Totalitarianism and Obedience
by Sarah Meyer
this article will now have 'Updates' which relate to totalitariansm in USA/UK. Most recent update: 30.04.07..
My thoughts to publish this writing by Vasily Grossman followed the story, UPDATE: ‘Wash’ Post joins ‘NYTimes’ in Trumpeting “Anonymous Claims on Iranian Weapons, published by Editor and Publisher on 12 February 2007. Juan Cole is on the case in New York Times Falls for Bogus Iran Weapons Charges.
Grossman's superb analysis of totalitarian government expresses my horror at the vast number of politicians, press and people in both the U.S. and UK who, like stoats, DO nothing in the glare of present Iraq and forthcoming Iran disasters.
“The first half of the twentieth century may be seen as a time of great scientific discoveries, revolutions, immense social transformations and two World Wars …
One of the most astonishing human traits that came to light at this time was obedience. There were cases of huge queues being formed by people awaiting execution – and it was the victims themselves who regulated the movement of these queues. There were hot summer days when people had ot wait from early morning until late at night; some mothers prudently provided themselves with bread and bottles of water for their children. Millions of innocent people, knowing that they would soon be arrested, said goodbye to their nearest and dearest in advance and prepared little bundles containing spare underwear and a towel. Millions of people lived in vast camps that had not only been built by prisoners but were even guarded by them.
And it wasn’t merely tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, but hundreds of millions of people who were the obedient witnesses of this slaughter of the innocent, Nor were they merely obedient witnesses: when ordered to, they gave their support to this slaughter, voting in favour of it amid a hubbub of voices. There was something unexpected in the degree of their obedience.
There was, of course, resistance; there were acts of courage and determination on the part of those who had been condemned; there were uprisings; there were men who risked their own lives and the lives of their families in order to save the life of a stranger. But the obedience of the vast mass of people is undeniable.
What does this tell us? That a new trait has suddenly appeared in human nature? No, this obedience bears witness to a new force acting on human beings. The extreme violence of totalitarian social systems proved able to paralyse the human spirit throughout whole continents.
A man who has placed his soul in the service of Fascism declares an evil and dangerous slavery to be the only true good. Rather than overtly renouncing human feelings, he declares the crimes committed by Fascism to be the highest form of humanitarianism; he agrees to divide people up into the pure and worthy and the impure and unworthy.
The instinct for self-preservation is supported by the hypnotic power of world ideologies. These call people to carry out any sacrifice, to accept any means, in order to achieve the highest of ends: the future greatness of the motherland, world progress, the future happiness of mankind, of a nation, of a class.
One more force co-operated with the life-instinct and the power of great ideologies terror at the limitless violence of a powerful State, terror at the way murder had become the basis of everyday life.
The violence of a totalitarian State is so great as to be no longer a means to an end; it becomes an object of mystical worship and adoration. How else can one explain the way certain intelligent, thinking Jews declared the slaughter of the Jews to be necessary for the happiness of mankind? That in view of this they were ready to take their own children to be executed – ready to carry out the sacrifice once demanded of Abraham? How else can one explain the case of a gifted, intelligent poet, himself a peasant by birth, who with sincere conviction wrote a long poem celebrating the terrible years of suffering undergone by the peasantry, years that had swallowed up his own father, an honest and simple-hearted labourer?
Another fact that allowed Fascism to gain power over men was their blindness. A man cannot believe that he is about to be destroyed. The optimism of people standing on the edge of the grave is astounding. The soil of hope – a hope that was senseless and sometimes dishonest and despicable – gave birth to a pathetic obedience that was often equally despicable.
The Warsaw Rising, the uprisings at Treblinka and Sobibor, the various mutinies of brenners, were all born of hopelessness. But the utter hopelessness engenders not only resistance and uprisings but also a yearning to be executed as quickly as possible.
People argued over their place in the queue beside the blood-filled ditch while a mad, almost exultant voice shouted out, ‘Don’t be afraid, Jews. It’s nothing terrible. Five minutes and it will all be over.’
Everything gave rise to obedience – both hope and hopelessness.
It is important to realise what a man must have suffered and endured in order to feel glad at the thought of his impending execution. It is especially important to consider this if one is inclined to moralize, to reproach the victims for their lack of resistance to conditions of which one has little conception.
Having established man’s readiness to obey when confronted with limitless violence, we must go on to draw one further conclusion that is of importance for an understanding of man and his future.
Does human nature undergo a true change in the cauldron of totalitarian violence? Does man lose his innate yearning for freedom? The fate of both man and the totalitarian State depends on the answer to this question. If human nature does change, then the eternal and world-wide triumph of the dictatorial State is assured; if his yearning for freedom remains constant, then the totalitarian state is doomed.
The great Rising in the Warsaw ghetto, the uprisings in Treblinka and Sobibor; the vast partisan movement that flared up in dozens of countries enslaved by Hitler; the uprisings in Berlin in 1953, in Hungary in 1956, and in the labour-caps of Siberia and the Far East after Stalin’s death; the riots at this time in Poland, the number of factories that went on strike and the student protests that broke out in many cites against the suppression of freedom of thought; all these bear witness to the indestructibility of man’s yearning for freedom. This yearning was suppressed but it continued to exist. Man’s fate may make him a slave, but his nature remains unchanged.
Man’s innate yearning for freedom can be suppressed but never destroyed. Totalitarianism cannot renounce violence. If it does, it perishes. Eternal, ceaseless violence, overt or covert, is the basis of totalitarianism. Man does not renounce freedom voluntarily. This conclusion holds out hope for our time, hope for the future.”
"I do not really understand what those Americans are doing because now they are just like an elephant in a china shop, and everything they do is terribly wrong as if they are committing suicide," Talib Ahmad, a lawyer and human rights activist in Najaf told IPS. Quoted in IRAQ: Iran 'Fooling' U.S. Military by Dahr Jamail and Ali al –Fadhily.
Reprinted with permission from Random House (Harvill Press), London, pp. 214 – 216, Man and Fate, by Vasily Grossman, 1985.
SEE ***** reviews here.
The url to Totaliarianism & Obedience is: http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/2007/02/totalitarianism-and-obedience.html
A shorter URL is: http://tinyurl.com/3ce7z2
Century of the Self. Adam Curtis, The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests? Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society's belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man's ultimate goal.
THE PATRIOT ACT
24.10.04. "An act "to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,"
MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT
17.10.06. A bill to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes.
The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State?
09.01.07. JENNIFER VAN BERGEN. All these declarations echo the refrain Bush has been asserting from the outset of his presidency. That refrain is simple: Presidential power must be unilateral, and unchecked. Until April 2006, President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
Chris Hedges, Free Press, January 2007
Making Martial Law Easier
19.02.07. New York Times Editorial. A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration’s behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.
Martin Garbus: "The next 25 Years - a Critique
22.02.07. Pagan Science Monitor. 'If you ... place Garbus's conclusions into the frame of Hedges's broader argument, you'll go a long way to understanding the historically unique, urgent, and dangerous moment we're in right now. ... The centerpiece thesis is that a decided and continuing rightward shift in U.S. law, as made in the courts, results from an intentional strategy by well-organized archconservative jurists and legal academics. The right-wing intelligentsia, on the bench and in the academy, want to drag American jurisprudence back to its state before FDR, the New Deal, and the Warren Court.
THE LIVES OF OTHERS
Danny Schechter of Media Channel writes: “The film is worth seeing and very moving, but that view of East Germany’s past may offer a peek into our future in these United States of Surveillance where the technology is much improved since the Cold War. The Busheviks have improved on the techniques of spying and torture developed by the Bolsheviks. Abu Ghraib and Gitmo put the Stasi to shame. In many ways, there is a straight line from the wars of aggression launched in the old Berlin to the one now occupying Baghdad." Later, Danny adds: "Why do I regret this choice? It is the story about a dogmatic officer of the East German "Stasi", the State Security, who in the end, after a change of heart, proves that even a Stasi officer can be a human being. Interesting, perhaps, but misleading, one-sided and with evil intent. ... No wonder that writers like Joe Conason are asking “Can it Happen Here”—a reference to the dangers of Fascism in the USSA. His book is IT CAN HAPPEN HERE”Danny continues: "Can it happen here? Is it happening here already?
Operation Falcon and the Looming Police State
26.02.07. Mike Whitney. When History Repeats Itself ... Do We Notice? A discussion of "Operation Falcon" which Whitney thinks is a "blueprint for removing dissidents and political rivals."
Chalmers Johnson: "Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic"
27.02.07. Democracy Now. ‘In his new book, CIA analyst, distinguished scholar, and best-selling author Chalmers Johnson argues that US military and economic overreach may actually lead to the nation's collapse as a constitutional republic. It's the last volume in his Blowback trilogy, following the best-selling "Blowback" and "The Sorrows of Empire." In those two, Johnson argued American clandestine and military activity has led to un-intended, but direct disaster here in the United States.’
National ID Card Rules Unveiled
01.03.07. WIRED NEWS. Homeland Security officials released long-delayed guidelines that turn state-issued identification cards into de facto internal passports Thursday, estimating the changes will cost states and individuals $23 billion over 10 years.
Censoring Our Educators
01.03.06. M. O-Regan, Utne.com / Truthout. A nationwide effort is underway in statehouses to censor professors. David Horowitz, a right-wing political pundit who penned the "Academic Bill of Rights" as a guideline to intellectual freedom for students, is leading the movement and driving a number of legislative bills that would prevent instructors from voicing potentially controversial opinions. Free Exchange on Campus says, "Censoring what can and cannot be taught and discussed in the classroom, as the misleadingly titled 'Academic Bill of Rights' and so-called 'intellectual diversity' proposals attempt to do, curbs campus debate and limits learning." See related article, An Attack Dog Coming to a School Near You: The Witch-Hunts of David Horowitz by Dana Cloud (dissident voice 07.03.07). An indepth study of Horovitz and his kind, The Haditha Doctor and the Media Dissemblers, with information about this group of people and their funders, can be read at The BRussels Tribunal. More can be read in a later article at Haditha: the Mai Lai of Iraq.
The Pentagon’s Power to Arrest, Torture, and Execute Americans
02.03.07. J. Hornberger, ICH. The U.S. military’s power to arrest, torture, and execute Americans is now reality. It is impossible to reconcile such power with the principles of a free society. As long as it exists, even if only as a standby power in the event of a “crisis” or “emergency, ” Americans cannot be considered a free people.
America on its Knees Before Tyranny
02.03.07. Richard Mynick, ICH. 'The 4th sentence of the Declaration of Independence reads "...That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends (ie, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness) it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..." It would be hard to find a more apt description of the US government in 2007, or a more appropriate remedy for this oppressive regime, increasingly loathed and feared by the citizenry.'
Secret unit hunts terrorists overseas
02.03.06. Examiner. The Pentagon has turned a secret terrorist-hunting unit into a nearly self-contained command of more than 1,000 men and women who collect intelligence and track and capture America’s most–wanted enemies. The unit, code–named Task Force Orange, specializes in infiltrating foreign countries, tailing people and intercepting communications. Operatives have dug up fiber-optic telephone lines overseas and attached a listening device for the National Security Agency.
Too Much Blood
03.03.07. Rolling Stone / ICH. On being the subjects of a military economy. A country that feeds itself through the manufacture of war technology is bound to view peace, nonviolence and mercy as seditious concepts. It will create policies first and then people to fit its machines, finding wars to fight and creating killers to fight them.
A New Mystery to Prosecutors: Their Lost Jobs
04.03.07. Johnson, Lipton, Yardly, Washington Post. The Jurist wrote that the White House approved US attorney firings. Media Matters said that interference was not mentioned in the evening news. The investigation hits the White House. A story now says that Firings Had Genesis in White House, who suggested two years ago that the Justice Department fire all 93 U.S. attorneys.
How to end the assault on liberties
04.03.07. New York Times editorial
The Failed Attorney General (11.03.07, NY Times)
'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.'
(stories updated), Lori Price, Legitgov.org.
The assault on liberties–Who’s really responsible
05.03.07. B. Lando, ICH.
"State Secrets" Shield CIA from Torture Allegations
05.03.07. SECRECY NEWS. Full article with lots of references. From (recommended) Secrecy News email newsletter: "As we have explained, it is the court, not the Executive, that determines whether the state secrets privilege has been properly invoked. In order to successfully claim the state secrets privilege, the Executive must satisfy the court that disclosure of the information sought to be protected would expose matters that, in the interest of national security,ought to remain secret," the court ruling stated. PDF files to read.
Supreme Court rejects expedited review of Military Commissions Act challenge
05.03.07. The Jurist.
Two FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping of Government Officials and Misuse of FISA
05.03.07. Sibel Edwards. State Secrets Privilege Was Used to Cover Up Corruption and Silence Whistleblowers
Who Gave America the Right?
06.03.07. Mohammed Theib Al-Hamidani ( Al Medina, Saudi Arabia ), Translated By Andy Allred, uruknet. Who granted America the right to be international judge, prosecutor, and executioner in the name of self-preservation? Who granted America the right to make the sound of bombs louder than the voice of the law?
Vermont: 36 towns call for impeachment probe
06.03.07. Vermont Guardian / legitgov.
>Congressional Intelligence Oversight in Jeopardy
07.03.07. Secrecy News. In a "shocking and inexcusable" action that may threaten the institution of congressional intelligence oversight, an anonymous Senator yesterday blocked Senate consideration of the pending Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2007. No intelligence authorization bill has been passed by Congress for the past two years.
Vermont: 36 towns call for impeachment probe
06.03.07. Vermont Guardian / legitgov.
Congressional Intelligence Oversight in Jeopardy
07.03.07. Secrecy News. In a "shocking and inexcusable" action that may threaten the institution of congressional intelligence oversight, an anonymous Senator yesterday blocked Senate consideration of the pending Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2007. No intelligence authorization bill has been passed by Congress for the past two years.
Homeland Security Revives Supersnoop
08.03.07. Washington Times. The system uses the same data-mining process that was developed by the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness (TIA) project that was banned by Congress in 2003 because of vast privacy violations.
Guantanamo Is Not a Prison
08.03.07. K. Greenburg, Tom Dispatch / Truthout. 11 ways to report on Gitmo without upsetting the Pentagon. Karen J. Greenberg writes: "Several weeks ago, I took the infamous media tour of the facilities at Guantanamo.... In the course of my brief stay, thanks to my military handlers, I learned a great deal about Gitmo decorum, as the military would like us to practice it. My escorts told me how best to describe the goings-on at Guantanamo, regardless of what my own eyes and prior knowledge told me.... Those who fail to reproduce the official narrative are not welcome back. 'Tell it the wrong way and you won't be back,' one of our escorts warns me over lunch."
"Today the appeals court gave the CIA complete immunity for even its most shameful conduct," said ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, who represented El-Masri. "Depriving Khaled El-Masri of his day in court on the ground that the government cannot disclose facts that the whole world already knows only compounds the brutal treatment he endured."
Propaganda and Conscience
13.03.07. Patricia Goldsmith, Dissident Voice. "The fact is most people in most places tend to go along with conventional wisdom and comply with authority. It’s not generally a bad thing. It predisposes us to be law-abiding and makes peace possible. But when the same powerful interests control both government and the media, then we are all vulnerable to propaganda, and under the influence of propaganda, ordinary people are capable of doing very great evil without even feeling guilty."
Closing the Gap Between Torturer and Victim
15.03.07. John Pilger, Dissident Voice. 'In Washington, I asked Ray McGovern, formerly a senior CIA officer, what he made of Norman Mailer’s remark that America had entered a pre-fascist state. “I hope he’s right,” he replied, “because there are others saying we are already in a fascist mode. When you see who is controlling the means of production here, when you see who is controlling the newspapers and periodicals, and the TV stations, from which most Americans take their news, and when you see how the so-called war on terror is being conducted, you begin to understand where we are headed . . . It’s quite something that the nuclear threat today should be seen first and foremost as coming from the United States of America and Great Britain.” ... There are many connections in Latin America to the suffering in the Middle East. The crushing of popular, reformist governments by the US and the setting up of torture regimes, from Guatemala to Chile, have echoes from Iran to Afghanistan. The current attacks on the Chávez government in Venezuela by the media, which Ray McGovern describes as being “domesticated by their wish to serve”, are essential in disclaiming the right of the poor to find another way.'
United State of Minds
15.03.07. D. M. Pourkesali, ICH. America 's methods of mind control or better put, manufacturing consent through efficient and careful use of media, must be the envy of every tyrannical dictator ruling the most oppressive regimes in the world.
I have always been curious about what I am not allowed to read / see. When I was small, for example, i read Forever Amber with the help of a torch (flashlight). Now I am interested in You Tube videos which have been removed from view. One such was a video on the explosions at Camp Falcon. Today, Cheney's Clout has the message, "This video is no longer available," Perhaps You Tube / google could provide their fans with an honest reason for this ? censorship?
California city council endorses Rumsfeld war crimes prosecution
15.03.07. The Jurist
How the Rich Are Destroying the Planet: A Review
15.03.07. Leslie Thatcher, Truth Out. Leslie Thatcher translates Herve Kempf's thoughts on plutocracy: "Since the collapse of the former USSR, it appears that capitalism no longer needs democracy - so antithetical to the oligarchy's objectives. Terrorism is the latest alibi to tighten security, criminalize dissent, expand surveillance and imprison the poor. The hyper-rich will attempt to maintain their excessive advantages by force as they did after Hurricane Katrina, when armed forces were sent - not to help the drowning poor - but to hunt down looters."
Are We Experiencing The Last Days of Constitutional Rule?
16.03.06. Paul Craig Robert, ICH. 'By Paul Craig Roberts The Bush administration’s greatest success is its ability to escape accountability for its numerous impeachable offenses. The administration’s offenses against US law, the US Constitution, civil liberties, human rights, and the Geneva Conventions, its lies to Congress and the American people, its vote-rigging scandals, its sweetheart no-bid contracts to favored firms, its political firing of Republican US Attorneys, its practice of kidnapping and torturing people in foreign hellholes, and its persecution of whistle blowers are altogether so vast that it is a major undertaking just to list them all. '
The Late, Great American Nation
18.03.07. John Whitehead, Rutherford Institute / ICH. "Prior to the elections that transformed the makeup of Congress, the Bush Administration pushed for the inclusion of two stealth provisions into a mammoth defense budget bill. The additions made it easier for the government to declare martial law and establish a dictatorship. ... A pattern is emerging, predicated on one horrific incident in 2001. The current administration is laying the groundwork for a military state, and this is our final wake-up call."
The One Video Clip Explaining Everything Wrong With Iraq, The Media, And The Right
18,03.07. ICH. On Meet the Press, they expressed their commitment to "fair and balanced" debate by having on disgraced war supporter Richard Perle and indicted, deposed ex-congressman Tom DeLay against Admiral and Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak and Former Democratic Rep. Tom Andrews of Win Without War
Terror Database Has Quadrupled In Four Years
25.03.07. K. Young, Washington Post. U.S. Watch Lists Are Drawn From Massive Clearinghouse. Called TIDE, for Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, the list is a storehouse for data about individuals that the intelligence community believes might harm the United States. It is the wellspring for watch lists distributed to airlines, law enforcement, border posts and U.S. consulates. Ballooning from fewer than 100,000 files in 2003 to about 435,000, the growing database threatens to overwhelm the people who manage it.
Terrorized by 'War on Terror'
25.03.07, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Washington Post/ICH. How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America. 'The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.'
Nothing But Fascists
26.03.07. Ali Al-Sarraf, ICH. "The war on Iraq was not carried out on the basis of mere strategic interests. No strategies or interests could explain the level of death and destruction that Iraq had undergone ever since the Gulf War in 1991. If one were to assume that the US led invasion in 2003 is a continuation of that war, then Iraq could be said to have suffered more horrors than any country had, including the countries that were involved the WWII. ... In whose interest must a country’s past, present and future be threatened in such violent manner? In whose interest were the Jews led to their death in Nazi camps? No one; because it is simply not about interests. The neo-fascism of our age goes far beyond some of the West’s leaders or their governments. It goes beyond the hidden biases of some of our so called ‘free’ media. Neo-fascist sentiments have reached deep into the collective subconscious of Western societies. It is a new sense of ‘social imperialism’ in which almost everyone, knowingly or not, is an accomplice and beneficiary. ... During the times of Hitler, you would see Germans gathered in perfect cohesion, chanting slogans in fervour. Today, those who support fascist leaders do not make such an effort. They can simply show their support by going to the ballot and voting for them once every four years instead. What happens later, which could include genocide or torture, they would watch calmly on TV."
Propaganda: Did Goebbells Write The Bush Administrations speeches?
27.03.07. Information Clearing House newsletter Includes Channel 4 Video, Killing Without Conscience: Iraq - The Hidden War.
The Pentagon’s Power to Jail Americans Indefinitely
26.03,07. J. Hornberger, FFF. The presiding judge in the Jose Padilla case has held that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a speedy trial does not protect American citizens from being indefinitely incarcerated by the Pentagon. ..
Judge Cooke’s ruling is just one more confirmation of how civil liberties have soared to the top of importance in terms of federal infringements on our freedom. Perhaps this is a good time to revisit the warning issued to the American people by President Dwight Eisenhower, who had served as supreme commander of Allied forces during World War II:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.
Surviving At The Pleasure Of The President
27.03.07. Sheila Samples, ICH. `'Bernie says folks in this country have no idea what they're up against. In spite of the draconian USA Patriot Act, they still hang onto the illusion that their freedoms are protected by the US Constitution; yet they emerge from each succeeding crisis with fewer and fewer freedoms. "If Americans were willing -- or capable -- of reading and thinking," Bernie said, "they'd know that the war being waged throughout the world began here at home, and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights were its first victims."
FBI turns citizen into a secret informer
27.03.07. The Justice Department's inspector general revealed on March 9 that the FBI has been systematically abusing one of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act: the expanded power to issue "national security letters." ... (read about Mr. Roberts' experience as a recipient of one of these letters)... In the wake of the recent revelations, I believe more strongly than ever that the secrecy surrounding the government's use of the national security letters power is unwarranted and dangerous. I hope Congress will at last recognize the same thing."
Military beefs up Internet arsenal
28.03.07. USA Today. The U.S. military is quietly expanding capabilities to attack "terrorist" (sic) computer networks, including websites that glorify insurgent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, military officials and experts say.
Empire of Fear Mumia Abu-Jamal. 3 min. Make this moment, this day, this era, one of speaking out against the Empire. Make it a time for joining together with others who share your fears, and your hopes. Make it an age of marching against the madness that assaults our senses. Make it a chance for change, or it will be with us, forever.
Supreme Court declines to hear Guantanamo detainee habeas appeals
02.04.07. Alexis Unkovic, The Jurist.
Orwell at Guantanamo
03.04.07. E. Robinson, Washington Post / ICH. 'Here's what the Bush administration has done to the values, traditions and honor of the United States of America: An accused terrorist claims he confessed to heinous crimes so that agents of the U.S. government would stop torturing him, and no one is shocked or even surprised. There's reason to believe, in fact, that what the suspect says about torture is probably true.'
Police Log Confirms FBI Role In Arrests
03.04.07. C. Leonnig, Washington Post / ICH. 'A secret FBI intelligence unit helped detain a group of war protesters in a downtown Washington parking garage in April 2002 and interrogated some of them on videotape about their political and religious beliefs, newly uncovered documents and interviews show. ... The probable cause to arrest the protesters as they retrieved food from their parked van? They were wearing black -- a color choice the FBI and police associated with anarchists, according to the police records.'
War Is Terrorism
05.04.07. William Blum, ICH. Thousands of people thrown into hell on earth for no earthly good reason. The world media has been overflowing with their individual tales of horror and sadness for five very long years. Said Guantánamo's former commander, General Jay Hood: "Sometimes we just didn't get the right folks." Not that the torture they were put through would be justified if they were in fact "the right folks". ... When will the dropping of bombs on innocent civilians by the United States, and invading and occupying their country, without their country attacking or threatening the US, become completely discredited? When will the use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs and CIA torture renditions become things that even men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld will be too embarrassed to defend?
The True Story of Free Speech in America
07.04.07. Robert Fisk, Independent / ICH. Sami al-Arian is 49 but he stayed on hunger strike for 60 days to protest the government outrage committed against him, a burlesque of justice which has, of course, largely failed to rouse the sleeping dogs of American journalism in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
Death threats close news website
Dr. Hassan El Najjar, aljazeerah.info/uruknet,ICH. "I have concluded that it's not safe for me any more to continue editing Al-Jazeerah.info in this atmosphere of intimidation, which abridges freedom of speech and freedom of the press."
Spy chief wants expanded powers
10.04.07. NBC. President Bush's spy chief (Mike McConnell) is pushing to expand the government's surveillance authority at the same time the administration is under attack for stretching its domestic eavesdropping powers
President Bush Expands Influence Over Regulatory Agencies
11.04.07. J. Pelley, Environmental Science and Technology Online / Truthout. The Bush administration's campaign for regulatory reform has now taken aim at guidance documents, with messages from federal agencies that tell businesses how to implement regulations. In Bush's latest approach toward weakening environmental and public-health regulations, the executive order creates opportunities for the White House Office of Management and Budget to block regulations and strip protections for children's health.
White House Seeks Boost to Spy Powers
13.04.07. AP / Guardian. 'The Bush administration asked Congress Friday to allow monitoring of more foreigners in the United States during intelligence investigations. . The plan is one of several proposed changes, which have been in the works for more than a year, that go to the heart of a key U.S. surveillance law. . The proposal would revise the way the government gets warrants from the secretive FISA court to investigate suspected terrorists, spies and other national security threats.'
The Governor's Database
20.04.07. J. Bernstein, texas observer. Texas is amassing an unprecedented amount of information on its citizens. 'What is most striking, and disturbing, about the database is that it is not being run by the state’s highest law enforcement agency—the Texas Department of Public Safety. Instead, control of TDEx, and the power to decide who can use it, resides in the governor’s office. . That gives Perry, his staff, future governors, and their staffs potential access to a trove of sensitive data on everything from ongoing criminal investigations to police incident reports and even traffic stops. In their zeal to assemble TDEx, Perry and his homeland security director, Steve McCraw, have plunged ahead with minimal oversight from law enforcement agencies, and even DPS is skittish about the direction the project has taken.'
Secrecy News is an invaluable source of documents and information. Of particular interest is 13.04.07 release, with an interesting essay on Measuring Effectiveness in Combating Terrorism (CRS) . Also: included in this Secrecy News is notice of pending legislation, which would require "public disclosure of the annual intelligence budget total." If this is presented to the President, "his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill."
Bush Administration Threatens Veto of Secret Prison Measure
12.04.07. Bloomberg. Administration officials will advise President George W. Bush to veto legislation requiring him to provide lawmakers with details of the CIA's secret prisons for terrorism suspects, a White House statement said.
Supreme Court Upholds Late Abortion Ban: Right-Wing Judicial Activism Run Amok
18.04.07. J. Holland, Alternet.
UK Take Note!
Bush administration is prying into your medical records in violation of the law
19.04.07. Americablog.blogspot / ICH. The Bush administration has created a massive database of your private medical records and they're now abusing it.
Noble Resolve 07: Four days of “simulated” nuclear terrorist scenarios in the US & Europe
20.04.07. Global Research.ca. DL Abrahamson. From April, 23 to April 27, the elite echelon of the military are running Noble Resolve 07, a four-day marathon of "simulated" terror attacks across the US and Europe. This includes a simulated detonation of a "loose" ten-kiloton nuclear weapon Virginia harbor, smuggled in by a "foreign nation."
See also: JFCOM brings virtual world closer to home
and USJFCOM gears up for Noble Resolve
Immigrants Used to Justify a Homeland Security Police State
01.04.07. Prof. Peter Phillips, Global Research.ca. Threats of terrorism and twelve million “illegal” immigrants are being used to justify new police-state measures in the United States. Coordinated mass arrests, big brother spy blimps, expanded detention centers, repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act, and suspension of habeas corpus have all been recently implemented and are ready to use against anyone in the US.
War and the Police State: Complicity of the American People
23.04.07. Donna Thorne, Global Research.ca/ICH. 'In this era of perpetual warfare, escalating domestic tyranny, government-sanctioned torture, and a Nazi-like pursuit of Middle-East domination, one would expect, at the very least, an audible outcry from the People who proclaim resolute devotion to the ideals of liberty and justice for all. Yet for the most part, Mainstream America continues to assume a posture of apathy, bitterness, or eery silence.'
A Review of Chris Hedges' American Fascists
23.04.07. Stephen Lendman. 'The Christian or Religious Right is broadly defined to include adherents of the radical or hard right embracing their kind of extremist political, economic, social and religious ideology falsely called conservative which is a relative term referring philosophically to favoring traditional values including libertarian ones centered on the right of everyone to be master of his or her own fate.'
Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
24.04.07. Naomi Klein, Guardian. 'From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all.'
Culture of Fear: Poetry Professor becomes Terror Suspect
24.04.07. Kazim Ali, New America Media / Alternet.
Administration Pulls Back on Surveillance Agreement
02.05.07. NY TIMES.
America's Coming Dictatorship
04.05.07. Justin Raimondo, anti-war.com/ICH. The theory and practice of oligarchical "conservatism
THE BAD NEWS
Revealed: 439,000 snooping requests made.
21.02.07. G. Simpson. 'UK security and law enforcement agencies made nearly 439,000 requests to monitor people's phone calls, emails and post during a 15-month period, the spying watchdog has revealed."
No more Secrets
27.02.07. S. Boggan. 'Tony Blair insists his government is not building a Big Brother-style super-database. But all the talk of 'perfectly sensible' reforms and 'transformational government' masks a chilling assault on our privacy.' (NB: This word, 'transformation', gained popularity impetus from the Project for the New American Century [PNAC} in the military planning document, Rebuilding America's Defenses. You will see this word now used by most world leaders.)
Children of 11 to be finger printed
04.03.07. D. Leppard, Times on Line. CHILDREN aged 11 to 16 are to have their fingerprints taken and stored on a secret database, internal Whitehall documents reveal. The leaked Home Office plans show that the mass fingerprinting will start in 2010, with a batch of 295,000 youngsters who apply for passports and ID cards. … Opposition politicians and privacy campaigners warn that the plans show ministers are turning Britain into a “surveillance society”.
UK govt blasted over terrorism curbs
04.03.07. smh.com. ‘A judge last year threw out control orders that confined six terrorism suspects to their houses for 18 hours a day, saying they broke the European Convention on Human Rights by depriving the men of liberty without trial. P The Joint Committee on Human Rights, made up of legislators from both houses of parliament, voiced concern that the government was asking parliament to renew a power it said was "being routinely exercised in breach of the right to liberty" enshrined in the convention.’
New passport applicants must go for interviews
21.03.07. A. Travis, Guardian. · Information to be checked against personal dossier· Scheme breaks promises say anti-ID campaigners
Why George Bush is Insane
by Britain's Nobel Prize winner, Harold Pinter (The Assassinated Press). ""Earlier this year I had a major operation for cancer. The operation and its after-effects were something of a nightmare. I felt I was a man unable to swim bobbing about under water in a deep dark endless ocean. But I did not drown and I am very glad to be alive. However, I found that to emerge from a personal nightmare was to enter an infinitely more pervasive public nightmare - the nightmare of American hysteria, ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and belligerence; the most powerful nation the world has ever known effectively waging war against the rest of the world. ... The United States and Britain are pursuing a course which can lead only to an escalation of violence throughout the world and finally to catastrophe."
UK: "Modernising police powers"
Includes extending police powers to take fingerprints, photos and DNA from "suspects" for any crime however minor - currently this power can be used if a person is simply arrested (since 1 January 2006 fingerprints and DNA can be taken and kept even if the person is not charged or convicted) - which is why the UK has the biggest DNA database in the world. Includes the statement that: "The absence of the ability to take fingerprints etc in relation to all offences may be considered to undermine the value and purpose of having the ability to confirm or disprove identification and, importantly, to make checks on a searchable database aimed at detecting existing and future offending"
Every child to be screened for risk of turning criminal under Blair justice plan
28.03.07. A. Travis, Guardian. · Police would demand DNA samples from all suspects · Tories condemn strategy as 'nanny state gone mad'
George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house
31.03.07. This is London. 'According to the latest studies, Britain has a staggering 4.2million CCTV cameras - one for every 14 people in the country - and 20 per cent of cameras globally. It has been calculated that each person is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily. Use of spy cameras in modern-day Britain is now a chilling mirror image of Orwell's fictional world, created in the post-war Forties in a fourth-floor flat overlooking Canonbury Square in Islington, North London.
On the wall outside his former residence - flat number 27B - where Orwell lived until his death in 1950, an historical plaque commemorates the anti-authoritarian author. And within 200 yards of the flat, there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move.'
Secret paper reveals Labour's lies over ID cards
07.04.07. This is London. The Government faces damaging claims of misleading voters over ID cards after documents revealed it always planned to make the controversial scheme compulsory.
Blair accused of fuelling terrorism and undermining war on poverty
11.04.07. Ben Russell/ Nigel Morris, Independent. A report by the Oxford Research Group (ORG), a think-tank, warned that the "war on terror" had made the world more dangerous. A separate study by Oxfam warned that Britain's ability to prevent human rights abuses had been undermined by the invasion of Iraq and a series of other foreign policy mistakes. The charity said its workers worldwide had recorded a "disturbing trend towards anti-Britishism" fuelled by perceived double standards in UK foreign policy.
Police chief points to risks of US-style focus on terrorism
20.04.07. J. Burns, Financial Times.
New Labour New Britain: How they changed our nation
24.04.07. Deborah Orr, Independent. 'A decade ago, Labour swept to power pledging to rebuild the trust between the state and its citizens. So why are our basic freedoms under assault as never before? In the first of a series of articles to mark the 10th anniversary of Tony Blair's historic landslide,' Deborah Orr argues that we have lost far more than we realise .
Big Brother microphones could be next step
02.05.07. P. Johnston, Telegraph. Hidden mini-cameras and microphones that can eavesdrop on conversations in the street are the next step in the march towards a "Big Brother" society, MPs were warned yesterday. Read comments on story, too.
THE GOOD NEWS
Judges blow hole in Blair's anti-terror strategy
30.04.07. Guardian. Deportation deal with Libya overturned · Dangerous suspects face torture risk, court rules
03.03.07. O. Burkeman, Guardian. A bold new documentary: The Trap: What Happened to our Dream of Freedom, Adam Curtis argues that the west has become trapped in a false idea of what it means to be human.
Freedom of the Press attacked. Journalists murdered, kidnapped ... sites shut down.
Dr. Hassan el Najjar ran an excellent website but has been forced to shut down. See: From Al-Jazeerah.info Editor to Readers
Devastating Moyers Probe of Press and Iraq coming
19.04.07. G. Mitchell, Editor and Publisher / anti-war.com
Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the U.K.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Tags: Index Research, Totalitarianism, Iran, war, US government