The Center for an Informed America
NEWSLETTER #23
November 21, 2002
 


The UN Security Council registers its support of the US-sponsored
UNSCR 1441. From left to right, Syria's Fayssal Mekdad votes
"Aye," as does the UK's Jeremy Greenstock, while the United
States' John Negroponte signals "Seig Heil!"

Bali Bombing Targeted Americans! Predator Drone Takes Out Al Qaeda Operatives in Yemen! Yemeni Terrorist Cell Linked to Buffalo Terrorist Cell! DC Snipers Linked to Every Murder Committed in the Continental United States Since 1999! North Korea Has Nukes! Smallpox Vaccinations Urged! Homeland Security Passes! 1970s 'Terrorist' Group Members Convicted of Murder! Republicans Sweep Mid-Term Elections! UN Security Council Passes U.S. Resolution on Iraq! War is Averted! No, War is Imminent! Intelligence Agencies Report Lots of 'Chatter'! Spectacular New Terrorist Strike in the Works! Warning! Warning! Warning!

Can someone please turn down the volume of the psy-war campaign? It's starting to give me a headache.

How do I even begin to cover all the stories that have emerged over the last several weeks? I guess I should start with what has been perhaps the biggest story flogged by the media: the trial of Winona Ryder for the crime of the century.

At first, judging by the amount of press coverage the case generated, I thought that maybe she was on trial for ax murdering her family. But then I realized that she was actually facing charges of shoplifting. Apparently she was caught lifting some $5,000 worth of merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue -- which is approximately what Saks charges for a small box of bath salts.

Is there really anybody out there, outside of the Ryder family, who actually cares about the outcome of this case? I'd like to care. I really would. But I don't. So let's move on to some matters of lesser importance.

There has been much talk about the U.S.-drafted resolution that was recently endorsed by the entire UN Security Council. Some have claimed that the resolution is a welcome alternative to war. Others have cautioned that the resolution has "hidden triggers" that make war all but inevitable.

So which is it? A tough but fair plan to disarm Saddam Hussein by peaceful means? Or a document that sets up impossible hurdles and deliberate provocations, thereby assuring that the supposed weapons inspections will be merely a pretext for war?

Actually, it is neither, though the latter description is considerably more accurate than the former.

The resolution certainly does not prohibit unilateral military action by the United States without further authorization by the UN. That much is certain. But contrary to popular opinion, it also does not necessarily require any further "breach" by Iraq in order to trigger a military attack. What the resolution actually says, and says fairly explicitly, is that we are already at war with Iraq, and have been continuously since 1990.

Anything we do then, and everything that we have done since the time when everyone thought the war ended, back in 1991, is sanctioned by the UN and by international law by virtue of the fact that we aren't actually starting a new war - appearances to the contrary - but are actually continuing the one that we started, with the blessings of the UN, twelve years ago.

That's what the resolution actually says, if you go to the trouble of connecting a few of the dots. The first of these is paragraph 10, which reads as follows:

Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein.
(http://daccess-ods.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N02/682/26/PDF/N0268226.pdf?OpenElement)
That statement is, by the way, an outright lie. And it's not by any stretch of the imagination the only lie in the document. Dr. Glen Rangwala of the University of Cambridge, writing on behalf of a group calling itself Lawyers Against the War, has noted that it is, however, "an even more egregious re-writing of history" than other examples that are cited by the group -- such as the assertion that Iraq "ultimately ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM and the IAEA in 1998," which is denounced as "a wholly disingenuous claim," and the pronouncement that the Council has made "repeated demands that Iraq provide" access to UNMOVIC, which is dubbed "a pure fabrication."
(http://www.lawyersagainstthewar.org/comments.pdf)

The U.S. has nevertheless proclaimed its historical revisionism to be a fact, and the entire Security Council has agreed to play along with this charade, so I guess that in this post-Orwellian world that we live in - this world where, as Professor John McMurtry has so succinctly stated, "truth is what[ever] people can be conditioned to believe" - it is now a fact.
(see Newsletter #16)

This particular 'fact' serves a very important purpose, as the Lawyers Against the War tract reveals: "Through this paragraph, the US-UK are attempting to award themselves the legal right to use force if they alone perceive Iraq as non-compliant; the abandonment of the specific authorisation to use force that was in earlier drafts is thus resuscitated in an oblique but legally equivalent form here."

The resolution actually gives the U.S. and the UK even more latitude than that. The next paragraph that is relevant to this discussion reads as follows:

[The Security Council d]ecides that Iraq has been and remains in material breach of its obligations, including resolutions 687 (1991), in particular through Iraq's failure to cooperate with United Nations inspectors and the IAEA, and to complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991).
This is, by the way, another example of an outright lie. Rangwala writes that this "claim is made without any legal basis."

The final pieces of the puzzle appear early in the draft resolution, in paragraphs 4 and 5:

Recalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area,

Further recalling that its resolution 687 (1991) imposed obligations on Iraq as a necessary step for achievement of its stated objective of restoring international peace and security in the area.

If we now combine the four relevant paragraphs, and trim away some of the extraneous material, we get:
[The Security Council, r]ecalling that its resolution 678 (1990) authorized Member States to use all necessary means to uphold and implement its resolution 660 (1990) of 2 August 1990 and all relevant resolutions subsequent to resolution 660 (1990) and to restore international peace and security in the area; [and f]urther recalling that its resolution 687 (1991) imposed obligations on Iraq as a necessary step for achievement of its stated objective of restoring international peace and security in the area ... [and r]ecalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein ... [but] Iraq has been and remains in material breach of [those] obligations, ... in particular through Iraq's failure to ... complete the actions required under paragraphs 8 to 13 of resolution 687 (1991).
America's stance then, in somewhat plainer English, is:
  • The United States, as a member state of the UN Security Council, was authorized in 1990 to use extreme military force to implement the provisions of resolution 660 and all subsequent resolutions pertaining to Iraq, and to restore 'peace' and 'security' to the region.
  • In 1991, resolution 687 provided a blueprint for actions that Iraq would have to take in order to end hostilities in the area and restore that peace and security.
  • Resolution 687 also explicitly made fulfillment of those obligations by Iraq a prerequisite for a ceasefire to go into effect.
  • Iraq has, however, never fulfilled those obligations.
  • The ceasefire, therefore, never actually went into effect, and we are still duty-bound to achieve our "stated objective of restoring international peace and security in the area" by "all necessary means."
We are then, conveniently enough, entirely justified in having spent the last decade randomly bombing Iraq, restricting and patrolling its airspace, and launching massive air strikes in 1998 -- all of which were unilateral military actions taken without UN sanction, but which have now been retroactively blessed by the Security Council.

And we are also, needless to say, justified now in initiating a full-scale invasion of the country.

The new resolution also says, immediately following the paragraph declaring Iraq to be in "material breach" of its obligations:

[The Security Council d]ecides, while acknowledging paragraph 1 above, to afford Iraq, by this resolution, a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions to the Council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process ...
What Uncle Sam is essentially saying here is: "Look ... we have the legal authority right now to carpet bomb your country and slaughter thousands of your citizens, but since we're such nice guys and all, we're going to give you 'another chance' to comply with outlandish demands that we're actually just now making for the first time, but we're going to pretend as though these are obligations that you have been dodging for years. So while we still reserve the right to attack you without any provocation whatsoever, we have decided to set up impossible obstacles for you, which we are calling 'an enhanced inspection regime,' so that you will be forced to do something that will appear to provoke and justify an attack."

The resolution orders Iraq to provide, within thirty days, "a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programmes to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems ..." This is followed by the explicit warning that "false statements or omissions in the declarations submitted by Iraq pursuant to this resolution ... shall constitute a further material breach of Iraq's obligations."

Notice that the U.S. is granting itself the power to determine if Iraq is lying about any possible weapons development programs before any actual weapons inspections begin.

The whole point of inspections, one would think, would be to assess the current status of any weapons programs. But here Uncle Sam is saying before the inspections even begin that he already knows the status of Iraq's weapons programs, and so he will know if Saddam is lying before the inspections even begin. And lying, of course, would constitute a "material breach" -- and we're only giving them one last chance.

Iraq is pretty much in a lose-lose situation before any inspection teams even begin work in the country. The U.S. is insistent that Iraq is developing 'weapons of mass destruction,' while Iraq just as adamantly maintains that it is not. If Iraq denies involvement in such programs in its initial 30-day declaration, the U.S. will promptly declare the Iraqis to be 'in material breach of their obligations' by virtue of the fact that they are liars. If, on the other hand, Iraq chooses to play along with the U.S., and declares that it does indeed have active WMD programs, then it will be declared to be 'in material breach of its obligations' arising from various other UN resolutions that have called for the dismantling of such programs.

And then, of course, there is the possibility that the U.S. will not even wait the thirty days, but may instead use the innovative approach of declaring Iraqi anti-aircraft fire - directed at U.S. aircraft on bombing 'sorties' - to be a 'material breach of their obligations.' Apparently, acting in self-defense against unprovoked military attacks is now justification, under the new 'rule of law,' for greatly escalated military attacks.

Assuming that inspectors ever actually make it into Iraq, which frankly seems rather unlikely, there are numerous other hurdles to get over.

The resolution includes a provision that the security of the weapons inspection teams "shall be ensured by sufficient United Nations security guards." It's a pretty safe bet that it will not be up to Iraq to decide what is a "sufficient" number of armed foreign troops to allow into the country.

As the Lawyers' missive noted, "Iraq is being asked to accept a resolution that permits a foreign military presence on its soil, without knowing the nature of that military presence." What if Bush and Blair decide that 10,000 troops, or 100,000 troops, is a "sufficient" number of "security guards" to send into the country?

Is Iraq expected to accept such an interpretation of the deliberately vague resolution? Is Iraq being offered much the same deal that Serbia was: accept a 'peaceful' military occupation of the country or we will pound you into submission and force a military occupation on you?

Another hurdle is the fact that the Security Council has defined the power of its inspection teams so broadly and so vaguely that Iraqi compliance is all but impossible. There is absolutely nothing, and no one, in the country that will be immune to surprise visits from what will essentially be heavily-armed military SWAT teams.

Iraq has been ordered to disclose "any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programmes, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material," and to allow the inspectors "immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all, including underground, areas, facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport which they wish to inspect, as well as immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted, and private access to all officials and other persons whom UNMOVIC or the IAEA wish to interview in the mode or location of UNMOVIC's or the IAEA's choice pursuant to any aspect of their mandates."

The resolution also contains a provision - which Lawyers Against the War refers to as "perhaps the key deal-breaker" - that allows inspectors to essentially kidnap Iraqi officials and scientists, along with their families, and transport them out of the country for 'questioning.'

Another provision grants the inspectors the authority to create what are dubbed "exclusion zones," in which all "ground and aerial movements" will be suspended. This, of course, is in addition to the already established, and formerly illegal, 'no-fly zones.'

There are other problems with the resolution as well. The legal group notes that one passage calls for "immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to Presidential sites equal to that at other sites" -- which tramples brazenly over previous UNSCR 1154, which established special procedures for inspecting the presidential palaces. Rangwala writes: "For the UN to abandon the principle that the agreements that it makes can [sic] be overridden to the detriment of the other party would be to cast a grave aspersion on the United Nations and the fabric of international law."

And the last thing we want to do here is to cast any aspersions on the fabric of international law -- or on the UN, whose entire Security Council has cravenly voted to accept the United States' rewriting of history, the UN Charter, and international law ... much as the U.S. Congress has voted repeatedly to rewrite domestic law and the U.S. Constitution.

George Bush just seems to have a knack for getting his way. I guess he is just a really great and popular statesman. Maybe we just seriously underestimated the little guy. That's what I've been reading lately, anyway. It seems to be a popular 'talking point' among the punditocracy. I'm finding it a little hard to stomach though.

Others say that it wasn't 'diplomacy' and 'statesmanship' that sold the resolution, but bribery and strong-arming -- although it could be reasonably argued that bribery and strong-arming, along with healthy doses of extortion and blackmail, are the primary ingredients of diplomacy and statesmanship.

But none of that seems to fully explain the unanimous vote in the Security Council on what is essentially a green light for the U.S. to launch an unprovoked military attack upon a sovereign nation -- which used to be a rather flagrant violation of international law.

But now, according to the U.S. Congress and the United Nations Security Council, it's not.

It's not hard to understand why the U.S. Congress - acting, it should be noted, before the dubious 2002 election supposedly gave the Republican Party a 'mandate' - was so eager to run roughshod over the U.S. Constitution. Like the White House and the Supreme Court, Congress has no other interest than advancing the agenda of its corporate masters -- regardless of the relative mix of 'Republicans' and 'Democrats.'

But what of the international community? Why would the entire UN Security Council sign off on America's latest illegal and immoral war? Are the opinion shapers in the all-powerful American media correct when they accuse Europe and much of the rest of the world of being 'appeasers' -- albeit not appeasers of the alleged Hitler in the Middle East, but of the apparent Hitler in the Americas?

Or is it not so much a case of appeasement as it is a case of complicity? Does the answer lie in the fact that when the U.S. flexes its military muscle, it is not doing so solely for the benefit of America and its 'interests,' but rather for the benefit of the global corporate elite, who know no borders? Is America really doing the dirty work for all of what we call the 'Western' world, which is essentially a euphemism for the corporate capitalist system, and which is no longer limited to the 'West' but now includes all of the world's military and economic powers?

The reality seems to be that the United States has no real 'enemies' in the world -- or at least none that have the military, economic or political power to pose any meaningful threat to global corporate hegemony. The weeks of posturing by various heads of state that preceded the final vote on UNSCR 1441 was purely for the benefit of the hometown crowd, and was necessary because the peoples served by those governments that expressed reservations about the U.S.-sponsored resolution have access to media outlets that are, quite frankly, at least slightly more independent and less propagandistic than what we ludicrously refer to as America's 'free press,' and they actually pay attention to what their leaders are doing in their name on the international scene.

Many non-Americans, believe it or not, can perform such amazing feats as finding their own country on a map of the world, an ability that one in nine young Americans lack. Many of them can also find Iraq on a map, unlike 87% of fighting-aged Americans.
(http://www.cnn.com/2002/EDUCATION/11/20/geography.quiz/index.html)

Even more incredibly, many of them would likely know if theirs was the only country ever to be convicted by the World Court of committing acts of terrorism, unlike the people in some other country which will remain nameless here, but which lies somewhere between Canada and Mexico (if the CNN story is correct, then the secret is still safe, since most Americans will think I'm talking about Zimbabwe).

Many non-Americans are, in other words, suffering from a slightly less severe form of media-induced brain atrophy than are Americans. Many foreign governments, therefore, lacking the unrivaled mastery of the U.S. propaganda machine, have to at least pretend to embrace such obscure concepts as justice, fairness, democracy, and respect for international law. The U.S., on the other hand, isn't hindered by any such restraints. That allows the U.S. to do in broad daylight what other countries must publicly challenge or condemn, even while privately expressing admiration.

I've noticed, by the way, that a lot of 'conspiracy theorists' are busily promoting the idea that the world is running out of oil, and that the current Bush wars are motivated by the necessity, not merely the desire, of gobbling up the world's remaining oil and natural gas reserves. Michael Ruppert and company have hammered away at that theme over at From the Wilderness, and Michel Chossudovsky and Stan Goff at CRG has plugged it as well.

Now I don't pretend to know whether the world is in fact on the verge of running out of oil. It is certainly possible. The thing that bothers me about this theory though is that it seems to actually provide a justification for America's recent wars -- albeit a rather perverse one.

If the world is in fact rapidly running out of oil, and if we as a nation need oil to survive in a recognizable form, then I would venture a guess that a good number of Americans would support, at least privately, whatever actions are required to maintain our current standard of living, especially if they don't have to ever see what the true costs of maintaining that lifestyle are (these same Americans, by the way, while granting to America the 'right' to take from the rest of the world whatever is needed to maintain America's standard of living, would deny to individual Americans the right to take what is needed to fulfill basic subsistence needs).

And if the planet is indeed being rapidly depleted of its oil reserves, then that would provide further indication that much of the world, with the exception of some of those pesky 'Third World' nations, is fully complicit in America's imperial ambitions.

The United State is certainly not the only country that would have figured out by now that oil is a rapidly diminishing resource. Other countries do, I am told, have their own geologists and petroleum engineers. And we are certainly not the only nation with an insatiable appetite for oil, though we do definitely consume more than our share.

So why would all the oil-dependent nations of the world, as vulnerable to the loss of oil imports as is the United States, sit idly by while the U.S. gobbles up the oil reserves of first Central Asia, and now the Middle East -- not to mention South America, where both Colombia and Venezuela have seen greatly increased covert activity?

Is the rest of the world willing to commit suicide by allowing the U.S. to stake claim to all of the planet's known oil reserves merely to appease the almighty U.S. war machine? Or is much of the rest of the world complicit in the goal of 'globalizing' the entire planet?

No discussion of the new UN resolution would be complete without giving equal time to the Iraqi response. Now I have to preface this by saying that I realize that those who authored and authorized this response are understandably outraged by the actions taken by the U.S. and its Security Council cronies, and by the U.S.-inflicted conditions the country has suffered through for the last decade.

And I also understand that much could have been, and very likely was, lost in the translation. Nevertheless, having said that, I must also say that the official Iraqi response to the UN resolution is one of the funniest things that I have read in quite some time.

I might also add here that a reader - who wishes to remain anonymous, and so shall be randomly assigned the pseudonym "mom" - recently wrote to me to suggest that maybe, possibly, I could perhaps tone down the rhetoric just a bit in these newsletters.

Now I was starting to think that reader "mom" might have a valid point, until I read the words of Iraqi Foreign Affairs Minister Naji Sabri, and realized that my stuff is actually fairly tame. I have never, for instance, referred to Bush and his cronies as "the tyrant of the age," "the gang of evil," or "the unfair people" -- though I may have used "the warmongers," and have probably made passing references to "his lackey Tony Blair."

And those are actually some of the nicer things that Sabri has to say in his missive.
(http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-un-iraq-letter1113nov13,0,5814466.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dworld%2Dheadlines)

There are bits of wisdom worthy of Confucius, or at least of a fortune cookie: "He who remains silent in the defense of truth is a dumb devil."

There is disappointment expressed at the UN's failure to honor international law by denying the U.S. "international cover with which to camouflage its falsehood, partially or completely, bringing it closer to the truth, so that it may stab the truth with the dagger of evil."

"Stabbing the truth with the dagger of evil," I'm thinking, is something the Bush administration is quite accomplished at, and is a phrase that you're likely to be seeing a lot of in these newsletters -- as in, "well ... it looks as though Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Rice/Rove/Poindexter/Ridge/Ashcroft/Powell/Fletcher has once again stabbed the truth with the dagger of evil." It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

And then there's this little gem, which I don't really understand, to be perfectly honest, though it does have a certain rhetorical flair that you can't help but admire: "The Security Council ... instead of leaving the American administration and its lackey reap the result of their evil, saved wrongdoing rather than halted it. We shall see when remorse will not do any good for those who bite on their fingers."

And here is how, after railing against the U.S. and its allies - particularly Israel and the UK - for several pages, the Iraqis officially accepted the new UN resolution: "We hereby inform you that we will deal with resolution 1441, despite its bad contents, if it is to be implemented according to the premeditated evil of the parties of ill-intent, the important thing in this is trying to spare our people from harm."

Harm such as that which comes from the ever more frequent bombing runs across the 'no-fly' zones, which Sabri refers to as "the cawing of the crows of evil that daily raid [our] land, and kill Iraqis and destroy their property by their bombs."

Iraq claims to welcome the inspections with open arms, as a way of clearing itself of the accusations of the Bush and Blair administrations, thereby creating international support for the lifting of the deadly sanctions: "Send your inspectors to Iraq to make sure of this and everyone will be sure, if their way of conduct is supervised so that it becomes legal and professional, that Iraq has not developed weapons of mass destruction, whether nuclear, chemical or biological, as claimed by evil people."

The Iraqis though harbor serious doubts about whether that will happen. They fully expect the U.S. to act as provocatively as possible, as evidence by Sabri's request to Kofi Annan: "we hope that you will, Mr. Secretary-General, advise the ignorants not to push things to the precipice."

That the "ignorants" will push things to the precipice is, as Sabri surely knows, a virtual certainty.

Even if Iraq can somehow manage to maneuver its way through the outlandishly provocative inspections procedures, the U.S. has included an "if all else fails ..." provision in the resolution by introducing a reference to UNSCR 688, which demanded an immediate end to "the repression of the Iraqi civilian population." As the Lawyers Against the War critique warns, "the US and UK may be leaving the way open to claim that Iraq is not in compliance with the new resolution, even if there is full progress on the disarmament agenda."

Before the Security Council approved resolution 1441, Iraq offered a different solution to its ongoing disagreements with the United States. The offer was for Bush and Saddam to resolve their differences with an old-fashioned duel, thus sparing the citizenry of both nations any bloodshed.
(http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20021003/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_us_17)

This seems to me to be a perfectly sane and rational idea -- one that should in fact be used to settle all of the disagreements between the world's heads of state. If we should find ourselves running out of heads of state too quickly, which we certainly wouldn't want to happen, we could switch to boxing matches or cage fights.

When I was a young and impressionable lad, it always puzzled me how world leaders, or at least their proxies, could meet and hold civil discussions even while their respective pawns were being blown to bits on a battlefield somewhere. How, I wondered, could these men meet and not try to kill each other, as their surrogates were doing by the thousands? And these were the people who really hated each other, unlike the hapless souls on the battlefield, who generally have no real reason to hate the 'enemy.'

I didn't understand, of course, that the people on whose behalf war is waged, on whose behalf millions are slaughtered, don't risk their own lives in a war. But they certainly should. So let the duel begin. And make it a pay-per-view event.

In other news, I see where San Francisco representative Nancy Pelosi has been pegged as the new House minority leader. I also see where Washington and the media are branding her as an "ultra-liberal," which is pretty funny considering that there is no one that even vaguely matches that description anywhere in the halls of power in Washington.

In unrelated news, I happened to tune in the other day to a particularly offensive bit of propaganda airing on HBO that was entitled "Journeys With George." It is, for those who haven't had the unique pleasure of viewing it, a documentary of Bush's 2000 presidential campaign.

Though trying, I think, to pass itself off as a critical look at our fearless leader, the film in fact goes to great lengths to present a sympathetic view of George Bush -- to 'humanize' him, so to speak. The young filmmaker who shot the documentary, and who had virtually nothing to say in her film about the most significant aspect of the 2000 campaign - the theft of the election - was afforded unprecedented access to Sir George.

Now the funny thing is that the aspiring filmmaker who created this bit of Bush adulation was none other than Alexandra Pelosi, who strangely enough happens to be the daughter of Nancy Pelosi, Bush's new "ultra-liberal" sparring partner in the House. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Funny also how transparently 'in-your-face' the machinations of the political establishment have become, and how the vast majority of the American people will nevertheless continue to accept the manufactured reality offered to them, rather than facing a reality that lingers in the backs of their minds, scaring the hell out of them.

And speaking of transparent political machinations, we are currently being treated to a heavy dose on the local scene here in Los Angeles. It's the damnedest thing, but immediately after the city crowned a new LAPD chief, William Bratton - amid much heady talk of reforming the notoriously corrupt department and creating a more effective force without adding any additional officers to what is routinely, and ridiculously, claimed to be a severely understaffed department - the city was besieged by a murder spree.

Sixteen murders in six days, plus an additional four bodies left lying in the streets by the LAPD itself, though those will not be considered murders, because we all know that the police don't murder people, since they are, of course, the good guys. The talking heads on TV just can't say enough about the sudden wave of violence. And sure enough, Bratton has already suggested that he could, now that he's had a few days to think about it, really use at least another 3,000 officers. Of course he could. We are, after all, trying to build a police state here.

The problem is that the money is just not there. Tough times, you know. Everyone has to tighten the belt a little. Budget cuts for everyone. So Bratton understood coming in, and all the important local politicians pretty much agreed, that the force wasn't going to be expanding.

Of course, if public support can be generated, the money could probably be found. That's what I'm guessing, anyway. But the LAPD isn't real popular with a lot of Angelenos. There are still ways, however, to whip up public support for vastly increasing the size of the LAPD. A highly publicized and sensationalized violent crime wave might, for example, do the trick, or at least start the ball rolling in that direction.

At the tail end of the last newsletter, I wrote that those who are considered to be sane in our culture actually subscribe to insanely irrational beliefs. I must now confess that I too secretly cling to an irrational belief.

It is something of a recurring fantasy, and it is one that is, no doubt, dreamed by most, if not all, dissident writers/conspiracy theorists. The fantasy goes something like this: at some point in time, there will be an "I told you so" moment -- a time when all those who have opted to accept the manufactured reality will suddenly wake up to the fact that the theories that they have long ridiculed and marginalized aren't so crazy after all -- a time when they will come humbly forth to say, "you know, maybe you were right all along."

But I'm afraid that day isn't coming, and even if it did, it would be a decidedly pyrrhic victory.

When my less-than-illustrious public speaking career began about two-and-a-half years ago (and pretty much ended not long after that), I would rant about how America, at that time, was already well on its way to becoming a police state. One of the most common responses that I would get from audience members was the oft-repeated mantra that "things have to get worse before they can get better."

My standard response to that - and the point of my first book, which is what I was supposed to be plugging - was that "things don't necessarily need to get worse before they can get better, we just need to raise the American people's awareness of how bad things already are."

Well ... here we are a couple of years later and 'things' are, without question, demonstrably worse now than they were then -- so much so that we can now, incredibly enough, already look back on the pre-Bush period as 'the good old days.' And I wonder how many people out there are still saying that "things have to get worse before they can get better"? And I wonder if one of them can explain to me exactly how much worse 'things' need to get?

If we had the power to peer into the future, and had used that power two years ago, most of us would have been appalled by what we saw. But here we are, and that future is now, and to a good many of us, 'things' don't seem any different now, and certainly no worse, than they were then.

If we were to use that power again to look a few years into the future we are headed towards, most of us would again be horrified. But when that future arrives, as it surely will, most of us will have adapted perfectly to our new reality, our paths eased by a relentless psychological warfare assault.

It's comforting to think that history will one day redeem those who challenge the official orthodoxy. It's comforting ... but it's a lie. In the brave new world of the not-too-distant future, control of the 'truth' will be absolute.

Until next week, when I might finally get to that list of links ...
 
 

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