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Acts of War

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Posted on Jul 29, 2008
AP photo / Brennan Linsley

Members of the Iranian resistance group Mujahadeen-e Khalk, or MEK, guard a road leading to the group’s main training camp, watched over by a U.S. Army Abrams tank in background, near Baqubah in north-central Iraq.

By Scott Ritter

(Page 3)

This, of course, is the crux of the issue: Iran’s ongoing enrichment program. Not because it is illegal; Iran is permitted to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Not again because Iran’s centrifuge program is operating in an undeclared, unmonitored fashion; the IAEA had stated it has a full understanding of the scope and work of the Iranian centrifuge enrichment program and that all associated nuclear material is accounted for and safeguarded. The problem has never been, and will never be, Iran’s enrichment program. The problem is American policy objectives of regime change in Iran, pushed by a combination of American desires for global hegemony and an activist Israeli agenda which seeks regional security, in perpetuity, through military and economic supremacy. The specter of nuclear enrichment is simply a vehicle for facilitating the larger policy objectives. Olli Heinonen, and those who support and sustain his work, must be aware of the larger geopolitical context of his actions, which makes them all the more puzzling and contemptible.

A major culprit in this entire sordid affair is the mainstream media. Displaying an almost uncanny inability to connect the dots, the editors who run America’s largest newspapers, and the producers who put together America’s biggest television news programs, have collectively facilitated the most simplistic, inane and factually unfounded story lines coming out of the Bush White House. The most recent fairy tale was one of “diplomacy,” on the part of one William Burns, the No. 3 diplomat in the State Department.

I have studied the minutes of meetings involving John McCloy, an American official who served numerous administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, in the decades following the end of the Second World War. His diplomacy with the Soviets, conducted with senior Soviet negotiator Valerein Zorin and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev himself, was real, genuine, direct and designed to resolve differences. The transcripts of the diplomacy conducted between Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho to bring an end to the Vietnam conflict is likewise a study in the give and take required to achieve the status of real diplomacy.

Sending a relatively obscure official like Burns to “observe” a meeting between the European Union and Iran, with instructions not to interact, not to initiate, not to discuss, cannot under any circumstances be construed as diplomacy. Any student of diplomatic history could tell you this. And yet the esteemed editors and news producers used the term diplomacy, without challenge or clarification, to describe Burns’ mission to Geneva on July 19. The decision to send him there was hailed as a “significant concession” on the part of the Bush administration, a step away from war and an indication of a new desire within the White House to resolve the Iranian impasse through diplomacy. How this was going to happen with a diplomat hobbled and muzzled to the degree Burns was apparently skipped the attention of these writers and their bosses. Diplomacy, America was told, was the new policy option of choice for the Bush administration.

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Of course, the Geneva talks produced nothing. The United States had made sure Europe, through its foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, had no maneuvering room when it came to the core issue of uranium enrichment: Iran must suspend all enrichment before any movement could be made on any other issue. Furthermore, the American-backed program of investigation concerning the MEK-supplied laptop computer further poisoned the diplomatic waters. Iran, predictably, refused to suspend its enrichment program, and rejected the Heinonen-led investigation into nuclear weaponization, refusing to cooperate further with the IAEA on that matter, noting that it fell outside the scope of the IAEA’s mandate in Iran.

Condoleezza Rice was quick to respond. After a debriefing from Burns, who flew to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where Rice was holding closed-door meetings with the foreign ministers of six Arab nations on the issue of Iran, Rice told the media that Iran “was not serious” about resolving the standoff. Having played the diplomacy card, Rice moved on with the real agenda: If Iran did not fully cooperate with the international community (i.e., suspend its enrichment program), then it would face a new round of economic sanctions and undisclosed punitive measures, both unilaterally on the part of the United States and Europe, as well as in the form of even broader sanctions from the United Nations Security Council (although it is doubtful that Russia and China would go along with such a plan).

The issue of unilateral U.S. sanctions is most worrisome. Both the House of Representatives, through HR 362, and the Senate, through SR 580, are preparing legislation that would call for an air, ground and sea blockade of Iran. Back in October 1962, President John F. Kennedy, when considering the imposition of a naval blockade against Cuba in response to the presence of Soviet missiles in that nation, opined that “a blockade is a major military operation, too. It’s an act of war.” Which, of course, it is. The false diplomacy waged by the White House in Geneva simply pre-empted any congressional call for a diplomatic outreach. Now the president can move on with the mission of facilitating a larger war with Iran by legitimizing yet another act of aggression.

One day, in the not-so-distant future, Americans will awake to the reality that American military forces are engaged in a shooting war with Iran. Many will scratch their heads and wonder, “How did that happen?” The answer is simple: We all let it happen. We are at war with Iran right now. We just don’t have the moral courage to admit it.

Scott Ritter is a former U.N. weapons inspector and Marine intelligence officer who has written extensively about Iran.


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By BlueBerry Pick'n, July 29, 2008 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

has the US NOT been at war with Iran either diplomatically, economically or DOWN RIGHT COVERTLY HOT since Canada’s consulate hid out the American diplomats in 1979... or was that just the Republican ReichWing?

...wow, another October Surprise...

thoughts on“Crude jolt for US as Iran scraps oil trade in dollar” - The Economic Times

McCain Lies Away The Iran-Contra Scandal

┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄
BlueBerry Pick’n
can be found @
ThisCanadian
┄┄
” ... tolerance of intolerance is cowardice… ” ~ Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
We, two, form a Multitude” ~ Ovid.
┄┄
Silent Freedom is Freedom Silenced
┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

I notice that the give-war-a-chance crowd on this thread won’t even respond to the terrorist MEK group (according to US state department) being shielded by the United States in Iraq. Nor has anyone responded to to the post by the Habilian Association. It is too hard for the war lovers to comprehend that the United States government is a terrorist entity too.

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By Frank, July 29, 2008 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

Scott, allow me to rewrite your opening paragraph to sound a bit less naive and absurd:

“The war between the US-Iraqi coalition and Iran is on. Iranian taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of the Iranian government, to fund activities that result in Iraqis and Americans being killed and wounded in Iraq, and Iraqi property destroyed. This wanton violation of a nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated (by Scott Ritter or Al Jazeera) if the tables were turned and Iranians were being subjected to American-funded covert actions that took the lives of Iranians, on Iranian soil, and destroyed Iranian property and livelihood.”

There. Now it sounds slightly less stupid than your version.

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

troublesum

The Congress has indeed been complicit in everything.: Most senators didn’t even read the intelligence summary before authorizing war—-and they were warned to read it by the senior Democrat on the intelligence committee, who voted against it. I guess 160 or so pages of real intelligence output was asking too much of them.  All they needed to do was put their finger in the wind and see what vote they should cast.

Impeachment isn’t what we need, we need an election and the will to vote them all out.  We voted to stop the war in 2004, but not enough complicit congressmen were outed so Bush has been able to carry merrily along with the consent of congress.

What a shock to read the three cases on the Guantanamo detainees. The issues had nothing to do with what the president did—the whole analysis was on the laws passed by Congress. Bush is a bumb, but he’s had plenty of company.

A new president ain’t enough.

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

troublesum

The Congress has been complicit in everything—most senators didn’t even read the intelligence summary before authorizing war—-and the were warned to by the senior Democrat on the intelligence committee, who voted against it.

Impeachment isn’t what we need, we need an election and the will to vote them all out.  We voted to stop the war in 2004, but not enough complicit congressmen were outed so Bush has been able to carry merrily along with the consent of congress.

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By troublesum, July 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

One of the articles of impeacment against Nixon was that he expanded the war in Vietnam into Cambodia without authorization from congress.  Back then the country had a little honor left.  Today as Ritter says congress goes along with violating the soverignty of other nations without cause.  The democrats have been complicit in everything Bush has done; how can there be impeachment?

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor

I can and do differ with Israel on some of its policy choices; I can and do regret many acts of our own government—some of which have been use of the very terrorism we pretend to abhor, but that doesn’t deny the REALITY that Iran is actively exporting terrorism to nations in the region and will continue to do so until it decides it is better policy to stop.

Just because we aren’t perfect and Israel isn’t perfect doesn’t mean every policy America and Israel undertake is evil.  Just because we aren’t perfect doesn’t affix a black hat on us and put a white hat on those you oppose our goals.  You are just as black and white ideological as the neocons.

Policy should flow from realities in the world not from fixed predispositions to condemn or affirm.

You still have not addressed any specific on the policy of pressuring Iran to quit exporting terrorism by applying leverage on its own internal fissures.

Doesn’t the fact that you continually abstract away from discussion of specifics suggest to you that you are meeting the world with an ideological predisposition rather than with open eyes?

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By Claus-Erik Hamle, July 29, 2008 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Everybody please Email Senators and Congressmen/women asking them to vote No to SR 580 and HR 362 because they are virtually a Declaration of War as Congressman Ron Paul pointed out. Probably they haven´t even read the resolution !

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Of course I am confused I am a peasant. Israel threatens to attack Iran on nearly a daily basis, but I guess Israel blowing up southern Lebanon, taking out sites with preemptive strikes, never signing the non-proliferation treaty… well that’s okay, that is not exporting terrorism, only Iran does that, who by the way, also gave support to the Northern Alliance. Both the United States and Israel export terrorism, but they claim it is defense and protecting their strategic interests… oh, I almost forgot, Iran has oil. Could that have something to do with all of this?
That is just my confused opinion as a totally powerless person who will always advocate peace. One more thought: If the U.S. is worried about terrorism, why do we keep making cluster bombs? Tell me, is planting those bombs a form of terrorism?

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By webbedouin, July 29, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Good to see news of this coming out since the Bush Administration was parading MEK members around the congress since 2003.  Hey, they may be terrorists, but they are willing to work for us.  We have to fund them.  More proof that the so-called war on terror is actually a War OF Terror.

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

Knowitall,

You say,

“Really, if you’re going to insist on a Worldwide War on Terror which is really code for demagoguery aimed at..”

Gee, I thought we were just talking about a response to Iran’s export of terrorism to disrupt peace and encourage changes in the form of governments.  Now, I’m a demigod for disagreeing with you.  You sure do see things from a high place if the rest of us can so easilly be labeled and dismissed.

How about discussing the merits of the matter under discussion?

thebeerdoctor:

What the heck does Israel have to do with all this? If there is justification for returning Iran’s destabilizing terrorist behavior to them, the justification doesn’t have a darn thing to do with Israel.

I suggest to you that you too readily see all of the matters discussed through the blinding viewpoint of one who attaches religious motives to everything.  I personally don’t think religion has much to do with policy-setting in the west: not at the time of the British endorsement of Jewish immigration back into the Levant through today.  That you do, suggests to me that you’re a bit confused.

I’ll answer your questions if you’ll try to answer mine: “Who started the Iraq-Iran war?” Saddam Hussein.  “Who gave assistance to the Northern Alliance when the United States started bombing Afghanistan?” We did. “What Muslim group was ethnically cleaned by the Taliban?” Shiites? Who blew up the Iranian passenger jet during the Iran-Iraq war? An American naval vessel.

Now, are you equipped to discuss what should be done about Iran exporting terrorism?

How about getting to the point? Name calling and strawmen will not distract from your non-engagement with what I originally said.

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By P. T., July 29, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

The U.S. ruling class is very much terrorist and violent.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

Well Issywise, I am sorry I got you upset. No, I am not holier than thou, in fact I am nothing but a peasant. Which gets to back to my question: why should I be forced to give money to support Israel or any other religious based entity, including that Shia theocratic state Iran, you seem to be so worried about that you call it revolutionary. Really? Since you throw out questions, here is one for you: Who started the Iraq-Iran war? Who gave assistance to the Northern Alliance when the United States started bombing Afghanistan? What Muslim group was ethnically cleaned by the Taliban? Who blew up the Iranian passenger jet during the Iran-Iraq war?
Sorry I get steamed, but people who advocate taking money from me to fight wars pisses me off. I am just a stupid peasant trying to stand up for my rights.
Although you will not hear this on media controlled television, but there are plenty people in this country who are sick and tired of being Israel’s stooge. Barack Obama is the latest in a long line of spineless politicians who are afraid of the wrath of AIPAC. But for others, they know that aligning this country’s security with a country that claims God is their special real estate agent, is nothing short of treason.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, July 29, 2008 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

Really, if you’re going to insist on a Worldwide War on Terror which is really code for demagoguery aimed at underwriting with blank checks the MIC, which is code for using the American taxpayer’s money to protect the business interests of Big Oil, et al throughout the world, doesn’t it make sense to contract mercenaries like Black Water and MEK that voluntarily put their people into harms way and pay the survivors rather than a middle American recent h.s. grad of drop-out?  Whaddowecare?


We all know that Bush will have his war in Iran; he’s been trumping it up for what seems like eons.  He lied his way into Iraq, got found out, so his next reasonable alternative so that that wouldn’t happen again—Hell, he just might get impeached—would be to go completely underground hoping no one would find out.

If you’re not going to impeach prezes who commit real crimes while in office then the very least you could do to keep them in line would be to cane them once in a while.  Our cabinet needs a Secretary of Caning.  Scrub the Judiciary Committees; they just can’t handle the truth.  Maybe they’d be ameniable to caning the Bad Boy Prez. “Bend over, Georgie.  You’ve been a very bad boy.  The people are very angry and upset and fed up with your antics and, since the HJC is frozen, the Sec. of Caning has ordered 50 whacks, one each from a poverty level worker from each of the 50 states.  You know the penalty.”  “And no crying, or you’ll get more!”

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By Marnie, July 29, 2008 at 9:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Brat Boy George has always done what he wanted and never paid the price.  He wants more oil for himself and his buddies.

Hopefully there will again be international war crimes trials, on a large and public stage, of the Bushies, in a year or so, with executions to follow.

First World leaders sane and insane need to be reminded that there is a price to pay for egregious acts of extreme violence and that they are just as likely to be punished as leaders of smaller poorer nations.
On a world stage there should be no escape allowed, even for the rich and privileged.

Hopefully too the ball-less DemWits, if they get control of Congress and the WH will show some moral backbone, common sense being out of the question.
Unfortunately, Obama is increasingly coming off as a Repocon mole.  Maybe not Bush 3 but certainly he is already Bush 2.5.
Sickening and very very scary.

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor

You accuse me of being an imperialist interventionist because I defend the policy of using the same leverage on Iran to get it to quit its undermining of stability in other countries as it uses to undermine those other countries. You assume I favor a full-fledge repeat of the Iraq debacle. You lump me with racists and blind in the eyes self-glorifiers.

You do not deal with the specific policy we are discussing, only attack me personally and tell me I’m too dumb to understand things as you so magnificently do.

The problem with your holier-then-thou perspective is that you wish for a world that doesn’t exist and lord it over all of us mere mortals who would act to bring it about.

I asked a whole bunch of questions is my post, all of which you chose to ignore as you threw morally superior invective at me. They answering them, before you claim a higher ground!

Add to those questions this one: If we let Iran continue to use terrorist surrogates to undermine what stability there is in the region, do you think it more or less likely that we’ll have to really intervene in earnest?

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By totallyclips, July 29, 2008 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

small wonder that so many people in the middle east and the rest of the world hate america, it says one thing in public and then goes and does the complete opposite, america is a sponsor of state terrorism around the world, and has been the cause of bloodshed and Coup d’état in so many countries, for god sake grow up, stop acting like a global cowboy, and perhaps spend some of the money you waste on unnecessary and illigal wars and start thinking about the good you could do, but then how would that help the military industrial complex or the oil comapnies that own the USA. Inc

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

Issywise, you speak as a colonial imperialist. There is plenty of problem with trying to civilize the policies of another sovereign country. But of course you would not believe that. When you consider what the United States government has done to Iran, starting back in 1953, when our covert intelligence operatives orchestrated the coup of their democratically elected government… but you would probably dismiss that with that neocon retort: “get over it.”
What all you interventionists share, whether conservative or liberal, is the belief you have the right to tell other countries what to do.
As to that old saw about “they are over there fighting for your freedom”. I never asked you to, and I do not care to give you money to kill other human beings. Maybe one day you will understand what I am trying to say. Then again, maybe not.

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By G.Anderson, July 29, 2008 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

America is not supposed to measure itself by the conduct of other states.

Unless there is restaint then Iran can justify it’s actions by pointing to our actions as a reason for theirs.

Recently, you may have noticed we spent several billions of dollars and many thousands of lives to invade a country that was no threat to us.

We lied to the American people, violated the Geneva Convention, the military Code of Justice, and generally disorted the facts of what we had done.
To top it off we tortured people, and released the names of intelligence officers in a political ploy to discredit intelligence we didn’t like, which resulted in the death, of some of those agents.

So, here we are whinning about a country, for doing some of the things we have done ourselves.

If we attack Iran, it will mean economic suicide for this country.

Since we wasted so much treasure in Iraq, and the Middle East already, we simply don’t have the money to start another war in the Middle East right now.

No matter how much those on the right try and justify, their foolish paranoia, we cannot afforde to do it, the country is already backrupt, or hadn’t you noticed?

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By Habilian Association, July 29, 2008 at 7:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Ritter,
Your bravory is really admirable.
We are a group of families who have lost their most beloved ones in
terrorist attacks conducted by MKO (MEK, PMOI, NCR, NCRI…) during the
early years of Iran after revolution.
Our NGO called Habilian Association is the representative of the families
of 16,000 terror victims in Iran. The secretary general of our association
is Mr. Hashemi Nejad whose father has been brutally assassinated by MKO
terrorists.
After Rajavi and the rest of MKO leaders escaped from Iran, they were
welcomed by Saddam, but as nothing is free as a gift, they resumed their
terrorist activities this time as Saddam’s private army while killing many
innocent peoples in Iraq too. They were in charge of mass destructions of
Kurds and suppressing Shiites Intifada.


Today MKO members reside in camp Ashraf North West of Baghdad .You can
compare this camp with a prison or even worse. We have reliable documents
about how the gang leaders abuse their deceived members and how members
are brainwashed or to what extent they are deprived of basic human rights
and freedom of expression while suffering from severe mental as well as
physical problems. The members have to do only what they are ordered to
(what is needed in a cult). They are more like machines rather than human
beings while not knowing what thinking means. The members are often
deprived of the right to see their relatives. The gang leaders argue about
the defiance of women’s rights in Iran but do they respect it themselves
and never look at women more respectable than just tools that can make
them reach their evil intentions. Women in Rajavi’s cult are even sexually
enslaved and have to divorce their sexuality .you can’t possibly imagine
what goes on in camp Ashraf and would not believe to what level of
persecution and torture the dissident members are subject to.

In our point of view the members are victims too; those who had left their
home land to find better jobs in Europe but were deceived and imprisoned by
Rajavi’s evil ambitions. We have heard from the tongues of many defectors
we have now relations with; those who have wasted their best years as the
mercenaries of Rajavi in a cult while being tortured, brain washed and
subjected to sever conditions as well as losing their identities with no
way out.
MKO is a terrorist cult who’s killed 16000 of innocent Iranians and is
never accepted by Iranians. Those traitors who helped Saddam in his
imposed war against Iran while fighting with their own people. We can’t ever forgive the gang leaders for what
they have done to us let alone welcoming them in Iran. They don’t possibly
have any bases in our country among the people .they are known here as
Monafeghin meaning Hippocrates.


Put it in the knot shell we do our best to put an end to the existence of
MKO terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere by adopting legal measures due to our
comprehensive valuable bank of documents and would seek for your help not
to let this terrorist group deceive more peoples or continue committing
more crimes and terrorist operations any more. We also express our
readiness to provide you with our documents about this terrorist
organization which is designated by both the US and Europe as terrorist.
At the end, as the representatives of families of 16000 terror victims,
we would be honored if having you on our side and use your help in
disclosing the evil terrorist nature of this terrorist cult to the world.
We also express hereby our readiness to provide you with unique valuable
bank of documents about MKO atrocities and treasons.


Eagerly waiting to hear from you,

Habilian Association (Families of 16,000 terror victims)
Please contact us at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Iran is a revolutionary regime that exports arms and violence to other nations—Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. It is working to undermine other Sunni regimes as well.

Does anybody here deny those facts?

If that behavior can be changed without the need for direct open war between our nation and Iran, it would be a good thing?

Does anybody here deny that fact?

Iran has some of the same vulnerabilities that it is exploiting by exporting arms and violence to other places—tribal, religious and historical differences and conflict. If pressure on those fissure can be used to leverage Iran to quit destabilizing the entire region, shouldn’t that pressure be applied?

Won’t it save lives, including American lives? Won’t it help Iran’s theocratic leaders understand that their “God given role” of converting the world can’t continue without corresponding threats to their own leadership?

Isn’t getting those theocratic violence-mongers out of the “revolutionary” stage of governance the best thing for Iran as well as for the rest of the region and world?

Who here doubts the accuracy of my description of the motivations and practices Iran’s government?

What’s then is your problem with the policy of trying to civilize it?  What you fear will bring war, might well be the exact best way to avoid war.

Or, of course, we could request their permission to have a long haired, blond, male college student put flowers in the barrel of every gun they export to some terrorist group. But, I’m afraid, that kind of thing only happens in front of our military headquarters and not so much in the Islamic states.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 6:39 am Link to this comment

A thank you to Scott Ritter for being brave enough to actually speak the truth. When you listen to the news and hear the lies being spoken, it is good to remember there are still a few people who refuse to slide along with the grease.

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By Kellina, July 29, 2008 at 4:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why, dear Mr. Ritter, are you surprised that we are now at war with Iran? If Israel wants it, the US goes along.

I am open to suggestions about what we can do. But the situation looks dire. We the citizens no longer have any power to control Congress, the CIA, the State Department, or any other agency of the US, let alone the media. Our votes do not matter, given that the electoral college trumps the popular vote, and anyway all votes can be co-opted by the Diebold franchise AND we’re only given a choice between two Israeli-first candidates.

All we have left are our silly little blogs with their ineffectually little comment sections, censored and monitored and delayed, like this one. Marshall law anyone? The legislation’s already in place. It’s effectively here. All that’s left to do is close the borders and suspend the pretense of an “election.” Our citizenry is cowed by the government’s use of torture, fed a pack of lies by the media, and subdued with the threat of further economic demise.

K

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