Saturday, August 22, 2009

US Supreme Court orders new hearing for Georgia death row inmate

US Supreme Court orders new hearing for Georgia death row inmate

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The US Supreme Court on Monday ordered a federal trial court to consider the case of Troy Davis, a prisoner on death row in Georgia for the 1989 murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia. The ruling came on a habeas corpus petition filed directly with the Supreme Court on Davis’s behalf.

The high court’s order was brief and unsigned, instructing the trial court to “receive testimony and make findings of fact” on whether new evidence could establish whether Davis is innocent. Concurring with the decision, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing.”

The decision provoked an indignant reaction from Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote that the Court “has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas corpus court that he is ‘actually’ innocent” (emphasis in the original).

The overwhelming preponderance of evidence points to Troy Davis’s innocence. The prosecution never presented any physical evidence linking Davis to the crime. Seven of the nine witnesses who originally testified against him have recanted their testimony. The state’s key remaining witness, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, could face prosecution for the crime if Davis were exonerated.

The campaign for Davis’s innocence has garnered international support, with rallies in support of his exoneration and freedom held in cities across the US and Europe. Twenty-seven former prosecutors and judges filed a brief with the high court supporting his petition.

Since his 1991 conviction, Troy Davis has faced execution dates three times, being spared each time at the last moment. On September 23, 2008, the US Supreme Court issued a stay of execution less than two hours before his scheduled lethal injection.

Three weeks later, the high court denied Davis’s appeal without comment, opening the way for an execution set for October 27, 2008. (See “US Supreme Court clears way for execution of likely innocent death row inmate”)

Ten days later, on October 24, 2008, a federal appeals court in Atlanta, Georgia issued a temporary stay of execution in Davis’s case. (See “US federal appeals court stays Troy Davis execution”)

Then on April 16, 2009, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 ruling, denied Davis’s second habeas corpus petition. The dissenting judge in that case, Rosemary Barkett, criticized the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)—provisions of which have blocked Davis from presenting exculpatory evidence—as “thicket of procedural brambles.”

Signed into law under the Clinton administration, AEDPA severely restricts the ability of death row prisoners to pursue appeals based on innocence claims when they are unable to prove constitutional violations at trial. Since its passage, the Supreme Court has routinely denied death row inmates’ appeals on this basis.

In its Monday ruling, the Supreme Court broke with this precedent, transferring Troy Davis’s writ of habeas corpus to the US District Court for the Southern District of Georgia for “hearing and determination.” Justice Stevens was joined in the concurrence by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. Newly joined Justice Sonia Sotomayor did not participate in the decision.

In keeping with his past comments in death penalty cases, Justice Scalia’s dissent demonstrates both his support for the death penalty and his contempt for the right of death row prisoners to present new evidence to overturn their guilty verdicts. Over five pages, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, he decries the high court’s ruling that “exceptional circumstances ... warrant the exercise of the Court’s discretionary powers.”

In vulgar language, he argues that Troy Davis’s “claim is a sure loser,” and that transferring his petition to the District Court “is a confusing exercise that can serve no purpose except to delay the State’s execution of its lawful criminal judgement,” i.e., to send Davis to his death while overwhelming evidence points to his innocence.

Scalia argues that the Court has never forbidden the execution of a death row inmate in such a case, writing, “Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged ‘actual innocence’ is constitutionally cognizable.”

He denounces the ruling’s contention that the District Court might find unconstitutional the limitations placed by the AEDPA on federal courts’ authority to issue a writ of habeas corpus as applied to actual innocence claims, writing that “Justice Stevens has imagined” this possibility.

He further contends that “the argument that the Constitution requires federal-court screening of all state convictions for constitutional violations is frivolous” and that the high court is sending the District Court “on a fool’s errand.”

In conclusion, he rejects the Supreme Court’s intervention in Troy Davis’s case, disparaging a situation where “capital convictions obtained in full compliance with law can never be final, but are always subject to being set aside by federal courts for the reason of ‘actual innocence.’”

Stevens’s concurrence argues against the dissent, writing that Scalia “assumes as a matter of fact that petitioner Davis is guilty of the murder of Officer MacPhail.” Indeed, Scalia’s repeated reference to “actual innocence” attests to this.

Stevens adds, “Imagine a petitioner in Davis’s situation who possesses new evidence conclusively and definitively proving, beyond any scintilla of doubt, that he is an innocent man. The dissent’s reasoning would allow such a petitioner to be put to death nonetheless.”

It should be recalled that in an April 2008 ruling upholding the constitutionality of execution by lethal injection, Scalia dismissed the contention that the gruesome procedure could inflict intense pain. He wrote, “Some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution—no matter how humane.... The Constitution does not demand the avoidance of all risk of pain in carrying out executions.”

And when the Court ruled in June 2002 that execution of the mentally retarded violated of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishment,” in a dissenting opinion along with Thomas and then Chief Justice William Rehnquist he stated, “for the believing Christian, death is no big deal.” He added, “You want to have a fair death penalty? You kill; you die. That’s fair.”

The Supreme Court’s ruling, breaking with the precedent of past decisions, likely came in part as a response to the preponderance of evidence in Troy Davis’s case pointing to his innocence. In coincides as well with growing unease and opposition towards the death penalty, fuelled in part by the belief that innocent people are being sent to their deaths.

While an October 2008 Gallup Poll showed that 64 percent of Americans still support capital punishment, this is down 5 percentage points from 2007 and stands at its lowest level in the last 30 years. At the same time, capital punishment enjoys the near unanimous support of the US political establishment, including President Obama. The continued use of the death penalty stands in sharp contrast to the vast majority of industrialized countries, where the barbaric practice is reviled and has been outlawed.

The dissent of Scalia and Thomas in the Troy Davis case illustrates the thoroughly reactionary character of opinions accepted as legitimate on the nation’s highest court. Since the Supreme Court’s 1976 ruling reinstating the death penalty, while ruling against certain forms of its application, the Court has consistently upheld its overall constitutionality.

Since its reinstatement, 1,173 condemned men and women—including the mentally impaired, foreign nationals and those convicted of crimes when they were juveniles—have been sent to their deaths, including 37 so far this year.

Baghdad bombings cast doubt on US troop withdrawals

Baghdad bombings cast doubt on US troop withdrawals

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Wednesday’s bombings against key government buildings in the centre of Baghdad have dealt a significant blow to the claims of both the Obama administration and the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the country has been pacified and secured by the US military “surge” in 2007 and 2008.

The attack was one of the most ruthless, well-coordinated and lethal of the entire war. Insurgents were able to get two trucks filled with tonnes of explosives into the heavily-guarded Green Zone, where the US embassy and main Iraqi government buildings are located, without being detected by the array of troops, police and mercenary contractors who secure the area. One truck was parked on the road near the Finance Ministry and the other positioned close to the Foreign Ministry.

The bombs were detonated within minutes of one another, close to 11 a.m. The blast at the Finance Ministry killed at least 35 people and left scores of office workers and bystanders seriously wounded. The bombing outside the Foreign Ministry, which left a crater over three metres deep and some 10 metres wide, caused even greater carnage. At least 60 died and hundreds were injured.

A ministry employee told Reuters: “The windows of the foreign ministry shattered, slaughtering the people inside. I could see ministry workers, journalists and security guards among the dead.” The explosion collapsed nearby homes and rocked buildings throughout the centre of the city, including the Iraqi parliament complex and the hotel where Maliki was scheduled to deliver a press conference.

A short time later, three more bombs exploded in other areas of Baghdad and a barrage of mortar rounds was fired into the Green Zone. The overall casualty toll in the worst insurgent attack in Iraq’s capital for some 18 months is currently estimated at 101 dead and over 600 wounded. Eleven army and police commanders have been arrested for negligence and a “review” of security has been ordered.

The bombings coincided with the anniversary of the massive blast that devastated the United Nations headquarters on August 19, 2003, and killed 19 people, including the head of UN operations in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Perhaps more significantly, the Iraqi insurgents struck on the eve of the elections in Afghanistan, where the Obama administration has ordered a surge of troops to assert American geo-political interests in Central Asia. Whether it was the intention or not, the bombings in Baghdad made clear that as US imperialism expands the Afghan war, it has still far from consolidated a puppet government in Iraq.

Maliki has blamed the attack on supporters of the former Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein, who made up part of the anti-occupation insurgency. His government however—which is dominated by two Shiite fundamentalist parties that have been favoured by Washington since 2003—has a long list of enemies, all of which have ample motive to seek to destabilise or bring it down. The methods employed by the US occupation to establish neo-colonial control over Iraq and its resources have spawned or fuelled bitter sectarian, ethnic and social divisions.

The traditional Sunni Arab ruling class and military officer caste that was represented by the Baathist regime has been stripped of much of their wealth and privileges. The Sunni population as a whole was the target of the most brutal US military operations and vicious sectarian pogroms by Shiite fundamentalists in the Iraqi security forces and pro-occupation militias. Over two million Sunnis are still living as refugees in countries such as Syria and Jordan because they do not believe it is safe to return.

The government is increasingly hated by ethnic Kurdish nationalists. Maliki is seeking to prevent a long overdue referendum from being held in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk and other Kurdish-populated areas. The ballot, which was supposed to have been held two years ago, is to decide if the territories will be taken from Baghdad’s control and incorporated into the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government that rules the country’s northern provinces. Kurdish factions consider Maliki’s delays, and the US backing for them, to be an abject betrayal of the promises that Washington made to get their support against the Hussein regime.

The government is also reviled by many among the majority Shiite population of the country. Maliki’s regime is growing evermore dictatorial. The security forces repress rival Shiite factions, independent media and secular political and social trends. Tens of thousands of supporters of the Sadrist Shiite current were killed or imprisoned during the surge, on Maliki’s orders.

The animosities and simmering tensions throughout the country guarantee that there will be ongoing violence against the government and the prospect of a complete disintegration of Iraq into civil war. For the US ruling class, such a development would threaten the opening up and exploitation of the country’s oil and gas resources—the real goal for which it has squandered the lives of over 4,300 soldiers and $700 billion. American troops will be needed for years to come to stand between the rival factions and suppress any possible disruption to the US imperialist agenda.

Plans for a further troop build-up in Afghanistan, however, hinge in many respects on making available the forces and resources currently committed to Iraq. Even before Wednesday’s bombings, the US military was seeking to alter Obama’s schedule for the withdrawal of most of the 130,000 troops still occupying the country.

It is not even two months since US forces were moved out of Iraq’s urban centres to bases on their outskirts, as the first stage in the planned exit of most troops by the end of 2011. On Monday, the US commander in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno, proposed the plan be revised. He has called for American forces to move back into cities and towns in the north that are disputed between the Baghdad government and the Kurdish nationalists—particularly Mosul—where there has been a spike in violence and bombings.

Major General Robert Caslen, the commander in the Mosul area, told US National Public Radio: “Now that we have moved out of the city, we would think they [insurgents] will stop the attacks, but the fact is they haven’t. The attacks are still occurring, and guess who they are going after? They are going after the people. And that shows the intent of those groups is to control and intimidate the people, discredit the government, discredit the Iraqi security forces, so they can fill the gap instead.”

An identical argument can and most likely will be advanced to justify putting American troops back on the streets of Baghdad.

America's Death Squads Inc.

America’s Death Squads Inc.

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The US Central Intelligence Agency contracted the now notorious private security firm Blackwater for a secret program of “targeted killings” against alleged Al Qaeda operatives, according to media reports Thursday.

The agency essentially was attempting to subcontract state assassinations to a private company employing mercenaries.

In June, current CIA Director Leon Panetta briefed leading members of congressional intelligence committees on the program and said he ordered it terminated. The existence of the assassination program had been kept secret from Congress, apparently on the orders of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Panetta said he learned of it only after six months as the agency’s chief.

According to the New York Times, which broke the story of Blackwater’s involvement, the arrangement was never formalized with a contract. Instead a “gentlemen’s agreement” was worked out between top Bush administration and CIA officials and Blackwater founder and owner Erik Prince.

Under Prince, a former Navy Seal, Blackwater (now renamed Xe Services) has taken in billions from the US government to field mercenaries (most of them ex-US military special operations personnel) in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The name Blackwater became infamous in the wake of a series of incidents involving the use of excessive and often gratuitous force by its operatives against Iraqi civilians. These culminated in the September 2007 Nisour Square shooting spree in which Blackwater gunmen killed 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.

The massacre was the inevitable end product of a system in which mercenary security contractors are able to kill with complete impunity, restrained neither by the laws of the country that they occupy nor by the code of military justice. This itself is only one reflection of the predatory and illegal character of the war as a whole.

Prince has the most intimate connections with the Republican right. His sister is a former head of the Michigan Republican Party. He is one of the principals in a foundation that is a major funder of right-wing Christian fundamentalist organizations like Focus on the Family.

While these Republican connections were seen by many as key to Blackwater’s success, both the Pentagon and the State Department continue to award Prince’s company contracts under the Obama administration.

In a court case brought on behalf of Iraqi victims of the Nisour Square massacre, two former Blackwater employees have submitted sworn statements charging, among other things, “that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct” of the company. Both men said that they feared for their own lives.

The Washington Post quoted an unnamed former CIA official who said that under the assassination program Blackwater personnel spent a great deal of time conducting “simulated missions that often involved kidnapping.”

The revelations about Blackwater’s involvement in the CIA assassination program raise a host of questions. Why has it been kept secret from the American public even after CIA Director Panetta briefed Congress on the program more than two months ago? Did Panetta conceal the information from Congress, or did the members of the intelligence committees keep their mouths shut after learning of this potentially criminal conspiracy?

More fundamentally, the CIA-Blackwater deal testifies to the profound and continuing degeneration of democracy in the United States.

It is one more piece of evidence—as if more were needed—that the Bush administration was a criminal regime that operated in open defiance of the US law and the Constitution, directing assassinations and torture from the White House.

Yet no one has been held accountable. The Obama administration covers for the criminal practices of its predecessor, while continuing the wars of aggression which are the gravest of these crimes.

The Obama White House and the Democratic-led Congress are in continuous retreat before the pressure of the military and intelligence complex—a state within the state—to halt any investigations, much less prosecutions, of the crimes of the Bush administration.

This campaign was evident again on Thursday, when former CIA director Michael Hayden flatly defended Blackwater, saying that the agency needed to make use of the company’s “very discreet skill sets.”

What emerges even more clearly from these latest revelations is the picture of a government in which individuals such as Prince, and his counterparts within the military and intelligence agencies, exercise extraordinary and unaccountable power.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the CIA earned the epithet “Murder, Inc.” for its involvement in series of assassinations and assassination attempts against foreign leaders, ranging from Patrice Lumumba in the Congo to Cuba’s Fidel Castro.

What is revealed in the CIA-Blackwater deal, however, is even more sinister. The agency was contracting death squads composed of mercenaries organized by a right-wing figure with intimate connections to the Republican Party.

There is a real danger that the same forces that have been allowed to kill and torture with impunity in Iraq and Afghanistan will be turned against militant workers and others challenging the interests of the ruling elite and the profit system in the United States itself. In short, death squad violence utilized by American imperialism from El Salvador to Iraq can be brought home.

Indeed, Blackwater has already deployed its highly trained killers in domestic operations. In 2005, hundreds of the company’s mercenaries carrying automatic weapons were sent into the streets of Katrina-stricken New Orleans.

The use of these elements comes together with the continuation of domestic spying and the implementation of a system of “preventive detention” allowing the indefinite imprisonment of enemies of the state without charges or trials. The scaffolding of dictatorship has been erected in the US.

This trend continues unabated under the Obama administration. The policy is dictated by class interests and the nature of the crisis confronting US and world capitalism. The unprecedented level of social inequality dividing America’s financial aristocracy from working people is fundamentally incompatible with democracy.

These grave threats to democratic rights can be defeated—and top government officials brought to account for their crimes—only by means of political struggle by the working class mobilized in its own party fighting for the socialist transformation of society.

Global War and Dying Democracy: The Revolution of the Elites

Global War and Dying Democracy: The Revolution of the Elites

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This article is the 5th and final part in the series, "Global Power and Global Government," published by Global Research.

Part 1: Global Power and Global Government: Evolution and Revolution of the Central Banking System
Part 2: Origins of the American Empire: Revolution, World Wars and World Order
Part 3: Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve
Part 4: Forging a “New World Order” Under a One World Government



Transnational Totalitarianism

Global trends in political economy suggest that “democracy” as we know it, is a fading concept, where even Western industrialized nations are retreating from the system. Arguably, through party politics and financial-corporate interests, democracy is something of a fa├žade as it is. However, we are entering into an era in which even the institutions and image of democracy are in retreat, and the slide into totalitarianism seems inevitable.


The National Intelligence Council report, Global Trends 2025, stated that many governments will be “expanding domestic security forces, surveillance capabilities, and the employment of special operations-type forces.” Counterterrorism measures will increasingly “involve urban operations as a result of greater urbanization,” and governments “may increasingly erect barricades and fences around their territories to inhibit access. Gated communities will continue to spring up within many societies as elites seek to insulate themselves from domestic threats.”[1] Essentially, expect a continued move towards and internationalization of domestic police state measures to control populations.


The nature of totalitarianism is such that it is, “by nature (or rather by definition), a global project that cannot be fully accomplished in just one community or one country. Being fuelled by the need to suppress any alternative orders and ideas, it has no natural limits and is bound to aim at totally dominating everything and everyone.” David Lyon explained in Theorizing Surveillance, that, “The ultimate feature of the totalitarian domination is the absence of exit, which can be achieved temporarily by closing borders, but permanently only by a truly global reach that would render the very notion of exit meaningless. This in itself justifies questions about the totalitarian potential of globalization.” The author raises the important question, “Is abolition of borders intrinsically (morally) good, because they symbolize barriers that needlessly separate and exclude people, or are they potential lines of resistance, refuge and difference that may save us from the totalitarian abyss?” Further, “if globalization undermines the tested, state-based models of democracy, the world may be vulnerable to a global totalitarian etatization.”[2]


Russia Today, a major Russian media source, published an article by the Strategic Cultural Fund, in which it stated that, “the current crisis is being used as a mechanism for provoking some deepening social upheavals that would make mankind – plunged as it is already into chaos and frightened by the ghost of an all-out violence – urge of its own free will that a ‘supranational’ arbitrator with dictatorial powers intervene into the world affairs.” The author pointed out that, “The events are following the same path as the Great Depression in 1929-1933: a financial crisis, an economic recession, social conflicts, establishing totalitarian dictatorships, inciting a war to concentrate power, and capital in the hands of a narrow circle.” However, as the author noted, this time around, it’s different, as this “is the final stage in the ‘global control’ strategy, where a decisive blow should be dealt to the national state sovereignty institution, followed by a transition to a system of private power of transnational elites.”


The author explained that a global police state is forming, as “Intelligence activities, trade of war, penitentiary system, and information control are passing into private hands. This is done through so-called outsourcing, a relatively new business phenomenon that consists of trusting certain functions to private firms that act as contractors and relying on individuals outside an organization to solve its internal tasks.” Further, “he biggest achievements have been made over the last few years in the area of establishing electronic control over people’s identities, carried out under the pretext of counterterrorism. Currently, the FBI is creating the world’s biggest database of biometric indexes (fingerprints, retina scans, face shapes, scar shapes and allocation, speech and gesture patterns, etc.) that now contains 55 million fingerprints.”[3]

Global War

Further, the prospects of war are increasing with the deepening of the economic crisis. It must be noted that historically, as empires are in decline, international violence increases. The scope of a global depression and the undertaking of restructuring the entire global political economy may also require and produce a global war to serve as a catalyst for formation of the New World Order.


The National Intelligence Council document, Global Trends 2025, stated that there is a likely increase in the risk of a nuclear war, or in the very least, the use of a nuclear weapon by 2025, as, “Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the specter that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers.”[4]


The report also predicts a resurgence of mercantilist foreign policies of the great powers in competition for resources, which “could lead to interstate conflicts if government leaders deem assured access to energy resources to be essential to maintaining domestic stability and the survival of their regime.” In particular, “Central Asia has become an area of intense international competition for access to energy.”[5]


Further, “Sub-Saharan Africa will remain the most vulnerable region on Earth in terms of economic challenges, population stresses, civil conflict, and political instability. The weakness of states and troubled relations between states and societies probably will slow major improvements in the region’s prospects over the next 20 years unless there is sustained international engagement and, at times, intervention. Southern Africa will continue to be the most stable and promising sub-region politically and economically.” This seems to suggest that there will be many more cases of “humanitarian intervention,” likely under the auspices of a Western dominated international organization, such as the UN. There will also be a democratic “backslide” in the most populous African countries, and that, “the region will be vulnerable to civil conflict and complex forms of interstate conflict—with militaries fragmented along ethnic or other divides, limited control of border areas, and insurgents and criminal groups preying on unarmed civilians in neighboring countries. Central Africa contains the most troubling of these cases, including Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic, and Chad.”[6]


In 2007, the British Defense Ministry released a report in which they analyzed future trends in the world. Among many of the things predicted within 30 years are: “Information chips implanted in the brain. Electromagnetic pulse weapons. The middle classes becoming revolutionary, taking on the role of Marx's proletariat. The population of countries in the Middle East increasing by 132%, while Europe's drops as fertility falls. ‘Flashmobs’ - groups rapidly mobilised by criminal gangs or terrorists groups.”


It further reported that, “The development of neutron weapons which destroy living organisms but not buildings ‘might make a weapon of choice for extreme ethnic cleansing in an increasingly populated world’. The use of unmanned weapons platforms would enable the ‘application of lethal force without human intervention, raising consequential legal and ethical issues’. The ‘explicit use’ of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and devices delivered by unmanned vehicles or missiles.” Further, “an implantable ‘information chip’ could be wired directly to the brain. A growing pervasiveness of information communications technology will enable states, terrorists or criminals, to mobilise ‘flashmobs’, challenging security forces to match this potential agility coupled with an ability to concentrate forces quickly in a small area.”


In regards to social problems, “The middle classes could become a revolutionary class, taking the role envisaged for the proletariat by Marx.” Interestingly, “The thesis is based on a growing gap between the middle classes and the super-rich on one hand and an urban under-class threatening social order: ‘The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest’. Marxism could also be revived, it says, because of global inequality. An increased trend towards moral relativism and pragmatic values will encourage people to seek the ‘sanctuary provided by more rigid belief systems, including religious orthodoxy and doctrinaire political ideologies, such as popularism and Marxism’.”


The report also forecasts that, “Globalisation may lead to levels of international integration that effectively bring inter-state warfare to an end. But it may lead to "inter-communal conflict" - communities with shared interests transcending national boundaries and resorting to the use of violence.”[7]


RAND corporation, a Pentagon-linked powerhouse think tank, connected to the Blderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and Council on Foreign Relations, came up with a solution to the financial crisis in October of 2008: for the United States to start a major war. Chinese media reported that RAND “presented a shocking proposal to the Pentagon in which it lobbied for a war to be started with a major foreign power in an attempt to stimulate the American economy and prevent a recession.” Further, “the target country would have to be a major influential power,” and Chinese media “speculated that the target of the new war would probably be China or Russia, but that it could also be Iran or another middle eastern country.”[8]


Gerald Celente, the CEO of Trends Research Institute, the most highly respected trend forecaster in the United States, has been sounding the alarm over the trends to come in the next few years. Having previously predicted the 1987 stock market crash, the fall of the Soviet Union, the dot-com bubble burst, and the 2008 housing bubble burst, these forecasts should not be taken lightly.


Celente told Fox News that, “by 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation, that there will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and that holidays will be more about obtaining food, not gifts.” He stated that this will be “worse than the great depression.” In another interview, Celente stated that, “There will be a revolution in this country,” and, “It’s not going to come yet, but it’s going to come down the line and we’re going to see a third party and this was the catalyst for it: the takeover of Washington, D. C., in broad daylight by Wall Street in this bloodless coup. And it will happen as conditions continue to worsen.” He further explained, “The first thing to do is organize with tax revolts. That’s going to be the big one because people can’t afford to pay more school tax, property tax, any kind of tax. You’re going to start seeing those kinds of protests start to develop.”[9]


In June of 2009, Gerald Celente reported that, “The measures taken by successive governments to save the politically corrupt, morally bankrupt, physically decrepit [American] giant from collapse have served to only hasten its demise. While the decline has been decades in the making, the acceleration of ruinous policies under the current Administration is leading the United States — and much of the world — to the point of no return.” This coming catastrophe, which Celente refers to as “Obamageddon,” will become the “Greatest Depression.”[10]


In May of 2009, Celente forecasted that a major issue is the “bailout bubble” which is bigger than the dot-com bubble or the real estate bubble that preceded it, and is made up of 12.8 trillion dollars. He states that with the bursting of this bubble, the next trend would be what he calls “fascism light” and that it will be followed by war.[11] He stated that, “this bubble will be the last one. After the final blowout of the bailout bubble, we are concerned that the government will take the nation into war. This is a historical precedent that’s been done over and over again.” He elaborated, “So, it’s not the dollar that will survive. We may not even survive. Look at the German mess after WWI. It gave rise to Fascism and WWII. The next war will be fought with weapons of mass destruction.”[12]

The Imperial Project

War should not be understood as a recent phenomenon in regards to accelerating capitalism through expansion and transition, as this has been a continual theme throughout the history of capitalism. The notion of “surplus imperialism” is what describes the function and role of war and militarism within capitalism. The concept is built around the function of “constant war.”


Ellen Wood explains the notion of ‘surplus imperialism,’ in that, “Boundless domination of a global economy, and of the multiple states that administer it, requires military action without end, in purpose or time.”[13] Further, “Imperial dominance in a global capitalist economy requires a delicate and contradictory balance between suppressing competition and maintaining conditions in competing economies that generate markets and profit. This is one of the most fundamental contradictions of the new world order.”[14]


Shortly after George Bush Sr. declared a “new world order coming into view,” in 1991, the US strategic community began setting forth a new strategy for the United States in the world. This first emerged in 1992, with the Defense Planning Guidance. The New York Times broke the story, reporting that, “In a broad new policy statement that is in its final drafting phase, the Defense Department asserts that America’s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union,” and that, “The classified document makes the case for a world dominated by one superpower whose position can be perpetuated by constructive behavior and sufficient military might to deter any nation or group of nations from challenging American primacy.”


The main figure that drafted this policy was the Pentagon’s Under Secretary for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, who would later become Deputy Secretary of Defense in the George W. Bush administration, as well as President of the World Bank. Wolfowitz is also a member of the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and is currently a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a neo-conservative think tank.


The document places emphasis “on using military force, if necessary, to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in such countries as North Korea, Iraq, some of the successor republics to the Soviet Union and in Europe,” and that, “What is most important, it says, is ‘the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S.’ and ‘the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated’ or in a crisis that demands quick response.” Further, “the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders ‘must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’.” Among the necessary challenges to American supremacy, the document “postulated regional wars against Iraq and North Korea,” and identified China and Russia as its major threats. It further “suggests that the United States could also consider extending to Eastern and Central European nations security commitments similar to those extended to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab states along the Persian Gulf.”[15] The Secretary of Defense at the time of this document’s writing was none other than Dick Cheney.


When George Bush Sr. was replaced by Bill Clinton in 1993, the neo-conservative hawks in the Bush administration formed a think tank called the Project for the New American Century, or PNAC. In 2000, they published a report called, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources for a New Century. Building upon the Defense Policy Guidance document, they state that, “the United States must retain sufficient forces able to rapidly deploy and win multiple simultaneous large-scale wars,”[16] that there is “need to retain sufficient combat forces to fight and win, multiple, nearly simultaneous major theatre wars,”[17] and that “the Pentagon needs to begin to calculate the force necessary to protect, independently, US interests in Europe, East Asia and the Gulf at all times.”[18] Further, “the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”[19] In describing the need for massive increases in military spending, rapidly expanding the armed forces and “dealing” with threats such as Iraq, North Korea and Iran, they state, “Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”[20]


Zbigniew Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller, former National Security Adviser and key foreign policy architect in Jimmy Carter’s administration, also wrote a book on American geostrategy. Brzezinski is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group, and has also been a board member of Amnesty International, the Atlantic Council and the National Endowment for Democracy. Currently, he is a trustee and counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a major US policy think tank.


In his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard, Brzezinski outlined a strategy for America in the world. He wrote, “For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia. For half a millennium, world affairs were dominated by Eurasian powers and peoples who fought with one another for regional domination and reached out for global power.” Further, “how America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe’s largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail African subordination.”[21] Brzezinski explained that, “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being. The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.”[22] Brzezinski also outlines Russia and China, in cooperation with Iran and possibly Pakistan, as the most significant coalition that could challenge US hegemony.


With the George W. Bush administration, the neo-conservative war hawks put into action the plans set out in their American imperial strategic documents. This made up the Bush doctrine, which called for “a unilateral and exclusive right to preemptive attack, any time, anywhere, unfettered by any international agreements, to ensure that ‘[o]ur forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hope of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States’.”[23]


In 2000, the Pentagon released a document called Joint Vision 2020, which outlined a project to achieve what they termed, “Full Spectrum Dominance,” as the blueprint for the Department of Defense in the future. “Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.” The report “addresses full-spectrum dominance across the range of conflicts from nuclear war to major theater wars to smaller-scale contingencies. It also addresses amorphous situations like peacekeeping and noncombat humanitarian relief.” Further, “The development of a global information grid will provide the environment for decision superiority.”[24]


The War on Terrorism, as a war with invisible enemies and borderless boundaries, a truly global war, marks a major stage in the evolution of the constant war “surplus imperialism” of the American empire. The US military, while being used as a vehicle for surplus imperialism; is also creating and maintaining and expanding NATO. NATO is expanding its role in the world. The wars in Yugoslavia following the collapse of the Soviet Union were used to legitimize NATO’s continued existence, which was created to have an alliance against the USSR. When the USSR vanished, so too did NATO’s purpose, until it found a new calling: becoming a global policeman. NATO has undergone its first major war in Afghanistan and its expansion into Eastern Europe is enclosing Russia and China.


Ivo Daalder, the US representative to NATO, also a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and member of the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote an article for Foreign Affairs in which he advocated for a “global NATO” to “address the global challenges of the day.”[25] In April of 2009, NATO began to review its Strategic Concept “in order to stay relevant in a changing security environment,” and that, “The leaders envisage cyber-attacks, energy security and climate change as new threats to NATO, which would mean big changes in NATO's future operations.”[26] Since 2008, NATO has been re-imagining its strategy and moving to a doctrine of advocating for pre-emptive nuclear warfare.[27]


As George Orwell wrote in 1984, “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.”

The Revolution of the New World Order

The new system being formed is not one based upon any notion of competition or “free markets” or “socialist morality”, but is, instead a system based upon consolidation of power and wealth; thus, the fewer, the better; one government, one central bank, one army, one currency, one authority, one ruler. This is a much more “efficient” and “controllable” system, and thus requires a much smaller population or class to run it, as well as a much smaller population to serve it. Also, with such a system, a smaller global population would be ideal for the rulers, for it limits their risk, in terms of revolt, uprising, and revolution, and created a more malleable and manageable population. In this new capitalist system, the end goal is not profit, but power. In a sense, this is how the whole capitalist system has functioned, as profit has always acted as a means and lever to achieve power. Power itself, was the goal, profit was merely the means of achieving such a goal.


Shortly following the origins of the capitalist system, central banking emerged. It was through the central banking system that the most powerful figures and individuals in the world were able to consolidate power, controlling both industry and governments. Through central banks, these figures would collapse economies, destroying industry and thus, profits; bankrupt countries and collapse their political structures, destroying a base for the exercise of power; but in doing so, they would consolidate their authority over these governments and industry, wiping out competition and eliminating dissent. It is these individuals who have played the greatest roles in shaping and reshaping the capitalist system, and are the main figures in the current reorganization of world order.


However, such is the nature of individuals whose lives revolve around the acquisition and exercise of power. Like the saying goes, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts, absolutely.” Those who are driven by the lust for power often eliminate and remove all of those who helped them reach such a position. Hitler undertook the Night of Long Knives, in which a series of political executions were carried out, targeting prominent figures of the SA, who helped Hitler rise to power. Stalin similarly, also purged the Soviet Union of those who helped him rise to power.


Power alters the psychology of the individual that holds it. It is an extremely lonely condition, in which, once power is achieved, and with no more power to gain, the obsession turns to the preservation of power, and with that, paranoia of losing it. This is why those that assist the powerful in gaining more power are doomed to a fate that is similar or worse than those who fight against such a power. This, ultimately, is why it is futile to join forces with such systems of power, or ally oneself with such powerful figures.


Power is a cancer; it eats away at its host. The greater the power held, the more cancerous it is, the more malignant it becomes. The less power held by individuals, the less chance there is for growth of this cancer, or for it to become malignant. Power must be shared among all people, for the risk carried thus becomes a risk to all, and there is a greater degree of cooperation, support, and there is a more efficient and effective means through which everyone can act as a check against the abuse of power.

Theoretical Foundations of Global Revolution

Currently, we are witnessing, in the wake of the massive economic crisis, a revolution in the global political economy. This revolution, like all revolutions, is not simply a top-down or a bottom-up revolution. Historically, revolutions are driven by a combination of both the grassroots and the elite. Often, this materializes in clashes between social groups, such as with the American Revolution. Although, the American Revolution itself was primarily waged by the American landed elite against the foreign imperial elite of Great Britain. The French Revolution was the combination of the banking and aristocratic elite co-opting, manipulating and controlling the grassroots opposition to the established order. The Russian Revolution, also being able to see rising social tensions among the lower classes, was co-opted by an international banking elite.


Currently, the transnational elite are very aware of the increasing social tensions among the worlds majority. As the crisis deepens, tensions will rise, and the chances of revolt and revolution from below greatly increase. Governments everywhere, particularly in the Western industrialized nations are building massive police states to monitor and control populations, and are actively preparing for martial law and military rule in the event of such a situation unfolding.


However, the transnational elite are undertaking their own revolution from above. This revolution is encompassing the restructuring of the global political economy through their orchestrated economic crisis.


Neo-Gramscian political economic theory can help us understand how this revolution has been and is currently being undertaken. Neo-Gramscian IPE (International Political Economy) emerged in the 1980s within the critical camp of theory. Largely based off of the Italian Marxist writer, Antonio Gramsci, it places a great focus on analysis of global power, order and structure. There has been much analysis within Neo-Gramscian theory on the nature and structure of the transnational capitalist class. Among the analysis of transnational classes, Neo-Gramscian theory also places emphasis on the notions of hegemony and resistance, or counter-hegemony.


The Gramscian notion of hegemony differs from other perspectives in, particularly mainstream, Global Political Economy. With the Gramscian concept of hegemony, it does not focus simply on the use of state power at exerting power, but rather defines hegemony as a system of power that is dual; it requires both coercion and consent. Consent is key, as it implies the active consent of “subaltern” or “subordinate” groups (in other words, the great majority of the world’s people), to being submissive to the system itself. This hegemony is built around the notion of conformity; thus, conformity is an active consent to hegemony. By conforming, one is submitting to the system and their place within it. This is also an internationalizing concept, in that this hegemony is not nation-based, but transnational, and backed by the threat of coercive force.


In discussing resistance to hegemony, or counter-hegemony, Gramsci identified two forms of resistance; the war of position and the war of movement. Robert Cox, the most well known Neo-Gramscian theorist, analyzed how Gramsci defined these notions by comparing the experiences of Russia with the Bolshevik Revolution as compared with experiences in Western Europe. As Cox explained, “The basic difference between Russia and Western Europe was in the relative strengths of state and civil society. In Russia, the administrative and coercive apparatus of the state was formidable but proved to be vulnerable, while civil society was undeveloped. A relatively small working class led by a disciplined avant-garde was able to overwhelm the state in a war of movement and met no effective resistance from the rest of civil society.”[28]


So a war of movement was characterized by a small vanguard seizing power and overthrowing the state. “In Western Europe, by contrast, civil society, under bourgeois hegemony, was much more fully developed and took manifold forms. A war of movement might conceivably, in conditions of exceptional upheaval, enable a revolutionary vanguard to seize control of the state apparatus; but because of the resiliency of civil society such an exploit would in the long run be doomed to failure.” As Gramsci himself noted, “In Russia, the State was everything, civil society was primordial and gelatinous; in the West, there was a proper relation between State and civil society, and when the State trembled a sturdy structure of civil society was at once revealed.”[29]


In this instance, a war of movement was impossible to achieve in Western Europe, and thus, “The alternative strategy is the war of position which slowly builds up the strength of the social foundations of a new state. In Western Europe, the struggle had to be won in civil society before an assault on the state could achieve success.” This undertaking is massive to say the least, as it implies as a necessity, “creating alternative institutions and alternative intellectual resources within existing society and building bridges between workers and other subordinate classes. It means actively building counter-hegemony within an established hegemony while resisting the pressures and temptations to relapse into pursuit of incremental gains for subaltern groups within the framework of bourgeois hegemony.” In other words, it is a “long-range revolutionary strategy,” as compared to social democracy, which is “a policy of making gains within the established order.”[30]


However, I wish to take the concept and notion of the “war of position” and re-imagine it, not as a means of counter-hegemony, but as a means of supra-hegemony. This is not a war of position on the part of a counter-hegemonic group (grassroots opposition, etc), but is rather a war of position on the part of an embedded international elite, or supra-hegemonic group. Supra is Latin for “above,” which implies that this group is above hegemony, just as supra-national institutions (such as the European Union) are above nations. This is the elite of the elite, beyond national elites, and composing the top tier of the hierarchy within the transnational superclass. In terms of composition, this group is the highly concentrated international bankers, the dynastic banking families such as the Rothschilds and Rockefellers, who control the major banking institutions of the world, which in turn, control the international central banking system. Their centralized power is exemplified in the Bank for International Settlements.


I will refer to this group as the Global Cartel. This Cartel has usurped global authority and power through an incremental, multi-century spanning war of position. The Peace of Westphalia, signed in 1648, constituting two separate treaties, created the notion of the nation state and state sovereignty within Western Europe. Feudalism dominated Europe from the medieval period through the 16th century, and was slowly replaced by the emergence of Capitalism. Major European empires had, since the 15th century, been pursuing empire building, such as with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and expansion into the Americas. This formed the first truly global economy. The empires worked under and in service to the monarchies that oversaw them.


It was with the founding of the Bank of England in 1694 that a European group of bankers overtook one of the major European empires. Great Britain then became the dominant empire, experiencing the Industrial Revolution prior to any other nation, and became a global hegemon. With the French Revolution, these European bankers took over another major empire through the establishment of the Bank of France, and then financed and profited off of all sides of every major war, and expanded imperial reach.


Through the expansion of the central banking system, a highly concentrated group of European bankers were able to overtake the major nations of the world. The entire history of the United States is the story of a Republic’s struggle and battle against a central bank. Finally, the bankers usurped monetary authority with the establishment of the Federal Reserve, and built up and created the American empire.


It was in the 20th century that the war of position of the cartel is most apparent. As the world globalized, so too did the war of position. The major banking dynasties founded powerful philanthropies, such as the Carnegie Endowment and the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. These organizations shaped civil society in the United States and set their sights internationally in scope. Through the establishment of think tanks like the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) in Britain and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in the United States, this cartel was able to bring in and centralize the intellectual, academic, strategic, military, economic and political establishments under the cartel’s influence. This was expanded by the cartel through organizations such as the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission.


Centralizing and controlling debate and discussion within these vital socio-political-economic realms was a vital component of institutionalizing hegemony, as Gramsci understands it, in that the cartel used their monetary and financial hegemony (controlling the printing and value of currencies) to stimulate an active consent among the socio-political-economic elite. National elites consented to the hegemony of the cartel, whose coercive hegemony was in their ability to destroy a national economy through monetary policy.


This hegemony, both coercive and consenting, based within the elite class themselves, facilitated the war of position of the cartel to advance their interests and proceed with their incremental revolution. The aim of this cartel, like many tyrants and power-hungry people before it, was world domination. Bankers command no army, lead no nation, and motivate no people. Their influence lies in co-opting the commanders, controlling the leaders, and manipulating motivation.


Thus, it was of absolute necessity for the cartel to undertake their ultimate aim of world domination and world government through a war of position, as no person would fight for, surrender a nation to, or be motivated to help any banker achieve their own selfish goals. Rather, they had to slowly usurp power incrementally; control money, buy politicians, own economies, build empires, engineer wars, mold civil society, control their opposition, overtake educational institutions and ultimately, control thought.

Conclusion

As George Orwell wrote, “Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”


The more people that think for themselves; the worse it is for the cartel. People, free thinking individuals, are the greatest threat to this cartel and their war of position. That is why the answer and solution to exposing the supra-hegemonic war of position, challenging and triumphing over the New World Order, lies in the free-thinking individual. The challenge is global and globalized; the solution is local and localized. The problem is conformity and controlled thought; the answer is individuality and free thought.


While humanity is faced with such monumental crises the likes of which in scope and size, we have never before faced, so too, are we faced with the greatest opportunities for an ultimate change in the right direction. While people are controlled and manipulated through crisis and disorder, so too can people be awoken to seeing the necessity of knowledge and critical thought. When one’s life is thrown into disorder and chaos, suddenly observation, information and knowledge become important in understanding how one got into that situation, and how one can escape it.


With this in mind, while facing the potential for the greatest struggle humanity has ever faced, so too are we facing the greatest potential for a new Enlightenment or a new Renaissance; an age of new thought, new life, new potential, and peace. No matter how much elites think they control all things, life has a way of making one realize that there are things outside the control of people. With every action, comes an equal and opposite reaction.


We may not reach a new age of thinking and peace before we enter into a new age of oppression and war. In fact, the former may not be possible without the latter. People must awake from their slumber; their immersion in consumerist society and pop culture distractions, and awake to both the malevolence of world systems and the wonder of life and its potential. Through crisis, comes control; through control, comes power; through power, comes resistance; through resistance, comes thinking; through thinking, comes potential; through potential, comes peace.


We may very well be entering into the most oppressive and destructive order the world has yet seen, but from its ruins and ashes, which are as inevitable as the tides and as sure as the sun rises, we may see the rise of a truly peaceful world order; in which we see the triumphs of individualism merge with the interests of the majority; a people’s world order of peace for all. We must maintain, as Antonio Gramsci once wrote, “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.”

Notes

[1] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 70-72: http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[2] David Lyon, Theorizing surveillance: the panopticon and beyond. Willan Publishing, 2006: page 71

[3] Olga Chetverikova, Crisis as a way to build a global totalitarian state. Russia Today: April 20, 2009: http://www.russiatoday.com/Politics/2009-04-20/Crisis_as_a_way_to_build_a_global_totalitarian_state.html

[4] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 67: http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[5] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 63: http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[6] NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 56: http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[7] Richard Norton-Taylor, Revolution, flashmobs, and brain chips. A grim vision of the future. The Guardian: April 9, 2007: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/apr/09/frontpagenews.news

[8] Paul Joseph Watson & Yihan Dai, RAND Lobbies Pentagon: Start War To Save U.S. Economy. Prison Planet: October 30, 2008: http://www.prisonplanet.com/rand-lobbies-pentagon-start-war-to-save-us-economy.html

[9] Paul Joseph Watson, Celente Predicts Revolution, Food Riots, Tax Rebellions By 2012. Prison Planet: November 13, 2008: http://www.prisonplanet.com/celente-predicts-revolution-food-riots-tax-rebellions-by-2012.html

[10] Gerald Celente, Obamageddon — 2012. Prison Planet: June 30: 2009: http://www.infowars.com/obamageddon-2012/

[11] CNBC, Gerald Celente. May 21, 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akH5C3f4aTI

[12] Terry Easton, Exclusive Interview with Future Prediction Expert Gerald Celente. Human Events: June 5, 2009: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=32152

[13] Ellen Wood, Empire of Capital. Verso, 2003: page 144

[14] Ellen Wood, Empire of Capital. Verso, 2003: page 157

[15] Tyler, Patrick E. U.S. Strategy Plan Calls for Insuring No Rivals Develop: A One Superpower World. The New York Times: March 8, 1992. http://work.colum.edu/~amiller/wolfowitz1992.htm

[16] PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Project for the New American Century: September 2000, page 6: http://www.newamericancentury.org/publicationsreports.htm

[17] Ibid. Page 8

[18] Ibid. Page 9

[19] Ibid. Page 14

[20] Ibid. Page 51

[21] Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books, 1997: Pages 30-31

[22] Ibid. Page 36

[23] Ellen Wood, Empire of Capital. Verso, 2003: page 160

[24] Jim Garamone, Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance. American Forces Press Service: June 2, 2000: http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=45289

[25] Ivo Daalder and James Goldgeier, Global NATO. Foreign Affairs: Sep/Oct2006, Vol. 85, Issue 5

[26] Xinhua, NATO changes to stay relevant. Xinhua News Agency: April 5, 2009: http://www.china.org.cn/international/2009-04/05/content_17554731.htm

[27] Ian Traynor, Pre-emptive nuclear strike a key option, Nato told. The Guardian: January 22, 2008: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jan/22/nato.nuclear

Michel Chossudovsky, The US-NATO Preemptive Nuclear Doctrine: Trigger a Middle East Nuclear Holocaust to Defend "The Western Way of Life". Global Research: February 11, 2008: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8048

[28] Robert W. Cox, Gramsci, Hegemony and International Relations: An Essay in Method. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2: pages 164-165

[29] Robert W. Cox, Gramsci, Hegemony and International Relations: An Essay in Method. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2: page 165

[30] Robert W. Cox, Gramsci, Hegemony and International Relations: An Essay in Method. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2: page 165

Bush pressed for a politically-motivated pre-election terror alertBush pressed for a politically-motivated pre-election terror alert

Bush admin pressured ex-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge to raise terror warnings pre-election

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In his new book, Tom Ridge wrote he received pressure by the Bush admin. to raise the terror warning pre-election.

Top advisers to George W. Bush pressed for a politically-motivated terror alert a few days before the 2004 election, ex-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge charges in a new book.

In a chapter of “The Test Of Our Times” titled “The Politics of Terrorism,” Ridge alleges ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and ex-Attorney General John Ashcroft argued for an Orange Alert — or “high” threat — because of an Oct. 29, 2004, video by Osama Bin Laden

“Ashcroft strongly urged an increase in the threat level and was supported by Rumsfeld,” Ridge writes in the book due out Sept. 1 by St. Martin’s Press.

No intelligence hinted of a new attack. Ridge aides objected to the White House and no change was made to the threat level.

Mark Corallo, Ashcroft’s spokesman in 2004, denied the ex-AG played politics with national security, and said Ridge should “use his emergency duct tape” on himself.

But exhaustive research by the Daily News in 2004 found that Ashcroft’s Justice Department rolled out terrorism announcements frequently to give Bush a boost in the polls against Democrat John Kerry.

Ridge’s first hint that Bush political aides were leveraging fear of terror attacks — an issue where Bush polled well — came in May 2004.

Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller held a press conference to warn about American-Al Qaeda Adam Gadahn and other suspects.

A top source said the Bush White House orchestrated the event. The red-faced FBI chief would appear with Ashcroft only once more.

But even Ashcroft had limits. He rebuffed a close aide’s request to make announcements of indictments and “be-on-the-lookouts” for terror suspects in political battleground states, a top Justice source told The News.

C.I.A. Said to Use Blackwater to Put Bombs on Drones

C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones

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From a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most important counterterrorism program: the use of remotely piloted drones to kill Al Qaeda’s leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees.

The division’s operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

The role of the company in the Predator program highlights the degree to which the C.I.A. now depends on outside contractors to perform some of the agency’s most important assignments. And it illustrates the resilience of Blackwater, now known as Xe (pronounced Zee) Services, though most people in and outside the company still refer to it as Blackwater. It has grown through government work, even as it attracted criticism and allegations of brutality in Iraq.

A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to comment for this article.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the agency hired Blackwater in 2004 as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top Qaeda operatives.

In interviews on Thursday, current and former government officials provided new details about Blackwater’s association with the assassination program, which began in 2004 not long after Porter J. Goss took over at the C.I.A. The officials said that the spy agency did not dispatch the Blackwater executives with a “license to kill.” Instead, it ordered the contractors to begin collecting information on the whereabouts of Al Qaeda’s leaders, carry out surveillance and train for possible missions.

“The actual pulling of a trigger in some ways is the easiest part, and the part that requires the least expertise,” said one government official familiar with the canceled C.I.A. program. “It’s everything that leads up to it that’s the meat of the issue.”

Any operation to capture or kill militants would have had to have been approved by the C.I.A. director and presented to the White House before it was carried out, the officials said. The agency’s current director, Leon E. Panetta, canceled the program and notified Congress of its existence in an emergency meeting in June.

The extent of Blackwater’s business dealings with the C.I.A. has largely been hidden, but its public contract with the State Department to provide private security to American diplomats in Iraq has generated intense scrutiny and controversy.

The company lost the job in Iraq this year, after Blackwater guards were involved in shootings in 2007 that left 17 Iraqis dead. It still has other, less prominent State Department work.

Five former Blackwater guards have been indicted in federal court on charges related to the 2007 episode.

A spokeswoman for Xe did not respond to a request for comment.

For its intelligence work, the company’s sprawling headquarters in North Carolina has a special division, known as Blackwater Select. The company’s first major arrangement with the C.I.A. was signed in 2002, with a contract to provide security for the agency’s new station in Kabul, Afghanistan. Blackwater employees assigned to the Predator bases receive training at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to learn how to load Hellfire missiles and laser-guided smart bombs on the drones, according to current and former employees, who asked not to be identified for fear of upsetting the company.

The C.I.A. has for several years operated Predator drones out of a remote base in Shamsi, Pakistan, but has secretly added a second site at an air base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, several current and former government and company officials said. The existence of the Predator base in Jalalabad has not previously been reported.

Officials said the C.I.A. now conducted most of its Predator missile and bomb strikes on targets in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region from the Jalalabad base, with drones landing or taking off almost hourly. The base in Pakistan is still in use. But officials said that the United States decided to open the Afghanistan operation in part because of the possibility that the Pakistani government, facing growing anti-American sentiment at home, might force the C.I.A. to close the one in Pakistan.

Blackwater is not involved in selecting targets or actual strikes. The targets are selected by the C.I.A., and employees at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va., pull the trigger remotely. Only a handful of the agency’s employees actually work at the Predator bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the current and former employees said.

They said that Blackwater’s direct role in these operations had sometimes led to disputes with the C.I.A. Sometimes when a Predator misses a target, agency employees accuse Blackwater of poor bomb assembly, they said. In one instance last year recounted by the employees, a 500-pound bomb dropped off a Predator before it hit the target, leading to a frantic search for the unexploded bomb in the remote Afghan-Pakistani border region. It was eventually found about 100 yards from the original target.

The role of contractors in intelligence work expanded after the Sept. 11 attacks, as spy agencies were forced to fill gaps created when their work forces were reduced during the 1990s, after the end of the cold war.

More than a quarter of the intelligence community’s current work force is made up of contractors, carrying out missions like intelligence collection and analysis and, until recently, interrogation of terrorist suspects.

“There are skills we don’t have in government that we may have an immediate requirement for,” Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who ran the C.I.A. from 2006 until early this year, said during a panel discussion on Thursday on the privatization of intelligence.

General Hayden, who succeeded Mr. Goss at the agency, acknowledged that the C.I.A. program continued under his watch, though it was not a priority. He said the program was never prominent during his time at the C.I.A., which was one reason he did not believe that he had to notify Congress. He said it did not involve outside contractors by the time he came in.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who presides over the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the agency should have notified Congress in any event. “Every single intelligence operation and covert action must be briefed to the Congress,” she said. “If they are not, that is a violation of the law.”