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19 December 2006  |     mail this article   |     print   |  
What goes on - Parts 1, 2 and 3.
The three parts of this article on one page.
Are we shifting directions as a society? Where are we heading? Questions and answers.

By Daan de Wit

Recent articles in the most mainstream of news media, The New York Times (1) and The Washington Post (2), suggest that paperless electronic voting may be on the way out in the United States. The Iraq Study Group, presided over by the most conservative government insider, James Baker III, is highly critical of the war in Iraq. Interviews I held with Willem Middelkoop, economics reporter for RTL-Z, make it clear that the way in which our Western economies are being run is unsustainable. Israel's war against Lebanon, waged with U.S. approval and military supply (cluster bombs and intelligence), was lost, yet despite that the issue of Iran is not off the table and war is still a major possibility.

In the Netherlands, several counties decided against the placing of UMTS phone antennas, despite the soothing claims of the Dutch government, which made a lot of money selling the UMTS licenses. More autonomous behaviour by counties: their reaction to the extradition policy of the government is to refuse it, a judge does the same through a wide interpretation of the law, and more recently the Dutch parliament reprimanded the minister responsible.
The recently held elections in the U.S. and the Netherlands shifted politics: a Democratic victory in the States and in Holland a nay to the current administration was heard, amidst a victory for the Socialist Party. Leaders from the largest Dutch companies admonish the government on its environmental policy, expressing concern that the issue was not addressed during the campaign. After five years alternative theories about 9/11 have received world wide attention. The 9/11 Truth Movement has made many people think twice about what happened on and around September 11th, 2001.
What is going on?

The Social and Cultural Planning Agency (Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau) refocussed their efforts and recently reported not on the things that are going wrong in Dutch society, but on successful projects and inspiring examples. Their bi-annual research report shows that the most interesting positive trends are initiated by citizens, not by governmental institutions. As a matter of fact, these citizen initiatives are successful in spite of the government. They don't make use of public funding; in fact, the report showed that the government tended more often than not to get in the way. And in cases where it was helpful, it was only verbally supportive, writes the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. The government is less verbal about the reasons it sent troops to Iraq - this is still a secret. In the meantime, the Dutch contribution to U.S. efforts in Afghanistan has become more troublesome than was anticipated (by the government, not by critical observers). But one of the reasons for this may lie in the fact that the current Dutch administration made every effort - it even completely steered the information that decisions were being based upon - to send the troops. That same administration recently awarded the soldiers who stood by and watched the slaughter in Srebrenica in 1995. The enclave in Srebrenica fell after the then Dutch government refused air support. The respect to these soldiers was paid amongst harsh criticism from the victims families.
What is going on?

Major interest is being shown by the major media in a subject that just ten years ago was impossible for me to get broadcasters interested in: privacy, and what you might call the fear of the people by the government. Ten years ago almost no one had heard of Echelon, the worldwide Anglo-American system that spies on all communications made by all citizens in the West. In the mean time the fundaments have been laid, the house is being built - as was to be expected. Back then, nobody could have imagined that Echelon would become a reality or that millions of cameras would watch the moves of every British citizen. Now we find ourselves in a situation in which this system can hardly be dismantled, and so we have to - but cannot - trust future governments to avoid misusing the infinite connected databanks with information about us. CNBC, a major broadcaster in the United States, recently aired a long documentary called Big Brother, Big Business. In addition to demonstrating the growing invasion by government into the lives of its citizens, it becomes apparent that these measures can have serious flaws. Examples in the documentary are given of peoples lives being ruined as a result of being pushed outside of society, based on the mixing up of identities. This makes clear two problems: identity theft or mixup is a serious problem, and the control rage of governments makes it possible to create pariahs out of people like you and me.
The British Channel 4 also dug into the subject of this control rage of governments and their misdirected fear, resulting in many privacy threatening laws and regulations. In the 45-minute documentary Suspect Nation it showed the major flaws in the chips that go into your future ID-card and passport: it is a very simple procedure to copy the information from the so-called strictly personal chip and then put it into a new chip, thus stealing the identity of that person. Washington insider and investigative journalist Wayne Madsen describes on his website how the loss of the very personal data of millions of people by data banks is rampant - a much bigger problem than a little mistake here and there. Basically the new privacy laws and ever expanding anti-terrorism regulations that are eroding our privacy are a disgrace to our Western democratic way of living, but can also not be trusted. And this is now slowly but surely being picked up by the major media.
What is going on?
 
From another production by Channel 4, it becomes clear what you might have already figured out on your own by reading snippets of information here and there: Iraq was bad, but Afghanistan is not much better. The Taliban are being fought on the basis of what might be at best called flimsy: Not that they are nice people, but back then they were willing to hand over Bin Laden - just like Sudan before them - they were sponsored by the U.S. in the months prior to 9/11 with millions of dollars, but are now being shot at by U.S. and Dutch troops. At the same time the West is being friendly with Islam Karimov, the leader of Uzbekistan, a country in which dissident voices are being muted by torture, with the help of techniques such as the use of hammers and boiling people. Then again, there's nothing new about that when you consider for instance Somoza, Noriega, Pinochet, Suharto and Fujimori. Channel 4 on Afhanistan: '[...] western intervention has produced a mafia-style state'. A state again known for being the worlds opium supplier (unlike when the Taliban reigned). More critical news can be found in another mainstream news outlet, The Washington Post, which reports on the attempts of Italy to try 26 CIA agents for abducting a man from the streets of Milan to in turn be tortured in Egypt (see the DeepJournal series on the U.S. ordered torture). On the subject of torture, nobody less than Kofi Annan makes headlines around the world: In farewell, Annan scolds Bush administration - U.N. chief warns U.S. not to forget democratic ideals in war on terrorism.
What is going on?

Former Prime Minister of Italy, Sylvio Berlusconi, challenges the election results that made him the former prime minister. NRC Handelsblad writes that this challenge may be the sword he might fall onto himself, among other reasons because two recent publications show that it was Berlusconi's own party, Forza Italia, that has committed fraud. It was also the NRC that some years ago published a lengthy article in Dutch entitled The illusion of democracy. Twenty Dutch professors were interviewed for the article. The overall conclusion is that The Netherlands is not a democracy. It is a revealing article, touching upon the very foundation of our society. An eye-opener on a greater scale was the unfolding soap opera of the unfindable weapons of mass destruction. DeepJournal predicted the war and the WMD's not being there, wrote about the illegality of the war, described the clandestine PR operations and the fear mongering that made them possible, and reported on the attempts to cover up those facts. The lies about the weapons of mass destruction and the suffering that resulted opened up many eyes, through dead and wounded GI's, tortured Afghanis and Iraqis, and the growing chaos in Iraq. It even opened the eyes of Christian voters in the U.S., who learned not to judge the book by the cover alone.
What is going on?

This is what might be going on
On different levels things are moving in opposite ways, creating a movement that can be represented in a simple diagram with two lines: one going up and one going down, creating an x-like figure. But the descriptions explaining the lines are not as simple. For instance, the invasion of our privacy goes up, but then also does criticism about it. And at the same time the quality of the measures that are eroding our privacy is going down due to the failures of the techniques used, the impracticality of the massive amounts of data gathered as well as the misuse of new laws, such as when police demand to see identification - this does not catch terrorists, but is instead used to expand power and drive up fines.
The number of dead and wounded in the expedition in Iraq makes the pain and sorrow index go up, adding to the record violence that our world has seen the last one hundred years. But another trend is going against the grain, picking up momentum, so much so that harsh criticism has come from the inner circle of the ones who initiated this violence based on deception. This is a bitter victory for the millions who opposed this war in the first place, but who were not heard by their representatives. Part of the opposing trend is the fact that, aside from views and ideologies, the Iraq war for example does not seem to be working, unless you are of the school who regards the insurgency as part of the strategy of devide and conquer.
These two trends are becoming more and more visible. The point at which the two lines representing these trends collide is crucial. These collisions happen all the time, but the impact is getting bigger because of the media attention and the growing importance of the actors. It makes a difference if the media is a xeroxed pamphlet or a nationally broadcasted documentary. It makes a difference if the actor is an activist on a soap box or James Baker III scolding the Bush policy. The greater impact of the collisions shows that on many levels things are getting pushed to the extreme, but that at the same time it's the pushing of these extremes that is causing things to fall apart and get noticed. It becomes more apparent what Antony Sutton - the researcher/author who first published on Skull & Bones - said to me: 'It is not about left and right, it is about us and them'. It will be a matter of time before this is understood on a worldwide scale. The question is whether or not the extremes will have pushed us over the edge by then, or if there will still be anything left to take back of what we give away all the time.

The strongest man in the circus notices he is not standing on his legs so firmly anymore. The crowd starts to mumble; it is beginning to doubt if the weights the man is lifting, are as real as they appear. You have to shift focus and squint with your eyes to see it, but things are moving. Patterns that have been in place for what appears to be forever, seem to start shifting. The upper part of the pyramid shows cracks while at the same time the giant awakes, starts to slowly open up his eyes: more and more people wake up to see that their best interest is not served by the very small group of people governing them.
What if it is true, that the dollar is not based on a golden foundation, but on thin air? Why do we pour money into wars based on deception, while we are short on money for schooling and for bridging the widening gap between rich and poor? 'Kyoto' fails because of a man who stole the presidency from a man who shows us that our environment, thus a part of ourselves and our future selves, is sacrified by many for profit for a few. It is 'An inconvenient truth', but it is starting to sink in, opening eyes. It is only the beginning. This reads like good news, and in a sense it is, but the old guard won't just pack up and leave, it still believes the illusion it created.

The top of the pyramid has a power base made out of thin air: visions of scarcity, feelings of fear, thoughts of limits, words of deception. It is all blown away with ease in a gentle, yet firm way, by a giant, if it wants to. There is an impression of decline from the top down, causing an unease that could have unpredictable or extreme effects, caused by people who seem to be living a paradigm of an alchemist creating life from death, peace through violence; 'Iran' is not off the table: 1, 2. At the same time from the bottom up there is an accelerating realization that it is time to wake up from this bad dream and leave behind that fuzzy, intoxicated feeling. What are the facts, what is the situation, what are the possibilities?
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