U.S.: A One-Party State
Two US Parties a Facade Controlled by a Ruling Elite
Is the US a one-party state? Though there are significant differences on certain topics, in the bigger picture both parties function very much to keep the ruling elite in control of the most important power and money structures. When it comes to matters involving the ever-profitable war machine, prisons, surveillance, privitization, and the globalization agenda, both parties close ranks consistently even when the public will is diametrically opposed.
The revealing essay below delves into well documented examples of manipulative strategies, secret intrigues, subtle and overt mind control, and more quietly used to control and keep the public in the dark.
This essay is taken from the incredibly profound online book Lifting the Veil, which uses hundreds of footnotes with links to highly reliable sources which reveal countless political and economic manipulations carried out in secret worldwide by powerful, well-hidden groups for decades. By educating ourselves and shining light into these shadows, we can more effectively work together to bring positive change to our lives and world. Thanks for caring. Please spread the word and don't miss our "What you can do" section.
Note: Lifting the Veil by Timothy Silver is available free online. This landmark book is the best, most reliable summary of all that is hidden going on in our world that we've ever seen. Take the time to read it in full and you will not be disappointed.
The One-Party State
By Timothy Silver
Perhaps the most widely proliferated truism of American patriotism is that the the two-party system is a beacon of democracy. Surely, our system is better than that of Iran, where presidential candidates must be approved by a religious council, or perhaps that of Venezuela, where the majority of the media is state-owned and disseminates propaganda in each election.
Democrats and Republicans are widely different, it seems. At least that is what their hyper-partisan bickering would imply. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama must be unabashed liberals, otherwise why would the Republicans despise them so much? The divide between party faithfuls of different colors runs deep, with each side blaming the entirety of the country's problems on the other, often resulting in a state of pure hatred and disgust among citizens. One only needs to turn on cable news to see this as a fact.
However, the reality is that Republican and Democrat presidents have closely followed a similar agenda for half a century. The idea that American governance alternates as a sort of give-and-take between liberalism and conservatism is little more than a fantasy. I do not discount that there may be serious and significant differences between Democrat and Republican individuals, many of them members of Congress, and certainly in state legislatures. Yet at the top of the pyramid, where the power to set agendas resides, there is only the Agenda, and the primary difference between the two parties is the speed at which 'the Agenda' is advanced.
It is fascinating how Bill Clinton began his presidential campaign with playing a Saxophone on live television, talking about his foray into marijuana, reminiscing about his protest of the Vietnam war, and ended up with perhaps the most conservative administration of any president in modern history. Later, Obama entered the stage as a candidate of change, only to accelerate and consolidate the hegemony of the political elite faster than any predecessor. But lets go beyond rhetoric and examine the records of the last five Presidents, and see exactly how similar their platforms were.
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“The United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population. But it has almost a quarter of the world's prisoners. Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.” – New York Times84
At the end of Reagan's administration, the incarceration rate was 247 per 100,000 citizens. The demand for prison space had been steadily increasing since the War on Drugs began. Under George H.W. Bush the incarceration rate had increased to 332 per 100,000. It is a common misconception that it is Republicans have the more punitive crime policies.
Under Clinton, the incarceration rate skyrocketed to 476 per 100,000.85 The Clinton administration gave 30 billion dollars to states to fund and expand their prisons,86 and championed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that added 100,000 new police officers.87 The bill was written by current Vice President Joe Biden. The act also expanded the death penalty to be applicable to 60 more offenses, including drug trafficking, and eliminated funding for inmate education.
Private prisons flourished under Bill Clinton. The ACLU in 2011 published a fascinating review of the private prison system and found that since 1990, the private prison population has increased by 1600%.88 The number of private prison systems actually peaked in the year 2000 with 153 facilities.89
The policy that began under Reagan and has been flourishing through both Bushes, Clinton and Obama can only be referred to as 'mass incarceration'. As of 2013, the United States holds more prisoners than any other country in the world, including China, as well as a larger percentage of prisoners per population than any other country. For an even more sobering comparison, consider that the United States has more people imprisoned today, as a whole and per capita, than Stalin had under his archipelago of gulags.90
Louisiana is perhaps the best example of how corrupted the prison system can become when privatization runs amok. Louisiana has a largely private prison system, and currently has 1 in 86 adults incarcerated, twice the national average and three times that of Iran. Nearly two-thirds of these prisoners are serving time for non-violent offenses.91
Lobbying, along with an incentive of job creation, has resulted in some of the toughest penalties in the country, such as a potential 10 years in prison for writing a bad check. Over half of the prison population returns to the system in five years, without having received any rehabilitation, and being returned to communities devastated largely in part by the continued extraction of the population into prison for non-violent offenses.
84 New York Times, “U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations,” April 23, 2008
85 USA Today, “Study: Prisons Filled At Record Pace in Clinton Years,” February 18, 2001
87 Wikipedia article on the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act
88 (PDF Warning) ACLU.org report titled “Banking on Bondage”
89 Wikipedia article on the Private Prison System
90 New Yorker, “The Caging of America,” January 30, 2012
91 New York Times, “Plantations, Prisons and Profits,” March 25, 2012
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On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton made this promise: “I expect to review our arms sales policy and to take it up with the other major arms sellers of the world as a part of a long-term effort to reduce the proliferation of weapons.”92 And then, in some astounding turn of events (or predictable, for those who have been watching closely), United States arms sales doubled in Clinton's first year in office alone.93
In 2006, the United Nations convened in order to create a "comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms." The United States was the only country to vote against the measure.94 In 2008, Obama signaled that he would change the course from the Bush administration and take steps to limit arms sales internationally. And similar to nearly 2 decades earlier, United States arms sales tripled in 2011.95 By 2012, Obama had ended negotiations on the U.N. treaty.96 Is it any surprise, considering Obama received more campaign donations from the Defense Industry than McCain?97
One particularly shocking revelation was a program known as 'Fast and Furious', where Barack Obama oversaw the initiation and operation of a gun running scheme where arms were sent over the Mexican border and directly into the hands of criminals.98
“Fast and Furious was an operation so cloak-and-dagger Mexican authorities weren’t even notified that thousands of semi-automatic firearms were being sold to people in Arizona thought to have links to Mexican drug cartels. According to ATF whistleblowers, in 2009 the U.S. government began instructing gun store owners to break the law by selling firearms to suspected criminals. ATF agents then, again according to testimony by ATF agents turned whistleblowers, were ordered not to intercept the smugglers but rather to let the guns “walk” across the U.S.-Mexican border and into the hands of Mexican drug-trafficking organizations.” – Forbes
Senior ATF Agent John Dodson, who broke the Fast and Furious story, was alarmed when he noted that the crime rates and violence in Mexico and at the border increased significantly after he began allowing, under order, massive amounts of guns to cross the border into the hands of criminals and cartels.
“Dodson said they never did take down a drug cartel. However, he said thousands of Fast and Furious weapons are still out there and will be claiming victims on both sides of the border for years to come.” – CBS99
On December 14, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed on duty, with a gun given to criminals by the ATF.100
92 Mother Jones, “Arms Around the World,” August 1999
93 Alternet.org “Hightower: Clinton's Foreign Jobs Program,” April 25, 2000
94 Wikipedia article on the Arms Trade Treaty
95 Mother Jones, “CHARTS: US Overseas Arms Sales More Than Tripled in 2011,” August 29, 2012
96 Mother Jones, “Obama Administration Ducks for Cover on UN Arms Trade Treaty,” July 31, 2012
97 Time, “Obama Beats McCain in Defense Contributions,” October 31, 2008
98 Forbes, “'Fast And Furious' Just Might Be President Obama's Watergate,” September 28, 2011
99 CBS, “Agent: I was ordered to let U.S. guns into Mexico,” March 3, 2011
100 Los Angeles Times, “ATF sought to downplay guns scandal, emails show,” July 21, 2011
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A 1999 BBC article titled “Echelon Spy Network Revealed” began with the paragraph: “Imagine a global spying network that can eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet. It sounds like science fiction, but it's true.” The network, known as Echelon, traces its roots all the way back to the John F. Kennedy presidency, and had been expanding ever since.101 In 1992, the Director of the NSA described the goal of the program in simple terms: 'Global Access'.102 The agenda for mass surveillance was institutionalized long before most Americans recognize.
Then there was George Bush's illegal warrantless wiretapping. Began in 2001, the program allowed the NSA to monitor communications between United States citizens and those abroad without appropriate checks and balances.103 Interestingly, the groundwork for warrantless wiretapping had actually been laid out by Bill Clinton.104 During his presidency, he slowly expanded the reach of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the capability of the NSA to classify and withhold information about their activities. When the revelations about the program were made in 2006, they were controversial, but Congress repeatedly renewed the NSA's license without much of an uproar from the public.
By the 2008 election, citizens were growing weary of the spying program and Barack Obama capitalized on this sentiment. He vowed to end warrantless wiretapping and during his primary campaign he went as far as to say he would filibuster the extension of the FISA legislation, responsible for allowing the expanded spying capabilities.105
“When I'm president, one of the first things I'm going to do is call in my attorney general and say to him or her, I want you to review every executive order that was issued by George Bush, whether it relates to warrantless wiretaps or detaining people or reading e- mails, or whatever it is. I want you to go through every single one of them and if they are unconstitutional, if they're encroaching on civil liberties unnecessarily, we are going to overturn them. We're going to change them.” – Barack Obama, 2007106
He first broke this promise after winning the primary campaign, in July 2008, when he was one of 68 Senators who voted to renew the NSA capabilities.107 Less than a year later, Barack Obama would vastly broaden the legal argument the Executive branch used to justify the spying, and exempted the Government from the possibility of being sued thanks to a liberal interpretation of a clause in the Patriot Act.108
"In other words, beyond even the outrageously broad 'state secrets' privilege invented by the Bush administration and now embraced fully by the Obama administration, the Obama DOJ has now invented a brand new claim of government immunity, one which literally asserts that the U.S. Government is free to intercept all of your communications (calls, emails and the like) and – even if what they're doing is blatantly illegal and they know it's illegal – you are barred from suing them unless they 'willfully disclose' to the public what they have learned," – Glenn Greenwald
On June 6th 2013, it was revealed that Barack Obama oversaw the largest infringement of the Fourth Amendment in the history of the United States with the construction of a veritable surveillance state, capable of tracking the movements and communications of every American citizen. We now know that the NSA and United Kingdom counterpart GHCQ:
• Collect the domestic meta-data of both parties in a phone-call.109
• Set up fake internet cafes to steal data.110
• Have intercepted the phone calls of at least 35 world leaders, including allies such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.111
• Can tap into the underwater fiber-optic cables that carry a majority of the world's internet traffic.112
• Track communications within media institutions such as Al Jazeera.113
• Have 'bugged' the United Nations headquarters.114
• Have set up a financial database to track international banking and credit card transactions.115
• Collect and store over 200 million domestic and foreign text messages each day.116
• Collect and have real-time access to browsing history, email, and social media activity. To gain access, an analyst simply needs to fill out an on-screen form with a broad justification for the search that is not reviewed by any court or NSA personnel.117
"I, sitting at my desk, could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email". – Edward Snowden
• Create maps of the social networks of United States citizens.118
• Have access to smartphone app data.119
• Use spies in embassies to collect data, often by setting up 'listening stations' on the roofs of buildings.120
• Use fake LinkedIn profiles and other doctored web pages to secretly install surveillance software in unwitting companies and individuals.121
• Track reservations at upscale hotels.122
• Have intercepted the talking-points of world leaders before meetings with Barack Obama.123
• Can crack encryption codes on cellphones.124
• Have implanted software on over 100,000 computers worldwide allowing them to hack data without internet connection, using radio waves.125
• Have access to computers through fake wireless connections.126
• Monitor communications in online games such as World of Warcraft.127
• Intercept shipping deliveries and install back-door devices allowing access.128
• Have direct access to the data centers of Google, Yahoo and other major companies.129
• Covertly and overtly infiltrate United States and foreign IT industries to weaken or gain access to encryption, often by collaborating with software companies and internet service providers themselves. They are also, according to an internal document, "responsible for identifying, recruiting and running covert agents in the global telecommunications industry."130
• Use “honey traps”, luring targets into compromising positions using sex.131
• Share raw intelligence data with Israel. Only official U.S. communications are affected, and there are no legal limits on the use of the data from Israel.132
• Spy on porn habits of activists to discredit them.133
Possibly the most shocking revelation was made on February 24, 2014. Internal documents show that the NSA is attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with “extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction.”134 The documents revealed a top-secret unit known as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Unit, or JTRIG.
Two of the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in an effort to discredit a target, and to use social sciences such as psychology to manipulate online discourse and activism in order to generate a desirable outcome. The unit posts false information on the internet and falsely attributes it to someone else, pretend to be a 'victim' of a target they want to discredit, and posts negative information on various forums. In some instances, to discredit a target, JTRIG sends out 'false flag' emails to family and friends.
One slide describes the methods to discredit a company: Leak confidential information to the press, post negative information on forums, interfere with business deals and ruin business relationships.
The use of psychological techniques to fracture activist groups and to 'game' online discourse is very interesting. One document describes creating tension in a group by exploiting personal power, pre-existing cleavages and minor ideological differences. In online discourse, another document describes how to use 'mirroring' of language cues, expressions and emotions, and the adjustment of speech, patterns and language to manipulate opinion.
Consider the words of former NSA employee turned whistleblower Russ Tice:
“They went after – and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things – they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the ... judicial.
But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. Heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court. I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials.
They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House – their own people. They went after antiwar groups. They went after ... U.S. companies that that do international business. They went after U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs ... like the Red Cross, people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few antiwar civil rights groups.
Don’t tell me that there’s no abuse, because I’ve had this stuff in my hand and looked at it. And in some cases, I literally was involved in the technology that was going after this stuff. And you know, when I said to [former MSNBC show host Keith] Olbermann, [that] my particular thing is high tech and you know, what’s going on is the other thing, which is the dragnet. The dragnet is what Mark Klein is talking about, the terrestrial dragnet. Well my specialty is outer space. I deal with satellites, and everything that goes in and out of space. I did my spying via space. So that’s how I found out about this... I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on.
Now here’s the big one. I haven’t given you any names. This was is summer of 2004. One of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated ... with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator from Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives right now, would you? It’s a big white house in Washington, DC. That’s who they went after. And that’s the president of the United States now.” – Russ Tice, NSA Whistleblower135
On March 5, 2014, it was revealed that the CIA, with the knowledge of Barack Obama, spied on members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the group tasked with overseeing clandestine agency activities and preventing abuses.136 The implications are complete subversion of oversight on domestic spying. Collectively, the evidence of the burgeoning security state under Barack Obama reveals a global information grid with real time access that targets both domestic citizens and lawmakers in addition to foreign people and governments.
101 Duncan Campbell, Investigative Journalist, “Echelon: World under watch, an introduction,” June 29, 2000
102 National Security Archives hosted document, “Farewell from Vice Admiral William O. Studeman to NSA Employees, April 8, 1992.”
103 Washington Post, “Bush Administration's Warrantless Wiretapping Program,” February 11, 2008
104 The history of Warrantless Wiretapping is laid out thoroughly at the Daily Kos Wikipedia. Each event on their timeline has a link to a primary document or an accurate source.
105 CNN, “Obama's surveillance vote spurs blogging backlash,” July 11, 2008
106 CNN, “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” June 10, 2013
107 New York Times, “Obama's wiretapping stand enrages many supporters,” June 2, 2008
108 RawStory, “Obama Administration Quietly expands the Bush Administration's Legal Defense of Wiretapping,” April 7, 2009
109 The Guardian, “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily,” June 6, 2013
110 The Guardian, “GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians' communications at G20 summits,” June 17, 2013
111 The Guardian, “NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts,” October 25, 2013
112 The Guardian, “GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications,” June 21, 2013
113 Der Spiegel, “Snowden Document: NSA Spied On Al Jazeera Communications,” August 31, 2013
114 Reuters, “U.S. spy agency bugged U.N. headquarters: Germany's Spiegel,” August 25, 2013
115 Der Spiegel, “'Follow the Money': NSA Spies on International Payments,” September 15, 2013
116 BBC, “Report: NSA 'collected 200m texts per day',” January 17, 2014
117 The Guardian, “XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet',” July 31, 2013
118 New York Times,”N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens,” September 28, 2013
119 Der Spiegel, “iSpy: How the NSA Accesses Smartphone Data,” September 9, 2013
120 Der Spiegel, “Photo Gallery: Spies in the Embassy,” October 27, 2013
121 The Independent, “GCHQ used 'Quantum Insert' technique to set up fake LinkedIn pages and spy on mobile phone giants,” November 10, 2013
122 Der Spiegel, "'Royal Concierge': GCHQ Monitors Diplomats' Hotel Bookings," November 17, 2013
123 New York Times, “No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A.,” November 2, 2013
124 Washington Post, “By cracking cellphone code, NSA has capacity for decoding private conversations,” December 13, 2013
125 New York Times, “N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers,” January 15, 2014
126 ArsTechnica, “Your USB cable, the spy: Inside the NSA’s catalog of surveillance magic,” December 31, 2013
127 New York Times, “Spies Infiltrate a Fantasy Realm of Online Games,” December 9, 2013
128 Der Spiegel, “Inside TAO: Documents Reveal Top NSA Hacking Unit,” December 29, 2013
129 Washington Post, “NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say,” October 30, 2013.
130 The Guardian, “Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security,” September 6, 2013
131 NBC, “Snowden Docs: British Spies Used Sex and 'Dirty Tricks',” February 7, 2014
132 The Guardian, “NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel,” September 11, 2013
133 Huffington Post, “Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit 'Radicalizers',” November 26, 2013
134 The Intercept, “How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations,” February 24, 2014
136 The Guardian, “Obama knew CIA secretly monitored intelligence committee, senator claims,” March 5, 2014
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It is another common misconception that during Republican presidencies we have periods of war, and during Democratic presidencies we have periods of peace. Of 'official' wars, it is certainly the case that the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq war were begun by George H.W. and George W. Bush. Though it is important to quantify 'official' because there has not been a true declaration of war since World War II. After all, Bill Clinton dropped bombs on no less than four sovereign countries: Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Sudan.
And Clinton was able to get away with maintaining one of the darkest stains on America's soiled history: the full-force economic sanctions against Iraq that began with the first Gulf war and ended after Saddam's fall in 2003. The sanctions killed 567,000 children according to the British Medical Societies Lancet.137 (Later studies have argued the number 350,000 children to be more accurate). The total number of deaths including adults is thought to be much higher. United Nations ambassador Madeline Albright, when asked about these numbers, coldly stated “The price is worth it.” This statement truly illuminates the attitude of those who set the agenda: Cold indifference to life on the grand chessboard of geopolitics.
Obama's first major act of war was a no-fly zone over Libya which resulted in the removal of Muammar Gaddafi. The media had a well orchestrated propaganda campaign that garnered significant public support.
His second major act of war was the arming of Syrian rebels, undoubtedly prolonging the horrific civil war. Some of the groups that form the opposition are terrorist organizations, which mirrors the policies of Carter and Reagan arming terrorist groups in Afghanistan under Operation Cyclone.138
But the true depths of Obama's war mongering resides in his constant and silent drone war. A policy that started under W. Bush, Obama has expanded the use of drones extensively. He has allowed the usage of Signature Strikes, whereby drone operators bomb people they do not know, based on movements they find suspicious.139
Worst of all is the policy of double tapping, bombing the same scene twice after rescuers have come to try and help their fellow citizens.140 Obama's drones have even bombed funerals.141 While the death toll of the drone war may not be as high as the conventional wars of the Bush family, the moral depravity certainly gives them a run for their money. The argument that drones are an alternative method to direct personnel involvement leaves out these cold facts.
It is important to note the presence of 'blowback': the concept that bombing funerals and responders to attacks will create a whole new generation of terrorists. It is almost a forbidden word in the mainstream media. For example, Ron Paul was ridiculed by pundits across the political spectrum on cable television when he insisted that blowback was a reality. While they deny it in public, many groups secretly relish the idea that their intangible enemy will only grow stronger while their profits grow larger. Drones are helping usher in the era of endless war.
Another aspect of Barack Obama's capacity to wage war lies in his secretive 'kill list', which is a collection of singled out individuals deemed to pose a threat to the United States and have been selected for targeted killing.142 The list is known to include American citizens such as Anwar Al Alwaki, raising serious questions regarding human rights and legality.143
137 The Nation, “A Hard Look at Iraq Sanctions,” November 15, 2001
138 ABC News, “U.S. Declares Syria Rebel Group Terrorists, Sending Message to Opposition,” December 12, 2012
139 New York Times, “The 'Signature Strikes' Program,” May 29, 2013
140 The Guardian, “US drone strikes target rescuers in Pakistan – and the west stays silent,” August 20, 2012
141 Salon, “U.S. Again Bombs Mourners,” June 4, 2012
142 The Guardian, “Obama's secret kill list – the disposition matrix,” July 14, 2013
143 New York Times, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” March 29, 2012
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Private Military and Intelligence Contractors
It has always been hard to tell exactly how many private contractors are employed by the Federal government, and how many of those are under the umbrella of the defense industry. It was under Reagan that the Pentagon's privatization agenda began, and it has continued ever since. An NYU study on the size of government shows that the use of private contractors increased under the Clinton administration by about 25%.144 It is known that Clinton hired KBR, at the time owned by Halliburton, to build military bases and support troops in Kosovo.145
It was under the administration of George W. Bush, with the Iraq war, when the use of private contractors skyrocketed. By 2008, the number of private contractors in use in Iraq was 155,000, more than the number of troops, a degree of privatization unprecedented in modern warfare.146 The public became acquainted with the likes of Blackwater under the Bush administration, with events such as the unprovoked massacres in Baghdad and Fallujah.147
During his campaign, Obama promised to cut federal spending on private contractors.148 It soon became clear, however, that much of the stimulus money would go straight to their pockets. His Afghanistan surge was primarily accomplished through contractors, which made up half of the military forces in the country by 2009.149 The total number of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan quickly reached 250,000.150 Security contractors (e.g. private military forces) increased by over 400% under Obama and represent a quarter of all contractors employed by the Pentagon.151
The most shocking use of contractors has only recently been revealed. It turns out that they represent a significant amount of the NSA workforce. 483,000 people are employed by private contractors that work with the NSA and have 'Top Secret' access.152
The potential for illicit spying and extortion represented by these numbers is so high as to reach certainty.
144 “Fact Sheet on the New True Size of Government,” NYU, Published for the Brookings Institution (PDF Warning)
145 Wikipedia article on KBR
146 The Christian Science Monitor, “A lesson from Iraq war: How to outsource war to private contractors,” March 19, 2013
147 USA Today, “What Exactly Happened That Day in Fallujah?” June 11, 2007
148 National Journal, “Cut Federal Contract Spending By At Least 10 Percent,” June 10, 2009 (If link fails, check here)
149 Talking Points Memo, “DOD: Obama's Afghan Surge Will Rely Heavily On Private Contractors,” December 15, 2009
150 CommonDreams, “Obama Has 250,000 'Contractors' in Iraq and Afghan Wars, Increases Number of Mercenaries,” June 1, 2009, written by Jeremy Scahill
151 Salon, “Obama resides over a private contractor boom,” February 24, 2004
152 Salon, “500,000 contractors can access NSA data hordes,” June 11, 2013
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The CIA has an official policy of 'rendition', where they send suspected terrorists to be interrogated in foreign countries, bypassing United States torture laws. The process was used extensively during George W. Bush's administration. But did you know that the process began under Clinton? This PBS Frontline report confirms that the rendition process began in 1995.153
In 2007, Obama wrote an article in the Foreign Affairs journal stating:
“To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people… This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law.”154
Yet the process of rendition has continued. The Washington Post has reported that the Obama administration has “embraced rendition” and has consistently resisted lawmakers efforts to reform the policy.155
153 PBS Frontline, “Rendition Timeline.”
154 Foreign Affairs, “Renewing American Leadership,” June 2007
155 Washington Post, “Renditions continue under Obama, despite due-process concerns,” January 1, 2013
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Under President Bill Clinton, a provision was added to the Defense Appropriations Bill that allowed the Pentagon to transfer unused military assets to local police departments around the country.156 The program continued through President Bush and has been expanding throughout the Obama presidency.
“[Fiscal Year] 11 has been a historic year for the program. We reutilized more than $500M, that is million with an M, worth of property in FY 11. This passes the previous mark by several hundred million dollars.” – Disposition Services157
The equipment gifted to police departments range from assault rifles and bayonets to massive vehicles such as the MRAP, which stands for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected, of which 500 municipalities received for free from the Department of Defense in 2013.158
There is also the troubling trend of the growth of asset forfeiture, the process by which, having granted itself the power to do so, the government seizes any cash, cars, property and more it can reasonably connect to a crime. This ability incentivizes sending out specialized, militarized police such as SWAT teams to serve drug warrants, as the teams themselves are expensive to maintain. This program started long before the Obama presidency, but recently it has swelled, with the Justice Department Forfeiture fund reaching $1.8 billion in 2011, with nearly half of a billion being returned to the local police departments that led the raid.159
156 Huffington Post, “7 Ways The Obama Administration Has Accelerated Police Militarization,” July 10, 2013
157 Disposition Services, “October 2011 Newsletter.” (PDF Warning)
158 Reason, “Police in Columbia, South Carolina and 499 Other Cities Get "Free" Tanks,” November 18, 2013
159 Huffington Post, “7 Ways The Obama Administration Has Accelerated Police Militarization,” July 10, 2013
* * * *
A key process in globalization involves removing national sovereignty in favor of trade agreements that favor the rights of corporations. Bill Clinton championed the NAFTA agreement, which among other issues superseded articles in the Mexican constitution, water rights in Canada, and allows corporations to sue nations when they are in violation of the trade act.160
Regardless of your opinion on NAFTA and other trade agreements, Obama has taken the concept of corporate power over national sovereignty to a whole new mind-blowing level with the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, a trade proposal that only recently became public knowledge when the documents were leaked (Check the footnote to read the whole document).161 Why the secrecy? The TPP agreement bestows radical new powers on corporations, including establishing an international tribunal that would override domestic law and would have the power to issue sanctions against governments for failing to abide by their ruling.
The TPP runs contrary to Obama's statement during his 2008 presidential campaign:
"We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications.”162
Congressman Alan Grayson summed it up nicely: “It's all about tying the hands of democratically elected governments, and shunting authority over to the non-elected for the benefit of multinational corporations. It's an assault on democratic government.”163
The TPP has what is called an 'investor-state dispute settlement mechanism' which allow companies and investors to sue governments for losses of profits due to the government's policies.164 The deliberations would be undertaken by an international group of corporate lawyers and threatens to overrule democracies and threaten our legal rights.
It is not an exaggeration to say that in many instances this agreement gives more power to corporations than governments.
160 Wikipedia article on NAFTA
161 TPP Document
162 (PDF Warning) 2008 DNCC Platform, available here.
163 Huffington Post, “Alan Grayson On Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama Secrecy Hides 'Assault On Democratic Government',” June 18, 2013.
164 Union Solidarity International, “TPP and TTIP: the corporate coup behind the acronyms,” November 18, 2013
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The One-Party State is the result of special interests, economic and military intelligence having gained a strong enough foothold in Washington to subvert the political process. The saying that power is in guns and money has never been truer. The corruption has been heavily and cleverly obfuscated behind a wall of relentless partisan rhetoric that magnify the small differences between presidential candidates.
Consider the major initiatives of the Obama presidency. His Affordable Care Act has been championed as a bastion of liberal reform, but in reality it is simply forcing Americans to purchase health plans from private corporations. His raising of the top tax bracket is proffered as proof of a liberal agenda, however the tax burden is still squarely on the middle class. In addition, the wealthiest Americans are virtually unaffected, as their wealth resides in assets and investments, not income. We are left with a platform that is nearly indistinguishable from his predecessors, from which Obama promised significant change.
When George Bush bombs a foreign country, liberals cry foul and protest in droves. When Obama does the same thing, the previous protestors often become supporters of the policy. The same phenomenon can be seen on the other side of the aisle. Conservatives are quick to criticize the expansion of programs under Democratic presidents, but stand silent while Reagan and the Bush family oversaw many of the largest expansions of the Federal government and budget in the history of the United States.
It should be clear after even a cursory inspection of the legacies of presidencies from the last 30 years that there is very little tangible differences between the two parties. The shockingly establishment-oriented agenda of Barack Obama ought to be waking up millions of people to this truth.
Can we work within the system to change the One Party State? How do we approach future elections knowing that there are no real alternatives to be found within the two parties? Even candidates with exceptionally favorable rhetoric cannot be trusted to translate their platform into actual policies.
It is possible to dismiss the previous two chapters as a result of 'market forces', that endless war and the One-Party state are the result of uncoordinated actors in a free market. Even if this was the case, the implications and subsequent need for reform would be tremendous. The result can accurately be described as the dirty 'F' word: Fascism. I understand that there will be a lot who disagree with this designation; I argue that the term has many different meanings and many prominent people have used it in different ways. If you feel that another term best describes the phenomenon, that is OK, ultimately it is not important what semantics we apply.
Fascism (or whichever term you prefer) is appropriate because the system has evolved into collusion between the military and economic entities to mutually ensure each others entrenchment. It has grown out of control, and perhaps no evidence is stronger than the fact that the media almost invariably refuses to indicate something might be wrong, as they have been enveloped by the system.
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Food for Thought:
1. What is responsible for the massive disconnect between lack of differences between presidential candidates and the vitriolic rhetoric in the media and on Capitol Hill?
2. Why has Barack Obama reversed his position on so much of his campaign platform?
3. What forces are the driving factors in the constant overseas military and economic hegemony?
4. Who is driving the creation of agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and where does the order of secrecy come from?
5. Which covert institutions could be influencing the policy of elected officials?
Note: The above essay is taken from Lifting the Veil by Timothy Silver and is available free online. This landmark book is the best, most reliable summary of all that is hidden going on in our world that we've ever seen. Take the time to read it in full and you will not be disappointed.
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