Beneath all the hype about 9-1-1, and beneath the posturing as the US moves toward new "elections," the Bush regime is laying the groundwork for a blitzkrieg style, go-for-broke move toward reshaping the world.
There is No War on Terror. It has nothing to do with a "war on terror."
There is no war on terror, just like there was never a "war on drugs" only a war on Black and Brown people. Consider this.
There is an Islamic nation, an Islamic nation with nuclear weapons; one that is said to be harboring the arch terrorist, "former" CIA asset Osama Bin Laden.
No, it’s not Afghanistan. It’s not Iran. It’s Pakistan.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan, alleging the Taliban was supporting and sheltering Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, and alleging that these were the forces that had attacked the US on the day of the great emergency, 9-1-1.
But there is no call
to attack Pakistan, even with its nuclear weapons, even as it
allegedly shelters Bin Laden, with the Pakistani government openly
declaring Bin Laden "would not be taken into custody." Intelligence
analysts are all but certain that bin Laden is somewhere on the
Some analysts say the truce has weakened General Musharraf’s tenuous hold on power, and deeply emboldened Islamist forces that would like to be rid of him.
President Bush has attempted to justify the move, despite his recent claim that the US is "determined to deny terrorist networks control of any nation, or territory within a nation," and despite Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s recent condemnation of the "appeasers of fascism" who would "negotiate a separate peace with terrorists."
Obviously, the "war on terror" is not about nuclear weapons in Islamic hands -- hands that might, like Pakistan’s, turn nuclear weapons over to the "terrorists" it openly harbors.
Pakistan is a military-mullah alliance -- a state that operates as a military dictatorship under control of its army in an alliance with a right wing Islamic fundamentalism that has fostered a wide array of Taliban style extremist groups, groups which both collude and contend with General Musharraf’s government.
Stan Goff writes:
Musharraf has lived in political purgatory ever since 9-11. On the one hand, Pakistan has a substantial population of Pashtuns who are sympathetic to the Taliban who remain hostile to Musharraf for his acquiescence to the US. His own security and intelligence apparatuses are full of political Islamists, and the two attempts on his life in December, 2003 were almost certainly inside jobs. . . .
The government is highly unstable: Musharraff by now has survived three assassination attempts. Riots and mass demonstrations by Islamic fundamentalists are held in check only at the point of a gun.
The recent murder of tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti by the Pakistani military set off waves of unrest all across Pakistan that some believe could lead to a broader uprising. Every political party in the nation including Musharraf’s political allies, has condemned the killing. "Musharraf," William S. Lind tells us, "is often called Busharraf," in mockery of his deep ties to the US regime.
According to one poll, 51% of Pakistanis support Bin Laden. They call Bin Laden their "Robin Hood" because, as the Qatar Gulf Times has noted, he "has flamboyantly defied a superpower they see as a threat to their religion and way of life." Elections are scheduled for next year.
If Musharraf’s government falls, real -- not potential -- nuclear weapons will be in the hands of the forces the US claims are its greatest threat.
William S. Lind looks at the matter from the standpoint of the Empire’s strategic interests:
The fall of Pakistan to militant Islam will be a strategic disaster greater than anything possible in Iraq, even losing an army. It will be a greater disaster than a war with Iran that costs us our army in Iraq. Osama and Co. will have nukes, missiles to deliver them, the best conventional armed forces in the Moslem world and an impregnable base for operations anywhere else.
But the Bush regime does nothing, says nothing of substance, and certainly sounds no alarm.
From the standpoint of the supposed "war on terror" the danger presented in Pakistan is "real" -- not the kind of concocted excuse used to invade and occupy Iraq -- not the "potential" for nuclear weapons that may exist in Iran, a potential that is the source of deadly saber rattling on the part of the Bush regime.
In Pakistan, there is an actual and immediate likelihood of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of Islamists profoundly opposed to the Empire -- including their fall directly into the hands of the US’s supposed arch-enemies, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
If the war on "terror" were about "Islamic" "terror," if Al Qaeda were the real "enemy" which posed an actual threat of strategic dimension to real imperialist designs, Pakistan would be an instant target.
The Bush regime would demand an immediate scrapping of Pakistan’s nuclear might. It would have attacked Pakistan in the first place -- not Iraq, which had no weapons of mass destruction, and no ties to "terrorism" at all.
But unlike Iraq and Iran, Pakistan is not a major player in the global oil market, and the control of Pakistan isn’t immediately relevant to the control of world oil and the consolidation of unilateral global power. It’s on the sidelines of a war that has nothing to do with "terror" at all.
Nor is this "terror war" about possible Iranian "aggression."
US Congress member Ron Paul cautions that, "Iran has never in modern times invaded her neighbors, yet we worry obsessively that she may develop a nuclear weapon someday. Never mind that a radicalized Pakistan has nuclear weapons; our friend Musharraf won't lift a finger against Bin Laden, who most likely is hiding there."
The Project for a New American Century says plainly that Iran is "rushing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a deterrent to American intervention..." (emphasis added.)
In other words, if in fact Iran is developing a nuclear weapons capability, even the criminals who run the White House admit it’s for Iran’s own self defense. After all, the US has invaded and occupied Afghanistan on Iran’s eastern flank, and Iraq to its immediate west. The US also assisted Israel -- directed it -- according to reliable sources, in the recent leveling of Lebanon, an action widely believed to have been a dry run for an attack on Iran, itself.
Gaining control of Iran means gaining control of world oil supplies. It is, therefore, the main target of the day in the "war on terror."
And the supposed "war on terror" is not about protecting you -- unless it’s in the style of a protection racket, wherein the protection of gasoline for your SUV is paid for in Muslim blood. In fact you’re in more danger than ever before. The Empire’s aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq has caused incidents of Third World retaliation against Western powers to triple. No one is concerned about you or your safety.
The so-called war on terror is actually a struggle to establish a new style of fascism in the US and an excuse to wage war for global dominance and the control of oil.
In a recent opinion piece in the Washington Post, Henry Kissinger put it succinctly, saying the US and Europe face "the imperative of building a new world order or potential global catastrophe." The catastrophe they face is the collapse of their global power if they don’t seize control of a rapidly diminishing global supply of oil and that means seizing control, by any means necessary, of Middle East oil fields.
The Bush regime is moving quickly to legalize elements of an emerging fascist state, while laying the groundwork for war -- nuclear war -- against Iran, in a bid to permanently consolidate US hegemony and world power. Bush insider William Kristol and outsider Seymour Hersh both predict war on Iran in early 2007.
It could come sooner.
Seizing the Initiative for Fascism
The Bush regime wants Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and their secret torture prisons written into law. They want to bring The Dark Side, as Vice President Dick Cheney so aptly put it, into the light of day for open, official approval. Under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the current provisions of the War Crimes Act, they’re seeking to enshrine torture as their legal right -- if not for the Army, then for the CIA; the regime is willing to embrace legislation that bans "torture, murder and rape" in interrogations - as long as these crimes remain so ill defined as to make enforcement impossible. And they want to retroactively limit the circumstances under which a government "interrogator" -- read that torturer- could be prosecuted for "mistreating" a suspect.
They want their secret gulags and indefinite detention. They want to try "terrorists" -- you, me, or anyone they ultimately say is a terrorist -- in military courts and without the benefit of the right of the accused to examine or refute the evidence against them. They want to be free to use so-called "coerced testimony" against such defendants, and allow the use of hearsay evidence. A suspect could even be put to death based on evidence obtained through torture and coercion.
The only "break" in the US tradition these maneuvers represent lies in bringing long standing practices out of the shadows and into the light, as Edward S. Herman make clear:
In addition to preeminence in aggression, the U.S.-Israel axis has long been important in sponsoring and using torture. The U.S. use of water-boarding goes back to the war against Philippine "niggers" in 1900; its use of electronic methods of torture was extensive during the Vietnam war, along with "Tiger Cages;" and this country was the principal sponsor of regimes of torture in the 1960s and 1970s as U.S. leaders struggled against nationalist-populist upheavals in the Third World. Many premier torturers learned their lessons in the School of the Americas in those years. Abu Ghraib, Bagram and the rendition gulag are not a break from the past or contrary to "American values," they are built on a solid tradition.
The White House says it is trying to "clarify" the Geneva Conventions. They’ve made it clear, in any case, that they have no intention of abiding by them.
Meanwhile, under the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2453) they want to give the president and attorney general a blank check to spy on whomever they please whenever they please, and to do so with only an "optional" review by the courts, according to the ACLU, which calls the legislation "worse than the Patriot Act." The bill would also expand warrantless searches of private residences.
The Bush regime is directly challenging and seeking, step by step, to eliminate the right to a fair and speedy trial, to an impartial jury, the right to privacy, the right to protection from unwarranted search and seizure, and the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment.
Their drums are thundering with accusations that anyone who opposes their regime is a fascist or a fascist sympathizer.
The Web and the New "Enemy Within"
As part of its drive toward a fascistic state, the regime has found a new "Enemy Within" -- and it’s not just the Muslim Americans targeted for arrest, the Mexicans targeted for round ups and deportations, or the Blacks, Native Americans and "gang members" targeted for prison.
It’s what they now call the "homegrown terrorist" -- apparently a most dangerous kind of terrorist, according to The Los Angeles Times; one almost impossible to track; one with no formal ties to known "networks"; one with no particular religion; a self-radicalizing "terrorist" whose "terrorist breeding ground" is the Internet and whose piper is not just "Osama Bin Laden," but the radical writer, the blogger, and the so-called "conspiracy theorist."
The BBC, in the opening line of a piece entitled US plans to 'fight the net', states it plainly: "Bloggers Beware."
The LA Times reports -- with a straight face -- "US officials said the enemy from within was posing a new challenge and a new danger."
The self-radicalized new "threat" doesn’t fit previous "profiles," and the Feds are working overtime to build a new profile for these misfits. The Times says that according to one "terrorism expert" it’s "very difficult to find someone like that, someone not from the Middle East, not converted to any religion."
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made it clear; the new target is those who "are radicalized over the Internet." Citing the "threat" of "home grown terrorists" FBI director Robert Mueller said the FBI is focused on understanding the "radicalization" process.
L.A. police chief William Bratton plans to build a new national anti-terrorism training academy for cops to reinforce the idea of "getting the bastards before they get us." The Attorney General backed Bratton, framing it this way, "We know local police departments are in the best position to identify home grown radicals, so our network will be led by them."
In other words, if you’re reading this essay -- or writing essays like this one -- you’re a potential target; you may be engaged in a process of self-radicalization. If so, the FBI wants to "understand" you. They want to know what makes the thought criminal tick.
Make no mistake; thought crime, much of it bred by the relatively free flow of information on the Net, is costing the neo-fascists dearly and creating a hell of a "breeding ground" for "home grown terrorists" -- which is to say it is helping to create a social base for mass resistance to the emergence of home grown fascism and imperial war. A recent Zogby poll shows that 52% of Americans now question the "official story" of the 9/11 attacks, even as an overwhelming majority oppose the military occupation and colonization of Iraq.
This free flow of information is what the Bush regime calls "Subcultures of conspiracy and misinformation."
"Terrorists," they say in their National Strategy For Combating Terrorism, "recruit more effectively from populations whose information about the world is contaminated by falsehoods and corrupted by conspiracy theories. The distortions keep alive grievances and filter out facts that would challenge popular prejudices and self-serving propaganda."
Here’s a feel for what they mean: noted journalist Greg Palast and television producer Matt Pascarella were recently charged by Homeland Security with "unauthorized filming of a ‘critical national security structure’" in Louisiana.
Palast writes, "we videotaped the thousands of Katrina evacuees still held behind a barbed wire in a trailer park encampment a hundred miles from New Orleans." There was an Exxon Oil refinery -- the nation’s second largest, in the background. A criminal complaint was filed by Exxon. Palast writes, "Detective Frank Pananepinto of Homeland Security told us, "This is a ‘Critical Infrastructure’ -- and they get nervous about unauthorized filming of their property."
According to the BBC, The Pentagon plans to "'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," as it’s put in the National Strategy.
The document recommends that "the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum," including the disruption and destruction of the Web.
Not content, of course, with unearthing alleged "enemies at home," or on the Internet, the Christian Fascists of the Bush regime have now declared their theocratic evil twins in the Islamic world "Islamo-fascists," and, in case anyone failed to notice, they’ve couched the rhetoric around "Islamo-fascism" in terms evoking not only past World Wars, but the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) standoff between the former Soviet Union and the US Empire.
For their homegrown Christian Fascist social base they’re billing their coming assault against Iran as World War Three and the Countdown to Armageddon: in their first strike fantasies that’s exactly what they’re willing to risk in order to dominate the globe.
The Loyal "Opposition"
Bush, Rumsfeld and other leaders of the volk are no doubt correct when they call the Democrats appeasers of fascism. But the fascism the Dems are appeasing is not "Islamo-fascism," it’s fascism right here in the US.
If you feel -- as Harlan Ellison once put it -- that "I have no mouth and I must scream," it’s most likely because you’ve been counting on the Democrats to end the war and stop fascism. That’s the moral equivalent of counting on Hannibal Lector for a vegan lunch: it’s not on the menu and it’s not in his nature.
Ironically, the Bush regime’s National Strategy For Combating Terrorism sets the standard that should be applied to Republicans and Democrats alike: "Terrorists Exploit An Ideology That Justifies Murder," it reads. "Democracy offers a respect for human dignity and rejects the targeting of innocents."
In case you’ve forgotten, it’s Clinton, not GW, who’s responsible for the deaths of a half million innocent Iraqi children and another half million civilian adults through the "sanctions" imposed on Iraq in the 90s. Then US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright said the goal of gaining control of Iraq made the children’s mass death "worth it."
If terrorists target innocents and "justify" it, then these are terrorists, plain and simple -- not "democrats."
Like the Republicans, the Democrats are a party of genocide and global domination.
As Edward S. Herman writes in Z Magazine, "the United States was the main driver of the "sanctions of mass destruction" against Iraq throughout the 1990s which resulted in the deaths of perhaps a million Iraqi civilians, possibly the greatest genocide of the post-World War II era (with only the Congo and Rwanda serious rivals)."
Ask the Vietnamese with their 1 to 7 million dead, if you won’t believe the Iraqis, Lebanese, Native Americans, the descendants of enslaved Africans, or the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Democrats are the oldest political party in the world, and their legacy is the record of every crime the white colonial settler empire has committed since 1794.
True to form, the Dems are backing the preparations for war against Iran -- just as they went along with the full spectrum of lies used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Their criticism of the war in Iraq, even today, boils down to the notion that Democrats make slicker diplomats and more efficient killers.
Maybe they’re right.
Clinton, after all, attacked more countries than Bush has. He rang up a much higher body count, and was slick enough to pose as if he weren’t to the right of Richard Nixon and Atilla the Hun while he did so.
Under Clinton, NATO bombed the civilians of Yugoslavia for 78 solid days; Clinton continued a policy of genocidal sanctions against Iraq while launching endless air and rocket attacks against the Iraqi people, and he carried out illegal bombings of Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan, and Afghanistan.
Clinton and the Democrats are war criminals and imperialists, no less than Bush and the Republicans. What planet did you think you were on? Why do you think the Democrats remain silent on fascism and war?
It’s because they’re silent partners, co-conspirators with the Republicans in imperial crime. Name one, even one prominent Democrat who has named what we all know ? that the US is veering toward fascism at breakneck speed. Name one prominent Democrat who is openly calling for even the impeachment of the fascists -- much less total, mass opposition to them.
The Dems remain silent not because they’re "spineless," but because it’s their system on the line -- and they know it -- just like the Republicans and the plutocrats who run the communications media know it.
Bush, Rush, O’Reilly and the rest of the fascists have a voice. Otherwise the mainstream media is silent. For the same reason. Their job, like that of the Dems, is to keep hope alive, to keep you hoping for "change" -- through them -- even as they rope you into going along with an imperialist and fascistic agenda. But, like the Republicans, the Democrats will only "withdraw" from Iraq when the rape is over, when the oil fields are firmly under US control. Not a moment before.
The Democrats gave their full backing to Israel’s recent war crimes against the children of Lebanon, just as they justified the mass murder of children in Iraq.
Is that who you’re counting on to "save" us?
Planning Armageddon in Iran
The bombing of Lebanon, of course, was a dry run for an attack on Iran.
All options, according to Bush, are on the table for striking Iran. And there is no one in Washington D.C. to stop him.
Any plan to strike Iran’s nuclear energy research facilities would necessarily entail the use of nuclear weapons -- nothing else can penetrate 75 feet underground and take out reinforced concrete. Of necessity, then, any plan for a war against Iran is a plan for first strike nuclear war.
Were the US to gain control of Iranian oil, the Chinese would be at the US’s mercy for the largest single bloc of their oil imports. Iran is China's biggest oil supplier. There is no reason to think the US would allow itself to meet such a fate, and there is no reason to think the Chinese would do so, either. The Russians would also suffer important economic setbacks in the exportation of high technology and weapons systems.
Both nations are US competitors for influence and power in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Beijing has recently signed huge energy deals with Iran, deals that place Iran in China's security web. Both Russia and China have stepped up the transfer of missile technology to Iran and are selling the nation increasingly sophisticated military equipment. A China-Russia-Iran Alliance is widely discussed.
In other words, all the braggadocio from the neo-cons about starting World War 3 in the Middle East is the furthest thing from empty talk. The psychosis of it, the "dream" of a "New American Century," the newest incarnation of Manifest Destiny -- an inevitable Euro-American Reich under the iron will of "god," is real to these people.
What’s "unthinkable" to them is not nuclear war; they’ve put the US on a first strike footing and adopted and exercised a policy of pre-emptive warfare. What’s "unthinkable" to them is that Iran might have the Bomb and with it the capacity to defend their own oil. That Israel would no longer be able to freely carry mass death to Palestinians and Lebanese, and that the US would no longer be free to invent enemies in the region and invade them at will.
So, the US is preparing a new Hiroshima and a new Nagasaki in Iran, and courting the destruction of the very Earth in so doing.
There have been no Hiroshimas, Beiruts or Dresdens in the US, of course, but if Bush carries through with his planned war crimes against the Iranian people, there will be. If by some stroke of fate he fails to trigger Armageddon, the entire Muslim world and the vast majority of the rest of the planet, including nuclear armed states like Pakistan, will turn against the Empire -- their peoples, in their outrage, will force them to do so.
In that case it will only be a matter of time until a vengeance seeking counterstrike -- a Hiroshima in a briefcase -- finds its way to a major US port, an LA, NY, Houston or New Orleans. A counterstrike no fascist clampdown could ever prevent.
Unless we take matters into our own hands, the way the people of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico City are taking fate in their own hands.
It’s up to us. The Democrats won’t do it. Only a mass movement of determined opposition can do it, an opposition that aims to stop US fascism and its plan for war dead in its tracks. Now.
In one of the most under-emphasized stories of recent weeks, Bush’s partner in bloodshed, Britain’s Tony Blair, has been forced to offer his resignation, and although he’s stalling for time, his exit by next Spring is all but certain. This is a result of nothing more than electoral, political pressure. His own party is demanding that he step aside. The occupation of Iran has become too costly. Were there a mass movement in the streets demanding that he go, he would be gone today.
It won’t be so simple here. But we can’t wait. The window of opportunity is slamming shut.
If Kristol and Hersh are right, we have until early 2007. Maybe less time than that.
Other Articles by Juan Santos
No!: An Indigenist Perspective
Endgame: May 1st and America’s New Race War