November 20, 2001

The Big Brother Files #12: Keeping Our Mouths Open

Hello everyone

I've been enthralled this weekend by the Harry Potter story and movie. Besides being a Great entertainment, this is a powerful metaphor for the battle between the forces of darkness and the Forces of Good on Earth and in the invisible realms right now. More on this topic this week.

There are only 3 articles below, but I believe they are worth your attention.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

NOTE: Someone asked me how to locate the 25 messages in Digest Number 255 from the tapa-chemtrails listserver. Go at - Since only the members of this list can access the archives, you have to become a member - which you can do at this URL above.

"Experience teaches us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purpose is beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.

-- Louis Dembitz Brandeis, lawyer, judge, and writer (1856-1941)
Sent by Larry Morningstar <>


1. In a Time of Terror, Protest Is Patriotism
2. Terror, Love and the State of the World by John Robbins
3. Why the Bush administration wants war

Panel To Call For National ID Cards



Recommended by Suzanne Phillips <>


In a Time of Terror, Protest Is Patriotism

Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown

November 14, 2001

I'm flying a flag these days. The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, America's flag -- OUR flag! I've strapped it to my '97 made-in-the-USA Ford Escort, and I'm zipping around town as proudly as anyone else in the red, white and blue, like some modern-day Patrick Henry on wheels.

As with so many others, I'm flying our flag out of an assertive, perhaps defiant pride -- for I am proud, damned proud, to be an American citizen, and, in this time of true woe and deep national trauma, I'll be damned to hell before I meekly sit by and allow this symbol of our nation's founding ideals -- "liberty and justice for all" -- to be captured and defiled by reactionary autocrats, theocrats, xenophobic haters, warmongers, America-firsters, corporatists, militarists, fearmongers, political weasels, and other rank opportunists.

Our flag is no piece of sheeting for authoritarians to hide behind as they rend our hard-won liberties in the name of "protecting" us from a dangerous world. We Americans are not that frightened. Nor is our flag some bloody rag to be waved by politicians hoping to whip us into such a lust for vengeance that they can turn our people's republic into a garrisoned state, armed to the teeth and mired in a quasi-religious war that George W. defines as "this crusade" to "rid the world of the evildoers." We Americans are not that blind.

Our flag is the banner of freedom seekers, risk takers, democracy builders, rebels, pioneers, mavericks, barnraisers, and hellraisers -- a liberty-loving people who are naturally suspicious of authority and able to detect that the real threat to our land of the free comes not from afar, but from within.

Our flag is made of strong democratic cloth, artfully designed and painstakingly stitched together over 225 years -- liberty by individual liberty, people's movement by people's movement. Our flag embodies a democratic continuum that connects us today to the pamphleteers and Sons of Liberty, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, the abolitionists and the suffragists, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass, the populists and Wobblies, Mother Jones and Joe Hill, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez.

"The first job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open," wrote German Nobel Prize winner Gunther Grass. The Powers That Be are not interested in having a national conversation, but I believe we must push for one from the grassroots up. Open your mouth -- "Hey, I'm an American, red-blooded and true, and here's what that means to me; what do you think?"

Americans desperately need to talk -- about what our society is, where we're headed, what kind of future we're creating for the next generation. Our fellow citizens are eager to engage. Early one morning, as I sat in a coffee shop writing two days after the terrorist assault, a fellow in a suit and tie stepped over to me. I didn't know him, but he said that he occasionally read my weekly columns and felt the need to acknowledge something: "I mostly don't agree with you," he blurted, "but I guess today, we're all Americans."

Indeed. Let's talk.

What astonishes me is not that the Powers That Be would want to stifle any talk that doesn't assert lock-step "patriotism," but that so many weak-kneed progressive leaders have counseled hiding our light under a bushel and withdrawing from the noble field of protest.

For example, an internal memo to Sierra Club leaders mewed, "We strongly need to avoid any perceptions that we are being disrespectful to President Bush." Hello? Protest is not disrespectful. It is the essence of American democracy, of America itself, and it is especially essential when a muddleheaded guy like George W. sits in the President's chair, totally dependent on the military establishment and corporate elite, thrusting our sons and daughters (theirs won't have to go) into an unlimited and secretive world war against terrorists supposedly entrenched in 60 nations, while simultaneously rushing to Congress with a package of 51 "emergency" antiterrorism bills to put some convenient crimps and cuts in America's Bill of Rights.

If we don't protest now, when will it matter? Yet the Sierra Club's memo-writer urges that we shut our mouths for fear of being deemed unpopular: "Now is the time for rallying together as a nation," he whimpered. Excuse me, but rally together for what, exactly?

How to Destroy Democracy

Terrorists have no ability to destroy our democracy -- but we do, simply by surrendering it, by keeping our mouths shut while it is dismantled by the authorities.

"America is being tested," bellowed the political and media establishments after September 11. True, but the test is not merely of whether the military has the brute force to smite our enemies, though this will certainly continue to be mightily tested in the far-flung, open-ended offensive drawn up by the Bushites. The real test is going to be of our democratic resolve. Will we citizens settle for life in a guarded and gated corporate empire?

"Everything has changed," we're told. No, it hasn't.

This pitiful wail by politicians and pundits went up as quickly as the Trade Center towers fell, and now it's the prevailing excuse used by those who tell us that to defend freedom we must surrender freedoms, to stop terrorist assaults on our democracy we must militarize our society.

Republicans are the harshest of the newly assertive autocrats in Washington, but Democrats, too, were quick to accept the post-September 11 conventional wisdom that liberties now must be set aside: "We need to find a new balance between freedom and security," asserted House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt just days after the attack, adding ominously: "We are in a new world."

No, we're not. We're in the exact same world. It has just come a lot closer to us, that's all, introducing itself to us in a terrible and personal way that we've basically been uninformed about until now. Yet we are not some backward, powerless people who must flee to our caves.

The adjustment we most need to make is not in our freedoms, but in our understanding of who else is in this big world with us and what it will take for all of us to get along. At a minimum, getting along will require that our nation's political and economic policies begin to reflect our people's democratic values -- economic fairness, social justice, equal opportunity for all.

In practical terms, this means putting America on the side of the poor and repressed people of the world, rather than continuing to stand alongside the thugs, dictators, corporatists, and monarchists who prosper on the misery of an increasingly angry Third World majority.

Far from building on these strengths, however, the Powers That Be are appealing solely to our nativism and pessimism, demanding that we withdraw into Fortress America and meekly allow them to deal secretively, paternalistically, and cataclysmically with an uppity world.

But it's our world, too, that they plan to up-end. The same old pols like Dick Cheney, Trent Lott, and Denny Hastert -- who built their political careers on the hackneyed line that the ten scariest words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" -- are now squinting into the TV cameras and, with tight-lipped greasy smiles, saying, "We're here to protect you."

A mess of the "protection" they have in mind is collected into a hellish handbasket that they've labeled the "Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act." Yes, believe it or not, they've cynically constructed an acronym that spells: PATRIOT.

Clever, what? T.J., Jimmy Madison, Old Ben, Tom Paine, the original George W., and all the other founding patriots would gag on this piece of privacy-invading, liberty-denying nastiness. It brings back racial profiling with a vengeance; it makes wiretapping and Internet surveillance a free-for-all; it authorizes the indefinite detention of anyone "suspected" of any terrorist connection, without the nicety of charging them with anything, and denies them any appeal; it requires your bank to spy on you and to report to federal agents any "unusual transaction" (such as depositing or withdrawing as little as $5,000); it leaves it to the FBI, CIA, and other bastions of authoritarianism to define terrorist activity (protest at a WTO meeting?) ... and so much more.

If only that were the end of it. They also propose to "unleash" the CIA. (When, exactly, was it leashed, and to what?) They want our super-snoop agency to be officially authorized to assassinate people -- just like the terrorists do. They want it to return to what George Bush the Elder calls the "dirty business" of espionage, which is to say hiring "unsavory people" as CIA agents to do what needs to be done (Daddy Bush would know about unsavory, for he was V.P. when our CIA financed Osama bin Laden).

Now along comes Bush the Younger with a dream-come-true for those who yearn for more police power in our lives. It's called the Office of Homeland Security, and he's given it powers to match the National Security Agency and a vague mandate that he glibly defines as "to make sure that anybody who wants to harm America will have a hard time doing so."

The OHS was created by executive fiat to be a White House agency. It will have no congressional oversight of its activities or budget. In addition, Bush has unilaterally decided to establish a "Homeland Defense Command" within the Pentagon, empowering the military to gain a foothold over civilian authority and to act against U.S. citizens at home.

If this in not enough democracy-quashing firepower, Congress is also contemplating approval of a longtime civil-liberties no-no: the national ID card. Welcome to your "new world." It's really no big deal, says Republican subcommittee chairman George Gekas, who notes that something already exists that you might not know about: the National Standard for the Driver's License/Identification Card.

It might be one thing if any or all of these measures would actually stop terrorism, but even their proponents won't make such a claim.

It's being done not because it makes sense, but simply because there is an urgency to "do something," or at least appear to do something, and the easiest thing to do in a national crisis is always to reach for the hammer and cuffs to shut down everything from people's movements to their mouths. Well, after all, say the politicians and media with near unanimity, we're at war.

No, we're not. Yes, our forces are in "hot pursuit" of the maniacal fiends who, in a grotesque perversion of Islam (practicing a violent, puritanical, fringe version called Wahhabism), have exploded our buildings, our people, and our comforting sense of isolation from an unsettled world's religious wars. And yes, George W. has declared us to be "at war" with these murderous zealots.

Good for him -- except, of course, that a president has no authority to declare war. This is more than a Constitutional nicety; it is basic to the rule of law, which in turn is an absolutely essential underpinning of democracy -- in fact, the founders took on King George III in the Revolutionary War so we'd be governed by law, not kings.

Attorney General John Ashcroft, never one to contend for a civil-liberties award, has been especially pushy in his assertion of martial-law-style executive power, stamping his tiny feet and demanding at one point that Congress pass his police-powers package "by next week."

Likewise, the media, Congress, and the White House have clamored to censor those who have dared to dissent or diverge from the orthodox line. For example, when comedian Bill Maher expressed some unapproved thoughts on television, President Bush's mouthpiece Ari Fleischer said: "Americans ... need to watch what they say, watch what they do."

Any time the authorities lock arms and assert that "everything has changed," grab your copy of the Bill of Rights and rush to the barricades.

So What Can We Do?

What should we ask our government to do?

On the military front, the United States has no choice but to go after the bastards. Terrorism ain't beanbags. The ruthless mass murderers smacked our nation and all of civilization right in the face, and turning the other cheek only means we'll get smacked again.

There's no subtlety to their agenda. However, there must subtlety be to ours. The trick in smacking back is in knowing who "they" are, where they are, and particularly in smacking them without slaughtering the innocents they hide among. This requires a scalpel, not a sledgehammer, and it requires a long, patient siege (years) that is dependent more on creative diplomacy and old-fashioned gumshoe espionage than on high-tech, made-for-CNN missile shots. Bringing them to justice in a court of law would be ideal, and we should seek their capture, but these are suicidal, doctrinaire diehards, so blood will flow.

With blood and billions of our dollars involved, we have a right to demand a new honesty from Washington. For starters, they should start telling us the truth about the elites of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, who are the primary source of brains, money, and recruits for this Wahhabi jihad.

Leaders of these nations, however, are the oil buddies, business partners, and longtime Middle Eastern enforcers of America's corporate empire, so Bush, Cheney & Co. won't cop to the fact that the murderous theocratic movement now tormenting us is based in the very nest where their corporate chums have found such comfort and profit. Will Bush go there to "smoke 'em out of their holes"?

How about a little honesty, too, on money laundering? Bush has pointed furiously at foreign banks, but how about the multibillion-dollar networks of secret accounts in the "private banking" departments of such U.S. giants as Citigroup (a major Bush campaign contributor)?

It's on the home front, however, where we citizens must be most forceful in holding Washington accountable. The looters are loose. Not common looters rampaging through the streets, but corporate looters rampaging through the Congress.

They are grabbing for bills and billions that have zero to do with combating terrorism or rebuilding our economy -- the Star Wars missile-defense shield, for example, was zapped through a week after the attack, even though a box-cutter defense shield would be much more useful. Then came "fast track" authority to ram more global trade deals down the throats of the world's people -- pushed by lobbyists and Bush's odious trade chief in the name of patriotism!

The looters also want huge bailouts, massive corporate tax cuts, oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, slashing-capital gains taxes (80 percent of this break goes to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans), and a host of other thefts.

Instead of aiding the looters, Washington should launch a major reinvestment in grassroots America. First, stop the firing. Why should airlines get $15 billion from taxpayers while axing 100,000 employees? The same with hotel chains, car-rental corporations, and other industries that now demand bailouts. Yes, these corporations are hard-hit, but so is America. To stimulate the economy, put these bailout funds into the hands of working families all across America.

Second, strengthen our national security by making major, long-overdue public investments in our infrastructure -- schoolhouses, hospitals, roads and bridges, parks, etc. Add to this a new nationwide project to reconnect our population corridors with high-speed passenger trains. This makes so much sense that even the tightly bowtied, right-wing, anti-government scribe George Will has embraced it. Then it's way past time we expanded renewable energy sources to wean us off oil, which weds the Bush-Cheney crowd to the Saudi royal family and their ilk.

Third, to deal with the recession: Instead of cutting income taxes, cut payroll taxes; raise the minimum wage; extend health care, unemployment benefits, and day care. All of this spreads money, like fertilizer, to the grassroots economy, rather than piling it up inside global banks.

Finally, we must demand openness and full public discussion on everything from war and peace to restrictions on our liberties.

Since September 11, I find a deep hunger among most Americans for serious discussion (including hearing dissent). This gives me great hope in such a horrible time. Contrary to the media's portrayal of Bellicose America, the people I've encountered in meetings, in cafes and bars, and elsewhere (including the majority of people writing letters-to-the-editor in papers from coast to coast) are expressing anger, grief, and shock -- but they oppose the hush-hush and rush-rush we're getting, and they want us to talk and think as a democratic community.

The better part of patriotism is for us to raise hard questions, put out inconvenient information, assert our values, and appeal to what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."


Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001
From: Mona LaVine <>
Subject: Terror, Love and the State of the World by John Robbins

This is an excellent article to forward on to as many as possible.

This is a recent talk by John Robbins, who left his Baskin-Robbins ice cream dynasty family to educate the world about the environmental perils of modern eating habits.

"... there is no such thing as national security as long as the basic human needs of large portions if humanity are not met."

- John Robbins



by John Robbins, founder of EarthSave International,

Approximately 6,000 people perished in the September 11th attacks . . . But those who died from the attacks on that tragic day were not alone. On September 11th, 35,000 children worldwide died of hunger. A similar number of children died on September 12th, and again on the 13th, and on every single day since then. Meanwhile, we in the U.S. feed 80% of our grain harvest to livestock so that a people whose cholesterol levels are too high can have cheap meat.

To advance human security and control terrorism, we must not only find the brutality of the September 11th attacks to be totally intolerable. We must also find intolerable that one billion people worldwide struggle to survive on $1 a day, that more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and that 3 billion people have inadequate access to sanitation. If we are serious about stopping terrorism, then our goal must be to reduce the level of pollution, fear, and poverty in the world.

The cost of our initial military response will easily top $100 billion (on top of our already enormous annual defense budget of $342 billion). What could we accomplish if we spent even a small fraction of that much on programs to alleviate human suffering?

In 1998, the United Nations Development Program estimated that it would cost an additional $9 billion (above current expenditures) to provide clean water and sanitation for everyone on earth. It would cost an additional $12 billion, they said, to cover reproductive health services for all women worldwide. Another $13 billion would be enough not only to give every person on Earth enough food to eat but also basic health care. An additional $6 billion could provide basic education for all.

These are large numbers, but combined they add up to $40 billion - - only one fifth as much as the $200 billion the U.S. government agreed in October 2001 to pay Lockheed to build new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jets.

What if we were equally as dedicated to eradicate hunger, to provide clean water, to defeat infectious disease, to provide adequate jobs, to combat illiteracy, and to end homelessness?

What if we understood that, today, there is no such thing as national security as long as the basic human needs of large portions of humanity are not met?"

More at:





Why the Bush administration wants war

Statement of the WSWS Editorial Board

14 September 2001

In the midst of the hysterical war mongering of the US government and a state-controlled media that knows no shame, it is more than ever necessary to retain not only one’s composure, but also one’s ability to think, analyze, and reason. It is surely appropriate to mourn the terrible loss of life on September 11. But sympathy for the victims, their families and friends should not blind anyone to the fact that powerful sections of the US ruling elite view this tragedy as a welcome opportunity to implement a militaristic agenda that has been in the works for more than a decade.

Modern wars require a pretext, a casus belli that can be packaged to the public as a sufficient justification for the resort to arms. Every major war in which the United States has been involved since its emergence as an imperialist world power—from the Spanish-American War of 1898 to the Balkan War of 1999—has required a catalytic event that inflamed public opinion.

But whatever the nature of such trigger events, they never proved, in the light of sober historical analysis, to be the real cause of the wars that followed. Rather, the actual decision to go to war—while facilitated by the change in public opinion produced by the casus belli—flowed in each instance from more essential considerations rooted in the strategic political and economic interests of the ruling elite.

“War,” said von Clausewitz in his oft-quoted aphorism, “is the continuation of politics by other means.” This means, in essence, that war is a means by which governments seek to secure political ends they could not achieve peacefully. There is no reason to believe that this profound truth does not apply to the events that are now unfolding in the aftermath of Tuesday’s hijackings and bombings.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been seized on as an opportunity to implement a far-reaching political agenda for which the most right-wing elements in the ruling elite have been clamoring for years. Within a day of the attack, before any light had been shed on the source of the assault or the dimensions of the plot, the government and the media had launched a coordinated campaign to declare that America was at war and the American people had to accept all the consequences of wartime existence.

The policies that are now being advanced—an open-ended expansion of US military action abroad and a crackdown on dissent at home—have long been in preparation. The US ruling elite has been hampered in implementing such policies by the lack of any significant support within the American population and resistance from its imperialist rivals in Europe and Asia.

Now the Bush administration has decided to exploit the public mood of shock and revulsion over the events of September 11 to advance the global economic and strategic aims of American imperialism. He has the full support of a debased media and a Democratic Party that is more than happy to end any pretense of opposition to the Republican right.

On Thursday Bush all but admitted as much, declaring that the atrocity carried out two days before had provided “an opportunity to wage war against terrorism.” He went on to say that the conduct of this war would be the focus of his entire administration. Such a declaration of unabashed militarism would have been unthinkable prior to September 11. But the assault on the World Trade Center had, in the parlance of imperialist real politik, created new facts.

Without having begun to seriously investigate, let alone explain, the very strange circumstances surrounding the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the Bush administration and the media have declared that all-out war is the only possible response to these events. This is before the government has even established the political identity of the terrorists, or answered troubling questions about how such an elaborate plot—apparently involving dozens of conspirators operating within the United States—could have gone completely undetected by the FBI, CIA and associated intelligence agencies.

Nor have the Federal Aviation Administration, the Air Force or the FBI explained the failure to issue an alert or attempt to intercept the hijacked airliners as they swerved off course and made for the nerve centers of the US financial and military establishment.

For all the claims of sorrow and sympathy, there could not have been a more timely or fortuitous event for the Bush administration than the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. When George W. Bush awoke on September 11, he presided over an administration in deep crisis. Having come to power on the basis of fraud and the suppression of votes, his government was seen by millions both in the US and around the world as illegitimate.

The very narrow social base of support his administration had in the beginning was rapidly eroding in the face of a deepening economic slump in the US and around the world. Unable to advance any solution to the growth of unemployment and catastrophic losses on the stock market, facing criticism over the evaporation of the budget surplus and the reversal of its pledge not to spend Social Security funds, the administration was showing signs of internal dissension and disarray.


The economic crisis compounded a host of foreign policy dilemmas confronting the Bush administration. Washington’s policy in Iraq was in a shambles, with sanctions crumbling and the US facing open opposition from France, Germany, Russia and China to its plans for maintaining sanctions and intensifying its vendetta against Saddam Hussein. On this and other major issues the US was finding itself unable to get resolutions through the United Nations Security Council and other international bodies. On a whole host of issues—missile defense, global warming, an international criminal court—the US was in open conflict with most of its nominal allies.

The growth of social protest and anti-capitalist sentiment was expressed in the wave of “anti-globalization” demonstrations, which revealed the extreme isolation of the governments of all the major powers and rising popular discontent over their right-wing policies, seen to be embodied above all in the Bush administration.

But in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attack the Bush administration, aided by a cynical and sophisticated media campaign, has been working to whip up a patriotic war fever that will enable it to overcome, at least temporarily, its immediate problems, while creating the conditions for profound and lasting changes on both the foreign and domestic front.

In the name of national unity, the Democratic Party has given Bush a blank check to wage war, increase military spending and curtail civil liberties. As one commentator aptly put it, “We will be operating as if we have a national unity party. That means alternative voices will be suppressed.”

The Washington Post spoke for the liberal establishment in a September 14 editorial calling for the curtailment of democratic and civil rights. Entitled “New Rules,” the editorial declared: “[I]f replying to that attack is truly to become an organizing principle of US policy, as we believe it should—if the United States is to undertake the difficult and sustained campaign against those who threaten it—then neither politics nor diplomacy can return to where they were.... This is most of all true as Congress and others discuss the possible need to sacrifice privacy, freedom of movement or other liberties to the needs of domestic security.”

Tens of billions of dollars will be pumped into the economy in the form of military and security spending, and to rebuild the devastated sections of New York City. The viability of what remains of the social safety net—Medicare and Social Security—will not be allowed to stand in the way of pursuing the twilight struggle of good versus evil proclaimed by the White House and Congress.

Every restriction on the exercise of US military might and the counterrevolutionary activities of the CIA will be lifted. For years the most reactionary sections of the ruling elite, in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the publications of right-wing think tanks, have been agitating for an end to the “Vietnam syndrome” and calling for the unbridled use of military force to secure the interests of US imperialism. Now they see the opportunity to realize their agenda.

Already leading spokesmen of both parties are demanding the rescinding of the presidential order banning the use of assassinations as a tool of foreign policy. The Democrats have agreed to vote for a resolution giving the White House virtually unlimited authority to go to war against any nation that it claims is aiding or encouraging terrorists. There is little doubt that one of the first targets for a massive bombing campaign, combined with a ground invasion, will be Iraq. But other countries are certain to follow.

As one military officer said on Wednesday, “The constraints have been lifted.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the contemplated military action will “not be restricted to a single entity, state or non-state entity.” Georgia Democrat Zell Miller was more blunt in expressing the bloodlust that prevails in government circles: “Bomb the hell out of them. If there’s collateral damage, so be it.”

Senator John McCain said the US should “not rule out any force short of nuclear weapons.” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, in a piece entitled “World War III,” refused to make such a caveat, writing that while the September 11 attack “may have been the first major battle of World War III, it may be the last one that involves only conventional, non-nuclear weapons.”

The American people, at a moment of enormous grief and anxiety, are being told they must accept the prospect of having their sons and daughters sent to distant parts to kill and be killed, to fight an enemy or enemies yet to be named, and at the same time acquiesce to the gutting of their democratic rights.

What they are not being told is that the American corporate and financial elite, in the name of a holy war against terrorism, intends to rain death and destruction on countless thousands of people in order to realize global aims it has long harbored. Can there be any doubt that this crusade for “peace” and “stability” will become the occasion for the US to tighten its grip over the oil and natural gas resources of the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian? Behind the pious and patriotic declarations of politicians and media commentators stand the long-cherished designs of American imperialism to dominate new parts of the world and establish global hegemony.