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Archive for category Democracy & Freedoms

The Wind that Shakes the Barley! By Dr. Haider Mehdi

Young_Wheat_crop_in_a_field_near_Solapur,_Maharashtra,_India

NOTES FROM A SOCIAL SCIENTIST

The Wind that Shakes the Barley!

By Dr. Haider Mehdi

 

I find it hard to avoid the conclusion that the Pakistan of August 2014 is well on its way toward a decisive journey towards real democracy – or at least, a brave attempt is in the wind to initiate a determined and resolute process toward that cherished national goal.  The recent six-year so-called democratic experience in Pakistan (2008-2014) has clearly demonstrated that the present brand of so-called democratic dispensation can no longer work in this country. 

 

Let us try to take an unbiased look at the recent political events leading to the August 14th “Azadi”-“Inqilab” March on Islamabad. A segment of the incumbent power elite may disapprove of Khan-Qadri methods (the status quo forces never approve of changes), but viewed from a purely Realpolitik angle, the Khan-Qadri demands for a revolutionary change in the current political system and its manifested status quo-oriented traditional political culture is absolutely justified because this political structure is completely incompatible with the needs of present-day Pakistan. In many ways, the PPP-PMLN so-called democratic era (2008-2014) and its failures have contributed immensely to bringing about this perceptual change in the political consciousness of this nation, most specifically of the younger generation, who have rejected, out-of-hand, the totality of the existing political dispensation.

 

And why should not the entire nation and specifically the younger generation feel this way?  Imagine in the last 6 long years of this sham democracy completely dominated by the PPP-PMLN Right-wing vested-interests  status quo-oriented foreign-patronized leadership, even a national debate on a fresh developmental discourse to give this nation a “people-centric” socio-economic political administrative reform agenda has not seriously taken place!  The PPP leadership, during its tenure, remained essentially oligarchic and non-reformist, while the incumbent PMLN leaders have reached the ultimate limits of plutocracy. As I stated in one of my previous articles, “In precise terms, it means that individual wealthy people exercise a combination of economic and political power, and consequently, have overall dramatic impact on the entire shape and structure of society.” Much of the political capital and financial expertise of the PMLN incumbent leadership has been injected into mega-projects inconsistent with the urgent and present needs of the overall society.  On top of that, there appears to be commercial vested-interests involved in the Rawalpindi-Islamabad mega- transport project and all other major entrepreneurial initiatives taken by the PMLN national management.

 

The questions are: Where are the national priorities of the PMLN leadership? Does the PMLN leadership truly understand the nature of the real issues and challenges that are being faced by the common folks of this country on a daily basis? Do the PMLN national managers have enough managerial competence to deal with and resolve fundamental socio-economic problems of Pakistan’s ordinary citizens? Is the incumbent PMLN leadership equipped with the necessary expertise to deliver “people-centric” ideological and knowledgeable solutions for sustainable socio-economic development of this nation? Does the incumbent PMLN leadership appreciate the precise requirements of a democratic doctrine suitable for a present-day modern democratic society? Do they truly understand, given their rigid mindset and traditional political conduct, the management of the complex, complicated modern society? I’m afraid they don’t – and that is precisely the crux of the problem of the incumbent PMLN leadership.

 

What today’s Pakistan needs is a proposed set of comprehensive goals that should be unprecedented in their discourse towards a “people-centric” socio-economic ideological future. Taken in their totality, these goals should clearly reflect an integrated and transformative agenda which builds and expands on the interlinked socio-economic challenges that Pakistani society faces today. It is important that the Pakistani state and its democratic institutions commit to eradicating poverty for everyone everywhere in the country. The Pakistani state must commit itself to a human development agenda targeted towards eliminating socio-economic inequalities in the society, promoting rapid economic growth, creating jobs, streamlining plans for healthy and environmentally clean urbanization, resolving the energy crisis and planning sustainable consumption and production levels, and giving this nation a self-sufficient and self-reliant economic system. Above and beyond, the Pakistani state must ensure and promote peace, justice and institution-building in the country. 

 

However, the unfortunate ground reality is that the recent so-called democratic era (2008-2014), of the PPP-PMLN shows no appreciable history of where even initial or preliminary steps towards these important national goals mentioned above were taken. The fact of the matter is that the PPP-PMLN record has been extremely dismal on this count and, I believe, that the incumbent PMLN leadership does not have the managerial capabilities and political management capacities to deliver on these fundamental and essential elements needed in a democratic society.  

 

The latest irony of the PMLN 14-month rule is that its leadership has dragged the country into an environment of chaos.  There has been institutional polarization, divisions and conflicts all over the political spectrum since they took over governance after the so-call massive public mandate (now openly challenged as rigged and stolen by meticulous manipulative tactics).  The fact of the matter is that present-day Pakistani democracy lies in shambles.  The people of Pakistan are suffering while the economic and political power of this country’s incumbent ruling elite has been on an ascendancy – but that’s about to take a nosedive. 

 

And that’s where the August 14th “Azadi”-“Inqilab” March figures into the political mix with its much-awaited complex and far-reaching political consequences. Imran Khan and Dr. Qadri must be credited, at least, with giving this nation a highly acute awareness and a highly-developed political consciousness that there are fundamental things wrong with the present so-called democratic system, and offering a visionary outlook and real-time democratic-oriented actions to demonstrate and prove that people can and will force a change in the ways that this country has been managed so far. The PMLN cannot escape the inevitable that is bound to happen in tomorrow’s Pakistan in whatever shape and manner it may occur. I need to say no more about Imran Khan and Dr. Qadri: I know, as a social scientist, history will judge them and it may judge them as the most prominent and phenomenal revolutionary leaders and actors in the struggle for democratic freedom in Pakistan.

 

Times have changed, and so has the political consciousness of this nation – and so will the nature of democratic politics in this country. There is no going back now – the day of judgment is already upon us – it can be delayed but cannot be set aside indefinitely.  That is what we are going to learn from the August 14th “Azadi”-“Inqilab” March. 

 

Hold your breath – In the air is the wind that will shake the barley!

Dr Mehdi’s Note

Gracious Friends,

Following is my latest article that appeared in today’s The Nation  http://www.nation.com.pk/E-Paper/lahore/2014-08-14/page-7.  Your comments are welcome.
Warmest Regards,

Dr. Haider Mehdi

 

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Peace, Thanks To The Pile-Up: Gen Mirza Aslam Beg

OPINION
 
Peace, Thanks To The Pile-Up
Nuclear and missile programmes maintain stability, conventional arms drain resources
  

SUSPICIONS are inherently self-aggravating and often self-exaggerating. These can accelerate to intolerable limits, resulting in actions due to heightened anxiety. Attempt to lower the quantum of anxiety is indeed desirable to keep the adversary relatively cool, so as not to cross the tolerance threshold. There is a need, therefore, to build credible grounds for de-escalating tension in the subcontinent.

 

 

Taking the above construct as a viable one in the context of Indo-Pakistan relations, suspicions, though mutually exaggerated, are not altogether baseless. Taking the objectivity of the ground realities into account, mistrust is a historical baggage, which our leaders are carrying and find if difficult to offload. Even though one may find it reassuring to contend that the newly installed BJP government in India may deviate from some aspects of its preelection manifesto and shelve other contentious issues, yet what cannot be brushed aside is that the saffron hue, symbolising Hindu Renaissance, had an emotionalised appeal among a size-able section of the Indian population. In other words, the revival of the glory of Hindutva is a latent national aspiration. The saffron and the coalition political rainbow, how would they ultimately mix, is very much a conjectural issue.

 

 

For Pakistan, the predicament is circumscribed by what India does to bolster its image. Facing three wars, experiencing the trauma of losing one half of the country in 1971 and subsequently waking up to India’s nuclear explosion of 1974, Pakistan quite rightly felt objectively threatened. The lingering Kashmir imbroglio; a well integrated missile development programme initiated by India in early ’80s to produce the surface-to-surface Prithvi and Agni, the sea-launched surface-to-air Akash and Trishul and the anti-tank Nag…these have multiplied the anxiety in Pakistan.

 

 

Faced with such challenges, Pakistan quite determinedly produced a minimal nuclear deterrence which has kept peace in the region for over two decades. Similarly, in response to India’s ballistic missile programme, Pakistan has made very successful efforts to seek an equaliser and contain India’s monopoly in this sphere. The Ghauri missile is a credible deterrence against the Pakistan-specific Prithvi. Relying mainly on indigenous efforts, Pakistan will integrate the missile in its defensive system. Any dispassionate strategist would justify Pakistan’s response, just as Pakistan’s nuclear capability has produced a very low level, non-weaponised nuclear balance and has been accepted as a reality for the sake of military balance and peace.

 

 

It is interesting to note that the existing co-relation of conventional forces between India and Pakistan has been adjusted over a period of time to operational necessities. This adjustment, which may be called operational balance, has been achieved in spite of the fact that India enjoys superiority of 2.5:1 in land forces; 5:1 in air forces and 7:1 in naval forces, raising the forces level, reactively, over the period. And whenever this operational balance was disturbed, there was a quick response to re-establish it, thus escalating tension, a mad arms race, nuclear proliferation and now the missile race.

 

 

India spends about $7 billion on defence, which is about 3 per cent of its GDP. Pakistan spends $3.2 billion—almost 6 per cent of its GDP—just to ensure that functional operational balance, notwithstanding an adverse correlation of forces against India. Such a large defence budget is a drain on our resources but certainly it is not out of Pakistan’s own choice. Pakistan is neither a nuclear nor a missile initiator. Pakistan’s predicament has thus to be seen in this perspective of the prevailing realities of unavoidable constraints. It has to effect a functional force level to be able to maintain a reasonable operational balance needed to ensure security to the territories of Pakistan.

 

 

It goes without saying that reduction in conventional forces will be resisted by strong lobbies in both the countries. Downsizing and cutting the military budget may be desirable but not a pragmatic option under the prevailing mindset. However, it is possible to initiate the move to reduce the forces level of both the countries, step by step from the present day level of the ’90s to the ’80s, and then to the ’70s, taking care that the operational balance is not disturbed. In order to take the first step, it is essential that the political leadership and military experts on both sides may, through mutual dialogue and consultation, agree to reduce the forces level. High-tech weapons and equipment inducted during the last two decades should be retained in the same proportionate order. In other words, this way without disturbing the operational balance the objective conditions of confidence would be retained and a substantial breakthrough could be achieved in arms reduction.

 

 

Minimal nuclear and missile deterrence should also be kept intact because these are the cheapest options for peace. I can say with confidence that Pakistan’s nuclear programme is not that costly as it is generally thought to be. Right from the very inception in 1975 till 1990, it cost us less than the price of one naval submarine, which is estimated at $300 million; and at this very low cost it has held peace in the subcontinent for over two decades. Our missile programme is still cheaper. Logically speaking, therefore, the nuclear and missile deterrence have helped maintain peace, while the conventional arms race has drained our resources.

 

 

We are locked in a running gunbattle on Kashmir on the line of control. Inside Kashmir, a full-fledged war of liberation goes on,with thousands killed, maimed, wounded, molested and disgraced. Such sacrifices do not go waste just because one side is not prepared to talk. In such conflicts it is the dialectics of the opposing will which determine the parameters of the military logic, to bring the conflict to its fruition. And end it must, according to the wishes of the people of Kashmir, who have sacrificed so much for their cause. Righteousness of the cause has always triumphed over the forces of tyranny and injustice.

 

 

Building trust between the two countries—India and Pakistan—is indeed a formidable challenge. Someone rightly said: “The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

 

 

(The writer is a former Pakistani chief of army staff and is chairman of the Awami Qiadat Party.)

 

Reference

 

 
 

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In the Name of Democracy

 

 

 

 

 

 Archive Article

April, 2013

In the Name of Democracy

 

 

 

As Pakistan vacillates between military rule and civilian government, what end of the spectrum will it settle on?

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Some people consider it a miracle, others say it’s a blessing in disguise and the rest term it as the most painful era in the history of Pakistan. The completion of the five-year tenure of a civilian democratic government in the country, elected as a result of the February 2008 elections, is being celebrated. However, several questions arise regarding the performance of the so-called democratic era of Pakistan. Why is it that in the name of democracy, this civilian government plunged its people in a state of economic hardship, terrorism and rampant corruption? Should the people have tolerated all these enormous ordeals and the failing status of their country just for the sake of democracy? Can the forthcoming elections, if held, bring a qualitative change in the socio, economic and political conditions of the people or is it expected to worsen the situation in the days to come?

Out of Pakistan’s 66-year history, the country has been under military and quasi-military rule for around 30 years. The remaining 36 years were governed by civilian governments but under the shadow of the military and intelligence agencies. Even the most powerful civilian government of Z.A. Bhutto failed to curb the military’s influence. Following the civil disobedience movement, Army Chief of Staff General Zia-ul-Haq, toppled Bhutto’s government. The movement was launched by the Pakistan National Alliance in response to the alleged poll rigging of the March 1977 general elections by the PPP regime.

Post-1972, Pakistan had the opportunity to strengthen civilian democratic rule but politicians failed to understand that while seeking legitimacy and credit, it was imperative to provide good governance, accountability and rule of law. All the civilian governments ranging from Z. A. Bhuttto, to Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Yusuf Raza Gilani and Pervez Ashraf will be remembered in history as incompetent, corrupt, ruthless, vindictive, manipulative and apathetic governments. When President Zardari and PML (N) leader Nawaz Sharif tout their success in helping complete five years of a “democratic, civilian” government, the people of Pakistan have learnt to take it with a pinch of salt. The so-called democratic governments have had five years to deliver but opinion polls illustrate a rise in public frustration and terrorism thus contradicting political claims of success. The rule of law, good governance and accountability remained a low priority for the civilian-democratic rulers of Pakistan. Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) also issued a hefty report, providing reams of evidence of mega corruption scandals within Pakistan’s current government structure. The hearings and verdicts of the Supreme Court in the last four years also speak of volumes of corruption and nepotism on the part of the PPP led government.

Democracy has never been fully practiced in Pakistan. Power hungry politicians have wreaked havoc in state institutions ranging from Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Railways, Steel Mills and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), all at the expense of the common man. In the last five years, the PPP-led government borrowed 9 trillion rupees from different banks and financial lending institutions, including the State Bank. Foreign debt, which stood at 36 billion dollars in early 2008 is now 60 billion dollars. The value of the rupee versus US$ which was PKR60 in early 2007, now stands at PKR100. Foreign exchange reserves, which should have been on the rise have almost depleted with the State Bank recording only $8.7 billion. Corruption amounting to trillions of rupees in the last five years has been a source of embarrassment and shame for Pakistan, internationally. Prices of essential commodities have more than doubled over the last five years and the periodic increase in government salaries has skyrocketed inflation. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, public sector universities are unable to pay salaries to their employees and teachers on time. With such a hopeless performance of the PPP-led government, does it make sense to take pride in the false notion of  completing the 5 year term of a democratic, civilian government?

While the notion of democracy is contested, many commentators in Pakistan wonder whether given the poor performance of civilian-democratic governments, the people of Pakistan were better off during military regimes? As compared to their civilian counterparts, two critical things, which are controlled by military regimes, whether under Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq or Pervez Musharraf, are price control and law and order. One can do statistical research to compare the performance of military and civilian regimes in Pakistan since 1947 till today. Military regimes are, however, blamed of deepening ethnic and sectarian conflicts, suppressing their opponents brutally and losing wars and territories. Pakistan lost the 1971 war with India when the military was in power. Pakistan also lost Kargil and Siachen under military rule and the military establishment in order to neutralize its political opponents, patronized ethnic, sectarian and jihadi groups. In terms of performance, both civilian and military regimes have been unable to deliver successfully due to structural inadequacies within the leadership of Pakistan.

Four major reasons are responsible for the failure of civilian governments in Pakistan. First is the lack of educated, professional, honest and enlightened politicians. Secondly, political traits of greed, power, incompetency and opportunism have molded career diplomats who often find themselves in positions of power and promptly resort to abusing the system. Third, the military has historically, and consciously, refused to support political pluralism and democratic institutions thus preventing the introduction and continuation of any cohesive political framework. Finally, the failure of politicians to develop a culture of tolerance has ripped the social fabric of Pakistan. While one can blame the tribal and feudal culture, religious dogmatism, social backwardness and illiteracy as major causes of Pakistan’s deterioration into a failing state, it is actually the mindset of politicians which is responsible for betraying the people of this great nation.

Pakistan, in view of its serious fault lines, cannot afford the luxury of bad democracy. Certainly, parliamentary democracy in its present form has failed in Pakistan and serious questions must be raised regarding which political system is best suited to its peculiar socio-political make-up. 

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RIGHTS & FREEDOMS: PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ACTIONS ON US 4TH AMENDMENT & NAWAZ SHARIF’S RESPONSE TO FOLLOW?

America is one of the most open and freest nation in the world. But, some of the decisions taken, as consequences of  9/11, and the War on Terror  have eroded its freedoms at the altar of  national security. Unfortunately, for the free world this is bad news, because, when America sneezes, the rest of the world  gets a cold. Shortly ,the so-called subliminal fascist governments masquerading as democracies around the world, will follow suit with draconian laws in the name of national security.

The aftershocks of US curtailment of Civil Liberties will be felt around the world. Movements n support of Civil Liberties and Individual Freedoms will be crushed in the name of national security. The perception of safety and security at the expense of personal liberties is just a mirage. Free people can stop acts of terrorism by speaking out. Fearful people are too meek to get involved. And, that dear friends is a real Catch-22.

 

Political Fall-out for US Allies, including Pakistan

Pakistan should not follow this poor example set by President Obama. We should protect our hard won individual freedoms; through the Lawyers Movement for Democracy. Pakistani people have to keep Nawaz Sharif within the bounds of Pakistan’s Constitution. Otherwise, if he gets too big for his breeches, he should be booted out through our parliamentary process this time around, instead of a military takeover.

Nawaz Sharif has Megalomaniac Tendencies .

He dreams of becoming the head of Muslim Ummah, such megalomaniacs have to be kept within the boundaries of their constitutional role. Otherwise, they can go haywire and By nature, he cannot suppress his desire to once again fulfill his dream to become Ameer-ul-Momineen once again (it is an obsession with control freaks like him). Human history is replete with such examples from Hitler to Mussolini.

Litmus Test For Nawaz Sharif:

How many of the listed megalomaniac characteristics Nawaz Sharif  or how to identify the Symptoms of Megalomania in Nawaz Sharif

Megalomania is a psychopathological disorder where in the person experiences delusional fantasies of greatness, wealth, grandeur, omnipotence and superiority. The person with this type of mental illness will be obsessed with doing extravagant things, will think only about themselves, will not have any concern for others and will have lust for power and money. A megalomaniac person will also exaggerate his/her talent in an unrealistic egoistic way, consider them as unique and will be self centered. According to the experts, this mental disorder is related to Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) which means self-love. How and why this type of illness develops may be because of different behavioral characteristics, childhood and nature of parenting during childhood days. One of the best examples of a megalomaniac in the history was Adolf Hitler (1).

 

TIPS to identify the symptoms of megalomania in Nawaz Sharif:

 

  • Delusion of being superior to others (including all the politicians of Pakistan)
  • Delusion of greatness (wanted to Proclaim himself as Amir-ul-Momineen)
  • Delusion of having great social and political power (delusion of being loved by Pakistanis, even though elected by rigged and foreign manipulated elections)
  • Lack of empathy for anything (disappeared from lahore in middle of Kargil War)
  • Delusion of importance (wants to follow his mentor, the late”Amir-ul-Momineen” Gen.Zia-ul Haq)
  • Egoistic (shabby treatment of those close to him, including Ishaq Dar, Mushahidullah, Khaqan Abbasi, who seems to have disappeared)
  • Violent tendencies (bad temper & vengeful against Pakistan Armed Forces)
  • Self centered (Tried to seduce Kim Barker with his narcissism)
  • Want others to be fear of him (he has goons like Khaqan Abbasi, Mirza Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah, and Saad Rafiq, a hoodlum of Royal Park, Lahore)
  • High self confidence (Speaks as though, he has received communication from high heavens)
  • Manipulation over others (He is a master manipulator and is taking the US, Taliban, PML(N), and People of Pakistan for a ride)
  • Exaggerations (Lies and twists facts to suit political arguments)
  • Feeling of being a famous person (Delusion of being the Amir-ul-Momineen)
  • Symptoms of mania or paranoid disorder (Always watching his back to see if Army is trying to get rid of him. That is why he nominated his man Gen.Ziau-uddin Butt, as COAS)
  • Belief of being a god like figure (Megalomania)
  • Bad temper (Needs Anger Management counseling)
  • Frequent depressions(Attention Deficit Disorder & Paranoia)
  • Mood swings (Goes from fire to ice and back. Ask those who know him)

Though a megalomaniac posses himself o have a high esteem and ego, he will have a very low self-esteem and fragile ego.

An Open Letter to Dianne Feinstein, Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee

by Norman Solomon, June 08, 2013

Dear Senator Feinstein:

On Thursday, when you responded to news about massive ongoing surveillance of phone records of people in the United States, you slipped past the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. As the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, you seem to be in the habit of treating the Bill of Rights as merely advisory.

The Constitution doesn’t get any better than this: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The greatness of the Fourth Amendment explains why so many Americans took it to heart in civics class and why so many of us treasure it today. But, along with other high-ranking members of Congress and the president of the United States, you have continued to chip away at this sacred bedrock of civil liberties.

As The Guardian reported the night before your sudden news conference, the leaked secret court order “shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk — regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.”

One of the most chilling parts of that just-revealed Surveillance Court order can be found at the bottom of the first page, where it says “Declassify on: 12 April 2038.”

Apparently you thought — or at least hoped — that we, the people of the United States, wouldn’t find out for 25 years. And the fact that we learned about this extreme violation of our rights in 2013 instead of 2038 seems to bother you a lot.

Rather than call for protection of the Fourth Amendment, you want authorities to catch and punish whoever leaked this secret order. You seem to fear that people can actually discover what their own government is doing to them with vast surveillance.

Meanwhile, the executive branch is being run by kindred spirits, as hostile to the First Amendment as to the Fourth. On Thursday night, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement saying the “unauthorized disclosure of a top secret U.S. court document threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation.”

That statement from Clapper is utter and complete hogwash. Whoever leaked the four-page Surveillance Court document to Glenn Greenwald at The Guardiandeserves a medal and an honorary parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in the Nation’s capital. The only “threats” assisted by disclosure of that document are the possibilities of meaningful public discourse and informed consent of the governed.

Let’s be candid about the most clear and present danger to our country’s democratic values. The poisonous danger is spewing from arrogance of power in the highest places. The antidotes depend on transparency of sunlight that only whistleblowers, a free press, and an engaged citizenry can bring.

As Greenwald tweeted after your news conference: “The reason there are leakers is precisely because the government is filled with people like Dianne Feinstein who do horrendous things in secret.” And, he pointed out, “The real story isn’t just the spying itself: it’s that we have this massive, ubiquitous Surveillance State, operating in total secrecy.”

Obviously, you like it that way, and so do most other members of the Senate and House. And so does the president. You’re all playing abhorrent roles, maintaining a destructive siege of precious civil liberties. While building a surveillance state, you are patting citizens on the head and telling them not to worry.

Perhaps you should have a conversation with Al Gore and ask about his statement: “Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” Actually, many millions of Americans understand that the blanket surveillance is obscenely outrageous.

As a constituent, I would like to offer an invitation. A short drive from your mansion overlooking San Francisco Bay, hundreds of us will be meeting June 11 at a public forum on “Disappearing Civil Liberties in the United States.” (You’d be welcome to my time on the panel.) One of the speakers, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, could explain to you how the assaults on civil liberties and the wars you keep supporting go hand in hand, undermining the Constitution and causing untold misery.

Senator Feinstein, your energetic contempt for the Bill of Rights is serving a bipartisan power structure that threatens to crush our democratic possibilities.

A huge number of people in California and around the country will oppose your efforts for the surveillance state at every turn.

Sincerely,

Norman Solomon

 

 

Fascism In Defense of Freedom is a Vice

by James Heddle

 

OK. Let me try and understand this.

The reason terrorists hate us Americans so much is because of our Freedoms. That’s what the President says. So Attorney General John Ashcroft comes up with the only logical Christian solution: Eliminate our ‘Freedoms’ and they won’t hate us any more. Simple. Why didn’t we think of this before’ We might have avoided WW II! Perhaps even the American Revolution. Think of all the property, not to mention lives, that could have been saved!

 

Now we can see that Barry Goldwater’s infamous dictum, ‘extremism in defense of liberty is no vice’ – which by most accounts lost him the election – had more truth to it than met the eye at the time. We were so blind. But now we see. Goldwater was a prophet without honor in his own country.

 

Duuh! Gut the Bill of Rights and eviscerate the Constitution and presto chango oppressed peoples around the world living under despotic regimes supported and trained in domestic dissent suppression by the United States will have nothing for which to envy us. They’ll look at us with pity as equals. Like the rats regarded Jud in the musical ‘Oklahoma!’ And what’s more, they’ll be correct! Totalitarianism in defense of national security is all right. I can see the bumper stickers now – ‘Another Fascist for Freedom!’ ‘Another Totalitarian for Liberty!’ ‘Another Compassionate Conservative for Total Annihilation!’

 

Check it out, Ari, you Fleischer, you. Am I stating the argument accurately to this point’ As you said recently, “People have to watch what they say ….” I wouldn’t want to get it wrong.

 

OK. So now, if we outsource our manufacturing jobs to slave-wage Third World countries; compensate transnational corporations for ‘terrorist-induced’ business losses with retroactive tax refunds, defense contracts and multi-million dollar bailouts; lay off millions of American workers; give tax breaks to the wealthy; privatize and loot the coffers of Social Security; and create a permanent ‘worldwide-war-on-terrorism’ economy – why then, will we not forestall the plunge into global economic depression which was looming on the horizon even before 9/11’

 

Next, if we cluster bomb and bunker buster Afghanistan back to the Paleolithic, Vice President Dick Cheney and his buddies at Haliburton will rebuild it – adding a pipeline through it and Pakistan from the petroleum-rich Central Asian Republics (where National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and her Exxon colleagues have business interests) – then the G-8 countries’ ‘privileged’ access to all the major sources of oil in the world will have been secured until the Final Rapture.

 

Am I getting it right so far’

 

Of course, in the interest of a stable global investment climate (not to be confused with industry-produced global climate change), the unelected, anonymous trade lawyers and technocrats of the U.S.-dominated World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) must achieve and maintain the power to over-ride for trade profitability purposes the democratically established labor, environmental and human rights laws in all the world’s sovereign nations. This goes without saying.

 

Then finally – and this is the clincher – if we follow War (excuse me, Defense) Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s scenario, which is also laid out in the Air Force’s ‘Vision 2020’ Report, and project America’s nuclear-and-other-weapons-of-mass-destruction monopoly into space, why then we achieve ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ over the planet and become at the same time ‘Masters of Space.’ This is not my own megalomaniacal fantasy, mind you. This is the current, articulated official U.S. government policy. The world will at last be safe for American corporate investment.

 

So -please correct me if I’m wrong – totalitarianism in defense of liberty is a vise. It’s being tightened. And we’re all in it. The question is – how do we get out’

 

James Heddle is an award-winning documentary film-maker and Co-Director of EON – the Ecological Options Network, an organization dedicated to mapping and reporting on sustainability success stories worldwide. To contact him: opt2000@veriomail.com

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