The Arrogance of Power

by Charles Sullivan, December 10. 2005


Living in the United States is akin to living in a land of fairly tales. It is a surreal landscape of bizarre shapes through which one must navigate carefully. Being American is like living in the Land of Oz. The American people are held in such contempt by those in power and by their servants in the corporate media that they are constantly spoon fed the most blatant lies. Those in power not only loathe ordinary working people, they loathe truth; and they loathe democracy. The rich and powerful see the unworthy masses as their servants and play things. They see them as canon fodder. Nothing could make this truth more obvious than the spate of lies spread this week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in regards to torture.

Dr. Rice went before the world this week, looked us in the eye and lied through her teeth. The skill with which she carried out her mockery of the facts suggests considerable practice. Delivering a lengthy diatribe on torture at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, DC, before departing on an extensive European propaganda tour, Dr. Rice stated flatly, and in stark contradiction to the facts, that the United States does not torture people. Dr. Rice further stated that the United States does not send detainees to foreign lands to be tortured-a process called rendition. By failing to challenge the premise of Dr. Rice's phantasmagoric assertions, the corporate media in effect gave them the appearance of legitimacy. Dr. Rice said we do not torture people, the media reported it as fact. The people do not want to believe that the United States tortures people. Thus the lies grow to mythic proportions and once again the people are perfectly deceived. A people fed on manure cannot long endure.

Even as Dr. Rice was busily sowing lies for the Bush regime's agenda of global domination, legislation was worming its way through Congress that would exempt the CIA from prosecution for torturing people, as well the practice of rendition. This begs the question: If the United States does not torture people, or send detainees to foreign countries to be tortured, why do they need such legislation?

The corporate media allowed Dr. Rice's preposterous lies to stand. Even worse, it reported them as truth. The evidence that undermines Dr. Rice's lies is unassailable and abundant; and it is readily available. Clearly, the corporate media omitted the facts by design, delivering another smack to the chops of an already dumbed down American public and leaving them clamoring for more. This shameful performance reveals the corporate media's utter contempt for the people. It reveals contempt for truth in its worst incarnation. It illustrates the complicity between the corporate media and those in power and the betrayal of the American people.

According to Amnesty International, they have tracked more than eight hundred rendition flights flown by the CIA to secret U.S. gulags around the world. The existence of these torture camps are well documented by many different sources, including The Red Cross and Amnesty International. These gulags exist in opposition to international law and the Geneva Convention. They exist in Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan, Romania, Egypt, Jordan and Siberia, and a multitude of other locations.

Additional evidence comes from those who have survived unimaginable ordeals in these god-forsaken hell holes and lived to tell about it. German citizen Khaled el-Masri is a good example. Khaled el-Masri was abducted by the CIA and transported to a CIA gulag in Afghanistan, where he was tortured for five months in a case of mistaken identify. These are the kind of atrocities that occur when rogue elements of the government kidnap suspects without due process. This is state sponsored terrorism at its worst and the United States does it better than anyone.

Conditions in these festering sewers of depravity are worse than deplorable. They make Abu Ghraib look like a Boy Scout camp. In these clandestine places the worst qualities of human nature emerge and are practiced with sadistic pleasure on human beings-many of whom are innocent. This is what makes the seemingly sweet and innocent face of Dr. Rice and others so dangerous. Behind the faces of Dr. Rice and her cohort in depravity, Donald Rumsfeld, lie twisted, sadistic minds. The reality behind their apparently normal appearance is the grotesque monstrosity of what they do to their fellow human beings. It was this kind of hubris and venomous hate that drove Manifest Destiny, slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and the invasion of Iraq. The arrogance of power is the common thread that ties these shameful events together.

All of this is common knowledge in most countries outside of the United States. For example, Nobel Prize winning playwright, Harold Pinter told the audience in his acceptance speech in London on December 7, that the United States had not only lied to justify waging war against Iraq but had also "supported and in many cases engendered every right-wing military dictatorship" in the last fifty years. Pinter went on to say "The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful hypnosis."

If we are ever going to redeem ourselves as a people and realize our full potential, we must purge the corruption from the American political system. A good blood letting-a revolution-is in order. In the past, during the hey day of social unrest in America, the working class people organized themselves into a formidable force. The social justice movement forged by organized labor brought us the eight hour work day and the weekend. Before then, the work day and the work week were brutally long and harsh. From a powerful sense of outrage emerged a compelling social justice movement. One wonders if we will ever see anything like that again in America.

Now we have not only the common enemy to overcome-the corruptive elements of the political process that created Condoleezza Rice and what Mussolini called corporatism; we have the powerful hypnotic drug of television and citizen apathy to overcome. Do we have it in us? We must serve and protect one another. We the people must wage war on those in power. A good beginning would be a boycott of the corporate media.


Charles Sullivan is a furniture maker, photographer, and free lance writer residing in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at

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