“Those willing to sacrifice Liberty for a little security deserve neither liberty nor security.” – Benjamin Franklin
“The most fearful populations have the strongest governments.”
Foolish spectacles, inane banter, celebrity gossip, newscasts designed to make one feel unsafe, and programming pullulating with extreme violence, much of it making hand-guns seem as normal as fists: such is TV. Not to forget the ads peddling, through bare-faced lies, all manner of trash no one needs. The message is clear: stay home, consume, approve that your tax dollars be spent on more-lethal weapons for an increasingly militaristic police force, and various other forms of hyper-security, including those invading privacy.
And now we have Bill-C-24, giving the government a right to ‘exile’ or deport, not just Canadian citizens who were not born here, but also those born here yet possessing the right to claim a foreign nationality if they so wish. Naturally, this bill is promoted as an aid to counter-terrorism; yet we all surely know it can, and will be, used to banish anyone the government dislikes – activists, bloggers, writers etc. C-24 must be resisted, scrapped, challenged, and vanquished by whatever means necessary for the purpose.
Our Prime Minister, Mr. Harper, is now in full-time election mode, and thus whatever he says, states or promises must be viewed in this light. As the ex-Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Williams, said recently, “Harper is a nasty man,” whose public persona – calm, genial, reassuring – masks the ruthless, deceitful, Machiavellian, would-be dictator behind it. As I state tirelessly, Harper subscribes to the political philosophy of Leo Strauss, who once gathered around himself, at the University of Chicago, a group of devotees who went on to implement his ideas through prominent posts within the government. The best-known is Paul Wolfowitz; but, as always, the people who wield real power are relatively unknown – and like it that way. Their titles also seem unimpressive (Wolfowitz was Under-Secretary of Defense), yet their positions do not come and go with governments. They can, of course, but generally they do not – unless the media become a little too fond of one, or his boss loathes his cologne.
Now, the Canadian haven for Straussian ideology was and still is Calgary, where Harper came under its spell, and where there are still regular closed-door meetings of what used to be called neo-conservatives. Now the term neo-liberals seems to be more popular. Names mean nothing where real power lurks – better to be the HGYTK, or some such. One has actually to read the works of Leo Strauss in order to realize that the most appropriate description of his ideology is probably neo-fascism. This ought to come as less of a surprise when one discovers that his mentor (and sponsor for US immigration) was Carl Schmidt, the man who crafted Hitler’s judiciary, among other things. Although a Jew, Strauss was an ardent believer in totalitarian government (just as prominent early Zionists, like Jabotinski, lionized Mussolini), yet he cannot be called a Nazi. As soon as it became apparent – a true case of blow-back – that the scapegoated minority, discussed in his writings as a useful tool to justify heightened security measures and focus public hatred and fear, was going to be the Jews, Strauss packed his bags and came west, with no little help from his powerful friends.
Turgid and (perhaps deliberately) hard to summarize, Strauss’s work analyses the nature of political power, the ways to acquire it, and then, most vitally, how to keep it. (I have a chapter refuting Strauss in my awful novel, Homeland; but I doubt if my attack is any easier to read than its object. The book was written in a state of rage, and also when I was losing my eyesight. It shows, painfully too). I would refund all who bought a copy if I had any money…
Read Strauss and you will find numerous familiar aspects of the Harper policies and actions; point form seems the least painful approach to this:
- Lie to the public – they’re too stupid to grasp realities.
- Grant overwhelmingly popular demands – but don’t bother to keep your promises, unless they’re cheap and have some political value.
- Maintain absolute control over your party message and the staff peddling it.
- Restrict media access to a few chosen and provably-loyal hacks.
- Never forget who paid to put you in power (and can remove you by tonight). Their interests are your interests. Assist their endeavours, but most discreetly. If they have legal problems, either change laws subtly, or else deflect attention away from the issue at hand.
- Keep a continuous level of low-grade mass fear – make much of police or soldiers killed in the line of duty. Never let slip the general belief that it is noble and glorious to defend and die for the country. Your kind will certainly never do it.
- There must always be an enemy. If there is not, find one.
- Most feared of all is the enemy within; it can be a scapegoat, or it can be unknown – which makes that enemy still more frightful, and creates suspicion in the population. The more suspicious and divided a people are, the less likely they are to rise up as one in protest.
- Few, if any, in your immediate close circle ought to be fully aware of your real agenda. They should all live in constant fear for their jobs, since this will make their work for you more sedulous. Your real inner circle will be those with whom you are never seen in public, and whose names mean nothing to almost any reporter.
- In open debate (something to be discouraged) answer questions on difficult issues by repeating a prepared statement, or responding with a derisory question. Never lose your temper, but try to make opponents lose theirs, perhaps by raising highly personal issues, or citing a statistic related to nothing relevant, but irritating.
- One FIGHTS an election. It is a war, and must thus be treated as such. Vilify any opposition in the harshest terms. Know their weaknesses – and use them.
- Any method that will win you the election is to be considered, no matter how far beyond the law it may be. It is war, remember, and losing is not an option. The masses are mostly interested in having more money. Promise them that a year hence they will be 20% better off than they are now. Promise cheaper houses and cars – these comprise their other two concerns. Learn what most want most, and promise they shall have it. There will be a thousand reasons to explain why promises were not kept – all in a language no one quite comprehends.
- Ideally, there is only one party, with perhaps a spurious plebiscite to confirm your renewed term of leadership. This worked well for Napoleon, who was cheered for replacing Liberty with French Pride – war, in fact.
- If more than one party exists, better three than two. With three you have a wedge to split the opposing vote. With two, it is essential to gain control over the opposing group, making them appear to be diametrically opposed to your own policies, but allowing them to win if difficult times loom – for they will be blamed for such times. All bad things should occur during this party’s term of office, from scandals to unwarranted wars.
And on and on it goes? Tell me you don’t see Harpo in many of these wiles. Can we ask him about his adherence to Straussian ideology? No. Now, evidently, he will not even be participating in the traditional TV debate between all party leaders contesting the election. I am not clear why he is, or isn’t, doing this. Possibly he feels just being in the same room as this riff-raff will soil his image. Lofty he becomes, though, and daily. I am blind, so cannot see it, yet I hear a nimbus forming around his head as he speaks – if indeed it is his voice I hear, for its sounds digitally re-mastered, hand-washed, Wall-Street-Ethereal. If this ascent of Olympus does not augur for some gambit towards creating a totalitarian state, then what does? Will Zeus be on the campaign bus of His Tory?
Remembering our opening quotes, are we falling into the same trap? Terrorism is less of a danger in Canada than in-line skating, but Harpo seems intent on creating for us the same problems that have made the USA number one on the Terror Hit List. We all saw the carnage and horror of the World Trade Centre attacks. Like all violence, it was appalling. Yet who knows the death-toll and destruction resulting from US attacks all over the world for the past 50 years? I was in Iraq during both the ’91 and ’03 wars. I was also there in ’98, when the US-imposed embargo caused over 500,000 children under 8 to die from malnutrition (see Red Cross report). I would estimate that at least a million civilians were killed during the wars, but, as a four-star general told me, and others, ‘the Pentagon don’t do body counts’. Among the most repugnant euphemisms used by the Pentagon – and they are legion – is ‘collateral damage’. It is literally meaningless, especially when one is dropping cluster bombs whose widely-dispersed bomblets – smaller yet potent bombs thrown out by the initial explosion –are disguised to look like children’s toys — so that…what? A child picks it up and either blows herself to spattered gore, or else takes it home and blows her entire family away? There is no other reason for such a fiendish device, is there? My book, A War Against Truth, presents irrefutably concrete evidence, with sources, proving that the US was using such weapons in Iraq, along with Napalm (now refined and renamed so deniability can be honest), large-calibre armour-piercing bullets (which utilize depleted uranium), and other illegal devices as defined by the Geneva Convention. As a result of presenting awful facts about war, the book was banned in the US – where I am now also banned – and a trifling, fancifully embellished charge of plagiarism was levelled at me, (one I answered to the satisfaction of all concerned) which further made sure the book was withdrawn here, existing copies pulped or perhaps even burned. I shall be republishing it – with additional material relating to other US crimes against humanity –when Amazon runs out of copies. This quagmire is what can happen to your life when you are an eye-witness to US atrocities that the US public is not supposed to learn about.
In 1955 President Eisenhower was warned of Arab hostility towards the US, which propped up brutal military dictatorships in the Mid-East, and effectively trashed popular hopes for democracy there (notice how Egypt’s recent attempt at democracy ended: back with a military dictatorship run by someone younger). Eisenhower asked his intelligence people how they viewed this situation, only to be told it was just as it should be (read Eisenhower’s farewell speech – possibly the last honest words uttered near the White House). Iran’s nascent democracy during the fifties was similarly junked by US and UK special ops, who secured the Shah on his Peacock Throne, another uniformed tyrant, more torture chambers, much blood in the rivulets of Teheran. The fact is that dictators are so much easier to deal with than contentious committees: one phone call and the jets scramble, tanks roll, or even a peace conference is pencilled in. Dictators are also easy to remove if they get out of hand or disobedient. No one likes them anyway, so no one minds when a new version is installed.
These are one or two percent of the atrocities fueling Jihadi terrorism’s revenge today. We have made a mangled mess of Arabia and elsewhere, with millions dead; they are returning the favour, through what is, after all, the privatization of war. ‘Drone strike kills wedding party by mistake…’ We shrug, not even wondering how many might be in a traditional Afghani wedding party. Yet our entire nation weeps when a ceremonial guard is slain by a deranged boy egged on by Saudi Wahhabite websites. Where has our humanity fled??
Now, though, we Canadians are fighting in the Syrian civil war (such ventures a no-no at military academies, I seem to recall), handing out fighting accoutrements in the Ukraine (presumably to provoke Russia – which, Harpo may recall, still has a nuclear arsenal three times large enough to destroy the entire planet), and are actually fighting ISIS in Iraq. This latter seems to be a farrago so far; yet I cannot bring myself to believe that three special forces units – ours, the UK’s, and, according to their PR at least, the most lethal corps on earth, from the USA – along with drones and all the air-support they want, cannot contain, less still demolish, the rag-tag bunch of ill-trained misfits who cannot even remember their own acronym from one week to another. No insult to the Iraqi Army, but they’d be better off watching soccer than treading on the toes of three allied commanders, who seem unable to agree that the way to fight this foe is probably to fight it. Ramadi – awful place – is very near Baghdad; and now ISIS claims it as a prize? Something smells rotten, possibly from both sides.
I’ve spent 30 years in West Asia, everywhere, every nation, state, or emirate, and my only advice, to military personnel who know next to nothing of the sprawling history involved, is to get out immediately and let them sort it out themselves. The upside of this is that they will take centuries to do it; and that the most barbarous, venal, backward place on earth – Saudi Arabia –the major funder of international terrorism, will probably behead the kleptocrats and finally have their own democratic revolution. The downside is merely that we might have to pay them their price for their oil – oh, and accept that the feared Islamic states-in-progress will never revive the Caliphate, since those involved place tribal loyalties over membership to 47 Islamic sects, heresies, or cults.
Field-Marshal Harpo ought to hang up his baton – indeed, one thought Fiasco in Afghanistan would have urged on him the prudence of this – read some history (were we Brits in 1759 the ISIS of the Plains?), cease and desist from giving sundry terrorists a reason to hate us – and, ideally, take Leo Strauss and few hack bum-kissers to form their private fascist utopia up near the tundra. It might make a wryly amusing Reality TV show.
He and his C-24 make me sick and ashamed to live in a land (stolen, I’m told) where anyone voted this mini-Mussolini into power. We steal a continent, abuse its original guardians, and then have the nerve to claim a right to decide who can live here! Only white men could be this irrational. Read Gulliver’s Travels, Harpo – then choose which madhouse you’d be best fit to run.
As of now, I seek honorary membership in any First Nations’ tribe that will have me; so at least I can be exiled onto a reservation when the time comes.
Harpo, mein liebe, we shall all die soon; and that last moment will be the only one that counts. The Good you have done here will be the only baggage you’ll check in then. Read Plato’s account of Socrates’ death. Will yours be that serene? Will you honestly be able to claim that all your actions were for the Good, the selfless? When you lose the election, and take up those multi-million dollar sinecures on corporate boards, I think you will look back with regret. You could have done so much good, yet you did none – nothing real, I mean. You lied about everything to us all the time. I actually feel pity for you now, thinking of your last minutes on earth. May they not come for many decades, Harpo, because there is always a chance for human beings to change their ways, tell the truth, do some good. May the Great Spirit guide and teach you. And tear up that godamn C-24.
“Steal a little and they throw you in jail; steal a lot and they make you a king.” – Bob Dylan