Our Hardware Lesson

Our Hardware Lesson
Let us be Calm and Brave

Friday, February 22, 2008


by Manuel Valenzuela / February 20th, 2008
Homeland Born and Bred
Sojourn into the outer recesses of a nation bordering on madness, into a land deeply disturbed and emotionally bewildered, a world of anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism, of fanaticism and fundamentalism, entering a case study into fantasyland and escapism, taking a pilgrimage into realms both of purposeful ignorance and blindness, of electing lifelong incompetents based on wanting to have a beer with them, walking through the dark valley of indifference, climbing the monolithic mountain of hubris, finally reaching the hallowed halls of smoke and mirrors, a place where only the blind lead the blind and where the deafening roars of death and destruction are easily suppressed in delusion and denial. Journey, if you will, into a nation that lost its moral compass inside the dungeons of fear and hatred.
Enter what fascists call the Homeland, what patriots used to call the United States of America, now named, simply, and appropriately, Amerika, a place where corporations enjoy more rights and protections than the People, where corporations — through their products and policies – help kill hundreds of thousands of human beings every year in the name of profit over people, making them mass murderers on a scale reserved only for humanity’s worst; a land controlled by the military-energy-industrial complex, with war the engine for unimaginable profits; a nation now without a Constitution, nor a moral standing; a country that has developed a thirst for human blood and an appetite for destruction; a land of Manifest Destiny leaving death, suffering and destruction in its wake; a sadist entity that develops and refines its crimes against humanity it inflicts upon the people of the world by first practicing them on its own citizenry.
It is inside the bowels of the Homeland that the malignant cancer that afflicts the country can be seen. The inner tumor inflicting constant pain can be seen through the eyes of a people so psychologically damaged by the never-before seen pressures on the human mind caused by capitalism run amok — conditioned to live to work and not work to live, thinking that work will set them free — that no nation on Earth has more citizens taking anti-depression and mind-numbing drugs in order to bandage an otherwise perpetually open gash. It can be seen through a people so internally despondent that only escapism through hours of fantasy-television watching or ceaseless consumption of materialistic goods, a modern version of bread and circus, can alleviate the stress and the pressures and the fatigue and the frustration and the anger developed in the pursuit of empty promises, of fictional dreams, in a world of the unreal.
Crisscross the land of the free and the home of the brave to see those who serve and protect abuse the people they serve. Tour Taser Nation, a land where authorities routinely inflict electroshock torture on the People, pulling the trigger first, asking questions later, as always enjoying inflicting pain and suffering on both innocent and guilty. Students, suspects, the infirm, the handicapped, pregnant women, motorists, the elderly, those asking questions, those protecting their rights and yes, now even children, all can be electroshocked into submission in a legalized form of torture that seems to grow by the day.
Taser Nation has become Torture Nation, zapping one unsuspecting citizen at a time, conditioning the population towards the new normal of police brutality and state-sanctioned intimidation. Welcome to the Land of the Brownshirts, a place where respect for human rights and loving your neighbor as yourself is now frowned upon, a place where bullying, intimidation, harassment and a budding police state are the new normal.
Take an excursion into the vast hinterlands of the Empire’s prison system, a network of concentration camps holding over two million human beings, most imprisoned for petty drug violations, most black or Latino or working class white, many suffering serious mental health problems, many trapped in a vicious circle of indigence, unemployment, incarceration and oppression at the hands of the state. Ostensibly designed to rehabilitate, these jails do the opposite, exacerbating mental anguish, frustration and anger, easing the transformation of human beings into rotting manifestations of lives lost and altered. It is here where Guantanamo and Bagram and Abu Ghraib find their genesis.
These prisons, these cages of solitude and loneliness and madness and survival and violence, are where American society discards itself of the unwanted, the undesirable, those not comporting to the mores of Puritanical code. America’s vast prison system is where those fated from birth to the lower echelons of society’s caste system end up, those millions tattooed with the shackles of American society’s perpetual enslavement, destined to forever live in ghettos, inner city reservations and Bantustans, devoid of opportunity and a future, forced to dwell upon the realities of metaphysical imprisonment, desperate to survive either by illegality or escapism, oppressed and subjugated by authorities, marginalized by society, discriminated against by the state.
It is here, in these rotting machinations of rusted iron, metal bars and decrepit institutionalization, of fetid squalor and sadistic reality, where America’s brigade of automatons makes its problems disappear, creating an entire state and privatized prison-industrial complex dependent on crime, guilt, sentencing and prisoners. It is inside these penal institutions that America’s sadists and authoritarian personalities work, brutalizing and torturing inmates, oppressing and exploiting individuals, fomenting racism and hatred.
It is here where America trains her torturers and her malevolent warriors, her “bad apples” and her fascist enablers, exporting lessons learned abroad, infecting the innocent of occupied lands with the cruel and inhuman punishment that is as American as apple pie. It is here, in these creations of human hell, that crimes against humanity are perfected. It is inside the gates of hell that experimentation becomes indoctrination and where brutality becomes legalized torture.
Rise of a New Crusade
Enter the periphery of the Empire, where fear and hatred together form silent acquiescence to myriad crimes against humanity, where indifference and unconcern leads to war crimes going unpunished, where ignorance of the outside world leads to ignorance of forgotten occupations, where ballots cast help ease into power corruption and criminality and mass murder, where the two headed hydra of the Corporatist Party colludes to condemn millions in Muslim lands to premature death and wretched suffering, where critical thinking is shunned and backwardness embraced, and where progressive, humanist ideals find castration by the knives owned by those living inside the bubble of primitive and extinct days long since passed.
Traverse a nation conditioned to hate the Arab and Muslim world — a land of a billion strong — with its corresponding depravity of jingoism and xenophobia boiling beneath the surface, ready at a moment’s notice, or upon the happenstance of new Pearl Harbor events, to explode in searing anger, for a populace injected with the venom of fear and ignorance easily unleashes its wrath on the chosen dark-skinned scapegoats of the undeveloped world. Programmed fear and molded hatred born of inside jobs and false flag events have unlocked the flames of bigotry from the inner demons of the Empire, creating sub-human scapegoats whose only crime is inhabiting lands the vampire of hegemony needs in order to satiate its ceaseless craving for power and control. Thus, in the lands where black blood flows and the devil’s excrement spills you will find the Empire’s dripping, black stained fangs.
Enter, if you will, the land of Christian soldiers and born-again leaders, a terrain belonging to the army of Jesus and to the vengeful, disastrous deity of Old Testament belief, marching off to victory with a cross in one-hand and an M-16 in the other; a nation of bible camps, bible conventions, bible thumpers and Bible Belts; of mega-churches, mega- proselytizers and mega-hypocrisy; of fanaticism and fundamentalism; of illogical — and damaging — belief in the myth of creationism and the delusions of abstinence; of agents of intolerance, thirst for conversions and theocratic fantasy; of protection and respect of life only if life is that of a zygote, not an actual human being caught in war, terminal disease or endemic suffering; a place where belief in myth and fable and of the never seen is given prominence over reality and reason and modernity’s treatises; of blind faith trumping sound science; of a nation self-professing and monopolizing blessings by humankind’s archaic and historically grossly incompetent divinity; of extremist theism, evangelical psychosis and reactionary emotion; and of evangelical sheep being led to pasture by wolves dressed in shepherd’s clothing.
Indeed, enter the eye of the Middle East storm, the creator of hatred and blowback, the father and mother of the fictional war on terror, the epicenter of the crusade of surge and siege, the fulcrum of Christian extremism, the home of the American Taliban, the disseminator of the self-fulfilling prophesy of a so-called clash of civilizations. From the Cathedrals of Consumerism to the Enormous Edifices of Evangelism, from the Hubris of Imperialism to the Arrogance of Righteousness, it is the Empire itself, holding debauched neoliberal capitalism in one hand, the mutated, distorted principles of the Cross on the other, that has birthed this latest of Crusades into the lands of ancient history.
For it is America, through military might and the power of its weapons, though financial intimidation and market colonialism, that has proclaimed itself heir to the throne of Western imperialism, arrogantly declaring itself the next in line, of humankind’s great historical powers, to reach the apex of Empire. And so, as the maker of mankind’s new reality, as the molder of human destiny, the Pax Americana, through its legions of neoliberal capitalists, religious extremists, corporatist stooges and delusional neocons, has created a collision all its own making, a vicious cycle of hatred born and vengeance sought, of cause and effect, of boomeranging blowback, of making an enemy where none existed, of declaring war on an entire region of the planet.
Thus the fictional war on terror builds the momentum for it to invariably become real, for one billion Muslims — the vast majority peaceful and moderate — to see, and firmly believe, that a Crusade of Surge and Siege has thus been thrust upon them by Christian and über-capitalist Amerika. By this method the fictional war on terror feeds itself, growing from an invention of fascist Amerika in search of enemies into a mature manifestation of anger and hatred, a true, and artificially engendered clash of civilizations gorging on the boiling animosity of East versus West.
Through momentum that has been building since September 2001, the architects of creative chaos, the designers of bogeymen, the fathers of shock capitalism, and the makers of artificial fear have coalesced into an amalgam of malevolence, planting the seed they hope will sprout a perpetual battle between Muslim and Christian, America and Middle Easterners. In the desert landscape of Muslim lands they have found an oasis from which to plant and grow a modern day crusade, not to reclaim the Holy Land, but to simply claim the vast fields of the Devil’s Excrement; not to rain freedom and democracy on uncivilized people, but to firmly plant permanence in strategic lands; not to bring Christianity to barbarians, but to violently force neoliberal capitalism down the throats of the Muslim world. Such is the method to the madness of the Crusade of Surge and Siege.
First they came for the Muslims…
Navigate from coast to coast, witnessing the persecution of Arab and Muslim groups, most set up by the same government that later concocts charges and smears against them in the usually unsuccessful attempt at maintaining the illusion of insecurity within the greater population. The state propagandists realize that in order to maintain the chimera of an enemy, that in order for the idea of terror to coagulate in the minds of the people, the illusion must be maintained that indeed an enemy exists. It must be made to look as though the enemy lives among us, that it is domestic as well as foreign, that it is planning to attack our way of life. This, of course, also creates the fantasy that the state is our protector, and that in order to protect us, we must sacrifice even more rights and freedoms for security.
The use of scapegoats, in this case the use of naïve, oftentimes incompetent, illiterate, indigent and sometimes even mentally deficient groups of Arab or Muslim men, usually with no political power and no financial resources, is part of a formula of fear designed inside the rubble of the Twin Towers that has been used to terrorize the American people into submitting to a fascist, despotic state. With every persecution of Arab and Muslim groups charged with planning terrorist activity, usually with little or no proof, usually later found innocent by a court of law, the state further cements the fiction of fear and the illusion of perpetual insecurity in the citizenry. Propaganda makes bogeymen of scapegoats and scapegoats make obedient cowards of us all.
Of course every new persecution is met by a thunderous manifestation of corporate media coverage, bombarding the airwaves with the fictions and illusions of the charade that is the war on terror. There are enemies in our midst, we are told, dreaded bogeymen intent on killing us, trying to shoot up a mall, or blow up a building, or murder our children. Yet, as usually happens, when the alleged plot is discovered for the lie that it is, when the state is forced to drop charges, when a court of law throws out the case, when the innocent’s voice is validated and the condemned are once again free, there is not one camera or reporter or journalist ready or willing to bombard us with the truth. The blitzkrieg of guilt is suddenly replaced with the utter silence of innocence.
The damage, however, has already been done, for in the eyes of tens of millions the parade of fictions and the presumption of guilt that has so readily been beamed by the corporate media have already established the fear and insecurity that America is under siege by the barbarian horde and its evil religion. The illusion has thus been established, the excuse to erode yet more liberties has been successful, and the scapegoat has again been made the object of growing hatred. The people have again been manipulated, conditioned to hate the very idea of a Muslim or an Arab. The enemy has again been vilified, dehumanized and ostracized, the very term “Muslim” becoming denigrated, its practitioners and believers made to wear an invisible crescent moon on their breasts, becoming in many eyes unwelcome pariahs in the land of immigrants and the home of freedom.
Every new so-called uncovered plot, every new so-called uncovered threat, every new depiction of evil incarnate is, of course, used by the Ministry of Truth to validate the belief that the state is protecting us, that our sacrifice of freedoms and rights, that our submission to a police state has been of great service, that it is indeed working and must therefore continue, no matter how intrusive it becomes, no matter how much it destroys the Constitution and no matter how large Big Brother continues to grow. In the end, the formula of illusion, of imaginary enemies, of chosen scapegoats, works to create a harmonious narrative of terror abroad and terror at home, of a war on terror that must be perpetual and ceaseless, of a state working diligently to secure our freedom, our way of life, the American way.
The formula creates a submissive, compliant and acquiescent citizenry, one that does not blink at the mass murder of millions in the Middle East, at innumerable war crimes, at the use of torture and the creation of gulags. The scapegoating of Arab and Muslims by the state and the corporatist media has succeeded in fomenting a xenophobic hatred and anger against those people emanating from and residing in the Middle East. The mission has been accomplished, for the masses, thinking that the shredding of the Constitution has not affected them because they are not terrorists and have done nothing wrong, have voluntarily eviscerated their own rights and freedoms, for eventually, the crimes and horrors and human rights violations and erosion of liberties committed against the scapegoat class inevitably is imputed onto the majority. In a proto-fascist nation such as America, it is only a matter of time.
First the state comes for the chosen scapegoats, using them as the key to unlocking the rights and freedoms of the masses. The scapegoat is the excuse, the mirage to eviscerate the Constitution in the shadows, with the masses blinded to reality, and creating a new normal of fascism and tyranny. Thinking they are safe from the claws of the state, the masses eagerly give up more power and freedom and liberty in the belief that only the enemy is being targeted. Eventually, before the blink of a collective eye, the masses themselves are being eavesdropped, spied on, surveilled upon, interrogated, harassed, controlled, tortured and disappeared. Eventually, it is their rights and freedoms and liberties that no longer exist.
Told today’s eavesdropping and illegal wiretapping by the state is to spy on the few Muslim terrorists, and that immunity for state and corporations is needed for our vital security, we later learn that all Americans have been illegally spied on, that Big Brother is watching and listening and monitoring us all and that we have no recourse to halt or file suit or seek accountability against the same companies doing the spying. Thus yesterday’s malfeasance and criminality become the present’s new normal, and the closer we approach the precipice of despotism.
The formula works every time authoritarian entities are determined to destroy the fabric of a free and democratic people. It is written in humankind’s history books, yet it remains ignored and unlearned by those who refuse to know the history of man. It is in our history that our tendencies are deciphered. It is in our past that our patterns can be anticipated. In the end, compliant Americans become good Americans, freedom is replaced by tyranny, rights and liberties are usurped by a police and surveillance state and a constitutional past becomes a new normal of authoritarianism and corporatism.
This is what happens when the majority ignores the plight of a scapegoated minority that is powerless to fight the claws of a despotic state। This is what happens when the first signs of smoke over the horizon are seen and ignored, only later realizing, much too late to escape its wrath, that a raging inferno enveloping everything in its path has arrived. First they come for Muslims, then they come for us all.

Hear No Evil, See No Evil
Americans’ ever-enduring, catatonic sleepwalk through the Empire’s vast array of bread and circus, as always produced by the Ministry of Truth and the Department of Propaganda, better known as the corporatist media, has succeeded in the creation of an ignorant, incurious and dumbed down populace completely bereft of knowledge of what is done in its name. With no concern for or understanding of geography, cultures, history, alien societies, the outside world and of the imperial aspirations of the Empire, Americans have proved easy targets to the manipulations and deceptions of the corporatist world. Seemingly unwilling to gain knowledge of anything outside American Idol or the weekly NASCAR rat race, the soldier ants and worker bees of the Empire are content to circumvent the horrors of war and the myriad crimes against humanity committed in their name in order to maintain their beautiful minds at peace.
Indeed, the corporatist media has triumphed in completely erasing America’s two disastrous occupations of Muslim lands from the peoples’ conscious and concern, in effect shifting the ongoing debacles away from the daily reality of Americans and towards the abyss of a most cavernous memory hole. Methodically and systematically, the quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan, with all their inconvenient truths, with all their disturbing realities, with all their corresponding death, suffering and destruction, have virtually vanished into a vacuum of nothingness, transported by the corporatist state into a clandestine and secretive reality, making of these disasters non-existent nightmares that vanish upon the waking of a new day.
This propaganda by omission, this “out of sight, out of mind” machination has virtually erased from American reality the disasters unfolding in Iraq and Afghanistan, thus guaranteeing in the public mind a complete ignorance in or understanding of a barbaric continuation to occupations stuck in the quicksand of fierce resistance and never-ending guerilla warfare. Thus, America’s aggressive wars, its imperial occupations, its crusade of surge and siege that has done so much harm to millions of people, not to mention to the moral standing of the nation, have become non-existent memories under cover of fog and haze.
To the American people, the hegemonic occupations now descending further into quagmire have become invisible creations that only surface in the rare instance that a branch of the corporate media goes off script and produces footage of death, destruction or suffering. Otherwise, the war against West Asia remains a figment of our imagination, a reality when our beautiful minds want it to be, an inconvenient truth that becomes fiction the moment we decide it is so.
As such, having been conditioned through the corporatist media’s ceaseless dehumanization propaganda to believe Arabs and Muslims sub-human enemies, having been manipulated into hating America’s new enemy and having the corporatist media erase Iraq and Afghanistan from the memory hole, the American people have developed a disturbing, almost criminal indifference for the millions of human beings dying, suffering or otherwise being affected by the Empire’s wars and occupations. To a vast majority of Americans, the malignant tumors that are Guantanamo, Bagram and Abu Ghraib, together with what they represent, are as hazy and as far removed from reality as last week’s episode of a favorite sitcom. These cesspools of immorality rarely, if ever, register in the beautiful minds of most Americans, only bothering the conscious when photos, video or whistleblowers surface to incriminate torturers, leaders and patsies. Only then are we forced to confront one of the myriad number of inconvenient truths the red, white and blue does across the globe.
When truth does not surface, however, we revert back to willful ignorance, aided by the fictions of television and the comfort of consumerism, for deep down, inside the dark recesses of our mind, we know exactly what is done in our name, though we chose, willfully, to erase it from memory, to suppress the reality of American criminality. Using denial and delusion in conjunction with conditioned brainwashing and manipulation, we have decided that crimes against humanity do not exist if those crimes are done to sub-human enemies. Thus the barbarian horde at our gates becomes undeserving of human rights and international laws protecting human beings because they do not fit our definition of human.
Thus, never do we seek to know the ugly realities of places like Guantanamo, nor how America’s gulags, with their brutal methods and tactics, will inevitably affect our way of life, or question why they exist in the first place. For us, America’s black sites are reserved for the evildoers wanting to destroy our way of life. Little do we realize, though, that our way of life is being eroded at these very same sites, one right at a time, done not by terrorists, but by those managing our descent into the breadbasket of despotism. Remaining passive, obedient, silently acquiescent and possessing the attention span of a gnat, hundreds of millions of Americans thus concern themselves only with what new toy they can add to the family collection, or what new product they can obediently purchase next, or what new reality show will entertain them the most. After all, we must preserve our “way of life”.
If Guantanamo and what it stands for does not directly affect us, if torture and perpetual suffering and dehumanizing conditions and sadistic treatment and the destruction of habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights only affects the dreaded dark skinned Arab or Muslim, then America’s beautiful minds need not concern themselves or have empathy, they need not contemplate the inflictions of wickedness on their fellow human beings, they need not realize the crimes done in their name, nor the evisceration of American morality, nor the new normal being established, nor the precedence beings set, nor the trial and error being conducted, nor the techniques being experimented and refined, nor the machinations of tyranny being perfected.
Thus, through our transcendental customs, our American “way of life,” of methodically following the exploits of celebrities dead or dying, of aimlessly producing and consuming, as always becoming hypnotized by modern day court jesters, jousters, gladiators and chariot races, as well as exhibiting idol-worshipping, messianic-like followings and tendencies over the Corporatist Party’s current crop of presidential contenders, we have chosen to ignore the plight of the innocent — for most prisoners are — in Guantanamo and Bagram and Abu Ghraib and other places of ill-repute. We have thus chosen to be good Americans, seeing no evil, hearing no evil, mistaking ashes for snow, and pretending the evil done in our name does not exist.
Reincarnation of the Habitual
To look inside one of America’s gulags is to look back at dark history, to times of brutality and primitiveness, using the tunnel of hindsight to peer at the dungeons of the Roman Empire and of the Middle Ages, with their chained and caged collections of dissidents, enemies and scapegoats, their persecuted and tortured, and their sadism and thirst for blood; it is to step back in time to days of Inquisitions and torture chambers, to eras of witch persecutions and heretic trials, of silencing threats to power and spawning a black cloud of fear and intimidation throughout society.
It is a return to days when humans had no right, to nights of barbarism, to the depravity and indecency of our mammalian past, to the possession of the human mind by the wicked demons inherent in man. Looking inside America’s gulags helps us remember that over and over, for as long as humankind has walked the plains of Earth, when authoritarians rise, as always carried high on the shoulders of fear and insecurity, morality, integrity and human rights become lost in a sea of tyranny. These institutions of immorality help us see beyond the veneer and the hypocrisy that those espousing freedom and liberty propagate, helping erase the fog of deception those claiming to be defenders of human rights engender.
America’s archipelago of gulags proves, once again, that the “western” mantra of values, modernity and morality is nothing but an empty shell built on self-adulation, delusion and echoes of ethnocentrism and exceptionalism. This hollow and cynical vociferation falls flat upon the challenge of evolving human rights, for in its claim of moral superiority, hiding behind the theoretical wonders of Judeo-Christian tradition, supposedly progressing away from the primitiveness of our past, the “western” tradition has been one of continuous mass murder, repression, tyranny, oppression, exploitation, suffering and destruction, most aimed directly at the peoples of the “south,” most directed at people not possessing the genetic mutation that turned skin color pale.
American gulags and its system of extraordinary renditions, green lighted at the very top of the food chain, proves to anyone not blinded by delusions and propaganda that America is not now and has never been morally superior to the rest of the world. From the very beginning of the republic, morality has given way to imperialism. Whether done through proxy, by puppets or by America’s own hands, control over the peoples of the world has usually involved some form of tyranny, as always dependent on the vast funding, financing, political support and training of the Empire. However, where once hidden under the veneer of democracy and freedom, under the ruthlessness of puppet dictators, America’s sordid, though clandestine, past has come to the surface thanks to the exposure of its methods and techniques, becoming an open acknowledgement of past indiscretions and present malfeasance.
From the School of the Americas, to research into psychological and physical torture at McGill University, to perfecting the art of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” to support of every tin pot dictator and junta in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, to the training of their thugs, enforcers and torturers, America has always possessed the wickedness of human malevolence. Its claims of being the defender of human rights is and has always been hypocritical at best and farcical at worst. Today we can see the real America at Guantanamo and its extension of gulags and torture chambers, the America the world entire has known for the last century but that Americans are just now waking up to. For today’s gulags are evolved creations of yesterday’s criminality, just as they will be the inspirations for tomorrow’s tyranny.
Guantanamo, with its cages and sensory deprivation and barking dogs and dehumanization and its stress positions and forced feeding and extremes of cold and hot and its isolation and its medical/psychological experimentation and its waterboarding and its darker, more sinister methods of torture yet to be exposed magnifies American tyranny and her hypocrisy, her injustice and depravity, her criminality and arrogance. It exposes, more and more, the charade that the war on terror is, how the purpose of Guantanamo is not the imprisoning of terrorists, for most there are guilty only of bad luck, persecution, retribution and being at the wrong place at the wrong time, but the methodical evisceration of the Constitution.
For Guantanamo, and its siblings, are a culmination of desperation, an attempt to rationalize the supposed existence of Arab and Muslim evil, an attempt to validate a fictional war on terror by incarcerating people falsely labeled “terrorists.” It is as much a torture center as it is a public relations and propaganda institution, a way to manipulate the American public both that Arab and Muslim terrorists exist, and that the American government is succeeding in bringing the terrorist threat to justice. It is a Hollywood-style set with its corresponding fictions and illusions of reality, a scam to convince Americans that a war that is concocted is indeed real, that it is being won.
The reality of the gulags exposes how an initial hunger for vengeance immediately after 9/11 has led to the imprisonment, suffering and torture of thousands, and how, knowing the falsity of charges and the innocence of men, America steadfastly continues shackling injustice, deciding to stage-manage the illusion of guilt as well as sacrifice the innocent to the continued myth of the so-called war on terror.
Kidnapped, traded in for money, picked up by a giant net of vengeance and imprisoned thanks to false accusations by rivals, the men at Guantanamo have become patsies in a world unconcerned for their rights. They are caged in a land of limbo, lost to the outside world, made to disappear, their lives practically an empty shell of their former selves. They are the scapegoats of American mendacity, labeled “terrorists” so that we can feel secure and protected, so that we can believe that evildoers hate us for our freedom, for our way of life. They are the poster children that grant the military-industrial complex a perpetual stream of blood money, a ceaseless parade of war, an endless flow of propaganda. They are, quite simply, the bread that gives authoritarianism sustenance, the wine that makes drunk with joy the enablers of fascism. They are, for all intents and purposes, dead men walking, ghosts without closure, phantoms forgotten by humanity.
Innocent of criminality, these individuals have been subjected to brutal and sadistic torture, as always leading to false confessions, their barbaric imprisonment and systemic dehumanization more a manifestation of American culture than of their resistance and human spirit. Many have been physically tortured, yet it is the more corrosive damage of psychological torture that has destroyed their minds and their lives. Many will never return to normalcy, for what their minds have surely been subjected to no human brain should have to endure. Many have become the guinea pigs of psychologists and doctors experimenting with various methods of torture, trying to make torture more effective, more efficient.
Many have quietly, and conveniently, under cover of darkness or media blackout, been returned to their native countries, their innocence confirmed by their release, and by the silence of America. Forced to sign papers preventing them from speaking of their horrors, or from suing their torturers, they return a shell of their former selves, damaged beyond repair, scarred for life, forever to relive the horror they experienced in their nightmares and flashbacks. Yet many remain, shackled to American propaganda, held hostage to the illusions of the war on terror. As long as the fiction lives their guilt is assured, their imprisonment guaranteed. As long as tyrants fear persecution and imprisonment for criminality, they will live in cages. As long as they are used as the meat feeding the dogs of tyranny, they will remain encaged. As long as the authoritarian leadership seeks the continued erosion of the Constitution, and of our rights and freedoms, they will linger in perpetual purgatory, becoming the rotting carcass fed to the vultures of fascism.
Guantanamo’s cages cannot yet be opened and made empty, for to do so would be to expose the fictions, the charades, the method to the madness, the sheer immorality of the Empire. It would be to acknowledge injustice of innocence, the depravity of liberators, the criminality of leadership. Guantanamo’s gates cannot yet be closed, for the Crusade of Surge and Siege must continue, the enemy must exist, profits must remain, our rights and freedoms and liberties must be destroyed. New precedents of American legality must be established, kangaroo courts must convict, enemies must be punished, propaganda must manipulate and the innocent must be executed in order to increase leadership popularity, to refresh propaganda, to feed fear and to politicize elections.
America’s leadership is fully aware of the innocence of the vast majority of prisoners, yet cannot force itself to act against its own inhumanity. For to do so would be to admit mistakes, acknowledge criminality, condemn policies and destroy the authoritarian dream. Closing Guantanamo would expose the façade, the hall of smoke and mirrors, ending the subtleties of fear and intimidation being built around the American public. Perhaps more than anything, freeing the innocent and closing America’s torture centers would confirm the monstrosity of what America has become, destroying the foundations of a new normal being developed, maybe even shattering the bubble of manipulation cast over the population.
As long as Guantanamo remains the motives of fascists will survive, and the indifference of the American people will be assured. As long as its cages are occupied, as long as its torture rooms resonate with the screams of agony and suffering, Guantanamo will be the symbol of a new Amerika, one at war with the Arab and Muslim world, an Amerika at war with its people, and itself. As long as it remains a stain on humanity, America’s clandestine past and her immediate present will be exposed to more and more people, thereby freeing truth and knowledge, liberating the brainwashed and emancipating the manipulated.
Inside America’s gulags the future of the nation is being determined, one malevolent policy at a time, one sadistic interrogator at a time, one tortured soul at a time. It is here where our way of life is being altered, perhaps forever, not by terrorist evildoers hating us for our freedoms, but by fascism’s enablers doing the work of those domestic evildoers that hate us for our freedoms, for our way of life. In this Crusade of Surge and Siege, the Arab and Muslim victims have become a bridge of precedence set and normalcy born reaching out towards America, becoming the scapegoats and patsies granting access, and an omnipresent reach, to tyranny rising over that city on a hill once known as the United States of America.

Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at: manuel@valenzuelas.net. Read other articles by Manuel, or visit Manuel's website.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

स्पिरिट एंड Soul

Within each of us are two centers of thinking. They are referred to as the spirit and the soul. The thinking center of the spirit is called the heart. The thinking center of the soul is called the mind.
We are primarily familiar with the thought process of the soul's mind. It was created to provide self-awareness and calls itself "I am." Thus, it is introspective by nature and is susceptible to pride. When it does not understand the logic of the spirit, it can easily stage a coup and take over the management of a person's life in order to maintain what it sees as orderly truth.
The soul's mind attempts to understand all things in life by their contrasts. In other words, it is dualistic. It does not understand white except when it contrasts it with black. It does not understand good without contrasting it with evil. It cannot understand long without short. The mind employs its logical ability to polarize its perceptions.
In the kingdoms of men, the mind is the acknowledged master of the universe. But the mind was not created to be one's master, but only the servant of the spirit's heart. The spirit, along with its thinking center {the heart}, is our point of divine contact. It has a logic of its own that is incomprehensible to the mind. As long as the mind defers to the spirit, recognizing its subordinate role and purpose, it has a very good and useful function. The problem comes when the heart gives it signals {truth} that the mind cannot comprehend. The natural reaction of the mind is to think that it is being betrayed by the spirit. To the mind, irrationality is betrayal. It is then left with a choice, whether or not to defer to that which is beyond its capability to understand logically. If the mind's demand for order, structure, and logic is too strong, it will stage a revolt and usurp the authority of the spirit.
Paul discusses some of these things in the first two chapters of his first letter to the Corinthian Church. He says in 1 Cor. 1:17 and 18,
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not with wisdom of words [Greek: logos, "logic"], lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that are dying [mortal] foolishness [moronic]; but unto us which are being saved, it is the power of God."
Paul is showing his readers the difference between the wisdom of mental logic and the logic of "the cross," which is the logic of the spirit. He admits in verse 21 that the spirit's logic is "foolishness" to the mind-dominated world--especially the Greek world, which worshipped the mind and considered it to be divine. Paul had lived in that culture long enough to know that the true gospel is spirit-based and not soul-based. Verse 23 says that "we preach Christ crucified, which, to the Jews is a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness."
The Greek word for foolishness is moros, from which we get our English word "moron." In other words, in the view of the intellectual, mind-dominated Greek philosopher, the cross is illogical, irrational, and just plain stupid. It makes no soulish sense for God to leave His glory, power, and comfort of heaven and be born of a virgin in a body that they considered to be "evil." Worse yet, why would an immortal God come to earth to die, not only a normal death from old age, but the tortuous death of the cross?
The gnostics could not understand it either, and so they attempted to rebuild Christ's honor by removing Him from the cross. They said He survived. Some said it was not really Him on the cross at all. They attempted to explain events rationally, and when the truth was irrational, their minds simply dismissed it and explained it rationally. Today the remnants of gnostic thinking is seen in The DaVinci Code, which claims that Jesus did not die, but lived and married Mary Magdalene, and had children who became the Merovingian line of Frankish kings in Europe.
To them { and Phreadom} the gospel that Paul preached was foolishness, and Paul says to them,
"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weak thing of God is stronger than men. . . But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." (1 Cor. 1:25, 27)
The logic of the cross is seen in the days of Moses in Exodus 15:23-25,
"And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah [bitterness]. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, 'What shall we drink?' And he called to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet."
God tested Moses to show Israel that Moses was not mind-dominated. He listened to the voice of his heart through which God spoke to him by the logic of the cross. The bitter waters represent the bitterness in man that is caused by sin and death.
The tree in question represented the cross, which was the solution to the problem. Though it made no mental sense to do this, Moses' mind was subject to the leading of the spirit when his heart told him to put a certain tree in the water. If we are led by the spirit, in which the Spirit of God dwells, we will live in and perceive a miraculous world.
An example from the prophets is found in the story of Elisha (1 Kings 6). He and the other prophet students went to the Jordan River to cut wood. One of them had borrowed an axe with an iron head--very valuable in those days. Unfortunately, the iron head flew off its handle, and it fell into the river. The man would have incurred a great debt and probably would have had to become a slave for a time to pay off the debt. But Elisha "cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim."
The wooden "stick" (tree) again represents the cross, which, when applied to the problem, restores the iron to its owner and cancels the debt. Thus, we see the logic of the cross manifested in both the law and the prophets. Not that it makes any sense to the mind. But as we learn to live by the heart, rather than the mind, we are opened up to a whole new world where the miraculous is a way of life.
By this, I do not mean to imply that GREAT miracles take place daily, for that implies that such miracles are aberrations. Rather, I am saying that the heart perceives the miraculous in all things, and therefore comes to be a way of life. Only occasionally do such miracles occur in such a way that they smack the soul's mind on the side of the head. Most miracles are quiet and unobtrusive.
The mind, however, tends to ignore reality in favor of a perception that it considers to be logical and orderly. Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:14, "But the soulish man does not perceive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
If reality is cluttered, the inner "soulish man" {that is, the mind} will not see or remember the clutter. It will see what it wants to see. It demands structured orderliness and feels betrayed by anything beyond its capability. Christians are admonished to be led by the spirit within {in which is housed the Holy Spirit}. Christians do not receive this spiritual perception the moment they are justified by faith {Passover}. It comes through the learning process called sanctification--the function of Pentecost.
The human mind demands structure. It takes at least 2 points to make structure, because a single point has no size or structure. Thus, the human mind is limited to the dualistic way of thinking and cannot understand the things of spirit.
Paul makes it clear in 2 Corinthians 1 and 2 that the source of divine knowledge is neither the body's sensory perception nor the carnal mind's perception of the world. It is rather a third source called the spirit and its heart-mind.
Few have a clear understanding of this. Paul says at the end of his great "Love Chapter" in 1 Corinthians 13 that there are three great things in earth: Faith, Hope, and Love. He says that the greatest of these three is Love. Why? Because both faith and hope end with "sight." When you get what you "hoped for," hope ends. When you receive that which you had faith for, faith ends. Only love continues without end.
Some are being led to experience all three of these great principles as they grow up into the full stature (maturity) of Christ. There are denominations who give men the message of hope. They give believers hope in a future life of immortality.
That is nearly their entire focus and message, and it is certainly acceptable to God. It is the message of Passover and the true Lamb of God who is our Passover. This message is enough to bring us out of the house of bondage with the hope of going to the Promised Land.
There are other denominations who bring believers beyond hope into faith. In fact, there is even a movement called "Word of Faith." As one might expect, it is more Pentecostal, or Charismatic, in its character. It tells people to go beyond the hope of Passover and enter into the world of faith. Faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17), and thus, it is dependent upon hearing God's voice, as opposed to the idols of the carnal mind. To distinguish between the two is the difficulty.
Hope is acceptable, and faith is good. But faith is still not the perfect will of God. Faith is applicable only until the object of faith is achieved or obtained. It then must give way to the greater experience of Love, by which we live and move and have our being. It is not that hope and faith are devoid of love. It is rather that the quality of love in those phases of spiritual development are imperfect, being restricted by the rigid structures imposed upon it by the carnal mind.
Love seeks its full expression through the feast of Tabernacles, even as hope is obtained through Passover and faith through Pentecost. Those who are justified through Passover are being prepared for Pentecost--the leading of the Spirit. Those who are being sanctified through Pentecost are being prepared for Tabernacles. A true Pentecostal is one who is learning to distinguish between the carnal mind and the spiritual heart, so that he may be divinely led toward Love.
The carnal mind has an Adamic perception of the world, and it thus creates god in its own finite image. This mental creation forms an idol, or image--a structured representation of the infinite God--that always falls short of the glory of God. But the mind of the Spirit sees and knows all things. It alone is capable of knowing God as He truly is and is therefore the source of all true divine knowledge.
The soul and its mind ought properly to be the servant of the spirit. When the soul's mind does not understand the things of the spirit, it tends to stage a revolt and take over control. It restructures the revelation of the spirit to fit its own mold {understanding}. Some leave and define religion some stay and refine religion.
This has been recognized by many in the past, particularly in the Pentecostal movement of a century ago. In fact, they became so fearful of the mind that they downplayed education in order to keep it ignorant. Sermon after sermon told the people to "shut down the mind," rather than to subject the mind to the spirit. For a long time they refused to set up Bible schools, because they feared learning.
Some went so far as to discourage reading the scriptures, as if it were harmful and even evil. "Just pray and get your own revelation," they said. "Don't eat yesterday's manna." In so doing, they cut themselves off from the true education that the soul desperately needs in order to defer to the mind of the spirit. The spirit will not subject the soul; the soul must submit to the spirit.
The soul is a servant. A strong servant is more useful than a weak servant, or employee. An educated servant is more useful than an ignorant servant. Proper education is good for the soul. Truth is not harmful. What is harmful are the "commandments and traditions of men," which are the soul's limited perception, beliefs, and understandings of the word, which, when not subject to the spirit, torture the word into arriving at a preconceived conclusion {a man-made belief system = religion}.
When God created Adam a living soul (Gen. 2:7). He was part of the material and mental creation that God pronounced "very good." The scriptualal account of creation forms the foundation of all Hebrew philosophy. It runs contrary to Greek philosophy, which claimed that matter was evil and that it was created by the "demiurge," a lesser god that was evil {i.e., Satan}. Thus, the Greeks were always trying to escape from the body and return to the purely spiritual form in the heavens.
But the scriptures say no such thing. Matter was created good, because a good God created it--not the devil. Secondly, He did not create it out of nothing; He created it out of spirit and out of Himself. Matter is only disguised spirit. If you think of spirit as water, matter is ice--frozen spirit that has been given structure. Matter is not merely a form of spirit; it is spirit with form. Thus, in Gen. 2:7 Adam was "formed"--like all of creation, shaped by the Master's hand. God used spirit as the building blocks of creation, gave them form, and called each thing by its appropriate name.
But sin distorted it and caused the body and soul to revolt against the spirit. The purpose of history and the goal of the Kingdom of God is to bring all things back into subjection to God, who is spirit. This is accomplished in three phases depicted by the three feasts of Israel: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
Passover justifies us; Pentecost sanctifies us, and Tabernacles glorifies us by giving us an immortal, glorified body. It does not eradicate matter as evil; it glorifies matter, bringing heaven back into the earth, so that His will can be done in earth as it is in heaven. The great example is Jesus in His brief transfiguration in Matt. 17 and in His permanent condition after His resurrection.
The good purpose of matter and also the soul {mind} is to provide structure for the things of the spirit. Think of the spirit as water. In order to make it useful, it needs something to give it structure, whether we turn it to ice or give it form by putting it into a glass, or channeling it within the banks of a river.
Structure is not evil--it is useful for spiritual purposes. When it ceases to be useful--that is, when it begins to limit and cramp the spirit's purpose--it ought to be discarded in favor of a different structure.
So also is the case with a denominational structure. If it is subject to the spirit, it is useful for the Kingdom of God. But when the spirit becomes cramped and hampered by that structure {the definition of churchianity}, it ought to be discarded in favor of something else. Consider Israel in the wilderness. They were forbidden to build houses in the wilderness. Instead, they lived in tents, which were flexible and movable. It is not that God wanted them to sleep under the stars, but rather that they would not build permanent structures that prevented their progression toward the Promised Land.
A denominational structure is good if it remains a tent, rather than a permanent house. It must change with the progressive revelation of God. But normally, they set forth creeds, file IRS papers, and construct granite buildings out of fear that their current revelation might be distorted by future generations.
They assume it will degenerate--with good reason, no doubt. But the motive is still fear, rather than faith. The very structure that is supposed to protect the denomination from heresy also becomes its prison, preventing the spirit from revealing anything further. They have heard all that they need, and now their ears are closed. It is the equivalent of Israelites building a house by an oasis in the wilderness, where the water is good, and then refusing to leave when the cloud moves on.
There was an ancient Greek philosopher who lived three centuries before Christ named Epicurus. He postulated that all matter and the soul itself was built of tiny particles that could not be reduced or split into anything smaller. He called them atoms (Greek word: atomos). The Apostle Paul refers to him extensively in his writings, but never mentions his name, lest he promote Epicureanism.
Epicurus was correct in his assertion that all things were created from irreducible particles, but he did not believe in spirit. To him, all things were material. He was a classical materialist. He did not understand that matter is spirit that has been given form.
Modern scientists proved the existence of small particles of matter, which they called "atoms," using Epicurus' word. The problem is, what they called "atoms" were not really atoms at all, because they were too big. When scientists split the atom into smaller particles, it proved that atoms were not really atoms at all. But now we are stuck with calling these reducible particles "atoms."
In fact, divine atoms are particles of spirit, and they are formed into matter by the power of love. Love shapes spirit and forms creation. Therefore, you are a combination of spirit and love.
Many try to do love or act loving, when in reality, love is our being. Many covet the gifts of the spirit in order to do spiritual things, when in reality, we are spirit. Only when our structured actions flow naturally and unrestricted from our being can we manifest divine love and spirit.
How does one come to this place of being? It cannot be done by doing, but by the soul's submission to the spirit. In this way the restriction is removed and you are allowed to be what you are--as God formed you and purposed you to be. When we are filled with all the fullness of God and know how to speak the truth in love, then we will have the power to do the things that Jesus did while He was on earth.