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international tribunals, charged with crimes against humanity?

It's no mystery about the silence and collusion, if not the adora-tion, of other
governments and their leaders. It takes buying out only a few men with sleek jet fighters
or tons of wheat, canceled debts, the World Bank, the IMF; they've been intimidated,
threatened, extorted, bribed, had their egos massaged, their nationalism patronized and
had membership in the exclusive private clubs of NATO, the World Trade Organization
and the European Union dangled before them. Only the occasional oddball Fidel
Castro'type does not shy away from being shunned by respectable international high

But what keeps the vast majority of humanity, including the countless victims, from
rising up in protest, spewing gross scorn and skepticism, if not bullets?

Being enamored of the United States”a former colony that made good, with its
wondrous New World promise of a new life”goes well back into the nineteenth century,
and reached new heights with the victory over fascism in the Second World War, then
higher yet with America's science-fiction technical wizardry, epitomized by walking on
the moon. Soviet Cold-War propaganda made scarcely a dent. Nor did Cold-War truths.
Or any truths.

For decades after the close of the Second World War, Western visitors to the Soviet
Union and Eastern Europe regularly brought back tales from their professional
counterparts as well as the man in the street”the citizens refused to believe that there
was homelessness in America or that there was no national health insurance; they were
convinced that that was simply communist propaganda. They believed that in the US and
Britain, government decisions were never made secretly, and that if a politician told a
single lie he would be removed from office, citing Nixon as an example..."We sometimes
get copies of the Daily Mail [the London tabloid] from your embassy”it is good to read
unbiased world news."1...After the close of the Cold War, the chief of the Soviet general
staff told the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff how impressed he was that enlisted
people in the US military were not afraid to speak out and were not intimidated by their

Over the years, a number of Third-World leaders, under immi-nent military and/or
political threat by the United States, have made appeals to Washington officials, even to
the president in person, under the apparently hopeful belief that it was all a
misunderstand-ing, that America was not really intent upon crushing them and their
movements for social change. Amongst others, the Guatemalan foreign minister in 1954,
Cheddi Jagan of British Guiana in 1961 and Maurice Bishop of Grenada in 1983 all made
their appeals.3 All were crushed. As recently as 1994, we have the case of the leader of
the Zapatista rebels in Mexico, Subcommander Marcos. "Marcos said," it was reported,
"he expects the United States to support the Zapatistas once US intelligence agencies are
convinced the movement is not influenced by Cubans or Russians." "Finally," Marcos
said, "they are going to conclude that this is a Mexican problem, with just and true

With all due respect to the considerable courage of Senor Marcos, one must seriously
question his degree of contact with history, reality and gringos. For many years, the
United States has been providing the Mexican military with all the training and tools
needed to kill Marcos' followers and, most likely, before long, Marcos himself.

When US bombs fell on Serbia in the spring of 1999, many Serbians expressed their
shock and amazement that America” beloved, admired America”could do such a thing.
The Washington Post interviewed a family in Belgrade: "They regard themselves as
pro'American," said the paper. "It is very difficult for us to hate America," the husband
declared. "We have always aspired to an American way of life, not a Russian way of
life." Added the Post: "The fact that the United States is bombing their country shocks
and bewilders them."5 A Serbian poet from the Kosovo capital of Pristina, one Alexander
Simovich, was deeply upset by the US bombing which was devastating the city and his
life. Yet, we were told that he "loves Bob Dylan and jazz and lyrical poets. In the
moments when he still allows himself to dream, he is living in another country, like the
United States."6

In Russia, most people strongly opposed the bombing and were shocked that it was the
United States that was mainly responsible. The US media informed us repeatedly that the
level of anti-American sentiment in Russia was easily the greatest in memory. It was as if
the Russians were discovering for the first time that the United States had a violent side
to it. Such innocence, it must be said, is virtually a form of insanity.

When the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was torn apart by American missiles, the reaction
amongst Chinese was disbelief, as they marched in protest. A graduate student at Beijing
University said his first thought was that the Americans couldn't have done it. A terrorist
must have been to blame. "I feel very sad. I have watched so many American movies and
other things. I believe America has so much that is so humane, and so just."

"You were the ideal for so many of us," added a senior Chinese official. "And now your
stupid bombs have killed our people."

This attitude was not confined to Chinese who have not set foot in the United States. A
Chinese graduate of Stanford University declared that "We used to think the United
States was a model. But now you've killed our people. This is the end of our honeymoon
with America."7

This naivete, this love affair with the mystique of "America", while certainly touching in
a way in this tired old world, is not of immaculate conception. The United States, the
inventor and perfecter of modern advertising and public relations, the world's lead-ing
producer and distributor of films, TV programs, books, magazines and music, with US
Information Service libraries in more than 100 countries, and Voice of America with
nearly 90 million listeners...the United States, the world's only information superpower,
has flooded the media and the hearts and minds of the earth's multitude with this
mystique, playing it for all it's worth, for generations.

Historian Christopher Simpson, in his study, Science of Coercion, observed:

Military, intelligence and propaganda agencies such as the Department of Defense and
the Central Intelligence Agency helped bankroll substantially all of the post-World War
II generation's research into techniques of persuasion, opinion measurement,
interrogation, political and military mobilization, propagation of ideology and related

Little is left to chance in The Selling of America. The Clinton administration announced
in 1999 that it was forming a new International Public Information group to "influence
foreign audi-ences" in support of US foreign policy and to counteract propaganda by
enemies of the United States. IPI's charter says that control over "international military
information" is intended to "influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning and
ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups and individuals."9

"It's a free country."

The thought comes with mother's milk.

"It's a free country."

How many times does someone growing up in the United States have to hear those words
before it settles comfortably, deep in the "received truth" lobe of the brain?

"It's a free country."

How many in the world have made this adage a basic element of their love affair with

"It's a free country."

In the minds of many Americans and foreigners, whether consciously or not, this gives
the United States the moral right to do what it does in and to the rest of the world.

"It's a free country."

The following is offered as a corrective.

Overtly and covertly, legally and illegally, the military-industrial complex has joined
forces with the prison-industrial complex, linked further to the omnipresent national
security-police complex, all clasping hands tightly with the War on Drugs, in a
declaration of War on the American People and the Bill of Rights. This Authority
Juggernaut”enamored with its own perpetuation, glorification and enrichment”has
convinced the American public that without its stormtroopers all hell would break loose
and the safety and security of the citizenry would be on a life-support machine. In this
undertaking, it has had the indispensable assistance of intimidated legislatures, an
uniconoclastic judiciary, compliant media, and a president, Bill Clinton, who”in the
words of civiMiberties columnist Nat Hentoff”"in this century.. .has inflicted the most
harm on our constitutional rights and liberties".10

On any given day, a day like today in fact, or one during last month, or last year, much of
the following”all of it derived directly from actual happenings or disclosures of the past
few years”is taking place somewhere in the United States. Time and again we have been
assured that certain practices have been terminated, only to discover that”perhaps with
slight modifications”they are still being carried out.

It should be noted that what is presented herein deals essentially with violations of civil
liberties and human rights, and does not include the numerous forms of corporate abuse
which are economic in nature or which adversely affect people's health.

Many of the violations reflect foreign policy considerations given a domestic twist to
bring the "threat" home to US citizens and win support for those policies.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they
are free.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

• In every state, the police or the National Guard and, at times, active-duty army troops,
are conducting relentless helicopter drug-surveillance over people's homes and property,
setting up roadblocks, interrogating, detaining, harassing and terrifying residents with
displays of excessive power.

• In hundreds of American cities, young people are being subjected to a nighttime curfew
law; many have a daytime curfew as well

• The CIA, FBI and other federal agencies are refusing to respond to subpoenas for
documents issued by attorneys who need them for the defense of their clients in national
security cases in state courts.

• US residents are undergoing assorted harassments and penalties from the federal
government for having traveled to, spent money in and/or shipped various goods to Cuba,
Libya, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Yugoslavia or other nations of that ilk. Those who visit
the United Nations Mission in New York or the Interests Section in Washington of some
of these countries risk being photographed and receiving visits or phone calls from the
• The CIA is opening and reading mail to and from selected countries. The FBI is peeking
at Americans' correspondence, domestic and international, for a host of its own priorities.

• In Western states, police and federal Border Patrol agents are stopping pedestrians and
motorists purely because they look Hispanic, and asking them to prove that they're lawful
residents of the United States.

• Motorists are being stopped on highways for drug checks, blacks and Hispanics being
the most likely to be stopped because of the race-based drug-courier profile being
employed. Blacks are being strip-searched on streets by police, who then shine a
flashlight at their genital and anal areas.

• The INS is holding children (under age 18), mainly from Latin America and China, for
months at a time in prison-like conditions, not informing them of their rights, interfering
with their attempts to obtain lawyers and failing to facilitate contact with relatives,
detaining them perhaps to force their illegal alien parents to come for them, so they can
be taken into custody.

• Private corporations are recording employees' phone calls and voice mail, reading their
computer files and email, getting logs of what websites they've looked at, videotaping
them as they work, observing them in bathrooms and locker rooms with two-way mirrors
or hidden cameras, tracking their whereabouts by having them use electronic pass keys,
bugging their offices, subjecting them to airport'Style electronic searches, testing their
urine for drugs, doing extensive security checks on their backgrounds”all this whether
or not they have ever behaved poorly on the job, or whether their work involves any
danger to anyone.

• At the Naval Academy in Annapolis, a random group of about 300 students is having to
undergo urinalysis each week. At other schools, students are obliged to take a urine test
in order to join the track team, join the chess club, go to the prom, go on a field trip or
drive to and from school; some of these school policies have been approved by courts.

• New Jersey state troopers are enlisting hotel workers along the New Jersey Turnpike to
tip them off about suspicious guests who, among other things, pay for their rooms in cash
or receive a flurry of phone calls; hotel managers are allowing troopers, without a
warrant, to leaf through the credit card receipts and registration forms of guests; the
troopers are giving surveillance seminars to train employees to scrutinize guests who fit
the profile of drug traffickers, the profile including race and speaking Spanish.

• The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is keeping up to date its list of
aliens, radicals and other undesirables who will be rounded up and detained in times of
"national emergency".

• Juveniles imprisoned at one of the nation's more than 50 so-called "boot camps" are
forced to go on endurance runs until blood has soaked their shoes; one has already died
from it; at other times, the youngsters are subjected to shackles or handcuffs.
• Women are being arrested for using crack cocaine while pregnant, even if their baby is
perfectly normal at birth. Indeed the idea of the "crack baby" may well be a myth.

• Government agencies and private corporations are not giving gay couples or unmarried
heterosexual couples the same benefits they offer married heterosexual couples.
Homosexuals are being discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation,
even if not charged with any misbehavior.

• Task forces of international, federal, military, state and local law enforcement and
intelligence agencies, as well as private entities, are employing increased interaction,
abundant funds, new laws, new technologies and new octopus-like databases to spy on
and harass activists of many stripes: Irish and Middle-East support groups, human rights,
immigrants' rights, civil liberties, prison reform, minorities, labor, environmental, animal
rights, nuclear power and anti-imperialism activists, even if there is no evidence of
violence or illegal activities.

The FBI and police are noting license plate numbers of people attending meetings and
demonstrations, photographing people, paying informers to infiltrate groups, breaking
into offices to steal mailing and contributor lists, rifling through files and carrying out
"harassment arrests" (i.e., arrests where charges are later dropped). Individual members
of these groups are receiving FBI visits at their homes and workplaces, or the Bureau is
sending anonymous letters to the person's colleagues implying that s/he is actually an
informer, as well as sending assorted poison-pen letters to employers, landlords and
spouses designed to produce maximum distress.

• Airport passengers are being detained for hours, even days, and are missing flights
because they fit a "terrorist profile" based on their nationality, ethnicity, appearance,
airport behavior, travel itinerary or other criteria. They are being strip-searched, including
body cavity searches, X-rayed, forced to take laxatives, their bowel movements

• The FBI is urging librarians to report on the books taken out by patrons with foreign-
sounding names, particularly scientific and technical books. (When this program was first
revealed and criticized, the FBI proceeded to do checks on the critics.)

• The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is demanding that a publisher provide it
with the names of people who bought a marijuana cultivation book.

• The police are confiscating the cars of customers of prostitutes, sometimes after a
female police officer has lured the man into offering her money for sex. It matters not if
the car does not belong to the man.

Other police officers somewhere are forcing prostitutes to perform sex acts by threatening
to arrest them if they don't comply.


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