"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

My Photo
Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Building Mosques, Importing Jihad

Puritanical Arab Wahhabists are trying to wrest control of Chechens' Sufi Islam. Will they succeed?

Brian Glynn Williams, an Islamic historian, has lived all over Central Asia, including Kazakhstan and Georgia. He's picked his way through minefields in Kosovo and Bosnia, traveled the West Bank and Gaza, and toted a machine gun to interview warlords in Afghanistan. But while he has studied their history and interviewed many Chechens, he has never been to Chechnya. "It's the most dangerous spot on the planet, the heart of darkness,” he told Beliefnet. "It scares me to death." We talked to Williams about what is unfolding in Chechnya and how the terrible Beslan school siege could have happened.

Put the Russian school siege in context.

Islam is not the driving machine behind the Chechen resistance; it is merely a part of Chechen identity. Chechen Islamic identity was forged over hundreds of years of gradual Islamification, but it retains ancient pre-Islamic traditions. Their form of Islam is Sufism, but I consider it a kind of "folk Islam." So Chechens go to local shrines, visit holy men to receive blessings, and engage in dancing or chants to achieve unity with God. It’s a very mystical strain of Islam.
So if the Chechens are mystical, laid-back Muslims, how did they become radicalized to the point that they’re taking hostages in a school and blowing themselves up?

We in the West have a huge problem in dealing with the Islamic world. We think that anybody in the Islamic world who does anything does it because of his faith, as if Hitler invaded the Soviet Union because he was a Christian. Or we invaded Japan after Pearl Harbor because we are Christians. People fight for different reasons. Chechens are fighting because they want their land.

Now, their form of Islam has been radicalized by recent events. In their first war with Russia (1994-96), their capital, Grozny, a city of 400,000 people, was in essence wiped off the planet. Tens of thousands of innocent Chechens were killed; hundreds of thousands fled for their lives; half the Chechen nation has scattered; every city in Chechnya has been eradicated; the land is unarable because it’s been mined by the Russians; the country has been blasted back to the Stone Age. And nobody in the Christian West, whom they turned to for help, came to their aid as was the case in, say, Kosovo.

Many are pointing to the Beslan killings as evidence that al Qaeda's brand of radical Islam is escalating violence worldwide, but you’re saying the reality is more complicated.

I don’t think the Arabs drove this. [Russian president Vladimir] Putin would like us to believe that, but these are desperate people whose families have been killed. They want one thing: for the Russians to withdraw from Chechnya. It had nothing to do with al Qaeda’s declaration of jihad against Jews and Christians in 1998, and I don’t think it was driven by jihadism.

[The Chechen terrorists] are incredibly callous and come from beyond the pale of civilization, but the Russians have turned Chechnya into a place that is beyond the pale of civilization. Putin wants us to believe every Chechen insurgent is an al Qaeda terrorist. This is wrong. Those who took the school in Beslan were terrorists. But were they al Qaeda? Absolutely not.

How did Chechnya become Muslim?

It started in the 1600s and 1700s with the wandering Sufi missionaries from Dagestan, which had been conquered by the Arabs hundreds of years earlier. They gradually converted the Chechen highlanders, not by espousing a rigid form of Islam, but by accommodating their ancient pre-Islamic traditions, much as Christians have Yule logs and Christmas trees left over from pagan ancestors who converted to Christianity. The Chechens retained their beliefs in magic and the power of going to holy places in the mountains.
The Chechens are not only Sufi Muslims, but they’ve also been tremendously Sovietized by 70 years of atheist Communist rule, in addition to already having a lax easy-going frontier form of Islam. During the Soviet era, their mosques were closed and their imams were executed. Official Islam was blasted out of the public sphere.

Folk Islam adjusted in certain ways, and they kept their traditions alive at home. You might have dances or chants at home. Even Chechen Communists kept their folk Islam alive. They would visit a shrine if they wanted to get pregnant or were fighting cancer. They might visit a holy man. It existed below the surface during the Soviet era, and it was a very tolerant, accommodating form of Islam.

The images we have of harsh Islam, with people’s hands being cut off and people wearing full veils, and spewing harsh rhetoric against Jews—these things that we associate with Wahhabi Islam have no application in Chechnya. You have to remember in the 1970s and 80s, Chechnya was run by the Committee for State Security, the KGB. During the same time, Saudi Arabia was being run by the Committee for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue. The Saudis were trying to reconstruct a past much like when Muhammad was alive, whereas the Chechen Soviets were building a proletarian utopian future. They could quote Marx, not Muhammad.

The Chechen resistance was led by a fellow named Dzhokhar Dudayev—a Russified Chechen, who’d never been to a mosque, drank vodka, didn’t know how many times a day a Muslim was supposed to pray, who was married to a Russian woman, who’d been a Soviet air force general. He was fighting to create an independent state based on Western secular models.

What happened during the first war, when the Chechens came to the attention of the Saudis?

There are Saudi quasi-official charities, most notably the al Haramain Islamic Foundation. These are non-governmental organizations with a link to wealthy Saudi families. They gave hundreds of millions of dollars to good causes across the planet, but also to Muslims who were being oppressed across the planet, much as Christians in America support Christians in Sudan or Christians in China. These charities siphoned money to fight for front-line Muslims who were being oppressed—whether they were Muslims in rape camps in Bosnia, or they were being ethnically cleansed in Kosovo, or being killed by Indian security in Kashmir, or being obliterated in Chechnya. I have personally been to mosques where zakat money (charity) was collected “to help the Muslim brothers and sisters undergoing oppression by Christian infidels in Chechnya.”

This process began when the West turned its back on Chechnya during the first war. [The West] didn’t help them in their resistance struggle as they did the Kosovars or the Bosnians or the Estonians.


The Russian Federation has nuclear weapons. The Russians have mass reserves of oil. They have also become a key player in the war on terror. So Chechnya, which is the size of Connecticut, was sold out. The idea of spreading democracy and the rights of national self-determination were flushed away in the interest of post-Soviet Russia.

So the Chechens have become increasingly violent and desperate. Is that why the school siege happened?

I think so. You have what I call the Kalishnikov-ization of their culture. You have no jobs. Factories have been bombed, their fields can’t be tilled because of the land mines, and there is a 70-80 percent jobless rate. What’s a young man to do when there are no options? They’re angry, they have rocket-propelled grenades. They shoot at people roaming around the country oppressing them, and they’re often paid to do it by a new source – Arab charities, which see the Chechens as Muslim brothers and sisters.
No one came to help except for these charities—and by the way it wasn’t the Arab governments. Russia is too important to them. The private charities began sending fighters to go fight for the Chechen Muslims.

Jihad has been called the sixth pillar of Islam. These jihadi sects believe in jihad as a form of religion. So they are going to fight for the Chechens, but in the process teach them “proper” Islam. The Chechens view [Wahhabism] as a wacko, New Age religion. They saw these bearded Saudi Wahhabis as wackos, but the Wahhabists fought well, they brought money, they brought wireless communication, sniper rifles, and surface-to-air missiles. And they paid you good money if you killed Russians. The Saudis have given local fighting commanders bounties for killing Russians. If you shoot down a Russian helicopter, they’ll give you $5,000. If you shoot a soldier, you get $10,000.

How did the money get there?

The money was siphoned in from Baku, Azerbaijan. It came in from the mountains of Dagestan or Georgia and was distributed to field commanders who espoused Wahhabi traditions. They said, “If you guys grow beards and kill Russians, we’ll give you blood money.” It was hundreds of thousands of dollars. But many Chechens told me that when they finally beat the Russians, they’re going to turn on the Wahhabis and throw them out, too.

So they’re just pretending to be Wahhabi?

Some may be genuine. They still speak Russian and are products of the Soviet system, but they’re more devout, more radicalized. Some find in these brotherhoods of Arab warriors a sense of purpose. They give them something to fight for. And of course they offer heaven.

But don’t make the mistake of seeing the money they offer, which feeds the fight, as the cause of the fight. If there was no Saudi money, no holy warriors coming in, the fight would still be bloody and be driven by its own historical precedents.

So what you are saying is that the Chechens are fighting a separatist movement similar to the Palestinians. But there is a subtext, which is that the Wahhabi Arabs are trying to take over the Chechen Sufis.


How successful have they been and what percentage of Chechens have been converted?

There are now a few Wahhabi mosques operating in the town of Urus Martan. It all started with a Saudi warlord named Ibn-ul-Khattab, who fought in Afghanistan in the glorious jihad against the Soviets and then led a small reconnaissance group to Chechnya in 1995. Once they arrived there, they found the Chechens speaking Russian, drinking vodka, fighting against the Soviets for their homeland under their national banner, a gray wolf.

Khattab said, “I am here to introduce you to jihad and to the real form of Islam.” He fought incredibly well, like the Afghan holy warriors. And his form of jihadism began spreading among Chechens. They began wearing green headbands with Arabic on them, which said “Allahu Akbar”—God is great. These were people who went to school in the Communist Youth League, read Tolstoy, and knew Gorbachev as their president. They knew about four words in Arabic, but Allahu Akbar were among them.

So they started identifying as Muslims.

Yes, it was similar to what happened among the Pashtun, the homeless orphans in Pakistan who became the Taliban. They’ve been sold out by the West, as they see it. They’ve seen no humanitarian aid, they’ve seen no outrage from Western governments over the mass war crimes perpetrated by Russian troops. Tens of thousands of Chechens have “disappeared.” Who expresses moral outrage? Who sends them money for building mosques, for buying weapons? The Arab charities.

Are the Wahhabis winning the ideological war?

I don’t think so. Only about 5 percent of Chechens have converted to Wahhabi Islam.

And you don’t think it will grow?

I think if the conflict dies down, the Wahhabi influence will dissipate. I don’t see them transforming the Chechens into some sort of Taliban. What you have are ad hoc Chechens joining Arab fighting units. You have despair. You have readily available funds to help arm them. But I don’t see it changing the nature of Chechen society.

I think if the Russians keep at this, you will see an upsurge of people who see the fight increasingly in terms of jihad. I think many Chechens are joining the Wahhabis in the heat of combat. They join an elite fighting unit, they get blood money, they get a sense of fighting not just for independence, but for God.

How did 9/11 change the equation in Chechnya?

The Chechen leadership had distanced themselves from the Wahhabis and had actually tried to have them expelled from the country. The Chechens are led by a fellow named Aslan Maskhadov. He’s a pragmatist and can work with the Russians. He’s always condemned Wahhabis. He was a gunnery lieutenant in the Soviet army.

Before 9/11, the American government had given a nod to the Chechens. We were aware that these Wahhabi charities were giving money to the Chechens; we occasionally condemned the Russian government for crimes against humanity.

After 9/11, that ended. The Chechens were identified as the ultimate al Qaeda terrorists, as if suddenly the IRA or Colombian narco-Mafias were al Qaeda. That’s dangerous and reckless and most importantly inaccurate. The Chechens are not a part of Osama bin Laden’s World Islamic Front. There are bona fide jihadi organizations that are part of this group: jihadi groups in Kashmir, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines. But not the Chechens and not the Palestinians.

But al Qaeda would like to see those groups as part of them.


So you’re saying that these jihadists who are Wahhabi-inspired are not necessarily al Qaeda.

Exactly. There’s a whole movement in Islam of front-line holy warriors. Many of those camps that we bombed in Afghanistan were training grounds for jihadis. A small elite group culled from this mass crowd of fighters were trained for terrorism by al Qaeda. But many of those fighting in Chechnya or Bosnia or Kosovo or India are not al Qaeda. There are thousands of these people who have never heard of al Qaeda. They see themselves as new Saladins who are fighting to save oppressed Muslim men, women, and children from going to rape camps in Bosnia or being tortured by the Russian federal forces or having their villages burned by Indian security forces.

They’re missionary warriors. They come with a Qur’an in one hand and a Kalishnikov in the other.

Deborah Caldwell

Americans in Danger are Vulnerable to Dictatorship

A thousand dead in Iraq. For what? History's highest budget deficit. For what? George W. Bush has been so reckless with America's lives, wealth and reputation and so stupendously incompetent and untrustworthy overall as to defy belief that anyone but Halliburton and the House of Saud would want him to be elected.

And yet, if the polls are accurate, Bush is leading. Dismal as that news may be, what's more to be feared is the reason. Though they see through him in nearly every other respect, many people are convinced of his leadership, his courage, his sense of resolve.

This triumph for the art of propaganda - all we really know about his courage, after all, is how little of it he displayed during Vietnam - signifies mortal danger for American democracy.

The "man on horseback" mentality, the belief that a leader's strength is more important than where it leads them, defines a population that is vulnerable to dictatorship.

This is not to call Bush a dictator or suggest that he wants to be one. But let no one believe that it couldn't happen here, as has happened so often elsewhere.

It has happened here, and by the design of better statesmen than Bush.

John Adams, an original American patriot, signed the Alien and Sedition Acts that put people in prison for what they said or wrote.

Abraham Lincoln, one of our three greatest presidents, suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

Woodrow Wilson, a scholar by profession, jailed and deported people for opposing a war that, nearly a century later, still raises the question of what American interests compelled our participation.

Franklin D. Roosevelt put 110,000 men, women and children in concentration camps because of their race.

In each instance, danger was the pretext for suspending democracy and decency.

Dictatorship has struck even in the absence of danger. Right here, in Florida.

In December 2000, the Florida House of Representatives, in broad daylight, voted 79 to 41 to steal the 2000 presidential election by formally appointing the Republican slate of electors regardless of what a recount might show. Though presumptively legal under the Constitution, that was a dictatorial act in light of the modern expectation that the people, not the politicians, elect the president.

Florida rewarded the perpetrators by sending Tom Feeney to Congress and re-electing nearly everyone who followed his orders. If that disgraceful vote ever became even an issue in any of their campaigns, I am unaware of it.

The Senate did not follow suit, but only because of President John McKay's shrewd strategy of waiting to see what the Supreme Court would do. Nonetheless, a precedent was set for use in the next state where one party controls both houses and opportunity knocks.

Meanwhile, it is becoming clear that the great falsehoods of this administration were not limited to the phantom weapons of mass destruction, the fanciful link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida, and (most recently) the phony Medicare drug benefit cost figures that were deliberately fed to the Congress.

To that list must be added the deception that the Republicans wanted Howard Dean for their opponent. The Washington punditry corps regurgitated that as fact and helped give the Republicans exactly what they did want: a senator (actually, two senators) on the opposition ticket.

It didn't matter who. Sitting members of Congress are sitting ducks because they come with the fresh baggage of complicated voting records that are easy to misconstrue and misrepresent.

The Homeland Security Act, for example, contained a poison pill for Democrats: Its labor-bashing component set up Max Cleland, a triple amputee Vietnam War hero, to be smeared as unpatriotic. If there is such a place as hell, surely it awaits the liars who did that.

In the entire history of the United States, there have been only four presidents who went straight from the Congress to the White House. The last of them - and the only Democrat - was John F. Kennedy, 44 years ago.

Former members of Congress have fared much better, but in recent years only by way of the vice presidency.

The Democrats should have learned by now. Of the six Democratic presidents directly elected since the Civil War, all but one (JFK) were governors: Grover Cleveland, Wilson, Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. (Michael Dukakis would have won too had he managed to show anger, or any other passion, at appropriate moments.) Truman and Lyndon Johnson would not have made the White House but for the vice presidency.

Governors, or former governors, have played well for the GOP too: e.g., Ronald Reagan, George Bush. A governor's record is rarely as complex as that of a member of Congress, and the job title itself conveys a sense of competence and authority.

Even if, as we see now, the competence is only an illusion.

MARTIN DYCKMAN, Times Columnist

The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 1

Irish history has been likened to the cry of wind through a ruined house because so much of it deals with destruction and the breaking of a whole into parts. Centuries of conflict between Catholic and Protestant, Irish rebel and British authority offer a dramatic narrative of the pitfalls that accompany colonization by conquest. They provide a cautionary tale of how events put into motion can became a defining aspect not only of the conquered but of the conquerors for centuries into the future ... whether anyone wants that burden of history or not.

The island of Ireland lies at the extreme western edge of Europe, separated from England by the narrow Irish Sea. Today, it is divided into two parts: 6 northern counties called Northern Ireland are a part of the United Kingdom; 26 other counties form a self-governing republic that has been known by different names but is commonly referred to as Ireland.

Ireland was not always divided. In the early centuries A.D., a race known as the Gaels inhabited the island. Ireland’s basic social unit was the extended family. Her basic political unit was the tribe, with each tribe having its own king who was, in turn, secondary to provincial kings. Although the northern province of Ulster tended to dominate this loose federation, the basic bond between the sometimes-warring tribes was a common conception of society, politics, and culture.

In the fifth century, the Gaels stole a 16-year-old Roman named Patricius and held him as a slave until he escaped years later. Patricius eventually returned to Ireland as the Christian bishop now known as St. Patrick, intent upon converting his former masters. The Gaels were Druids, which might be described as a college of wise men who worshipped nature and were versed in such arts as prophecy. When St. Patrick “drove the snakes out of Ireland” — the snake being a symbol of paganism — a unique form of Christianity was forged, one that drew upon Gaelic traditions.

Invasions of Ireland

In the ninth century, barbarians swept across mainland Europe, destroying civilization and ushering in the Dark Ages. Meanwhile, some monasteries in remote Ireland lay relatively untouched and served as storehouses for manuscripts destroyed elsewhere. In time, Ireland became the teaching center of Europe, earning the nickname “the isle of saints and scholars.”

The first successful conquerors of Ireland — the Normans from France — arrived in the 12th century and stood in sharp contrast to the Gaels. The French scholar Roger Chauvire observes,

There was nothing which could bring together the two races ... neither language, since the one spoke French, and the other Gaelic; nor institutions, since on the one side there was the carefully worked out scale of feudalism, on the other the vaguely federal patriarchal tribes; nor judicial conception, with primogeniture on the one hand and limited election on the other. Nor indeed did they have any common interest.
The Norman earl of Pembroke, called Strongbow, had landed in Ireland at the behest of an Irish king defeated in tribal warfare. Irish warriors, without helmet or armor, fell quickly before Strongbow’s horsemen, who were clad in mail and armed with quick-firing bows. As Strongbow advanced, he secured his conquests by building stone castles. But in a cycle that would repeat itself to this day, Ireland became a source of worry to English authorities.

Fearing that a rival state would arise, King Henry II landed with troops and was officially installed as ruler. His rule was a formality. The English controlled only about 20 square miles around the southern coast-city of Dublin. Over time, the English maintained control only by installing ditches and staked fences, or palisades, called collectively “the Pale.” On pain of death, the Irish were to remain “outside the Pale” in territory that had not been properly conquered, as there was no one leader to subdue and no center of government to overwhelm.

Over the next few centuries, Ireland was mildly plundered but largely left alone and a balance or blending emerged. The Gaels began to use armor and build stone castles; the English adopted aspects of Gaelic lifestyle such as the poetry, the small harp, and riding bareback; the two bloodlines mingled through marriage.

Religious tensions and warIn the first half of the 16th century, however, the Tudor king Henry VIII complicated foreign affairs. Failing to get a papal annulment for his first marriage, Henry broke with the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglican Church was established as the state church in both England and Ireland but, since the average Irishman could still attend Catholic mass, the change did not stir revolt.

The reign of Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, was different. England was threatened by Catholic France, and the great families of Ireland had a history of forming foreign alliances. To slam shut a back door for invasion, Elizabeth devastated the island, burning crops and slaughtering herds. As the Irish starved, their land was reassigned to prominent Englishmen &# 151; such as Sir Walter Raleigh — who established a form of feudalism by which the Irish lived as tenants on land they had formerly owned. The estates were known as “plantations.&# 148; The “wild Irish” — so named because of their reputed savagery — rebelled and were brutally crushed.

The experience of the English landowners in Ireland greatly influenced their later treatment of Indians in America. Many of the British who became prominent in the American colonies had been connected with the Irish experience. For example, the first Indian reservation agent — Gookin of Massachusetts — had seen military service in Ireland, as had many of the leaders of the original Virginia Company. Thus, the Irish “plantation” experience was transported onto American soil.

In 1603, James I, a Catholic, became king of England but his first concern was not religion; it was to preserve his throne. He declared Ulster, Ireland’s northern province, to be Crown Domain and divided it into six British counties. Land titles were granted to English Protestant nobles; the Catholic Irish were ordered to leave or to lease. For the Irish, the distinction between defending their land and defending their faith was being blurred.

The Catholics of Ulster finally revolted, killing as many as 10,000 colonists. The English response was motivated partly by political unrest at home. A new king, Charles I, had been executed and a Parliament — called the Long Parliament — ruled in his stead. Parliament was eager to send a restless and unpaid army out of the country. Eventually, Ireland was invaded under the leadership of the Puritan commander Oliver Cromwell.

One-fourth of the Catholic population — about one million people — died by the sword or starvation; tens of thousands were deported to fever-ridden colonies or the West Indies as slaves. Before Cromwell, Catholics held two-thirds of Irish land: afterward, only one-fourth. The Protestant conquest was complete by 1660, when the English monarchy was restored under Charles II. In 1685, James II, another Catholic, succeeded him. When a Catholic heir was born, James was deposed and retreated to Ireland, whence he planned a conquest of England with the encouragement of the French king, Louis XIV. James’s plans dissolved on July 12, 1690, when his forces were defeated on the banks of the Boyne River. Thereafter, Irish Protestants would celebrate that date much as Americans celebrate July the Fourth.

The British now passed a series of penal laws that stripped Catholics of civil liberties and barred their access to land, public office, and education. A culture built on deceiving the British emerged. For example, the only legal form of education taught children to be good Protestants. Hedge schools sprang up, so named after the Gaelic practice of teaching under the sunny side of a hedge. A class would meet in a different location each day, with one pupil serving as lookout. A popular rhyme explained,

Crouching ‘neath the sheltering
Or stretch’d on mountain fern,
The teacher and his pupils meet
Feloniously to learn.
Ulster — once the most rebellious area of Ireland — became the most loyal and Protestant. The issue that would spark open revolt between Catholic and Protestant was a familiar one: land. The first general tenants’ rights movement arose in the 1760s; participants were called the Oakboys or Greenboys.

Revolution in America and France

Meanwhile, the American colonies had also become restless under British rule. The Revolution of 1776 had many friends in Ireland who sympathized with Benjamin Franklin’s appeal for their support against a common enemy: England. Connections between America and Ireland ran deep. By 1770, an estimated one in ten ships leaving major American ports sailed for Ireland. At least one American in six living south of New England was of Irish origin.

When French and Spanish fleets — also sympathetic to American rebellion — began to cruise the English Channel, the anxious British asked loyal Irishmen to organize against an invasion. There was an obstacle to cooperation. As commerce flourished, merchants and manufacturers began to resent British mercantilism under which Northern Ireland would produce raw materials and goods, many of which could be shipped only to England. In turn, England enjoyed a monopoly on selling many goods back to them, and industries that threatened English interests were outlawed. The supposedly loyal Ulstermen paraded two cannon with placards that read, “ ;Free Trade or This.” The British Parliament loosened trade restrictions.

In 1789, the French Revolution stunned and threatened all of Europe. In Dublin, it became fashionable for Catholics to address each other as citizen, after the custom of French revolutionaries. The legal obstacles for Catholics were also loosened but revolution could not appeased. A society called the United Irishmen was formed to push for parliamentary reform that would establish the rights of man as advocated by Thomas Paine. During 1791 and 1792, Paine’ ;s Rights of Man went into at least seven Irish editions.

The British reversed their policies and clamped down on both peasant and radical movements. Hundreds were hanged. Wolfe Tone — an Irish Protestant who argued for Catholic rights — convinced French generals that an invasion of Ireland would spark a general uprising. But bad weather made the 43 French ships en route turn around for home. (Eventually, Tone would be captured and sentenced to hang but, instead, he was found in his jail cell with his throat mysteriously slit.) Nevertheless, a peasant rebellion broke out in Wexford and was met with severe violence; in one battle alone, called Vinegar Hill, estimates of the Irish dead range from 25,000 to 50,000. A reign of Protestant terror ensued.

Soon a second French force landed, this time in the company of Napper Tandy — a co-founder of the United Irishmen. To rouse revolution, Tandy posted a proclamation calling upon Irishmen to “strike on their blood cemented thrones the murderers of your friends!” Unfortunately for Tandy, the target audience could not read the proclamation because it was written in English rather than Gaelic. Tandy got drunk and was carried back to the ship, which returned to France.

The Act of Union

The British now determined to guard against another French invasion by bringing Ireland firmly into the United Kingdom. On January 1, 1801, an Act of Union joined Ireland and England under a single Parliament in London. The Union would last 120 years.

The Act affected Ireland in several ways. Some Irish became committed to repealing the Act. With parliamentary reform at home blocked, others became committed to violence. Robert Emmet’s rebellion of 1803 embodied this latter spirit even though the rebellion degenerated into a Dublin street brawl and the rebels were arrested. Just before receiving a death penalty, Emmet delivered an impassioned speech from the docket. By calling on future generations to fight for Irish freedom, Emmet converted his failure into legend. His words were repeated from father to son over generations. A third effect was a flood of emigration from Ireland, especially to North America. These Irish abroad provided much of the money that financed the Irish nationalist cause.

A fourth effect was to divide Protestants more deeply from Catholics. Dublin — in the Catholic south — was no longer the seat of Irish government. An unofficial capital emerged in Belfast — an industrial city with a busy port and booming trade. In the agrarian South, the peasants bowed under heavy rents. Any increase in the land’s output was followed by an immediate hike in rent. Thus, they could not acquire capital upon which to build. Catholics poured north to work. By the mid 1800s, one-third of Belfast, and its poorest part, was Catholic. The Protestants jealously guarded their privileged status from the newcomers.

In 1795, the Orange Society was founded and became the most visible expression of what was called “the Protestant ascendancy”: the Protestant ruling class. Named in honor of King William III of Orange, who triumphed in the Battle of Boyne, the Orangemen declared the Act of Union to be an unbreakable tie between their religion and the constitution of the United Kingdom. In 1805, the Irish Protestant politician John Foster reminded the British House of Commons of the obligation it had acquired through colonizing Ulster:

We claim as our inheritance all the blessings of that glorious Constitution which our ancestors and yours have fought and bled for — a Protestant king, with Protestant councillors, Protestant Lord and Protestant commons. That is what I call Protestant Ascendancy.
Meanwhile, Daniel O’Connell, a Catholic, became the most outspoken opponent of Union. Influenced by William Godwin, Thomas Paine, Adam Smith, and Jeremy Bentham, O’Connell declared, “My political creed is short and simple. It consists in believing that all men are entitled, as of right and justice, to religious and civil liberty.” But O’Connell opposed open rebellion. Instead, in 1823, he co-founded the immensely popular Catholic Association, which became an unofficial native parliament to discuss Irish grievances. O’ ;Connell became known as “the Liberator” when the British Parliament granted Catholic Emancipation in 1829, by which Catholics could assume virtually any political office.

In a balancing act that would be repeated through many decades, the British soothed Protestants’ fears by passing anti-Catholic Acts: the Catholic Association was suppressed; and, the franchise was based on property ownership, reducing the Catholic electorate to about 16 ,000.

Poor Irish Catholics were disfranchised. Agrarian societies sprang up to address the needs of poor tenants, especially to protest the payment of tithes and rent to absentee British landlords. The official crime figures for 1832 included 242 murders and 568 arsons. The British responded with the Coercion Bill of 1833 which temporarily suspended habeas corpus, prohibited meetings, and replaced civil courts with military ones. One result: O’Connell and many others abandoned their attempt to reform Ireland through appeals to Britain. Reform would come from within.

Part 1 | Part 2 (To be posted 9/15)
Part 3 (To be posted 9/17) | Part 4 (To be posted 9/20)

Wendy McElroy is the author of The Reasonable Woman: A Guide to Intellectual Survival (Prometheus Books, 1998).

The Disappeared

Brutal Honesty

I looked at Berlin and laughed. I looked at a city still so giddy with reunion that all its walls are glass. I walked down the line where East met West and pickaxes and words tore down cement. The only sad things in the heart of Old Europe were the U.S. and British embassies, the only two buildings so hated as to require blockades and Jersey barriers. Armed guards with fingers on triggers introduced Berliners to the Stars & Stripes and Union Jack. I laughed at the contrast of barbed wire in the shadow of the transparent Reichstag, at the perceptions of this war.
In a special session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001, the Man explained "why they hate us:" "They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." Now, leaving aside how rude, useless and bigoted the us/them dichotomy is, I'm struck with just how well they are knocking us around. Bad news -- the terrorists already won.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) noted after the Patriot Act became law: "Collectively the administration has swept away the independent judiciary, the right to a public trial, the right to an appeal, the right to counsel, due process, equal protection, and habeas corpus."

Ask Jose Padilla how free he feels. On May 8, 2002, Padilla was arrested at O'Hare. The Man directed Rumsfeld to consider Padilla, an American citizen, an "enemy combatant." Being held on suspicion of activities relating to al-Qaeda, the Chicago native has no access to due process, representation, freedom. In June the Supreme Court, 5-4, ruled that his writ for habeas corpus had been improperly filed; the 4 dissenting justices wanted to examine the case on its merits and undoubtedly would have given Padilla back his Constitutional rights.

Ask Federal Judge Jay S. Bybee about the freedom to not be tortured. Bybee is the author of the 50-page August 2002 memo from the Justice department to Bush that explained why Bush and his surrogates could, legally, torture enemy combatants. "As Commander-in-Chief, the President has the constitutional authority to order interrogations of enemy combatants to gain intelligence information concerning the military plans of the enemy." Further, Bybee said that torturing suspected al-Qaeda members abroad "may be justified" and that international laws against torture "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogation" conducted against suspected terrorists. If this doesn't sound like your America, wake up. It's not Chomsky writing this, it's The Washington Post, June 9, 2004.

We're torturing people. If OBL really is pure evil, he must be warming up to us by now.

He must support the CIA, at whose request at least 100 "enemy combatants" have been held in and outside Iraq as "ghost soldiers." Ghosts are kept of prison/torture room/detention facility rosters. Our armed forces are actually hiding their existence from the Red Cross, one of those far-left groups. "Why would all these people not follow Army regulations, not report violations to the Geneva Convention, wait months to inform commanders of vital information?" Senator Reed, (D-Ri.), asked five sitting generals at a House Armed Services hearing on Thursday. It's simple, Senator: With no identity, no acknowledgement of their existence, and the flimsy invocation of the "enemy combatant" distinction, we can beat them to death.

We're a free people, the freest country in the world, we hear, but our military-industrial corporate complex insists and succeeds in destroying transparency, law and order. A top secret CIA study in September 2002 raised grave doubts on the value Guantanamo prisoners offered (still over 500 nameless, faceless, rightless human beings), yet the government cannot simply open the doors at Camp Delta and say "sorry." It's axiomatic that we're right, they're wrong, and they hate us because we're so free. So the truth is mangled, tortured. We're bombing for peace. We're still occupying the independent Iraq and carrying out air raids on "guerrilla-held" cities.

Our Homeland protectors are protecting us from those who hate our freedom by trashing freedoms. Scorched earth begins at home.

Ariel Dorfman, the Chilean author who was forced to flee his state after its Sept. 11 in 1973, when Pinochet began his purge of "terrorists" presciently compares Operation Condor -- part of South America's dirty wars against "terrorists" that left thousands dead -- to our War on Terror. Reflecting on the anniversary, Dorfman says "I can think of no better way to pay homage to the victims of both attacks, no better way to defeat the terrorists who killed them, than to build a transparent humanity and reject the Pinochet model; no better way of showing respect for their buried lives than to reaffirm our fearless belief in democracy and justice for every inhabitant of this sad and hopeful earth of ours."

The Pinochet model is the Bush model. It is the argument that right-wing governments use to eliminate opposition with every means available, no matter how barbaric and repressive. The "need to limit civil liberties and conceal their deliberations from apprehensive citizens" is a crime against humanity, an excuse to torture, disappear, destroy. Democracy is a joke when its cheerleaders use secret detention facilities and dogs. Freedom is the slogan they're using to get Chevron in Kufa. It's this war's logo, an attractive packaging campaign, no different from Coca-Cola's red swirls. Oddly, the terrorists, they who hate our freedom, have succeeded brilliantly in making us just as evil as they. Under their headline of Islamic Power they're murdering civilians with bombs and jets; under our glossy banner of "democracy-freedom-free markets" we're dropping bunker busters and torturing. So, if they hate us for our freedom, we're already surrendered; they no longer have a reason to hate us.

Jeff Purcell is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at jlp56@cornell.edu. Brutal Honesty appears Mondays.

Doublespeak and the New World Order

The New World Order (you know what the NWO is - the corporate-sponsored "free-trade" globalization steamroller) exploits language in precisely the way Orwell predicted. Words are used to mislead and conceal - not clarify - and are twisted to designate the opposite of their true meanings. Concepts are tagged as being either "good guys" or "bad guys" by dressing them up in "white hat" words (like "reform" or "free") or "black hat" words (like "bureaucracy" or "politics").

This use of language is a form of propaganda - and this vocabulary propaganda is much more subtle and effective than content propaganda. Content propaganda misinforms about issues, but vocabulary propaganda interferes with the ability to think or talk about issues in a way that can lead to understanding or enable effective political organizing.

As Orwell predicted, this kind of propaganda makes language volatile. In his scenario, one might read in the morning paper about an action against an enemy, with no mention that the same folks were faithful allies as recently as yesterday's edition. In actuality, the shifts in today's doublespeak are more subtle and evolutionary. As you watch new language being created, you can map out the NWO agenda: the white-hat items are to be promoted, the black-hat items to be suppressed.

A classic example was the Oliver North hearings. Words like "good soldier", "patriotic", "freedom fighter", and "legality" - not to mention "constitutional balance of powers" - took quite a beating. By labeling state-armed mercenary terrorists (ie., the Contras) as "freedom fighters", the whole linguistic ground of the hearings was warped beyond hope. Those who should have been indicting the pathetic little desk colonel and impeaching his boss were instead prefacing their remarks with kowtows toward the "freedom fighters" (if there was time remaining after the prayer service). There was no ability to discuss the affair from a meaningful moral or constitutional perspective, and the hearings dissolved into circus rhetoric/coverup, as was intended by the NWO language masters.

If we want to discuss the world situation with any kind of useful understanding, we need to explicitly decode the NWO doublespeak, and learn how to translate it into straight language. This is not an easy task, because the doublespeak process has, over time, warped political language to the point where it is nearly useless. Words like "socialism" or "tariffs", being so heavily tarred with the black brush, can't be used meaningfully without an explanatory preface. Even the word "government" is tricky to use - the echoes of "bureaucrat", "inefficient", and "corrupt" reverberate unconsciously.

Meanwhile, words like "market" and "competitive" have been promoted with the white brush to Unquestioned Axioms of The Universe. Easier would it be to hold back the tides with a horse and lance, than to resist "market forces", or so it would seem.

Following is my attempt to associate accurate meanings with some of the NWO's most topical phrases. Perhaps these definitions will ring true to you, and help you better understand what the NWO is about. With the doublespeak unraveled, the media becomes a source of accurate information after all - NWO statements, though coded, are actually fairly descriptive of the sinister NWO agenda.

"COMPETITIVENESS": the attractiveness of a venue to multinational investors, particularly: laxity of regulation and taxation; the degree to which a developed country regresses to Third-World status.
The phrase "Britain must be made more competitive for today's markets" decodes as "Britain must have lower wages and lower corporate tax rates so that it can compete with low-income parts of the world in attracting generic corporate investments".

Genuine competitiveness, as demonstrated by Japan, involves marshalling the nation's skills & resources toward adding value in focused markets - achieved by promoting synergy and making coordinated investments. NWO-peddled "competitiveness" is like prostitution - it values a nation's human and societal resources at scrap street value.

"CONSERVATISM": a policy of radically restructuring politics and economics in order to produce investment opportunities and undermine democracy; contrast with actual conservatism: a policy of preserving existing institutions in the interest social and economic stability.
Ronald Reagan was the clearest exemplar of this particular line of doublespeak. His rhetoric emphasized "returning to traditional values" while he was in fact dismantling long-evolved institutions and pursuing policies of unprecedented and untried social and economic transformation.

Genuine conservatism acts as a societal gyroscope, resisting nearly every kind of change, regardless of its direction. Conservatism's catch prase might be "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." A very important point to notice is that the assault by the NWO on existing democratic institutions has reversed the field in the game of Radical vs. Conservative: for most of the twentieth century, it has been the democracy-minded progressives who sought radical change, and the capitalist right wing who were the conservatives. But since Reagan & Thatcher, the right-wing has taken the initiative for radical change (in the wrong directions), and it is now the progressives who have a vital interest in maintaining the political status quo (ie., constitutional democracy and national sovereignty).

In this case, doublespeak succeeds in separating the progressives from their natural constituency. Progressive activists should be reaching out to the silent majority - arousing stick-in-the-mud conservatives to join the cause against reckless NWO-induced changes. By pre-empting the term "conservatism", the right-wing radicals have tricked most of the conservative-tending masses into following the wrong parade.

Progressives must reclaim their natural ground. To have any hope of assembling a significant constituency, they must find a way to break through the doublespeak jargon and help the general population to see that its interests are not being served by the new "conservatism", and that reckless changes are its true agenda.

We see a bizarre distortion of this desirable conservative reaction in the Militia mentality in America. Militia "conspiracy theories" are actually quite close to the mark: the U.S. government is being sold out to international interests; the U.N. is beginning to establish a sovereignty-threatening military force; the Constitution is being trashed; the establishment in Washington is effectively a bunch of traitors. But it's not the progressives who are bringing this message to these hard-core backwoods conservatives - instead the message is getting to them with a doublespeak reverse spin that manages to label the sellout of America as a "liberal" conspiracy! Since a Democrat happens to be in the White House, the NWO myth spinners have been able to transform anti-establishment sentiment into anti-liberal sentiment. Instead of addressing the real enemies of the Constitution (the corporate elite), the Militia tilts its lance toward the liberals and progressives who should be instead its natural allies in defending democracy. Divide and Conquer shows up once again as the most potent tool of autocratic control.

Language is a field of battle, the media is the artillery, and vocabulary is the ammunition. The NWO has taken the field by storm, and is proceeding with coordinated attacks on several fronts, using all the latest hi-tech vocabulary ammunition. They've laid a bed of land mines that cripple us when we try to stand on them: "liberalism", "conservatism", "prosperity", "democracy".

Progressives must wake up to the attack, and somehow find a way to fight back. The achilles heal of the NWO lies in its runaway successes: its high-handed treatment of nearly everyone has created an awesome potential counter-reaction - if people can be made to see who the real perpetrators are, those who are engineering the decline of democratic civilization. Even its doublespeak successes can be turned against it, if people can learn to read the NWO agenda by learning to decode the propaganda it dishes out. The NWO crowd actually reveals all in their propaganda, so arrogantly confident are they that their doublespeak enigma device won't be seen through by the people.

"DEMOCRACY": a government with a competitive party electoral system, in which multinationals are able to exert effective influence; Note: unrelated to whether the government represents the people or supports their welfare.
If multinational interests are served, then no amount of popular unrest, nor vote rigging - not even civil war - will serve as credible evidence that a "democracy" is a sham. If corporate interests aren't served, no amount of civil accord, prosperity, and popular support qualifies the government as "democratic".

Doublespeak audacity reached an outrageous climax when CCN broadcast live coverage of Yeltsin shelling his own Assembly, and billed it as a victory for "democracy"! (Did they realize they were televising an exact repeat of Lenin's shelling of an earlier Constituent Assembly? Would that have altered their assessment?) What Yeltsin's bloody power grab was a victory for was the corporate-sponsored dismantlement of the Russian economy, a program the Western-backed Yeltsin has played his part in flawlessly. With a subtle doublespeak twist within a twist, the media refers to Yeltsin as a "liberal element" - in fact he is a "neo- liberal" element, which translates as "NWO stooge".

Genuine democracy must be judged by its responsiveness to the informed desires of the people, its success in promoting their welfare, and their satisfaction with its performance. The mechanisms used to attain a functional democracy can have many forms. The media says only competitive political parties can deliver democracy, but don't believe it.

The record is clear that multi-party elections are no guarantee whatever of democratic process. Not only can parties be limited to those representing elite minority (or foreign) interests, but the autonomous authority of the military (typically subsidized by major NWO powers) often overshadows governmental policy.

To understand what democracy is really about, we need to re-examine our most cherished assumptions. Is the U.S. a democracy? Is Cuba a democracy? Do you think you can tell?

Cuba doesn't have competitive parties or elections. But policies are worked out by representatives from different segments of society, are explained forthrightly (at length!) on the media, and feedback is listened to. Literacy, health care, and nutrition levels (until recently) have been the envy of comparable economies. And Castro has been overwhelmingly popular for most of his tenure.

The U.S. has parties and elections. But policies are worked out by corporate interests, sold through misleading media rhetoric, and popular opposition is dismissed as emotional reaction. Literacy, health care, and nutrition levels - in fact human welfare by any measure - are on a steady decline. The esteem of government and elected officials looms ever lower on the horizon, nearly ready to set into a sea of total disgust.

The elections themselves are circuses where certain topics are selected as being "the issues" and the crowd is entertained with an orchestrated wrestling match where Hulk Republican and Pretty Boy Democrat dance around the limited ring of issues. When the match is over, the establishment gets back to its un-discussed agendas. Because there are no substantive issues raised during the campaign, the rhetoric fades into memory. There's no platform, and no distinct "change of government", as there used to be in Britain, before Tony Blair infiltrated the Labour Party.

Such elections are more like a shuffling of board members in a corporation - the faces change, the policies continue to be set as before - outside any democratic process.

Pink Floyd asked "Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?". I ask you: Can you tell a self-governing people from a stone parliament building?

"DEVELOPMENT": the restructuring of an economy to facilitate extraction of wealth by multinationals; transforming an economy so as to become more dependent on trade with multinationals; the theft of national assets by multinationals.
"Development" is usually pursued where the potential profit is greatest. This means that the investment is as little as possible and the exportation of eventual revenues is as great as possible. The result is a net drain on the "developing" economy. Fair play, you might say, if the "developing" country is able to take advantage of the situation to bootstrap its way into general economic prosperity (South Korea?), or if an infrastructure is created which benefits the general economy.

But these collateral benefits are not the purpose of "development", and the consequences are usually otherwise. Brazil is an example where "development" was heralded as a great success (at least for a period), due to the large flow of money through the country. But the local benefits were concentrated in relatively small, elite management and land-owner classes, and the consequence for the general population was the destruction of their food supply and agricultural economy to the benefit of agri-export operators. Meanwhile the rainforests burn to make room for displaced farmers or new agri-business "developments".

In other cases, a country might be left with an infrastructure to support export operations, such as a selectively deployed highway system, which may not be appropriate for the general development needs of the country, and which increases its dependence on oil imports.

In many cases, "development" involves the granting of mineral rights, land leases, tax discounts, or exemptions from regulations, as enticements to attract corporate "investment". In rare cases, such grants are valued appropriately, but all too frequently a cash-strapped Third-World country is compelled to give away long-term rights to valuable national assets while getting very little in return, usually some low-paying jobs and under-valued royalties. Whether the asset be copper, oil, or agricultural land, the multinational investor extracts billions in profits while the host country gets a relatively minor pittance of the actual value of the arm-twist stolen asset.

"FREE TRADE": the systematic destabilization of national and regional economic arrangements, by means of treaties such as GATT and NAFTA, in order to take economic decision making as far as possible from any democratic process, and centralize global economic control into the hands of the corporate elite.
"Free trade", it would seem from the corporate media's propaganda, is universally accepted by all reputable economists as the One True Path to prosperity and progress. Such a belief, which does not in fact enjoy a consensus among economists, is historical nonsense. The Great Economies, such as those of the U.S., Imperial Britain, and modern Japan, were developed under nurturing protectionist policies. Only when they achieved considerable economic strength did these countries begin to adopt "free trade" policies, as a way to prevent other nations from catching up.

An economy (see also: "Reform") is an ecosystem. A strong economy is one that has diversity and synergy. When "free trade" is imposed on an underdeveloped economy, it develops in a distorted way, and is over- dependent on external market fluctuations. Such weakness increases the bargaining leverage of the multinationals, which is the obvious objective of "free trade" in the first place.

"Free trade", which is part of the "globalization" agenda, brings a shift economic sovereignty from nation states, where there is hope of democratic participation, to corporate-approved international commissions, where only the corporate voice holds sway.

"GLOBALIZATION": the undermining of the nation state as a focus of economic organization; the reduction to commodity status of worldwide raw-goods suppliers; the monopolization of distribution channels by transnational trading companies; the reduction of health & quality standards to least-common- denominator levels; the most honest self-characterization of the NWO agenda.
Capturing more broadly the scope of the "free trade" campaign, "globalization" expresses the intent to homogenize the world economy - to make national borders transparent to the transfer of capital and goods, and enable a higher-order of centralized global management. The claim is frequently made that this will lead to a leveling of prosperity levels on a global basis, but with some exceptions, the evidence is all to the contrary. What we see instead, and as we should expect from how "development" is structured and "free trade" is implemented, is that "globalization" leads to a greater prosperity disparity between the "developed" and "developing" nations, as measured by the disposable income and living standards of the general populations. The greatest real prosperity gains have been achieved by those countries which created domestic synergy in their economies through selective protectionism (eg., Japan).

The availability of low-cost worldwide transport and the multinational scope of corporate operations - together with deregulation of trade barriers - leads to a situation where every producer is competing with every other producer throughout the world. Distributors can thus shop for the best deal globally, and continue to sell at whatever price they can get in their markets. As the distribution channels are increasingly concentrated into fewer hands (mega-store chains, conglomerate food importers, etc.), a classic cartel/robber-baron scenario is developing, and will become more pronounced as globalization progresses.

The "robber-baron" scenario looks like this: On one side you have separated, unorganized producers, all competing with one another to supply the distributors. On the other side, you have the consumers of the world, also separated and unorganized, buying what they can afford from what is offered in their local outlets. In the middle you have the distributors, who like robber barons of old, have (increasingly) monopoly control over the the flow of goods from producer to market. Not only can producer prices be driven down in one-sided bargaining, but producers can be selectively driven out of business, and in general the distributors have the power to dictate whether and how the producers do business.

The classic example of a robber baron regime was California in the heydey of the Southern Pacific Railroad. SP would audit the books of firms which shipped goods on their lines, and adjust each firm's shipping rates so that profits on sales were shared "fairly" with SP. We see this kind of thing today when the same drugs from the same distributors are sold at radically different prices in different countries - those who can afford more, pay more. It's the corporate version of a graduated income tax - but for the people, it's taxation without representation all over again.

As for non-price consumer concerns - environmental protection, content labelling, pesticide levels, other health issues - we can expect to see a rapid reversal of the "green" gains which have occurred since the sixties. Initially we see some localized improvements in standards, as the EU, for example, levels its regulatory playing field. But the long-term decision-making role for these policies is being shifted to corporate-dominated entities (WTO, GATT, Brussels). This means that as the distributors tighten their noose of control, and after local regulatory power has been disabled, the distributors will wield their awesome influence to reduce "anti-competitive" environmentalist "shackles" on "free markets" and "consumer savings". This is of course already happening. We have the EU telling the Germans that UK beef is safe, when the UK can't even get its story straight about whether adequate controls are being implemented. The EU, and even more so the WTO, have every motivation to go out of their way to decide in favor of more trade, and minimize appraisal of any negative consequences. Their business is to increase business, and they are a level removed from the influence of citizen's concerns. That's why "globalization" amounts to a partial sovereignty shift from democracy (where it exists) to corporate feudalism.

"Globalization", among the terms in the NWO phrase book, comes closest to being an honest use of language. The NWO does indeed, as "globalization" suggests, want to systematize commerce on a global scale, to homogenize the world in who-knows-how-many aspects - to bring forth a new world order. The deception comes in the implication that "globalization" will bring increased prosperity, that "free markets" will get goods to those who need them, and that the abundance of the earth will become available to humanity on a more equitable basis. As the song goes, "It ain't necessarily so".

"PRIVATIZATION": (1) the theft of citizen assets by corporate interests, achieved through discounted sell-offs of intentionally under-valued public properties; (2) the creation of new investment opportunities by means of dismantling successfully operating public services.
Media discussion of privatization is generally limited to the narrow issues of consumer benefits and operating efficiency. Even on these grounds, the arguments presented are usually far from convincing. They are frequently simply a recitation of the axioms "public is inefficient", "private is efficient" - often in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Privatization is not just a change of managers, it is a change of ownership. It removes equity from citizens, and removes or minimizes public control over asset development and pricing. In many cases following privatization, employment is reduced as an immediate step in reducing costs and enhancing the profit picture - without the social costs of the unemployment being considered in the overall accounting for the transaction.

The aim of a privatized operation shifts from providing a public service, to making a profit. Short-term profit pressures may reduce investment in long-term maintenance and upgrades, since their payback period may be beyond the horizon of the investor's plans for cashing out.

Despite inflated claims to the contrary, consumer benefits tend to be minimal - any reduction in rates would be a direct loss from the bottom line, and token reduction are usually enough for PR purposes and to satisfy regulatory constraints. The obvious fact that the operator needs to take out a profit is seldom mentioned when the benefits of privatization are proclaimed, as if efficiency benefits (if any) would accrue fully to the consumer.

In their personal finances, citizens appreciate the value of asset ownership. Owning a car or home offers significant cost savings over the lifetime of the investments, and greatly benefits the citizen in the face of inflation and fluctuating rental rates. With privatization, citizens are transformed from owners to renters, and suffer a long-term equity loss that may be many times greater than the discounted sale price of the asset. A privatized rail system may offer cheaper rates the first few years, but in the long run it will charge whatever the traffic will bear - in tomorrow's inflated economy.

"REFORM": the modification or replacement of an existing economic or political system, so as to create new corporate investment opportunities - it is not required that the new system perform effectively, only that it deliver corporate profits.
A system is in need of "reform" whenever corporate investors think of a new angle to make new profits. Obvious failures of the "reform" process, such as unemployment and poverty, are never the fault of "reform", but of incomplete implementation. Belief in "reform" is like religious faith: no amount of counter-evidence can phase the True Believer.

"Reform" is like clear-cutting. A forest is an ecosystem, with wildlife, streams, underbrush, etc. Careful forestry can harvest timber without destroying the ecosystem - but clear-cutting destroys all at once. An existing political/economic arrangement is also an eco-system: it is the subtle fabric that weaves the society together and enables its functioning. "Reform" - as we see in the Soviet breakup/selloff/ripoff - can destroy the existing framework all at once, and replace it with one that doesn't fit, that would take years or decades to take root and begin producing, and will be owned by someone else at the end of the day.

Genuine reform would take into account the existing conditions, and if a change is needed, would make incremental changes over time, evolving a working system toward sounder functioning. Most significant, it would reflect local customs and preferences - it would not seek to impose a cookie-cutter standard paradigm upon all cultures and traditions.

"THIRD-WORLD ASSISTANCE": (1) the subsidization of non- competitive First-World industries by means of channeling earmarked funds through Third-World hands; (2) carrot-money to entice "development" in preferred NWO directions; (3) hush- money to fund domestic suppression in host countries.
In order to encourage acquiescence by the taxpayers who foot the bill for it, "assistance" or "aid" almost always comes wrapped in the rhetoric of humanitarianism. Recently in Germany a more honest sales- pitch has been launched, announcing that for every mark that was spent as development aid, 1.15 marks came back as orders for German business. This is no surprise to anyone who's followed the numbers, but perhaps the publicity will invite the German people to ask why German business doesn't pay more of the "aid" bill.

Heaven knows the Third World needs real financial aid - not interest-bearing loans and not funds earmarked for externally-defined purposes. When strapped for development funds, it is difficult for a country to turn down offers, even when strings are attached. But money which leaves crippling debt in its wake, or which encourages the development of a dependent economy, would be better refused - it's like buying things you don't need using a credit card you know you can never pay off.

In fact, the bulk of "assistance" has been channeled directly to military and "security" forces, in the form of weapons, training, and cash. In some cases this results in lucrative contracts for First World arms manufacturers, but the main objective is to create a political climate subservient to NWO designs. The military muscle enables unpopular and NWO-submissive regimes to retain power and drain their country's resources by participating recklessly in the "aid/development" game - running up their country's credit cards at the NWO bank.

Viewed from the broadest perspective, the definition of "Third-World assistance" is "the NWO version of imperialism". It succeeds - in too many cases - in accomplishing the following imperialist objectives:

controls the development priorities of the subject states
manages the ruling class in the subject states
puts the subject states into a condition of eternal debt
extracts profits and resources with minimal taxation and labor costs
provides markets for First-World goods, enhanced by absence of development in directions of self-sufficiency
Like all highly-leveraged NWO enterprises, this is all accomplished with minimal occupation forces, no colonial administrations, and no public understanding of what's going on - and the bill is being paid by those who benefit the least. If the NWO strategists weren't so sinister, you'd have to respect them.

Richard Moore is currently in temporary retirement in Ireland, pursuing writing projects. He has published several political essays via various "cyber channels", on cyber rights, the rise of fascism, and democracy

Rumsfeld's Dirty War on Terror

In an explosive extract from his new book, Seymour Hersh reveals how, in a fateful decision that led to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, the US defence secretary gave the green light to a secret unit authorised to torture terrorist suspects.
In the late summer of 2002, a CIA analyst made a quiet visit to the detention centre at the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where an estimated 600 prisoners were being held, many, at first, in steel-mesh cages that provided little protection from the brutally hot sun. Most had been captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan during the campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida.

The Bush administration had determined, however, that they were not prisoners of war but "enemy combatants", and that their stay at Guantánamo could be indefinite, as teams of CIA, FBI, and military interrogators sought to prise intelligence from them. In a series of secret memorandums written earlier in the year, lawyers for the White House, the Pentagon and the justice department had agreed that the prisoners had no rights under federal law or the Geneva convention. President Bush endorsed the finding, while declaring that the al-Qaida and Taliban detainees were nevertheless to be treated in a manner consistent with the principles of the Geneva convention - as long as such treatment was also "consistent with military necessity".

But the interrogations at Guantánamo were a bust. Very little useful intelligence had been gathered, while prisoners from around the world continued to flow into the base, and the facility constantly expanded. The CIA analyst had been sent there to find out what was going wrong. He was fluent in Arabic and familiar with the Islamic world. He was held in high respect within the agency, and was capable of reporting directly, if he chose, to George Tenet, the CIA director. The analyst did more than just visit and inspect. He interviewed at least 30 prisoners to find out who they were and how they ended up in Guantánamo. Some of his findings, he later confided to a former CIA colleague, were devastating.

"He came back convinced that we were committing war crimes in Guantánamo," the colleague told me. "Based on his sample, more than half the people there didn't belong there. He found people lying in their own faeces," including two captives, perhaps in their 80s, who were clearly suffering from dementia. "He thought what was going on was an outrage," the CIA colleague added. There was no rational system for determining who was important.

Two former administration officials who read the analyst's highly classified report told me that its message was grim. According to a former White House official, the analyst's disturbing conclusion was that "if we captured some people who weren't terrorists when we got them, they are now".

That autumn, the document rattled aimlessly around the upper reaches of the Bush administration until it got into the hands of General John A Gordon, the deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, who reported directly to Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser and the president's confidante. Gordon, who had retired from the military as a four-star general in 2000 had served as a deputy director of the CIA for three years. He was deeply troubled and distressed by the report, and by its implications for the treatment, in retaliation, of captured American soldiers. Gordon, according to a former administration official, told colleagues that he thought "it was totally out of character with the American value system", and "that if the actions at Guantánamo ever became public, it'd be damaging to the president".

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, there had been much debate inside the administration about what was permissible in the treatment of prisoners and what was not. The most suggestive document, in terms of what was really going on inside military prisons and detention centres, was written in early August 2002 by Jay S Bybee, head of the justice department's office of legal counsel. "Certain acts may be cruel, inhuman, or degrading, but still not produce pain and suffering of the requisite intensity to fall within [a legal] proscription against torture," Bybee wrote to Alberto R Gonzales, the White House counsel. "We conclude that for an act to constitute torture, it must inflict pain that is difficult to endure. Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." (Bush later nominated Bybee to be a federal judge.)

"We face an enemy that targets innocent civilians," Gonzales, in turn, would tell journalists two years later, at the height of the furore over the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. "We face an enemy that lies in the shadows, an enemy that doesn't sign treaties."

Gonzales added that Bush bore no responsibility for the wrongdoing. "The president has not authorised, ordered or directed in any way any activity that would transgress the standards of the torture conventions or the torture statute, or other applicable laws," Gonzales said. In fact, a secret statement of the president's views, which he signed on February 7, 2002 contained a loophole that applied worldwide: "I determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al-Qaida in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world," the president asserted.

John Gordon had to know what he was up against in seeking a high-level review of prison policies at Guantánamo, but he persevered. Finally, the former White House official recalled, "We got it up to Condi."

As the CIA analyst's report was making its way to Rice, in late 2002 there were a series of heated complaints about the interrogation tactics at Guantánamo from within the FBI, whose agents had been questioning detainees in Cuba since the prison opened. A few of the agents began telling their superiors what they had witnessed, which, they believed, had little to do with getting good information.

"I was told," a senior intelligence official recalled, "that the military guards were slapping prisoners, stripping them, pouring cold water over them, and making them stand until they got hypothermia. The agents were outraged. It was wrong and also dysfunctional." The agents put their specific complaints in writing, the official told me, and they were relayed, in emails and phone calls, to officials at the department of defence, including William J Haynes II, the general counsel of the Pentagon. As far as day-to-day life for prisoners at Guantánamo was concerned, nothing came of it.

The unifying issue for General Gordon and his supporters inside the administration was not the abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo, the former White House official told me: "It was about how many more people are being held there that shouldn't be. Have we really got the right people?" The briefing for Condoleezza Rice about problems at Guantánamo took place in the autumn of 2002. It did not dwell on the question of torture or mistreatment. The main issue, the former White House official told me, was simply, "Are we getting any intelligence? What is the process for sorting these people?"

Rice agreed to call a high-level meeting in the White House situation room. Most significantly, she asked Secretary Rumsfeld to attend. Rums feld, who was by then publicly and privately encouraging his soldiers in the field to get tough with captured prisoners, duly showed up, but he had surprisingly little to say. One participant in the meeting recalled that at one point Rice asked Rumsfeld "what the issues were, and he said he hadn't looked into it". Rice urged Rumsfeld to do so, and added, "Let's get the story right." Rumsfeld seemed to be in agreement, and Gordon and his supporters left the meeting convinced, the former administration official told me, that the Pentagon was going to deal with the issue.

Nothing changed. "The Pentagon went into a full-court stall," the former White House official recalled. "I trusted in the goodness of man and thought we got something to happen. I was naive enough to believe that when a cabinet member" - he was referring to Rumsfeld - "says he's going to take action, he will."

Over the next few months, as the White House began planning for the coming war in Iraq, there were many more discussions about the continuing problems at Guantánamo and the lack of useful intelligence. No one in the Bush administration would get far, however, if he was viewed as soft on suspected al-Qaida terrorism. "Why didn't Condi do more?" the official asked. "She made the same mistake I made. She got the secretary of defence to say he's going to take care of it."

There was, obviously, a difference between the reality of prison life in Guantánamo and how it was depicted to the public in carefully stage-managed news conferences and statements released by the administration. American prison authorities have repeatedly assured the press and the public, for example, that the al-Qaida and Taliban detainees were provided with a minimum of three hours of recreation every week. For the tough cases, however, according to a Pentagon adviser familiar with detainee conditions in mid-2002, at recreation time some prisoners would be strapped into heavy jackets, similar to straitjackets, with their arms locked behind them and their legs straddled by straps. Goggles were placed over their eyes, and their heads were covered with a hood. The prisoner was then led at midday into what looked like a narrow fenced-in dog run - the adviser told me that there were photographs of the procedure - and given his hour of recreation. The restraints forced him to move, if he chose to move, on his knees, bent over at a 45-degree angle. Most prisoners just sat and suffered in the heat.

One of the marines assigned to guard duty at Guantánamo in 2003, who has since left the military, told me, after being promised anonymity, that he and his enlisted colleagues at the base were encouraged by their squad leaders to "give the prisoners a visit" once or twice a month, when there were no television crews, journalists, or other outside visitors at the prison.

"We tried to fuck with them as much as we could - inflict a little bit of pain. We couldn't do much," for fear of exposure, the former marine, who also served in Afghanistan, told me.

"There were always newspeople there," he said. "That's why you couldn't send them back with a broken leg or so. And if somebody died, I'd get court-martialled."

The roughing up of prisoners was sometimes spur-of-the-moment, the former marine said: "A squad leader would say, 'Let's go - all the cameras on lunch break.'" One pastime was to put hoods on the prisoners and "drive them around the camp in a Humvee, making turns so they didn't know where they were. [...] I wasn't trying to get information. I was just having a little fun - playing mind control." When I asked a senior FBI official about the former marine's account, he told me that agents assigned to interrogation duties at Guantánamo had described similar activities to their superiors.

In November 2002, army Major General Geoffrey Miller had relieved Generals Dunlavey and Baccus, unifying the command at Guantánamo. Baccus was seen by the Pentagon as soft - too worried about the prisoners' well-being. In Senate hearings after Abu Ghraib, it became known that Miller was permitted to use legally questionable interrogation techniques at Guantánamo, which could include, with approval, sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of cold and heat, and placing prisoners in "stress positions" for agonising lengths of time.

In May 2004, the New York Times reported that the FBI had instructed its agents to avoid being present at interrogation sessions with suspected al-Qaida members. The newspaper said the severe methods used to extract information would be prohibited in criminal cases, and therefore could compromise the agents in future legal proceedings against the suspects. "We don't believe in coercion," a senior FBI official subsequently told me. "Our goal is to get information and we try to gain the prisoners' trust. We have strong feelings about it." The FBI official added, "I thought Rumsfeld should have been fired long ago."

"They did it the wrong way," a Pentagon adviser on the war on terror told me, "and took a heavy-handed approach based on coercion, instead of persuasion - which actually has a much better track record. It's about rage and the need to strike back. It's evil, but it's also stupid. It's not torture but acts of kindness that lead to concessions. The persuasive approach takes longer but gets far better results."

There was, we now know, a fantastical quality to the earnest discussions inside the White House in 2002 about the good and bad of the interrogation process at Guantánamo. Rice and Rumsfeld knew what many others involved in the prisoner discussions did not - that sometime in late 2001 or early 2002, the president had signed a top-secret finding, as required by law, authorising the defence department to set up a specially recruited clandestine team of special forces operatives and others who would defy diplomatic niceties and international law and snatch - or assassinate, if necessary - identified "high-value" al-Qaida operatives anywhere in the world.

Equally secret interrogation centres would be set up in allied countries where harsh treatments were meted out, unconstrained by legal limits or public disclosure. The programme was hidden inside the defence department as an "unacknowledged" special-access programme (SAP), whose operational details were known only to a few in the Pentagon, the CIA and the White House.

The SAP owed its existence to Rumsfeld's desire to get the US special forces community into the business of what he called, in public and internal communications, "manhunts", and to his disdain for the Pentagon's senior generals. In the privacy of his office, Rumsfeld chafed over what he saw as the reluctance of the generals and admirals to act aggressively. Soon after September 11, he repeatedly made public his disdain for the Geneva convention. Complaints about the United States' treatment of prisoners, Rumsfeld said, in early 2002, amounted to "isolated pockets of international hyperventilation".

One of Rumsfeld's goals was bureaucratic: to give the civilian leadership in the Pentagon, and not the CIA, the lead in fighting terrorism. Throughout the existence of the SAP, which eventually came to Abu Ghraib prison, a former senior intelligence official told me, "There was a periodic briefing to the National Security Council [NSC] giving updates on results, but not on the methods." Did the White House ask about the process? The former officer said that he believed that they did, and that "they got the answers".

By the time of Rumsfeld's meeting with Rice, his SAP was in its third year of snatching or strong-arming suspected terrorists and questioning them in secret prison facilities in Singapore, Thailand and Pakistan, among other sites. The White House was fighting terror with terror.

On December 18 2001, American operatives participated in what amounted to the kidnapping of two Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed al-Zery, who had sought asylum in Sweden. The Egyptians, believed by American intelligence to be linked to Islamic militant groups, were abruptly seized in the late afternoon and flown out of Sweden a few hours later on a US government-leased Gulfstream private jet to Cairo, where they underwent extensive and brutal interrogation. "Both were dirty," a former senior intelligence official, who has extensive knowledge of special-access programmes, told me, "but it was pretty blatant."

The seizure of Agiza and Zery attracted little attention outside of Sweden, despite repeated complaints by human-rights groups, until May 2004 when a Swedish television news magazine revealed that the Swedish government had cooperated after being assured that the exiles would not be tortured or otherwise harmed once they were sent to Egypt. Instead, according to a television report, entitled The Broken Promise, Agiza and Zery, in handcuffs and shackles, were driven to the airport by Swedish and, according to one witness, American agents and turned over at plane-side to a group of Americans wearing plain clothes whose faces were concealed. Once in Egypt, Agiza and Zery have reported through Swedish diplomats, family members and attorneys, that they were subjected to repeated torture by electrical shocks distributed by electrodes that were attached to the most sensitive parts of their bodies. Egyptian authorities eventually concluded, according to the documentary, that Zery had few ties to ongoing terrorism, and he was released from jail in October 2003, although he is still under surveillance. Agiza was acknowledged by his attorneys to have been a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a terrorist group outlawed in Egypt, and also was once close to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is outranked in al-Qaida only by Osama bin Laden. In April 2004, he was sentenced to 25 years in an Egyptian prison.

This is an edited extract from Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, by Seymour M Hersh.