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The Last Decade

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

Michael Ledeen, who was forced from the Reagan Administration after the Iran arms fiasco became public, described George Bush in the 20 August 1987 Boston Globe as “the most powerful man” in America.” And after his election, Bush tried his hardest to prove he was the most powerful man in the world as well. His devastating invasion of Panama left thousands dead, and tens of thousand homeless, but did nothing to curb international drug smuggling. Likewise, his massive terror bombing of Kuwait and Iraq killed tens of thousands, and his economic sanctions, endorsed by Clinton, have killed hundreds of thousands, for no reason at all, save vengeance. Saddam Hussein is still in power.

For all the violence and terror he inflicted on the world, Bush did nothing to make America a safer place. And while America’s anti-terrorism policy remained unchanged under his son and ideological heir, our sacred homeland, according to Michael Ledeen, is a much unsafer place.

In his 1 October article for NRO, Ledeen said: “The last great chief of the CIA, Bill Casey, saw the necessity of creating a counter-terrorism center where all the information came into a central location and was analyzed in toto. He entrusted the task to Dewey Clarridge,” who “cracked his very active whipgreatly improving the quality of our intelligence.”

Then came the “infamous” although unspecified “restrictions” put in place by Clinton.

What it required now, Ledeen contends, is “a top guy with real power and total support from the president, and it requires men and women at the working level who not only have the resolve and the courage to do it – laying waste to dead wood as they go – but who know the system cold, know how the bureaucratic games are played, and know which walls have to be broken down.”

What Ledeen is prescribing, of course, is a recipe for the type of domestic political repression outlined in detail in this essay, that American’s have endured under previous right wing regimes.

Will we never learn?

Our constitutionally protected right to political activity has been under constant attack for decades now, and it will only get worse. As a result of the recent anti-terror legislation, even your email can be subjected to permanent monitoring by the FBI, CIA or the new OHS. As of this week, the FBI can “seek a peak” inside your home or office without a warrant, and seize your files, property or computers without any notice, and they don’t have to tell you about until afterwards. Committing any petty misdemeanor, which can in anyway be interpreted as frightening some National Guardsman at some Office of Homeland Security checkpoint of airport, is now grounds for surveillance of your home and person, and monitoring of your internet activity.

God forbid you should stoop to political dissent, or opposition to Bush’s eternal war.

Internationally the story isn’t any prettier. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, has stated that America must attack more and more countries. Like other terrorists in the Bush Administration, Negroponte is well suited to this task. As U.S. ambassador to Honduras under Reagan, he funded that particular right wing regime’s most notorious death squads, Battalion 316.

In the name of anti-terrorism, the illegitimate Bush Administration can be expected to revitalize this practice worldwide, training torturers and tyrants to wage “global counter-terrorism” against any nation that harbors suspected terrorists, or critics of U.S. foreign policy. And any connection you have to these foreign enemies, even if it is merely sympathy for the Palestinians, subjects you to imprisonment, loss of livelihood, and worst of all, forfeiture of your sense of humor.

That’s right. You can’t even make fun of the situation anymore. Which is, when you think of it, perfectly in keeping with out time honored Judaic-Christian ethic.

Here at home, through the Office of Homeland Security, we will endure more political and psychological warfare, more black and gray propaganda, and more deceit and disinformation than any society on earth before. We’re told we must become new people in a brave new world, where indefinite detention, torture and summary execution of our suspected enemies will make us free.

Award winning reporter and likely Mossad propagandist Seymour Hersh tells us that we must resort to the tactics the Jordanian security service used to catch the notorious Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal. “The Jordanians did not move directly against suspected Abu Nidal followers but seized close family members instead, mothers and brothers,” Hersh notes. Then he quotes an anonymous CIA officer as saying, “Jordan is the one nation that totally succeeded in penetrating a group,” because it was able “to get their families under control.”

So much for family values.

Hersh disingenuously adds that these tactics defy CIA procedures, but suggests it’s a better alternative than “sitting around making diversity quilts.”

Well, this is exactly the type of psychological warfare you can expect to be subjected to on a daily basis from here on out. As noted in the Marine Corps Gazette, “Psychological operations may become the dominant operational and strategic weapon in the form of media/information intervention. Logic bombs and computer viruses, including latent viruses, may be used to disrupt civilian as well as military operations. Fourth generation adversaries will be adept at manipulating the media to alter domestic and world opinion to the point where skillful use of psychological operations will sometimes preclude the commitment of combat forces.”

“Television news may become a more powerful operational weapon than armored divisions.”

Let me say it one last time: in the name of anti-terrorism, all of the nation’s pent-up anger and frustration over Vietnam, and a host of other, mostly Clinton-related issues, is poised to be unleashed on an enemy that lurks inside our borders.

And that enemy is you.

But in order to survive, and enjoy, and laugh, you need only know one thing: when Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice and Powell tell you that America needs to wage unrelenting war for the next fifty years, in order to achieve peace, they are lying.

War, dear Citizen, is not Peace.

Hail The Republic!

Homeland Insecurity Continued: Footnotes

Douglas Valentine writes frequently for CounterPunch. He is the author of The Phoenix Program, the only comprehensive account of the CIA’s torture and assassination operation in Vietnam, as well as TDY a chilling novel about the CIA and the drug trade.

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

CounterPunch Magazine

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