Sunday, September 30, 2007

Proof Of Controlled Demolition At The WTC

Proof Of Controlled Demolition At The WTC
by Jerry Russell, Ph.D.

Steel frame towers are built very strongly. They need to withstand the pressure of gale-force winds, the violent rocking motion of earthquakes, and the ravages of time. For this reason, they are almost impossible to destroy.

Airplane strikes do not destroy skyscrapers. A bomber strike to the Empire State Building during World War II did not harm that building. The World Trade Center towers were designed to survive a strike by a Boeing 707. The 767 is more massive, so the building was stressed near its design limits. But if a failure had occurred at that moment, it would have been at the point of highest levered stress, near the base of the tower, and the tower would have fallen over like a giant tree in a forest windstorm. That, of course, did not happen.

Fires do not destroy skyscrapers. Never in the history of steel frame structures has a single one been destroyed by fire.

How to destroy a skyscraper. So, how do you destroy a skyscraper? Suppose you need the vacant land to build another one, for example.

A nuclear bomb is very effective, but it can be difficult to get permits from the city.

An early invention was the wrecking ball. A huge lump of steel and lead is swung from a massive chain at high speed. With the benefit of momentum, it is able to bend or break a few girders at a time. But it would be a hopeless task to destroy a tower the size of the World Trade Center, using a wrecking ball.

The most effective, cleanest, safest way to destroy a skyscraper is known as controlled demolition. The trick is to distribute explosives at key points throughout the structure. The explosives are detonated simultaneously, destroying the integrity of the steel frame at key points, such that no part of the building is supported against the force of gravity. The entire mass is pulled swiftly to earth, where gravity does the work of pounding the structure into tiny fragments of steel and concrete. The gravitational potential energy of the structure is converted smoothly and uniformly into kinetic energy, and then is available very efficiently to pulverize the fragments of the building as they impact against the unyielding earth. Controlled demolitions have a striking and characteristic appearance of smooth, flowing collapse.

As your eyes will tell you, the World Trade Center collapses looked like controlled demolitions. Here's the proof.

The proof. According to the law of gravity, it is possible to calculate the time it takes for an object to fall a given distance. The equation is H=(1/2)at2, where H is the height, a is the acceleration of gravity (10 meters per second squared) and t is time in seconds. Plug in the height of the building at 1350 feet (411 meters) and we get 9 seconds. That is just about the length of time it took for the very top of the World Trade Center to fall to the street below. According to all reports, the whole thing was over in just about ten seconds.

It is as if the entire building were falling straight down through thin air. As if the entire solid structure below, the strong part which had not been burned or sliced or harmed in any significant way, just disappeared into nothingness. Yet this (within a small tolerance) is what we would expect to find if there had been a controlled demolition, because the explosions below really do leave the upper stories completely unsupported. Like the Road Runner after he runs off the edge of the cliff, the entire building pauses a moment, then goes straight down.

Any kind of viscous process or friction process should have slowed the whole thing down. Like dropping a lead ball into a vat of molasses, or dropping a feather into the air, gravitational acceleration cannot achieve its full effect if it is fighting any opposing force. In the case of the World Trade Center, the intact building below should have at least braked the fall of the upper stories. This did not happen. There was no measurable friction at all.

This proves controlled demolition.

We have been lied to. We have been lied to about this, at multiple levels. The first lie was that the load of fuel from the aircraft was the cause of structural failure. No kerosene fire can burn hot enough to melt steel. In point of fact, most of the fuel in the jets was contained in their wing tanks. The thin aluminum of the tanks was pierced or stripped as the airplanes penetrated the walls of the towers, and the result was the huge fireball which was seen on national TV, where most of this fuel was burned.

A hot, vigorous fire would have blown out many windows in the building and would have burned a red or white color. This was not what happened. The fire in the World Trade Center was an ordinary smoldering office fire.

But let's suppose that the fire was hot enough to melt steel. What would have happened in that case? Before it breaks, hot steel begins to bend. This redistributes the forces in the structure and puts elastic stress on those parts that are still cool. The process is asymmetric, so that the structure should visibly bend before breaking. But of course, no steel skyscraper has even bent over in a fire.

Let's suppose the structure were sufficiently weakened that it did fail catastrophically near the point of the airplane strike. In this case, the intact structure below would exert an upward force on the base of the upper story portion of the building (the part that has been broken loose), while any asymmetry would allow the force of gravity to work uninhibited on the tip of the skyscraper. Thus, the top section of the skyscraper would tip and fall sideways.

If it did not tip, it would have ground straight down through the building below. The gravitational potential energy of the upper stories would be coupled into the frame below, beginning to destroy it. The frame below would deflect elastically, absorbing energy in the process of deflecting. At weak points, the metal structure would break, but the elastic energy absorbed into the entire frame would not be available to do more destruction. Instead, it would be dissipated in vibration, acoustic noise and heat. Eventually this process would grind to a halt, because the gravitational potential energy of a skyscraper is nowhere near sufficient to destroy its own frame.

If the World Trade Center towers had been built entirely out of concrete, they might have stood for awhile before toppling in the wind. But in that case, if they had collapsed straight downwards, the energy required to pulverize the concrete would have slowed the downward progress of the upward stories. The gravitational potential energy of the World Trade Center was barely sufficient to convert its concrete into powder, and for that to happen in an accidental collapse would have been impossible, but would have taken a lot longer than 10 seconds in any case.

How it was done. The World Trade Center was leased by Westfield America and Larry Silverstein, on April 26th, 2001. Zim Israeli Shipping moved out of the buildings around that time. With a certain amount of shuffling of tenants from floor to floor, it should have been easy (with all the commotion and noise of remodeling) to plant explosives on several floors; enough for at least a sloppy kind of controlled demolition.

There was more "magic" at work on 9/11, to produce the effects that were seen on the TeeVee.

The events of 9/11, summarized. Taken all together, the evidence suggests very strongly that the attacks of 9/11 were fake terror, and quite possibly were a collaborative venture of the Israeli and US governments.

Student pilots from Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations were enrolled in flight schools in Venice, Florida and other locations. The flight school in Venice is linked to CIA drug running operations, according to one researcher.

A recently leaked document from the US Drug Enforcement Agency indicates that a number of Israeli intelligence operatives describing themselves as art students took up residences in close physical proximity to the Arabs as they moved about the country.

The Arab flight students boarded the flights on 9/11. Did they intend to hijack the airliners, and if so, for what purpose? Had the Israelis played in any way the role of agent provocateur in organizing whatever was planned? It seems reasonable to conjecture that the goals of these Arabs were opposed in some way to some US Middle Eastern policy. It would be very interesting to question the Israelis regarding their knowledge of the Arab flight students.

At any rate, if the Arab flight students had been ordinary hijackers, they might have taken the controls of the airplane, but their plot should have quickly been foiled for two reasons.

First of all, the Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft are probably equipped with remote-controlled flight computers for purposes of hijack recovery. This was stated by a British intelligence operative and was also suggested by a former German secretary of defense. The technology needed for such systems is well known, and its utility is obvious. If these systems had been operative on 9/11, then they should have been used to take control from the hijackers.

Secondly, the US air force has standard operating procedure to send jet fighters to intercept hijacked aircraft within minutes after they are reported. These fighters may be armed and are certainly very maneuverable, and an airliner cannot hope to match them.

For these reasons, the Arab hijackers' mission should have been an ignominious failure. These measures (as well as pre-9/11 airport security measures) have been effective enough that hijacking has rarely been a problem for many years now.

But on 9/11, the remote control systems were not used to bring the planes home, nor did fighters scramble to escort. Instead, the airplanes executed highly skilled aerobatic maneuvers (well beyond any known educational background of the Arab student pilots) and crashed into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. If the remote controls were used, who was operating them?

The World Trade Center towers are designed to withstand aircraft impact, which they did for about an hour. Then they collapsed directly to the ground, with remarkably little collateral damage to surrounding buildings, in a manner strikingly resembling the appearance of controlled demolitions. The US government claims that fire was responsible for the collapse, and this is certainly possible, but many reports have overstated the likely heat of the fire and the amount of fuel from the airplanes which was not consumed in the fireballs outside the towers.

If explosives had been planted in the World Trade Center towers, they could have been used to trigger the collapse of the towers. Building 7 was destroyed later in the afternoon. It was never hit by any airplane, so there is no known reason (besides explosives) for it to have collapsed into rubble. However, a cloud of dust was seen in the area of building 7 immediately before the collapse of the south tower, which has not been explained.

While the whole attack was going on (a period well over an hour) George W. Bush sat in a classroom and listened to a story about goats, and the US military did not respond to the first three attacks. A fourth flight was also "hijacked" that day, but it was apparently struck down by some sort of missile or bomb before crashing in Pennsylvania.

Within hours, a massive media campaign to blame the attacks on Arabs and specifically on Osama Bin Laden was begun, and this campaign has continued to the present day. Our traditional American form of government, unfortunately, may not survive -- the Patriot Act appears poised to supersede the Bill of Rights.

Given the many uncertainties about these events, it certainly seems that there should be more questions, more investigations, and more thoughtfulness about the responsibilities of the various parties involved. A little bit of logic will reveal that the Arabs alone could not have been solely responsible for the entire chain of events. It is equally unlikely that the Israelis could have pulled it off alone. Yet instead the US government is gathering up support for war against Middle Eastern nations, a tragic response to the enigmatic events of that day.

The author has a master's degree in Engineering from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon.

Here are links:

Justin Raimondo
Michael Rivero
Eric Hufschmid
Jared Israel
Mark Elsis

The Top Ten Greenest Cities

The Top Ten Greenest Cities
By Nicki Kipen
May 18, 2007

It's not easy being green -- for a city, that is. It's tough enough to simply keep up with the endless trash, traffic and pollution generated by urban life. To actually get the better of it with good public transportation, smart recycling programs and the kind of well-kept streets, parks and playgrounds that make cities fun and healthful places to live, that's the true challenge. So who measures up?

We've picked 10 places -- in no particular order -- that we think are doing a great job at putting residents first. That means they're obsessed with clean air and clean water, renewable energy, reliable city buses, trams, streetcars and subways, a growing number of parks and greenbelts, farmer's markets and, very important, opportunities for community involvement.

Portland, Oregon
Affordable and accessible, this city straddling the banks of the Willamette River has long made sustainable living a priority. More than 30 years ago, with other cities in a freeway-building frenzy, Portland broke ranks and tore down a six-lane expressway to make room for a waterfront park. Since then the city has set an urban growth boundary to protect 25 million acres of forest and farmland, started a solid-waste program that recycles more than half of the city's trash and erected more than 50 public buildings that meet tough standards set by the United States Green Building Council. One of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S., Portland's public transportation systems boasts a high rate of ridership. Add in one of the nation's largest city parks -- the aptly named Forest Park has 74 miles of running, biking and hiking trails -- and Portland's rep as the nation's greenest city makes sense.

Austin, Texas
Home to the first Whole Foods Market and more than 300 days of sunshine a year (and you thought this city was all about the music) Austin spreads out among 205 parks, 14 nature preserves, and 25 greenbelts. Talk about green. The city plans to meet 20 percent of its energy needs with renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2020. Factor in county laws protecting the region's natural watershed from development, a recycling center that dates back to 1970, a dozen outdoor farmer's markets, city buses that offer free rides on 'high ozone' days and an innovative "pay-as-you-throw" trash collection program that rewards residents for being less wasteful and Austin easily earns a spot on the Green List.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Named one of the top business districts in the nation for by the Environmental Protection Agency, Minneapolis is a commuter's paradise where more than 60 percent of downtown workers use public or alternative transportation to get to the office. Free parking for registered van and car pools, an extensive bike path and bike lane system and employer-sponsored showers and locker rooms not only add endorphins but make a significant dent into auto-based air pollution. On the way to work, commuters thread their way among scores of lakes and parks and ponds and greenbelts and more than 200,000 trees. With great drinking water, active community organizations and the Minnesota State Department of Commerce nudging businesses and residents to hook solar systems up to the city's grid, it doesn't take Mary Tyler Moore tossing her beret into the air to let you know this is a great place to live.

Boulder, Colorado
Being green has been a way of life in this small Rocky Mountain city ever since prescient city planners started preserving parkland in 1898. Today, with more than 42,000 acres of pristine land cushioning the city from urban sprawl, Boulder is a place where hiking trails, rock-climbing areas, picnic spots and fishing holes are within reach of every resident. But there's more to this city than just a pretty face. It's a place where more than 90 percent of residents recycle, where new water meters are not allowed above certain elevation, thus protecting ridgelines and peaks, and where, when recent federal tax cuts gutted city budgets, residents voted themselves a third sales-tax hike to raise $51 million to buy and protect even more open land.

Burlington, Vermont
In this small city on Lake Champlain, community pride and responsibility drive the urge to be green. More than one-third of all energy used in the city comes from renewable resources, an impressive statistic in chilly New England. Burlington laws don't allow the use of pesticides on public parks, land or waterways. Challenged by their local leaders to come up with environmental priorities and solutions to existing problems, residents formed an extensive network of citizen-based groups that take on everything from environmental programs to clean up toxic sites to watchdog groups to monitor pollution in Lake Champlain. With local agriculture a mainstay of the region, schools are switching to locally- and organically-grown foods. The idea of sustainability is becoming part of the school curriculum so, as Burlington's children grow and take their places in the community -- any community -- they can take a greener way of thinking along with them.

Madison, Wisconsin
Madison was the first city in the United States to offer curbside recycling (and one of the few with a university course on ice cream making), and its 15,000 acres of lakes and 6,000 acres of parkland give it great appeal. Drawn by the natural beauty, residents seem determined to help preserve it. The recycling program gets a whopping 97 percent participation, with 265 tons of material -- everything from broken washers to empty beer cans to grass clippings -- collected each week. A year-round farmer's market (held indoors in the frigid winter months) draws vendors and buyers from throughout the fertile region. As a result, organic and local-grown foods are a priority. This bike-friendly city with more than 100 miles of bike paths ranks high in air quality, no surprise in a place where there are three bikes for every car.

New York, New York
Surprise! Thanks to its storied (and widely used) public transportation, energy-efficient housing and good water quality, New York rates a place among the nation's green cities. Central Park makes it even greener. Considered a folly of epic proportions when its 843 swampy, muddy acres were set aside in the 1850s, Central Park is a wilderness within the urban core. More than 80 percent of NYC residents use public transportation, something that earns the city bragging rights. In fact, New Yorkers burn gasoline at the rate the U.S. did in the 1920s. The key to the city's low use of fossil fuels, pesticides and other energy sources is population density. Calculated by square foot, New York uses as much energy and produces as much solid waste as any city. Calculate by population, however, and the numbers shift. Per capita, New Yorkers use fewer resources and put less pressure on their surroundings than any other city of its size. So welcome to the Big Green Apple.

San Francisco, California
To the superlatives the City by the Bay has acquired over the decades -- steepest, foggiest, most expensive -- add greenest. With bus, subway and ferry services that reach throughout the Bay Area, avid bikers and devoted car poolers, San Francisco has a good track record for getting people out of their cars. In fact, more than half the city's residents use public or alternative transportation to get to work. With Golden Gate Park, the newly-decommissioned Presidio, beaches, extensive bike paths and access to the Pacific and the Bay, the city has an abundance of recreational options. Prevailing winds from the water help keep pollution at bay. The city is also a leader in green building, with more than 20 building projects registered for official green certification. And city residents are willing to tax themselves. Voters said yes to allowing the city to sell $100 million in revenue bonds to support renewable energy.

Santa Monica, California
Just 12 years ago, the environmental future of this seaside city looked unimpressive. Thanks to an active city council, which wrote and enacted the Sustainable City Plan, Santa Monica has turned green. Three of every four of the city's public works vehicles run on alternative fuel, making it among the largest such fleets in the country. All public buildings use renewable energy. In the last 15 years, the city has cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 10 percent, a feat in car-crazy Southern California. City officials and residents have made the ongoing cleanup of the Santa Monica Bay a priority -- an urban runoff facility catches 3.5 million gallons of water each week that would otherwise flow into the bay. Add in the miles of beaches, extensive curbside recycling, farmer's markets, community gardens, the city's nimble bus system and Santa Monica is clearly more than just another bathing beauty.

Chicago, Illinois
With open space, public transportation and a commitment to renewable and sustainable energy, Chicago has earned a spot on numerous 'greenest city' lists. The city has 42 green-certified building projects, with more to come. All of the city's nine museums and the Art Institute of Chicago have been converted to run partially on solar power. Close to one-third of all residents use public transportation to get to work. Among the city's energy goals, likely to be met, is buying 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources this year. City officials have voted to give tax incentives to homeowners who invest in Chicago's many historic homes and retrofit them with energy efficient heating and cooling systems, as well as water-saving plumbing. Water quality on the city's lakefront is rated as excellent by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a happy detail for all the swimmers, boaters and sun bathers along the shore in the summer. And you thought it was all about Oprah.

Reich, Little Rock and UFOs

Reich, Little Rock and UFOs
by Kenn Thomas

The Little Rock Nine, a group that integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in September 1957, observed its anniversary Tuesday even as the protests in Jena, Louisiana underscored continued racial strife in the US. But the plight of the Nine was not the only social oppression that America suffered in 1957--the UFO cover up was in full flower and UFO believers were handily marginalized and even prosecuted. The scientist Wilhelm Reich was thrown in jail in part for exploring human energy potential and therapeutic techniques not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but also in part because he was using the consequent cloudbuster technology to battle UFOs in the Tucson desert.

Reich had been condemned as a medical quack, his books had been burned and his "life energy" boxes, precursors to a type cannon called a cloudbuster that harnessed atmospheric energy, were destroyed. Reich had harmed no one and, indeed, had helped many with his understanding and manipulation of what he called the orgone. He witnessed several UFOs on his estate in Maine and used the orgone cloudbuster guns to cause them to go away. He did the same on a famous trip to the desert southwest that he documented in his last book, Contact With Space. By his own estimation, he fought the first battle against space intruders, and won. The FDA, of course, never truly followed Reich's scientific protocols on either orgone boxes or cloudbuster guns, and convicted Reich only on technical violation of its injunction to stop distributing orgone boxes.

Authorities threw Reich in a prison cell in Lewisberg, PA from which he did not emerge alive. In memos to the prison chaplain before his death, however, Reich continued to write passionately about the social situation in the US. His note from September 1957 even includes reference to the disturbance at Little Rock Central High School. He emphasized the very psychological and emotional undercurrents he felt were being ignored in the broader social arena of conspiratorial 1950s America, what prevented many from seeing the space ships he saw in abundance:

"I am merely fulfilling my public duties as a U. S. citizen and worker in planetary affairs if I continue to point out where the true danger to our social and personal existence is placed: its is Emotional Poisoning: disruption through sowing distrust throughout our society, doping and drugging of our population, espec. our YOUTH; draining us financially through areas [...]race, a camouflage of the true menace, the Emotional Poisoning a la Little Rock racial upheavals; keeping our high placed officials at bay through fear of sexual scandals [Clinton!--kt], railroading efficient men and women into prisons or lunatic asylums through [?] up there environments; subverting justice by whispered little lies & frightening or using judges. Doing all this destruction unnoticed as it were by all those responsible. It was clear from the very beginning that [?] and now lyrics were subverted by such use of stupidities & evasions on our part [rock'n'roll!--kt], especially by the staid reluctance to talk bluntly and take the bull by the horns. The bull is really no more tan a few slimy tape worms eating away at our emotional guts. It is high time to start giving social power to the established functions of Love, Work & Learning as bastions against the tapeworms."

The prison memo form includes this banal and perhaps prescient statement: "Your failure to specifically state your problem may result in no action being taken." Reich's imprisonment was in part the end result of mis-reporting on him that appeared in the New Republic under the editorial leadership of a now-confessed communist spy named Michael Straight in a book entitled, After Long Silence. New Republic made its own pronouncement about Little Rock in its July 7, 1958 edition, complaining about the Supreme Court's failure to stop legal challenges that were slowing down the integration process. The Supreme Court, opined New Republic, "must stand the ground they themselves have assumed, or the grand experiment they inaugurated will end in bitter farce, with consequences for the state of the union that stagger the mind."

Clearly the magazine had a better view of the possible consequences of Supreme Court actions than it did on its own. The consequences of Reich's work with UFOs and otherwise, on the other hand, and the implications of the study of character structure on the understanding of race issues has continued over the years. Writing in a chapter called "Racism and Slavery" in The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Company, 1972), my old friend historian George Rawick notes the impact of "that great underground classic of modern thought, Wilhelm Reich, Character Analysis, 3d ed. rev., first published in German in 1933, and its less well-known but significant companion, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, first published in German in 1933. While I cannot subscribe to all of Reich's system, this chapter could not have been written without his monumental attempt to relate Marx and Freud which loosened the ideological armoring of Western rationalism for me and many others." Although Reich never stated it explicitly, clearly he saw that same armoring as the block that keeps so many from accepting the realities of the UFO issue.

Kenn Thomas' new book, The Conspiracy Files, as well as the new issue of Steamshovel Press, is available through his website,

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Charles Fort: Dogma be Damned by Skylaire Alfvegren; Southern California, Cult Mecca, by Adam Gorightly; Parapolitics in Popular Culture: The Prisoner by Kenn Thomas; Notes on Conspiracy Theories, by Jim Keith; Correspondence with Jim Keith; Freeplay Excerpted by Len Bracken; Short Shrift: Beatnix and Comix by Kenn Thomas; Caries, Cabals & Correspondence with X. Sharks DeSpot; Robert Anton Wilson RIP; The O’Reilly Factor In The JFK Assassination by Bill Kelly; Dark Matters by James Romberger.

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The Conspiracy Files: Evidence Behind the World’s Most Notorious Theories reviews current and historical mysteries, clearly setting out the main players involved in each story and providing detailed background information. This unique gathering of the hard facts works to spell out the sometimes preposterous, yet always fascinating, connections between the different theories. PDF only, $20 (via disk, or supply e-mail address)


Join Steamshovel Press editor Kenn Thomas as he tracks parapolitics—aka conspiracy theory—in the 21st Century. Thomas has traveled and lectured about conspiracies throughout America for the past decade, appearing in the major media as the sharpest critic of the consensus view of current affairs. From the Kennedy assassination to 9/11, Thomas examines the underlying parapolitics that animate the secret elites and the war ravaged planet they manipulate. Parapolitics collects Thomas' lecture remarks, interviews, correspondence and articles printed in the underground press from around the world. PDF only, $20 (via disk or supply e-mail address)

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Kenn Thomas at Conspiracy Con, San Jose, CA, May 2007

Moving beyond the confines of 9/11, Thomas reviews the current parapolitics around the globe, starting with the assassination-by-polonium-poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, through the Valerie Plame spy scandal, to the remaining mysteries of the Trade Towers' destruction. "Parapolitics is activity that happens alongside the normal politics people read in the papers and see on TV, not instead of it," explains Thomas. "It's not just a matter of saying that the media just lies and that the Bush baddies are responsible--although gawd (sic) knows that's true. But, we ignore the conspiracies that exist in the wider world, such as global jihad and the assassination that culminated with Litvinenko, at our peril." This lecture will put these other global conspiracies in the context of what's happening in America. Part of the lecture will also include a tribute to his friend, the late author of Illuminatus!, Robert Anton Wilson, including rare video. 1 hour DVD, $10

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On the web:

Transcript to "Bin Laden" Video

Robalini's Note: So "Osama bin Laden" has morphed into a Chomsky-quoting critic of korporate America? Oddly, "Osama" (who looks quite different from the authentic Osama we've seen in the past) could easily have gotten this published in The Nation or Mother Jones if he was a progressive activist. Which is perhaps the point of this hoax: to link "Al Qaeda" (a term he had not used in the past) with critics of the Bush Team.

This is almost too transparently bogus...

Transcript to Bin Laden Video

"All praise is due to Allah, who built the heavens and earth in justice, and created man as a favor and grace from Him. And from His ways is that the days rotate between the people, and from His Law is retaliation in kind: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed. And all praise is due to Allah, who awakened His slaves' desire for the Garden, and all of them will enter it except those who refuse. And whoever obeys Him alone in all of his affairs will enter the Garden, and whoever disobeys Him will have refused."

"As for what comes after: Peace be upon he who follows the Guidance. People of America: I shall be speaking to you on important topics which concern you, so lend me your ears. I begin by discussing the war which is between us and some of its repercussions for us and you."

"To preface, I say: despite America being the greatest economic power and possessing the most powerful and up-to-date military arsenal as well; and despite it spending on this war and is army more than the entire world spends on its armies; and despite it being the being the major state influencing the policies of the world, as if it has a monopoly on the unjust right of veto; despite all of this, 19 young men were able - by the grace of Allah, the Most High- to change the direction of its compass. And in fact, the subject of the Mujahideen has become an inseparable part of the speech of your leader, and the effects and signs of that are not hidden."

"Since the 11th, many of America's policies have come under the influence of the Mujahideen, and that is by the grace of Allah, the Most High. And as a result, the people discovered the truth about it, its reputation worsened, its prestige was broken globally and it was bled dry economically, even if our interests overlap with the interests of the major corporations and also with those of the neoconservatives, despite the differing intentions."

"And for your information media, during the first years of the war, lost its credibility and manifested itself as a tool of the colonialist empires, and its condition has often been worse than the condition of the media of the dictatorial regimes which march in the caravan of the single leader."

"Then Bush talks about his working with al-Maliki and his government to spread freedom in Iraq but he in fact is working with the leaders of one sect against another sect, in the belief that this will quickly decide the war in his favor."

"And thus, what is called the civil war came into being and matters worsened at his hands before getting out of his control and him becoming like the one who plows and sows the sea: he harvests nothing but failure."

"So these are some of the results of the freedom about whose spreading he is talking to you. And then the backtracking of Bush on his insistence on not giving the United Nations expanded jurisdiction in Iraq is an implicit admission of his loss and defeat there. "

"And among the most important items contained in Bush’s speeches since the events of the 11th is that the Americans have no option but to continue the war. This tone is in fact an echoing of the words of neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Richard Pearle, the latter having said previously that the Americans have no choice in front of them other than to continue the war or face a holocaust."

"I say, refuting this unjust statement, that the morality and culture of the holocaust is your culture, not our culture. In fact, burning living beings is forbidden in our religion, even if they be small like the ant, so what of man?! The holocaust of the Jews was carried out by your brethren in the middle of Europe, but had it been closer to our countries, most of the Jews would have been saved by taking refuge with us. And my proof for that is in what your brothers, the Spanish, did when they set up the horrible courts of the Inquisition to try Muslims and Jews, when the Jews only found safe shelter by taking refuge in our countries. And that is why the Jewish community in Morocco today is one of the largest communities in the world. They are alive with us and we have not incinerated them, but we are a people who don't sleep under oppression and reject humiliation and disgrace, and we take revenge on the people of tyranny and aggression, and the blood of the Muslims will not be spilled with impunity, and the morrow is nigh for he who awaits."

"Also, your Christian brothers have been living among us for 14 centuries: in Egypt alone, there are millions of Christians whom we have not incinerated and shall not incinerate. But the fact is, there is a continuing and biased campaign being waged against us for a long time now by your politicians and many of your writers by way of your media, especially Hollywood, for the purpose of misrepresenting Islam and its adherents to drive you away from the true religion. The genocide of peoples and their holocausts took place at your hands: only a few specimens of Red Indians were spared, and just a few days ago, the Japanese observed the 62nd anniversary of the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by your nuclear weapons."

"And among the things which catch the eye of the one who considers the repercussions of your unjust war against Iraq is the failure of your democratic system, despite it raising of the slogans of justice, liberty, equality and humanitarianism. It has not only failed to achieve these things, it has actually destroyed these and other concepts with its weapons - especially in Iraq and Afghanistan- in a brazen fashion, to replace them with fear, destruction, killing, hunger, illness, displacement and more than a million orphans in Baghdad alone, not to mention hundreds of thousands of widows. Americans statistics speak of the killing of more than 650,000 of the people of Iraq as a result of the war and its repercussions."

"People of America: the world is following your news in regards to your invasion of Iraq, for people have recently come to know that, after several years of the tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven't made a move worth mentioning. On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there, which has led to the vast majority of you being afflicted with disappointment."

"And here is the gist of the matter, so one should pause, think and reflect: why have the Democrats failed to stop this war, despite them being the majority?"

"I will come back to reply to this question after raising another question, which is:"

"Why are the leaders of the White House keen to start wars and wage them around the world, and make use of every possible opportunity through which they can reach this purpose, occasionally even creating justifications based on deception and blatant lies, as you saw Iraq?"

"In the Vietnam War, the leaders of the White House claimed at the time that it was a necessary and crucial war, and during it, Rumsfeld and his aides murdered two million villagers. And when Kennedy took over the presidency and deviated from the general line of policy drawn up for the White House and wanted to stop this unjust war, that angered the owners of the major corporations who were benefiting from its continuation."

"And so Kennedy was killed, and al-Qaida wasn’t present at that time, but rather, those corporations were the primary beneficiary from his killing. And the war continued after that for approximately one decade. But after it became clear to you that it was an unjust and unnecessary war, you made one of your greatest mistakes, in that you neither brought to account nor punished those who waged this war, not even the most violent of its murderers, Rumsfeld. And even more incredible than that is that Bush picked him as secretary of defense in his first term after picking Cheney as his vice president, Powell as secretary of state and Armitage as Powell's deputy, despite their horrific and blood history of murdering humans. So that was clear signal that his administration - the administration of the generals- didn't have as its main concern the serving of humanity, but rather, was interested in bringing about new massacres. Yet in spite of that, you permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you - with your full knowledge and consent- to continue to murder our people in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"Then you claim to be innocent! This innocence of yours is like my innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11th - were I to claim such a thing. But it is impossible for me to humor any of you in the arrogance and indifference you show for the lives of humans outside America, or for me to humor your leaders in their lying, as the entire world knows they have the lion's share of that. These morals aren't our morals. What I want to emphasize here is that not taking past war criminals to account led to them repeating that crime of killing humanity without right and waging this unjust war in Mesopotamia, and as a result, here are the oppressed ones today continuing to take their right from you."

"This war was entirely unnecessary, as testified to by your own reports. And among the most capable of those from your own side who speak to you on this topic and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war, but the leader of Texas doesn't like those who give advice. The entire world came out in unprecedented demonstrations to warn against waging the war and describe its true nature in eloquent terms like "no to spilling red blood for black oil," yet he paid them no heed. It is time for humankind to know that talk of the rights of man and freedom are lies produced by the White House and its allies in Europe to deceive humans, take control of their destinies and subjugate them. "

"So in answer to the question about the causes of the Democrats' failure to stop the war, I say: they are the same reasons which led to the failure of former president Kennedy to stop the Vietnam war. Those with real power and influence are those with the most capital. And since the democratic system permits major corporations to back candidates, be they presidential or congressional, there shouldn't be any cause for astonishment - and there isn't any- in the Democrats' failure to stop the war. And you're the ones who have the saying which goes, "Money talks." And I tell you: after the failure of your representatives in the Democratic Party to implement your desire to stop the war, you can still carry anti-war placards and spread out in the streets of major cities, then go back to your homes, but that will be of no use and will lead to the prolonging of the war."

"However, there are two solutions for stopping it. The first is from our side, and it is to continue to escalate the killing and fighting against you. This is our duty, and our brothers are carrying it out, and I ask Allah to grant them resolve and victory. And the second solution is from your side. It has now become clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system and how it plays with the interests of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations."

"And with that, it has become clear to all that they are the real tyrannical terrorists. In fact, the life of all of mankind is in danger because of the global warming resulting to a large degree from the emissions of the factories of the major corporations, yet despite that, the representative of these corporations in the White House insists on not observing the Kyoto accord, with the knowledge that the statistic speaks of the death and displacement of the millions of human beings because of that, especially in Africa. This greatest of plagues and most dangerous of threats to the lives of humans is taking place in an accelerating fashion as the world is being dominated by the democratic system, which confirms its massive failure to protect humans and their interests from the greed and avarice of the major corporations and their representatives."

"And despite this brazen attack on the people, the leaders of the West - especially Bush, Blair, Sarkozy and Brown- still talk about freedom and human rights with a flagrant disregard for the intellects of human beings. So is there a form of terrorism stronger, clearer and more dangerous than this? This is why I tell you: as you liberated yourselves before from the slavery of monks, kings, and feudalism, you should liberate yourselves from the deception, shackles and attrition of the capitalist system."

"If you were to ponder it well, you would find that in the end, it is a system harsher and fiercer than your systems in the Middle Ages. The capitalist system seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of "globalization" in order to protect democracy."

"And Iraq and Afghanistan and their tragedies; and the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgages; global warming and its woes; and the abject poverty and tragic hunger in Africa: all of this is but one side of the grim face of this global system."

"So it is imperative that you free yourselves from all of that and search for an alternative, upright methodology in which it is not the business of any class of humanity to lay down its own laws to its own advantage at the expense of the other classes as is the case with you, since the essence of man-made positive laws is that they serve the interests of those with the capital and thus make the rich richer and the poor poorer."

"The infallible methodology is the methodology of Allah, the Most High, who created the heavens and earth and created the Creation and is the Most Kind and All-Informed and the Knower of the souls of His slaves and the methodology that best suits them."

"You believe with absolute certainty that you believe in Allah, and you are full of conviction of this belief, so much so that you have written this belief of yours on your dollar."

"But the truth is that you are mistake in this belief of yours. The impartial judge knows that belief in Allah requires straightness in the following of His methodology, and accordingly, total obedience must be to the orders and prohibitions of Allah Alone in all aspects of life."

"So how about you when you associate others with Him in your beliefs and separate state from religion, then claim that you are believers?!"

"What you have done is clear loss and manifest polytheism, And I will give you a parable of polytheism, as parables summarize and clarify speech."

"I tell you: its parable is the parable of a man who owns a shop and hires a worker and tells him, "Sell and give me the money," but he makes sales and give the money to someone other than the owner. So who of you would approve of that?"

"You believe that Allah is your Lord and your Creator and the Creator of this earth and that it is His property, then you work on His earth and property without His orders and without obeying Him, and you legislate in contradiction to His Law and methodology."

"This work of yours is the greatest form of polytheism and is rebellion against obedience to Allah with which the believer becomes an unbeliever, even if he obeys Allah in some of His other orders. Allah, the Most High, sent down His orders in His Sacred Books like the Torah and Evangel and sent with them the Messengers (Allah's prayers and peace be upon them) as bearers of good news to the people."

"And everyone who believes in them and complies with them is a believer from the people of the Garden. Then when the men of knowledge altered the words of Allah, the Most High, and sold them for a paltry price, as the rabbis did with the Torah and the monks with the Evangel, Allah sent down His final Book, the magnificent Quran, and safeguarded it from being added to or subtracted from by the hands of men, and in it is a complete methodology for the lives of all people."

"And our holding firm to this magnificent Book is the secret of our strength and winning of the war against you despite the fewness of our numbers and materiel. And if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing of your war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard."

"Don't be turned away from Islam by the terrible situation of the Muslims today, for our rulers in general abandoned Islam many decades ago, but our forefathers were the leaders and pioneers of the world for many centuries, when they held firmly to Islam."

"And before concluding, I tell you: there has been an increase in the thinkers who study events and happenings, and on the basis of their study, they have declared the approach of the collapse of the American Empire."

"Among them is the European thinker who anticipated the fall of the Soviet Union, which indeed fell. And it would benefit you to read what he wrote about what comes after the empire in regard to the United States of America. I also want to bring your attention that among the greatest reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union was their being afflicted with their leader Brezhnev, who was overtaken by pride and arrogance and refused to look at the facts on the ground. From the first year of the Afghanistan invasion, reports indicated that the Russians were losing the war, but he refused to acknowledge this, lest it go down in his personal history as a defeat, even though refusal to acknowledge defeat not only doesn't do anything to change the facts for thinking people, but also exacerbates the problem and increases the losses. And how similar is your position today to their position approximately two decades ago. The mistakes of Brezhnev are being repeated by Bush, who - when asked about the date of his withdrawing of forces from Iraq - said in effect that the withdrawal will not be during his reign, but rather, during the reign of the one who succeeds him. And the significance of these words is not hidden."

"And here I say: it would benefit you to listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying - with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs - the price for these sorts of irresponsible statements. Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms and invites them to join him there for a few days. Perhaps his message will find in you an attentive ear so you can rescue him and more than 150,000 of your sons there who are tasting the two bitterest things: "

"If they leave their barracks, the mines devour them, and if they refuse to leave, rulings are passed against them. Thus, the only options left in front of them are to commit suicide or cry, both of which are from the severest of afflictions. So is there anything more men can do after crying and killing themselves to make you respond to them? They are doing that out of the severity of the humiliation, fear and terror which they are suffering. It is severer than what the slaves used to suffer at your hands centuries ago, and it is as if some of them have gone from one slavery to another slavery more severe and harmful, even if it be in the fancy dress of the Defense Department's financial enticements."

"So do you feel the greatness of their sufferings?"

"To conclude, I invite you to embrace Islam, for the greatest mistake one can make in this world and one which is uncorrectable is to die while not surrendering to Allah, the Most High, in all aspects of one's life - ie., to die outside of Islam. And Islam means gain for you in this first life and the next, final life. The true religion is a mercy for people in their lives, filling their hearts with serenity and calm."

T"here is a message for you in the Mujahideen: the entire world is in pursuit of them, yet their hearts, by the grace of Allah, are satisfied and tranquil. The true religion also puts peoples' lives in order with its laws; protects their needs and interests; refines their morals; protects them from evils; and guarantees for them entrance into Paradise in the hereafter through their obedience to Allah and sincere worship of Him Alone."

"And it will also achieve your desire to stop the war as a consequence, because as soon as the warmongering owners of the major corporations realize that you have lost confidence in your democratic system and begun to search for an alternative, and that this alternative is Islam, they will run after you to please you and achieve what you want to steer you away from Islam. So your true compliance with Islam will deprive them of the opportunity to defraud the peoples and take their money under numerous pretexts, like arms deals and so on. "

"There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling only 2.5%. So beware of the deception of those with the capital. And with your earnest reading about Islam from its pristine sources, you will arrive at an important truth, which is that the religion of all of the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them) is one, and that its essence is submission to the orders of Allah Alone in all aspects of life, even if their Shari'ahs [Laws] differ."

"And did you know that the name of the Prophet of Allah Jesus and his mother (peace and blessings of Allah be on them both) are mentioned in the Noble Quran dozens of times, and that in the Quran there is a chapter whose name is "Maryam," i.e. Mary, daughter of 'Imran and mother of Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both)? It tells the story of her becoming pregnant with the Prophet of Allah Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both), and in its confirmation of her chastity and purity, in contrast to the fabrications of the Jews against her. Whoever wishes to find that out for himself must listen to the verse of this magnificent chapter: one of the just kings of the Christians - the Negus - listened to some of its verses and his eyes welled up with tears and he said something which should be reflected on for a long time by those sincere in their search for the truth."

"He said, "verily, this and what Jesus brought come from one lantern": i.e., that the magnificent Quran and the Evangel are both from Allah, the Most High; and every just and intelligent one of you who reflects on the Quran will definitely arrive at this truth. It also must be noted that Allah has preserved the Quran from the alterations of men. And reading in order to become acquainted with Islam only requires a little effort, and those of you who are guided will profit greatly. And peace be upon he who follows the Guidance."

The meaning of that Kerry fracas In Florida

The meaning of that Kerry fracas In Florida
By Paul Craig Roberts
Online Journal Guest Writer
Sep 19, 2007

Naïve Americans who think they live in a free society should watch this video filmed by students at a John Kerry speech September 17, Constitution Day, at the University of Florida in Gainesville:

At the conclusion of Kerry’s speech, Andrew Meyer, a 21-year old journalism student was selected by Senator Kerry to ask a question. Meyer held up a copy of BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast’s book, Armed Madhouse, and asked if Kerry was aware that Palast’s investigations determined that Kerry had actually won the election. Why, Meyer asked, had Kerry conceded the election so quickly when there were so many obvious examples of vote fraud? Why, Meyer, went on to ask, was Kerry refusing to consider Bush’s impeachment when Bush was about to initiate another act of military aggression, this time against Iran?

At this point the public’s protectors -- the police -- decided that Meyer had said too much. They grabbed Meyer and began dragging him off. Meyer said repeatedly, "I have done nothing wrong," which under our laws he had not. He threatened no one and assaulted no one.

But the police decided that Meyer, an American citizen, had no right to free speech and no constitutional protection. They threw him to the floor and Tasered him right in front of Senator Kerry and the large student audience, who captured on video the unquestionable act of police brutality. Meyer was carted off and jailed on a phony charge of “disrupting a public event."

The question we should all ask is why did a United States senator just stand there while Gestapo goons violated the constitutional rights of a student participating in a public event, brutalized him in full view of everyone, and then took him off to jail on phony charges?

Kerry’s meekness not only in the face of electoral fraud, not only in the face of Bush’s wars that are crimes under the Nuremberg standard, but also in the face of police goons trampling the constitutional rights of American citizens makes it completely clear that he was not fit to be president, and he is not fit to be a US senator.

Usually when police violate constitutional rights and commit acts of police brutality they do it when they believe no one is watching, not in front of a large audience. Clearly, the police have become more audacious in their abuse of rights and citizens. What explains the new fearlessness of police to violate rights and brutalize citizens without cause?

The answer is that police, most of whom have authoritarian personalities, have seen that constitutional rights are no longer protected. President Bush does not protect our constitutional rights. Neither does Vice President Cheney, nor the attorney general, nor the US Congress. Just as Kerry allowed Meyer’s rights to be Tasered out of him, Congress has enabled Bush to strip people, including American citizens, of constitutional protection and incarcerate them without presenting evidence.

How long before Kerry himself or some other senator will be dragged from his podium and Tasered?

The Bush Republicans with complicit Democrats have essentially brought government accountability to an end in the US. The US government has 80,000 people, including ordinary American citizens, on its "no-fly list." No one knows why they are on the list, and no one on the list can find out how to get off it. An unaccountable act by the Bush administration put them there.

Airport Security harasses and abuses people who do not fit any known definition of terrorist. Nalini Ghuman, a British-born citizen and music professor at Mills College in California was met on her return from a trip to England by armed guards at the airplane door and escorted away. A Gestapo goon squad tore up her US visa, defaced her British passport, body searched her, and told her she could leave immediately for England or be sent to a detention center.

Professor Ghuman, an Oxford University graduate with a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, says she feels like the character in Kafka’s book, The Trial. "I don’t know why it’s happened, what I’m accused of. There’s no opportunity to defend myself. One is just completely powerless." Over one year later there is still no answer. [Music Scholar Barred From U.S., but No One Will Tell Her Why, By Nina Bernstein, New York Times, September 17, 2007]

The Bush Republicans and their Democratic toadies have, in the name of "security," made all of us powerless. While Senator John Kerry and his Democratic colleagues stand silently, the Bush administration has stolen our country from us and turned us into subjects.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.

Media, Democrats silent on police attack

Media, Democrats silent on police attack on University of Florida student
By Barry Grey
20 September 2007

Two days after Andrew Meyer, a 21-year-old journalism student at the University of Florida, was assaulted by campus police and given an electric shock for asking critical questions of Massachusetts senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry at a public forum, the US media has largely dropped the story.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the US and around the world have accessed various videos of the incident that are posted on the Internet, but the establishment media has decided to downplay the violent attack on free speech at a major American university.

After being dragged from the floor microphone by six police officers, handcuffed and shocked with a Taser gun, Meyer was held overnight in jail. The arresting police have recommended that he be charged with violently resisting arrest, a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and disturbing the peace and interfering with school administrative functions, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail. As of this writing, formal charges have not been laid against the student.

Meyer was released from jail Tuesday morning. His lawyer said he will plead not guilty on all charges, adding, “I think the videotape speaks for itself.”

On Tuesday, some 300 students demonstrated at the Gainesville, Florida campus to denounce the police attack and demand that the officers involved be disciplined and the use of Tasers be banned.

At a press conference, University of Florida President Bernie Machen said he “regretted” the incident, but went on to suggest that the police action may have been justified. “We’re absolutely committed to having a safe environment for our faculty and our students so that a free exchange of ideas can occur,” he said. Later he told the press he thought it was “an open question as to whether or not the student impeded civil discourse.”

Two of the officers have been placed on paid administrative leave and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it would launch an investigation. Machen also announced the formation of a student-faculty commission to investigate the incident.

Scattered press report on Wednesday, generally confined to the inside pages, for the most part portrayed Meyer as a disruptive publicity hound. He was referred to variously as a “heckler,” “agitator” and “prankster.” Typical was a Washington Post article headlined “Aiming to Agitate, Florida Student Got a Shock”

“This was not Meyer’s first escapade as a provocateur, but it may be his most physically punishing,” the reporter quipped.

Meyer is, in fact, well known on campus as an opponent of the Bush administration and the Iraq war. He runs a web site that combines efforts at satire and humor with denunciations of the war and the role of the media in promoting it.

The videos of his attempts to question Kerry, who spoke at an event sponsored by the Student Government Monday night, and the actions of campus police in cutting him off and dragging him from the hall, suggest that he may have been targeted in advance. The videos show that as soon as Meyer walked to the floor microphone, and was given permission by Kerry to ask questions even though the organizers had announced that the question-and-answer period was over, two police officers were already standing directly and menacingly behind him.

In an interview given Tuesday, Kerry said, “His first words were, ‘Senator Kerry, they’re trying to arrest me.’”

Meyer proceeded to ask Kerry why he had not challenged the disputed results of the 2004 presidential election, why he refused to call for the impeachment of Bush, and whether he had been a member, along with Bush, of Yale University’s secret Skull and Bones society.

At that point the microphone was cut off and the police immediately seized Meyer, who began shouting, “What did I do?” “Why am I being arrested?... Help!” After six officers had dragged the flailing and protesting student to the floor at the back of the hall and handcuffed him, they took out a Taser, prompting Meyer to plead, “Don’t Tase me!” This was followed be screams of pain from the electric shock.

The World Socialist Web Site on Wednesday spoke with Asia Johnson, an advertising major at the University of Florida, who witnessed the assault. Johnson, who said she was within five feet of the microphone when Meyer was attacked, told the WSWS, “Andrew was being handled by the police as he tried to get the mike. Kerry said he should be allowed to ask his question. As soon as the mike was turned off, the police pounced on him.

“They didn’t give him much of a chance to walk out. Three police dragged him up the aisle. He shouted, ‘Don’t Tase me,’ and I screamed, ‘Don’t Tase him!’ But they did. It was very scary.”

At no point did Kerry intervene to demand that the police halt their attack on Meyer. On Tuesday, he refused to denounce the police violence, telling the Associated Press, “Whatever happened, the police had a reason, had made their decision that there was something they needed to do. Then it’s a law enforcement issue, not mine.”

The web site of Taser International, Inc. boasts that “Taser weapons fire 50,000 volts up to 15 feet with more stopping power than a .357 Magnum.” According to Wikipedia, “Electroshock weapon technology uses a temporary high-voltage low-current electrical discharge to override the body’s muscle-triggering mechanisms. The recipient feels great pain, and can be momentarily paralyzed while an electric current is being applied... The resulting ‘shock’ is caused by muscles twitching uncontrollably, appearing as muscle spasms.”

This, plus a possible jail sentence, is the penalty for asking pointed questions at a public forum held on a university campus. And not a single prominent politician has issued a protest, least of all members of the Democratic Party.

This event says a great deal about the state of American democracy. It speaks to the immense nervousness and fear within the entire political establishment over the growth of popular opposition, especially among young people, to its policies of militarism and social reaction.

Both parties of big business are increasingly discredited, isolated and insulated from the broad mass of the people. Bush and Cheney speak only before military audiences or those thoroughly vetted to weed out any hint of opposition. As for leading Democrats such as Kerry, they dare not venture onto college campuses without a hefty police guard prepared to silence all expressions of opposition.

The population, with the support of both establishment parties and the media, is being conditioned to accept the militarization of all aspects of public life.

If what transpired Monday night is the response to some questions raised by one person at a public forum, what is being prepared in the event of mass protests and social and political struggles? The obvious answer is mass repression and state violence.

The police assault on Meyer raises a series of questions. Since when have the police become the arbiters of what constitutes permissible speech? In the incident report released by the University of Florida police, Officer Nicole Mallo writes that Meyer began “badgering” Kerry and “yelling as loud as he could as to sensationalize his presence.”

Even were this description accurate, which the videotapes refute, since when does such behavior constitute a crime?

Under whose instructions were the police acting? What were the ostensible security issues that necessitated a heavy police presence and, in particular, the attempt to prevent Meyer from speaking from the minute he came to the microphone?

Have he and other known opponents of the war and the Bush administration been singled out by university authorities, and, if so, at whose urging?

Is there a connection between this outrageous attack on free speech and the vast network of data bases being assembled by government authorities, compiled by means of illegal spying and other police state measure instituted in the name of the “war on terror?”

These questions can be answered only by means of a genuinely independent investigation carried out by students and faculty. More fundamentally, the escalating assault on democratic rights can be countered only through a break with the two parties of war and social reaction and the development of an independent political movement of working people and youth.

The media and John Kerry's disgusting display

The media and John Kerry's disgusting display
By Bev Conover
Online Journal Editor & Publisher
Sep 20, 2007

Imagine you attend a town hall talk by a US senator. A question and answer session follows. You line up behind the other questioners. Before your turn comes, the session is suddenly declared over and the microphone is turned off.

That is what happened to University of Florida journalism student Andrew Meyer, 21, Monday -- Constitution Day, yet -- when he sought to put his questions to guest speaker Senator John Kerry.

Meyer verbally protested, which anyone would do. Kerry had the microphone turned back on. Meyer, holding up a copy of Greg Palast's book, Armed Madhouse, recommended the book to Kerry. Kerry said he had read it. Then when Meyer asked Kerry why he had not contested the stolen 2004 election, his microphone was turned off again to shouts of only one question per person. That was Meyer's first question. Meyer shouted back that Kerry had had two hours, so he surely was entitled to two minutes. Kerry agreed to answer his questions. With the microphone still turned off, Meyer asked Kerry why he had not sought George W. Bush's impeachment. That's when the campus police stormed him.

With Meyer protesting the cops' actions -- which now apparently constitutes "resisting arrest," worse since he was still holding the book over his head, "resisting arrest with violence" -- Meyer was wrestled to the floor and held down by six cops as he was Tased, then hauled off to the Alachua County jail where he spent the night.

What did John Kerry do while all this was happening within his plain sight? He stood there barely audibly saying, "That's all right, let me answer his question" and later, in a statement, denied he knew what was going on: "I believe I could have handled the situation without interruption, but I do not know what warnings or other exchanges transpired between the young man and the police prior to his barging to the front of the line and their intervention."

Whether Meyer barged "to the front of the line" is questionable. The first report of the incident did not have him "barging to the front of the line." And, even if he did, since the question and answer session was cut off before Meyer and any others got to ask their questions, so what if he demanded for himself, and possibly others, his constitutional right to be heard?

We're talking about the First Amendment right to free speech, not assaulting and Tasing a person because someone doesn't like what he is saying. Back in the days when reporters weren't all whores for their corporate masters and the powers that be, they were aggressive in questioning the politicians they were covering.

But free speech rights don't cut it with today's corporate media, in whose class we now have to put Air America's Rachel Maddow. Instead, it's questions about Meyer's background that has become the story.

To wit, Travis Reed of the Associated Press wrote that Meyer is a "university student with a history of taping his own practical jokes," as if that has any relation to the incident.

As if that weren't bad enough, Reed further wrote, as if to paint Meyer as a lunatic and a pervert, "Meyer has his own Web site and it contains several 'comedy' videos that he appears in. In one, he stands in a street with a sign that says 'Harry Dies' after the latest Harry Potter book was released. In another, he acts like a drunk while trying to pick up a woman in a bar.

"The site also has what is called a 'disorganized diatribe' attributed to Meyer that criticizes the Iraq war, the news media for not covering the conflict enough and the American public for paying too much attention to celebrity news."

Now it's the victim's motives and not the cops' brutality that is being questioned. Even the Times of London got in on that act. Wrote the Times, "Critics have suggested that the entire incident was a planned attempt to win attention for a student who has already posted dozens of videos of himself on his website"

Hey, he's a college student for crissakes! This is utter nonsense and beside the point.

Anything to misdirect the focus away from another violation of free speech rights and the vicious behavior of law enforcers (remember when they were called "peace officers?").

Rachel Maddow, on Tuesday night's Countdown on MSNBC, also showed her hand by questioning whether Meyer's behavior was a stunt to gain attention, while expressing her support for police and brushing off First Amendment rights.

The worst, though, was the Bush family's favorite newspaper, The Washington Post. In her article, Aiming to Agitate, Florida Student Got a Shock, Post writer Monica Hesse wrote, "This was not Meyer's first escapade as a provocateur, but it may be his most physically punishing. As a freshman his weekly columns for the Alligator, the campus newspaper, regularly prompted debate. 'He would take an idea such as a fundraiser for cancer research, and would bash the way the whole event would go down,' wrote Meyer's friend Brandon Crone in an e-mail, noting that some of Meyer's articles were rejected for publication because of their incendiary material.

Only halfway down the article did Hesse interview people who know Meyer and denied what he did was a publicity stunt.

Imagine if the civil rights movement were underway today. There would be no photos, film or videos of cops attacking protestors with clubs, dogs or fire hoses. No media outrage over three civil rights workers being brutally murdered in Mississippi or the bombing of churches and homes that killed innocent adults and children because they were black. Martin Luther King, Jr., would be dismissed as some kind of "conspiracy nut." There would be little coverage of the march on Selma or the Mall in Washington packed by those who came to hear King's "I have a dream" speech. Instead reporters would be asking, "What are they protesting about?"

Unlike the Vietnam War era, the only coverage of today's antiwar protests is negative. Rarely is anything shown of cops brutalizing protestors, who often are herded into "Free Speech Zones," and when it is covered, it's usually disruption caused by those clad in black government infiltrators the media call "anarchists." (Remember Seattle and Miami?) No peacenik in her right mind today would dream of sticking a flower in the barrel of an AK47 carried by a cop dressed as Darth Vader, without risking being shot.

Bush has decreed and the corporate media have abided by the decider-in-chief's edict that no body tubes containing dead soldiers being brought home be photographed. As for the 1.2 million Iraqis killed in Bush's war, the 4 million or more displaced or forced to flee their homeland and the countless thousands wounded or maimed, the Decider says, "Fuhgeddaboutem."

Protest and dissent is out. Hard questions are a no-no. People are harassed, patted down and even body searched at airports -- i.e., if they aren't among the thousands on the no-fly list without explanation or a way of getting off it. People are kicked off plains for speaking a foreign language. Backpacks are banned at public events. Spectators can't carry bottles of water into sporting events. People are disappearing, without recourse to lawyers or courts, into Bush's gulags on suspicion of being terrorists.

Music scholar Nalini Ghuman, a British citizen who has legally taught at Mills College in Oakland, Calif. for 10 years, had her visa torn up, passport defaced, her luggage and person searched by Customs officers, without explanation, upon returning from a trip to the UK on August 6, 2006. Then she was given the choice of boarding the next flight back to the UK or being locked up in a detention facility. To this day, the State Department has offered no explanation and, so far, has not responded to her application for a new visa. Ghuman is not alone in this treatment.

How much more of this are people going to take and still say America is a free society?

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps,,2064157,00.html

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps
From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all
Tuesday April 24, 2007
The Guardian

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.

Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."

Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of world Jewry", on myth.

It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

2. Create a gulag

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.

At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.

This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.

With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.

Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can't investigate adequately.

But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.

By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

3. Develop a thug caste

When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution

Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.

Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.

In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

5. Harass citizens' groups

The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.

Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the opposition.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.

In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist Watch list".

"Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that," asked the airline employee.

"I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution."

"That'll do it," the man said.

Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of "enemy of the people" tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.

James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.

Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.

It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can't get off.

7. Target key individuals

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.

Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.

Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.

8. Control the press

Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.

Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy - a form of retaliation that ended her career.

Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC's Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.

Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.

You won't have a shutdown of news in modern America - it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it's not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can't tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

9. Dissent equals treason

Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason" drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.

Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death", according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.

In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were "enemies of the people". National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy "November traitors".

And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.

Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantánamo's, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)

We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" is a status offence - it is not even something you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model - you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a spokeswoman of the CCR.

Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.

10. Suspend the rule of law

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."

Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.

Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.

It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: "dogs go on with their doggy life ... How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster."

As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the "what ifs".

What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack - say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani - because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.

What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.

Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us - staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody's help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.

We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now.

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.

· Naomi Wolf's The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be published by Chelsea Green in September.