imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

The Rot at the Center of the Empire

by C/O Diogenes Monday, Mar. 17, 2003 at 6:54 PM

Of course, given the administration’s almost desperate attempt to find a “smoking gun” that will convince people to support the killing of tens of thousands more innocent Iraqi people in order to effect a “regime change” in Iraq, one possibility is that U.S. officials simply didn’t look too hard or too closely at the fake evidence before citing it as another excuse to invade Iraq.

The Rot at the Center of the Empire

by Jacob G. Hornberger, March 14, 2003

Last weekend’s announcement that the U.S. government had relied on

fake and false evidence in the attempt to secure approval of its upcoming invasion of Iraq was, by and large, met by a collective yawn from the American people, especially the members of Congress. It’s just one more example of the depths of moral depravity to which our nation has fallen.

Think about: After months of enumerating a long laundry list of alternating justifications for invading Iraq and killing lots of people and after looking for every conceivable technical violation of UN resolutions to justify an invasion, it now turns out that the federal government has cited and relied on fake and false evidence to persuade both the American people and the UN Security Council that an invasion is necessary — an invasion that will certainly kill tens of thousands of Iraqis, including both ordinary soldiers and civilians, and possibly large numbers of American GIs.

Of course, federal officials are playing the innocent. One U.S. official says, “We fell for it.” Yeah, sure! The most advanced intelligence service in the history of the world fell for what UN inspectors were able to ascertain were faked and forged documents.

Of course, given the administration’s almost desperate attempt to find a “smoking gun” that will convince people to support the killing of tens of thousands more innocent Iraqi people in order to effect a “regime change” in Iraq, one possibility is that U.S. officials simply didn’t look too hard or too closely at the fake evidence before citing it as another excuse to invade Iraq.

For its part, the FBI is now considering “the possibility that a foreign government is using a deception campaign to foster support for military action.”

Oh? Foreign governments do that sort of thing? Only foreign governments?

Another possibility, of course, is that agents of the U.S. government knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately manufactured the fake and false evidence. Uncompromising defenders of the federal government would say, “The federal government, unlike foreign regimes, should be presumed innocent of any wrongdoing until proven guilty. Anyone can make a mistake. I’m sure that that’s what happened here. Surely the U.S. government would never knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately manufacture fake and fraudulent evidence on which an important issue such as war might turn, especially a war that was being

planned by the neo-cons as far back as 1998”.

Oh? The federal government doesn’t engage in such misconduct? Puhleeze, give me a break! At the risk of employing a French term (which I assume Congress has still not made illegal), “Au contraire!”

After all, didn’t the feds knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately obstruct justice in an official federal court proceeding in which they were desperately attempting to convict Randy Weaver, an innocent man? Didn’t they perjure themselves and hide and destroy official documents in that federal proceeding with the specific hope and intent that the jury would convict Weaver? Didn’t they lie about using incendiary devices at Waco?

And if they would do that against Randy Weaver or the Branch Davidians, why shouldn’t we assume that they would do it against Saddam Hussein? Aren’t the political stakes much higher in the case of Iraq than they were in the cases of Ruby Ridge and Waco?

In the 1960s, my father was the U.S. magistrate in my hometown of Laredo, Texas, which was one of the major ports of entry from Mexico. Whenever the feds arrested someone, they would bring him to the U.S. magistrate for a preliminary hearing and the setting of bail. After the suspect was indicted, he would appear before a U.S. district judge for arraignment and trial.

At the international bridge, everyone entering the United States was subject to a complete search by U.S. Customs officials. In the 1960s, many long-haired, anti-war hippies were being arrested at the bridge for possession of marijuana.

My father related to me that one day the U.S. district judge (who ordinarily was considered very pro-government) called him into his office and said, “Jack, I’m becoming increasingly concerned about the dropsie cases.” What he was referring to was the increasing practice of U.S. officials to “drop” some marijuana into the cars of long-haired, anti-war hippies who they “knew” were guilty of smoking dope at some time in their life.

The reason for the federal judge’s concern was that he knew that average Americans, virtually all of whom had attended public schools, would never believe that their federal officials would engage in such misconduct or that they would ever lie, especially after having sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution and especially after swearing to tell the truth with their hand placed on a Bible. The federal agents knew that in a swearing match between a Customs agent in a federal uniform and crew cut and a long-haired, anti-war hippie, the jury would always assume that it was the federal agent who was telling the truth.

Both the federal judge and the U.S. magistrate knew differently. They knew that when federal officials are out to get someone they feel is deserving of punishment, they oftentimes stop at nothing to secure his punishment, including lying, committing perjury, falsifying documents, and obstructing justice.

Recall the matter of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg was a high official in the Pentagon and the Rand Corporation, which did studies for the Pentagon, during the Vietnam War. He discovered a secret internal Pentagon history of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War that detailed the many lies that had been told to the American people — lies that had been used as the justification for sending tens of thousands of American GIs to their deaths, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese who were being killed.

One of the biggest lies concerned the false and fake report of the North Vietnamese “attack” at the Gulf of Tonkin, which was used as the means to circumvent the constitutional requirement of a congressional declaration of war before the president can wage war.

Ellsberg secretly copied the documents and released them to the New York Times. Desperately attempting to protect its lies, the federal government immediately secured an injunction against the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Even worse, they actually indicted Ellsberg for treason and, perhaps worst of all, they broke into his psychiatrist’s office in the hope of finding evidence to destroy him in the public eye.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the publication of the documents and a federal judge dismissed the charges against Ellsberg on the basis of the government’s misconduct. When the truth was revealed, the American people were finally able to force their government, including the Pentagon, to withdraw all U.S. forces from Vietnam.

It is impossible to estimate how many lives were saved by the courage of Daniel Ellsberg. It is impossible to estimate how many more lives would have been lost by the rot at the core of the American empire, a rot that protects lies, obstruction of justice, and other such wrongdoing.

Unfortunately, every time federal wrongdoing emanating from the rot is exposed, many Americans seem to take it with a grain of salt. They brush the disclosure aside, almost as if they would have preferred never learning about it. The attitude seems to be: Do whatever you think needs to be done, but just don’t tell me about it because I don’t want to be responsible for the moral consequences.

Thus, when Americans learned that the feds had subjected African Americans to syphilis experiments, their reaction was predictable: “This is terrible. We just have to make sure it never happens again.” It was the same when they learned that the feds had subjected Americans to radiation, chemical, and biological experiments.

It was the same after the feds gassed their own people at Waco. It was the same after the feds killed Randy Weaver’s wife and young son at Ruby Ridge and then engaged in their deliberate pattern of perjury and obstruction of justice in their attempt to wrongfully convict Weaver, whom the jury ultimately adjudged not guilty of the serious crimes that the feds had accused him of.

Or consider that American jurors will quickly and without thinking convict an American businessman of paying bribes to foreign officials to circumvent ridiculous regulations. But when federal officials use U.S. taxpayer money to engage in a public spectacle of bribery and blackmail of foreign countries in a desperate attempt to win their support or their vote, Americans are nonplussed.

One of the biggest examples of the moral numbness and blindness that afflicts Americans has been the federal government’s horrific conduct against the Iraqi people, both before and after the end of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Before the war, the U.S. government furnished chemical and biological weapons to Saddam Hussein, with the express intention that he use them against the Iranian people. Let that sink in: Federal officials entered into a partnership (or conspiracy, if you prefer, given that federal officials kept the agreement secret for many years) with Saddam Hussein in which the U.S. government agreed to (and did) furnish Saddam with U.S.-made weapons of mass destruction and he, in turn, agreed to (and did) use those weapons against the Iranian people. (See the second list of links in my article “Points to Ponder at Five Minutes before Midnight.”)

When U.S. Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) recently asked U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about the germ transfers to Saddam Hussein, Rumsfeld innocently replied, “I have never heard anything like what you’ve read, I have no knowledge of it whatsoever, and I doubt it”. Rumsfeld added that he would ask the Defense Department and other agencies to search their records for evidence of the transfers.

How in the world could a high U.S. official not know or even forget about transferring weapons of mass destruction to Saddam Hussein, especially given that Rumsfeld himself played a key role in the foreign policy shift to Iraq in the 1980s and was even assigned by the first Bush administration to cozy up to Saddam Hussein?

Oh, it just couldn’t be that Rumsfeld was lying to Senator Byrd when he played the innocent, could it? U.S. federal officials don’t lie. They don’t commit perjury. They don’t use fake and false evidence. They don’t furnish weapons of mass destruction to brutal foreign dictators. They don’t teach dictators how to torture their own people. They don’t engage in obstruction of justice. Only corrupt foreign officials do those types of things.

After the Persian Gulf War, instead of simply entering into a peace treaty with Iraq that would have brought hostilities to an end, the feds employed the method that was utilized at the end of the Korean War (another war waged without the constitutionally required declaration of war from Congress): Keep the tensions and hostilities going as long as possible, which provides a constant and continual threat justifying ever-increasing budgets for the military-industrial complex.

Thus, year after year the feds have engaged in continual illegal bombing attacks against the people of Iraq (enforcing the so-called no-fly zones in the absence of any UN resolution authorizing either the zones or the attacks) and in enforcing what is arguably the most brutal and comprehensive set of economic sanctions in history. (See the first list of links in my article “Points to Ponder at Five Minutes before Midnight.”)

The horrible significance of those economic sanctions is twofold: Not only have they contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, but year after year federal officials have been even more indifferent to those deaths than they were to the deaths of the Branch Davidian children, whom they gassed, or to the death of Randy Weaver’s boy, whom they shot in the back.

(Interestingly, the feds are planning to use the same CS gas against the Iraqis that they used against the Branch Davidians, despite the fact that the gas violates the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. Morever, Pentagon officials apparently intend to again use depleted-uranium bullets in the upcoming invasion, despite the fact that in the Gulf War such bullets had a lasting radioactive effect on both U.S. servicemen and the Iraqi people. The government’s indifference to the ammunition’s radioactive effect on its own soldiers brings to mind the scene in Braveheart in which the king orders his archers to fire arrows into the middle of the conflict; when the king’s aide points out that the arrows will kill their own soldiers, the king simply responds that the arrows will kill the other soldiers too.)

What type of government would react with indifference to a failed and destructive policy of economic sanctions that it knows is contributing the deaths of multitudes of innocent children? What type of government would employ a policy that squeezed the life out of children in the hope of persuading their parents to oust their ruler from office? What type of government would subject its own soldiers to radiation without any warning? Indeed, what type of government would put its own citizens in harm’s way by leaving such a policy in effect after being warned by terrorists after the 1993 World Trade Center attack that such a policy would motivate more terrorist attacks against Americans?

There is a rot at the center of the American empire, and the rot has been there a long time. Unfortunately, it is a rot that the American people simply do not want to confront. It’s just too painful to confront the possibility that the root of their woes lies with the rot at the center of their empire.

It was the same in the Soviet Union. Most Russians who worked for the Soviet government were the same as Americans who work for the U.S. government — they were honest, hard-working, ordinary people who believed in their country, worked hard at their jobs, and were busy raising their families.

But at the core of the Soviet system was a rot, and that rot attracted a certain type of vermin that thrived off the rot. And no matter how devoted and hard-working the ordinary Soviet worker was, his dedication and labor could not eradicate the rot at the core of the Soviet empire. The problem was a systemic one.

One of the worst consequences of this type of rot is not only that it diminishes the moral consciousness of people in a society but also that it causes them to live what might be called the “life of the lie.” The affliction enables them to easily recognize wrongdoing by foreign regimes but precludes them from recognizing the wrongdoing of their own government.

Thus, if it was the Soviet government incarcerating Russian citizens for the rest of their lives without a trial and without even being permitted to speak to an attorney, Americans would be outraged. If it was the Soviet government torturing criminal suspects or prisoners of war, Americans would be outraged. If it was the Soviet government using innocent children as an instrument of foreign policy, Americans would be outraged. If it was the Soviet government spying on and monitoring the activities of the Russian people, Americans would be outraged. If it was the Soviet government secretly spying on UN Security Council members, Americans would be outraged. If it was the Soviet government waging a war of aggression against Afghanistan or Czechoslovakia, Americans would be outraged.

But if it’s the U.S. government contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children through the most brutal set of economic sanctions in history, sacrificing American GIs and killing tens of thousands of Iraqis in a “liberating” war of aggression of Iraq, arresting and incarcerating U.S. citizens for the rest of their lives without a trial and without being permitted to even talk to a lawyer, and torturing both POWs and criminal suspects, all of a sudden the conscience of all too many Americans disintegrates into mush. Thus, for example, while people consider it evil for Saddam Hussein to have used chemical weapons against the Iranian people, they feel it was just an “honest mistake in foreign policy” for U.S. officials to have furnished those weapons to him with the express intention that he use them against the Iranian people.

Neither Saddam Hussein nor Osama bin Laden nor North Korea nor Iran nor the Islamic world is the biggest threat to the liberty, health, safety, and welfare of the American people. Instead, that threat lies with the cancerous rot that continues to grow at the center of the American empire — a rot that in fact comes with empire. Until Americans finally confront that uncomfortable truth, they will continue to suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, it might take a catastrophe before they decide to do so.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

© 2001, 2002 The Future of Freedom Foundation. All rights reserved.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Great American Lies Diogenes Monday, Mar. 17, 2003 at 6:55 PM

Local News

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Cleanup J13 4:14PM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

Google, World's Biggest Censor, Was Founded By The CIA J09 10:25AM

For a World Free of Nuclear Risks J09 8:29AM

Corrupt CDC Ignores Meat Fish Recalls J09 4:55AM

The (Temporary) End of Globalization J09 3:03AM

Aternatives to Abortions such as Plan B the pill, condoms and IUD J08 4:03PM

U.S Congressional Legal Minds Know Better Than Allowing Texas To Murder Hank Skinner J08 3:37PM

ACLU in many US states defends in court KKK and American Nazis Sometimes for Money J07 11:28PM

Judge Brett Kavanaugh: 12 Of Many Reasons To Oppose Him J07 9:00AM

Insensibilité engrammée J07 2:37AM

Silver Lining J07 12:21AM

The Shortwave Report 07/06/18 Listen Globally! J05 4:38PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy