NEWS YOU WON'T FIND ON CNN

The Bush Plan for America

The Rise of an American National Security State 

By Jennifer Van Bergen 

14 December 2003 : (IMC) My dictionary defines fascism as “a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.” Americans may not realize it yet, but the United States under Bush is already more than three-quarters of the way down the road to fascism.[1] 

This is no conspiracy theory, no leftist complaint, no bleeding-heart sentiment. The facts are all there, but Americans do not yet see this ominous truth. There are many reasons for this blindness, but one that is usually not considered is that the evidence is scattered and merged with the general barrage of daily occurrences. We are both over-stimulated with random news and under-exposed to thoughtful content. But the evidence is there and it is growing rapidly and alarmingly. It can be found (albeit surely not exclusively) in a bird’s-eye view of numerous disparate but grand components: the enactment of the PATRIOT Act, the detentions at Guantanamo, the invasion of Iraq, the withdrawal from the International Criminal Court, the endorsement and promotion of the FTAA, the two prosecutions of Greenpeace and Lynne Stewart, the erosion and eradication of environmental protections, and a general policy of secrecy. Included within this array are the doctrine of preventive war, avoidance and violation of international laws, the policies of indefinite detentions of suspect aliens and so-called “unlawful enemy combatants.” 

Behind all these is one large, looming idea: global domination. 

The PATRIOT Act 

The real purpose of the PATRIOT Act can be construed by its result. It gives tremendous powers to central authorities, undermines civil liberties, and enables suppression of opposition. 

The PATRIOT Act is a mainstay of government oppressive power. The Act authorizes and codifies a near-absolute and permanent invasion of American’s private lives, sets vast precedents in immigration law for nigh completely dissolving constitutional and/or international human rights, thereby setting the stage for the dissolution of these laws and principles, and of the rule of law itself, and finally erects a massive law enforcement apparatus that can be and has been used against immigrant and citizen alike, domestically and around the world.[2] 

The importance of the PATRIOT Act to the goals of this Administration was made clear by the Attorney General’s speaking tour to defend it. It is also apparent in the DOJ’s repeated efforts to obtain court decisions under the PATRIOT Act that eviscerate individual rights in order to take more executive power, often forcing prosecutors to make arguments that would in other contexts have gotten them laughed out of court.[3] 

Moreover, General Frank’s recent remark that another major terrorist attack on Americans would likely cause “our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country”[4] indicates, if nothing more, a willingness in high levels of this Administration to consider, if not promote, martial law as a viable path. This conclusion is supported by the Guantanamo situation and the invasion of Iraq. Such a public official willingness to overthrow the Constitution is unprecedented in American history. 

Guantanamo 

Guantanamo establishes two important principles for the Bush Regime: (1) the right to detain any foreign national without evidence, due process, or right to counsel, and (2) the absence of accountability or judicial review. These principles are also established by the indefinite detention provisions in the Patriot Act (affecting immigrants) and by the “unlawful enemy combatant” designations outside of Gitmo (affecting citizens), which fall under no law. The DOJ actively argues for both principles in its legal briefs and oral arguments.[5] 

Guantanamo also establishes the precedent of the American government’s “right” to ignore the Geneva Conventions and other international instruments, such as the International Convention Against Torture. Geneva requires a status determination before a competent tribunal for every captured combatant. Claims of the use of torture at Gitmo have emerged.[6] The justification for the use of physical or psychological torture follows easily after the denial of legal process to accused person. 

Iraq 

The invasion of Iraq established the doctrine of preventive war: the idea that the U.S. can unilaterally attack another sovereign nation to prevent or neutralize a potential future threat. This is quite different from the doctrine of preemptive war, which is sanctioned by international law, that recognizes that attack “is justified by an imminent threat of attack, a clear and present danger that the country in question is about to attack you.”[7] 

If you combine the precedents set by the PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo, and Iraq, you need little more proof of a U.S. coup, not just in the United States, but worldwide. Although the Administration has declared this coup in the name of freedom, compassionate conservatism, national security and the war on terrorism, the main features of it are the contrary: dissolution of the rule of law, arbitrary arrests and detentions, violations and abuses of human rights and dignity, disregard for the sovereignty of other nations and even for the most basic principles of widely accepted international norms. 

These conclusions will not surprise those who have closely followed the covert “interventions” of previous administrations or the history of covert American projects on its own citizens.[8] 

However, these disparate components of U.S. foreign and domestic policy are generally viewed piecemeal by media and average Americans. Special interest groups and citizens focus on their own special interests. Yet, there are several other clear indicators of the Bush Regime’s goals. 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) 

The Bush Administration withdrew from the ICC when the other signatories refused to guarantee immunity from prosecution for U.S. soldiers and/or operatives. Removing accountability is a big goal of the Bush Regime. 

The Free Trade of Americas Agreement (FTAA) 

The purports to embrace the idea of free trade between nations. In fact, what it does is promote corporate plundering of communities and natural resources and remove environmental and human rights protections. 

Recent police actions in Miami, decried even by the relatively conservative Miami Herald, illustrate the underlying goals of both the PATRIOT Act and the FTAA.[9] Far from promoting local agriculture or business, appropriate local development and use of natural resources, or aiding local communities with funds or jobs, the FTAA Ministerial meeting in Miami resulted in the trampling of First and Fourth Amendment rights of thousands of demonstrators, media personnel, and legal observers. Chief Timoney happily noted that his police actions set the precedent for homeland security. The federal involvement in police training, which began six months before the meetings and demonstrations, illustrate the extent to which the preemption of local law enforcement, hinted at by the PATRIOT Act, has already occurred. 

The Prosecution of Greenpeace 

Recently, the DOJ announced it was indicting Greenpeace under an obscure federal law that appears to have been used only twice since its enactment. The 1872 law criminalizes “sailor-mongering” or the luring of sailors with liquor and prostitutes from their ships – obviously not the sort of actions in which Greenpeace engages. 

If the DOJ is successful, Greenpeace will be forced to “give a government employee access to its offices and membership and donor records” and to “regularly report its actions to the government.”[10] 

Significantly, Greenpeace was the first group to demonstrate against Bush in Texas after his inauguration. 

The prosecution of Greenpeace pulls together several elements in common with other items in the Bush agenda: it targets an environmental/activist group, it goes after and into the group’s records, and it represses First Amendment expressions that oppose the U.S. government or its corporate interests. 

The demand for unlimited access to records mirrors terrorist provisions in the PATRIOT Act. The targeting of activists also mirrors the uses of the PATRIOT Act. The targeting of environmentalists is similar to the dilution or eradication of environmental protections. The repression of First Amendment activities is found in the repression of FTAA demonstrations, as well as in some provisions of the PATRIOT Act. 

Thus, it is difficult to view these components as random coincidences. Rather, the prosecution of Greenpeace joins distinct ideas and tactics that the Bush Administration has used elsewhere in bits and pieces. The joining of these tactics in this prosecution clarifies the Administration’s underlying purpose in them separately: control, suppression, and eradication of opposition. 

The Prosecution of Lynne Stewart 

The prosecution of New York attorney Lynne Stewart, on the other hand, is a carefully focused targeting of the criminal defense bar. While the case involves the use of electronic surveillance and invasion of Stewart’s law practice, more importantly the case targets the fundamental 6th Amendment right to counsel, the sacrosanct attorney-client privilege, and attorney ethics that require attorneys to maintain attorney-client confidentiality and zealously represent the client. Indeed, the prosecution threatens the very existence of the criminal defense bar, a result made most clear by the outcry of numerous attorney organizations. 

Stewart was originally charged with material support of a designated foreign terrorist organization and, when that failed, was subsequently re-indicted for material support of terrorists.[11] The crux of the case was summed up by Judge Koeltl, who dismissed the original material support charges against Stewart. Koeltl stated that the prosecution “fails to explain how a lawyer, acting as an agent of her client … could avoid being subject to criminal prosecution.”[12] 

The purpose of the Administration can thus be reasonably inferred in the same manner that courts determine intent: one is considered to intend the foreseeable results of one’s actions. The DOJ clearly has no qualms about failing to distinguish between a lawyer, acting as an agent of her client, and a criminal. The result of such a prosecution is to scare criminal defense lawyers off of terrorist cases.[13] Criminal defense lawyers are the last line of defense from government abuses of constitutional rights. Without the defense bar, democracy falls. 

Environmental Laws 

According to a recent article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in Rolling Stone Magazine, “Bush is sabotaging the laws that have protected America's environment for more than thirty years.”[14] Kennedy writes that “the Bush administration has initiated more than 200 major rollbacks of America's environmental laws, weakening the protection of our country's air, water, public lands and wildlife.” 

Kennedy connects Bush’s environmental policies with a wider, global picture. He writes that “the deadly addiction to fossil fuels that White House policies encourage has squandered our treasury, entangled us in foreign wars, diminished our international prestige, made us a target for terrorist attacks and increased our reliance on petty Middle Eastern dictators who despise democracy and are hated by their own people.” 
As with the Patriot Act, the purpose of Bush’s energy policies can be seen from the results. The invasion of Afghanistan opened a corridor for construction of a gas pipeline between Turkmenistan and Pakistan. The invasion of Iraq put business opportunities into the hands of Cheney’s Haliburton and other big companies. Rollbacks of domestic environmental laws give Bush’s corporate constituents greater profits. Invasions of oil-rich countries (or, as with Afghanistan, poor corridor countries) do the same. 

Derrick Grimmer, a scientist with a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics who has worked exclusively in the solar energy field since 1975, comments: “Terror politics is the method being used to gain control over energy resources, but that energy is essential to powering the military machines of that empire. Take away that physical substrate, the petroleum, and the terror machinery grinds to a halt.”[15] 

Secrecy 

The Bush Administration has fostered and promoted secrecy from the outset, with Cheney’s refusal to turn over to courts minutes of his energy task force, in the sequestering of and lack of information about the Guantanamo detainees and the unlawful enemy combatants, as well as the thousands of aliens detained under the PATRIOT Act. The Creppy Memo, issued by Immigration Chief Creppy, closed “special interest” immigration cases to the public. Libraries and bookstores are required to turn over customer usage and purchase information to the FBI upon request and are not allowed to tell anyone. The list goes on and on. Secrecy is the watchword of the Bush Administration. 

“Democracy dies behind closed doors,” said Judge Keith of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He continued: “The First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people's right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully and accurately ... When government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation.” [16] 

The picture, then, is not hard to piece together: disregard for civil rights and liberties and domestic and international laws, blatant grabs for power (again, both domestically and globally), exploitation and destruction of natural resources and communities, and the wielding of an ever-increasing police and military machinery to suppress dissent. 

These are not new ideas. However, the canvas of this coup is so large, so comprehensive that we ordinary folks get mired in the over-abundant bits and pieces or disoriented by its grandiosity. An American coup, an American military dictatorship, an American fascist empire must seem improbable to people who hardly have sufficient power in their lives to ensure a secure roof over their heads and who have long viewed the United States as a benevolent force. 

However, if there is any doubt, our officials have spoken clearly themselves. 

The Plan for Global Dominance 

In October 2002, Harper’s Magazine published a brilliant article written by David Armstrong, an investigative reporter for the National Security News Service. The article was titled, Dick Cheney’s Song of America: Drafting a Plan for Global Dominance.[17] Armstrong noted that according to Rumsfeld, the purpose of “the Plan” was “preventing the emergence of rival powers.” 

Cheney’s Plan for Global Dominance was originally rolled out in 1992 and according to Armstrong, “it met with bad reviews.” Cheney “unconvincingly, tried to distance himself” from that early version of the Plan, but nonetheless continued in “unwavering adherence” to it over the years. Colin Powell contributed to the Plan with his doctrine of U.S. military “forward presence” around the world, and Rumsfeld added his “unilateralist, maximum-force approach.” 

Also included in the Cheney Plan was the doctrine of so-called “preemptive military force” which in fact includes “punishing” aggressors “through a variety of means,” whenever the U.S. feels the need, as well as a “U.S.-led system of collective security” that “implicitly precluded the need for rearmament of any kind by countries such as Germany and Japan.” This resulted in what Delaware Senator Joseph Biden called a “Pax Americana” plan, in which “a global security system” would be erected “where threats to stability are suppressed or destroyed by U.S. military power.” 

The Republican view is that “America comes first.”[18] While this view purports to eschew “globalism,” it simply replaces cooperative multilateralism with American unilateralism in the global context. Ultimately, it is an exceedingly dangerous doctrine. As Armstrong points out, “[w]e … once denounced those who tried to rule the world.” This agenda embraces what the country once rejected as “barbarous and unworthy of a civilized nation” and pursues “the very thing for which we opposed” the “Evil Empire,” the Soviet Union. 

But “[t]he Bush Administration and its loyal opposition seem not to grasp that the quests for dominance generate backlash.” We reap what we sow. Nonrenewable resources such as gas and oil – the generators of the current American Empire – will not last forever. Those who would attain absolute power over others must live in eternal fear of losing it. 


[1] For some reason, images of “the burning bush,” and the phrase “scorched earth” come to mind. 
[2] Chuck Michaels writes: “With each USAPA Title building upon the other and linking together an entire federal investigative, surveillance, intelligence and law enforcement apparatus, a disturbing amount of unchecked power is now place in the Executive Branch. What is even more disturbing is that these … provisions are permanent.” C. William Michaels, No Greater Threat: America After September 11 and the Rise of the National Security State” (Algora Publishing, 2002), p. 129. 
[3] Southern District of New York Judge Koeltl wrote: “When asked at oral argument how to distinguish being a member of an organization from being a quasiemployee, the Government initially responded “You know it when you see it.” While such a standard was once an acceptable way for a Supreme Court Justice to identify obscenity, it is an insufficient guide by which a person can predict the legality of that person’s conduct. Moreover, the Government continued to provide an evolving definition of ‘personnel’ to the Court following oral argument on this motion.” U.S. v. Sattar, et al., http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/terrorism/ussattar72203opn.pdf. The court declared the PATRIOT Act provision in question unconstitutional-as-applied and dismissed the charges. The government has since brought a superseding indictment renewing the charges under a companion provision of the Act. 
[4] John O. Edwards, “Gen. Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack,” http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/11/20/185048.shtml. 
[5] See, for example, William Glaberson, “Judges Question Detention of American,” www.nytimes.com/2003/11/18/national/18BOMB.html. 
[6] “Claims of torture in Guantanamo Bay,” www.abc.net.au/am/content/2003/s962052.htm; “Top UK judge slams Camp Delta,” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3238624.stm. 
[7] Alan Bock, “Preventive or Preemptive War?” http://www.antiwar.com/bock/b091002.html. 
[8] See William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (Common Courage Press, 1995) and Colin A. Ross, M.D., Bluebird: Deliberate Creation of Multiple Personality by Psychiatrists (Manitou Communications, 2000). 
[9] Essay by Mary Economopoulos, Nov. 26, 2003, compiling FTAA articles, in my possession. 
[10] Catherine Wilson, “Greenpeace Challenges Prosecution in Mahogany Case,” http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031212/APN/312120837, and Jonathan Turley, “Ashcroft’s actions suggest selective prosecution,” http://www.arbiteronline.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2003/10/23/3f975cfbe901e. 
[11] See Mark Hamblett, “New Charges Lodged Against Lynne Stewart,” http://biz.yahoo.com/law/031120/8a39732f3bbb07d825b0d20405da746b_1.html. 
[12] U.S. v. Sattar, et al., http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/terrorism/ussattar72203opn.pdf. 
[13] See also, “Guantanamo lawyer quits after threat,” http://www.msnbc.com/news/1001354.asp. 
[14] Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “Crimes Against Nature,” http://www.rollingstone.com/features/nationalaffairs/featuregen.asp?pid=2154. 
[15] Widely-posted email from Grimmer, dated 11/27/03, commenting on Michael Ruppert’s recent article “The Kennedys, Physical Evidence, and 9/11,” http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/112603_kennedy.html. Grimmer is a member of the Scientific Panel Investigating Nine Eleven, or S.P.I.N.E. See http://physics911.org/net/index.php. 
[16] “Democracy Dies Behind Closed Doors: Throwing Out the Bush Secret Courts,” http://whiteplainscnr.com/article752.html. 
[17] David Armstrong, Dick Cheney’s Song of America: Drafting a Plan for Global Dominance, http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/American_Empire/Cheney's_Song_America.html. All unattributed quotes in this section are to this article. 
[18] Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) speaking in support of the “Republican Contract with America” of 1994, quoted in Pat Towell, “House Votes to Sharply Rein in U.S. Peacekeeping Expenses,” Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report (Feb. 18, 1995), p. 535. 

e-mail:: jvb000@earthlink.net

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