January 8, 2002
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
The "War on Terrorism" that was unleashed by the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001 has proven to be the perfect CAMOUFLAGE - indeed, the almost exquisite deceit - behind which the American elites have "fortuitously" (at least from their point of view) been enabled to extend the more Orwellian aspects of their New World Order System, both internally (i.e., within the United States) and externally (i.e., within their system of client states). Internally, the elites - under the Javert-like control of Attorney General John Ashcroft, whose RELIGIOUS ZEALOTRY manifests an almost palpable aura of menace and great peril - have been moving with extraordinary speed to suppress dissent against their New World Order System in the United States, as attested to by the speed it took to pass the draconian and brutish U.S. Patriot Act. And externally, they've been moving with equal dispatch to ruthlessly crush all those who might pose a threat to their system from the outside - as attested to by the alacrity with which they crushed the Taliban in Afghanistan.
And make no mistake about it: it's RELIGIOUS ZEALOTRY that's fueling the ferocity of Bush's "War on Terrorism" - and the Bush Administration is certainly full of religious fanatics ready to pile high the fuel on Bush's fire. While the "War on Terrorism" is many things to many people, to these zealots, it is the means through which they can cleanse the nation of their "secular-humanist" enemies, bring the Gospel (or at least their perverted rendition of it) to the world (at the point of a gun, no less), and prepare the way for Christ's return. [If you haven't already, we urge you to read our last article, "George Bush, The Promise Keepers, And The Principles Of Messianic Leadership."] And it's not just evangelicals who are involved in this religious zealotry, Catholics are involved as well. Indeed, while it might come as a shock to many "old-line evangelicals" and "old-line Catholics," the two (i.e., Catholic zealots and evangelical zealots) are "in bed together" on this one.
Most of the Catholics who are involved with the Bush Administration (at least those "who count" or who are "on the make") are linked directly or indirectly to a radical-right wing Catholic organization known as Opus Dei (meaning "God's Work"). Juan Martin Velasco calls Opus Dei "A MAFIA SHROUDED IN WHITE." And no question about it, it is indeed a sinister and very ominous Catholic "brotherhood;" the fact is, WHAT AL QAEDA AND HAMAS ARE TO ISLAM, OPUS DEI IS TO CHRISTIANITY. Among other things, Opus Dei seeks to "favorably" influence society in the direction of a Catholic world-view (and a very radical, right-wing one at that) by inserting its own members into key positions in the government. To this end, each member is obliged to seek to advance the careers of other members at whatever cost and in whatever sphere of activity they are engaged in with the aim of placing as many members as possible in the highest reaches of the government. Its world-view and eschatology ("doctrine of end times") is remarkably similar to the world-view and eschatology of the Promise Keepers. Both groups are RADICALLY "dominionist" in their thinking.
"Dominionism," as we have indicated on other occasions, is a militant post-millennial eschatology which pictures the seizure of earthly (temporal) power by the church as the only means through which the world can be rescued; only after the world has been thus "rescued" can Christ return to "rule and reign." [Please see chapter XV of the Antipas Papers for a more thorough discussion of Catholic eschatology.]
Opus Dei was founded in 1928 by Jose-Maria Escriva who believed that the church was locked in a death-struggle with the "godless forces of socialism and communism," a struggle that Escriva believed the church was losing - a perspective that was not without merit in the years following World War I. "Atheistic communism" was on the march everywhere. Russia had collapsed before the communist onslaught; Germany, Austria, and Hungary had all been threatened. And both Portugal and Spain had fallen under the influence of socialist-dominated governments - and wherever socialism and communism were in the ascendancy, the Church was in decline.
Escriva threw himself into the struggle against socialism and communism in his native Spain and was soon working hand-in-glove with the fascist Francisco Franco to overthrow the socialist ("Republican") government of Spain. To this end, Opus Dei was influential in gaining support for Franco from the fascist governments of Germany and Italy.
After the collapse of the socialist government in Spain in 1936, Opus Dei (which had done so much to bring that collapse about) began expanding its reach beyond the Iberian Peninsula, and was soon operating in Latin America - and so much so that it can safely be said that no right-wing dictatorship in Central and South America since the end of World War II has been free of Opus Dei influence. Indeed, one of its latest paladins was the corrupt Peruvian president Alberto Fujimora. In this connection, it goes without saying that - like the Promise Keepers - Opus Dei is not very much given to democratic proclivities.
It was in Latin America and the struggle against socialism and Liberation Theology that the paths of Opus Dei and the various Protestant missionary groups that were active in that area [like the Wycliffe Bible Translators (SIL)] first intersected - largely as a result of the machinations and invidious stratagems of the CIA. The partnership they (i.e., the Catholics and evangelicals) formed there eventually spread to the United States, and since that time, both groups have been acting pretty much in consort with one another. This, of course, is not what is commonly portrayed by the many "boosters" of Catholic and evangelical ecumenicism, particularly charismatics like Harald Bredesen, Paul Crouch, David and Justin Du Plessis, Jack Hayford, Cardinal Krol, John Wimber, Father Dene Braun, Father Tom Forrest, Dr. Kevin Ranaghan, Ken Metz, etc. The fact is, however, the genesis of the new Catholic / evangelical partnership doesn't lie so much in the hands of these men and women as it does in the hands of the CIA and men like Oliver North, Elliot Abrams, Vernon Walters, and Joseph McChristian. The reality of the matter is, the present-day Catholic and evangelical rapprochement was not forged in the quiet and peace of a prayer meeting or the joyous praise of a worship service, but in the murderous and bloody struggle against communism and socialism that has been raging for decades in the rain forests of Central and South America - AND THAT'S THE TRUTH!
Brothers and sisters: Listen to me here! - THIS CORRUPT AND DEPRAVED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE RIGHT-WING ELEMENTS OF THE CATHOLIC AND EVANGELICAL CHURCHES HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GOD, AND EVERYTHING TO DO WITH WORLDLY POWER - AND BY THAT I MEAN, THE KIND OF POWER THAT FLOWS OUT OF THE BARREL OF A GUN. It is precisely those people that promote such power - i.e., those people who today form the core-constituencies of the Promise Keepers movement and Opus Dei - that are now at the center of what's going on in Washington D.C. And be clear here! - we're not the only ones who have noticed what's happening; besides Gail Sheehy - who exposed Bush's connection to the Promise Keepers (again, please see our last article) - there is also Gore Vidal, who has managed to garner a great deal of information concerning the Bush Administration's connection to Opus Dei. As we have said on so many other occasions (and as the Bible says) -
"... the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." (Luke 16:8)
Commenting on the presence of the vast numbers of religious zealots in the Bush Administration, Vidal - who is one of the greatest social and political commentators living today (for example, both R.W.B. Lewis of the New York Times Book Review and Michael Dirda of the Washington Post Book Review label Vidal the "the master-essayist of our time") - writes that,
"... HE (i.e., Bush) IS ALREADY SOLID WITH FUNDAMENTALIST PROTESTANTS ..."
This is, of course, what Gail Sheehy wrote about in Vanity Fair in October, 2000. But it's the presence of Opus Dei in the Bush Administration and throughout the government that sets alarm bells off for Vidal. Vidal - a non-practicing Catholic, writing in Vanity Fair a year after Sheehy's landmark article on Bush's relationship to the Promise Keepers - has been utterly appalled by what he has found insofar as Opus Dei's connection with the government is concerned. He writes:
"And to think that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams opposed the presence of the relatively benign Jesuit order (benign at least in comparison to Opus Dei) in our land. (All this is indicative of how) ... Bush has been 'reaching out' to the Roman Catholic far right."
Vidal claims that the accession of Opus Dei into the highest precincts of the government is a fact that simply cannot be written off as the inchoate rantings of a crazed "conspiracy theorist." The presence of Opus Dei is ubiquitous throughout the entire government. Take the FBI, for example: according to Vidal, the presence of Opus Dei is pervasive in that organization - extending even to the head of the FBI itself, Louis Freeh. Indeed, Vidal, remarking on Freeh's Opus Dei connections, writes:
"It is most disturbing that in the ... United States, a nation whose Constitution is based on the perpetual separation of church and state, an ABSOLUTIST (Catholic) religious order ... has placed one of its members at the head of our secret ... police ..."
While Freeh is now gone (it is rumored that he resigned to avoid a scandal concerning Opus Dei's involvement in a clandestine effort in the FBI to suppress evidence in the Timothy McVeigh case), the presence of Opus Dei in the FBI, as well as the Justice Department, continues unchecked - so that now, according to Vidal, BOTH GROUPS HAVE BEGUN TO TAKE ON THE APPEARANCE OF RELIGIOUS ORDERS. Vidal says that Attorney General Ashcroft presides each morning (eight o'clock sharp) over a prayer meeting in his office which is attended by a whole host of Catholics (Opus Dei-types) and Promise Keeper-like evangelicals eager to get ahead in the new "dominionist-oriented" Justice Department - "morning prayers" reminiscent of "Morning Watch" in a medieval monastery with Ashcroft playing the part of the "Grand Master."
And it's not just the presence of Opus Dei at the Justice Department and the FBI that disturbs Vidal, it's also the presence of Opus Dei on the Supreme Court that rattles him. Vidal alleges that there is actually -
"... a plurality of members on the present Supreme Court's five to four (conservative) majority ..." [Please see pg. 410 in Vidal's September 2001 article in Vanity Fair.]
He names two of them: Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia; he leaves the third unnamed.
Think about it! If Catholic and evangelical dominionists have come to dominate the government to such an extent, doesn't that go a long way in explaining the ferocity and speed with which Ashcroft and his minions have been moving to suppress civil rights in the United States? Of course it does! - THERE IS, AFTER ALL, NOTHING SO FIERCE AND SAVAGE AS PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT THEY ARE ON "A MISSION FROM GOD." Wow! - Catholic and Protestant religious zealots working together to "bring in" the "Kingdom of God." This is unheard of! But it's happening, nonetheless - and that should give pause to secularists in this country. The disciples of John Calvin and Torqamada working together in a new Inquisition aimed at "purifying the earth" for the Lord's return! Now that's something to be worried about if you ever find yourself the target of one of their "investigations" (maybe "inquisitions" would be the better word).
This is certainly a "turn of events" with very medieval implications, that's for sure! The relationships that are "at play" here are not ordinary relationships; there is a primitive aura about them; a gothic and antique quality that evokes feelings of "yesterday" and "long ago," and brings to remembrance the priestly brotherhoods of Crusader Knights of a thousand years ago - tales of the Templars, the Knights of Malta, the Teutonic Knights, and the other armed religious military orders dedicated to bringing the "Kingdom of God" to earth.
There is, moreover, a missionary fervor about these new "Crusader Knights" associated with the Bush Administration - a revivalist desire to "spread the truth" of what they perceive to be "God's Plan and Purpose in the Ages." For example, take the successful effort by Maureen Scalia and Father Paul Scalia, Justice Antonin Scalia's wife and son respectively, to convert Justice Clarence Thomas to Catholicism four years ago and conscript him into the secrets of Opus Dei - an effort that reminded some who witnessed it of the excitement one would feel when one's friend is saved at a Billy Graham crusade. But this was no Billy Graham crusade, and Justice Thomas wasn't being recruited to sing in a church choir, but rather was being enlisted in the Christian equivalent of Al Qaeda or what Juan Martin Valasco says is a "Christian Mafia."
From all accounts, however, Thomas has fervently embraced Catholicism and Opus Dei. For example, Thomas recently gave a fiery speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank, to an audience FULL OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS praising the pope and the Catholic world-view as espoused by Opus Dei - and all this from a sitting justice on the Supreme Court.
John Ashcroft's meetings at the Justice Department and his speeches "out on the stump" also exhibit the same kind of "Christian frenzy" that Clarence Thomas now exhibits. Both Ashcroft and Thomas are close friends, and have been so for years since they were roomates at Yale. Karl Rove and Don Evans (both Promise Keeper-types) are also closely tied to Thomas and Ashcroft - all of them share the same world-view, and it doesn't seem to matter much that some of them are coming from a "Promise Keepers" perspective and others from an Opus Dei viewpoint. After all, both perspectives are dominionist, and - therefore - essentially the same!
And make no mistake about it, the list of all those in the Bush Administration (or who are connected in one way or another with it) and who are at the same time associated with a Christian dominionist world-view is endless, and includes such people as Kenneth Starr, an evangelical who is inextricably linked to right-wing ideologue (and Opus Dei devotee) Theodore B. Olson. Olson is a key Ashcroft aide at the Justice Department. Olson played a leading role in getting Starr named as Clinton's "Grand Inquisitor" who, for the better part of four years, pursued Clinton from "Travelgate" to "Filegate," to the death of Vince Foster to "Troopergate," to Mena and the charges of drug running, to Whitewater and finally the "Lewinski affair" with a religious fanaticism that was "medieval" and bespoke feelings of "dungeons and dragons" - strange things, frightening things, and "things that go bump in the night." [For a more detailed description of all these people, and the "Crusader mindset" that envelopes them, please see our articles, (1) "The Olson Salon," (2) "The Religious Right Panics," (3) "Richard Mellon Scaife, The Evil Money Can Do," and (4) "The Rutherford Institute." While these articles were written several years ago during the Clinton Administration, they nevertheless very plainly reveal the mindset that is driving these people.]
These people are all "True Believers." They are the "straight-arrow soldiers" who feel that in the heat of battle they can unleash their terrible swift sword against everyone and every thing that gets in their way, and who - in their appointed mission - consider themselves bound by a "higher moral code" than that which binds ordinary mortals. They're fighting a war against demons, and anything is "in play" in this kind of combat - even bending the truth for "the greater good." These are the kind of people of whom Justice Brandeis said -
"... they feel that they can commit crimes in order to secure the greater good ... who feel that the ends justify the means."
So brutal and outrageous is the battle that Ashcroft and his minions have unleashed against their enemies since the events of September 11th that it could probably be said without much fear of contradiction that the actions they are taking in connection with this battle would have been unimaginable absent the "emergency" created by the terrorist attack against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon - WHICH HAS CAUSED MANY "CONSPIRACISTS" (SO-CALLED) TO WONDER WHETHER OR NOT THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11TH WERE "MANUFACTURED" OR "CONTRIVED" IN THE INTEREST OF THE "GREATER GOOD" THESE MEN PURPORT TO SERVE; that "facts were created" in order to "facilitate" ("necessitate") the current "War on Terrorism" and the clamp down on civil liberties this war has expedited.
And it isn't as if the government is new at "creating facts" to "fit" a given situation. It's been doing so for years - it's only that this time the "facts" they have created insofar as the events of September 11th are concerned are so much greater than anything they have ever attempted before. Still, the difference between what has gone on previously and what happened last September is one of "degree" rather than one of "kind."
As proof of what the government is capable of insofar as "creating facts" to match a "given situation" is concerned, Vidal offers up what happened to Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, and subsequently to the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. In both instances, Vidal says, the government "created facts" to "match" their version of the truth. Vidal has also come to believe that that's what happened with Timothy McVeigh.
Ordinarily, at least at this point, one might be tempted to write Vidal off as a "nut case" - but nothing could be further from the truth. Vidal's scholarship is simply unimpeachable, and no one has ever dared to call him a "nut case." Commenting on what led him to such a dour assessment of the government's ability to simply tell the truth, especially as it relates to the government's war against its own citizens and its concomitant effort to curtail civil liberties, Vidal writes:
"Briefly it all began in the November, 1998 issue of Vanity Fair. I had written a piece about "the shredding of our Bill of Rights." I cited examples of IRS seizures of property without due process of law, warrantless raids and murders committed against innocent people by various drug-enforcement groups, government collusion with agribusiness's successful attempts to drive small farmers out of business, and so on ... Then, as a coda, I discussed the illegal but unpunished murders at Ruby Ridge, Idaho (a mother and child had been killed in cold blood by the FBI): then, the next year, Waco. The Media expressed little outrage in either case. Apparently, the trigger words had not been spoken. Trigger words? Remember The Manchurian Candidate? George Axelrod's splendid 1962 film, where the brainwashed (by North Koreans) protagonist can only be set in murderous motion when the gracious garden-club lady, played by Angela Lansbury says, 'Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire'?
"Since we had been told for weeks that the Branch Davidian leader, David Koresh, was not only a drug dealer (which he was not) but the sexual abuser of the 27 children in his compound (Waco social services had cleared him of all such accusations two months previous to the BATF's raid), the maternal Ms. Reno in essence decreed, Better that they all be dead than defiled. Hence the attack. Later, 11 members of the Branch Davidian Church were put on trial for the "conspiracy to commit murder" of the federal agents who had attacked them. The jury found all 11 innocent on that charge. But after stating that the defendants were guilty of attempted murder - the very charge which they had just been acquitted - the judge sentenced eight church members up to 40 years on lesser charges. One disgusted juror said, 'The wrong people were on trial'."
Again - all this to say that the government is very practiced in "creating facts" to "fit the occasion."
This at last brings us to what happened on September 11, 2001. A simple glance at what actually occurred that day is enough to make one believe that the government "was up to its old tricks" - but, as we just indicated, this time the scope of their crime (i.e., their effort to create "facts" that could justify their current onslaught against civil rights in this country) was so great that it could have been orchestrated only by people who are controlled by a mindset that leads them to believe that they are acting in the "interests of God" - the kind of people we've been talking about; the kind who can say with "evangelist" Cubie Ward:
"Killing for the joy of it is wrong, but killing because it is necessary to fight against an anti-Christ system ... is not only right, but the DUTY of every Christian."
Or who could say with the so-called "Christian" Contras (that Pat Robertson and Tim LaHaye did so much to support) when they raided the Nicaraguan village of San Francisco del Norte, on the western border with Honduras in July 1982,
"... we dont massacre people ... we massacre demons, and these people are demon possessed: theyre communists." [And all this while praising God, speaking in tongues and singing hymns.]
This is the kind of mentality that drives religious zealots! And that is so not only insofar as the Islamic extremists who hijacked the four planes on September 11th and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon, that's also true for the people on the U.S. side who colluded (yes! - "colluded;" please see below) with these extremists by turning a blind eye to what was happening - especially when so many lives were at stake. I repeat, this is not something that "ordinary" people do! The psychology of it is simply too great (too devastating) to bear absent the thought that there is a "greater good" to be achieved. If it took ISLAMIC terrorists to initiate the attack on the World Trade Center, only CHRISTIAN zealots could have turned a blind eye to what was happening, knowing that such an act would open the way for them to attack their enemies in a way that otherwise would be impossible (which is, of course, the so-called "greater good" the Christian zealots were seeking). Listen, brothers and sisters! - there is a reason why ordinary people are frightened by religious wars. They are the most terrible kind of wars. More slaughter has been committed in the name of religion than there ever had been in the name of communism and socialism. THAT'S THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER! - and sadly, that is as true of Christianity as it is true of Islam.
So the question is, was there government collusion in what happened on September 11th? Was there some kind of conspiracy? And if there was a conspiracy, will we find "Christian dominionists" at the bottom of it? Well, the second question - i.e., if there was a conspiracy, will we find Christian dominionists" at the bottom of it? - is perhaps easier to answer than the first because, IF the Bush Administration was involved, then Christian dominionists would have to be implicated as well if only because the presence of Christian dominionists (both Catholic and evangelical) in the administration is so pervasive that it is impossible to conceive how their inclusion could have been avoided (after all, the president himself is a Christian dominionist)! All this is to say nothing about what we were just discussing - i.e., that this kind of collusion has historically been undertaken only by religious zealots; that only they possess the mindset capable of carrying it off.
So the only real question before us is, Was there a conspiracy? And that shouldn't be that difficult to answer either if only because the random chain of events that would have been necessary to "permit" the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon to occur in the absence of collusion is - on the face of it - so completely implausible. It would have had about as much a chance of occurring on a coincidental basis as one would have in being dealt five straight flushes in a row in a game of poker. In "real life," (i.e., in a real poker game) if someone came up with five flushes in a row, he would be shot dead on the spot. Five flushes dealt to the same person one hand after another would be proof enough that the person being dealt the hand was cheating! So also with the events of September 11th.
For example, under normal circumstances, it is simply impossible for four giant commercial jets to veer off their authorized flight paths without being immediately intercepted and challenged by Air Force and/or Air National Guard aircraft - especially in the New York and Washington D.C. areas. Take what happened two years ago when golf pro Payne Stewart's small private Learjet went off course and out of communication just after takeoff in Florida: It took the FAA just ten short minutes - THAT'S TEN MINUTES - to alert the Air Force, scramble interceptor jets, and get them in direct proximity to Stewart's aircraft - and all over a landmass far less critical than New York and Washington D.C.
In the light of this and numerous other similar examples, are we now supposed to believe that four huge commercial jets could simultaneously veer off course and fly around the east coast for almost an hour without ever being intercepted and challenged? - and all this while passengers on the planes were making frantic calls to their loved ones on the ground telling them what was happening. Remember here! - not one of these planes was ever intercepted. NOT ONE!
The conundrum regarding all this only grows worse when one considers the fact that just across the river from New York City - in New Jersey - there is a very special MISSILE BATTERY which is specifically designed to knock down any planes which fly toward buildings in the New York City area (a nigcfmare scenario that officials have been guarding against for almost fifty years). In addition, there is also a special RADAR unit on Long Island operated by the FAA which has the single purpose of detecting planes (private or commercial) which veer off course and begin flying toward Manhattan. This unit is redundantly tied into the missile battery just discussed, and - in addition to that - into several different squadrons of interceptor jets in Massachusetts that have been triggered to scramble and intercept any planes trying to fly into NYC airspace not on approved flight paths.
Are we supposed to believe that all of these very sophisticated protections failed SIMULTANEOUSLY on September 11th? That's quite a stretch! Yet that's what we are forced to accept as the truth if we refuse to believe that there wasn't some kind of elite collusion involved in the tragic events of September 11th. Now this isn't to say that one is compelled necessarily to believe in a conspiracy from the beginning to the end of these dreadful events; but it does mean that it might not be too far-fetched to believe that the events of September 11th - while not deriving their genesis from elements within the United States - were permitted to occur by elite forces once they were set in motion by elements outside the country. This is, after all, what most historians now believe happened at Pearl Harbor - a view that has taken more than sixty years to gain academic legitimacy despite the fact that it was plain to see early on. This kind of elite treachery is, after all, not a new thing for the elites in the United States to be engaged in.
And what about the Pentagon? The Pentagon was placed on high alert over 30 minutes before the plane attack. This means that all the Pentagon's defense systems should have been on hair-trigger alert status - and in this connection, it should be noted that the Pentagon is tied into three - that's THREE - extremely sophisticated defense systems! Two of these systems have been specifically designed to monitor the air space immediately surrounding the Pentagon. In addition, there is the regular FAA radar system which has alarms that go off when any airplane in the Washington D.C. area veers off its approved flight path.
All these systems are tied into interceptor jets nearby in Virginia and Maryland which are AUTOMATICALLY scrambled when planes fly into the restricted air space over the Pentagon or the White House! All of these systems should have been going off full blast as the plane which eventually crashed into the Pentagon circled erratically for more than twenty minutes over the totally restricted air space above the Pentagon and the White House - AND, AGAIN, ALL THIS WHILE PASSENGERS ON THE PLANE WERE MAKING FRANTIC PHONE CALLS TO THEIR LOVED ONES ON CELL PHONES.
In addition to the three systems mentioned above, the Pentagon also has its own low altitude radar system that is connected to a battery of missiles designed to shoot down any low flying object at least 500 feet before it reaches the building! Moreover, in all these systems, plus the systems in place in New York, there are "fail safe" devices and techniques built into them that are designed to minimize, if not eliminate, human error.
Again, are we supposed to believe that all these systems failed SIMULTANEOUSLY? The odds, of course, for this happening are staggering. It's easier to believe in an "X-File" kind conspiracy than to believe that all these systems, plus the systems in New York, could have failed all at once - and if people don't see this, it's because they don't want to see it, though I suppose it makes life simpler to just not think about it all.
Vice President Dick Cheney - while being interviewed by Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press" on September 16th - claimed that the military needed authorization from the president before scrambling fighter jets to intercept the planes. Cheney portrayed the entire situation surrounding the question of what to do with these four planes as a terribly troubling and agonizing ethical decision involving their shoot down - a decision that only the president (who was conveniently busy reading rabbit stories to Florida school children at the time) could have authorized.
But that's simply not true - and Cheney knows it. There was no need for any order to shoot down the planes; there was only a need for Air Force/Air Guard units to carry out standard (and very routine) intercept procedures.
Such intercepts are very common and do not require "presidential authorization." These intercepts should have taken place AUTOMATICALLY - again, as a matter of simple procedure - on September 11th. After all, nobody had to go into the White House and pull Clinton away from his presidential duties to authorize the intercept of Payne Stewart's jet.
And here is something more to think about! - according to CNN, as the Payne Stewart intercept took place, officers at the Joint Chiefs of Staff were monitoring Stewart's Learjet on radar screens inside the Pentagon's National Military Command Center - and all this for one small, private Learjet! One can only wonder that if the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was "in on" the Payne Stewart intercept, who would have been "in on" the intercept of four gargantuan commercial jets which very obviously were off course and wandering around some of the country's most restricted airspace in the northeast.
Given all these facts, what does that say about the events of September 11th? At the very least, it certainly raises questions about what really happened. Nonetheless, in this day and age where no one in his right mind wants to be labeled a wild-eyed "conspiracy nut," who wants to "seriously" raise the question of a possible conspiracy?
But then, what is history if not the tale of conspiracy after conspiracy? That certainly is what U.S. history has been all about for the last sixty years - from Pearl Harbor, to the JFK assassination, to the Warren Commission, to the RFK assassination, to the Martin Luther King (MLK) assassination, to the Pentagon Papers, to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, to MK-ULTRA, to COINTELPRO, to the origins of LSD, HIV, ebola, ad nauseum. There's no end to it.
There's a reason why the elites do everything in their power to trash conspiracy theories - because they are so involved in conspiracy themselves. It's the same reason why they trash people who remark on the vast difference in the way the rich live in this country as opposed to the way the poor live. Such people are dismissed as "Do Nothings" who are engaging in "Class Warfare." But the very real fact of the matter is, that's what the elites are engaged in! - class warfare and conspiracies - AND THAT'S THE "STUFF" - THE "REAL STUFF" - THAT HISTORY IS MADE OF.
But leaving all this aside, suffice it to say that no matter how the events of September 11, 2001 transpired, no matter what murky forces may or may not have been behind these events, they have certainly proved to be a very convenient CAMOUFLAGE behind which Christian dominionists and their allies in the economic elite (please see our article on "Capitalism and Christianity") have been able to push their antidemocratic agenda both here in the United States and throughout the world.
And make no mistake about it, the agenda the elites and their Christian dominionist allies are pushing is a very anti-democratic one indeed. From their perspective they simply have no choice in the matter; there is no other way for them to go. The greedy and avaricious economic policies they are pursuing are so ruinous to the well-being of average people, that these policies cannot help but engender intense opposition - and so much so that despite elite control of the press, and the flow of untold amounts of money into the legislative and electoral processes to buy influence, the policies had been effectively stalled prior to the events of September 11th.
The fact is, so abhorrent had these policies become in the view of average people, and so unpopular had the elites become who were championing them, that a point had been reached where it had actually become dangerous for the elites to openly meet anywhere in the world to discuss and further refine them. Indeed, whenever the institutions of elite power had dared to openly unveil themselves in order to push their globalization policies forward (i.e., in Athens, in Seattle, in Washington D.C., in Philadelphia, in L.A., in Quebec City, in Prague, in Genoa, etc.), they had been met with disorder and street riots, and so much so that the elites had been reduced (almost comically) to meeting in dictatorships like Communist China (Shanghai) and Quatar where demonstrations were not permitted.
And we are not exaggerating the situation here. The reality is - according to David McNally, a professor at the University of Toronto who writes for the scholarly periodical New Politics (Vol. VIII, No. 3) - anyone wanting evidence of how unpopular the economic policies the elites were pushing had become in the eyes of average people throughout the world need only to have come to Quebec City during the third week of April, 2001 (just four months prior to the incidents of September 11th). What the demonstrations in Quebec City proved is that the anti-corporate/anti-elitist forces that had been set in motion in Seattle in 1999 had grown exponentially in intensity.
Not only did the protests against the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City (which had been designed to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas by the year 2005) draw a larger crowd than had the event in Seattle, the people participating in the demonstration had grown much more radical in the interim. This radicalization, according to McNally, was measurable in the stronger positions taken by the popular organizations which came together in the so-called Hemispheric Social Alliance, and in the widespread support for ANTI-CAPITALIST ideas among the thousands of participating activists who took to the streets in Quebec City on April 20th and 21st, holding their ground against club wielding, tear gas firing riot police on two successive days. McNALLY REPORTS THAT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES, IT HAD BECOME POSSIBLE FOR CAPITALISM'S OPPONENTS TO REALISTICALLY ENVISION THE EMERGENCE OF AN ACTIVIST ANTI-CAPITALIST LEFT ANIMATED BY THE ENERGY AND RESOLVE OF THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE.
As a result, by the summer of 2001 it was becoming evident to the elites and their Christian dominionist allies [who were horrified by the social agenda of the Left (i.e., feminism, abortion, gay rights, etc.)] that they were faced with a growing and very powerful challenge, a challenge that was not being mounted against them so much in the institutions of government they controlled (which institutions they had already corrupted and perverted in their (i.e., the elite's) favor and against average people) but in the streets where the masses have historically resorted when elite manipulation has rendered governmental institutions "off limits" to average people - and nothing so frightens the elites than MOBS IN THE STREETS! The elites and their Christian allies have long memories. They remember what happened to "their class" and the institutions of Christianity (so-called) in the French Revolution of 1789 and in St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution of 1917.
The elites were frightened - and they should have been. Their money can "buy up" the legislative process and control the press, but the streets are something else altogether, at least in the absence of extraordinary police powers - police powers that are simply not available to the elites in a democratic setting. The elites were in big trouble! - and while most Christians may not have been aware of what was happening, the elites were. This fact is attested to by a spate of articles that began appearing in elite publications like Foreign Affairs, the Harvard Review, etc. denouncing what had been occurring in the streets whenever elite institutions like the WTO, the World Bank, the IMF, etc. tried to meet. This was "Big Stuff" to the CEOs at Exxon, General Electric, Citicorp, Chevron, IBM, Viacom, Bank of America, Microsoft, AT&T, Seagrams, Cargill, etc. It sent chills down their spines; if these kinds of demonstrations were left to grow unchallenged, the American New World Order System was in for big trouble.
These demonstrations were testimony to the fact of how badly democracy in the United States and throughout the American New World Order System had been perverted in the interests of elite power. And just how perverted the elites had distorted democracy in the United States was plain enough for anyone to see. So glaring and "out front" had these distortions become that it was no longer possible to hide them. Washington was not a place where the "people's work" was done anymore, it was a place where Senators and Congressmen (and women) were up "for sale" to the highest bidder. Jeff Birnbaum, a well-known political commentator, writes:
"Almost everyone who works in official Washington eventually has what can be described as the Moment: that instant when they finally realize that money is ... (what counts) in politics ... One of my friends experienced his Moment in the mid-1980s when he worked as a press secretary for a ... congressman. At the time, the lawmaker was a hot commodity: He was undecided on whether to vote to fund construction of the B-1 bomber. The Reagan administration, frantic for support, wanted his backing very badly, so White House aides were eager to bargain. In a meeting one day, my friend witnessed the deal as it was struck. The congressman pledged to vote to fund the aircraft in exchange for a VIP tour of the White House for twenty or thirty of his largest and most loyal campaign contributors. The congressman didn't ask for a new dam or a new road or a new grant to help his neediest constituents. Instead, he traded his greatest power, his vote on the House floor, to please the handful of people who really mattered to him: the money men who were so key to his reelection."
Now understand what this Congressman wanted to do: he wanted to impress his "moneymen." He didn't care about his average constituents. Birnbaum writes:
"The more money, the more votes. It's that simple and that venal. Money talks ..."
The fact of the matter is, the so-called "people's business" revolves around money today. And the people who have the kind of money the Senators and Congressmen (and women) are looking for is a very small group indeed. Birnbaum continues:
"The number of people who give is quite small. In 1968, only 8 percent of the adult population gave contributions in any amount to any candidate or party - local, state, or federal. By 1992, the figure had dropped to 4 percent, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 1992, almost 80 percent of all the funds contributed to congressional campaigns came from ... less than one-third of 1 percent of the total population."
Think about that - ONE-THIRD OF ONE PERCENT OF THE TOTAL U.S. POPULATION! Where does that leave democracy. It means that if you don't have any money - and lots of money - you don't count in the United States anymore.
Obviously, then, average people have no place else to go but to the streets, and that's what they have been increasingly doing since the riots in Seattle in 1999. Clearly then, THE TASK BEFORE THE ELITES WAS TO REGAIN CONTROL OF THE STREETS AT ALL COST! However, for the police to go much beyond the brutal tactics they had already adopted, democracy as we know it would have to be suspended - and to do that, they would have to act under a deceit or a camouflage. An "incident" would have to be "created" to make it seem that the suspension of democracy was a "necessary evil" in defense of the nation. What the elites needed was an "event" that would enable them to "crack down" on all the unrest - something like Hitler's Reichstag fire which "permitted" Hitler to push through the so-called "Enabling Act" which granted him emergency dictatorial power.
It is said that "THE PAST IS PROLOGUE TO THE FUTURE," and it certainly is insofar as the Reichstag fire of February 1933, and the events in New York and Washington D.C. in 2001 are concerned. The seeming parallel here is shocking and not a little ominous for all of us: In late January, 1933 Hitler had been made Chancellor of Germany even though his Nazi Party had received only 39 percent of the vote. But 39 percent of the vote in the Reichstag was simply not enough to govern with. Hitler needed a much broader "mandate" from the people, and he needed to crush his opposition (the Left) in order to get it. He, therefore, called for new elections for the 5th of March in order to increase his voting bloc in the Reichstag. But despite the best efforts of his followers, it looked like he was going to fall well short of the mandate he needed.
Then, on the 27th of February, the German parliament building - the Reichstag - caught on fire ("fortuitously" for Hitler). Hitler blamed the fire on the Left, and whipped the country up into a rage against his socialist opponents. Even then, however, Hitler won only 44 percent of the vote on the 5th of March. Nevertheless, with his partners in the so-called "Conservative Party," Hitler was able to establish a majority coalition in the Reichstag. Then using as a pretext a "War against the Left" - which the Reichstag fire of February 27th seemed to justify [and which Goering later bragged that he had started] - Hitler pushed through the Reichstag legislation which permitted him to arrest his opponents and jail them without "due process," to search homes without warrants, to freeze the bank accounts of all those deemed "enemies of the state," and to try people before special military courts.
It was the beginning of the end for democracy in Germany! Over the course of the next few years (1933-1939) Hitler expanded these powers until he had created his monster, the Third Reich, which he said was to rule the world for a thousand years (Hitler's "Millennial Kingdom"). It only lasted twelve years; but in those twelve years, Hitler created more misery and heartache than man had ever before known. IS THIS WHAT'S HAPPENING IN AMERICA - RIGHT UNDER OUR VERY NOSES - BY MEN WHO CLAIM TO BE ACTING AS THE "AGENTS OF GOD (I.E., GEORGE BUSH, JOHN ASHCROFT, CARL ROVE, DON EVANS, ETC.)? Have the events of the 11th of September, 2001 become our "Reichstag fire" - the excuse that the elites and George Bush needed to push through their own "Enabling Act" - the so-called USA Patriot Act, an omnibus law of 342 pages enacted under in terrorem threats from Attorney General John Ashcroft? - i.e., the threat by Ashcroft that if another terrorist incident occurred before Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, the blame would not be his - it would rest on his opponents' heads.
The kind of hysteria generated by such statements differs little from the hysteria that Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering used to push through Hitler's Enabling Act. Isn't this what Ashcroft is doing now? - acting in the place of the Reichsmarshal. Ashcroft has asserted that those who criticize the constriction of civil liberties in the United States "aid terrorists," "erode our national unity," and "give ammunition to America's enemies." Joel Beinin, a professor of history at Stanford University says that what Ashcroft is very obviously suggesting is that dissent in the United States is now "tantamount to treason." Suggestions like this from the Attorney General of the United States are enough to give anyone pause about not getting on the "band wagon" to a new "national security state."
David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, reports that the nuts and bolts of the new law were worked out in a couple of all-night sessions and approved by large majorities the day it was introduced into Congress, despite the fact that no member could possible have had the time to read the bill before voting on it. Cole says that the Patriot Act imposes GUILT BY ASSOCIATION on immigrants, rendering them deportable for wholly innocent, nonviolent associational activity on behalf of any organization blacklisted as "terrorist" by the state. In addition, it allows for their secret imprisonment, and their trial before clandestine military tribunals.
Moreover, the Patriot Act authorizes the Attorney General to lock up aliens, potentially indefinitely, on mere suspicion, WITHOUT ANY HEARING AND WITHOUT ANY OBLIGATION TO ESTABLISH TO A COURT THAT THE DETENTION IS NECESSARY TO FORESTALL FLIGHT OR DANGER TO THE COMMUNITY. Naturally, the definition of what constitutes a "terrorist" has been purposefully left vague. In other words, the term - while at present still limited to those groups and associations that have "used force or threatened to use force" against the government - is EXPANDABLE pretty much at the discretion of the Attorney General. This is precisely what happened in Germany as the population was whipped into a frenzy by a "controlled press" against what was perceived to be threats from both inside and outside of Germany - and so much so that in less than a year (1934-1935) people who should have known better - who felt in their guts that something was wrong - had been cowered into submission. People became afraid to speak out.
Isn't that what's occurring today? For instance, take what's happened to professor Laurence Tribe, a leftist intellectual and ostensibly a stalwart defender of civil rights and civil liberties, and his colleague, Alan Dershowitz. Cole reports in the Nation Magazine that Tribe has condoned the use of military tribunals and the secret detention of legal U.S. residents in the name of "fighting terrorism." And his associate Alan Dershowitz has suggested that torture may sometimes be justified, as long as it is authorized by a warrant. All these men, and many more besides them, know perfectly well that in the end, the government has no intention of restricting these procedures to foreigners and non-U.S. citizens; that eventually they will be expanded to encompass U.S. citizens. But so frightened have they become in the wake of the changed mood in the country that they simply refuse to speak out.
The fact is, under the rubric of the "War on Terrorism," the elites in the United States and their Christian dominionist allies have been rushing towards the establishment of a virtual Police State - and like the Germans in 1933, most Americans seem prepared to accept its establishment if that means they will be safe from future terrorist attacks similar to the ones that occurred in New York and Washington D.C. They are trading in their freedom for a very false sense of security.
Concerning this exact point, Molly Ivins, in a syndicated article that appeared in the press on Sunday, November 25, 2001 entitled "What Do You Think Happened To Germany In The '30s," writes:
"Whoa! The problem is the premise. We are having one of those circular arguments about how many civil liberties we can trade away to make ourselves safer from terrorism, without even looking at the assumption - can we make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free? There is no inverse relationship between freedom and security. Less of one does not lead to more of the other. People with no rights are not safe from terrorist attack.
"Exactly what do we want to strike out of the U.S. constitution that we think would prevent terrorist attacks? Let's see, if civil liberties had been suspended before September 11, would law enforcement have noticed Mohamed Atta? Would the FBI have opened an investigation of Zacarias Moussaouri, as Minneapolis agents wanted to do? The CIA had several of the 9-11 actors on their lists of suspected terrorists. Exactly what civil liberty prevented them from doing anything about it? In the case of a suspected terrorist, the government already had the right to search, wiretap, intercept, detain, examine computer and financial records, and do anything else it needed to do. There's a special court they go to for subpoenas and warrants. As it happens, they didn't do it. Changing the law retroactively is not going to change that.
"... ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THE CONSTITUTION WOULD HAVE PREVENTED US FROM STOPPING 9-11, SO WHY WOULD WE WANT TO CHANGE IT?"
The reason, of course, is that what the elites are aiming at here is not so much preventing terrorism as such - that's merely a convenient camouflage - but in SUPPRESSING THEIR OPPOSITION in this country and abroad, and "REGAINING CONTROL OF THE STREETS." That's what the USA Patriot Act is really all about! And while it's true that at present this legislation is aimed ostensibly only at "foreign nationals," one would have to be an ignoramus to think that it will stop there. If history teaches anything, it teaches that once such anti-democratic processes are set in motion, they are rarely stopped short of a dictatorship.
There is, of course, a lot of talk about the suppression of civil liberties during past "emergencies," such as Lincoln's suppression of civil liberties during the Civil War, and Wilson's and FDR's similar suppression of civil liberties during World War I and World War II. But in all these cases, there was an absolute time limit that was set on these "restraints on civil liberties" - i.e., the end of the wars that had made the "restraints" necessary - and these time limits had been defined and written into the original legislation. But in the present circumstance, there is no time limit that has been set insofar as this legislation is concerned. And who can tell when the "War on Terrorism" will ever end? It's a totally open-ended proposition! It will end when the elites say it will end - which is probably to say, "NEVER!"
Again, people feel safe for now insofar as the more brutal aspects of this law are concerned because the law does not yet apply to U.S. citizens. But one thing leads to another; one "emergency" builds on the next and so on and on until such acts become all-encompassing. We, of course, like to think that American democracy is different. But it's not - at least not anymore. The very real fact of the matter is, today the political process is under the almost total control of a small corporate oligarchy that constitutes, as we have already indicated, less than one-third of one percent of the entire U.S. population - a plutocracy (rule by the rich) that has "bought up" Congress and the mainline media "lock, stock, and barrel." And this plutocracy is now bending every effort to expand the reach of the USA Patriot Act to include American citizens. This is what makes the Anthrax case so EXTREMELY important; this is where it fits so neatly into the equation.
The mysterious appearance of anthrax in the U.S. postal system is one of those COINCIDENTAL phenomena that defies all logic. Where did it come from? This is "weaponized" anthrax - something that is very, very difficult to produce. This is not something that is readily available to any "dufus" on the open market. It's not something you can go out and buy. It seemed to appear out of nowhere - about two weeks after the events of September 11, 2001. Coincidence? At first, most people associated its appearance in connection with the terrorist attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. But the government soon began hinting that it probably had a different origin - a domestic origin rather than a foreign one; that probably some "right-wing nut group" was behind it. And as time has progressed, the government has begun to more and more insist that such is the case.
Now why would that be? Why would the government be so insistent on pinning this rap on a "domestic terrorist group." The reason is obvious! - because the government would like to expand its authority under the USA Patriot Act to U.S. citizens, and if it can pin the "rap" on U.S. citizens, it can do so.
In this connection, it should be noted that there are a number of very troubling conundrums connected with all the anthrax incidents. First, if these are "domestic acts of terror" not connected to the events of September 11th, isn't it pretty coincidental that these acts would so "conveniently" appear out of nowhere at a time when the American people had been whipped up into a frenzy over what happened on September 11th? Why now?
One would think that if a "domestic terrorist group" was trying to draw attention to itself and its causes, it would wait for a time when the message it was trying to "convey" wouldn't be drowned out in the hunt for Islamic terrorists. It doesn't make sense! It's akin to trying to draw attention to one's self with a firecracker at a time when someone else has just exploded a 2,000 pound bomb next door. No one's going to hear the firecracker.
Then there is a second conundrum associated with the Anthrax scare. Where did the anthrax come from? By now scientists at the CDC have traced the genetic pattern of the anthrax to a strain produced at the University of Iowa in Aimes (hence, the name of this particular strain - the so-called "Aimes strain"). But the University of Iowa never "weaponized" the strain. That was done EXCLUSIVELY at the Army's germ warfare lab at Fort Detrick in Maryland. And one must remember that the anthrax that has shown up in the New York area and in Washington D.C. has been "weaponized" - in other words, a strain of anthrax that has been refined and elutriated beyond the needs of any university research program.
The question that should be asked, then, is how did this "weaponized" anthrax ever get out of Fort Detrick? All this "gives the lie" to the government's explanation that the "Aimes strain" had been parceled out by the University of Iowa to other university research labs in the northeast, and somewhere along the line a "right-wing nut" must have gotten a hold of it. None of the anthrax that was at the University of Iowa had ever been "weaponized." Again, the "weaponized" form of the anthrax existed ONLY at Fort Detrick. All this bespeaks government collusion at the highest level.
Nonetheless, the government persists in its ridiculous attempt to blame the anthrax scare on a right-wing terrorist group. And, again, why is that? - BECAUSE, AS WE JUST INDICATED, IF THE GOVERNMENT CAN LAY THE BLAME FOR THE ANTHRAX SCARE ON A DOMESTIC TERRORIST GROUP, THEN IT MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO EXPAND THE REACH OF THE USA PATRIOT ACT BEYOND FOREIGN NATIONALS TO U.S. CITIZENS. THAT'S WHAT'S GOING ON HERE! That's what makes the anthrax scare so important!
The USA Patriot Act enshrines the principle of GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. One can be secretly arrested, and held incommunicado simply because one has been seen in the company of a person the police have reason to believe may be a suspect. And this connection can be stretched out to a considerable degree; for instance, a person can conceivably be arrested for having associated with a person who associated with another person who is believed to have terrorist connections. That's quite a stretch. But already, it is reliably reported that a number of people are being held for precisely this kind of extended logic.
But what would be the consequence if such thinking were applied to groups the Attorney General has associated himself with over the years? Take, for instance, Ashcroft's past association with the racist magazine Southern Partisan. Ashcroft applauds the magazine as a journal that "seeks to set the record straight." Oh really? - is this what ones says about a magazine that refers to the Emancipation Proclamation (the document that freed America's slaves) as -
"... a sinister ... invitation to the slaves to rise against their masters" ?
Is this what one says about a magazine that refers to John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Lincoln, as -
"... not only sane, but sensible. His background, loyalties, beliefs, and experience had led him to that end" (i.e., to the assassination of Lincoln) ?
Is this how one describes a periodical that says that KKK Grand Wizard David Duke was -
"... a candidate concerned about 'about affirmative' discrimination, welfare profligacy, the taxation holocaust ... a Populist spokesperson for a recapturing of the American ideal" ?
And, finally, is this what one says about a magazine that characterizes the "American melting pot" as -
"... an instrument by which distinct forms of distinct material are melted down into a common sludge; one that dissipates America's original racial pool from which our democratic government was originally derived" ?
It seems that what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander insofar as Ashcroft is concerned - and that's assuming that he would no longer associate himself with such statements.
Now stop for a moment and think about how all this could "shake out" - where all this is trending. What the USA Patriot Act is, IS A KIND OF POLITICAL RICO ACT AIMED AT POLITICAL GROUPS INSTEAD OF ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATES. As with RICO, the primary purpose of the USA Patriot Act is to facilitate the prosecution of suspected terrorists without having to produce direct or even much indirect evidence; one must only show that the target of the investigation is "associated" with a known terrorist group OR A GROUP THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS LABELED A "TERRORIST GROUP." That means that under the impress of fighting domestic terrorism, the Attorney General can label a political or religious group that dares to criticize the government a "terrorist group," and then round up all those associated with the group and jail them on the basis of that association only, without ever having to show their direct or even indirect participation in a particular crime.
Think about that for a minute: People can be rounded up for merely associating themselves with someone who is associated with someone else who criticizes the government. This brings us back again to what Douglas Valentine said in Counterpunch Magazine on the 13th of November, 2001: that the Bush Administration has begun setting up a "counter-terrorist" organization similar to the Phoenix program that operated in South Vietnam. It will operate as an integral part of Governor Tom Ridge's "Office of Homeland Security" (OHS).
As we indicated in our last article, "George Bush, The Promise Keepers, And The Principles Of Messianic Leadership," Phoenix was run essentially by a cadre of "secret police" advised by the CIA and American military intelligence officers. On the basis of an accusation made by a single anonymous informant, a VC suspect or sympathizer could be arrested and detained indefinitely.
Valentine says that like the Phoenix program in Vietnam, the OHS will establish field offices in the 50 states and all of America's major cities and will begin extending its informant nets throughout the country. Every town will probably be required to form an OHS Committee which will be comprised of citizens that the OHS has deemed "politically reliable." The job of these committees will be to process reports by "concerned citizens" (i.e., informants) about the activities of "suspected citizens."
Valentine says that what makes such a system especially dangerous is that the definition of what a "suspected terrorist" is has been pretty much left open to the discretion of the Attorney General. This is what happened in Vietnam too. There was never any consensus about the definition of a VC sympathizer; at best, it was tacitly understood by the ideologues, and the security forces under their control, that a person was either "for us" or "against us."
Moreover, it wasn't enough to be just "for us" in a passive sense; one had to be actively "against them." So the definition of a terrorist suspect is deliberately left open, paving the way for political repression.
Now, again, stop and think about all this for a minute. Think about what this kind of system might mean to you on a personal basis when - as the "War on Terrorism" expands, and the religious zealots that are already a part of the Bush Administration begin picking those who will be sitting on the various OHS Committees throughout the country - this "system" at lasts visits you in the middle of the night in the guise of an armed SWAT team kicking in your door, throwing stun grenades, and threatening to shoot everything that moves. I'll tell you what will happen! - you will at last begin to find out what Christ meant when He said:
"... take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the ... (churches) ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake ..." (Mark 13:9)
And there should be no mistake as to how quickly the government has been moving to expand its police powers under the camouflage of the USA Patriot Act. The expansion is occurring along three different axis:
All three of these things are very obvious "markers" of totalitarianism, and once they are implemented under the impress of a never-ending "War on Terrorism," we may never again be free of their tyranny over our lives. The truth is, we are inexorably heading towards the creation of an all-seeing, all-encompassing Orwellian police state where every aspect of our lives will be subject to constant surveillance.
And just exactly how far advanced are we in this process? Take the first point above; the establishment of a political police force. Before September 11th, the number of FBI agents stood at 27,000; the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) stood at 10,000; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms at 4,000; the Secret Service at 6,000; the Border Patrol at 10,000; the Customs Service at 12,000; and the Immigration and Naturalization Service at 34,000. That's a "federal police force" that numbers more than 103,000 (and legislation has just been passed that will double and even triple these numbers) that - under the growing impress of Attorney General John Ashcroft's monkish Jesuit-like supervision, and the coordination of Governor Tom Ridge's "Office of Homeland Security" (Ridge shares Ashcroft's Jesuit-like proclivities) - is increasingly being oriented towards tracking down individuals and groups that have, God forbid, been labeled "terrorists" by the Attorney General.
In this connection, it should be noted that what both Ashcroft and Ridge are up to, whether most people are willing to admit it or not, is the creation of something this nation has never before allowed - A FEDERAL POLICE FORCE CHARGED WITH WHAT IS REALLY A POLITICAL MISSION - i.e., TRACKING DOWN "TERRORISTS." And why, exactly, do we call this a "political mission?" - because "terrorism" is in the eyes of the beholder; and if that "beholder" is the elite oligarchy (plutocracy) that presently runs this country, the people that will eventually be labeled "terrorists" will be those whom the elites and their Christian dominionist allies perceive threaten their continued command of the country. And who is that? - all those who oppose their globalist, elite-oriented economic policies or subscribe in any way to social policies the dominionists think are "anti-God" or "anti-Christian." That, of course, will include all those Christians who reject the dominionist agenda of Bush and Ashcroft and who believe Christ when He said:
"... my kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight ... but ... my kingdom ... (is) not from hence." (John 18:36)
Then there is the matter of the second point above - the increasing use of the American military against its own citizens. The fact is, both Ridge and Ashcroft are moving rapidly to set aside the provisions of the Posse Comitatus Act. The Posse Comitatus Act was enacted by Congress in 1878 to specifically prohibit the military from performing civilian police functions.
The effort by the elites to dismantle the Posse Comitatus Act has, of course, been going on for some time now. The effort began with Reagan's so-called "War on Drugs" which declared drug trafficking a threat to "national security," and as such, an appropriate "target" for the nation's military. From its inception, however, the "War on Drugs" was never anything but a thinly veiled subterfuge through which the government has been enabled to make war on its own citizens using the military [and military tactics (i.e., the use of SWAT teams, armored vehicles, and the implements of war)]. The purpose of the war has been to "crack down" on the "left outs" of the population and cower them into submission (please see our article, "The Construction Of A Religio-Political Terrorist State") - and if the real purpose of the "War on Drugs" had been to really "crack down" on the drug trade, then why has the government so shamelessly and wantonly condoned (and even promoted) the movement of drugs over the years into the USA? You're surprised? Then you probably haven't heard about Gary Webb.
Among many of America's minority classes and in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of America's underclass, the story of the government's complicity in the drug trade is already well known. But middle class America has heard very little of what has been going on. But in August 1996, the San Jose Mercury News initiated a startling and extended series of articles linking the CIA's "contra" army to the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles in the 1980s. To a very large extent, there was really no new territory covered in the series - but it was the first time a major metropolitan daily had ever carried the story.
Based on a year-long investigation, reporter Gary Webb wrote that during the 1980s the CIA had helped finance its covert war against Nicaragua's leftist government through sales of cut-rate cocaine. This story had first surfaced in the Iran/Contra hearings in the Second Reagan Administration. But Webb took the story further - specifically to South Central L.A. drug dealer, Ricky Ross - and revealed its impact in a specific underclass neighborhood. So specific and telling was the story that Webb told, that the series unleashed a storm of protest in Los Angeles, spearheaded by black radio stations and the congressional Black Caucus, with demands for official inquiries. Webb wrote that the CIA's drug network "opened the first pipeline between Colombia's cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the 'crack' capital of the world." Black gangs used their profits to buy automatic weapons, sometimes even from one of the CIA-linked drug dealers.
But if all this was true, what, then, was the government's "War on Drugs" all about? - it certainly had nothing to do with drugs, despite its name. One would have to believe that the DEA had no idea of what the CIA was doing - and to believe that is to reveal oneself either as a moron or an obstinate Pollyanna.
Naturally enough, the CIA denounced the story, and the then Director of the CIA, John Deutch, declared that he had found "no connection whatsoever" between the CIA and cocaine traffickers. Moreover, the elite press joined the fray on behalf of the CIA - and the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post ran long pieces refuting the Mercury News series. But there was too much evidence to the contrary. For example, it was discovered that CIA-supplied contra planes and pilots had carried cocaine from Central America to U.S. airports and military bases on an almost regular basis - and the CIA and the DEA were not only aware of what was happening, they basically approved of it as a means of financing their "war against communism" there - and "to hell with what was happening to people in the United States as a result of the drug epidemic."
And these are the people who were supposed to have been in charge of the "War on Drugs?" - if that was true, then it was kind of like putting Benedict Arnold in charge of the Revolutionary War. [Please see our articles "Chechnya And The End of Days" for a short chronology of U.S. involvement in the drug trade; please also see how the U.S. has involved itself in the drug trade in Kosovo in a second article we prepared on the subject, "The Drug Lords of Kosovo."]
What the "War on Terrorism" does is finish the process of permitting the use of the U.S. military against its own citizenry begun by the "War on Drugs." No longer is it necessary to connect a citizen to the drug trade; all that is necessary now is to brand someone or some organization close to him a "terrorist" or a "terrorist organization," and then connect him "associationally" to that person or organization; then arrest him and (in the parlance of the "Mothers of the Disappeared Ones" in Argentina,) "DISAPPEAR" him.
Finally, there is the matter of the third point above, the facilitation of the use of "secret-evidence" cases - and the case of Mazen Al-Naijar is particularly instructive of what the government has been up to in this connection For three and a half years Al-Naijar was jailed on secret-evidence alleging his "association" with unnamed terrorist groups. He was never told what this evidence was, and was never charged with having participated in a terrorist act or even planning or advocating such an act - only with "associating" with unnamed individuals who allegedly were connected to a terrorist group.
Al Naijar stayed locked up until a no-nonsense federal judge declared his detention unconstitutional in May 2000. The judge in the case, R. Kevin McHugh, said that the government's case was "devoid of ANY direct or indirect evidence to support the continued imprisonment of Al-Naijar." But shortly after September 11, 2001, he was again "DISAPPEARED." It later turned out that he was one of the more than 5,000 people (not 1,200, or the higher figure of 3,000 that Leon Panetta, the former chief-of-staff for President Clinton says is closer to the truth) that the government "DISAPPEARED." Al Naijar was "DISAPPEARED" shortly after he left his apartment near the University of South Florida to get quarters for the Laundromat. His wife was at work, his three daughters still in bed.
It seems that the federal government had re-arrested him on the same charges that judge McHugh had said were TOTALLY without merit. Only this time, the feds were acting under the authority that the USA Patriot Act gave them. According to the Nation Magazine, Al-Naijar's latest detention appears to be the leading edge of an alarming strategy by Attorney General John Ashcroft to legitimize the use of "secret-evidence" in trials aimed against those the government has declared "suspect." In doing so, he is pushing the limits of the USA Patriot Act, and he is doing it in territory covered by the Eleventh Circuit Court, one of the most notoriously pro-prosecution, law-and-order appellate benches in the country.
Arguments presented by Ashcroft aide Douglas Ginsburg at a November 8 circuit court hearing on Al-Naijar's case suggest a specific goal: establishing a blank-check policy for secret-evidence prosecutions. Ginsburg argued that even though Al-Naijar has no connection to the September 11 attacks, those attacks should convince the appellate court to set aside a district court ruling that his detention on secret-evidence was unconstitutional and simply grant the Justice Department virtual UNREVIEWABLE POWER to bring secret-evidence cases. Clearly, the Justice Department thinks that in this courtroom it has perhaps the strongest chance in the nation of securing a new secret-evidence precedent.
Bruce Shapiro, co-author of the book, Legal Lynching, writes, "Should the Eleventh Circuit hand the government what it wants in its secret-evidence authority, people who have never before been indicted or convicted of a crime could be labeled terrorist and face imprisonment without end."
Al-Naijar is nothing more than a "convenient" tool the government is using to accomplish its purposes in this matter. Al-Naijar, it seems, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There are those, of course, who will say that if people have nothing to hide, they shouldn't be afraid of an all-seeing "Surveillance State." But nothing could be further from the truth. The psychological pathology that such a state sets in motion in the individuals who are being surveilled is more venomous and repulsive than most people are capable of imagining, and it wreaks incredible havoc on all those who become prey to its malevolence. Their thinking becomes crimped, and channeled into a kind of "group-think" that eventually shatters their individuality and skewers their ability to think for themselves. Compliance with the wishes of the "group" is now the way to "get ahead" and "get along." Conformity and obedience becomes the "name of the game." No room here for a Luther, or a Savanrola, or a Wycliffe. And most especially, there is no room here for Christ - Someone who lashed out at the religious establishment of His day with the words:
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
"And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
"Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
"Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:29-33)
Many, many years ago, in his preface to Panopticon, Jeremy Bentham imagined the "social benefits" of a ring-shaped "inspection-house" in which prisoners, students, orphans or paupers could be subjected to constant surveillance. In the center of the courtyard would be an inspection tower with windows facing the inner wall of the ring. Supervisors in the central tower could observe every movement of the inhabitants of the cells, who were illuminated by natural lighting; but Venetian blinds would ensure that the supervisors could not be seen by the inhabitants.
THE UNCERTAINTY ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THEY WERE BEING SURVEILLED WOULD DETER THE INHABITANTS FROM ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR. Michael Foucault described the purpose of the Panopticon - "TO INDUCE IN THE INMATE A STATE OF CONSCIOUS AND PERMANENT VISIBILITY THAT ASSURES THE AUTOMATIC FUNCTIONING OF POWER." Foucault predicted that this condition of visible, unverifiable power, in which individuals have internalized the idea that they may always be under surveillance, would be the defining characteristic of the "modern age."
And Foucault was right. SURVEILLANCE IS A POWERFUL INDUCEMENT TOWARD SOCIAL CONFORMITY FOR CITIZENS. Under the all-seeing, watchful eye of the government, people begin very much to care who they are seen with. Constant surveillance causes people to change the way they live. They are not so quick to associate themselves with people or groups that the government might find objectionable; or that their church or employer might feel are unacceptable. Jobs are at stake, ostracism is a very real possibility. People find themselves doing little, unconscious things to please their employers, demonstrate their loyalty to the state, and "brown-nose" their pastors and other church officers. They behave in self-conscious ways under surveillance, ostentatiously trying to demonstrate their integrity or bristling at the implication of disloyalty to the powers that be, or moral failure on an individual level.
While in exile in Switzerland shortly before the Russian Revolution, Lenin made the following statement:
"There are decades when nothing happens; AND THERE ARE WEEKS WHEN DECADES HAPPEN."
This is certainly what has occurred since the events of September 11th. A dam was breached on that fateful day, and the pent-up emotions of millions of people (mostly Christians) who think the country has been headed in the wrong direction both politically and spiritually were unleashed like a tidal-wave - a TIDAL-WAVE that will sweep away all those who dare to stand up against the frenzied activity of John Ashcroft's new NATIONAL SECURITY STATE. Each new day brings news of developments only imagined a few short months ago. Government "contingency plans" rumored and debated among "patriots" and Christian dominionists for decades are becoming reality. The unimaginable has become possible.
The truth of the matter is, "rights" that ordinary Americans once took for granted are being swept away in the name of NATIONAL SECURITY. The "right" to associate with whomsoever you wish without drawing suspicion to yourself, the "right" to openly criticize the government, the "right" to "due process," the "right" to remain silent, the "right" to have competent legal representation, the "right" to examine the evidence against you, the "right" to be formally arraigned before a judge and not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment, the "right" to be safe in your own home against warrantless searches and seizures, the "right" to be able to walk the streets without fear that an unmarked police car will screech up next to you, that someone will jump out of the car, throw a bag over your head and "DISAPPEAR" you so that you will never be heard of again.
And that's not the end of it: In a country where the "Office of Homeland Security" is setting up Phoenix-like OHS Committees charged with guarding our neighborhoods against "security threats" and "ratting out" "non-conformists" and others who refuse to "go along to get along" in the new "national security" environment, ask yourself how long will those Christians who refuse to submit themselves to the authority of an APPROVED church organization last? After all, who do you think will be "manning" these committees? Who do you think will be their "leading lights." They will, OF COURSE, be those people Bush and his cohorts can count on; those who put him in power; those who went "to bat" for him in Texas, in South Carolina and in Florida!
And who exactly were those people? They were people like Charles Stanley, D. James Kennedy, Tim LaHaye, C. Peter Wagner, Beverley LaHaye, Ern Baxter, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Chuck Colson, Jack Hayford, Robert Stearns, Mike Bickle, Reuven Doron, Che Ahn, Frank Hammond, Cindy Jacobs, Bill Hamon, John Eckhardt, Bobbie Byerly, Dutch Sheets, Jim Goll, John Paul Jackson, James Ryle, Frank Damazio, Ed Silvoso, Carlos Annacondia, Claudio Freidzon, Roger Mitchell, Ted Haggart, Paul Cain, Chuck Pierce, Rick Joyner, Kingsley Fletcher, Jim Laffoon, Barbara Wentroble, ad infinitum.
And with people like that and their lackeys "manning" the new OHS committees that Ashcroft and Ridge are setting up throughout the country to "pass on" or judge the loyalty of their fellow citizens, how long do you think those Christians who refuse to "toe the line" insofar as the dominionist agenda of Christian groups like the Promise Keepers and Opus Dei will last? Or do you naively think that such people will confine themselves to "passing on" and "judging" only those persons and groups that constitute a political threat? If you do, you are being very, very STUPID. Remember, in the eyes of Christian dominionists, there is little to differentiate between political and religious subversion - or do you perhaps NAIVELY think that the late W.A. Criswell of the giant First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas was just kidding when he said,
"There is no such a thing as the separation of church and state. It is merely a figment of the imagination of INFIDELS."
Or maybe you think that Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition was merely joking around when he said:
"We (i.e., Christians) were here first. You don't take our shared common values and say they are biased and bigoted ... WE ARE THE KEEPERS OF WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS WRONG."
Or maybe we shouldn't take Pat Robertson, the former head of the Christian Coalition, seriously when he said,
"If Christians work together, they can succeed ... in winning back control of the institutions that have been taken from them over the past 70 years. Expect confrontations that will be not only unpleasant, BUT AT TIMES BLOODY ... (What is happening) will not be for the faint of heart, but the resolute. Institutions will be plunged into wrenching change. We will be living through one of the most tumultuous periods of human history. When it is over, I am convinced God's people will emerge victorious. But no victory ever comes without a battle."
These are the people who can say with Pastor Cubie Ward:
"Killing for the joy of it is wrong, but killing because it is necessary to fight against an anti-Christ system ... is not only right, but the DUTY of every Christian."
These are also the kind of people who - when they raided the Nicaraguan village of San Francisco del Norte, on the western border with Honduras in July 1982 - could say,
"... we dont massacre people ... we massacre demons ..." [And all this while praising God, speaking in tongues and singing hymns.]
Brothers and sisters, we need to stand up against what is happening today - AND MOST ESPECIALLY WE NEED TO PROTEST THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE CHURCH IN IT. The Bible says,
"... the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you ..." (Rom. 2:24)
And it is true! God's name is reviled by the unbelievers because of the wicked and perverse testimony of the church today - of people like Charles Stanley, D. James Kennedy, Tim LaHaye, C. Peter Wagner, Jack Hayford, Robert Stearns, Mike Bickle, Reuven Doron, Che Ahn, Frank Hammond, Cindy Jacobs, Bill Hamon, John Eckhardt, Bobbie Byerly, Dutch Sheets, Jim Goll, John Paul Jackson, James Ryle, Frank Damazio, Ed Silvoso, Carlos Annacondia, Barbara Wentroble, ad infinitum.
WE NEED TO DECLARE TO THE WORLD THAT THE JESUS WE SERVE IS NOT THE JESUS THESE PEOPLE SERVE. In the ANTIPAS PAPERS, we wrote:
"Dietrich Bonhoffer, that great German "Man of God" who boldly stood against Hitler in the darkest days of the Third Reich, once said that from the moment we accept Christ, we are day by day being called to die for Him. As a result, we should not be surprised if one day the reality of this catches up with us. Without a doubt, Bonhoffer knew exactly what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote,
"... Christ shall be magnified in (me) ... whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:20-21)
"And as sure as the "calling" was, so was the reality when - in April, 1945, just one month short of the end of World War II - Bonhoffer was at last martyred at the hands of Adolf Hitler's henchmen for the sake of the Gospel and the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we too are being called down a similar path. This is why we have chosen the name, "Antipas Ministries!" - Antipas was one of the churchs first martyrs. In His letter to the Church in Pergamos, Jesus called him, "my faithful martyr." Specifically, He said,
'I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satans seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth'. (Rev. 2:13)
"Martyrdom? - it sounds so frightening, but it's really not such a bad thing; after all, someday all of us are going to die - the only question is how? and for what reason? Of course, I know we all like to think otherwise, that we're going to live forever - at least I know that I liked to think so when I was younger. But now I'm quite a bit older and have come to realize the truth of Psalm 102:26:
'... we all shall perish, but thou (O, God) shalt endure: yea, all of ... (us) shall wax old like a garment ...(and pass away) ...'
"Again, the only question is, how? and for what reason?
"In the light of this, isnt it better for us to die violently for the sake of the Gospel and the testimony of our Lord than to live comfortably a thousand years as lukewarm, compromised Christians, and then die quietly in our beds - after all, what is a thousand years in the light of eternity?"
If you feel as we do, then we ask as many of you as can to join us in Washington D.C. on the 27th of April. Thousands of young people from throughout the country are going there to protest the constriction of civil rights that has been occurring in this country over the past several months, and to protest the "War on Terrorism." WE WILL NOT BE GOING SO MUCH TO JOIN THESE YOUNG PEOPLE IN THEIR PROTEST, BUT RATHER TO DEMONSTRATE BY OUR PRESENCE THAT THERE ARE AT LEAST SOME CHRISTIANS WHO OPPOSE WHAT BUSH AND HIS PROMISE KEEPERS AND OPUS DEI COHORTS ARE DOING IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. That the Christ we serve has NOTHING to do with the American New World Order System that Bush and his Christian dominionist allies are setting up.
Brothers and sisters, I hope and pray that God will raise up many of you to join us in our effort in Washington D.C. People everywhere are waiting to hear us - maybe not the ones in our churches, and maybe not those who call themselves "Christian" - but they are there, waiting to hear from us. We need to do what Christ did - we need to take advantage of these kinds of "demonstrations" - that's, after all, where the unbelievers are!
Two years ago when we went to the demonstration in Philadelphia, our presence at that demonstration caused quite a stir. The demonstrators couldn't believe that Christians like us existed - AND THEY WERE OPEN TO THE JESUS WE PREACHED. Listen, brothers and sisters, we need to go where the unbelievers are - and they are not home sitting in the pews of the crystal-chandeliered cathedrals we have erected to our own vanity, but they are in the streets. We need to quit preaching to the "already saved in our churches," and get out into the streets. We need to go out into the highways and byways and tell people about Christ, and we need to "quit preaching to the choir." As we go out, we will cause a din. And we will be threatened because of the stand we are taking against the alliance the church has formed with the elites of this world. Our enemies will be those of our own household. But nothing can happen to you unless God permits it. We are in the hands of God, and as we go, we will find people who will be amazed at what we are saying, and who will be convinced and converted.
This, of course, is not going to be easy. There is no easy way in this matter. There was no easy way for Christ, and there will be no easy way for us either. As Jesus said,
"The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:20)
And so I say to all of you now -
More next time!
Until then, God bless you,
PS Have the courage of your convictions! Contribute to the ministry by making out a check to "Antipas Ministries" and sending it to -