This film should be on every American's shelf, viewed entirely and acted upon. The movie should not be taken lightly and allowed dust to cover it. Watch it several times, recommend it to others, talk about it, act on it. Superpower has won several awards and will be long remembered throughout my life. Many thanks to my friend, Luisa, for telling me about it.
Superpower is a well-executed and comprehensive film that asks tough questions and goes behind the scenes of America’s national security apparatus and military actions. Far from a conspiracy film about the dangers of government secrets and regime change, this well-balanced film straddles the philosophical divide and allows viewers to understand the US quest for global dominance through economic and military strategy that is exposed through review of historical events, personal interviews, and analysis of US foreign policy.
MY NOTES FROM THE FILM (narrator's/speaker's voice):
Congress, Corporations, Military Industrial Complex, war profiteering (war corporatism) = treasonous to America
inventing threats, pushing NATO forces up to the door of Russia surrounding its borders
Where is Congress on this? Why are they approving the military budget every single year without intelligent debate?
I do not feel safe. Frankly, I believe a country is going to knock this imperialistic nation off its feet one day and humble America.
Kosovo (Clinton) did not have to happen. Manufactured war, unneccessary war just to justify NATO. We don't even talk about the military bases set up there which are not included in the official number.
NATO - cold war organization. no reason for this organization anymore. But Kosovo justified NATO and it has continued to expand...has expanded to Poland, Czech Republic and Bulgaria...means to be a member of NATO is to build military complex...means to buy military weapons from USA.
War Corporatism...a self perpetuating system...getting poor countries to buy airplanes they don't need...we export weaponry...we don't give it away, we sell it.
But who are our enemies? Who are our natural enemies? We have none!!!
The only thing we manufacture much of is weapons and munitions.
1980s Iran/Iraq War...8, 9 years of that - we're supplying both sides weapons. Kissinger said, "best outcome is if both sides lose." We funded both parties, allowed them to kill themselves, and come out smelling like a rose. We did it in Pakistan. In Afghanistan we created a mess...we created the Taliban...we urged Iraq to invade Iran...we created the problem...Namibia...Angola...we funded Unita to be Marxists...we helped both sides...M-16s - Africans don't produce those weapons...
CIA, KGB, secret organizations are known for funding and supporting BOTH sides.
We reawakened civil war by CIA supplying northern warlords
Al Qaeda, Taliban are creations of US and other western intelligence services...concocted to defeat Soviet Union in Afghanistan...ISI creation of CIA...US had long history with Taliban because we wanted to build oil and gas pipelines across Afghanistan.
If you want to judge US foreign policy, look no further than Osama bin Laden who is a creation of US...actively recruited by CIA...brought in to Afghanistan as part of Arab faction of Mujahadeen...we were starving Muslim children through sanctions against Iraq after the Gulf War...US main proponents of the sanctions...caused collateral damage for civilians...
1/2 million Iraqi children died over period of 8 years
US doesn't care about Iraqis...US cares about resources, strategic placement of our forces...it's about taking resources from 3rd world nations all over the world...every war that exists is basically a war over resources
In Iraq it was about harming and killing the most vulnerable...sick, old, children under 5...they died by the hundreds of thousands...gruesome deaths
As long as economic sanctions in place against Iraq, they could not sell their oil...meant the Saudis were able to double the oil they sold
Iraq War "unethical" because under the guidelines there must be a clear eminent threat of first strike...war of aggression...totally preemptive...the ultimate crime found at Nuremburg in 1946
Sadaam Hussein's military was in a shambles...military leaders so bad they made Gen. Tommy Franks look good (he was incompetent)
Presidents will tell you whatever they want to take us to war...Niger Uranium...Desert Storm...telling all sorts of lies
Valerie Plame: they cherry picked intelligence for their case for war with Iraq
Lie after lie after lie...but the lies aren't discredited until after the fact...took things not true and presented them as true to convince president/vice president this was a necessary war, which it was not...no rational link between al Qaeda and Sadaam Hussein...clearly fabricated...they spun that web of lies so well but everyone now knows it was lies
Office of Special Plans created by Wolfowitz, headed by Feith in 2002, not incompetent in propaganda, but quite incompetent with strategy...many forms of deceit...lies within lies within lies...knew in advance war with Iraq would exacerbate problems in middle east
Back to film... Should have dealt with Iraq War as criminal, not war on terrorism...lunaticly overreacted...
Ironic the US says they support democracy in the Middle East, but the two democratic countries there are Iran and Palestine. They elected democratic presidents, but because Bush didn't like who they elected, they don't count.
No WMDs? The US moved onto messianic plan to "bring democracy" to Iraq and the world...
Lt Gen (retired) Jay Garner said in 2004, "the US plans to be in Iraq for over 20 years"
Wouldn't have gone after Iraq if oil factor wasn't there...imperialistic discourse that justifies intervention in parts of the world where one wants to establish military bases to have control over the oil...that was motivation behind Operation Desert Shield...to protect oil interests in the region
Texas oil companies had broken sanctions with Iraq and were already paying Sadaam under the table to get most lucrative contracts so their names would be boosted to the top to buy Iraq's oil...Jordanian oil tankers were smuggling oil and offloading it to American tankers
If Saudis demanded their oil be paid in euros tomorrow, the dollar would collapse, stock exchange would collapse
Sadaam, about 1.5 years before the invasion had switched from the dollar to the euro as the currency for oil transactions...this was a real threat to the American system
Iran has made the same threat to switch to the euro, which is why the US talks about invading Iran
Asia holds about 50% of foreign reserves...china and Japan are financing the US economy for good reason: they want the dollar to remain high...they want the markets, so they're willing to lose money by buying treasury bonds instead of investing in euros...if countries like China and Japan call in their debts, it will be disastrous to the US and they will be asking for foreign aid...we could have a banking crisis on any given day
If the US was to pull out right now, there's a good chance there will be a proxy war in Iraq between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Suni and Shia regional powers...that could easily spill over into Kuwait, Saudia Arabia and Iran. Once you do that, it will only be a matter of time they start attacking those petroleum production and distribution points as a strategic objective in their little fight amongst one another. Once that happens, 20-30% of global output will be cut off...an economic global depression will hit the entire world if we lose 30% of the oil production - even if just for a week.
Iraqis want US out. What if we leave? Will it be worse than what we see now?
US presence in Iraq has been disastrous......confirmation of battle between east vs. west...led people to believe there's a battle between Christians vs. Muslims...that US is out to impose their way of life
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." Sinclair Lewis
We were there to protect the oil fields for Saudi Arabia from Sadaam...al Qaeda was upset with Christian soldiers being close to their holy sites...that was the #1 motivation...Osama bin Laden turned adamantly against the US...he was part of the faction within the Saudi government, among the Saudi royal family that lobbied for not allowing US troops into Saudi Arabia...it's the holy land...we can't allow nonbelievers into the holy land was bin Laden's rationale
In the US, we're supposed to believe the US would have liberated Iraq, even if its main export was say pickles. If the US was really interested in democracy, we would be pushing for regime change in those countries...but we're not.
The US has created enmity of unfathomable proportion in the middle east
The US is the dominant country in military, economic and cultural terms. It has nothing to do with our books, TV, sex or culture. What we do is going around the world bombing countries, overthrowing governments, supporting dictators, suppressing popular social movements, torturing people...all these terrible things we've been doing for decades and decades
The US is torturing and imprisoning people much like what we saw with the Soviet Gulag under Stalin. Now the US imprisons people for political differences with an application of torture in these prisons.
Torture should be off limits for a democratic society, yet GWBush used "extraordinary rendition" which means the kidnapping of people any place on earth, secretly flying them to places like Jordan Syria or Egypt ("black sites" where they will certainly be tortured. Numerous high ranking CIA officials have said if you want a good interrogation, send them to Jordan...if you just want them to disappear, send them to Egypt
But torture is useless they will confess to anything you want them to just to stop the torture...it is not an effective tool...this circumvents US law and violates international law
What kind of message does this send to the middle east and other countries if we don't abide by our own laws...while trying to spread "democracy". It damages the credibility of the US.
Under Bush, he was placed "beyond the powers of the Constitution"... Thus, the scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Nothing in the Constitution permits the President to commit felonies with impunity. Yet, within days of 9/11, Bush issued orders to the CIA to abduct terrorists "suspects" from anywhere on earth. Whatever policies the US adopts on terrorism, those policies should be consistent with international law. The extraordinary renditions, abductions without access to legal counsel...all of that is troubling with both US and international law...
The US could be considered a terrorist state
Any number of Latin American terrorists are graduates of US military training for state terrorism...been doing it for years...any number of famous latin american torturers of civilians are graduates of The School of the Americas
El Salvador...Nicaragua...the US funded and trained terrorists
If you want to counter terror, build justice...not use undemocratic behavior in a democratic world
US actions in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo have really hurt the US image...we have betrayed our own principles...Gitmo violates Geneva Conventions, not just prisoners of war but civilians as well - people out of combat...we call them "unlawful combatants" to bypass "prisoner of war" issue...then there's the leaked memo that says "we don't have to abide by the Geneva Conventions" in this case
Many "unlawful combatants" were removed from their homes without any justification that they were terrorists...it's a high crime and misdemeanor to order felongs to go around and kidnap people around the world without cause...90% of people at Gitmo were not arrested by Americans but rather by North American alliances who were paid huge bounties every time they brought in a supposed terrorist
If the truth about renditions and prisoners is hidden from public scrutiny, are there other deceptions by government leaders? [you betcha!]
It's difficult not to be gullible because we want to believe our government is knowledgeable, not going to lie to us
Since the Korean War, the US has been involved in large and small scale wars, insurgency campaigns, election manipulation, regime changes, assassinations and covert operations...continually...to all regions of the globe to the present day. Covert operations, even when successful, may result in negative blowback against US foreign policy. Secret operations might be necessary for security of the nation, but there is little accountability or public oversight.
Any secret organization is corrupt. It doesn't necessarily start out that way, but it becomes corrupt because it can hide personal failings, it can hide wrongdoing, it can hide greed, lust for power...and who the hell is riding herd over it?
No citizen can hope to do oversight over the DoD or the 16 [60?] intelligence agencies since so much of what they do is secret. 40% of the defense budget is black (highly classified projects...allegedly, because we don't know)...usually they are boondoggles that send congressmen to prison for bribery and the sort
Secret military organizations are a threat to our republic...Delta Forces answered to no one
Covert Operations...many times false flags...1933 Reichstag Fire (pivotal poin in establishing Nazi Germany...1947 Operation Gladio (covert "stay behind" paramilitary cells throughout Europe), 1953 Operation Ajax in Iran (US & British conspire against Mossandegh), 1954 Levon Affair (Israeli sponsored bombings against US and UK interests in Cairo), 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident (pretext for US involvement in Viet Nam), 1999 Russian Apartment Bombings (by the FSB that precipated the 2nd Chechen War)
"False Flag" is pretty much self descriptive: a deceptive attack...blame an attack on someone else...even attack that was "created"
9/11 - some say 9/11 is the modern version to take away civil liberties
Start a war with Iran...start a domestic event and blame the Iranians for that
Gulf of Tonkin was a total lie that US ships were attacked...used by Johnson as a pretexted to expand the war
Take little bits of truth and demonize your enemy such that at the slightest provocation or incident, Americans can say "yeah, let's bomb them!"
When a superpower uses force to gain economic and political control of finance capital in less developed regions, it is termed IMPERIALISM. Traditionally, imperialism is thought of in economic terms, and we continue to exercise a great deal of economic imperialism
One has to realize it is the dominant group that sets the rule, to the extent that Bretton Woods (?) accord...system was created when most of these countries were not even nations...they were still colonies. This dominant group, The US (Bretton Woods), sets the rules of the IMF or international banking system (World Bank). Those rules were set without consultation or without caring what the colonies felt...with the emergence of the colonies into nation states in the 1960s, it became difficult for IMF to still use the rules that were applicable in the 1940s.
The World Bank and IMF were part of the Bretton Woods agreement...you can say they're sister agencies to the UN.
The World Bank is an international organization, not subject to any form of congressional scrutiny. The US is the major shareholder of TWB...as a practice, the US always appoints the President of TWB. The Europeans appoint the Managing Director of the IMF. When they give a loan, it comes with the demand that the recipient government cut back very sharply on its social welfare programs, and all kinds of price supports, health, help and so on. This causes great hardship on the people of the recipient nations.
Powerful forces like the World Trade Organization (WTO), the IMF and TWB are the main proponents of globalization policies. Critics point out that this formula of globalization is being forced and propelled by transnational corporations who are largely unaccountable for their actions, aided by these institutions and governments.
The Third World is heavily in debt. It owes money to its international creditors...owes to TWB...owes to the IMF...what is call "The Paris Club"...and it can't pay off its debts. These nations have to cut back on their expenditures to appeal to foreign investment. TWB and IMF policies of conditionality have really caused alot of harm....demanding instant demand of release of price controls, deregulated the exchange rate and prices went sky high...then they said we can't increase wages because that causes inflation, in the meantime people's earnings had collapsed by 90%. Always, one of those is increasing interest rates at often ridiculously high levels of 20%+ which in turn stifles domestic investment - because who can borrow money to invest to aid economic development at that rate within the country...very few - while assuring a high return on foreign investment.
Sujarta in Indonesia - perhaps most corrupt dictator - has billions of debt. Rather than impose conditions on the dictator who robbed the people, conditions are placed on the people...destroying their lives...so the debts can be paid off to the rich investors.
The money that goes into the privatization fund actually is intended to pay back the people, while the creditors who are very often involved in acquiring the assets which are being put on the auction block
Clearly, those policies that require overnight privatization create hardship in the countries where they are practiced. It is like taking advantage of a desperate person. These economic policies are repeated worldwide. Many immigrants to the US are indeed desperate. Often, they are seen as scapegoats on a faltering US economy...they take jobs unfilled by Americans that would otherwise be outsourced.
The real problem presented by illegal immigration is security...not the supposed threat to the economy. The militarization of the border was initiated by Clinton in 1994 - Operation Gatekeeper. Something else happened in 1994: NAFTA was implemented. They can perceive the effect of NAFTA is going to undermine Mexican agriculture, which cannot compete with highly subsidized US agribusiness...undermine small Mexican businesses which aren't going to be able to compete with US corporations that get national treatment in Mexico...so sooner or later there will be a flood of people coming to the US so they will have to militarize the border.
The security at the Mexican border is a joke.
"There are other ways to keep a country safe. It is to think that we are people...we are human...we have families...we have life...we have dreams...we just want to be and work together."
When talking about the US and Mexico relationship, and Latin America and the Carribbean from a trade perspective, you're talking about two main pacts: NAFTA (Mexico) and CAFTA, which includes Carribbean countries and several other Central American governments. CAFTA is not good because US commercialization will take advantage of low wage workers in these areas.
The US Director of the IMF once described the IMF as "the credit community's enforcer". The IMF is basically a branch of the US Treasury Department and is dedicated to undermine the threat of capitalism and democracy.
Used to be that countries were considered superpowers. Now we see it is CORPORATIONS and TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS that are the superpowers.
If we look at who is behind US public policy -- it's Wall Street. Whoever controls the market, controls policy.
Regime changes, transnational corporations, 9/11...how are these connected?
The IMF and TWB started to perform a new role which was that of exerting control over these highly indebted countries and establishing an alternative, parallel government to the national government of these countries.
"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statemanship of today." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
The problem is that globalization has gone so fast that we lack the structures to adequately regulate it.
The elite of the elite are in effect running the world. Investment bankers are the invisible government...the real powers behind the throne. That combines those two things...what makes the world go around? It ain't love...it's money and power.
"When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation. Money has no motherland, financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
The end is the execution of American financial power wherever it decides to take it and exercise that power in the world.
September 11, 1991: "It is a big idea, a new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause...when we are successful, we will be..." ~Bush Sr.
"We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order." ~ David Rockefeller
PNAC - a position paper by the neocons outlining what they want to see as the future role of the US which was basically to dominate the rest of the world - economically, militarily, culturally. But they needed some change to take place before that was possible...and that change might be possible only if it was precipitated by some catastrophe such as Pearl Harbor. Considering these people were major players in government at the time (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz etal), one can see how 9/11 would work to their advantage.
Are you happy with the official story of what happened with 9/11? Unfortunately, the majority of Americans buy the mainstream media version, which very often turns out to be a crock of lies usually fed by government officials.
DH Griffin Wrecking Company of Greensboro, NC - chosen by DDC as consultant in charge of all demolition operations at the WTC site following the 9/11 disaster. The company response team oversaw and approved all demolition activities associated with the cleanup project.
Weeks Marine Inc (?) of Cranford, NJ was responsible for offloading by barge for Manhattan more than 100.2 million tons of structural steel and other debris. No one from FEMA would talk with this reporter who tried for over one year to talk with David Griffin Jr to find out if he could shed light on demotion caps being found in the debris, or if he knew why evidence was removed before thorough forensic analysis took place. All attempts for an interview were rejected with no explanation.
Mogan Reynolds, Chief Economist - US Dept of Labor under GHW Bush: "It's all fakery. Arab hijackers didn't do all this. It was an inside job. It was elements of our own government. 1/3 of US population believes GWBush was responsible for 9/11 - either they directly arranged it, or they made sure it happened. What's particularly striking, talk about American democracy, this huge amount of people thinks this country is run by mass murderers who are purposely murdering Americans, yet they don't think they can do anything about it."
This goes along with the PNAC theory that it would take a major disaster to cause fear in the American people, who then in turn would give the government liberties they wouldn't otherwise give them...give up their own liberties and allow the government to take actions they wouldn't otherwise agree to in order to put that plan in motion.
The 9/11 attack on US soil created fear, frustration, resentment and retaliatory strikes against Afghanistan, and with subsequent preemptive strikes against Iraq.
Osama bin Laden's been dead since 12/18/2001. He was at the Battle of Tora Bora, there was an American team that made its way there, there were two Afghan militias holding the Arabs...the foreign fighters in that big, long defensive position at Torgar Mountain. It took several days to realize Osama was there...eventually they got an air strike in late in the day when he would come out of his cave to communicate with his fighters. He was bombed. If he survived the initial one, he didn't survive the pounding on that mountain where they sealed off the caves where the survivors had gone back into that collapsed. He has never been credibly seen from or heard from since. One of the members of the team who brought that about told me this story, and a book is coming out about that.
There's no doubt we have a military industrial university congressional complex of interlocking interests that also includes journalism that is turned into a propaganda tool to promote that we are still an exceptional country.
The media is slower than congress in finding its backbone. We may be in the age that the independent media's gone the way of the buffalo. If we do, it's a great danger to our republic.
There's a deeply ingrained imperial mentality which almost has a compelling effect on accepting the nobility of the state for whatever it's doing...it's called American Exceptionalism.
We're all brainwashed...psyoped into "we're so good!" "we're the only nation so great in world history..." "we can do no wrong..." "we're always the good guys and our government is too..." It's been called the "Disneyfication of History."
One of the main obstacles to making an impression on the American mind about US foreign policy...the main obstacle to changing their views is that they hold a very basic deepseated belief that no matter what the US government does abroad, no matter how bad it may look, the government means well...that the government's intentions are honorable. The thought is the government may lie on occasion, they may blunder, sometimes they may do more harm than good...but this basic belief teaches Americans that their intentions are ignoble. If you hold this belief, it's very difficult to accept the idea that the US government in Iraq, for example, is doing something they shouldn't do, because the intentions are good. Therefore, the policies of the US government on foreign affairs is not questioned. It's very difficult to change peoples minds about that. Americans have been raised to believe this since WWII, thought of as the "good war", that our interventions have been for good reasons...that we've been fighting an evil called COMMUNISM, and now an evil called TERRORISM. We've overthrown dictatorships...this is all part of the mythology.
A rule of thumb: if Corporate media and government tell you something and its controversial, the corporate media and government are lying...it's Reynold's Rule.
Before the invasion of Iraq there was a big demonstration with two million demonstrators. When we went home to our TVs, it was like there were only a few thousand people on the streets. But, those two million demonstrators in D.C. were shown in the Arab world on Aljazeera.
The dedication to ensure there is no alternative voice is near fanaticism. The US is dedicated to destroying Aljazeera.
"I always encourage my students to go on the internet, go to bbc, Arab News agencies, aljazeera.com, because more likely than not the truth is somewhere in between. Much as it would like to, government cannot control information. Fact is, technologically, it cannot control information.
China is a totalitarian state regardless what they may say, and they try extremely hard to manage the internet but they can't do it. So if China can't do it, the US can't do it.
The antiwar movement in the 60s was a target of attack by the FBI and other intelligence agencies. Whenever there's a challenge to US policy, especially foreign policy, there will be an attack. In the 60s, many protested about foreign policy in Viet Nam, burned draft cards and fled the country. In June 1967, former world heavy weight, Cassius Clay (Muhammed Ali), was convicted of violating the selective service act for refusing to take the oath of induction to service and fight the Viet Nam War by claiming he was an ordained black muslim minister and should be exempt.
We don't want to institute a draft, so its a dilemma for the US because the American people are too disengaged from empire....they don't want to pay attention...the government doesn't want them to pay attention and the draft would create that.
FASCISM is an authoritarian political ideology that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the needs of the state. Without safeguards and the new powers given to the federal government, American civil liberties could vanish.
This is the nature of fascism. It's not one party-two party with a vibrant political system. This is the institution which challenges anyone who challenges the institution, which could be film makers (like those putting together this documentary), anybody. The system has promoted a system of intolerance, inequality and a system of violence...because any time a country has stood up to the US, they've risked their lives and the lives of their children and their future.
"The Military Commissions Act contravenes human rights principles." ~ Amnesty International
An editorial in the NYTimes described the act as "...a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation's version of the Alien and Sedition Acts." ~ NYTimes...this is a dangerous bill.
The US today finds itself in an extremely fragile, unstable configuration in which it must make some very difficult, costly choices...or else, like the Roman Republic, we will lose our domestic democracy and become a military dictatorship.
We could be repeating...recapitulating the history of the Roman Republic...if we continue down this facade of constitutional government...until we are one huge industrial military complex...at that point, we'll simply turn it over to the Pentagon.
Gen. (retired) Tommy Franks already said in print that in case of another 9/11 he sees no choice but for us (Pentagon) to take over.
Since 9/11 we've seen this restriction of civil liberties, the increase of the police state. Where this leads is hard to say.
There's nothing more unstable than a country that combines domestic democracy with a foreign empire. It can be one or the other...an imperialist nation or a democratic nation. But if it tries to be both, it's going to lose its democracy that the military will ultimately take over.
Ever since 9/11, we've been wrestling with constitutional dilemmas of national security, presidential war powers and the constitutional civil liberties. The way in which we discuss, define and resolve these issues are the ways in which we discuss our disagreements...or come to agreements are important to people around the world, especially to those in aspiring democracies.
What is the price of freedom, and are we giving away our rights without question?
Reminds you again of Benjamin Franklin's statement: "If you give up your civil liberties for greater security, you don't deserve either your liberty or your security."
There are alot of things Americans are prepared to live with for their security, including the inconvenience at airports and such. When you start talking about tapping telephones, getting bank records and such without a court order, most Americans are very uncomfortable with that.
The judiciary committee issued documents for GWBush's program of eavesdropping without warrants, where Bush used his authority as CInC following 9/11. The VPs office refused to cooperate - operating outside the law and against the law.
The Patriot Act: "The most abominable, unconstitutional, hateful...from the point of freedom...piece of legislation since the Alien and Seditions Act of 1978." Napolitano
Policies enacted here in the US in the name of anti-terrorism have serious repercussions for our civil liberties, whether in the form of legislation like the Patriot Act or data mining.
Cindy Sheehan: "We live in a country that spies on its citizens without warrants, can read our emails and check our bank accounts without a warrant. We live under a regime that took away our rights to habeas corpus and due process...and that's anybody GWBush says is a terrorist. I'm just waiting for my turn."
Any form of control is potentially destructive...ID chips, surveillance, smart ID cards.
The Soviet Union started this same hysteria of fighting against "terrorism" "enemies of the people"
What's interesting about the Patriot Act is how long it had been in the works. 9/11 offered these unscrupulous people unbelievable opportunities...and they went back and simply hit the print button on their computer...it was there and ready to go. The Patriot Act must have been written in advance because it was submitted to Congress only days after 9/11. No way could such a large piece of legislation be prepared in that amount of time.
Napolitano: "John Ashcroft told the House Judiciary and Senate Committee the Patriot Act was so important that they didn't have time to read the statute before they could vote on it! Imagine that? Two members of the senate claimed they read it and one of them is now dead, Paul Wellstone who voted against it...Russ Feingold says he read it and voted against it...Ron Paul and his buddies in the House were given 15 minutes on the House intranet to read the Patriot Act...it's 315 pages long and it doesn't read like a novel! I have read it twice. In order to read it, you have to have in front of you the entire US Criminal Code, because most of the Patriot Acts says "in 14 U.S.C. move the comma" "change or to and" "change 6 months to 8 months" ... it would take days to read this...members of the House without opportunity to read it at all...with no debate on the floor...fearing what John Ashcroft told them, voted for the Patriot Act. The Senate voted for it with two dissents...it passed."
The Patriot Act was openly being debated...until the "anthrax scare" when all bets were off. New provisions were added to the Patriot Act...hastily printed without enough copies for every member of congress to see it.
What about the First Amendment that says "congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech." But the Patriot Act says if you tell anyone...your spouse, lawyer, priest, best friend, judge in a courtroom that you received one of these self-written search warrants, you'll be arrested when you walk outside the court room.
Congress just forgot about the First Amendment.
All these various edicts have been compounded by the Patriot Act that added all these new exemptions, new clauses, new gimmicks that simply make our police and intelligence services less accountable
What about the Fourth Amendment? What about the requirement for a court order from a judge to get information from a financial institution? Congress said "forget about it...the times are too tough...it's too difficult...we don't want another 9/11"
The president chose to do - secretively - to order NSA to begin to carry out a massive collection of information against American citizens...clear violations of foreign surveillance intelligence act of 1978, which was also intended to get around Article 4 of the Constitution...illegal intrusions into our lives, and to at least provide some kind of court sanction.
Various forms of spying which the Bush Administration admitted. The way they admitted it was always quite interesting...it's always for our "safety."
Here's the bargain...give me your freedom and I'll keep you safe...which has NEVER worked. It makes us LESS FREE and UNSAFE.
It's all based on FEAR. Post 9/11 is a prime example of that...Patriot Act...create an atmosphere of fear, then you undermine civil rights legislatively...ultimately the underpinnings of our democracy are threatened by that much more than they are by the terrorists.
By FEAR MONGERING it helps them consolidate power and encourages people to give up more liberties so they can do what they want to do.
Today the president tries to say, because of the CinC Clause in the Constitution, if I say its a matter of national security, anything I do is legal and nobody can touch me on it. That's something new and what we keep wondering...when will the Supreme Court wake up and begin to pay attention to what we in this country are about to lose...our civil rights?
Congress has lost its backbone as the defender of the institution. The history of the expansion of presidential powers is to get broader and broader...to imagine emergencies when they're not really emergencies and to justify the exercise of power in that way.
There are dictators all over the world that the US and Britain and other countries haven't done anything to stop them for their genocide and actions in their own countries. But because Iraq has oil, that's the one thing that makes the difference and why we're there now.
Why aren't we in Darfur? Joey Cheek (?) is an olympic gold medal skater. In 2006 he donated his winnings to The Right To Play Organization, serving Darfur refugees in Chad. What has the government done?
Darfur, for example...there we've been dragging our feet tremendously. This is something people find difficult to understand...the Europeans especially, because we had always sought the leadership position in helping people who were in dire straits.
GENOCIDE is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a national, political, racial, ethnic or cultural group. Modern democratic governments are not known to have committed domestic genocide. Documented cases of this are seen in countries whose governments are authoritarian, dictatorial or totalitarian.
Since the end of the Cold War we were going to have a new world order and intervene in different places to protect human right. That all came crashing down with the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 when nobody stepped in as 800,000 people were killed in 100 days. Yet, it seems to be playing out again in Darfur, since that crisis has been going on for about as long as the War in Iraq. Whatever we do now is going to be too little, too late.
We know when we do evil things. It was Ronald Reagan who invented the phrase for the Soviet Union "Evil Empire." But I also have no doubt today we are the evil empire.
"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." ~ Plato 427-357 BC
The government is unconstrained. They do what they think they can get away with, and they've gotten away with a tremendous amount so far. We can only work to try and get the beast under control...bring this rogue superpower under control without another war.
There can be the potential for a rogue element if it's coupled with radical right wing ideology...and it always is it seems to be because that's the sort of activity that gravitates to that world.
In 1986 the World Court condemned the US for "unlawful use of force" against Nicaragua and ordered the US to terminate support of the Contras.
The President (Bush) has engaged in activities that are clearly not authorized in the Constitution for him not to do. He got a vote to invade Iraq by sending to Congress a national intelligence estimate that he and the authors of the CIA all knew was dishonest when they sent it to them. None of it had anything to do with WMDs, terrorism, 9/11 or Iraqi democracy or anything good for the Iraqi people.
One of the big problems here would be they could fast forward this thing into a full bore fascist police state as the worst outcome if they stage another 9/11, which I don't doubt they would do when they see the need.
The Constitutional System has come apart...it is clearly a shambles. If you believe today the government bears some resemblance to that document written in Philadelphia in 1787, the burden of proof is on you.
The Constitution is basically defunct now that our country is behaving in the most radical, imperialistic ways in our name...creating enemies by the second...accumulating debt by the second because someone has to pay for it.
The Bill of Rights is wonderful, but it's meaningless if the separation of powers breaks down...checks and balances...that's what keeps us going. When you combine this with an almost out of control defense budget that is threatening bankruptcy here, the intrusions of the industrial military complex into the civilian economy to the point that today that a great deal of what we're spending in this one trillion dollars a year - more than any other defense budget on earth combined - it's astronomical.
It is the decency and wisdom of the American people...they want to believe their leaders...but if you lie to them long enough, they will realize the difference that what you say and what you do, and they will eventually turn...they always do...and they're doing that now.
Since Korea, Viet Nam, El Salvador, Nicaraqua, Panama, Grenada, the first Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan, now this war in Iraq...and they talk to us about this great "War on Terror"...but the greatest terror we face is the terror of what will happen if we continue to pour our wealth, productivity, resources into constant war...we're being driven and pulled in very wrong directions by some very reckless and dangerous people.
One of the paragraphs in my manifesto is this: "It's the first duty of the strong to protect the weak." It's not the duty of the strong to prey on the weak. It's not enough to be strong....we also have to have the moral authority to lead.
We have a way of dealing with unsatisfactory political leaders...it's called IMPEACHMENT. I guarantee you, it's a high crime and misdemeanor to lie to the American Congress and the people on going to war with a fake setup national intelligence estimate. If a real prosecutor came in, we have enough to arrest and indict by a grand jury a number of people, from Bush and Cheney on down.
[various activists talk about being arrested in past war protests, when their world view changed and caution people about moving to violence in their protests and expectations]
The antiwar movement for Viet Nam was succeessful...as a whole...we helped end that war....we established the context where there was no alternative but for the government to withdraw. Also, the antiwar movement was within the military. It got so rebellious and mutinous that they couldn't be used...they had to be withdrawn.
Each individual has to best figure out how they can contribute to research, education and/or activism.
"I began to speak out against misuse of power and intelligence to foment a war that had been long desired."
"I turned in my commanders for violations of the Geneva Conventions."
"Don't get a government job...try to keep your financial and intellectual independence...a willingness to accept your government may lie to you because historically our government has lied to us"
"It is the duty of the Patriot to protect his country from his government." ~ Thomas Paine
If there's something we don't like...as citizens...and think is wrong, do something about it...write a letter, make a phone call, send an email, ask the question, write the President, talk to your congresspeople, do demonstrations, talk to the media, educate people like Ghandi did and confront them with the truth and ask them to act on that.
The greatest impact of the Civil Rights Movement on me was the notion that what an individual does CAN make a difference.
"I went to a major intersection on the border in Iraq...this was on the day the president authorized Desert Storm...I had to be arrested or do something because I didn't want to be a part of the military in any capacity when the war broke out. These tanks and heavy duty artillery were heading toward the front line. With that Tianenmen Square incident in my mind, I decided to hold my hand up towards the traffic and took off my uniform as a sign of resignation."
"The power each of us has in our own lives to think, to act, to choose what we believe or don't believe...this power, every time it's exercised, is a hand grenade against the state."
"Know what the law is generally, understand the Constitution and rights that we have...an educated, intelligent, informed citizenry is the best [force] against tyranny.
Eisenhower: "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial military machinery of defense for our peaceful methods and goals so security and liberty may prosper together."
Chalmers Johnson: "I don't think we're wasting our time to alert citizens to the dangers we're in and to their delicts [?] as citizens."
We need to make people "accept personal and moral responsiblity for their actions"
Truman: "There are times in world history when it is far wiser to act than to hesitate. There is some risk involved in action...there always is. But there is far more risk in failure to act."
Margare Meade: "Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Susan B. Anthony - Women's Suffrage, Juliette Lowe - Girl Scouts of America, Rosa Parks - 1955 Civil Rights Movement, Peter Beneson - Amnesty Intl, MLK - Civil Rights Movement, Mother Teresa - Humanitarian, Lech Walesa - 1980 Solidarity, Bob Geldof - 1985 Live Aid, Kathy Kelly - Voices for Creative Non-Violence)
What will you do?
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I have just sent the
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