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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Nothing is what it seems

Police officers outside the Masjid-E-Umer mosque in Walthamstow. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters - From the GuardianI watched a movie on TV last week, a thriller/action drama titled “The Recruit.” It was a fictionalized story about “CIA” training, with Al Pacino as the head instructor. It wasn’t a very good movie, but better than most television fare, so I watched it until the end.

It’s hard to tell how accurate the movie is about “CIA” training, having no knowledge on the subject, but according to one review, a “CIA” operations officer has been advising Hollywood for about a decade. Most likely the movie was an exaggeration of the extremes of the training, especially of the torture episodes.

One thing that stood out for me in the movie was Pacino’s refrain “Nothing is what it seems.” He would return to this line throughout the movie, fooling the recruits time and again, and it became the hook at the end for his biggest surprise, that he was the traitor everyone was trying to catch. Except by that time the movie had gotten pretty implausible, which made it boring, and I lost interest.

But the "Nothing is what it seems" line stayed with me, and it should be the slogan for time in which we live. For the “CIA,” deceit, disguise, illusion, subterfuge, blackmail, extortion, subversion and assassination are all part of the modus operandi. In a speech to “recruits,” Pacino explained that the life of a "NOC" (non-official cover) is a form of madness, a point also emphasized in the George Friedman article “The importance of the Plame affair.” The thing that makes it all supposedly worth it is the knowledge that you are serving your country, that you are saving civilization, that you are sacrificing yourself for the greater good, or some such.

As Pacino’s character tellingly demonstrated, these nebulous internal rewards don’t mean much in today’s world, where narcissism and callousness towards humanity so predominate. Even if one were a dedicated servant of the "CIA," and by extension the "American" people, one would have to feel like a bit of a chump, given the criminality and recklessness of our current ruling regime. And given the ethical and moral state of our country in general, risking your life year after year to help it dominate and destroy the planet has to be a maddening experience. Then to be blamed when the criminal regime fails, I can only wonder at the anger and frustration.

Now we have the foiled “terrorist plot,” a scheme of potential mayhem on an “unprecedented scale,” with 21 Muslim militants planning mass murder “on an unimaginable scale,” blowing up 10 planes between “Great Britain” and the “U.S.” Or is it 10 suspects and 21 planes? It must be 21 suspects, because 21 is more than 19, and 19 is the number of hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks. That would indeed make the plan unprecedented by 2 people. And, as Condoleeza Rice has told us several times, no one could have imagined that people would fly planes into buildings. By that reckoning, the 21 plotters would indeed be "unimaginable." And 10 planes are more than three, so that also would be "unimaginable." And lo, the number of plotters has increased to 24. Unbelievable as well as "unprecedented" and "unimaginable."

One skeptic, Linda Mizzo, did the math on the "terror plot," and estimated that, if successful, about 3500 people would have been killed. Tragic and heinous, but hardly “unprecedented” or “unimaginable.”

That is, if there really was a “terrorist plot.” This information came from the government of “Great Britain,” accomplice of the Bush crime family in its murderous invasion and occupation of “Iraq.” Somehow the BCF managed to take credit for helping “foil” the “plot.” If there is one thing both regimes need above all else, it is to cover their past criminality with distractions, ruses, new threats, and justifications for their past misdeeds. They also have not given up on their grand scheme for world domination.

Or, put another way, nothing is what it seems.

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