Blows Against the New Old World Order

Written by Chris Floyd 17 January 2006 5047 Hits

When the man is on, he is on fire: Justin Raimondo takes down bloodthirsty Brit Niall Ferguson, the comfortably coddled cheerleader for imperial "severity," in this post from Antiwar.com: World War IV: A Realistic Scenario. You should read the whole thing, but here's a quick excerpt:

If Ferguson wants to talk about "the twilight of the West," perhaps he will consider the $2 trillion price tag Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz has put on the Iraq war – which will seem like a big bargain compared to the cost of the coming war with Iran. But then again, Ferguson doesn't care about the costs of empire, not in treasure or in human lives: that would be giving in to American-style immaturity, which refuses to take up the burden of doing good throughout the world out of the conceit that Americans are somehow different from the British, the Russians, the Romans, and the builders of every tinpot imperium since the dawn of man.

I hope that we aren't "mature" enough to believe such nonsense, or act as if we do, but I very much fear that we will.

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Posthumous America: Spies, Lies and a Republic in Ruins

Written by Chris Floyd 17 January 2006 10132 Hits

Good story in the NYT today about the pathetic ineffectiveness of Bush's illegal wiretap program in fighting terrorism – the ostensible reason offered for the scheme. But the story completely ignores what has rapidly become the most important aspect of this scandal (aside from its inherent – and impeachable – illegality): the fact that Bush ordered the illegal, warrantless, widespread wiretapping of American citizens MONTHS BEFORE the September 11 attacks, as the ever-intrepid Jason Leopold revealed last week: Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11.

Leopold's bombshell has yet to penetrate the cotton-packed ears of the mainstream media – even though it gives the lie to Bush's only "defense": the threadbare falsehood that Congress' Sept. 14th authorization for him to deal with the Sept. 11 attackers was a blank check "Enabling Act" allowing him to circumvent any law that might conflict with this mandate. As any sentient being knows, this argument is a great big crock of Crawford cowflop – so naturally, we will soon have long, detailed and utterly pointless Senate hearings into the matter, which will doubtless end with a Congressional surrender to the dictator's whim, albeit with a bit of harrumphing and tut-tutting to save face.

But Leopold has the "smoking gun" evidence that Bush's spy program had nothing at all to do with 9/11 – since it began days after Bush took office in January 2001. It also demolishes Dick Cheney's shameless – and shameful – propaganda ploy: claiming that the program "could have prevented the attacks on 9/11" if only it had been in place beforehand. Well, now we know, Dick: it was in place beforehand, and it didn't prevent the attacks on 9/11, did it?

What's more, Leopold reveals that Bush did not tell Congressional leaders about the  program when it began: it was carried out, at his express order, without any judicial or legislative oversight whatsoever.

The evidence is irrefutable: Bush ordered and carried out a program of espionage against the citizens of the United States in defiance of the law, the Constitution, and the will of Congress. This is a high crime. This is, in fact, high treason. He should be impeached, indicted and brought to trial.

But you know and I know that this will never happen. The American Establishment – political, financial, journalistic – will, in the end, countenance this high crime, just as they have countenanced the horrific crimes of mass murder and international aggression in Iraq. Bush has called the Establishment's bluff – and whether this was an act of cool cunning by a high-riding tyrant or, as the estimable Steve Gilliard insists, a wild throw of desperation by a weak and stupid man, it doesn't really matter: it becomes more obvious every day that the Establishment has no stomach for a fight. The rot has gone too deep. The institutional elites will not stand up for the Republic; they have betrayed and abandoned it, content to hold on to their own pockets of power and privilege.

We are now a posthumous generation, living in the gutted, burned-out ruins of our ancestors' mansion. This is a new, unprecedented reality: a post-Revolutionary, post-democracy America. We're on our own now, "with no direction home;" we'll have to find some kind of different path, new ways of confronting and reshaping this dark reality. It would be much better, infinitely better, if it were not so; but it is so. "The weight of this sad time we must obey; speak what we feel, not what we ought to say."

Below are some excerpts from Leopold's sterling work:

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NSA, FISA and the DNA of Tyranny

Written by Chris Floyd 11 January 2006 16772 Hits

With each passing day, it becomes more evident that the main purpose behind Bush's illegal, warrantless domestic spying program is not collecting intelligence on terrorists and would-be terrorists – a task for which the government's existing draconian powers of surveillance were more than sufficient. As many people have noted, Bush already possessed the legal right to order the immediate surveillance of any person in the country, subject to the sole restraint of having to seek approval from the secret FISA court within 72 hours. Given the established record of this court's near-total acquiescence to thousands of such requests over the years, it is simply impossible to believe that it would not grant its ex post facto approval to any surveillance ordered by Bush which had even the most tenuous connection to a potential terrorist threat.

This undeniable reality leaves us with only one logical conclusion: Bush's secret spy program is designed for activities not covered by FISA's copious security blanket. It is now apparent that these activities include using the vast powers of federal, state and local governments to spy on the Bush Administration's perceived political "enemies" – a vast group, given that the Bushist definition of an "enemy" is anyone who opposes any of their policies. (The Bushists don't have "opponents," in the traditional sense – honorable rivals in the give and take and compromises of ordinary politics ; like all radical extremists, they have only "enemies" who must be "destroyed.")

The Raw Story gives us an excellent, and harrowing, glimpse of this authoritarian Geheime Staatspolizei in action – against those well-known dastardly terrorists, the pacifict Quakers – in this story by Kevin Zeese. It's a detailed account, backed by documents pried out of the National Security Agency itself during litigation.

And by the way, the Nazi allusion is not far-fetched, especially if we refer to the Gestapo in the early years of Hitler's tyranny – the best point of comparison to the still-nascent but growing despotism of the Bush Regime. Consider this brief description from Wikipedia: "The role of the Gestapo was to investigate and combat "all tendencies dangerous to the State." It had the authority to investigate treason, espionage and sabotage cases, and cases of criminal attacks on the Nazi Party and Germany.

"The law had been changed in such a way that the Gestapo's actions were not subject to judicial review. Nazi jurist Dr. Werner Best stated, 'As long as the [Gestapo] ... carries out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally.'"

That last paragraph sounds chillingly familiar. Actions "not subject to judicial review" –  this covers not only Bush's warrantless spying, but also the Regime's whole approach to the captives it seizes in the self-declared, eternal "Terror War." Bush has fought at every step to keep these prisoners outside any judicial review whatsoever – save for the rigged "military tribunals" that he himself has concocted. And of course Dr. Best's "philosophy" is directly echoed by Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo and other acolytes of the "unitary executive" – unbridled, arbitrary power for a "war president," who stands beyond the reach or restraint of any law or treaty, able to order torture, aggressive war, even murder ("extrajudicial killing").

Broad, vague, overexcited historial comparisons ("These Bush guys are exactly like Nazis! It's the Third Reich come again!") are incorrect, unsubstantiated and pointless. The particulars of any given political tyranny cannot be replicated in different historical and cultural situations; as Tolstoy says (in a vastly different context), each unhappy family is unhappy in its own special way. But the lineaments of tyranny – its mental framework, its DNA – are remarkably consistent over time and place and cultures, with the same rhetoric, the same justifications, the same tendency toward eliminationism (see Dave Neiwert for more on this), and many of the same policies – such as spying on domestic enemies, evading judicial review, inflicting torture, waging war, etc. – which are the logical, inevitable outgrowths of authoritarian rule.

The Bushists aren't Nazis; they are themselves, and bad enough for all that. But they are demonstrably infected by the common human disease of tyranny that erupted with such unprecedented virulence in Hitlerite Germany and Stalinist Russia.

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"There is no torture here and there are no beatings"

Written by Chris Floyd 11 January 2006 11405 Hits

Amnesty Releases New Gitmo Torture Testimony (via Truthout)

 Below are some excerpts, offered without comment. The plain facts speak -- scream -- for themselves. I will  be writing about the Gitmo hunger strike and related matters in my Moscow Times column this week; this Amnesty article came out after the column was already gone. So for now, let's add just this one gloss: George W. Bush had better pray, with great sweatdrops of blood, that the literalist Christianity he professes is untrue -- else he will face a heavy reckoning when the Day of Judgment finds him rendered into Hell. 

Excerpts from the testimony of concentration camp prisoner Jumah al-Dossari:

I am writing the story of what I have suffered from the day I was kidnapped on the Pakistani border and sold to American troops until now and my being in Guantánamo, Cuba. What I will write here is not a flight of fancy or a moment of madness; what I will write here are the established facts and events agreed upon by detainees who were eye witnesses to them, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as well as soldiers, investigators and interpreters....

When we were all in the plane - there were approximately 30 of us - they closed the plane door which from behind said "designed to carry machinery". After they closed the door, the soldiers started shouting, screaming and insulting us with the most vulgar insults and nasty curses. They started beating us and took pictures of us on a camera; I could see the flash. I had a violent pain in my stomach - I had had an operation on my stomach and there was a piece of metal in it; when I complained about the severity of the pain, a soldier came and started kicking me in my stomach with his military boot until I vomited blood….

When they wanted to take one of us, they would order us to lie on our stomachs on the floor, and then they would tie our hands behind our backs. When it was my turn, two soldiers took me. I was barefoot and they beat me before I met the investigator. They banged my head against the metal building and made me walk on the barbed wire. They raised my hands from behind my back so high that my shoulders were almost dislocated. When I entered the investigation tent, I found that there were two Americans among the investigators, one of whom was white and the other was black. I said to them, "why are you torturing me and you haven't even started questioning me? What do you want from me? Give me a piece of paper and I will sign anything you want". He said to me, "there is no torture here and there are no beatings"…

During investigations, I was threatened with rape, attacks on my family in Saudi Arabia, my daughter being kidnapped, and my murder - assassination - by their spies in the Middle East if I went back to Saudi Arabia…

I would thus like to point out that NOT all of the soldiers in Guantánamo tortured and oppressed us. There were some soldiers who treated us humanely, some of them would cry because of what was happening to us and were embarrassed by the style of management at the camp and even by the American government, their lack of justice and oppression of us. To give an example, when I was in Camp India in Camp Delta and I was being tortured, an Afro-American came to me. He said sorry to me and gave me a cup of hot chocolate and some sweet biscuits. When I thanked him, he said, "I don't want your thanks. I want you to know that we are not all bad and we think differently". When I was talking to a soldier and I told him what happened to me, he cried and had tears in his eyes. He was clearly moved. He said sorry to me about what had happened to me and he also offered me some food. These are examples to show the reader that there are some soldiers who have humanity, irrespective of their race, gender or faith.

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The Satanic Usages

Written by Chris Floyd 11 January 2006 3425 Hits

"How best to govern the state? First rectify the language." – Confucius

And how best to corrupt the state? First corrupt the language. Salman Rushdie takes up the cudgels against the polluters of thought in the Bush Regime – the heir and extenders of a long, dishonorable tradition. Here are some excerpts, from the Sydney Morning Herald (via Buzzflash):

Beyond any shadow of a doubt, the ugliest phrase to enter the English language last year was "extraordinary rendition". To those of us who love words, this phrase's brutalisation of meaning is an infallible signal of its intent to deceive.

"Extraordinary" is an ordinary enough adjective, but its sense is being stretched here to include more sinister meanings that your dictionary will not provide: secret; ruthless; and extrajudicial. As for "rendition", the English language permits four meanings: a performance; a translation; a surrender - this meaning is now considered archaic; or an "act of rendering"; which leads us to the verb "to render" among whose 17 possible meanings you will not find "to kidnap and covertly deliver an individual or individuals for interrogation to an undisclosed address in an unspecified country where torture is permitted"...

"Final solution" is a further, even more horrible locution of this Orwellian, double-plus-ungood type. "Mortality response", a euphemism for death by killing that I first heard during the Vietnam War, is another. This is not a pedigree of which any newborn usage should be proud. People use such phrases to avoid using others whose meaning would be problematically over-apparent. "Ethnic cleansing" and "final solution" were ways of avoiding the word "genocide", and to say "extraordinary rendition" is to reveal one's squeamishness about saying "the export of torture"....

In the beginning is the word. Where one begins by corrupting language, worse corruptions swiftly follow. Sitting as the Supreme Court to rule on torture last month, Britain's law lords spoke to the world in words that were simple and clear. "The torturer is abhorred not because the information he produces may be unreliable," Lord Rodger of Earlsferry said, "but because of the barbaric means he uses to extract it."

"Torture is an unqualified evil," Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood added. "It can never be justified. Rather, it must always be punished."

The dreadful probability is that the US outsourcing of torture will allow it to escape punishment. It will not allow it to escape moral obloquy.

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The Big Fix: Smoking Guns and Sudden Death

Written by Chris Floyd 11 January 2006 4651 Hits

Orginally published in The Moscow Times, April 8, 2005

Let's face facts: the game is over and we – the "reality-based community," the believers in genuine democracy and law, the heirs of Jefferson and Madison, Emerson and Thoreau, the toilers and dreamers, all those who seek to rise above the beast within and shape the brutal chaos of existence into something higher, richer, imbued with meaning – have lost. The better world we thought had been won out of the blood and horror of history – a realm of enlightenment that often found its best embodiment in the ideals and aspirations of the American Republic – is gone. It's been swallowed by darkness, by ravening greed, by bestial spirits and willful primitives who now possess overwhelming instruments of power and dominion.

A gang of such spirits seized control of the United States government by illicit means in 2000 – and maintained that control through rampant electoral corruption in 2004. The election of George W. Bush last November was a deliberately shambolic process that saw massive lockouts of opposition voters; unverifiable returns compiled by easily-hackable machines operated by avowed corporate partisans of the ruling party; and vast discrepancies between exit polls and final results, gaps much larger than those that condemned elections in Ukraine and Georgia as manipulated frauds. Indeed, a panel of statisticians said last week that the odds of such a discrepancy occurring naturally were 959,000-1, the Akron Beacon-Journal reports.

The copious documentation for the Bush fraud keeps growing. Last month, experts using actual machines and returns from the 2004 election showed Congress how a lone hacker could skew a precinct's results by 100,000 votes without leaving a trace. More than 40 million votes in 30 states were cast on such computer systems, BlackBoxVoting notes.

Late last year, Congress heard sworn testimony from Florida programmer Clint Curtis, who created vote-rigging software in 2000 at the request of Tom Feeny, a Bush Family factotum. Feeny wanted Curtis (a fellow Republican) and his employer, Yang Enterprises, to produce untraceable programs that could "control the vote" as needed, investigator Brad Friedman reports. Feeny also told Curtis of Bush plans to "suppress the black vote" with "exclusion lists." This is exactly what happened. BBC investigator Greg Palast has shown that tens of thousands of legitimate African-American voters were deliberately "purged" from the rolls by a Republican-controlled private corporation hired by Jeb Bush. Afterwards, Feeny – who had been Jeb's running mate in his first gubernatorial campaign – was rewarded for his dutiful service with a plum Congressional seat.

In 2002, Raymond Lemme, a Florida state government inspector, took up Curtis' charges, which included other corruption allegations involving Feeny, Yang Enterprises, and a Yang employee charged with peddling military technology to the Chinese. In June 2003, Lemme told Curtis he had "tracked the corruption all the way to the top" and that "the story would break in a few weeks." On July 1, 2003, Lemme was found dead in a Georgia hotel room, just across the Florida border.

Local police ruled that Lemme, a happily married man eagerly planning his daughter's wedding, had suddenly decided to slash his wrists. At first, they said there were no photos of the death scene; but then the pictures turned up on the Internet, and were confirmed as authentic by the embarrassed police. The photos clearly contradicted the original suicide report at several points – including evidence that Lemme had been beaten before his death. The investigation was re-opened after Curtis' Congressional testimony – then abruptly shut down after local police spoke to a never-identified "someone" in the Florida state government.

Needless to say, nothing has been done to clarify the murk surrounding Lemme's convenient death. Nor has there been any action toward rectifying the highly profitable degradation of the American electoral process – beyond the appointment of yet another "blue-ribbon panel" of Establishment worthies to oversee "election reform." The seriousness of this endeavor can be seen in the man appointed to co-chair the effort: James Baker, the notorious Bush Family fixer (and Saudi bagman) who spearheaded the sabotage of the 2000 vote in Florida. Baker's presence on the panel ensures that nothing will be done to lessen the ruling clique's chokehold on power.

So let's have no illusions about where we are. Gangsters are in charge, and nothing and no one will be allowed to challenge their dominion. They are waging aggressive war to cement their position and that of their allies – the energy barons, the arms merchants, the construction and services cartels, the investment bankers. These power blocs now command monstrous resources, unfathomable profits; they can buy out, buy off or bury any force that opposes them. Meanwhile, they use the loot of the stolen Republic – it blood and treasure – as fuel for their ever-expanding war machine: Bush now has a "secret watch-list" of 25 more countries ripe for military intervention, the Financial Times reports.

With more war crimes afoot, last month Bush issued an official "National Defense Strategy" that openly declares "judicial processes" as one of the enemies confronting the United States, actually equating it with terrorism, AP reports. Here is the exact quote: "Our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak using international fora, judicial processes, and terrorism."

Thus law is "a strategy of the weak," says the Bush Doctrine, in a chilling echo of Hitlerian machtpolitik: might makes right. The judicial process must not be allowed to "constrain or shape" American behavior in any way, the gangsters declared.

Think of it: law is now the enemy. Democracy, as we've seen above, is the enemy. This – the demented code of criminals and tyrants – has become the ruling doctrine of the United States. Where is justice, where is enlightenment – where is America – in this perverted system, this freakshow of death and avarice?

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Samuel Alito and the Gangster State

Written by Chris Floyd 11 January 2006 5128 Hits

Here's a blast from the not-so-distant past: a story of electoral theft, mysterious death and the ruthless determination of the Bush gang to do anything -- anything -- to stay in power. A revisit seemed appropriate during this week when it is becoming ever more apparent that the spinally-challenged Senate Democrats are going to kid-glove the handmaiden of presidential dictatorship, Samuel Alito, into a pivotal seat on the Supreme Court, where he will be able to further his master's authoritarian ambitions while also advancing the agenda's of Bush's double-barrelled "Base": religious extremism and rapacious corporatism. There will be more about Alito in the upcoming Global Eye column. Meanwhile, take a gander at The Big Fix: Smoking Guns and Sudden Death. Here are some brief excerpts:

Let's face facts: the game is over and we – the "reality-based community," the believers in genuine democracy and law, the heirs of Jefferson and Madison, Emerson and Thoreau, the toilers and dreamers, all those who seek to rise above the beast within and shape the brutal chaos of existence into something higher, richer, imbued with meaning – have lost. The better world we thought had been won out of the blood and horror of history – a realm of enlightenment that often found its best embodiment in the ideals and aspirations of the American Republic – is gone. It's been swallowed by darkness, by ravening greed, by bestial spirits and willful primitives who now possess overwhelming instruments of power and dominion....

So let's have no illusions about where we are. Gangsters are in charge, and nothing and no one will be allowed to challenge their dominion. They are waging aggressive war to cement their position and that of their allies – the energy barons, the arms merchants, the construction and services cartels, the investment bankers. These power blocs now command monstrous resources, unfathomable profits; they can buy out, buy off or bury any force that opposes them. Meanwhile, they use the loot of the stolen Republic – its blood and treasure – as fuel for their ever-expanding war machine: Bush now has a "secret watch-list" of 25 more countries ripe for military intervention, the Financial Times reports.

With more war crimes afoot, last month Bush issued an official "National Defense Strategy" that openly declares "judicial processes" as one of the enemies confronting the United States, actually equating it with terrorism, AP reports. Here is the exact quote: "Our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak using international fora, judicial processes, and terrorism."

Thus law is "a strategy of the weak," says the Bush Doctrine, in a chilling echo of Hitlerian machtpolitik: might makes right. The judicial process must not be allowed to "constrain or shape" American behavior in any way, the gangsters declared.

Think of it: law is now the enemy. Democracy, as we've seen above, is the enemy. This – the demented code of criminals and tyrants – has become the ruling doctrine of the United States. Where is justice, where is enlightenment – where is America – in this perverted system, this freakshow of death and avarice?

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Back From the Hack

Written by Chris Floyd 11 January 2006 7022 Hits
The site has been under heavy fire today from the right-wing Cheeto Commandos who periodically try to close it down with various acts of cyber-terrorism -- all in the name of freedom, of course. But now we're back again. This may happen more frequently as the site gets more readers; so if you ever come by and find yourself locked out, do keep checking in until we've flushed the Bushlickers from the system. We'll try to make it worth the wait. Add a comment
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The New Black (Shirt)

Written by Chris Floyd 11 January 2006 3727 Hits

Think fascism went away? No, it just mutates, like a virus, into new forms, seemingly more acceptable, the better to lure its targets into infection – such as the "centre-right," bread-and-circus, crony capitalism of Silvio Berlusconi. But its true colors eventually emerge, when the hard-Rightists think they are secure enough in power. Witness these excerpts from The Guardian story, Row Over Mussolini's Nazi Army Opens Old Wounds:

The soldiers of Benito Mussolini's Nazi puppet republic should be accorded the same status as wartime resistance fighters and regular combatants, the Italian government will argue in a bill to be placed before parliament today...

But the controversial move by Silvio Berlusconi's government will reopen old wounds, raising painful questions about the Italians' view of their past and which side they feel they were really on in the second world war. After Italy capitulated to the allies in 1943 the Germans withdrew to the north and installed the country's ousted fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, at the head of a so-called Italian Social Republic.
With its capital at Salo, on the shores of Lake Garda, his dictatorship enjoyed an increasingly tenuous existence from November 1943 until April 1945.

Harassed by the growing partisan movement, the Germans and their diehard fascist allies hit back with ferocious reprisals, often carried out by irregulars whose former members would also be covered by the law.

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Cry Freedom: Mass Graves and Burnt Meat in Bush's New Iraq

Written by Chris Floyd 10 January 2006 5998 Hits

Originally published in the June 20, 2003 edition of The Moscow Times.

They were digging mass graves in Iraq last week.

No, not the mass graves that George W. Bush now reflexively invokes to justify his murder of up to 10,000 innocent Iraqi civilians and the needless deaths of more than 200 American soldiers in the aggressive war he launched on the basis of  proven lies and outright fabrications. Those mass graves, containing victims of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, were dug years ago, back when powerful American officials like Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz were pursuing "closer ties" to the Saddam regime at the signed, insistent order of another president named George Bush.

They were also being dug all over Iraq when Donald Rumsfeld was eagerly pressing Saddamite flesh as Ronald Reagan's special envoy, restoring diplomatic ties with the CIA-supported killer. Oh, to have been a fly on that wall as Rumsfeld squinted tenderly into Saddam's beady eyes and pledged to lavish the burly beloved with American money to build his war machine, American technology to fuel his internal repression, American honor to secure him credit and diplomatic backing abroad, and American military intelligence for his poison gassing of Iranian troops and missile attacks on Iranian civilians. How many thousands of innocent lives were sacrificed in that moment of explosive power-guy passion! It must have been one steamy love scene, a real bodice-ripper.

We're now told that those mass graves are bad mass graves, although they were perfectly acceptable at the time. (Then again, fashions do change, don't they? Remember when presidential deceit was an impeachable offense? When military aggression was a war crime? Ah, those silly fads of yesteryear.) But the new mass graves being dug in Iraq today – for the innocent collaterals killed during the American military sweeps last week – are good mass graves, you see, because the aged farmers, retarded teenagers, young fathers and fleeing women now being shoveled into fetid desert pits were killed by the bombs and bullets of liberation!

Yes, we know that Bush's viceroy in Iraq, the preppy-monikered L. Paul Bremer III, has recently forbidden the liberated Iraqi people from using their liberty to verbally oppose the occupation of their land by a foreign power. He then arbitrarily canceled elections in Najaf which would have been the first free local vote in Iraq for decades – not restricted to a list of "acceptable" candidates chosen by the occupiers, as in "elections" elsewhere around the country, but a ballot open to all parties. Not only did Bremer quash the vote, he sent American troops to "storm the offices of an obscure local party" and arrest the nascent democrats for – you guessed it – opposing the occupation of their land by a foreign power, the New York Times reports.

Now, canceling elections and stifling dissent by force of arms might seem a counterintuitive expression of political freedom, but it chimes perfectly with the Bush Regime's masterful use of Zen paradox in statecraft. After all, this is the same crew that introduced the American people to such mind-bending concepts as "loser-take-all democracy," "charity for the rich," and "prosperity through bankruptcy." Do the noble Iraqis deserve any less? 

Besides, "liberation without liberty" reflects the Dear Leader's own unique philosophy of governance, expressed so eloquently before his judicially-assisted apotheosis in 2000 when, piqued by a satirical website that dared to cast aspersions upon his looming greatness, he cried, "There ought to be limits to freedom!" In this, at least, he is a man of his word.

And yes, it's true that Bushist Party bosses in Baghdad have announced plans to start "privatizing" the county's assets – which, as you doubtless recall, are being "held in trust for the Iraqi people" – before said Iraqi people can form a government and make their own decisions about it, AFP reports. But is that so wrong?

"Privatization is the right direction for 21st century Iraq," declared Tim Carney, the Bush satrap "advising" the Iraqi ministry of metals and minerals. Indeed, hath not the Leader himself proclaimed, in the official National Security Policy of the United States, that unbridled crony capitalism is "the single sustainable model of national success?" Since there is no real choice, why bother to let the locals decide?

[Memo to the Leader: a possible strategy for 2004?]

And so the villagers of Al Hir, where an entire family was raked to death by machine-gun fire while they cowered in their wheatfield – a "mistake," the Pentagon said – joined hundreds of other survivors in burying their collateral dead last week, the New York Times reports. Some of the corpses were ravaged beyond recognition; others were charred "like burned meat," Knight-Ridder reports. How many civilians were killed – sorry, liberated from this mortal coil – during the full-bore assault? A Pentagon spokesman put it all in the proper perspective: such trifles, he said, are "just not significant information."

Equally insignificant, apparently, are the American soldiers who keep dying, week after week, in a war whose triumphant "end" was announced nearly two months ago by the Dear Leader during his million-dollar photo-op on an aircraft carrier. This week, stung by mounting evidence – including pre-war reports from the Pentagon's own intelligence service – that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the war and thus no casus belli, Bush struck back. The president, whose family fortune was built in part on profits from the Nazi war machine, denounced his critics as "historical revisionists," Reuters reports. Wisely ignoring the WMD issue altogether, Bush offered up his last remaining line of defense: "This is for certain: Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the United States."

Oh, really? Who then is killing Americans by the dozens in Iraq? The Dear Leader's own spokesmen tell us it is Bathist "die-hards," who are likely being paid if not directly supervised by the still-alive, still-free dictator himself. Saddam, it seems, enjoys considerably more liberty than the liberated Iraqi people. And he is a much greater threat to Americans now – as a free agent, with nothing to lose, operating in secret – than he ever was as the struggling head of a crippled country crawling with UN inspectors, Kurdish armies and Allied warplanes controlling his skies. From 1991 to 2003, not a single American death can be tied to Saddam Hussein; but in the seven weeks since Bush declared "mission accomplished," his partisans have killed more than 40 Americans.

But for Bush, the loss of a little cannon fodder here and there obviously represents "no threat" to real Americans: you know, the pious hypocrites who profit from lies and murder, the well-guarded cowards who gorge themselves on the "burned meat" in Iraq's mass graves – past, present and future.

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