machine in its impossible quest for infinite growth. That the filthy peasants of some back-water Third World country should have their lives improved at the expense oil company stockholders and billionaire CEOs is simply unacceptable.

The U.S. is attempting to do in Venezuela what it did when it came to the rescue of the United Fruit Company in Guatemala. Hugo Chavez is a marked man. I’m surprised he’s still alive. Then again, look how many assassination attempts Fidel Castro has survived.

Go East Young Empire!

The U.S. planned an invasion of Afghanistan well before the conveniently timed “attack” of September 11th. There are strong economic and strategic interests, centered on the control of oil reserves in Central Asia, which are the true motivation for the occupation of Afghanistan.

The U.S. is eying those reserves in the Caspian and Central Asia as an alternative to oil from the unstable Persian Gulf region. Afghanistan is the preferred gateway to and delivery route for the oil, for which American oil companies have acquired rights to as much as 75 percent. Big Oil wants a pipeline through Afghanistan to the Pakistani port of Karachi on the Arabian Sea.

It seems apparent however, that there is little enthusiasm for such a project from whatever powers may be in Afghanistan. In order for the pipeline to become a reality, an obedient puppet regime, enabling U.S. remote control of the country, is required.

The slaughter taking place in Afghanistan has little to do with “the war on terror”, which is nothing more than a pretext for escalating American aggression, and much to do with advancing the agenda of the capitalist profit machine. It’s simply a variation on a theme.

Don’t Mess With the Dollar!

Saddam Hussein made a fatal error when he became the first OPEC member to demand payment for oil in euros rather than dollars. A shift from petrodollar to petroeuro would have a catastrophic effect on the American economy.

Continued American control of Iraqi oil is the reason for the illegal invasion and occupation of that sovereign nation. Anyone who was paying the least attention knew long before the attack was launched; there were no weapons of mass destruction and no connection with Al Qaeda.

One of the first things done after the invasion was to put Iraq back on the petro-dollar. America was largely in control of the inputs and outputs of Iraqi throughout the 1990s. Payment for the oil was in petrodollars, and there was no invasion. No sooner was the switch made to petroeuros than incontrovertible evidence of imminent danger from Saddam’s awesome military might and close ties with Al Qaeda were discovered (invented) and used as a pretext for invasion and occupation.

Once again the capitalist enforcer, U.S. military might, was brought in to ensure that “business as usual” would not be interrupted. In the years following the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, big oil is making the highest profits of any industry in the history of the world.

War profiteering and weapons sales have also been very profitable.

The Peasants are Revolting!

At least that’s how the globalist elite feel.

Suddenly, as if some multi-lingual epiphany has simultaneously struck in several places, common people in the Middle East and elsewhere are getting uppity. They are demanding democracy and insisting that their human rights be recognized. They are taking inspiration from each other and, hopefully, a chain reaction has begun that will lead to a better world for all.

Even in America, lowly, insignificant, middle-class blue collar laborers are emerging from a long sleep of indoctrinated complacency and demanding their civil liberties be returned and their human rights honored. Could things get any worse for our masters?

I certainly hope so. Imagine if you will, several OPEC nations suddenly being transformed from capitalist-friendly monarchies and dictatorships into social democracies like those that are beginning to emerge in Central and South America.

Envision the peoples of Third World countries all over Earth coming to the understanding that the internal strife in their societies, which is often fomented and exaggerated by outside forces, is allowing those same forces to steal their resources and heritage, destroy their culture and environment and deprive them of their dignity, integrity and humanity.

It’s one thing for America and its “allies” to bring in the enforcers and abort one or two isolated, nascent, “socialist” experiments. It would be quite another to deal with a global flare-up of societies, especially those in oil producing nations, suddenly awakened and enraged by the injustices they have endured for centuries at the hands of a cadre of parasitic, psychopathic, self-proclaimed rulers.

“It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!” — R.E.M.

Could it be possible that we are about to witness, even participate in, a global, societal sea change? Is there a chance that homo sapiens are beginning to access their species consciousness, awakening their potential to embrace the reality of a single human family?

Perhaps the would-be rulers of the world have finally pushed too far, hard and wide in their quest for supremacy over all. Their actions, made so highly visible today by the nearly instantaneous global spread of information, may become the catalyst that will initiate the disintegration of their dystopian dream. Their lust for power and control and the ruthless pursuit of them may be about to backfire.

The technological “shrinking” of our world, the sudden ability of practically everyone to know what is happening, almost everywhere, nearly in real time, is making us all more aware of each other and our shared humanity than ever before in history. That awareness also brings the recognition of the injustice, oppression and exploitation we are all being subjected to.

If sufficient numbers of people realize they ultimately share the same goal; if they instinctively work toward that single, identical purpose, however independently, nothing will stop them from achieving it.

If it’s true that the darkest hour is just before dawn, then the sun is just about to rise.

Richard Posner is a writer, computer graphics and image editor, and is skilled at electronic music applications.  The full range of his political and ideological views, and the background for those, can be found on his own site.  Richard can be contacted directly at coldwarbaby@gmail.com

Wall Street versus the Poor and the Middle Class: Obama’s FY 2012 Budget Is A Tool Of Class War

February 18, 2011 2 comments

By Paul Craig Roberts

Wall Street versus the Poor and the Middle Class: Obama’s FY 2012 Budget Is A Tool Of Class War

Obama’s new budget is a continuation of Wall Street’s class war against the poor and middle class.

Wall Street wasn’t through with us when the banksters sold their fraudulent derivatives into our pension funds, wrecked Americans’ job prospects and retirement plans, secured a $700 billion bailout at taxpayers’ expense while foreclosing on the homes of millions of Americans, and loaded up the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet with several trillion dollars of junk financial paper in exchange for newly created money to shore up the banks’ balance sheets.

The effect of the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” on inflation, interest rates, and the dollar’s foreign exchange value are yet to hit.  When they do, Americans will get a lesson in poverty.

Now the ruling oligarchies have struck again, this time through the federal budget. The U.S. government has a huge military/security budget.  It is as large as the budgets of the rest of the world combined. The Pentagon, CIA, and Homeland Security budgets account for the $1.1 trillion federal deficit that the Obama administration forecasts for fiscal year 2012. This massive deficit spending serves only one purpose–the enrichment of the private companies that serve the military/security complex. These companies, along with those on Wall Street, are who elect the U.S. government.

The U.S. has no enemies except those that the U.S. creates by bombing and invading other countries and by overthrowing foreign leaders and installing American puppets in their place.

China does not conduct naval exercises off the California coast, but the U.S. conducts war games in the China Sea off China’s coast. Russia does not mass troops on Europe’s borders, but the U.S. places missiles on Russia’s borders. The U.S. is determined to create as many enemies as possible in order to continue its bleeding of the American population to feed the ravenous military/security complex.

The U.S. government actually spends $56 billion a year, that is, $56,000 million,  in order that American air travelers can be porno-scanned and sexually groped so that firms represented by former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff can make large profits selling the scanning equipment.

With a perpetual budget deficit driven by the military/security complex’s desire for profits, the real cause of America’s enormous budget deficit is off-limits for discussion.

The U.S. Secretary of War-Mongering, Robert Gates, declared: “We shrink from our global security responsibilities at our peril.” The military brass warns of cutting any of the billions of aid to Israel and Egypt, two functionaries for its Middle East “policy.”

But what are “our” global security responsibilities?  Where did they come from?  Why would America be at peril if America stopped bombing and invading other countries and interfering in their internal affairs?  The perils America faces are all self-created.

The answer to this question used to be that otherwise we would be murdered in our beds by “the worldwide communist conspiracy.”  Today the answer is that we will be murdered in our airplanes, train stations, and shopping centers by “Muslim terrorists” and by a newly created imaginary threat–”domestic extremists,” that is, war protesters and environmentalists.

The U.S. military/security complex is capable of creating any number of false flag events in order to make these threats seem real to a public whose intelligence is limited to TV, shopping mall experiences, and football games.

So Americans are stuck with enormous budget deficits that the Federal Reserve must finance by printing new money, money that sooner or later will destroy the purchasing power of the dollar and its role as world reserve currency.  When the dollar goes, American power goes.

For the ruling oligarchies, the question is: how to save their power.

Their answer is: make the people pay.

And that is what their latest puppet, President Obama, is doing.

With the U.S. in the worst recession since the Great Depression, a great recession that John Williams and Gerald Celente, along with myself, have said is deepening, the “Obama budget” takes aim at support programs for the poor and out-of-work.  The American elites are transforming themselves into idiots as they seek to replicate in America the conditions that have led to the overthrows of similarly corrupt elites in Tunisia and Egypt and mounting challenges to U.S. puppet governments elsewhere.

All we need is a few million more Americans with nothing to lose in order to bring the disturbances in the Middle East home to America.

With the U.S. military bogged down in wars abroad, an American revolution would have the best chance of success.

American politicians have to fund Israel as the money returns in campaign contributions.

The U.S. government must fund the Egyptian military if there is to be any hope of turning the next Egyptian government into another American puppet that will serve Israel by continuing the blockade of the Palestinians herded into the Gaza ghetto.

These goals are far more important to the American elite than Pell Grants that enable poor Americans to obtain an education, or clean water, or community block grants, or the low income energy assistance program (cut by the amount that U.S. taxpayers are forced to give to Israel).

There are also $7,700 million of cuts in Medicaid and other health programs over the next five years.

Given the magnitude of the U.S. budget deficit, these sums are a pittance. The cuts will have no effect on U.S. Treasury financing needs.  They will put no breaks on the Federal Reserve’s need to print money in order to keep the U.S. government in operation.

These cuts serve one purpose: to further the Republican Party’s myth that America is in economic trouble because of the poor:  The poor are shiftless. They won’t work. The only reason unemployment is high is that the poor had rather be on welfare.

A new addition to the welfare myth is that recent middle class college graduates won’t take the jobs offered them, because their parents have too much money, and the kids like living at home without having to do anything. A spoiled generation, they come out of university refusing any job that doesn’t start out as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  The reason that engineering graduates do not get job interviews is that they do not want them.

What all this leads to is an assault on “entitlements”, which means Social Security and Medicare. The elites have programmed, through their control of the media, a large part of the population, especially those who think of themselves as conservatives, to conflate  “entitlements” with welfare.  America is going to hell not because of foreign wars that serve no American purpose, but because people, who have paid 15% of their payroll all their lives for old age pensions and medical care, want “handouts” in their retirement years. Why do these selfish people think that working Americans should be forced through payroll taxes to pay for the pensions and medical care of the retirees?  Why didn’t the retirees consume less and prepare for their own retirement?

The elite’s line, and that of their hired spokespersons in “think tanks” and universities, is that America is in trouble because of its retirees.

Too many Americans have been brainwashed to believe that America is in trouble because of its poor and its retirees.  America is not in trouble because it coerces a dwindling number of taxpayers to support the military/security complex’s enormous profits, American puppet governments abroad, and Israel.

The American elite’s solution for America’s problems is not merely to foreclose on the homes of Americans whose jobs were sent offshore, but to add to the numbers of distressed Americans with nothing to lose the sick and the dispossessed retirees, and the university graduates who cannot find jobs that have been sent to Chine and India.

Of all the countries in the world, none need a revolution as bad as the United States, a country ruled by a handful of selfish oligarchs who have more income and wealth than can be spent in a lifetime.

Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Paul Craig Roberts

Are We Witnessing the Start of a Global Revolution?

© GlobalResearch.ca

By Gavin Marshall

Are We Witnessing the Start of a Global Revolution

In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr., said in his famous speech “Beyond Vietnam”:

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

An uprising in Tunisia led to the overthrow of the country’s 23-year long dictatorship of President Ben Ali. A new ‘transitional’ government was formed, but the protests continued demanding a totally new government without the relics of the previous tyranny. Protests in Algeria have continued for weeks, as rage mounts against rising food prices, corruption and state oppression. Protests in Jordan forced the King to call on the military to surround cities with tanks and set up checkpoints. Tens of thousands of protesters marched on Cairo demanding an end to the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of activists, opposition leaders and students rallied in the capitol of Yemen against the corrupt dictatorship of President Saleh, in power since 1978. Saleh has been, with U.S. military assistance, attempting to crush a rebel movement in the north and a massive secessionist movement growing in the south, called the “Southern Movement.” Protests in Bolivia against rising food prices forced the populist government of Evo Morales to backtrack on plans to cut subsidies. Chile erupted in protests as demonstrators railed against rising fuel prices. Anti-government demonstrations broke out in Albania, resulting in the deaths of several protesters.

It seems as if the world is entering the beginnings of a new revolutionary era: the era of the ‘Global Political Awakening.’ While this ‘awakening’ is materializing in different regions, different nations and under different circumstances, it is being largely influenced by global conditions. The global domination by the major Western powers, principally the United States, over the past 65 years, and more broadly, centuries, is reaching a turning point. The people of the world are restless, resentful, and enraged. Change, it seems, is in the air. As the above quotes from Brzezinski indicate, this development on the world scene is the most radical and potentially dangerous threat to global power structures and empire. It is not a threat simply to the nations in which the protests arise or seek change, but perhaps to a greater degree, it is a threat to the imperial Western powers, international institutions, multinational corporations and banks that prop up, arm, support and profit from these oppressive regimes around the world. Thus, America and the West are faced with a monumental strategic challenge: what can be done to stem the Global Political Awakening? Zbigniew Brzezinski is one of the chief architects of American foreign policy, and arguably one of the intellectual pioneers of the system of globalization. Thus, his warnings about the ‘Global Political Awakening’ are directly in reference to its nature as a threat to the prevailing global hierarchy. As such, we must view the ‘Awakening’ as the greatest hope for humanity. Certainly, there will be mainy failures, problems, and regressions; but the ‘Awakening’ has begun, it is underway, and it cannot be so easily co-opted or controlled as many might assume.

[Read essay]

Towards Martial Law in America

October 27, 2010 2 comments

By James Corbett

Towards Martial Law in America: Authority to Deploy Troops Domestically during ‘National Emergencies’

Whistleblower: Coast Guard Implementing Martial Law

Earlier this month, the United States Coast Guard upheld its self-declared status as a ‘special’ branch of the military with the ability to prosecute civilians in military tribunals. This startling declaration, unreported in the media, came in a Decision on Appeal related to the case of Lieutenant Eric Shine, a commissioned Naval officer in the Merchant Marines and a graduate of Kings Point Military Service Academy, and was penned by the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. The decision can be downloaded and read here.

The Coast Guard began proceedings to strip Lieutenant Shine of his merchant mariner license in March, 2003, supposedly as the result of incidents related to his service on two private vessels in 2001. In actuality, as Lieutenant Shine points out, the charges were brought in retaliation for attempting to blow the whistle on illegal dumping and other practices he had been asked to engage in during his employment. The Coast Guard’s case against him rested on two hostile witnesses (who had previously been named by Shine in his whistleblower litigation) and the Chief of the Coast Guard Medical Evaluations Office, an officer in the Coast Guard who had never examined Shine but was willing to testify to his medical incompetence.

Download an interview with Eric Shine about his case, the Coast Guard and the open implementation of martial law here

The precedent-setting nature of Lieutenant Shine’s case—with the Coast Guard prosecuting him as an alleged civilian in an Article 32 military tribunal—is disturbing enough. But when this case is set in the history and context of the Coast Guard and its repeated attempts at “crossing the Rubicon,” an even more disturbing picture emerges.

In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar led the Roman Legion across the Rubicon and into Rome itself, defying the Roman Senate and soon thereafter declaring himself Emperor for life. This was the beginning of the changeover from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire and the phrase “Crossing the Rubicon” is now used to refer to a move by government toward military dictatorship and the suspension of civil liberties.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, the United States Coast Guard has been attempting to ‘cross the Rubicon’ for decades, and actually achieved that goal in a silent coup in 2003 when it was moved from the Department of Transportation into the newly-created Department of Homeland Security. This change was not merely bureaucratic; it allows the Coast Guard to now openly declare itself “one of the five armed forces of the United States and the only military organization within the Department of Homeland Security.” The problem is that the Coast Guard is now attempting to straddle the line between a civil service agency (as it was set up to be and indeed has always been, except during times when it was specifically placed in the service of the Navy) and a branch of the military, conforming to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

For those who understand how the United States military has been set up, and the laws and prohibitions against military personnel engaging in the policing of civilians, the fact that the Coast Guard wants to act as a maritime police agency at the same time as it declares itself a branch of the military is a clear indication that the United States is now officially under martial law.

In 1878, Congress passed a law known as Posse Comitatus that prohibited the use of military personnel or assets in domestic law enforcement. At the time, it was clear that the act was an attempt to prohibit the military from policing civilians on U.S. soil, as happened in the South under Reconstruction. What has been taking place in earnest since 9/11, however, is an attempt to erode the spirit and the substance of Posse Comitatus so that the Executive branch can effectively ‘cross the rubicon’ and use military personnel in domestic policing operations.

As the video below demonstrates, both Democratic and Republican demonstrations have been attempting to overcome Posse Comitatus for decades, and 9/11 was the blank cheque they needed to kick their agenda into high gear:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgMx2F41XD0

On October 23, 2001, unconvicted war criminals John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty wrote to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales giving the legal opinion that “The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States.”

On October 23, 2001, unconvicted war criminals John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty wrote to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales giving the legal opinion that “The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States.” The Bush Administration then tried to use that very opinion to justify sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to seize a group of men who were claimed to be working with Al Qaeda. The decision was evidently made not to pursue that course of action at that time, but the legal opinion stood and the Administration waited for the opportunity to formalize the legality of deploying troops on home soil.

That opportunity came in 2006, after years of scaremongering over the “War on Terror” (which former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge later admitted was done to influence voters at politically sensitive times). A section (1076) was slipped into the John Warner Defense Authorization Act that granted the president the authority to deploy troops domestically during “national emergencies.” In 2008, Congress attempted to take these powers away from the administration by passing legislation repealing the offending sections of the Act, but President Bush issued a signing statement when signing that legislation into law saying that his administration was not bound by it.

From that point on, the legal floodgates have been open and a stream of increasingly disturbing reports have confirmed that Posse Comitatus had been repealed and that the public is being conditioned to accept uniformed military personnel policing American civilians on the streets of America.

In September 2008, the Army Times reported that the 3rd Infantry Division’s Brigade Combat Team had been reassigned to NORTHCOM to patrol the “homeland” in crowd control and civil unrest situations.

In December of 2008, the Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Support Group dispatched uniformed troops to aid police checkpoints in California.

In September of 2009, the Army and Air Force provided assistance to the National Guard for security at the G20 in Pittsburgh.

Also in September of 2009, the Assistant Secretary of Defense in Obama’s Defense Department requested authorization to deploy 379,000 troops inside the U.S.

But this issue is not merely an American one. There is currently a coordinated agenda across the Western world to harmonize these types of rubicon-crossing moves toward outright martial law across borders.

In March 2009, the Canadian military—which began a formal merger with the American military in February 2008 that would see American troops deployed on the streets of Canada and Canadian troops in America during ‘national emergency’—announced that it, too was preparing special reserve units to provide for ‘domestic security’ during times of civil unrest. The troops are being trained in various crowd control and emergency measures, such as how to set up and maintain internment camps for Canadian citizens in the event of such things as enforced quarantines after a bioterror attack.

Also in March 2009 it was revealed that the British Army was being readied to deal with Brits should rioting break out in the UK.

What all of this case history reveals is that there is a coordinated agenda to knock down any remaining walls separating the general population of America, Canada and the UK from their own militaries. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the way the Coast Guard has quietly shifted from a federal policing agency into a self-declared branch of the military.

As Lieutenant Eric Shine rightfully asks in his own article on the subject, how does the Revenue Cutter Service, originally located in the Department of the Treasury, merge with the Lighthouse Service, the Ice-breaking Service and other civil service agencies to become a branch of military? How does a branch of the military end up in the Department of Homeland Security, whose mission is explicitly to police the “homeland” and its residents? How does this branch of the military get away with filing charges in a military tribunal against an alleged civilian who has never served in their uniform, and then proceed to prosecute, adjudicate and act as appellate of that tribunal?

And perhaps the most important question of all: When will the American public, and the peoples of the other Western powers, realize that the Rubicon has long since been crossed and that they are already living in a military dictatorship?

James Corbett is an independent journalist in Japan whose work can be found at corbettreport.com. Information on Lt. Shine’s case can be found at crossingtherubicon.org.

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