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Machinery In Place For Dictatorship in America

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If President Bush doesn't make himself dictator it's only because he chooses not to do so, not because he lacks the means.

Indeed, we are all walking the streets today at the pleasure of the two gentlemen in the White House former Nixon counsel John Dean calls "co-presidents"- and whose regime, he warns, is "a dangerous threat to democracy."- (Read Dean's book, "Worse Than Watergate"-, published by Warner).

In fact, though, if anyone is pulling the strings to create a police state, it is Vice President Cheney. The former Halliburton CEO is tied closely both to those creating a private army and to those building massive new detention facilities.

As Charlie Savage wrote in The Boston Globe last November 26, "Cheney bypassed acts of Congress as defense secretary in the first Bush administration. And his office has been the driving force behind the current administration's hoarding of secrets, its efforts to impose greater political control over career officials, and its defiance of a law requiring the government to obtain warrants when wiretapping Americans. Cheney's staff has also been behind President Bush's record number of signing statements asserting his right to disregard laws."-

A chief architect of the "New American Century"- dogma, Cheney is no believer in international covenants. Rather, he thinks nuclear and biological warfare are "options,"- has no qualms about violating Geneva's proscription of torture, and justifies first-strike invasions. In short, Dick Cheney is a man who will stop at nothing.

In running any prison, or any prison state, the Warden has got to control the "three P's"- ---- policy, plant, and personnel --- and the Bush-Cheney White House is rapidly reaching that point with USA.

Concerning policy, our compliant Congress voted Mr. Bush unlimited power to arrest any person on his own say-so. Passage of the Military Commissions bill only provides support "for what the executive branch has already been doing over the past five years,"- writes Tom Head, author of About.Com: Civil Liberties. Head calls it "a terrible bill and should offend anyone who cares about human rights, regardless of party affiliation."-

As for personnel, Naomi Wolf in her book "The End of America"-(Chelsea Green) points to Blackwater USA, of Moycock, N.C., as "the world's largest private security force (that) works closely with Halliburton, and is available for action outside the scrutiny of Congress."-

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Wolf writes that, as of fall 2006, Blackwater "was on track to train thirty-five thousand men over the following twelve months."- And she continues, "Blackwater's business model plans increasingly to deploy its unaccountable private army in the U.S.---in the aftermath of natural disasters, and also in cases of "-national emergency.'"-

Bill Mathews, Executive Vice President of Blackwater USA says the 35,000 people trained by Blackwater "were ACTIVE DUTY SERVICEMEN (mostly from the Navy)"- and that his company's "primary business is training the US Military, much the same as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, SAIC or many other government service providers."-
Mathews says Blackwater employs "approximately 2,000 people working overseas"- and "Not all of these people are doing security work."- He points out "Some are cooks, trainers, and construction workers."-
He goes on to say: "Blackwater has never done any work for or with KBR. We performed one job which lasted about 60 days for one of their subcontractors in 2004, but never anything else. We don't know any of their management, staff or personnel. We have never bid on one of their contracts. To say that we "-work closely' together is not even close to the truth."-
Mathews continues, "Sherwood, I realize there are people who don't like US veterans (yes, we are ALL US veterans) serving their country in this capacity. We would die defending your right to criticize us"-but I don't think it's too much to ask that you at least do a little research before putting pen to paper."-

(Author's Note: The charge that KBR "works closely"- with Halliburton appears in Ms. Wolf's book, which was quoted verbatim from page 74. The author appreciates Blackwater's response and has reprinted it in its entirety. Nowhere in this article, however, is there any statement by the author, who is a veteran, that he does not like US veterans.)

Halliburton KBR subsidiary got a $385 million Department of Homeland Security(DHS) contract to build new detention facilities, so there's your physical plant or plants in development. KBR's announcement gave no details as to where the prisons would be built or when --- a stunning omission from customary public relations work.

In January of last year, when KBR announced it contract for "temporary detention facilities"---  each of which can hold 5,000 prisoners--- the rationale given was an "immigration emergency."  Yet, as Margaret Kimberley noted on ZNet, "Thanks to the Patriot Act and the creation of "enemy combatants' these detention centers can be used to lock up anyone for any reason for any length of time that Uncle Sam wants."

Halliburton, of course, is beholden to Cheney. He is no longer CEO but he is so tied to his former firm he lied to conceal its illegal acts. Cheney told ABC's Sam Donaldson that none of its subsidiaries prior to the invasion did business with Iraq. The firm's Vice Chairman Donald Vaughn later conceded a subsidiary did do just that, Dean writes, and The Washington Post showed Halliburton sold more than $73 million in oil production parts and equipment to Saddam Hussein, making it the Number One offender. Thus, Cheney covers for Halliburton.

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Again, is it really possible Bush-Cheney would create a police state in America? The above essay is conjecture, but what are Americans supposed to think when the co-presidents have lowered a Stalinist Iron Curtain of secrecy around their operations and covered it from coast to coast with a web of lies? After having lied the nation into a war of aggression that has killed more than a million human beings, the co-presidents have zero credibility, so why should anyone believe the creation of a private army and secret detention facilities on U.S. soil do not present a clear and present danger to Americans?

In Dec., 2003, U.S. News & World Report issued a special report on administration secrecy, concluding, the Bush-Cheney actions are "a reversal of a decades-long trend of openness in government"- and have "placed large amounts of information out of the reach of ordinary citizens,"- including consumer information that is "critical health and safety information potentially affecting millions of Americans."-

So ask yourself, what kinds of governments revel in secrecy, make illegal wars, lie to their Legislatures and refuse to execute their laws, open their citizens' mail, listen in to their phone conversations, prevent or harass their travels, ban foreign scholars from entering, torture prisoners, violate humanitarian, nuclear and germ warfare treaties, build detention camps and use private armies? You know the answer.

 

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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
 

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