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RESISTING AND EXPOSING THE CULTURE OF DEATH
by Doretta Wildes, ©2013, blogging at DorettaWildes
(May 3, 2013) — An Episcopal priest, a friend of mine, recently lent me a copy of a book from his personal library. I knew it was a special book at once, because he told me that it aligned with his personal beliefs. The navy-blue wrapper around the book is worn, its 156 pages beginning to yellow. And the author, William Stringfellow, who published it in 1973–the year I graduated from high school–refers to the war of that time as “The Indochina War.” Vietnam, of course. I once had a history teacher who referred to it the same way, back when it wasn’t history yet.
The book is titled, “An Ethic for Christians & Other Aliens in a Strange Land.” Immediately, I liked the title, but soon began to realize that its wryness contains a tough kernel. Lacking any theological training myself, and not having read the bible cover to cover, I knew I was being handed a task.
I groped around at first and, because I am theologically lazy, raced to the chapter that seemed juiciest: “Stratagems of the Demonic Powers.” By “demonic powers,” I realized, Stringfellow means “principalities”– anything from the Pentagon and the U.N. to organized religion, corporations, foundations. Any bureaucracy. Any system of government. Earthly institutions and even its ideals incorporate, such as democracy, in other words. Stringfellow analyzes all of the top ploys of principalities in his juiciest chapter as “denial of the truth,” “doublespeak and overtalk,” “secrecy and boasts of expertise,” “surveillance and harassment,” “exaggeration and deception,” “cursing and conjuring,” “usurpation and absorption,” “diversion and demoralization.”
Yes, I thought, marveling at how much more invidiously, thanks to technology, these stratagems have been deployed since 1973. I decided not to cheat and began reading from the preface, recognizing that the real subject of Stringfellow’s book is The Fall. “The Fall is the locus of America,” he writes in the early pages. I began to wonder on whom the blame would be pinned. Not the usual suspects–Adam and Eve–I guessed.
And many pages inward he makes it plain: Without letting anyone off the hook, human sin, he says, is “peripheral” to the crux of the matter:
“The biblical description of the Fall concerns the alienation of the whole of Creation from God, and, thus, the rupture and profound disorientation of all relationships within the whole of Creation… One can speak, appropriately, of human wickedness within the scope of the Fall, but only as an incidental matter within the time or history or era which the Fall designates, in which death apparently holds and exercises moral dominion over the whole of creation.“ (BF is mine.)
The underlying culprit is a false god he equates with Death.
It took a few chapters and some flipping around before I recognized fully what Stringfellow is saying: Death is the ‘moral’ imperative that rules over anyone and anything living through time on this world, including principalities, which he asserts are “fallen creatures” that demand “obeisance, service and glorification from human beings.” Human sacrifices, ultimately. Sound like anyone you know? Certainly the military and various alphabet agencies. Certainly Monsanto and corporations like it.
Stringfellow describes a kind of anti-virtue:
“Manifestly,” he writes, “any war–war per se–is in immediate, physical, literal terms a tribute to death as ultimate virtue for a nation.”
He goes on to quote a field commander during the Vietnam war who said he had found it necessary to “destroy a village in order to save it.” A quote straight out of the nightmares that many Vietnam veterans are still having today.
Stringfellow would not be surprised by the post 9-11-01 “endless war.” Indeed, he wrote back in 1973, ending the Vietnam war will not end the deadly war virus, because death and Death-worship have the moral upper hand in our world. Death is the real purpose of war, and Death is our earthly im-moral imperative, so war will continue to be waged.
Annihilation of freedom, truth and goodness–figurative death–will continue through financial malfeasance (central banks), despotism, corporatism, debt slavery, sexual slavery and pedophile rings.
Destruction of health and lives through GMOs, tainted vaccines, fluoridated water, the cancer industry, abortion clinics, addictive prescription drugs, weather control and food “shortages” will continue despite the activism and ruined lives of generous, hopeful, well-meaning people.
The war on privacy, which is becoming the war on thought and, to my mind, prayer itself, will be temporally (and temporarily) won by those with the fastest, smallest and most concealable computers. Isn’t the whole purpose of the foregoing the death of the soul?
Stringfellow might agree with my interpretation. Surely he would not be surprised by the evidence. A friend of Daniel Berrigan, who did time in US prisons for civil disobedience in response to the Vietnam war, Stringfellow knew the lengths to which principalities will go when the truth outs and their falsehood is exposed.
Stringfellow would not be surprised at all by what is happening to Bradley Manning.
America is Babylon. Stringfellow says it plainly, and I agree with him. He also says, however, that every nation in the world is Babylon in some form. I can’t argue with that either. Switzerland, Belgium, North Korea, New Zealand, the UK, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Yemen, Uganda, Turkey. The list goes on. The evidence of a death cult is rife.
Stringfellow: “Babylon is–to put it most succinctly–the parable of the nation in the fullness of its apocalyptic reality.”-p. 50
What could be more fully apocalyptic (in the sense of revealing) than $60 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia–the largest in history–recently made by the Obama administration?
What could be more blatantly apocalyptic than the recent purchase of 2 billion+ hollow point bullets by the DHS, presumably for use against the American people?
Or the 2700+ armed tanks that the DHS recently re-purposed for use on American streets? Or the targets it commissioned that emblazon photographs of pregnant women, young mothers, elderly people and children?
The revelation is clear: the Obama administration is not a lover of peace, Nobel Peace Prize to the contrary.
The Obama administration is a principality with a death agenda the enormity of which I believe will overshadow the death camps and killing fields of the last century. Its victims, now foreigners picked out by drones, will soon be American soldiers, veterans, dissenters, patriots, peace activists; Catholics and born-again Christians; ultimately, ordinary citizens.
One could argue that the war has begun already, with actions against gun owners and with martial law drills, and the enemy target is us.
Bradley Manning, now a military prisoner, was once a soldier and a closet dissenter, vulnerable by anyone’s account. Openly gay, fragile physically and emotionally, Manning possessed quirky intellectual gifts that made him a talented programmer, but a poor fit for the US Army. He enlisted to get the education he couldn’t afford. Trouble followed him around almost immediately. Baiting, hazing, etc. What did he expect? He must have wanted the Army surplus education badly to enter the arena in the first place.
It would be hard to imagine a person with less luck than Manning. First he enlists. Then he discovers how truly sordid life as a soldier can be for someone of his ilk and delicate disposition. He suffers an emotional breakdown. Then he’s discharged. And then, unaccountably, according to those who knew him, he’s “recycled.” This means that the Army is willing to put him to use again, presumably because they need his programming skills.
Manning is shipped to Iraq, where the pivotal trouble of his life begins. Privy to information that reveals war atrocities, he discovers his conscience. People often do, inconveniently after they have committed to the Beast. Conscience, more perhaps even than love itself, can mess up the most placid existence.
From an online chat attributed to Manning:
“If you had free reign over classified networks … and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do?”
Manning does what most Army recruits couldn’t or wouldn’t: He releases the damning videos, war logs and diplomatic cables. At first, he goes to mainstream outlets, such as the New York Times, which reject the evidence.
Then he strikes a chord with the activist website WikiLeaks, sealing his fate as a military whistleblower: Arrest; solitary confinement for 10 months; denial of exercise, sunlight, clothing, etc., etc. The details of Manning’s treatment at the hands of the military are depressing yet predictable, and while relevant to this blog post, are best studied through documentation by those devoted to following his plight and trial. You can read all about it here.
You can review the various atrocious pieces of evidence leaked by Manning here. The most famous of these is a video titled “Collateral Murder,” which records the delight taken in in the slaughter of civilians by certain unidentified American soldiers. But there is so much more. Among the many crimes and cover-ups outed by Manning are the following familiar categories held dear by the death culture:
- Torture: Sexual and physical torture, including the use of ceiling hooks, cables and electric drills; training of Egyptian interrogators by the FBI in reducing prisoners to a ‘zombie-like’ state.
- Child prostitution: Complicity in and cover-ups of child trafficking and abuse by US defense contractors.
- Slaughter of innocents: The preponderance of civilian deaths in Iraq during the last war conducted by the US there.
- Poverty/Slavery: US role in blocking a minimum wage of $5/hr in Haiti.
- Cover-ups of ‘secret government’ war activity: Specifically, Obama’s secret drone bombing strikes in Yemen, never acknowledged by our government and publicly attributed to the Yemen government.
Manning’s proponents attest that, while the leaks caused embarrassment to the US, they resulted in no casualties, no endangerment of lives, no retaliatory acts. Except, of course, to Manning himself.
The Bush and Obama administrations alike have leaked state secrets when it suited them, potentially endangering lives of operatives, people who, if not exactly innocent, were acting within the bounds of something akin to moral compass.
In Bradley Manning’s case, however, the hind ends exposed belong to torturers, scoundrels, pedophiles and war criminals. There can be no doubt about that.
It’s no fun being the target of a principality, because unlike a mere human enemy, The Enemy is fully committed to The End. Its aims are so horrific that most people are unwilling to believe in them. Universal chipping programs, Big Brother surveillance, vaccines laden with cancer viruses, water tainted with poisons known to kill brain tissue, secret sky-spraying programs that destroy the atmosphere and soil, FEMA concentration camps, a central banking conspiracy behind a purposeful economic collapse, the subversion and destruction of the human family and race, etc., etc.
Most people, like the female clone in the newly released film Oblivion, simply “don’t want to know.”
But the devil’s favorite shield is the unwillingness of people to believe he exists.
Stringfellow: “A rudimentary claim with which the principalities confront and subvert persons is that the truth in the sense of eventful and factual matter does not exist … The truth is usurped and displaced by a self-serving version of events or facts, with whatever selectivity, distortion, falsehood, manipulation, exaggeration, evasion, concoction necessary to maintain the image or enhance the survival or multiply the coercive capacities of the principality.” -page 98
Most people would prefer to believe in these falsehoods than confront them.
Most people, as revealed by the Milgram experiments of the 1960s, will go along to get along.
Whatever you may think of Manning, he isn’t among them; Manning is conspicuously ‘other.’ Ironic that this makes him an ally of humanity, but not surprising. The true Ally of humanity was as Other as anyone could be and still walk among humans in human form.
In the Fall, Stringfellow wrote, “the Apocalypse is always imminent. The Antichrist, remember, means anti-human as much as the name means anti-God.”
Think about that for a minute. I think it’s interesting that Stringfellow equates Christians with “aliens in a strange land” in his title. Perhaps he would be surprised to learn that many Christians today truly believe that extraterrestrial ‘aliens’ are none other than fallen angels, consorts of The Enemy. Anti-humans.
The point Stringfellow was trying to make is that true allies of humanity, pro-humans, feel alienated on their own planet. While the real aliens, anti-humans, feel right at home.
Whether, like me, you are a Christian, or not, I think you can agree that the anti-humans are running the planet at present, and appear, so far, to be winning.
“Resistance is the only way to live humanly.” Stringfellow says it by way of conclusion and hope. By Stringfellow’s definition, Bradley Manning accomplished something noteworthy and perhaps even sacred when he opposed the almighty principality that deployed him.
Caught in the Fall, as all of us are, Manning, an imperfect human being with countless frailties and weaknesses, nevertheless sided with his conscience. If his actions weren’t exactly fitting as a soldier, they were fitting as a human being.
That places him several steps up above the majority of his peers, despite a solitary, naked and grueling consequence. If only we’ll pause to take a clear-eyed look at what he exposed, we might be able to recognize it in ourselves, and resist it.