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"Here, Broken Laws Be Left ... " The Anthrax Attacks and the Assault on Civil Liberties

The Anthrax Attacks and the Assault on Civil Liberties

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

In last weekend’s edition of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn updates the ongoing persecution of Sami Al-Arian by federal prosecutors. Al-Arian was a Florida university professor of computer science who was ensnared by the Bush Regime’s need to produce “terrorists” in order to keep Americans fearful and, thereby, amenable to the Bush Regime’s assault on US civil liberties.

The charges against Al-Arian were rejected by a jury, but the Bush Regime could not accept the obvious defeat. If Al-Arian was not a terrorist, then other of the Bush Regime’s fabricated cases might fall apart, too.

In open view, the US Department of Justice (sic) proceeded to trash every known ethical rule of prosecution. I don’t need to repeat the facts, as they are covered by Cockburn’s articles and in The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Instead, I want to point out another meaning of the Al-Arian case. The Justice (sic) Department itself knows that it is persecuting a totally innocent person for reasons of a political agenda–the need to convince gullible Americans of an ongoing terrorist threat. The existence of this threat is used to justify the Bush Regime’s adoption of police state measures, such as spying on Americans without warrants, arresting them without charges, and refusing to let go of them when they are cleared by juries.

Sami Al-Arian is a fabricated terrorist created by federal prosecutors and judges in behalf of an undeclared agenda. The Al-Arian case proves that terrorists are in short supply and that the Bush Regime has had to create them out of total innocents. The “war on terror” is a hoax used to justify war crimes and the overthrow of America’s civil liberties.

The anthrax scare is one more example of the Bush Regime’s use of disinformation to advance an undeclared political agenda. As Glenn Greenwald reminded us last week in Salon, the Bush Regime used Brian Ross at ABC News to spread the lie far and wide that US government tests proved that the anthrax mailed to various Americans, including prominent US Senators, was made in Iraq by Saddam Hussein. This lie was essential for scaring Congress into passing the Bush Regime’s Gestapo laws, such as the PATRIOT Act, and for overcoming opposition to invading Iraq.

When it leaked out that the anthrax actually came from a US government lab, the Bush Regime tried to frame a US scientist, Steven J. Hatfill, but failed. On June 28th, the Los Angeles Times reported that Hatfill, “The former Army scientist who was the prime suspect in the deadly 2001 anthrax mailings agreed Friday to take $5.82 million from the government to settle his claim that the Justice Department and the FBI invaded his privacy and ruined his career.” Indeed, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton allowed Hatfill’s attorneys two years to review all news reports and FBI evidence. Judge Walton stated: “there is not a scintilla of evidence that would indicate that Dr. Hatfill had anything to do with this.”

The anthrax matter was again news last week when another US government scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, “committed suicide.” Instantly, the deceased Ivins was fingered as the culprit. Overnight a man, liked and respected by his colleagues, who had worked on American biological warfare weapons for years, became a deranged homicidal maniac who decided to murder Americans at random in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 by sending them letters containing anthrax.

I don’t believe a word of it. But assume that it is true. Blaming the anthrax letters on Ivins does not resolve the issue of why the Bush Regime lied to Brian Ross and used ABC to put the blame on Saddam Hussein in order to invade an innocent country. Wouldn’t a government that would lie about something this serious lie about other serious matters?

The Bush Regime stands against against the truth. That is why it pretends to have the power to prevent executive branch officials wanted for questioning by Congress from appearing before the people’s representatives. Nothing could make clearer the contempt that the Bush Regime has for the American people and their elected representatives than its arrogant claim that it is unanswerable to them.

Obviously, neither the President nor the Vice President respect their oaths of office. If they will betray such a serious oath, won’t they lie about everything?

According to the discredited 9/11 Commission Report, a few Muslims hatched a multi-year plot that went undetected by the vast security agencies of the United States and its allies, and within one hour on one morning at four different locations defeated airport security, NORAD, the US Air Force, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, the Pentagon’s defenses and crashed three hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center towers and the heart of the US military. Muslims were able to achieve this fantastic feat operating out of caves in Afghanistan.

We now know for a fact that the “terrorist anthrax attack” had nothing whatsoever to do with Muslim terrorists. Even the US Government now blames white American citizens, employees of the federal government, for the anthrax letters that, at the time, were blamed on the “Osama bin Laden al Qaeda plot against America.”

We now know for a fact that this was intentional disinformation planted by the Bush Regime on a gullible and incompetent ABC News reporter, who is a disgrace to journalism. No one denies this.

We also know for a fact that ABC News will not say who planted on ABC the lies that committed the United States to the dishonor of an illegal invasion, war crimes, and executive branch attack on the US Constitution. How can anyone anywhere in the world rely on ABC News when it serves as a disinformation agency for a criminal regime?

The anthrax letters made the “terrorist attack” seem wider and more general. This increased the sense of peril and Americans’ fear and anger, thereby opening wider the door for the Bush Regime’s attack on Iraq and US civil liberty.

Now that the dead Ivins can be conveniently blamed for the anthrax mailings, the Bush Regime can declare the case closed, thus protecting the false flag operation from further risk of exposure.

Many Americans lack the mental and emotional strength to confront the facts. The facts are too unsettling and many are relieved when the “mainstream media” spins the facts away. Many Americans find it too appalling that any part of “their” government, even a rogue operation, could possibly have been involved in any way in the anthrax attacks. No evidence–not even full confessions–could convince them otherwise. Many Americans have welcomed their brainwashing by the neoconservatives: America is pure; her shining virtue causes evil men to attack her; they hate us because we are good and they are evil.

For the sake of argument, let’s accept this make-believe. It does not explain why, in order to protect us from evil men, the US Constitution needs to be dismantled and civil liberties set aside. Our Founding Fathers said that dismantling the Constitution and setting aside civil liberties are precisely what would make us unsafe in the extreme. The Bush Regime has never explained how the civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution interfere with any legitimate response to terrorism.

The fact still remains that the Bush Regime responded to 9/11 and anthrax letters with a comprehensive assault on US civil liberty. The Bush Regime’s assault on America has been much more successful than its assault on “terrorism.” Who remembers the promise of a “six weeks war”? Americans have been mired for 6 years in two wars without end which the neoconned Bush Regime, in alliance with Israeli zionists, seeks to expand to Iran, Pakistan, Syria, and Lebanon. The Republican candidate for president has given his commitment to a 100-year “war against terrorism.” Many Americans will vote for this candidate who wants to fight against a hoax for 100 years.

In The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America, Jennifer Van Bergen explains the constitutional and legal principles on which American liberty is based and the Bush Regime’s intense assault on these principles. Part I of her book sets out the Constitutional principles that are under attack. Part II details the systematic attack on the US Constitution that is the heart and soul of the Republican neoconservative Bush Regime–and a Regime it is as it asserts that it is above the law and unanswerable to law, Congress, the federal courts, and the Constitution that it is sworn to uphold

Jennifer Van Bergan likens Bush and his brownshirt supporters to Julius Caesar in motives, though not in courage. She cites the poet Lucan who in his work Pharsalia described Caesar as he flouted the law of the Roman Republic and crossed the Rubicon with his army: “When Caesar crossed and trod beneath his feet the soil of Italy’s forbidden fields, ‘here,’ spake he, ‘peace, here broken laws be left; Farewell to treaties. Fortune, lead me on; War is our judge.’”

Anyone who believes that the Bush Regime’s “war on terror” is about terrorism, oil, getting even with those who attacked us, bringing freedom and democracy to Muslims–whatever rationale makes the gratuitous war crimes committed by the Bush Regime acceptable to gullible Americans–needs to read Jennifer Van Bergan’s Twilight of Democracy. Nothing less than American liberty is at stake.

The hour is late. Gullible Americans are being marched off into tyranny as the promised land of safety.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com