Saturday, January 1, 2011
By The Global Research Team
December 31, 2010
As 2010 draws to a close, we take a moment to reflect on the past year and contemplate what may be ahead in the months to come.
Undeniably, this has been a year of crisis, characterized by the plight of war, economic dislocation and environmental degradation.
In a very direct way, the global economic and social crisis affects the livelihood of millions of people, as our authors have indicated through their research and news coverage, and our readers have observed through their own experiences.
The global financial picture remains bleak for many who are struggling to support their families and worry about what the future holds. The current administration of the world's superpower has put forth copious promises for change, but as proof of change is not received, disillusionment is setting in.
War continues to be waged across the globe at unprecedented rates, amassing immeasurable monetary, psychological and human costs which affect all citizens of the world. In turn, a large share of the nations' resources (particularly in the United States) is channeled towards the production of advanced weapons systems to the detriment of education, health and housing.
Every day, Global Research brings you articles that report, break down and analyze the pressing issues of our times. And with negative headlines often outweighing the optimistic, this can be a discouraging process indeed. However, we believe in the power of information and analysis to bring about far-reaching change: the more people become aware of the subversive, insidious processes attempting to manipulate the many to benefit the few, the less they can turn a blind eye to the injustice that surrounds us.
Truth in media is a powerful instrument. As long as we all keep probing, asking questions, looking through the disinformation to find real understanding, then we are in a better position to resist the negative and regain our sense of optimism for a better world in which truth and accountability trump greed and corruption.
To that end, we thank all our readers for supporting us, whether you have read, blogged and forwarded our articles for years, or have just recently discovered us when the failures of mainstream media prompted you to seek a deeper understanding of the world around you. We welcome your participation and urge you to keep reading, as much and as often as time will allow.
As a resolution for 2011, we encourage all readers to arm themselves - not with weapons, but with information. Make research a priority and spread the word to others; ask questions and do not settle for unsatisfactory answers; find out what you can and make your decisions based on what's proven instead of what's convenient. And, when possible, support non-profit organizations like Global Research through donations and memberships so that we can all continue to fight together against the flood of disinformation that threatens from larger, well-funded media and organizations.
If we have one wish for this coming 2011, it would be for peace. Until then, we encourage your continued participation and support, and wish you and your loved ones all the best in the year ahead.
- With kind regards from the staff, writers and countless volunteers of The Centre for Research on Globalization
Montreal, December 31, 2010
by Paul Craig Roberts
December 28, 2010
”Dissent is what rescues democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors.”
- Lewis H. Lapham
The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the U.S. government of U.S. law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.
2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.
If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the U.S. government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its unaccountable power. As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press reported on December 16 that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can’t let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.” Gates stated bluntly what has been known for some time: the idea is passe that government in a democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in civics books, it will soon be edited out.
In Gag Rule, a masterful account of the suppression of dissent and the stifling of democracy, Lewis H. Lapham writes that candor is a necessary virtue if democracies are to survive their follies and crimes. But where in America today can candor be found? Certainly not in the councils of government. Attorney General John Ashcroft complained of candor-mongers to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Americans who insist on speaking their minds, Ashcroft declared, “scare people with phantoms of lost liberty,” “aid terrorists,” diminish our resolve,” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”
As the Department of Justice (sic) sees it, when the ACLU defends habeas corpus it is defending the ability of terrorists to blow up Americans, and when the ACLU defends the First Amendment it is defending exposures of the lies and deceptions that are the necessary scaffolding for the government’s pretense that it is doing God’s will while Satan speaks through the voices of dissent.
Neither is candor a trait in which the American media finds comfort. The neoconservative press functions as propaganda ministry for hegemonic American empire, and the “liberal” New York Times serves the same master. It was the New York Times that gave credence to the Bush regime’s lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and it was the New York Times that guaranteed Bush’s re-election by spiking the story that Bush was committing felonies by spying on Americans without obtaining warrants. Conservatives rant about the “liberal media” as if it were a vast subversive force, but they owe their beloved wars and cover-ups of the Bush regime’s crimes to the New York Times.
With truth the declared enemy of the fantasy world in which the government, media, and public reside, the nation has turned on whistleblowers. Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided the media with the video made by U.S. troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six months. Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral” and to make such orders known. If Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.
The lawlessness of the U.S. government, which has been creeping up on us for decades, broke into a full gallop in the years of the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes. Today the government operates above the law, yet maintains that it is a democracy bringing the same to Muslims by force of arms, only briefly being sidetracked by sponsoring a military coup against democracy in Honduras and attempting to overthrow the democratic government in Venezuela.
As 2011 dawns, public discourse in America has the country primed for a fascist dictatorship.The situation will be worse by 2012. The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths. The vicious mendacity of the U.S. government knows no restraint. (Editor's bold emphasis throughout) Whether or not international law can save Julian Assange from the clutches of the Americans or death by a government black ops unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to establish the National Security State as the highest value and truth as its greatest enemy.
America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.
Hope in 2011: Peoples, Civil Society Stand Tall
By Ramzy Baroud
December 30, 2010
When the Iraqi army fell before invading US and British troops in 2003, the latter’s mission seemed to be accomplished. But nearly eight years after the start of a war intended to shock and awe a whole population into submission, the Iraqi people continue to stand tall. They have confronted and rejected foreign occupations, held their own against sectarianism, and challenged random militancy and senseless acts of terrorism.
For most of us, the Iraqi people’s resolve cannot be witnessed, but rather deduced. Eight years of military strikes, raids, imprisonments, torture, humiliation and unimaginable suffering were still not enough to force the Iraqis into accepting injustice as a status quo.
In August 2010, the United States declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq, promising complete withdrawal by the end of 2011. However, US military action has continued, only under different designations. The occupation of Iraq carries on, despite the tactical shifts of commands and the rebranding effort.
However, were it not for the tenacity of the Iraqi people, who manage to cross-sectarian, political and ideological divides, there would be no talk of withdrawals or deadlines. There would be nothing but cheap oil, which could have ushered in a new golden age of imperialism - not in Iraq, but throughout the so-called Third World. The Iraqi people have managed to stop what could have become a dangerous trend.
2010 was another year where Iraqis held strong, and civil societies throughout the world stood with them in solidarity, a solidarity that will continue until full sovereignty is attained.
Palestine provides another example of international solidarity, one that is unsurpassed in modern times. Civil society has finally crossed the line between words and sentiments of solidarity into actual and direct action. The Israeli siege on Gaza, which was supported by the United States and few other Western powers, resembled more than a humanitarian crisis. It was a moral crisis as well, especially as the besieged population of Gaza was subjected to a most brutal war at the end of 2008, followed by successive lethal military strikes. The four year long siege has devastated a population whose main crime was exercising its democratic right to vote, and refusing to submit to the military and political diktats of Israel.
Gaza remains a shining example of human strength in our time. This is a fact the Israeli government refuses to accept. Israeli and other media reported that the Israeli army will be deploying new tanks to quell the resistance of the strip, with the justification that Palestinians fighters managed to penetrate the supposedly impenetrable Israeli Merkava tank. Israeli military chief Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, who made the revelation in a recent parliamentary session, may never comprehend that neither a Mekava (or whatever new model he will be shipping to Gaza soon) nor the best military hardware anywhere could penetrate the will of the unwavering Palestinians.
Gaza is not alone. Civil society leaders representing every religion, nationality and ideology have tirelessly led a campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The breadth and magnitude of this solidarity has been unmatched in recent times, at least since the anti-fascist International Brigades units resolutely defended the Second Spanish Republic between 1936-1939.
The solidarity has come at a cost. Many activists from Turkey and various other countries were killed in the high seas as they attempted to extend a hand of camaraderie to the people of Gaza and Palestine. Now, knowing the dangers that await them, many activists the world over are still hoping to set sail to Gaza in 2011.
Indeed, 2010 was a year that human will proved more effective than military hardware. It was the year human solidarity crossed over like never before into new realms, bringing with it much hope and many new possibilities.
But the celebration of hope doesn’t end in Palestine and Iraq. It merely begins there. Champions of human rights come from every color and creed. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, The Most Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu of South Africa, former US President Jimmy Carter and other luminaries and civil society heroes and heroines from across the world will continue their mission of peace and justice, as they have for many years.
These well-known names are only part of the story. There are literary millions of unsung heroes that make the hardship of the years more tolerable, and who will continue to guide us through new years and unknown challenges.
Haiti was one country that was hit hardest in 2010. The small nation was greeted on January 12, 2010 with a most catastrophic earthquake, followed by 52 aftershocks. Over half a million people were estimated killed and injured, and many more became homeless. The year ended on a similarly devastating note, as over 2,000 people died and 105,000 fell ill (according to estimates by the Pan American Health Organization) after a cholera outbreak ravished an already overwhelmed country.
It is rather strange how leading powers can be so immaculate and efficient in their preparations for war, and yet so scandalously slow in their responses to human need when there is no political or economic price to be exacted. But this discrepancy will hardly deter doctors and nurses at the St. Nicholas Hospital in Haiti, who, despite the dangerous lack of resources, managed to save 90 percent of their patients.
Our hearts go out to Haiti and its people during these hard times. But Haiti needs more than good wishes and solemn prayers. It also needs courageous stances by civil society to offset the half-hearted commitments made by some governments and publicity-seeking leaders.
It must be said that hope is not a random word aimed at summoning a fuzzy, temporary feeling of positive expectations for the future. To achieve its intended meaning, it must be predicated on real, foreseeable values. It must be followed by action. Civil society needs to continue to step up and fill the gaps created or left wide open by self-seeking world powers.
Words don’t end wars, confront greed or slow down the devastation caused by natural disasters. People do. Let 2011 be a year of action, hope, and the uninterrupted triumph of civil society.
2010: The Big Con Continues
By Ted Morgan
December 30, 2010
Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
Despite the end-of-the-year upturn with Congressional ratification of the START Treaty and repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the United States remains stuck in a quagmire that has paralyzed our politics for 30 years. While the Republican party holds our government hostage, Democrats typically collaborate in public policies that don't have a prayer of resolving the deeply serious problem we face.
Though Americans younger than about 40 have never experienced it, there was a time when government was seen as a vehicle the American people could use to resolve pressing societal problems. When government failed to address the needs of relatively powerless groups, it was possible for them to mobilize around their grievances and place them on the public's agenda.
No longer. Today, protest has become routinized and all-but-impotent. Or, like the Tea Party, it has been coopted by the agenda of wealthy conservatives.
The dominant political message beamed at younger Americans for the past 30 years is that government is the problem, the market is the solution, and the United States must rely on aggressive military intervention to defend "our" interests.
And so, when the Democrats pledge to end the tax cuts enjoyed by the wealthiest Americans, the Republicans cry "class warfare," and the Democrats cave. With former Senator Alan Simpson gleefully anticipating the budgetary "blood bath" this coming spring when Congress has to raise the ceiling on national debt, we'll see more of the same. Social Security looms as perhaps the likely next target.
If we are to escape this quagmire, it is important to understand how we got into this mess and why we have lost the sense that we as a people can solve our problems and determine our future.
The crucial turning point occurred with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Reagan's policies were anticipated in earlier pronouncements by then corporate attorney Lewis Powell and the Trilateral Commission who blamed America's economic woes of the 1970s on the "democratic excess" of the 1960s -most notably the entry of new populations -racial minorities, women, and the young- into an increasingly agitated political process. Both Powell in 1971 and the Trilateralists in 1975 called for a concerted effort to shift American public opinion to the Right, while turning politics over to the market.
Reagan's electoral success stemmed from his ability to appeal through folksy rhetoric to voting majorities while simultaneously producing the market friendly policies corporate America desired. Thus he appealed to time-honored "family values" that allegedly prevailed in a simpler, if mythical, United States before the era of "riots, assassinations, and domestic strife over the Vietnam war," as he characterized the 1960s.
By tapping into the very real grievances of Americans who felt they were losing ground in the 1970s, Reagan created the key to the Right's electoral success ever since: a pseudo-populism that blamed the "strife" of the 1960s on an allegedly liberal elite: liberal Big Government, liberal university administrators, and the "liberal" media who paid attention to the strife. Pseudo populism drew crucial populations who felt aggrieved by 60s era movements -notably the white South and the white working class-away from the Democratic Party. The Democrats' response was telling: a new Democratic Leadership Council was organized to move the party into the corporate-friendly center.
The political backlash against the 60s was greatly aided by the commercial media -by a narrowed range of political discourse produced by an increasingly subservient news media, and by a wide range of films (think Big Chill or Forrest Gump), television sit-coms (Reagan's favorite: Family Ties), and advertisements that either reinforced the 60s imagery played up in the conservative backlash or converted 60s social movements to stereotypes that robbed them of their political meanings relevant to today.
It would take pages to explain adequately, but I argue that during the 1960s era the very same forces -a narrow range of media interpretation and the commercial emphasis on dramatic imagery, conflict and personalities- provided an open invitation to the kinds of "strife" backlash types love to equate with something they call the "Sixties." The mass media did not consider the more system-challenging meanings and arguments of 60s-era social movements worthy of serious consideration. But they were attracted to the behavioral expressions of what they too glibly saw as a generation in revolt.
These are the same images, behaviors, and personalities -and generational frame for understanding them- that continue to provoke unending media treatments and "hip" sales pitches designed to encourage our consumption of material goods and entertainment. We are stuck with a discourse that loves to use media images to blame some "Other" for our problems.
As for the now-distant 1960s era, it has been relegated to an alleged "generational debate" between those who continue to blame the 60s for our contemporary problems and those who are, perhaps, wistfully nostalgic for a more vital and hopeful time. What we have lost as a people is, first, a history whose central meaning was that even relatively powerless people can organize and achieve historic change, and second, the ability to carry on a democratic conversation with each other across the boundaries that have long been rigidified in what passes for political discourse in our mass media.
Left to its own devices, a capitalist economy extracts enormous wealth from the labor of employees and reliable access to cheap resources. The inequality capitalism produces is supposedly balanced by the one-person-one-vote equality of a political democracy. The "people" are thus empowered to rein in the excesses of capitalism through the political process. Under the neo-liberal regime, we the people have lost that power.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
It's not news that establishment journalists identify with, are merged into, serve as spokespeople for, the political class: that's what makes them establishment journalists.
By Glenn Greenwald
December 28, 2010 "Salon" -- The video of the CNN debate I did last night about WikiLeaks with former Bush Homeland Security Adviser (and CNN contributor) Fran Townsend and CNN anchor Jessica Yellin is posted below. The way it proceeded was quite instructive to me and I want to make four observations about the discussion:
(1) Over the last month, I've done many television and radio segments about WikiLeaks and what always strikes me is how indistinguishable -- identical -- are the political figures and the journalists. There's just no difference in how they think, what their values and priorities are, how completely they've ingested and how eagerly they recite the same anti-WikiLeaks, "Assange = Saddam" script. So absolute is the WikiLeaks-is-Evil bipartisan orthodoxy among the Beltway political and media class (forever cemented by the joint Biden/McConnell decree that Assange is a "high-tech Terrorist,") that you're viewed as being from another planet if you don't spout it. It's the equivalent of questioning Saddam's WMD stockpile in early 2003.
It's not news that establishment journalists identify with, are merged into, serve as spokespeople for, the political class: that's what makes them establishment journalists. But even knowing that, it's just amazing, to me at least, how so many of these "debates" I've done involving one anti-WikiLeaks political figure and one ostensibly "neutral" journalist -- on MSNBC with The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart and former GOP Congresswoman Susan Molinari, on NPR with The New York Times' John Burns and former Clinton State Department official James Rubin, and last night on CNN with Yellin and Townsend -- entail no daylight at all between the "journalists" and the political figures. They don't even bother any longer with the pretense that they're distinct or play different assigned roles. I'm not complaining here -- Yellin was perfectly fair and gave me ample time -- but merely observing how inseparable are most American journalists from the political officials they "cover."
(2) From the start of the WikiLeaks controversy, the most striking aspect for me has been that the ones who are leading the crusade against the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks -- the ones most enraged about the leaks and the subversion of government secrecy -- have been . . . America's intrepid Watchdog journalists. What illustrates how warped our political and media culture is as potently as that? It just never seems to dawn on them -- even when you explain it -- that the transparency and undermining of the secrecy regime against which they are angrily railing is supposed to be . . . what they do. (Editor: Recall that in the 1950's the CIA began a program of enlisting the help of journalists in carrying out their clandestine yet often immoral and illegal activities. This program was referred to as Operation Mockingbird and is still in effect today. The intelligence services have operatives/contract agents throughout the major US broadcast and print media who can be counted upon to faithfully spout the "party line.")
What an astounding feat to train a nation's journalist class to despise above all else those who shine a light on what the most powerful factions do in the dark and who expose their corruption and deceit, and to have journalists -- of all people -- lead the way in calling for the head of anyone who exposes the secrets of the powerful. Most ruling classes -- from all eras and all cultures -- could only fantasize about having a journalist class that thinks that way, but most political leaders would have to dismiss that fantasy as too extreme, too implausible, to pursue. After all, how could you ever get journalists -- of all people -- to loathe those who bring about transparency and disclosure of secrets? But, with a few noble exceptions, that's exactly the journalist class we have.
There will always be a soft spot in my heart for Jessica Yellin because of that time when she unwittingly (though still bravely) admitted on air that -- when she worked at MSNBC -- NBC's corporate executives constantly pressured the network's journalists to make their reporting favorable to George Bush and the Iraq War (I say "unwittingly" because she quickly walked back that confession after I and others wrote about it and a controversy ensued). But, as Yellin herself revealed in that moment of rare TV self-exposure, that's the government-subservient corporate culture in which these journalists are trained and molded.
(3) It's extraordinary how -- even a full month into the uproar over the diplomatic cable release -- extreme misinformation still pervades these discussions, usually without challenge. It's understandable that on the first day or in the first week of a controversy, there would be some confusion; but a full month into it, the most basic facts are still being wildly distorted. Thus, there was Fran Townsend spouting the cannot-be-killed lie that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped all the cables. And I'm absolutely certain that had I not objected, that absolute falsehood would have been unchallenged by Yellin and allowed to be transmitted to CNN viewers as Truth. The same is true for the casual assertion -- as though it's the clearest, most obvious fact in the world -- that Assange "committed crimes" by publishing classified information or that what he's doing is so obviously different than what investigative journalists routinely do. These are the unchallenged falsehoods transmitted over and over, day after day, to the American viewing audience.
(4) If one thinks about it, there's something quite surreal about sitting there listening to a CNN anchor and her fellow CNN employee angrily proclaim that Julian Assange is a "terrorist" and a "criminal" when the CNN employee doing that is . . . . George W. Bush's Homeland Security and Terrorism adviser. Fran Townsend was a high-level national security official for a President who destroyed another nation with an illegal, lie-fueled military attack that killed well over 100,000 innocent people, created a worldwide torture regime, illegally spied on his own citizens without warrants, disappeared people to CIA "black sites," and erected a due-process-free gulag where scores of knowingly innocent people were put in cages for years. (Editor: It should be obvious that Fran Townsend is a US intelligence disinformation agent who has seemlessly made the transition from the federal government payroll to that of the private sector. The fact that she serves as an expert/consultant contributor to CNN only serves to highlight the incestuous relationship between the media and the US intelligence community). Julian Assange never did any of those things, or anything like them. But it's Assange who is the "terrorist" and the "criminal."
Do you think Jessica Yellin would ever dare speak as scornfully and derisively about George Bush or his top officials as she does about Assange? Of course not. Instead, CNN quickly hires Bush's Homeland Security Adviser who then becomes Yellin's colleague and partner in demonizing Assange as a "terrorist." Or consider the theme that framed last night's segment: Assange is profiting off classified information by writing a book! Beyond the examples I gave, Bob Woodward has become a very rich man by writing book after book filled with classified information about America's wars which his sources were not authorized to give him. Would Yellin ever in a million years dare lash out at Bob Woodward the way she did Assange? To ask the question is to answer it (see here as CNN's legal correspondent Jeffrey Toobin is completely befuddled in the middle of his anti-WikiLeaks rant when asked by a guest, Clay Shirky, to differentiate what Woodward continuously does from what Assange is doing).
They're all petrified to speak ill of Bob Woodward because he's a revered spokesman of the royal court to which they devote their full loyalty (Editor: and Woodward has the kind of access to high government officials and a history of working military intelligence that suggests he is likely still operating as an intelligence operative). Julian Assange, by contrast, is an actual adversary -- not a pretend one -- of that royal court. And that -- and only that -- is what is driving virtually this entire discourse:
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
December 27, 2010 "Truth Dig" -- The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.
We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled.
Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse.
“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake,” Orwell wrote in “1984.” “We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”
The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term “inverted totalitarianism” in his book “Democracy Incorporated” to describe our political system. It is a term that would make sense to Huxley. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass.
The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”
The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”
Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.
Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley’s pliant characters in “Brave New World.” The book’s protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:
“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?” he asks.
“I don’t know that you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody’s happy nowadays.”
He laughed, “Yes, ‘Everybody’s happy nowadays.’ We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn’t you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else’s way.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” she repeated.
The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.
We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified.
The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell.
“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling,” Winston Smith’s torturer tells him in “1984.” “Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”
The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.
Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.
“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”
by Prof. Francis Boyle
December 24, 2010
During the 1950s I grew up in a family who rooted for the success of African Americans in their just struggle for civil rights and full legal equality. Then in 1962 it was the terror of my own personal imminent nuclear annihilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis that first sparked my interest in studying international relations and U.S. foreign policy as a young boy of 12: “I can do a better job than this!”
With the escalation of the Vietnam War in 1964 and the military draft staring me right in the face, I undertook a detailed examination of it. Eventually I concluded that unlike World War II when my Father had fought and defeated the Japanese Imperial Army as a young Marine in the Pacific, this new war was illegal, immoral, unethical, and the United States was bound to lose it. America was just picking up where France had left off at Dien Bien Phu. So I resolved to do what little I could to oppose the Vietnam War.
In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson gratuitously invaded the Dominican Republic, which prompted me to commence a detailed examination of U.S. military interventions into Latin America from the Spanish-American War of 1898 up to President Franklin Roosevelt’s so-called “good neighbor” policy. At the end of this study, I concluded that the Vietnam War was not episodic, but rather systemic: Aggression, warfare, bloodshed, and violence were just the way the United States Power Elite had historically conducted their business around the world. Hence, as I saw it as a young man of 17, there would be more Vietnams in the future and perhaps someday I could do something about it as well as about promoting civil rights for African Americans. These twins concerns of my youth would gradually ripen into a career devoted to international law and human rights.
So I commenced my formal study of International Relations with the late, great Hans Morgenthau in the first week of January 1970 as a 19 year old college sophomore at the University of Chicago by taking his basic introductory course on that subject. At the time, Morgenthau was leading the academic forces of opposition to the detested Vietnam War, which is precisely why I chose to study with him. During ten years of higher education at the University of Chicago and Harvard, I refused to study with openly pro-Vietnam-War professors as a matter of principle and also on the quite pragmatic ground that they had nothing to teach me.
In the summer of 1975, it was Morgenthau who emphatically encouraged me to become a professor instead of doing some other promising things with my life: “If Morgenthau thinks I should become a professor, then I will become a professor!” After almost a decade of working personally with him, Morgenthau provided me with enough inspiration, guidance, and knowledge to last now almost half a lifetime.
Historically, this latest eruption of American militarism at the start of the 21st Century is akin to that of America opening the 20th Century by means of the U.S.-instigated Spanish-American War in 1898. Then the Republican administration of President William McKinley stole their colonial empire from Spain in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines; inflicted a near genocidal war against the Filipino people; while at the same time illegally annexing the Kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the Native Hawaiian people (who call themselves the Kanaka Maoli) to near genocidal conditions.
Additionally, McKinley’s military and colonial expansion into the Pacific was also designed to secure America’s economic exploitation of China pursuant to the euphemistic rubric of the “open door” policy. But over the next four decades America’s aggressive presence, policies, and practices in the “Pacific” would ineluctably pave the way for Japan’s attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 194l, and thus America’s precipitation into the ongoing Second World War. Today a century later the serial imperial aggressions launched and menaced by the Republican Bush Jr. administration and now the Democratic Obama administration are threatening to set off World War III.
By shamelessly exploiting the terrible tragedy of 11 September 2001, the Bush Jr. administration set forth to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Muslim states and peoples living in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf under the bogus pretexts of (1) fighting a war against international terrorism; and/or (2) eliminating weapons of mass destruction; and/or (3) the promotion of democracy; and/or (4) self-styled “humanitarian intervention.” Only this time the geopolitical stakes are infinitely greater than they were a century ago: control and domination of two-thirds of the world’s hydrocarbon resources and thus the very fundament and energizer of the global economic system – oil and gas. The Bush Jr./ Obama administrations have already targeted the remaining hydrocarbon reserves of Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia for further conquest or domination, together with the strategic choke-points at sea and on land required for their transportation. In this regard, the Bush Jr. administration announced the establishment of the U.S. Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) in order to better control, dominate, and exploit both the natural resources and the variegated peoples of the continent of Africa, the very cradle of our human species.
This current bout of U.S. imperialism is what Hans Morgenthau denominated “unlimited imperialism” in his seminal work Politics Among Nations (4th ed. 1968, at 52-53):
The outstanding historic examples of unlimited imperialism are the expansionist policies of Alexander the Great, Rome, the Arabs in the seventh and eighth centuries, Napoleon I, and Hitler. They all have in common an urge toward expansion which knows no rational limits, feeds on its own successes and, if not stopped by a superior force, will go on to the confines of the political world. This urge will not be satisfied so long as there remains anywhere a possible object of domination--a politically organized group of men which by its very independence challenges the conqueror’s lust for power. It is, as we shall see, exactly the lack of moderation, the aspiration to conquer all that lends itself to conquest, characteristic of unlimited imperialism, which in the past has been the undoing of the imperialistic policies of this kind….
On 10 November 1979 I visited with Hans Morgenthau at his home in Manhattan. It proved to be our last conversation before he died on 19 July 1980. Given his weakened physical but not mental condition and his serious heart problem, at the end of our necessarily abbreviated one-hour meeting I purposefully asked him what he thought about the future of international relations. This revered scholar, whom international relations experts generally consider to be the founder of modern international political science in the post World War II era, responded:
Future, what future? I am extremely pessimistic. In my opinion the world is moving ineluctably towards a third world war—a strategic nuclear war. I do not believe that anything can be done to prevent it. The international system is simply too unstable to survive for long. The SALT II Treaty is important for the present, but over the long haul it cannot stop the momentum. Fortunately, I do not believe that I will live to see that day. But I am afraid you might.
The factual circumstances surrounding the outbreaks of both the First World War and the Second World War currently hover like the Sword of Damocles over the heads of all humanity. It is imperative that we undertake a committed and concerted effort to head-off Hans Morgenthau’s final prediction on the cataclysmic demise of the human race.
Monday, December 27, 2010
A major part of the intelligence agencies working for the US government are in fact Israeli companies, a former CIA officer has said.
“What is happening is that many of these state agencies are actually Israeli companies that are working for the States,” Philip Giraldi said on Tuesday.
“This happened recently in Pennsylvania, where an Israeli company was collecting information on war protesters and in the state of New Jersey an Israeli was appointed as homeland security director for the State,” he said in an interview with Press TV.
“So, this penetration of American security by Israeli companies and Israeli individuals has been going on for some years,” Giraldi emphasized.
A Washington Post investigative report shows the US government is using the largest and most technologically advanced system in the country's history to spy on its citizens.
The system collects, stores and analyzes information on thousands of US citizens with the help of every state and law enforcement agency and then feeds the information to the FBI.
US intelligence officials claim due to nearly two dozens of alleged acts of terrorism this year, the need to identify US-born or naturalized citizens that may be planning violent attacks has been more urgent than ever.
Moreover, former agents are helping local authorities turn thousands of garbage collectors into a spy force that reports to the police.
At least 935 organizations -- each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions -- have been created or become involved in counterterrorism acts since the September 2001 terror incidents in New York and Washington.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
In Thick Layers On the Sea Floor Over An Area of Several Thousand Square Miles
by Washington's Blog
BP and the government famously declared that most of the oil had disappeared.
But as I've noted, as much as 98% of the oil is still in the ocean.
I have repeatedly pointed out that BP and the government applied massive amounts of dispersant to the Gulf Oil Spill in an effort to sink and hide the oil. Many others said the same thing.
BP and the government denied this, of course.
But the oil is not remaining hidden.
Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal noted on December 9th:
A university scientist and the federal government say they have found persuasive evidence that oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill is settling on the ocean floor.
The new findings, from scientists at the University of South Florida and from a broad government effort, mark the latest indication that environmental damage from the blowout of a BP PLC well could be significant where it's hardest to find: deep under the Gulf's surface.
Scientists who have been on research cruises in the Gulf in recent days report finding layers of residue up to several centimeters thick from what they suspect is BP oil.
The material appears in spots across several thousand square miles of seafloor, they said. In many of those spots, they said, worms and other marine life that crawl along the sediment appear dead, though many organisms that can swim appear healthy.
Tests now have started to link some oil in the sediment to the BP well could add to the amount of money BP ends up paying to compensate for the spill's damage.
The test results also raise questions about the possible downsides of the government's use of chemical dispersants to fight the spill.
Under federal direction, about 1.8 million gallons of dispersants were sprayed on the spilled oil in an effort to break it up into tiny droplets that natural ocean microbes could eat up. At the time, officials said the dispersants shouldn't cause oil from the spill to sink to the seafloor. However, more recently, a federal report said dispersants may have helped some spilled oil sink to the sediment.
Scientific teams have reported in recent months finding a strange substance on the Gulf floor, in some cases as far as about 80 miles from BP's ill-fated Macondo well, which blew out in April and spilled an estimated 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf before it was capped.
"The chemical signatures are identical," said Mr. Hollander, who found the contaminated samples in an area of the Gulf floor off the Florida Panhandle. Although it's conceivable the tests could show a false match with the BP oil, "the statistical probability of something like that is unimaginable," Mr. Hollander said.
The federal government also has found oil matching Macondo oil in Gulf sediment, Steve Murawski, a top National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist, said in an interview. He declined to disclose how much sediment contamination the government found, or exactly where in the Gulf it was, saying experts still are analyzing the test results.
Samantha Joye, a University of Georgia oceanographer, also has found what she believes to be evidence of BP oil in Gulf sediment. She is awaiting lab results tracing the chemical fingerprints of sediment samples she took.
On a research cruise in the Gulf that ended Friday, she saw worms that crawl along the Gulf floor "just decimated," she said. But eels and fish, which can swim away, often appeared fine, she said.
The Journal noted on December 18th:
Oil from BP PLC's blown-out well has lodged in the sediment of the Gulf of Mexico at levels that may threaten marine life, according to a federal report released Friday.
There is no practical way to clean up the spilled oil that has settled deep in the Gulf, officials said, adding that microbes in the water could eventually eat it up.
The massive application of dispersants to hide the amount of oil spilled has caused major problems to the Gulf:
--The use of dispersants prevented clean up of the oil by skimming, by far the easiest method of removing oil from the water.
--Dispersants make the toxins in crude oil more bioavailable to sealife, and scientists have found that applying Corexit to Gulf crude oil releases many times more toxic chemicals into the water column than would be released with crude alone.
--Dispersant might have caused some of the chemicals in oil to become airborne.
--The crude oil which does not become aerosolized sinks under the surface of the ocean, and can delay the recovery of the ecosystem by years or even decades (see the Wall Street Journal article quoted above).
--The overwhelming majority of studies find that dispersants slow the growth of oil-eating microbes.
--Dispersants cause Gulf fish to absorb more toxins and then make it harder for the fish to get rid of the pollutants once exposed.
--Dispersants may bioaccumulate in seafood.
--Blood tests show elevated levels of toxic hydrocarbons in Gulf residents.
Extend-And-Pretend Will Fail
As I noted in May - shortly after the spill started - the responses of the government to the Gulf Oil spill and to the financial crisis are remarkably similar, as both have focused on covering up the problems, instead of actually fixing them. Because the financial system was never really reformed, the next financial shock will send the economy reeling. Because the oil was never properly cleaned up, the next hurricane will stir up immense quantities of oil now lying on the sea floor.
Extend-and-pretend is being attempted in both cases, and - in both cases - it will fail, because nothing has been fixed, and the fundamentals can only remain hidden for so long.
Moreover, in both cases, the government used "highly toxic" measures to try to hide the real problems. The government has used "emergency measures" and virtually all of its resources to prop up the giant banks instead of using the proven methods of restructuring insolvent banks and prosecuting the criminals who caused the crisis, which has caused major problems for the real economy.
Similarly, the government applied close to 2 million gallons of highly toxic dispersant to hide the amount of oil instead of using it's resources to deploy tried-and-true clean up methods, which has caused significant problems for the Gulf.
Finally, new and potentially bigger crises will take place, because regulation hasn't been put in place to prevent them. Regulation of the financial system - including international agreements like Basil III - have been gutted. And as Time magazine notes:
Congress never managed to pass legislation that would have overhauled drilling safety.
Blood Tests Show Elevated Level of Toxic Hydrocarbons in Gulf Residents
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
A number of different chemists are finding elevated levels of toxic hydrocarbons in the bloodstream of Gulf coast residents.
What is most disturbing about these results is that people who simply live near the water are showing higher than normal levels of toxic chemicals. These are not fishermen, shrimpers, oil workers or others who work on the water.
Jerry Cope recently wrote about his test results in a must-read essay at Huffington Post.
Several Gulf coast residents described their test results in the following video:
And the Intel Hub has uploaded some of the other test reports.
The local ABC news affiliate in Pensacola, Florida - ABC3 Wear - covered the story:
Several residents of Orange Beach say the oil spill has been making them sick...and they have the test results to prove it.
Gerry Cope, Margaret Carrouth and Robin Young were all feeling the same symptoms of headaches, watery eyes, and breathing problems...
All three had blood samples taken at the beginning of August...
Tests revealed each had elevated levels of the Hydrocarbons Ethyl Benzene and Xylene.
Bob Naman, a chemist out of Mobile, analyzed the results.
"He shows three times the amount you typically find in someone's blood."
"These people are from different backgrounds, and from different walks of life, all showing same similar organic compounds in blood, says to me its very likely in the air."