The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the U.S. government of U.S. law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy.
2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy.
The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.
If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the U.S. government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its unaccountable power.
As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press reported on December 16 that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can’t let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.”
Gates stated bluntly what has been known for some time: the idea is passe that government in a democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in civics books, it will soon be edited out.
In Gag Rule, a masterful account of the suppression of dissent and the stifling of democracy, Lewis H. Lapham writes that candor is a necessary virtue if democracies are to survive their follies and crimes. But where in America today can candor be found? Certainly not in the councils of government. Attorney General John Ashcroft complained of candor-mongers to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Americans who insist on speaking their minds, Ashcroft declared, “scare people with phantoms of lost liberty,” “aid terrorists,” diminish our resolve,” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.”
As the Department of Justice (sic) sees it, when the ACLU defends habeas corpus it is defending the ability of terrorists to blow up Americans, and when the ACLU defends the First Amendment it is defending exposures of the lies and deceptions that are the necessary scaffolding for the government’s pretense that it is doing God’s will while Satan speaks through the voices of dissent.
Neither is candor a trait in which the American media finds comfort. The neoconservative press functions as propaganda ministry for hegemonic American empire, and the “liberal” New York Times serves the same master.
It was the New York Times that gave credence to the Bush regime’s lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and it was the New York Times that guaranteed Bush’s re-election by spiking the story that Bush was committing felonies by spying on Americans without obtaining warrants. Conservatives rant about the “liberal media” as if it were a vast subversive force, but they owe their beloved wars and cover-ups of the Bush regime’s crimes to the New York Times.
With truth the declared enemy of the fantasy world in which the government, media, and public reside, the nation has turned on whistleblowers.
Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided the media with the video made by U.S. troops of their wanton, fun-filled slaughter of newsmen and civilians, has been abused in solitary confinement for six months.
Murdering civilians is a war crime, and as General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the National Press Club on February 17, 2006, “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral” and to make such orders known.
If Manning is the source of the leak, he has been wrongfully imprisoned for meeting his military responsibility. The media have yet to make the point that the person who reported the crime, not the persons who committed it, is the one who has been imprisoned, and without a trial.
The lawlessness of the U.S. government, which has been creeping up on us for decades, broke into a full gallop in the years of the Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes.
Today the government operates above the law, yet maintains that it is a democracy bringing the same to Muslims by force of arms, only briefly being sidetracked by sponsoring a military coup against democracy in Honduras and attempting to overthrow the democratic government in Venezuela.
As 2011 dawns, public discourse in America has the country primed for a fascist dictatorship.
The situation will be worse by 2012.
The most uncomfortable truth that emerges from the WikiLeaks saga is that American public discourse consists of cries for revenge against those who tell us truths.
The vicious mendacity of the U.S. government knows no restraint. Whether or not international law can save Julian Assange from the clutches of the Americans or death by a government black ops unit, both executive and legislative branches are working assiduously to establish the National Security State as the highest value and truth as its greatest enemy.
America’s future is the world of Winston Smith.
The Gaza Massacre And The Struggle For Justice
By Ali Abunimah
The Gaza massacre, which Israel launched two years ago today, did not end on 18 January 2009, but continues. It was not only a massacre of human bodies, but of the truth and of justice. Only our actions can help bring it to an end. Continue
Top Ten Myths about Afghanistan, 2010
By Juan Cole
MYTH 10. “There has been significant progress in tamping down the insurgency in Afghanistan.”
- Fact: A recent National Intelligence Estimate by 16 intelligence agencies found no progress. It warned that large swathes of the country were at risk of falling to the Taliban and that they still had safe havens in Pakistan, with the Pakistani government complicit. The UN says there were over 6000 civilian casualties of war in Afghanistan in the first 10 months of 2010, a 20% increase over the same period in 2009. Also, 701 US and NATO troops have been killed this year, compared to 521 last year, a 25% increase. There were typically over 1000 insurgent attacks per month in Afghanistan this year, often twice as many per month as in 2009, recalling the guerrilla war in Iraq in 2005.
MYTH 9. Afghans want the US and NATO troops to stay in their country because they feel protected by them.
- Fact: In a recent [pdf] poll, only 36% of Afghans said they were confident that US troops could provide security. Only 32% of Afghans now have a favorable view of the United States’ aid efforts in their country.
MYTH 8. The “surge” and precision air strikes are forcing the Taliban to the negotiating table.
- Fact: The only truly high-ranking Taliban leader thought to have engaged in parleys with the US, Mulla Omar’s number 2, turns out to have been a fraud and a con man.
MYTH 7. The US presence in Afghanistan is justified by the September 11 attacks.
- Fact: In Helmand and Qandahar Provinces, a poll found that 92% of male residents had never heard of 9/11.
MYTH 6. Afghans still want US troops in their country, despite their discontents.
- Fact: one poll found that 55% of Afghans want the US out of their country. And, the percentage of Afghans who support Taliban attacks on NATO has grown from 9% in 2009 to 27% this year!
MYTH 5. The presidential elections of 2009 and the recent parliamentary elections were credible and added to the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s government.
- Fact: Karzai stole his presidential election and the parliamentary elections were riddled with fraud. One fourth of the votes for parliament this fall had to be thrown out because of suspected ballot fraud, and 10 percent of victors were unseated for serious irregularities.
MYTH 4. President Hamid Karzai is “a key ally” of the United States.
- Fact: Karzai has repeatedly threatened to join the Taliban. He has also admitted to being on a $2 million a year retainer from Iran. All he has to do is cozy up to North Korea for a trifecta!
MYTH 3. Shiite Iran is arming the hyper-Sunni, Shiite-hating Taliban in Afghanistan.
- Fact: Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates told Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini last February “that intelligence indicated there was little lethal material crossing the Afghanistan-Iran border.” This according to a wikileaks cable.
MYTH 2. Foreigners are responsible for much of Afghanistan’s fabled corruption.
- The trail of big corruption usually leads back to people around President Karzai. Karzai insiders bankrupted a major Kabul bank with their shenanigans, forcing the government to bail it out. A significant portion of the $42 million in medicine given by the US for Afghan soldiers this year has disappeared and the Karzai-appointed official concerned has just been fired. US officials have alleged that Karzai’s brother in Qandahar has run interference for illegal businesses and the drug trade.
MYTH 1. The US is in Afghanistan to fight al-Qaeda.
- Fact: CIA director Leon Panetta admitted that there are only 50-100 al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan! The US is mainly fighting two former allies among the Mujahidin whom Ronald Reagan dubbed “freedom fighters” and the “equivalent of America’s founding fathers:” Gulbaddin Hikmatyar and his Hizb-i Islami, and Jalaluddin Haqqani and his Haqqani Network. These two organizations, which received billions from the US congress to fight the Soviets in the 1980s, are more deadly and important now than the ‘Old Taliban’ of Mulla Omar. The point is that they are just manifestations of Pashtun Muslim nationalism, and not eternal enemies of the United States (being former allies and clients and all). Hikmatyar has roundly denounced al-Qaeda.
Clinton Plays Russian Roulette With Justice
By Yvonne Ridley
Instead of sticking her nose in to other countries' judicial processes, perhaps the US Secretary of State would care to look into her own backyard and tell us why one of her soldiers was given a mere nine month sentence earlier this month after shooting unarmed civilians in Afghanistan? Continue
The Trials of Henry Kissinger
"A fascinating, bombshell documentary . . . .
Should be required viewing for civics classes and would-be public servants alike." -- Brent Simon, Entertainment Today.
2011: A Brave New Dystopia
By Chris Hedges
"The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right.
Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression?