Posts Tagged ‘ guantanamo

Hmmm …

[ pronunciation | \oo-blE-et\ ]

Bradley Manning has been detained, without trial, for over 2 years. In Guantanamo, some have been forgotten and hidden away for over a decade.

I wonder where the door is ….



Orwellian Chocolate Doublepluscake

American intelligence officials report Iranian agents have been secretly building military bases in Venezuela. While the US is not considering any engagement in hostile action, a limited preemptive response is currently being studied.

I just made this quote up; it’s absolutely a lie. But, strangely enough, Norman Bailey, member of the American Foreign Policy, wrote and said something, really, not that far off from what I just wrote. Curious.

You would think a culture familiar with the language of 1984 – ”doubleplusgood,” “unperson,” “crimethink” — would, at least, question it when they hear something like it, ie the entire vocabulary of the US government. Maybe a raised eyebrow when the DoD adds a new word to the newspeak dictionary? Such as when “war” is substituted with “limited kinetic action;” “torture” morphed into “enhanced interrogation techniques”, and the euphemistic “war on terror” became, even more absurdly, the “overseas contingency operation.”

These vital words hide the actual violent acts being committed. Morris Davis, once the chief prosecutor in the Guantanamo military commissions and who later resiged from that position, writes about the Obama administration‘s preposterous “reformed” military commissions:

The slogan “fairness, transparency, justice” is featured prominently throughout the military commissions’ new half-million-dollar website.  The slogan even shows up when case document links lead to a notice saying the “document you are trying to access is currently undergoing a security review” and might be posted later if the government decides it is “publicly releasable.”

Say you are interested in the case against Abd Rashim Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in October 2000 that killed 17 U.S. sailors.  You are not allowed to see the judge’s docketing order setting April 11-13 for the next session to consider motions.

You are not allowed to see a key motion seeking authorization for Nashiri’s lawyers to depose former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh while he is in the United States.

• • • • •

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the sixth and current chief prosecutor for the military commissions, gave a talk to the New York City Bar Association last month.  In it, he used the phrase “reformed military commissions” more than three dozen times.  Apparently tacking the word “reformed” onto “military commissions” and using it over and over is supposed to erase a decade-long record of failure that has, as then-Sen. Obama said, tarnished “our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law.”

Unpersons are locked up in Guantanamo, still! Some have been locked up for the entire past decade — some tortured — with a trial TBD, detained indefinitewise. And it seems these reformed rules do nothing, if not make it worse – the tragedy that is Guantanamo. And it stays open. But hey, at least it’s been reformed. That’s doubleplusgood.

But we have watchdogs, the media, keeping an eye on Big Brother? Not really. In Pew Research Center’s latest polls following media trust, while there is a public majority that believe news stories are inaccurate and influenced by powerful people, that information is more trusted than the US government by a good margin. But what happens when the media is more B.B.’s megaphone than an investigator of B.B.? Glenn Greenwald explains what should be seen as the obvious patterns of state-run propaganda, and not independent reporting:

Iran is on “the offensive.” There is no mention in this NPR story — literally none whatsoever — of the string of serious attacks on Iran, from multiple explosions on their soil to the training and arming of a designated Terror group devoted to its government’s overthrow to the bombardment of its nuclear facilities with sophisticated cyber attacks to the multiple murders of its civilian nuclear scientists. These attacks on Iran — widely reported to be the work of some combination of the U.S. and Israel — literally do not exist in the world that NPR presented. Iran is simply sponsoring and launching “Terror attacks” out of the blue against the U.S. and Israel: presumably because they’re Evil Terrorists.

What’s most amazing is that NPR has an obsession with what it considers “neutral” reporting, and I guarantee you that Temple-Raston’s response to these criticisms would be to insist that she is neither a partisan nor an opinionist, but rather a “straight reporter” who simply presents facts without bias. She would undoubtedly believe that this report to which she just subjected the world — one that is about as one-sided, biased and opinionated as can be: Iran is offensively launching Terrorism at the world and the U.S. must stop it – is a pure example of objective reporting. [emphasis mine]

Do you see what they did there? And it isn’t just NPR, either. In fact, the same story, the same through-line, is repeated in the NYT. In a similar post, Greenwald shows how it all works, and all too clearly:

All of that [NYT report] is virtually identical to the NPR report in every single respect. That’s because it is written exactly the same way and with exactly the same agenda: we now turn over our media outlet to the pronouncements of anonymous government officials, who will explain — under the guise of a “news report” – why the U.S. is being victimized by an increasingly aggressive and Terroristic Iran. Both in methodology and conclusion, it is pure state-run media propaganda, by definition: shaped exclusively by official government assertions, amplified without skepticism or challenge. [emphasis mine] It’s not even hidden: Iranians are the Terrorists and its menacing aggression is proven by its attempt to “stir unrest” in Afghanistan.

In our Lord Orwellian’s house, the watchdogs give us doubleplusobjective reporting — the war propaganda message, repeated word-for-word, from anonymous US officials to news reporters to the ears of mass babes. All the while, yet again, reality disappears: the Saudi ambassador assassination plot is dubious, laughable; there is no evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. The US government seems to be the real aggressor. And, Iran is not teaming up with South America!

Some people see a deliberate NWO conspiracy theory; others see corporations pulling the strings, teacher unions, the Koch Bros., Rupert Murdoch, the United Nations, blah blah, blah. Any and all of these pieces are partwise independent, partialwise conspiracy machinations, working for both self-interest and some insane idea of the greater good; but, the lies have a deeper root than any of these individual players — ideology. Trust. Faith. We have to believe in it. For Rothbard, this was no surprise:

Therefore, the King alone cannot rule; he must have a sizable group of followers who enjoy the prerequisites of rule, for example, the members of the State apparatus, such as the full-time bureaucracy or the established nobility. … For this essential acceptance, the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable [emphasis mine], and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives. Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the “intellectuals.” For the masses of men do not create their own ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and disseminated by the body of intellectuals. The intellectuals are, therefore, the “opinion-molders” in society. And since it is precisely a molding of opinion that the State most desperately needs, the basis for age-old alliance between the State and the intellectuals becomes clear. [empahsis mine]

And what if we realize the newsies are shouting, “the king has clothes!”? What if B.B. has no interest in our well-being, and for all the “we are protecting you” speeches, has an unsheathe knife, behind his back, hiding his murders? And don’t get me started on the Keynesian economists and the inflationist cohorts at the Federal Reserve! Doublespeak geniuses, oy!

How can this trust last so long? Seriously. Eventually revolutions were fought over and won to dismantle the divine rights of kings. The king as absolute monarch has gone by the wayside. The Churchspeak-opinion-makers claim that “the king had legitimate authority ordained by God” stopped holding water.

So what keeps us going this time? The doubleplusroot of it all — Democracy. If there is any newspeak that is more deeply entrenched, more so than any words B.B. makes up, more so than public policy legitimized by experts, more so than any idea propagated by the newsies, the idea where all of this springs forth is Democracy = We the People. The worst wars have only existed under democratic rule, either by the number of civilian deaths, or by the number of weapons of mass destruction used. Democracy has de-civilized war away from the king and his army  to include us all as soldiers, either through military conscription or as collateral damage. Because B.B. is us? Because we are imprisoning ourselves? We are torturing unpersons? We are lining the pockets of Goldman Sachs? We passed the NDAA? We want to regulate the internet? Is it really us stopping ourselves to live free?

As in an earlier post, Rothbard describes:

With the rise of democracy, the identification of the State with society has been redoubled, until it is common to hear sentiments expressed which violate virtually every tenet of reason and common sense such as, “we are the government.” The useful collective term “we” has enabled an ideological camouflage to be thrown over the reality of political life. If “we are the government,” then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also “voluntary” on the part of the individual concerned. [emphasis mine] If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group for the benefit of another, this reality of burden is obscured by saying that “we owe it to ourselves”; if the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is “doing it to himself” and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred. Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have “committed suicide,” since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part. One would not think it necessary to belabor this point, and yet the overwhelming bulk of the people hold this fallacy to a greater or lesser degree.

B.B. is not us. Étienne de La Boétie was correct — withdraw consent. The cake is a lie. The cake is a lie