"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society." ~ John Adams
The War on Terror Is a War on Freedom
Contrary to George Bush's and Tony Blair's assertions - the war on terror is NOT about bringing freedom to the world. It "may" be about bringing democracy (although I doubt it) - but certainly not freedom.
In fact, the war on terror is a direct ATTACK on freedom.
Terrorism is as old as history. And just so we are all on the same page regards a definition of terrorism - what I mean by that word is the policy of achieving political ends by means of violence against non-combatants. In other words, a strategy of attacking innocent people in order to get what you want.
Every terrorist has a political agenda. It could be to get the British out of Northern Island; to get the Jews out of Palestine; or to get the Americans out of the Middle East. The world is littered with similar examples.
If you go out and shoot up 10 people, without any overt political agenda, then you are not a terrorist - but a mass murderer.
Terrorism is a strategy for achieving political ends.
Unlike nation states, which can achieve their political objectives by violence against other nation states (including killing non- combatants within those states) and call it "war" - terrorists have no state to sanction their violence. They are on their own.
Prior to 9-11, terrorism was part of the geopolitical landscape, a fact of everyday life. Hotspots of terrorism were everywhere, but people just got on with life as best they could. But when the USA was attacked, suddenly terrorism was on the main agenda, and the USA declared a war on it. They declared a war on a strategy - something unique in military history.
Other countries, Russia and China included, gleefully jumped aboard the "war on terrorism" bandwagon, seeing an opportunity for them to get tough on local malcontents - with the full support of the US.
I think it was Jesus who said, "Ye shall know a tree by its fruits" - or something like that. And so it is with this war on terrorism. You only have to look at the actual results to know what the war is really about.
It's about locking down your freedoms - permanently.
In the name of fighting this war, screeds of anti-freedom legislation have hit the streets running, with very little opposition.
And what's worse, the USA is not content to simply wage this war by itself, and enslave its own people in the process - but it is leaning on the whole world to follow suit. And it is.
Ultimately, it comes down to a deal like this - "We will make you secure from terrorists, if you allow us to set up the omnipotent, surveillance state." The hidden tradeoff is that you give away most of your freedom in exchange for a dubious security.
The name of the game is fear. Fear is used to silence opposition to this policy. Fear of being called a traitor. Fear of being nuked. Fear of dying a terrible death by a biological agent. Fear of having to jump out of tall buildings. Fear of the bogeyman.
Is all this fear justified? Is terrorism all it's cracked up to be? Do you really stand to lose YOUR life at the hands of a terrorist?
Personally, I think not. I believe I have more chance of dying in an automobile accident. At least, that's what I felt when driving by taxi around a major city in China recently!!
I have far more fear of statism than of terrorism. And I have history on my side: the millions of Chinese killed by the Japanese state, and the millions more killed by their own state; the millions of Jews killed by the German State; the millions of Russians killed by their own state; and of course, the millions killed in both World Wars - by all states concerned.
Death by terrorism is factually and statistically far less significant that death by statism.
Before 9-11, the dangers of terrorism were considered to be marginal enough not to have to reshape civil society. That all changed when the USA declared "war."
The event that changed the world, or at least provided a trigger for changing the world, was the huge, unexpected attack on the World Trade Center. If this attack had been in any other country, it's very likely that no war on terror would have been declared. But it wasn't, and it was.
Although I'm skeptical of various conspiracy theories, there are some things that really bother me about that event. And the thing that bothers me most is the fact that when it occurred, nobody put their hand up to claim responsibility. That's really odd, because in every other terrorist attack, the perpetrators are always keen to claim responsibility - because they want to further their political agenda by drawing attention to it. So keen, in fact, that you often get the situation where more than one terrorist group claims responsibility for the same attack - in order to gain street "cred," I suppose.
What's the point in destroying buildings in a spectacular way - in order to further your political aims and get what you want - if you don't stand up defiantly and say, "We did it!"
But that's what happened. Al Qaeda did not claim responsibility. Osama bin Laden did not put up his hand. Sure, since then he's stated his support for the attack - but at the time there was no such admission.
The other thing that bothers me about this event is the fact it was so ambitious, so huge, so well-planned - more than any other terrorist attack anywhere, anytime, before or since - that it is highly probable it was beyond the capabilities of Al Qaeda.
It actually smells of state complicity - a sort of "Reichstag Fire" event. The question is - what state? And that's where the conspiracy theories run short of proof.
We know, of course, that the USA immediately accused Osama bin Laden - and the rest is history.
War was declared - and the whole world was invited to be "either with us or against us." The nation states of world jumped into line.
In order to push the anti-freedom agenda of this war on terror, it was necessary to obliterate any real political reason behind the 9-11 attack. This was done by declaring that we were at war against those who "hate our freedoms." And so the war became one of so-called freedom lovers against the freedom "haters." Nice and simple - if you're simple enough to believe it.
But all terrorists have political objectives - and just "hating our freedoms" doesn't cut it.
From that moment on, it was downhill fast. The Patriot Act; the global crackdown on so-called "money laundering" - requiring new and onerous "know your customer" legislation; calls for national databases and ID cards; demands for trial without jury and imprisonment without trial; the setting up of extralegal prison camps and torture chambers; the persistent attack on constitutional rights - whether of the written variety (as in the USA) or the Common Law variety, as in the UK.
All this is being done in the name of "freedom and democracy" - shouted from the rooftops by the articulate and not-so-articulate leaders of the "free" world, and reported by a compliant and scared-shitless media.
It's a scam of the highest order.
I can assure you that none of your leaders is in the slightest bit interested in YOUR freedom - just your compliance with their wishes.
The cry of "Freedom and Democracy" is just a front for a much larger and more important geopolitical agenda.
Like a great Hollywood drama, the war on terror is being screened in living rooms world-wide - 24/7. It's also the soap opera of our times. "The Bold and the Thuggish" or "The Days of our Wretched Lives." Take your pick.
It would be funny if it wasn't for the fact that these bastards are actually getting away with it - for now.
Is there any hope of this deception and Orwell-speak crashing and burning? Yes, there is some hope - the possibility that facts might catch up with the perpetrators. But such well-deserved justice could be a long time coming. Or it might not.
I've been particularly interested in the recent displays of "people power" - as seen in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. I don't understand enough about the local political realities to know whether these "revolutions" are good or bad - or just a waste of time. But I do relish the implication that people can simply, when they've had enough, down tools and march on the seat of government power and scare their leaders away!
I like this idea a lot. In fact, I openly encourage it. And while our western leaders generally seem to be in favour of it also (as they believe they are moves to "democracy"), there could be a hidden warning in there for them also.
Such demonstrations of "people power" do serve to prove one essential truth - that those in power are only there as long as we allow them to be. It's called the consent of the governed.
So, watching various "governed" getting rid of their government has a certain attraction, and reminds us of the possibility of it happening at home - perhaps in your own country!
At some point, I'm hoping we in the developed world will wake up to the loss of our freedoms - point the finger at those who are responsible, and laugh them out of office. Okay, maybe the laughing won't work - but the majority of people simply saying "enough" and withdrawing active support would do it.
In the end, it comes down to this: Do you value your security more than your freedom? Would you willingly trade away your freedoms for security? Or, more to the point - would you swap the freedom to lead your life as you will for the security of a prison camp?
It's a sad fact that most people value security above freedom - and it also explains why our governments can trash long standing traditions and laws in their quest for total dominance - while most people stand idly by, or worse - cheering.
It is in this environment that standing up for your rights as a human being is so important. No, you are not expected to stand in front of a tank, or put yourself in harm's way by overtly challenging the state. Remember, they have the GUNS. But you can quietly and effectively increase your own freedom - in the face of such clampdowns - if you want it bad enough.
And the real fun starts when you say "enough!"