America’s Shame!


America’s Shame

From the Preface to the still unpublished book Prisoners of the Cave

Published by Project HumanbeingsfirstTM. Permission granted to use freely as per copyright notice.

[ March 31, 2007: I wrote this essay as the Preface to "Prisoners of the Cave" during 2003. That was four years ago. What has changed in America since then? With another aggression against another defenseless nation in the offing, I inexplicably find the American peoples still quite absorbed in the pursuits of their "American Dream" and hardly anyone gives a damn! Those handful who do, are entirely neutralized, with the efficacy of their anemic protests exactly ZERO! And I continue to hear the same nonsense as I heard in 2001 and 2002 and 2003 and 2004 and 2005 and 2006, and once again in 2007, from my American friends, colleagues, and from the general mainstream population, about the necessity of lifetime of battle against the "terrorist Islamists" and "evil doers" which is "Not [even] a Clash of Civilizations, It's a Clash between the Civilized World and Barbarians", and the primacy imperative of "preemption" of a Goliath superpower state possessing the largest and widest assortment of the most horrendous weapons of mass destruction against defenseless nations. The roots of the "jihadi terror", taking its toll on the civilians in many nations - so deliberately unleashed by Zbigniew Brzezinski and the CIA with the clarion call of "God is on your side" to "have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war" - is now cleverly forgotten as its rotten fruits are deftly re-harvested for another "imperial mobilization" by purposely sustaining its growth in the very modus operandi employed to presumably fighting it. What is indeed the purpose of this "war on terror"? Who are the real terrorists, the real war mongers, the monumental criminals from whom "all the evil that follow[ed]"? Is it the "populist democracy" in the lone superpower nation who cleverly enable their elected leaders to commit monumental crimes through their uncourageous acceptance of barbarism upon defenseless nations that they watch on their television screens, never mind that they prefer to not read the multiple "American Mein Kampfs" existing among them? Or is it only their testosterone laden "legally conspired" leadership who abuse their authority in the name of the peoples because "hegemony is as old as mankind" and "radical Islam, sometimes called Islamaism" works really well as the quintessential "doctrinal motivation" du jour for "imperial mobilization"? Can the hectoring hegemons be checkmated on the Grand Chessboard by ordinary peoples? If not that fear, why would the fiction of "war on terrorism" be even erected? It is to that fear of the hectoring hegemons that this plebeian book and its preface spoke to four years ago which no publisher deemed worthy enough to print. It's relevance today four years later? You be the judge.]
Zahir Ebrahim's first book which deconstructed the War on Terror as Imperial Mobilization: Prisoners of the Cave 2003, 7th Anniversary Web Edition 2010

One fine afternoon, as the bombing of Iraq was about to be launched, I suddenly found myself in the periscopic cross-hairs of the FBI and Homeland Security agencies under the USA Patriot Acts just because I am a “Muslim” living in America. While complaining to my attorney about this unwarranted and offensive intrusion into the bliss and sanity of my idyllic life without any just cause, and without even being truthfully informed what it was all about, he suggested that I go public if it was upsetting me so much, as it might bring awareness to the offensive Patriot Acts that enabled this harassment. The idea of going public took instant root as a means of ordinary civilians peacefully fighting back in the same intellectual space that had seeded the world's harassment at the hands of the hectoring hegemons in the first place. However, instead of talking to reporters which is what my attorney had suggested, I sat down to write despite never having written (for public) before.
And with some trepidation - as I don't really relish the thought of being hauled off to jail for using my “inalienable” rights of free speech as a further test case of the USA Patriot Acts - and in order to fight back the tyranny of my own conscience, I now break my uncourageous silence to no longer be among those deserving the curse of posterity, of having known, and complicitly remained silent.
I will state at the outset that this humble and rather plebeian maiden book presents mainly a critical and dissenting perspective. It does not provide the opposing viewpoint of its antagonists other than in their own words to make my case. The antagonists generally speak quite vocally for themselves; they own the media and the propaganda machinery and already reach almost 100% of the American homes with their mantra of “war on terrorism”. Their views are propagated throughout the planet as news and unquestioned statements of fact. In order to be fair to their perspective, I decided to not speak for them as their official viewpoints are already known to everyone and easily accessible to anyone (e.g. for an eloquent and scholarly précis of their perspectives see the book with the insulting title “Crisis of Islam – Holy War and Unholy Terror”). It is their deception game that I have tried to unravel here. In that sense, I feel my book is well balanced as it shows the American public the contrarian and analytical view that is generally not available to them in the mainstream news media. Furthermore, before I am accused of holding extreme positions, I will admit that I am prepared to accept any evidence to the contrary, and prepared to give it “as much weight as the evidence warrants”, in order to derive logical conclusions whatever they might be. I am prepared to “admit the ordinary beliefs of common sense” when making any empirical observation or evaluating any proposition. I have used these tools in deriving the thesis of this book, the same tools that an American jury is instructed to employ in order to reach any fair decision.
On these grounds, I feel further justified in claiming that my book is well balanced. Finally, a balance in perspective is impossible when one has to take sides – in this case the side of whatever the truth is. It is only for the politicians and the diplomats to stay neutral in front of a moving train or double speak their way out of it. I do not proclaim to maintain a balance between truth and falsehood. Hence I also stake claim to prejudice – extreme prejudice towards the altar at which truth burns. Michael Moore calls this Fahrenheit 911 – the temperature at which truth spontaneously ignites!
I will also admit at the outset that I employ the definition of “Terrorism” provided by St. Augustine when he described the supposed interlocution of a pirate by the world conquering emperor Alexander:
When the King asked him what he meant by infesting the sea, the pirate defiantly replied: 'the same as you do when you infest the whole world; but because I do it with a little ship I am called a robber, and because you do it with a great fleet, you are an emperor.' ” (“The City of God against the Pagans”, Page 148).
Being a computer scientist at heart and appreciating the importance of identifying and pursuing the “higher order bits” in any problem solving, instead of incompletely understanding the problem and often getting bogged down in the pursuit of distracting issues which turn out not to determine the course of events after all unless and until the “higher order bits” are settled first, I dwell on the more significant of the two crimes in this book: the criminality of the emperor. That is the raison d'être of the book.
I would like to state up front that I have generally enjoyed living in America. The disciplined, organized, and free spirited environment has allowed the educated, and even the uneducated but enterprising and hard working new immigrants, to fare rather well in this country. This spirit of enterprise and unfettered pursuit of the “American Dream” consequently composes the multicultural milieu of cross-pollinating ideas and diversity which today is America's strength - and also her weakness. Before the large scale immigration of German and other European scientists to America in the 1930s, despite her enormous industrial capacity and many incredible inventions, America was not even counted among the leading scientific nations in the world; some suggest it was rather third rate among the developed nations, and lagging far behind Europe and Japan. Yet today, within a span of only a handful of decades, it is that welcome to immigrants and the pursuit of the “American Dream” which makes America dominate the planet – that, and her imperial brutality in imposing her plunderous will on all other weaker nations through the mass deception of her own peoples who remain diligently busy in their private pursuits of their "American Dream" to be bothered about others.
In this book unfortunately, I cannot dwell on the wonderful things about America as the more pressing task of preventing them from being lost through subjugation and domination of the rest of the less fortunate peoples on the planet, is at hand. See the eloquent expression of what many immigrants fleeing from the tyrannies of their own constricting societies in the poorer nations have generally found in America, in the book “What's so Great About America” by the eloquent Indian immigrant, Dinesh D'souza. Little further needs to be added about that topic here.
Why should a mainstream American, my primary audience, want to read my book? To answer this question, I must first show the American reader how they are generally perceived by ordinary people in the world today, especially in the third world nations, where America's political, economic, and military dominance overwhelmingly impacts many aspects of an ordinary persons life in unexpected and often negative ways. This negative impact can in places span the entire gamut from neoliberalism to neoconservatism, the two sides of the new imperial coin du jour that deftly harvests the Global South of its assets and resources in the service of the denizens of the Global North. The ring leader of this enterprise, as well as the de facto policeman of course, the judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one, is the Goliath du jour. As Thomas Friedman aptly put it:
'The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist -- McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Good ideas and technologies need a strong power that promotes those ideas by example and protects those ideas by winning on the battlefield,says the foreign policy historian Robert Kagan. If a lesser power were promoting our ideas and technologies, they would not have the global currency that they have. And when a strong power, the Soviet Union, promoted its bad ideas, they had a lot of currency for more than half a century.' (Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, March 28, 1999)
What the Americans are usually told by the “institutional and ruling elite” in many of these nations, and seconded by many American opinion writers and scholars opposed to oppressive American Foreign Policies of hoisting clandestine client-states on the third world, is that while many in the local populace may hate the American government for her oppressive polices and support of dictatorships, they don't hate the American people. This however is not a complete description. Let me provide a more complete picture as I see it.
How the majority in the world view the American People
Having lived in America for most of my adult life, I have discovered the general American public, from the college educated to the blue collar, to be the most trusting of their own government, the least cynical about what they see and hear on their televisions which more or less is exclusively their main source of news and world views, and most uninformed about the reality of the world outside their own minuscule microcosm. Far more so, than the general public living in other nations.
Many of these people outside America, especially in the poorer nations of the planet that constitute 3/4 to 4/5 of all humanity, perceive the American nation not too dissimilarly. They also generally tend to believe however, that the general American public is also very selfish and self-serving, purposely prefers to live with its eyes shut to the world, and knowingly turns a blind eye to what its ruling elite does in the world in its name! That the daily grind of industriousness the American people have been snared in by their search for the “American Dream”, leaves them little time or inclination to reflect about the rest of the world. That they really only care about their SUVs, their Wall Street, their taxes, and their fun weekends, and purposely don't want to think too deeply about the ultimate source of their continued prosperity and “good life” in America. That an average American is wasteful and spoiled, and consumes orders of magnitude more “goods” than an average person in the poorer nations, and generates orders of magnitude more “trash”, often sending it for disposal to the poorer nations. They believe that most people in America generally hog more than their fair share of the world's limited resources just because they happen to reside in an empire that is all too willing to get it for them. That (the fact that) their government is striving to harvest the world of all its resources, by hook or by crook, the main thrust of their “American Foreign Policy” and “American Interests Abroad”, is in their own best interests so that they may continue their “American Dream”. A “Dream” that relies very heavily on the American economy doing well, and the price and availability of oil - their lifeline. They believe that this egregious attempt at reshaping of the Middle East by the neo-con Bush administration, is just one more link in the long successive chain of American Foreign Policy initiatives for securing their lifelines and hegemony. That as far as the peoples of the poor nations of the South are concerned, there is hardly any difference to their lives between the George Kennan seeded “Truman Doctrine” that held the world hostage in a superpower Cold War for forty years which saw many poor nations decimated in Proxy warfare and as client-states, and the neo-con seeded “Bush Doctrine” that promises to hold the world hostage for another forty years through direct warfare and more client-states. That this “right” to secure their lifelines in the world is unquestioningly accepted as axiomatic by the general public, as a god given right of America to perpetuate her dominance upon the rest of the world. That the American public consequently perceives their own lives to be so much more valuable than any one else's, that this “superiority” justifies to their mind any act of barbarism upon others in order to protect their own. That they go along with any pretext that “helps protect American lives” or “helps secure their lifelines”, cost to anyone else is usually not a consideration, or at best thought and stated to be: we think the price is worth it
So why should the American public want to put an end to all this luxury by trying to interfere with those who enable it, the people outside America bearing the brunt of America's largess exclaim? It is utmost naiveté to expect the American people to deny themselves this cultivated feeling of “superiority” over the rest of the planet - by treating their own lives as of equal value and sanctity as everyone else's, their own freedoms as equal to everyone else's, and their own desire for living the “good life” as of equal importance as others having the same aspirations. When is a well-fed public ever bothered about being just? Isn't it only the have-nots who clamor for it, and then variously labeled as “terrorists” and “evil-doers” for pursuing it?
Should the American public ask these “crazed” denizens in the outer humanity for any empirical evidence for their “strange” perception of the American people, the world would point to the collective gusto with which the American nation accepted the preemptive “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq under the pretext of protecting themselves preemptively from “weapons of mass destruction” possessed by crazed “evil doers”. That what is otherwise known as unprovoked aggression, became euphemistically and easily accepted as “preemptive self-defense” by them. That the American public will agree to anything in the name of “saving American lives”, including dropping nuclear bombs on civilians, as they didn't seem to rise up in protest either when the White House's “National Security Council Strategy” and “Nuclear Posture Review” was revealed. The world believes that the notion that Americans are somehow “superior” and command a “higher” prerogative is so ingrained in the American public's psyche that it frames all their public discourse and their morality. So the immorality of killing other (“lesser”) innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq under the delusional notion of “preemptive self-defense”, is only dismissed as a justifiable “collateral damage” by the American government, and accepted as such by the American nation without question. That there is little public outrage even when children in wedding parties are reported killed in American newspapers, and Bush rises in his ratings every time Rumsfeld comes on television and says that the war is going well.
It is almost guaranteed that if an ordinary American strolled through the streets of a developing nation, and chatted up at a food stall in the local language that he was fortunate enough to speak like a native, and didn't look, act, and sound like a tourist, but appeared as one of the natives just shooting the breeze, he would hear concerned people talking: If ever the bombed out victims of America's “war on terrorism” start fighting back, and are even a wee bit effective in generating American body bags that get seen on American television, that President Bush will suddenly plummet in the ratings. More and more people will start filling the streets of America to bring their sons and daughters home, as happened in the Vietnam War. Only because American deaths are more intolerable to the American public than the deaths of others. This is why the Americans really withdrew from Vietnam – not because they felt remorse at the unjust invasion and destruction of another people by an out of control administration in Washington, but mainly because the American public saw that it cost them too many of their own precious lives when the Vietcong bravely fought back in self defense. And the only reason the Americans eventually dethroned their President was because he was caught lying about some other inane matter in comparison – not for waging a horrific genocide with napalms and other cocktails of death!
The largely cynical people of the world further point as evidence for this view, the fact that the American retrenchment from Vietnam did not elicit profound national apologies and public cries for restitution and compensation to the Vietnamese Victims, nor for any calls for war crime charges to be brought against Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. Instead, asphyxiating economic sanctions were slapped on the impoverished Vietnamese for two decades after their land had been decimated by napalms in the quest for some “containment ideology” of imperial thinkers! That there is no solemn “Vietnam Remembrance or My Lai Massacre Day” commemorated in America; and the ones solemnly remembered, are their own “heroes”, who “following orders” of the White House, only brought death and destruction to another courageous people who dared to fight back in self-defense on their own soil. Even now, when decades later the Americans speak of reconciliation, there is no talk of rebuilding Vietnam at the expense of American tax payers' monies in compensation, there is no Marshall Plan. And neither is there one for Laos, the most secretly and brutally bombed country on the planet to this day. There is no public remorse, or attempt to compensate the Laotians living in daily misery even today, the forgotten humanity. Their country is littered with unexploded American bombs. Their children are living in squalor, and playing around American rocket skeletons and with empty American bullet shells, just as American children play with their safe and fancy plastic play-yards. While tourists visiting other countries look for indigent handicrafts as travel mementos, tourists to Laos mainly find jewelry made from empty American bullet shells. The cynical people of the world further point out that the orchestrator of these heinous crimes on humanity, Dr. Henry Kissinger, still limps along in the corridors of Power in America, and was even appointed to initially head the 9-11 inquiry.
One also often hears the following clichés almost everywhere, from University Professor to ordinary taxi driver, in various flavors depending on the sophistication of the despondent and their willingness to open up to you: All these terrorism labels they apply on whosoever opposes them is a joke and the American public knows it. When Osama was fighting the oppression of the Soviets, he and his mujahideen were the “moral equivalent of our founding fathers” according to the previous American President Reagan. But now that Osama is fighting American oppression, this President of America calls him a “terrorist” and an “evil doer”, while at the same time he calls Ariel Sharon, who systematically mows down Palestinian homes and families in a genocide that the Americans refuse to recognize because the Jews run America, “a man of peace”, and feels pride in shaking hands with him. And people of America wear T-shirts showing Osama as the target, but don't do anything about Ariel Sharon because he is favored by their President. They even took the word of their President that Osama did 9-11, without demanding any evidence or conducting an investigation of the events that how comes America's air defenses magically happened to be inoperative that day, and immediately, in the next month, launched their holocaust of Afghanistan. This label of “terrorist” is just a label of convenience, and it can change overnight. Like throwing all that tea overboard and ambushing the enemy from behind bushes and trees disguised in the enemies own uniforms, and later being called fathers of the nation, or even blowing up King David Hotel killing scores of people, and later being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as the Prime Minister. Or like Nelson Mandela, forced to sit out 27 years in jail, and later only to be acknowledged as the most distinguished world Statesman, and elected first President of non-apartheid South Africa, which his sitting in jail and being labeled as “terrorist”, was instrumental in creating.
The ordinary denizen of the world further laments that this has been the hypocrisy from time immemorial of all emperors and their faithful subjects, and there is no point in even fretting about it. If it is successful, it is a “revolution”, otherwise it is “terrorism”. The American public knows this “labeling technology” all too well, they aren't that stupid – they can put a man on the moon and unravel the mysteries of life, and now you are telling me they can't see the elongating noses in front of their faces? They will accept any hypocrisy when it serves them as they continue to “United We Stand” behind their murderous President. Wonder how they go to sleep at night after watching or hearing that their soldiers dropped Depleted Uranium tipped bombs on wedding parties and decimated innocent children? Aren't these children as precious as their own children? Their own children would get solemn burials and eulogies broadcast to the planet, but these innocent Muslim children are only dumped in mass graves if their bodies are even found, like burying dead cattle! You are telling me I should not be angry with the American people, that it's only their government doing these things? They are a democracy and they support their government. If they wanted to, they could have thrown Bush out in no time. On the other hand we have no choice, we live in dictatorships and kingdoms actively supported by the Americans, and if we even open our mouths to protest our own government's excesses in the service of their masters in Washington, our intelligence agencies will make us disappear - “You go to bed at night not knowing where you will get up in the morning.” But the American people can do something. And yet why don't they? Instead, they salute “United We Stand”, and Bush jumps in a popularity point each time it is announced that the “war is going well”.
And finally, if I was to tell the people of the developing world about my book that makes an appeal to the mainstream American public to rein in their government and bring them to justice, my friends and well wishers in these countries will inform me with much incredulity to not waste my time and jeopardize my safety and good life in America (as they indeed did), that few people in America would be interested in knowing the obvious. As a friend of mine succinctly put it: “it's like a Mafia family's 'innocent' members, not directly involved in the racket but enjoying the wealth generated from it, turning a blind eye to what the elders in the house do for a living to make all their wealth – with a wink and a self-serving nod, looking the other way.
This is how, in my view, many around the world largely view the American people. Not a very flattering view is it? Whether the American public will think this view true or not is besides the point, because the outside world will act and react based on what they perceive as the reality about America, not what the Americans like to think of themselves. A critical self examination in this light can go a long ways in understanding “why they hate us”, and hence do something about it. And no, bombing them into “loving us” is not the solution, anymore than is bombing democracy onto them – if indeed democracy is what is being rained on defenseless civilians, and not a re-colonization with a more modern name: client-state. However, this is still not the complete picture. Let me add to it just a bit more.
How the majority in the world perceive America – the land of the free
There is also much ambivalence among people not directly in the path of American cluster bombs and Daisy Cutters, exploring of which can fill volumes. In a nutshell, the “have-nots” also want to become the “haves” like the Americans. Most dream of coming to America in search of the wonderful domestic “American Dream” that the entire planet has been shown on their televisions – the song “they come to America” captures this sentiment well. One might be surprised to learn that even the dispossessed, who might take up arms to fight American imperialism in the poverty stricken world because of the economic circumstances of their lives, joblessness, lack of education, coaxed on by various and sundry rabble rousers to take on the arch nemesis of all mankind responsible for their miserable situation in life, may also have applied for the American “visa lottery”! One way or another, people find ways to get out of the shackles of oppression – beat 'em or join 'em, which ever happens first! Something that the Neocon planners fail to appreciate as they embark on their ambitious plan for world conquest – that tyranny cannot endure forever. Perhaps America can settle all the dispossessed humanity on its vast shores! That's certainly one way to take the thunder out of a significant number of “evil doers”. This however used to be true before the present climate of oppression and the headlong rush towards police state came into vogue in America. This country used to be a haven for immigrants before. And once here, as immigrants pursuing the “good life” and enjoying the new found freedoms, many tended to become like their formerly envied “conspicuously consumptive” foe, even in their very first generation.
America appears quite different from the “inside”, than from the “outside”. Her behavior towards her own domestic population (before the emergence of the police state atmosphere), is different from her exploitative and plunderous behavior towards the denizens outside her shores, especially those in the third world where America creates mixed emotions: anger at her exploitation of them, and desire for the freedoms and promise of the “good life” that it offers those able to reach its shores. This has generally also been true in history: most empires have always remained tyrannical outside their outer frontiers where “barbarians” were known to reside, while freedoms, culture, and the “good life” flourished in their inner sanctums of power. High walls and military guards at the periphery would protect the dominions and harvest the “barbarians” of their wealth and resources because these were the “lesser” people, probably not even human beings. It was taken for granted that it was okay to rape, pillage, and plunder them to support the good life within the empire. And it appears that at the dawn of the twenty-first century, with the march of civilizations towards liberation, progress, sophistication, and a global “shrinking village”, the modern empires still do not seem to have evolved any sense of justice and fair play towards those at the perpetual outer periphery, the borders where empires, nations, and civilizations meet, necessitating even higher walls, more border patrols, and self-serving doctrines of “clash of civilizations”.
Those residing within the American empire rarely get to glimpse this dual reality on the outer periphery, even if they travel a lot. Most Americans travel either on business or for tourism, and unless they are visiting friends and family, they tend to stay in fancy hotels; interact mostly with the business and other institutional ruling elite minority (comprising less than 2% of the population) whose views generally tend to favor their own privileged class, and who also tend to largely benefit from American policies; and at best stroll through native areas as tourists in search of trinklets, where both view each other with their own stereotypical lenses. Only the few that actually stay with the local mainstream people, who comprise the remaining 98% of the nation in almost every developing country, make friends with them, and earn their trust enough to have heart to heart exchanges over social affairs like marriages and death ceremonies, get to understand what is an everyday hell for the majority of the planet – and what is largely the real cause of it. I have met many an American in America, who have completely transformed their view of their country after having lived for some time in S. America, Asia or Africa.
Indeed, the contrast between the “inside” and “outside” views of America used to be far pronounced, and even looked like antipodes when I initially came to America a quarter century ago. But now with this new found love of xenophobia, the new penchant for a surveillance society to keep the Americans safe from “evil doers”, and the imposition of the oppressive USA Patriot Act -1 (with Patriot Act-2 already circulated in Congress though not yet introduced as a Bill), the America of today appears distinctly unfriendly and inhospitable to immigrants. It is becoming a burgeoning police state not too dissimilar from other dictatorships and police states in the rest of the world – except just more high-tech and more sophisticated: give people as many choices for TV channels, underwear, and shopping malls, but none to speak their mind on any subject that conflicts with the state's view of it. No dissent allowed. United we stand.
If one were to ask the proverbial frog in water being slowly heated to a boil, whether it is in any danger, the frog would invariably respond that no it is quite comfortable lazily floating along – until it slowly becomes comatose and croaks in the boiling water, never even realizing that precious life was being squeezed out of it all this time. And if the water temperature is maintained just where the frog can continue to float, and eat when a prey falls into its mouth, but not have the energy to hop, it would soon forget how to hop at all. Its offspring would even loose the capability in a few short generations. Whereas a frog from another region falling into a boiling water would immediately jump to safety – and perhaps post a sign there, if it was a conscionable frog, saying: “beware - boiling water”!
Motivation for this book and the reason for this title “Prisoners of the Cave”
The value of my book derives from the fact that as a Muslim from a third world country living in America for more than a quarter century, who came here mainly seeking education and ended up entrapped in the pursuit of the abundant “good life”, I bring a unique perspective. I understand both kind of mentalities rather well, and I also keenly perceive the oppressive changes occurring within America because the Muslims are the first to bear the brunt of them.
I don't believe that the majority of the American public, which the outside world perceives as self-serving for their self-indulgent pursuits of the “American Dream”, are quite like that. I don't believe that they are out to get the world, nor do I believe that they “knowingly” turn a blind eye to the machinations of their government, unlike how most of the world's populations might perceive them.
I believe that the American public is genuinely deceived, incredibly indoctrinated, and purposely and systematically kept ignorant. And that their condition of “ignorance” is the outcome of their institutional ruling elite finding this to be the most efficient way to conduct the “imperial” business of the state, because otherwise, “democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization”. These are the main assumptions in my book. I guess if you don't agree with them, then you are only left with the first alternative, that the American public is indeed incredibly self-serving, and consequently morally guilty of war crimes against humanity for their role in knowingly aiding and abetting their government in this fictitious “war on terrorism”. Take your pick.
I believe that the invention of “war on terrorism” was largely for the benefit of the American public in order to gain their support - to provide a pretext to launch this overt attempt to remake the “New World Order” while America was still the unrivaled superpower. 9-11 gave them that launch pad. With both Russia and China too busy internally to interfere, with India China and the Pacific Rim nations rapidly developing and industrializing, with the countries of Europe finally uniting after fighting for centuries, and with the global ground reserves of oil rapidly diminishing, the American imperial planners foresaw having a margin of 30 to 50 years before the rest of the world caught on to America's industrial and military supremacy. Then it would be back to détente. If America could acquire monopolistic control over this black gold, and politically control critical regions of the planet, it would wield the upper hand and control the destinies of all potential rivals to America's supremacy on the planet.
This also forms the motivation for this book to address the American public. If I was to only express my dissent, I would have directly addressed it to the American President and his Cabinet, the Israeli Prime Minister and his Cabinet, the secular Zionist-Neocon planners and all their religious collaborators in one sentence: “You are despicable war criminals and I publicly call for your indictments for war crimes against humanity in an open public trial conducted by the victims, as the one held for Eichmann in Jerusalem.” It would however have been a rather pointless venting and dissipation of perfectly legitimate anger. By addressing it to their biggest fears instead, the American public, from whom they derive all their powers, and over whom they exercise all their demagoguery, it may prove to be a bit more efficacious.
Being familiar with their courageous history of struggles for social justice – the “People's history of the United States” - I am motivated to address my plea to the American public because I feel they would do something about this fictitious “war on terrorism” if only they knew. For instance, I find it rather difficult to imagine that if my good friend and neighbor, an ordinary mainstream white conservative American retired high school teacher, ever finds out about the Machiavellian deception game that he is being put through in his hours of daily American television watching, that he will continue with his life as if he did not know. Albeit he did caution me against going public many times: “if you enter a pig pen to wrestle, win lose, or draw, you come out smelling like one”, he never quite believed much of what I informed him was really up with this “war on terrorism”. He was often incredulous that their government would ever do such a thing! Always the one with quick proverbs, “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck” was his response on why Muslims were being profiled, harassed, and labeled as “terrorists” in America – because the hijackers were Muslims. Who identified them as such, and how were they identified (their bodies were never found, 5 of the 19 named dead hijackers were later discovered to be innocent people in the rest of the world quite alive), he never thought to ask. These two anecdotes pretty much sum up my own personal experience over a quarter century of how the majority of general public thinks in America, and because of which I feel why they are incredibly indoctrinated. And that cultivated belief in 'my country can do no wrong' and 'my country right or wrong', is the main battle front for this book.
Plato would argue that such a cultivated state of mass ignorance, can by sheer force of habit, become a new chain around the neck. He wrote in his “Republic” about such ignorance that is fed from birth, and that no illumination can penetrate. While I find Plato's “Simile of the Cave” in “The Republic” quite apropos in describing the plight of the mainstream American society today, I do not believe in his pessimism that this can be a permanent state. I rather choose to believe in what William Shakespeare portrayed as the frailty of human conscience in his famous play “Macbeth”. It is only a matter of getting to it. Even a conscience completely dead can sometimes be revived – as long as one is alive. Some might argue that these are perhaps the few exceptions, like Rachel Corrie – the indomitable American spirit that no murderous Israeli Bulldozer could subdue once realization set in. Even at the expense of the ultimate sacrifice of her life, in the prime of her youth, a mere 23 year old who asked in her final letter to her mother: “let me know if you have any ideas about what I should do with the rest of my life”, she was compelled by an awakened conscience to take her moral and fatal stand for humanity.
I am indeed more optimistic about the power of conscience. I believe that there is a courageous “Rachel Corrie” lurking in every American, regardless of which side of the political divide they fall on, or how indoctrinated they might be about their benevolent munificent role in the world. With an awakened conscience, I do not believe that a significant proportion of American public will choose to remain (willfully) ignorant. I do not believe that they will remain silent bystanders of history. Their outrage during the Vietnam War demonstrated that to the world. It also demonstrated to the Pentagon and the White House, the power of ignorance in creating perfect Prisoners of the Cave. They realized the powerful role of American media in both empowering the people to act, and conversely, possibly enslaving them into inaction. The latter being the only way to win support from the American public for their future adventures in the world – this new “World War IV”, in the making ever since the demise of the Soviet Union left only one superpower standing. This arrogance of absolute power history testifies, has been the prerogative of all the powerful since time immemorial. And Zbigniew Brzezinski argues in his “Grand Chessboard” that it is the first time in history that this has befallen a “populist democracy”. That to have a democracy become an imperial power requires careful machinations, for the American populace is unwilling to become an "empire" or the policeman of the world, and that it's the public's “preference for 'sharing' power with others, rather than for its monopolistic exercise” which makes the American “democracy [is] inimical to imperial mobilization”. But the democracy is indeed willing to fight if it feels threatened, and that is the only way to convince an otherwise peaceful public to wage a war of conquest. Only a “Pearl Harbor” can bring them rallying around the flag, saluting “United We Stand”.
This entire profound “war on terrorism” against the “evil doers” is really only as complex as that! This is precisely why 911 was “allowed” to occur - putting it ever so charitably. The only bogeymen the American public must fear are their own leaders, and the power-brokers who control them.
The real cause for American insecurity and how they can become secure
The ultimate cause of their insecurity and well being is indeed the world wide web of criminal machinations of their successive emperors and the behind the scene policy planners as “American interests abroad” - from the “Truman doctrine” of containment to the “Bush doctrine” of preemption - rather than the oft repeated Machiavellian mantra of “evil doers” out to get us. If these “evil doers” are indeed real, as some might well be, then they are not going to disappear no matter how much you bomb them! Indeed, it is precisely the actions of “evil-doers” like these that also gave birth to the great nation of United States of America. I am certain that the British also viewed the tea being thrown overboard as economic terrorism by the American “evil-doers”. But more than likely, the “evil doers” du jour that the Bush administration talks about, are either entirely fictitious and deliberately manufactured through covert-ops, or purposely created by genuinely provoking them into existence. Because the Neo-con planners talk of “World War IV” lasting a lifetime, how else would they find a steady supply of “evil-doers” to keep fighting for 30 to 50 years?
I believe that their escalated pursuit of “evil-doers” is specifically designed to culminate in a total police state domestically. Why? Because it is otherwise impossible to keep sending the sons and daughters of America overseas to keep on fighting the wars of conquest for a lifetime, and contain the dissent of her conscionable people opposed to it. So long as one is not in opposition to the state, “United One Stands”, one is free to pursue one's “American Dream” as the “patriotic” American. Already there is all the freedom to agree, and far less to disagree. If this “war on terrorism” is taken to its logical conclusion, it will only end up being the epitaph on the tombstone of free America – Here lies freedom to be free.
The Zionists may perhaps want such a police state in their monumentally criminal agenda for Eretz Yisrael – perhaps they also see themselves as ruling the world on the shoulders of the world's largest police state. They already control the Bush White House, the Pentagon, the mighty military-industrial complex as their largest weapons manufacturing contractor, the United States Congress, and the ubiquitous American news media. Many of the Neocons influencing this Bush administration are openly Zionist in their aspirations, or are their ardent admirers and empathizers; diehard supporters of Israel to the extent that despite being American citizens, their policies and influence peddling in the Congressional corridors of power often favor Israeli national interests over American national interests. The evidence for this can easily be found in the record of American vetoes and abstentions of every single condemnation of Israel in the UN Security council by the world; the allocation of billions of US dollars in annual aid to Israel despite its homicidal oppression of the Palestinians, the most recent being the $9 billion in loan/cash guarantees; and the regular homage paid by Congressional leaders to AIPAC and to the Jewish votes for fear of electoral defeat if they go against Israel.
The Zionist influence in the American media through their diabolical alliance with the Evangelical Christian Right, creates a reporting of the Israeli occupation of Palestine so skewed that even new terminology frequently gets invented to sanitize what is a murderous and genocidal military occupation of a defenseless civilian population. The image presented is one of besieged Israelis combating the wanton and mindless terrorism of the uncivilized, less than human, stone throwing and suicide bombing misanthropes, who refuse to quietly disappear across the borders, and who are forcibly living on land granted to the Jews by the almighty Creator Himself who anointed them as the “Chosen People”. Occupied territories have become “disputed territories”, manifestly illegal settlements on stolen lands are “neighborhoods”, and Israeli military's murderous bombing of civilian population centers, regularly targeting children and shooting them to death or maiming them for life, and daily bulldozing of ordinary people's homes, is benignly an “incursion” into the West Bank and Gaza strip.
The compelling evidence for this farcical and prejudicial reporting can be gleaned rather quickly from the statistics compiled by “ifamericansknew”, an organization run by conscionable Jews who condemn the Zionist occupation of Palestine, from reading the letters of the American martyr Rachel Corrie, and from the insightful reporting of Robert Fisk, all available on the internet. These Zionists and their supporters are clearly a very small minority, although they are disproportionally powerful, disproportionally wealthy, and disproportionally cruel!
The Neocons may perhaps want such a police state in their monumentally criminal endeavors for empire – they are the ones who developed the essential elements in the Patriot Acts, which did not magically materialize within a month of 9-11. I have often heard talk of the existence of an ultra secret government within the American government, drawn from all branches of the (unelected) bureaucracy comprising 70 to a 100 individuals, who regularly practice taking over the reins of the government in simulation, and running the nation from underground bunkers – a legacy of the Cold War still being continued. These individuals remain constant across administrations. Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary presently running the Pentagon, a seasoned veteran of the Cold War, is rumored to perhaps be the head of this cabal. These demented kooks bring to mind the scenarios of “Dr. Strangelove”, and the secretive unaccountable activities described in “Body of Secrets” by James Bamford about the inner workings of the NSA. Without another courageous Daniel Ellsberg leaking out a sequel to the Pentagon Papers, one can only speculate what these kooks are up to. Clearly these are only a handful of people, although quite powerful. And they perhaps constantly dream of a police state with someone like George Bush Jr. as the front face: “If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator”.
It is also possible that such a police state is what the extreme fanatic right-wing Christian Evangelical crusaders may want - they apparently seek to hasten the arrival of their lord with a forced Armageddon upon the rest of humanity. After all, the Attorney General of America, John Ashcroft, and President of America, George Bush Jr., both right-wing Evangelical Christians, did eagerly approve the Patriot Acts. It is certainly in their interests for people of America to remain silent bystanders while their ardent supporters bring salvation of Biblical proportions to the lesser peoples: “Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done”. We are clearly seeing this profound “Bushian Justice” being generously disseminated by the plane loads in Iraq and Palestine under the “Bush Doctrine”!
And it is also possible that this is what some of the racist supremacist and other nihilist Neanderthals in America may want – I don't know for sure as I have never met one, but I am told they exist. All of these people are surely also a minority in the American milieu, albeit perhaps a substantial one according to some people.
But is a police state something that the majority of American public wants?
What is your verdict? It cannot possibly be yes!
Therefore, through the humble pages of this book, I invite this segment of the American public, the ones who do not share any ulterior motives with the demagogues leading them, who I believe are only pursuing their “American Dream” with vigor as the “conscionable” back bone of America, to immediately and without further ado, commence the real war on terrorism – by looking for the terrorist and assorted war mongering monumental criminals in their own hallowed institutions of power first. It will bring them true peace and security world wide, and without any loss of freedoms and civil liberties in their own lives.
This is the premise behind my book. That once knowledge will come to the good people, the American public will not choose to remain (willfully) ignorant. It is only a matter of showing them the blood on thine hands that “all the perfumes of Arabia” will not wash off, and for them to accept it – beyond the expected initial denial (see Plato). Once that realization sets in, then all the chains in the world, invisible or not, will not hold them – as they fill the streets of America to take their country back. This is my expectation, my hope, and I fear the only hope for mankind in the short term. The American government must be reined in from visiting further “justice” upon other defenseless nations. There just isn't another choice. Since there are no rivals internationally that can dare impose their will upon the American empire. It is only the conscionable American public who must impose its democratic will upon the American empire.
The only “earthly” power at the moment that can immediately checkmate the “godly” ambitions of the Washington Neocons and their Zionist and Evangelical Christian allies in their nefarious agendas to transform the world for their own corporate, hegemonic, and crusading interests, is the awakened peoples of America.
Their time to act is now, when it is still possible for them to legally protest, when they still retain their constitutional rights, when the Patriot Act 2 has not yet been passed, and when martial law has not yet been imposed. Only they can bring to bear the pressure to which the White House responds. It is only in their consideration that the monopolar superpower in the world today cannot see body bags. Otherwise the Neocon planners would have no problems with body bags – a necessary evil they would argue, just as they argue today that a lifetime of war has now become a necessary evil, their “World War IV”. They certainly couldn't care less for other people's bodies – which don't even get to be put in bags – just thrown about in lorries like dead cattle, or completely decimated at the altar of the Daisy Cutters. These images though conveniently hidden from the American public, are seen world wide. Why keep the American public chained prisoners in the cave of ignorance? Precisely because of the fear of their potential awakening and fighting back to reclaim their People's Democracy. This is also the only way for the Americans to truly become safe from “evil-doers”.
America’s Profound Shame - The collective hypocrisy and responsibility of the American Nation
I wish to finally conclude with a few words on the collective and national hypocrisy of the American public that cannot be so charitably dismissed as indoctrinated and deceived individuals being “Innocent of Knowledge” and captive “Prisoners of the cave”.
The Americans as a nation, seem to have bizarrely frozen in time all crimes against humanity committed by a state, to Nazi Germany. Even as the slaughter of innocent civilians goes on in Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq with impunity, it is only the crime of Holocaust against the Jews that remains persistent in the American public psyche with vows of never to let it happen again to anyone. Elaborate war crime tribunals are created in Nuremberg, Tokyo, and Jerusalem, and various human rights conventions, treaties, and international laws are drawn to safe guard humanity from the future barbarism of mentally deranged war mongering lunatics. “Following orders”, “collective civilian punishment”, and “indifference” are made repugnant, immoral, and even criminal as excuses for war crimes. And the distinguished survivor of the Holocaust, director of the Holocaust museum in Washington DC, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel issues this curse in his memoirs “All Rivers Run to the Sea”: “and I still curse the killers, their accomplices, the indifferent spectators who knew and kept silent.”
As the American nation continues to reflect on the Holocaust victims with memorials and Hollywood films over decades, it silently watches the public spectacles of the Bush government compelling the world to exempt them from America's own yardstick for civilized existence by seeking immunity from prosecution in the world court for war crimes. And the nation dutifully salutes the flag “United We Stand” at the systematic launching of “Shock and Awe” of civilian populations and their civilian infrastructures with millions of tons of Depleted Uranium bombs and frightening munitions. And this after a decade of strangulating economic sanctions which have already resulted in the death and starvation of a million civilians. These new victims however remain ignored and unmourned in the American conscience as the Holocaust is commemorated with even more fervor, and pledges for “never again” staunchly renewed.
What is going on here? Why are the Jewish Holocaust victims at the hands of the Nazi war machine of the past century deemed more worthy of consideration, even if only in constant remembrance of a lesson learned as it should, but the contemporary innocent civilian Muslim victims at the hands of the American war machine not even sympathized with or mourned, when something can actually be done to halt their barbaric terrorization, displacement, internment, and wanton slaughter as an application of that very lesson learned?
The fact of the existence of these innocent civilian victims cannot be denied, and nor is it denied. General Colin Powell even openly proclaimed his “Shock and Awe” terror campaign on densely populated cities. Instead, these victims are daily subjected to the same kind of vile and dehumanizing propaganda that was leveled at the Jews culminating in the Holocaust. Their victimization is justified either as inevitable collateral damage for a higher cause, or as altogether deserved for the higher objective of “saving American lives”! Any act no matter how barbaric, is permissible to save American lives.
Does the import of Elie Wiesel's curse only apply to some victimizers and not others? Obviously, he meant to write those words only for his Nazi persecutors – yet their stark significance is left for some hypothetical future victims and not applied to the bombing and destruction of civilian Muslims occurring today. Why? Is it because they share the religion of Islam with the supposed “Muslim” perpetrators of 9-11?
Taking everything at face value about 9-11: accepting on faith the White House's unsubstantiated and unproven assertions of it being the work of “Muslim” terrorists; even accepting President Bush's unsubstantiated and actually disproved assertions of Sadaam Hussein possessing WMDs being an imminent threat to America; and even that he was directly responsible for 9-11; accepting all these assertions as gospel truth handed by god himself to the American people, how can the American public condone, let alone actively support the “Shock and Awe” retaliation on innocent civilian populations in Afghanistan and Iraq with all of America's superpower might? Have the American people become a nation of cowards that they pick on the defenseless and the weak with long range bombers and depleted Uranium munitions which keep on killing for decades and even centuries after the hostilities are over? For four decades the Americans could not pick a direct fight with their arch nemesis the Soviet Union – because the latter also had teeth and could bite back. But now, is it time to brow beat all the other much weaker nations into submission? The new barbarians in three piece suits? If there is any other conclusion that any rational person can come to, what is it?
There were no large armies amassed to attack America unlike Pearl Harbor in 1941. There were no vast military and industrial infrastructures to be destroyed as in Dresden and Tokyo. Only at best, some tens or hundreds of individual bare footed criminals 20 thousand miles away hiding in caves and surrounded by hungry, barefooted, and war-ravaged civilian tribal communities, or in equally distant and quite defenseless, years of sanction starved deserts amidst some of the most dense civilian population centers in the region. And even under the assumption that these were the criminal masterminds behind 911, a collective inhuman punishment was and is being visited upon millions of civilians. All of this is a fact that is openly known to the public.
Even worse, how can the American public not absolutely go berserk and immediately march on the White House at the White House's open proclamation of unilateral preemptive nuclear strikes at non-nuclear nations? Here again there is no aspect of deception, only open belligerence and Nuclear War mongering posture upon the majority of innocent people who happen to live in the same area as the few “evil doers”.
While in as much as this book has concentrated on demonstrating how Zbigniew Brzezinski's diabolical thesis in the “Grand Chessboard” is actually being put into practice post 9-11, and how the American population is being bamboozled into an imperial mobilization through lies and deceit, it has not dwelled upon this moral lapse and plain guilt of the American population and the American Congress, from which neither may claim the often abused “I didn't know” exemption. Both knowingly and deliberately agreed to decimating civilian populations with awesomely frightening weapons of mass destruction of their own nation's making.
The sole exception being the lone dissenting and courageous voice of Congress Woman Barbara Lee from Oakland California, and the few hundred thousand people of conscience futilely protesting the call to war in the main streets of America.
The claim to “innocence of knowledge” due to being “prisoners of the cave” may only be made with respect to the deception game of their government and their media in keeping the American public in the dark. Not with respect to what the American public already quite plainly knows. And even that claim to innocence henceforth, has been eviscerated in this book.
The American nation collectively cannot be absolved of accountability, nor escape restitution and compensation to the innocent victims of this “war on terrorism”. The unheard cries of the innocent victims demand it.
I do not advocate collective punishment of any people for the crimes of their leaders – whether elected, selected, inherited, or imposed (that pretty much covers the entire planet). But collective punishment is precisely what is likely to transpire at the hands of the innocent victims of America's global wars who will see no other recourse than to bring the same war home to those watching it on HD television in the comfort of their American living rooms. As this poignant verse notes:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do Evil in return.” (W.H. AUDEN, “September 1, 1939”)
There may not remain much difference between Iraqi, Afghani, and Palestinian civilian victims, and American civilian victims – the graveyard is the ultimate equalizer. To protect you – or so they will claim, your leaders will convert this country into a lucrative corporate controlled police state; already many of the prison systems in this nation are run by them. The day isn't very far away when no one will be able to move from their home without showing ID cards at military-police checkpoints on every off ramp and gas station in America.
The oil that all industrialized nations so covet, is really still under other people's soil. All the “evil-doers” have to do is to detonate some nuclear bombs in their own oil fields and there is no process known to man that can remove radioactivity from gasoline. A “Samson option” defense isn't the prerogative of Israel alone. Especially when this self-defense can also completely destroy their arch enemies. With the oil fields “peaking”, as some fear mongers boldly allege even while Mobil and Chevron et. al. reap in record breaking profits each year, the long lines and 1929 can be brought back just as easily as the coming military draft – be it of economic servitude, skills of the professional, or the precious lives of the youth. Allies today can easily become arch nemesis tomorrow over a shrinking pie. We shall all be collectively punished when the dominoes fall, bystanders and silent spectators and all. The law of unintended consequences is still among the least understood laws of nature!
Self-interest alone dictates immediate atonement and restitution – before it is too late.
This book is in two parts. Part-1 discloses my dialog with the United States Security agencies in the essay They dared to knock on my door. Part-2 employs some key insightful themes from Zbigniew Brzezinski's book “The Grand Chessboard, to explain, deconstruct, dismantle, and entirely dethrone the fiction of war on terrorism which is entirely blueprinted in this 1996-97 American Mein Kampf written by the quintessential ubermenschmastermind who is directly responsible for some stirred up Moslemswhen “giving to the USSR its Vietnam war” with Muslim blood. This blood is just as red!

The author, an ordinary researcher and writer on contemporary geopolitics, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley (patents here), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. His maiden 2003 book was rejected by six publishers and can be read on the web at He may be reached at
Copyright Notice:
Copyright (c) Zahir Ebrahim, with full permission to copy, repost, and reprint, in its entirety, unmodified and unedited, for any purpose, granted, provided the URL sentence and this copyright notice are also reproduced verbatim as part of this license, and not doing so may be subject to copyright license violation infringement claims pursuant to remedies noted at All quotations and excerpts are based on non-profit "fair use" in the greater public interest consistent with the understanding of laws noted at Full copyright notice and Exclusions at

Links fixed, bookcover added October 18, 2016

America's Shame 20 / 20 Project

Full Copyright Notice

All material copyright (c) Project HumanbeingsfirstTM, with full permission to copy, repost, and reprint, in its entirety, unmodified, for any purpose, granted, provided the full URL sentence and the copyright notice contained within each Document are also reproduced verbatim as part of this license, along with any embedded links within its main text, and not doing so may be subject to copyright license violation infringement claims pursuant to remedies noted at All figures, images, quotations, and excerpts are used without permission based on non-profit "fair-use" for personal education and research use only in the greater public interest. The usage is minimally consistent with the understanding of laws noted at In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of US Copyright Laws, you are provided the material from Project Humanbeingsfirst upon your request, and taking any action that delivers you any of its documents in any form is considered making a specific request to receive the documents for your own personal educational and/or research use. You are directly responsible for seeking the requisite permissions from other copyright holders for any use beyond “fair use”. Exclusion: All rights are expressly reserved for the usage of the terms (c) HumanbeingsfirstTM and (c) HumanbeingfirstTM which are the copyrighted and trademarked intellectual property of Project HumanbeingsfirstTM. Reproduction Note: It is acceptable to reproduce any document in smaller serialized parts provided the full URL sentence and the copyright notice within each document are also reproduced in each part and the entire document is reproduced. Please read

Caveat Emptor

Please be advised that Project HumanbeingsfirstTM fully cooperates with all law enforcement and other governmental agencies worldwide in rooting out Terrorism in all its nuanced shades and stripes in order to end its Neanderthal reign of terror upon all who are human beings first. Project Humanbeingsfirst does not distinguish between terrorists clad in turbans and those wearing suits, nor between the predatory rampages of the pirates vs. the emperors, albeit each is apportioned the measure of crime and guilt commensurate to their respective station of power and impact on their victims. Law enforcement personnel worldwide, but especially in the United States and the West, are encouraged to participate with Project Humanbeingsfirst. It is essential for all nations' state security apparatus to learn how to forensically identify the monumental supreme terrorists hiding in plain sight among us under legal cover, the real merchants of death, while they dutifully chase down the easy to spot handful of often deliberately manufactured pirates at sea.