Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Pentagon Is the President's Private Army

By Fred Reed
November 4, 2008
Courtesy Of

The Pentagon, methinks, is out of control. We no longer have a military in service to the state, but a state in service to the military. Few notice (I suspect) because of two ingrained habits of mind.

First, we think of the President as just that, the President, the country’s civilian governor who, oh yeah, is technically the Commander-in-Chief. “Technically,” because he isn’t really in the military and doesn’t strut about in a uniform with ribbons and feathers. He seems more a CEO than a general.

Second, we tend to think of the military as a federal department under civilian control. The Pentagon carries out policy, we believe, but doesn’t make it.

Would it were so. The military today is hardly under civilian control. Note that Congress long ago gave up its power to declare war. This is crucial. Politically it is far safer to acquiesce in a war than to declare one.

In practical terms, the checks and balances in the Constitution no longer restrain the Commander-in-Chief, and thus not the soldiery. (The Supreme Court has become a mausoleum. It might be replaced by a wax museum without anyone’s noticing.) The Pentagon is now the private army of any president who chooses so to use it.

Our foreign policy has been militarized. This is not just a matter of countless alliances and bases abroad. A few days ago, the military attacked Syria. This, an act of war, was a result not of national but of military policy. So far as I know, the attack was neither ordered nor authorized by Congress. The soldiers do as they please, and we find out about it later. This is not civilian control.

Such occurrences are inevitable when the military controls policy. Soldiers are truculent by nature, think quickly of military solutions, and need enemies to justify both their existence and their budget. Among recent consequences: attacking Syria, occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, bombing Pakistan, bombing Somalia, threatening Iran, threatening North Korea, encouraging Israel to bomb Beirut, arming Georgia, and aggressively expanding NATO to encircle Russia.

Ominously, we now accept that the behavior of the armed forces is none of our business. Note the years of expectancy as we waited to see whether the Commander-in-Chief, a de facto six-star general, would attack Iran.

I suspect that few realize how militarized the United States itself has become. The transformation has been inconspicuous. The Pentagon avoids undue attention. Quietly it has expanded its reach.

Abolishing the draft was an important step, since it severed any connection between the upper levels of society and the armed forces. The educated don’t much care what the army does as long as they don’t have to help do it.

The economy also has been militarized. Although the United States has no national enemies, it spends phenomenally on a martial empire whose only purpose is to be a martial empire. Add up the “defense” budget (it was last used for defense in 1945), the war bills, black programs, Veterans Administration’s budget, on and on, and you reach a trillion dollars a year. A country in decline cannot long waste so much money. Perhaps as important, the military cannot spend so much without gaining great if unnoticed political power. In particular, the production of hugely pricey weapons has been woven into the economy to such an extent that it cannot be brought under control. Cancel the F22, the JSF, and suchlike, and the economies of politically powerful states go into recession. None dare do it. Close big bases? Whole towns would shut down.

The country has no need of such a military, and especially not of the formidably costly weapons. Having no plausible enemy of any sophistication, the Pentagon exercises itself by attacking primitive nations in the Third World, and usually losing. For this you do not need an F22. You could lose as well with slingshots.

The spectacle of an alleged superpower struggling to beat yet another collection of ragtag guerrillas may seem darkly comical, but winning or losing isn’t the point; the endless wars keep the contracts flowing, the promotions coming, and fuel demands for a larger army.

We would do well to bear in mind the dangers of excessive military influence in national life. Professional soldiers have little in common with the rest of the country. We like to think of them as Our Boys in Uniform, the brave and the true and the patriotic, defenders of democracy, and so on. It isn’t so. The officer corps is authoritarian to the roots of its soul, has little use for democracy, and prides itself on blind obedience. Soldiers do not readily distinguish between dissent and treason. Further, they regard civil society as an unworkable anarchy of weaklings who lack the will to fight.

The gap between military and civilian consciousness is huge. The ideal officer goes to a service academy where, in late and impressionable adolescence, he learns to walk in squares, always obey, and regard the polish of his belt buckle with insane concern. Thereafter the only answer he knows is “Yessir.” To a civilian, the conformism, the lack of independence and, yes, the pride in the lack are incomprehensible. Then, for thirty years, the soldier spends most of his time with similar people and comes to believe that it is not just a reasonable but the best way to live. Like cops, soldiers tend to socialize among themselves because they fit awkwardly into civil society. Watch a colonel at a civilian cocktail party. He isn’t sure whether he is “Sir” or “Bob.”

And soldiers seek war. They will say they don’t, of course. Can you imagine Tiger Woods spending thirty years practicing his golf swing without wanting to get into a tournament?

The military mindset is not American, not consonant with the ideals the country stands for and to some extent achieves. Most imperfectly, yet genuinely, America has cherished dissent and eccentricity and freedom. Yes, I know about the intolerance of small towns and I grew up in the South. But compare America at its worst to any military dictatorship.

Which is where we seem to be heading. Today the Pentagon – again, Mr. Bush is the Pentagon – openly seeks domestic power. For example, (this from Salon) Army combat troops will now be “assigned on a permanent basis to engage in numerous domestic functions” – including, as the article put it, “to help with civil unrest and crowd control.” That is, the Pentagon will be able to crush dissent. One expects this from Guatemala, which we seem bent on becoming.

Recall further that the Pentagon has been calling for the power to conduct domestic surveillance of the general population, as for example in its program of Total Information Awareness. The NSA, CIA, the Commander in Chief are all military or paramilitary, and Homeland Security is very much in the vein of military dictatorships everywhere. The new rights of the FBI to spy on everything from library records to habits of travel fit the pattern well. The FBI is not military but its behavior is authorized by the Commander-in-Chief. The lines are blurring.

We are going to pay for this.
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner Child Down a Well and the just-published A Brass Pole in Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be. Visit his blog.

Copyright © 2008 Fred Reed

Fred Reed Archives

The War Prayer

By Mark Twain
Courtesy Of Information ClearingHouse

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst,

Markos Production

The War Prayer

By Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation

*God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*
Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

Twain apparently dictated it around 1904-05; it was rejected by his publisher, and was found after his death among his unpublished manuscripts. It was first published in 1923 in Albert Bigelow Paine's anthology, Europe and Elsewhere.
The story is in response to a particular war, namely the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, which Twain opposed. See Jim Zwick's page "Mark Twain on the Philippines" for more of Twain's writings on the subject.

Transcribed by Steven Orso ( )

NOTE: The above and below videos were not the same as the one's posted on InformationClearingHouse, but were independentlt inserted by me.

The End Of International Law?

Posted by Robert Dreyfuss
On 10/28/2008 @ 10:35am
Courtesy Of

A parallel new Bush doctrine is emerging, in the last days of the soon-to-be-ancien regime, and it needs to be strangled in its crib. Like the original Bush doctrine -- the one that Sarah Palin couldn't name, which called for preventive military action against emerging threats -- this one also casts international law aside by insisting that the United States has an inherent right to cross international borders in "hot pursuit" of anyone it doesn't like.

They're already applying it to Pakistan, and this week Syria was the target. Is Iran next?

Let's take Pakistan first. Though a nominal ally, Pakistan has been the subject of at least nineteen aerial attacks by CIA-controlled drone aircraft, killing scores of Pakistanis and some Afghans in tribal areas controlled by pro-Taliban forces. The New York Times listed, and mapped, all nineteen such attacks in a recent piece describing Predator attacks across the Afghan border, all since August. The Times notes that inside the government, the U.S.Special Operations command and other advocates are pushing for a more aggressive use of such units, including efforts to kidnap and interrogate suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders. Though President Bush signed an order in July allowing U.S. commando teams to move into Pakistan itself, with or without Islamabad's permission, such raids have occurred only once, on September 3.

The U.S. raid into Syria on October 26 similarly trampled on Syria's sovereignty without so much as a fare-thee-well. Though the Pentagon initially denied that the raid involved helicopters and on-the-ground commando presence, that's exactly what happened. The attack reportedly killed Badran Turki Hishan al-Mazidih, an Iraqi facilitator who smuggled foreign fighters into Iraq through Syria. The Washington Post was ecstatic, writing in an editorial:

"If Sunday's raid, which targeted a senior al-Qaeda operative, serves only to put Mr. Assad on notice that the United States, too, is no longer prepared to respect the sovereignty of a criminal regime, it will have been worthwhile."
Is it really that easy? To say: We declare your regime criminal, and so we will attack you anytime we care to? In its news report of the attack into Syria, the Post suggests, in a report by Ann Scott Tyson and Ellen Knickmeyer, that the attack is raising cross-border hot pursuit to the level of a doctrine:

"The military's argument is that 'you can only claim sovereignty if you enforce it,' said Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 'When you are dealing with states that do not maintain their sovereignty and become a de facto sanctuary, the only way you have to deal with them is this kind of operation,' he said."
The Times broadens the possible targets from Pakistan and Syria to Iran, writing (in a page one story by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker):

"Administration officials declined to say whether the emerging application of self-defense could lead to strikes against camps inside Iran that have been used to train Shiite 'special groups' that have fought with the American military and Iraqi security forces."
That, of course, has been a live option, especially since the start of the surge in January, 2007, when President Bush promised to strike at Iranian supply lines in Iraq and other U.S. officials, including Vice President Cheney, pressed hard to attack sites within Iran, regardless of the consequences.

On October 24, I went to hear Mike Vickers, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, speaking at the Washington Institiute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israeli thinktank in Washington. He spoke with pride about the vast and growing presence of these commando forces within the U.S. military, noting that their budget has doubled under the Bush administration and that, by the end of the decade, their will more than 60,000 U.S. forces in this shadowy effort. Here are some excerpts of Vickers' remarks:

"If you look at the operational core of our Special Operations Forces, and focus on the ground operators, there are some 15,000 or so of those -- give or take how you count them -- these range from our Army Special Forces or our Green Berets, our Rangers, our Seals, some classified units we have, and we recently added a Marine Corps Special Operations Command to this arsenal as well. In addition to adding the Marine component, each of these elements since 2006 and out to about 2012 or 2013 has been increasing their capacity as well as their capabilities, but their capacity by a third. This is the largest growth in Special Operations Force history. By the time we're done with that, there will be some things, some gaps we need to fix undoubtedly, but we will have the elements in place for what we believe is the Special Operations component of the global war on terrorism.

"Special Operations Forces, I think through this decade and into the next one, have been and will remain a decisive strategic instrument. ...

"There's been a very significant -- about a 40 or 50 percent increase in operational tempo and of course more intense in terms of the action since the 9/11 attacks. On any given day that we wake up, our Special Operations Forces are in some sixty countries around the world. But more than 80 percent or so of those right now are concentrated in the greater Middle East or the United States Central Command area of responsibility -- the bulk of those of course in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Notice what he said: operating in 60 countries.

Of course, the very invasion of Iraq was illegal in 2003, and it flouted international law. So some may say, these cross-border raids are small potatoes. But they're not. This is a big deal. If it becomes a standard part of U.S. military doctrine that any country can be declared "criminal" and thus lose its sovereignty, then there is no such thing as international law anymore.

When Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked about this, here's what he said, as quoted in the Post article cited earlier:

"'We will do what is necessary to protect our troops,' Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in Senate testimony last month, when asked about the cross-border operations. Under questioning, Gates said that he was not an expert in international law but that he assumed the State Department had consulted such laws before the U.S. military was granted authority to make such strikes."
Not an expert in international law? He'll leave it to the State Department? And this is the guy that Barack Obama's advisers say ought to stay on at the Pentagon under an Obama administration?

Media Disinfo: Viet Nam, Iraq, and "The Wires"

So much of this country’s future will be shaped by what the news wires tell us about the present

By Sherwood Ross
November 23, 2008
Courtesy Of Global Research

It is a sad and dangerous development when supposedly objective news media yield to national pressure to slant the news in favor of the government.

This routinely happens in dictatorships at all times but it can happen in democracies as well, particularly in time of war. It was no surprise that, during the rape of Nanking, a correspondent for a Japanese daily paper wrote home giddily about a nauseating contest by two crazed officers to see which of them could be the first to behead a hundred Chinese prisoners! During the Second World War the Japanese press reflected government policy, and if the government was mad so was the press. Later, when Britain entered the war, a BBC broadcaster named George Orwell lied through his teeth to conceal the systematic bombing of German civilians by the RAF, and he wasn’t the only one.

Many American conservatives today believe “the liberal press” slants the news. (Liberals think the mainstream media, MSM, is conservative.) They single out The Washington Post and The New York Times to illustrate this bias. Yet it is not these two influential dailies that shape the news as much as the wire services. It is wire service copy, particularly that of the Associated Press and Reuters, that accounts for so much non-local news in the world press, and to most readers their names stand for objectivity.

The reports of these wires not only feed newspapers around the world but also thousands of broadcast outlets. AP is said to serve some 5,000 radio and TV stations and around 1,700 newspapers, reaching more than one billion people daily. Reuters, now Thomson Reuters, operates out of 200 cities in 94 countries, and competes strongly with AP. Much of what humanity sees and hears is prepared by wire service correspondents whose names are almost never household words and who, presumably, learned somewhere how to write an accurate, objective account of a news event. The role of the wire services takes on increasing importance, too, as financially strapped newspapers downsize house staff and purchase more wire copy.

Wire services influence public opinion not only by what they report but also about what they choose not to report. If a wire service knew of a major scandal, say, in Washington, and did not reveal it, the corruption could do much damage. Needed reforms would never be pressed. So it was disappointing to me to read what Pulitzer Prize-winner Peter Arnett had to say in his autobiography “Live From The Battlefield”(Simon & Schuster) concerning the manner in which his employer, the AP, slanted the news during the Viet Nam war, even if it didn’t suppress it. That war, possibly, might have been ended earlier if the American public possessed all the facts. Countless American and Vietnamese lives might have been saved.

“We (reporters) were…forced to examine battlefield reverses in terms of American and South Vietnamese inadequacies, rather than the communists’ competence,” Arnett writes.

“There were no limitations on our reporting on the courage or the transgressions of the American soldier, and we could praise or ridicule the tactics of U.S. commanders as factors in the pursuit of victory, yet it was understood that while we could be negative about the enemy we would not dwell on his military virtues…”

Arnett adds, “It would still have been professional suicide for us in the AP to suggest that the Vietcong insurgents and Hanoi’s regular forces were generally superbly trained and well motivated and seemed to believe in their revolutionary cause. We were dissuaded by our editors from suggesting that the Vietnam conflict contained significant elements of a civil war, even though every Vietnamese knew the truth of that description.”

And the result of not telling the full story? Arnett puts it well:

“I understood the confusion of the American public over the course of the war. Their government was telling them that the communists were on the ropes and their boys would soon be coming home. Then came Tet. I was surprised myself by the vast scale of the offensive but not by its tenacity and boldness. The skill, perseverance and rise of the Vietcong insurgents under the most difficult conditions was never properly acknowledged until the Tet Offensive, when their formidable capabilities could not be ignored.”

Thus, it was only when the Tet Offensive penetrated the media curtain did the tragic mistake the U.S. made in entering Viet Nam become widely apparent. Tet was a victory for the enemy that could not be concealed or slanted by any jingoistic media. By and large, though, if the press had not been doing its job in Viet Nam it would not have been the target of successive administration attempts to muzzle it. As Arnett writes, “If we had been as irresponsible as our critics suggested during that span of 13 years, then surely it would be obvious in hindsight. We survived the many investigations by the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations, all of which endeavored to manage Vietnam reporting by disparaging the press, and were not unwilling to use both the FBI and the CIA to achieve their ends.” So the media had to be doing something right. But if AP had allowed its reporters to tell the whole truth earlier, fully and frankly, the casualties and devastation might have been less epic.

Are the wire services slanting the war news today? Because AP slanted coverage in 1965 does that mean it has followed a like policy in Iraq? Has it succumbed to Bush administration pressure to act as a propaganda arm of government? How critical were the wire services of the Bush/Cheney/Rice/Powell lies about Iraq’s WMD that led up to the war? How much space did they give to anti-war critics? Walter Brasch, a professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University, Pa., said the AP “could have been stronger in questioning the (Bush) government” but he points out that “almost NO paper was questioning, including (N.Y.) Times and (Washington) Post.

Brasch added, “The problem is that AP tends to be so lacking of freshness and insight, it writes for the masses and tries to go down the middle. By doing so, it also doesn’t offend anyone.” He criticized “a culture among reporters that THEY don’t question. Too much of ‘he said/she said’ world. Too much observing but not understanding.” Going “down the middle,” however, might well be construed as “writing it straight.”

Depending on your viewpoint, AP can be a shill for, or a remorseless critic of, the U.S. government. Columnist Jules Crittenden, of the Boston Herald, asserts AP is an “anti-American news agency that seeks to undercut a wartime president and American soldiers in the field.” (Note: I have never heard anybody accuse the Herald of being a great newspaper.) On the other hand, the web site of Rowayton, Conn., reports, “A new study conducted at Sonoma State University shows widespread bias in AP news reports favoring U.S. government positions.” Peter Phillips, a sociologist at Sonoma State University, Calif., and director of “Project Censored,” says, “The American people absorb these biases (AP) and make political decisions on skewed understandings.” AP’s 3,700 employees in some 240 news bureaus are churning out so much copy, one can probably make a selection of the reports and argue either as Crittenden or Phillips do. Crittenden’s claim seem patently preposterous but Phillips might be wide of the mark, too, depending on his evidence. Unquestionably, though, Arnett made a strong case against AP’s bias during the Viet Nam war.

Seventy years ago, Curtis MacDougal, the journalism dean of Northwestern University, published a textbook titled “Interpretive Reporting”(MacMillan) that posited it wasn’t enough for reporters to gather the facts; it was incumbent upon them to explain to readers what those facts meant. A lot of journalists attempt to do precisely this, and it’s not an easy trick to be both objective and interpretive, especially when news sources lie frequently.

The objectivity of wire services merits careful scrutiny as so much of this country’s future, as sociologist Phillips points out, will be shaped by what “the wires” tell us about the present. Surely, a wire service’s first allegiance must be to the truth, not the nation-state. These days, it should be noted, multinationals routinely operate in their own interests even when it involves trashing their country of origin. They move offshore to avoid taxes; they transfer jobs to foreign countries to take advantage of cheap labor, etc. Surely a wire service whose primary obligation is to the truth can also transcend any nationalistic allegiance when it gathers and reports the news.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant and writer who formerly worked for the Chicago Daily News and for more than a decade contributed weekly reports to several wire services. Reach him at

Sherwood Ross is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Global Research Articles by Sherwood Ross

The War On Terror As Corporate Welfare

The Amazing, Endless, Bioterror Pork Conveyor

The War On Terror As Corporate Welfare...
By George Smith, Dick Destiny
Get more from this author
Posted in
3rd November 2008 12:46 GMT
Courtesy Of

Comment As the final days count down to the US election one can look at the past few years and be deeply disappointed at the country's approach to national security.

Rather than count off every single well-publicized major gaffe and fiasco, it's possible to list more minor things which, when taken together, indicate the country essentially as leaderless and adrift at sea as it is in everything else.

The first example is in the use of the war on terror as a continuous conveyor belt delivering corporate welfare.

As part of this stream, the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency recently tossed $158 million dollars at a management and engineering consulting company usually involved in water and power management, Black & Veatch, allegedly for defense against the threat of bioterrorism in the Ukraine. The company has been on the government teat through the DTRA since at least 1993, but none of its current board of directors advertises any experience in the field of biodefense - international or domestic.

Tossing money away mucking about in counter-bioterrorism in, hmmm, the Ukraine, is presented in local US newspapers as something fine. To view this appropriately, imagine its potential inverse - the Russian government starting up counter-bioterror offices in, perhaps, the state of Texas. That would be popular.

The alert reader has already noticed that the US has been the only country in the world in the last decade to have a minted bioterrorist roaming the street. Now, the travesty is not in the single award to one company for this type of work against an alleged external threat, but in the realization that the giveaway occurs monthly, sometimes even on a weekly, schedule.

Moving right along, since 9/11, every (and that's every) public government and paid-for-by-the-government threat assessment on al Qaeda or jihadi bioterror capability has been spectacularly wrong. To this writer's knowledge, none has ever been corrected. And none of the many assorted experts, analysts and technicians responsible for this empty work has been shown the door. There's no penalty for being wrong all the time.

WMDs - Made In America

Conversely, only Americans have used bacteria and toxins regarded as WMDs to cause illness and death. The case of Bruce Ivins has already been well-publicized. But fading into the rear view mirror is the embarrassment of illegal use of botox, unapproved for drug use and long said to be a favorite bioweapon of terrorists. In the real world it's misused by (pregnant pause) US doctors in the cosmetic industry interested solely in money-making schemes through dewrinkling clinics. And the only time* the production of ricin has amounted to anything has been when a lone indigent nut, Roger Bergendorff, poisoned himself, non-fatally, with castor seed powder.

However, through the mythology which has sprouted from the body of threat assessment - that bioweapons are easy to make - various parts of the country now endure a platoon of men in hazmat suits whenever the irate unbalanced choose to vent their spleen. "I'm mad as Hell!" rail anonymous Joe the Nuisances, shaking fists at the TV after they've spooned some flour into envelopes addressed to banks.

In terms of providing a vaccine as defense against anthrax, it's been about cornering hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed buys, a big slice from the Bush administration's $6 billion dollar Bioshield legislation.

* Editor's note: George is here talking in the context of the current 'war on terror', and is aware of the case of Georgi Markov referred to by several commenters. Markov was assassinated in 1978 by the injection of ricin weaponised for the Bulgarian secret service. In several previous articles George has covered the sheer impracticality of ricin of this purity being produced by terrorists, or indeed of it being any use to them.

Here's how it went: The US government commissioned a company called VaxGen to furnish a new anthrax vaccine to the order of 75 million doses - the aim being to have something which could immunize most of the American populace. Its rival, Emergent, lobbied successfully to cast doubt on the vaccine and ruin the company. The US government cancelled Vaxgen's contract, the company fell apart and Emergent stepped in to buy the vaccine it had labored to cast doubt on.

Now the process has started again, with another company, Pharmathene, with a different vaccine, bought from a British company, trying to give Emergent the same treatment the latter had pulled on VaxGen.

The last eight years has also seen the belief that some unique combination of American technology will make everything right put to death by reality. Of course, many still cling to it. For example, many like to imagine that Predator UAVs will end the war on terror by picking al Qaeda men out of crowds at opportune moments, blowing them away with surgical missile fire, like eliminating a colored plastic toothpick from a bundle of regular wooden ones. Obviously, this has been working well in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Others prefer to believe the US military is winning a war against improvised explosive devices with robots, computer analysis, eyes in the sky and jammers, despite the regular weekend listing of the dead by roadside bomb in the Sunday newspaper.

The Terror Gene

In similar witless fashion, the US has been quietly shoveling DNA samples from terrorists, aka detainees, into a database, abusing a basic scientific application and common sense for the sake of a secret bureaucratic process which guarantees another interesting exercise in mislabeling and the generation of ineradicable errors. By 2005, seven thousand were already in it and ten thousand more were "inbound from Afghanistan and Iraq," according to one recent report. Anyway, the word "terrorist" is clearly spelled out in the genome, right? Imagine this one in a Guantanamo court: "Sir, if you aren't a terrorist, why does your DNA match a sample in our database of official terrorists?"

There's also been the regular use of the war on terror as an opportunity to say anything for the sake of getting noticed. The best recent example is from Bill Bratton, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, who chose to inject himself into politics by writing an essay theorizing John McCain was Osama bin Laden's select choice for president. (Others have done this, too, but for the sake of this article's finale, we'll stick with Bratton.)

"Does our economic implosion make us a tempting target?" wondered Bratton in a New York Daily News op-ed. Perhaps bin Laden was planning to blow up an "economic target," he said.

Bratton mused that the country might expect a late October surprise, an increase in terrorism in coming weeks, and that bin Laden would be for McCain, simply because the Republican party's brand is rubbish worldwide and that's been good for recruiting. Confoundingly, this is diametrically opposite the Republican script, which has been that Barack Obama would be welcoming to terrorists.

The immediate conjecture here is that Bratton really wasn't concerned about terrorism, but he might be interested in signaling it was time to notice him for a job higher up. Head of the Department of Homeland Security, anyone? ®
George Smith is a senior fellow at, a defense affairs think tank and public information group. At Dick Destiny, he blogs his way through chemical, biological, and nuclear terror hysteria, often by way of the contents of neighbourhood hardware stores.

Related Stories

Inside the tent, the best bioterrorist money could buy? (4 August 2008)

Obama critical of Bush regime's bioterror fearmonger gap (1 August 2008)

The American way of bioterror - an A-Z of ricin crackpots (22 April 2008)

Football horns could spread Black Death, says Interpol chief (10 December 2007)

Analysis It's not too late to join the bioterror gold rush (7 December 2007)

Western Dilemma Spawns New Afghan Strategies

Worsening Situation In Afghanistan Spurring New Strategies

By Anand Gopal
November 4, 2008
Courtesy Of

KABUL - Western officials are increasingly turning to new strategies in an effort to stabilize Afghanistan and defeat the insurgency here, according to U.S. and Afghan officials. The various initiatives – from negotiating with the Taliban to arming tribal militias – have differing degrees of support from Afghans.

Violence has reached record levels this year, and Afghanistan is now considered a deadlier battlefield than Iraq. Insurgents are able to operate openly in areas close to the capital, and the central government's popularity is at the lowest point in its history. The situation is prompting a number of strategy reviews in Washington as the U.S. prepares for possible strategic shifts after the next president takes office.

Some officials are quietly considering a plan to arm tribal groups, in a move reminiscent of the American strategy in Iraq that is credited with decreasing violence there. "We are seriously looking into using tribes and local communities to provide security," says an American intelligence officer with the international forces.

"It will not work in the same way as Anbar" – the province in Iraq where the U.S. first tried the strategy of arming tribal militias – "but instead will be part of a general community-based approach," he says. He adds that this will include an effort to strengthen local governance as well as entrusting tribes to manage the security in their areas.

The idea is winning support in some sections of the Afghan government. A senatorial commission recently announced that it is developing a proposal for the increased role of arbakais, traditional Pashtun tribal self-defense forces, under government command.

Many say, however, that the plan is fraught with difficulties and dangers.The plan may only be effective in parts of the country, such as the southeastern provinces of Khost, Paktia, and Paktika that border Pakistan. In these areas, where the tribal structure remains strong and the influence of the central government is weak, local tribes have already established small arbakais on their own. However, in other parts of the country, such as Kandahar and Helmand, war, Taliban influence, and opium cultivation have eroded tribal independence. "My information, from studying Afghan history, is that arbakai works only in Paktia, Khost, and the southern portion of Paktika, and it's not likely to work beyond those geographic locations," Gen. Dan McNeil, head of the NATO forces in the country, told reporters earlier this year.

A bigger concern is the arming of non-government entities in a country rife with warlords and with a violent history of armed militias. Habibullah Rafeh, political analyst with the Afghanistan Academy of the Sciences, says that such military solutions may not bring peace, as they rely on the distribution of more weapons.

Ramazan Amon, pushcart vendor in Kabul, remembers the last time militias and warlords roamed Afghanistan freely. "They fired rockets at my home, destroying it," he says, referring to battles during the country's civil war in the mid-Nineties.

"Many of my neighbors were killed," he continues. "Our family had to flee our home. I don't want more weapons and militias – it will only cause more fighting."

While the U.S. mulls such options, policymakers in Washington and sections of the Afghan government are also considering negotiations with the Taliban. Last month, Kabul invited former Taliban figures to Saudi Arabia to explore future peace talks with the insurgency. Although the talks cannot be construed as peace negotiations since the former Taliban members were not representatives of the insurgency, some Afghan and Western officials hope that this will be the start of a negotiated settlement between the warring factions.

The prospect of Taliban figures entering the government has some women's groups and moderates worried about a return to fundamentalist rule. "If the Taliban returns, we will revert back to feudalism," says Sheila Samimi, manager of the Afghan Women's Network, a local NGO.

However, most Afghans say that a negotiated settlement with the insurgency may be the country's only chance for peace. "We are against Barack Obama's policy of sending more troops," says Fatana Gailani of the Afghanistan Women's Council, another local NGO. "We want reconciliation with the Taliban through a loya jirga," or grand tribal assembly.

"If talks with the Taliban can bring peace, I'll support it," says Shaferazeen, a painter who lost his leg to a rocket attack during the warlord civil war of the Nineties.

Current policy in Washington is opposed to negotiations with the most senior leadership of the insurgency, whom they have blacklisted.

The Afghan government, on the other hand, has said that it is willing to negotiate with all insurgents, including Mullah Omar. "Those Afghans that are blacklisted must be removed," says Bakhtar Aminzai, Afghan senator and a leading advocate of negotiations.

While some insurgent leaders, such as guerrilla commander Jalahuddin Haqqani, enjoy a close relationship with al-Qaeda, other sections, such as Mullah Omar's circle, may be more independent. The American intelligence official with the international forces says that there are tensions between al-Qaeda and Mullah Omar's circle, and other analysts say that the U.S. is looking to exploit these differences and isolate al-Qaeda. However, others contend that a split between al-Qaeda and the Taliban is not likely. The Taliban is still not completely ideologically and financially independent from al-Qaeda, says Waliullah Rahmani of the Kabul Center for Strategic Studies.

Mullah Omar refused to hand over bin Laden until the very last minute in 2001, so it seems unlikely that he would do so now, Rahmani adds.

Talk of major differences between al-Qaeda and the Taliban may just be rumors or the maneuverings of various international governments in an attempt to engineer a split, Rahmani says.
(Inter Press Service)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

US Dropping Charges Against Gitmo Detainees

Government Dropping Allegations Against Gitmo Detainees

Reversals Raise Questions About Future Of Guantanamo Prisoners
November 3, 2008
Courtesy Of
ABC News

The government has argued that the prisoners are among the world's most dangerous terrorists. But as the Guantanamo detainees' cases challenging their imprisonment move forward in federal court, prosecutors have begun dropping some of the central allegations they used to justify locking these men up as enemy combatants.

The reversals have raised questions about whether the government will have enough evidence to convince federal judges to continue to hold the couple hundred men still detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison, defense lawyers say.

"They've been holding these men for more than six years on the basis of these allegations and when a court looks at them they drop them," says Zachary Katznelson, a detainee defense attorney. "It sure looks to any rational observer that they must have something to hide."

In many instances, lawyers say, the government has. The vast majority of the newly filed factual returns explaining the government's central allegations against detainees have been changed and, say defense lawyers, have limited some of the assertions.

The government argues that filing such changes is necessary and that any limitation on changing the allegations "would preclude this Court from considering any wartime intelligence developed by the United States during the past four years," prosecutors wrote in court filings.

Part of the problem is that many of the allegations against detainees may rely on evidence derived from torture or other interrogation techniques that would be questionable in federal court. Others may simply have relied on untrustworthy sources.

The Supreme Court Ruling

Key to the challenge is the government's old process for justifying detention. When the Supreme Court told the government in 2004 that Guantanamo was not entirely immune from court scrutiny, government officials organized what became known as Combatant Status Review Tribunals. But earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled – in a case named for an Algerian detainees captured in Bosnia, Lakhdar Boumediene – that this process was unconstitutional

"Anyone who has spent any time looking at the CSRT process knows that it was rushed and that it doesn't meet hallmarks of basic fairness," said Vijay Padmanabhan, a former State Department official overseeing Guantanamo issues and now a professor at Cardozo Law School. "So it's not surprising that you're having to see the government come up with narrower cases because they know judges are going to have to look past mere assertions."

Take, for instance, the allegations against six Algerian men -- including Boumediene -- who were captured from Bosnia in 2002.

The U.S. government has claimed that these men planned a terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. Though they had been held in Bosnian jail, the country's highest court found there was not sufficient evidence and ordered them released.

The government relied on these claims in court -- through documents called factual returns -- until just a few weeks ago when it a filed a cryptic document noting that it was withdrawing its "reliance on certain assertions in amended factual return."

Lawyers for the detainees say that the filing made clear that the government won't argue that these men were involved in the plot.

It's not the only case. The government has alleged that an Ethiopian born detainee, Binyam Mohammed, was involved in the dirty bomb plot – the same one the government alleged Jose Padilla was involved with. In that instance, the government also dropped the charge.

The government's decision to drop that allegation has already faced skeptical questioning from a federal judge.

In Mohammed's case, the government's position is even more difficult. He alleges that he was rendered to Morocco and tortured and now the British government has launched an investigation into whether its intelligence officials were complicit in any torture, his lawyers say.

While the next administration may change the process for handling detainees or try to shut down Guantanamo, Padmanabhan said that "this entire process isn't going to disappear. For the most dangerous people there is still going to have to be a process for defending the decision to detain."


PHOTOS: Former CIA Agent Speaks Out

CIA: We Got Bin Laden Translator

WATCH: CIA Agent Speaks Out, Part 1

Report: U.S. Soldiers Did 'Dirty Work' for Chinese Interrogators

Coming in From the Cold: CIA Spy Calls Waterboarding Necessary But Torture

More from Brian Ross and the Investigative Team

States Of Mental Disempowerment

Deconstructing The Power Of The Global Elite Part II: States Of Mental Disempowerment

Written by
Judith H. Young , Ph.D.
Tuesday 21 October 2008
Courtesy Of The

In Part I of "Deconstructing the Power of the Global Elite," I discussed a threefold model of power: Brute Force, the Power to Hurt and Psychological Control. In Part II, I will address several forms of psychological control designed to induce states of mind that are inherently disempowering, that eliminate or severely diminish our will to take corrective action in the face of grievous harm.

As stated in a famous quote from Henry David Thoreau, the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation, marked by a state of resignation which is confirmed desperation. This phenomenon, which is so antithetical to the joyful natural instincts of newborns, has not come about by accident, but rather through the careful crafting of a cold-blooded global oligarchy. An oligarchy whose insidiousness calls to mind an ancient story in which a perfect murder is committed by Brak the ice man, who kills a woman with an icicle dagger: both he and his weapon melt away in the next day's sun, leaving nothing behind as a basis for prosecuting the crime.

For in addition to brute force and the power to hurt, the global elite uses another form of power that is as stealth like and chilling as Brak's perfect crime: sophisticated techniques for psychological control stemming in large part from the ability to mold the perceptions and behavior of the populace through mental and emotional manipulation of the very reality it experiences. As observed by Aldous Huxley in 1962 in explaining his novel Brave New World, these are methods of control that are "probably a good deal more efficient" than control "exercised wholly by terrorism and violent attacks upon the mind-body of individuals."1

Although it would take volumes to do justice to deconstructing the crimes against the human spirit perpetrated by the globalists, I will here attempt to expose several of their common themes: normalizing the abnormal, learned helplessness, and the disorientation of the betwixt and between syndrome. In my view, if we explore the ways these states of mind disempower us, they will be stripped of their disabling mystique and reveal the very ways they can be neutralized. This truth is stated well by Jungian Analyst and wise woman Clarissa Pinkola Estés in discussing the core agenda of terrorists, that of casting a net of mental poison over their victims by trying to deprive them of hope - by trying to limit their living life as a completely free person focused on goodness, love, peace, and happiness:

* "How strongly that poisonous net holds when one is unaware of what it is made of, and how easily it falls apart when one consciously begins to contradict its malicious urgings."2
Normalizing The Abnormal

Dr. Estés observes that the disorder of normalizing the abnormal is rampant across cultures. When there are formidable punishments for breaking silence, for pointing out wrongs, for demanding change, we cut away our rightful rage and become used to not being able to intervene in shocking events. Despair, fatigue and resignation follow.3

Normalization of the abnormal has been achieved in large part through the power elite's control of the news media and entertainment. This dominance has permitted not only deciding the "information" the public is allowed to receive, but also the molding of public opinion and behavior. One example is sponsorship of the TV show 24, carefully designed to desensitize the viewers to the use of torture. Another is the use of TV commercials showing stars cheerfully endorsing invasive personal identification technology, as part of a carefully designed program for grooming us to accept Big Brother surveillance and control, including the eventual implantation of microchips under our skin.

The power elite goes to any lengths to keep the public misled, distracted, fearful, and ultimately imprisoned in a matrix of disinformation, rampant consumerism and the lowest common denominators of human nature, including raw violence and mindless sexuality. As Huxley observed in 1962, the controlling oligarchy has long been at work developing scientific methods of control to "induce people to love their servitude" - to make them "enjoy a state of affairs which by any decent standard they ought not to enjoy."4 This dystopic scenario was echoed by Bertrand Russell, who predicted that as a result of the gradual and ruthless use of technological advances, "a revolt of the plebs would be as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."5

I would contend that the disorder of normalizing the abnormal consists in large measure of reshaping our very construct of human nature in terms of its basest parameters, especially in the areas of acquisitiveness, violence, and sexuality. Massive effort has gone into studying and modifying human behavior to serve the global elite's greed for money and power. The modern consumer is not reflective of genuine human nature, but rather a phenomenon created in great part by the psychoanalytic studies, experiments and recommendations of the brilliant capitalist asset Edward Bernays. The widespread aberration of a dumbed down populace, unaware and largely uncaring regarding its destiny, has taken years of careful elitist effort to orchestrate. And the disgusting extremes of human sexual behaviors that are fast approaching the excesses of the infamous last days of the Roman Empire are similarly a product of diligently researched scientific techniques of psychological and social control.

It is terrifying but essential to come into awareness that it is in great part the knowledge of human nature gained through the application of torture techniques by intelligence agencies that has infused the broader mind control strategies of the ruling class. More generally, its control techniques have evolved in large measure from "black" psychological operations (psyops) that are carefully compartmentalized and hidden from our bone fide representatives in all three branches of government. Many of the current mind control techniques have been derived from barbaric projects secretly conducted by governments, private laboratories and universities. In his 2000 book titled The Mind Controllers, Dr. Armen Victorian used the Freedom of Information Act to document experiments by the CIA and other agencies exploring new forms of "non-lethal" weapons which exploited hospital patients, pregnant women, school children, prisoners and military veterans without their consent. Other extremely dangerous experiments, including nuclear radiation experiments, have been conducted on an unsuspecting public at large, and even on our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Learned Helplessness

The phenomenon of normalizing the abnormal was given experimental validation in the 1970s through controlled studies with groups of dogs. The experiments revealed a great deal about the innate flight or fight reactions to danger and indicated that self-protective instincts can be overriden by inducing "learned helplessness." In one experiment the bottoms of cages were wired to produce a shock on one side only, resulting in the expected avoidance behaviors; then the entire floors of the cages were wired to give random shocks, resulting in confusion, then panic, and then just lying down in resignation, taking the shocks as they came and no longer trying to avoid or outsmart them. Next the cage doors were opened, but the dogs did not move to escape as expected, leading to the hypothesis that they had adapted to or "normalized" their pain and were consequently exhibiting symptoms similar to chronic clinical depression.7

Learned helplessness manifests in everyday situations or environments in which people perceive, rightly or wrongly, that they have no control over what happens to them, e.g., war, famine, or detention (those who refused to care or fend for themselves in the Nazi concentration camps were called Muselmänner). When the instincts for self-determination are injured, as observed by Dr. Estés, humans will 'normalize' assault after assault, acts of injustice and destruction toward themselves, their offspring, their loved ones, their land, and even their moral and spiritual values.8

The electroshock of the dogs in the learned helplessness experiments has, as Naomi Klein documents, been copied on a societal level by the financial oligarchy. The capitalist elite shocks a nation with an event like 9/11, and in the ensuing stage of confusion and panic rushes in with salvation in the form of protective father figures who provide a narrative that offers a perspective on the shocking events that allows the profoundly disoriented victims to make sense of the trauma.9 Hence the extraordinary power of the mind control matrix known as the War on Terror.

But what is learned can be unlearned; what has been forgotten can be relearned. Especially in the case of our inherent instincts of preservation, we can engage in forensic analysis with a view to restoring the natural skills that give us power:

* [The] normalizing of the shocking and abusive is refused by repairing injured instinct....To re-learn the deep...instincts, it is vital to see how they were decommissioned to begin with....[We compose] a map of the woods in which we live, and where the predators live, and what their modus operandi is....[Then] if our wild nature has been injured by something, we refuse to lie down to die. We refuse to normalize this harm. We call up our instincts and do what we have to do.10
Klein demonstrates a similar optimism: "Once the mechanics of the shock doctrine are deeply and collectively understood, whole communities become harder to take by surprise, more difficult to confuse-shock resistant."11

The Betwixt and Between Syndrome

The relentless march toward tyranny in the United States and other nations with a heritage of freedom, underscored by the blatant criminality of the recent bailout package implemented against the political will and interest of the populace, seems to portend a terrifying future for humanity. It leaves us in a no man's land between the familiarity of our previous reality and the uncharted dangers lying ahead.

This loss of bearings should be seen as a form of psychological control by the globalists over the populace for two reasons. First, it is a situation they have engineered, and engineered in such a way as to serve their self-interest. Second, our fear of a destiny they have designed for us keeps us from exercising our full potential of actively opposing its unfolding. At a time of the implementation of what can only be perceived as their endgame, we find ourselves floundering and cut off from our inner fire.

Humans have an instinctive fear of the unknown, which is exacerbated if trends indicate an unknown that is negative rather than positive. In the present case the unknown seems to be characterized by the probability of enormous global destabilization, with massive suffering in store for the populace. Although the world as we have known it is far from acceptable, the horizon appears quite possibly unbearable--hence the phrase "looking into the abyss" used recently by a number of analysts.

This makes the betwixt and between predicament more difficult to navigate than it would be in less extreme situations, such as adolescence as a normal and predictable transition from childhood to maturity. Another exacerbation is the endless onslaught of crises that the oligarchy orchestrates in order to keep us in a state of continual disorientation, seemingly unable to process one trauma before the next one hits.

But as in the case of normalizing the abnormal and learned helplessness, the solution lies in keen understanding of the problem. Once we dissect the betwixt and between predicament, a predicament that all of us have experienced and navigated in our personal lives but may well not have recognized and named as such, our fear will lose its hold and we can reclaim our power.

The betwixt and between predicament occurs whenever we are forced to revise our previous sense of self and reality, and are required to remain in a zone of unfamiliarity, disorientation and loss of control until a new set of truths emerges and is integrated. All of us have faced this predicament again and again in our lives, e.g., during the teen years, after a major loss, and in our daily lives when our personal growth process entails the death of old aspects of the self and the birth of new ones. Even transitions that one welcomes gladly, such as marriage, a better job, or moving, are in fact highly stressful because of their magnitude.

Anthropological insights on initiations and rites of passage have much to teach us regarding the betwixt and between phenomenon. Rites of transition are marked by distinct (although often overlapping) stages:

* Separation: a detachment or departure from a previous state, whose familiarity provided a sense of security;

* Marginality / Ambiguity: entering the margin between the former and the new state of being, not quite here but not quite there, having lost the security of familiar boundaries and facing disorientation;

* Consummation: a culmination in which one integrates a new state of being and sense of self.12
In a classic essay on the betwixt and between predicament, Victor Turner observes that the transition from separation to ambiguity is marked by temporary invisibility: one cannot be classified either in the old or the new way and is therefore structurally invisible.13 This goes a long way in explaining the fear that marks major transitions and initiations.

The good news is that, as with the process of grieving, there is a well-charted process by which we can move from the frightening state of ambiguity and achieve a new equilibrium: a new equilibrium that is in fact healthier and more resilient because it is based on full awareness of the truth of things. It is less painful to accept the need for change than to stay in denial. Indeed, as the renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell stresses, there is great dignity in answering the call to heroism, a call that is now sounding to all of humanity.

The good news goes further: Turner and others in fact see potential gifts in the betwixt and between ambiguity that is so emotionally difficult. The inability to classify oneself, while one is in the stage of uncertainty and not-knowing, is also freedom to explore new ways of constructing reality and identity. The stage of ambiguity can become one of enormous creativity and fertility as we move to a new reality that we ourselves construct.

It is vital to keep this awareness as we face and oppose the unfolding of the financial elite's endgame of cementing its global control through the current economic crises and so-called solutions it has itself engineered. As an advancing power nears its goal of full spectrum dominance, its crimes break the surface for all to witness, as evidenced by the audacity of the corporatocracy in forcing the passage of the bailout package and in its brazenly self-serving implementation.

Our Republic was not always ignorant and apathetic in the face of such criminality. In reaction to an offer in 1905 of a $100,000 donation by John D. Rockefeller for the missionary work of the U.S. Congregationalist Church, its most eminent leader asked, "Is this clean money? Can any man, can any institution, knowing its origins, touch it without being defiled?" The Reverend Washington Gladdington, echoing the prevalent outlook of the era, berated the accumulation of wealth on every side "by methods as heartless, as cynically iniquitous as any that were employed by the Roman plunderers or robber barons of the Dark Ages. In the cool brutality with which properties are wrecked, securities destroyed, and people by the hundreds robbed of their little, all to build up the fortunes of the multi-millionaires, we have an appalling revelation of the kind of monster a human being may become."14

No longer can the oligarchs use the insidiousness of the iceman Brak to further their agenda. And longer do we need to allow them to disempower us through technocratic techniques of psychological control. The efficacy of these techniques has stemmed in great measure from our internalization of oppression, a process we can work to reverse once we understand it.

The technocrats would have us believe we are helpless to join battle. We are not. I support this optimistic claim with a comment on Part I of my deconstruction of the power of the global elite, which serves as a powerful ending to end Part ll:

* "I for one have been subjected to much of this torture as being part of a marginalized class of society. The criminal global elites like to practice their abuse experiments on the less fortunate that cannot defend themselves and offer any resistance, but as the author so rightly observed the human spirit is indominitable and will not go quietly into the night. Excellent job in exposing these psychological crimes for what they are. When people start realizing they were once human beings and hate what the behavioural criminals are doing, we can stop this learned helplessness and say with Patrick Henry, 'Give me Liberty or give me death.' "15
About The Author

Judith H. Young, Ph.D., has a B.A. and an M.A. in Philosophy and a doctorate in Political Science (Brandeis University, 1973). In the 1960s she was a published think tank researcher with a Top Secret security clearance in the areas of arms control, strategic studies and international aerospace activities. In 1973-74 she taught International Politics at Mount Holyoke University in Massachusetts.

In the 1990s Judy became a practitioner and teacher in several venerable healing arts, including animal-assisted therapy and traditional Reiki. She founded a nonprofit animal and nature center dedicated to promoting the healthy development of children and youth, which she directed from 1994-2004, and she published widely in the field of equine-assisted activities and ecotherapy. After the shocking events of 9/11/2001, Judy returned to her earlier vocation as a writer and educator in the field of International Politics, while also maintaining a professional practice in complementary and alternative healing.

End Notes


2. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, "An Open letter: Healing from Terrorism Sickness," September 15, 2001, p.3.

3. Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Ballantine Books, New York, 1992, p. 244.


5. Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1953, pp. 49-50

6. Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, passim.; Dr. Armen Victorian, The Mind Controllers, Lewis International, Inc., Miami, 2000; Colin A. Ross, The CIA Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists, Manitou Communications, Inc., Richardson, TX, 2006.

This phenomenon brings to mind another form of disempowerment that afflicts freedom fighters and others who see all too clearly the abnormal and grotesque nature of the oligarchy's evil: the evil is so horrific to those with an open eye that they recoil utterly. There is a powerful Latin phrase for phenomena (such as incest) that are so far outside the archetypal realm of acceptability that they fall under a special category: "contra naturum." The power elite's audacity is indeed opposed to the very laws of nature. Rather than allowing our disbelief and horror to disable us, including our horror over dehumanization efforts that attempt to degrade the majesty of the human species, we must find the outrage needed to confront and eradicate it as an evil that is so aberrational as to be itself sub-human.

7. Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 244.

8. Ibid., p. 246.

9. Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, p. 458; Keith Olbermann interview with Naomi Klein: "Iraq Is the Classic Example of The Shock Doctrine" [VIDEO] December 2, 2007

10. Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 252-53.

11. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, p. 459.

12. Victor Turner, in Stanislov Grof, ed., Spiritual Emergency, Jeremy P. Tarcher, New York, 1989.

13. Ibid.

14. Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty, Holt, Reinhart and Winston, New York, 1976, p. 3.

15. See Keepers of the Trust community on the author's website:

Video: Martial Law In America

By The Corbett Report
November 22, 2008
Courtesy Of Global Research

Carefully researched documentary by The Corbett Report

The Corbett Report provides podcasts, interviews, articles and videos about breaking news and important issues from 9/11 Truth and false flag terror to the Big Brother police state, eugenics, geopolitics, the central banking fraud and more.

U.S. Army prepares to invade U.S.

Global Research Articles by Corbett Report

Brute Force, Power To Hurt, Psychological Control

Deconstructing The Power Of The Global Elite: Brute Force, The Power To Hurt, and Psychological Control

Written by Judith H. Young, Ph.D.
Saturday, 04 October 2008
Courtesy Of The

In the aftermath of Congressional approval of bailout legislation granting sweeping powers to the financial elite, the body politic appears to be helplessly mired in the relentless unfolding of classical fascism before its very eyes.

Coming to terms with this terrifying predicament can benefit from a primer that renders naked the forms of raw power used by the global elite in advancing its agenda for full spectrum dominance. This will enable us to determine if we are in fact helpless and to use care and deliberation in finding the means to take our power back.

In his seminal book Arms and Influence, Thomas C. Schelling addresses the comparative efficacy of brute force and the power to hurt in influencing or controlling others.1 A classic example is the application of American power to achieve the unconditional surrender of Japan in World War II: continuing to use brute force to overcome Japanese military forces and occupy Japan (as the Allied Forces had done in Germany) was deemed far more cumbersome than terrorizing the Japanese through the use of atomic bombs against two civilian targets. This use of the power to hurt, with the implicit threat of its further use on a wider basis, got virtually immediate results.

The application of these two sources of power by the power elite is not hard to find. With respect to brute force, it is no secret that the US military has been training and arming state and local law enforcement across the country, including supplying some of the same weaponry used in a war zone against an external opponent. Even more alarming, the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team Unit, fresh from action in Iraq and having access to both lethal and non-lethal weapons, including tanks, has recently been assigned to a 12 month tour of duty for domestic security operations.2

Regarding the power to hurt, as the populace witnesses the official acceptance of torture, as well as the increasing brutalization of ordinary citizens (e.g., the use of taser guns to inflict massive electrical shock and even death), it inevitably adopts a mode of self-protective retrenchment or "self-censoring."

In a pervasive climate of fear, protest and dissidence become less and less likely, and the march to a full-blown police state is thereby facilitated. Among the most blatant applications of the power to hurt, used as a form of terrorist manipulation, have been the elite's obscene threats of a massive depression and nationwide martial law in the service of its bailout legislation.

But in addition to brute force and the power to hurt, the elite uses another form of power that is chilling in its efficacy: sophisticated techniques for controlling information and, more generally, for controlling the perceptions and behavior of the populace through mental and emotional manipulation of the very reality it experiences.

Elite control of the media extends beyond manipulating the news that the public receives to molding public opinion and behavior by means of media advertising and entertainment. Examples range from sponsorship of the TV show 24, which attempts to legitimize "enhanced interrogation techniques" (the sanitized phrase for torture), to manipulative TV commercials showing stars cheerfully accepting personal identification technology that smacks of Big Brother. The elite cabal exploits its control over media and entertainment to keep the public misled, distracted and ultimately imprisoned in a matrix of disinformation, rampant consumerism and the lowest common denominators of human nature, including raw violence and mindless sexuality.

In a renowned speech given in Berkeley in 1962, British writer Aldous Huxley contrasted his dystopic novel Brave New World with George Orwell's novel 1984, written just after the collapse of the Hitlerian terror regime and while the Stalinist terror regime was still in full swing.3 In Huxley's view, 1984 was "a projection into the future of a society where control was exercised wholly by terrorism and violent attacks upon the mind-body of individuals," whereas his own novel addressed "other methods of control...probably a good deal more efficient."

* "We are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling get people to love their servitude....There seems to be a general movement in the direction of this kind of...a method of control by which a people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs by which any decent standard they ought not to enjoy."

Huxley's concerns about the newly available non-terrorist techniques for "inducing people to love their servitude" were echoed by Nobel Prize winner Bertand Russell, who predicted that as a result of the gradual and ruthless use of technological advances, "a revolt of the plebs would be as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."4

A powerful form of psychological control used by the global elite is to induce widespread depression stemming from a feeling of futility or helplessness. This brings to mind the famous quote from Thoreau that most humans live "lives of quiet desperation," which he elaborated on by stating that "what is called resignation is confirmed desperation." It also brings to mind the concept in clinical psychology known as 'learned helplessness'.

The phenomenon of learned helplessness was discovered through psychological experiments in 1967 by Martin Seligman and Steve Maier. A group of harnessed dogs was given painful electric shocks, which they could end by pressing a lever. Another group received shocks of identical intensity and duration without a means to stop them. The dogs who could stop the pain recovered from the experience quickly, but those who could not learned that they were helpless and exhibited symptoms similar to chronic clinical depression: when they were put in a shuttle-box apparatus in which they could escape electric shocks by jumping over a low partition, most of the dogs just lay down passively and whined rather than trying to escape the shocks.5

Another powerful from of elitist mind control is to create dependency on authority figures through "shock and awe" techniques. In her brilliant work on the "shock doctrine" of disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein argues that it is the knowledge of human nature gained through the application of torture techniques by intelligence agencies that has infused the broader mind control strategies of the disaster capitalists.6

In the CIA's basic interrogation manual declassified in 1963, for example, a window of opportunity is highlighted in which torture reduces its victim to a state of traumatized disorientation and childlike regression, creating an opening for the interrogator to be transformed into a protective father figure. This is one of the classic tactics of tyrants across the planet. In the view of Klein and others, it was used after the shock of 9/11 to create a national lens of perception within the overall control matrix, a kind of template to be used by the mind to reflexively process all relevant concepts in terms of the 'war on terror'.

Klein sees the solution as contained in the problem: as we gain awareness of the same pattern playing out again and again, we can become prepared for the next shock and its exploitation by disaster Capitalists:

* "If we understand how our states of shock are exploited, if we can recognize the signs, then the next time there is a crisis (and it can be an economic crisis)...then when the next shock hits we can prepare."

* "I have a quote...from Milton Friedman, who says that only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change, and...when the crisis hits, the change depends on the ideas that are lying around. So it's not just about recognizing a pattern; it's also about having your [reformist] ideas lying around when the next shock hits." 7

Despite the apparent setback of the new bailout legislation, I share Klein's confidence in our ability to overturn the psychological impairments resulting from shock and awe tactics. More generally, I am optimistic about reversing the spectrum of impairments grouped here under the rubric of psychological control. Even cases of severe mental disorders induced by the horrific CIA mind control program known an MK Ultra have been healed, in a benevolent use of a technique known as reverse engineering.

As a practitioner in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), I have become personally familiar with extraordinary new techniques for healing previously intractable syndromes such as learned helplessness and war-induced post-traumatic stress disorder.

As an educator who has worked with children and adults with cognitive disabilities, I have seen next to miraculous results from the innovative methods now available.

And, finally, as a human being who reveres the human spirit and its perennial indomitability, I refuse to believe that a small cabal of beings solely in service to self will ever be able to take over the minds and souls of mankind.

As our best minds address the hair raising elitist victory represented by the bailout legislation, I encourage their deconstructing just how this criminality managed to succeed by tracing its origins in history in terms of the threefold model of power given in this article. In my own view, the current crisis is a crisis in the Chinese sense of the term, i.e., an opportunity in disguise. Because the crisis is rightly perceived as a conflict between Wall Street and Main Street, as an incongruence between the actions of government and the political will and best interest of its constituents, and more generally as a power grab by authoritarian capitalism that is in full daylight for all to examine, it is an opportunity like no other for educating the populace. It is an opportunity like no other to awaken and educate the people so they are no longer sitting ducks for the three forms of power delineated in this article. Especially the third: history abounds with examples of how the first two forms of power lose their hold, indeed in many cases back off, when confronted with a people who value the quality of life over life on any terms, a people who will go to any lengths to protect their basic rights as human beings.

It is that spirit that infused the birth and early life of our Republic. I am betting that it is still alive and well in America.
Judith H. Young, Ph.D., has a B.A. and an M.A. in Philosophy and a doctorate in Political Science (Brandeis University, 1973). In the 1960s she was a published think tank researcher with a Top Secret security clearance in the areas of arms control, strategic studies and international aerospace activities.

In 1973-74 she taught International Politics at Mount Holyoke University in Massachusetts.

In the 1990s Judy became a practitioner and teacher in several venerable healing arts, including animal-assisted therapy and traditional Reiki. She founded a nonprofit animal and nature center dedicated to promoting the healthy development of children and youth, which she directed from 1994-2004, and she published widely in the field of equine-assisted activities and ecotherapy. After the shocking events of 9/11/2001, Judy returned to her earlier vocation as a writer and educator in the field of International Politics, while also maintaining a professional practice in complementary and alternative healing.

Web site:


End Notes

1. Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1966

2. Gina Cavallaro, "Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1," the Army Times, September 30, 2008.


4. Bertrand Russell, The Impact of Science on Society, Simon and
Schuster, New York, 1953, pp. 49-50

5. Christopher Peterson, Steven F. Maier, and Martin E. P. Seligman, Learned Helplessness: A Theory for the Age of Personal Control, Oxford University Press, USA, 1995

6. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt & Company, New York 2007, passim.

7. Keith Olbermann interview with Naomi Klein: "Iraq Is the Classic Example of The Shock Doctrine" [VIDEO] December 2, 2007