Center for an Informed America

 


Newsletter #6
June 26, 2002



Greetings to all subscribers!

They're getting closer. Can you feel it? You probably can't see or hear them yet, but they're out there, and they're getting closer all the time.

You know who I'm talking about. The ones we point the finger of blame at. The ones we are conditioned to fear and despise. The ones that we have to detain indefinitely to protect civilization. The ones that George Bush calls the evildoers.

Just nine months ago, they were far, far away. The finger was pointing to some mysterious land populated by mysterious people who hate us, especially that Osama bin Laden fellow. His was the face of evil that we were instructed to loath and fear. A foreigner in some foreign land.

Then we had a somewhat different face presented to us: Zacharias Moussaoui. It was still a foreign face, from a foreign land, but he had been living and was captured here on the hallowed soil of the United States. The face of evil moved a little closer to home, and the finger started to turn inward.

Then came the next face: John Walker Lindh. The face was becoming more familiar. Now it was that of an American -- albeit an expatriate American. He had been one of ours, but he had become one of them. The finger turned inward yet a bit more.

Now we have a new face of evil: Jose Padilla -- an American, who had traveled extensively abroad, but who had returned and was captured right here in America. The finger has just turned even further inward.

What will the next face look like? Will it be that of an American living here in the States who has never left the country, but who associates with foreign visitors? And then what? An American who has never left the country and who has no connections to any foreign persons or entities, but who sometimes rents foreign language videos?

How far will we, the American people, allow the accusatory finger to be turned inward? And how long will it be before that finger is pointed directly at you and me? How many of us will have to be detained before society is safe -- before civilization itself has been sufficiently protected?

And what will we be detained for? Will it be for crimes that we have allegedly already committed, or for crimes that the government says we are planning to commit?

And why am I not surprised that Hollywood has once again - this time via master propagandist Steven Spielberg - exhibited uncannily prescient timing with the release of Minority Report. How do they do that? It's almost as if Tinseltown isn't really the entertainment capital of the world so much as it is the psychological warfare capital of the world.

It's almost as if (and I know I'm really going out on a limb here) someone in Washington figured out at some point during its nearly 100 years of existence that the modern 'entertainment' industry is far too powerful and influential to be allowed to function independently. It's almost as if, in other words, Hollywood is essentially a propaganda mill for the U.S. government.

Of course we all know that Spielberg is the quintessential Hollywood 'liberal,' and that as such he would never propagandize for the ultrareactionary Bush regime. We know that he is a liberal because everyone says that he is, just like they all say that Hollywood in general is liberal.

And I suppose that Spielberg and his Hollywood cronies are 'liberals,' insofar as that word has any meaning anymore. If Bill Clinton can routinely be labeled a 'liberal' by a straight-faced media, then I suppose Spielberg and pretty much all of Hollywood qualify as well.

John Powers, writing for the L.A. Weekly, knows that Spielberg is a liberal. He takes that as a given, declaring Steve to be "a good Hollywood liberal." That much is, apparently, beyond debate. Strangely though, Powers immediately follows his disclaimer with this passage:

"[Spielberg's] early successes meshed perfectly with the cultural values that flowered during the Reagan years. His work was, one might say, a Silent Majority report suffused with a vision of a wondrous America, at once suburban and nostalgic, generous and tough. There may be no purer cultural expression of Reaganism than when that dark-skinned Third Worlder pulled out his scimitar and wry Indiana Jones shot him dead -- as a laugh line."
(http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/31/on-powers.shtml)

Like any good 'liberal,' Spielberg has spent his entire professional career peddling propaganda designed to advance the increasingly fascistic agenda being pursued by the U.S. government. So it seems only natural that he has now graced the nation's theater screens with a film based on a short story by Philip K. Dick which "predicates a social order that has all but abolished privacy, civil rights, the separation of powers and, for that matter, the integrity of the individual."
(http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/31/film-taylor.shtml)

Of course, Philip's dark vision of a seriously dystopian future has been Spielbergized. According to Powers: "He's transformed something dark and scary into something softer and more comfortable." A law enforcement system geared towards 'pre-crime' is, according to Spielberg, a good thing. As the director said at the movie's premier: "We're giving up some of our freedom so that the government can protect us."

And we should all, I guess, be thankful for that, and stop worrying about the massive erosion of democratic rights that has occurred in the last nine months. Uncle Sam is only trying to protect us.

So we should understand why would-be protesters were explicitly warned prior to an address delivered by The Smirk at Ohio State University that they would face arrest for showing any signs of disrespect to the president. Dissidents who defied the warnings were given a choice between expulsion and arrest. Free speech is, of course, one of those nonessential rights that must be sacrificed in order to fight 'terrorism' and successfully defend 'democracy.'
(http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/ohio-j19.shtml and http://www.democraticunderground.com/cgi-bin/duforum/duboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=27823&forum=DCForumID35)

Strangely though, long before there was a 'War on Terror' to fight, the Bush team had nothing but contempt for the right to free speech. Just ask Thomas Markovich, who was arrested in 1998 for heckling the then-governor of Texas and charged with "disrupting a meeting." The highest criminal court in the state of Texas ruled last month that Markovich will stand trial on the fascistic charges.
(http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA6RHIYU1D.html)

We also shouldn't be unduly concerned with the equally fascistic actions taken against Lt. Col. Steve Butler or Bert Sacks.

Butler is, it will be recalled, the Air Force officer who is to be "disciplined" for alleging that Bush allowed the September 11 attacks to occur in order to advance an agenda. Unmentioned in the smattering of press reports on the infamous Butler letter "was that the officer was not merely expressing a personal opinion. He was in a position to have direct knowledge of contacts between the US military and some of the hijackers in the period before the terrorist attacks."
(http://wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/offi-j21.shtml)

Even less publicized than the Butler case is the case of 60-year-old humanitarian Bert Sacks. The unassuming Seattle resident is currently being threatened with a twelve-year prison sentence for committing what the Bush regime considers a serious crime -- delivering tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies to ease the suffering of the children if Iraq.
(http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/74924_sacks17.shtml)

Sacks has been quoted as saying, quite accurately: "It is very clear that U.S. policy of bombing civilian infrastructure and 11 years of sanctions is knowingly causing suffering and death, deliberately causing suffering and death of Iraqi civilians in order to coerce the government of Iraq ... We should speak in clear English. It's killing 5,000 children a month. It's not honest; it's not accurate to say it penalizes the Iraqi people. It kills them. I've been to Auschwitz, I'm Jewish. Nobody would say Auschwitz created hardships for the Jewish people. We need to be honest."

Indeed we do, although - in George Bush's America - being honest can apparently earn you a prison sentence.

But we don't really need to be concerned about such things. The media, which - like Spielberg's Hollywood - is hopelessly 'liberal,' will surely tell us when we do need to be concerned about something. And the Ohio State, Markovich, Butler and Sacks cases have hardly been mentioned at all, so clearly there is no need for concern.

We have, after all, the world's most free and independent press. That's why it's impossible for our political, military and corporate leaders to keep any significant secrets from us, or to mislead us as to what their true intentions are. All those 'liberal' do-gooders in the press corps are just champing at the bit to uncover any high crimes or misdemeanors committed by the rich and powerful.

That's why, I suppose, there hasn't been a single mention by any branch of the American media of the documentary evidence of a U.S.-directed massacre of 3,000 captured Taliban prisoners-of-war. All the 'news' organizations are aware of the existence of the filmed evidence. But none of them have bothered to publish or broadcast any mention of it.

Not ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX. Not the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, or any other big-city newspaper. Not CNN, MSNBC or FOX News. Not 'progressive' publications like The Nation, Mother Jones, The Progressive or In These Times.

Not one single voice throughout all of American medialand has been raised to question if the U.S. was directly complicit in the commission of horrendous war crimes in Afghanistan. The European press, including Agence France Presse, has covered the story. The press in Afghanistan has covered the story. A few web-based news sources have covered it as well.
(http://commondreams.org/headlines02/0614-08.htm, http://www.afgha.com/article.php?sid=14995&mode=thread&order=0, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/dora-j17.shtml, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/afgh-j17.shtml, http://wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/maz-j21.shtml, and http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=3&art_id=qw1023894901416B265)

Pretty much the entire world beyond the shores of America is aware of the documentary film evidence of American-directed atrocities -- including all the people living in all those countries out there that allegedly don't have the same press freedoms that we enjoy here.

And how are we to explain that? How is it possible for the world's foremost 'free' press to have completely missed a story being reported by much of the world's purportedly not-so-free press? Is it not newsworthy that U.S. military personnel have been credibly accused of directing the torture and execution of 3,000 individuals?

Is it possible that the story, though reported by any number of credible foreign news services, is just blatant propaganda unworthy of reporting -- unworthy of reporting even for the purpose of denying the allegations and attacking the credibility of the sources of the story? And did every single avenue of the media throughout the entire country independently decide that the story wasn't newsworthy?

That hardly seems likely. A far more logical conclusion to draw is that the American media - including the so-called 'alternative' press, whose primary function is to force-feed yet another level of disinformation to the American people - is a wholly state-controlled propaganda apparatus masquerading as an independent press.

The Afghan massacre story has been scrupulously avoided precisely because the evidence is so damning that it can not be properly spun to serve the interests of the Bush regime. And so it is simply ignored, with no fear that by choosing to ignore such a story, the much-vaunted American media will reveal itself for the ridiculous fraud that it is.

As mentioned in the last newsletter, the U.S. media has also carefully avoided focusing any direct attention on the question of why there were no interceptors scrambled on September 11 in response to the simultaneous hijacking of no less than four commercial airline flights.

That is another issue that can't be properly spun by Washington's countless mouthpieces in the media, so it has been near-universally ignored, except by websites run by 'conspiracy' mongers like University of Ottawa economics professor Michel Chossudovsky (who has not been mentioned by any of the numerous conspiracy bashers of the fake left, who prefer easier targets like Michael Ruppert).
(http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ZWI201A.html and http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/SZA202A.html)

The issue was indirectly addressed last week in what appeared to be a well-planned 'incident' involving a private plane that 'accidentally' violated the secure airspace around the White House. The incident carried the distinctive scent of a set-up designed to retroactively explain the complete absence of any measures taken last September 11 to thwart the attack on the Pentagon, and to thereby silence the few loudmouths in the crowd who have demanded an answer to the question of why no action was taken.

As most readers are likely aware, a privately-owned Cessna 182 wandered into restricted airspace on Wednesday evening at 7:59 PM -- just in time, conveniently enough, for prime-time television coverage. This imminent threat to the White House occupants received breathless coverage throughout the broadcast media.

White House personnel were briefly evacuated and interceptor jets were scrambled from Andrew's Air Force Base to handle the emergency. The jets, alas, arrived too late, after the Cessna had left the restricted area after cruising therein for nearly fifteen minutes, coming at one point within four miles of the White House.

The plane was ultimately escorted by two F-16s to a landing in Richmond, Virginia. The pilot and a passenger were questioned and then quickly released. Strangely, the identities of the two occupants of the errant plane were withheld, as was all other information about them.

White House officials, according to the L.A. Times, "downplayed the otherwise harmless incident." Rather preposterously, it was claimed that the "incident was handled in such a low-key fashion upstairs at the White House residence that the president only learned about it Thursday morning when briefed by an aide."
(http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-na-plane21jun21.story)

Apparently Bush wasn't alerted to the threat by the fact that his staffers suddenly exited the building, or by the blanket television and radio coverage, which was handled in anything but a "low-key fashion." Maybe the Disney Channel doesn't interrupt regularly scheduled programming for such breaking news.

In any event, an unidentified official pointedly noted that the incident "illustrates just how hard it is to do this kind of thing [protect the White House and other sensitive installations], especially in a busy air traffic area."
(http://news.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=675392002&rware=PVSAJUEDVBLV&CQ_CUR_DOCUMENT=1)

According to a timeline published by The Scotsman, it's pretty much impossible to "do this kind of thing," even with what are allegedly more tightly restricted no-flight zones enacted in the aftermath of September 11.

As previously noted, the Cessna entered a fifteen-mile-radius restricted zone around the White House at 7:59 PM. At 8:03, four minutes later, the FAA notified NORAD of the airspace violation. Three minutes after that, at 8:06, NORAD ordered F-16s scrambled from Andrews. At that same time, the Cessna penetrated an allegedly even more tightly controlled five-mile-radius zone. Seven minutes later, at 8:13, the Cessna exited the restricted airspace of its own accord. Four minutes later, at 8:17, the F-16s took off, eleven minutes after the order to scramble had been issued.

According to unnamed officials cited by The Scotsman, the civil air defense system worked as designed. Reporters were informed that "two F-16 fighters took off 11 minutes after ordered - well within the fifteen minute time period allowed to respond to emergencies - but did not reach the scene until the small plane had flown into and out of a prohibited area."

What these anonymous officials are telling us, none too subtly, is that it is not possible to protect the White House (or Congress, the Pentagon, etc.) from an aerial attack.

Even in the world of heightened security we now live in, a plane can fly within fifteen miles of the White House before triggering any alarms. From the time of the initial penetration into that secured zone, a response is from fifteen to twenty minutes away, according to "the time period allowed to respond to emergencies."

After conducting a quick search on the Internet, I found that the top speed of a Cessna 182 is apparently 170 miles-per-hour. Had the Cessna pilot been bent on attacking the White House, it would have taken him less than five-and-a-half minutes to cover the distance from the perimeter of the restricted airspace to the White House.

Had this been an attack, therefore, the airplane (and, presumably, whatever type of 'weapon of mass destruction' it would have been carrying) would have plowed into the White House before the order to scramble had even been issued, let alone executed.

We can only conclude from this that any building in Washington and the surrounding area is fair game for an aerial 'terrorist' attack. There is, according to the mysteriously unnamed Washington officials, no mechanism in place to thwart such an assault on the power centers of Washington.

It seems painfully obvious that this entire Cessna incident was cooked up as a disinformation campaign designed explicitly to take the wind out of the sails of those who would dare to question why no actions were taken to protect the White House and Pentagon (not to mention the World Trade Center) on September 11.

"Look," Washington mouthpieces seem to be saying, "there is nothing that can be done to protect our cherished institutions from aerial terrorist attacks, and so it makes perfect sense that no actions were taken to thwart the attacks that occurred when the country was obviously operating at a less heightened state of preparedness."

Nice try, guys, but that story doesn't even come close to adding up.

On September 11, the first indication that something was amiss came at around 8:15-8:20 AM, when the first of the four hijacked craft allegedly turned off its transponder and ceased responding to radio communications. By 8:28, the aircraft had radically altered its flight path, giving air traffic controllers a clear indication that the flight had indeed been hijacked, as the FAA later acknowledged.

According to the timeline of the Cessna incident, the FAA should within minutes have contacted NORAD to inform them of the errant aircraft, especially since by 8:30, two aircraft were giving clear indications that they were under the control of hijackers -- an historically unprecedented occurrence.

Within a few minutes of NORAD's notification, an order should have been given for Air Force interceptor jets to be scrambled; within fifteen minutes of the issuing of that order, the jets should have been in the air and screaming towards the known locations of the suspect aircraft.

That would have placed the interceptors in the air by no later than 8:50 AM, even allowing that the FAA waited until the suspect flight changed paths before concluding that an emergency situation had developed, and even allowing that the full fifteen minutes was required to get the jets into the air after receiving the scramble order.

This would have given the jets ample time to thwart the second attack on the World Trade Center, which occurred at 9:05 AM. If NORAD was contacted at 8:20, a few minutes after the first signs of trouble, and if the jets were successfully scrambled within, say, ten minutes of receiving orders, then they would have been aloft in time to thwart even the first World Trade Center attack.

Instead, as we all know, nearly a full hour after the latest time that jets should have been in the air, the White House and the Pentagon still sat entirely unprotected. There is, as I have said many times before, simply no innocent explanation for that. A lot of people in Washington, it seems to me, have a whole lot of explaining to do.

Well ... I see that I'm running behind on getting this newsletter out and have nevertheless proceeded, surprisingly enough, to ramble on at some length here, and I still have a lot of articles that I need to get through, so here are, in no particular order, some of the best picks for this week ...

First up is a pair of postings by Canadian dissident writer Steve Gowans. If you aren't already reading Gowans, you should be. His two most recent offerings are entitled "Pillar Of His Community, Destroyer Of Others" and "Unpleasant Truths." Both deal with moral hypocrisy, and both are highly recommended.
(http://www.swans.com/library/art8/gowans36.html and http://www.swans.com/library/art8/gowans35.html)

Next up is a pair of postings by one of Gowans' colleagues at Swans, Deck Deckert. The first looks at what the media would talk about if it were truly liberal, while the second focuses on control of the media, and soon the Internet as well.
(http://www.swans.com/library/art8/rdeck023.html and http://www.swans.com/library/art8/rdeck022.html) And why we're on the subject of Internet censorship and control, here's an article on ISP spying. (http://online.securityfocus.com/news/486)

The next posting takes a look at some of the Team Bush lawyers who are hard at work drafting the laws that will transform America into a post-Orwellian nightmare. (http://www.truthout.org/docs_02/06.20A.vv.bush.atk.htm) And here, from a somewhat different perspective, is another look at the rapidly emerging American police state (which, unfortunately, repeats some disinformation first reported by FOX News about a purported Israeli spy ring). (http://web11.superb.net/www.nodomain.com/editorials/US_plans_for_martial_law.html)

This next offering, from professor Chossudovsky's site, takes a very revealing look at how disinformation and psychological warfare operate in this country. Though the author's writing style sometimes makes his arguments difficult to follow, this piece is absolutely essential reading. (http://globalresearch.ca/articles/KUP206A.html)

This trio of articles reminds us that it is not just in America that fascism is on the rise -- it is a development that is mirrored throughout the 'Western' world. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4409736,00.html, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,726705,00.html, and http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4253205,00.html)

I occasionally receive e-mail from readers who express grave concerns about the obvious rise of overt fascism in this country. These readers frequently state that the most disturbing aspect of this situation is that, unlike the last time that fascist imperialism reared its ugly head, there is no longer a superpower on the world stage to oppose the drive for global fascism.

These readers invariably identify the United States as the opposing force that broke the back of the fascist powers nearly six decades ago. Any honest reading of twentieth century history though reveals that it was actually the Soviet Union that crushed European fascism.
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0595186408/qid%3D998261390/sr%3D1-2/ref%3Dsc%5Fb%5F2/102-9281050-8945713)

The essential point of these readers' concerns remains unchanged, however: there is currently no military power in the world that is equipped to challenge the aims of the United States and its allies. No one is going to come riding in to save the day.

The harsh reality that we as a people have yet to face is that, if this fascist drive is to be defeated, resistance has to come from within. It is the American people, and only the American people, that can arrest this cancer before it metastasizes across the planet.

Are we up to the task? That remains to be seen.

There has certainly been, in the last few months, a rapid erosion of trust in what exactly it is that our government is up to. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A36238-2002May30) And there is certainly resistance among the fighting age men of this country to serving as cannon fodder for Uncle Sam. (http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/3511354.htm)

But there are not, as yet, many signs of organized resistance to Plan Bush.

Clear signs continued to emerge this past week that Afghanistan's loya jirga was a hopelessly fraudulent affair. As a WSWS headline announced: "Afghanistan's loya jirga fails to provide even the illusion of democracy."
(http://asia.news.yahoo.com/020615/afp/020615181725top.html, http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020617/wl_nm/afghan_dc_91, and http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/afgh-j24.shtml)

This link will transport you to a site where you will find archived videotaped footage of The Smirk reading to schoolchildren while a few thousand occupants of the World Trade Center towers were being burned and crushed to death. The footage is, I am told, very revealing, though I wouldn't know, since my computer has steadfastly refused to play it.
(http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/2002/06/11_Booker.html)

Also of interest this week are: this WSWS posting detailing the whitewashing by the New York Times of flagrant violations of the Geneva Conventions by the United States (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/jun2002/nyt-j19.shtml); this posting by Mother Jones examining how Brown and Root - a subsidiary of Dick Cheney's former employer, Haliburton Companies - is being awarded open-ended contracts to provide services once performed by U.S. military personnel, leaving our servicemen free to perform more vital tasks, such as killing and dying (http://www.motherjones.com/web_exclusives/features/news/halliburton.html); this posting, which finds Colin Powell, reputed by many misguided souls to be a voice of moderation within the Bush regime, calling for preemptive strikes - which is to say, unprovoked and blatantly illegal acts of terror - to be massive and decisive (http://www.iht.com/articles/61568.htm); this offering from the Washington Post that reveals that the man selected to head the September 11 probe is the very same man who allegedly obstructed the Waco probe (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26102-2002Jun21.html); another offering from the Post that discusses the fact that some of the most egregious voting irregularities in Florida have not yet been addressed (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A1529-2002May23); and, finally, this article from the Washington Times, which reveals that "A provision in the bill seeking to create a Homeland Security Department will exempt its employees from whistleblower protection, the very law that helped expose intelligence-gathering missteps before September 11" (http://washingtontimes.com/national/20020622-42082444.htm).

As a final note, I offer my humblest apologies for the late arrival and posting of this newsletter. I was away from my computer for several days while attending an out-of-state family function. According to my car's odometer, I only traveled some 400 miles, but apparently in doing so I drove through some kind of a break in the time/space continuum and was transported to a bizarre parallel reality where the local media is unaware of anything that occurs beyond the county line. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The jury is still out on whether it is worse to not be informed at all of national and world events, or to be consistently lied to about them.

And so it goes ...



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