The Washington Post has published a splashy expos about the mammoth “homeland security” intelligence empire that now burdens the United States, financially and ideologically.
As usual, however, there is no real historical context. And that lack of context is part of the story — not just the current dimensions of the empire.
I wrote the following article for Penthouse in the summer of 2003. It was reprinted by CounterPunch later that summer.
At the time I said: “This homeland security boondoggle is the biggest reorganization of the U.S. government in 50 years. It might even bankrupt the country and, perhaps intentionally, throw it into a Depression. That remains to be seen. What is certain is that at a cost of $50 billion in taxpayer’s money, the homeland security infrastructure will provide Bush with 170,000 political cadres, and the internal security he needs to assure the continuity of his political power indefinitely. Except for providing Bush with political internal security, there is no need for the Department of Homeland Security; it is a Trojan Horse through which Bush will unleash his ideological storm troopers and exploit his ill-gotten power to achieve permanent political dominance.”
I put the blame on “Bush” at the time (and the numbers have varied) but it’s really the national security state that’s to blame for the near Depression the homeland security state (financially and ideologically) has caused. And of course the Washington Post is part of the national security state — that secret group of people who control America through secret deals — the type of secret deals that enable Washington Post reporters’ access to anonymous CIA officers.
Don’t forget — there is always a quid pro quo for that type of access, even in today’s expos.
And it is that national security state in its entirety that provides “their” empire with built-in security. Political Internal Security.
As pundits rush to comment on this “revelation,” don’t forget that it was utterly predictable.
And you know what that means….
Homeland Security for Whom? Are Bush, Ashcroft, and Wolfowitz Protecting America or Their Own Regime?
by Douglas Valentine
Adapted from the July 2003 issue of Penthouse Magazine
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“The implication or latent threat of terror was sufficient to insure that the people would comply.”
~ William Colby, creator of the CIA’s Phoenix Program, which targeted Vietnamese leaders for assassination during the Vietnam War
For those of you believe the war on terror and the violent occupation of Iraq will ensure world peace, you’ve got another thing coming; and that thing is the illegitimate Bush Regime’s homeland security infrastructure.
Let me state the point of this article up front: The war on terror, and its “homeland security” counterpart, are flip sides of the same coin. They are the same ideology applied to foreign and domestic policy. But like CIA agent Alden Pyle in The Quiet American, their evil intention is wrapped in a complex matrix of transparent lies. Pointedly, that evil intention is to provide the Bush Regime with political internal security at home, thus enabling it to plunder the world with impunity.
The foreign policy aspect of this synthesis was promulgated on September 20, 2002 in the “The National Security Strategy of the United States” (a.k.a. the Bush Manifesto) in which the Bush Regime confers upon itself the divine right to devastate any nation it dislikes, or has vast oil fields or other natural resources that it covets. This first-degree-murder strategy makes about 70 percent of Americans feel good about Bush. But Bush has an insidious ulterior motive, and if these feel-good Americans were to read the fine print of his Manifesto, they would realize that by generating more human misery around the world, the eternal war on terror will create more dissenters at home, and thus provide Bush with the mandate he needs to impose a de facto military dictatorship, as prescribed in his domestic policy statements: the Homeland Security, Patriot, and Domestic Security Enhancement Acts.
Just as waging war around the world is popular, so too will be suppressing domestic dissent. For example, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly recently had to defend himself when he said war protesters were “un-American.” His producers made him do some fast backpedaling, but the Big Mouth was expressing the true feelings of most of his listeners. The airwaves and editorial columns bombard the public with the Bill O’Reilly message, and that is how peace activists go from being bad Americans to being enemies of the state. And that is how the war on terror translates into a homeland security infrastructure that suppresses dissent.
The Shell Game
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Homeland Security is a euphemism for internal security, but that phrase has the nasty ring of McCarthyism to it, and the anti-Communist witch-hunts of the 1950s, led by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and racist Senator James Eastland’s Internal Security Subcommittee. Before the neo-cons got hooked on terror, America’s hawks were obsessed with Godless Communism. Hoover devoted his life to destroying every Communist in America, while the Dulles brothers (CIA Director Allen and Secretary of State John) harnessed the mania and used it as a convenient pretext for Cold War foreign intervention, and laid the foundation stones for the American empire after World War II. In the same way, Bush’s anal obsession with terror is the new contrived pretext for solidifying world domination. But as Hoover, Eastland, and the Dulles’ knew, without political internal security, Bush cannot wage war abroad, with all the economic benefits that entails.
So Bush, with the help of Joe Lieberman, the Senator from Israel, created the Department of Homeland Security to pacify (a euphemism for terrorize) the American people into submission through a number of ploys. This homeland security boondoggle is the biggest reorganization of the U.S. government in 50 years. It might even bankrupt the country and, perhaps intentionally, throw it into a Depression. That remains to be seen. What is certain is that at a cost of $50 billion in taxpayer’s money, the homeland security infrastructure will provide Bush with 170,000 political cadres, and the internal security he needs to assure the continuity of his political power indefinitely. Except for providing Bush with political internal security, there is no need for the Department of Homeland Security; it is a Trojan Horse through which Bush will unleash his ideological storm troopers and exploit his ill-gotten power to achieve permanent political dominance.
And he is creating this police state through terror. As the Homeland Security web site assures us, the threat of terrorism “is a permanent condition” that “requires our country to design a new homeland security structure.”
Terror as an Organizing Principle of Society
The underlying principle of homeland security (and the war on terror) is that terror is an organizing principle of society. This includes every type of terror, from the shock and awe bombs that liberated Baghdad, to the collective punishments Israel used to crush the Palestinian soul. It’s armed propaganda in the form of National Guardsmen eye-balling us at airports, and it’s the greatest psywar campaign ever waged, in the form of red white and blue color-coded warnings of terror attacks that never occur, and unsubstantiated reports brought to you by government stenographers at network news.
Terror is the underlying concept. In “Metaphoric Entrapment In Time,” researcher Anthony Judge tells how the new homeland security infrastructure is actually an act of “structural violence.”
“Personal violence is for the amateur in dominance,” Judge notes, quoting two-time Nobel Prize winner Johan Galtung, but “structural violence is the tool of the professional. The amateur who wants to dominate uses guns; the professional uses social structure. The legal criminality of the social system and its institutions, of government, and of individuals at the interpersonal level is tacit violence. Structural violence is a structure of exploitation and social injustice.”
Now that the Department of Homeland Security has been voted into law, Bush has laid the groundwork for America’s new legally criminal social structure, which exploits on both personal and professional levels. This confluence blesses Bush with omnipotence. He is all-powerful. As he said before sacrificing the Iraqis on the altar of his apotheosis: “We have concluded that tomorrow is a moment of truth for the world.”
Delusions of grandeur? A messiah syndrome? Penis envy? What gives?
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Justice as Terror
Administrative detention is the extralegal nail upon which the forthcoming legally criminal homeland security structure hangs. It is a neat way of avoiding the Bill of Rights and the Geneva Conventions by creating “crimes of status.”
Administrative detention was first used by the CIA in the Vietnam War through the notorious Phoenix “assassination” Program, and was applied against Communists, Nationalists, and anyone else opposing the puppet US puppet regime, just as CIA death squads are operating now in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sympathizing with the Communists was a crime of status, as was advocating peace.
Administrative detention is structural violence for the professionals. At the personal level, the terror as an organizing principle of society relies on selective terror, which means destroying one’s political opposition through acts of terror directed at individuals. It derives from the Eye of God technique, which plays on primitive fears of an all-seeing cosmic Eye of God that sees into your mind. It was used in World War One by morale officers who sent pilots in small aircraft to fly over enemy camps to call out the names of individual soldiers. CIA psywar expert Ed Lansdale, Graham Greene’s model for Alden Pyle in The Quiet American, used this technique in the Philippines in the early 1950s. At night a psywar team would creep into town and paint an eye (like the one that appears atop the pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States) on the wall of a house facing a suspected Communist or Communist sympathizer.
In South Vietnam the Eye of God trick took a ghastly twist. CIA officer Pat McGarvey recalled to Seymour Hersh that “some psychological warfare [psywar] guy in Washington thought of a way to scare the hell out of villagers. When we killed the VC there, they wanted us to spread eagle the guy, put out his eye, cut a hole in the back [of his head] and put his eye in there. The idea was that fear was a good weapon.” Likewise, ears were cut off corpses and nailed to houses to let the people know that big brother was listening as well. When Viet Cong leaders were found, Phoenix teams murdered and mutilated them along with their families and neighbors as a means of terrorizing the neighboring population into a state of submission. Such horrendous acts were, for propaganda purposes, often made to look as if they had been committed by the enemy. To spread the word that everyone was a potential victim, CIA psywar posters pictured a Phoenix with a blacklist trailing from its beak and a snake (i.e. a Communist) grasped in one of its talons. The message was that the omnipotent CIA selectively snatches its prey, in the most hideous way.
The Bush Regime is locked into this method of selective terror. They want you to think they know everything about you: if you’ve been bad or good, so to speak. Just remember what happened to Uday Hussein and his brother Qusay, and all the other Iraqis featured on the CIA’s popular death cards, which are advertised on the Internet.
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The modern manifestation of selective terror is the computerized blacklist — the greatest blackmail scheme ever invented: if you don’t do what Bush and his clique want, your name pops up and you’re suppressed. Be forewarned, the Bush Regime’s blacklists include the INS/State Department’s TIPOFF; CAPPS II, which uses credit information and secret databases to assess a person’s security risk level each time he or she flies; the “No-Fly” blacklist of peace activists, distributed to airlines by the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration; and local blacklists like the one kept by the Denver police department. You know about these lists. You just don’t know about the secret ones, the Bush Regime’s enemies list of its most powerful domestic political opponents.
Administrative detention and selective terror work in tandem and depend on informant and surveillance programs that identify, in homeland jargon, “terrorist surrogates” at the grassroots level of society. (Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Terrorism Information and Prevention System, a.k.a TIPS, was the short-lived prototype.) This is how it happens: on the basis of a false accusation made by an anonymous homeland informant, counter-terror teams will arrest a terrorist surrogate, detain the person indefinitely under administrative detention laws in an interrogation center until he or she dies or defects, or is sent to a military tribunal for disposition. Disposition means permanent detention in some perverse torture chambers like the ones in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Ultimately, the Domestic Security Enhancement Act will allow Ashcroft to secretly incarcerate and deport U.S. citizens without any thought of ensuring them due process of law.
Check out what happened to Jos Padilla.
To summarize so far: Blanket surveillance, blacklists, arrests on the word of anonymous informants, the absence of due process through extralegal administrative detention procedures, military tribunals, incarceration, and deportation are the instruments of the homeland security infrastructure, which will coordinate all existing U.S. intelligence, police, and military units in the attack on terrorists and their surrogates.
Ensuring Political Security
Bush is about to devour his domestic enemies at both the tactical (personal) and strategic (professional) levels. Upper echelon enemies will be dealt with by the Homeland Security Council, which Bush chairs, and which does not appear on any organizational chart. It sets policy for a secret political warfare program. It is the greatest danger facing America today. Like the anthrax letters mailed to Democratic senators, it takes only a few “black propaganda” operations to suppress the leaders of the political opposition. Private contactors may carry out executive actions (what the Israelis fondly refer to as “targeted kills”) issued by this all-powerful Board of Directors, as they are not accountable to Congress. Or Bush will employ political action squads from the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which consists of the FBI and CIA’s terror experts, and reports only to Bush.
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Tactically Bush will neutralize opponents through the Department of Homeland Security, which consists of four directorates: Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection, Science and Technology, Border and Transportation Security, and Emergency Preparedness and Response. The all-important Office of Intelligence, consisting of about 1000 analysts from dozens of agencies, is cloistered within the Directorate of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection. This Office, insofar as it will coordinate the other directorates in terror operations, is the nerve center of the DHS political internal security infrastructure.
The Office of Intelligence will manage the CIA’s domestic action squads, interrogation, and informant programs, and will wag the homeland security dog by coordinating all in-coming intelligence, and then sending out warnings to state, local and private sector officials. Employees from the CIA’s Counter-Terror Center will fill the most important positions within the Office of Intelligence, and will plan daily operations in conjunction with fellow CT Center officers posted within 93 Justice Department terrorism task forces run around the country. With the latest electronic surveillance gadgets available to them, they will reach into every corner of society, including our homes, workplaces, public facilities and computers, to sniff out terrorist surrogates and launch preemptive attacks to neutralize them before they activate.
If you don’t believe that the blossoming homeland security infrastructure is already providing political internal security, consider that hundreds of businesses and institutions across the country have already been placed on the CIA’s Watch List. According to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, one Bush official said that merely being on the list “could destroy the livelihood of all those organizations…without a bomb being thrown or a spore of anthrax being released.”
Elizabeth Becker of the New York Times reported several months ago that “the leaders of many federal departments and agencies have been scrambling to figure out… how they can influence the outcome [of the impending Department of Homeland Security] without appearing disloyal.”
And James Bamford noted that “pressure has been building on the intelligence agencies to deliberately slant estimates to fit a political agenda,” and “a growing number of military officers, intelligence professionals and diplomats …charge that the administration squelches dissenting views.”
This is the maximum danger of homeland security, and what it boils down to mandatory self-censorship. Already we passively permit hooded paramilitary policemen with automatic rifles to search our cars, without probable cause, for Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. These policemen are helping us, right? They would never turn their guns on us, right?
As stated in a CIA terrorist training manual that came to light almost 20 years ago, “Implicit terror always accompanies weapons, since the people are internally “aware” that they can be used against them.”
This is what William Colby was talking about when he was quoted in the prologue to this article as saying, “The implication or latent threat of terror was sufficient to insure that the people would comply.”
Creating the Political Cadres
Neo-con Michael Ledeen, a certified homelander, rationalized the use of terror as an organizing principle of society when he said, “New times require new people with new standards.” According to Ledeen, these new people have the will power to “stamp out” the “corrupt habits of mind” manifest in the thoughts or actions of anyone who opposes Bush Regime aggression. Says Ledeen, “The entire political world will understand it and applaud it. And it will give [Homeland Security] a chance to succeed, and us to prevail.”
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On the international scene, these “new people” illegally invaded Iraq, formed a puppet regime of supplitiefs, stole the nation’s oil and are putting the profits in their own pockets, and are now assassinating and otherwise terrorizing, through an updated Phoenix Program, any political opposition, in what amounts to mass murder.
Information management is key in creating the “new people” who will organize the new criminal homeland social structure, and make it appear legal, moral and most importantly, popular. The first step in manufacturing these robots is through motivational indoctrination, which is based on the principle that people will do anything you ask of them if you make them feel special. In return for adopting the right attitude, a successful career is offered. Several alumni from the CIA’s Phoenix Program already enjoy important top homeland security posts, like Major General Bruce Lawlor, Chief of Staff of the Department of Homeland Security, and Roger Mackin, the CIA officer in charge of the Department’s counter-narcotics center. From mid-1967 until mid-1968, Mackin ran the Phoenix Program in Da Nang City, and managed its Intelligence and Operations Coordination Center — the organizational model for the Department of Homeland Security. Mackin is also touted as the CIA officer who nailed Colombian drug smuggler Pablo Escobar in a typical Phoenix assassination operation in December 1993.
CIA psywar experts like Lawlor and Mackin will motivationally indoctrinate the 170,000 some odd homeland security personnel to wage political warfare. A training manual on the subject was reprinted in the early 1980s by a former Phoenix officer who got caught up in the Reagan Regime’s illegal Contra War. Titled Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare, it states that “the human being should be considered the priority objective in a political war. And conceived as the military target of guerrilla war, the human being has his most critical point in his mind. Once his mind has been reached, the ‘political animal’ has been defeated, without necessarily receiving bullets.”
Having been politically and motivationally indoctrinated, Critical Infrastructure and other homeland personnel will spy on colleagues who may inadvertently or maliciously serve as terrorist surrogates by publicly or privately revealing information about homeland infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as power grids or computer systems. These cadre will covertly identify and watch terrorist surrogates until it becomes necessary to expose the surrogates in the media. No one will want to be identified, even falsely, as an inadvertent or malicious terrorist surrogate, knowing that they are subject to being “stamped out,” as Michael Ledeen suggests. In this way the Bush Regime is organizing its political cadre — Ledeen’s “new people” who have been psychologically defeated by the implicit terror around them and, having reverted to the same infantile state of mind occupied by President George W. Bush, have embraced the Fascist principles they’ve been subliminally indoctrinated with for years through the corporate propaganda machine.
These “new people” are fast joining front organizations like the Freedom Corps, the Citizen Corps, Community Emergency Response Teams (which will train kids at school to prepare for the disasters the Bush Regime will surely visit upon America); the Neighborhood Watch Program that will allow the Bush Regime to detain its drunk and disorderly political opponents as terrorist surrogates; and the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), through which enfranchised doctors will monitor patients within the faltering health care system.
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Within these front groups are cadres trained “in techniques of persuasion over control of target groups” to support the Bush Regime. In the forthcoming national emergency, these cadres will be mobilized, will attend mass meetings, carry placards, shout slogans as part of a Popular Information Program, appeal to our cultural beliefs through Michael Savage-style radio shows, teach classes on correct thinking, organize subtle but massive screening operations designed to generate defectors, who will in turn to denounce former comrades who spoke ill of the Bush Regime. They will intervene with “problem individuals,” and everywhere encourage their neighbors to report the activities of terrorist surrogates by dropping a note addressed to the police in local mailboxes. It’s not hard to imagine a few of the most highly motivated cadres getting carried away, grabbing ropes, and forming lynch mobs.
Only five percent of the people need to be organized in this fashion for Bush to wield control over the indifferent ninety percent, and defeat the five percent that form the political resistance. This is why psychological operations are the Bush Regime’s No. 1 priority. Case in point: when Bush publicly announced the Department of Homeland Security on 6 June 2002, he stated that the organization’s primary mission was to “mobilize and focus… the American people “to accomplish the mission of attacking the enemy where he hides and plans.” By which he means his political opponents.
Psywar experts prize “compromise and discreditation” operations like the one the FBI used against Martin Luther King before he was assassinated. Information about his extramarital affairs was leaked, and he was sent a message with the suggestion that he should commit suicide. “There is only one way out for you,” the forged document read. “You better take it before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” Forged documents like the one used against King are an important facet of political blackmail, and are also used to justify false arrests or conceal illegal operations. We have already seen Network News broadcast “edited” videotapes of Osama bin Laden and, in the Afghanistan war, captured (perhaps forged) documents were routinely used as a form of black propaganda to justify military actions that resulted in “collateral” damage.
The greatest example, of course, is Bush’s criminal and impeachable use of forged documents to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq. This was an act of treason by the President of the United States, and yet within the new legally criminal homeland security structure, it is business as usual.
We can expect a slew of false rumors from low-level homeland cadre, designed to ruin the reputations of politically incorrect families in their villages and towns, especially environmentalists who pose a threat to Critical Infrastructure corporations. The paranoia that currently infects the Arab-American community will spread until no one is sure who is a spy for the Thought Police. When the national emergency arrives, most likely the forthcoming depression, and the homeland security infrastructure goes on Red Alert, midnight arrests and disappearances into administrative detention centers will become commonplace. Amid the confusion, the CIA will form special units within the 93 terrorism task forces around the country, and other unilateral Phoenix Program-style hit teams will operate under cover of the security forces at their disposal.
The clincher is when the definition of a terrorist surrogate is expanded to include people deemed dangerous to the Public Order, at which point any person can be arrested on criminal charges for political offenses. No specific charge is required; a homelander like Ledeen or Bill O’Reilly will simply accuse someone of disturbing the peace or being un-American The definitions of sedition and treason will grow to include disseminating information about government corruption, or undermining the will of the State by challenging its authority. Calling for civil disobedience will be a really scary threat to the homeland. Cadre in the Office of Cyberspace Security will expose you as a terrorist surrogate for sending sarcastic or satirical emails. How can you prove you were only joking when you blamed Bush for the terror attacks on the World Trade Center, and said Cheney’s refusal to investigate proves that Bush did it?
Ultimately, every town will form a Homeland Committee, chaired by a Bush Regime operative who will process confidential reports from concerned citizens about the activities of peaceniks, or people they don’t like for personal reasons, such as business competitors. These reports will pass through an ideological filter as they work their way up to the Office of Intelligence and the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, where motivated CIA officers will gleefully pull the plug on environmentalists, people espousing national health care, and anyone challenging to the Bush Regime and the internal security forces that are firmly in its grip.
Beware. Ashcroft has vowed to “employ new tools that ease administrative burdens.” However benign he might think he means this, these new tools can allow the government to wage political warfare through implicit and explicit terror. And the government can do it! The Geneva Conventions guarantee protection to civilians in time of war, but do not prohibit a state from interning civilians or subjecting them to emergency detention when such measures are necessary for the security or safety of the state. In this way indefinite detention, torture and summary execution, all carried out without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, are perfectly legal, because they are the result of “administrative procedures” and do not involve a “criminal sentence.”
This is what Israel is done to the Palestinians, and this is what the Bush Regime has in store for America through its eternal war on terror: that sad obsession with dominance, itself a sad projection of Bush’s feelings of inadequacy, most likely brought upon by his domineering mother Barbara.