Thursday, July 23, 2015


Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice.    (#1 March 22, 2013; #2 June 9, 2013).

What’s at stake:  “’An entire era of crisis in which urgent decisions have been required again and again,’ in the words of Senator J. William Fulbright, ‘has given rise to the Trumanites’ power.  Speedy decisions are required that the Madisonian institutions are ill-equipped to make; the Trumanites have the means at their disposal to act quickly.  The perception of threat, crisis, and emergency has been the seminal phenomenon that has created and nurtures America’s double government.”  Michael Glennon, National Security and Double Government (2015, 21-22).

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
·         Franklin first wrote this  for the Pennsylvania Assembly in its Reply to the Governor (11 Nov. 1755) [6]
·         This statement was used as a motto on the title page of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (1759); the book,  published by Franklin; was written by Richard Jackson, but Franklin did claim responsibility for some small excerpts that were used in it.
·         An earlier variant by Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanack (1738): "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."  From Wikiquote
From Voltaire:  Beware of the words internal security or national security, for they are the eternal cry of the oppressor. 

My blog:   War Department/Peace Department
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Related newsletters and topics:  Anti-War, CIA, Fear, Cold War, Corporate-Pentagon-White House-Congress-Corporate Media Complex, Fear, Homeland Security, Human Needs, Imperialism, Militarism, Myths, Pentagon/War Dept., Political Prisoners, Secrecy, SURVEILLANCE, War on Terror, War, Air War, Causes, Prevention, Consequences, Control of Media, Costs, Crimes, Recruiting, Profiteering, Secrecy, Security, Surveillance, Torture, Victims, Whistleblowers and Leakers, Snowden, Manning,  and related Newsletters

The US NSS and its permanent war (Cold War, Drug War, War on Terror, Invasion and Occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, 1000 Military Bases Around World in Over 100 countries, Bombing Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen,  Empire, Space War, Conquest of Pacirfic Ocean, War on China, Cyberwar) reach into countless US institutions, pervade the lives of the populace under the so-called “Patriot Act,” and intrude into national sovereignty and individual lives around the world.   Naturally the NSS is the subject of many of the newsletters in OMNI’s web site, such as:  Afghanistan, Air War, CIA, Civilian Victims, Fear, Homeland Security, Imperialism, Militarism, Nuclear Weapons, Patriot Act, Pentagon, Secrecy, Surveillance, Torture,  War Crimes (and all of the ways to stop or reduce these harms).   Thus this newsletter on US NSS should be thought of as a door that opens into a thousand rooms of US DOMESTIC AND GLOBAL MCCARTHYISM.  

My Blog focuses on US empire, militarism, US National Security State, Pentagon War Department, and peacemaking and peacemakers:  War Department/Peace Department.   I also have been  filming “OMNI Book Sampler” on peacemaking and peacemakers twice a month on Community TV’s Short Takes, shown also on my Blog.  
And my Blog has my US DAYS OF INFAMY Timeline and will have soon my DAYS OF BENEFICENCE Timeline.  Send me your choices:


Friedman, US Cold War NSS, the “Sovereign Exception”
TomDispatch, Looking Back and Forward at the National (In)Security State
Kinzer, Dulles Brothers
Kuzmarov, “Humanitarian” Intervention
Engelhardt, NSS the Fourth Branch of Government 2014
Scott, The Deep State of the Military-Corporate-Oil--Congressional-Presidential-
     Surveillance-Mainstream Media Complex
Dick:  Local Fear or Conformity, Securitas in Little Rock, AR, Security Trumps Open

OPPOSITION   divide into wars and surveillance, maybe all including the above
Congresswoman Barbara Lee:  Let’s At Least Discuss the Wars
Romero, ACLU and DC Rally vs. NSA
Alex Baldwin, NSS and the Cowed Public
Chomsky, Manufactured Threats and Fear
Tomgram, Secrecy and Whistleblowers
Snowden  (2)
Bamford on NSA and Cyberattack
Roundup List for Martial Law
Manning and Other Leakers, Security vs. Informed Citizens
Hedges, Military Mind
Granick and Sprigman, NSA Criminally, Massively Captures Mail and Calls
Informers and Agent Provocateurs
Engelhardt, Tomgram, US Is the Horror Movie

Citizenship in Cold War America:
The National Security State and the Possibilities of Dissent.  ANDREA FRIEDMAN.  U of Mass. P, 2014. 
Examines the boundaries and meanings of American citizenship during the early Cold War
·         TOC
In the wake of 9/11, many Americans have deplored the dangers to liberty posed by a growing surveillance state. In this book, Andrea Friedman moves beyond the standard security/liberty dichotomy, weaving together often forgotten episodes of early Cold War history to reveal how the obsession with national security enabled dissent and fostered new imaginings of democracy.

The stories told here capture a wide-ranging debate about the workings of the national security state and the meaning of American citizenship. Some of the participants in this debate—women like war bride Ellen Knauff and Pentagon employee Annie Lee Moss—were able to make their own experiences compelling examples of the threats posed by the national security regime. Others, such as Ruth Reynolds and Lolita Lebrón, who advocated an end to American empire in Puerto Rico, or the psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, who sought to change the very definition of national security, were less successful. Together, however, they exposed the gap between democratic ideals and government policies.

Friedman traverses immigration law and loyalty boards, popular culture and theoretical treatises, U.S. court-rooms and Puerto Rican jails, to demonstrate how Cold War repression made visible in new ways the unevenness and limitations of American citizenship. Highlighting the ways that race and gender shaped critiques and defenses of the national security regime, she offers new insight into the contradictions of Cold War political culture.

Rev. in Peace and Change
Volume 40, Issue 3, pages 425–427, July 2015
Friedman’s book includes a history of the repression in the US and explains how the rulers control the people by the construction of endless crises.  --Dick

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Tomgram: Engelhardt, Feeling Insecure in 2015
Posted by Tom Engelhardt at 8:18am, January 6, 2015.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch.
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: All I can say is thank you!  The generosity of this site’s readers was spectacular last year. In particular, your response to my annual mid-December appeal for bucks bowled me over. It’s wonderful to begin 2015 knowing that the money is in the bank to continue our operations. I thank every one of you who visited our donation page. We’ll do our best this year to live up to your expectations. Tom]
A Self-Perpetuating Machine for American Insecurity 
Welcome to the National Security State of 2015 
By Tom Engelhardt
As 2015 begins, let’s take a trip down memory lane.  Imagine that it’s January 1963.  For the last three years, the United States has unsuccessfully faced off against a small island in the Caribbean, where a revolutionary named Fidel Castro seized power from a corrupt but U.S.-friendly regime run by Fulgensio Batista.  In the global power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union in which much of the planet has chosen sides, Cuba, only 90 miles from the American mainland, finds itself in the eye of the storm.  Having lost Washington’s backing, it has, however, gained the support of distant Moscow, the other nuclear-armed superpower on the planet.
In October 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower instituted an embargo on U.S. trade with the island that would, two years later, be strengthened and made permanent by John F. Kennedy.  On entering the Oval Office, Kennedy also inherited a cockamamie CIA scheme to use Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro.  That led, in April 1961, to the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in which, despite major Agency support, the exiles were crushed (after which the CIA would hatch various mad plots to assassinate the new Cuban leader).  What followed in October 1962 was “the most dangerous moment in human history” -- the Cuban missile crisis -- a brief period when many Americans, my 18-year-old self included, genuinely thought we might soon be nuclear toast. 
Now, imagine yourself in January 1963, alive and chastened by a world in which you could be obliterated at any moment.  Imagine as well that someone from our time suddenly invited you into the American future some 52 Januaries hence, when you would, miracle of miracles, still be alive and the planet still more or less in one piece.  Imagine, as a start, being told that the embargo against, and Washington’s hostility toward, Cuba never ended.  That 52 futile years later, with Cuba now run by Fidel’s “younger” brother, 83-year-old Raul, the 11thAmerican president to deal with the “crisis” has finally decided to restore diplomatic relations, ease trade restrictions, and encourage American visitors to the island.
Imagine being told as well that in Congress, more than half a century later, a possible majority of representatives remained nostalgic for a policy that spent 52 years not working.  Imagine that members of the upcoming 2015 Senate were already swearing they wouldn’t hand over a plug nickel to the president or the State Department to establish a diplomatic mission in Havana or confirm an ambassador or ease the embargo or take any other steps to change the situation, and were denouncing the president -- who, by the way, is a black man named Barack Obama -- as a weakling and an “appeaser-in-chief” for making such a move.
Perhaps that American visitor from 1963 would already feel as if his or her mind were being scrambled like a morning egg and yet we’re only beginning.  After all, our visitor would have to be told that the Soviet Union, that hostile, nuclear-armed communist superpower and partner of Washington in the potential obliteration of the planet, no longer exists; that it unexpectedly imploded in 1991, leaving its Eastern European empire largely free to integrate into the rest of Europe.
One caveat would, however, need to be added to that blockbuster piece of historical news.  Lest our visitor imagine that everything has changed beyond all recognition, it would be important to point out that in 2015 the U.S. still confronts an implacably hostile, nuclear-armed communist state.  Not the USSR, of course, nor even that other communist behemoth, China.  (Its Communist Party took the “capitalist road” in the late 1970s and never looked back as that country rose to become the globe’s largest economy!)
Here’s a hint: it fought the U.S. to a draw in a bitter war more than six decades ago and has just been accused of launching a devastating strike against the United States.  Admittedly, it wasn’t aimed at Washington but at Hollywood.  That country -- or some group claiming to beworking in its interests -- broke into a major movie studio, Sony (oh yes, a Japanese company is now a significant force in Hollywood!), and released gossip about its inner workings as well as the nasty things actors, producers, and corporate executives had to say about one another.  It might (or might not), that is, have launched the planet’s first cyber-gossip bomb.
And yes, you would have to tell our visitor from 1963 that this hostile communist power, North Korea, is also an oppressive, beleaguered, lights-out state and in no way a serious enemy, not in a world in which the U.S. remains the “last superpower.”
You would, of course, have to add that, 52 years later, Vietnam, another implacable communist enemy with whom President Kennedy was escalating a low-level conflict in 1963, is now a de facto U.S. ally -- and no, not because it lost its war with us.  That war, once considered the longest in U.S. history, would at its height see more than 500,000 American combat troops dispatched to South Vietnam and, in 1973, end in an unexpectedly bitter defeat for Washington from which America never quite seemed to recover. 
2015 and Baying for More
Still, with communism a has-been force and capitalism triumphant everywhere, enemies have been just a tad scarce in the twenty-first century.  Other than the North Koreans, there is the fundamentalist regime of Iran, which ran its Batista, the Shah, out in 1979, and with which, in the 35 years since, the U.S. has never come to terms -- though Barack Obama still might -- without ever quite going to war either.  And of course there would be another phenomenon of our moment completely unknown to an American of 1963: Islamic extremism, aka jihadism, along with the rise of terrorist organizations and, in 2014, the establishment of the first mini-terror state in the heart of the Middle East.  And oh yes, there was that tiny crew that went by the name of al-Qaeda, 19 of whose box-cutter-wielding militants hijacked four planes on September 11, 2001, and destroyed two soaring towers (not yet built in 1963) in downtown New York City and part of the Pentagon.  In the process, they killed themselves and thousands of civilians, put apocalyptic-looking scenes of destruction on American television screens, and successfully created a sense of a looming, communist-style planetary enemy, when just about no one was there. 
Their acts gave a new administration of right-wing fundamentalists in Washington the opportunity to fulfill its wildest dreams of planetary domination by launching, only days later, what was grandiloquently called the Global War on Terror (or the Long War, or World War IV), a superpower crusade against, initially, almost no one.  Its opening salvo would let loose an “all-volunteer” military (no more draft Army as in 1963) universally believed to be uniquely powerful.  It would, they were sure, wipe out al-Qaeda, settle scores with various enemies in the Greater Middle East, including Iraq, Iran, and Syria, and leave the U.S. triumphant in a way no great power had been in history.  In response to a few thousand scattered al-Qaeda members, a Pax Americana would be created on a global scale that would last generations, if not forever and a day. . . .
As for the rest of us, insecurity will surely be the story of our lives for the rest of the twenty-first century (as it was, of course, in 1963).  After all, on August 6, 1945, when we consciously entered the age of the apocalyptic possibility at Hiroshima, we had no way of knowing that we had already done so perhaps 200 years earlier as the industrial revolution, based on the burning of fossil fuels, took off.  Nor almost 20 years later, did that American of 1963 know this.  By 1979, however, the science adviser for the president of the United States was well aware of global warming.  When Jimmy Carter gave his infamous “malaise” speech promoting a massive commitment to alternative energy research (and got laughed out of the White House), he already knew that climate change -- not yet called that -- was a reality that needed to be dealt with. 
Now, the rest of us know, or at least should know, and so -- with what is likely to be thehottest year on record just ended -- would be obliged to offer our visitor from 1963 a graphic account of the coming dangers of a globally warming world.  There has always been a certain sense of insecurity to any human life, but until 1945 not to all human life.  And yet we now know with something approaching certainty that, even if another nuclear weapon never goes off (and across the planet nuclear powers are upgrading their arsenals), chaos, acidifying oceans, melting ice formations, rising seas, flooding coastal areas, mass migrations of desperate people, food production problems, devastating droughts, and monster storms are all in a future that will be the definition of human-caused insecurity -- not that the national security state gives much of a damn.
Admittedly, since at least 2001, the Pentagon and the U.S. Intelligence Community have been engaged in blue-skies thinking about how to give good war in a globally warming world.  The national security state as a whole, however, has been set up at a cost of trillions of dollars (and allowed to spend trillions more) to deal with only one kind of insecurity -- terrorism and the ever-larger line up of enemies that go with it.  Such groups do, of course, represent a genuine danger, but not of an existential kind.  Thought about another way, thetrue terrorists on our planet may be the people running the Big Energy corporations and about them the national security state could care less.  They are more than free to ply their trade, pull any level of fossil fuel reserves from the ground, and generally pursue mega-profits while preparing the way for global destruction, aided and abetted by Washington.
Try now to imagine yourself in the shoes of that visitor from 1963 absorbing such a future, bizarre almost beyond imagining: all those trillions of dollars going into a system that essentially promotes the one danger it was set up to eradicate or at least bring under control.  In the meantime, the part of the state dedicated to national security conveniently looking the other way when it comes to the leading candidate for giving insecurity a new meaning in a future that is almost upon us.  Official Washington has, that is, invented a system so dumb, so extreme, so fundamentalist, and so deeply entrenched in our world that changing it will surely prove a stunningly difficult task.
Welcome to the new world of American insecurity and to the nightmarish inheritance we are preparing for our children and grandchildren.
Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He runs the Nation Institute's His new book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World(Haymarket Books).
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book,Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
Copyright 2015 Tom Engelhardt


John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

Stephen Kinzer

Times Books

Email Print
Stephen Kinzer The Brothers


A joint biography of John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles, who led the United States into an unseen war that decisively shaped today’s world
During the 1950s, when the Cold War was at its peak, two immensely powerful brothers led the United States into a series of foreign adventures whose effects are still shaking the world.
John Foster Dulles was secretary of state while his brother, Allen Dulles, was director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this book, Stephen Kinzer places their extraordinary lives against the background of American culture and history. He uses the framework of biography to ask: Why does the United States behave as it does in the world?
The Brothers explores hidden forces that shape the national psyche, from religious piety to Western movies—many of which are about a noble gunman who cleans up a lawless town by killing bad guys. This is how the Dulles brothers saw themselves, and how many Americans still see their country’s role in the world.
Propelled by a quintessentially American set of fears and delusions, the Dulles brothers launched violent campaigns against foreign leaders they saw as threats to the United States. These campaigns helped push countries from Guatemala to the Congo into long spirals of violence, led the United States into the Vietnam War, and laid the foundation for decades of hostility between the United States and countries from Cuba to Iran.
The story of the Dulles brothers is the story of America. It illuminates and helps explain ... more


Read an Excerpt

When John Foster Dulles died on May 24, 1959, a bereft nation mourned more intensely than it had since the death of Franklin Roosevelt fourteen years before. Thousands lined up outside the National Cathedral in Washington to pass by his bier. Dignitaries from around the world, led by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany and President Chiang Kai-shek of Taiwan, came to the funeral. It was broadcast live on the ABC and CBS television networks. Many who watched agreed that the world had lost, as President Eisenhower said in his eulogy, “one of the truly great men of our


Watch and Listen

Stephen Kinzer on C-SPAN's Q&A

Stephen Kinzer discusses 'The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War' on C-SPAN's Q&A.

[Widely reviewed.  Review in Z Magazine by Jeremy Kuzmarov, prof. at Tulsa Univ.  He was OMNI’s speaker at “Crime Scene” demonstration, when we wrapped crime tape around the federal building against torture, drones, and other manifestations of US lawlessness.  –Dick]

The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 24, No. 1, June 16, 2014.

The Responsibility of Intellectuals Redux: Humanitarian Intervention and the Liberal Embrace of War in the Age of Clinton, Bush and Obama

Jeremy Kuzmarov
In a New York Times op-ed following the public’s rejection of president Barack Obama’s call for air strikes on Syria, Michael Ignatieff, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and former leader of the Canadian liberal party, sought to reaffirm the doctrine of humanitarian intervention, stating that while the public had become weary over the failure of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, Western democracies had a responsibility to protect civilians when they are threatened with mass killing. In his view, the use or threat of force may be “illegal but legitimate,” and the US sometimes needs to “go at it alone to stop atrocity crimes…..Rebuilding popular democratic support for the idea of our duty to protect civilians when no one else can or will,” thus represents “a critical challenge in the years ahead.”1

Samantha Power at the United Nations
With colleagues such as Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times and Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN and author of the book, “A Problem From Hell,” which criticizes the US for failing to intervene historically to halt genocide, Ignatieff has for years been an influential liberal intellectual championing military intervention on humanitarian grounds. He and his associates in the “cruise missile left,” as Edward S. Herman labeled them, have often been more hawkish than neo-conservatives, championing wars in Libya, Syria and initially Iraq as well as escalation in Afghanistan-Pakistan. In their race to “protect,” they seem oblivious to the mass killing that inevitably accompanies each of these interventions. Their analysis is deeply flawed furthermore in that it grossly oversimplifies the nature of international conflicts, always painting one side (the US side) as good and the other evil. They ignore the legacy of colonialism and the structural and economic variables underlying Western military intervention throughout history, including desire to access military bases and raw materials and to undercut challenges to Western hegemony. They also ignore US and Western complicity in major human rights violations through arms sales, and military and police training programs.
This essay seeks to critically scrutinize the doctrine of humanitarian intervention, discussing how Ignatieff and colleagues seeking a useable past distorted history and served a useful function for what C. Wright Mills termed the “power elite” by allowing them to appropriate a human rights rhetoric that in the 1960s was adopted by liberal antiwar activists to condemn America aggression in Vietnam.2 Replicating the role played by their predecessors in World War I, liberal interventionists helped to save the US military-industrial complex from oblivion by building public consensus for dubious military interventions that Ignatieff now laments threaten to reinvigorate the pacifist and isolationist sentiments of the 1930s.

6:10 PM (1 hour ago)
to James A Regular Antidote to the Mainstream Media

The Fourth Branch 
The Rise to Power of the National Security State
By Tom Engelhardt
As every schoolchild knows, there are three check-and-balance branches of the U.S. government: the executive, Congress, and the judiciary.  That’s bedrock Americanism and the most basic high school civics material.  Only one problem: it’s just not so.
During the Cold War years and far more strikingly in the twenty-first century, the U.S. government has evolved.  It sprouted a fourth branch: the national security state, whose main characteristic may be an unquenchable urge to expand its power and reach.  Admittedly, it still lacks certain formal prerogatives of governmental power.  Nonetheless, at a time when Congress and the presidency are in a check-and-balance ballet of inactivity that would have been unimaginable to Americans of earlier eras, the Fourth Branch is an ever more unchecked and unbalanced power center in Washington.  Curtained off from accountability by a penumbra ofsecrecy, its leaders increasingly are making nitty-gritty policy decisions and largely doing what they want, a situation illuminated by a recent controversy over the possible release of a Senate report on CIA rendition and torture practices.
All of this is or should be obvious, but remains surprisingly unacknowledged in our American world. The rise of the Fourth Branch began at a moment of mobilization for a global conflict, World War II.  It gained heft and staying power in the Cold War of the second half of the twentieth century, when that other superpower, the Soviet Union, provided the excuse for expansion of every sort. 
Its officials bided their time in the years after the fall of the Soviet Union, when “terrorism” had yet to claim the landscape and enemies were in short supply. In the post-9/11 era, in a phony “wartime” atmosphere, fed bytrillions of taxpayer dollars, and under the banner of American “safety,” it has grown to unparalleled size and power. So much so that it sparked a building boom in and around the national capital (as well as elsewhere in the country).  In their 2010 Washington Post series “Top Secret America,” Dana Priest and William Arkin offered this thumbnail summary of the extent of that boom for the U.S. Intelligence Community: “In Washington and the surrounding area,” they wrote, “33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings -- about 17 million square feet of space.” And in 2014, the expansion is ongoing.
In this century, a full-scale second “Defense Department,” the Department of Homeland Security, was created. Around it has grown up a mini-versionof the military-industrial complex, with the usual set of consultants, K Street lobbyists, political contributions, and power relations: just the sort of edifice that President Eisenhower warned Americans about in his famedfarewell address in 1961. In the meantime, the original military-industrial complex has only gained strength and influence.
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     Recently, I visited our County Court House to vote and as always I wondered why we had to pass through a security checkpoint administered by armed guards.  Where’s the threat?  
     And then I read in the newspaper about Secretary of State Mark Martin’s wish to tighten security at the Capitol (Michael Wickline, “Tighter Security an Itch at State Capitol,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Nov. 22, 2014).   Why?  Had a threat, or even a hint of a threat, been discovered?   Well, apparently not, and Martin’s officials do not wish to disclose more, but wish “to meet privately with lawmakers,” since “’it involves Capitol security’” and “’sweeping changes’”—that is, will be inconvenient and expensive.  But the public did learn that some members of the Legislative Council’s Executive Subcommittee had questioned whether security was adequate.  Why?  Because “security was tightened at the entrance to the Big Mac Building.”   Why?  No reason given, only that the Director of the Bureau of Legislative Research, Marty Garrity had hired Securitas of Little Rock to “secure the entrance” to the building.   Someone had sounded an alarm, and the security-obsessed had started lining up to increase security more.  (“Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie, O, what a panic's in thy breastie!” thank you Robert Burns, or does some other motive predominate?)
     Capitol police Chief Darrell Hedden “outlined steps that could be taken to make the building more secure.”  So he is safe.  But the public, the People whose Capitol it is?   What does he recommend against the amorphous threat?  Increased police work, police officers to augment the present 22 (with dispatchers)?   No, rather, decreased public access to our Capitol.  It could be “closed on weekends and holidays and a traffic tunnel beneath the steps and next to the east entrance could be closed to the public.”   And “all events by outside parties should be discontinued at Capitol Hill [Apartments},” where lawmakers live during sessions and have receptions.  However, now that he has established himself as thoroughly on the side of security, wily Shut the Capitol Down  Heddon reminds the security-challenged that such changes will be expensive and once in place difficult to change—“’a major and lasting financial commitment.’”
      In response, Secretary of State Martin’s spokesman Doug Matayo repeated their desire to first speak privately with lawmakers, and with the Governor-elect,  Asa Hutchinson, a former federal Homeland Security undersecretary, before undertaking even minor changes, such as a rope line at the elevator to ensure all visitors had been screened for weapons (requested by President Pro-Tempore Jonathan Dismang).   He repeated because “very sweeping changes” were being considered which would be inconvenient and expensive (and who will be the contractors?), and they wanted everyone to be agreeable to the changes.  Particularly, they wanted to “be good stewards of the tax dollars.”  Finally, Mr. Wickline quotes Matayo as cognizant of the need both for public access to the Capitol and for “safety and security” for the people who work there.  That’s his “balancing act.”  
     Mr. Matayo seems a nimble Wile E. Coyote in all this, until one thinks--about the power of fear and conformity despite the absence of threat (somebody else is increasing security so we’d better do it), the secrecy (prefer “to meet privately with lawmakers”), the cant (planning to spend the people’s treasury without cause while claiming to be good stewards, and to restrict our access—our freedom, our democracy—while trying to undermine our “rare” Capitol’s access), the possibility of greed (Mr. Wickline asks no questions about the ownership and clients of Securitas), and the power (controlling the People’s money  and the People’s physical movement).  
     And until one remembers.   This drama mimics anti-democratic national politics.     At the conclusion of Pay Any Price, 273 circumstantial pages on the catastrophe against our democracy by the “War on Terror” (torture legalized, 4th Amendment nullified) author James Risen writes:  “The intense [bipartisan] campaign to ramp up cybersecurity and pour money and resources into mysterious new programs, while limiting online privacy, sounds eerily similar to the debate after 9/11 over security versus civil liberty, in which security always won.”
     But perhaps it will not win in this case, if the People speak up for access to its elected officials and for spending for citizens’ needs instead of officials’ fear, conformity, and ambition (Securitas!).  


Congresswoman Barbara Lee  Unsubscribe
June 6, 2015
3:37 PM (18 hours ago)
to me

Debating the costs of endless war

We are already more than 10 months into another Middle East war and the Republican leadership has refused to allow Congress to even debate its costs and consequences.

This week, I was able to pass an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill to push Congress closer to finally debating and voting on this war.

Click here to read more about my ongoing fight to stop endless war or watch Rachel Maddow’s coverage of my amendment here

This was so beautiful to see...

Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Action via 

Dear James,

What an incredible sight! 

Last weekend, ACLU members from across the U.S. were out in full force, joining thousands of demonstrators who descended on Washington, D.C. to deliver a crystal-clear message to the NSA and Congress
: “Stop Watching Us!” 

This was the largest
mobilization against NSA surveillance we’ve ever seen and the energy was amazing. Working with the Stop Watching Us coalition, we delivered a petition with more than 570,000 signatures to Congress and met with over 50 members’ offices. 

Even more ACLU supporters participated in the “Virtual Rally” through our Facebook page, and we projected those photos on buildings all around the nation’s capitol in a massive display of solidarity. (We even met one ACLU supporter who drove in from Detroit and saw his photo featured on a building on U Street— Hi Scott!) 

Now we have a key piece of legislation to support to roll back the surveillance state—email your reps in Congress now and tell them to support the USA FREEDOM Act.  
Please note: If you forward or distribute, the links will open a page with your information filled in. 

Our efforts have captured prime coverage by local, national and international media, and earned praise from leaders in Congress as well as a message of support from Edward Snowden himself, the whistleblower responsible for shedding light on the NSA’s secret surveillance programs. 

So what’s next? The good news is that all our work—in Congress, in the courts, and now in the streets—is starting to pay off. 

On Tuesday, we finally got the opportunity we’ve been working for: Representative Sensenbrenner (R-WI)—the architect of the Patriot Act—and Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced a bi-partisan bill, the USA FREEDOM Act, in the House and Senate that will go a long way to reining in the NSA. 

The bill has a lot of momentum behind it, but the only way it has a chance of reaching the floor of the Senate or House for a vote is if we get more Senators and Representatives to support it. 

Can you take 5 minutes to send an email through our easy-to-use system to your Senators and Representatives asking them to co-sponsor and pass this critical legislation? 

The link above will take you to a page where you can use the pre-drafted message or customize your own to automatically send an email to each of your representatives. 

We still have a long way to go to fully protect our privacy rights, but getting our representatives to pass the USA FREEDOM Act is a tremendous step forward. Let’s make sure Congress gets it done. 

Yours in Liberty,
Anthony for the ACLU Action team 

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Alec Baldwin: Americans have been lied to

Edward Snowden saw things he thought we, as Americans, should know. He valued the truth and thought you could handle it, says Alec Baldwin.

Americans wave flags at Barack Obama's second inauguration as president. Photo:
Americans wave flags at Barack Obama's second inauguration as president. Photo: Getty
Obviously, we’ve been here before. The United States has been here before. The friction between democracy (or democracy as we like to think of it) and capitalism has often created agonising tensions and dramatic upheavals for America. Those spasms left us at least as demoralised as many Americans feel in the wake of the Edward Snowden-NSA revelations. The reality that the government is spying on Americans on a wholesale level, seemingly indiscriminately, doesn’t really come as a surprise to many, given the assumed imperatives of the post- 9/11 security state. People seem more stricken by the fact that Barack Obama, who once vowed to close Guantanamo, has adopted CIA-NSA policies regarding domestic spying, as well as by government attempts to silence, even hunt down, the press.
Americans, in terms of their enthusiasm for defending their beloved democratic principles in the face of an ever more muscular assault on those principles by the state in the name of national security, are exhausted. If you are a “boomer”, like me, and have lived through the past five decades with any degree of political efficacy, you can draw a line from JFK’s assassination to the subsequent escalation of the Vietnam war, on to 1968 with the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Chicago Democratic Convention and Nixon’s resurrection; from there, to Kent State, the Pentagon Papers, Nixon’s re-election, Watergate, Nixon’s resignation, Ford’s pardon, Carter’s one term and out, the curious Iran hostage situation, Reagan (who brings back a degree of the charm and affability that died in Dallas), Iran Contra, Oliver North, Bush the First (as in first CIA director to become president), Iraq the First, Clinton kills welfare, Gingrich shuts down the Congress, Clinton’s impeachment, the 2000 election, Bush v Gore, Bush the Second, 9/11, Iraq the Second, “Mission Accomplished”, the Swift Boaters, Afghanistan, Gitmo, Assange, Manning, Snowden.
I have left out a good deal. There is, of course, a lot that’s positive running through the American narrative during this time, but I think more bad than good. You look at all of this laid end to end and you’d think the US might have had a nervous breakdown. I believe it actually did.   MORE
Alec Baldwin is an actor and author. Follow him on Twitter: @AlecBaldwin

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Noam Chomsky. (photo: MIT)
Noam Chomsky. (photo: MIT)

Noam Chomsky: America Is a Terrified Country

By Catherine Komp, AlterNet  21 November 13
 atherine Komp: It's been twenty- five years since the publication of your and Edward Herman's acclaimed book Manufacturing Consent. How much do you think has changed with the propaganda model, and where do you see it playing out most prominently today?
Noam Chomsky:   Well, ten years ago we had a re-edition and we talked about some of the changes. One change is that we were too narrow. There are a number of filters that determine the framework of reporting, and one of the filters was too narrow. Instead of "anti-communism," which was too narrow, it should have been "fear of the concocted enemy." So yes, it could be anti-communism-most of that is concocted. So take Cuba again. It's hard to believe, but for the Pentagon, Cuba was listed as one of the military threats to the United States until a couple of years ago. This is so ludicrous; you don't even know whether to laugh or cry. It's as if the Soviet Union had listed Luxembourg as a threat to its security. But here it kind of passes.
The United States is a very frightened country. And there are all kinds of things concocted for you to be frightened about. So that should have been the filter, and [there were] a few other things, but I think it's basically the same.
There is change. Free Speech Radio didn't exist when we wrote the book, and there are some things on the Internet which break the bonds, as do independent work and things like the book I was just talking about when we came in, Jeremy Scahill's Dirty Wars, which is a fantastic piece of investigative reporting on the ground of what actually happens in the countries where we're carrying out these terror campaigns. And there's a lot of talk about drones, but not much about the fact that they are terror weapons.

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: I wanted those of you who were kind enough to send in a donation for a signed, personalized copy of Andrew Bacevich's widely hailed new book, Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, to know that it is now officially in the mail to you!  He's been on a book tour, which has slowed the process.  (Most recent appearance: the Colbert Report on Monday!)  Anyone who still wants a signed book in return for a contribution of $100 (or more), the offer remains open.  Just visit our donation page to check it out.  Tom]
Letter to an Unknown Whistleblower 
How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create You 

By Tom Engelhardt

Dear Whistleblower,
I don’t know who you are or what you do or how old you may be. I just know that you exist somewhere in our future as surely as does tomorrow or next year. You may be young and computer-savvy or a career federal employee well along in years. You might be someone who entered government service filled with idealism or who signed on to “the bureaucracy” just to make a living. You may be a libertarian, a closet left-winger, or as mainstream and down-the-center as it’s possible to be.
I don’t know much, but I know one thing that you may not yet know yourself. I know that you’re there. I know that, just as Edward Snowden and Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning did, you will, for reasons of your own, feel compelled to take radical action, to put yourself in danger. When the time comes, you will know that this is what you must do, that this is why you find yourself where you are, and then you’re going to tell us plenty that has been kept from us about how our government really operates.  You are going to shock us to the core.
And how exactly do I know this?  Because despite our striking inability to predict the future, it’s a no-brainer that the national security state is already building you into its labyrinthine systems.  In the urge of its officials tocontrol all of us and every situation, in their mania for all-encompassing secrecy, in their classification not just of the millions of documents they generate, but essentially all their operations as “secret” or “top secret,” in their all-encompassing urge to shut off the most essential workings of the government from the eyes of its citizenry, in their escalating urge to punishanyone who would bring their secret activities to light, in their urge to see or read or listen in on or peer into the lives of you (every “you” on the planet), in their urge to build a global surveillance state and a military that will dominate everything in or out of its path, in their urge to drop bombs on Pakistan and fire missiles at Syria, in their urge to be able to assassinatejust about anyone just about anywhere robotically, they are birthing you.
In every action, a reaction.  So they say, no?
Give our national security managers credit, though: they may prove to be the master builders of the early twenty-first century.  Their ambitions have been breathtaking and their ability to commandeer staggering amounts of our taxpayer dollars to pay for those projects hardly less so.  Their monuments to themselves, their version of pyramids and ziggurats -- like the vast data storage center the National Security Agency is building foralmost $2 billion in Bluffdale, Utah, to keep a yottabyte of private information about all of us, or the new post-9/11 headquarters the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency built, again for almost $2 billion, so that its 16,000 employees could monitor our system of satellites      Click here to read more of this dispatch.Click here to read more of this dispatch. Click here to read more of this dispatch.Click here to read more of this dispatch.nitoring every square inch of the planet -- are in their own way unique.  In their urge to control everything, to see everything from your Facebook chatter to th Click here to read more of this dispatch.eemails of the Brazilian president, they are creating a system built to blowback, and not just from the outside or distant lands.
Chalmers Johnson, who took “blowback,” an obscure term of CIA tradecraft, and embedded it in our everyday language, would have instantly recognized what they’re doing: creating a blowback machine whose “unintended consequences” (another term of his) are guaranteed, like the effects of the Snowden revelations, to stun us all in a myriad of ways.   Click here to  read more of this dispatch.


Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:46 pm (PDT) . Posted by:
"We are seeing an unprecedented campaign against whistleblowers and truth-tellers: it's now criminal to expose the crimes of the state...For that, I paid a very high price. And Edward Snowden will, too. But I have my freedom, and what is the price for freedom? What future do we want to keep?" 

Nate Goldshlag nateg at (replace at with @)
Arlington, MA

 Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:24 am (PDT) . Posted by:

Hi all, 

This 29-year-old just gave up his whole life to blow the whistle on the US’s insane PRISM program -- which has hacked all our emails, Skype messages and Facebook posts for years. If millions of us act urgently and get behind him, we can help press the US to crack down on PRISM, not Edward. Let’s stand with him before it's too late: 

This 29 year-old analyst just gave up his whole life -- his girlfriend, his job, and his home -- to blow the whistle on the US government's shocking PRISM program -- which has been reading and recording our emails, Skype messages, Facebook posts and phone calls for years.

When Bradley Manning passed this kind of data to Wikileaks, the US threw him naked into solitary confinement in conditions that the UN called "cruel, inhumane and degrading".

The authorities and press are deciding right now how to handle this scandal. If millions of us stand with Edward in the next 48 hours, it will send a powerful statement that he should be treated like the brave whistleblower that he is, and it should be PRISM, and not Edward, that the US cracks down on:

PRISM is profoundly disturbing: it gives the US government unlimited access to all of our personal email and social media accounts on Google, Youtube, Facebook, Skype, Hotmail, Yahoo! and much more. They're recording billions of our messages every month and the CIA can now or in the future use the information to prosecute, persecute, or blackmail us, our friends or our families!

Edward was horrified by this unprecedented violation of individual privacy. So he copied large amounts of files, sent them to the Guardian newspaper for publication and escaped to Hong Kong. His bravery not only exposed PRISM, but has started a domino effect around the world, shining a light on secret spy programs in Canada, the UK and Australia in just days! Now he's trapped in Hong Kong, waiting to be arrested. A global outcry could save him from extradition to the US, and encourage other countries to grant him asylum.

We can't let the US do to Edward what they did to Bradley Manning. Let's urgently stand with him, and against PRISM:

Sometimes the things our governments do are simply breathtaking. When heroic individuals like Edward have risked their own freedoms to bring scandals of this scale into light, the Avaaz community has come together to demand fair treatment -- and won. When half a million of us joined with other organizations and activists calling on the US government to stop its cruel treatment of Bradley Manning, he was relocated to a medium-security prison and taken out of solitary confinement. If we act quickly, we might do better for Edward, and help him win the fight he's bravely taken on, for all our sakes.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Emma, Oli, Mia, Allison, Ari, Dalia, Laura and the whole Avaaz team

PS - Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our community! Start yours now and win on any issue - local, national or global:


Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations (The Guardian)

Edward Snowden Contact Glenn Greenwald Should Be 'Disappeared', Security Officials 'Overheard Saying' (Huffington Post)

NSA PRISM program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others (The Guardian)

Prism scandal: Government program secretly probes Internet servers (Chicago Tribune),0,301166.story

PRISM by the Numbers: A Guide to the Government’s Secret Internet Data-Mining Program (TIME)

Anger swells after NSA phone records court order revelations (The Guardian)

Data-collection program got green light from MacKay in 2011 (Globe and Mail)

Greens unveil plan to require warrant to access phone and internet records (The Guardian)

Support the Avaaz Community!

We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way. 

Reader Supported News | 13 June 13

FOCUS: James Bamford | The Secret War 
General Keith Alexander. (illustration: Mark Weaver/Wired) 
James Bamford, Wired 
Bamford writes: "In its tightly controlled public relations, the NSA has focused attention on the threat of cyberattack against the US - the vulnerability of critical infrastructure like power plants and water systems, the susceptibility of the military's command and control structure, the dependence of the economy on the Internet's smooth functioning." 


Main Core: A List Of Millions Of Americans That Will Be Subject To Detention During Martial Law
 Are you on the list? Are you one of the millions of Americans that have been designated a threat to national security by the U.S. government?

End of the American Dream By Michael Snyder
June 11, 2013
 Will you be subject to detention when martial law is imposed during a major national emergency? As you will see below, there is actually a list that contains the names of at least 8 million Americans known as Main Core that the U.S. intelligence community has been compiling since the 1980s. A recent article on Washington’s Blog quoted a couple of old magazine articles that mentioned this program, and I was intrigued because I didn’t know what it was.
So I decided to look into Main Core, and what I found out was absolutely stunning – especially in light of what Edward Snowden has just revealed to the world. It turns out that the U.S. government is not just gathering information on all of us. The truth is that the U.S. government has used this information to create a list of threats to national security that the government would potentially watch, question or even detain during a national crisis. If you have ever been publicly critical of the government, there is a very good chance that you are on that list.
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 United States. Main Core contains personal and financial data of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data, which comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, and other sources, is collected and stored without warrants or court orders. The database’s name derives from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”  ...

“Manning Attorneys OK Closed Courtroom.”  ADG (June 26, 2013). 
Defense attorneys raise no objection to closing the court-martial hearing to public and press when the prosecution wishes “to protect classified evidence.”  [Given the unrestrained classification of government documents and the seriousness of the charges against Pfc. Manning (espionage, theft, computer fraud, aiding the enemy, carrying a life sentence), the public should demand an open courtroom and the highest standards for security classification.   For more see the following.   –Dick]

1.   Courtroom closures likely at Army leaker's trial | News OK
5 days ago – Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, right, is escorted as he arrives at the ... As the trial entered its fourth week, defense attorney David Coombs told the military ...Denise Lind, he had no objection to closing the courtroom only while ...

2.   Presentation by Bradley's attorney David Coombs, transcript and video
December 3, 2012 presentation by Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs at ... an attorney that is focused on what is happening in the courtroom and only what is .....OK, for simle and stupid canniballs like the “Holzhacker from germsland” ...

3.   Correction: Manning-WikiLeaks story |
4 days ago – On Tuesday, defense attorneys did not object having the judge read those portions ... Manning defense OK with plan to avoid court closure ... military judge he had no objection to closing the courtroom while prosecutors read ...

4.   WikiLeaks suspect's lawyer: Manning's treatment 'blemish' on ...
Dec 4, 2012 – David Coombs, the civilian lawyer representing Bradley Manning at his court ... the courtroom, Coombs addressed an audience of Bradley Manning ... way things are going, and confident they will ultimately turn out OK for him.

5.   Manning Trial Shrouded in Secrecy, Security |
Jun 4, 2013 – One of the pretrial hearings was closed to the public. ... School of Law and a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer. ... She said leaders assessed the situation and decided they were OK. ... of Manning Monday missed the soldier leaving the courtroom because he was blocked by military police.

Chris Hedges.  “The Menace of the Military Mind .”
TruthDig , Reader Supported News, Feb. 3, 2014
Hedges writes: "In the military, whether at the Paris Island boot camp or West Point, you are trained not to think but to obey." 

The Criminal NSA

By Jennifer Stisa Granick and Christopher Jon Sprigman, The New York Times, 28 June 13, RSN,
 HE twin revelations that telecom carriers have been secretly giving the National Security Agency information about Americans' phone calls, and that the N.S.A. has been capturing e-mail and other private communications from Internet companies as part of a secret program called Prism, have not enraged most Americans. Lulled, perhaps, by the Obama administration's claims that these "modest encroachments on privacy" were approved by Congress and by federal judges, public opinion quickly migrated from shock to "meh."
It didn't help that Congressional watchdogs - with a few exceptions, like Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky - have accepted the White House's claims of legality. The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, have called the surveillance legal. So have liberal-leaning commentators like Hendrik Hertzberg and David Ignatius.
This view is wrong - and not only, or even mainly, because of the privacy issues raised by the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics. The two programs violate both the letter and the spirit of federal law. No statute explicitly authorizes mass surveillance. Through a series of legal contortions, the Obama administration has argued that Congress, since 9/11, intended to implicitly authorize mass surveillance. But this strategy mostly consists of wordplay, fear-mongering and a highly selective reading of the law. Americans deserve better from the White House - and from President Obama, who has seemingly forgotten the constitutional law he once taught.
go to original article
+17# MainStreetMentor 2013-06-28 14:05
I hope Jennifer Grankic and Chris Sprigman are not persecuted nor prosecuted for their brave, apparently well-researched , comments. I believe they are correct: The actions of our government/gove rnmental agencies have violated the spirit and letter of the law. The question arises: Who will bring them up on charges, and who will prosecute the miscreant acts? It will never be the current Attorney General. It must be left up to a Congress that is riddled with thugs, incompetents and wrong doers. To whom do the American people turn now ... in their desperate hour of need ...?

+4# phrixus 2013-06-29 04:14
"Who will bring them up on charges, and who will prosecute the miscreant acts?"

I suspect no one. Even the most enraged of all the politicians and others critical of the current crop of government excesses are only spouting words. There exists a huge chasm between oratory and action - a chasm that few (if any) are willing to traverse. Even the most heinous trespasses i.e. torture, kidnapping and negligent homicide have gone unpunished. Our government has all the integrity of a twenty-dollar hooker e.g. "Show me the money."

30 June 13  Reader Supported News
Todd Gitlin | America's World of Informers
and Agent Provocateurs 
Surveillance cameras are only one part of the growing collection of surveillance technology being implemented in the US. (photo: Kodda/
Todd Gitlin, TomDispatch 
Gitlin writes: "Some intriguing bits about informers and agents provocateurs briefly made it into the public spotlight when Occupy Wall Street was riding high. But as always, dots need connecting." 

Return to TomDispatch Home
Tomgram: Engelhardt, Boo!
Posted by Tom Engelhardt at 4:43pm, November 24, 2013.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch.
Scared to Death 
My Safety ‘Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Security
By Tom Engelhardt
The Sharks, Aliens, and Snakes of Our World
This came to mind recently because I started wondering why, when we step out of those movie theaters, our American world doesn’t scare us more.  Why doesn’t it make more of us want to jump out of our skins?  These days, our screen lives seem an apocalyptic tinge to them, with all those zombie war movies and the like.  I'm curious, though: Does what should be deeply disturbing, even apocalyptically terrifying, in the present moment strike many of us as the equivalent of so many movie-made terrors -- shivers and fears produced in a world so far beyond us that we can do nothing about them?
I’m not talking, of course, about the things that reach directly for your throat and, in their immediacy, scare the hell out of you -- not the sharks who took millions of homes in the foreclosure crisis or the aliens who ate so many jobs in recent years or even the snakes who snatched food stamps from needy Americans.  It’s the overarching dystopian picture I’m wondering about.  The question is: Are most Americans still in that movie house just waiting for the lights to come back on?
I mean, we’re living in a country that my parents would barely recognize.  It has a frozen, riven, shutdown-driven Congress, professionally gerrymandered into incumbency, endlessly lobbied, and seemingly incapable of actually governing.  It has a leader whose presidency appears to be imploding before our eyes and whose single accomplishment (according to most pundits), like the website that goes with it, has been unraveling as we watch.  Its 1% elections, with their multi-billion dollar campaign seasons and staggering infusions of money from the upper reaches of wealth and corporate life, are less and less anybody’s definition of “democratic.”
And while Washington fiddles, inequality is on the rise, with so much money floating around in the 1% world that millions of dollars are left over to drive the prices of pieces of art into the stratosphere, even as poverty grows and the army of the poor multiplies.  And don’t forget that the national infrastructure -- all those highways, bridges, sewer systems, and tunnels that were once the unspoken pride of the country -- is visibly fraying.
Up-Armoring America
Meanwhile, to the tune of a trillion dollars or more a year, our national treasure has been squandered on the maintenance of a war state, the garrisoning of the planet, and the eternal upgrading of “homeland security.”  Think about it: so far in the twenty-first century, the U.S. is the only nation to invade a country not on its border. In fact, it invaded two such countries, launching failed wars in which, when all the costs are in, trillions of dollars will have gone down the drain and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans, as well as thousands of Americans, will have died.  This country has also led the way in creating the rules of the road for global drone assassination campaigns (no small thing now that up to 87 countries are into drone technology); it has turned significant parts of the planet into free-fire zones and, whenever it seemed convenient, obliterated the idea that other countries have something called “national sovereignty”; it has built up its Special Operations forces, tens of thousands of highly trained troops that constitute a secret military within the U.S. military, which are now operational in more than 100 countries and sent into action whenever the White House desires, again with little regard for the sovereignty of other states; it has launched the first set of cyber wars in history (against Iran and its nuclear program), has specialized in kidnapping terror suspects off city streets and in rural backlands globally, and has a near-monopolistic grip on the world arms trade (a 78% market share according to the latest figures available); its military expenditures are greater than the next 13 nations combined; and it continues to build military bases across the planet in a historically unprecedented way.
In the twenty-first century, the power to make war has gravitated ever more decisively into the White House, where the president has a private air force of drones, and two private armies of his own -- those special operations types and CIA paramilitaries -- to order into battle just about anywhere on the planet.  Meanwhile, the real power center in Washington has increasingly come to be located in the national security state (and the allied corporate “complexes” linked to it by that famed “revolving door” somewhere in the nation’s capital).  That state within a state has gone through boom times even as many Americans busted.  It has experienced a multi-billion-dollar construction bonanza, including the raising of elaborate new headquarters, scores of building complexes, massive storage facilities, and the like, while the private housing market went to hell.  With its share of that trillion-dollar national security budget, its many agencies and outfits have been bolstered even as the general economy descended into a seemingly permanent slump.
As everyone is now aware, the security state’s intelligence wing has embedded eyes and ears almost everywhere, online and off, here and around the world.  The NSA, the CIA, and other agencies are scooping up just about every imaginable form of human communication, no matter where or in what form it takes place.  In the process, American intelligence has “weaponized” the Internet and functionally banished the idea of privacy to some other planet.
Meanwhile, the “Defense” Department has grown ever larger as Washington morphed into a war capital for an unending planetary conflict originally labeled the Global War on Terror.  In these years, the “all-volunteer” military has been transformed into something like a foreign legion, another1% separated from the rest of society. At the same time, the American way of war has been turned into a profit center for a range of warrior corporations and rent-a-gun outfits that enter combat zones with the military, building bases, delivering the mail, and providing food and guard services, among other things.
Domestically, the U.S. has grown more militarized as “security” concerns have been woven into every form of travel, terror fears and alerts have become part and parcel of daily life, and everything around us has up-armored.  Police forces across the land, heavily invested in highly militarized SWAT teams, have donned more military-style uniforms, and acquired armored cars, tanks, MRAPS, drones, helicopters, drone submarines, and other military-style weaponry (often surplus equipment donated by the Pentagon).  Even campus cops have up-armored.
In a parallel development, Americans have themselves become more heavily armed and in a more military style.  Among the 300,000,000 firearms of all sorts estimated to be floating around the U.S., there are now reportedly three to four million AR-15 military-style assault rifles.  And with all of this has gone a certain unhinged quality, both for those SWAT teams that seem to have a nasty habit of breaking into homes armed to the teeth and wounding or killing people accused of nonviolent crimes, and for ordinary citizens who have made random or mass killings regular news events.
On August 1, 1966, a former Marine sniper took to the 28th floor of a tower on the campus of the University of Texas with an M-1 carbine and an automatic shotgun, killing 17, while wounding 32.  It was an act that staggered the American imagination, shook the media, led to a commission being formed, and put those SWAT teams in our future.  But no one then could have guessed how, from Columbine high school (13 dead, 24 wounded) and Virginia Tech university (32 dead, 17 wounded) to Sandy Hook Elementary School (26 dead, 20 of them children), the unhinged of our heavily armed nation would make slaughters, as well as random killings even by children, all-too-common in schools, workplaces, movie theaters, supermarket parking lots, airports, houses of worship, navy yards, and so on.
And don’t even get me started on imprisonment, a category in which we qualify as the world’s leader with 2.2 million people behind bars, a 500% increase over the last three decades, or the rise of the punitive spirit in this country.  That would include the handcuffing of remarkably young children at their schools for minor infractions and a fierce government war on whistleblowers -- those, that is, who want to tell us something about what’s going on inside the increasingly secret state that runs our American world and that, in 2011, considered 92 million of the documents it generated so potentially dangerous to outside eyes that it classified them.
A Nameless State (of Mind)
Still, don’t call this America a “police state,” not given what that came to mean in the previous century, nor a “totalitarian” state, given what that meant back then.  The truth is that we have no appropriate name, label, or descriptive term for ourselves.  Consider that a small sign of just how little we’ve come to grips with what we’re becoming.  But you don’t really need a name, do you, not if you’re living it?  However nameless it may be, tell me the truth: Doesn’t the direction we're heading in leave you with the urge to jump out of your skin?
And by the way, what I’ve been describing so far isn’t the apocalyptic part of the story, just the everyday framework for American life in 2013.  For your basic apocalypse, you need to turn to a subject that, on the whole, doesn’t much interest Washington or the mainstream media.  I’m talking, of course, about climate change or what the nightly news loves to call “extreme weather,” a subject we generally prefer to put on the back burner while we’re hailing the “good news” that the U.S. may prove to be the Saudi Arabia of the twenty-first century -- that is, hopped up on fossil fuels for the next 50 years; or that green energy really isn’t worth an Apollo-style program of investment and R&D; or that Arctic waters should be opened to drilling; or that it’s reasonable to bury on the inside pages of the paper with confusing headlines the latest figures on the record levels of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere and the way the use of coal, the dirtiest of the major fossil fuels, is actually expanding globally; or...  but you get the idea.  Rising sea levels (see ya, Florida; so long, Boston),spreading disease, intense droughts, wild floods, extreme storms, record fire seasons -- I mean, you already know the tune.
You still wanna be scared?  Imagine that someone offered you a wager, and let’s be conservative here: continue on your present path and there will be a 10%-20% chance that this planet becomes virtually uninhabitable a century or two from now.  Not bad odds, right?  Still, I think just about anyone would admit that only a maniac would take such a bet, no matter the odds.  Actually, let me amend that: only a maniac or the people who run the planet’s major energy companies, and the governments (our own included) that help fund and advance their activities, and those governments like Russia and Saudi Arabia that are essentially giant energy companies.
Because, hey, realistically speaking, that’s the bet that all of us on planet Earth have taken on.
And just in case you were wondering whether you were still at the movies, you’re not, and the lights aren’t coming back on either.
Now, if that isn’t scary, what is?
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture (now also in a Kindle edition), runs the Nation Institute's His latest book, co-authored with Nick Turse, is Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook or Tumblr. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Ann Jones’s They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars -- The Untold Story.
Copyright 2013 Tom Engelhardt


AlterNet By Nicolas J.S. Davies: The Tragic History of U.S. Military Supremacy.

[I read Davies’ essay in Z Magazine (Dec. 2013).  –Dick]  
The idea of U.S. "national security" seems inextricably entangled with the notion of "military supremacy." Over the past 15 years, this has served to rationalize the most expensive unilateral military build-up in history. But there is no evidence that having the most expensive and destructive military forces makes Americans safer than people in other countries, nor that restoring a more balanced military posture would leave us vulnerable to dangers we are currently protected from aggression. Many countries with smaller military forces do a better job of protecting their people by avoiding the hostility that is generated by U.S. imperialism, aggression and other war crimes. Now, successful diplomacy over Syria's chemical weapons has demonstrated that diplomacy within the framework of international law can be a more effective way of dealing with problems than the illegal threat or use of military force. Our government claims that its threat or use of military force. Our government claims that its use of force led to the success of diplomacy in Syria, but that's not really what happened. It was only when the sleeping giant of American democracy awoke from its long slumber and pried the cruise missiles from our leaders' trigger fingers that they grudgingly accepted "diplomacy as a last resort." For once in a very long while, our political system worked the way it's supposed to: the public made its views clear to our representatives in Congress, and they listened. We saved our leaders from the consequences of their own criminality, and their efforts to sell a propaganda narrative that turns on its head is a sad reflection on their disdain for democracy and the rule of law. For most of our history, Americans never dreamt of global military supremacy. At the turn of the 20th century, even as the U.S. waged a genocidal war that probably killed a million Filipinos, Americans never dreamt of global military supremacy. At the turn of the 20th century, even as the U.S. waged a genocidal war that probably killed a million Filipinos, American diplomats played key roles in the Hague Peace Conferences and the establishment of international courts, eager to adapt American concepts of democracy and justice to the international arena to develop alternatives to war and militarism. In response to the horrors of the First World War, an international social movement demanded the abolition of war. In 1828, the U.S. government responded by negotiating the Kellogg-Briand Pact, named for U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, in which all major powers renounced "war as an instrument of national policy." The treaty failed to prevent the Second World War, but it provided the legal basis for the convictions against genocide,, torture and other war crimes, under which senior U.S. officials must eventually face justice. The allied defeat of Germany and Japan in the Second World War was not the result of American military supremacy, but of an alliance across ideological lines with imperial Britain and the communist Soviet Union, based on mutual trust, vigorous diplomacy and the recognition of a common existential threat. Most Americans believed at the time that the war would lead to a renewed international commitment to peace and disarmament, not to an American bid for military supremacy. American, British and Soviet leaders agreed that their common interests required what Roosevelt called "a permanent structure of peace" after the war.
Contents of US NSS Newsletter #1  March 22, 2013
Gagnon, New Missile “Defense” in Maine
Melley, Secrecy and NSS
Mueller, From Threats to Fear to Political Control
Engelhardt on Fear USA
Dick:  Hearts and Minds
Graham on Military Urbanism
Engelhardt, Afghanistan and D. C.
Engelhardt, Terror Fears
Turse, President/Pentagon and Middle East Despots
Engelhardt, Post-Legal USA
Douglass, Assassination of JFK Jr

Contents #2  June 9, 2013
National Security Agency (NSA) Domestic Spying
Obama and Militarization of Police
Top Secret USA (2)
Giroux: US Warfare State, Culture of War
Blum:  Exporting “Democracy”
Dick:   Cyber Threat, Fear, Empire, War   
Google Search: US Cyber War
Barry: Drones Further Militarize the Border
Kuzmarov:  US Police Training for Repression and Empire
McCoy: Policing US Empire
Dick: US NSS Newsletters


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