NEWSLETTER ON FASCISM
17, 2014. USA
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice (#1 Jan. 10, 2012)
Reluctantly, more and more watchers of US politics have concluded that fascism (variously defined with a small “f”) is spreading and deepening and can happen, can gain full control of the US. This possibility should be a major focus of attention in our politics, education, and media before control of information becomes too extreme to reverse.
See: CIA, Democracy, Imperialism, NSA, Patriot Act, War on/of Terrorism, more
Contents Fascism Can Happen Here Newsletter #2
Thom Hartmann: Henry Wallace on US Fascism 1944
Howard Zinn Interview
Noam Chomsky Interview
Juan Cole, Creeping Fascism
Lisa Graves, NSA From Nixon to Obama
Martial Law Detention List Prepared
Mussolini, Definition of Fascism
Larson, Rise of Nazis in
Published on Monday, July 19, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can Happen Here"
by Thom Hartmann
The Republican National Committee has recently removed from the top-level pages of their website an advertisement interspersing Hitler's face with those of John Kerry and other prominent Democrats. This little-heralded step has freed former Enron lobbyist and current RNC chairman Ed Gillespie to resume his attacks on Americans who believe some provisions of Bush's PATRIOT Act, his detention of American citizens without charges, his willingness to let corporations write legislation, and the so-called "Free Speech Zones" around his public appearances are all steps on the road to American fascism.
The RNC's feeble attempt to equate Hitler and Democrats was short-lived, but it brings to mind the first American Vice President to point out the "American fascists" among us.
Although most Americans remember that Harry Truman was Franklin D. Roosevelt's Vice President when Roosevelt died in 1945 (making Truman President), Roosevelt had two previous Vice Presidents - John N. Garner (1933-1941) and Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945). In early 1944, the New York Times asked Vice President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted, "write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? How many fascists have we? How dangerous are they?"
Vice President Wallace's answer to those questions was published in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of
"The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the
In this, Wallace was using the classic definition of the word "fascist" - the definition Mussolini had in mind when he claimed to have invented the word. (It was actually Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile who wrote the entry in the Encyclopedia Italiana that said: "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." Mussolini, however, affixed his name to the entry, and claimed credit for it.)
As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
Mussolini was quite straightforward about all this. In a 1923 pamphlet titled "The Doctrine of Fascism" he wrote, "If classical liberalism spells individualism, Fascism spells government." But not a government of, by, and for We The People - instead, it would be a government of, by, and for the most powerful corporate interests in the nation.
In 1938, Mussolini brought his vision of fascism into full reality when he dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the "Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni" - the Chamber of the Fascist Corporations. Corporations were still privately owned, but now instead of having to sneak their money to folks like Tom DeLay and covertly write legislation, they were openly in charge of the government.
Vice President Wallace bluntly laid out in his 1944 Times article his concern about the same happening here in
" If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the
Nonetheless, at that time there were few corporate heads who had run for political office, and, in Wallace's view, most politicians still felt it was their obligation to represent We The People instead of corporate cartels. "American fascism will not be really dangerous," he added in the next paragraph, "until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information..."
Noting that, "Fascism is a worldwide disease," Wallace further suggest that fascism's "greatest threat to the
In Sinclair Lewis's 1935 novel "It Can't Happen Here," a conservative southern politician is helped to the presidency by a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. The politician - Buzz Windrip - runs his campaign on family values, the flag, and patriotism. Windrip and the talk show host portray advocates of traditional American democracy as anti-American. When Windrip becomes President, he opens a Guantanamo-style detention center, and the viewpoint character of the book,
As Lewis noted in his novel, "the President, with something of his former good-humor [said]: 'There are two [political] parties, the Corporate and those who don't belong to any party at all, and so, to use a common phrase, are just out of luck!' The idea of the Corporate or
Lewis, the first American writer to win a Nobel Prize, was world famous by 1944, as was his book "It Can't Happen Here." And several well-known and powerful Americans, including Prescott Bush, had lost businesses in the early 1940s because of charges by
" Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion. American fascists of this stamp were clandestinely aligned with their German counterparts before the war, and are even now preparing to resume where they left off, after 'the present unpleasantness' ceases."
Fascists have an agenda that is primarily economic. As the Free Dictionary (www.thefreedictionary.com) notes, fascism/corporatism is "an attempt to create a 'modern' version of feudalism by merging the 'corporate' interests with those of the state."
Feudalism, of course, is one of the most stable of the three historic tyrannies (kingdoms, theocracies, feudalism) that ruled nations prior to the rise of American republican democracy, and can be roughly defined as "rule by the rich."
Thus, the neo-feudal/fascistic rich get richer (and more powerful) on the backs of the poor and the middle class, an irony not lost on author Thomas Frank, who notes in his new book "What's The Matter With Kansas" that, "You can see the paradox first-hand on nearly any Main Street in middle America - 'going out of business' signs side by side with placards supporting George W. Bush."
The businesses "going out of business" are, in fascist administrations, usually those of locally owned small and medium-sized companies. As Wallace wrote, some in big business "are willing to jeopardize the structure of American liberty to gain some temporary advantage." He added, "Monopolists who fear competition and who distrust democracy because it stands for equal opportunity would like to secure their position against small and energetic enterprise [companies]. In an effort to eliminate the possibility of any rival growing up, some monopolists would sacrifice democracy itself."
But American fascists who would want former CEOs as President, Vice President, House Majority Whip, and Senate Majority Leader, and write legislation with corporate interests in mind, don't generally talk to We The People about their real agenda, or the harm it does to small businesses and working people. Instead, as Hitler did with the trade union leaders and the Jews, they point to a "them" to pin with blame and distract people from the harms of their economic policies.
In a comment prescient of George W. Bush's recent suggestion that civilization itself is at risk because of gays, Wallace continued:
" The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power. It is no coincidence that the growth of modern tyrants has in every case been heralded by the growth of prejudice. It may be shocking to some people in this country to realize that, without meaning to do so, they hold views in common with Hitler when they preach discrimination..."
But even at this, Wallace noted, American fascists would have to lie to the people in order to gain power. And, because they were in bed with the nation's largest corporations - who could gain control of newspapers and broadcast media - they could promote their lies with ease.
"The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact," Wallace wrote. "Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy."
In his strongest indictment of the tide of fascism the Vice President of the
Finally, Wallace said, "The myth of fascist efficiency has deluded many people. ... Democracy, to crush fascism internally, must...develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."
This liberal vision of an egalitarian America in which very large businesses and media monopolies are broken up under the 1890 Sherman Anti-Trust Act (which Reagan stopped enforcing, leading to the mergers & acquisitions frenzy that continues to this day) was the driving vision of the New Deal (and of "Trust Buster" Teddy Roosevelt a generation earlier).
As Wallace's President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, said when he accepted his party's renomination in 1936 in
Speaking indirectly of the fascists that Wallace would directly name almost a decade later, Roosevelt brought the issue to its core: "These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of
But, he thundered in that speech, "Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power!"
In 2004, we again stand at the same crossroad Roosevelt and Wallace confronted during the Great Depression and World War II. Fascism is again rising in
It's particularly ironic that the CEOs and lobbyists who run the Republican National Committee would have chosen to put Hitler's fascist face into one of their campaign commercials, just before they launched a national campaign against gays and while they continue to arrest people who wear anti-Bush T-shirts in public places.
President Roosevelt and Vice President Wallace's warnings have come full circle. Which is why it's so critical that this November we join together at the ballot box to stop this most recent incarnation of feudal fascism from seizing complete control of our nation.
Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning best-selling author and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk radio show. www.thomhartmann.com. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," and "We The People: A Call To Take Back America." His new book, "What Would Jefferson Do?: A Return To Democracy," based on four years of research in
HOWARD ZINN AND NOAM CHOMSKY LIVE
Here are videos of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky talking about fascism : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHNwhDPY7iE&sns=fb
And Chomsky: http://www.progressive.org/wx041210.html
From Abel T
Who are the real fascists: Marine Le Pen - or the
? United States
Americans worry about the rise of extremism in Europe, but they aren't overly concerned by their own 'proto-fascist' country
Column LAST UPDATED AT 07:19 ON Thu 3 May 2012
AMERICAN discussions of
Europe swivel between
rationality and hysteria. A discussion of Europe's awful unemployment figures
and swelling mutiny against austerity suddenly mutates into tremulous wails
about the menace of fascism in France, rancid racism in the Netherlands, the
anti-Semitic beast unchained in Germany (in the terrifying form of Günter
Grass's new poem).
A lot of this has to do with Marine Le Pen, leader of
National Front. Now and again I'll mention her in something I've written
without the obligatory insults about her family heritage and presumed
totalitarian agenda. Furious letters pour in, particularly since she made a
strong showing in the first round of the French presidential elections. France
Marine Le Pen is a nationalist politician, quite reasonably exploiting the intense social discontent in
amid the imposition of the bankers' austerity programs. As Ambrose
Evans-Pritchard put it in The Daily Telegraph recently, she "presents
herself as a latterday Jeanne d'Arc, openly comparing France's pro-EU camp with
the Burgundians who plotted 'English Annexation' in the 1430s - or indeed 'Les
Collabos' who bought peace after 1940. 'Let us break the chains of the French
people. Bring on the French Spring,' she tells Front National rallies." France
Anti-Semitism? Diana Johnstone, an excellent journalist who has been reporting from
years, writes to me, "There is absolutely nothing attesting to
anti-Semitism on the part of Marine Le Pen. She has actually tried to woo the
powerful Jewish organisations, and her anti-Islam stance is also a way to woo
such groups. The simple fact is that the best way to destroy someone in this
country is to call him or her 'anti-Semitic'." France
Marine Le Pen certainly has made some unsavoury comments about immigrants and Islamisation. But she has gone to the heart of the matter, asserting that monetary union cannot be fudged, that it is incompatible with the French nation-state. She has won 18 per cent of the vote by campaigning to pull
out of the euro and smash
the whole project. As Johnstone explains, a new poll shows only three per cent
of French voters consider immigration the main issue. So logically, Le Pen
cannot owe her 18 percent to that issue. The number-one issue is employment. France
It's true, things could get ugly.
Europe's politics are being
refashioned before our eyes.
has 21 per cent unemployment, and the socialist Pasok party could face
near-extinction in the upcoming elections. In Greece , one-in-four is out of work,
and the right-wing prime minister insists on maintaining austerity. As
Evans-Pritchard points out, "We forget now, but Spain Germany
was heavily indebted to foreigners in 1930, like today. It was the refusal of
the creditor powers (US and France) to reliquify the system and slow monetary
contraction that pushed Spain
over a cliff. The parallels are haunting." Germany
But there's another aspect to this habit of flinging the charge of fascism at
that's the simple matter of national hypocrisy. The mobs who flooded into the streets to revel in the execution of Osama
bin Laden a year ago were not exulting in , land of the free and of
constitutional propriety. They were lauding brute, lawless, lethal force. In this year of political conventions
we'll be hearing a lot of tub-thumping about American freedoms, but if there's
any nation in the world that is well on the way to meriting the admittedly
vague label of 'fascist', surely it's the America . United States
Fascism, among other things, is a system of extreme, methodical state repression, violent in contour and threat, buttressed by ultra-nationalist mythology, a militarist culture and imperial ambition. In the 1980s
started locking up its poor people. Seven million adults were under
correctional supervision in 2009. A fascist system uses constant harassment.
Last year there were more than 600,000 stop-and-frisks in America , overwhelmingly of blacks and
Hispanics. Historically, fascist regimes have been particularly cruel toward
what is deemed to be sexual deviancy. New York City sex offender registries doom
three-quarters of a million people - many of them convicted on trumpery charges
- to pale simulacra of real life. Others endure castration and open-ended
Fascist regimes, ultimately the expression of corporate power, repress labour in all efforts to organise. The onslaught here began with Taft-Hartley in 1947 and continued with methodical ferocity during the Reagan and Clinton years. Obama reneged on pledges to make organising easier, froze the wages of federal workers and advanced free trade across the globe. Attacks on collective bargaining are pervasive. Big money's grip on both parties ensures corporate control no matter who's nominally in charge. Fascist regimes show open contempt for democracy while deifying a leader who embodies the national spirit. We salute democracy while suppressing it.
A fascist regime is the sworn foe of the right to assembly, 'unauthorised' marches and encampments. We're sure to see more signs of this around the Nato summit and the national conventions.
is a network of Swat teams and kindred state-employed thugs on permanent red
A fascist regime spies obsessively on its citizens. Study US laws on secret surveillance since the Patriot Act and you will find procedures that would have been the envy of the East Germans.
A fascist regime spies obsessively on its citizens. Study US laws on secret surveillance since the Patriot Act and you will find procedures that would have been the envy of the East Germans.
Ultimately a fascist state claims the right to imprison its victims without term or hope of redress or legal representation. As the executive power, in the form of the president, it claims the right to kill its enemies, whether citizens (Awlaki) or others (Guantánamo), without judicial review. In other words, rule by decree - which is what Hitler's Enabling Act won him in March 1933.
We live in a fascist country - 'proto-fascist' if you want to allay public disquiet, though there's scant sign that most Americans are disturbed by the trends. So quit beating up on
Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/us/46625/who-are-real-fascists-marine-le-pen-or-united-states#ixzz1uJzOW3OR
[Dick: This essay also appeared in The Nation entitled “So Who’s the Fascist Here?” (May 21, 2012). See the four letters in response June 18, 2012.]
GOP CONGRESS AUTHORIZES LYING TO PUBLIC
Will get vetoed--but that they tried to do it shows where the Repubs are headed.
Juan Cole, “The Creeping Fascism of American Politics”
A bipartisan amendment introduced by Rep. Mac Thornberry and Rep. Adam Smith would allow the Department of Defense to utilize propaganda. (image: Telegraph
The Creeping Fascism of American Politics
wo congressmen are attempting to insert a provision in the National Defense Authorization act that would allow the Department of Defense to subject the US domestic public to propaganda. The bipartisan amendment was introduced by Rep. Mac Thornberry from
Texas and Rep. Adam
Smith from . Washington
Nothing speaks more urgently to the creeping fascism of American politics than the assertion by our representatives, who apparently have never read a book on Germany in the 1930s-1940s or on the Soviet Union in the Stalin period, that forbidding DoD and the State Department from subjecting us to government propaganda "ties the hands of America's diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way." And mind you, they want to use our own money to wash our brains!
As Will Rogers observed, "This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer."
I love our guys and gals in uniform, but they can be extremely obnoxious in any discussion about
policy that 'gets off point' or 'doesn't serve the mission.' At US think tank
events, I've seen them repeatedly close down discussions among e.g. State
Department foreign service officers. You don't want most of the DoD types
providing information to us, because it won't be in any way balanced. Washington
Of course, having a Pentagon propaganda unit at all is highly anti-democratic. The best defense of the truth is a free press. It should also be remembered that nowadays everything in
outsourced, so government propaganda is often being turned over to Booz Allen
or the American Enterprise Institute, which have a rightwing bias. Washington
Doing propaganda abroad has the difficulty that it doesn't stay abroad. False articles placed in the Arabic press in
translated into English by wire services, who got stung. Iraq
Then, another problem is that the Defense Intelligence Agency analysts *also* read the false articles placed in the Arabic press by *another* Pentagon office, which they did not know about. So the analysts were passing up to the White House false information provided by their own colleagues!
I was told by an insider that one reason Washington analysts often read my blog in the Bush years was that I had a reputation for having an accurate bull crap meter, and thus my judgments on what was likely to be true helped them fight the tendency to believe our own propaganda!
Not only should this amendment be gotten rid of quick, but their constituents should please vote out of office Reps. Thornberry and Smith next November.
Zombie Politics, Democracy, and the Threat of Authoritarianism - Part I
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 09:41
(Image: Peter Lang)
The Rise of Zombie Politics
In the world of popular culture, zombies seem to be everywhere, as evidenced by the relentless slew of books, movies, video games, and comics. From the haunting Night of the Living Dead to the comic movie Zombieland, the figure of the zombie has captured and touched something unique in the contemporary imagination. But the dark and terrifying image of the zombie with missing body parts, oozing body fluids, and an appetite for fresh, living, human brains does more than feed the mass-marketing machines that prey on the spectacle of the violent, grotesque, and ethically comatose. There is more at work in this wave of fascination with the grotesquely walking hyper-dead than a
appropriation of the dark recesses and unrestrained urges of the human mind.
The zombie phenomenon is now on display nightly on television alongside endless
examples of destruction unfolding in real-time. Such a cultural fascination
with proliferating images of the living hyper-dead and unrelenting human
catastrophes that extend from a global economic meltdown to the earthquake in
Haiti to the ecological disaster caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
signals a shift away from the hope that accompanies the living to a politics of
cynicism and despair. The macabre double movement between “the dead that walk” and
those who are alive but are dying and suffering cannot be understood outside of
the casino capitalism that now shapes every aspect of society in its own image.
A casino capitalist zombie politics views competition as a form of social
combat, celebrates war as an extension of politics, and legitimates a ruthless
Social Darwinism in which particular individuals and groups are considered
simply redundant, disposable—nothing more than human waste left to stew in
their own misfortune—easy prey for the zombies who have a ravenous appetite for
chaos and revel in apocalyptic visions filled with destruction, decay,
abandoned houses, burned-out cars, gutted landscapes, and trashed gas stations.
The twenty-first-century zombies no longer emerge from the grave; they now inhabit the rich environs of Wall Street and roam the halls of the gilded monuments of greed such as Goldman Sachs. As an editorial in The New York Times points out, the new zombies of free-market fundamentalism turned “the financial system into a casino. Like gambling, the transactions mostly just shifted paper money around the globe. Unlike gambling, they packed an enormous capacity for collective and economic destruction—hobbling banks that made bad bets, freezing credit and economic activity. Society—not the bankers—bore the cost.” In this way, the zombie— the immoral, sub-Nietzschean, id-driven “other” who is “hyper-dead” but still alive as an avatar of death and cruelty—provides an apt metaphor for a new kind of authoritarianism that has a grip on contemporary politics in the
is an authoritarianism in which mindless self-gratification becomes the
sanctioned norm and public issues collapse into the realm of privatized anger
and rage. The rule of the market offers the hyper-dead an opportunity to
exercise unprecedented power in American society, reconstructing civic and
political culture almost entirely in the service of a politics that fuels the
friend/enemy divide, even as democracy becomes the scandal of casino
capitalism—its ultimate humiliation.
Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at
in the English
and Cultural Studies Department. His most recent books include: Youth in a Suspect Society (Palgrave,
2009); Politics After Hope: Obama and the
Crisis of Youth, Race, and Democracy (Paradigm, 2010); Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror
(Paradigm, 2010); The Mouse that Roared:
Disney and the End of Innocence (co-authored with Grace Pollock, Rowman and
Littlefield, 2010); Zombie Politics and
Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism (Peter Lang, 2011); Henry Giroux on Critical Pedagogy
(Continuum, 2011). His newest books: Education and the Crisis of
Public Values (Peter Lang) and Twilight of the Social: Resurgent Publics in the
Age of Disposability (Paradigm Publishers) will be published in 2012). Giroux
is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His website is
By Henry A Giroux, Truthout
Jonathan Schell - TheNation
June 19, 2013 | This article appeared in the July 8-15, 2013 edition of The Nation.
June 19, 2013 | This article appeared in the July 8-15, 2013 edition of The Nation.
There is a revolution afoot—one that is being carried out by the government against the fundamental law of the land.
A school of fish swims peacefully in the ocean. Out of sight, a net is spread beneath it. At the edges of the net is a circle of fishing boats. Suddenly, the fishermen yank up the edges of the net, and in an instant the calm, open ocean becomes a boiling caldron, an exitless, rapidly shrinking prison in which the fish thrash in vain for freedom and life.
Increasingly, the American people are like this school of fish in the moments before the net is pulled up. The net in question is of course the Internet and associated instruments of data collection, and the fishermen are corporations and the government. That is, to use the more common metaphor, we have come to live alongside the machinery of a turnkey tyranny. As we now know, thanks to the courageous whistleblower Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency has been secretly ordering Verizon to sweep up and hand over all the metadata from the phone calls of millions of its customers: phone numbers, duration of calls, routing information and sometimes the location of the callers. Thanks to Snowden, we also know that unknown volumes of like information are being extracted from Internet and computer companies, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.
The first thing to note about these data is that a mere generation ago, they did not exist. They are a new power in our midst, flowing from new technology, waiting to be picked up; and power, as always, creates temptation, especially for the already powerful. Our cellphones track our whereabouts. Our communications pass through centralized servers and are saved and kept for a potential eternity in storage banks, from which they can be recovered and examined. Our purchases and contacts and illnesses and entertainments are tracked and agglomerated. If we are arrested, even our DNA can be taken and stored by the state. Today, alongside each one of us, there exists a second, electronic self, created in part by us, in part by others. This other self has become de facto public property, owned chiefly by immense data-crunching corporations, which use it for commercial purposes. Now government is reaching its hand into those corporations for its own purposes, creating a brand-new domain of the state-corporate complex.
Surveillance of people on this scale turns basic liberties—above all the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure—into a dead letter. Government officials, it is true, assure us that they will never pull the edges of the net tight. They tell us that although they could know everything about us, they won’t decide to. They’ll let the information sit unexamined in the electronic vaults. But history, whether of our country or others, teaches that only a fool would place faith in such assurances. What one president refrains from doing the next will do; what is left undone in peacetime is done when a crisis comes.
The executive branch offers a similar assurance about its claimed right to kill American and foreign citizens at its sole discretion. But to accept such assurances as the guarantee of basic liberties would be to throw away bedrock principles of our constitutional order. If there is any single political idea that deserves to be called quintessentially American, it is the principle that government power must be balanced and checked by other government power, which is why federal power is balanced by state power and is itself divided into three branches.
The officials—most notably President Obama—have assured us that this system is intact, that the surveillance programs are “under very strict supervision by all three branches of government,” in Obama’s words. But the briefest examination of the record rebuts the claim. In this matter, the interactions of the three branches are a cause not for reassurance but for deeper alarm. It’s not that the legislative and judicial branches are not involved; it’s that each, in its own way, has abandoned its appointed constitutional role.
The story arguably begins with George W. Bush’s end run around the legal system after the terrorist attacks of 2001, when, in complete disregard of the law, he initiated warrantless domestic surveillance by the NSA. So clearly illegal and extreme was this program that high-ranking officials of his administration, including James Comey, deputy attorney general, and Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, threatened to resign. Bush backed off some of the measures, and the confrontation did not become known until much later.
What happened then? Did Congress check this executive usurpation? Did it castigate Bush, forbid the crimes, hold his officials accountable? It did not. It adopted the worst features of the Bush program as law, in the Protect America Act of 2007 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008; it also immunized from legal repercussions corporations that had secretly knuckled under to Bush’s wrongdoing. Far from correcting the abuses, Congress institutionalized them. At the same time, it supported the executive branch’s cloak of secrecy over those abuses and the classification of the legal opinions of the FISA court, whose rulings have given legal protection to the new surveillance programs. The Obama administration’s legal opinions on the practices are also classified.
As for the judicial branch, it happens that in 1979, the Supreme Court ruled that the sort of metadata collected from Verizon is not covered by the Fourth Amendment. (In fairness, there is no sign that the Court anticipated or meant to approve the sort of indiscriminate dragnet of metadata now under way. Thus, a lawsuit recently brought by the ACLU to stop this has a chance of succeeding.) The FISA court almost never refuses government requests. James Bamford, an expert on NSA surveillance, has characterized this institution as “a super hush-hush surveillance court that is virtually impotent.”
Our system of checks and balances has gone into reverse. The three branches, far from checking one another’s power or protecting the rights of Americans, entered one after another into collusion to violate them, even to the extent of immunizing the wrongdoers. Balanced, checked power has become fused power—exactly what the founders of this country feared above all else. The political parties have been no more useful as checks than the branches of government; their leaderships stand together protecting the abuses, though individual senators, including Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, have proposed sensible reforms.
Finally, even elections have proven ineffective: the voters chose a president who taught constitutional law running on a platform of stopping civil liberties abuses; but he has become the author of new abuses. Even now, his soothing demeanor and reputation for liberalism (“Change we can believe in”) confuses and thwarts those who otherwise would be reacting with anger.
What should Americans do when all official channels are unresponsive or dysfunctional? Are we, as people used to say, in a revolutionary situation? Shall we man the barricades? The situation is a little more peculiar than that. There is a revolution afoot, but it is not one in the streets; it is one that is being carried out by the government against the fundamental law of the land. That this insurrection against the constitutional order by officials sworn to uphold it includes legal opinions and legislation only makes it the more radical and dangerous. In other words, the government is in stealthy insurrection against the letter and the spirit of the law.
What’s needed is counterrevolution—an American restoration, returning to and reaffirming the principles on which the Republic was founded. Edward Snowden, for one, knew what to do. He saw that when government as a whole goes rogue, the only force with a chance of bringing it back into line is the public. He has helped make this possible by letting the public know the abuses that are being carried out in its name. Civil disobedients are of two kinds: those inspired by universal principles, and those inspired by national traditions. Each has its strengths. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is the first kind; Snowden, the second. Asked why he had done what he did, Snowden replied, “I am neither traitor nor hero. I am an American.” He based his actions on the finest traditions of this country, which its current leaders have abandoned but which, he hopes, the current generation of Americans still share. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll find out whether he was right. Jonathan Schell
Read more: America's Surveillance Net | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/article/174889/americas-surveillance-net#ixzz2YBGEu6yK
FEATURES » OCTOBER 17, 2013
Return to Nixonland:
How the NSA slipped its leash under Bush and Obama.
The documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published by the Guardian and other outlets confirm what privacy advocates have been saying for years: The government has secretly turned its most powerful weapons of foreign intelligence surveillance inward on millions of Americans.
How can an ordinary citizen cut through the brush—with the avalanche of complicated, classified materials released, the flurry of political finger-pointing, and the various denials and narrowly crafted dodges? Welcome to a guided tour of the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal. We’ll explore how we got here and what Nixon’s got to do with it.
The NSA has rebuffed demands by some in Congress for an estimate of the number of Americans whose information has been gathered, stored and searched, but the math is simple. Unless you are a child, a Luddite or a hermit who has never dialed a phone or used the Internet, records of your phone calls and online interactions have been captured by the NSA.
This includes your number and everyone you dial or text, plus how of- ten and how long you talk, as well as your location—although the NSA has claimed it doesn’t actually use the location data. In other words, the NSA has the fact of all your calls with your friends, family, lover(s), bank(s) and doctors’ offices for whatever ails you, along with calls to psychic hotlines or phone sex workers, if that’s your thing. The number of innocent Americans affected: at least 260 million.
That’s not all. For nearly a decade, the NSA was gathering records about Americans’ “Internet transactions,” including “metadata” such as the “to, from, cc and bcc lines of a standard email,” when your email was sent and opened, your IP address and location, and an array of data about you as you search the Internet, and interact with friends and strangers through social media. That program is no longer authorized by a secret court in
but whether it continues is unknown. Also unknown: whether the NSA’s gathering
of Americans’ credit card transactions is continuing or was secretly stopped. Washington, D.C.
Even that’s not all. Though the NSA has emphasized that it does not obtain the “contents” of your calls or emails through this program, the government has decided that the contents of all international phone calls and emails “to or from” Americans and others abroad are fair game for acquisition by the NSA without a warrant. At least 40 million American citizens travel internationally each year, and
is home to 40 million immigrants, who call or email their loved ones overseas
about their most intimate worries and desires. America
And there’s more. Newly declassified documents prove that countless purely “domestic” conversations between innocent Americans here in the
have also been
acquired and searched by the NSA. United States
Additionally, the affidavits in lawsuits filed in 2006 by the Electronic Frontier Foundation present evidence that shortly after 9/11 the NSA installed “NARUS” devices at AT&T’s main transmission station in San Francisco and at other telecommunications hubs across the country. Those devices are designed to make a duplicate of the communications stream (content and data) as it passes through the system at the speed of light.
Accordingly, such devices can give the NSA access to all American domestic and international phone calls and Internet activity that travel through AT&T, which provides the backbone of the communications system that other phone and Internet service providers rely on. So, as a technological matter, if law were no barrier, the evidence indicates that the NSA could technically acquire, store and analyze almost every word spoken or written on American phones and computers.
Snowden’s revelations include Power Point presentations referencing an array of tools—with code names like “PRISM”—the NSA has used to target the social media activities, Internet searches and emails of specific people. But there’s still a lot we don’t know. And that’s a problem in a democracy in which the government is supposed to govern by consent of the people.
The risk of ‘total tyranny’
Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) said after his investigation of the NSA in 1975, following leaks about President Richard M. Nixon’s use of the NSA to spy on his enemies, opponents of the war in
and others: Vietnam
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence com- munity has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. … We must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology oper- ate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
Those were the late Senator Church’s fears before almost every American had a “smart phone” and before most of us heard of the Internet—which in the 1970s was merely a computer network within the Pentagon and a few Silicon Valley companies—let alone traversed it daily.
Indeed, before Google was a word, let alone an empire; before almost all of our telephone conversations, emails and transactions of daily life were transmuted into a searchable digital world; and before a handful of murderers crashed into the
and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, we needed greater protections for our
privacy and liberty. World
Now that need is even more urgent.
Along with the seismic transformation in the way we communicate, the legal controls on the NSA’s powers have been systematically loosened, if not obliterated, by the White House, Congress and the courts at the urging of leaders of the military intelligence community.
The NSA says it has “internal controls” but once information about Americans is stored by the NSA—including in a gargantuan 1-million-square-foot data storehouse being finalized in
—it can be accessed by
numerous civilians at home and abroad. The agency claims there have been only 12 incidents of
NSA staffers using its “Signals Intelligence” (SIGINT) improperly. Most of them
spied on lovers, such as girlfriends suspected of infidelity. However, almost
all of these were discovered only through polygraph tests of workers renewing
security clearances. How many more times have lovers or enemies been “targeted”
by government employees, the military and intelligence contractors with access
to the trove of SIGINT data? Bluffdale,
More importantly, how can we ever trust that the NSA’s new powers won’t be misused by those in power? We already know that during the
Occupy Wall Street
protests, federal “counterterrorism” dollars were used by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement to
monitor Americans guilty only of speaking against Wall Street’s destruction of
our economy and its corruption of our democracy. And the government got away
So the question isn’t whether the information that the NSA has been allowed to gather on Americans will be misused. The question is, when? And by whom? Perhaps our next president? Religious- Reactionary Rick (Santorum)? Tea Party Ted (Cruz)? Take-Two Rick (Perry)? You may laugh, but remember that prior to the 1980 presidential election, Trees-Cause-More-Pollution-Than-Automobiles Ronald (Reagan) was a joke.
Who in the NSA’s quasi-military hierarchy has the power to question a demand to provide information in its databases about specific Americans when made under the authority of the commander in chief, no matter who the president is or which power-hungry advisors aid the White House in 2016 or 2020 or beyond?
It’s a state of affairs that would make Nixon smirk. It’s also why foreign citizens who’ve lived under authoritarian regimes, in
elsewhere, have expressed some of the greatest horror at the revelations over
the NSA’s ubiquitous monitoring. Germany
The past isn’t even past
To understand what happened to the rule of law since 9/11, it’s important to understand the path of the law before the
towers fell. World Trade
It begins with the Fourth Amendment, which makes no distinction between “intelligence gathering” and “law enforcement.” The Constitution speaks instead to the rights of Americans regardless of the agent that would violate them:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Those words were born of the vanquishing of an authoritarian tyrant whose officers used “general warrants” to search colonists at will to protect the crown and its interests.
Surprisingly, it was not until 1967 that the Supreme Court ruled that the government needed a warrant to listen to Americans’ phone calls. The following year, in 1968, Congress passed a crime bill to provide rules for obtaining warrants for wiretaps but—at the secret urging of the NSA—the legislature exempted surveillance in the name of national security.
In November of that year, Nixon was elected president.
In 1969, just six months after taking office, Nixon directed the NSA to search its files for information on specific Americans whom he and J. Edgar Hoover had placed on a watch list.
At that time, the existence of the NSA, formally established in 1952, was so secret that almost no one in Congress knew about it, and its funding was concealed in the Pentagon’s classified “black budget.” For decades, the NSA and its predecessors had acted as the government’s signal corps, listening for radio communications from enemy ships, tapping into the cables of diplomats of the
Soviet Union and decrypting ciphers sent
by spies. Unbeknownst to Congress, the NSA and its predecessor, the Armed
Forces Security Agency, had also been spying on Americans for decades, making
duplicates of all of the international telegrams sent to or from Americans by
“wire” or cable since 1945, as well as gathering radio transmissions from
across the globe through earth-bound satellite receivers and satellites. By the
early 1970s, the NSA’s analysts were reading over 150,000 telegrams to or from
Americans a month under that program, called “Operation SHAMROCK.”
With this vast and secret intelligence-gathering apparatus at his disposal, Nixon later expanded his watch list, directing the NSA to search for anything “subversive” or related to drug-dealing. In the meantime, in 1972, a case involving Nixon spying on Americans under the guise of national security, with no link to a foreign government, made its way to the Supreme Court. In that case, known as the Keith case, the Court unanimously declared:
The Fourth Amendment freedoms cannot properly be guaranteed if domestic security surveillances may be conducted solely within the discretion of the Executive Branch. … The Fourth Amendment does not contemplate the executive officers of Government as neutral and disinter- ested magistrates.
In August 1974, in the wake of the Watergate scandal involving the illegal surveillance activities of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP), Nixon resigned in disgrace.
Yet the extent of electronic surveillance under the administration wasn’t revealed until December 1974, when the New York Times published a front-page story by Seymour Hersh under the headline “Huge C.I.A. Op- eration Reported in U.S. Against Anti-War Forces.” The article exposed part of Nixon’s spying under a program code-named “Operation MINARET,” which made use of the cables the NSA searched via SHAMROCK and by capturing radio transmissions.
Congress was shocked. During the investigation led by Sen. Church in 1975, Congress discovered that the NSA had access to communications involving millions of Americans and that there were about 1,200 Americans on watch lists, mostly people opposing the Vietnam War.
But the names of some Americans on the watch list were kept sealed until they were released this September. The newly declassified documents reveal that the NSA’s spying targeted prominent Americans even before Nixon took office. According to the National Security Archive, the NSA “eaves- dropped on civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young, as well as boxing champion Muhammad Ali, New York Times journalist Tom Wicker, and Washington Postcolumnist [and humorist] Art Buchwald”— and Sen. Church himself.
In response to Sen. Church’s investigation, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, over the objections of a few hard-liners in the Ford administration, including Laurence Silberman. It was intended to ensure that the NSA was focusing on foreigners and not on Americans, and “to curb the practice by which the Executive Branch may conduct warrantless electronic surveillance on its own unilateral determination that national security justifies it.”
FISA barred the NSA from inten- tionally acquiring radio signals of the domestic communications of Ameri- cans without a warrant. It also barred the NSA from acquiring wire communications here that were to or from Americans, whether intentional or not. And it barred the NSA from intentionally targeting radio communications to or from a known
person in the country. It also
created rules for ob- taining warrants to target Americans, requiring probable
cause that a person was knowingly aiding an agent of a for- eign power or
someone planning “ter- rorism” or sabotage, as well as short-term rules for
emergency or war. U.S.
Congress also created a special court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), to hear these warrant requests. At the same time, Congress established permanent Senate and House Intelligence Committees to conduct oversight of the NSA, CIA and more.
Project MINARET and Operation SHAMROCK were said to be terminated when FISA passed, and the public believed such activities were barred. By almost all accounts, the NSA was directing its powerful surveillance tools outside of the
discarding Americans’ communications that were not relevant to its operations,
and tuning its radio channels to foreign navies and diplomats. Meanwhile, a
Soviet reformer named Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, the Cold War thawed, the
Berlin Wall fell, and the need for enormous military and intelligence budgets
was being questioned. United States
Then came 9/11. MORE http://inthesetimes.com/article/15737/return_to_nixonland_nsa_spying/
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
Lisa Graves is the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy and formerly served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice and as the Senior Legislative Strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union on national security issues. She has been called to testify before Congress as an expert witness on national security and civil liberties issues.
Core: A List Of Millions Of Americans That Will Be Subject To Detention
During Martial Law By Michael Snyder
June 15, 2013 "Information Clearing House - Are you on the list? Are you one of the millions of Americans that have been designated a threat to national security by the
The following is how Wikipedia describes Main Core…
Main Core is the code name of a database maintained since the 1980s by the federal government of the
It was Christopher Ketchum of Radar Magazine that first reported on the existence of Main Core. At the time, the shocking information that he revealed did not get that much attention. That is quite a shame, because it should have sent shockwaves across the nation…
According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.
Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a “national emergency.” Executive orders issued over the last three decades define it as a “natural disaster, military attack, [or] technological or other emergency,” while Department of Defense documents include eventualities like “riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, [and] disorder prejudicial to public law and order.” According to one news report, even “national opposition to
So if that list contained 8 million names all the way back in 2008, how big might it be today?
That is a very frightening thing to think about.
Later on in 2008, Tim Shorrock of Salon.com also reported on Main Core…
Dating back to the 1980s and known to government insiders as “Main Core,” the database reportedly collects and stores — without warrants or court orders — the names and detailed data of Americans considered to be threats to national security. According to several former U.S. government officials with extensive knowledge of intelligence operations, Main Core in its current incarnation apparently contains a vast amount of personal data on Americans, including NSA intercepts of bank and credit card transactions and the results of surveillance efforts by the FBI, the CIA and other agencies. One former intelligence official described Main Core as “an emergency internal security database system” designed for use by the military in the event of a national catastrophe, a suspension of the Constitution or the imposition of martial law.
So why didn’t this information get more attention at the time?
Well, if Obama had lost the 2008 election it might have. But Obama won in 2008 and the liberal media assumed that he would end many of the abuses that were happening under Bush. Of course that has not happened at all. In fact, Obama has steadily moved the police state agenda ahead aggressively. Edward Snowden has just made that abundantly clear to the entire world.
After 2008, it is unclear exactly what happened to Main Core. Did it expand, change names, merge with other programs or get superseded by a new program? It appears extremely unlikely that it simply faded away. In light of what we have just learned about NSA snooping, someone should ask our politicians some very hard questions about Main Core. According toChristopher Ketchum, the exact kind of NSA snooping that Edward Snowden has just described was being used to feed data into the Main Core database…
A host of publicly disclosed programs, sources say, now supply data to Main Core. Most notable are the NSA domestic surveillance programs, initiated in the wake of 9/11, typically referred to in press reports as “warrantless wiretapping.” In March, a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal shed further light onto the extraordinarily invasive scope of the NSA efforts: According to the Journal, the government can now electronically monitor “huge volumes of records of domestic e-mails and Internet searches, as well as bank transfers, credit card transactions, travel, and telephone records.” Authorities employ “sophisticated software programs” to sift through the data, searching for “suspicious patterns.” In effect, the program is a mass catalog of the private lives of Americans. And it’s notable that the article hints at the possibility of programs like Main Core. “The [NSA] effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called black programs whose existence is undisclosed,” the Journal reported, quoting unnamed officials. “Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach.”
The following information seems to be fair game for collection without a warrant: the e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, and the subject lines of those messages; the phone numbers you dial, the numbers that dial in to your line, and the durations of the calls; the Internet sites you visit and the keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards. All of this information is archived on government supercomputers and, according to sources, also fed into the Main Core database.
This stuff is absolutely chilling.
And there have been hints that such a list still exists today.
For example, the testimony of an anonymous government insider that was recently posted on shtfplan.com alluded to such a list…
“We know all this already,” I stated. He looked at me, giving me a look like I’ve never seen, and actually pushed his finger into my chest. “You don’t know jack,” he said, “this is bigger than you can imagine, bigger than anyone can imagine. This administration is collecting names of sources, whistle blowers and their families, names of media sources and everybody they talk to and have talked to, and they already have a huge list. If you’re not working for MSNBC or CNN, you’re probably on that list. If you are a website owner with a brisk readership and a conservative bent, you’re on that list. It’s a political dissident list, not an enemy threat list,” he stated.
What in the world is happening to
What in the world are we turning into?
As I mentioned in a previous article, the NSA gathers 2.1 million gigabytes of data on all of us every single hour. The NSA is currently constructing a 2 billion dollar data center out in
If you are disturbed by all of this, now is the time to stand up and say something. If this crisis blows over and people forget about all of this stuff again, the Big Brother surveillance grid that is being constructed all around us will just continue to grow and continue to become even more oppressive.
This article was originally published at American Dream
Main Core - Big Brother
Modern History Sourcebook,
Benito Mussolini: What is Fascism, 1932
Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) over the course of his lifetime went from Socialism - he was editor of Avanti, a socialist newspaper - to the leadership of a new political movement called "fascism" [after "fasces", the symbol of bound sticks used a totem of power in ancient
Mussolini came to power after the "March on
In 1932 Mussolini wrote (with the help of Giovanni Gentile) and entry for the Italian Encyclopedia on the definition of fascism.
Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death....
...The Fascist accepts life and loves it, knowing nothing of and despising suicide: he rather conceives of life as duty and struggle and conquest, but above all for others -- those who are at hand and those who are far distant, contemporaries, and those who will come after...
...Fascism [is] the complete opposite of…Marxian Socialism, the materialist conception of history of human civilization can be explained simply through the conflict of interests among the various social groups and by the change and development in the means and instruments of production.... Fascism, now and always, believes in holiness and in heroism; that is to say, in actions influenced by no economic motive, direct or indirect. And if the economic conception of history be denied, according to which theory men are no more than puppets, carried to and fro by the waves of chance, while the real directing forces are quite out of their control, it follows that the existence of an unchangeable and unchanging class-war is also denied - the natural progeny of the economic conception of history. And above all Fascism denies that class-war can be the preponderant force in the transformation of society....
After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial, and fruitful inequality of mankind, which can never be permanently leveled through the mere operation of a mechanical process such as universal suffrage....
...Fascism denies, in democracy, the absur[d] conventional untruth of political equality dressed out in the garb of collective irresponsibility, and the myth of "happiness" and indefinite progress....
...iven that the nineteenth century was the century of Socialism, of Liberalism, and of Democracy, it does not necessarily follow that the twentieth century must also be a century of Socialism, Liberalism and Democracy: political doctrines pass, but humanity remains, and it may rather be expected that this will be a century of authority...a century of Fascism. For if the nineteenth century was a century of individualism it may be expected that this will be the century of collectivism and hence the century of the State....
The foundation of Fascism is the conception of the State, its character, its duty, and its aim. Fascism conceives of the State as an absolute, in comparison with which all individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived of in their relation to the State. The conception of the Liberal State is not that of a directing force, guiding the play and development, both material and spiritual, of a collective body, but merely a force limited to the function of recording results: on the other hand, the Fascist State is itself conscious and has itself a will and a personality -- thus it may be called the "ethic" State....
...For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence. Peoples which are rising, or rising again after a period of decadence, are always imperialist; and renunciation is a sign of decay and of death. Fascism is the doctrine best adapted to represent the tendencies and the aspirations of a people, like the people of
This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.
(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997
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