Official 9-11 Misrepresentations Reclaiming Our Voice and Liberties
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."--Hermann Goering, April 18, 1946 
In the early 1960s, the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff (America's top military leaders) drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba. The declassified TOP SECRET fifteen-page document was made available at the National Security Archive website on 30 April 2001. The introductory text to this document, "Pentagon Proposed Pretexts for Cuba Invasion in 1962," is at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/20010430/ and is reproduced here:
"In his new exposé of the National Security Agency entitled Body of Secrets, author James Bamford highlights a set of proposals on Cuba by the Joint Chiefs of Staff codenamed OPERATION NORTHWOODS. This document, titled `Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba' was provided by the JCS to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962, as the key component of Northwoods. Written in response to a request from the Chief of the Cuba Project, Col. Edward Lansdale, the Top Secret memorandum describes U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. These proposals -- part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose -- included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United States, developing a fake `Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington,' including `sink[ing] a boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated),' faking a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a `Remember the Maine' incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage. Bamford himself writes that Operation Northwoods `may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.'"
"Friendly Fire", a 1 May 2001 ABCNEWS.com article, describes how the plans defined in OPERATION NORTHWOODS "were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's . . . Fidel Castro."  The article observed that "Ironically, the documents came to light . . . in part because of the 1992 Oliver Stone film JFK, which examined the possibility of a conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy. As public interest in the assassination swelled after JFK's release, Congress passed a law designed to increase the public's access to government records related to the assassination." The law was the JFK Records Act, which has released over six million files, the largest release of classified documents in American history.
Secrecy and unaccountability are two sides of the same coin. At the heart of this story is the fact that secrecy and democratic governance cannot long exist side-by-side. People who occupy positions of authority and whose decisions and activities are shielded from public scrutiny and evaluation, are seduced by the belief that they alone know what is best for the rest of us. As historian Lord Acton pointed out, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
Bamford points out in the "Friendly Fire" article that "[t]he whole point of a democracy is to have leaders responding to the public will, and here this is the complete reverse, the military trying to trick the American people into a war that they want but that nobody else wants." The article describes an unthinkable scenario of deception carried out against the United States civilian population by its own military leaders.
"America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: `We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,' and, `casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.' . . .
"The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years.
"`These were Joint Chiefs of Staff documents. The reason these were held secret for so long is the Joint Chiefs never wanted to give these up because they were so embarrassing,' Bamford told ABCNEWS.com. . . . .
"Afraid of a congressional investigation, Lemnitzer had ordered all Joint Chiefs documents related to the Bay of Pigs destroyed, says Bamford. But somehow, these remained. `The scary thing is none of this stuff comes out until 40 years after,' says Bamford." 
Bamford sanitizes history when he claims the JCS desired to cloak the Northwoods documents because they were embarrassing. The Joint Chiefs of Staff engaged in treasonous acts when they crafted this exercise in state-sponsored terrorism against their own people. Their objective was to manipulate the public's perception to unleash aggressive war against a tiny country 90 miles offshore. What exists today in our government's institutionalized system of secrecy that may only be revealed forty years from now? What documents now exist that may be completely destroyed before ever seeing the light of day?
Before 9-11, the Bush II administration operated under a cloud of illegitimacy because of its actions during the aborted 2000 Presidential election. Two components made this happen: the anti-democratic commandeering of the corrupted voting process in the key state of Florida  and the improper actions warranting censure of five U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Before 9-11 there was no political mandate to lead our government when devastating violence was visited upon key symbols of U.S. economic and military control.
Bush II intentionally chose to mislabel the 9-11 bombings as an act of war to justify initiating lengthy, large scale, and open-ended wars rather than treat the events of September 11 as a crime to be addressed through legal means. By rejecting the latter course, and truly seek a redress of grievances, the opportunity to alter the vicious spiral of violence, inflamed by the long-term pursuit of U.S. global economic and military domination, was squandered. Instead of embarking on a methodical and thorough investigation to determine who was responsible for these horrendous crimes against humanity, destructive and violent hi-tech warfare was used to kill thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan. An investigation could be done through the creation of an ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal to try these criminals on charges of mass murder, applicable under existing international laws.
As Hasan Abu Nimah wrote recently,
"Instead of taking Sept. 11 as the long awaited wake-up call, the US administration inconsiderately eliminated any possible advantage and quickly resorted to the old style of handling a major world crisis and a devastating national tragedy -- by imposing hegemony, pursuing short-sighted goals, and settling old scores.
"This is consolidating, rather than alleviating the bitterness and vast fears which many believed were behind the culture of hate and vindictiveness that produced the brutal September attacks.
"Two significant blunders seriously compromised the American effort. One was US submission to Israeli pressure advocating that any Palestinian or Arab action resisting or opposing the continued Israeli occupation of Arab lands, should be put on the list of targets. The other was the frenzied calls for an attack on Iraq with the declared intention of bringing down Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's regime." 
Bush II deliberately chose to further confuse the situation by mislabeling the perpetrators as terrorists. Since there is no internationally agreed upon definition of terrorism, this decision increased the complexity and ambiguity of the situation and decreased the likelihood of it being successfully resolved.
The cynical way these people have taken advantage of the 9-11 bombings is not surprising, given the pervasive contempt Bush II has repeatedly expressed for the foundations and rule of international law and the U.S. constitutional system. Bush II has exploited people's fears, grief, distress, and the desire to see true justice and reconciliation established, to pursue other goals that serve the interests of those now illegitimately holding political power in the U.S.
The Quaker lobbying group, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), is a member of The Religious Society of Friends. Quakers are religious witnesses for peace going back to 1660. They represent a genuine and inclusive expression of the yearnings of people throughout the world to peacefully co-exist. This is in stark contrast to the incoherent thinking, speaking and acting on behalf of the interests Bush II represents. It is critical to re-emphasize the FCNL's understanding that the true danger we face is the threat from within:
"Violent acts such as occurred on September 11 must be addressed. However, it is not those acts that pose the greatest threat to U.S. society. Rather, the threat will come and is already coming from elected officials carrying out their lawful duties. . . . The events of September 11, as destructive as they were, did not constitute an act of war directed against the U.S. by another nation. . . . The greatest threat to the continued existence of a free and democratic U.S. will not come from al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein. Rather, it will come from U.S. leaders who are willing to sacrifice those values to achieve other goals." 
What are the fundamental interests of the people at the top of the hierarchy now occupying the Executive Branch of the United States government? Bush II has the distinction in the 2002 Guinness Book of World Records of being the most devoted representative yet of corporate interests in the Oval Office:
"George W. Bush (inaugurated as the 43rd US president on January 20, 2001) has assembled the wealthiest cabinet in American history by appointing more multi millionaires to the top rank of his government than any of his predecessors. Of the 16 full government members at the heart of the Bush administration, 13 are multimillionaires, seven of them own assets more than $10 million. His cabinet has acquired the nickname `tycoon's club.' Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill each have declared assets of at last $61 million, while Secretary of State Colin Powell has a least $18 million." 
"The Bush Administration - Corporate Connections" (opensecrets.org) provides a corporate connections profile for most of the Bush II cabinet. As the above points out, "As the first president to have an MBA, Bush has surrounded himself with people with similar (and more successful) corporate backgrounds. Vice President Dick Cheney was, until last year, the CEO of Halliburton, the world's largest oil field services company. Halliburton, through its European subsidiaries, sold spare parts to Iraq's oil industry, despite U.N. sanctions."
Condoleezza Rice sat on the board of Chevron for ten years (her assets totaled 250,000 shares ) between her prior 1990-91 position in Bush I's NSC (specializing in Soviet foreign relations) and her current promotion as Bush II's National Security Advisor. What conflict-of-interest is presented by her advising the office of the Chief Executive of the United States on matters pertaining to national security with the financial interests she has had with Chevron and her on-going connections in maximizing the profits of Chevron and the other giants of the U.S. oil industry?
In August 2000 on Fox News Sunday, Rice commented on her experience with Chevron: "I'm very proud of my association with Chevron, and I think we should be very proud of the job that American oil companies are doing in exploration abroad, in exploration at home, and in making certain that we have a safe energy supply." What does having such a "safe energy" supply cost us? An example can be found in Nigeria, where for over a decade oil multinationals have been accused of complicity in human rights abuses at the hands of the military and mobile police. In one instance, Chevron is facing suit in U.S. federal court as a result of two attacks on civilians.
The financial conflicts-of-interest people in Bush II have with the corporate interests they are associated with is a fundamental indicator of the degree of corporate governance our society is now dominated by. Editors and publishers who ignore and obscure this situation perform the greatest disservice to the majority of people in the world who aspire to the same ideals and dreams of those in 1700s North America who challenged the European monarchistic worldview and revolted against that system of authority to establish the United States of America.
The only interests corporate executives are mandated to serve are those that financially benefit their stockholders. Morals and ethics play no part in such enterprises. The Bush II corporate executives favor the interests of the corporations on which boards they have served, in which they have significant financial interests, and whose purposes and objectives they share and promote. These people are now attempting to manage the United States the way lesser mortals manage individual transnational corporations. To expect other than this from such beholden people is unreasonable and irrational.
The allegiance of the people comprising Bush II is devoted to implementing and expanding systems of corporate governance, both in the worlds of finance as well as politics, where the wholesale embrace of central planning and control is an underlying constant. The hostile takeover corporate mentality of the 1980s and 90s now directs the aggressive government we see moving to militarily and economically secure global control. It operates on the basis of amorally and assertively managing perceptions as it manipulates and manages crisis after crisis. This manipulation began with the crisis of illegitimacy during the Presidential election of November 2000, and has moved through and beyond the world-changing watershed crisis of 9-11.
The increasingly arrogant and bellicose demand for endless war being pursued by Bush II is not unique to the post-9-11 world. The call has been made previously for an imperial America to openly embrace the global pursuit of empire. An August 2001 article in the Washington Post, "Empire or Not? A Quiet Debate Over U.S. Role"  describes "[t]he leading advocate of this idea of enforcing a new `Pax Americana' [being] Thomas Donnelly, deputy executive director of the Project for the New American Century, a Washington think tank that advocates a vigorous, expansionistic Reaganite foreign policy." This month, an article by Matthew Riemer entitled "America's war on the world"  describes a September 2000 report that Donnelly was the primary author of titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century."  Says Riemer,
"Donnelly previously wrote a piece called `The past as prologue: an imperial manual' for Foreign Affairs in which he concludes: `the United States may find itself with little alternative to waging ``the savage wars of peace''.' . . .
"[T]he report is noteworthy for the remarkable exuberance displayed towards unchecked militarism and the concept of Pax Americana; moreover, it highlights the desire and the will of a broad and politically significant cross-section of the Washington elite to truly carry out what many might dismissingly label as think-tank pipe dreams. Furthermore, because of the presence of important Bush administration figures, there's no reason to doubt that such ideology as espoused by this document is not the sine qua non of current foreign policy.
"Here are some of the report's highlights . . . : the `unification' of the Korean peninsula; continued nuclear proliferation, accompanied by a first-strike mentality; continued development of chemical and biological weapons; increases of up to $20 billion on defense annually; the ability to wage war in two major theatres at once and be victorious; increased troop proliferation in Southeast Asia; the establishment of permanent military facilities in Southeast Asia and Southeast Europe; obtaining complete control of both space and `cyberspace'; regardless of Saddam Hussein or Iran, the permanent and increased presence of American military in the Persian Gulf." 
The September 2000 "Rebuilding America's Defenses" report declares that its legacy is predicated upon a 1992 document by the Defense Department:
"In broad terms, we saw the project [for the New American Century] as building upon the defense strategy outlined by the Cheney Defense Department in the waning days of the [George Herbert Walker] Bush Administration. The Defense Policy Guidance (DPG) drafted in the early months of 1992 provided a blueprint for maintaining U.S. preeminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests. Leaked before it had been formally approved, the document was criticized as an effort by "cold warriors" to keep defense spending high and cuts in forces small despite the collapse of the Soviet Union; not surprisingly, it was subsequently buried by the new administration." 
The crimes against humanity of one year ago have been used to justify and actively embark upon a virtual declaration of war on the world by America. Fighting "savage wars of peace" operating from a declared "first-strike mentality" stance, is confirmed this September 20th in the New York Times with, "Bush Unveils Global Doctrine of First Strikes."  The most current version of the government document entitled "The National Security Strategy of the United States,"  has just been released by Bush II. Writing on September 21st, Roland Watson of the UK Times asserts that "Military Supremacy at Heart of Bush Strategy." 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman analyses more of the background for this in his 9/29/02 article "The president's real goal in Iraq." Bookman's account provides more details to understand the legacy of what we are dealing with.
"The official story on Iraq has never made sense. . . . The pieces just didn't fit. . . . In recent days, those missing pieces have finally begun to fall into place. . . . This war, should it come, is intended to mark the official emergence of the United States as a full-fledged global empire, seizing sole responsibility and authority as planetary policeman. It would be the culmination of a plan 10 years or more in the making, carried out by those who believe the United States must seize the opportunity for global domination, even if it means becoming the `American imperialists' that our enemies always claimed we were.
"Once that is understood, other mysteries solve themselves. For example, why does the administration seem unconcerned about an exit strategy from Iraq once Saddam is toppled? Because we won't be leaving. Having conquered Iraq, the United States will create permanent military bases in that country from which to dominate the Middle East, including neighboring Iran. . . .
"And why has the administration dismissed the option of containing and deterring Iraq, as we had the Soviet Union for 45 years? Because even if it worked, containment and deterrence would not allow the expansion of American power. Besides, they are beneath us as an empire. Rome did not stoop to containment; it conquered. And so should we. . . .
"More specifically, they argue that we need permanent military bases in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in Latin America and in Southeast Asia, where no such bases now exist. That helps to explain another of the mysteries of our post-Sept. 11 reaction, in which the Bush administration rushed to install U.S. troops in Georgia and the Philippines, as well as our eagerness to send military advisers to assist in the civil war in Colombia.
"The [Rebuilding America's Defenses] 2000 report directly acknowledges its debt to a still earlier document, drafted in 1992 by the Defense Department. That document had also envisioned the United States as a colossus astride the world, imposing its will and keeping world peace through military and economic power. When leaked in final draft form, however, the proposal drew so much criticism that it was hastily withdrawn and repudiated by the first President Bush.
"The defense secretary in 1992 was Richard Cheney; the document was drafted by [deputy defense secretary Paul] Wolfowitz, who at the time was defense undersecretary for policy.
"The potential implications of a Pax Americana are immense.
"One is the effect on our allies. Once we assert the unilateral right to act as the world's policeman, our allies will quickly recede into the background. Eventually, we will be forced to spend American wealth and American blood protecting the peace while other nations redirect their wealth to such things as health care for their citizenry. . . .
"`You saw the movie ``High Noon''? . . . We're Gary Cooper.'
"Accepting the Cooper role would be an historic change in who we are as a nation, and in how we operate in the international arena. Candidate Bush certainly did not campaign on such a change. It is not something that he or others have dared to discuss honestly with the American people. To the contrary, in his foreign policy debate with Al Gore, Bush pointedly advocated a more humble foreign policy, a position calculated to appeal to voters leery of military intervention. . . .
"Are peace and security best achieved by seeking strong alliances and international consensus, led by the United States? Or is it necessary to take a more unilateral approach, accepting and enhancing the global dominance that, according to some, history has thrust upon us?
"If we do decide to seize empire, we should make that decision knowingly, as a democracy. The price of maintaining an empire is always high. Kagan and others argue that the price of rejecting it would be higher still.
"That's what this is about." 
Bush II intends to take the United Nations and all other nations to a lawless world of endless wars where the rule of law is to be replaced with the rule of the fist -- of who can hit hardest, to savagely strike for peace. Who benefits by replacing the present day rule of law with its might-makes-right historical precursor?
Since the U.S. declaration of the global war on terrorism, other countries have followed suit, claiming the right to strike first. India and Pakistan have now come the closest of any two countries since October 1962 to igniting a nuclear conflagration. They have imitated the U.S. justification of an unrestrained right to hunt down and kill so-called terrorists, to attack any nation protecting so-called terrorists, acting unilaterally and not consulting the United Nations, while not presenting any verifiable facts to support claims that given targets are so-called terrorists.
Beyond India and Pakistan, governments across the globe have used the war on terrorism as an excuse to step up domestic repression of their own people. This past summer Amnesty International published an extensive 44 country evaluation, "Charting the `War on Terrorism'", in which, "[f]rom Australia to Zimbabwe, using new laws and old-fashioned brute force, governments are sacrificing human rights on the altar of antiterrorism." The analysis includes "Responses to Terrorism" an extensive PDF world map listing 17 issues of concerns to human rights organizations under the headings of Antiterrorism legislation, Extra-legal action, and Status of legislation.
The ultimate enemy that was communism, occupying a position of preeminence for more than four decades, has now been fully supplanted by the equally supreme threat of terrorism. However today, there is no agreement on exactly what is the definition of terrorism. In 1955 Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty was assigned to the Pentagon to help write the formal paper, "Military Support of the Clandestine Operations of the United States Government." For the next eight years he operated the Pentagon Focal Point Office for the CIA implementing the day-to-day business of providing logistical support to U.S. covert operations worldwide based upon the procedures defined in the above paper. Years after he retired from the Air Force, Prouty wrote about how people in the United States created a Manichaean Devil to justify spending $6 trillion on the Cold War:
"Those who believed that our only road to salvation lay in greater stockpiling of atomic bombs . . . began to create the idea of the `enemy threat.' . . . The things that have been done since that period in the name of `anti-enemy' would make a list that in dollars alone would have paid for all the costs of civilization up to that time, with money to spare.
"Such an enemy is not unknown. Man has feared this type of enemy before. It is a human, and more than that, it is a social trait, to dread the unknown enemy. This enemy is defined in one context as the Manichaean Devil. Norbert Weiner says, `The Manichaean devil is an opponent, like any other opponent, who is determined on victory and will use any trick of craftiness or dissimulation to obtain this victory. In particular, he will keep his policy of confusion secret, and if we show any signs of beginning to discover his policy, he will change it in order to keep us in the dark.' The great truth about this type of enemy is that he is stronger when he is imagined and feared than when he is real. One of man's greatest sources of fear is lack of information. To live effectively one must have adequate information." 
Today, Bush II frightens people by claiming Saddam is developing weapons of mass destruction. Yet Bush Jr. did not present incontestible evidence of this when he spoke at the U.N. this month as U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson did in 1962 when there were nuclear missile silos being constructed in Cuba. Contrast this with nations like India, Pakistan and Israel that do have these weapons and threaten to use them. The most significant issue of all is the fact that the United States has the largest number and variety of weapons of mass destruction, and has now openly declared it will use them whenever it chooses. And recall that the U.S. has rejected a legally-binding system of United Nations inspections of suspected U.S. biological weapons facilities while simultaneously, in direct violation of the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the U.S. is actively pushing for offensive biological weapons development.
Last May James Carroll wrote about "America the Fearful". The former priest, playwright, novelist, and columnist explored the dynamic of how our growing power escalates our sense of fear.
"The war on terrorism is not the only manifestation of heightened levels of our national fear. This week Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin will sign an arms reduction treaty that includes a US-sponsored provision allowing for the indefinite mothballing of thousands of disarmed nuclear weapons. Notice this: The United States, breaking with the primordial assumption of nuclear arms control, is now saying that the overkill supply of warheads must be preserved against future threats -- as yet entirely unimagined. . . . In one stroke, Bush has taken us from `reduction' to `storage.' He has reversed the most positive foreign policy track of our lifetimes, and he has done it out of fear.
"Here is the irony: The surest way to make the world an even more dangerous place is to posit danger as the most important thing about it. This week's treaty is the clearest case in point. America's determination to preserve thousands of excess nuclear warheads means that now Russia, despite its firm preference for elimination, will certainly preserve them as well.
"And what will happen over time to those warheads? When the urgency of keeping such material out of the hands of rogue elements is clear, the American move away from full elimination of nukes, especially in Russia, makes no sense. But that very irrationality is the revelation.
"We are like a nation that has had a psychological break and is descending into rank paranoia. The destruction of the twin towers shows that there are things to be afraid of, but our government's mad responses are making us more vulnerable to such things, not less.
"The `war on terrorism' has strengthened the hand of those who hate America. The US example of `overwhelming force' has pushed the Middle East into the abyss and has dragged India-Pakistan to its edge. The only real protections against cross-border terrorism are international structures of criminal justice like the recently established International Criminal Court, yet an `unsigning' United States slaps the court down with contempt.
". . . The president's rejection, in principle, of arms `reduction' could seem to serve his larger political and economic purpose of restoring the American war industry to its place of preeminence. The president and his closest advisers, in other words, could be cynically exaggerating threats to our national security for their narrow purposes.
"But it may be worse than that. The shape of their dread is useful to them in these ways, but, also, like the mentally disturbed, they seem convinced that any danger they imagine is real. Our nation is being led by men and women who are at the mercy of their fears. That they work hard to keep the American people afraid might seem to suggest that they want merely to deflect any second-guessing about the course they have set, but in fact our fear reinforces theirs.
"Fear has become Washington's absolute and is shaping its every response to the future. America is being led by cowards." 
The promotion and encouragement of fear forms the core of the Bush II agenda since 9-11. Whether the United States is currently being ruled by people who are cynically exaggerating threats to our security for their own narrow purposes, or, like the mentally disturbed they are convinced that any danger they imagine is real, we are, like Europeans in 1936, following the dictates of Bush II who proceeds "with the assurance of a sleepwalker"; that is, Bush II is not conscious of where it is going, and by its actions it does not see the approaching holocaust it is fomenting. Today, England's Labour MP Tam Dalyell states "We are sleep-walking to disaster" in the "most dangerous crisis since Cuba." 
The danger confronting us has occurred because of our fearful acceptance of what has been done in our name with the military power of our government prior to 9-11 and since. While it may be difficult to acknowledge the costs to maintain our way of life, this does not alter our responsibility to do so. We must face squarely the fact that we consume a great deal more than our share of earth's resources.
What does war cost? What does war produce? Who benefits from war? Major General Smedley Butler (USMC), twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor (1914, 1917) and the Distinguished service medal (1919), spoke from experience in 1933 about how war is just a racket.
"I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
". . . I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. . . . I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. . . .
"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
"During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents." 
One way to gauge the cost of our lifestyle is use the Ecological Footprint Calculator, provided by Redefining Progress. This web utility asks twelve questions to assess one's use of nature. A question for most of us who use the calculator is "How many planets would we need if everyone was to live like me?" Just as adolescent humans must come to the point where they must accept responsibility for their actions to grow into healthy, mature adults, so must our adolescent culture. We must grow up as a society, and accept responsibility for the consequences of what has been, and continues being done, in our name. As mature beings, our choice is between the furtherance of the moral imperative to love and respect thy neighbor or continue down the suicidal path we are being urged to follow by those who are acting out their unconscious, immature yearnings for control and power.
The human behavior exhibited by Bush II and the interests these people represent, most resembles the attributes of an adolescent person: aggressive actions hiding a lack of self-confidence; short-sightedness; ignorance of other cultures and beliefs motivated by fear; egocentricity; the stubborn rejection of criticism, and the obnoxious and reckless misuse of information and insecure excuses for one's behaviour. These behavioral characteristics are offset and tempered by adults who encourage, balance, and teach the adolescent about the limits and constraints all human beings must confront and assimilate.
Today, physically mature adults with demonstrably pronounced adolescent attitudes are running the United States government. They operate in a way that will surely spell suicide for our society and very possibly the entire planet. We must challenge their childish claim to supreme hegemony. Consider this 9/27/02 story from a Pakistan news company:
"The United States should maintain its military superiority in the world and keep other nations from challenging it because it is `a very special country,' a top White House official said late Wednesday.
"`The United States is a very special country in that when we maintain this position of military strength that we have now, we do it in support of a balance of power that favors freedom,' said national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, appearing on PBS's `The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer' program.
"She made the comment as she defended a new United States national security strategy that was unveiled last Friday and that lays the foundation for preemptive military strikes. The strategy also declares that Washington will not allow any other country to attain military superiority or even parity with the United States.
"The document has been roundly criticized at home and abroad as a claim to United States dominance in the world. Rice said that in its quest to maintain its current military status, the United States did not want to act alone and welcomed military contributions from other like-minded states.
"`But if it comes to allowing another adversary to reach military parity with the United States in the way that the Soviet Union did, no, the United States does not intend to allow that to happen,' the national security adviser said.
"`Because when that happens, there will not be a balance of power that favors freedom,' she stressed. `There will be a balance of power that keeps part of the world in tyranny the way that the Soviet Union did.' the national security adviser said." 
The worldview expressed above by the National Security Advisor of the United States is astonishing in its twisted simplicity: because the U.S. is "a very special country", it should maintain its military superiority over the rest of the world. This imperious mentality is commonly expressed in children's circular reasoning; e.g., because I am good, I can do whatever I want. The puerile claim that the United States will maintain global military superiority to support a balance of power that favors freedom is as dangerous as it is absurd. What balances the over-arching one-sided imperial hegemony the U.S. now asserts its singular right to? Bush II's insistence that the U.S. can, for the first time in its history, wage aggressive, pre-emptive war when it decides the time is right is adolescent: impulsively arrogant, self-serving, and dictatorial.
There is nothing balanced about acting unilaterally or rejecting an entire body of world law painstakingly crafted as a response to the past's might-makes-right barbarism. To assert that a single country can unilaterally decide for the world where tyranny is to be forcibly overthrown denies the reality that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Bush II pretends it is capable of rendering supreme, impartial judgement on the rest of the world's behalf. This dazzling array of hubris is the same deadly mixture that destroyed Greek civilization.
Bush II claims it is ready to assume the title of supreme arbiter of all conflict and that the U.S. alone knows best how to dispense freedom. What arbiter of freedom would intentionally plan the destruction of an entire country's civilian water supply?  What arbiter of freedom justifies the death of thousands of Iraqi children each month since 1991?  What arbiter of freedom increases the disrespect for and degradation of the freedoms and liberties of Americans? Congressional Representative Ron Paul points out the sham of the "USA PATRIOT Act" and how this legislation is destroying what Bush II claims to be championing.
"`This legislation wouldn't have made any difference in stopping the Sept. 11 attacks,' he says. `Therefore, giving up our freedoms to get more security when they can't prove it will do so makes no sense. I seriously believe this is a violation of our liberties. After all, a lot of this stuff in the bill has to do with finances, search warrants and arrests.'
"For the most part, continues Paul, `our rights have been eroded as much by our courts as they have been by Congress. Whether it's Congress being willing to give up its prerogatives on just about everything to deliver them to an administration that develops new and bigger agencies, or whether it's the courts, there's not enough wariness of the slippery slope and insufficient respect and love of liberty.'
"What does Paul believe the nation's Founding Fathers would think of this law? `Our forefathers would think it's time for a revolution. This is why they revolted in the first place.' Says Paul with a laugh, `They revolted against much more mild oppression.'" 
The nonviolent stand of people challenging the growing tide of authoritarian repression in America is increasingly necessary. In Portland, Oregon, on August 22nd, thousands of protestors assembled outside the Hilton Hotel where Bush Jr. was attending a political fundraiser. Eyewitness accounts from the streets of Portland describe a terrifyingly violent response from the police to a protest by peacefully assembled American citizens.
"The protesters responded by hammering on the hoods of police cars and screaming, `We are not the enemy!' . . . The streets of Portland were filled on August 22nd by average American citizens seeking to inform the President of their disfavor regarding the manner in which he is governing their country. They were rewarded with the business end of a billy club, a face-full of pepper spray, and the jarring impact of a rubber bullet.
"If America needed one more example of the cancer that has been chewing through the guts of our most basic freedoms since Mr. Bush assumed office, they can look to Portland. The right to freely assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances has been rescinded at the point of a gun.
"The imperative is clear. Such violence by the authorities cannot go unchallenged. The next time Mr. Bush appears in public, there must be even more concerned Americans to greet him. They must face the baton and the pepper spray, they must stare into the shielded faces of the police, and they must stand in non-violent disobedience of the idea that they are not allowed to be there. The men and women who faced the brunt of police fury in Portland are to be lauded as American patriots, and their actions must be duplicated by us all. The groups which organized this protest, and the ones to come, deserve our praise." 
In the 1960 Presidential primary, John Kennedy spoke to the question of what do we honor and what do we stand for in our lives today? What value do we give to the millions of Americans who have fought and died and lived for this country to keep alive the promise and the hope of the Bill of Rights and our constitutional liberties?
"And I want to be sure that we haven't lost something important in this country. That we haven't gone soft. That we don't have so many cars and ice boxes and television sets that we just look to our own private interests and not the welfare of the country.
"We who sit here today are the beneficiaries of millions of Americans who have fought and died and lived for this country to make it what it is. I will describe to you only one of them.
"A young American, who was taken prisoner in the Korean war, was brought out in front of his comrades and he was asked by his Chinese captors, what he thought of General George C. Marshall. `Genearal George C. Marshall,' he said, `is a great American.'
"Immediately he was hit by the butt of a rifle and knocked to the ground. And he picked himself up and they asked him the same question, `What do you think of George C. Marshall?' He said, `I think General George C. Marshall is a great American.'
"This time there was no rifle butt. They had classified him and found that he had courage. And the question is where are all of us as Americans, and as a nation, going to be when we are asked to step out and say what we stand for?" 
Have we become sufficiently co-opted by the addictive lures of consumerism, corporate profit, and the false claim that what is now being implemented is done in our name and is for our own good and benefit? Will we consent to being passive witnesses to the destruction of the principles and foundations on which this country was established? As it has been for every person in previous generations, the choice is still there for us to make. Our responsibility as active aware citizens of this world is to act on what our consciences inform us to be right and true. As active aware citizens we need to augment our perspectives by thoroughly examining all the information available to us. (See the end of Domestic Terrorism: The Big Lie section listing additional sources of information.)
Hermann Goering's statement at the beginning of this section, that the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders, must continually be revisited if we are to remain vigilant about the exercise of power for destructive purposes. Paul Wolf points out the historical significance of the defining moment in the Nazi regime's rise to power and the results that ensued from that seminal event.
"The rise of the Nazi Party in Germany can be traced to February 27, 1933. Someone had set fire to the German Reichstag building, the house of the parliament. Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch Communist, was found at the scene. Adolph Hitler quickly seized on the opportunity, and directed the outrage of the wounded German people against their already imagined enemies -- the Communists and and Jews. Van der Lubbe was convicted, civil rights were suspended, and Hitler took power shortly thereafter.
"Historians disagree as to whether the Nazis deliberately burned down the Reichstag, or whether they just took advantage of the situation. But does it really matter? We become mesmerized by these historical questions. But in retrospect, it's apparent that the real issue was the rise of fascism in Germany, not determining who was really responsible for the Reichstag fire." 
Last January, both Dick Cheney and Bush Jr. asked Senate Majority Leader Daschle to limit any congressional investigation into the events of 9-11 because, as Cheney said, "a review of what happened on September 11 would take resources and personnel away from the effort in the war on terrorism."  In the history of the United States, the ferocity of destruction on September 11th was unprecedented. Since Bush II chose to represent the 9-11 bombings as an act of war and not as a crime against humanity, it is doubly suspect that Cheney claims the demands of this contrived war on terrorism take precedence over conducting a thorough investigation of that unique day's events. In April, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney questioned the purpose of Bush II's drive to prevent a thorough investigation of 9-11:
"We deserve to know what went wrong on September 11 and why. After all, we hold thorough public inquiries into rail disasters, plane crashes, and even natural disasters in order to understand what happened and to prevent them from happening again or minimizing the tragic effects when they do. Why then does the Administration remain steadfast in its opposition to an investigation into the biggest terrorism attack upon our nation? . . .
"I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case. For example, it is known that President Bush's father, through the Carlyle Group had -- at the time of the attacks -- joint business interests with the bin Laden construction company and many defense industry holdings, the stocks of which, have soared since September 11.
On the other hand, what is undeniable is that corporations close to the Administration, have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of September 11. The Carlyle Group, DynCorp, and Halliburton certainly stand out as companies close to this Administration. Secretary Rumsfeld maintained in a hearing before Congress that we can afford the new spending, even though the request for more defense spending is the highest increase in twenty years and the Pentagon has lost $2.3 trillion.
All the American people are being asked to make sacrifices. Our young men and women in the military are being asked to risk their lives in our War Against Terrorism while our President's first act was to sign an executive order denying them high deployment overtime pay. The American people are being asked to make sacrifices by bearing massive budget cuts in the social welfare of our country, in the areas of health care, social security, and civil liberties for our enhanced military and security needs arising from the events of September 11; it is imperative that they know fully why we make the sacrifices. If the Secretary of Defense tells us that his new military objectives must be to occupy foreign capital cities and overthrow regimes, then the American people must know why. It should be easy for this Administration to explain fully to the American people in a thorough and methodical way why we are being asked to make these sacrifices and if, indeed, these sacrifices will make us more secure. If the Administration cannot articulate these answers to the American people, then the Congress must.
This is not a time for closed-door meetings and this is not a time for se crecy. America's credibility, both with the world and with her own people, rests upon securing credible answers to these questions. The world is teetering on the brink of conflicts while the Administration's policies are vague, wavering and unclear. Major financial conflicts of interest involving the President, the Attorney General, the Vice President and others in the Administration have been and continue to be exposed. " 
The intention to limit and control the investigation of the historically unprecedented bombings on United States soil is entirely consistent with the misrepresentations and obfuscations fomented and directed by Bush II. Historian Robert Conot wrote about the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in his book Justice at Nuremberg. His assessment of Hitler's understanding and use of the "big lie" is timeless in its relevance. How power can corrupt and how unaccountable power can pervert a free and open society, is the paramount issue we must address while there is time to exercise any of the constitutional rights we claim are still ours.
"Hitler's dictum that `the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people . . . more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one' has once more come into vogue.
"The most effective means to combat such distortions is to make the facts accessible, and, with them, expose the statements for what they are. At Nuremberg, General Telford Taylor, the prosecutor of more war criminals than any other man, said: `We cannot here make history over again. But we can see that it is written true.'" 
Today, making the facts about 9-11 accessible to all our human family is how we can reclaim our world and renew our hope for ourselves and each other. The misrepresentations, omissions, and deceptions described above, that have defined the Bush II agenda since 9-11 occurred, are summarized in the following list.
- The 9-11 bombings were a crime against humanity of mass murder of civilians. Bush II intentionally chose to misrepresent these crimes as an act of war, rejecting legal remedies, and pursuing wars that they claim may never end, at least not in our lifetime.
- The evidence, as presented to the world, claiming Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9-11 bombings would not stand up in a court of law.
- The real reason Bush II is sabotaging the International Criminal Court is that senior officials fear prosecution for their criminal conspiracy to conduct a war of aggression.
- The 1/8/02 Bush II Nuclear Posture Review, ordering the Pentagon to draw up war plans for the first-use of nuclear weapons, constitutes a Nuremberg Crime against Peace by "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances."
- Since 1991, a World Trade Center's worth of Iraqi children have died every month as a direct result of U.S. policies. Bush II only mentions the loss of American lives on the single day of 9-11-01.
- The United States has rejected a legally-binding system of United Nations inspections of suspected U.S. biological weapons facilities while at the same time accusing other countries -- including Iraq -- of developing biological weapons. Simultaneously, the United States armed forces, in direct violation of the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, is actively pushing for offensive biological weapons development, despite the fact such activity is illegal and subject to federal criminal and civil penalties.
- The October 2001 "USA PATRIOT Act" is turning the U.S. into a permanent police state. It vastly expands the structures of government secrecy and surveillance, utterly relinquishes any semblance of due process, categorically violates the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments, and unacceptably mixes aspects of criminal investigations with aspects of immigration and foreign intelligence laws, while it simultaneously extinguishes the accountability of elected and non-elected government officials.
- The creation of the Department of Homeland Security, representing the biggest government reorganization since the establishment of the Department of Defense in the 1940s, will further erode if not overturn the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 which has kept the U.S. military out of local law enforcement for more than a century.
- Attorney General Ashcroft, the leading law enforcement officer of the land, is mounting a series of assaults on the United States Bill of Rights that deny a host of constitutional liberties to U.S. citizens, as well as preparation on many fronts for the imposition of martial law and the creation of internment camps for enemy citizens of Ashcroft's choosing.
- Bush II's war on terrorism is founded on political deceptions and deceits directed at the civilian population of the United States. These include omissions that supposed enemies like Al Qaeda are categorized as U.S. intelligence assets and that the Islamic Brigades are a creation of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- A broad range of data and sources indicate the United States has planned for war in Asia long before 9/11. The beneficiaries and proponents of such military campaigns include U.S. oil corporations, the interests of which are well-represented in Bush II.
- Given all indications from the four commercial airliner's timeline sequences on 9-11, there was a stand down of defensive U.S. Air Force response. United States military and/or civilian incompetence or complicity is the only rational explanation for this situation.
- Bush Jr. and Cheney have expressly asked Senate Majority Leader Daschle to limit any congressional investigation into 9-11 because, as Cheney said, "a review of what happened on September 11 would take resources and personnel away from the effort in the war on terrorism."
Nat Hentoff described former Congressman Don Edwards as a soldier of the Constitution (above). Of the group of authentic contemporary American patriots who truly walk their talk, Don Edwards stands out. The contrast between Edwards' worldview and that of General Ashcroft is especially striking.
"Characteristically, Edwards, though respected even by his opponents in Congress, refused a repeated request that he join the Intelligence Committee. He said that the people's business should be done in public, and through his influence in the House he blocked various expansions of unreviewable intelligence-authorization powers."
We need structures of governance where the people's business is conducted in public. Creating more government by secrecy will not resolve the conflicts that engendered the 9-11 bombings. Unaccountable power will only accelerate the slide into the abyss and guarantee oblivion and non-existence for all. There are a number of people in the Congress of the United States who strive to keep the legacy of people like Don Edwards alive including Congresspersons Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Ron Paul, John Conyers, and Senator Russ Feingold.
Historian Arthur Schlesinger, special assistant to President Kennedy, in August articulated the understanding of people everywhere when he said, "Unilateral preventive war is neither legitimate nor moral. It is illegitimate and immoral. For more than 200 years we have not been that kind of country."  Notwithstanding the current low ebb in our system of governance, all people in the United States possess the greatest power on earth to stand up for what their conscience calls for, and demand our government act in accordance with our values and beliefs.
One person can make such a difference with the light of their conscience and devotion to open government and an informed and free society. A standout is Representative Henry Gonzalez's efforts (in 1991 and 1992) to inform people about more of the facts surrounding the 1991 Gulf War. An archive of the Congressional Record during these two years reminds us how deeply the conflicts-of-interest of elected and appointed government officials can run. These records are of supreme value as we are poised on the brink of possibly committing yet another crime against humanity by waging aggressive war on Iraq.
Martin Luther King spoke so presciently in 1967 in his Beyond Vietnam speech. Substitute "Terrorism" for "Communism" and "Iraqi" for "Vietnamese" in the following, and ponder anew the true costs and consequences of seeking a Pax Americana and invading Iraq.
"This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:
``Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the hearts of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.'' . . .
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. . . .
"War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and, through their misguided passions, urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. . . .
"We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate." 
As an example of critical information omitted from our headlines was that on 8 December 1999, a Memphis Tennessee jury found that "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a conspiracy that included agencies of his own government." Speaking at the family press conference the next day, Coretta Scott King said,
"There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the civil court's unanimous verdict has validated our belief. I wholeheartedly applaud the verdict of the jury and I feel that justice has been well served in their deliberations. This verdict is not only a great victory for my family, but also a great victory for America. It is a great victory for truth itself. . . . I want to make it clear that my family has no interest in retribution. Instead, our sole concern has been that the full truth of the assassination has been revealed and adjudicated in a court of law. As we pursued this case, some wondered why we would spend the time and energy addressing such a painful part of the past. For both our family and the nation, the short answer is that we had to get involved because the system did not work. Those who are responsible for the assassination were not held to account for their involvement. This verdict, therefore, is a great victory for justice and truth." 
At the press conference William F. Pepper, the King family's lawyer-investigator spoke to crux of this trial.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, this great republic has throughout it's history, has been afraid to face the issues that Martin Luther King tried to confront at the end of his life. . . . This nation has not faced the problems that Martin Luther King, Jr. died trying to face and confront. They still exist today, the forces of evil, the powerful economic forces that dominate the government of this land and make money on war and deprive the poor of what is their right, their birthright. They still abound and they rule.
"The jury heard the background of Dr. King's crust. They understood, finally, the reason why he was stained. He was not a civil rights leader when he was stained. He was an international figure of great stature. He had a moral banner that he was waving and it was heard and seen all over the land. Here and in Europe, Southeast Asia. He had that kind of compelling presence. He was a danger and a threat to the status quo. So he was eliminated.
"What the jury also heard, from all of those witnesses for almost four weeks, was that he was assassinated because of the removal of the all police protection when he was in the city of Memphis. . . . Then the proof goes into the broader conspiracy. . . . Did you know ladies and gentlemen that the assassination was photographed? That there were photographs buried in the archives at the Department of Defense? No you did not know. And you know why you did not know? Because there was no police investigation in this case. . . .
"The tragedy of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. is a tragedy for this family here. This family in my view is America's first family because of their struggle and for what they have stood for, going back for generations, going back to 1917, the first world war period, this family was under surveillance by military intelligence back then. Up to the present time they have been feared. So that is a tragedy for this family. It is a tragedy for this nation and to the world that this man was taken from us when he was." 
Apart from the courtroom participants, journalist Jim Douglass was the only person who attended the complete trial other than a local TV reporter. He wrote about the trial and its significance in the spring of 2000.
"Hatred and fear of King deepened, Lawson said, in response to his plan to hold the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.C. King wanted to shut down the nation's capital in the spring of 1968 through massive civil disobedience until the government agreed to abolish poverty. King saw the Memphis sanitation workers' strike as the beginning of a nonviolent revolution that would redistribute income. `I have no doubt,' Lawson said, `that the government viewed all this seriously enough to plan his assassination.' . . .
"Pepper went a step beyond saying government agencies were responsible for the assassination. To whom in turn were those murderous agencies responsible? Not so much to government officials per se, Pepper asserted, as to the economic powerholders they represented who stood in the even deeper shadows behind the FBI, Army Intelligence, and their affiliates in covert action. By 1968, Pepper told the jury, `And today it is much worse in my view' -- `the decision-making processes in the United States were the representatives, the footsoldiers of the very economic interests that were going to suffer as a result of these times of changes [being actived by King].'
"To say that U.S. government agencies killed Martin Luther King on the verge of the Poor People's Campaign is a way into the deeper truth that the economic powers that be (which dictate the policies of those agencies) killed him. In the Memphis prelude to the Washington campaign, King posed a threat to those powers of a non-violent revolutionary force. Just how determined they were to stop him before he reached Washington was revealed in the trial by the size and complexity of the plot to kill him. . . .
"Perhaps the lesson of the King assassination is that our government understands the power of nonviolence better than we do, or better than we want to. In the spring of 1968, when Martin King was marching (and Robert Kennedy was campaigning), King was determined that massive, nonviolent civil disobedience would end the domination of democracy by corporate and military power. The powers that be took Martin Luther King seriously. They dealt with him in Memphis.
"Thirty-two years after Memphis, we know that the government that now honors Dr. King with a national holiday also killed him. As will once again become evident when the Justice Department releases the findings of its `limited re-investigation' into King's death, the government (as a footsoldier of corporate power) is continuing its cover-up--just as it continues to do in the closely related murders of John and Robert Kennedy and Malcolm X." 
The full trial transcript is available online at King Center, including "Chapter 9: The Trial" (PDF format), ``[A]n excerpt from a soon to be published book by W.F. Pepper entitled Vindication, © 2001 William F. Pepper. This also serves as the family's detailed analysis of the Department of Justice "limited investigation" report.'' A "Trial Transcript - Summary" is also available as well as the "Transcription of the King Family Press Conference quoted above.
This trial and its significance should have been frontpage news across our land. The story of how agencies of our government killed Martin Luther King, and then covered up the evidence of complicity, needs to be common knowledge. It is only when we face the dark side of life in ourselves and in the life of our society that these disparate experiences and the thoughts and feelings engendered can be healthfully re-integrated into the wholeness of life.
In his latest book about the American soul, Jacob Needleman points out the transformational powers available to us when we genuinely accept the truths about ourselves. The hope of America cannot be renewed without acknowledging such failures as the reality of genocide of the original peoples of this land and of slavery imposed on African people. This renewal will transpire when we experience humility and remorse as balanced by the same esteem we hold for liberty and equality of every person on earth. As long as people of the United States relate to the rest of the world as something to be dominated and controlled, we will see the continued degradation of the people's vision that started and have expanded this experiment in government of, by, and for the people.
There is much that can be done to make the facts of our time accessible to all our human family. Restoring our constitutional system of law and championing the rights and security of people everywhere requires that we extend ourselves to others who share our concerns. An inspiring movement gaining ground in the United States is the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, committed to restoring civil liberties through grassroots efforts nationwide. A number of other projects offer information and can further the work of making the facts accessible.
A healthy approach to augmenting our perspectives is to ask thoughtful, deliberate questions. Why does our government fear a comprehensive investigation of 9-11? How does a country that purports to champion and favor freedom justify the dissolution of its own Bill of Rights and constitutional liberties? How do we justify our self-exemption from the code of established and evolving international law? Our government must allow the continuation of this kind of exchange of questions and ideas and citizens throughout the world must continue to exercise these inalienable rights. That is the true measure of a balance of power that favors freedom.
"Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable - that mankind is doomed - that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.
"We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade - therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable - and we believe they can do it again."-- President John F. Kennedy, Commencement Address
at American University in Washington, 10 June 1963
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