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License(s) to kill (but not to talk)

Published by marco on

Common Dreams reports that the CIA has been approved to use targeted kills (assasinations for those of you not versed in doublespeak) again for the first time (ahem) since 1975, when they last made a horrendous mess of trying to kill Castro (who is still alive for those playing catch-up).

<q>The US defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, confirmed reports of such a move yesterday by telling CNN that the US would be acting in self-defence in carrying out such missions. … Mr Rumsfeld said: “It is not possible to defend yourself against terrorists at every single location in the world and at every single moment. … The only way to deal with terrorists is to take the battle to them and find them and root them out and that’s self-defence. … The CIA … is said to be willing and able to “take the lives of terrorists designated by the president”.</q>

On the subject of news squelching (again) is an article at Mother Jones. It discusses Condaleeza Rice’s request that the networks “not air any future unedited videos of Usama bin Ladin”:

<q>While some newspapers did editorialize against it, that blunt stroke of intimidation moved the broadcast media’s bosses mainly to salute the power that had just muscled them. “It was very useful to hear their information and their thinking,” CNN chairman Walter Isaacson told the New York Times. “After hearing Dr. Rice, we’re not going to step on the land mines she was talking about.” Rupert Murdoch called full compliance his network’s “patriotic duty.”</q>

For more in the same vein, Happy New Year, It’s 1984 compares Bush’s October 25th address to congress to concepts from George Orwell’s 1984.

<q>The permanent war undergirds every aspect of Big Brother’s authoritarian program, excusing censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation. … He announced a policy of using maximum force against any individuals or nations he designates as our enemies, without color of international law, due process, or democratic debate. …
He explicitly warned that much of the war will be conducted in secret. He rejected negotiation as a tool of diplomacy. He announced starkly that any country that doesn’t knuckle under to US demands will be regarded as an enemy.</q>

We circle once again to the central question. Why? Why is the U.S. attacking Afghanistan? It doesn’t make any sense from so many rational, compassionate angles, so what can be the real reason? John Pilger says: Control. (Full Article)

<q>… The aim is to destroy the capacity of nations to challenge US dominance while allowing their regimes to maintain internal order. … Thus, people all over the world have been divided, ruled and “contained”, often violently … Also, stricken Afghanistan is an easy target, an ideal place for a “demonstration war” − a show of what America is prepared to do “where required”, as the US ambassador to the United Nations said recently. The racism is implicit. Who cares about Afghan peasants? … In the absence of alternative views, it is no surprise that people’s “reasonable reaction” is that “we must do something”. This leads to the quick conclusion that “we” must bomb “them”.</q>

<q>One of Bush and Blair’s oft-repeated lies is that “world opinion is with us”. No, it is not. Out of 30 countries surveyed by Gallup International, only in Israel and the United States does a majority of people agree that military attacks are preferable to pursuing justice non-violently through international law, however long it takes. That is the good news.</q>

It’s not just world-class journalists, college professors and liberals who are worried (disgusted?) by the reactions and actions of the U.S. government. Ordinary folks are getting increasingly worried about censorship in America. Wil Wheaton has a raw reaction to the situation (after the hyperbolic comment, he stray off-topic)

<q>I am profoundly shaken by what’s happening in our world now, and being labeled “against us” is really upsetting to me. It is just sheer idiocy to blindly follow anyone, in my opinion, and what I see happening now is just that. If you’re not a sheep following George and the Majority, you’re somehow complicit, and you think it’s a good thing that 6000 innocent people died on September 11. If you value your privacy, and don’t think it’s a good idea for the federal government to have the authority to walk into your house whenever they feel like it, you’re not patriotic. Well, I for one am absolutely sick of this shit. … Think of it this way: our politicians all privately agree that the War On Drugs is a complete and utter failure, and has done NOTHING to help addicts, or stop people from abusing drugs, yet they funnel BILLIONS of dollars into it each year, so they don’t appear “soft on drugs.” The same thing is going to happen with terrorism.</q>

On the economy side, the defense industry has already started reaping rewards from the War on Terrorism. Janes is reporting that Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $200 Billion contract to provide 3000 Joint Strike Fighters. Note that these jets are not being bought by the U.S. military. But at least our economy is getting the expected boost from the war.