Return to Washington, D.C., September 11, 2006
Part III: Unity in Truth or Divided We Fall
After our return from the belly of the beast, the forces of polarization and violence seem pitted against a small but growing movement of moments to seek the truth of so many things smothered in lies
© Brian O’Leary, Ph.D., October 2006
One week after our trip to D.C., Meredith and I flew out of JFK airport back to our Andean retreat. We made our way across Manhattan in the early hours among thrashing helicopters to pave the way for Mr. Bush’s visit to deliver a mendacious speech to the U.N. On the previous day, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had given a fiery presentation, accusing the Bush administration of embodying the very evil they claim to be fighting against (1). On that same day Al Gore also gave a strong (for him) speech at NYU law school sending out the alarm of coming episodes of catastrophic climate change and calling for a freeze on the growth of carbon emissions (2).
Our flight back home had only 20 passengers, so that my own carbon emissions quota in taking that flight would be for more than a lifetime. Perhaps I shouldn’t travel again. We can all reflect on how each of us contributes to this disaster the collective has decided to foist upon itself, simply because of an idea advanced more than a century ago that we should depend on the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons buried in the Earth as the mainstay of our energy use. It has become the only show in town, the elephant in our living room. The great wealth generated for the few plus the convenience of using these fuels for the many was a winning monopolistic/capitalistic formula. But it has so swept over us we seem to be locked into a paradigm sure to send us all to catastrophe with what Gore calls an “inconvenient truth”. Americans are so distracted with either collecting money for evil deeds or fighting those deeds. We can’t seem to get to our real agenda: creating peace, sustainability and international justice.
But it was not until Meredith and I got back for a few days that the clincher came in. The weak-kneed, obsequious U.S. Congress just passed perhaps the most draconian measure against its fellow citizens in the entire history of the U.S. and since the enactment of the Magna Carta 800 years ago. The very founding principles of our republic and Constitution were destroyed in one day of voting. Congress just denied all of us habeas corpus, the legal right of a defendant to face his accuser in a fair and speedy trial. This new law of the land gives Mr. Bush and his minions free reign to capture, detain, torture and murder anyone in the world, even retroactively. It will take some time for the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional this atrocious legislation, and by then it could be too late, because the court might be packed with enough neoconservatives to win a majority. Alternatively, the U.S. could have more threats or attacks. Or this could trigger a red alert and martial law which would really release the dogs of war upon all of us. Some people see the spectre of newly-built prisons filling up with millions of innocent dissenters and minorities.
How could one raise the issue of world government if the most powerful government on the planet, my government, keeps moving away from the peace, sustainability and justice we need for our own survival? The New World Order agenda embraced by the rich and powerful is not only infecting the U.S., it is growing into such new entities as the North American Union (NAU) and the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), another self-interested “globalization” project. The SPP promises to complement the World Bank, World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund to line the pockets of the rich and to spread the American Empire like a totalitarian rash, combining the forces of neoliberalism and neoconservatism. One of the main speakers at the flagship meeting of this group was U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The speakers extolled the virtues of the megacorporate vision of “free trade”, including energy policies that lock in the perpetuation of burning hydrocarbons and uranium.
Mary-Sue Haliburton, in a recent post, says that the “Traditional combustion-energy paradigm is over-represented at high-level negotiations under North American SPP. Scheduled to begin to exercise power authority by 2007, the SPP will place three nations in the continent under ‘harmonized’ laws and a unified administration. If that is not stopped—and we appear to be past the tipping point—will any of us recognize our society? And will it still be possible to shift the energy paradigm under such a political paradigm shift?” (3)
Government of, by and for the rich. A growing inequality between wealth and poverty is galloping across the planet as true democracy withers away. The increasing consolidation of power vested in Washington seems to put a damper on even talking about a global green republic or democracy. The vested scenario appears to be the polar opposite to what Americans really need or want. The realpolitik of the imperial agenda makes discussion of any form of regional or world government moot. I’d prefer anarchy to such a fascist direction that moves ever further away from what humanity and nature need to survive. Yet we should still hold the vision of a truly compassionate world government anyhow, because the void created by the self-destruction of the empire now seems inevitable and will give us opportunities to enact the new. I’m still hopeful.
The 18-minute video of my 9-11-06 speech in front of the White House was recently posted on Google, and it sent several unexpected ripples back to me. (4) I guess you could say it was my fifteen minutes of fame in this century, replete with political incorrectness and unpolishedness and attended by a motley but dedicated crew of about thirty 9-11 truth-seekers. All one would have to do now is watch the video, quote me out of context and dismiss me as a “conspiracy theorist” to make their point. Just to see the scene, a rinky-dink gathering of activists, would be to marginalize me, all credibility and credentials lost, ridiculed and persecuted for life or to death. In fact, one of my closest friends was concerned that I might have blown my image, and that my effectiveness as a new energy activist has been horribly diluted by this performance. Maybe. But I had to speak my truth, a free citizen’s right.
Things are different now than they were during my earlier years in Washington. How is it that in 1970, as a young professor from Cornell, I joined 100,000 other peace protestors to stop the invasion of Cambodia and the war in Vietnam? Then three of us were invited into the White House and then I appeared as an outraged citizen that night on CBS Evening News. My honor and reputation then were not at all tarnished by this action.(5) One would have thought I risked more in 1970 holding a tenure-track assistant professorship at Cornell.
In this century, appearances and soap operas seem to carry the day, especially in politics. The daily “news” dishes out a barrage of Bush-this and Bush-that as a drama unfolding with these tyrants on center stage. All Bush-Cheney appearances are on right-wing stages adorned by flags and expensive sets paid for by taxpayer money. The networks entertain with political reality TV between the “news” and sit-coms. We get to see the Top Gun “Mission Accomplished” fiasco on the carrier deck announcing the end of major combat operations in Iraq in May 2003. (By recent count, over 2000 more Americans and another 600,000 Iraqis have perished.) Then there was the post-Katrina photo-op in front an illuminated cathedral in New Orleans, while just down the street black people were dying from the administration’s neglect of helping the victims.
In 1981, the Reagan presidency brought in the Actor with a capital “A” and now all of official Washington, especially the White House itself, has been one big stage set and photo-op to aggrandize the King and his attendants. Meanwhile, the power and money freely flow up and down the mall and along K Street, where tens of thousands of corporate lobbyists, 65 for every member of Congress, prime the pump of influence-peddling and corruption where you need to be a millionaire or a corporatist to “win” a seat in Congress.
How can we stop this and restore our democracy if the government isn’t representing us any more? At this stage, it can happen only through public movements. But the movements of this century have fragmented into ineffective cul-de-sacs, each one vying for its place in the sun, each one failing to make much of a dent, each one marginalizing the others even further out of fear of losing its own credibility. The peace movement, the environmental movement, the human rights movement are now more often dismissed by the leadership as unpatriotic conspiracy nuts or radicals aiding and abetting the terrorists. We need to come together rather than huddle in fear of this kind of tyranny.
The movements aren’t talking to each other. So my sixties activist colleague and friend Keith Lampe, alias president USA-in-exile, suggested that we need now a movement of movements under the banner of seeking the truth.(6) So why not use the 9-11 Truth Movement as our launch pad? This inspired me to come to Washington to do this gutsy gig. If some people, even friends, see this as a dilution of my credibility, so be it. But I don’t have to please, to build a career any longer or appear to be professional. That’s the freedom of being “retired”. Who cares about how I’m labeled? Eleanor Roosevelt observed that those who would oppose a protester would make up stories about him/her so why not plunge in as a citizen to express what’s true? We still have a First Amendment…or do we?
But humankind does pay a price for shooting the messenger. Addressing the truth can be sacrificed on the altar of image. At my National Press Club interview, a couple of people came up to me with their business cards to the effect that I needed to improve my image and could use some coaching. The corporate media join in with their own spin about how things should be done, not what should be done. They are rearranging the deck chairs of the Titanic, acting as detached eyewitnesses to an impending disaster they seemed to treat as a stage set they could walk off from at will, like a scene on the holodeck of Star Trek. Like actors in a B-movie, they are in denial of the unfolding reality itself, as if it won’t affect them—yet anyway.
And so we have a battle going on here of truth versus political correctness, based on the fear of being marginalized, especially when we try to cross-pollinate movements. What would happen to the new energy truth movement if one of its principal proponents is also an advocate of the 9-11 truth movement? But another new energy person may have already made up his mind that the 9-11 matter is closed, that the official story must be right, and that de-specializing might be too much to chew off. The fear then is that constituent might become lost because of his or her perception of a loss of credibility.
Divide and rule. Maybe that person has concluded that anything but the official story must be wrong because a crazy theory (e.g., no planes crashed into the World Trade Center) has been lumped in with all others, even ones that better explain the reality of the events than the official story. In the process of truth-seeking, many constituencies overlap, mesh, and bob in and out of sifting through the evidence. It’s easy to just throw the baby out of the bathwater through these dismissals and obfuscations committed again and again by misinformed mainstream pundits.
Interdisciplinary truth-seeking is messy, yes, but do-able. We can team together with the best researchers in all fields of inquiry without fear, bribery or premature judgment to come up with the most plausible theories to fit the facts and to ignore the pundits, the media, the government. Friends, the emporer wears no clothes!
The best remedy for propoganda and confusion is to combine the truth movements. Is it a threat to anyone in one truth movement to seek the truth of another matter? Of course not. Unless you’re guilty about something, why not go for all the truth? The only thing stopping us is our own illusion of risking inquiry across the board in an age of specialization. Image and political correctness have overwhelmed us so far this century. However, image has nothing to do with the truth or preserving the Constitution.
But there are more serious risks than loss of credibility in our quest for the truth. Fear of harmful recrimination might be an unconscious reason why some people may want to stay away from “radicalism” (7). They are afraid for their own lives, and I should be afraid of mine too as a result of our nonviolent protest. If our Constitution and Bill of Rights are in fact abrogated by the forces of tyranny, then we face our own personal struggles of how far do we go to protest that tyranny before they send out a contract to kidnap, torture or kill us?
The fear of death and torture is the second reason for others to distance themselves from truth-seekers, because we are still small in numbers and therefore easily marginalized. It’s ironic that the very protection we need, strength in numbers, is the very thing we don’t get simply because people are afraid. On that question, Abe Lincoln said, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” This is a choice you’ll probably have to make, and the sooner the better.
To help stoke your fear and to retreat further from protest demonstrators, you’ll notice something eerie about seven minutes into the tape of my speech. Just as I was whipping up some chants for the truth at this rather tame public gathering, Dave Shaw, the cameraman who was recording the speech, focused on two men walking across the roof of Fortress White House with what looked like rifles pointed at me. Snipers! Since I discovered this after the fact, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to face my own fears, amplified by our Republican rulers.
While this incident does call attention to the fact we all need to watch our behinds and to come out in greater numbers, it shouldn’t discourage us. Said Ben Franklin, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Most of us prefer to be in the comfort of our homes and jobs and let somebody else do their protesting for them, particularly if there is danger out there. To those who prefer to sit it out and are wary of the image and danger created by marginalized protest, I ask you to restore your patriotism and hit the streets and halls and other gatherings. Join us!
It’s amazing how one critic of my speech felt I may have given the impression of advocating the overthrow of the government. Nothing could be further from the truth. As recently as three years ago as a part-time grade school yoga teacher, I swore to obey and honor the Constitution and I still do. I revere the Constitution not only for the spirit of its fairness but for the risks the Founding Fathers took to transcend the tyranny of their times. They didn’t mince words. Half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence suffered recriminations ranging from the loss of property to incarceration to death. Hopefully our own government won’t be the new British tyranny 230 years later.
I am expressing that our current government is illegitimate, corrupt and controlled by treasonous tyrants. We need to impeach, convict and move onto brighter agendas. We need to hold vigils to rally nonviolently for the resignations of the “president” and his people, just as happened here in Ecuador to its last president. Again Jefferson: ”The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution and the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
An unpatriotic act is the Patriot Act, passed hastily just after 9/11 by a Congress that didn’t even read it. An unpatriotic act is the just-passed Military Commissions Act. Unpatriotic acts are the shenanigans of our administration. These actors have violated the solemn oaths they had taken to obey and enforce the Constitution. Is it not more patriotic to hit the streets demanding the truth, even if the venue is off-the-wall and unpolished and not picked up by the media or recognized by mainstream cultural institutions? A lack of political correctness doesn’t matter in a time of crisis like this. If the administration wants to use a crisis to wage violent wars, then why can we citizens not speak up too?. What matters is just showing up and expressing our dissent and our vision. It’s about 80% of life, so says Woody Allen.
Again, the most patriotic act we can perform is to seek the truth of everything the government does. This process is what abolished apartheid in South Africa. They called it Truth and Reconciliation. May this be a model for our country in these perilous times. And that’s why I showed up in Washington that day. To me, the 9/11 Truth Movement is a template for what we can do across the board so that some day, thousands, then millions will go to the streets, lock arms and march for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
I can’t say who did 9/11. But as a scholar, I have researched the events of that day, and there is sufficient reason to believe that the case should be re-opened and tried in a court of law. The perpertrators of this monstrous crime need to be brought to justice. It is ludicrous for the Bush administration and his congressional lackeys to use this solemn occasion as a pretext to wage illegal wars for oil and domination, to cause hundreds of times more deaths of even more innocents than the victims of 9/11 itself, and to open the door to more terrorist attacks than ever. If 9/11 itself has been so abused by our leaders to commit acts of aggression, so then 9/11 truth can also be its counterpoint to bring to justice those terrorists who really did it, and, just as importantly, those who allowed it. (8)
But we shouldn’t stop with demanding 9/11 truth. We also need to have electoral fraud truth, foreign policy truth, global warming truth, defense truth, fiscal truth, torture truth, surveillance truth, health care truth, depleted uranium truth, sexual misconduct truth, secret weapons truth, black ops truth, mind—control truth, UFO truth, new energy truth, and you can add to this to make a long list. That our president and vice president are liars is now well-established, and their protection of secrets is legendary. Do we not have the courage to face the truth in all sectors of our society and fire and, if found guilty, convict our leaders who have so betrayed us? For only with facing the truth will we be able to reconcile our society. Reconciliation follows truth. Our movement of moments must first be focused on the truth.
In 2004, we visited South Africa, where I gave some lectures there on new energy possibilities. The warm and intelligent reception filled our hearts with joy. Even their national business newspaper interviewed me. Because that country had one decade earlier gone through the gut-wrenching yet healing process of Truth and Reconciliation, they could see through the falsehoods of U.S. imperialism. They were open to seek new truths.
In 1987 and 1988 I visited the Soviet Union just before and during Glasnost (openness). I felt the suddenly opened culture all around me as an outpouring of joy, relief and human understanding which had been pent up for so long. These models provide encouragement.
In my opinion, the United States should take the lead by rooting out the tyranny that has set us back so. Like the Soviet Union of the late eighties and South Africa of the early nineties, we will need to be humble and apologize to the world. This kind of confession and revelation of truths not hidden that far beneath the surface will cleanse all of us on this planet. It has been said that truth is the first casualty of war and the war we are fighting is ultimately being waged against ourselves. Divided we fall, together we prevail. But what if we awaken and begin to realize that all that is not necessary?
The United States government is at war with the world and at war with itself. Whatever leaders we end up with need to know is that the superpower role of leadership doesn’t mean starting wars, building more doomsday weapons, confiscating money from health care, environmental protection, Social Security and fiscal responsibility to give handouts to corporations and obscene military budgets--all the while grabbing the dwindling resources of the Earth and killing nature and humanity at the same time. I’m sure the world would applaud a process of a U.S. Glastnost and a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation.
But our truth movements so far have only nibbled away at the edges. The conventional wisdom is that the burden of proof is on the protester. As a result, the emphasis of truth movements has been on research and evidence. But research alone is not enough. It’s time to hold our government-servants accountable for their transgressions, not the other way around. This inquiry is so much more important than either praising or slandering citizen-demonstrators during their fifteen minutes of fame.
In the process of uncovering our truths, we might want to dig even deeper. What is this agenda which is holding us all in its grip? How can we challenge it and change it? For example, why must our energy policy be subjected to the secret 2001 Cheney energy task force agenda to carve up the Middle East for oil interests, going to war there, and gobbling up the remaining hydrocarbons, water and other resources on Earth? Is there not some secret power backing all this? Who’s really in charge? Who benefits? As some researchers have pointed out, with good evidence, there is a secret agenda of control. How can we reverse the humiliation suffered by those labeled as conspiracy theorists, while the real conspirators are ruling the world? How can we make this the ultimate uncovering of the truth of our tyranny?
The truth movements need to gather, grow and present their evidence in a judicial process yet to happen. But this is just a beginning. We must then move on to a new agenda, a new promise, a new set of solutions.
Two of the greatest classes of truths the media and our leaders conveniently disdain are (1) alternative explanations of great crimes such as preemptive war, 9/11 and the JFK assassination, and (2) outside-the-box innovations such as new energy. “The resistance to a new idea”, said Bertrand Russell, “increases as the square of its importance.”
There is no more urgent truth than that of new energy. I believe it will save the planet. Yet, the suppression of its promise for 100 years is well-documented for those who dig deeper. (9) The following in this series of essays is an open letter to Al Gore as an urgent appeal for him to take the lead in implementing a new energy truth movement.
“The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.” - bumper sticker
References and notes
Speech of Hugo Chavez to the U.N., September 19, 2006, www.globalresearch.ca.
Speech of Al Gore to NYU Law School, September 18, 2006, posted on http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/9/18/154846/236.
Mary-Sue Haliburton, “Political Tectonic Shift: energy Policy under the North American Union (NAU), Pure Energy Systems, October 2, 2006 and posted on www.globalresearch.ca.
Speech of Dr. Brian O’Leary in front of the White House, 9/11/06, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1651274926224084218
Veteran activist Sam Smith of the Ecological Options Network explains the dynamics of why social movements are now finding it so hard to be effective (www.eon3.net). In a brilliant essay “Re-Colonizing the Revolutionary Imagination” Patrick Reinsborough describes the kind of “post-issue activism” we will need to shift the paradigm (www.smartmeme.com).
Keith Lampe (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes a newsletter focused on combining truth movements. Truth Seeker Company, established in 1873, publishes informative articles and books on politically incorrect truths (www.truthseeker.com). Both sources are outstanding contributions to understanding and acting on our challenges, independent of political and religious biases.
The definition of radical is “going to the roots”. In an age of Orwellian newspeak, the term has been applied incorrectly to extremism and terrorism rather than to responsible truth-seeking and activism. This kind of labeling is just as abused by the American government and media as the term “conspiracy theorist”, whose propagandistic dismissal cuts off responsible citizen inquiry and action.
Two excellent recent books on 9/11 truth are 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, edit. by David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott, Olive Branch Press, Northhampton, MA, 2006 and Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11, David Ray Griffin, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville and London, 2006.
On the websites www.newenergymovement.org and www.brian-oleary.com are a number of essays and links to mounting evidence for the enormous potential of new energy, comprising what needs to be the most important truth movement of all: a new energy truth movement.
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