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How We Got Here From There



 Great Fear and 50s Culture


In 1949 the Soviets detonated their first atomic bomb and when Chinese communism gained hold, political fear was at an all time high in the United States. A large amount of insecurity grew in American citizens. The effects of the Cold War had a large impact on the exact role the United States would play with other Super Powers. The Soviet Union becoming a Communist Nation greatly alarmed the United States. Soon any random citizen could be accused of being a communist spy, or of participating in a Communist agenda. This leads to an era in American History known as McCarthyism. McCarthyism, named after Joseph McCarthy, was a period of intense anti communism, also known as the second red scare, which occurred in the United States from 1948 until about 1956. Here the government of the United States actively persecuted the Communist Party USA, its leadership, and all others suspected of being communists.

The 1950s were years of growth and prosperity. During this time period were more stable than decades before. People were able to purchase a home, a car, some even had more than one, and they were able to buy the latest appliances. The 1950s was also the birth of the baby boomer; it was the largest in the nation’s history. The baby boomers had an impact on the growth of construction and also influenced the attendance of education. During this time the music and movie industry evolved and the teenager emerged

Fear of Communism/Reasons for Mass Paranoia

The start of the Cold War, which leads both Super Powers to the nuclear arms race.

1949 Soviets detonate their first atomic bomb.

Increase of the Communism Party in the United States

Communist spies discovered inside the United States.

The Rise of Anticommunism

Anti- Communist loyalty acts put into effect by Truman.

Federal Employment Loyalty Program (1947)

Included a loyalty review board to investigate government workers and fire those who were found to be disloyal.

Primary Source:

House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) (1947)

Work with the FBI to root out communism in the government and within society as a whole. The first two official targets where the entertainment industry and government spies.


Primary Source:

Hollywood Trials (1947)

41 witnesses to testify at formal hearings.   

Hollywood Ten

Significance: The ideas and works of these writers, because of their leftists’ views, were a cause for alarm in Congress, and a reason for dire concern among the rest of society.


Alger Hiss

In 1948 he was accused by Whittaker Chambers of being a member of the communists Party and a spy

Hiss was charged with two counts of perjury; the grand jury could not indict him for espionage, as the statute of limitations had run out.

He went to trial twice. Second time he was convicted and was sentenced to five years he served 44 months.

Nixon: Interviewed both Chambers and Hiss to find out which one was telling the truth.

Klaus Fuchs

Member of Germany Communist Party.

Confessed to passing information to the Soviet Union.

Sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Primary Source:  

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

American Communists tried, convicted, and executed for spying for the Soviet Union.

The only two Americans civilians executed for conspiracy to commit espionage during the Cold War.   

Joseph McCarthy

U.S. Senator from Wisconsin (Republican)

He practiced law in Wisconsin and in 1940 become a circuit judge.

He served with U.S. Marines in the Pacific in World War 2.

In 1946 McCarthy defeated Senator Robert M. LaFollette for the Republican senatorial nomination

Appealed to conservative republican with right-wing views.

Primary Source: 


Wheeling Speech

First public anti-communist speech

Said he had a list of 205 names of communists in the State Department. 

February 10. Salt Lake City speech said he had 57 names.

February 20. Senate speech for six hours, said he had 81 names, including “one of our foreign ministers.”

McCarran Act/ Internal Security Act

Required communists and communists’ front organizations to register with the Attorney General. Members of these groups could not become citizens.

Truman vetoed the bill, but his veto was overridden by 89 percent majority vote.   

McCarthy also made many accusations against political figures.

In the end McCarthy never produced any real evidence for his accusations questioning the validity.

Significance: McCarthy accusations and witch-hunts were based on faulty assumptions, showed no validity and no evidence. Despite the lack of substance, his hunt lasted 4 ½ years and was a major focus in public and political life.

Reactions to McCarthyism

Public fear and suspicion rose among Americans.

Many people lost their jobs due to accusations and assumptions that they were affiliated with the Communist Party.

The Crucible – A play written by Arthur Miller (1953).

It is based on the events surrounding the 1692 Salem Witch Trails

He wrote the event as an allegory for McCarthyism and the Red Scare.

Was deeply influenced by the blacklisting of his left-wing friends.

Miller himself was questioned by the HUAC.  

There were too many accusations and it was hard to keep up.

Truman had a hard time trying to keep McCarthyism under control

Republicans questioned the validity of McCarthy’s accusations and his effectiveness.

Eisenhower detested McCarthy and worked behind the scenes to limit his power, but Eisenhower was afraid to directly criticize McCarthy.

Significance: Even though McCarthy was often wrong he created fear and because of that he gained much power due to the strong political support. He was feared even by the top leaders of the country.

An end to McCarthyism

Army McCarthyism Hearings

In 1953, McCarthy began its ill-fated inquiry into the United Sates Army Attempting to undercover a spy ring in the Army Signal Corps – T.V. hearings lasted for 36 days and viewed by 20 million people

True nature of McCarthy becomes evident.  


On December 2, the Senate votes 67-22 to censure McCarthy for “conduct contrary to Senatorial tradition.” Only the third time in the Senate’s history that such a censure is issued.  

The 1950s Culture

Affluent Society

John Kenneth Galbraith gave US name AS during post war economic boom

US productivity increasing

American demands for good and services increasing

Postwar years families/people able to satisfy their needs

More than one car

Latest appliances

Easy credit was the new consumer culture

Source: Photo of 1950 Car advertisement / 221621688fmIClM_ph.jpg   

Significance: Americans were able to purchase their wants and needs.

Baby Boom

1930s birth rate low

After the war it increased quickly

1950s The Baby Boom was the largest in the nation’s history- 4 million per year

Baby Boom influenced

Business for builders (schools, housing, shopping malls)

Business for manufacturers

School Systems

This is important because the Baby Boom was the largest in the nation, and it helped expand the country.

Throwaway Society

America as growing and it was encouraging habits that would be known as the

“Throwaway society”

Cars made less durable purposely so people buy more often

Disposable products advertised as a convenience

Using the world resources

Significance: Americans were using up the worlds resources because they were buying unnecessary products.


Baby Boom in the 50’s encouraged parents to be concerned with the education of their children

Convinced that education resulted in successful adults in the future

1957 education became a matter of national Security

1958 Congress established National Defense Education Act (NDEA)

funded better school programs

Loans for college students

Significance: Education now seen as a priority in many households and was viewed as a way to succeed in the future.


1946 8,000 households with TVs

1950 3.9 million households with TVs

Transformed family life

TV –influence on consumer culture

Significance: Television was extremely popular in American families.

Source: Discusses the impact of television on the American people

Women’s Conflicting Roles and Dilemmas

Housewife cared for children/husband

Women entering labor force

Only source of income

Add on to family income

Women’s responsibilities at home changed

Books on how to care for children

Baby and Child Care (Dr. Benjamin)

Generation on Vipers (Philip Wylie)

Modern Women the Lost Sex (Ferdinand Lundberg and Marynia F. Farnham)

Significance: Understand the roles women had in the 1950s 



 Dr. Alfred Kinsey

 Sexual Behavior in the Human Male

 Sexual Behavior in the Human Female

 Family, Church, State, Media

 Sex outside of marriage wrong

 Homosexuality behavior weaken

 Country’s moral fiber

 1953 Playboy magazine came out

Women became victims of male inspired stereotypes

The Postwar year’s daughters sensed their mothers were disappointed with their lives

10% wanted their daughters were disappointed with their lives

 Mothers urged daughter to avoid trap of early marriages

Becoming independent

Significance: People at this time were very conservative and innocent, and sex was seen as a bad thing for the country.

Youth Subculture

1950 Silly Putty

Hula Hoops

3D movies

1955 Disneyland opened in Anaheim California

Significance: This was the birth of the teenager who expressed themselves through music, fashion and movies.

Study of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

A study of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible will provide insight into the historical Salem Witch Trials of 1692 as well as the similar actions by Senator McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

After conducting research, a comparison of these two historical events and an examination of how each historical event relates to the basic themes in explored in The Crucible.  

Fahrenheit 451

Imagine a society where books are prohibited, where the basic rights made clear in the First Amendment hold no weight and society is merely a brainwashed, mechanical population. According to Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, this depiction is actually an exaggerated forecast for the American future, and in effect is happening around us every day. Simply reading his words can incite arguments pertaining not only to the banning of books but to our government structure itself. Age-old debates about Communism are stirred by the trials of characters in Bradbury’s unique world. By studying the protagonist and main character, Guy Montag, and his personal challenges we can, in a sense, evaluates our own lives to insure that we don’t make similar mistakes.

Fahrenheit 451 was written during the fifties, a period of mass paranoia, war, and technological advancement. The paranoia in the fifties was due the fear of Communism at home. People were afraid that their best friends might be Communists. This is also portrayed in the book; you are not sure until the very end if some of the characters are friend or foe. Many inventions of the fifties have advanced mirrors in the book. One might think that the author was trying to express how those inventions would ultimately result in the dumbing down of society. The television was coming about in the fifties and the four screen TV’s in the book hampered the thought process so people would not think.

While the book is definitely critiquing society and the government, readers are given many dominant themes to follow, and to find all of them require several readings. The main plot, following Montag, illustrates the importance of making mistakes in order to grow. For example, at the very end of the book Granger (an outspoken rebel to the book-banning laws) compares mankind to a phoenix that burns itself up and then rises out of its ashes over and over again. Man’s advantage is his ability to recognize when he has made an error, so that eventually he will learn not to make that mistake anymore. Remembering the faults of the past is the task Granger and his groups have set for themselves. They believe that individuals are not as important as the collective mass. The symbol of the phoenix’s rebirth refers not only to the cyclical nature of history and the collective rebirth of society but also to Montag’s own resurrection as a new person.

Appropriately named, Guy is just a regular person who started out as a drone. However, he began to realize that while reflecting the morals of equality in that no one was above the law, his society also takes away the power of an individual to make a difference. He starts out rash, inarticulate, self-obsessed, and too easily swayed. At times he is not even aware of why he does things, feeling that his hands are acting by themselves. These subconscious actions can be quite horrific, such as when he finds himself setting his supervisor on fire, but they also represent his deepest desires to rebel against the status quo and find a meaningful way to live. When he comes into contact with Professor Faber, a retired professor who still has a few precious books hidden away, the two devise a plan to outsmart the system and bring the “Dark Age” to an end. Faber readily admits that the current state of society is due to the cowardice of people like himself, who would not speak out against book burning when they still could have stopped it, and his newly found courage contributes greatly to the “phoenix” theme of the book. Faber’s comments reminded me of one of the most horrible passages in human history. When German citizens did not speak out against the growing horrors brought about by the Nazi regime.

In a brief summary of Bradbury’s piece it must be noted exactly how this civilization developed as it did. Montag’s boss, Captain Beatty, describes the problem by explaining that long ago, special-interest groups and other “minorities” began to object to books and literary works that offended them. This led to a sudden monotony in new stories, as writers tried to avoid offending anybody and were afraid to voice strong opinions. The eerie fact about Bradbury’s work is that it hits a little too close to home: schools worldwide are banning more and more books from their libraries and limiting the information to which children have access. This is a very evident form of brainwashing in that students only learn what teachers feel is suitable, a truth that is leaving growing amounts of people unprepared for their own futures and unable to cope with life when it hits them. Fahrenheit 451 shows one possible place for this prohibition to lead: eventual disregard for the written word and an uneducated society.

Our world today is closer than you may think to the world depicted in Fahrenheit 451. If you look closely you can find censorship in everything. Take school for example. In our textbooks women aren’t allowed to be depicted doing housework, men can’t be show with tools, African-American cannot be athletes, and Koreans cannot own fruit stores. All this is to make a few people happy. If we don’t stop now, Bradbury’s assumption of the future may come true.

The Public View of Vietnam

Vietnam is still with us. It has created doubts about American judgment, about American credibility, about American power–not only at home, but throughout the world. It has poisoned our domestic debate. So we paid an exorbitant price for the decisions that were made in good faith and for good purpose. –Henry Kissinger

It is widely thought that the United States lost the Vietnam War. This is incorrect for the main reason that there was an agreed stalemate in 1973. The Vietnam War was a war that the United States of America participated in and didn’t win. There was a similar situation in the Korean War where the U.S. neither won nor lost but didn’t accomplish all of its objectives. Overall, the public negative view of the Vietnam War was unwarranted.

One of the main reasons for the Unites States entrance into the Vietnam War was to prevent the spread of communism the intense fear that the domino effect would start with Vietnam and spread to the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond. The domino theory is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the “theory in U.S. foreign policy after World War II stating that the “fall” of a noncommunist state to communism would precipitate the fall of noncommunist governments in neighboring states.” More information is available about the domino theory at this site. Though this was obviously a substantial reason for entering into conflict I believe that the mass paranoia pertaining to communist aggression was unneeded because even if Vietnam was the proverbial first domino other countries would notice all of the conflict and trouble with the communist change and that would discourage the governmental upheaval which would change a governmental system.

In addition, though the Vietnam War was unpopular at home the actual men and women who served in Vietnam did not have this negative view here it states that 91% of Vietnam veterans were glad they served and 74% said that they would serve again knowing the outcome. Another point which angers Americans was the draft. Another interesting fact was that two-third of the people who served were volunteered while if you compare that to World War II, two-thirds of the participants were drafted.

Overall, the negative view of the Vietnam was unsubstantiated because of mass paranoia over the domino theory and the minority who came back from Vietnam with a negative view unfortunately represented the majority.

Opinion: Stop the Paranoia

Original print date, September 30 2002

A harmless lunchbox falls off someone’s wheelchair, and people think it’s a bomb. That’s the level of hysteria our country has come to.

Last Wednesday in La Crosse, Wis., authorities closed off a 300-foot area near downtown to investigate a purple lunchbox with an “open me” note attached to it. A pedestrian saw the lunchbox on the sidewalk and called the fire department. A bomb-sniffing dog was brought in to check the suspicious lunchbox. The dog, trained to detect materials used in 12 different kinds of explosives, detected something.

So authorities cleared out the area, packed sandbags around the lunchbox, and blew it up. Fortunately, the lunchbox contained no bomb. In fact, it contained nothing at all.

Bomb-sniffing dogs can be misled by a variety of household products that contain materials used in explosives. A bomb-sniffing dog’s sense of smell is keen enough that even if someone who handled a firecracker touches an item, the dog could detect the scent.

It was later revealed that the empty lunchbox belonged not to a terrorist, but to La Crosse resident Kathy Freidhof. It fell off her wheelchair on her way home from work. The “open me” note was from earlier in the day, when Freidhof shared some birthday cake with a co-worker. The note had the co-worker’s name on it, along with the “open me” instruction.

Isn’t all this just silly?

The phrase “better safe than sorry” is usually a good rule to abide by, but in this case it’s simply ridiculous. I agree that terrorism can happen anywhere, but not in a purple lunchbox with a personalized post-it note attached to it. I could see if the note just had “open me” written on it, but it didn’t. It was personally addressed to Freidhof’s co-worker. There was absolutely no reason for anyone to believe that it would be a bomb.

If a terrorist or random nutcase rigs an explosive in a lunchbox and leaves it on the sidewalk, obviously, their intent is to get someone to open that lunchbox so it will blow up. What kind of an idiotic terrorist or terrorist-wannabe is going to personalize the “open me” note? Does anyone else see that plan as kind of idiotic?

If I saw a lunchbox with a note that said something like, “Todd: open me”, on it, I certainly wouldn’t call the fire department. I’d clear the fog out of my head and take the so-called “suspicious item” for exactly what it is: a lunchbox that someone lost.

How much did it cost to bring in a bomb-sniffing dog and a military team of explosives specialists from the Fort McCoy Army training base? How much did it cost when they brought in equipment to try to x-ray the lunchbox? How much did it cost for the explosives they used to blow the lunchbox to smithereens? I’m willing to bet it was more than a few thousand dollars.

This large cost could have easily been avoided. But alas, some paranoid citizen who watches too much CNN went 9/11 crazy, and it resulted in a bomb scare. It’s nice to see that any irrational person on the street can waste my tax dollars, along with the politicians.

I’m sure I’ll get angry e-mails from people because of my unorthodox view, but I’m sticking to my guns. Our country needs to get away from its obsession with terrorism, and the mass paranoia that comes from it. Things may have changed in this country, but that doesn’t mean we have to go overboard, or approve of those who do. 

Ending the Balkan Nightmare

by Gail Armstrong and Patricia Forestier

“I feel responsible because I made the preparations for this war — even if not the military preparations. If I hadn’t created the emotional strain in the Serbian people, nothing would have happened.

“My party and I lit the fuse of the Serbian nationalism not only in Croatia but everywhere else in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“We have driven this people and we have given it an identity. I have repeated it again and again to this people that it comes from heaven, not earth.”

Heard on Yutel television in Belgrade in January 1992, these words, and the person who spoke them, may reveal more about the Balkan conflicts than the many and varied interpretations offered through media and politicians over recent years. The speaker was Serbian psychiatrist Jovan Raskovic, founder of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDP) of Croatia.

1980s – 1991: Lighting the Fuse of Ethnic Rivalry

The international discussion of the political, social and military situation in the Balkan states generally omits mention of Raskovic. Yet, as one of the modern demagogues of ethnic cleansing in the region, he played a pivotal role in shaping current events. His ultra-nationalism and zeal for the creation of a “Greater Serbia” under the guise of a call for “peace” preceded the 1992 outbreak of ethnic massacres in Yugoslavia by more than a decade. And although he died that year, his legacy has included the murder, harm and/or rape of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

Raskovic’s influence started in his home city of Sibenik, in southern Croatia, in the early 1980s. His application of fundamental psychiatric theories and practices as tools of suppression was already evident. According to psychiatric colleague Brois Zmijanovic, who wrote in the newspaper Nedjeljna Dalmacija on October 17, 1991, Raskovic “used electroshocks and other sadistic psychotherapeutic methods with particular pleasure in the case of Croats, especially Croatian women.”

Raskovic glorified the Serbian minority in Croatia, telling them during public meetings of atrocities committed against the Orthodox Serbs during World War II by the Ustashi — Croatian fascists installed as puppet leaders by the Nazis during the war. He spoke incessantly about the concentration camps built by the Ustashi, attributing them to the “instinctive urge for genocide” in the Croatian people.

Creating Mass Paranoia

As a psychiatric expert in paranoia, Raskovic could hardly be unaware of the effect created by his accounts of massacred Serbian children or eviscerated Serbian women — events which had taken place some 50 years earlier but which he presented under the color of the present.

Raskovic in fact devoted much of his own writing from the 1980s to psychiatry for the masses. His 1990 curriculum vitae presented to the Serbian Academy of Sciences lists many of his writings on the subject of paranoia, focusing on the study of the mechanisms triggering paranoia, jealousy, aggressiveness of the masses, and related topics. In one of his most well-known books, A Mad Country [Luda Zemlja], Raskovic wrote that when three ethnic groups live together, “as paranoia overtakes their relations, the feeling of hatred becomes the normal, human factor, the factor of defense.” But paranoia, he wrote, had to be provoked among the different ethnic groups in order for hatred to set in.

The mass psychology of paranoia was precisely what was taking effect in the region during the 1980s when, “in former Yugoslavia, stories started about rape as war crime,” wrote Mladen Loncar of the Medical Center for Human Rights in Zagreb, Croatia in early 1993. “The Serbian authorities started them in order to attain certain political goals — the abolition of the autonomy of Kosovo and the establishment of a discriminatory law. They released the news that Albanian men were raping Serbian women in Kosovo. However, this was never proved, nor was any medical documentation furnished.

“It was a ‘pilot’ study of the utilization of rape in order to attain political and military goals,” continued Loncar. “They saw that this method was efficient for the masses. It provoked psychological effects; people rallied around the local authorities, asking for more repressive measures against the Albanians.”

It also taped a path for political action. Serbian politician Slobodan Milosevic exploited the tensions in Kosovo to rise to political power. He declared himself the “liberator” of the Serbian people, and in 1989, stripped Kosovo of the autonomy it had enjoyed since 1974.

Loncar also wrote of a “special group of psychiatrists” at the military hospital in Belgrade who “specialized in war psychology and who worked out the method of systematic raping and proceeded to use it in the war against Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.” Realizing the psychological effects of rape, the strategists then exploited a statement made by a Serbian bishop who declared that 30,000 Muslim women had been raped in Bosnia, “to frighten the rest of the Bosnian population. The goal of such a declaration is to force people to leave their country.”

Through 1999: Increasing violence sweeps the region – Lighting the Fuse

As the campaign of terror was being prepared against non-Serb populations in Bosnia and Croatia, Raskovic spent more and more time in Belgrade, gaining support for his theories and the creation of “Greater Serbia.” He co-authored the “Memorandum of the Serbian Academy of Science” of 1986 advocating the racially superior nation; the unpublished tract circulated among political leaders and intellectuals.

And in 1990, he ultimately “lit the fuse” across the nation with publication of A Mad Country, little more than a manifesto containing his psychiatric theories of ethnic differences in Yugoslavia.

According to Raskovic, the Croats possess a “fear of castration” and are afraid of everything and, therefore, cannot assert themselves or exercise authority or leadership.

The Muslims, he claimed on the other hand, have an “anal-erotic fixation” which prompts them to gather wealth and hide behind fanatic attitudes.

The Serbs, his own people, possess an “Oedipus complex” that empowers them to stand up to and “kill the father.” This is why, Raskovic explained, the Serbs are the only group with a sense of authority and why they need to assert that authority over the other Yugoslavian peoples.

Raskovic’s book was touted in a publicity campaign in which he was hailed as the greatest psychiatrist and scientist of his era.

While fueling his ultra-national Serbian cause through media and public appearances, Raskovic created the Serbian Democratic Party in Croatia. It was only a matter of time before the Serb minority’s instilled paranoia of the Croats would escalate to bloodshed.

In 1990, Serbian civilians from Krajina — the primarily Serbian-populated lands of Croatia bordering Bosnia and Serbia — were provided arms by the Belgrade government, via the SDP leaders, in order to “defend” themselves from the Croats. Roadblocks were established by Serbs in order to prevent non-Serbs from entering areas of Krajina proclaimed to be “Serbian.” When policemen were sent by the Croatian government in order to bring order, they were killed. War had broken out in Croatia.

Trouble Spreads

As Croatia experienced sporadic conflicts, ethnic rivalries were escalating in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina. There, in Sarajevo in 1991, Raskovic empowered Radovon Karadzic to lead the Bosnian branch of the SDP.

The choice of party leader for Bosnia was not a casual one. Karadzic had been Raskovic’s student in group psychology in Zagreb in 1988 and 1989, and his political trainee. His allegiance to Raskovic was firm. Karadzic publicly proclaimed in a 1991 media interview that he was ideologically influenced by “above all, Jovan Raskovic.”

Karadzic, like Raskovic, specialized in group psychology and in paranoia, as evidenced by works on the subject he presented to the Fifth Congress of Psychotherapists of Yugoslavia in October 1987 in Sarajevo. Karadzic’s “research” involved reciting to various patient groups a story in which several people sliced members of their own family into pieces. The purpose was to observe the intense fear the story created in the patients.

Like Raskovic and various Serbian intellectuals and politicians, Karadzic had attended the exclusive dinners held in Belgrade in Milosevic’s and other political leaders’ villas, during which Greater Serbia was planned. Both Karadzic and Raskovic were also members of the Association of Serbian Writers, located at Francuska 7 in Belgrade, in which the idea of an ethnically pure Serbia was disseminated among the Serbian intelligentsia.

Karadzic, with Raskovic, embarked on a systematic campaign to instill fear in the minority Serbian community in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991. They organized a series of public meetings which were attended by thousands of Serbs, who were told of supposed threats and a genocidal conspiracy against them by the Bosnian Muslims.

And at a national assembly in Bosnia-Herzegovina in September 1991, Karadzic delivered a chilling speech which foreshadowed the coming genocidal horror against the local Muslims. “The Muslims must be careful of what they are doing,” he warned. “They might very well disappear.”

Under Karadzic’s leadership, concentration camps – whose inmates, according to a July 26, 1995 report in The Los Angeles Times looked “eerily similar to the famous photographs of Nazi concentration camp victims rescued half a century before” — and systematic raping of women forced non-Serb populations to flee from Bosnia.

“A New Trend has Begun”

Before Karadzic rose through the ranks to lead the eugenics-driven SDP cause throughout Bosnia, Slobodan Milosevic had come to power in Serbia. After his election as president of the republic in 1989, he transformed the communist Serbian party into the nationalistic Socialist party. It was only a matter of months before ethnic rivalries swept the former Yugoslavia at a fever pitch, and the first open warfare broke out in the region.

In an arrogant claim for the strength of the agenda he principally authored, Raskovic declared in A Mad Country that “Milosevic has not been the promoter of such events happening in our country, but only the tool. The motives have been hidden deeper. Such motives have been concentrated in a nucleus of feelings of fear, that have not exploded. This nucleus has lost its shell and that is all. This shell has shrunk away.

“The frictions inside are less, the feelings of guilt have gone and a new trend has begun. The opposite trend,” he proclaimed.

Having already exploited the fears of the Serbian minority in Kosovo during his rise to power, Milosevic continued to foment and nurture strain between the ethnic groups in the region. By continually spreading the notion that the Serbian minority was “threatened” by the ethnic Albanians, Milosevic widened pockets of tension into chasms of ethnic differences and hatred.

As Raskovic declared in a television interview after Milosevic was elected President, “Milosevic is the result of the work of those who have brought the Serbian people back to consciousness.”

Theories Live On

Sporadic hostilities increased throughout the Yugoslavian region, and by 1992, the stage was set for a full-scale discharge of the tensions ignited by Raskovic, Karadzic and Milosevic.

Two months after Raskovic’s chilling announcement on Yutel television claiming responsibility for “preparations for this war” in terms of “the emotional strain in the Serbian people,” war indeed broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. And the chaos spread. A few months later, Raskovic died of a heart attack in Belgrade. Karadzic became leader of the Bosnian Serbs, and as the war escalated, Bosnian newspaper Glas Slavonije observed on April 11, 1992, “The unhappiness of Bosnia-Herzegovina is once again due to a psychiatrist: Dr. Radovon Karadzic.”

Raskovic’s theories did not disappear with him. As an article in Le Figaro, the French national newspaper, reported on April 13, 1999:

“History remains very alive in Serbian people’s minds and Yugoslav media keep comparing Nazi bombing of Belgrade of 6 April 1941 with the ongoing NATO air strikes. TV ads of RTS [Serbian Radio and Television] present U.S. and British politicians against a swastika background.

“In addition to history, psychoanalysis is also used for propaganda. The newspaper Vecernje Novosti yesterday published a brand new thesis. Slobodan Jakulic, director of Laza Lazarevic psychiatric institute, explained that the world is governed by exterminator politicians whose plans to create a new world order are inspired by heavy sexual complexes and frustrations. According to this theory, Tony Blair is a homosexual who has fallen in love with Clinton. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright experienced a deep trauma during her childhood spent in Yugoslavia — where her father used to be ambassador for Czechoslovakia before the Second World War. ‘Due to her ugliness compared with young Serbian girls, Serbian boys would systematically avoid her, which caused her to have a permanent feeling of hatred toward Serbian people,’ Dr. Jakulic explained.”

Such psychiatric theories about the world outside Serbia, nurtured over two decades, continue to spawn ultra-nationalism and its attendant justifications for the destruction of human life.

Crimes Against Humanity

On July 25, 1995, Karadzic was formally indicted by the United Nations’ War Crimes Tribunal for crimes against humanity. So far, he has escaped justice.

In May 1999, Milosevic was also indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal. If the record to date is any indication, the indictment will make little difference in the long-term in the Balkans — unless he and the other purveyors of misery and death are actually brought to justice.

While current Western political actions are aimed at stopping violence and further misery in the Balkans, it will not prevent it from repeating in the future. Nor will it minimize the danger posed not just to Muslims, Croats and Bosnians but to the Serbs as well. It was, after all, the same fundamental psychiatric theory of racial superiority that the Croatian Ustashi learned from Nazi eugenicists during World War II in order to annihilate Serbs as one of several “inferior” ethnic groups.

Thus the paramount danger stems not from armies and politicians — but from those who exalt the belief that some human beings are “life not worthy of living.”

The Serbian nationalist movement of the 1980s and early ’90s relied heavily on propaganda designed to create fear of aggression by Muslims, Croats and Bosnians.

One aspect of that effort was to impart a threat that the Serbians were going to be outnumbered by the differing ethnic groups.

“The development of this propaganda may be divided into two phases, although they are constantly intertwined,” wrote Stasa Zajovic, author and president of a women’s association in Belgrade, in “Birth, Nationalism and War” in 1994.

“The first phase started as early as the middle of the eighties. It consists of the preparation of various projects aimed at the ‘suppression of the white plague’ [the name given to a reported decrease of childbirth rates among Serbian women]. The second phase is the propaganda about childbearing for patriotic reasons, that is, for the enhancement of national security.”

At the beginning of the “first phase,” continued Zajovic, “demographers followed territorial principles, asserting that in central and eastern Serbia, as well as in Vojvodina, the birth-rate was dropping at an alarming rate, while in Kosovo it was rising disturbingly. At this time, demographers had not yet introduced the ethnic aspect. The imbalance of the demographic development was explained instead either by economic factors or by changes in the system of values. As a solution, mostly administrative measures were offered.

“The demographic discourse — in accordance with the expansion of the nationalist ideology — soon acquired a repressive, racist character,” Zajovic wrote.

It also soon permeated Serbian officialdom. “Official documents started multiplying,” said Zajovic. Among them was a Resolution on the Renewal of Population, which contained a paper of June 30, 1992 entitled “The Warning” — composed by nine national institutions and adopted by the Socialist Party of Serbia at a subsequent congress as an official document.

“The Warning” heralded the ominous “threat” that minority peoples posed to the Serbian majority, declaring per Zajovic that since “Albanians, Moslems and Gypsies, with their higher birth-rate, deviate from rational, human reproduction, [they] threaten the rights of other peoples.

What was behind the atrocities of World War II?

Who escaped punishment and continued the practices which led to the war?

And why were they allowed to continue, unapprehended?

The Ethnic Cleansing Agenda

– Dr. Mark Barber

This book explores the answers to these questions, and many more. It lays bare the truth, after years of extensive investigation, behind one of the most horrific chapters in history — and the after-effects which are still felt today at all levels of society.

The last time bombs rained on Belgrade, it was Hitler’s planes that dropped them. But in one of history’s more ironic twists, unlike the 1999 NATO attempt to prevent genocide, the Nazi attack was launched to advance it.

Following the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, the territory was divided between Germany and its allies, including the Ustashi — a group of Croatian fascists put into power by the Nazis. The Ustashi created the “Independent State of Croatia,” an ally of the Axis Powers.

“Racial purity” programs were carried out against Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and other ethnic groups. More than 600,000 were murdered.

But to blame Hitler singularly with the destruction of the Balkan peoples — not to mention the millions of Germans, Poles and others who were deemed unworthy of life — would be a severe understatement, as history has proved.

Hitler was himself following a macabre vision laid down by others before him. Chief among them was Ernst Rudin, a psychiatrist who played a major role in setting the stage for the Holocaust. Rudin was president of the International Federation of Eugenic Organizations and world leader of the eugenics movement which sought to remove “inferior” individuals from society by segregation, sterilization, or death in order to create a “better” race.

In 1916 he established the field of “psychiatric hereditary biology” which became “psychiatric genetics” in the 1930s, and which has subsequently been used to justify several efforts toward the mass destruction of unwanted ethnic groups.

In 1933 Rudin was chosen by Hitler’s Reich Ministry to lead Germany’s racial purity program. Rudin wasted no time in drafting the Nazi Sterilization Law which originally called for the sterilization of “schizophrenics,” “alcoholics,” and “manic-depressives” — the subjects of Rudin’s “research.” As these legal sterilizations began, programs were already underway to sterilize “black” Germans. The sterilization program expanded to include Jews, Gypsies and, in the words of Rudin, other “inferior race types.” 

Rudin’s program led to the establishment of a pilot killing program at several of Germany’s psychiatric hospitals. The first to die were 375,000 mental patients. Rudin publicly praised Hitler for making his “more than thirty-year-old dream a reality” by imposing “racial hygiene” upon the German people. Rudin admitted that when the killing program was started, he had not been informed, “because it was not thought right that I should have such a matter on my conscience.” Eventually, the genocide program “involved practically the entire German psychiatric community,” according to The World Must Know, a history of the Holocaust by author Dr. Michael Berenbaum.

But the psychiatric theories that spawned the racial hygiene movement in the 1930s did not end with World War II and the tribunals that followed. And while most of the world’s attention regarding eugenics remained focused on Germany during the past half century, the same fundamental theories of racial hygiene sown by Nazi psychiatrists continued to germinate among leaders in their Balkan neighbor, bringing unspeakable horror upon the innocent. With a growing global community, the theories and those who author them can no longer be overlooked today.

Weapons of Mass Ideology

by John D. Goldhammer

Terrorism is an ideological problem, not a military problem. It is a mental illness caused by a lethal set of virulent group dynamics masquerading as religion. The time is long overdue for us to take our “politically correct,” white gloves off so-called religious groups that are in reality bands of dangerous, brainwashed criminals.

What happens when you mix power politics with the Christian strain of religious fundamentalism? You get a toxic stew of arrogance and absolutism; a medieval us-versus-them, God-is-on-our-side mind set that marches right into the jaws of the ideologically-inspired, mass paranoia of Islamic terrorist groups. Thus each group acts and reacts based on the same deadly dynamics, each reinforcing the others hysteria.

The political rhetoric surrounding the rationale for preemptive war as in Iraq continues to sound more like a religious crusade, the political consequences of cult-like group dynamics that, to survive, depend upon creating outside enemies. With an unsettling irony, we become the aggressor, the global bully, terrorizing tens of thousands of innocent civilians (between 6,806 and 7,797 killed in Iraq alone, according to a British-American research group in London) in a desperate attempt to destroy a member of George W’s designated “axis of evil.” Are we now going to be political police, imposing our concept of democracy around the globe?

War certainly qualifies as a “weapon of mass destruction,” and our pre-emptive/preventative policy of violent aggression against a sovereign nation only serves to dump more fuel on the spreading ideological plague of vicious, Islamic fundamentalism not only directed against non-Muslims and most of the civilized world, but also against other Muslims who have not been caught up in their madness.

Bush’s divisive, gun-slinger, “Youre either with us or against us,” absolutism, is eerily similar to Islamic fanatics, who are intent upon terrorizing and destroying the “infidels”–that is you and me–and anyone else who does not kowtow to their ideological agenda. They believe, in the words of one prominent Iranian ayatollah, that “Moslems have no alternative….to an armed holy war against profane governments….It will….be the duty of every able-bodied adult male to volunteer for this war of conquest, the final aim of which is to put Koranic law in power from one end of the earth to the other.”

George W. Bush, indoctrinated by his own ideological, self righteous, group-think, world view, said, “We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name.” And, according to the “Bush Doctrine,” the United States is “called to bring God’s gift of liberty to every human being in the world”–good news for Christians, bad news for Moslems and other beliefs –dangerous, polarizing, and dehumanizing.

The Bush regime’s behavior epitomizes many dangerous characteristics of a full-blown cult: a dysfunctional group ideology obliterates the individual human conscience, whether Christian, Jew or Muslim; ideology, fanaticism and mass hysteria, then become mechanisms for rationalizing the greatest evil of all, war. Once infected, this dehumanizing, mental virus turns normally “good” people into conscienceless killing machines. This is not religion. This is insanity.

A political party, a group, sect or religion gone bad requires dedicated, willing members who surrender independent critical thinking and suppress their innate sense of right and wrong for an idealistic sounding mission.

Conscience, integrity and a sense of self-responsibility are the first casualties in any destructive ideology. Because a group-directed life is much less of a strain than individual critical thinking and self-responsibility, there is an ever-present, overwhelming temptation to allow the group mind to displace the individual conscience. The process goes something like this:

Education: People, often beginning with children, are taught to hate those who are different and they are taught to interpret scriptures, like the Bible or the Koran, literally instead of symbolically: “holy war,” Jihad, is then externalized, waged on perceived outside enemies in contrast to an inner holy war with one’s lesser nature.

Creating enemies: The group, whether political or religious, must create enemies to survive: other nation states, other religions, other races. Unspeakable evil is rationalized for the “greater good,” for the sake of the group’s mission and agenda. It’s “unfortunate,” “collateral damage” if thousands of innocent civilians are murdered in the process.

Labeling: Destructive ideologies categorize others by group characteristics such as color, religion, ethnicity, nationality or economic status instead of seeing the individual human being.

Elitism: Leaders ideas and agenda are sacred, inspired or beyond reproach: This produces a presumed superiority over others with different views, encouraging elitism, separation, hatred, and prejudice.

Black and white thinking: Destructive organizations promote a fundamental separation of pure and impure, good and evil: purity equates to being in the group or at least like-minded; impurity and evil equate to those outside the group, who must be saved, defeated or destroyed. God is always on their side.

Exclusiveness: Belief that their system, whether political, economic, or religious, is the solution for the world’s problems. They have the truth and nonbelievers do not. Their God is the only true God; i.e. our political/economic system is the only way.

Censorship: Leadership attempts to control information and communication into and out of the group as well as individuals’ inner thought processes. Doubts, criticisms and different ideas are labeled as “unpatriotic,” or taken as attacks, disloyalty, lack of faith, or we are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

What then do we do about terrorism and terrorists? First we must refuse to lower ourselves to their level, to become the “evil” that we most despise in others. And we must find creative alternatives to war, working with our allies and the world community to solve legitimate international crises. We, with international cooperation among non-violent, peace-loving peoples, must work together to find and arrest each and every individual who commits a terrorist act or any other crime against humanity. There can be no sanctuary on the planet for such criminals. Terrorism has no geographical boundaries. Its territory is the human mind.

It may well be that we are condemned to repeat past horrors until we come to grips with the crucial necessity to educate ourselves and most urgently, children everywhere, about the often fatal effects of destructive groups and destructive ideologies. We ought to be defenders of freedom and democracy, a benevolent force in the world through our example, not demagogues wearing the dark shrouds of arrogance, power, religious absolutism and empire-building.

The real weapon of mass destruction we need to be concerned about is the virulent, fundamentalist group mind that has infected both the Christian and Moslem religions. Shakespeare, in The Tempest, had it right when he wrote, “No prisons are more confining than the ones of which we are unaware.”

John D. Goldhammer, Ph.D., is a Seattle Washington (USA) writer, psychologist, and author of Under the Influence: The Destructive Effects of Group Dynamics (Prometheus Books). His newest book has just been released: Radical Dreaming (Kensington/Citadel Press).


The “those” vs. “us” vision of George W. Bush

by Bill Moore

During the 2000 presidential elections, George Bush assured the America people that he was a “uniter, not a divider.” The results of that election proved otherwise when it took a 5-4 Supreme Court decision to hand him the presidency, so sharply divided was the vote. That pattern of division was only temporarily suspended in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

For one brief, glorious moment, the nation and the world stood united in its support of America and its collective contempt for the perpetrators of those horrid acts of violence.

Since then, the nation — and the world — has grown increasingly divided over the policies of the Bush Administration, in particular its strategy for dealing with the threat of radical Islamic fundamentalists using terror tactics as weapons of mass paranoia and fear. This winter, in frigid temperatures, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators turned out across America, supported by as many as 20-30 million other people around the world in opposition to US plans to invade Iraq.

No one will argue that we live in a dangerous world where one nation, organization, one madman with weapons of mass destruction is one too many.

We live in a world that is fundamentally unfair and seething with inequities and its resultant evil; where bullies and madmen corrupt, intimidate and brutalize their citizenry for their own selfish interests.

Yet, we also live in a world where we share the same air, water and sunlight. Where Chicago is just thirteen flying hours away from Beijing or six hours from Paris. We are a world that shares common blood types, laughs, smiles, tears and chromosomes. We also share a common desire to live our lives in peace, security and free of want.

In this respect, the Western world has been extremely fortunate, America in particular. Our historic openness, tolerance and sense of justice, not to mention our free-for-all economic system that offers the opportunity to succeed to far more people than any competing system, has been a beacon of hope to tens of millions around the world. It is part of the reason the old Soviet Union no longer exists and why The People’s Republic of China has gradually shifted towards an increasingly capitalist economic model.

But it is also a system with a dark side and countless dirty secrets and more skeletons in its closet than anyone cares to count. From the exploitation of slave and child labor in the last century, to the eugenics movement of the 1920s, to the brutal suppression of labor unions in the 1930s, to the civil rights struggle in the 1950s, to the White House lies about Vietnam in the 1960s and 70s, to the corporate corruption of the 1990s, America has been a nation in continuous ferment and change, where the innocent and the guilty have suffered and died on our shores and shores far away.

Now the Bush Administration steps forward and offers its new vision for the world, one of universal democracy, prosperity and fair trade, anchored in American economic and military hegemony. It’s a vision that appeals to some, but is widely distrusted and loathed by far more people than just the French.

In the 1990’s neo-conservatives within the Republican party began to formulate a grand strategy for taking advantage of the demise of the old Soviet Union. There was now only one superpower in the world and America should exploit that opportunity before the Chinese or the Europeans could become strong enough to contest it. So, began the discussions of a “New World Order” lead by America into a new century of peace and prosperity.

It’s an alluring vision and many both in the US and abroad would much rather have the United States fill the power vacuum than Beijing or The Hague. But it’s also a vision built like a house of cards on a foundation of enormous government budget and trade deficits, as well as consumer and corporate debt, fueled increasingly by energy imported from abroad. It’s also a vision grounded on the threat of violence unprecedented, of smart bombs, cruise missiles, stealth weapons, and nuclear bunker-buster.

More ominous, it is a stark black and white vision of “them” vs “us”, of a world where you are either with us or against us. It is world where diversity isn’t celebrated but suspected. Where all Moslems are “rag heads” and potential terrorists and all Westerners are demonic, immoral Crusaders who never really gave up on their lust to control the Holy Land and the riches of the Middle East.

So, this is the world vision the Bush camp would have us ascribe to; a series of wars to “reorganize” the Middle East “mess” removing obvious tyrants like Hussein, Mullah Omar, and the fundamentalist Imams of Iran, eventually replacing them with less troublesome, more pro-Western administrations like those in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. A less militant more equitable Middle East, it is hoped, will stem the tide of fundamentalist fervor in the rest of the Islamic world that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific across north Africa, the Middle East to the Far East.

It’s a comforting vision, but a highly suspect one, especially by those who don’t care to see their governments and economies, much less their cultures and religions, come under the domination of the West in general, and America, in particular.

It is also a fundamentally presumptuous vision founded on a deeply-seeded, uncritical belief in the moral and cultural superiority of the West. It is the belief that the way the West views the very most basic questions of life is the correct way, that Christian and Cartesian philosophy constitute the truth. We in the West accept this perspective because we grew up in it, we’ve seen its successes, equating stability, prosperity and military might with right.

In contrast, we see the destitution and disease that afflicts far flung places like Somalia and Afghanistan and Indonesia as the fault of a flawed philosophical foundation rooted in out-dated religious precepts, when in fact, these regions turned to fundamentalism in response to corrupt and oppressive regimes originally allied with various Western political interests starting with British and French colonialism in the 19th and early 20th centuries and later Soviet and American forms of economic colonialism in the second half of the 20th century.

What the neo-conservative hawks of the Bush Administration seek to impose is precisely the same thing that caused the spread of fundamentalism in the Islamic world in the first place. It’s what forced both the British and the French to retreat from Iraq and Syria and Lebanon and Israel and Egypt and the Sudan and Algeria, just to name a few bloody contests most young American and British soldiers, airmen and sailors have never heard of unless their fathers or grandfathers told them about it.

For some inexplicable reason, the neo-cons pushing this flawed vision, believe that a heady cocktail of “Shock and Awe” mixed with promises of democracy and prosperity will somehow change the hearts and minds of a billion Moslems. Yet, they apparently never ask the question in reverse. What if it were the Moslem world that controlled the smart bombs and sought to impose Shariah law on the West?

If the Bush-Cheney-Rumfeld-Perl-Wolfowitz vision of the “New American Century” is fatally flawed, what is the alternative? Can such a diverse and complex world really live in peace and harmony, as the war protestors presumable believe while failing to offer a competing vision?

Yes, it can. It must.

Perhaps the greatest lesson to come out of the anti-war demonstrations of February 15th is the fact that our governments no long speak for us. When the governments of Spain, Italy, Great Britain and America take positions opposed by the majority of their people, can those governments truly be called democratic any longer?

Instead, an increasingly “wired” world tied together by the Internet, faxes, telephones and satellite communications is forming a new universal consensus that spans traditional and highly artificial territorial boundaries. It is a consensus driven by a innate sense of fairness and compassion that no longer buys political demonization, nationalistic polarizations and government propaganda.

We now know about the lies that were used to trick Saudi Arabia into permitting Western troops inside its borders, further inflaming the hatred of the likes of Osama bin Laden. We know about Kuwaiti slant drilling, the lies about Kuwaiti babies, the lingering impact of depleted uranium weapons, the intransigent attitude of Western governments on the question of Gulf War illness.

This newly “wired” world finally appears ready to turn its back on war-making as a perverse instrument of global peace. Granted, marching down First Avenue in New York or Rome or Sydney won’t ease the plight of the millions of people in Iraq who try to live ordinary lives under a Stalinist regime. But neither will the continued imposition of sanctions, no-fly zones or the Pentagon’s “Shock and Awe” assaults with 800 cruise missiles and Allah-only-knows how many “smart” but indiscriminate, amoral bombs, artillery shells, DU tank rounds, land mines, bullets and grenades.

It is estimated another 500,000 people will die if war is launched, add to this the 1.5 million dead — one third of them children under the age of five — as a result of the first Gulf War and twelve years of sanctions. With 50% of the population of Iraq under the age of 15, we are about to go to war against a nation of children. And this is to say nothing of the new flood of veterans returning from the war with Gulf War illness.

Some will argue that Saddam was a cancer that had to be excised before he could acquire and give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. But Saddam was only one tumor in a body politic riddled with many cancerous tumors and some will argue that he was not the most urgent cancerous mass that needed to be addressed. Besides, who’s to say that radical lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy is what the patient needs?

Maybe we were just treating the symptom. Maybe this was the time for world to begin to take a serious look at alternative “medicines” that treat the causes of the ills besetting our Mother Earth.

Do I have all the answers? Of course not. Do I think we can come up with alternatives to that tired old excuse of violence, destruction and death we call war? Yes. One way manifested itself February 15, 2003.

It starts with a different vision of the world we want to live in and hand down to our children, all of us, Iraqi, Chinese, Brazilian, Nigerian, American, Russian, Indian. This would be a world not of American cultural, military, economic hegemony, but of cultural diversity and respect where education and clean water and economic opportunity are rights enjoyed by everyone, not just a privileged few. It would be a world where extremism is a curiosity not a last ditch refuge from poverty, corruption, fear and oppression.


Just 45 days after the September 11 attacks, with virtually no debate, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act. There are significant flaws in the Patriot Act, flaws that threaten your fundamental freedoms by giving the government the power to access to your medical records, tax records, information about the books you buy or borrow without probable cause, and the power to break into your home and conduct secret searches without telling you for weeks, months, or indefinitely.

Some of these flawed provisions are set to expire at the end of the year. But President Bush wants to make them permanent, and the House and Senate have been holding hearings in preparation for votes that are expected in June and July.

Learn more about the flawed provisions in this legislation using the resources below. Find out how you can get involved, and help urge Congress to bring the Patriot Act in line with the Constitution.   

How the Anti-Terrorism Bill Allows for Detention of People Engaging in Innocent Associational Activity

October 23, 2001

The final version of the anti-terrorism legislation, the Uniting and Strengthening America By Providing Appropriate Tools Required To Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (H.R. 3162, the “USA PATRIOT Act”) permits detention and deportation of non-citizens who provide assistance for lawful activities of a group the government claims is a terrorist organization, even if the group has never been designated as a terrorist organization. 

The Secretary of State can designate groups either under existing section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or under a new provision created by section 411 of the USA PATRIOT Act. While existing INA section 219 permits designation of foreign groups with various procedural safeguards, Section 411 of the USA PATRIOT Act adds a new provision to INA section 212(a)(3)(B) that permits designation foreign and domestic groups, without those procedural safeguards. Under this new power, the Secretary of State could designate any group that has ever engaged in violent activity a “terrorist organization” – whether it be Operation Rescue, Greenpeace, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The designation would render the group’s non-citizen members inadmissible to the United States, and would make payment of membership dues a deportable offense. Under the bill, people can be deported regardless of whether they knew of the designation and regardless of whether their assistance had anything to do with the group’s alleged terrorist activity.

The USA PATRIOT Act also allows for detention and deportation of individuals who provide lawful assistance to groups that are not designated as terrorist organizations. It then requires the immigrant to prove a negative: that he did not know, and should not have known, that his assistance would further terrorist activity. Section 411, amending INA sections 212(a)(3)(B).  

The USA PATRIOT Act creates a very serious risk that truly innocent individuals could be deported for truly innocent association with political groups that the government later chooses to regard as terrorist organizations. There would be no notice.

The danger of putting the burden of proof on the immigrant, as the USA PATRIOT Act does, is greatly exacerbated by overboard terrorism definitions. The USA PATRIOT Act amends the definition of terrorist activity so that it now covers use of a “weapon or other dangerous device . . . to cause substantial damage to property,” even if such damage created no danger of injury. INA section 212(a)(3)(B) (ii)(V), as amended by USA PATRIOT Act section 411. Under the definition, groups such as World Trade Organization protestors who engage in minor vandalism, abortion foes who engage in civil disobedience, or protestors at Vieques, Puerto Rico who damage a fence, would be deemed terrorist organizations. Likewise, purely humanitarian assistance to the Northern Alliance, foes of the Taliban and foes of Osama bin Laden, could be assistance to a terrorist organization.

Guilt by association is generally forbidden under the First Amendment and the history of McCarthyism shows the very real dangers of abuse. NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886 (1982) (leaders of NAACP cannot be held liable for violent acts engaged in during course of NAACP-led boycott absent evidence that leaders specifically intended the violence); United States v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967) (federal government cannot deny security clearance for work in national defense facility on basis of membership in Communist Party, absent evidence that individual specifically intended to further the Party’s illegal ends); Aptheker v. Secretary of State, 378 U.S. 500 (1964) (members of Communist Party cannot be denied passports absent evidence of specific intent to further Party’s illegal ends).  

At the very least, if association with a group is to be a deportable offense, the government should notify non-citizens of which groups to avoid. Notice cannot be assumed because of the extraordinary variety of groups that could be labeled terrorist organizations under the definition of terrorism in the bill.  

Because of these problems, the defense allowed in the USA PATRIOT Act, requiring the immigrant to show he did not know, and reasonably should not have known, that his lawful assistance to a group not designated as a terrorist organization would nevertheless further “terrorist activity,” puts an unreasonable burden on the immigrant and would certainly lead to unjust detention and deportation.

The Justice Department argues that it can be trusted to exercise its prosecutorial discretion wisely. It says it would detain and deport those who materially support groups that common sense dictates are terrorist groups. Similar claims were made about the RICO statute, adopted to fight organized crime, but which has been used in recent years against abortion opponents, the Clinton Administration and the Republican political organizations. That history shows that discretion is not a reliable solution when a statute, read literally, permits innocent associations to be made unlawful in circumstances that Congress did not intend to reach.  

Finally, section 411 of the USA PATRIOT Act punishes speech protected by the First Amendment, even of lawful permanent residents, resurrecting the discredited McCarren-Walter Act, adopted at the height of McCarthyism, which barred non-citizens from this country on the basis of their advocacy of Communism. The USA PATRIOT Act permits immigrants to be found “inadmissible” for advocacy that the Secretary of State determines undermines our anti-terrorism efforts. Section 411, amending INA section 212(a)(3)(B). The advocacy does not have to meet the test adopted by the Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 449 (1969) (advocacy can be banned only if it represents “incitement to imminent lawless action”). Under this section, a lawful permanent resident who makes a controversial speech could potentially be barred from returning to his family after taking a trip abroad. 


Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)

Patriot Raid

By Jason Halperin, AlterNet Posted April 29, 2003

A month ago I experienced a very small taste of what hundreds of South Asian immigrants and U.S. citizens of South Asian descent have gone through since 9/11, and what thousands of others have come to fear. I was held, against my will and without warrant or cause, under the USA PATRIOT Act. While I understand the need for some measure of security and precaution in times such as these, the manner in which this detention and interrogation took place raises serious questions about police tactics and the safeguarding of civil liberties in times of war.

That night, March 20th, my roommate Asher and I were on our way to see the Broadway show “Rent.” We had an hour to spare before curtain time so we stopped into an Indian restaurant just off of Times Square in the heart of midtown. I have omitted the name of the restaurant so as not to subject the owners to any further harassment or humiliation.

We helped ourselves to the buffet and then sat down to begin eating our dinner. I was just about to tell Asher how I’d eaten there before and how delicious the vegetable curry was, but I never got a chance. All of a sudden, there was a terrible commotion and five NYPD in bulletproof vests stormed down the stairs. They had their guns drawn and were pointing them indiscriminately at the restaurant staff and at us.

“Go to the back, go to the back of the restaurant,” they yelled.

I hesitated, lost in my own panic.

“Did you not hear me, go to the back and sit down,” they demanded.

I complied and looked around at the other patrons. There were eight men including the waiter, all of South Asian descent and ranging in age from late-teens to senior citizen. One of the policemen pointed his gun point-blank in the face of the waiter and shouted: “Is there anyone else in the restaurant?” The waiter, terrified, gestured to the kitchen.

The police placed their fingers on the triggers of their guns and kicked open the kitchen doors. Shouts emanated from the kitchen and a few seconds later five Hispanic men were made to crawl out on their hands and knees, guns pointed at them.

After patting us all down, the five officers seated us at two tables. As they continued to kick open doors to closets and bathrooms with their fingers glued to their triggers, no less than ten officers in suits emerged from the stairwell. Most of them sat in the back of the restaurant typing on their laptop computers. Two of them walked over to our table and identified themselves as officers of the INS and Homeland Security Department.

I explained that we were just eating dinner and asked why we were being held. We were told by the INS agent that we would be released once they had confirmation that we had no outstanding warrants and our immigration status was OK’d.

In pre-9/11 America, the legality of this would have been questionable. After all, the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”

“You have no right to hold us,” Asher insisted.

“Yes, we have every right,” responded one of the agents. “You are being held under the Patriot Act following suspicion under an internal Homeland Security investigation.”

The USA PATRIOT Act was passed into law on October 26, 2001 in order to facilitate the post 9/11 crackdown on terrorism (the name is actually an acronym: “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act.”) Like most Americans, I did not recognize the extent to which this bill forgoes our civil liberties. Among the unprecedented rights it grants to the federal government are the right to wiretap without warrant, and the right to detain without warrant. As I quickly discovered, the right to an attorney has been seemingly fudged as well.

When I asked to speak to a lawyer, the INS official informed me that I do have the right to a lawyer but I would have to be brought down to the station and await security clearance before being granted one. When I asked how long that would take, he replied with a coy smile: “Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe a month.”

We insisted that we had every right to leave and were going to do so. One of the policemen walked over with his hand on his gun and taunted: “Go ahead and leave, just go ahead.”

We remained seated. Our IDs were taken, and brought to the officers with laptops. I was questioned over the fact that my license was out of state, and asked if I had “something to hide.” The police continued to hassle the kitchen workers, demanding licenses and dates of birth. One of the kitchen workers was shaking hysterically and kept providing the day’s date, March 20, 2003, over and over.

As I continued to press for legal counsel, a female officer who had been busy typing on her laptop in the front of the restaurant, walked over and put her finger in my face. “We are at war, we are at war and this is for your safety,” she exclaimed. As she walked away from the table, she continued to repeat it to herself: “We are at war, we are at war. How can they not understand this?”

I most certainly understand that we are at war. I also understand that the freedoms afforded to all of us in the Constitution were meant specifically for times like these. Our freedoms were carved out during times of strife by people who were facing brutal injustices, and were intended specifically so that this nation would behave differently in such times. If our freedoms crumble exactly when they are needed most, then they were really never freedoms at all.

After an hour and a half the INS agent walked back over and handed Asher and me our licenses. A policeman took us by the arm and escorted us out of the building. Before stepping out to the street, the INS agent apologized. He explained, in a low voice, that they did not think the two of us were in the restaurant. Several of the other patrons, though of South Asian descent, were in fact U.S. citizens. There were four taxi drivers, two students, one newspaper salesman — unwitting customers, just like Asher and me. I doubt, though, they received any apologies from the INS or the Department of Homeland Security.

Nor have the over 600 people of South Asian descent currently being held without charge by the Federal government. Apparently, this type of treatment is acceptable. One of the taxi drivers, a U.S. citizen, spoke to me during the interrogation. “Please stop talking to them,” he urged. “I have been through this before. Please do whatever they say. Please for our sake.”

Three days later I phoned the restaurant to discover what happened. The owner was nervous and embarrassed and obviously did not want to talk about it. But I managed to ascertain that the whole thing had been one giant mistake. A mistake? Loaded guns pointed in faces, people made to crawl on their hands and knees, police officers clearly exacerbating a tense situation by kicking in doors, taunting, keeping their fingers on the trigger even after the situation was under control. A mistake. And, according to the ACLU a perfectly legal one, thanks to the PATRIOT Act.

The PATRIOT Act is just the first phase of the erosion of the Fourth Amendment. From the Justice Department has emerged a draft of the Domestic Securities Enhancement Act, also known as PATRIOT II. Among other things, this act would allow the Justice Department to detain anyone, anytime, secretly and indefinitely. It would also make it a crime to reveal the identity or even existence of such a detainee.

Every American citizen, whether they support the current war or not, should be alarmed by the speed and facility with which these changes to our fundamental rights are taking place. And all of those who thought that these laws would never affect them, who thought that the PATRIOT Act only applied to the guilty, should heed this story as a wake-up call. Please learn from my experience. We are all vulnerable so speak out and organize; our Fourth Amendment rights depend upon it.

 That was then, This is now…

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