Freedom Next Time Bantam Press 2006

After leaving Afghanistan, I flew to the United States, where a rebellion within the ‘old’ establishment is under way. I met Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who had once prepared the daily briefing of the White House. When I said to him that Norman Mailer believed that America had entered a ‘pre-fascist’ state, he was silent, then said, ‘I hope he is right, because there are others saying that we are already in a fascist mode. When you see who is controlling the means of production here, when you see who is controlling the newspapers and periodicals, and the TV stations, from which most Americans take their news, and when you see how the so-called war on terror is being conducted, you begin to understand where we are headed…so yes, we all ought to be worried about fascism.(41)

Another establishment voice, Paul Craig Roberts, a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan, wrote,

“The United States is starting to acquire the image of Nazi Germany. Knowledgeable people should have no trouble drawing up their own list of elements common to both the Bush and Hitler regimes: the use of extraordinary lies to justify military aggression; reliance on coercion and threats in place of diplomacy, total belief in the virtue and righteousness of one’s cause; the equating of factual objections or ‘reality based’ analysis to treason; the redirection of patriotism from a country to a leader; the belief that defeat resides in debate and a weakening of the will.”(42)

‘Fascism’ is too easily used as abuse or as a neat label for all the world’s evils, but what is striking about the debate in America today is the recurring warning of conservatives who believe in the separation of powers under the constitution. “In effect,” wrote Roberts, “Bush is asserting the powers that accrued to Hitler in 1933.
…Thus has the US arrived at the verge of dictatorship.”(43)

In 2005, the US Senate, in effect, voted to abolish habeas corpus when it passed an amendment that overturned the Supreme Court ruling allowing Guantanamo Bay Prisoners access to federal court. Without habeas corpus and the ‘due process’ provisions of the Bill of Rights, a government can lock away its opponents and implement a dictatorship. A not untypical case is that of an American doctor who was punished with twenty-two years in prison for founding a charity, Help the Needy, which helped children in Iraq stricken by the economic blockade enforced by America and Britain during the 1990s. In raising money for infants dying from diarrhoea, Dr. Rafil Dhafir broke this siege which, according to UNICEF, had caused the deaths of half a million infants under the age of five.(44) The then Attorney-General, John Ashcroft, called Dr. Dhafir a ‘terrorist’, a description derided by even the judge in what was transparently a political trial.(45)

Secretly, Bush has assumed the power of a variety of ‘signing statements’. These are little-known decrees that circumvent laws passed by congress and allow him to ignore legislation, not to mention the Geneva Convention, forbidding torture to prisoners. After all, blurted out the President, the US Constitution ‘is just a goddamned piece of paper’.(46)

Along with intelligence agencies, the Pentagon has expanded its domestic surveillance to ‘investigate crimes within the United States’.(47) In the CIA gulag, torture and murder are admitted. In Iraq, the true extent of the slaughter and the punishment of the civilian population, notable the massacres and use of white phosphorus weapons in the city of Fallujah, is masked by a successful, ‘embedded’ system of reporting. In 2004, a peer-reviewed study by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, published in the British Medical journal ‘The Lancet’ suggested a ‘conservative’ figure of a hundred thousand killed by mostly American firepower.(48) Four other studies estimate a higher figure.(49)

A once bountiful land is being poisoned by an invisible weapon of mass destruction: radiation from uranium-tipped weapons (known as ‘depleted’ uranium) and equivalent to many times that released by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. Children are especially vulnerable because they play in heavily polluted areas, where cancers have increased thirty-fold. More than half of Iraq’s cancer sufferers are under the age of five. I have seen the hospital wards filled with these little, mutated ghosts.(50)

Once I believed that if only those with power and responsibility had seen what I had seen, the horror and degradation of war, they would act otherwise. That was naïve, for only the power of popular dissent changes their course, or rids us of them. They understand that. That is why, as the legal powers of the state are criminalised, so is dissent.

In Britain, from January 1, 2006, you can be arrested for the most minor offences. This is clearly directed at peaceful protest. Maya Evans, a vegan chef aged twenty-five, will have a criminal record for the rest of her life. She was arrested under the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act for reading aloud at the Cenotaph in London the names of ninety-seven British soldiers killed in Iraq. So serious was her crime that it took fourteen policemen in two vans to arrest her.(51) pp. 13-15

Freedom Next Time is available at


41 See chapter 5, note 80. (Interviewed by author , July 2003.)
42 ‘America Has Fallen to a Jacobin Coup’,
43 ‘Bush Has Crossed the Rubicon’,
44 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of Iraq, ‘Child and Maternal Mortality Survey 1999: Preliminary Report, 1999.
45 Katherine Hughes, ‘Crime of Compassion’,
46 Richard Ackland, ‘If the Law Doesn’t Suit, Just Ignore It’, ‘Sydney Morning Herald’, January 13, 2006
47 Mike Whitney, ‘Bush’s Fascist Valhalla’,; WXIA TV, Atlanta, ‘ACLU Releases Government Photos’, January 27, 2006,
48 Dr Les Roberts, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, ‘The Lancet’,
49 Correspondence from Dr Les Roberts to ‘Media Lens’, August 22, 2005. See also Les Roberts, ‘Do Iraqi Civilian Casualties Matter?’ AlterNet, February 8, 2006,
50 Abel Bult-Ito, ‘Nothing Depleted about “Depleted Uranium”‘, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, See also John Pilger, “The New Rulers of the World’, Verso, 2001, pp. 45-97
51 ‘Independent’, December 10, 2005.