Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Origins of Big Brother in the Military/Industrial Complex

Big Brother brainwashes his subjects, rewrites their history and deadens their language, but his broadest means of control is the waging of war, or of what passes for war.
—E.L. Doctorow
"Big Brother" is how Orwell depicted the totalitarian state in which human individuality, freedom, choice, and lives are subordinated to the needs of the "state". Every means is, therefore, justified to maintain the omnipresent state in power.
Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.
--1984, Chapter I, Part I, George Orwell
In 1984, when Winston describes a news film of "mercenaries", he might have been describing Blackwater in Iraq.
...[a] great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gun sights, then he was full of holes and the sea round him turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let in the water."
--1984, George Orwell
More recently, UPI reported from Iraq
A man, woman and child in a small white vehicle tried to flee from an armored personnel carrier, but round after round of .50 caliber bullets drilled into the vehicle and soft flesh until at last the car burst into flames. After the inferno had engulfed their vehicle the blackened bodies of the mother and child were melted together in death's embrace'.
In another excerpt from Winston's diary in 1984
"...middle-aged woman with a little boy about three years old in her arms. little boy screaming with fright and hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms round him and comforting him although she was blue with fright herself, all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she thought her arms could keep the bullets off him. Then the helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in among them terrific flash and the boat went all to matchwood."
Executions happen every day in Iraq, but the carnage perpetrated by Blackwater USA is done in the name of "we the people".
At least four Blackwater sport utility vehicles stopped in lanes of traffic that were entering the square from the south and west. Some of the guards got out of their vehicles and took positions on the street. As though their bodies could stop the bullets, Iraqi men covered women and children. But in the ensuing bloodbath not only were the protectors mercilessly gunned down, so too were those they tried to protect.
And from another dispatch from UPI
A former Blackwater USA employee suspected in the killing of an Iraqi vice president's bodyguard reportedly is a former Army paratrooper who lives in Seattle.

Andrew Moonen, whose identity was previously kept confidential by Blackwater, Congress and the State Department, is the sole suspect in the shooting death of Raheem Khalif, a bodyguard to Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi, The New York Times reported Thursday.

U.S. and Iraqi officials previously said Khalif was shot three times by a Blackwater employee who had been drinking on Christmas Eve 2006. Khalif died at a U.S. military hospital the day after the shooting.

When asked about the shooting, Moonen's father, Alvin Moonen, said: They train these guys like they do and then they're surprised?

Moonen was fired from Blackwater hours after the shooting. The company cited a blatant and egregious violation of a company policy that prohibits employees from carrying firearms while drunk.

No charges have yet been filed in the case, but an official with the FBI said the case is being actively pursued.
--Blackwater shooting suspect identified, Gulf in the Media
Americans should be enraged, outraged that Blackwater USA claims to perpetrate arbitrary executions in our name. The "War on Terror" is just another bloody Bush fraud, a hoax, a lie to justify war crimes. By its excesses, Blackwater has exposed to the world the nature of Bush's NeoCon war, in fact, a series of cold blooded murders having nothing whatsoever to do with a "war on terror". As the Blackwater gang of paid thugs make a killing field of the streets of Baghdad, the rest of the world will hold the American people to account for having enabled the Bush regime to begin with.

The apparent lack of outrage in America is as outrageous itself. I often wonder: what has become of the American people? Have we, in fact, become the enemy we claim to fight? The United States is openly called the "world's biggest terrorist" throughout Europe, and with considerable justification! What had been "means" become "ends" themselves. The Military/Industrial complex is machines within machines, what mathematicians would call an "emergent property", a beast of its own making.
Mary Godwin, soon to become Percy Shelley's wife, wrote it in the Summer of 1816 when she and Shelley and other members of Lord Byron's hippie entourage vacationed with Byron in Switzerland. Mary was the 19-year-old daughter of a noted feminist writer, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.
Frankenstein's Faustian quest for knowledge takes him to the terrifying secret of life. His product, the monster, is more articulate, more intelligent, and more able to feel pain than his human maker. The monster produced by Frankenstein's intelligence and creative drive had Frankenstein's intelligence and sensibilities, but in a kind of grotesque parody. In a curious way, Frankenstein and his monster merge together.
--Dr. John Leinhard, The Engines of Our Ingenuity, Frankenstein
And in yet another essay on this subject:
Mary Shelley was unmistakably talking about the science-based technology of her day. The subject drew her in. Later in her life she wrote biographies of famous scientists for Dionysius Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia. Her Frankenstein voiced a recognition of the dangers lying in our new powers.

...Mary Shelley had summoned up a demon living in all of us.
--Dr. John Leinhard, The Engines of Our Ingenuity, Frankenstein
Scientists, engineers and philosophers use the term Emergence to describe how complex systems and patterns arise out of many relatively simple interactions. Examples include "intelligence" in artificial intelligence, life itself at the end of an evolutionary process. Emergence is at the very core of a new physics primarily concerned with "complex systems".

Bush claims absolute power. Bush presumes to re-write laws passed by Congress. Bush presumes to enforce only those laws he likes, disregarding the rest. Bush has assumed the power to "declare" a state of war and commit US troops to battle. Never mind that that is a war crime. He has, in fact, assumed powers that the US Constitution reserved solely for Congress and the Courts. There is no need of either in Bush's Orwellian vision of the great American GOP dictatorship.

Albert Einstein wrote that the purpose of socialism is to overcome and advance beyond a "predatory phase of human development". In Bush we revert to it. Bone headed GOP "trickle down economics" and imperial oil theft abroad threatens an economic train wreck, indeed, democracy itself. A new study confirms that military spending is an economic albatross, a depressing drag on the economy, that will increase joblessness, deprive millions more of an education. Military spending and Pentagon waste soak up federal monies better spent on education, infrastructure, and job creation.

Pentagon waste takes monies out of circulation and depresses the economy. Only a tiny part of the economy will benefit, namely, the filthy rich already bought and paid for by Bush's inequitable tax cuts for what he called "his base". None of that wealth has trickled down, though Bush, unlike Ronald Reagan, never really pretended that it would. It was a transparent pay off to the very rich for their support. [See: The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath, Kevin Phillips; and a Hat Tip to Vierotchka re: Swiss headline]

The question then is: how did we get here? After all, we had been warned.

The Last Honest GOP President Warns
of the Military/Industrial Complex

Sen. Mike Gravel Challenges Big Bro's Big Myth: the War on Terrorism, an Orwellian Perpetual War
Big Brother is the Military/Industrial Complex itself, a self-organizing gestalt, a beast of its own devising. Bush is Faust, eager to sell his soul to do Satan's bidding. Bush is not Big Brother but, rather, Big Brother's avatar. Bush is but its pawn --an especially eager, willing, and sycophantic one.

Big Brother is an unfeeling Leviathan, in fact and by design, above the law, above obeisance to Congress, above the ability of the people to control. Like American corporations themselves, said, by law to have all the rights of people and none of their obligations, Big Brother is a law unto itself. At present, no one, certainly no one in Congress, has been able to oppose the Military/Industrial complex served, as it is, so fanatically by those who feed at the trough. No one dependent upon the MIC is free to make a decision based upon conscience. They are the minions of Moloch.

The US now resorts to industrialized death to make a living --its industries hollowed out during the Reagan years. Aggressive war, in reality mass murder, is our only major export. America is in the death business; the MIC is Murder, Inc.

America must certainly lead the world in the production of military hardware --tanks, missiles, nuclear weaponry, in fact, weapons of unprecedented and unimaginable mass destruction. It must surely trail the world in every other industrial classification --a third world nation on steroids. As long as this is the case, no one living in the US, no citizen of the US abroad, is truly free. We are all reduced to mere units in a bigger, evil machine. Bush and his servile ilk serve Moloch willingly and visibly at Bohemian Grove. Slavery, however, is forced upon the rest of us, a process assisted ably by a corporate media.
The most extreme example of this, of course, is Fox News, which is seen by all credible reporters as political porn, of the low grade variety at that, featuring D-listers in the news industry with the ethics of Debbie and her Dallas doers. Fox is laughable, and it is clearly a state run organ which hires official state reporters to report officially sanctioned news.

The Fox outfit is obvious propaganda, but it has played the foil to something far more insidious and sinister, and which in its sheer subtlety is far more dangerous. The mainstream press, as it is known, compared with Fox looks like left wing reportage, of course. In reality, however, the mainstream is neither left wing nor anything remotely resembling even a moderate or objective fourth estate.

Should you have doubt in this regard, I urge you to consider, as an example, the revelations from Dan Rather about what CBS did to curry favor with the White House.

Or the most criminal example of what can happen to a corporate owned, fully politicized, fourth estate: the Iraq war. These types of political propaganda practices used to be called Yellow Journalism. Now they are the standard, cleverly renamed "fair and balanced."

So it naturally follows that the robber barons and their fourth estate business partners should indeed benefit from the puppet they all worked so vigorously to enthrone.

Corporate Interests merged with State Interests

The corporate interests of America are now almost entirely at one with the political interests of America. The people are either relegated to the outskirts as unimportant bystanders or are caught in the cross-fire as casualties of a hostile corporate takeover by American and even foreign corporations. We "the people" do not matter in a country where corporate profits are tied to state policy, which then uses those same corporations to tell us what is real and what is fabricated, what is true and what is false.
--Laura Alexandrovna, Our Cold Civil War
A militarized society is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Much is made of the fact that the military provides opportunities for high school dropouts, the disadvantaged who might not otherwise get an education or a job. The military, it is said, takes these poor folk off the streets. Indeed, it takes them off the street and puts them in the line of fire in wars of naked aggression where suicide rates speak to the issue of our immoral position in Iraq. Moreover, had not the military, by soaking up the lions share of all federal spending, more monies might have been budgeted for truly productive programs like education and training. What is to be said about a society that finds it necessary to send young people off to die in immoral wars in order to get them employed and off the streets?

Eisenhower saw Big Brother's approach but could not have known how it might have been avoided. The revolution, decades in the making, is like a slow boil. We did not even know when we were "done", but cooked we are! We are like one of many puzzles that originated in the mind of the ancient Megarian logician, Eubulides of Miletus.

The puzzle is called "sorites", from the Greek for "heap." The question is whether or not a single grain of sand is a "heap"? The answer is obviously "no". But, if we add grains one at a time, the question arises: at what point have we made a "heap"? At what point have we made of the Military/Industrial complex a Frankenstein monster, Moloch, a Big Brother? At what point have we sacrificed our souls to ol' Scratch? At what point did MIC become the Owl god?

Big Brother does not merely exercise absolute power via the apparatus of the police state. Big Brother marshals the resources of a monolithic state to rob you of your person hood. Big Brother changes what it means to be "human".

In Goethe's version of Faust, Mephistopheles tries to grab Faust's soul when he dies but is frustrated by a divine intervention. Can the people of the US afford to wait passively for divine intervention? No! We have the power to deny to the state its power to define us. Challenged by aristocrats who demanded to know just who he thought he was, Voltaire said "I have no name but the name that I have made for myself!" Big Brother's lies have made of us our own worst nightmares, but only if we buy into the scheme. It follows, therefore, that Big Brother is finished when we make Voltaire's existentialist choice, when we take responsibility for what we have become, when we dare to define ourselves. The seeds of revolution are born when each individual chooses to be free!

Big Bro Changed What it Means to be "Human"
Notes: John H. Lienhard is M.D. Anderson Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering and of History at the University of Houston. He is the author and host of The Engines of Our Ingenuity , a daily radio essay on invention and creativity heard nationally on Public Radio and internationally on the Armed Forces Network. He is also the author of the book The Engines of Our Ingenuity: An Engineer Looks at Technology and Culture and Inventing Modern: Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bush's Fascist, Private Army of Paid Cutthroats, Murderers and Mercenaries

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

The Military/Industrial complex makes its "living" killing! This is true of "empire" in general. It was true of Rome. It's true of the US now. Outsourced enforcement thugs of Blackwater USA are symptomatic of the GOP quest to turn the US into a fascist dictatorship. Blackwater --like Rome's Praetorian Guard, like Hitler's Storm troopers --are but the inevitable result of fascism.

How Hitler came to power is the story of how the German people, shocked by back to back debacles, the loss of WWI, hyper-inflation, and depression, simply "lost their senses" and allowed a mad man to seize dictatorial powers.

Then what is the excuse of the American people? How could the inhabitants of a land of conspicuous consumption, pretentious suburbs, and cheap gasoline, fall prey to a vicious megalomaniac of unbridled ambition, lack of empathy, the IQ of a failed third grader.

There are precedents throughout history. Roman writer and military strategist Flavius Vegetius Renatus --supported in modern times by Arthur Ferrill --believed that Rome's decline can be traced to the use of German mercenaries in the legions. Certainly, any fan of the BBC's historic "I, Claudius" based upon the books by Robert Graves will remember the "Germans" who wore the tunic, who fought the battles, who took the orders.

A state of Orwellian "perpetual war" and foreign occupations are defining characteristics of empire and fascism. A series of foreign wars and internal struggles preceded Caesar's "crossing the Rubicon". The rest is grist for Shakespeare's mill whose Julius Caeser may not be literally true but captures more important, essential truths about the sources of empire and the internal dynamics driving the will to power. The result in America, as in Rome earlier, is the literal "auctioning off" of the office of President of the United States, an act embodied in Mussolini's term: corporatism. A society is morally lost when mass murder becomes its number one export. A nation is lost whenever there are mercenary exceptions to the "rule of law". In such a society, everyone is guilty. That is Fascism.

The "War on Terrorism" has always been both a diversion and a hoax, diverting attention from the criminal nature of Bush's regime, a hoax covering up a gestalt of outsourced war crimes, mass murders, grand theft and aggressions. GOP fascists either shared or adopted Karl Rove's Hitlerian visions of a "permanent Republican majority", perhaps a "thousand year Reich". The real GOP agenda is, therefore, nothing less than dictatorship. In Herr Bush, the GOP found "der Fuhrer". It had been the their goal when Prescott Bush, the Shrub's Grandfather, conspired to overthrow the legitimate government of the United States and replace it with a fascist dictatorship.
The conspirators were operating under the umbrella of a front group called the American Liberty League, which included many families that are still household names today, including Heinz, Colgate, Birds Eye and General Motors.

Butler played along with the clique to determine who was involved but later blew the whistle and identified the ringleaders in testimony given to the House Committee on un-American Activities.

However, the Committee refused to even question any of the individuals named by Butler and his testimony was omitted from the record, leading to charges that they were involved in covering the matter up, and the majority of the media blackballed the story."
-- BBC: Bush's Grandfather Planned Fascist Coup In America
In 1936, William Dodd, the US Ambassador to Germany, wrote a letter to President Roosevelt in which he stated:
"A clique of US industrialists is hell-bent to bring a fascist state to supplant our democratic government and is working closely with the fascist regime in Germany and Italy. I have had plenty of opportunity in my post in Berlin to witness how close some of our American ruling families are to the Nazi regime.... A prominent executive of one of the largest corporations, told me point blank that he would be ready to take definite action to bring fascism into America if President Roosevelt continued his progressive policies.

Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy. They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and they are helping to keep it there. [ed. treason!] Propagandists for fascist groups try to dismiss the fascist scare. We should be aware of the symptoms. When industrialists ignore laws designed for social and economic progress they will seek recourse to a fascist state when the institutions of our government compel them to comply with the provisions."
Prescott Bush's role in helping finance Hitler's Nazi War Machine is a fact, a matter of record. Clearly, the elder Bush was a part of a criminal, treasonous enterprise that sought to overthrow the elected government of the US and impose upon it a fascist dictatorship.
The most tantalising part of the story remains shrouded in mystery: the connection, if any, between Prescott Bush, Thyssen, Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC) and Auschwitz.

Thyssen's partner in United Steel Works, which had coal mines and steel plants across the region, was Friedrich Flick, another steel magnate who also owned part of I.G. Farben, the powerful German chemical company.

Flick's plants in Poland made heavy use of slave labour from the concentration camps in Poland. According to a New York Times article published in March 18 1934 Flick owned two-thirds of CSSC while "American interests" held the rest.
--How Bush's Grandfather helped Hitler's Rise to Power  
Much later, the grandson, the idiot scion of George H.W., would give the game away with a smirk and a hideous, evil chuckle.
This would be a whole lot easier if this was [sic] a dictatorship...jest as long as I'm the dictator...heh heh heh heh
--George W. Bush, Aspiring Totalitarian Dictator
"If the people knew what we had done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us."

-- George H.W. Bush
It's never too late to do the right thing! Certainly, the Bush family planned to assassinate Franklin D. Roosevelt and round up dissidents for internment in concentration camps. The Bush gang, had partnered with Fritz Thyssen, among Hitler's inner circle of complicit "industrialists" and supporters. Thyssen was among a group of "business men" who were in attendance when Hitler literally made them all an offer that they could not refuse. Also at the meeting were representatives of I.G. Farben, the corporate brains behind the Holocaust. [See: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, also: The Influence of Big Business on Adolf Hitler.
The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Maxwell House.  George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.
--William Bowles, The Bush Family Saga  
John Buchanan From Martial Law

Bush Jr's every move since the election theft in Florida must now be placed within the context of a new paradigm. This is not "conservatism" as Barry Goldwater or Kevin Phillips would have known it. On its face, the Bush regime is illegitimate and contemptuous of the rule of law. Everything done by Bush takes on added, chilling significance in the wake of the revelations about Prescott Bush. Certainly, Bush's real agenda remains the acquisition and/or creation of a fascist empire, nothing less than a crooked business enterprise premised upon aggressive war and territorial acquisition operating under the cover of "government". Fascism is nothing new.
So God help me, I can perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of the commonwealth. They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely, without fear of losing, that they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labour of the poor for as little money as may be.
--Of the Religious in Utopia, St. Thomas More
Empires are typically enforced through Blackwater-type brutality, murder, lawlessness and oppression.
Blackwater is the most hated symbol of Bush's regime of mayhem and destruction in Iraq. Every self-respecting Iraqi, no matter how they feel about anything else, wants to wipe out the mercenary savages the Bush Regime has loosened on their country with a license to kill randomly and at will-- and with no oversight and no accountability. It is a clear war crime and hopefully one day we will all watch Bush being handed a last cigarette and a blindfold after his war crimes tribunal for this alone. Better than that than having to deal with a savage Republican private army in our own country.

My friends in Iraq-- some military, some civilian-- all agree on the brutality of the Blackwater mercenaries. "They use Iraqis for target practice," one friend told me. "The Iraqis all fear them and hate them." Most people who know of former CIA field officer Robert Baer know him for the film Syriana (which was based on his books Sleeping With the Devil and See No Evil and starred George Clooney playing him). 
Fascists will enforce their regimes as Prescott Bush had envisioned in America, with a brutal campaign of repression to include concentration camps, murder, brutality. That Bush Jr would trash the US Constitution is to be expected of a "Bush".

When Bush is above the law, there is then nothing to protect the domestic population from the campaign of abuses that he has, in fact, begun by proxy. Expect more taser incidents. Expect thugs and brownshirts to shed their inhibitions. Expect Blackwater types to patrol our streets as crime, like terrorism, inevitably gets gets worse under GOP regimes. Expect the poor, the elderly, the innocent to wind up incarcerated in hellholes like those which already exist in the gulag state of Texas.

It has fallen to George W. Bush the family job of completing what Prescott might have achieved had not a courageous General Smedley Butler blown the whistle.

The largest beneficiary of fascism in the US the oil industry, perhaps the most important spoke on the MIC wheel, lately called the Military Evangelical Complex by Maureen Dowd. It was the Reagan administration that conceded the manufacture of automobiles, electronics, and steel to the rest of the world. With the collapse of the US manufacturing base came the end of the middle class, a first symptom of incipient fascism.

The eclipse of the domestic oil industry, however, was the inevitable result of the fact that oil is a finate resource. Oil moguls still make a killing, literally, but only by way of empire and conquest. "Peak Oil" is approaching, if not here already. Bush's oil adventures have nothing to do with securing cheap oil for US consumers. It is about the control of the earth's remaining hydro-carbon resources. It is about his regime's Hitlerian partnership with "big oil".

The business of defense contractors is death! Blackwater not merely fits the profile, they are its archetype. Somewhat simplistically, but true: the Military/Industrial Complex is Murder, Inc.

Bush will not admit this though he knows it to be true. His party will even deny that we've become it's euphemism: the National Security State. [See: National Security State]. The origins of our Murder, Inc. is the National Security Act of 1947. Called a blueprint for fascism, the act created the CIA, which JFK later threatened to "smash into a thousand pieces" when it became clear at the Bay of Pigs that the agency was out of control, beyond the powers of President and/or Congress to supervise effectively. The act granted to the Pentagon powers of unlimited defense spending.

I would think it impossible to justify such largesse without a bogeyman dragged out whenever the population is roused by truth to suspicion. In 1947, the bogeyman was the specter of communism, a tactic urged upon President Harry Truman by Senator Arthur Vandenburg, not surprisingly, a Republican. A climate of fear is maintained by both parties, in fact, two wings of one "security" party. The charge, however, is maintained with much less less embarrassment by the GOP. [See: The Decline of the American Empire. [Gore Vidal] In what Vidal called "a fit of conscience" never witnessed among modern Republicans, President Eisenhower warned that such a Military/Industrial complex might establish permanent control over the state itself.

The GOP could never have achieved its goals had it told the American people up front what it was up to. Hence, GOP-speak, an Orwellian perversion of the language, designed by focus groups for its effect of cloaking a real agenda, in this case, a program of conquest, mass murder, and empire. Central to GOP plans for world conquest is the Military/Industrial complex, of which Blackwater is a symptom, a partner, a chief beneficiary. Central to the Bush's fascist schemes for world domination, Blackwater is often called Bush's private army.
The primary role of the Praetorians was to act as a bodyguard to the emperor and serve as a police force in the city. However, they did take to the battlefield when the need arose. Members of the guard received much higher pay than other soldiers. The scorpian appears as a symbol on much of the Praetorian equipment, possibly due to the fact that the birthsign of emperor Tiberius was scorpio. In the city, they wore no armor and carried no shield. They wore a plain tunic and carried a sword. On the battlefield they were outfitted with the same equipment as the normal legions.

Tiberius, under pretense of introducing a stricter discipline among them, assembled them all at the great Praetorian Camp [the Castra Praetoria] in Rome. In AD 23 this huge and strongly fortified camp was established in the eastern suburbs of the city by their notorious commander, Lucius Aelius Sejanus. Tiberius gradually gave much of his power to Sejanus, the commander of the Praetorian Guard. Sejanus used his position to murder his enemies, accusing them of plotting to assassinate the emperor and other acts of treason. Caligula, who succeeded [and may have assassinated] Tiberius, paid the Praetorian Guard one thousand sesterces each which was bequeathed to them in Tiberius’ will, but Cassius Dio claims that a generous amount was given to them out of the pocket of Gaius himself probably for the purpose of maintaining their loyalty.
--Praetorian Guard, Global Security  
As will prove to be the case in America, the seeds of Rome's fall and destruction are found at the very birth of empire. Reasons cited for Rome's fall often sound very modern; there is simply no way to avoid making the analogy to the US militarism since WWII. Like the Bush regime today, the Roman system lacked budgetary controls and restraint; resources were wasted; near absolute power accrued to emperors. Bush actively seeks it out. He has failed to conceal or disguise his lust for power and overt trappings of empire.

Like the US today, the Roman empire became a kind of Ponzi scheme premised and dependent upon conquest and plunder. Booty trickled up forcing small scale farmers into destitution, just as it had done just prior to Boudicca's revolt in Briton, just as it has done to US small farmers and small business owners. Unlike the US Social Security system, a "Roman dole" never paid its own way. But like the present day US, poorer farmers got poorer while the landed gentry escaped taxation altogether. How much of this is beginning to sound familiar?
The men who possess real power in this country have no intention of ending the cold war."

--Albert Einstein
The military industrial complex seems designed to keep the rich and powerful rich and powerful, at the expense of decency, common sense and the American taxpayer. It is one of two primary means by which wealth is transferred from the working and lower classes to the upper "ruling classes" who themselves maintain the offices of the "complex". Unfair "tax cuts" favored by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush are another means by which this is achieved. The one method reinforces the other. The primary beneficiaries of such tax cuts are the CEO's of big military contractors. It's hard not to think of the tax cuts as payoffs for support and, likewise, a promise of more pork to come.

According to Vidal, the "American Empire" has been at war since 1950. The historical precedents are legion, Roman Legion, specifically. The Roman Empire was likewise stretched to the limits of current technology. When the time came to withdraw from Briton, the legions, for the most part, walked back home to Rome. It is easy to imagine a long walk through a desolate landscape of abandoned farms, decaying estates, and hungry serfs. There is a poignant description in Thomas Cahill's, How the Irish Saved Civilization

There is sufficient probable cause to arrest and charge George W. Bush for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace. I would suspect that there is now enough evidence, in the public record alone, to indict and convict George W. Bush of numerous counts to include violations of both the Geneva Convention and U.S. Criminal Codes.

Hamden v Rumsfeld addressed the question of whether the United States Congress may pass legislation preventing the Supreme Court from hearing the case of an accused combatant before his military commission takes place, whether the special military commissions that had been set up violated federal law (including the Uniform Code of Military Justice and treaty obligations), and whether courts can enforce the articles of the 1949 Geneva Convention.

Only those guilty of crimes would seek to make their actions legal after the crime has already been committed. Nevertheless, the GOP continues to support efforts by Bush to make his crimes legal after the fact. There is no slicker way to exalt Bush above the law. It is, however, a transparent attempt and those supporting it in Congress are thus made complicit in Bush's crimes. In the case of the Geneva Convention, those members of Congress supporting Bush's overt and transparent efforts to exempt him from Geneva are, in themselves, in violation of Geneva. It follows, therefore, that Congress cannot, by a mere vote Congress, exempt the US from this nation's Constitutional obligation to uphold those treaties to which it is a party.

It has been argued that the Constitutional provision prohibiting ex post facto laws apply only to those accused of violating laws passed after commission of the act in question. Indeed, such laws are unconstitutional. It is, moreover, absurd to prosecute someone for an act "legal" at the time it was committed. Nevertheless, it is equally absurd for Congress to allow Bush to make it all up as he goes along, making crimes legal but only after he's already committed them.

For those of us who have maintained for some time now that Bush is a "war criminal", who has breeched not only international conventions but also U.S. Criminal Codes, The US Supreme Court decision in Hamden v Rumsfeld was vindication. The triumvirate of Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney was said to have been in violation of the Third Convention on treatment of prisoners of war as well as a US federal law of 1996 which binds the US executive to those relevant parts of the Geneva convention.

Clearly -the specter of terrorism has been of greater benefit to Bush than it has been to those who espouse terrorism. Hitler, for example, could only seize dictatorial powers after a "terrorist" attack on the Reichstag building in 1933. Hermann Göring would later boast of having ordered the torching himself. He boasted of it, laughed, and slapped his thigh with the flat of his hand.Meanwhile, Hitler would raise the specter of communist terrorism and assume new powers. Later, Hitler would start World War II with the lie that Polish troops had invaded German territory to blow up a radio tower. The culprits -not surprisingly -were Nazi SS in Polish Army uniforms. Bush's lie about Iraq's non-existent WMD was no less pernicious.

We are now familiar with this tactic. Bush attacked and invaded Iraq though his administration knew there were no WMD to be found. Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations was known at the time to have been a fraud consisting of plagiarized student papers and out-of-date satellite photos. Since that time, Bush has told some five or six rationales for the attack --all of them ex post facto, all of them inconsistent, none of them true! Equally interesting --none of them were cited as reasons before the attack. This act of aggression by Bush has since claimed at least one million innocent civilian lives. This act of aggression is, in fact, a war crime, punishable by death even under US Codes, Title 18 Section 2441.

The GOP record is one of fomenting an atmosphere of irrational fear and hatred, necessary if one is to exploit a phantom menace like "terrorism".
The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.
--1984, George Orwell   
During the administration of George W. Bush, the Fox Network primarily, has played the role of "un-cheerleader" conducting "hates" of varying lengths via airwaves that are legally owned by the people themselves.

We've seen this apologist for the right wing conduct Orwellian campaigns of vilification against science, the humanities, art, literature, and most of all, philosophy, evidence of its inherent distrust and irrational fear of critical thought itself. The GOP finds critical, logical thinking subversive of its own inflexible, unquestioned dogma. Alas, all GOP efforts are fruitless, meaningless, vain. For that reason, however, GOP victims are all the more tragic, the morally equivalent to dying "for" Hitler in a concentration camp or gas chamber.
What matters - all that matters, really - is the will to happiness, a kind of enormous, ever-present consciousness. The rest - women, art, success - is nothing but excuses.
--Albert Camus
It would appear that America's raison d'etre has become the mass murder of people from Viet Nam to Iraq. If Camus was right, then the collective will of America is doing precisely what it really wants to do. There are no rationales. There are no excuses. And the world will not be safe until the GOPs perversion of "America" is smashed "into a thousand pieces". Long live, JFK!

Maliki didn't detail the incidents, which he said add to the case against the North Carolina-based security firm. Blackwater's license to operate here has been revoked while U.S. and Iraqi officials investigate a shooting Sunday that Iraqi officials now say left at least 11 people dead.
But Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al Askari told McClatchy Newspapers that one of the incidents was former Iraqi Electricity Minister Ahyam al Samarrai's escape from a Green Zone jail in December. Samarrai had been awaiting sentencing on charges that he had embezzled $2.5 billion that was intended to rebuild Iraq's decrepit electricity grid.

Another incident, Askari said, was the shooting death last month of a Baghdad taxi driver when Blackwater guards led a convoy the wrong way down a street. When the taxi driver failed to stop quickly enough as the convoy approached, the Blackwater guards opened fire, Askari said.
Maliki left no doubt that he had already made up his mind about Blackwater's culpability in Sunday's incident, which Blackwater has characterized as an ambush, but which survivors and witnesses have described as an unprovoked shooting spree.
No matter how much lipstick and rouge we smear on the face of this war no matter how we attempt to dress up the evil and bestial acts that have been performed in its unholy name, it still has the hideous countenance of an evil swine from hell.

It is an illegal war, begun and conducted under false pretenses, by a group of criminal liars and thieves in the United States Government, abetted by a cowardly congress who abrogated their constitutional duties in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds and furthered by a complaisant press that ignored their obligation to remain independent from government, from their sponsors and report the facts.

The members of the completely rogue executive department acted in their own self interest in a quest for personal power and wealth, in concert with the usual domestic and international corporate pirates who, in the depths of their insatiable greed, continually amplify human conflict to their own ends and bring poverty, war, suffering and death down upon the world.

There is no such animal as extraordinary rendition, nor do I know of the existence of any beasts called enhanced interrogation methods.
I found the following steps for taking back America on The Republican Party Offers a Choice: 'Fascism or Anarchy?"
  • The key goal of "total anarchy" is to make the leadership of the Republican Party, and their supporters, so uncomfortable that they will run off and hide in fear for their bank accounts and their lives. This level of discomfort will make the GOP's key supporters want to stop supporting the Republican's fascist ideology and they will want to seek a new democratic ideology that can offer them a much more stable, secure, and friendly form of government.

  • Bring world wide attention to our cause. This can be done through mass resignations by the Democrats in Congress, mass education efforts, by boycotting of all businesses and real estate owned by the GOP's key supporters, by lobbying local law enforcement to join the fight, and by staging mass protest and demonstrations. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.
  • Hold mass protest in public, and at the private homes of the GOP's members and the private homes of their key financial backers. If they leave follow them. If they run, run after them. And if they fight then we must fight back even harder. The key is to make them extremely uncomfortable until they realize that their cause is no longer winnable because their risk/reward ratio has turned negative. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.
  • Take control of key roads, businesses, homes, and government buildings. The purpose is not necessarily to destroy but to take control and begin to organize a new government, new businesses, and a new social structure. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.
  • If these three steps fail then it will be time for the final step and last hope of our democracy, REVOLUTION. Load your guns, dig in, and fight for your life and the lives of your family.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The State of American Media: 'Wires and Lights in a Box'

Edward R. Murrow became famous throughout America during World War II. His rooftop radio broadcasts from London painted a vivid picture of the Blitz in a pre-television era. Most certainly, his words made a longer lasting impression than even video from Viet Nam.

Murrow was hardly unbiased. He was, rather, a champion of America's lost ideals: individual liberties and rights, truth, free speech, citizen participation. No one doubts that Murrow felt those ideals threatened by the menace of the Third Reich. Amidst war and, later, the un-easy peace, his clear headed idealism, his refusal to compromise facts and history made naive notions about mere objectivity sound like empty platitudes. Indeed, most such notions remain poor substitutes for courageous reporting and informed challenges to power.

Later, Murrow would feel similarly threatened when our own right wing attacked freedom of speech and free inquiry. It was the McCarthy era, an era not unlike our own —seemingly dominated by those who fear dissent, free speech, open debate --the institutions of a free and Democratic society. Murrow reacted to McCarthy's threats of surreptitious investigations and attacks on free speech as if they were themselves Nazi bombs that he had described so vividly from the flaming rooftops of London.

How Murrow Brought Down a Right Wing Demagogue

Ed Murrow is still with us. His legacy embodies the very finest that might be found in Western democracies. Unlike our present "leaders" who have exploited and debased the term, Murrow made of Democracy an ideal! By contrast, the enemies of Democracy today exploit the phantom menace of terrorism, just as McCarthy had exploited the specter of communism.

Keith Olbermann: A Short History of Phony Terror and Bush Admin "Fear Mongering"

Bush learned much from McCarthy. The "war on terror" is simply McCarthyism on steroids. A real war on terrorism has yet to be fought. As far as anyone knows, Bush has never captured or brought to justice a single terrorist. Name one! Nevertheless, Bush has managed to terrorize the American people with color codes, phony tapes, and staged terror plots --none of which were proven to have been substantial. Bush's war on terrorism is a deliberate, calculated fraud, a hoax perpetrated by liars and war criminals.

With a few notable exceptions --Bill Moyers, Keith Olbermann come to mind --the American media has failed its public. We expected no better from Fox. It is CBS, the network of Ed Murrow, that has been most disappointing. As the fraudulent nature of Bush's administration crumbles, it had been hoped that the American media would take a cue from one of its pioneers. The standard Murrow set is yet to be lived up to.

It is my hope that one day, and soon, the American media will awaken to a simple fact that without the public they serve, they would not exist. In that spirit, I post Murrow's very words, excerpts from his prophetic speech to a meeting of the Radio and Television News Director's Association Convention in Chicago. It's as true today as it was on October 15, 1958.

Edward R. Murrow's address to the RTNDA Convention in Chicago, October 15, 1958

This just might do nobody any good. At the end of this discourse a few people may accuse this reporter of fouling his own comfortable nest, and your organization may be accused of having given hospitality to heretical and even dangerous thoughts. But the elaborate structure of networks, advertising agencies and sponsors will not be shaken or altered. It is my desire, if not my duty, to try to talk to you journeymen with some candor about what is happening to radio and television.

I have no technical advice or counsel to offer those of you who labor in this vineyard that produces words and pictures. You will forgive me for not telling you that instruments with which you work are miraculous, that your responsibility is unprecedented or that your aspirations are frequently frustrated. It is not necessary to remind you that the fact that your voice is amplified to the degree where it reaches from one end of the country to the other does not confer upon you greater wisdom or understanding than you possessed when your voice reached only from one end of the bar to the other. All of these things you know.

You should also know at the outset that, in the manner of witnesses before congressional committees, I appear here voluntarily-by invitation-that I am an employee of the Columbia Broadcasting System, that I am neither an officer nor a director of that corporation and that these remarks are of a "do-it-yourself" nature. If what I have to say is responsible, then I alone am responsible for the saying of it. Seeking neither approbation from my employers, nor new sponsors, nor acclaim from the critics of radio and television, I cannot well be disappointed. Believing that potentially the commercial system of broadcasting as practiced in this country is the best and freest yet devised, I have decided to express my concern about what I believe to be happening to radio and television. These instruments have been good to me beyond my due. There exists in mind no reasonable grounds for personal complaint. I have no feud, either with my employers, any sponsors, or with the professional critics of radio and television. But I am seized with an abiding fear regarding what these two instruments are doing to our society, our culture and our heritage.

Our history will be what we make it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now, and there should be preserved the kinescopes for one week of all three networks, they will there find recorded in black and white, or color, evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live. I invite your attention to the television schedules of all networks between the hours of 8 and 11 PM, Eastern Time. Here you will find only fleeting and spasmodic reference to the fact that this nation is in mortal danger. There are, it is true, occasional informative programs presented in that intellectual ghetto on Sunday afternoons. But during the daily peak viewing periods, television in the main insulates us from the realities of the world in which we live. If this state of affairs continues, we may alter an advertising slogan to read: LOOK NOW, PAY LATER.

For surely we shall pay for using this most powerful instrument of communication to insulate the citizenry from the hard and demanding realities which must be faced if we are to survive. I mean the word survive literally. If there were to be a competition in indifference, or perhaps in insulation from reality, then Nero and his fiddle, Chamberlain and his umbrella, could not find a place on an early afternoon sustaining show. If Hollywood were to run out of Indians, the program schedules would be mangled beyond all recognition. Then some courageous soul with a small budget might be able to do a documentary telling what, in fact, we have done--and are still doing--to the Indians in this country. ... I have reason to know, as do many of you, that when the evidence on a controversial subject is fairly and calmly presented, the public recognizes it for what it is--an effort to illuminate rather than to agitate....

Our experience was similar with two half-hour programs dealing with cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Both the medical profession and the tobacco industry cooperated in a rather wary fashion. But in the end of the day they were both reasonably content. The subject of radioactive fall-out and the banning of nuclear tests was, and is, highly controversial. But according to what little evidence there is, viewers were prepared to listen to both sides with reason and restraint. This is not said to claim any special or unusual competence in the presentation of controversial subjects, but rather to indicate that timidity in these areas is not warranted by the evidence. ...

Nowhere is this better illustrated than by the fact that the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission publicly prods broadcasters to engage in their legal right to editorialize. Of course, to undertake an editorial policy, overt and clearly labeled, and obviously unsponsored, requires a station or a network to be responsible. Most stations today probably do not have the manpower to assume this responsibility, but the manpower could be recruited. Editorials would not be profitable; if they had a cutting edge, they might even offend. It is much easier, much less troublesome, to use the money-making machine of television and radio merely as a conduit through which to channel anything that is not libelous, obscene or defamatory. In that way one has the illusion of power without responsibility.

... when John Foster Dulles, by personal decree, banned American journalists from going to Communist China, and subsequently offered contradictory explanations, for his fiat the networks entered only a mild protest. Then they apparently forgot the unpleasantness. Can it be that this national industry is content to serve the public interest only with the trickle of news that comes out of Hong Kong, to leave its viewers in ignorance of the cataclysmic changes that are occurring in a nation of six hundred million people? ...

I have no illusions about the difficulties reporting from a dictatorship, but our British and French allies have been better served--in their public interest--with some very useful information from their reporters in Communist China. One of the basic troubles with radio and television news is that both instruments have grown up as an incompatible combination of show business, advertising and news. Each of the three is a rather bizarre and demanding profession. And when you get all three under one roof, the dust never settles. The top management of the networks with a few notable exceptions, has been trained in advertising, research, sales or show business. But by the nature of the corporate structure, they also make the final and crucial decisions having to do with news and public affairs.

Frequently they have neither the time nor the competence to do this. It is not easy for the same small group of men to decide whether to buy a new station for millions of dollars, build a new building, alter the rate card, buy a new Western, sell a soap opera, decide what defensive line to take in connection with the latest Congressional inquiry, how much money to spend on promoting a new program, what additions or deletions should be made in the existing covey or clutch of vice-presidents, and at the same time-- frequently on the same long day--to give mature, thoughtful consideration to the manifold problems that confront those who are charged with the responsibility for news and public affairs.

Sometimes there is a clash between the public interest and the corporate interest. A telephone call or a letter from the proper quarter in Washington is treated rather more seriously than a communication from an irate but not politically potent viewer. It is tempting enough to give away a little air time for frequently irresponsible and unwarranted utterances in an effort to temper the wind of criticism .Upon occasion, economics and editorial judgment are in conflict. And there is no law which says that dollars will be defeated by duty. ...

There is no suggestion here that networks or individual stations should operate as philanthropies. But I can find nothing in the Bill of Rights or the Communications Act which says that they must increase their net profits each year, lest the Republic collapse. I do not suggest that news and information should be subsidized by foundations or private subscriptions. I am aware that the networks have expended, and are expending, very considerable sums of money on public affairs programs from which they cannot hope to receive any financial reward. I have had the privilege at CBS of presiding over a considerable number of such programs. I testify, and am able to stand here and say, that I have never had a program turned down by my superiors because of the money it would cost. But we all know that you cannot reach the potential maximum audience in marginal time with a sustaining program.

This is so because so many stations on the network--any network--will decline to carry it. Every licensee who applies for a grant to operate in the public interest, convenience and necessity makes certain promises as to what he will do in terms of program content. Many recipients of licenses have, in blunt language, welshed on those promises. The money-making machine somehow blunts their memories. The only remedy for this is closer inspection and punitive action by the FCC ...

What, then, is the answer? Do we merely stay in our comfortable nests, concluding that the obligation of these instruments has been discharged when we work at the job of informing the public for a minimum of time? Or do we believe that the preservation of the Republic is a seven-day-a-week job, demanding more awareness, better skills and more perseverance than we have yet contemplated. ...

So the question is this: Are the big corporations who pay the freight for radio and television programs wise to use that time exclusively for the sale of goods and services? Is it in their own interest and that of the stockholders so to do? The sponsor of an hour's television program is not buying merely the six minutes devoted to commercial message. He is determining, within broad limits, the sum total of the impact of the entire hour. If he always, invariably, reaches for the largest possible audience, then this process of insulation, of escape from reality, will continue to be massively financed, and its apologist will continue to make winsome speeches about giving the public what it wants, or "letting the public decide." ...

To a very considerable extent the media of mass communications in a given country reflect the political, economic and social climate in which they flourish. That is the reason ours differ from the British and French, or the Russian and Chinese. We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late .I do not advocate that we turn television into a 27-inch wailing wall, where longhairs constantly moan about the state of our culture and our defense. But I would just like to see it reflect occasionally the hard, unyielding realities of the world in which we live. ...

I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge, and retribution will not limp in catching up with us. We are to a large extent an imitative society. If one or two or three corporations would undertake to devote just a small traction of their advertising appropriation along the lines that I have suggested, the procedure would grow by contagion; the economic burden would be bearable, and there might ensue a most exciting adventure--exposure to ideas and the bringing of reality into the homes of the nation. To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful. Stonewall Jackson, who knew something about the use of weapons, is reported to have said, "When war comes, you must draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." The trouble with television is that it is rusting in the scabbard during a battle for survival.
Good night, and good luck!

Straithorn as Murrow in "Good Night and Good Luck"

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$Billions for Murder$: the Axis of Bush and Blackwater

The real picture is one of murder, theft, and thuggery, a real "Axis of Evil" --George W. Bush, The Pentagon, and Blackwater. US taxpayer dollars trickle down to these hired killers to the tune of some some 1 Billion dollars since 2000. The amount of taxpayer money received by Blackwater is least six times that of our regular military.

Rarely has so much been written, so quickly, by so many about so few. Blackwater, recently called 'Bush's Private Army', is already remembered as having de-romanticized the "Bogart" image often associated with "mercenaries". As Sen. Lloyd Bentsen reminded Dan Quayle, "You, sir, are no John Kennedy". And Blackwater ain't Bogart.
"We saw the costs, in terms of accountability and dollars, for this practice in Iraq, and now we are seeing it in New Orleans," says Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, who has been one of Blackwater's few critics in Congress. "They have again given a sweetheart contract--without an open bidding process--to a company with close ties to the Administration."

-- In the Black(water), Jeremy Scahill, The Nation

It's but the tip of an iceburg, another scam by big government Republicans. See: Federal Contracts to Blackwater USA, Inc.

Because Blackwater is now under investigation, officials will only speak anonymously about its role in recent shootings, "sensitive" discussions among various US agencies and the Iraqi government, and other private security firms in Iraq.
A State Department official asked why the military is shifting the question to State "since the DOD has more Blackwater contractors than we do, including people doing PSD [personal security detail] for them. . . . They've [Blackwater] basically got contracts with DOD that are larger than the contracts with State."

According to federal spending data compiled by the independent Web site, however, the State Department's Blackwater contracts vastly exceed those of the Pentagon. Since 2004, State has paid Blackwater $833,673,316, compared with Defense Department contracts of $101,219,261.

--Private Security Puts Diplomats, Military at Odds, Washington Post
The Post's Walter Pincus analyzes one of the contracts under investigation by Congressman Henry Waxman. Blackwater's mercenaries "earn" more than US generals, including Gen. Petraeus who recently read to Congress a report that had likely been prepared for him by GOP PR experts in the Bush administration. According to Pincus' analysis, Petraeus makes about $493 a day, not including benefits. Blackwater, on the other hand, charge higher rates for murder. Here's how Pincus says Blackwater hit men get paid:

Average day-to-day personnel, $600/day salary paid by Blackwater. Blackwater bills Regency, $850/day for operators Regency bills ESS an average of $1100/day for all types of employees ESS charges Halliburton which charges the US based on a per-meal basis (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Halliburton has some profit worked into this)

Bush, meanwhile, has said US taxpayers need to cough up another $200 billion, a process of outsourcing the US war against the people of Iraq. If the people of the US were willing to "wink and nod" at the utter immorality the Iraq quagmire, what, then, are the US taxpayers to say about the how billions of dollars --almost as much as the amount Ronald Reagan spent doubling the Federal Bureaucracy --that have "trickled down" into the coffers of what is, in practice, Murder, Inc?

It's time for a reality check --the amount received by Blackwater is an amount at least six times that of our regular military. Never, ever try to tell me that the GOP is "conservative" in any way. It is, rather, a profligate and corrupt organization whose leadership should be under criminal investigations right now.

Blackwater has deep, long ties to the Bush White House and prominent Republicans, including Ken Starr.
When Blackwater contractors guarding a US State Department convoy allegedly killed 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians on Sept. 16, it was only the latest in a series of controversial shooting incidents associated with the private security firm. Blackwater has a reputation for being quick on the draw. Since 2005, the North Carolina-based company, which has about 1,000 contractors in Iraq, has reported 195 "escalation of force incidents"; in 156 of those cases Blackwater guns fired first. According to the New York Times, Blackwater guards were twice as likely as employees of two other firms protecting State Department personnel in Iraq to be involved in shooting incidents.

On Tuesday morning, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will hold a hearing on the US military's use of private contractors. When Waxman announced plans for the hearing last week, the State Department directed Blackwater not to give any information or testimony without its signoff. After a public spat between Rep. Waxman and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department relented. Blackwater CEO and founder Erik Prince is now scheduled to testify at 10 AM Tuesday.

--Bush administration's ties to Blackwater

My conclusions are confirmed again. The GOP is not a political party, it's a crime syndicate, a criminal conspiracy. The leadership of the GOP should be investigated by a Federal Grand Jury under RICO (Racketeering) statutes. Freedom of speech does not protect payments to hired killers even if the money is laundered through the White House and the Pentagon. This is organized crime on a scale never dreamed of by Al Capone. In this century, only the gangster Adolph Hitler has come close to organized crime of this magnitude. It seems like only yesterday that the US was called "the World's only superpower". Now the many openly call it the "world's biggest terrorist organization".

How quickly the Bush v Gore has made of the United States of America a gang of thugs, murderers, thieves, torturers, sadists, and run o' the mill bathroom stall blowjob artists! I repeat what should be obvious to all but the terminally stupid: the Bush administration, indeed, Bush himself an arch-criminal, liar and thief, is a threat to the world, world peace and humanity. This Bush administration, having long ago violated every provision of the social contract, having flouted its only source of legitimacy, no longer represents the sovereign people of the United States. This illegal and illegitimate regime must be ended now. Given this regime's utter depravity, the unconstitutional manner in which it seized power and subsequently ruled, any means are now legally justified. I suggest an interested reader review the words of Thomas Jefferson and, likewise, the US Constitution. Bush out now!

Blackwater Hearing: Waxman's Opening

An update:
AGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The State Department's initial report of last month's incident in which Blackwater guards were accused of killing Iraqi civilians was written by a Blackwater contractor working in the embassy security detail, according to government and industry sources.

In this September 24 photo, an Iraqi looks at a car that was destroyed during the September 16 incident.

A source involved in diplomatic security at the US Embassy in Baghadad said a Blackwater contractor, Darren Hanner, drafted the two-page "spot report" on the letterhead of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the embassy's Tactical Operations Center.

That office -- which tracks and monitors all incidents and movements involving diplomatic security missions -- has outsourced positions to Blackwater and another private firm, the embassy source said.

A highly placed industry source said that Hanner, who was listed on the report as the TOC watch officer, was working for Blackwater at the time the report was written, just after the September 16 incident occurred. He was to rotate out of Iraq this past week, the source said.

The man who approved the report was Ricardo Colon, whom the embassy source identified as the embassy's deputy regional security officer. A State Department source confirmed a Ricardo Colon Cifredo works for the State Department in Iraq.

--Blackwater contractor wrote government report on incident

An Iraqi police officer, directing traffic at Baghdad's Nusoor Square, witnessed the whole thing and, later, called it "hell". He said that Blackwater had "became the terrorists" when they opened fire on civilians, an incident the Iraqi government now says was unprovoked.

A 37-year-old Baghadad businessman and a father of four, whose youngest son was killed by a Blackwater bullet, said he wanted no monetary compensation but only for the guards to "admit to the truth."

The police officer and businessman on Monday gave CNN vivid descriptions of the incident in which a senior Iraqi investigator said 17 people were killed and 24 wounded.

Blackwater USA, the private security contractor hired to guard US diplomats in Baghadad, has said its employees responded properly to an insurgent attack, but the State Department has opened an investigation.

The convoy of four Blackwater vehicles drove into the square about half an hour after a bombing prompted another Blackwater team that was guarding a US diplomat to rush from the area and back to the Green Zone, the enclave in Baghadad where US and Iraqi government agencies have headquarters.

-- Blackwater incident witness: 'It was hell'

Participants in a contentious Baghadad security operation this month have told American investigators that during the operation at least one guard continued firing on civilians while colleagues urgently called for a cease-fire. At least one guard apparently also drew a weapon on a fellow guard who did not stop shooting, an American official said.

The operation, by the private firm Blackwater USA, began as a mission to evacuate senior American officials after an explosion near where they were meeting, several officials said. Some officials have questioned the wisdom of evacuating the Americans from a secure compound, saying the area should instead have been locked down.

These new details of the episode on Sept. 16, in which at least eight Iraqis were killed, including a woman and an infant, were provided by an American official who was briefed on the American investigation by someone who helped conduct it, and by Americans who had spoken directly with two guards involved in the episode. Their accounts were broadly consistent. ...

--Blackwater Shooting Scene Was Chaotic, NYT Chaotic

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