A Day in the Life of a Free Country

excerpted from the book

Rogue State

A Guide to the World's Only Superpower

by William Blum

Common Courage Press, 2000


The question is irresistibly upon us.

How do they get away with it?

How does the United States orchestrate economies, subvert democracy, overthrow sovereign nations, torture them, chemicalize them, biologize them, radiate them... often in the full glare of the international media, with the most stunning contradictions between word and deed...without being mercilessly condemned by the world's masses, by anyone with a social conscience, without being shunned like a leper? Without American leaders being brought before international tribunals, charged with crimes against humanity?

It's no mystery about the silence and collusion, if not the adoration, of other governments and their leaders. It takes buying out only a few men with sleek jet fighters or tons of wheat, canceled debts, the World Bank, the IMF; they've been intimidated, threatened, extorted, bribed, had their egos massaged, their nationalism patronized and had membership in the exclusive private clubs of NATO, the World Trade Organization and the European Union dangled before them. Only the occasional oddball Fidel Castro-type does not shy away from being shunned by respectable international high society.

But what keeps the vast majority of humanity, including the countless victims, from rising up in protest, spewing gross scorn and , skepticism, if not bullets?


... Over the years, a number of Third-World leaders, under imminent military and/or political threat by the United States, have made appeals to Washington officials, even to the president in person, under the apparently hopeful belief that it was all a misunderstanding, that America was not really intent upon crushing them and their movements for social change. Amongst others, the Guatemalan foreign minister in 1954, Cheddi Jagan of British Guiana in 1961 and Maurice Bishop of Grenada in 1983 all made their appeals. All were crushed. As recently as 1994, we have the case of the leader of the Zapatista rebels in Mexico, Subcommander Marcos. "Marcos said," it was reported, "he expects the United States to support the Zapatistas once US intelligence agencies are convinced the movement is not influenced by Cubans or Russians." "Finally," Marcos said, "they are going to conclude that this is a Mexican problem, with just and true causes. . . "

With all due respect to the considerable courage of Senor Marcos, one must seriously question his degree of contact with history, reality and gringos. For many years, the United States has been providing the Mexican military with all the training and tools needed to kill Marcos' followers and, most likely, before long, Marcos himself.


And these are the good new days

The Authorities can no longer claim as an excuse for their behavior a threat from anti-Vietnam War radicals or a civil rights movement. The Black Panther Party is history, as is the alleged International Communist Conspiracy. The Central American struggles are over. And J. Edgar Hoover, proving, after all, that he actually had something in common with the rest of humanity, has died.

Yet, from 1991 to 1999, the number of people in US prisons rose by more than 50 percent.

In place of finding a commie under every bed, they now find a drug possessor, user, dealer, shipper or courier. Instead of the Soviet Evil Empire, they now see Rogue Nations out there, Outlaw Nations, Pariah States-enemies need catchy names-with their regiments of terrorists, supporters of terrorists, acquaintances of terrorists, nuclear smugglers, questionable asylum seekers and other anti-American and un-American types. In place of civil rights agitators, the Authority juggernaut now zooms in on youth gangs, immigrants, environmentalists, welfare recipients, prisoners and a host of other folks with a glaring deficit of political power.

What keeps most Americans from being shocked by the shredding of the Bill of Rights is that they have yet to feel the consequences, either personally or through someone close to them. It would appear, however, that they only have to wait...

Index of Website

Home Page