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The Terror-Industrial Complex

Posted on Feb 8, 2010
AP / Fareed Khan

Mohammad Ahmed, son of Aafia Siddiqui, takes part in a demonstration arranged by Human Rights Network.

Editor’s note: As a result of errors, an earlier version of this column misrepresented quoted material. The corrected version is below.

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The conviction of the Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui in New York last week of trying to kill American military officers and FBI agents illustrates that the greatest danger to our security comes not from al-Qaida but the thousands of shadowy mercenaries, kidnappers, killers and torturers our government employs around the globe.

The bizarre story surrounding Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University, often defies belief. Siddiqui, who could spend 50 years in prison on seven charges when she is sentenced in May, was by her own account abducted in 2003 from her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, with her three children—two of whom remain missing—and spirited to a secret U.S. prison where she was allegedly tortured and mistreated for five years. The American government has no comment, either about the alleged clandestine detention or the missing children. 

Siddiqui was discovered in 2008 disoriented and apparently aggressive and hostile, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with her oldest son. She allegedly was carrying plans to make explosives, lists of New York landmarks and notes referring to “mass-casualty attacks.” But despite these claims the government prosecutors chose not to charge her with terrorism or links to al-Qaida—the reason for her original appearance on the FBI’s most-wanted list six years ago. Her supporters suggest that the papers she allegedly had in her possession when she was found in Afghanistan, rather than detail coherent plans for terrorist attacks, expose her severe mental deterioration, perhaps the result of years of imprisonment and abuse. This argument was bolstered by some of the pages of the documents shown briefly to the court, including a crude sketch of a gun that was described as a “match gun” that operates by lighting a match.

“Justice was not served,” Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network and the spokesperson for Aafia Siddiqui’s family, told me. “The U.S. government made a decision to label this woman a terrorist, but instead of putting her on trial for the alleged terrorist activity she was put on trial for something else. They tried to convict her of that something else, not with evidence, but because she was a terrorist. She was selectively prosecuted for something that would allow them to only tell their side of the story.”


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The government built its entire case instead around disputed events in the 300-square-foot room of the Ghazni police station. It insisted that on July 18, 2008, the diminutive Siddiqui, who had been arrested by local Afghan police the day before, seized an M4 assault rifle that was left unattended and fired at American military and FBI agents. None of the Americans were injured. Siddiqui, however, was gravely wounded, shot twice in the stomach. 

No one, other than Siddiqui, has attempted to explain where she was for five years after she vanished in 2003. No one seems to be able to explain why a disoriented Pakistani woman and her son, an American citizen, neither of whom spoke Dari, were discovered by local residents wandering in a public square in Ghazni, where an eyewitness told Harpers Magazine the distraught Siddiqui “was attacking everyone who got close to her.” Had Siddiqui, after years of imprisonment and torture, perhaps been at the U.S. detention center in Bagram and then dumped with one of her three children in Ghazi? And where are the other two children, one of whom also is an American citizen? In an article written by Petra Bartosiewicz in the November 2009 Harper’s Magazine, authorities in Afghanistan described a series of events at odds with the official version.

The events of the following day are also subject to dispute. According to the complaint, a U.S. Army captain and a warrant officer, two FBI agents, and two military interpreters came to question Siddiqui at Ghazni’s police headquarters. The team was shown to a meeting room that was partitioned by a yellow curtain. “None of the United States personnel were aware,” the complaint states, “that Siddiqui was being held, unsecured, behind the curtain.” No explanation is offered as to why no one thought to look behind it. The group sat down to talk and, in another odd lapse of vigilance, “the Warrant Officer placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor to his right next to the curtain, near his right foot.” Siddiqui, like a villain in a stage play, reached from behind the curtain and pulled the three-foot rifle to her side. She unlatched the safety. She pulled the curtain “slightly back” and pointed the gun directly at the head of the captain. One of the interpreters saw her. He lunged for the gun. Siddiqui shouted, “Get the fuck out of here!” and fired twice. She hit no one. As the interpreter wrestled her to the ground, the warrant officer drew his sidearm and fired “approximately two rounds” into Siddiqui’s abdomen. She collapsed, still struggling, then fell unconscious.

The authorities in Afghanistan describe a different series of events. The governor of Ghazni Province, Usman Usmani, told my local reporter that the U.S. team had “demanded to take over custody” of Siddiqui. The governor refused. He could not release Siddiqui, he explained, until officials from the counterterrorism department in Kabul arrived to investigate. He proposed a compromise: the U.S. team could interview Siddiqui, but she would remain at the station. In a Reuters interview, however, a “senior Ghazni police officer” suggested that the compromise did not hold. The U.S. team arrived at the police station, he said, and demanded custody of Siddiqui, the Afghan officers refused, and the U.S. team proceeded to disarm them. Then, for reasons unexplained, Siddiqui herself somehow entered the scene. The U.S. team, “thinking that she had explosives and would attack them as a suicide bomber, shot her and took her.”

Siddiqui’s own version of the shooting is less complicated. As she explained it to a delegation of Pakistani senators who came to Texas to visit her in prison a few months after her arrest, she never touched anyone’s gun, nor did she shout at anyone or make any threats. She simply stood up to see who was on the other side of the curtain and startled the soldiers. One of them shouted, “She is loose,” and then someone shot her. When she regained consciousness she heard someone else say, “We could lose our jobs.”

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RenZo's avatar

By RenZo, February 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Dear Mystic

You are correct. I do not advocate violence, now or in the past. I am not an expert in Marxism either. I use his name to focus people on the real issues in this society (the unspeakable issues) of who has the money and who does the work (when there used to be work to do here). I am a socialist, without doubt. I would gladly give up any pretense of accumulating wealth to live in a good society where people were taken care of and people contributed their work to the society. I believe such societies exist already, with flaws of course, but I have a claim to EU citizenship and I am trying to decide whether to leave the US or not.
That is my dilemma. My last attempt to feel like a contributor, but this is the choir we are preaching to. Even the most conservative who post here are lefties. Thank you for your excellent ideas, balanced argumentation, and even tone. All should debate like you do.

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By JDmysticDJ, February 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment


I hope I’m not misinterpreting your comments. It’s nice to know that you “Actually respect” Gandhi and King, but your suggestion that “Maybe we need…another maniac with revolutionary zeal,” strikes me as being nihilistic in the extreme, and it reminds me of Baukunin’s “Destruction as Creation Theory.” Forgive me for being dense; I’m a few points short of Mensa, but I’m more inclined to believe that building would be creation, and that destruction is not creation. Also, it seems to me that any “…maniac with revolutionary zeal,” who arises from, or creates violence, in order to create a new residential milieu, is exactly what we should be afraid of. Clearly, our Democracy is in need of restoration/modernization, but I’m hoping we can accomplish that task without complete demolition.

Regarding Marx, I’m certainly no expert on Marx, but based on what I know, I admire him for his economic sagacity, his volumes of academic work, his apparent belief in egalitarianism, and even for his reported ability to support himself by investing in the stock market. He’s also received admiration from some unexpected professionals. Capitalist Economists, admire his macro economic prognostications, but believe he failed to take into account capitalism’s ability to adjust to economic realities. On the one hand Conservative Economists extol the virtues of Laissez Faire Economics, while on the other hand they realize that unrestrained Laissez Faire Economics will lead to its own destruction. I guess it’s a matter of degree of adjustment necessary to keep the masses pacified…  (Incidentally, I also admire Caesar Chavez for his egalitarian economic philosophies, and for his highly refined olfactory senses.)

Again, I’m not an expert on Marx by any means, but I understand Marx dabbled in Anarchism, and that his version of egalitarianism came under attack from other egalitarian Anarchists. I’m not an expert on Anarchism either, but it seems that Anarchism has been endorsed, at one time or another, by virtually every point on the political spectrum. For example, Ayn Rand endorsed an individualistic form of Anarchism, while others endorsed a collectivist form of Anarchism. It all seems a little vague to me, and it strikes me as being a pseudo political philosophy.

I ascribe to the Eugene Debbs school of Social Democracy. I guess that some of what I believe was advocated by devotees of Marx, but I think that what I believe, predates Marx by hundreds of years.

I tried to read Marx’s “Das Kapital” once, but I found his esoteric intellectual dialectic tedious, and frankly, although his teachings are accepted, and understood, I believe that Marxism is no longer relevant, that it’s reactionary, and counter productive.

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By RenZo, February 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

By RenZo, February 11 at 8:22 pm #

...I always thought Nader was a little ‘tetched’ in spite of his many years of serving us without getting filthy rich himself.

...WRONG.He was right all along.

...There is NO significant difference between today’s Democrats and yesterday’s RepubeCons. Everyone is on the take (except a small handful). They all do it for money (remember what that is called, and that it is only legal in Nevada) and they worry only about themselves.

...Our illustrious president is every bit the NeoCon that Clinton (he) was or (she) is. This may be a post racial state of events momentarily, because if his being a minority gives him any special awareness or sense of duty, he is not letting it affect his job performance. He missed a VERY important milestone when he failed to fire ALL the US Attorneys on the day he was sworn in (twice). The whole lot of them were (arguably) circumstantially complicit in political prosecutions, and were at the very least guilty societally of being supporters of the RepubeCon war criminals now hiding successfully behind our President’s wide robes of office.

...CLEARLY WE SHALL HAVE NO ATONEMENT for killing our brothers, children, cousins, friends, fathers and mothers along with hundreds of times more innocent peasants, farmers and townspeople throughout the mid East, for CORPORATE PROFIT. There was no terrorist threat in Iraq, and but a tiny group of barely literate fanatics in Afghanistan. They are not really a threat to America, are they? In any case, the opium growers are not targeted, are they? Their friends and brothers are the government of friendly Afghanistan.

...CLEARLY WE SHALL HAVE NO ATONEMENT for lying us into illegal wars, for war crimes in our name, for supporting opium growers in our name, for torturing in our name, for rendition in our name, for stealing in our name and from our own pockets, for imprisonment without trial in our name, for wire tapping US IN OUR OWN name. All of it IN OUR NAME. In your name, too.

...CLEARLY WE SHALL HAVE NO ATONEMENT, but even worse, this administration, this golden throated “Democrat(ic)” president, is providing de facto protection for our former White House employees. This is complicity in war crimes. Beyond the unimaginable stupidity of rewarding bankers for stealing from Americans (among other stupidities), this government is actively avoiding the investigation of obvious war crimes.

...CLEARLY WE SHALL HAVE NO ATONEMENT, but worse, we shall apparently have NO END to the commission of crimes, by this very adminstration, in OUR NAME.
...Has the domestic spying stopped?
...Has the rendition stopped?
...Have all the Gitmo “detainees” been presented in court?
...Have thieving bankers been penalized?
...Have the bombing runs against wedding parties stopped in Iraq?
...Have the unmanned drones been grounded?
...Have the opium growers been caught, or even threatened?
...Has the torture IN OUR NAME stopped?
Who do you want to speak for you?
Democrats, Republicans, Bankers, Industrialists, Investors, Aristocrats, another Bushbaby, Obamatwin, WHO?

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By rolmike, February 11, 2010 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

Aafia Siddiqui’s feral behavior in Afghanistan and in the courtroom is absolutely typical of a wounded bereaved mother. It is indeed the oddest of cases. If she was held by Pakistani/ US intelligence as of 2003 and escaped… why of all places would she show up where she did? Why go to the trouble of dumping her there? Those intelligence services know how to disappear people as well as the Argentinian navy did. Thus it becomes one of the most intriguing of cases indeed. There is always the possibility, considering that the US is involved ... that she is the victim of an unending typically American series of SNAFUS!

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By scotttpot, February 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

The corporate media sold us the “war on terror” and Americans being good,  unquestioning consumers ate it up. The NYT polled after 9/11 ,asking if 9/11 means the United States will go to war. On Sept.11,12 56% said yes.
Sept 13,14 68% said yes. By Sept 20,23 85% thought that being attacked by Saudi Arabians ,who trained in Germany, Florida,and Arizona meant we had to go to war with Afghanistan .  By Sept 20,2001 45% of Americans were willing to allow government monitoring of e-mails and telephone calls. Kill your television.

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By RenZo, February 11, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

I am very relieved that myloUSMC (my low marine) did not know that in addition to being a commie-pinko-nazi-liberal-radical-egghead-a—hole, I am also a homo,(my private cattle car will ahve a pink upside down triangle on the side).(LOL)

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By firefly, February 11, 2010 at 9:00 am Link to this comment


Judging by the comments you make, it is obvious that you are not well read and have only a propagandists perspective on history and the left. Right wing facists like McCarthy had a profound and long term affect on the American public.

Like too many Americans, you have obviously been strongly indoctrinated and influenced by the period (ONLY in the United States) known as the “Second Red Scare”, lasting roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s and characterized by heightened fears of communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents.

During the era of McCarthyism, literally thousands and thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of AGGRESSIVE investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists.

Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person’s real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned, laws that would be declared unconstitutional, dismissals for reasons later declared illegal or actionable, or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute.

You only have to live OUTSIDE of the US for awhile to see that this was a period of intense paranoia with consequences still felt today in this country (and possibly also in South America thanks to US interference against any left wing government).

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By walfen, February 11, 2010 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So Mylo, what evidence would you require to come over to believing that elements in the U.S. gov’t, military and intel carried out 9/11 against the people of the United States?  Or is this simply impossible to you?  The phrase “love your country, fear your government,” could you conceive of this describing reality?  Or is siding with power the whole purpose of life?

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By Night-Gaunt, February 11, 2010 at 12:38 am Link to this comment

“I am sure several of you who have been pampered, given free educations or lived with your parents while cheating on their taxes, giving that 1%  and calling it 10% to charities or just talking the talk . YOU folks will not ever get the program until it is too late and you are being ushered into your own private Cattle care with 300 other people.”-myloUSMC

I read that this means we will be surprised when our “comrades” turn us into meat i.e. betrayed by “our own kind.” Thought I would submit that it is far more likely that it will be white, male, Christian supremacists that will do it to us who will be working for a theocratic corporate state that they will agree with not the “Red Dawn” fantasy that would never happen in the first place.

Don’t confuse Marx, Engels, Bakunin, Goldman etc. with the likes of tyrants like Stalin, Lenin, Mussolini, Mao, Pol Pot,  Hitler etc. You will find they have more in common with each other that to the previous list of people and myself. China right now has slid into fascism from their communism without making a ripple—Red Republicans as it were! We are sliding that way now, and gaining momentum.

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By RenZo, February 10, 2010 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

dear myloUSMC

I think we are already under fascist rule which is I assume what you mean by “NAZI”(der Nazismus, I think). The inventor of the word fascist said it was when the corporations control the government. Our Supreme Court just recently ruled, irrevocably, that from now on corporations could contribute ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY THEY WANT TO ANY CANDIDATE OR POLITICAL PARTY. There is no other place for this to go than to fascism, by definition. Furthermore, dear myloUSMC, their decision apparently makes it legal for the Chinese communists to contribute billions, and billions of dollars or ??? (that’s RenMinBi) or chinese dollars to get anyone they like elected to the presidency of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and he or she or it would then be your Commander in Chief. WOW!

Communism means that the people rule themselves and work co-operatively. That the first country to go communist was also a dictatorship may have more to do with it’s national history than with the theories of democratic self rule that you toss around with abandon and ignorance.

And dear mylo, could you please clarify who is the “other side” in your commentary. I have great trouble identifying them. Maybe this is confounded by your threats to put “us” radical liberals here in our “own private Cattle care(sic) with 300 other people”.

I hasten to remind you that if OUR OWN brothers, cousins, fathers, sisters, mothers, daughters and twins who are marines were not inside someone else’s country, they would not be killed by the people of that country. We mourn their loss also, and want the killing to stop. Why does that bother you?

How many terrorist attacks inside the US borders have been committed by native born american white christians?

Almost lastly, why would you hate those of us who are educated. How do we hurt you? Don’t you wish such an education for your children? Wouldn’t their lives be better for it? My parents were convinced that my life would be better than theirs, that’s the main reason they worked so hard to pay for my education (which is admittedly excessive).

Your parting comments about “us” being ushered into “cattle cars” tells me either you have such plans or have read some history and found those ideas appealing. Remember that no one here has threatened anyone else. We are largely intellectuals, and our main value to society is discussing, and TEACHING.

Have you learned anything?

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By RenZo, February 10, 2010 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

dear his story

We have largely, here, in the past several days build a modicum of group cohesion around our opposition to what many of us feel is encroaching, ravenous, insatiable corporatism, also known since Giovanni Gentile coined the term, as ‘fascism’. That means that at least a substantial portion of us think that Karl Marx should be beatified or sainted. In other words, we like him, more or less, and his role and his theories. I think your misapprehension of our tone, as I understand our tone, is not formed of malice but simply lack of appreciation for our noticeably growing solidarity.

Therefore I would like to clarify that my comments were meant to point out, not that Marx was a failure for not leading the first successful “people’s” revolution (Oktoberskaya Revolutsiya), but rather we honor and remember him for his theories in history, politics and economics. He was banned and expelled from several kingdoms, duchies and protectorates but that was for his rabid rabble rousing and newspaper editing. Few crowns, though trembling, lost the heads under them in the upheavals you cite at mid century. He incited, spoke, wrote and thought: he was an intellectual, although dedicated to the cause of liberating the proletariat.

I wanted to underline that we need a leader, a politico, & a strategist and Lenin, Mao, King and Gandhi were just that as well as being intellectuals. We are on the same side as Marx, the same side as you. Honestly, I would rather talk trash on the Pope than on Marx (LOL, but true).

I think however that Marxism is so widely understood in simplistic terms by the wider population that elaboration is unnecessary. What might wake people up is discussion of Antonio Gramsci, who wrote the Prison Notebooks from Fascist prisons in Italy before WWII. He adapted dialetical materialism to the twentieth and our century by elucidating the methods that would be used to control the proletariat (i.e. for readers, the workers who are losing their jobs, the homeowners being kicked out on their cold asses, not the bankers being rewarded for doing it to them). His theories of CULTURAL HEGEMONY, mass control by cultural memes propagated by the overlords and government, have come true. He deserves much credit. Italians forever!

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By screamingpalm, February 10, 2010 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

WOW who let the dogs out?

And how the hell can one fight such well-funded brainwashing propaganda?!

This is why I’m such a pessimist. We truly are doomed!

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By myloUSMC, February 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

IF NOT FOR THE AMERICAN Intelligence agencys (even the ones who are not doing their jobs)
WE WOULD now be UNDER communist or NAZI rule..
What idoit thinks the other side plays by any rules at all.
If it Quacks like a Duck ,walks like a duck and looks like a duck then It pretty much is one.
The same goes for our liberal attitudes about the
Neo Nazis Communist , Markist and of course the new kid on the block (NEW , that is for most of you who did not have to bury our Marines in 1969 after a Radical Muslum attack, or to endure the losses of over 30 seperate attacks over the last 40 years that the liberal PRESS just forgot To mention)
What ever belief system you folks have you are the first to cry about our losses when it involves your families (who have never helped defend your rightious Butts)
I am older now and I assure all of you I hate war Killing and death but when it comes to my family my country , my honor and my belief in fairness you can rest assured that I will do what is necessary to protect those things that I hold dear….
Giving in and rolling over to the ultra liberal left is not one of those things.
I am sure several of you who have been pampered, given free educations or lived with your parents while cheating on their taxes, giving that 1%  and calling it 10% to charitys or just talking the talk . YOU folks will not ever get the program until it is too late and you are being ushered into your own private Cattle care with 300 other people.
comment or not this is a statement and will not be answered by me   as I HAVE SAID what is true

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By PatrickHenry, February 10, 2010 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

By engineer, February 10 at 8:09 pm #

“I’m an engineer who’s worked construction and design for 30 years”

Hey dumbshit its called “design build”.  You need to work on your vernacular.

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By firefly, February 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

Thanks RenZo

I’d like to recommend Garry Wills book, “Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State,” and also, “A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government” which illustrate how the dawn of the Atomic Age fundamentally changed our institutions of ‘republican’ government and may help you to understand the ‘Obushbama’ concept.

Wills himself best condensed his thesis recently in the New York Review of Books:

“George W. Bush left the White House unpopular and disgraced. His successor promised change . . . [but] the momentum of accumulating powers in the executive is not easily reversed, checked, or even slowed. . . . The monopoly on use of nuclear weaponry, the cult of the commander in chief, the worldwide network of military bases to maintain nuclear alert and supremacy, the secret intelligence agencies, the entire National Security State, the classification and clearance systems, the expansion of state secrets, the withholding of evidence and information, the permanent emergency that has melded World War II with the Cold War and the Cold War with the ‘war on terror’—all these make a vast and intricate structure that may not yield to effort at dismantling it. Sixty-eight straight years of war emergency powers (1941-2009) have made the abnormal normal, and constitutional diminishment the settled order.”

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By RenZo, February 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

Thank you very much. The most enlightened, topical, pertinent and focused piece (including mine) here yet. Excellent. Here’s to Marx and dialetical materialism.

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By his story, February 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Its amazing how little people in America know of either European history or of Karl Marx.

1848 was a year of revolutions in Europe. Paris and Germany were too many ones, but the crowns on many heads were uneasy that year as European citizens across the continent revolted.

One of the big revolutions was in Paris.  And this was precisely where Karl Marx was in 1848.  He’d been banned from the city before because of his radical activities, but he returned from Brussels precisely because Paris was the center of one of the first revolutions.  Later he moved on to Germany as a revolution also broke out in Berlin.

Karl Marx had been dead for 34 years at the time of the Russian revolution.  He’d had been 99 at the time had he still lived.  Trying to use the fact that he didn’t participate in the Russian revolutions against him is a bit ridiculous.

I know most Americans are utterly stupid when it comes to history, and they are deliberately taught little to nothing about Karl Marx, but at least try to place him in the proper countries and the proper century.

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By firefly, February 10, 2010 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

The billionaire speculator George Soros now warns that the herd instinct of capital-owners such as himself must be controlled before they trample everyone else underfoot. ‘Marx and Engels gave a very good analysis of the capitalist system 150 years ago, better in some ways, I must say, than the equilibrium theory of classical economics,’ he writes. ‘The main reason why their dire predictions did not come true was because of countervailing political interventions in democratic countries. Unfortunately we are once again in danger of drawing the wrong conclusions from the lessons of history. This time the danger comes not from communism but from market fundamentalism.’

In October 1997 the business correspondent of the New Yorker, John Cassidy, reported a conversation with an investment banker. ‘The longer I spend on Wall Street, the more convinced I am that Marx was right,’ the financier said. ‘I am absolutely convinced that Marx’s approach is the best way to look at capitalism.’ His curiosity aroused, Cassidy read Marx for the first time. He found ‘riveting passages about globalization, inequality, political corruption, monopolization, technical progress, the decline of high culture, and the enervating nature of modern existence - issues that economists are now confronting anew, sometimes without realizing that they are walking in Marx’s footsteps’.

Quoting the famous slogan coined by James Carville for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 (‘It’s the economy, stupid’), Cassidy pointed out that ‘Marx’s own term for this theory was “the materialist conception of history”, and it is now so widely accepted that analysts of all political views use it, like Carville, without any attribution.’

Like Molière’s bourgeois gentleman who discovered to his amazement that for more than 40 years he had been speaking prose without knowing it, much of the Western bourgeoisie absorbed Marx’s ideas without ever noticing. It was a belated reading of Marx in the 1990s that inspired the financial journalist James Buchan to write his brilliant study Frozen Desire: An Inquiry into the Meaning of Money (1997).

‘Everybody I know now believes that their attitudes are to an extent a creation of their material circumstances,’ he wrote, ‘and that changes in the ways things are produced profoundly affect the affairs of humanity even outside the workshop or factory. It is largely through Marx, rather than political economy, that those notions have come down to us.’

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By engineer, February 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m an engineer who’s worked construction and design for 30 years ... and the ae911truth website is the biggest piece of bull that I’ve ever seen.

I’m very suspicious of my government.  And I would like a real and public investigation of 911.

But, most of what these people say would get any freshman engineer an F from any competent teacher.  As an experienced engineer, I’ve heard more ridiculous junk from “911 Truth” people than I’ve ever thought possible.  If you go to that website, when you read the list on the right, remember that an engineer with 40 years experience read that list and said “Bull Droppings” to every item on the list.

There’s a reason why out of all the architects and engineers in the world, only a thousand have signed this silly sites petition.  You can find a thousand idiots in the world to sign anything.

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By DBM, February 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

“We could lose our jobs over this”

Not likely ... not when 5 Blackwater mercenaries can shoot up a few dozen civilians with impunity.

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By RenZo, February 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

To firefly again:
“...until a new Karl Marx comes along.”

I remind you that Marx was a theorist and probably never stood up in protest. He certainly did not have a role in the Bolshevik revolution.

To be more precise: maybe we need Lenin, Mao, The Shining Path, Pol Pot, or another maniac with revolutionary zeal.

I must add that I actually respect the peaceful revolutionaries more: King & Gandhi. Less death and destruction by appealing to our hearts, but this can only happen when bellies are full. When bellies start getting empty, violence erupts.

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By PatrickHenry, February 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Yes, 9/11 really got the ball rolling for the terror industrialists. 

One must truely have their head in the sand not to see that it was a staged event, after all qui bono?  it sure wasn’t the arabs.  It was our own MIC and the little unmench nation Israel.

As for the looney tune paranoids who endorse the offical theory, they had best trust those of us who work on projects as World Trade Centers and are familiar with structural engineering who know that the ill concieved and rushed 9/11 report is wrong.

Then it is easier for the non educated to sit back at their keyboard and parrot unfound criticism to deflect implication of those traitors and foreign nations responsible for the industrial terrorist feeding frenzy we now find ourselves in.

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By RenZo, February 10, 2010 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

To: ruhullaha (“spirit_of_God”)

It speaks of your compassion that you remind us of the poor victim in this horrible mess. I totally agree, NO worse evil could befall a mother than to lose her children. The evil that does such things deliberately and repeatedly is surely at the very least a CRIMINAL and deserves a worse hell than any religion has yet invented.

But compared to what my country is doing in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan every day for years now, and in many other countries for many decades, with BOMBS from the SKY, this poor woman’s suffering is a tiny mouse in a slaughterhouse of pain.

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, February 10 at 12:37 am:
‘In the midst of an excellent article (Amazing! Not only do TD3 and I agree on this—but Chris Hedges wrote it!) the loony paranoids write their nonsense conspiracy theories. ...’

I think people sense, correctly, that they’re not getting the truth from the government and the media, so they make stuff up to fill in the gaps.  That is going to continue as long as the authorities and their flacks practice secrecy, obscurantism and disinformation, and I don’t see any sign of slacking off in that realm.

As many have noticed, the level of paranoia and conspiratism has been rising, so Obama’s buddy Cass Sunstein suggested that the government infiltrate groups of conspiracy nuts with—secret conspirators.  It’s the way those people think.

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By Myronh, February 10, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have been technically and physically involved with thick steel since 1969. I can assure all naysayers that the Twin Towers were not brought down by fire. I have no specific answer as to what destroyed four-inch thick steel. A one-hour fire is the stupidest logic that anyone can imagine.

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By firefly, February 10, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment


It’s nice to see that someone is making comments that are actually relevant to the piece Chris Hedges has written.

You are right, that the US justice system has gone down the drain. Like ancient kingdoms of bygone eras, laws are now written now to protect the wealthy (after all, kings, emperors, tsars etc were nothing but extremely rich men, although many of them thought they were ordained by God).

Money has always, always, always corrupted people and the capitalist system has meant that principles like equality and justice for all, no longer exist until a new Karl Marx comes along.

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By patriotsfor911truth, February 10, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, Inherit The Wind, February 10 at 12:37 am, we’re
“loony paranoids writ[ing] their nonsense conspiracy theories,” are we?  Well, you know, if there are any paid posters paid to defend the official 9/11 traitor commission web of lies those individuals would be accessories after the fact to mass murder and treason.

Jes so’s you know.

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By bogi666, February 10, 2010 at 8:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s a quote of NAZI Deitrich, Hitlers then chief his personal security, about Himmler who “CREATES A CLIMATE OF FEAR TO OBSCURE THE TRUTH”. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. President O’Bushama and his O’Bushamaite’s have obviously picked up the ball in using NAZI tactics to “CREATE A CLIMATE OF FEAR”. Anyone who doesn’t connect 1930’s NAZI Germany to what’s happening here in the USA IS JUST IGNORANT and an unwitting traitor to this country. An unwitting traitor is even more dangerous than a witting traitor, because of their ignorance.

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By elisalouisa, February 10, 2010 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

Right on ruhullaha, right down to the last sentence.

D.R. Zing, excellent post, especially your comments on what we can do. My only
fear is that the Rupert Murdochs of the world have so much power and influence
that it would be almost impossible to make changes. They would find ways to get
around laws and/or bend them. Example: recent Supreme Court decision as to
corporations. A government by the people and for the people does not pull in the
money the way a government for corporations and Wall Street does for the
power/elite(especially when government gives them our tax money). That is the
dilemma. The Rupert Murdochs have the money that buys power and people with
no moral conviction. We may have the moral high ground but with their weapons
we are easy prey..

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By ruhullaha, February 10, 2010 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

It deeply concerns me that Dr. Siddique was found guilty of charges which have not been proved according to international reporting.  What bothers me even more is the fact that two of her children are missing and that the US government has not answered as to where Dr. Siddique’s children are located.  Are the children still alive?  Why were the children not turned over to her family?

What does such a verdict say about the American justice system? I am concerned that we as a nation are loosing more than just our homes, our retirement funds, our jobs and our hopes for the future. During these times of change and rejuvenation are we also loosing core values and a connection with our higher consciousness?  I am truly concerned.

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By D.R. Zing, February 9, 2010 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

Hi RenZo, 

Thank you for replying to my post.  I read it several times and read your posts below as well.  I enjoyed them all immensely.  Cheers to a kindred spirit! 

I agree the drug war has been horribly destructive for our country, and if there is ever a need to provide a silo to carefully protect and properly cherish poppy nectar, I will gladly provide it and apply whatever limited skills I have to all related tasks.

I am not so sure how many years have been between each war after the Civil War, but I would say with certainty we have been engaged in a war economy from 1941 to the present. That economy drains money from our education system, which, as you correctly point out, debilitates our democracy.

I also agree the corporate news media is insidious and represents the most successful form of mass brain washing ever devised. 

Your argument about the existence and success of cultural hegemony is sound and I have no qualms with it. 

I agree things are terribly grim in America right now.  I just happen to live in this collapsing empire and would therefore like to take a few constructive actions before the roof tumbles on my head. 

It’s important to remember, too, as Howard Zinn pointed out, all change issues from the bottom up.

In the nineteenth century workers trapped in company buildings for sixteen hours at a time were literally defecating in their pants for better working conditions.  Many died for those rights. But they got them.

All of us who can peacefully have a pee at work and enjoy weekends off are forever indebted for their sacrifices. 

The same goes for women who fought and died for the right to vote, and African Americans who suffered horribly not just during the hundreds of years of slavery but in the hundred years following the Civil War when they had few, if any, political or human rights.  But they got them. And President Obama can thank those who fought and died in the struggle. 

Now. What can we do?  Very serious like. 

(Here I have to ask for your forgiveness because it’s something I read on this blog and others several times before.) 

We can start by dismantling the corporate television news conglomerates.  This task is doable and politically viable. Everyone hates televisions news. That’s a good start. The first step is to make it a platform of a political party to pass laws stipulating that national television news stations can only be owned by one corporation and that corporation can have no subsidiaries, partners, or other companies. You can own Fox News, but that’s all you can own. 

You then regulate the bastards.  Chris Matthews can have all the shows he wants but big letters before each show should state:  “Chris Matthews is not a journalist. He is an entertainer. This show is for entertainment purposes only.”  At the end of each show you list all revenue that every guest on the show receives, be it salary, contract labor payments, or stock dividends. Failure to provide full disclosure will result in imprisonment of the guest and the talk show host. 

Next, take presidential debates out of the two parties hands and into the hands of journalists and academics.  Force the networks to give airtime to legitimate candidates lacking funds such as Ralph Nader and Ron Paul.  See? This is fun! 

Okay.  Maybe some of that is less than feasible.  But breaking up the television news corporations is a splendid idea, and it would do wonders to drive the profiteers, entertainers and outright morons out of the news business.  Journalists are not all bad.  We need to put them in charge of the news again.  Maybe then people like Mr. Hedges would enter the television news realm and Glenn Beck would get shitcanned.

Any hope we have of progressing with our democracy and ending our perpetual state of war depends on ripping away the Gaussian blur that is television news.

Maybe then we could elect a president and congress who might, just might, start working for positive change.

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By RenZo, February 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

“Obushbama” is extremely good. I have been telling everyone who wants to know (in Italy) how ineffectual, un-liberal, and disppointing Obushbama is. I am not surprised by any of this. He first failure was not firing all the US Attorneys (93 Repubecons, I think, left over from Obushbushson

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By RenZo, February 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

“If you are a “progressive” you must
“believe EVERYTHING in America is bad,
“Palestinians are angels, Hugo Chavez
“is a genius and 9/11 was a Mossad/CIA
“plot. “
I am beyond progressive, on the left side of progressive, if you will, and much in America is good, especially the people, and they ARE being flicked by their government. Palestinians are oppressed but their moslem neighbors have not helped them get fed, educated and organized. Chavez might be a genius but if he is I am missing it. And 9/11 was very very very much bungled by the government. Who could think that stupid W would claim to have seen the first plane hit the first tower? Really, could there be any other explanation than that he rehearsed it in his empty little aristocratic head a thousand times, afraid of what his trial in front of the Senate would squeeze out of him. He was on drugs while in office, supplied by his staff, his supporters, probably even his SS Agents (excuse me, I mean Secret Service agents). I wish I could live long enough to read all the documents which will prove me right in fifty years. Maybe I will and maybe they won’t prove me right. Right!

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By Inherit The Wind, February 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

In the midst of an excellent article (Amazing! Not only do TD3 and I agree on this—but Chris Hedges wrote it!) the loony paranoids write their nonsense conspiracy theories.  They sound like left-wing tea-baggers, living in the same fantasy world the Palin-worshipers inhabit.

Here you have John Ellis praising Hugo Chavez as a great success…when the fact is…He’s a DISMAL failure who is bankrupting a wealthy nation.  And all he does is blame it on…The USA and Jews (naturally) while he’s destroying that democracy.  All we have to do to bring Chavez down is…do NOTHING, not even criticize him.  He’ll do it on his own. Just mildly sit back and say ‘Venezuela must solve its own problems’

Then he praises Ahmedinejad for being “democratic” when they have arrested 1000 people simply for opposing his election.

Iran isn’t our natural enemy-it’s our natural ALLY!  We had a shot at re-establishing that but that moron, GWB, and his fascist amen-corner BLEW that golden opportunity in 2002.

I hate acid-test politics.  If you are a “conservative” you have to believe in ending abortion, ending ALL regulation, tossing out ALL illegal aliens, water-boarding, and Sarah Palin.  If you are a “progressive” you must believe EVERYTHING in America is bad, Palestinians are angels, Hugo Chavez is a genius and 9/11 was a Mossad/CIA plot.  Oh…and Dennis Kucinich is the ONLY wise and honest politician in Congress. (Well, the honest part may be true….)

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By 911truthdotorg, February 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

The “underwear” bomber is a total LIE!

As expected, it turns out that the official (ridiculous)“underwear” bomber story
is just another lie by the government and Obushbama used to justify their own
agenda. It was another"false flag” event. There was no failure to"connect the
dots”. There was at least one eye witness from that flight who told the FBI that
the suspect was escorted onto the flight by a very well dressed man. They knew
all about this guy!

“A January 27 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security established
that US intelligence agencies stopped the State Department from revoking the US
visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

“The revelation that US intelligence agencies made a deliberate decision to
allow Abdulmutallab to board the commercial flight, without any special airport
screening, has been buried in the media.”

Here’s the Official Transcript:

From Patrick Kennedy’s report,above, page 4:
“They had the individual under investigation and our revocation action would
have disclosed the U.S. Government’s interest in the individual and ended
our colleagues’ ability to quietly pursue the case and identify terrorists’
plans and co-conspirators.”

Why was this story not headline breaking news like the original story was?

I’m guessing it’s because the government wanted to “fear up” the public again
and justify the billion dollar contracts and use of the (potentially cancer
causing) airport body scanners and also justify military action in Yemen.

Oh, and the Patriot Act is up for review soon so they needed some fresh fear to
guarantee its renewal.

Somehow we ALL need to protest and refuse to go through these scanners!!

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By firefly, February 9, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

I first heard about this case about 4 months ago in the Guardian Weekly, by a journalist who had tried to retrace her steps. The whole story is extremely sinister and I agree with Chris Hedges, that it is very, very strange that Siddiqui was being tried for the ‘attempted’ murder of these soldiers, and NOT for any particular terrorist act that she in theory may or may not have been a part of. Moreover, the very fact that NO ONE in court EVER raised the question of her ‘missing years’, makes the whole case stink.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

By John Ellis, February 9 at 12:08 am #

Rise and fall of Empire USA —— TRIPLE WHAMMY
The Republic hasn’t fallen yet—that comes first.

Self-destructive lifestyle and diet will cause healthcare costs to double every five years.

When you can’t afford it you die, they won’t take you to an ER, they won’t need you to live so costs are saved at the expense of yours and mine life. Then the new generations will be trained for war and conquest and food will be scarce here.

Our wars of plunder in the Middle East will cause World War Three.

Yes that could end it for us or just accelerate their moves to take down the republic and then replace it with their version of utopia. A theocratic/corporate military state. Not all of them are short sighted and stupid.

Rich ruling class has shipped all our wealth out of the country, soon all credit default swaps and toxic assets will be in our pension funds, and it you never experienced a police state, just do as ordered by the Tea Party.  And then, until near the end, for you things should not get too brutal or deadly.

The pension funds will dry up and then you and me, if we are “lucky” will still have a job as a work slave of a corporation, owning nothing & if we are fired it is a death penalty. You don’t want to be grubbing on the streets, ones that are kept clean of all refuse including the poor. [See 1840’s-1945.]

When the terror state is turned on us, when the last of the Republic is shed like a shabby cloak and the steel soldier of God is standing gleaming in the fires as the country is sent into shock to make it as much of an empire as the outside has been done during these past 30 years. [Just ask those of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Columbia, & Iraq to start with.]

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By ControlledDemolition, February 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Wolf beat my 911 post by 5 minutes, apparently.

(Review: Terrorism, Inc.  The false-flag of 911 had a scripted response that included “Americans are now going to have to give up some of their rights” as a reply to Chris’ article.)

Yes, there is a lot of evidence to support Mossad involvement, as well as CIA, NSA, possibly MI5—some subset thereof.  I refrain from using “all” and we need a good impartial investigation for that event which reeks of “evil genius” to pull it off.  Add Cheney, too, for his role (TBA) in the stand-down of air defenses.

It seems to me that what is required are key positions of authority under which subordinates will follow orders without any “need to know” reason.  Plus have the media outlets in place.  Plus control of the clean-up of the crime scene.  (The latter two Pluses can be actuated by ignorant subordinates.)  And of course a patsy to deflect public attention, as I posted.  (BTW, yes, planes hit the buildings; they just couldn’t bring them down in reality; certainly not a gravity collapse in 12-13 secs.)

However, even the most immovable skeptic should (IMHO) at least support a chemical analysis of remaining debris to test Dr. Jones’ published findings.  If, in fact, clear evidence of nanothermite is established at the Towers, then it becomes easy.  This stuff, super sophisticated thermite, is not made in the caves of Afghanistan; it can be traced to the manufacturer—if there is legal will to do so.  This is one track of many that an impartial investigation could follow.

As an aside, the Antrax—the attack of 911 week killing 5 and injurying more—was traced to an US Army facility.  They pinned it on one guy, Ivin (Ivins?), who committed suicide, case closed.  Back up.  Who commits suicide by taking a drug which causes a slow and painful death?

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By Henry Pelifian, February 9, 2010 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If our news “reporters” and news “readers” and news “journalists” could get on television in a one or two hour show uninterrupted and detail the trillions of dollars spent on “security” in the “war on terror” including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and etc while outlining the really minuscule threat facing us which is increasing by our actions as well as report on all the thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed or maimed by our actions the American people might understand that the threat facing us will in the end rebound on us eventually by our own government militarily, financially and morally and legally to our detriment as a people and nation.

Also report on the national government’s failure on 9/11.  Spending more money has not made the country safer.  Incompetence needs to be replaced with competence and no amount of money can provide that alone.  It’s takes leadership and knowledge.  Since Democrats and Republicans are doing the hiring and making the laws maybe they are really not competent to government without additional political parties, which are not a guarantee of success, but continued failure in national and international policies is not a solution.

The fact that these things have not been done in coherent and effective manner shows the weakness of our democracy and free press on national television, a “public air wave.”

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By RenZo, February 9, 2010 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

dear DR Zing

I think I agree with much of what you said, but you are still more hopeful than I think is justifiable. I mean it is worse than you think.

I have said these same things several days ago in another blog on this site (Hedges article on Fictional Democracy). I have not read Klein’s book, but it is not difficult, really, to figure this out, once you have an education that is adequate (mine is likely more than that, overeducated).  The US alone in the world has been at war since virtually the late eighteen hundreds (like Civil War period): how many average years between “wars” would you guestimate? Clearly it is the basis for our economy, but empires can only expand so far before crumbling (from the inside out). I think the crumble has started, and those with most to lose (in their view) will fight the hardest to remain in the black column of the accountant’s records.

Economics is clearly the realm for our current woes, but economics is not the basic problem. The lack of education in the US is the basic problem. Control of media is virtually absolute now, by the corporatists, that is, the Neo-Corps. Fascism does not go away willingly. I believe it is getting worse. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are so clearly all about control of energy production, transport and ownership, and always have been so clear. It astounds me that americans didn’t see it before Cheney declared war by imperial fiat. But they still don’t.

That brings us to the main point, which, apologetically, I admit, I have repeated and repeated and repeated. Antonio Gramsci, writing from the fascist prisons of Italy at mid century and just before, explained how the moneyed class would use propaganda, not martial law and force, to control the future masses while it was stealing from them. Almost 100 years ago he expounded the theory of CULTURAL HEGEMONY, which he stated would numb the proletariat into semi-conscious, willing acceptance of the distorted cultural memes (he didn’t have that meme-word) propagated by the media masters. Look around. How many americans believed, and still do, that Iraq was all about terrorism. Shucks, that’s plainly stupid. Now Afghanistan whose main crime is gas pipelines, poppy nectar and radicalism. It’s crops are one of the most protected parts of the overlords maintenance of the culturally hegemonic pseudo-reality. As you said, they seek to keep us divided, and nothing is a hotter topic, more fervently debated, blamed and misunderstood by Americans than their WAR on DRUGS. It is manipulated by our government and the bankers. Americans are taught to believe that dissent is unpatriotic. Therefore thinking this way is treason, but what Cheney and Bush did is not. I submit, this is CULTURAL HEGEMONY, control of the masses by propaganda, lies, subversion, and worse.

Gramsci pointed out way before Klein that the rich will learn how to dominate, decimate (or quintimate, or duomate) the middle class, and enslave all others below them. Even letting the glaciers melt (which they KNOW is happening) is a way of dividing us, making us have to work harder to survive, fight among ourselves and get poorer. Empires can only expand so far before crumbling (from the inside out). I think the crumble has started, and I think it is speeding up.

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By PatrickHenry, February 9, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

An article relevant to this thread:

Lets take a look at the “Carlyle Group” and its connections to the CIA, politicians and the Bin Ladens:

“For 14 years now (before 2001), with almost no publicity, the company has been signing up an impressive list of former politicians - including the first President Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker; John Major; one-time World Bank treasurer Afsaneh Masheyekhi and several south-east Asian powerbrokers - and using their contacts and influence to promote the group. Among the companies Carlyle owns are those which make equipment, vehicles and munitions for the US military, and its celebrity employees have long served an ingenious dual purpose, helping encourage investments from the very wealthy while also smoothing the path for Carlyle’s defence firms….

...But since the start of the “war on terrorism”, the firm - unofficially valued at $3.5bn - has taken on an added significance. Carlyle has become the thread which indirectly links American military policy in Afghanistan to the personal financial fortunes of its celebrity employees, not least the current president’s father. And, until earlier this month, Carlyle provided another curious link to the Afghan crisis: among the firm’s multi-million-dollar investors were members of the family of Osama bin Laden….

....But what sets Carlyle apart is the way it has exploited its political contacts. When Carlucci arrived there in 1989, he brought with him a phalanx of former subordinates from the CIA and the Pentagon, and an awareness of the scale of business a company like Carlyle could do in the corridors and steak-houses of Washington. In a decade and a half, the firm has been able to realise a 34% rate of return on its investments, and now claims to be the largest private equity firm in the world. Success brought more investors, including the international financier George Soros and, in 1995, the wealthy Saudi Binladin family, who insist they long ago severed all links with their notorious relative. The first president Bush is understood to have visited the Binladins in Saudi Arabia twice on the firm’s behalf.” (Source)

The Illuminati program is to bankrupt the Middle class of America and to impose a society where 3% of the population govern over the other 97% (who are nothing more than slaves). To accomplish this, they manipulate and bring about both wars and social revolution, generating huge profits in the process. Such was the case with 911. They made money by shorting the market, they made money on the resultant war, but even more important, they have used the event to terrorize us into fighting unjust wars and passing unjust laws.

These are the real issues of 911, and the real objectives of the psychopaths that now run our world.

more at:

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By I Care, February 9, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ D.R. Zing,

I couldn’t agree with you more.  Most are “dumbed down” by relentless media brain washing and intentional conflicting reporting that leaves “average Joe” confused and unable to find his/her way out of the maze.  That leads most to give up on fighting the onslaught of disinformation by seeking “sweet temporary and partial peace of mind” in believing what they are told.  That happens to most especially when you’re in the rat race, barely living and have no space inside your self for truths about your life, country and world that might compel you to do something when you can’t even catch your breath from the rat race.

In order to “find your way out”, you first must find “where you are” and “how you got there”.  That in itself is more than half of the way out.

The link below is to a 71-minute audio presentation by G. Edward Griffin, the author of “The Creature from Jekyll Island”.  When he gave this talk in November of 1994, he explained in detail what happened to the economy in 2008 and why it happened.  Read the last sentence again; there are no mistakes in it.  Mr. Griffin explained what happened in 2008, 14 years earlier.  In my opinion, this lecture goes a long way in answering the first two questions, “Where are we?” and “How did we get here?”.  I had to listen to it several times when I first received it a few years ago, and it proved accurate to me while I was watching the economy collapse in 2008.  If you benefit from it, please share it with others.  Education and understanding of the situation is more than half of the way out of it.

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By imourn4america, February 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the U.S. military, rapists of Fallujah, to the FBI, murderers of Fred Hampton, to U.S. intel, latterday Nazi torturers—WHERE ARE MRS. SIDDIQUI’S OTHER TWO CHILDREN?????!!!!


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By D.R. Zing, February 8, 2010 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

Several people in this thread have mentioned Naiomi Klein’s book Shock Doctrine:  The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. Klein connects the dots and in doing so implicitly points the way to ending this “bullshit three ring circus sideshow of freaks.”

A lot of people think if we imposed Biblical law in America all our problems would be resolved. 

Others think if we eliminated Christianity everything would be much better.

Legalize drugs!  All problems solved. 

Cut taxes. 

Stop abortion. 

Better sex education. 

Fight the wars.

Stop the wars.

What all of the stances above have in common is they are talking about political power and they conveniently pit Americans against each other so we can’t figure out what the hell is going on. 

A telling story in Klein’s book is what happened when the ANC assumed power in South Africa. Mandela and his cabinet were focused on political power.  They assumed that once they held the political reigns, they would be able to guide the beast where they wanted it to go.  They devoted very few intellectual resources to financial and economic negotations.  They made a terrible mistake. 

Mandela and the ANC soon discovered that unless they privatized public businesses, laid off public workers, and allowed multi-national corporations to continue plundering South Africa’s abundant natural resources, they would lose critical financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and the Word Bank, and without the cash the country would collapse. They conceded and very few of the poor saw their prospects improve, despite the ANC being in power.

Likewise, George Bush did not allow New Orleans (yea Saints!) to flood, suffer horribly, and then languish in a disastrous state for years because he was incompetent.  He did it because he believed in the superstition that private enterprise can do any and everything better than government. He attempted to outsource rescuing New Orleans. That’s why he blew it. 

Think of it this way: knowing who’s got you by the balls goes a long toward ending your pain.  The Friedman economists have us by the balls.

The war on terror is a war of economic beliefs, just as the Cold War was a war about economic beliefs. Countries were overthrown, millions of people were slaughtered so that economists who believed in the superstition of the invisible hand and the fairy tales of Ayn Rand could say they were right. 

The war on terror is just an extension of the Cold War. 
Remember in Braveheart, right before the battle, when one guy looks at the other and says:  “God says I’m gonna be fine, but you’re fucked”? 

Yes, well that’s what Friedman economists have been saying to the world for a long time and we, the American public, have been agreeing to it with our ignorance and infighting. Now those same economists are saying to the American middle class:  “We’re gonna be fine, but you’re fucked.” 

Not so funny now, is it?  And those atrocities Mr. Hedges so eloquently writes about will become increasingly likely to happen here in America, carried out, not by spy agencies, but by private companies that your tax dollars finance. Cool, huh?

Read Naoimi Klein’s book:  Shock Doctrine:  The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

Know who’s tugging at your nuts and why. At least then we can start asking our politicians the right questions, because you can damn well bet they know the score and the last thing they want is for us to stop fighting among ourselves and go after them.

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By m, February 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

things aren’t adding up wih this case especially if you read the Harper’s article and also look at his woman’s marriage (s) and the connections. Could this possibly be a custody case gone wrong. She runs off to Pakistan with her kids—afraid that her ex-husband will get the kids—and that she won’t be able to win the custody battle. Once there she needs a job—She’s a US citizen and Americans are looking for translators so off she goes to earn a living as an interrogator at Bagram or some such place. Meanwhile she’s also connected to the ISI because of her marriage and then—something goes wrong and now the Americans are protecting her. How do we know who she is—we can’t see her face!! Also the one picture we see of her which we assume is US brutality happens to be her picture after her ex beat her up.  She may not be a victim of the US she may actually be ther asset or employee and they’ve brought her back to protect her—notice she’s not being tried for terrorism charges but rather in a criminal case

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By RenZo, February 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment


In Germany—They came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak out…
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out… because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out… because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out… because I was a Protestant.
And then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up…
  —Pastor Martin Niemoller

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By mlb, February 8, 2010 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

The War on Terror is the most perfect war ever devised. 

It provides a ready-made pretext for military action in nearly any country at any time, with the one stipulation that the stronger the country and the more they are considered a U.S. ally, the more covert the action must be.

It provides cover for imperialist wars of aggression for the benefit of the corporate state.

It provides a revenue stream for the war profiteers that is both ongoing and huge.

Aside from the occasional terrorist attack, it is not fought on US soil and the direct damage it inflicts on American people and property is nothing compared to what countries undergo in real wars.

It is never-ending.  There’s no way to ever know that all of the terrorists are dead.

It provides a means to terrorize the American people with regular threats of terrorist attack.

At the Nuremberg trials, Nazi founder of the Gestapo, Herman Goering, said
“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

Yes, but in our country it works the same way only better.  Our government tells us we are “at war” all the time.  We are always about to be attacked.  That does result in “terror fatigue” after a while, so an actual or at least attempted attack is occasionally necessary to get the adrenaline going again, but that’s easy to arrange. The War On Terror provides a constant supply of people whom we’ve made so angry that they want to attack us.  All we need do is let one through once in a while, like the Christmas bomber.  He would have served “our” purpose far better if he’d pulled it off, but there’s always next time.

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By Plastic_Door, February 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

@”...and why the “War on Terror” is allowed to
slowly destroy our civil liberties”

um, dude:  there is no ‘slowly’ here. It HAS destroyed our civil
liberties. We’re there. Havin’ fun yet? Please, don’t soft-pedal.

One of the hardest tasks a therapist has is to awaken an
abuse victim to Stockholm Syndrome (identifying with one’s
captors, apologizing for them). 

These criminals, and the pols and captains of industry who
aid them, abet them, and direct them, must be rooted out and
hanged, just as Mussolini was hanged. In the village square.

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By racetoinfinity, February 8, 2010 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Great column, Chris.  You and Glenn Greenwald are pillars in looking out for our civil liberties in the midst of the “war on terror” scam.

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By RenZo, February 8, 2010 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

Thank you ondelette,
For pointing out
One correction: The boy does speak Dari. That’s probably the most incriminating evidence possible against the Pakistani and American governments.
In fact it is the ONE SINGULAR FACT that cannot be disputed. How did a young teenaged boy (how old is he) learn Dari? Linguists could interview him and determine for a fact (statistically) where he learned it, by his accent and idioms. WHERE: In Afghanistan, of course; the ONLY place on earth where it is used natively.
End of discussion.
Except that I myself have witnessed the lies told by US trained agents in open court. And the stupidity of US trained and promoted judges.

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By RenZo, February 8, 2010 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

I know it is “impossible” to believe for 95% of Americans, but the corporate state has fully arrived and they own the government. Our own congressional representatives are not even afraid of us, the electorate, anymore. They heed the corporations. Americans have been conditioned by ruthlessly substandard education and constant 24/7 bombardment on all channels, stations and frequencies with propaganda by the Cultural Hegemony of the Corporatists (Neo-Corps, pronounced ‘neeyo-kor’). Antonio Gramsci explained it all from fascist prisons in Italy in the 20’s & 30’s, and some have said that the Neo-Con plans have been sculpted from his theories and observations. The crux of Americans disbelief is that the USA is the bastion and last defender of democracy, freedom, goodness, Christianity, and everything else good. There is nothing bad here, couldn’t be, it’s America! That is the Cultural Hegemony that is exerted by the aristocrats who own the corporations, the media, the news, the legislatures, courts and now the people of the North American continent. They can get away with ANYTHING, and only the most gifted, the bravest (and maybe the foolhardy) among us will shout. Thank you Mr Hedges; thank you for shouting.

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By Tim, February 8, 2010 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Its good that Liecatcher brought up “The Shock Doctrine.” Its what I was thinking of, especially toward the end of the article when Hedges talks about the situation in Argentina & El Salvador.  Siddiqui was thrown out of court for erratic behavior and outburst because she was mentally destroyed from the torture she received.

Naomi Klein writes about how sensory deprivation, sensory overload, electric shock, waterboarding ect. can melt away a person’s mental structure, and leave something behind that looks like childhood regression and then as they comeback to an adult state, its a demented/schizophrenic state that could be permanent. Could a 37 year old neuroscientist develop schizophrenia by way of genetics. Not likely, sinces its rarely starts in people past the age of 30. Dementia at 37? Certainly not.

The military officers, and FBI agents whom she supposedly fired upon used her mental insability given to her by thier country’s cladestine mental erasure program.

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By lichen, February 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

The persecution of Sadiqi is sick and sad; when will the US/Nato soldeirs who dare to murder the citizens of Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia be put on trial?  They’ve murdered millions of people; US soldeirs are the terrorists, are the extremists.  People in the middle east, regardless of religion, rise up against the US out of revenge because they are given no standard tool of justice, no way to have a say in whether the christian military that has murdered their friends, families, destroyed their homes, poisoned their water, and ruined their lives still continues to wage illegal war on the peasents of their country.

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By Plastic_Door, February 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

I’m glad that the dialogue of this surreal movie was published as
well.  The remarks, dialogue, responses, and pathetically feeble
and stupid excuses and justifications (“approximately” two
bullets; how does one approximate this?) — all of these are
transparently idiotic. Yes: idiotic. Everyone and anyone involved
in this heinous crime should be shot.


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By ma77hew77, February 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Chris Hedges for yet another amazing article!

Your work has always demanded attention,introspection and action.

What more could a seminary grad want as a reaction to their work.

I look forward to reading Empire of Illusions.

God Bless you sir!

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By TAO Walker, February 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

It’s only natural to wonder, at this point, whether the fate of Ms. Siddique and her children is waiting not too far down the ‘road’ for the likes of Dr. Flowers and her colleagues for daring to engage in the (all-too-easily-CONstrued) “terrorist” acts of assembling and speaking and petitioning the government for redress of their grievances.  So far they’ve only been arrested and hauled-off in shackles to gestapo headquarters, where the professional paranoiacs providing “presidential security” grilled them about the state of their “mental health.”

After all, can’t (and won’t sooner-or-later) a ‘case’ be made that anyone who relies for her safety (from official abuse) on “that goddamned piece of paper” a-k-a the U.S. CONstitution, is just plain out-of-their-minds….and therefore a “threat” to official abusers of all kinds?


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By liecatcher, February 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

The Terror-Industrial Complex Posted on Feb 8, 2010
By Chris Hedges

title for this important article. Naomi Klein in
goes into great detail about how Milton Friedman’s
School of Economics used Latin America to
successfully test its
lethal economic policies to enslave that continent. Starvation as an economic tool together with ever increasing unpayable debt is also
explained very well.

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By Anarcissie, February 8, 2010 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

I agree, it is an excellent article and the sort of thing Chris Hedges ought to be doing.  Lots of facts, not too much interpretation, little or no hysteria.  I have already sent it on to some other venues.

If reports of the trial are at all accurate, it is pretty clear that Siddiqui is unbalanced, probably due to torture and the disappearance or deaths of her children—the victim of yet more war crimes.  But if you think this trial was a circus, wait until they do Khalid Muhammad.

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By truedigger3, February 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

This is an excellent article.

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By ControlledDemolition, February 8, 2010 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

RE:  Terrorism, Inc.

On the evening of Sept 11, 2001, a major TV network anchor announced that “now Americans are going to have to give up some of their rights.”  Huh?  That follows from what?  Our response to 911 was scripted, the patsy announced forthwith and broadcasted repeatedly, and the drums of war-profiteering sounded.  No real investigation occurred (wasn’t even allowed), and BBC mistakenly announced the fall of Bldg 7 before it collapsed—scripted news.  Osama bin Laden may be dead or alive, but we never wanted to catch him because 1) the powers knew he was just patsy to deflect public attention, and 2) why kill the goose that lays the golden egg?  As Chris notes, money, money, money for military, intelligence (sic), terrorism budgets, etc, etc.  Yes, *evidence* is overwhelming and idiot-proof that 911 was an inside job.  But some of you actually believe the media’s CIA psyops, n’est pas?

(Background.  I think the anchor was Tom Brokaw, but I don’t have it at my fingertips; as well, the quote might be 100% correct or off by a word or two, so call it a paraphrase.  All this can be verified by reviewing newscasts of that evening; the History Channel actually did a nice compendium of that, unlike most of the uncritical, pre-concluded hit jobs on the 911 Truth Movement.)

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By WOLF, February 8, 2010 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

14 Israeli ‘Art Students’ Were In The WTC With PASSES
14 Israeli ‘Art Students’ Were Inside WTC Towers Camping With Construction Passes
The 14 Art Students, it has now been confirmed, were in the World Trade Center Towers with Construction Passes, Connection to Mossad Spy Ring
More Mossad in the towers before 9/11: 


Israeli Spies’ 911 Cover Blown
In September 11 Case

Was 911 A Mossad ‘False Flag’ Operation? YES!

Evidence points to 911 was executed by Mossad, with High governmental Pro-Zionist help!

Al Qaeda’s Chief Of Ops Has Startling Background
Once again, “Al Qaeda” tracks back to Mossad

Mossad, Wolfowitz, & Defenseless Pentagon On 911
The Case Against The Mossad And Israeli Partisans

Mossad and Moving Companies:
Masterminds of Global Terrorism!

New Video Pins 9-11 On Mossad

WOLF: INTC, SpecOps, Commando, BlackWatch, 3 PhDs

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By prole, February 8, 2010 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

This would almost be comical if it weren’t so deadly serious. Because “the diminutive Siddiqui”… “simply stood up to see who was on the other side of the curtain”…the big, bad trigger-happy gang of Gestapo on the other side panicked that like some real-life King Kong, “She is loose”!  So they shot first and asked questions later. And their first thought after they gunned her down was for themselves, “’We could lose our jobs.’” It’s almost a metaphorical microcosm for the whole bogus so-called ‘war on terror’. A tiny, alleged ‘terrorist’, or tiny, alleged terrorist group, is spotted, or invented, and the reaction is to immediately fill it full of lead. And then the ladder-climbing government hitmen all collect another big, fat paycheck and put themselves in line for a promotion. All in a day’s work. Stupid yuppie careerists with guns! ‘Maybe we’ll make GS-15 someday, if we follow orders!’ Don’t look for justice from those polite, well-educated civil servants who call you Sir and Ma’am and then blow your head off. 
  And, “It is difficult to get a fair trial in this country if the government wants to accuse you of terrorism,” said Foster. “It is difficult to get a fair trial on any types of charges.” So forget about the courts, they’re not the answer, either – they’re part of the problem. The courts too are blind, in the most fundamental sense, when it comes to justice. 
  “Terrorism, however, is a very good business”…and Amerika, firstly, is all about business. What’s good for General Motors or nowadays, Goldman Sach, is good for Amerika. “The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power.” These are the true “core principles” that can’t be compromised.
  But hey, maybe there’s a silver lining of sorts here, after all. “All this will not make us safer. It will not protect us from terrorist strikes. The more we dispatch brutal forms of power to the Islamic world the more enraged Muslims and terrorists we propel into the ranks of those who oppose us.” And why not? If we can do it to them, why can’t they do it to us by “the same perverted logic?” If it leads to a growing resistance movement, then it may serve some greater purpose. Yes,“these abuses, justified by the war on terror, have created a system of internal and external state terrorism that is far more dangerous to our security and democracy than the threat posed by Islamic radicals.” And since the government bureaucrats won’t save us and the courts won’t save us, that, once again, leaves it up to the stalwart resistance movements to save us. At least they won’t have to worry about losing their jobs. That is their job!

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By Night-Gaunt, February 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

The War on Terror with Terror makes certain if there were no terrorists before they will create them. The longer it goes the more are created and the more that are needed to be tortured and/or killed in the name of peace. A nice circularity to perpetuate the empire way of a New America for a New Century. This while draining the old Republic till if falls. From its ruins phoenix-like will rise the New American Empire and then we all will know what living in a corporate/theocratic dictatorship will be like.

“Unity is strength, war is peace, the God Blessed American way, Amen.” New pledge perhaps?

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By CheechanChongFan, February 8, 2010 at 11:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To PSmith.  I’m currently smoking and inhaling my medical marijuana right now, and the official version sounds even more farfetched than it did when I first read it.  Thanks for the suggestion, but it didn’t help me understand the war on terror any better.  If anything, its made it seem even more absurd

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By ondelette, February 8, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One correction: The boy does speak Dari. That’s probably the most incriminating evidence possible against the Pakistani and American governments. He was, according to the U.S., in Karachi the whole time hiding in the suburbs. One doesn’t learn Dari in the suburbs of Karachi. He says he learned it in the Juvenile Jail in Kabul. In court, when asked if it was her son, she testified that she couldn’t say so under oath. The prosecution used that as evidence she was a liar, because the defense was not allowed to introduce the fact that she hadn’t seen her son for several years and then was put with him on the road.

In court, it came out that the reason that they had actually aroused suspicion was because she was writing something on a pad. Women clad in full burkas in Ghazni generally don’t know how to write. When accosted, she spoke in Urdu, and they called the police.

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By Samson, February 8, 2010 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

... For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

Some of the offenses of King George III listed in the Declaration of Independence of the colonies that became the United States of America.

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By JohannG, February 8, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Follow the money…
The threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real,
is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of
fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions
of dollars into the hands of the military, private
contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive
client governments including that of Pakistan.

That money trail is the explanation of why “terrorism”
is hyped up and why the “War on Terror” is allowed to
slowly destroy our civil liberties.

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By bozh, February 8, 2010 at 9:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The cia and fbi agents have heard US say: u are with us or against us.
If siddiqi is or had been with US then the agents cannot be proud of what they have done against her.

Of course, if she had been rendered insane, she wasn’t on anyone’s side; so, the agents can now feel justified on basis of what US demands.
And if US govt is lying, well, US governance demands govt even lie in order to ‘defend US interests’ or to ‘protect’ their [not all- soldiers are excluded]citizens.

And there is always isaiah’s, Come let us reason together, says i [oops, god]: tho ur sins be as red as scarlet they will be as white as snow.

And how ab God Bless America? Not to mention the Greatness of America! tnx

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By Howie Bledsoe, February 8, 2010 at 7:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think if I were detained, tortured, and imprisoned for 5+ years, not knowing if two of my children were alive or dead, I might have a particular beef with the USA also…
But that´s just me.

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By thecrow, February 8, 2010 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

problem > reaction > solution

What would a program to “create” terrorists look like?

And who tortured to death these three men who had already been cleared for release?

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By lizleaf, February 8, 2010 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

powerful, as always.

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By PatrickHenry, February 8, 2010 at 7:03 am Link to this comment

Once again, the official American version of the truth is at odds with the witnesses.

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By 44398, February 8, 2010 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe U.S. juries would act with more sense (the entire case against Siddiqui is bogus) if they were to frequently hear allegations against the U.S. government itself as the sponsor of state terrorism against it’s own people.  9/11 was such a government attack against its own people, us.

Of course Chris Hedges does not go there.  A dot too far I suppose.

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By thebeerdoctor, February 8, 2010 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

It seems it always circles back to the rhetorical question: Do the citizens of a totalitarian state ever realize where they actually live?

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By Inherit The Wind, February 8, 2010 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

For once I can’t fault Chris Hedges. Well done, Chris! Fighting “terrorism” means fighting to destroy our liberty if accused terrorists cannot get a fair trial and justice in the United States.  And that means actually READING and APPLYING the Constitution and not making excuses for skirting it.

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By Brian, February 8, 2010 at 4:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Salem Witch hunt redux?

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