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Orwell's "1984" becoming a reality in modern-day America

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In George Orwell's classic novel, "1984", one can see a striking resemblance between the fictional nation of Oceania and the America of today. Orwell's novel was a look into the future in which Oceania (supposedly Britain), Eurasia (Russia) and Eastasia (China) fight a perpetual war to dominate the world. In this scenario, all we need do is to replace Britain with America and we have an eerily accurate picture of our world today.

In this novel, published in 1949, Oceania is depicted as a nation of perpetual war, pervasive government, public mind control and the voiding of civil rights. Could that description fit America today? Well, one thing is certain; if America has not yet arrived at that point, we seem to be heading in that very direction.

No, America does not have a Ministry of Truth, a Ministry of Peace (in "1984" war was considered peace), a Ministry of Plenty, or a Ministry of love (meaning love for only Big Brother and the Party), at least, not yet. But, examine Orwell's depiction of a world of perpetual war, pervasive government, public mind control and the voiding of civil rights and see how it relates to the America of today. Then ask this question; is America evolving into the living example of Orwell's journalistic masterpiece?

Perpetual War that should a no-brainer; since the end of World War II, the U.S. has conducted wars and military actions in: the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. If that is not perpetual war, then what is it?

And, we may soon witness further military incursions into Yemen and Somalia but, hopefully, not Iran. The U.S. and Israel, it's generously funded policeman/enforcer in the Middle East, continue to carry on a dangerous war of words with Iran. The rhetoric by all parties continues non-stop with threats being hurled around on an almost daily basis. This extremely volatile situation could erupt into a full-scale Middle East war at any time.

President Obama seems to have adopted one of the key elements of this novel which is "doublethink." Defined, this is "the power to hold two completely contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accept both of them." We watched as Mr. Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at the very same time that he was simultaneously conducting two wars; shortly after receiving this prestigious award he took steps to significantly escalate the war in Afghanistan and the undeclared war in Pakistan. This is a

classic example of "doublethink" that would be defined, in his case, as "War is Peace."

So, does the U.S. qualify and fit the "1984" description of a nation that conducts perpetual war? Sad to say, it is getting very close to being a perfect fit.

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Public mind control The idea that we fight all these wars to safeguard our freedoms and our democracy and, therefore, the wars are "just" has been embedded into the American mind over the decades by both our government and the subservient, corporate-controlled national media.

After the 9/11 attacks on the WorldTradeCenter, the people of America were submitted to a steady barrage of warnings about terrorists who were ready to attack again at any time. The "war on terror" was created by the Bush/Cheney tandem of war hawks to instill fear and apprehension into the hearts of Americans. They were aided and abetted by this national media who filled the airwaves day in and day out with dire warnings, breaking news about potential threats, and special reports by paid, retired military experts who cleverly planted more fear into the American populace.

And the majority of Americans bought into the propaganda, misrepresentations and outright lies. After 9/11, it was said, America could never, ever be the same. We had experienced something like nothing before in our history and it must remain in the back of our minds every second of our lives, a constant reminder of what might follow. But, thank heaven, at least we had Bush and Cheney to protect us from the terrorists.

Pervasive Government and the voiding of civil rights This fear, planted in the minds of Americans made it very convenient for what followed in the form of new legislation to protect America from those mighty terrorists that had the power to bring down the greatest military power the world has ever known. And so, our executive branch and the U.S. Congress sprang into action and what followed was legislation that put restrictions on the American people as never before in our history; these restrictions were found in the Patriot Act and the amendments to the FISA Act of 1978.

The Patriot Act, besides being a clear violation of the Constitution, tears down decades' of work to establish protection against governmental infringement upon the rights of U.S. citizens and expands the authority of law enforcement agencies to monitor telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records.

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The provisions of the Patriot Act and the FISA Act, collectively, are clearly a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which states, 'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The FISA Act (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers" (which may include American citizens and permanent residents suspected of being engaged in espionage and violating U.S. law on territory under United States control). It was amended in July 2008 to give the National Security Agency (NSA) the power to spy on the international phone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens without a warrant and with only limited judicial oversight.

When America arrives at the point that the laws of the nation allow government agencies to listen to cell phone, e-mail, text messaging, Facebook or any other form of communication of its citizens, then we have entered the era of "Big Brother." And we will have become the living proof of Orwell's prophetic visions. "Big Brother is watching" used to be a joke; well, it's no longer a joke, it is becoming a reality in America. So, when you state your opinions on e-mails, cell phones, Facebook, or when you text, watch what you say because someone out there is listening and may be taking notes.

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)
 

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When America arrives at the point that the laws of... by michael payne on Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 12:35:18 PM