Global Fascism: A Fishpond Stocked With Fish...

David Bromwich

The crux of the NSA story in one phrase: 'collect it all'.
~ Glenn Greenwald

Most Americans who know anything about the National Security Agency probably got their mental picture of it from a 1998 thriller called Enemy of the State. A lawyer (Will Smith), swept up by mistake into the system of total surveillance, suddenly finds his life turned upside down, his family watched and harassed, his livelihood taken from him and the records of his conduct altered and criminalised. He is saved by a retired NSA analyst (Gene Hackman) who knows the organisation from innards to brains and hates every cog and gear that drives it. This ally is a loner. He has pulled back his way of life and associations to a minimum, and lives now in a desolate building called The Jar, which he has proofed against spying and tricked out with anti-listening armour, decoy-signal devices and advanced encryption-ware. From his one-man fortress, he leads the hero to turn the tables on the agency and to expose one of its larger malignant operations.

Michael Hayden, who became the director of the NSA in 1999, saw the movie and told his workers they had an image problem: the agency had to change its ways and inspire the trust of citizens. But in 2001 Hayden, like many other Americans, underwent a galvanic change of consciousness and broke through to the other side. In the new era, in order to fight a new enemy, he saw that the United States must be equipped with a secret police as inquisitive and capable as the police of a totalitarian state, though of course more scrupulous.

Gripped by the same fever and an appetite for power all his own, Dick Cheney floated the idea of Total Information Awareness (soliciting Americans to spy on their neighbours to fight terrorism), but found the country not yet ready for it. So he took the project underground and executed it in secret. Cheney issued the orders, his lawyer David Addington drew up the rationale, and Hayden at NSA made the practical arrangements. Eventually Cheney would appoint Hayden director of the CIA.

Magic carpet ride

Pepe Escobar

Dashte Laili, Northern Afghanistan (Everything Afghanistan)

I've got to confess that Anna Badkhen beat me to it. Sometimes I have the feeling the world is a carpet. She went one up, writing a marvelously evocative book with the same title, centered on a village in Northern Afghanistan so remote that Google Maps cannot find it.

This is a book for those who love the Silk Road; who love Afghanistan; who love carpets; and all of the above. The Roving Eye fits all these descriptions; no wonder Badkhen's delicate tale projected me on a magic carpet ride down memory lane, as I retraced my own steps over the years in bits and pieces of the Silk Road, from Balkh to Bukhara, from Herat to Hamadan; and all these roads, of course, were paved with carpets.

Historic Khorasan - which includes Northern Afghanistan - is quite special. Around Balkh, Turkomen have been spinning wool for 7,000 years. People are born on carpets. They pray on carpets. They sleep on carpets. They even adorn their tombs with carpets.

When Alexander the Great conquered Khorasan in 327 BC he sent his mum, Olympias, a carpet as a souvenir of his victory in Balkh. Balkh is the fabled feudal capital, now in ruins (blame the Mongols) about 36 kilometers southwest of Oqa - the beyond-the-reach-of-the-NSA village in the salt-frosted Afghan desert where Badkhen chose to follow one year in the life of Thawra's mud-and-dung loom room as she weaves a yusufi, a magnificent carpet.

US Courts Approve Indefinite Detention and Torture

Stephen Lendman

America's a police state. It's ruthless. Iron fist authority rules. International law's quaint and out-of-date. US statute protections aren't worth the paper they're written on. Constitutional rights don't matter. They never did for most people. It's truer now than ever. They're null and void. Executive diktat power rules. Congress and federal courts go along. They're complicit. They support sweeping lawlessness. It's unprecedented. It affects domestic and geopolitical issues. No one's safe anywhere.

Obama has life and death powers. He can order anyone murdered. He can do so on his say alone. US citizens are as vulnerable as foreign nationals. He can order anyone indefinitely detained. He can throw them in military dungeons. He can deny them due process and judicial fairness. They can remain there uncharged and untried. They can stay there forever. They can be brutally tortured. It's OK. Federal courts said so. More on that below.

Section 1031 of the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Act contained the 2009 Military Commissions Act (MCA). The phrase "unprivileged enemy belligerent" replaced "unlawful enemy combatant." Language changed but not intent or lawlessness. Obama did what supporters thought impossible. He exceeds the worst of George Bush. He promised to close Guantanamo. He lied. He's a serial liar. He broke every major promise made. He prioritizes keeping it open. He wants it expanded. He's got lots more victims in mind. He'll send there and/or to other US global torture prisons. Dozens operate worldwide.

Guantanamo's the tip of the iceberg. Obama supports torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment. He does so unapologetically. He treats US citizens as lawlessly as foreign nationals.

Health topic page on womens health Womens health our team of physicians Womens health breast cancer lumps heart disease Womens health information covers breast Cancer heart pregnancy womens cosmetic concerns Sexual health and mature women related conditions Facts on womens health female anatomy Womens general health and wellness The female reproductive system female hormones Diseases more common in women The mature woman post menopause Womens health dedicated to the best healthcare
buy viagra online