Haygazun's call

This blog contains anything that comes to my attention, whenever I want to share or just drop my bile out on the world. It may cover anything, from my everyday life to issues concerning Turks and Armenians, to Lebanon, Palestine and Israeli-US barbarism...

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"Haygazun" in Armenian means "son of Hayg", the mythological hero who killed the Balbylonian tyrant Bel in a battle for the freedom of his tribe. He is considered to be the forefather of Armenians by tradition. So, all that you need to know about me is that I am Armenian by blood and by heart equally Lebanese, to some degree Syrian, Palestinian and Iranian... All grandparents are genocide survivors (committed by the bloodthirsty Ottomans, the prototype of contemporary Turks)...

17 October, 2006

Conversations with Armenians and Turks about the Genocide

BY LINE ABRAHAMIAN


The human rights organization PEN, an association of writers and supporters, defends freedom of expression and opposes censorship. PEN Canada works on behalf of writers at home and abroad “who have been forced into silence for writing the truth as they see it.” They lobby governments internationally; work for the release of persecuted writers and conduct awareness campaigns about freedom of expression.

PEN American Centre has a “freedom to write program.” Visit their site for more information on Elif Shafak’s trial and the charges against her. They also sponsor a letter-writing campaign in support of Turkish authors/publishers brought to trial for speaking out about the Genocide or mentioning it in their books. There you will find sample letters of support for Elif Shafak and Ragip Zarakolu should you wish to join the campaign.

“My Journey From Hate to Hope” in the October issue of Reader’s Digest is my attempt to deal with the hatred I’ve felt for Turks because of the 1915 Armenian Genocide that killed 1.5 million men, women and children. Here, I speak with some Turks and some well-known Armenians about the Genocide.

In 2005 the first conference on the 1915 killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks took place in Istanbul. However, just as these voices were being raised, others were trying to silence them. “This conference was first postponed because there were threats against us, and when it did finally happen, people accused us of being traitors and threw eggs,” says novelist Elif Shafak. “But the fact that it even took place is a sign that things are changing in Turkey in a positive direction. But the bigger the change, the deeper the panic of those who want to preserve status quo. That’s why the Turkish judiciary is bringing us to court one by one.

“There are four approaches among Turks regarding the 1915 atrocities,” Shafak explains. “The most common is ignorance and collective amnesia. The second is deliberate rejection and denial. That viewpoint is shared by a smaller group, but their voices are louder because they’re in influential positions. The third is shared by Turkish youth, who say: ‘Whatever happened is in the past. Why am I being held responsible for something my grandfather did, if he did it?’ The fourth is shared by intellectuals and open-minded people like myself. We need to face our past, because the past lives within the present. Only then can our society become democratic. If we had brought to justice those guilty of the massacres and atrocities in the past, it would’ve been harder for the state to oppress other minorities and critical voices.”

There are now about 60 writers and publishers before the Turkish courts. Most recently Shafak, for her book The Bastard of Istanbul, which refers to the massacres*. Why does Turkey have a hard time acknowledging the Genocide? “They believe you can’t slander the Turkish nation by putting it on the same level as the Nazis,” explains Taner Akçam, visiting professor of history at the University of Minnesota. “There’s also a fear of consequences—that Turkey will have to pay compensation in land and money. But I think their primary fear is psychological. Armenians are a constant reminder of Turkey’s most traumatic historical event—the collapse of their empire. The Turks think of themselves as the phoenix rising from the ashes of the Armenians. Some of the founders of the Turkish state were members of the party who organized the Genocide. And the Turks have glorified them as heroes. If you call them murderers or thieves, you question the very existence of the state and identity.

“But Turkish society wants to know what really happened in 1915. And for the first time in history, it’s breaking its silence to challenge the official state rhetoric.” This may be due to the books circulating in Turkey about the Genocide. The man responsible for publishing many of them: Ragip Zarakolu. He now stands on trial for publishing two books on the massacres.

“I learned about the Genocide through my mother,” recalls Zarakolu. “In 1915 Turkish soldiers collected her Armenian neighbours. While the Armenians were crying in the streets, my mother and her family were crying inside their homes. Her grandmother saved two Armenian girls from deportation, but soldiers later picked them up again. This made a big impression on me.”

Zarakolu and his late wife, Ayse Nur, founded Belge International Publishing House in Istanbul in 1977 and have published ten books on the Armenians. “The first book was Yves Ternon’s History of a Genocide, in 1993. It was banned and confiscated, and we were accused of making terrorist propaganda. My wife was sentenced to two years in prison. In 1994, our office was firebombed. Now I’m on trial. The state fears these books will open discussion in Turkey, but that has already begun. These books have helped change the minds of Turkish intellectuals, and now there are more courageous people in Turkey.”

That’s crucial in this struggle for recognition, says Fatma Müge Göçek, associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. “It’s important for Turks like us to speak out because only then will Turkish society listen. If we close ranks with the Armenians, then what nationalists see isn’t the other—it’s the Turk with the Armenian.

“As long as human rights are important to the world, I don’t see anything short of recognition emerging,” says Göçek. “At least that’s what I, as a human being, strive for. Whether it happens in my lifetime, I cannot tell. But at least I’ll leave this place and this problem in a better condition than I found it in.”

Canadian and American Armenians have also been touched by the Genocide. Here is what some of them have to say:

Canadian director Atom Egoyan, whose movie Ararat, about the Genocide, won a Genie for best movie.

“I was doing a film review of Midnight Express for a student paper. Outside the theatre, Turkish students were giving out pamphlets refuting the images in the film. And that was a trigger for me. I became really involved politically and wrote the script for Ararat. But I wasn’t ready to turn it into a movie: I was full of rage and demonized Turks who hadn’t come to terms with this. I didn’t know that there’s a generation of Turks who know nothing about this. If there’s to be dialogue, we have to understand the overwhelming nature of the admission for a people who’ve had no preparation from their government. We can’t just expect someone to accept they’re genocidal.

“Can a human-rights transgression that happened so long ago and has been systematically denied be brought to justice? That’s the enduring question. Do these things go away with time? I don’t think they do.”

Canadian singer Isabel Bayrakdarian.

“My father’s father was forced to march in the desert. He survived, but his wife and two-year-old son died of starvation. My mom’s parents also survived. Turks captured her grandfather and tortured him by pressing a branding iron all over his body. He escaped but was later killed.

“So I grew up with this fierce loyalty to my culture and this need to know what my grandparents went through to make sure I remain Armenian. That’s what colours my singing. When I sing the Armenian song “Deleyaman,” non-Armenian musicians have told me, ‘I don’t know what it is about that song, but it broke my heart.’ It was written as a love song, but after the Genocide, the lyrics ‘I miss my beloved’ acquired a different meaning. ‘I miss my beloved’ not because he’s late from tending the sheep in the mountains. No, he was massacred.

“My mother’s the reason I have such a strong Armenian identity. I saw so much fire in her that this tragedy had happened and still isn’t recognized, but that as long as we don’t forget, we will have justice.

“The pain will never heal because this was a plot to annihilate us. The fact that I’m here and singing Armenian songs, it’s like rising from the ashes and rebuilding.”

American musician Serj Tankian from System of a Down, an Armenian band that is the subject of Screamers, a documentary about their worldwide campaign for Genocide recognition.

“My grandfather and grandmother are survivors of the Genocide. My grandmother has passed away, but my grandfather is still alive—he’s 96. He was five during the Genocide. His father, uncles and grandfather were taken away to a ‘work camp’ but were exterminated. Later Turkish soldiers took him and others out of their village. They were robbed, raped, starved and some were killed. He lost his eyesight for two weeks

“When I heard these stories, my heart opened up and I felt like crying. It’s mind-blowing that man could do that to man in the 20th century. Any time you allow an injustice to occur, you’re encouraging others to think they can get away with it. Hitler did. And genocide is still occurring in Darfur. It’s ridiculous! We haven’t learned our lessons.

“Some of our songs, like ‘Pluck’ and ‘Holy Mountains,’ touch upon the Genocide and the victims and are in homage to them. It’s part of our lives; it’s a part of who we are.

“I’m blown away by Turks who say they’re not only fans of our music but also of the stand we take and what we talk about. It means the tide is turning, that we’re breaking through barriers—and people are realizing the truth.”

* An Istanbul court recently dropped the charges against Elif Shafak of insulting Turkish identity, originally brought because an Armenian character in her novel speaks of "Turkish butchers" who killed his ancestors, and uses the term "genocide." The court found that evidence was lacking.


Read Line Abrahamian's article "My Journey From Hate to Hope"

My Journey from Hate to Hope

The Armenian Genocide almost annihilated my ancestors. How could I not hate Turks?

By Line Abrahamian

When I heard in April that Turkey threatened economic sanctions against Canada and recalled its ambassador because Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly recognized the Armenian Genocide, all the anger I’ve felt towards Turks came rushing back. Why do they use scare tactics on anyone who acknowledges that, between 1915 and 1923, the Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians in the first genocide of the 20th century? Twenty-one countries have recognized it, and the European Union has been urging Turkey to face up to its past if it wants to join. I know you should never hate, but how else am I supposed to feel about a nation that tried to annihilate my ancestors—and is still denying it?

Instinctively I cringed when a co-worker first told me his wife was Turkish. As an Armenian-Canadian, I’d been raised with stories of the Genocide. I was five when I first saw a black-and white photo from the massacre, of a crying Armenian boy so emaciated his ribs were sticking out. That kid could’ve been me. So at age five, I decided to hate all Turks. At my Armenian school in Montreal, the worst insult you could hurl at another kid wasn’t a four-letter word, it was "Turk lover."

Three years ago, at 28, I met my co-worker’s wife. She was the first Turkish person I had ever met. I shook her hand and smiled. She was lovely, but when we sat down and talked, it was not about the past. And that bothered me. I think I expected her to apologize profusely for what her ancestors did in 1915 or to slam her government for nearly a century of denial. She didn’t. So I decided to hate her, too.

It might have been irrational, but I wasn’t alone in feeling this way. When I asked an educated Jewish woman how she felt whenever she met a German, she offered up a guilty smile. "Whenever I meet an older German, I wonder, Were you the one who pushed my aunt into the oven? And if it’s a young German, I can’t help but think, Did your grandparents kill any Jews during the Holocaust? In my mind, I know I shouldn’t feel this anger. But my heart won’t let me forgive."

This, even after Germany apologized and made restitutions. All over the world, Holocaust deniers are shunned and put on trial. Yet Turkey has gotten away with denying the Genocide for 91 years because most of the world doesn’t know that before Sudan, Rwanda, Cambodia and Nazi Germany, the Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians in massacres and deportation marches through the deserts of Mesopotamia (parts of today’s Turkey, Syria and Iraq). Many people don’t even know what an Armenian is—"So you speak Arabic?" "No, I speak Armenian." "Right. Your country is Russia." "No, my country is Armenia." The victims are largely unmourned. And last year Turkey dragged its most renowned novelist, Orhan Pamuk, to court for "insulting Turkishness" after he was quoted as saying a million Armenians were killed in his country.

Can you blame me for holding a grudge?

I walk into Manoug Khatchadourian’s apartment and hug him. We’ve never met, yet I feel an instant connection. Manoug, 104, is a Genocide survivor.

He asks me to make Armenian coffee, expecting that since I’m Armenian, I must know how to brew it—like baking choereg (Armenian bread) or cooking dolma (stuffed vegetables). I don’t. Still, I have a go, but it turns out thick and gloppy. Manoug takes a sip and cringes, not subtly. I smile apologetically. But he has survived far worse than bad coffee.

My eyes fix on a painting above Manoug’s head. A Turkish soldier is stabbing an Armenian woman. Another is ripping a baby from his pleading mother’s arms. An Armenian mother is cradling her dead daughter.

"How could I not hate them?" says Manoug, his body trembling. "They killed our mothers, fathers, children! No, I can’t forgive them. I still live it today." His mind races back to a day in his childhood, on the deportation march in Mesopotamia, in July 1915.

"Have you seen Mama?" 13-year-old Manoug asked pleadingly, but the haggard Armenians mutely trudged past him, their tongues lolling, and threw themselves into a puddle of rain mingled with animal urine. They hadn’t had a drop for two days. Manoug had wriggled through the throng to fetch water for his family but had now lost them. "Have you seen Mama?" he asked anyone who would listen. But no one had.


The caravan set off once more. It had been four weeks since they’d been dragged from their homes in Kharpert, and every day marchers died of hunger, thirst, heat—or the dagger of a guard. Now Manoug was alone.

Suddenly a band of Turkish and Kurdish marauders came riding down with a roar. The frightened marchers scattered, but many were trampled under crushing hooves. Horsemen snatched up pretty girls and looted marchers; a few fell on a woman and began breaking out her gold teeth with a hammer.

Then a Turk started chasing Manoug. The boy ran, but his legs were weak. His assailant caught up, throwing Manoug to the ground, beating him fiercely with his bayonet, then stripping off his clothes.

Bloody and naked, Manoug staggered behind a boulder and collapsed. Some Armenian boys rushed to help him. "Leave me," Manoug breathed. "I’ve lost my family. This is where I want to die."

The phone rings in Manoug’s apartment. As he answers it, I think, How could he not hate the Turks? My eyes stray back to the painting. I hate them all over again.

As I enter the Ararat carpet store in Montreal, I can almost hear the giggle of my six-year-old self, climbing up carpet mountains and through carpet tunnels with store owner Kerop Bedoukian while Dad was with clients.

"This place hasn’t changed much since you were last here, has it?" asks Kerop’s son, Harold, who inherited Ararat when Kerop died in 1981. But it has. The carpets are neatly displayed on the floor instead of rolled into fun tunnels for the pint-sized and pigtailed. Kerop’s office looks different, but his original desk is still there. And tucked in a bookshelf is The Urchin, the book he wrote about his experiences on the deportation march. When I was a girl, I had no idea the man who playfully scaled carpet hills with me had climbed different kinds of mountains in the summer of 1915.

Nine-year-old Kerop couldn’t remember the last time they were allowed to rest. They clambered up yet another mountain, flanked by a steep drop. His eyes were fixed on a donkey swaying dangerously under its load. It lost its footing and toppled over the edge. The boy peeked down to see if donkeys land like cats do. They don’t. But he wondered why the lady who’d been leading it hadn’t let go of its halter when it fell. So many marchers tripped and toppled, reminding Kerop of shooting stars.

It was almost dusk. Still they ploughed on. Kerop noticed a Turkish guard creep over. He seemed intensely interested in someone in the caravan. The guard quickened his pace, slunk deep into the crowd—and pounced on a girl, drag-ging her behind a boulder as she kicked and screamed. Soon, the guard reappeared, pulling up his pants, and strode away. Kerop waited for the girl to emerge, too. But she didn’t. She must have been 15.

"I hated them for destroying an innocent and beautiful girl," Kerop later wrote in The Urchin.

Harold tells me now, "That was the first time my dad said he felt hatred for Turks. But he didn’t hate all Turks." His family had Turkish friends who trudged with them as far as they could on the deportation road, Harold explains. "I’m less generous in my anger than he was. Still, your generation seems to feel the strongest. When my son was ten, he came home one day with ‘Death to all Turks’ written on his arm. We were stunned. We’d told him about the Genocide but hadn’t taught him to hate."

Every April 24—Genocide commemoration day—thousands of Armenians converge in front of the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa and chant, "Recognize the Genocide!"

I was there as a five-year-old. At that age, do we even know what we’re fighting for? We do. Every one of the 27 years she has been a teacher at an Armenian kindergarten, my mom has taught children about the Genocide.

I ask her if she thinks five is too young to hear about this. "You have to put it in their blood early on," she says, "otherwise they won’t grow up with that fire in their belly to fight for our cause. That’s what we did with you."

"So would I be less loyal to my heritage if I didn’t hate Turks?" I ask her.

"Yes," my mom replies unflinchingly.

"So it’s okay for me to hate another human being?"

"No, not just anyone," she says. "But after what they did, how could you not hate a Turk?"

"But is it fair not to distinguish between the generations?" I venture.

"Fair?" she snaps. "When they were massacring the Armenians, did they distinguish between the women, the children, the elderly? And today’s Turk is just as bad, for denying it happened."

I’m watching the documentary The Genocide in Me, in which 32-year-old Armenian-Canadian filmmaker Araz Artinian tries to understand her father’s obsession with his heritage through a personal journey that leads her back to the roots of it all.

Five-year-old Vartan Hartunian clutched his father’s hand as Turkish soldiers herded hundreds of Armenians into a church in Marash, in the southern Ottoman Empire. Suddenly, horrifying shouts issued from nearby. Vartan peered outside and saw Turkish soldiers pouring kerosene on a neighbouring church and setting it on fire, ignoring


the cries of the men, women and children inside.

A woman emerged from the flames. A soldier shot her down. The fire soon silenced the voices within the church.

Now, inside Vartan’s church, thick smoke was filling the air. The men madly tried to contain the blaze, but it was too wild. Suddenly, bullets whizzed overhead—Turkish soldiers had opened fire. The Armenians flung themselves to the floor, but the gunfire intensified. There was no escape. Tears streaming down his face, Vartan’s father huddled with his family and cried, "My dear ones, don’t be frightened, soon all of us will be in heaven together."

"I’ll never forget that," Vartan, 86, recalls. His voice trails off. The camera keeps rolling. A moment later Artinian asks, "Do you hate the Turks?"

I listen closely, expecting to hear "Of course! They tried to burn us alive!"

"No," he says. "I don’t hate the Turks. Hatred is like putting poison in your own psyche. If you hate a Turk, you don’t hurt a Turk; you hurt yourself. My criticism of the Turks is in their [government’s] official denial of the Armenian Genocide. I think this hurts the Turks because it prevents them from coming up into the class of civilized nations who are admitting past errors. I don’t feel angry. I feel sorry for them.

"Armenians must learn that there are good Turks, and many Armenians will testify that Turks helped them survive. Unless we break through the walls of hatred, the question of Genocide is never going to be resolved."

I couldn’t believe it. How could this survivor feel no hatred, yet I do?

Since my first meeting with his wife had soured, my co-worker found me a new Turkish friend. Born in Istanbul, she moved to Canada three years ago. "You’re going to love her!" he said. I doubted it.

I call her, and she immediately invites me to her apartment. Walk into the enemy’s turf? "Sure, I’ll see you soon," I say hesitantly.

I knock on her door, and a short brunette with a warm smile opens it. "Come in," she stretches out an enthusiastic hand. The apartment is Bohemian and homey—save for a mannequin in her living room. She chuckles, saying she often dresses it and it has become part of the family.

I laugh—I never imagined a Turk could have a sense of humour. My anxiety melts. I tell her of my reservations about coming over and ask if she feels any animosity towards Armenians.

The woman (who agreed to use her name but later changed her mind) tells me her parents never brought her up to hate, but in school there was an implicit hatred. She hadn’t even heard about the Genocide there; no teacher dared talk about it, and history books taught them that during World War I, the Armenians were stirring for independence, revolting against an already crumbling Ottoman Empire by joining forces with the Russians. So in self-defence the Ottoman Turks "relocated" these rebellious Armenians.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. If they were deporting the "rebellious" Armenians, why deport women and children? Why were Armenians deprived of food and water? Why were girls raped and babies killed? If they were being "relocated," why had most Armenians in the Ottoman Empire disappeared?

I finally find my voice. "How did they justify what happened on the deportation marches?"

"They say, ‘It was wartime, you have to accept that.’ But," she presses on, "I found myself questioning, Why are we supposed to hate Armenians? If [their deaths] were a terrible consequence of a terrible war, why cover it up?"

She found the answers in university, during the classes taught by influential Turkish historian, Halil Berktay.

"Then it started to dawn on me that it really was genocide," she reveals. "I realized there wasn’t one single interpretation of history, as the nationalist ideology claimed. What do nationalist leaders do? They choose a scapegoat. In this case, the Armenians. The other side is, the Ottomans were responsible for what went wrong, which is true, but the government is having a hard time saying that because the Ottomans are where we come from; how can we be associated with murderers?"
"Has any Armenian told you, ‘Your ancestors killed my ancestors’?" I ask.
"No. And if they did, I don’t know how I’d react. If you dismiss me like that, you’re closing dialogue forever."

The problem, she says, is the majority thinks the Ottomans back then are the same as Turks today. "Now when I meet an Armenian, I feel like making an explanation that I’m not associated with Ottoman Turks or people who deny the Genocide."

I must have a look on my face somewhere between admiration and confusion that Turks like her exist: She asks, "Hasn’t it occurred to you that not all Turks are bad? That there might be Turks who recognize the Genocide?"

"Honestly…no," I reply.

She tells me there are more of them than I think. "Then, why don’t we hear more from you guys?" I ask heatedly.

"When you talk about this in Turkey, there’s the danger of going to prison or being persecuted. But I do feel responsible for doing something in Turkey to open up discussion."

Still, many Turkish youth know nothing about the Genocide, "because the only side they’ve been exposed to is what’s in their history books," she says. "Should they be blamed? Perhaps, for not being curious about all sides, for blindly accepting as truth what they’re being told."

We talk for hours, about everything from the Genocide to our careers to relationships. As I leave, she asks, "It was strange to hear that you hated all Turks. So when you meet a Turk you actually like, do you start questioning hating all of them?"

The word Turk still sends chills up my spine. But when I left the young Turkish woman’s apartment, I didn’t hate her.

In her I no longer saw that soldier in Manoug’s painting, ripping the baby from his mother’s arms; I saw a friend.

But later, when she told me she couldn’t be part of this article, my heart sank. My first instinct was to dismiss her as being "like every other Turk." But then I read that another Turkish scholar is facing trial for referring to the Genocide in her book. How can I dismiss an entire nation when there are some fighting for us? How can I hate a Turk who tells me she’s striving for Genocide recognition—even if it’s in the privacy of her living room?

I’m not ready to say I don’t hate Turks in general. But I don’t want to hate. I don’t want to teach my kids to hate. In this violent world, I don’t want to believe blind hatred is the solution. Hopefully that makes me no less of an Armenian—but more human.

Robert Fisk: Let me denounce genocide from the dock

The Independent (London)
October 14, 2006 Saturday
First Edition

By ROBERT FISK

This has been a bad week for Holocaust deniers. I'm talking about those who wilfully lie about the 1915 genocide of 1.5 million Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turks. On Thursday, France's lower house of parliament approved a Bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide. And, within an hour, Turkey's most celebrated writer, Orhan Pamuk - only recently cleared by a Turkish court for insulting "Turkishness" (sic) by telling a Swiss newspaper that nobody in Turkey dared mention the Armenian massacres - won the Nobel Prize for Literature. In the mass graves below the deserts of Syria and beneath the soil of southern Turkey, a few souls may have been comforted.

While Turkey continues to blather on about its innocence - the systematic killing of hundreds of thousands of male Armenians and of their gang-raped women is supposed to be the sad result of "civil war" - Armenian historians such as Vahakn Dadrian continue to unearth new evidence of the premeditated Holocaust (and, yes, it will deserve its capital H since it was the direct precursor of the Jewish Holocaust, some of whose Nazi architects were in Turkey in 1915) with all the energy of a gravedigger.

Armenian victims were killed with daggers, swords, hammers and axes to save ammunition. Massive drowning operations were carried out in the Black Sea and the Euphrates rivers - mostly of women and children, so many that the Euphrates became clogged with corpses and changed its course for up to half a mile. But Dadrian, who speaks and reads Turkish fluently, has now discovered that tens of thousands of Armenians were also burned alive in haylofts.

He has produced an affidavit to the Turkish court martial that briefly pursued the Turkish mass murderers after the First World War, a document written by General Mehmet Vehip Pasha, commander of the Turkish Third Army. He testified that, when he visited the Armenian village of Chourig (it means "little water" in Armenian), he found all the houses packed with burned human skeletons, so tightly packed that all were standing upright. "In all the history of Islam," General Vehip wrote, "it is not possible to find any parallel to such savagery."

The Armenian Holocaust, now so "unmentionable" in Turkey, was no secret to the country's population in 1918. Millions of Muslim Turks had witnessed the mass deportation of Armenians three years earlier - a few, with infinite courage, protected Armenian neighbours and friends at the risk of the lives of their own Muslim families - and, on 19 October 1918, Ahmed Riza, the elected president of the Turkish senate and a former supporter of the Young Turk leaders who committed the genocide, stated in his inaugural speech: "Let's face it, we Turks savagely ( vahshiane in Turkish) killed off the Armenians."

Dadrian has detailed how two parallel sets of orders were issued, Nazi-style, by Turkish interior minister Talat Pasha. One set solicitously ordered the provision of bread, olives and protection for Armenian deportees but a parallel set instructed Turkish officials to "proceed with your mission" as soon as the deportee convoys were far enough away from population centres for there to be few witnesses to murder. As Turkish senator Reshid Akif Pasha testified on 19 November 1918: "The 'mission' in the circular was: to attack the convoys and massacre the population??? I am ashamed as a Muslim, I am ashamed as an Ottoman statesman. What a stain on the reputation of the Ottoman Empire, these criminal people???"

How extraordinary that Turkish dignitaries could speak such truths in 1918, could fully admit in their own parliament to the genocide of the Armenians and could read editorials in Turkish newspapers of the great crimes committed against this Christian people. Yet how much more extraordinary that their successors today maintain that all of this is a myth, that anyone who says in presentday Istanbul what the men of 1918 admitted can find themselves facing prosecution under the notorious Law 301 for "defaming" Turkey.

I'm not sure that Holocaust deniers - of the anti-Armenian or anti-Semitic variety - should be taken to court for their rantings. David Irving is a particularly unpleasant "martyr" for freedom of speech and I am not at all certain that Bernard Lewis's one-franc fine by a French court for denying the Armenian genocide in a November 1993 Le Monde article did anything more than give publicity to an elderly historian whose work deteriorates with the years.

But it's gratifying to find French President Jacques Chirac and his interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy have both announced that Turkey will have to recognise the Armenian death as genocide before it is allowed to join the European Union. True, France has a powerful half-million-strong Armenian community.

But, typically, no such courage has been demonstrated by Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara, nor by the EU itself, which gutlessly and childishly commented that the new French Bill, if passed by the senate in Paris, will "prohibit dialogue" which is necessary for reconciliation between Turkey and modern-day Armenia. What is the subtext of this, I wonder. No more talk of the Jewish Holocaust lest we hinder "reconciliation" between Germany and the Jews of Europe?

But, suddenly, last week, those Armenian mass graves opened up before my own eyes. Next month, my Turkish publishers are producing my book, The Great War for Civilisation, in the Turkish language, complete with its long chapter on the Armenian genocide entitled "The First Holocaust". On Thursday, I received a fax from Agora Books in Istanbul. Their lawyers, it said, believed it "very likely that they will be sued under Law 301" - which forbids the defaming of Turkey and which right-wing lawyers tried to use against Pamuk - but that, as a foreigner, I would be "out of reach". However, if I wished, I could apply to the court to be included in any Turkish trial.

Personally, I doubt if the Holocaust deniers of Turkey will dare to touch us. But, if they try, it will be an honour to stand in the dock with my Turkish publishers, to denounce a genocide which even Mustafa Kamel Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish state, condemned.

15 October, 2006

The Dumbing Down of America

By Manuel Valenzuela

10/12/06 "Information Clearing House" - Something is amiss in the great nation called America. Ominous sirens warning this reality can be heard emanating loudly through invisible winds of change circulating our towns and cities. The American people are being strangulated; unbeknownst to the masses they are being transformed and conditioned, becoming the entity the elite have long sought, the culmination of decades of social engineering designed to make of hundreds of millions the slaves of times past and the automatons of the future.

Yet in this present day we find ourselves in, struggling to comprehend a world gone mad, unable to discern neither the direction we are headed nor the inevitable course time is guiding us on. It is because of what has been done to us, and is presently being done to our children, that we fail to comprehend the severity of the road that lies ahead. Quite successful have the elite become in shifting the balance of power from the masses to themselves. How, one might wonder, has this been accomplished, especially when we are the many and they the few?

It is through the dumbing down of America, the methodical destruction and purposeful elimination of the means by which a society educates and enlightens itself. The evisceration of a system that extols accountability and dialogue, opens up the gates of opportunity with the keys of ability, questions authority and seeks debate, creates a wealth of knowledge and illuminates talent and that births an informed citizenry and creates free thinking, analytical minds has been slowly implemented for the last several decades. The dumbing down of America continues into the present, unrelenting and unhindered, squashing the masses for the benefit of the elite.

A giant threat to the system is being disposed of, systematically and without remorse, making of America and its citizens yet one more cog in the engine called capitalistic exploitation of humanity.

What has happened to the Pax Americana?

Here stands the Pax Americana, the most imposing Empire that ever rose from the short reign of human civilization, responsible for placing the entire manifestation of world citizens at the threshold of perilous danger. It is the Pax Americana that has unwound the stitches holding a volatile world together, the nation that has over the last fifty years caused so much damage to the peoples of the globe. The karma of ceaseless negative energy is coming back to haunt an empire whose actions, while helping enrich its own belly and those residing in its entrails, have decimated untold millions whose only crime was being born in lands destined to suffer the harsh exploitation of America and its capitalistic pandemic.

How has a once admired and loved leader of nations fallen from grace in such a short period of time? What has happened to a populace living in the wealthiest nation in human civilization? Why has the United States transformed itself into the malicious beast the world sees through frightful eyes?

Gluttony and materialism have enveloped all corners of the United States, from Pacific to Atlantic Oceans, from the border with Canada to the one with Mexico. The principles of consumerism and greed are all-encompassing, years ago having replaced virtues long since gone. The clandestine enslavement hidden in mass production and ever-longer working hours has in the last few decades become the value by which we measure one’s worth to society.

The ability to question authority has vanished in a haze of indifference, even as the evaporation of the American mind continues unabated. Government has been transformed right in front of our eyes, becoming not democracy but corporatism, the marriage between the corporate and government elite. Our freedoms and liberties are in shambles, now fragile porcelain being decimated by the thundering herd of bulls in Washington.

The government of, by and for the people is now comprised of leaches flourishing in rotten swamps, prostitutes roaming bordellos masquerading as palaces of governance and fecal matter prospering in the nation’s sewers. Corporations and their minions we help elect dominate and transform society, leading us into the black holes they easily maneuver us into. We are being used and abused, yet with the dumbing down of America easily controlled beings we have turned into, comatose to the danger we have embraced and oblivious to the strings attached to our appendages.

Something eerie seems to have engulfed us in the land of the free and the home of the brave. From the land where all men are created equal has equality disappeared; from a nation espousing freedom has freedom been eviscerated. Once brave dissenters and seekers of accountability have gone missing, allowing free reign to those endowed with power. Free-thinking and analytical minds are as rare as the great apes humanity is making extinct. Rare is the citizen not captive to fear, insecurity and intimidation. The ability to question authority or to seek accountability has collapsed along with the towers of the World Trade Center. A world existing beyond the borders and shores of America, containing six billion fellow humans, has been forgotten and disregarded as ignorance to cultures, nations, beliefs and ethnicities is conditioned into our minds practically from birth.

Something is amiss in a nation where one would expect the plenitudes of Empire to trickle down into every man, woman and child. To bestow upon its citizens the tools needed to seek true freedom of thought and a path towards enlightenment would be expected of an American utopia that is more often preached rather than practiced. Yet the question arises as to the cause of why hundreds of millions continue to fall downwards into empty wells of promises unkept instead of reaching for the zenith of those fulfilled.

What mechanisms left to erode the citizenry of free thought and freedom of mind have been allowed to linger in American society, and how have they been allowed to remain when the reality of what has occurred continues to degrade the Pax Americana from the inside out?

Conditioned Producers and Consumers

Spawned from the assembly line called human procreation we open our eyes to a world ready to transform our life energies into expendable disseminators of the patterns of production and consumption that will mark our time on Earth, in essence becoming the reason for our existence. To the system called capitalism we become nothing more than a number which will in time be exploited to the full extent envisaged by man. We are given social security numbers, digits that will follow us through the journey from newborn to cadaver. To the system we are this number, easily traceable, easily conditioned.

Television begins to inculcate us with rampant bombardments of advertisements, thereby beginning to condition the young, innocent mind to a life trained for consumption. The foods we eat and the products we buy begin establishing the tastes we will forever enjoy. Associations of pleasure, ingrained tastes and smells, nostalgia of fantasy and perfection enter the young brain. It is because of this that corporations want to hook us from the first moments of infancy so loyal lifelong consumers we become. To the innocent and pure mind television thus becomes the window to a world that is neither real nor easy. The virgin brain sees in the shows it is blitzkrieged with a fiction that in reality does not exist. It sees perfection, fantasy, beauty, consumption and loyal acquiescence, and, with the passage of time, seeks to emulate this world in a false belief that it can be attained. Ingrained in this principle is the belief, channeled by corporations, that to achieve what can never be a person must consume and produce, be obedient to authority, friendly to her corporate masters and eager to embrace what society dictates. The dumbing down of America thus begins.

As television becomes parent, teacher, role model, babysitter and entertainer to the child, given the abandonment of historical parental roles thanks to society’s pressure to produce and consume, everything shown becomes everything learned, thus habituating a child to the role corporations have decided to bestow onto him. When everything seen on the screen is created, controlled, manipulated and disseminated by the corporate world the child’s perception of what reality encompasses will indeed also conform to the corporate vision. After image after image, fantasy after fantasy, conditioning after conditioning, the young human mind has no choice but to accept the commands of the brainwashing taking place right in front of his or her baby eyes.

It follows that children learn every behavior from their parents as well. From the very beginning entrenched behaviors to produce and consume become ingrained in the young brain. The long hours at work, the short amount of time spent with the child, the abandonment of parental roles and supervision, the incessant drive for consumption, the wasting of money and pursuit of material possessions, the behaviors of stress, depression, unhappiness, anger and frustration are all absorbed by a mind that in infancy acts like a sponge, learning human society from those closest to its environment, whether it is family or television.

In adulthood, these same behaviors will be manifested, thereby helping fulfill the role of producer and consumer the corporate world has reserved for yet one more human energy sprouting from the conveyor belt of procreation. Thanks to the television and parental subservience to the same system of their youth, one’s progeny will become the bogged down producer of the same products he or she will later voraciously and seemingly without conscious consume.

The vicious circle that is the virus of American capitalism infects seemingly from birth, inoculating children to the vices of exploitation from which they will forever derive their existence. It is at the height of innocence that the forces of capitalism attack, attaching themselves in the depths of a human brain, dissolving precepts not in tune with its compulsive and exploitive self. Once attached the virus is not easily displaced, thereby becoming personality as well as behavior. From the cradle to the grave, destiny in today’s America is guided by the corporate world and its sinister virus, helping not its host but its disseminator, unleashing wave after wave of unhappy and exploited producer and easily conditioned and controlled consumer.

Consequences of a Controlled Populace

Education in the United States has become an exercise in government and corporate brainwashing, used to achieve a citizenry devoid of analytical and free-thinking minds. The purpose, quite simply, is to retain the class warfare structure that has marked American society for decades. Education has become a tool used to make the wealthy richer and the poor more indigent. It is now a mechanism to separate the have nots from the haves, the higher castes from the untouchables. As it stands today, though certainly being eviscerated more and more daily, education is making of the masses impotent creatures of indifference, happily droned into complacency and deprived of a knowledge that once served to curtail the power of the elite that run the nation.

The result is the age of corporatism, the age of unfettered and unaccountable power and the control of the masses through media manipulation, societal fabrication and education eradication. As the world slowly passes through the sands of time the people of the United States, those living inside what has become a most hated geopolitical entity, are seeing the result of being dumbed down and of letting incompetents, warmongers, profiteers and deranged zealots run unfettered and unopposed, ransacking the globe, its people and land in the process.

Today we see the ramifications of a citizenry that has allowed itself to be made ignorant through its submission to those in power whose purposeful malfeasance continues to destroy the very essence of knowledge that grants freedom to enslaved minds. Iraq and the coming disaster in the Middle East are a consequence to the decimation of education in the United States. George W. Bush is a consequence of the dumbing down of America, to which he owes his very position perched like the vulture he is atop the dying tree of America that has been contaminated by his inept and infected claws smeared in human blood.

Those in power have succeeded in making the masses a herd of sheep following the shepherd straight into the slaughterhouse, unaware of the destiny that awaits them nor of their role in the furthering of death, destruction and violence now gripping the world. Like a deer caught in headlights, the masses are hypnotized, unable to see beyond the sight of their own meeting with a fate conditioned into our brains from infancy that is destroying freedom, knowledge and our ability to question the evils being done in our name. America today and the world tomorrow are a manifestation of this truth.

Ignorance has replaced knowledge, resulting in power running amok, incapable of being restrained, mutating and growing, feeding off our inability to escape the debacle currently gripping our collective mind.

Brainwash Education

The education system in America has been carefully eroded over the course of time, altered in such a way as to make creative and curious children barren and submissive adults indifferent to the world around them. The system now in place begins robbing a child’s ability to think for himself or herself from the very start of the education process. The class structure itself eliminates individuality, personality and energetic ability, as one teacher must educate many students competing for attention. It is here when talents that need to be discovered get ambushed instead. Yet with a class structure that has endured for decades, the child must become part of the whole, learning from books laced with government and/or corporate propaganda.

In many school districts, mostly poor ones strapped for cash, books can be dozens of years old, lacking modern thought or progress. Many books are tools created by entities with special interests that have as a purpose the teaching of their ideology or the furthering of their goals. The absurd teaching of creationism is one such example. Many corporations now create and donate books to school districts that contain references and examples to their brand names and product descriptions. Even in school children cannot escape the growing omnipresence of the corporate Leviathan which thirsts to program the innocent the way it sees fit.

Indeed, the young mind is needlessly brainwashed with a history of a nation that in many instances contradicts and even subverts the true historical reality of the United States. Only the ‘good’ that America has fostered during its rapid and short rise is taught, without ever dealing with the requisite bad inherent in an Empire that has laid claim to land and man during years of brutal conquest, both militarily and economically. Glossing over national heroes, mythifying them into deities and transforming them into perfect human beings is the role of the school book, brainwashing the young to a fictional perfection when reality begs to differ. Yet humanity must be balanced and its reality etched in stone so that future generations learn the human condition as well as its civilization.

The genocide of indigenous Americans is whitewashed; the slavery of blacks that lasted hundreds of years, oftentimes suffering barbaric treatment at the hands of their white masters is easily covered up in a few paragraphs, deceiving readers to the true horrors their ancestors committed or suffered. The subservient role women were placed under for centuries is hardly mentioned, and the great civil rights movement that helped change history for the better never gets the coverage it deserves.

The war crimes and crimes against humanity America has perpetrated worldwide to millions of anonymous people under the rubric of freedom and democracy is never mentioned, rather, they are sugarcoated and glamorized, serving as examples of America’s ‘great history.’ Also, the corrosive and damaging effects of American capitalism disguised as democracy that has condemned untold millions to the dustbins of history is manipulated to look like a chivalrous attempt to save lives and free nations.

Brainwashing unquestioned patriotism into our young one’s minds government controlled education furthers the squashing of dissent and the questioning of our sovereign’s motives. We are conditioned that our elected leaders are gods walking among men, to be trusted and never to be questioned. Their intentions are always noble, their reasoning pure. Dissent and debate, protest and curiosity are seen not as patriotic manifestations of an informed citizenry but rather as an alien afterthought not worthy of nationalistic pride.

The ingraining of loyalty to flag and country, even when committing evil worldwide, is to be allowed to continue, eventually becoming the means by which the state is allowed to declare war, economic genocide and market colonialism, without so much as a whisper from its constituency. The elite therefore bask in the glow of the radiant bean called patriotic fervor, indoctrinated from childhood, lasting until death.

Preaching the noble deeds yet hiding or disguising the evil ingrained in empire building serves only to alter history and manipulate the young, eroding our future in the process. To understand humanity in past, present and future an entire history must be taught, both good and bad, thereby creating in our future citizens the ability to grow wise to the mistakes of times past in order to comprehend the ever-changing and oftentimes complex conditions of the present. To not teach the truth of what has come before is to leave behind the keys to unlocking the door of the human condition, essentially condemning our children into repeating the errors that continue to bear witness to unnecessary suffering, death, destruction, violence and war.

The fruits of our past mistakes can be seen in our history; the essence of the human condition lies written for all to see. American education serves no purpose if the result of its actions leads to a replay of years gone by; it becomes an exercise in futility when our future repeats the blunders of their ancestors and the follies of those who once led.

Brainwash education is the means to an end, a device that entraps rather than make free. It is a valuable tool to exert hegemony over the populace. When begun from the first years of youth, becoming attached and most difficult to extract, brainwashing to suit the state and the elite’s goals is a dangerous device. When combined with the 9/11’s of history, it takes on a life of its own, becoming a Molotov cocktail ready to explode in seething rage. The system would not have it any other way.

Made Ignorant to a World Beyond our Borders

American education makes no attempt to expose the wonders of a world existing beyond its borders to its children. The outside world and its plethora of diverse people are hardly mentioned, easily summarized in brief mentions of world history. The ignorance of cultures, religions, ethnicities, nationalities and beliefs that has ensued has made America a nation neither curious to a grand spectrum of peoples nor understanding to the vast complexities of an ever-changing world. Failing to understand what exists beyond our oceans, American children, through the damaging effects of the nation’s dilapidated educational system, become isolated from the world community and the fraternity of peoples.

It is understanding the world and becoming part of it that prevents the Iraq’s and Vietnam’s of history from ever arising. It is knowledge of a world and its people that creates peace and good-will. Ignorance, on the other hand, fosters only exploitation, indifference and arrogance. Iraq today is the result of this failure in American education. Abu Ghraib and its war crimes is the result of a system that isolates, indoctrinates and makes ignorant to the lives and realities of six billion people whose world is larger than that of our own borders. The debacle in Iraq is a manifestation of American ignorance to a world and its diverse peoples; Iraq’s daily explosions are testament to its failure to understand the people it is occupying and the anger emanating from the arrogance and ignorance of its soldiers.

The failure of American education to teach about a world existing beyond the confines of its own grandeur is exemplified today by an Iraq that is the catalyst to a most dangerous era in American history. Societies that are ignorant to the greater world around them suffer a dereliction of humanity and the far reaching implications their actions tend to unsettle. From the actions of ignorance rise the reactions of those ignored.

America’s failure to educate its children to a world beyond its shores, in a world coming closer together is a travesty, and an error, especially for an Empire whose grip is all-encompassing, its power circulating around the globe. A leader of nations and an Empire such as America must learn and understand the world it dominates and the people it controls. For it to govern wisely its citizens must be brought into the sphere of a world community that is both heterogeneous and aware of the dangers the Pax Americana is capable of releasing. For it to avoid the wrath seen today its ambassadors and representatives must be educated to the songs of the world and the tunes of human civilization.

In order to prevent the never-before seen levels of hatred, animosity and anger directed at the United States and the blowback that is now being manifested the American education system must open itself up to the outside world. If it remains isolationist and ignorant, preferring to enclose itself in the bubble it continues to lock itself into, the karma we are witnessing will be but the tip of the iceberg. Ignorance leading to exploitation can only go so far; a world beyond our borders exists, and must be taught, learned and understood.

For if the Empire’s people fail to grasp the lands and peoples beyond their borders, preferring instead to live in the comfort of their own existence and the ignorance of their upbringing a world that was never known will be once more forgotten, and the blowback birthed by our ancestors will be made that much more difficult to comprehend.

Separate and Unequal

The purposeful inequality inherent in American education is created by design, fostered by an elite that manipulates in society a separation between rich and working class. It is abundantly clear that education systems in America are nowhere near to being equal. On the contrary, their inequality stems from a government and the elite that control it that seek to maintain the status quo of preventing millions of children from ever advancing beyond the caste they are born into. Without opportunity, ability is wasted and those capable of threatening the power structure as it exists at present are left to rot in the cesspool created by those social engineers sealing the destiny of millions of Americans.

Maintaining separate and unequal education systems assures the elite, government and corporations of millions of exploitable slaves that through no fault of their own are condemned to a life stuck in the working class, living off low wages, surviving on a day to day basis, uneducated and ignorant to the exploitation they are subjected to. The millions that fate has placed in corrosive school districts starving for pennies from the government are subjected to an education that is shameful at best and a crime against humanity at worst. Unequal distribution of tax schemes makes it impossible for children born into poor neighborhoods from ever getting the education the few elite children of privilege are guaranteed.

With rotting school districts that cannot afford good teachers, books, buildings, administrators and a semblance of hope children receive substandard education levels that forever alter their ability to learn and advance in society. When this is compounded year after year the ramifications are severe, serving to quash all ability and potential opportunity. It is this level of education most American children, both urban and rural, are subjected to, forced to endure the worst inequality of teaching found in the developed world.

When the elite that run the nation are deciding futures, however, this is to be expected. Their corporations need low-class workers; their armies need soldiers; their government needs slaves. By maintaining separate and unequal education systems, in essence two completely different systems, one reserved for privilege, the other for future serfs, the elite are assured of control, exploitation, power and growing wealth, mostly at the hands of the slaves they have created. The masses, having been trained from birth to become the slaves of the nation’s capitalists, are subjected to years of subservient education mechanisms that encourage and indeed guide us toward exploitation. The dreams and hopes of childhood are thus eviscerated as the reality of the environment and education we are born into collides with once creative talents and utopian goals.

Born into environments offering the worst in American education creates in the masses ignorance to the plight our government is subjecting us to. We are made unaware and become indifferent to the massive crime being perpetrated by government officials who help foster separate and unequal education and even encourage it by their unwillingness to make right what has been made wrong. The continued apathy of our government to the vastly different levels of education is proof that it is complicit in the manufacturing of an entire class of slaves produced to be exploited by the powerful few. To continue a system that is so dastardly in its scope and so damaging to millions is to acknowledge the purposeful disregard our government has in alleviating a reality that in this nation at least does not need to exist. It is shameful, it is wrong, it is a crime.

An assembly line of slaves has been created, socially engineered through years of manipulations and exploitations, breeding ignorance, robbing opportunity, erasing talent and harvesting entire generations of worker bees. For America the beautiful needs slaves to work and enrich the elite, it needs soldiers to wage war in the name of capitalism, it needs ignorance to continue its sovereignty and castes from which to maintain the balance that has kept those in power at the top for generations.

Separate and unequal, the secret ingredients to the American juggernaut; separate and unequal, the oil that assures the mighty engine of capitalism from ever corroding and malfunctioning. Through the backs of the masses the elite survive; through the exploitation of the many the few thrive.

Leaving all Working and Middle Class Children Behind

The dumbing down of America continues its injurious path through the policies of George Bush, who is quietly decimating the talents and energies of the nation’s youth. Wishing all children to become the bumbling idiot that characterizes his existence, his policies have washed away what remained of viable education. The dumbing down of America has only picked up its pace as children today are being deprived of the tools necessary to think for themselves. Forced by the government to teach to standardized tests, school districts are erasing the arts and other important classes from curriculum. Instead, teachers are being forced to prepare their students to passing the test that determines financial reward or punishment.

This form of education is leveling critical thinking, analytical skills and free-thinking minds. It is destroying education as we know it, along with the futures of millions of children who are being made automatons lacking a mind to question the world around them. This sinister mechanism is purposefully being implemented to dumb down American children. It is yet another tool those in power are using to create a nation devoid of free thought.

Teaching to the test entails sacrificing all subject matter not included in the test itself. As a result, vital tools such as music, art, languages, social sciences, philosophy, health and other liberal arts are being ignored, thrown away into dark closets of indifference. Worthy teachers now have their hands tied down, unable to bring out the blossoms of talent from their students. Instead, they must partake in the manipulation of America’s children, becoming the instructors to a new generation of students those in power want desperately to transform into unthinking sentinels easily manipulated and controlled.

America’s teachers, already underpaid and under funded, battling a system eager to destroy youth, must now see the seeds they sow become homogenous crops succumbing to ignorance, eroding all semblance of individuality and wasting away once fruitful and talented lives. All children are being left behind, and American society will pay the ultimate and most severe price.

Fostering Ignorance, Creating Sheep, Cementing Decline

Children are brainwashed at a very early age to follow the dictates of the state, to become the obedient drones the state needs in order to survive. Curriculum programs prevent the free-thinking mind from ever emerging even as such paramount subject matter such as art, foreign language, music and philosophy are being eliminated or never implemented. It is at a very early age when these classes can make a such a vital difference in children, in essence granting an enormous head start towards a long lasting, happy life. It is at early youth that the human brain absorbs everything that is taught, it is at this stage in development when positive and all-inclusive education bears fruit. Yet American children, living in the wealthiest nation on the planet, are being denied the essential tools needed for human progress to move forward, individuals to prosper and for a nation to thrive.

Becoming an exercise in futility, education has become a weapon to militarize millions of children to the tune of the government, robbing them of the free-thinking and analytical mind whose questioning of government and individual thought the elite want eliminated. In today’s America, no child must be allowed to think or understand what is being done to them and the society they inhabit. Every child being taught must march in lock-step with millions more, becoming benign drones made ignorant to a process robbing them of their existence, neither challenging those in power or absorbing the ingredients necessary to develop a mind that may one day become the ultimate weapon for freedom and salvation.

As in all state systems, in order to have subservient citizens, the young must be programmed early on to the dictates of those in power. In America, these entities are the elite capitalists that have transformed democracy into corporatism. Entire generations of people have become an enormous herd of sheep, unaware of the slavery that grips them and the exploitation that befalls every waking hour. The corporatist state has accomplished the ignorance of its citizens, now ruling unobstructed and unaccountable, free to unleash wave after wave of crimes, both upon those it rules and those it conquers.

The majority of the American people now fail to question authority, debate policy, seek accountability or demand answers. Indifferent we have become to the dangerous ways of our government or to our own plight. Every generation has seen its ability to understand, question and analyze dwindle with each subsequent decade that passes. Soon the day will arrive when complete drones our descendants become, completely subservient to the will of the rulers, shackled in chains of ignorance, transformed into exploitable energies deficient of free-thinking minds.

The only vestige of freedom left is that of the mind, a realm never before touched by the claws of the state and the powerful. Yet this freedom is disappearing, for the state has found a way to annihilate a freedom once thought untouchable. Free-thought is fading fast from an American psyche that once espoused the belief in the power of the individual. In its wake lie hundreds of millions of energies whose minds have been captured in a war we failed to realize we were being subjected to. Free-thinking minds are being made extinct, suffering from years of social engineering and artificial conditioning.

More and more we are failing to understand what is being done to us and our children. With each passing day the corporate Leviathan absorbs more of our collective brain, inculcating us with garbage, conditioning us to its version of what American society should be. The wretched symptoms of capitalism are devouring our very existence, making us the sheeple the system feeds off of. We are being herded to the slaughterhouse, ready to be gutted and mass produced, sold to the hungry wolves and vultures concomitantly ready to feast off our once vibrant energies.

Tell the Children the Truth

The time has come to tell the children the truth. The time has come to tell them that most are condemned to castes, unable to escape, destined to be exploited, destined for modern man’s version of slavery. The time has come to tell the children of privilege that they are being trained to become the exploiters of the masses, becoming condoners of subservience, inequality, injustice, corruption and thievery.

We must awaken from this lethargy catapulting us into a future missing freedom and individuality, happiness and a worthy existence. The dumbing down of America cannot be allowed to continue, for if it does, George Bush’s vision will become George Orwell’s reality. It is time to tell the children the truth. It is time to liberate ourselves from a system that is making us all automatons. Freedom of thought, freedom of mind and freedom to live are our goals. The elimination of the virus inflicting ignorance and enslavement upon us and our children should be our mission.

The time to retake the American mind is upon us, and this starts with telling our children the truth of what our indifference, subservience and inability to act is condemning them to. For knowledge is power, the kryptonite that weakens the energy leading us to nothingness. They know this, which is why the dumbing down of America is taking place. Knowledge is a threat to their existence and continued control, which is why they want it destroyed. Education is liberation, something they want desperately to avoid. An enlightened populace is their nightmare; an ignorant citizenry their wet dream.

It is through the awakening of the masses that mountains are moved and canyons crossed. It is through the slumber of the masses that evil awakens. It is through our collective energy that those in power have no future and no place left to hide. The future of America is in our hands: either the dumbing down continues or the awakening commences.

Essay originally published June 2004

Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet essayist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, http://www.valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com and at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info as well as at other alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela is also author of Echoes in the Wind, a fiction novel. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at manuel@valenzuelas.net.

Turkey's European Dagger

GMT 10-13-2006 17:17:38
Assyrian International News Agency

(AINA) -- Nobel Prize in literature to Orhan Pamuk will strongly divide the public opinion in Turkey. His liberalism is more for public consumption to the west of Bosporus strait. The Armenian, Assyrian and Greek Genocide (1915-1917) during the Young Turk government in Ottoman Empire is too well documented to be denied by Turkey. There is an Armenian National Institute in Washington to study the Genocide. 1.5 Armenians, 750,000 Assyrians and 400,000 Greeks -- all Christians -- were killed. It was first brought to light by Henry Morgenthau, Senior, the US ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1913-1916. The Turkish government tries to attribute these deaths to hunger, pestilence and the turmoil of World War I -- which seems to have affected only Christians -- rather than genocide. But, of late, several Turkish scholars have broken their silence and spoken on the issue.

But to speak of the Genocide with regard to Turkey is like trimming the leaves but overlooking the roots. Is it not a fact that there was not a single Turk in today's Turkey before 1050? Has this nation of 67 million materialized in north-east Mediterranean without any genocide or displacement of population? The homeland of Turks is not Turkey; but Turkmenistan in Central Asia. Before the hostile advent of Turks in the region, the territory belonged to the Byzantine Empire. It had pronounced Hellenic connection dating back to 1100 B.C. It was referred to as Anatolia, or the land of sunrise, in Greek. The Ionian School of Greek Philosophy arose from its soil; in 800 B.C., 12 of Ionian Greek cities were organized in Ionian League. Greeks continued to live in Smyrna (Izmir) until 1922, when they were massacred and driven out.

Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV lost most of Anatolia (Asia Minor) to Turks in 1071 in the battle of Manzikert. Exactly five hundred years later in 1571, the Holy League cobbled by Pope Pius V stonewalled Turks in sea-battle of Lepanto. Islam in the Balkans, forcibly introduced by the Turks, has made the region the tinderbox of Europe. With Kosovo surfacing as a sovereign nation in the near future, and western Macedonia subsumed into 'Greater Albania', the historic Turkish dagger planted in the heart of Europe is working its way even after five hundred years.

The territory of Turkey, less than five percent of inside Europe, is not proof of its Europeanness, it is a residue of the Ottoman Empire's historic aggression. The bulk of Turkey is an oriental Islamic country. Why should Europe recognize the phoney Europeanness of Turkey in the EU, when Kemal Ataturk changed all the historic Greek city names into Turkish viz. Constantinople to Istanbul, Smyrna to Izmit and Nicea to Iznik? History can't be undone; but nor can future be done away with.

By Priyadarsi Dutta

Priyadarsi Dutta is based in New Delhi and writes for the multi-edition newspaper The Pioneer.

Copyright (C) 2006, Assyrian International News Agency. All Rights Reserved.

07 October, 2006

The October Surprise

By Gary Hart

10/03/06 "HuffingtonPost" --- -- It should come as no surprise if the Bush Administration undertakes a preemptive war against Iran sometime before the November election.

Were these more normal times, this would be a stunning possibility, quickly dismissed by thoughtful people as dangerous, unprovoked, and out of keeping with our national character. But we do not live in normal times.

And we do not have a government much concerned with our national character. If anything, our current Administration is out to remake our national character into something it has never been.

The steps will be these: Air Force tankers will be deployed to fuel B-2 bombers, Navy cruise missile ships will be positioned at strategic points in the northern Indian Ocean and perhaps the Persian Gulf, unmanned drones will collect target data, and commando teams will refine those data. The latter two steps are already being taken.

Then the president will speak on national television. He will say this: Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons; if this happens, the entire region will go nuclear; our diplomatic efforts to prevent this have failed; Iran is offering a haven to known al Qaeda leaders; the fate of our ally Israel is at stake; Iran persists in supporting terrorism, including in Iraq; and sanctions will have no affect (and besides they are for sissies). He will not say: ...and besides, we need the oil.

Therefore, he will announce, our own national security and the security of the region requires us to act. "Tonight, I have ordered the elimination of all facilities in Iran that are dedicated to the production of weapons of mass destruction....." In the narrowest terms this includes perhaps two dozen targets.

But the authors of the war on Iraq have "regime change" in mind in Iran. According to Colonel Sam Gardiner (author of "The End of the 'Summer of Diplomacy': Assessing U.S. Military Options in Iran," The Century Foundation, 2006) to have any hope of success, such a policy would require attacking at least 400 targets, including the Revolutionary Guard. But even this presumes the Iranian people will respond to a massive U.S. attack on their country by overthrowing their government. Only an Administration inspired by pre-Enlightenment fantasy could believe a notion such as this.

Embracing this reverie requires believing in the Iranian Ahmed Chalabi, or perhaps even Mr. Chalabi himself since he has been working both sides of the street in both countries for some time.

It does not involve much imagination to understand the timing. The U.S. is poised to adopt a Congressional regime change of its own in November. A political strategy totally based on fear can offer few other options to prevent this. Besides, occupation by Democrats of even one house of Congress in January would make this scheme more difficult (one would certainly hope).

Further, time for super-power military conquest may be running short in the emerging age of fourth generation warfare. "...the age of Western military ascendancy is coming to an end." ("No Win," Andrew Bacevich, The Boston Globe, August 27, 2006).

The consequences? The sunny neoconservatives whose goal has been to become the neo-imperial Middle Eastern power all along will forcast few. But prudent leaders calculate all the risks, and they are historic.

These include: violent reaction throughout the Islamic world; a dramatic increase in jihadist attacks in European capitals and the U.S.; radicalization of Islamic youth behind a new generation of jihadist leaders; consolidation of support for Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and a rapidly spreading malignant network; escalating expansion of anti-American sentiment throughout the world, including the democratic world; and the formation of WWIII battle lines between the U.S. and the Arab and Islamic worlds.

In more rational times, including at the height of the Cold War, bizarre actions such as unilateral, unprovoked, preventive war are dismissed by thoughtful, seasoned, experienced men and women as mad. But those qualities do not characterize our current leadership.

For a divinely guided president who imagines himself to be a latter day Winston Churchill (albeit lacking the ability to formulate intelligent sentences), and who professedly does not care about public opinion at home or abroad, anything is possible, and dwindling days in power may be seen as making the most apocalyptic actions necessary.

Copyright 2006 © HuffingtonPost.com, LLC

America the Tyranny

The Road to Authoritarianism

By Manuel Valenzuela

10/03/06 "Information Clearing House" -- -- Behold and bear witness to what has become of America, in this era of uncertainty and bewilderment, in this time of fear and intimidation, that since towers were brought down and demolished has methodically fallen into the viper pit of neocon decadence, becoming, as it stands today, an authoritarian’s heaven and a corporatist’s promised land, its people ignorant, as always, to the barrage of waves systemically eroding centuries of rights, freedoms and liberties. From sea to shining sea, despotism is what today those who pay attention see.

The road to fascism is being paved at a clandestine yet alarming velocity, across valleys, prairies and forests, surrounding cites, towns and states, from Atlantic to Pacific, immersing 300 million individuals into a fog of engendered tyranny, who without a care or whisper or concern remain trapped by comfortable surroundings born through perpetual indebtedness. Even as their rights and freedoms and liberties are made to disappear, even as their Constitution is burned, even as their nation hangs on the precipice of despotism, even as their collective destiny is being destroyed those residing inside the belly of the beast hear no evil, see no evil and feel no evil, preferring to gossip about pedophile politicians and celebrity failings than informing themselves to the last throes of the American republic.

The waves of autocracy are upon the shores of America, the demons of the past find themselves resurrected once again, free to unleash fear, intimidation and enslavement onto hundreds of millions of human beings. The high tide of tyranny has returned from the unlearned lessons of history, again engulfing humankind with human wickedness and Machiavellian rule, soon to subjugate the masses in the slavery endemic throughout man’s brief – yet thoroughly destructive – reign over Earth.

Authoritarianism has woken from its dormant slumber, ready to terrorize yet one more human generation, for while it meticulously rises and stretches out its arms, ready to spread its omnipotent disease, it has lived and thrived since the dawn of man, accompanying humankind wherever we might go, since man alone creates and grants it life. Indeed, it is those who have seen it rise before that today see it birthed again. Its symptoms are apparent, its dangers known; the stages of tyranny are remembered, for they are never forgotten. It is those who have been witness to and victims of its malevolence that see the approaching storm clearest; it is they whose experienced eyes and mature minds that are sounding alarms. Fascism, under the guise of protection, freedom and security, is upon us.

To those paying attention, the evolution of the coming tyranny has been apparent since 9/11, when the Twin Towers, America’s Reichstag Fire, were pulverized into nothingness by demolition explosives, in a declaration of psychological war upon the American people. On 9/11 the Earth stood still, as if the collective consciousness of the world awoke to a most ominous catastrophic and catalyzing event that would send the world entire down a vicious circle of death, destruction and despotism. On that day, the future course of human civilization was altered, spawning the birth pangs of authoritarianism rising, freedom dying, and of perpetual warfare breathing its devastating repercussions onto the realities of six billion human beings.

Almost immediately after those in power had imploded and brought down the World Trade Center towers upon their own footprints the initial stages of imposing authoritarianism upon the people were implemented, beginning first with a Patriot Act whose sheer volume and length betray its existence pre-dating 9/11. Brought out of the fascist closet and dusted, it was rushed through the Congress even as the Twin Towers still smoldered and, for good measure, in the terrifying wake of the still unsolved anthrax attacks that served both to threaten legislators into compliance and scaring the populace even further into obedience. The assault on the lives of Americans had begun and, out of the bowels of our collective fear, despotism once more breathed life.

In Enemies Tyrants Find Life

What was 9/11 but a direct declaration of war against the freedoms, rights and liberties of America’s most cherished documents and principles? What was it if not the death throes of the Bill of Rights? The New Pearl Harbor was as much an opportunity to wage war in the Middle East as it was to eradicate tyranny’s impediments in America. The complete assault on the U.S. Constitution and on 200 years of laws has been possible by the inside job of 9/11, for it became the catalyst needed to introduce fear into the populace and authoritarianism into government.

What was the passage of the original Patriot Act if not the first shots fired in the half-decade long war against our rights and liberties and freedoms? Make no mistake, for the last five years we have been shocked and awed into remaining passive and acquiescent automatons as the fascists in power eradicate – slowly but surely – what was once a plethora of enumerated and implied rights, freedoms and liberties. A government concerned with preserving freedoms and liberties would not try to eradicate them under the rubric of fighting terrorism. A government wanting to protect our way of life would not try its hardest to destroy it as well.

Conveniently, then, in typical fascist behavior, it is the Bush cabal that tells us terrorists hate us for our freedoms and rights, that they want us destroyed for our way of life, even as it is the cabal itself that hates us for our freedoms and rights, wanting to destroy our way of life. By imputing their desires and wishes onto the fictional barbarian horde, an unknown dark-skinned entity of alien religion, and knowing the ignorance and gullibility of the American masses, the fascist cabal can at once generate fear and hatred among the people while acting to devastate the nation’s freedoms and liberties under the guise of fighting the evildoers.

In reality, terrorism is but the excuse used to curtail our rights; the dismantling of the Constitution is justified by the fictional threat of dark-skinned bogeymen, and explains why the government, as well as its corporate media collaborators, has been relentless in the perpetual dissemination of propaganda trying to convince us of our imminent peril. The tyrants and their collaborators depend on the fear of the masses to grant sustenance to the momentum used to demolish the foundations of the republic. The emotional fortification created by fear thus ensures that the primitive human brain will cease to think logically and analytically, enabling the wisdom of reason to be usurped by the reptilian and mammalian desire for survival. Without some semblance of thinking by the masses, who by fear are relegated to the role of sheep, the authoritarians in power are free to pursue the evisceration of all burdensome rights and freedoms that interfere with their long-held goals.

Under the guise of fighting terrorism – a terrorism the government itself creates, perpetuates, expands, nurtures and helps grow – the Constitution as we know it is being dismantled, not by terrorist evildoers intent on destroying us, but by our own government intent on destroying our way of life. For a government need not eviscerate a nation’s laws, protections, guarantees, rights, freedoms and liberties to guarantee security. It need not introduce a police state that destroys the way of life for 300 million individuals. This government is pursuing the dismantling of the Constitution and our laws not for fighting terror but to fight the American people. It is doing this in a methodical, some would say obsessive, desire to erode rights and freedoms, grant unlimited powers to the executive and silence dissent because in doing so it is removing the barriers that have for decades impeded authoritarians and corporatists from implementing their vision of the world. As such, the last remaining vestiges of American freedoms and rights are all that stand between fascists and their despotic nirvana. With the relative ease by which they have eviscerated so many laws and rights since 9/11, it is these few liberties left that will be targeted next, becoming easy pickings on the road to full fledged American tyranny.

Already, the government has been granted the right to enter our homes without a warrant and without our knowledge. It can ask for and get library records when it chooses. It has the right to pick us off the street and take us into custody without probable cause. It can wiretap any phone it wants, as well as listen in to any voice message in the country, monitoring our private conversations. Today we are regularly surveilled upon, our histories deciphered, our lives dissected. Our Internet activities are frequently monitored, our emails read and scrutinized. Technology has allowed the government the capacity to overlook our movements using the ever-expanding public cameras, as well as each and every activity we do using our credit or debit cards. It can track our financial records as well as our purchases, all the while gathering files with our complete, bio-metric information. It can do all this in secrecy, without transparency, without accountability, without needing the color of law as a guiding instrument nor the legality of honest governance for inspiration. Activists and dissidents are spied upon and harassed, their activities monitored. Enemies of the state have their names placed on various lists, prohibiting them from enjoying the daily rights afforded to millions.

Free speech is oftentimes relegated to small corrals, called free speech zones by the fascists. The right to assemble is oftentimes denied, as the state tries to prevent the people from protesting and massing in numbers. More and more, to question the actions of governance is to be called a traitor, treasonous, an abettor of the enemy, a terrorist appeaser. To dissent and protest is to risk being labeled unpatriotic, un-American, an enemy of freedom. Yet it is those few thousands, out of a total population of 300 million, scattered in small clusters throughout the vast lands that comprise America, that are the true patriots, the true Americans, fighting for their nation, their rights and freedoms, fighting the real evildoers and terrorists. They are the real brave heroes of the republic, escaping the culture of cowardice, sacrificing beautiful minds full of Kool-Aid and comfort in order to confront the distressing truths of emerging tyranny. It is they fighting evil, trying to stop its carnage upon the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, trying to prevent it from triumphing, from destroying everything we hold dear, and take for granted. It is they who are Americans and they who are the new patriots. Yet it is also they who will be first to suffer the ramifications of a despotic America, for authoritarians hate dissent, protest and truth.

For those paying attention to the reality of America today and not to the distractions of a 500 ring circus saturated with distraction, gossip, celebrity, inconsequential political news of typical Republican debased behavior, and mind-numbing entertainment, the road to tyranny has continued on its seemingly unstoppable momentum, with each new year since 9/11 presenting new attacks on civil liberties, human rights and our cherished freedoms.

Every year has seen an attempt at expanding the powers of the executive, to the point where the President is today, for all intents and purposes, a dictator. He is free to interpret the law as he sees fit, using the over 700 signing statements to ignore laws passed by the legislature. He has reigned over an era of untold secrecy, where the state is no longer transparent and accountable. He has expanded greatly illegal wiretaps, warrants and domestic spying, increasing the mechanisms needed by a budding police state to thrive and grow. Congress has become but a rubber stamp legislature, as has the Supreme Court, itself now controlled by Bush yes-men. Using the presidential bully pulpit, he has transformed millions of Americans into quasi-authoritarians, followers one and all, ready to follow tyrant’s folly straight into human wickedness.

Today, the president claims himself the unitary executive, the Dictator in Chief, possessing absolute power, doing what he wants, when he wants and without a care in the world that he will ever be held to account. This is dictatorship. This is the end of America as we knew her and the birth of an America we wish never to know.

Tyranny Nurtured Through the Bosom of Lady Liberty

Such is the power of the president that the corporate media – today’s Ministry of Truth – serves his every wish, protecting him from truth being exposed, incompetence being discovered and his authority being questioned. The executive branch has not seen this level of unfettered and untouched power since the establishment of the republic. Indeed, it is the executive branch that has facilitated the rise of fascism since 9/11, from the Department of State to the Attorney General to the Department of War, through the CIA, NSA and FBI, with authoritarians at the helm prevalent in the various departments pursuing the establishment of despotic policies.

It is inside the executive branch where tyranny is being nurtured and raised, where it is feeding off the bosom of Lady Liberty, making her weaker by the day, growing ever stronger from its parasitic usurpation of governance, protected and guided until that time when its strength and maturity is ready to extend its power into omnipresent perpetuity. In the halls of power fascism rises; throughout Washington the last vestiges of freedom are under direct assault. Despotism is being set in motion, it is being prepared and orchestrated, slowly yet surely being implemented throughout the mechanisms of the state. It is being molded according to American culture, according to American thought, growing at its own pace and under different conditions, evolving like organisms do, differing from other forms of despotism according to blood and environment, according to time and place. Yet approaching it remains, like a gathering storm of unnerving energy ready to strike relentlessly throughout the landscape, transforming an America we knew into a nation of wickedness and malevolence, of the worst in the human condition. Its tentacles are now in place, freedoms and rights have been made weak, it is now only a matter of time before what has arrived makes itself fully known and what is about to be made fully known eradicates an America that has only existed in the delusions and dreams of the brainwashed.

Unlike Hollywood reality and events move at their own accord and pace, possessing the patience fictional movies cannot afford, developing fully in time and through the magic of fantasy, their creation almost never the perfection portrayed by acting and editing. As we can see, American fascism is both completely different than its Nazi counterpart yet eerily similar in its characteristics. No two forms of tyranny are crafted out of the same mold. No two systems are born under the same stars, and each takes into history’s cauldron its own personality and traits, its own crimes and punishments. Yet under the guise of "freedom and democracy," under the illusion of the so-called "war on terror," tyranny is being birthed inside America, born through the hemorrhaging of the World Trade Center and reared by the incessant fear of hundreds of millions of American citizens. In the death of 3,000 humans, fascists found new life; in the demolition of two 110 story monoliths to the nadir of Ground Zero, criminals and murderers reached the zenith of their power. From Reichstag Fire to World Trade Center demolition, the more things change the more things stay the same, and again and again New Pearl Harbors will be orchestrated from which to usurp power from the People and once again granting sustenance to tyranny.

Despotism arrives in many forms, under many disguises, and in America, along with all previous carriers of the disease, the virus has infiltrated into the consciousness of the ignorant masses under the rubric of waging peace, bringing security, and under the false assumption that scapegoat enemies must be defeated in battle, lest they destroy everything we stand for. That tyranny fails to achieve each measure is never discussed, nor the fact that authoritarians rely on waging war, fostering insecurity, concocting ever-newer enemies and destroying everything the people stand for in order to assure for themselves of greater and absolute power. It is fascism, after all, that enables authoritarians to control entire populations through the oppression and subjugation of the citizenry, usually at the behest of the state and usually using the intimidating presence of the barrel of the gun and the brute force of the omnipresent police state.

At no point have American freedoms, rights and liberties been under such duress than in the last five years, as the Bush cabal has taken full advantage of 9/11 to wage perpetual, preemptive, illegal and immoral war upon both Afghanistan and Iraq, the former with its geostrategic location and pipeline accessibility, the latter with its vast petroleum fields and geopolitical circumstance, each of vital importance to the Pax Americana in its pursuit of imperial hegemony, their conquest a long held goal of the military-energy-industrial complex. Of course, using 9/11 as the perfect Pearl Harbor-like event from which to launch imperial invasions in lands deemed vital and strategic, the fascists and corporatists in power lay claim to both nations under the rubric of the fictional war on terror.

The invasion of Afghanistan had nothing to do with fighting terrorism – since 9/11 was an inside job – and everything to do with American controlled oil and gas pipelines running through Afghan territory. In the same way, Iraq’s decimation and occupation by America’s military had nothing to do with WMD or with bringing freedom or democracy – to give just two of the myriad number of lies to justify invasion – and everything to do with control of Iraq’s petroleum, Israel’s hegemony and strategic gamesmanship.

Just as Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were brought to fruition based on lies, deceptions, manipulations and distortions, so too has the erosion of American rights and freedoms been implemented based on lies, manipulations and cynical deceptions of the American people, with the lies of war and the lies of authoritarianism oftentimes intertwined in an enormous knot of convenience. Thanks to the two invasions and subsequent occupations of Arab and Muslim lands, the executive branch has been able to expand its power in the homeland through the methodical erosion of rights and liberties, both of citizens and foreigners, using as pretext the prosecution and imprisonment of captured or kidnapped "unlawful enemy combatants," as well as all ambiguous yet unfound evildoer terrorists, to destroy the basic tenets and principles of the American republic.

Under the rubric of the so-called war on terror, therefore, the executive has laid claim to supreme powers in the detention, treatment and prosecution of those deemed "unlawful enemy combatants," invariably dismantling the freedoms and rights and liberties of the American people. For in lowering and ultimately altering the rights of so called enemy combatants, the executive branch has in essence also destroyed those same rights afforded American citizens. In pursuing the so called enemy combatant, who in any civilized society invariably must, in his prosecution by the state, be afforded the same rights and privileges as any suspect charged in the nation, the Bush cabal has instead ignored the rule of law as well as the central tenets of the Bill of Rights. This, of course, is not by accident.

In the last five years, Bush and his cabal of corporatists have triumphed, legislatively and through the sheer powers of the executive, to rewrite the laws of the nation enumerated for two centuries in the founding documents of the republic, as always arguing that the Constitution stands in the way of prosecuting enemy combatants and waging the perpetual war on terror. It has argued that to maintain security, to protect the American people from the Arab evildoers, the laws of the land, the cherished rights and liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights, the precedent of the judiciary, must all be altered according to the vision of the executive. The Bill of Rights, after all, interferes severely in the successful waging of war against the terrorists. It has thus rewritten laws and regulations, ignored statutes and rules, created new standards of law and enforced, without opposition, any and all opinions and laws it has unilaterally decided to enact. The Bush cabal has used the prosecution of enemy combatants to both erode the Bill of Rights as well as to give life to its totalitarian mechanisms for dealing with enemies of the state.

Once the "unlawful enemy combatant" excuse to destroy the Constitution is complete, all done in the name of national security, what is left of the Bill of Rights and of the freedoms and rights Americans once had will be insignificant, leaving it anemic and impotent, and what was once considered a vital "tool" for fighting the so called terrorist will fall like a gauntlet at the neck of the American people, severing at once the last vestiges of an America we once thought everlasting. For what is being done today to prisoners in the vast American gulag system will tomorrow be done to Americans themselves. The experiment is first perfected upon the guinea pigs, then it is unleashed upon the intended victims.

For the last five years the Bush cabal has successfully conditioned the population to its "New Normal," the new America. It has manipulated both society and laws to accept gross violations of human rights, a suppression of liberties, and an authoritarian paradigm of disturbing wickedness. It is preparing us to incorporate into American law and culture the mechanisms used in totalitarian states. Using the incomprehensible ignorance and apathy of the American people against us, it has clandestinely destroyed the foundation of our principles and virtues. Using its vast power, its legions of authoritarians, its army of stenographers and it great arsenal of tools at its disposal, it has inexplicably made the American people tolerant and even acceptant of torture, rape, humiliation, illegal imprisonment, disappearances and criminal malfeasance, something thought unthinkable just years ago. The New Normal has become a reality, the new America now routinely tortures and inflicts horrible pain and suffering on human beings, all to the indifference and acceptance of the American people.

Without the notice or attention of the vast majority of Americans, most too busy addicted to the television and its 500 ring circus, the Congress, being the bunch of idiots, prostitutes, pedophiles and criminals that they usually are, have granted the executive, and by consequence the state, the unfettered power to make extinct the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. In one giant swoop of criminal culpability, in one hypnotized vote during a fascist’s wet dream, our so-called representatives eviscerated habeas corpus, the centuries old right to challenge the state regarding imprisonment, as always under the fictional guise of protecting national security from enemy combatants, as well as destroying the judicial review needed to fight and appeal detention. In an orgy of despotic glee, our elected leaders gave the Bush cabal the ability to detain suspects or "enemy combatants" into perpetuity, without ability to challenge incarceration, and to keep in ignorance those it chooses to detain, without ever divulging any information. Of course, the executive itself decides who and what is an "enemy combatant".

Due process and right to counsel have been thrown into the heap of waste, as has the right to question and analyze the state’s evidence. Evidence based on hearsay, forced confession and torture can now be used against the accused, even, as likely, it has no merit in truth. Trials must be held in military tribunals, using only military attorneys. Regarding the Geneva Convention, that stalwart monument protecting human rights, the executive now has complete discretion in deciding what constitutes torture as well as cruel and unusual punishment. The president, it appears, can now torture when he wants, whoever he wants, whenever he wants, without concern or transparency.

The Decider in Chief has become the Torturer in Chief. Suspects deemed enemies of the state can, for all practical purposes, be sent to rot in the dungeons of the Commander in Chief, without ever seeing the light of day, without ever challenging their imprisonment and without ever to hear or fight the charges against them. In short, enemies of the executive can be made to disappear.

American Enemy Combatants

In an even more ominous development, the definition of "enemy combatant" has been expanded to include those who "have purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States." As has been mentioned in many other recent articles, this devolution into classifying those hostile to the executive branch, or to the policies of the state, as possible enemy combatants, in many cases regardless of citizenship, is the weapon the fascists need to silence dissent, protest and debate throughout the nation. The threat of new ideas and opinions, which tyrants abhor, can now be managed and controlled, for in the broad language of the law virtually anyone can now be imprisoned and disappeared, forever. Since the executive branch determines who is being hostile against the United States, or who materially supports these so-called hostilities, it is easy to see that anyone at odds with the president, his administration or the government of the United States can be persecuted for expressing views no longer protected. Under this provision, any speech or activity deemed hostile to the state can be used to permanently imprison a person indefinitely.

This new interpretation and expansion of police powers virtually assures that American dissent and opposition to the state’s policies will be seen as hostile to the national security of the nation. What other reason exists to include such broad language into this provision other than to declare a war on dissent and on the opposition. Ostensibly this law is being marketed by the Ministry of Truth as a necessary tool to fight the evildoers, but in reality, can the imprisonment of dissenters and protestors, activists and intellectuals be far behind?

This gigantic step in the direction of totalitarianism is clear evidence the direction the Bush cabal is heading towards, with the American people being hijacked straight into despotism, our ankles slowly being shackled to the instruments of oppression. Already dissent is equaled to treason and of being unpatriotic in an age when being patriotic is almost compulsory. In certain authoritarian circles dissent and activism is seen as rendering aid and comfort to the enemy, while in others challenging the state is seen as wrongfully aiding the enemy. Activists seeking accountability and the truth are labeled terrorists, while others are seen as appeasers of terror. With such exaggerated language being used, oftentimes under complete levels of seriousness, can the accusations of supporting hostilities against the state be far behind, possibly leading to now legal and permanent imprisonment and torture?

The road less traveled is being paved with the concrete tablets of tyranny, and slowly, but most certainly surely, the caravan of authoritarians is approaching our towns and cities, eager to unleash their chained beast of oppression onto the most powerful nation on Earth. The momentum is theirs, as is the power and control to determine events and circumstances that can accelerate the approaching storm. Our destiny is in their hands, for they can do as they wish, counting the days when their plans and goals can be fully implemented. America as we once knew her is no more, thanks to the tyrants in power, thanks to our own ignorance and indifference.

Soon it will matter not that 9/11 was an inside job, for any talk of its truth will be severely punished, even banned, to be whispered in closets or over the sound of loud music. In fact, so much momentum is the movement gaining, so much traction among the People is its truth creating, that sooner rather than later the authoritarians may begin imprisoning truth seekers under the guise of "purposefully and materially supporting hostilities against the United States." Such is the threat of exponentially growing numbers of Americans taking the red pill of reality, that the state’s handlers may very well deem the entire movement a terrorist organization, the easier to suppress and intimidate the truth from ever being exposed. It is only a matter of time until tyranny unleashes its instruments of repression against both truth seekers and America’s real patriots, dissenters and activists.

Already the Constitution has been dealt a death knell, meaning it has no more significance or worth. The Constitution has become, for all intents and purposes, just "another god damn piece of paper," a relic of history, an obstacle overcome by America’s authoritarians. It will soon be said, as it always is, that at first the state came for the scapegoats, the marketed enemy, the chalice used to make drunk the masses, the bread used to destroy the system. Later it will come for its citizens, its threats, its People. Once everything is in place, once all the kinks have been ironed out, once all obstacles have been erased, the totalitarian evisceration of the Constitution will devastate a population conditioned to follow the letter of the law, now left unprotected, bewildered and condemned for the gross negligence it has allowed itself to perpetuate. Ironically, the People’s anger and hatred at the enemy scapegoat are themselves the catalysts for its own decimation, oppression and enslavement. In the end, we are our own worst enemies, both our Judas and our cyanide, not knowing what we do to ourselves, and each other.

When the masses finally see what has transpired in their country, when they finally wake to the morning fog, unable to see beyond the limits of their existence, they will see a landscape dark and ominous, a police state under the control of tyranny, a nation under the grip of repression. The America of their past and present gone, ignorant as any society has ever been, the masses will evolve to their new reality, their new normal. Most will welcome authoritarianism, for most are followers. The brainwashed will become tools of despotism, adapting to the brave new world of sheep oppressed and subjugated. Many will never really notice that freedom and rights and liberties no longer exist. Millions will teach their children to be good Americans, as fate has decided tyranny should rule. Imprisoned in their own minds, the masses will inevitably be conditioned to follow and obey the dictates of their masters.

Those who question authority, those who use their mind and those who see the slavery and oppression that has been birthed at the expense of liberty will become enemies of the state, threats to the system of tyranny, dissidents aiding and abetting the enemy, commissioned to never see light again. These dissidents the state will imprison and make disappear, to be erased from memory and time, their quest for truth and accountability buried six feet underground. To the obedient sheeple whose blind faith guides them in myth and state, totalitarianism will come naturally, becoming a nirvana to life-long followers; to free thinkers, independent minds, progressives and those who have escaped the incessant brainwashing from birth, it will be hell on Earth.

The approaching storm has reached the warm waters of America, rapidly gaining speed, ready to unleash its torrent of tyrannical laws and regulations upon our shores, its police state arriving with the sudden flash of thunder and lightning. The giant tempest has been building for over five years, granted life through death, rising high and mighty thanks to destruction and demolition, our own ignorance and sheer indifference granting it oxygen, our fear giving it power, our hatreds helping seal our own fate. America the Tyranny has risen to be born, the wickedness of humankind once more resurrected from the annals of history, free to repress and subjugate, eager to shackle and control. The destruction of the World Trade Center has made tyranny a reality; our continued impotence will allow it to flourish.

We Reap What We Sow

Perhaps it is fitting that a People that has cared not an ounce for systemic torture, preemptive war, illegal invasion, brutal occupation, mass murder, depleted uranium use, incessant rape, constant humiliation of human beings, destruction of Iraqi and Afghani society, renditions, illegal detentions, disappearances and untold levels of suffering should be made to suffer the realities of living in totalitarianism, under a police state, under constant paranoia and fear of both the state and your neighbors. Perhaps it is fitting that a People possessing such levels of ignorance, indifference and comfort be made to experience a reality that afflicts hundreds of millions of human beings. Perhaps in time we will learn humility and suffering, wisdom and the virtues of honor and peace.

America is a land so arrogant it calls itself and usurps as its own the name belonging to two entire continents; it is the country whose ego has been so aggrandized that it thinks itself the only nation blessed by the Christian god; it was a nation once cherished now thoroughly reviled; the land of the free now a land of tyranny, the home of the brave now nothing but the culture of cowardice, its bowels putrid with the smell of authoritarianism; its people enraptured by ignorance and fear, its moral foundations crumbling under the weight of pervasive corruptions and the evils of capitalism. The gluttony of comfort and the greed of excessiveness have made the American people the laughing stock of the world, our inability to escape the bubble of grandeur condemning us to be the spoiled child of wealth, unwise, unlearned and arrogant, never forced to confront suffering or trouble, condemning us to be the mirror image of our President.

The shining beacon on a hill has had its bright light extinguished, becoming in the span of half a decade a banana republic rotting from within, governed by incompetent dictatorship, its national elections routinely manipulated through the systemic impulses of blatant fraud, with representatives now nothing more than prostitutes bending over to receive the full gyrating assault of the corporate world, cannibalized by its own people addicted to consumerism and materialism, an army of ignorant sheep unaware of the future destiny they have helped chart, a population betraying their children’s future happiness for their short-term gratification.

The land of freedom and rights has ceased to exist, replaced by ever-growing authoritarianism. Perhaps, in the cosmic laws of the universe, where karma intertwines with fate, we are entering into the other side of midnight, journeying into exactly what we deserve, a taste of our own medicine, a taste of what we have exported to tens of dozens of other nations. We are reaping what we have sowed, and upon our shores now stands America the Tyranny, perhaps meant to suffer through another Hitler, another Stalin or Mao, or perhaps simply another Pinochet, Shah, Suharto or Saddam. America has entered its darkest hour, and as the clock approaches midnight the nation we once knew vanishes from the grip of the People. Nobody knows where we are headed, yet we do know in which direction we go, for the path has been paved, the pattern has begun to emerge, and through the horizon, no salvation can be found.

Instead of the world confronting the evil emblem of the swastika we must realize that it is the emblazoned red, white and blue that now represents despotic thinking and tyrannical rule. It was Old Glory that sprung up like a giant field of weeds in the aftermath of 9/11, flowing from every vehicle and every home, every business and every street, giving America the aura of jingoism and nationalism undoubtedly similar to 1930’s Germany, giving it the appearance, to anyone who cared to look and think, of what Germany’s streets in the 1930’s certainly looked like, right before society turned into barbarism. Perhaps this orgy of fanatical and jingoistic revelry was but the first sign of things to come, the birth pangs of America the Tyranny.

Five years later, the red, white and blue still flows proudly in the minds of followers and quasi-authoritarians, with knuckle dragging proto-patriots brainwashed to stand behind it in fear and terror of concocted enemies, their blind loyalty to anybody in power, even a little man with even smaller understanding. The stars and stripes has become the new symbol of jingoism, nationalism, xenophobia and blind loyalty and faith in tyrants, just as the swastika once did, even as it stands smeared in the blood of thousands, protecting torturers, rapists, war criminals, murderers and human rights violators, even as it has been besmirched by the destruction of innocent life and that of entire societies.

Old Glory now stands for the worst abuses of human rights, representing Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Bagram, the destruction of the Constitution and of Lady Liberty, the loss of habeas corpus and of the Geneva Convention. The red, white and blue, sadly enough, has become the symbol of what we most hate, of what we swore to never become. It has become a flag hijacked by tyrants, with the American People unconcerned and unwilling, to the point of embarrassment, to free it from its dungeon, with most too lazy or apathetic to care, most too ignorant to know. As a result, it has become, like the wretched symbol of the Nazis, a most reviled and despised emblem, an image of tyranny rising, wickedness growing and criminality evolving. Only Americans know how much more reviled and hated it will become in the coming years.

Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic and commentator, international affairs analyst and Internet essayist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, http://www.valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com and at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info as well as at other alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela is also author of Echoes in the Wind, a fiction novel. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at manuel@valenzuelas.net.