Trump To Designate Mexican Cartels As “Terrorist Organizations”…Is Mexico New Objective In War On Terror?

Trump: narco-terrorist designation has been under consideration for months. Trump: narco-terrorist designation has been under consideration for months.

Trump says drug cartels will be designated terrorist organizations

 

Mexico will seek high-level meeting with US to discuss the designation

The United States will designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations, U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview Tuesday, triggering a request by Mexico for high-level bilateral talks.

“They will be designated . . . I have been working on that for the last 90 days” Trump told political commentator Bill O’Reilly.

“We’re losing 100,000 people a year to . . .what’s coming through Mexico,” Trump said, referring to narcotics trafficking. “They [the cartels] have unlimited money . . . it’s drug money and human trafficking money . . .”

Trump’s remarks prompted a swift response from the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE).

“The foreign secretary [Marcelo Ebrard] will establish contact with his counterpart, Michael R. Pompeo, in order to discuss this very important issue for the bilateral agenda,” the SRE said in a statement.

“In accordance with the good relations . . . between both countries, the Mexican government will seek a high-level meeting as soon as possible to present Mexico’s position and understand the point of view of United States authorities.”

Ebrard said Tuesday that he believed designating cartels as terrorists was unnecessary and stressed that Mexico will not allow a United States intervention in Mexico, an assertion repeated by President López Obrador on Wednesday.

He said he did not wish to start an argument on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. so his message to Donald Trump was a brief one: “Cooperation yes, interventionism no. And that’s where we shall leave it.”

López Obrador also offered hugs to U.S. citizens in celebration of the holiday.

Trump’s affirmation that the terrorist designation will be made came two days after the LeBarón family, who lost nine members in a suspected cartel ambush this month, posted a petition to a White House website that calls on the United States government to do exactly that.

But conservative U.S. lawmakers have been urging the Trump administration to classify cartels as terrorists since early this year.

The president sent Thanksgiving hugs to Americans at his press conference Wednesday morning.
The president sent Thanksgiving hugs to Americans at his press conference Wednesday morning.

Two Republican party representatives called for the move in a February letter to Secretary of State Pompeo, and soon after Trump endorsed the idea, telling the news website Breitbart, “we’re thinking about doing it very seriously . . . Mexico, unfortunately, has lost control of the cartels.”

Once a group is designated as a terrorist organization, it is illegal under U.S. law for people to knowingly offer support. Members of the organization are barred from entering the United States and those already in the country face deportation.

Financial institutions that become aware they have funds linked to a terrorist group must block the money and notify the U.S. Treasury Department.

Some of the implications of the designation were aired by Mexican columnist León Krauze in The Washington Post last week. He wrote that a terrorist designation of Mexican cartels “would greatly complicate an already strained bilateral agenda.”

He said “the U.S. government would be immediately granted a set of blunt diplomatic instruments that could have unforeseen consequences for both countries.” He noted that U.S. intelligence capabilities and the government’s ability to antagonize people suspected of assisting cartels would both increase.

“. . . While the situation in Mexico is undeniably difficult, the designation of some of the country’s cartels as terrorist organizations seems disproportionate and counterproductive,” Krauze wrote.

Arturo Sarukhán, a former Mexican ambassador to the United States, told Milenio TV that a designation could have “very broad and brutal political, diplomatic, financial, economic and commercial consequences.”

The move would reinforce “this narrative of Mexico as a threat to the national security of the United States,” he said.

The editor of the newspaper El Economista argued that the planned designation is politically motivated, writing in an opinion piece that “the president knows that attacking Mexico can offer him a high return from his electoral base.”

Luis Miguel González contended that the move would further complicate U.S. ratification of the new North American trade agreement and could cause the bilateral relationship to plummet to “new lows.”

He predicted that the U.S. president will increasingly use Mexico as a punching bag as the 2020 presidential election draws closer.

“. . . Will Trump take the Mexican piñata out of the garage? You can bet that he will. Perhaps he won’t dare to break it because of the high risk that implies . . .” González wrote.

“[But] maybe he will because he likes strong emotions, because he’s a supporter of protectionism more than free trade and . . . because he doesn’t like Mexico. It’s as simple as that.”

Iran arrests 8 ‘linked to CIA’ during unrest–state media

Iranian women holding national flags and pictures of the Islamic republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, take part in a pro-government demonstration in Tehran, November 25, 2019. /VCG Photo

Iranian security agents arrested at least eight people linked to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during last week’s unrest over gasoline price hikes, the official news agency IRNA reported on Wednesday.

“These elements had received CIA-funded training in various countries under the cover of becoming citizen-journalists,” the Intelligence Ministry told IRNA.

Among them, “six were arrested while attending the riots and carrying out (CIA) orders and two while trying to… send information abroad,” said ministry authorities.

The unrest, which began in October, soon lost control with banks, petrol pumps and police stations vandalized in some areas by protesters.

Iranian officials have so far confirmed five fatalities and around 500 arrests, while some organizations gave largely different numbers indicating more deaths.

The branch of a local bank that was damaged during demonstrations against petrol price hikes in Shahriar, west of Tehran, November 20, 2019. /VCG Photo

Upon the end of the fuel protest, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that the violent turnout following the oil price hike was a plot set by the United States.

“The people foiled a deep, vast and very dangerous conspiracy on which a lot of money was spent for destruction, viciousness and the killing of people,” said Khamenei on the state TV.

Condemning the U.S. interference in the unrest and showing support for the Iranian government, large numbers of Iranians across the country went on the street holding slogans and images of their leaders on Wednesday.

It was not the first time that the ministry claimed that they identified CIA affiliated spies in the nation.

Back in July, the agency said that they had arrested in total 17 by March 2019, the end of last Iranian calendar year. Some received death penalty and some were sentenced to long imprisonment.

The head counter-intelligence official said that the spies were working for industries across fields including infrastructure, cyberspace and nuclear programs, while leaking vital information to the foreign enemy.

U.S. President Donald Trump then denied the accusation on Twitter and called the report of arrests “false.”

(With input from Reuters)

US Hong Kong bill nothing but a vain attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs

US Hong Kong bill nothing but a vain attempt to interfere in China’s internal affairs

More than 100 residents of Hong Kong, mostly young people, awaken the city by sending their best wishes to the nation and the city at Wan Chai’s Golden Bauhinia Square, on Sept 17, 2019. [Photo/China Daily]

The US Senate passed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 on Tuesday local time despite strong opposition from the Chinese government.

As a barefaced encouragement to the Hong Kong rioters, this act neglects facts and truth, applies double standards and blatantly interferes in China’s internal affairs.

It is in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations, stirring up trouble against the Chinese people including the Hong Kong compatriots and once again exposing the US hegemonic way of thinking to the entire world.

The US should know that any such bill is nothing but a vain attempt and doomed to fail. It must withdraw the black hand behind the Hong Kong affairs.

Over the past few months, demonstrations in Hong Kong triggered by the revision of the extradition bill have continuously escalated, challenging the bottom line of law, morality and humanity.

The rioters have smashed buildings, committed arson, paralyzed the traffic, assaulted the police officers, injured innocent citizens and even besieged universities and threatened to turn them into riot bridgehead.

They have not only seriously infringed upon the personal safety, freedom of speech and other basic human rights of the Hong Kong citizens, including the police officers, but also undermined the rule of law and social order, wreaked havoc on Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, challenged the bottom line of the principle of “one country, two systems”, and positioned Hong Kong in an extremely dangerous situation.

The US, however, turned a blind eye to the crimes committed by the radicals. Under the guise of human rights and freedom, it has grossly interfered in the affairs of Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs, vilified the central government and the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and openly supported the illegal activities to oppose China and destabilize Hong Kong.

Sovereign equality and non-interference in other sovereign countries’ internal affairs are the most fundamental and important principles of the international law. For a long time, many developing countries, including China, have suffered from foreign interference in their internal affairs. Normally, such interference was in the name of human rights and freedom.

As for this time, the US has adopted a series of policies to manipulate the rioters, fully revealing the country’s ill intention of and double standards in meddling in other countries’ internal affairs under the guise of human rights and freedom.

The US has never stood up for Hong Kong when the place was colonized by Britain and deprived of human rights and freedom, but it decides now to make irresponsible and slanderous remarks about Hong Kong that enjoys unprecedented rights and freedom.

In fact, the US itself has kept a poor record on human rights, yet it dares to openly comment on Hong Kong, a region with higher ranking in terms of freedom and rule of law.

When dealing with demonstrations back home, the US government authorized the police to suppress the protesters ruthlessly. However, the US officials criticized the Hong Kong police who have been enforcing the law in a restrained and rightful manner, which is a total disregard of the public demand for ending violence and chaos and restoring order in the Hong Kong community.

At a dangerous moment when Hong Kong is sliding towards the abyss of “terrorism”, the American politicians, by pushing forward the latest bill regardless of the interests of the general public of Hong Kong, are indeed creating a “safe haven” for the thugs, creating obstacles for the SAR government to stop violence and chaos, and threatening those who uphold the rule of law and order.

The US has fully exposed its absurd and hypocritical double standards by trampling on international law and the basic norms governing international relations, as well as its true intention to conduct hegemonic practices under the disguise of human rights and democracy.

Numerous facts have proven that American politicians never care about Hong Kong’s public welfare, democracy, or human rights.

By destroying Hong Kong’s position as the international financial, trade and shipping center, intimidating the righteous people who stop violence and control chaos, and blatantly “paving the way” for the thugs, they are doing nothing but gaining political capital and containing China’s development through the chaos in Hong Kong.

At present, stopping violence, curbing chaos and restoring order are the most pressing task for Hong Kong, representing the broadest public will and the most important human right in Hong Kong.

Any attempt by the US to destabilize Hong Kong and impede China’s development is wishful thinking. Hong Kong is a part of China, and its affairs must be handled within the framework of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the basic law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The Chinese government will never allow external forces to do whatever they want on the Hong Kong affairs. No country should expect China to turn a blind eye to any attempt of undermining its sovereignty, security and development interests.

The Chinese government is unshakable in its determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, to implement the principle of “one country, two systems”, and to oppose any external interference in Hong Kong affairs.

Playing the “Hong Kong card” is doomed to fail. Any bill that violates the basic norms of the international law and international relations and interferes with China’s internal affairs will be a scrap of paper.

The US must recognize the current situation, pull back from the cliff, and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs so as to avoid inviting trouble. If the US does not follow through, China will take strong measures as counteraction, and the US must bear all the consequences.

US Hong Kong Act Direct Interference In Hong Kong Government, Far Surpassing Any Foreign Interference Here

Furious China threatens retaliation over US law on Hong Kong–“The nature of this is extremely abominable, and harbours absolutely sinister intentions.” 

Oil falls as US rights bill fuels tensions with China

Gold Prices Recover Amid Concerns Over Hong Kong, Sino-U.S. Relations

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, one of the leading advocates of the bill, said in his speech: “Today, the United States Senate sent a clear message to Hong Kongers fighting for their long-cherished freedoms: we hear you, we continue to stand with you, and we will not stand idly by as Beijing undermines your autonomy.”–Is HK Human Rights and Democracy Act a piece of scrap paper?

Why Hongkongers owe Donald Trump nothing, despite the steadfast support of Congress

 

Hong Kong’s self-styled saviour does not deserve the gratitude of the city’s citizens. Mr Trump may have signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act but his words show whose side he is really on.

American presidents engage in realpolitik, this is a given. They have to make tough decisions and sometimes have to keep schtum about horrors being committed beyond their borders. At best, when they go about this business they will, as the Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky put it, ask themselves “how will it look to the boys in the camps?”. Yet for all the sentimental thoughts in the world they nevertheless act as Washington’s head.

donald trump

Donald Trump. File photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Congress, by contrast, is where the heart is at – and boy, has this heart bled in recent months. Since millions of Hongkongers took to the streets in opposition to the proposed extradition bill with Beijing, there has been an outpouring of solidarity from senators and members of Congress alike. This support has remained steadfast as one demand expanded into five in the face of violent police suppression. All which shows that although Hong Kong can easily slip off Capitol Hill’s radar goodwill towards the city’s pro-democracy movement remains widespread.

We’ve been here before. Following the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, Congress was quick to help Hong Kong. Immigration reforms ensured that more Hongkongers would have access to an escape hatch should the city’s autonomy quickly deteriorate post-handover. More importantly, in 1992 Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell pushed through the Hong Kong Policy Act ensuring special treatment for the territory providing Beijing obeyed by its promise of One Country Two Systems. In recent years this law, and the threat to revoke it, has given Washington significant leverage over an overly zealous Chinese Communist Party.

This month, now in the lofty position of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell has once again been part of passing through Congress landmark Hong Kong legislation, despite some unnecessary delays on his part. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act increases the level of executive reporting and orders the US executive to impose sanctions on individuals responsible for suppressing basic freedoms. While the bill proposes visa bans, and asset freezes, for perpetrators it also ensures that arrested pro-democracy protestors do not face visa blocks. All in all, these are substantial measures which also send a strong message to China.

October 14 chater garden rally US human rights and democracy act

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Despite the overwhelming level of support on the Hill for the bill, Trump spent a week refusing to say whether or not he will sign it. Surprise, surprise – this arch-mercantilist was more concerned about his precious trade deal. Not that this mattered so much. Barring a presidential veto the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would have become law anyway, given that it has passed both houses of Congress.

In the end, Trump did sign, as many expected he would, but it should be noted without much public fanfare. A short accompanying statement from Trump said: “I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong.” Words so banal they can hardly be presented as the message of solidarity for the city’s pro-democracy movement which many Republican’s, like McConnell, have been urging him to make.

Yet the lackluster signing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is totally in line with the President’s track record. Throughout the past few months, Mr Trump has remained suspiciously silent. His state department and its chief, Mike Pompeo, have talked tough. His Vice-President has blasted Beijing on a range of issues, including Hong Kong, over the past year. Yet the few remarks made by Trump # have been stupefyingly facile if not downright stomach churning.

October 14 US rally Hong Kong Human Rights Democracy Act Chater Garden

A poster of US symbol Uncle Sam with the phrase “Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”

Of course silence from the White House is nothing new. As mentioned earlier Trump is not the first man to sit in the Oval Office to opted for the ‘pragmatic course’. Yet even Barrack Obama, who was keen to avoid fuelling Beijing’s foreign interference line during the Umbrella occupations, told General Secretary Xi:

[T]he United States, as a matter of foreign policy but also a matter of our values, we are going to consistently speak out on the right of people to express themselves, and encourage the elections that take place in Hong Kong are transparent and fair and reflective of the opinions of people there.

At the height of tensions this summer, as Chinese paramilitary vehicles moved along the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border, Trump did little to live up to his title of Leader of the Free World, saying it is a ‘very tough situation’ ‘I just hope it gets solved’. Quite a contrast to the moral and purposeful statement of his predecessor is it not?

More gut wrenching still has been the level of  praise heaped on the “King” of China by the current Commander-in-Chief. “I’m also standing with President Xi” Trump told Fox & Friends upon the Senate’s approval of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. “He is a friend of mine. He is an incredible guy” he went on to say about the dictator responsible for the vast network of concentration camps in Xinjiang.

More outrageous still has been Trump’s attempt to present himself as Hong Kong’s saviour, after having just sucked up to the man responsible for squeezing the city. In years to come, those digging through the archives will have a better idea of whether or not Trump himself saved Hong Kong from a fourteen-minute obliteration. For now, however, I think it is safe to assume that this is just more Trump bluster. Whatever the president said to persuade Xi from rolling back the tanks I cannot imagine. Whatever it was would stand in stark contrast to the weaselly promise, reported by Politico, which he made to stay quiet about a Chinese government crackdown during a phone call with Xi in mid-June.

Trump’s lacklustre signing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, along with his history of silence, interrupted with pro-Xi outbursts, tells you exactly who the president’s friends are and who he is his prepared to stand by. Those flying the Star-Spangled Banner on the streets of Hong Kong are not wrong to do so, there are many in Washington who care deeply about freedom in the city. Sadly, at this moment in time, this group of people does not include the top decision-maker.

Sadistic Murder and Attempted Genocide Is Only “Terrorism” When Committed By Our Enemies

Terrorism: Propaganda Versus Reality

There is hardly an accusation more damning in American political discourse than to be declared a “sponsor of terrorism.” We are used to certain countries, primarily Iran, being labeled by government officials and media outlets as state sponsors of terrorism. In the case of Iran, this claim is certainly true. But Sun columnist Michael Johns ’20, echoing a statement by former President George W. Bush, takes this accusation to the extreme by claiming that Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. The recent historical record, however, shows that this is far from true: It is the United States that routinely tops the list of rogue states with little regard for international law and diplomatic norms.

To make such an accusation against a country merits an investigation into its veracity. Johns references Iranian support for violent non-governmental actors such as the Lebanese militant-political party Hezbollah and Shi’ite militias in Iraq, as well as its ties to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, as proof that Iran reigns world champion of terrorism. In analyzing Johns’ and Bush’s accusation, it will be helpful to consider some of the most extensive instances of international terrorism since the 1979 Iranian Revolution brought about Iran’s current regime.

First, we turn to the ongoing Yemeni Civil War, the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” according to international observers. The suffering is far from limited to traditional wartime deaths, which number at just under 100,000 so far. Some 85,000 children under the age of five died of starvation as of November 2018, a result of a famine caused by a military blockade of Yemen. It is unlikely that this famine and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians via airstrikes will come to an end soon, as the state-terrorist perpetrator’s principal military ally has blocked all efforts to end its patronage of the regime committing these crimes.

But the perpetrator of these atrocities is not the Iranian-backed Houthi Movement, and Iran is not the unrepentant enabler: The perpetrator is Saudi Arabia, and its patron is the U.S. Executive Branch. Saudi Arabia regularly commits the same types of outrageous human rights violations against its own citizens for which Johns rightly condemns Iran. We can therefore conclude not only that Iranian support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen is not an example of Iran’s alleged supremacy in the realm of international terrorism, but that a closer look at the reality of the war in Yemen paints a radically different picture of who is sponsoring “terrorism” in the country.

Johns’ next example of Iranian terror is the regime’s support for Hezbollah, a Lebanese political-military faction that emerged as an armed Shi’a-Islamist opposition to the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon in the 1980s. Hezbollah is best remembered in the U.S. for perpetrating bombings against Israeli-allied and American targets in Lebanon during the country’s civil war. Iran has been a consistent ally of Hezbollah since its founding.

Perhaps the most extensive example of state-sponsored terrorism contemporary to the emergence of Hezbollah is that of the Contra War in Nicaragua. The Contras were a collection of paramilitary organizations and mercenaries receiving funding, intelligence, training, and arms from the CIA for most of the 1980s. They systematically killed civilians and attacked public spaces in order to bring the popular Nicaraguan government to its knees, a tactic that an honest observer might refer to as “terrorism.” Contra fighters routinely committed the types of gruesome executions we tend to associate with ISIS. In 1986, the World Court ruled that the Reagan Administration had violated international law in aiding the Contras, and Nicaragua continues to seek billions in reparations. By 1990, the Contra-led assault on Nicaragua had claimed over 30,000 lives — an example of terror contemporary to the first phase of Hezbollah terror in Lebanon, but on a much larger scale. Atrocities of larger magnitude were carried out at the same time in El Salvador and Guatemala, perpetrated by U.S.-backed military dictatorships rather than rouge rebel armies, all part of a strategy of financing groups violently opposed to political reform in Central America.

With so many examples of U.S.-backed terrorist groups and murderous regimes contemporary to each instance of Iranian sponsorship of terror, you begin to wonder how Johns and so many other American commentators have managed to present the narrative that Iran is the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world. The U.S. government does have a list of state sponsors of terrorism that includes only Iran, Syria, Sudan and North Korea. All are authoritarian regimes that brutalize their own populations. But curiously absent from the list are the chief U.S.-backed human rights abusing states of our time, such as Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf States, Egypt, Israel, Colombia and the Philippines, to name a few.

It is therefore revealed what is meant by “terrorism” in the vernacular of many American government officials and political commentators: “Terrorism” is a term which categorically excludes any state, paramilitary or rebel army that commits acts of politically-motivated violence so long as it is allied (or directed by) the U.S. If we want to “reign in Iran’s brutal regime” with any sense of moral high ground, then perhaps it is time to have an honest discussion about state-sponsored violence in the world and reject the blinding, hyper-nationalist ideology that refuses to recognize terrorism as such unless it is committed by an official enemy.

Jacob Brown is a Ph.D. candidate in applied mathematics at Cornell University. He can be reached at jtb257@cornell.edu. Mapping Utopia runs every other Tuesday this semester.

THEY LIVE, WE SLEEP–BEWARE THE GROWING EVIL IN OUR MIDST

They Live, We Sleep: Beware the Growing Evil in Our MidstJohn W. Whitehead, Rutherford
Waking Times

“You see them on the street. You watch them on TV. You might even vote for one this fall. You think they’re people just like you. You’re wrong. Dead wrong.” — They Live

We’re living in two worlds, you and I.

There’s the world we see (or are made to see) and then there’s the one we sense (and occasionally catch a glimpse of), the latter of which is a far cry from the propaganda-driven reality manufactured by the government and its corporate sponsors, including the media.

Indeed, what most Americans perceive as life in America—privileged, progressive and free—is a far cry from reality, where economic inequality is growing, real agendas and real power are buried beneath layers of Orwellian doublespeak and corporate obfuscation, and “freedom,” such that it is, is meted out in small, legalistic doses by militarized police armed to the teeth.

All is not as it seems.

This is the premise of John Carpenter’s film They Live, which was released more than 30 years ago, and remains unnervingly, chillingly appropriate for our modern age.

Best known for his horror film Halloween, which assumes that there is a form of evil so dark that it can’t be killed, Carpenter’s larger body of work is infused with a strong anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment, laconic bent that speaks to the filmmaker’s concerns about the unraveling of our society, particularly our government.

Time and again, Carpenter portrays the government working against its own citizens, a populace out of touch with reality, technology run amok, and a future more horrific than any horror film.

In Escape from New York, Carpenter presents fascism as the future of America.

In The Thing, a remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic of the same name, Carpenter presupposes that increasingly we are all becoming dehumanized.

In Christine, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a demon-possessed car, technology exhibits a will and consciousness of its own and goes on a murderous rampage.

In In the Mouth of Madness, Carpenter notes that evil grows when people lose “the ability to know the difference between reality and fantasy.”

And then there is Carpenter’s They Live, in which two migrant workers discover that the world is not as it seems. In fact, the population is actually being controlled and exploited by aliens working in partnership with an oligarchic elite. All the while, the populace—blissfully unaware of the real agenda at work in their lives—has been lulled into complacency, indoctrinated into compliance, bombarded with media distractions, and hypnotized by subliminal messages beamed out of television and various electronic devices, billboards and the like.

It is only when homeless drifter John Nada (played to the hilt by the late Roddy Piper) discovers a pair of doctored sunglasses—Hoffman lenses—that Nada sees what lies beneath the elite’s fabricated reality: control and bondage.

When viewed through the lens of truth, the elite, who appear human until stripped of their disguises, are shown to be monsters who have enslaved the citizenry in order to prey on them.

Likewise, billboards blare out hidden, authoritative messages: a bikini-clad woman in one ad is actually ordering viewers to “MARRY AND REPRODUCE.” Magazine racks scream “CONSUME” and “OBEY.” A wad of dollar bills in a vendor’s hand proclaims, “THIS IS YOUR GOD.”

When viewed through Nada’s Hoffman lenses, some of the other hidden messages being drummed into the people’s subconscious include: NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT, CONFORM, SUBMIT, STAY ASLEEP, BUY, WATCH TV, NO IMAGINATION, and DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY.

This indoctrination campaign engineered by the elite in They Live is painfully familiar to anyone who has studied the decline of American culture.

A citizenry that does not think for themselves, obeys without question, is submissive, does not challenge authority, does not think outside the box, and is content to sit back and be entertained is a citizenry that can be easily controlled.

In this way, the subtle message of They Live provides an apt analogy of our own distorted vision of life in the American police state, what philosopher Slavoj Žižek refers to as dictatorship in democracy, “the invisible order which sustains your apparent freedom.”

We’re being fed a series of carefully contrived fictions that bear no resemblance to reality.

The powers-that-be want us to feel threatened by forces beyond our control (terrorists, shootersbombers).

They want us afraid and dependent on the government and its militarized armies for our safety and well-being.

They want us distrustful of each other, divided by our prejudices, and at each other’s throats.

Most of all, they want us to continue to march in lockstep with their dictates.

Tune out the government’s attempts to distract, divert and befuddle us and tune into what’s really going on in this country, and you’ll run headlong into an unmistakable, unpalatable truth: the moneyed elite who rule us view us as expendable resources to be used, abused and discarded.

In fact, a study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern University concluded that the U.S. government does not represent the majority of American citizens. Instead, the study found that the government is ruled by the rich and powerful, or the so-called “economic elite.” Moreover, the researchers concluded that policies enacted by this governmental elite nearly always favor special interests and lobbying groups.

In other words, we are being ruled by an oligarchy disguised as a democracy, and arguably on our way towards fascism—a form of government where private corporate interests rule, money calls the shots, and the people are seen as mere subjects to be controlled.

Not only do you have to be rich—or beholden to the rich—to get elected these days, but getting elected is also a surefire way to get rich. As CBS News reports, “Once in office, members of Congress enjoy access to connections and information they can use to increase their wealth, in ways that are unparalleled in the private sector. And once politicians leave office, their connections allow them to profit even further.”

In denouncing this blatant corruption of America’s political system, former president Jimmy Carter blasted the process of getting elected—to the White House, governor’s mansion, Congress or state legislatures—as “unlimited political bribery… a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over.”

Rest assured that when and if fascism finally takes hold in America, the basic forms of government will remain: Fascism will appear to be friendly. The legislators will be in session. There will be elections, and the news media will continue to cover the entertainment and political trivia. Consent of the governed, however, will no longer apply. Actual control will have finally passed to the oligarchic elite controlling the government behind the scenes.

Sound familiar?

Clearly, we are now ruled by an oligarchic elite of governmental and corporate interests.

We have moved into “corporatism” (favored by Benito Mussolini), which is a halfway point on the road to full-blown fascism.

Corporatism is where the few moneyed interests—not elected by the citizenry—rule over the many. In this way, it is not a democracy or a republican form of government, which is what the American government was established to be. It is a top-down form of government and one which has a terrifying history typified by the developments that occurred in totalitarian regimes of the past: police states where everyone is watched and spied on, rounded up for minor infractions by government agents, placed under police control, and placed in detention (a.k.a. concentration) camps.

For the final hammer of fascism to fall, it will require the most crucial ingredient: the majority of the people will have to agree that it’s not only expedient but necessary.

But why would a people agree to such an oppressive regime?

The answer is the same in every age: fear.

Fear makes people stupid.

Fear is the method most often used by politicians to increase the power of government. And, as most social commentators recognize, an atmosphere of fear permeates modern America: fear of terrorism, fear of the police, fear of our neighbors and so on.

The propaganda of fear has been used quite effectively by those who want to gain control, and it is working on the American populace.

Despite the fact that we are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack; 11,000 times more likely to die from an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane; 1,048 times more likely to die from a car accident than a terrorist attack, and 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist , we have handed over control of our lives to government officials who treat us as a means to an end—the source of money and power.

As the Bearded Man in They Live warns, “They are dismantling the sleeping middle class. More and more people are becoming poor. We are their cattle. We are being bred for slavery.”

In this regard, we’re not so different from the oppressed citizens in They Live.

From the moment we are born until we die, we are indoctrinated into believing that those who rule us do it for our own good. The truth is far different.

Despite the truth staring us in the face, we have allowed ourselves to become fearful, controlled, pacified zombies.

We live in a perpetual state of denial, insulated from the painful reality of the American police state by wall-to-wall entertainment news and screen devices.

Most everyone keeps their heads down these days while staring zombie-like into an electronic screen, even when they’re crossing the street. Families sit in restaurants with their heads down, separated by their screen devices and unaware of what’s going on around them. Young people especially seem dominated by the devices they hold in their hands, oblivious to the fact that they can simply push a button, turn the thing off and walk away.

Indeed, there is no larger group activity than that connected with those who watch screens—that is, television, lap tops, personal computers, cell phones and so on. In fact, a Nielsen study reports that American screen viewing is at an all-time high. For example, the average American watches approximately 151 hours of television per month.

The question, of course, is what effect does such screen consumption have on one’s mind?

Psychologically it is similar to drug addiction. Researchers found that “almost immediately after turning on the TV, subjects reported feeling more relaxed, and because this occurs so quickly and the tension returns so rapidly after the TV is turned off, people are conditioned to associate TV viewing with a lack of tension.” Research also shows that regardless of the programming, viewers’ brain waves slow down, thus transforming them into a more passive, nonresistant state.

Historically, television has been used by those in authority to quiet discontent and pacify disruptive people. “Faced with severe overcrowding and limited budgets for rehabilitation and counseling, more and more prison officials are using TV to keep inmates quiet,” according to Newsweek.

Given that the majority of what Americans watch on television is provided through channels controlled by six mega corporations, what we watch is now controlled by a corporate elite and, if that elite needs to foster a particular viewpoint or pacify its viewers, it can do so on a large scale.

If we’re watching, we’re not doing.

The powers-that-be understand this. As television journalist Edward R. Murrow warned in a 1958 speech:

We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.

This brings me back to They Live, in which the real zombies are not the aliens calling the shots but the populace who are content to remain controlled.

When all is said and done, the world of They Live is not so different from our own. As one of the characters points out, “The poor and the underclass are growing. Racial justice and human rights are nonexistent. They have created a repressive society and we are their unwitting accomplices. Their intention to rule rests with the annihilation of consciousness. We have been lulled into a trance. They have made us indifferent to ourselves, to others. We are focused only on our own gain.”

We, too, are focused only on our own pleasures, prejudices and gains. Our poor and underclasses are also growing. Racial injustice is growing. Human rights is nearly nonexistent. We too have been lulled into a trance, indifferent to others.

Oblivious to what lies ahead, we’ve been manipulated into believing that if we continue to consume, obey, and have faith, things will work out. But that’s never been true of emerging regimes. And by the time we feel the hammer coming down upon us, it will be too late.

So where does that leave us?

The characters who populate Carpenter’s films provide some insight.

Underneath their machismo, they still believe in the ideals of liberty and equal opportunity. Their beliefs place them in constant opposition with the law and the establishment, but they are nonetheless freedom fighters.

When, for example, John Nada destroys the alien hyno-transmitter in They Live, he restores hope by delivering America a wake-up call for freedom.

That’s the key right there: we need to wake up.

Stop allowing yourselves to be easily distracted by pointless political spectacles and pay attention to what’s really going on in the country.

The real battle for control of this nation is not being waged between Republicans and Democrats in the ballot box.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the real battle for control of this nation is taking place on roadsides, in police cars, on witness stands, over phone lines, in government offices, in corporate offices, in public school hallways and classrooms, in parks and city council meetings, and in towns and cities across this country.

The real battle between freedom and tyranny is taking place right in front of our eyes, if we would only open them.

All the trappings of the American police state are now in plain sight.

Wake up, America.

If they live (the tyrants, the oppressors, the invaders, the overlords), it is only because “we the people” sleep.

About the Author

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, where this article (John Lennon Was Right: The Government Is Run by Maniacs for Maniacal Means) was originally published. He is the author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State and The Change Manifesto.

Turkey Blasts American Use of Terrorists To Fight Terrorists In Syria

Turkey foils plan ‘cooked’ in Pentagon’: Expert

With its anti-terror operations, Turkey thwarts emergence of terror corridor near its borders, says think-tank chief

Nazli Yuzbasioglu
Turkey foils plan 'cooked' in Pentagon’: ExpertBurhanettin Duran, Director of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA)

ANKARA 

Having carried out three counter-terrorism operations in northern Syria, Turkey prevented the emergence of a terror corridor on its southern border, foiling plans made in the U.S. Department of Defense, according to an expert.

Burhanettin Duran, Director of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), spoke to Anadolu Agency about separate deals Turkey reached with the U.S. and Russia on northern Syria, as well as Ankara’s fight against the terror groups PKK/YPG and Daesh, also known as ISIS.

Referring to a recent Pentagon report claiming that Daesh took advantage of a U.S. plan to pull part of its troops out of the region where Turkey was conducting an anti-terror operation, Duran said the report was a response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal decision which was partially due to pressure from Ankara.

Duran argued that the Barack Obama administration in the U.S. sought to fight Daesh terrorists with another terror group — the PKK/YPG — and did not care about the damage to the region.

“That [policy] was inherited by Trump,” he said, adding that the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) made brought Trump to support the PKK/YPG despite his initial inclination to cooperate with states, not non-state actors.

According to Duran, ties between PKK/YPG and U.S. had reached such a high level that Washington began to push for them to be elevated from a “tactical” relationship to “strategic”. In doing so, it sought to use the terror group against Iran, or else turn it into a state-like structure that would protect U.S. interests in the region.

He went on to say that Turkey’s anti-terror campaigns in northern Syria — the Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch and Peace Spring operations — prevented the formation of such a terror corridor.

Duran said that through the report, the Pentagon expressed its disdain at Turkey for foiling these plots that it “cooked up”, by raising the most common issue about the Syrian conflict: Daesh.

– PKK/YPG not solution to Daesh trouble

Turkish operations in the region have the potential to eradicate Daesh infrastructure, unlike what is suggested by the Pentagon report, according to Duran.

He argued that Daesh first emerged in the prisons of Iraq following the U.S. invasion in 2003, then shifting to Syria. “Given that Daesh could emerge even when [Iraq] was under full control of the U.S., what sort of Daesh [alternatives] could emerge in a region controlled by PKK/YPG?” he asked.

He added that the fight against Daesh should be conducted by state actors, or else the grassroots levels of the terror group would remain alive.

– Safe zone deals with US, Russia

Underlining that recent agreements for a safe zone in northern Syria with the U.S. and Russia were in accordance with Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring, Duran noted that these agreements indicated that the first phase of Ankara’s fight against the PKK/YPG was complete.

However, the terror group had yet to be removed from the 444-kilometer (276 miles) area by Russian and U.S. forces, he said.

Duran stressed that Turkey exhibited a balanced policy in its relationships with the U.S. and Russia, saying: “This balance is an approach centering on Turkey’s national interests.”

He added that “leader diplomacy” was practiced by all three countries and that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s talks with his American and Russian counterparts led to concrete results on the ground that enabled Turkey’s three anti-terror operations and contributed to its fight against PKK/YPG terrorists.

– PKK/YPG use of Syrian oil as ‘crime’

He underlined that the U.S. did not seek to fully dismantle the terror group and continued to use it south of safe zone boundaries on the pretext of “protecting oil”.

“It is a crime in terms of international law,” he said, referring to the PKK/YPG and Syrian oil. “Both in the sense of violating the sovereignty of the Syrian state and openly supporting a terror group.

“Turkey wants the agreements reached with the U.S. and Russia to be implemented and, if necessary, it can conduct operations in the region thought to be under control of the U.S. and Russia,” he said.

Duran underlined that Washington followed an asymmetric policy towards Turkey, which it must change. He said this asymmetric relation could not be imposed on Turkey under a strategic partnership or NATO.

In addition, he said Russian efforts to use Turkey by creating a conflict within NATO would not work out.

– Operation Peace Spring

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria, east of the Euphrates River to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara reached two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia to pause the operation to allow PKK/YPG terrorists to withdraw from a planned safe zone, where Turkey wants to repatriate the refugees.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas