Thursday, January 5, 2012

US Defense Act 2012: open-ended war

Defense authorization called 'Guantanamo forever act' - call for Obama signing statement
Interview with Scott Horton, New York attorney known for his work in emerging markets and international law, an expert in the law of armed conflict, a contributing Editor to Harper's Magazine where he covers legal and national security issues and writes No Comment, a widely read blog about human rights and international law. He also lectures at Columbia Law School and is a co-founder of The American University in Central Asia.

(click above for mp3 audio of the interview)

...The final form of the Senate Bill was passed, 93-7.

Just as alarming is the silence of the media, which has virtually ignored the threat to our civil liberties contained in this legislation. It's as though it is a hot potato they are afraid to touch, instead of living up to their responsibility to expose such threats... virtually ignored the threat to our civil liberties contained in this legislation. It's as though it is a hot potato they are afraid to touch, instead of living up to their responsibility to expose such threats...

(please click here for the text of Sect. 1021, which authorizes indefinite detention of citizens)


Chapter 1 - "Ignorance is Strength"

by Emmanuel Goldstein

(The 'Book within a Book' from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four)

...But the problems of perpetuating a hierarchical society go deeper than this. There are only four ways in which a ruling group can fall from power. Either it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that the masses are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented Middle group to come into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and willingness to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and as a rule all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling class which could guard against all of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling class itself.

After the middle of the present century, the first danger had in reality disappeared. Each of the three powers which now divide the world is in fact unconquerable, and could only become conquerable through slow demographic changes which a government with wide powers can easily avert. The second danger, also, is only a theoretical one. The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed. The recurrent economic crises of past times were totally unnecessary and are not now permitted to happen, but other and equally large dislocations can and do happen without having political results, because there is no way in which discontent can become articulate. As for the problem of overproduction, which has been latent in our society since the development of machine technique, it is solved by the device of continuous warfare (see Chapter III), which is also useful in keying up public morale to the necessary pitch. From the point of view of our present rulers, therefore, the only genuine dangers are the splitting-off of a new group of able, underemployed, power-hungry people, and the growth of liberalism and scepticism in their own ranks. The problem, that is to say, is educational. It is a problem of continuously moulding the consciousness both of the directing group and of the larger executive group that lies immediately below it. The consciousness of the masses needs only to be influenced in a negative way...
(click the link above for the full text of the book within the book)

1 comment:

  1. A timeless insight from our own Waco "Iconoclast" -

    "The American people, as P. T. Barnum long ago pointed out, have a weakness for humbugs. They are the natural prey of the charlatan, and in nothing more so than in matters political. Despite their boasted intelligence, they will follow with a trust that partakes of the pathetic the mountebank who can perform the most sleight-of-hand tricks, the demagogue who can make the most noise. They think, but are too busy or indifferent to think deeply, to reason closely. They "jump at conclusions," assert their correctness stubbornly and prove the courage of their convictions by their ballots. They demonstrate their "independence" by choosing their political fetich, their confidence in the infallibility of their judgment by worshiping it blindly. Herein lies the chief danger--danger that the American workingman will follow this or that ignus fatuus, hoping thereby to find a shorter northwest passage to impossible spice islands, until poverty has degraded him from a self-respecting sovereign into a volcanic sans culotte; until he loses hope of bettering his condition by whereases, resolutions, trades-unions, acts of Congress, etc., and, like another blind and desperate Samson, lays his brawny hands upon the pillars of the temple and pulls it down about his ears."
    --William Cowper Brann, Essay: "Evolution or Revolution: The Plutocrat and the Pauper" c.1898