The Power of Nightmares

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Wed, 22 Dec 2004 13:00:00 GMT
# Thom Hartmann at Common Dreams - Hyping Terror For Fun, Profit - And Power - concerning a three hour documentary, The Power of Nightmares, written and produced by Adam Curtis, that was aired by the BBC in October. Guess what? The current war on "terror" is the second time that Rumsfeld and Cheney have invented, out of whole cloth, a reason to pour billions of dollars into their war-making companies. You can view the documentary here (Real video). A better copy of the third hour is here. A transcript, including links to Bit Torrents of the video (which didn't work for me), is here. My mirror of the transcript is at [root]
According to this carefully researched and well-vetted BBC documentary, Richard Nixon, following in the steps of his mentor and former boss Dwight D. Eisenhower, believed it was possible to end the Cold War and eliminate fear from the national psyche. The nation need no longer be afraid of communism or the Soviet Union. Nixon worked out a truce with the Soviets, meeting their demands for safety as well as the US needs for security, and then announced to Americans that they need no longer be afraid.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon returned from the Soviet Union with a treaty worked out by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the beginning of a process Kissinger called "détente." On June 1, 1972, Nixon gave a speech in which he said, "Last Friday, in Moscow, we witnessed the beginning of the end of that era which began in 1945. With this step, we have enhanced the security of both nations. We have begun to reduce the level of fear, by reducing the causes of fear--for our two peoples, and for all peoples in the world."

But Nixon left amid scandal and Ford came in, and Ford's Secretary of Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) and Chief of Staff (Dick Cheney) believed it was intolerable that Americans might no longer be bound by fear. Without fear, how could Americans be manipulated?

Rumsfeld and Cheney began a concerted effort - first secretly and then openly - to undermine Nixon's treaty for peace and to rebuild the state of fear and, thus, reinstate the Cold War.

And these two men - 1974 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Ford Chief of Staff Dick Cheney - did this by claiming that the Soviets had secret weapons of mass destruction that the president didn't know about, that the CIA didn't know about, that nobody but them knew about. And, they said, because of those weapons, the US must redirect billions of dollars away from domestic programs and instead give the money to defense contractors for whom these two men would one day work.


But the neocons said it was true, and organized a group - The Committee on the Present Danger - to promote their worldview. The Committee produced documentaries, publications, and provided guests for national talk shows and news reports. They worked hard to whip up fear and encourage increases in defense spending, particularly for sophisticated weapons systems offered by the defense contractors for whom neocons would later become lobbyists.

And they succeeded in recreating an atmosphere of fear in the United States, and making themselves and their defense contractor friends richer than most of the kingdoms of the world.

The Cold War was good for business, and good for the political power of its advocates, from Rumsfeld to Reagan.

Similarly, according to this documentary, the War On Terror is the same sort of scam, run for many of the same reasons, by the same people. And by hyping it - and then invading Iraq - we may well be bringing into reality terrors and forces that previously existed only on the margins and with very little power to harm us.

Curtis' documentary suggests that the War On Terror is just as much a fiction as were the super-WMDs this same group of neocons said the Soviets had in the 70s. He suggests we've done more to create terror than to fight it. That the risk was really quite minimal (at least until we invaded Iraq), and the terrorists are - like most terrorist groups - simply people on the fringes, rather easily dispatched by their own people. He even points out that Al Qaeda itself was a brand we invented, later adopted by bin Laden because we'd put so many millions into creating worldwide name recognition for it.

Watching "The Terror of Nightmares" is like taking the Red Pill in the movie The Matrix.

# Somehow I got on Sarah Brady's mailing list. She sent me the following:

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 15:24:11 -0600
Message-ID: <29124113.1103577851252.JavaMail.www@app22>
From: Sarah Brady <>
Subject: Sarah and Jim Brady Send You Thanks and Peace!

Thank You for being part of the solution to the gun violence epidemic. Your dedication to solving the problem of gun violence in America is truly an inspiration.

My name is Sarah Brady. My husband, Jim Brady, who was shot in the assassination attempt on President Reagan, and I have vowed to make it our life's mission to make sure gun violence in America is one day a thing of the past.

As chair of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, I have been able to work to achieve my goal. The Brady Center educates the public about gun violence, helps gun violence victims have their day in court, and works to enact and enforce sensible gun policies that save lives.

Click here to give a tax-deductible gift!

If you believe like we do in an America where all are safe in their homes, in their schools, in their churches, and in their communities, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence this holiday season. Together we can make this dream a reality.

In this season of gratitude, we give special thanks for your friendship and support.

Best Wishes for a safe and joyous Holiday Season!

Sarah Brady

Click here to send an e-card to someone you care about to wish them peace
I responded with:
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 21:33:12 -0500
From: "Bill St. Clair" <>
To: Sarah Brady <>
Subject: Re: Sarah and Jim Brady Send You Thanks and Peace!

Mrs. Brady,

I am very sorry that your husband caught a bullet. But only an idiot would be shot and then work toward guaranteeing that others would share a similar fate by disarming them. As long as there is violence in the human soul, some folks will act on it, using whatever weapons are at hand. Smart, peaceful, people prepare themselves for such situations by carrying an effective self-defense weapon, and the best such weapon invented to date is the handgun. If you truly cared about ending gun violence, you would be promoting carry of handguns by everyone, everywhere and always. Instead, you would turn us all into helpless sheep, ready to be slaughtered by whichever madman happens our way. Shame on you, Ma'am. Shame.

-Bill St. Clair

# Federal Aviation Administration - William J. Hughes Technical Center - somebody from this complex at the Atlantic City airport walked the entire 9/11 Timeline site yesterday.

# Jim Davies at Strike the Root - Roads to Serfdom - Mr. Davies counts the ways that you and I would benefit if we got government out of the road business (in addition to every other business) and turned it over to private enterprise. [root]

Soon after becoming a libertarian, I tried to imagine how society would function with a far, far smaller government, and I lost no time. It was not hard to see the appalling waste government produces, nor the towering inefficiency of its operations.

I could quickly grasp that most major functions needed to be turned over to free competitive enterprise: health care, welfare, retirement insurance, education--especially education!--air traffic control, environmental protection, "justice," and yes, even the alleged "defense" industry. The lot, pretty well. Except roads.

How, I wondered, could one make a case for privatizing roads? American roads are the envy of the world, give or take a few pot-holed city streets. Their cost is hard to measure, and so hard to complain about. And most of all, to suggest that private road owners would compete for business (how?) and charge fees for usage (again, how?) was to invite ridicule and so undermine one's overall credibility. So I put that particular task on the back burner.

That was 20 years ago. Today, it's front and center.


5. Travel would be much cheaper-- for a heap of reasons related to government road ownership. Car designs, for example, would be set by the market and not by edict; if customers demand safe but heavy gas-guzzlers, that's what would be sold, and without the host of government-mandated, expensive gizmos like catalytic converters.

It is a profound irony that as in the last two decades, technical advances have made computing costs plummet, car prices have relentlessly risen. This cannot happen unless government distorts a market.

Government ownership of roads makes it easy for property and sales tax to be collected on the vehicles we choose to buy. Another major component of cost, which would not be facilitated when they are owned for private profit.


7. No Government ID Card. This is the supreme reason to get government out of the road business: under the guise of securing our safety on "its" roads--for which it makes us pay--it has invented the need for a "license" and so prostituted its use as to identify and document us to the ultimate devastation of our security; to enter us in a database operated for its own malevolent purposes by the most powerful organization on Earth.

The formation of a National ID database has had government people salivating for some decades, and it has been steadily building State by State with the useful identifier of the grotesquely misnamed "Social Security" system; but on December 9th 2004, Congress enacted a decree to force everyone who wants to drive--the vast majority of the population--to submit to "biometric" identification, a presumably far less ambiguous tag than a 10-digit number susceptible to theft.

# Bernard Chapin at Strike the Root - Chapter 1: The Pen Really Is Mightier Than the Sword - the beginning of Mr. Chapin's book, describing the meeting he had with his school district's "behavior specialist", who was angry about Mr. Chapin's article, A School Engineered to Fall, anonymously describing a house of learning devoid of learning. [root]

On February 17th 2004 , my prosperous and largely enjoyable, six year career with the Eastland Center came to a symbolic end. I was sitting in my office around 8:30 a.m. with a freshman, and just as we were about to begin an achievement test, my friend, boss, and sometimes uberboss1, Mr. Jorge Ichada, appeared outside the open door. His manner was rushed, but he politely asked if I could meet with him. "Right now?" I asked. He didn't answer, which meant to me that he wanted to talk immediately. I took the student back to his classroom where, upon my return, Jorge shut the door and sat down at the conference table. He took out a sheaf of papers and laid them before us. I recognized the ones on top. They were print-outs from online publications my writing has appeared in. He looked me in the eye and announced, "Your writing has come home to roost."

Regardless of the flawed metaphor, his introduction easily captured my attention. I was very startled. He began to describe an article that I had just written for the internet,[i] which concerned the scandal of a declining alternative school--our declining alternative school. I had intentionally used no names nor mentioned its location, but there was little point in my attempting to deny from where the source of my inspiration had come. The portrait I painted was very bleak, and, worst of all for me, it was nearly one-hundred percent accurate. It depicted a public school where the administration was fully aware that the kids weren't making academic advancements, and they thought that outcome delightful. Guided play, rather than skill enrichment, was our leader's goal, and our students' illiteracy would never decrease under her command.


His visit lasted for 45 minutes, and by the end of it, I realized how incredibly stupid it was for him to have approached me over the article. By doing so, he encouraged me to be vigilant regarding the retribution that would be coming my way and to make sure that I documented all of their vindictiveness for the sake of prosperity and the NEA. It also let me know that he was completely devoted to covering up everything that happened at our school and had no interest in solving or addressing any of our problems. I realized then that he'd rather eat broken fiberglass than monitor or acknowledge the baffling behaviors of Principal Chin. Therefore, there was no reason for me to be loyal to him ever again. It was war. His excoriation of my article turned me from a passive aggressive enemy into an overt one. There was no longer any reason to disguise my opinions, so I began publicly criticizing the two of them at once. Why restrain myself? I told the story of his visit to all who'd listen and continue to do so today.

His decision to come to my office was reminiscent of a scene in Harry Stein's autobiography[iv] where a certain Congressman, who was named by Stein and his friends in their magazine as the dumbest representative on Capitol Hill, decided to hold a news conference to refute the fact that he was the dumbest Congressman; which immediately confirmed to all viewing it that the allegation could not have been more true.

# Columbia River Knife & Tool - Steve Corkum First Strike - a Japanese style Tanto edge one-piece knife with cord-wrapped handle. Comes in three blade lengths: 3.12", 4.5", and 5.62". Each includes a Zytel sheath. I want the big one, which retails for $90, but is for sale at for $65. [guns]

CRKT Corkum First Strike

# Greg Quinn at Gunblast - New KA-BAR Folding Knives - KA-BAR is best known for their inexpensive fixed-blade knives designed for military use. Mr. Quinn likes their new folders. Knife Center sells these and a host of other KA-BAR knives for cheap. I like the Warthog ($60), pictured below. [gunblast]

KA-BAR Warthog

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