The Empire is Burning: What Imperialism Looks Like From Inside the Empire
Washington D.C. (GPA) – Many people outside the U.S. don’t realize the devastating effects of imperialism right here inside the empire. As weapon companies rake in profits while lobbyists and politicians do their bidding, the U.S. population suffers from extreme poverty and militarized police. No one has felt these effects more than marginalized black and brown communities. In this piece, guest writer Desmond Abrams explains how imperialism wages war at home.
“The security we profess to seek in foreign adventures we will lose in our decaying cities.” Martin Luther King Jr. spoke this truth in 1967, in his opposition of the Vietnam War and the military-industrial complex.
This April, of course, marked the 50th anniversary of MLK’s murder. In the 50 years that passed, the military industrial complex—the war profiteers and the chickenhawks who feed them an endless list of usually poor and brown nation states to conquer—have grown in magnitude and power. At the same time, the multi-billion dollar weapons systems collectively punish and terrorize the poorest and most exploited people on the planet. To top it off, some Americans increasingly find themselves gripped with fear and terror at home.
Black Americans, myself included, have often been at the epicenter of domestic wars waged by the United States government against its own. One of which is the “War on Drugs,” which gives the government sweeping powers to target and harass black and brown youth. The “War on Crime” and the “War on Gangs” similarly act to further criminalize black youth and destabilize communities of color as a whole. These wars on poor communities are so old and so entrenched in American culture we barely even question them. It’s always been normal to see a line of scared young men with their faces to the concrete while cops order them about at gunpoint.
To this day, I still remember walking home from school and watching as the older boys in my neighborhood were being “stretched.” The police pen you up against a wall and put a gun to your head — that simple. To this day, I remember every time I was stretched: penned against a wall with a gun to my head.
Throughout my formative years growing up in the Kensington-Bailey area, I was always either a direct victim or witness to the police and the sweeping powers they had over my friends and loved ones. Around that same time, the 43rd president of the United States was on TV flying in a fighter jet and proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” to a nation of poor people living paycheck to paycheck. While my community was being drained of wealth and the inhabitants starved for any type of freedom and self-determination, there was Bush and the neo-conservatives of America proudly proclaiming their dominance over the Iraqi people.
This recurring theme of US imperialism throughout the planet in search of the usual—cheap labor, raw materials, and new markets—and the decaying society of violence and punishment at home is exactly what MLK meant when he said the bombs abroad explode at home.
A government that green lights collective punishment of civilians and calls it collateral damage is an inhumane government. Any government that kidnaps people all over the world and calls it extra rendition is a dysfunctional government. In almost two decades of the “War on Terror,” the US government has murdered, kidnaped, tortured, and humiliated peoples in almost every corner of the world.
Yet Americans, average Americans regardless of race, have not seen any benefit to this bloodletting and fury. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Americans are poorer than we’ve been since the debacle in Vietnam that MLK spoke out against. While the roads and bridges crumble, the water becomes tainted and sullied, as homelessness reaches epic proportions throughout the country (especially in sprawling and seemingly wealthier cities like Los Angeles and Seattle), as the police are given more weapons (now leftover military-grade weapons from the various foreign adventures the US has conducted) and more powers over the masses of people.
It is safe to say that the empire is burning.
At this point in time, the society around us has degenerated and collapsed so viciously that besides the rich and connected, everyone is affected. The contractions between poor communities of color and their well-to-do and often white counterparts are narrowing. This isn’t to say that black and brown people are doing slightly better than our grandparents — by all quantifiable measures, we are not — but instead to point out the failure of the United States war economy to provide any standard of living for even the most privileged in society.
The poor and deprived people of America are starved out by a war economy. Out of frustration at this decaying society and the dissatisfaction it produces amongst the people, the powerful, knowing nothing but the hammer, are once again gearing up for another war on American families and our rights and dignities. More police powers from the militarization of the Southern border, the expansion of prison-like conditions in schools and other public spaces, and of course the ever-widening dragnet of the state surveillance apparatus are the only solutions that a war government feeding a war economy has.
People are tired of that. People are sick of waving flags and cheerleading for the US while it lashes out at the world with guns and bombs, playing the simultaneous role of world cop and resource robber. What have I gained from the United States having over 700 military bases around the world? What pride does it bring you to see Trump in meetings with the Saudi government playing the role of salesman for weapons manufacturers? Meanwhile, a quarter of the children right here in the Nickel City are going to go to bed hungry on whatever night you get a chance to read this.
The only way for us to get a grip on this burning house we’re all sleeping in is to wake up! The US has been at war with either itself or some strange ‘other’ for the vast majority of my time on this earth. At the same time, I’m working poor and don’t know anyone who isn’t. I’m not standing for this any longer and you shouldn’t either.
“There were four armed police officers, including one cop who was assigned to the school as a resource officer, on campus during that shooting. All four cops stayed outside the school with their weapons drawn (three of them hid behind their police cars).
Not a single one of those cops, armed with deadly weapons and trained for exactly such a dangerous scenario, entered the school to confront the shooter.”
“Seventeen people, most of them teenagers, died while the cops opted not to intervene.”
“This begs the question: if the police don’t have a duty to protect the public, what are we paying them for? And who exactly do they serve if not you and me?
It is fast becoming a government “of the rich, by the elite, for the corporations,” and its rise to power is predicated on shackling the American taxpayer to a life of indentured servitude.”
“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”—Author William S. Burroughs
In the American police state, police have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.
In fact, police don’t usually need much incentive to shoot and kill members of the public.
There were four armed police officers, including one cop who was assigned to the school as a resource officer, on campus during that shooting. All four cops stayed outside the school with their weapons drawn (three of them hid behind their police cars).
Not a single one of those cops, armed with deadly weapons and trained for exactly such a dangerous scenario, entered the school to confront the shooter.
Seventeen people, most of them teenagers, died while the cops opted not to intervene.
In other words, you can be outraged that cops in Florida did nothing to stop the school shooter, but technically, it wasn’t part of their job description.
This begs the question: if the police don’t have a duty to protect the public, what are we paying them for? And who exactly do they serve if not you and me?
Why do we have more than a million cops on the taxpayer-funded payroll in this country whose jobs do not entail protecting our safety, maintaining the peace in our communities, and upholding our liberties?
This is no longer a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
It is fast becoming a government “of the rich, by the elite, for the corporations,” and its rise to power is predicated on shackling the American taxpayer to a life of indentured servitude.
Cops in America may get paid by the citizenry, but they don’t work for us.
They don’t answer to us. They’re not loyal to us.
And they certainly aren’t operating within the limits of the U.S. Constitution.
That “thin, blue line” of loyalty to one’s fellow cops has become a self-serving apparatus that sees nothing wrong with advancing the notion that the lives—and rights—of police should be valued more than citizens.
As one commentator remarked, “‘Protect and Serve’ are the words we see on the side of many police cars and is the motto of most police forces. The words define the mission of the police, which is to ‘protect’ citizens and ‘serve’ the public. However, it has become increasingly clear that in far too many police forces those words have been twisted beyond recognition. Too often they appear to mean, ‘to protect officers and serve the police force.’ ‘Force Protection’ has become the primary motivating force for many in the Police. That term is actually a military concept which means that you do everything you can to protect the troops when planning and executing a combat mission.”
The myth of the hero cop really is a myth.
Cops are no more noble, no more self-sacrificing, no braver and certainly no more deserving of special attention or treatment than any other American citizen.
This misplaced patriotism about police and, by extension, the military—a dangerous re-shifting of the nation’s priorities that has been reinforced by President Trump with his unnerving knack for echoing past authoritarian tactics—paves the way for even more instability in the nation.
For years now, we’ve been told that cops need military weapons to wage the government’s wars on drugs, crime and terror.
We’ve been told that cops need to be able to crash through doors, search vehicles, carry out roadside strip searches, shoot anyone they perceive to be a threat, and generally disregard the law whenever it suits them because they’re doing it to protect their fellow Americans from danger.
We’ve been told that cops need extra legal protections because of the risks they take.
None of that is true.
For the record, any police officer who tells you that he needs tanks, SWAT teams, and pepper spray to do his job shouldn’t be a police officer in a constitutional republic.
Unfortunately, “we the people” don’t get to call the shots anymore. And we no longer live in a constitutional republic.
Welcome to the American police state, funded by Corporate America, policed by the military industrial complex, and empowered by politicians whose primary purpose is to remain in office.
It’s a short hop, skip and a jump from the police state we’re operating under right now to a full-blown totalitarian regime ruled with the iron fist of martial law.
The groundwork has already been laid.
The events of recent years have only served to desensitize the nation to violence, acclimate them to a militarized police presence in their communities, and persuade them that there is nothing they can do to alter the seemingly hopeless trajectory of the nation: the invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers.
The sight of police clad in body armor and gas masks, wielding semiautomatic rifles and escorting an armored vehicle through a crowded street, a scene likened to “a military patrol through a hostile city,” no longer causes alarm among the general populace.
Few seem to care about the government’s endless wars abroad that leave communities shattered, families devastated and our national security at greater risk of blowback. Indeed, there were no protests in the streets after U.S. military forces carried out air strikes on a Syrian settlement, killing 25 people, more than half of which were women and children.
And then there’s President Trump’s plans for a military parade on Veterans Day (costing between $10 million and $30 million) to showcase the nation’s military might. Other countries that feel the need to flex their military muscles to its citizens and the rest of the world include France, China, Russia and North Korea.
Connect the dots, people.
This stealthy, creeping, silent coup that is the same danger that writer Rod Serling warned against in the 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May, which put the military in charge of a coup that would institute martial law packaged as a well-meaning and overriding concern for the nation’s security.
On the big screen, the military coup is foiled and the republic is saved in a matter of hours. In the real world, however, the plot thickens and spreads out over the past half century.
We’ve been losing our freedoms so incrementally for so long—sold to us in the name of national security and global peace, maintained by way of martial law disguised as law and order, and enforced by a standing army of militarized police and a political elite determined to maintain their powers at all costs—that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it all started going downhill, but we’re certainly on that downward trajectory now, and things are moving fast.
The question is no longer whether the U.S. government will be preyed upon and taken over by the military industrial complex. That’s a done deal.
We’ve allowed ourselves to be acclimated to the occasional lockdown of government buildings, Jade Helm military drills in small towns so that special operations forces can get “realistic military training” in “hostile” territory, and Live Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried out at schools, in shopping malls, and on public transit, which can and do fool law enforcement officials, students, teachers and bystanders into thinking it’s a real crisis.
Still, you can’t say we weren’t warned.
Back in 2008, an Army War College report revealed that “widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.” The 44-page report went on to warn that potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.”
In 2009, reports by the Department of Homeland Security surfaced that labelled right-wing and left-wing activists and military veterans as extremists (a.k.a. terrorists) and called on the government to subject such targeted individuals to full-fledged pre-crime surveillance. Almost a decade later, after spending billions to fight terrorism, the DHS concluded that the greater threat is not ISIS but domestic right-wing extremism.
Rounding out this profit-driven campaign to turn American citizens into enemy combatants (and America into a battlefield) is a technology sector that has been colluding with the government to create a Big Brother that is all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable. It’s not just the drones, fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray devices and the NSA that you have to worry about. You’re also being tracked by the black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social media accounts, credit cards, streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.
All of this has taken place right under our noses, funded with our taxpayer dollars and carried out in broad daylight without so much as a general outcry from the citizenry.
It’s astounding how convenient we’ve made it for the government to lock down the nation.
Mind you, by “government,” I’m not referring to the highly partisan, two-party bureaucracy of the Republicans and Democrats.
As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, I’m referring to “government” with a capital “G,” the entrenched Deep State that is unaffected by elections, unaltered by populist movements, and has set itself beyond the reach of the law.
I’m referring to the corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country and calling the shots in Washington DC, no matter who sits in the White House.
This is the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of its citizenry.
Wall Street creates and destroys businesses for the sake of financial profits regardless of the impact on individuals, families, and society.
The U.S. economy is not driven by honest business enterprise such as manufacturing but is kept afloat artificially by bank and government-created bubbles, including the debt-driven bubble of military spending.
People are being sent to jail for non-payment of debt. Some with out-of-control debt commit suicide.
The federal government’s national debt is a growing burden to society that can never be paid off. George W. Bush with his wars doubled the national debt in eight years. It doubled again during the Obama eight-year war period.
The lack of decent jobs drives huge numbers of people into cybercrime, drug dealing, prostitution, and other criminal pastimes simply as a mode of survival.
The corporate-orchestrated attack on net neutrality seeks to eliminate independent opinion on the internet as was done in the past on cable TV.
Major media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and the national TV broadcast networks are controlled by the oligarchy and Deep State which use them as propaganda organs for their pro-war, corporate agendas.
Can the U.S. survive as a nation for another generation? It seems doubtful without a major reform movement dedicated to correcting ALL the above-mentioned abuses. But before the U.S. destroys the planet it may simply collapse from its internal failures or through its policies of endless war and the guilt this has produced.
“Why throw money at defense when everything is falling down around us? Do we need to spend more money on our military (about $600 billion this year) than the next seven countries combined? Do we need 1.4 million active military personnel and 850,000 reserves when the enemy at the moment — ISIS — numbers in the low tens of thousands? If so, it seems there’s something radically wrong with our strategy. Should 55% of the federal government’s discretionary spending go to the military and only 3% to transportation when the toll in American lives is far greater from failing infrastructure than from terrorism? Does California need nearly as many active military bases (31, according to militarybases.com) as it has UC and state university campuses (33)? And does the state need more active duty military personnel (168,000, according to Governing magazine) than public elementary school teachers (139,000)?”
— Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times
Mark my words, America’s war spending will bankrupt the nation.
The glaring economic truth is that at the end of the day, it’s the military industrial complex—and not the sick, the elderly or the poor—that is pushing America towards bankruptcy.
As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”
The illicit merger of the armaments industry and the Pentagon that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today.
Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars.
Although the federal government obscures so much about its defense spending that accurate figures are difficult to procure, we do know that since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $1.8 trillion in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (that’s $8.3 million per hour).
Mind you, these ongoing wars—riddled by corruption, graft and bumbling incompetence—have done little to keep the country safe while enriching the military industrial complex—and private defense contractors—at taxpayer expense.
The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.
For example, while erecting a security surveillance state in the U.S., the military-industrial complex has perpetuated a worldwide military empire with American troops stationed in 177 countries (over 70% of the countries worldwide).
In the process, billions have been spent erecting luxury military installations throughout the world.
For example, the U.S. Embassy built in Iraq, dubbed “Fortress Baghdad,” covers 104 acres and boasts a “city within a city” that includes six apartment buildings, a Marine barracks, swimming pool, shops and 15-foot-thick walls. Camp Anaconda in Iraq, like many U.S. military bases scattered across the globe, was structured to resemble a mini-city with pools, fast food restaurants, miniature golf courses and movie theaters.
In essence, what we’re doing is “we’re air conditioning the desert over there in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places,” noted retired brigadier general Steven Anderson, a former chief logistician for Gen. David Petraeus in Iraq.
A government audit, for example, found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:
$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.
Price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire.
And if you think gas prices at home can get high, just consider what the American taxpayer is being forced to shell out overseas: once all the expenses of delivering gas to troops in the field are factored in, we’re paying between $18-30 per gallon for gas in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Incredibly, despite reports of corruption, abuse and waste, the mega-corporations behind much of this ineptitude and corruption continue to be awarded military contracts worth billions of dollars.
The rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, but the one that remains constant is that those who run the government are feeding the appetite of the military industrial complex.
What began in 2001 as part of an alleged effort to root out al Qaeda has turned into a goldmine for the military industrial complex and its army of private contractors.
Yet Congress and the White House want taxpayers to accept that the only way to reduce the nation’s ballooning deficit is by cutting “entitlement” programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
As Martin Luther King Jr. recognized, under a military empire, war and its profiteering will always take precedence over the people’s basic human needs.
Simply put, we cannot afford to maintain our over-extended military empire.
“Money is the new 800-pound gorilla,” remarked a senior administration official involved in Afghanistan. “It shifts the debate from ‘Is the strategy working?’ to ‘Can we afford this?’ And when you view it that way, the scope of the mission that we have now is far, far less defensible.”
As Cullen Murphy, author of Are We Rome? and editor-at-large of Vanity Fair writes:
A millennium hence America will be hard to recognize. It may not exist as a nation-state in the form it does now—or even exist at all. Will the transitions ahead be gradual and peaceful or abrupt and catastrophic? Will our descendants be living productive lives in a society better than the one we inhabit now? Whatever happens, will valuable aspects of America’s legacy weave through the fabric of civilizations to come? Will historians someday have reason to ask, Did America really fall?
The problem we wrestle with is none other than a distorted American empire, complete with mega-corporations, security-industrial complexes and a burgeoning military. And it has its sights set on absolute domination.
Eventually, however, all military empires fail.
At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:
The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.
I would suggest that what we have is a confluence of factors and influences that go beyond mere comparisons to Rome.
It is a union of Orwell’s 1984 with its shadowy, totalitarian government—i.e., fascism, the union of government and corporate powers—and a total surveillance state with a military empire extended throughout the world.
As we have seen with the militarizing of the police, the growth of and reliance on militarism as the solution for our problems both domestically and abroad affects the basic principles upon which American society should operate.
We must keep in mind that a military empire will be ruled not by lofty ideals of equality and justice but by the power of the sword. Those in the military are primarily trained to conduct warfare, not preserve the peace.
Here’s the kicker, though: if the American empire falls and the American economy collapses—and with it the last vestiges of our constitutional republic—it will be the government and its trillion-dollar war budgets that are to blame.
Of course, the government has already anticipated this breakdown.
That’s why the government has transformed America into a war zone, turned the nation into a surveillance state, and labelled “we the people” as enemy combatants.
Having spent more than half a century exporting war to foreign lands, profiting from war, and creating a national economy seemingly dependent on the spoils of war, the war hawks long ago turned their profit-driven appetites on us, bringing home the spoils of war—the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.—and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield.
More than 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower warned us not to let the profit-driven war machine endanger our liberties or democratic processes.
We failed to heed his warning.
As Eisenhower recognized in a speech given to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, on Apr. 16, 1953, the consequences of allowing the military-industrial complex to wage war, exhaust our resources and dictate our national priorities are beyond grave:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
[ Author’s note: This is a long article due to the complex nature of this problem with hyperactive, overly aggressive, mind-kontrolled police with itchy trigger fingers. Readers can skip to the parts that interest them or read the summary only. ]
There has been a substantial increase in American police incidents since 9-11-01 with the police being too quick shoot, occasionally killing or even murdering an unarmed or innocent person.
In a growing number of cases, these unarmed persons turn out to completely innocent of anything, with police responding to a call by going to the wrong address and murdering a person that was minding their own business on their own property.
There are numerous cases where swat teams have broken into the wrong house, murdered an innocent person; or roughed up, sworn at and insulted innocent family members at the same time. They often use such language to innocent men, women and children, such as “if you move I’ll blow your fucking head off”. This sick verbal abuse is tolerated by internal affairs and even respected, and considered the norm. It is disrespectful and abusive, and should never be tolerated in so-called “public servants” whose salaries and benefits are paid by We The People.
How would these same abusive swat teams members feel if a swat team broke into their home with flash bangs on a no-knock home invasion to the wrong home when they were gone and did the same to their family? Would they get it then that this is criminally abusive, a serious crime of assault, and would they then stop this abuse and brutality?
In Florida some years ago, a DEA squad was caught doing after hours invasions in swat attire of wealthy homeowners and keeping the loot unreported. Several drug task forces with swat teams have been caught stealing drug money and TV sets and jewelry for their personal use.
These police who over-react and murder, maim or insult the innocent are rarely ever brought to to justice because fellow police, internal affairs and most courts favor the police over the public, and often sidestep the US Constitution. Crafty, two-faced prosecutors can easily stack almost any jury, federal, or county, to get the results they want, which is to have all charges dropped, despite acting as if they wanted otherwise.
Too often, it turns out that there was no search warrant; a search warrant was been filled out with the wrong address, or was even read incorrectly by the attacking swat team; or that there was no search warrant at all, and flimsy exigent circumstances claimed. Often these swat raids go deeply wrong and the innocent are wrongly harassed, assaulted and even sometimes murdered.
In many states, retired law enforcement of all types are extended concealed carry privileges automatically if they pass a yearly range test by a local city or county police department. A friend of mine with a long-term ethical and very esteemed LE record before he retired, went to get his yearly shooting exam recently.
The certifying gun range officer told the group of retired LE individuals being re-certified that, if they were ever involved in using their gun to stop a crime of any type, to immediately set their gun down and don’t even waste your time trying to tell them that you are a retired LE. Why? Because the recent batch of new urban police recruits over the last several years are noticeably trigger happy and would immediately shoot first and think later when they get to a call and see anyone holding a weapon or reaching for it. If you have a gun in your hand, expect for any police officer arriving at the scene to empty his clip into you first before doing anything else.
This is a known national trend in US Police departments, both small town, rural and large urban departments.
Why are so many new police recruits so trigger happy, quick to shoot, quick to murder innocents?
Colonel Osman was seen going in and out of Langley and the Pentagon on numerous occasions before 9-11-01, was instrumental in arming the Mujahedeen with stingers for the CIA and, right after 9-11-01, emphatically denied having anything to do with it.
Colonel Osman had Marfans disorder (like President Abraham Lincoln), was on dialysis for CKD, because Marfans usually destroys one’s kidneys. He either died of kidney disease or the results of an America bombing in late 2001. This was announced in the foreign press, and his body was buried in a unmarked grave as is customary Islamic practice.
The massive hunt for Colonel Osman was all based on a known Big Lie by the Administration. Later on, when he was supposedly found and killed by some Seal Team Six operatives, it became known to these men that the man killed was not Colonel Osman at all, nor a terrorist, but was an innocent man they murdered in cold blood. The ops that did this were murdered by their superiors to cover it up, and the rest of the Seal Team Six that found out were also murdered to keep this covered up – they were blown out of the sky while ordered on an old National Guard twin-rotor helicopter.
Knowledge of this treachery by their superiors who had a signed-finding “kill order” right from Potus has spread to many Special Ops who also have heard about the mass-murder of all but one spooky, special ops team in South America. Naturally, most special ops are now assembling special life insurance packets of documents and hiding them with trusted friends, in case they are dealt with treacherously by their superiors. It is a fair statement to say that the trust special ops have in their superiors is at an all time low and dropping by the day.
Even Huma Abedon created a “life insurance” file dump on her husband’s computer and of lots of secret DNC emails, which also allegedly (according to NYCPD insiders) contained pedophilic sexual videos so sick the older veteran police that watched them cried. When the FBI seized these materials, the NYCPD kept numerous copies and told the FBI in plain terms that if they didn’t prosecute all those involved they would eventually release them to the American public one way or another. Right now the NYCPD has about 75,000 officers, a very large international Intel group for itself in almost every major City of the world, and it is not wise for any Intel agency to mess with them.
Congress is completely controlled by AIPAC, preventing any honest investigation or prosecution of the perps responsible for this great attack on America, which is just one part of the secret war between Likudists and We The People on behalf of the City of London’s RKM private fiat Banksters (aka, the Babylonian Talmudic folks who run the worldwide satanic pedophile network). Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, a great American hero, revealed this to all for the first time when she described how any member of Congress who does not sign an AIPAC Loyalty Oath to place the interests of Israel first even before the interests of We The People will never be allowed to be re-elected.
9-11-01 was used to create a false-narrative needed to use American military might to attain the Greater Israel Plan for the Likudists.
9-11-01 was used to create a false narrative that the radical Islamics attacked America and the full force of the US Military had to be deployed in the Mideast to retaliate in full vengeance. We now know this is a major lie designed to trick America into serving as Israeli surrogates to complete their greater Israel Plan. And what is the Greater Israel Plan which was concocted in the City of London for the Israelis to spearhead?
The Greater Israel Plan is a secret policy of the City of London RKM Banksters designed to use American military might to invade, destroy and mass-murder a majority of the governments and people in Islamic nations neighboring Israel, in order to clear the path for Israel’s aggressive annexation of all these lands to Greater Israel.
This Greater Israel Plan has now been thwarted by superior, precision Russian Federation air power in Syria. The Russian Federation is a close ally of Syria and was asked to come in and help defend Syria from ISIS et al., which is now known to be the secret mercenary army of Israel, the CIA, Saudi Arabia, and the City of London. This Russian Federation defense of their ally Syria is perfectly legal under international law.
The CIA’s support of ISIS is illegal under international law, just as every other American invasion in the Mideast is also illegal and unconstitutional, according to American law. Of course a growing number of Americans now realize that the only reason the US military and the CIA would be allowed to do this is because America has been hijacked by the COL, Israeli Likudists, Israeli-American “Israeli-first” dual citizen traitors and lots of traitors in the Pentagon, DOD, White House and administration, and Congress and the CIA.
It’s a fact that ever since 9-11-01 and earlier, the the Murrah Bombing (also done by the RKM and covered up by the FBI), the Administration and the CMMM’s obsession with terror and terrorists inside America has all been based on big lies, false-narratives and USG propaganda. The FBI is a RICO crime syndicate in and of itself; is actually run by the COL Banksters and their top Cutouts; has usually been run by traitors deeply morally compromised, some with ties to major CIA drug money laundering.
The FBI’s specialty is recruiting retarded or mentally ill Islamic patsies to accept a free airline ticket to the Mideast for radical terror training in a special camp run by the CIA and Mossad, or to read and become mind-kontrolled by FBI-run, terror-training websites. Almost all pedophile websites have been run by the FBI. The FBI is known to protect the worldwide satanic pedophile network from exposure or prosecution and has done so, according to reliable insiders from many years.
After 9-11-01, FBI Directors have known that the 9-11-01 attack on America was nuclear; they have known who actually did it, and have worked hard to keep it covered up forever. These men are major American RICO criminals and traitors. If any ordinary, non-connected person did this, they would be prosecuted, convicted and hung for numerous capital crimes, such as accessory after the fact, misprision of a felony, treason, espionage against America, etc.
The matrix of big lies continually broadcast in the RKM’s CMMM is of course designed to spook the police to make them aggressive to citizens, and to scare the American People into supporting all these unprovoked, undeclared, illegal, unconstitutional Mideast wars of aggression to further the RKM’s and Likudists’ Greater Israel satanic obsession.
Most advanced American police training is done under direction of Israeli anti-terror forces (this is no coincidence). DHS was set up to consolidate all American LE and place it under the direct control on the RKM in order to keep the truth of who was behind 9-11-01 covered up forever.
One factor in this increased tendency for American Police to shoot quick and empty their clip into their target “until the threat is over” is the little realized fact that most advanced American police training is driven by Israeli anti-terror forces. This should be illegal and considered espionage by a foreign nation against America.
The current training attitude subtly but actually communicated is that the Police are the righteous occupying military force and We The People are like Palestinian Terrorists. This is the subtle but governing attitude in the back of most new police officers’ minds in America. Sad to say, but it is a fact.
Ever since the RKM and Israel attacked America on 9-11-01, the USG, which is under secret occupation by the RKM and Israel, has been working hard to quickly militarize the American police and transform them into an occupying force that is based on Israel anti-Palestinian police tactics.
Steroid and drug use (including alcohol and SSRIs) by some police is a big problem in America.
Those prescribed steroids for a real medical illness should be removed from the street and given a desk job until off the steroids. Those taking SSRIs by valid physician prescription should be removed from street duty and given a desk job to protect the public until such time as they have recovered from their mental disorder and are off SSRIs.
All these black civil rights groups like Black Lives Matter have completely missed the boat on steroids, SSRI use and advance deployed psychotronics. They cannot do much about the deployed psychotronics, but they can create enough political pressure to get a national policy established for regular drug testing of all police, Intel and any LE in America. This should be their national strategy from here on out.
The CIA and BATF have supplied weapons to gangs for many years and been responsible for hyping up police vigilance, fear and over-aggressiveness in inner urban jungles.
About 20 years ago in a large city nearby, the CIA trucked in confiscated weapons from the Chicago Police Department and sold them to the local drug gangs out of the back of a USDA cheese delivery intended for economically poor households in a bad neighborhood. The police officer who was told about this didn’t believe it but ended up investigating and was assassinated in a pizza restaurant by a CIA-linked gang banger. All drug gangs in this city were set up by the CIA, just like MS-13 has been transformed from the contras into a mind-kontrolled violent drug gang and allowed to migrate into certain large American cities.
The BATF was caught (due to internal whistle-blower leaks) supplying massive amounts of high-powered weapons to the Mexican Cartels, which brought them into the USA and murdered Border Agent Brian Terry.
The RICO criminals in the USG that did this avoided any prosecution, but they are still liable to be fully prosecuted if the US Dept of Just-us is ever cleaned out, since there is no statute of limitations on murder.
It’s quite sad and also disturbing that the USG, which is now an occupied colony of the RKM and Israeli Likudists, has declared a secret war against the USA and We The People and is doing everything they can to abuse us like Palestinians by using the militarized police, asset strip us all, destroy our Republic, and then genocide us like they are doing to Palestinians.
Middle-class Americans are thus going to become the new Palestinians unless this RKM corruption is stopped cold and cleaned out.
The 1033 Program.
The infamous 1033 program was set up to provide police departments with machine guns, grenade launchers, armor and armored vehicles, as long as the Chief or Sheriff would sign a CIA contract to yield jurisdiction to the feds any time they requested. My Police Chief refused when this program first came out while on an all-expenses-paid junket to Langley; and he was given the CIA flu, which disabled him. This man is a stand-up man who could not be corrupted by the CIA using federal bribe money and military hardware; and he paid the price in spades.
Of course, much of the blame for this transformation of American cities into drug- and weapon-infested urban war zones goes back to LBJ’s Great Society program, which provided the money the CIA needed for black ops. The CIA’s massive drug-trafficking into America Cities could then easily access all the welfare dollars that LBJ’s program provided.
Before 9-11-01, the CIA had no authority inside America to run covert operations or to influence elected officials and corporate leaders. After 9-11-01, the US Congress passed laws (albeit clearly unconstitutional) to allow the CIA to combat terror inside the USA, and also got a law rescinded that prevented the USG from using the Major Mass Media to deploy false stories and propaganda to mislead the public.
Almost all lone wolf terror is synthetically manufactured by the CIA and FBI.
How come the news media (CMMM) never mentions the hard, cold realities of the CIA MK-Ultra program, or anything about the remote, psychotronic entrainment devices sold to Intel agencies and certain corporations with Intel clearances?
Answer: because the cabal that controls the USG and the Intel agencies and assets who deploy these programs and equipment do not want these sinister and highly illegal, unconstitutional practices disclosed to the America People.
If you doubt the power of remote inductive psychotronic devices that can easily be targeted against individuals, groups and whole neighborhoods, consider the documented history of the deployment of the “Voice of God” electronic weaponry in the First Gulf War against the Republican Guard.
Or consider the public disclosures by Barrie Trower, the UK’s top expert on Microwave and its use as a weapon of war. Barrie is now retired and has expressed concern about the misuse of EMF, WiFi and cell phones. He has pointed out numerous times that the constant-on, shoulder-carried police radios can harm certain susceptible officers by entraining their brains.
With some some police officers, these shoulder-carried radios cause them to experience psychomotor seizures when in stressful situations. Some officers will become temporarily unconscious, will act out violently with their guns, and will not remember what happened afterwards.
Here’s a leak from an insider to me that I will share. Evaluate it and decide for yourself if it could be true. Personally I think it is. The Voice of God has once again been deployed in the Mideast, this time quite recently in Iran to generate rebellion, which is now occurring.
This is a desperate, last-ditch attempt by the Babylonian Talmudic non-Hebrew Zios (Rev. 2:9, 3:9) to take down Iran using these pyschotronic weapons that are ground-based, and satellite-based; but it will fail.
So far, all COL/RKM/Likudist attempts to manipulate the USA to deploy its full military to invade Syria and Iran have failed. It is likely that the USG will continue to refuse to do so.
ISIS, the private Mossad/CIA/Saudi mercenary army, has now been completely defeated by Russian Federation precision air power and Assad’s highly motivated Syrian Army.
If the USG thinks it could ever attack and invade Syria or Iran (which are major Russian Federation allies) without a strong reaction from the Russian Federation, they are self-deluding. So far, Russian electronic warfare has shown itself to be quite superior to deployed American electronic warfare systems. Doubt this, then do some Internet research on the USS Donald Cook incident (March, 2014), the Khbiny and Dome of Protection systems, the latest S500 systems, and the new Russian Federation’s hypersonic, hived, grouped missile defense systems and their supersonic torpedoes with anti-gravity, matter-altering nose cones.
The City of London (RKM) and Israeli Likudists want to create as much terror and conflict inside America as they can, in order to divide the American people and create massive chaos. They have worked hard to militarize the American Police and mold them into their murderous anti-Palestinian, anti-terror apartheid forces.
They also want to blood shock Americans with major terror events – some real, like Murrah, Waco, Ruby Ridge, 9-11-01 – and some fake, like Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon – and some hybrid FEMA/DHS exercises taken live and real to fool investigators, all done in order to “blood shock” the masses. This creates terror in the American group subconscious mind; and this massive subconscious fear can be used by the USG to motivate Americans to demand and/or allow their government to institute major, Draconian measures to provide for their safety from terror, even if these measure violate the constitution, take away their personal God-given rights, and end up resulting in the death of many innocent Americans and foreigners in illegal, unconstitutional foreign wars for Israel and the RKM.
Obviously this massive militarization of the American police has already terrorized, injured and murdered many innocent Americans in their own homes, and will lead to increased violence back at American police, and that is already happening. This is exactly what the COL Banksters (the RKM) and the Likudists want.
Everyday, more and more ordinary Israelis are catching on, and want the Likudists out and the Apartheid stopped cold, with real peace and goodwill established with the Palestinians. They want to see an end to the Greater Israel Plan. This trend is good and will continue, as some Israelis try to save Israel.
Unless drastic action is taken to reverse course, world justice is now forming major storm clouds against Israeli Likudist Apartheid, like the BDS movement which is accelerating and cannot be stopped.
Henry Kissinger announced that Israel as we know it would be gone in 10 years, which is a clue that the several Kingpins that run the world system have already abandoned it because they now longer need it, as they shift to a new Cosmic Fascist system.
Many American Police, especially those that work CIA drug- and BATF weapon-infested urban jungles, find themselves in extremely stressful and impossible policing situations. Those who cannot cope often become hyper-aggressive as a coping mechanism; and certainly the role of secret RKM/Mossad and FBI synthetic terror has added significantly to creating hyper-vigilance and a tendency to quickly empty one’s clip even into innocents.
At the center of many police departments at their top command is a culture of lies and cover-ups; and there is no law against it. That is true of the department in my city and others nearby, where certain officers routinely lie to the public with no consequences and abuse their power. But, if you lie to a police officer, that is a prosecutable crime.
Poor police management is likely a major “system problem”. When you have corruption at the top of the USG and state government, where most government is run by pedophiles who abuse young children, no wonder you have corrupt police command structures. It’s like what former Representative Ron Paul recently stated that, when a nation is run by pedophiles, it’s no wonder they send troops repeatedly into illegal wars to slaughter innocents.
And yet, despite all this endemic corruption, the thin blue line and lots of poor police management, there are a lot of good police officers who remain low profile and do their thankless jobs well. It’s the sociopathic, ‘roided up, abusers that give these departments a bad image; and the management usually lies and covers their bad behavior to protect their image. The new movement to active police body cameras should help this over time, somewhat.
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” ― Nelson Mandela
This is the tale of two Americas, where the rich get richer and the poor go to jail.
Aided and abetted by the likes of Attorney General Jeff Sessions—a man who wouldn’t recognize the Constitution if it smacked him in the face—the American dream has become the American scheme: the rich are getting richer and more powerful, while anyone who doesn’t belong to the power elite gets poorer and more powerless to do anything about the nation’s steady slide towards fascism, authoritarianism and a profit-driven police state.
Not content to merely pander to law enforcement and add to its military largesse with weaponry and equipment designed for war, Sessions has made a concerted effort to expand the police state’s power to search, strip, seize, raid, steal from, arrest and jail Americans for any infraction, no matter how insignificant.
“Despite prior attempts on the federal level and across the country to prevent the profound injustice of locking people in cages because they are too poor to pay a debt,” concludesThe Atlantic, “the practice persists every day.”
Where things began to change, according to The Marshall Project, was with the rise of “mass incarceration.” As attorney Alec Karakatsanis stated, “In the 1970s and 1980s, we started to imprison more people for lesser crimes. In the process, we were lowering our standards for what constituted an offense deserving of imprisonment, and, more broadly, we were losing our sense of how serious, how truly serious, it is to incarcerate. If we can imprison for possession of marijuana, why can’t we imprison for not paying back a loan?”
By the late 1980s and early 90s, “there was a dramatic increase in the number of statutes listing a prison term as a possible sentence for failure to repay criminal-justice debt.” During the 2000s, the courts started cashing in big-time “by using the threat of jail time – established in those statutes – to squeeze cash out of small-time debtors.”
Fast-forward to the present day which finds us saddled with not only profit-driven private prisons and a prison-industrial complex but also, as investigative reporter Eli Hager notes, “the birth of a new brand of ‘offender-funded’ justice [which] has created a market for private probation companies. Purporting to save taxpayer dollars, these outfits force the offenders themselves to foot the bill for parole, reentry, drug rehab, electronic monitoring, and other services (some of which are not even assigned by a judge). When the offenders can’t pay for all of this, they may be jailed – even if they have already served their time for the offense.”
Follow the money trail. It always points the way.
Whether you’re talking about the government’s war on terrorism, the war on drugs, or some other phantom danger dreamed up by enterprising bureaucrats, there is always a profit-incentive involved.
The same goes for the war on crime.
At one time, the American penal system operated under the idea that dangerous criminals needed to be put under lock and key in order to protect society. Today, the flawed yet retributive American “system of justice” is being replaced by an even more flawed and insidious form of mass punishment based upon profit and expediency.
Sessions’ latest gambit plays right into the hands of those who make a profit by jailing Americans.
Sharnalle Mitchell was one such victim of a system for whom the plight of the average American is measured in dollars and cents. As the Harvard Law Reviewrecounts:
On January 26, 2014, Sharnalle Mitchell was with her children in Montgomery, Alabama when police showed up at her home to arrest her. Mitchell was not accused of a crime. Instead, the police came to her home because she had not fully paid a traffic ticket from 2010. The single mother was handcuffed in front of her children (aged one and four) and taken to jail. She was ordered to either pay $2,800 or sit her debt out in jail at a rate of fifty dollars a day for fifty-nine days. Unable to pay, Mitchell wrote out the numbers one to fifty-eight on the back of her court documents and began counting days.
This is not justice.
This is yet another example of how greed and profit-incentives have not only perverted policing in America but have corrupted the entire criminal justice system.
As the Harvard Law Review concludes:
[A]s policing becomes a way to generate revenue, police start to “see the people they’re supposed to be serving not as citizens with rights, but as potential sources of revenue, as lawbreakers to be caught.” This approach creates a fugitive underclass on the run from police not to hide illicit activity but to avoid arrest for debt or seizure of their purportedly suspicious assets… In turn, communities … begin to see police not as trusted partners but as an occupying army constantly harassing them to raise money to pay their salaries and buy new weapons. This needs to end.
Unfortunately, the criminal justice system has been operating as a for-profit enterprise for years now, covertly padding its pockets through penalty-riddled programs aimed at maximizing revenue rather than ensuring public safety.
Same goes for the courts, which have come to rely on fines, fees and exorbitant late penalties as a means of increased revenue. The power of these courts, magnified in recent years through the introduction of specialty courts beyond your run-of-the-mill traffic court (drug court, homeless court, veterans court, mental health court, criminal court, teen court, gambling court, prostitution court, community court, domestic violence court, truancy court), is “reshaping the American legal system—with little oversight,” concludes the Boston Globe.
“When bail is set unreasonably high, people are behind bars only because they are poor,” stated former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “Not because they’re a danger or a flight risk — only because they are poor. They don’t have money to get out of jail, and they certainly don’t have money to flee anywhere. Other people who do have the means can avoid the system, setting inequality in place from the beginning.”
In the late 1980s, Missouri became one of the first states to let private companies purchase the probation systems of local governments. In these arrangements, municipalities impose debt on individuals through criminal proceedings and then sell this debt to private businesses, which pad the debt with fees and interest. This debt can stem from fines for offenses as minor as rolling through a stop sign or failing to enroll in the right trash collection service. In Ferguson, residents who fall behind on fines and don’t appear in court after a warrant is issued for their arrest (or arrive in court after the courtroom doors close, which often happens just five minutes after the session is set to start for the day) are charged an additional $120 to $130 fine, along with a $50 fee for a new arrest warrant and 56 cents for each mile that police drive to serve it. Once arrested, everyone who can’t pay their fines or post bail (which is usually set to equal the amount of their total debt) is imprisoned until the next court session (which happens three days a month). Anyone who is imprisoned is charged $30 to $60 a night by the jail. If an arrestee owes fines in more than one of St. Louis County’s eighty-one municipal courts, they are passed from one jail to another to await hearings in each town.
As Time reports, “The companies that build and run private prisons have a financial interest in the continued growth of mass incarceration. That is why the two major players in this game—the Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group—invest heavily in lobbying for punitive criminal justice policies and make hefty contributions to political campaigns that will increase reliance on prisons.”
It’s a vicious cycle that grows more vicious by the day.
Worse, as human rights attorney Jessica Jackson points out, “the fines and fees system has turned local governments into the equivalent of predatory lenders.” For instance, Jackson cites:
Washington state charges a 12% interest rate on all its criminal debt. Florida adds a 40% fee that goes into the pockets of a private collections agency. In California, penalties can raise a $100 fine to $490, or $815 if the initial deadline is missed. A $500 traffic ticket can actually cost $1,953, even if it is paid on time. And so we are left with countless tales of lives ruined—people living paycheck to paycheck who cannot afford a minor fine, and so face ballooning penalties, increasing amounts owed, a suspended license, jail time, and being fired from their jobs or unable to find work.
This isn’t the American Dream I grew up believing in.
This certainly isn’t the American Dream my parents and grandparents and those before them worked and fought and sacrificed to achieve.
This is a cold, calculated system of profit and losses.
Now you can shrug all of this away as a consequence of committing a crime, but that just doesn’t cut it. Especially not when average Americans are being jailed for such so-called crimes as eating SpaghettiOs (police mistook them for methamphetamine), not wearing a seatbelt, littering, jaywalking, having homemade soap (police mistook the soap for cocaine), profanity, spitting on the ground, farting, loitering and twerking.
There is no room in the American police state for self-righteousness. Not when we are all guilty until proven innocent.
It is fast becoming a government “of the rich, by the elite, for the corporations,” and its rise to power is predicated on shackling the American taxpayer to a debtors’ prison guarded by a phalanx of politicians, bureaucrats and militarized police with no hope of parole and no chance for escape.
“The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure.”
“Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.”
On Monday, WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North interviewed Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, lecturer and former New York Times correspondent. Among Hedges’ best-known books are War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, The Death of the Liberal Class, Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which he co-wrote with the cartoonist Joe Sacco, and Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt.
In an article published in Truthdig September 17, titled “The Silencing of Dissent,” Hedges referenced the WSWS coverage of Google’s censorship of left-wing sites and warned about the growth of “blacklisting, censorship and slandering dissidents as foreign agents for Russia and purveyors of ‘fake news.’”
Hedges wrote that “the Department of Justice called on RT America and its ‘associates’ – which may mean people like me – to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. No doubt, the corporate state knows that most of us will not register as foreign agents, meaning we will be banished from the airwaves. This, I expect, is the intent.”
North’s interview with Hedges began with a discussion of the significance of the anti-Russia campaign in the media.
David North: How do you interpret the fixation on Russia and the entire interpretation of the election within the framework of Putin’s manipulation?
Chris Hedges:It’sas ridiculous as Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. It is an absolutely unproven allegation that is used to perpetuate a very frightening accusation—critics of corporate capitalism and imperialism are foreign agents for Russia.
I have no doubt that the Russians invested time, energy and money into attempting to influence events in the United States in ways that would serve their interests, in the same way that we have done and do in Russia and all sorts of other countries throughout the world. So I’m not saying there was no influence, or an attempt to influence events.
But the whole idea that the Russians swung the election to Trump is absurd. It’s really premised on the unproven claim that Russia gave the Podesta emails to WikiLeaks, and the release of these emails turned tens, or hundreds of thousands, of Clinton supporters towards Trump. This doesn’t make any sense. Either that, or, according to the director of national intelligence, RT America, where I have a show, got everyone to vote for the Green Party.
This obsession with Russia is a tactic used by the ruling elite, and in particular the Democratic Party, to avoid facing a very unpleasant reality: that their unpopularity is the outcome of their policies of deindustrialization and the assault against working men and women and poor people of color. It is the result of disastrous trade agreements like NAFTA that abolished good-paying union jobs and shipped them to places like Mexico, where workers without benefits are paid $3.00 an hour. It is the result of the explosion of a system of mass incarceration, begun by Bill Clinton with the 1994 omnibus crime bill, and the tripling and quadrupling of prison sentences. It is the result of the slashing of basic government services, including, of course, welfare, that Clinton gutted; deregulation, a decaying infrastructure, including public schools, and the de facto tax boycott by corporations. It is the result of the transformation of the country into an oligarchy. The nativist revolt on the right, and the aborted insurgency within the Democratic Party, makes sense when you see what they have done to the country.
Police forces have been turned into quasi-military entities that terrorize marginal communities, where people have been stripped of all of their rights and can be shot with impunity; in fact over three are killed a day. The state shoots and locks up poor people of color as a form of social control. They are quite willing to employ the same form of social control on any other segment of the population that becomes restive.
The Democratic Party, in particular, is driving this whole Russia witch-hunt. It cannot face its complicity in the destruction of our civil liberties—and remember, Barack Obama’s assault on civil liberties was worse than those carried out by George W. Bush—and the destruction of our economy and our democratic institutions.
Politicians like the Clintons, Pelosi and Schumer are creations of Wall Street. That is why they are so virulent about pushing back against the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. Without Wall Street money, they would not hold political power. The Democratic Party doesn’t actually function as a political party. It’s about perpetual mass mobilization and a hyperventilating public relations arm, all paid for by corporate donors. The base of the party has no real say in the leadership or the policies of the party, as Bernie Sanders and his followers found out. They are props in the sterile political theater.
These party elites, consumed by greed, myopia and a deep cynicism, have a death grip on the political process. They’re not going to let it go, even if it all implodes.
DN: Chris, you worked for the New York Times. When was that, exactly?
CH: From 1990 to 2005.
DN: Since you have some experience with that institution, what changes do you see? We’ve stressed that it has cultivated a constituency among the affluent upper-middle class.
CH:The New York Times consciously targets 30 million upper-middle class and affluent Americans. It is a national newspaper; only about 11 percent of its readership is in New York. It is very easy to see who the Times seeks to reach by looking at its special sections on Home, Style, Business or Travel. Here, articles explain the difficulty of maintaining, for example, a second house in the Hamptons. It can do good investigative work, although not often. It covers foreign affairs. But it reflects the thinking of the elites. I read the Times every day, maybe to balance it out with your web site.
DN: Well, I hope more than balance it.
CH: Yes, more than balance it. The Times was always an elitist publication, but it wholly embraced the ideology of neo-conservatism and neoliberalism at a time of financial distress, when Abe Rosenthal was editor. He was the one who instituted the special sections that catered to the elite. And he imposed a de facto censorship to shut out critics of unfettered capitalism and imperialism, such as Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn. He hounded out reporters like Sydney Schanberg, who challenged the real estate developers in New York, or Raymond Bonner, who reported the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador.
He had lunch every week, along with his publisher, with William F. Buckley. This pivot into the arms of the most retrograde forces of corporate capitalism and proponents of American imperialism, for a time, made the paper very profitable. Eventually, of course, the rise of the internet, the loss of classified ads, which accounted for about 40 percent of all newspaper revenue, crippled the Times as it has crippled all newspapers. Newsprint has lost the monopoly that once connected sellers with buyers. Newspapers are trapped in an old system of information they call “objectivity” and “balance,” formulae designed to cater to the powerful and the wealthy and obscure the truth. But like all Byzantine courts, the Times will go down clinging to its holy grail.
The intellectual gravitas of the paper—in particular the Book Review and the Week in Review—was obliterated by Bill Keller, himself a neocon, who, as a columnist, had been a cheerleader for the war in Iraq. He brought in figures like Sam Tanenhaus. At that point the paper embraced, without any dissent, the utopian ideology of neoliberalism and the primacy of corporate power as an inevitable form of human progress. The Times, along with business schools, economics departments at universities, and the pundits promoted by the corporate state, propagated the absurd idea that we would all be better off if we prostrated every sector of society before the dictates of the marketplace. It takes a unique kind of stupidity to believe this. You had students at Harvard Business School doing case studies of Enron and its brilliant business model, that is, until Enron collapsed and was exposed as a gigantic scam. This was never, really, in the end, about ideas. It was about unadulterated greed. It was pushed by the supposedly best educated among us, like Larry Summers, which exposes the lie that somehow our decline is due to deficient levels of education. It was due to a bankrupt and amoral elite, and the criminal financial institutions that make them rich.
Critical thinking on the op-ed page, the Week in Review or the Book Review, never very strong to begin with, evaporated under Keller. Globalization was beyond questioning. Since the Times, like all elite institutions, is a hermetically sealed echo chamber, they do not realize how irrelevant they are becoming, or how ridiculous they look. Thomas Friedman and David Brooks might as well write for the Onion.
I worked overseas. I wasn’t in the newsroom very much, but the paper is a very anxiety-ridden place. The rules aren’t written on the walls, but everyone knows, even if they do not articulate it, the paper’s unofficial motto: Do not significantly alienate those upon whom we depend for money and access! You can push against them some of the time. But if you are a serious reporter, like Charlie Leduff, or Sydney Schanberg, who wants to give a voice to people who don’t have a voice, to address issues of race, class, capitalist exploitation or the crimes of empire, you very swiftly become a management problem and get pushed out. Those who rise in the organization and hold power are consummate careerists. Their loyalty is to their advancement and the stature and profitability of the institution, which is why the hierarchy of the paper is filled with such mediocrities. Careerism is the paper’s biggest Achilles heel. It does not lack for talent. But it does lack for intellectual independence and moral courage. It reminds me of Harvard.
DN: Let’s come back to this question of the Russian hacking news story. You raised the ability to generate a story, which has absolutely no factual foundation, nothing but assertions by various intelligence agencies, presented as an assessment that is beyond question. What is your evaluation of this?
CH:The commercial broadcast networks, and that includes CNN and MSNBC, are not in the business of journalism. They hardly do any. Their celebrity correspondents are courtiers to the elite. They speculate about and amplify court gossip, which is all the accusations about Russia, and they repeat what they are told to repeat. They sacrifice journalism and truth for ratings and profit. These cable news shows are one of many revenue streams in a corporate structure. They compete against other revenue streams. The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who helped create the fictional persona of Donald Trump on “Celebrity Apprentice,” has turned politics on CNN into a 24-hour reality show. All nuance, ambiguity, meaning and depth, along with verifiable fact, are sacrificed for salacious entertainment. Lying, racism, bigotry and conspiracy theories are given platforms and considered newsworthy, often espoused by people whose sole quality is that they are unhinged. It is news as burlesque.
I was on the investigative team at the New York Times during the lead-up to the Iraq War. I was based in Paris and covered Al Qaeda in Europe and the Middle East. Lewis Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle and maybe somebody in an intelligence agency, would confirm whatever story the administration was attempting to pitch. Journalistic rules at the Times say you can’t go with a one-source story. But if you have three or four supposedly independent sources confirming the same narrative, then you can go with it, which is how they did it. The paper did not break any rules taught at Columbia journalism school, but everything they wrote was a lie.
The whole exercise was farcical. The White House would leak some bogus story to Judy Miller or Michael Gordon, and then go on the talk shows to say, ‘as the Times reported….’ It gave these lies the veneer of independence and reputable journalism. This was a massive institutional failing, and one the paper has never faced.
DN: The CIA pitches the story, and then the Times gets the verification from those who pitch it to them.
CH: It’s not always pitched. And not much of this came from the CIA. The CIA wasn’t buying the “weapons of mass destruction” hysteria.
DN: It goes the other way too?
CH: Sure. Because if you’re trying to have access to a senior official, you’ll constantly be putting in requests, and those officials will decide when they want to see you. And when they want to see you, it’s usually because they have something to sell you.
DN: The media’s anti-Russia narrative has been embraced by large portions of what presents itself as the “left.”
CH: Well, don’t get me started on the American left. First of all, there is no American left—not a left that has any kind of seriousness, that understands political or revolutionary theories, that’s steeped in economic study, that understands how systems of power work, especially corporate and imperial power. The left is caught up in the same kind of cults of personality that plague the rest of society. It focuses on Trump, as if Trump is the central problem. Trump is a product, a symptom of a failed system and dysfunctional democracy, not the disease.
If you attempt to debate most of those on the supposedly left, they reduce discussion to this cartoonish vision of politics.
The serious left in this country was decimated. It started with the suppression of radical movements under Woodrow Wilson, then the “Red Scares” in the 1920s, when they virtually destroyed our labor movement and our radical press, and then all of the purges in the 1950s. For good measure, they purged the liberal class—look at what they did to Henry Wallace—so that Cold War “liberals” equated capitalism with democracy, and imperialism with freedom and liberty. I lived in Switzerland and France. There are still residues of a militant left in Europe, which gives Europeans something to build upon. But here we almost have to begin from scratch.
I’ve battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they’re kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.
So Trump’s not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.
The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won’t get academic appointments. You won’t win prizes. You won’t get grants. The New York Times, if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it—as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!
Speculation in the 17th century in Britain was a crime. Speculators were hanged. And today they run the economy and the country. They have used the capturing of wealth to destroy the intellectual, cultural and artistic life in the country and snuff out our democracy. There is a word for these people: traitors.
DN: What about the impact that you’ve seen of identity politics in America?
CH: Well, identity politics defines the immaturity of the left. The corporate state embraced identity politics. We saw where identity politics got us with Barack Obama, which is worse than nowhere. He was, as Cornel West said, a black mascot for Wall Street, and now he is going around to collect his fees for selling us out.
My favorite kind of anecdotal story about identity politics: Cornel West and I, along with others, led a march of homeless people on the Democratic National Convention session in Philadelphia. There was an event that night. It was packed with hundreds of people, mostly angry Bernie Sanders supporters. I had been asked to come speak. And in the back room, there was a group of younger activists, one who said, “We’re not letting the white guy go first.” Then he got up and gave a speech about how everybody now had to vote for Hillary Clinton. That’s kind of where identity politics gets you. There is a big difference between shills for corporate capitalism and imperialism, like Corey Booker and Van Jones, and true radicals like Glen Ford and Ajamu Baraka. The corporate state carefully selects and promotes women, or people of color, to be masks for its cruelty and exploitation.
It is extremely important, obviously, that those voices are heard, but not those voices that have sold out to the power elite. The feminist movement is a perfect example of this. The old feminism, which I admire, the Andrea Dworkin kind of feminism, was about empowering oppressed women. This form of feminism did not try to justify prostitution as sex work. It knew that it is just as wrong to abuse a woman in a sweatshop as it is in the sex trade. The new form of feminism is an example of the poison of neoliberalism. It is about having a woman CEO or woman president, who will, like Hillary Clinton, serve the systems of oppression. It posits that prostitution is about choice. What woman, given a stable income and security, would choose to be raped for a living? Identity politics is anti-politics.
DN: I believe you spoke at a Socialist Convergence conference where you criticized Obama and Sanders, and you were shouted down.
CH: Yes, I don’t even remember. I’ve been shouted down criticizing Obama in many places, including Berkeley. I have had to endure this for a long time as a supporter and speech writer for Ralph Nader. People don’t want the illusion of their manufactured personalities, their political saviors, shattered; personalities created by public relations industries. They don’t want to do the hard work of truly understanding how power works and organizing to bring it down.
DN: You mentioned that you have been reading the World Socialist Web Site for some time. You know we are quite outside of that framework.
CH: I’m not a Marxist. I’m not a Trotskyist. But I like the site. You report on important issues seriously and in a way a lot of other sites don’t. You care about things that are important to me—mass incarceration, the rights and struggles of the working class and the crimes of empire. I have read the site for a long time.
DN: Much of what claims to be left—that is, the pseudo-left—reflects the interests of the affluent middle class.
CH: Precisely. When everybody was, you know, pushing for multiculturalism in lead institutions, it really meant filtering a few people of color or women into university departments or newsrooms, while carrying out this savage economic assault against the working poor and, in particular, poor people of color in deindustrialized pockets of the United States. Very few of these multiculturalists even noticed. I am all for diversity, but not when it is devoid of economic justice. Cornel West has been one of the great champions, not only of the black prophetic tradition, the most important intellectual tradition in our history, but the clarion call for justice in all its forms. There is no racial justice without economic justice. And while these elite institutions sprinkled a few token faces into their hierarchy, they savaged the working class and the poor, especially poor people of color.
Much of the left was fooled by the identity politics trick. It was a boutique activism. It kept the corporate system, the one we must destroy, intact. It gave it a friendly face.
DN: The World Socialist Web Site has made the issue of inequality a central focus of its coverage.
CH: That’s why I read it and like it.
DN: Returning to the Russia issue, where do you see this going? How seriously do you see this assault on democratic rights? We call this the new McCarthyism. Is that, in your view, a legitimate analogy?
CH: Yes, of course it’s the new McCarthyism. But let’s acknowledge how almost irrelevant our voices are.
DN: I don’t agree with you on that.
CH: Well, irrelevant in the sense that we’re not heard within the mainstream. When I go to Canada I am on the CBC on prime time. The same is true in France. That never happens here. PBS and NPR are never going to do that. Nor are they going to do that for any other serious critic of capitalism or imperialism.
If there is a debate about attacking Syria, for example, it comes down to bombing Syria or bombing Syria and sending in troops, as if these are the only two options. Same with health care. Do we have Obamacare, a creation of the Heritage Foundation and the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, or no care? Universal health care for all is not discussed. So we are on the margins. But that does not mean we are not dangerous. Neoliberalism and globalization are zombie ideologies. They have no credibility left. The scam has been found out. The global oligarchs are hated and reviled. The elite has no counterargument to our critique. So they can’t afford to have us around. As the power elite becomes more frightened, they’re going to use harsher forms of control, including the blunt instrument of censorship and violence.
DN: I think it can be a big mistake to be focused on the sense of isolation or marginalization. I’ll make a prediction. You will have, probably sooner than you think, more requests for interviews and television time. We are in a period of colossal political breakdown. We are going to see, more and more, the emergence of the working class as a powerful political force.
CH:That’s why we are a target. With the bankruptcy of the ruling ideology, and the bankruptcy of the American liberal class and the American left, those who hold fast to intellectual depth and an examination of systems of power, including economics, culture and politics, have to be silenced.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone