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Book Data

ISBN: 9781933392790
Year Added to Catalog: 2007
Book Format: Paperback
Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 3/8
Number of Pages: 192
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Old ISBN: 1933392797
Release Date: September 15, 2007
Web Product ID: 73

Also By This Author

The End of America

Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot

by Naomi Wolf

Articles by this Author

God Crashes the Tea Party

Huffington Post
August 3, 2010

OXFORD -- Where does America put God? Historically, there has always been tension between the separation of church and state that the United States has enshrined in its Constitution and regular upsurges of religious faith, even religious extremism, that seek an outlet in the political process -- or even seek to dominate it. 

Nowhere is this tension more visible today than in the struggle for the political soul of the Tea Party. For, as the coalition on the religious right that dominated American conservatism since the 1980's has begun to fall apart, some of the same Christian fundamentalist elements are seeking to absorb -- some would say take over -- the originally non-sectarian Tea Party.

The Tea Party emerged from a laudably grassroots base: libertarians, fervent Constitutionalists, and ordinary people alarmed at the suppression of liberties, whether by George W. Bush or Barack Obama. Libertarians, of course, tend to understand church-state separation: if you don't want government intruding in your life, you definitely don't want it telling you how to worship.

This anti-establishmentarian impulse is a time-honored tradition in America, where advocacy of separation of church and state -- a radical view in the late eighteenth century -- was driven by the experiences of religious minorities such as Quakers, Huguenots, and Puritans, all of whom suffered religious persecution in Britain and France.

Unfortunately, religious bigotry also has a long history in America, and there are powerful factions that cannot accept that God did not intend the US to be a Christian nation. Ronald Reagan saw the benefit of tapping these constituencies, introducing a faith-first element into what had been a more secularized, "big tent" conservatism.

Read the whole article here...


AlterNet

Why the Pentagon Is Probably Lying About its Supressed Sodomy and Rape Photos

 

By Naomi Wolf, AlterNet. Posted May 30, 2009.

 

The Telegraph of London broke the news -- because the U.S. press is in a drugged stupor - -- that the photos President Barack Obama is refusing to release of detainee abuse depict, among other sexual tortures, an American soldier raping a female detainee and a male translator raping a male prisoner.

The paper claims the photos also show anal rape of prisoners with foreign objects such as wires and lightsticks. Retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba calls the images "horrific" and "indecent" (but absurdly agrees that Obama should not release them -- proving once again that the definition of hypocrisy is the assertion that the truth is in poor taste).

Predictably, a few hours later, the Pentagon issues a formal denial.

It is very likely that the Pentagon lying. This is probably exactly what the photos show, because it happened. Precisely these exact sex crimes -- these exact images and these very objects - -- are familiar and well-documented to those of us who follow closely rights organizations reports of what has already been confirmed.

As I wrote last year in my piece on sex crimes against detainees, "Sex Crimes in the White House," highly perverse, systematic sexual torture and sexual humiliation was, original documents reveal, directed from the top:

  • President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were present in meetings where sexual humiliation was discussed as policy.
  • The Defense Authorization Act of 2007 was written specifically to allow certain kinds of sexual abuse, such as forced nakedness, which is illegal and understood by domestic and international law to be a form of sexual assault.
  • Rumsfeld is in print and on the record consulting with subordinates about the policy and practice of sexual humiliation, in a collection of documents obtained by the ACLU by a Freedom of Information Act filing compiled in Jameel Jaffer's important book The Torture Administration.

The image of the female prisoner, probably Iraqi, being sexually assaulted? That image, or a similar one, has been widely seen in the Muslim world. Reports of the rape scenes described have also appeared in rights organizations summaries since 2004.

And scores of detainees who have told their stories to rights organizations have told independently confirming accounts of a highly consistent practice of sexual torture at U.S.-held prisons, including having their genitals slashed with razors, electrodes placed on genitals, and being told the U.S. military would find and rape their mothers.

Is systemic sex crimes practiced by the U.S. in a consequence of the lawlessness of "the war on terror" surprising to those of us who work on issues of sexual abuse and war? It is totally predictable: When you give soldiers anywhere in the world the power, let alone the mandate, to hold women or men helpless, without recourse to law, kidnap them as a matter of policy -- as the U.S. military kidnapped the wives of "insurgents" in order to compel them to turn themselves in -- strip them naked, and threaten them, you have a completely predictable recipe for mass sexual assault. The magisterial study of rape in war, Susan Brownmiller's Men, Women and Rape, proves that.

But what is far scarier about these images Obama refuses to release and that the Pentagon is likely to be lying about now, is that it is not the evidence of lower-level soldiers being corrupted by power -- it is proof of the fact that the most senior leadership -- Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, with Rice's collusion -- were running a global sex-crime trafficking ring with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Baghram Air Base as the holding sites.

The sexual nature of the torture also gives the lie to Cheney's and others' defense of torture as somehow functional: The sexual perversity mandated from the top reveals that it was just plain old sick sadism gratified by a very sick form of pleasure. I also pointed out in "Sex Crimes in the White House" that the escalation of the sexual abuse showed the same classic pattern shown by sex criminals everywhere -- you start with stripping the victim, keeping him or her completely in your power, and then you engage in greater and more violent excesses with more and more self-justification.

Read the whole article here.

 

Guardian UK

 

We are all torturers in America
The sudden clamour to prosecute the CIA operatives who carried out waterboarding is the height of hypocrisy

Naomi Wolf
The Guardian, Tuesday 28 April 2009

As citizens' outrage over the torture memos heats up, and the US Congress is barraged with calls to appoint a special prosecutor, Americans may be about to commit an egregious miscarriage of justice. Republicans have now accused Democrats in Congress of having "blood on your hands too" in relation to the escalating calls to investigate. I would go further: not only do Congressional Democrats have blood on their hands – but so do we, the American people. And CIA agents may be about to be sacrificed to assuage their – and our – actual and associative guilt. 

The suddenly urgent calls by our Congressional Democratic leaders, and even by many of the American people, to prosecute CIA operatives, military men and women and contractors who were certainly involved with, colluded in or turned a blind eye to torture are not only the height of hypocrisy, they are a form of unconscionable scapegoating. The scapegoating is political on the part of Congressional leaders, and psychological on the part of many Americans who are now "shocked" at what was done in their name.

Hello America, were you asleep for the past seven years? The fact that the Bush administration used torture has been the furthest thing from a secret. When the political winds were with the last administration, which framed qualms about torture as being soft on "the war on terror", just about every Congressional Democrat fell right into line to accept it, if not cheer it on. Even Hillary Clinton supported torture – right up through her presidential run. Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the torture in closed-door meetings. When activist groups and citizens called for a special prosecutor, all we heard from Congressional Democrats was how they did not wish to spend the political capital. 

President Bush hid the torture in plain sight by championing it. Vice-President Cheney gave such explicit interviews about his role in directing the policy of torture that in legal terms, were there a prosecution, they would amount to a confession. Did the Congress that is now so piously calling for the investigation of rank-and-file agents and military personnel express their horror and outrage then? With a very few exceptions, they did not.

Since 2003 it has been fully documented by rights organisations, and accessible to anyone listening, that direct US policy for prisoners included electrodes on genitals, suffocation, hanging prisoners from bars by the wrists, beatings, concealed murders, sexual assault threats, sexual humiliation and forced nudity, which is considered a sex crime in warfare, international and domestic law. Many voices, from Jane Mayer's to Michael Ratner's to Jameel Jaffer's to Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, made similar documented charges. Did our leaders call for investigations? They barely even called for a moment's consideration; tolerating torture – "tough tactics", "enhanced interrogations" in those demonic euphemisms – polled well; supporting it made them look tough in close elections; it was overwhelmingly OK with them. 

And may we please look in the mirror, for the sake of our own moral health? How many Americans spoke up when it was chic to thrill to the sadistic soundbite of "take the gloves off"? How many watched 24 without a murmur when the mass consensus was that it was OK – no, patriotic – to waterboard a bit? How many of us (as in civilised societies every­where when a wind of barbarism is set free) actually thrilled to the sadistic (and sometimes sexually sadistic) soundbites that came out of the Bush communications office: the "special sauce", the "belly slap", the phrase "we have our methods"?  

So now the political and cultural winds have shifted. The members of Congress in their courage are now starting to call for investigations. Whom should they investigate? Well, in an ideal world, themselves: by knowing about and colluding with a declared and documented series of crimes, they are legally accessories to those crimes. So there is an element of cover-your-back in Congress finding its high dudgeon at last and pointing the accusing finger at subordinates in the CIA who obeyed orders that Congressional leaders helped to sustain as a mockery of domestic and international law, and as daily, appalling practice.

So we should call for retired General James Cullen's solution. A former military prosecutor, he has been at the forefront of calling for accountability – but the right kind. He urges us to indemnify those lower down the chain of command to get their testimonies, so they implicate the ringleaders; and then the only people who should be prosecuted are, as at Nuremberg, those who directed otherwise honorable men and women to commit crimes – the lawyers, and those who are on record as having given the orders: Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush himself.  Lay the guilt where it belongs: on Congress; most particularly, and legally, on the leadership that directed this policy; and, emotionally and morally, on our complicit American selves.

Naomi Wolf is the author of Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries

 

Learning from America

By Naomi Wolf
Examiner Guest Columnist 1/2/09

As the United States prepares to celebrate the inauguration of its first African-American president, it showcases again one of the best aspects of its national identity. Though it took more than 200 years to reach this point, foreign observers, especially in Europe, marvel at Barack Obama's ascendancy.

America certainly has its flaws and its struggles over race and national identity, but it also has much to be proud of in terms of how it assimilates those with foreign or minority backgrounds. Obama's example -- and that of his newly formed Cabinet, which includes many accomplished leaders from ethnic or racial "out-groups" -- holds useful lessons for other nations, particularly in Western Europe.

So what is it that America is doing right?

First, America's national story is different in essence from those of Western European nations. The French story is that of French-ness, the British story one of British-ness; by definition, newcomers are "less than" or "outside of" this narrative. But the American national drama is the drama of immigration: Everyone, except Native Americans, came from somewhere else. All who are now part of the national elite have ancestors who came, often bedraggled and harassed, from somewhere else.

Indeed, in America the qualities that lead people to become immigrants -- initiative, ambition, risk-taking -- are lionized. Immigrants are seen as arriving on a journey of continual reinvention, driven to exceed their opportunities in their countries of origin. By contrast, immigrants in Western Europe were invited to fill low-status jobs, creating a built-in incentive for natives to see them and their children as a servant class, incapable of entering, let alone leading, the larger society. Moreover, unlike America, Western Europe must live with the uneasy conscience stirred by immigrants whose very presence serves as a reminder of a history of colonialism.

Second, Americans don't demand that immigrants regard their cultural or ethnic background as being in contrast to or in opposition to their American-ness. Everyone gets to be hyphenated. By contrast, when identity is presented as being a stark choice, people often do not choose the identity of the host country that is being so inflexible.

As a result, Britain, France and The Netherlands contain deeply entrenched subcultures of alienated, radicalized Muslim youth. But, while they and other radical Muslims around the world may hate Americans, it is hard to imagine a more Americanized, suburbanized immigrant subculture than Muslim immigrants in the U.S. Rather then listening to radical clerics, they are busy assimilating, sending their kids to law and medical school, barbecuing on weekends, and going to (American) football games -- all while still maintaining devout ties to their religion and community.

Read the whole article here.

 

Finally, Action! Ron Paul Introduces Bill to Defend Constitution!

October 18, 2007
The Huffington Post

It's not every day that there is something concrete you can do to save democracy in one powerful stroke and make sure your kids don't come of age in an American in which we are no longer protected by the rule of law. I have been writing about the terrifying and precipitous assault on our liberties and our very system of checks and balances; I have crossed the country with this message -- today I am in Boston -- and I have heard across the nation that (as usual) the people are ahead of the leaders and the pundits. Americans of all backgrounds are alarmed and outraged and ready to take action against these vicious assaults on the rule of law. But what I hear again and again is: "What can we do?"

Here is what you can do, and it is big, big news. If we do this together in our millions we are safer; and if we fail to act we miss an historic opening and risk far worse to come.

To read more please click here.

American Tears

October 11th, 2007
The Huffington Post

I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.

I am traveling across the country at the moment -- Colorado to California -- speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the 10 steps now underway in America to a violently closed society.

The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness -- but I am finding crowds of people who don't need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country.

To read more please click here.

Won't Back Down

October 11th, 2007
Firedoglake

I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.

I am traveling across the country at the moment -- Colorado to California -- speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the ten steps now underway in America to a violently closed society.

The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness -- but I am finding crowds of people who don't need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country.

To read more please click here.

 

Blackwater: Are You Scared Yet?

September 27th, 2007
Firedoglake.com

The New York Times reported today that Blackwater, the infamous organization that has been accused of killing civilians in Iraq, "has been involved in a far higher rate of shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq than other security firms."¯ A mercenary firm in Iraq with an itchy trigger finger is bad enough. But it now appears that Blackwater's activities may be massively expanded -- and not in Iraq.

To read more please click here.

'08 Candidates Must Sign the American Freedom Pledge

Sunday August 19, 2007
The Huffington Post

Is it still America if the president ignores or deliberately eviscerates the Constitution?

And if the president himself is doing this, who will protect the Constitution?

This is the oath of office: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

On what history will confirm was a very dark day for the nation, George W. Bush took that oath. Within a year, he had launched a methodical effort to undermine the very document he swore he would protect.

On what history will confirm was a very dark day for the nation, George W. Bush took that oath. Within a year, he had launched a methodical effort to undermine the very document he swore he would protect.

To read more please click here.

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all.

Tuesday April 24, 2007
The Guardian

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

To read more please click here.


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