Tag Archives: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Yes, Mr. Johnson, Something Is Changing

 

 

Original Post: http://www.thedailybell.com/29357/Yes-Mr-Johnson-Something-Is-Changing

Libertarian Gary Johnson: ‘this Independence Day feels different … Former Libertarian presidential hopeful Gary Johnson hopes you have a nice picnic, parade or BBQ to attend, and a flag to wave. But he is not delivering the typical feel-good Fourth of July message this year. “This Independence Day feels a little different,” he says. “The news in recent weeks about the IRS using its force against certain targeted groups has reminded us that, absent vigilance on our part, the government will abuse the power it has accumulated. Likewise, as we learn more about the massive surveillance being conducted by the NSA and the FBI, a lot of Americans are today thinking and talking about the 4th Amendment and its intended protections against unreasonable searches.” – Washington Times

Dominant Social Theme: We live in the best of all possible worlds.

Free-Market Analysis: But we don’t. We live in a world increasingly afflicted by determined globalism and wanton lawlessness, in part generated by regulatory democracy itself.

“The more laws, the more criminals,” the Japanese tell us. And the West has long since departed from the grounded reality of natural law and broadcasts the erroneous idea that law is the province of government. It is not.

Government can enforce natural law – those laws generated by instinct and human communality – but anything else merely invites circumvention. The more laws there are, the less observance there shall be.

People lament growing lawlessness, but when governments insist by whim and preference on passing thousands of laws annually and even more regulations, the result is the gradual erosion of civil society and the alienation of the middle class.

Here’s more:

Mr. Johnson continues, “These ‘revelations’ are bringing long-overdue attention to the liberties the Founding Fathers worked so hard and sacrificed so much to provide and protect. It is more than a little ironic that the Revolution was prompted, in part, by abusive tax policies and unreasonable searches – on the part of ‘tyrants’.”

He concludes, “Regardless of our plans for this Independence Day, I hope they include remembering that the battle for freedom never ends, and dedicating ourselves to restoring the liberty on which our great nation was founded. That is the most patriotic thing we can do on the Fourth, and in all the days that follow.”

Johnson apparently has a new organization to head called Our American Initiative, which is dedicated to the idea of shrinking government and defending Western civil freedoms.

We’re not so sanguine as Johnson that current trends can be reversed – at least not by using available, formal levers. But we are encouraged by Johnson’s observation that the recently observed US Independence Day “feels different.”

We would offer the observation that it feels different because we are living in the era of what we call the Internet Reformation. Of course, it is not easy to describe the Internet Reformation in a linear fashion.

But we have long predicted that the results would permeate society much as the results of commercial book-printing did after the invention of the Gutenberg press. While not portrayed as such, the invention of the press was probably the single most significant event of the past millennium – until the advent of the Internet itself.

History seems the collision of two forces: An elite that seeks to repress certain knowledge and a populace that, when exposed to that knowledge, tends to overthrow the elite in question, or at least vitiate its power. In the last centuries, technology provides the fulcrum that shifts the balance. When information technology is ascendant, freedom expands with its many human and social benefits. When it is not, repression and attendant ills are prevalent.

Ignorance is ever the friend of tyranny and eventually, even, genocide. But allow people to educate themselves and the world begins to change for the better. We are living through a very exciting time in which the knowledge of the ages has been rediscovered and is in the process of being reapplied by tens of millions.

There are, of course, negatives to this evolution – as we have seen with the expansion of the Surveillance State. But the negatives are not exclusive; the world is not merely one color. Tyranny and freedom usually coexist. There is no yin without yang, despite what pessimists and sophists maintain.

Conclusion: Mr. Johnson cannot quite put his finger on what’s going on today. But something is changing – and some of it for the better.

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Government Secrets and the Need for Whistle-blowers

From Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier

June 10, 2013

Yesterday, we learned that the NSA received all calling records from Verizon customers for a three-month period starting in April. That’s everything except the voice content: who called who, where they were, how long the call lasted — for millions of people, both Americans and foreigners. This “metadata” allows the government to track the movements of everyone during that period, and a build a detailed picture of who talks to whom. It’s exactly the same data the Justice Department collected about AP journalists.

The Guardian delivered this revelation after receiving a copy of a secret memo about this — presumably from a whistle-blower. We don’t know if the other phone companies handed data to the NSA too. We don’t know if this was a one-off demand or a continuously renewed demand; the order started a few days after the Boston bombers were captured by police.

We don’t know a lot about how the government spies on us, but we know some things. We know the FBI has issued tens of thousands of ultra-secret National Security Letters to collect all sorts of data on people — we believe on millions of people — and has been abusing them to spy on cloud-computer users. We know it can collect a wide array of personal data from the Internet without a warrant. We also know that the FBI has been intercepting cell-phone data, all but voice content, for the past 20 years without a warrant, and can use the microphone on some powered-off cell phones as a room bug — presumably only with a warrant.

We know that the NSA has many domestic-surveillance and data-mining programs with codenames like TrailblazerStellar Windand Ragtime — deliberately using different codenames for similar programs to stymie oversight and conceal what’s really going on. We know that the NSA is building an enormous computer facility in Utah to store all this data, as well as faster computer networks to process it all. We know the U.S. Cyber Command employs 4,000 people.

We know that the DHS is also collecting a massive amount of data on people, and that local police departments are running “fusion centers” to collect and analyze this data, and covering up its failures. This is all part of the militarization of the police.

Remember in 2003, when Congress defunded the decidedly creepy Total Information Awarenessprogram? It didn’t die; it just changed names and split into many smaller programs. We know that corporations are doing an enormous amount of spying on behalf of the government: all parts.

We know all of this not because the government is honest and forthcoming, but mostly through three backchannels — inadvertent hints or outright admissions by government officials in hearings and court cases, information gleaned from government documents received under FOIA, and government whistle-blowers.

There’s much more we don’t know, and often what we know is obsolete. We know quite a bit about the NSA’s ECHELON program from a 2000 European investigation, and about the DHS’s plans for Total Information Awareness from 2002, but much less about how these programs have evolved. We can make inferences about the NSA’s Utah facility based on the theoretical amount of data from various sources, the cost of computation, and the power requirements from the facility, but those are rough guesses at best. For a lot of this, we’re completely in the dark.

And that’s wrong.

The U.S. government is on a secrecy binge. It overclassifies more information than ever. And we learn, again and again, that our government regularly classifies things not because they need to be secret, but because their release would be embarrassing.

Knowing how the government spies on us is important. Not only because so much of it is illegal — or, to be as charitable as possible, based on novel interpretations of the law — but because we have a right to know. Democracy requires an informed citizenry in order to function properly, andtransparency and accountability are essential parts of that. That means knowing what our government is doing to us, in our name. That means knowing that the government is operating within the constraints of the law. Otherwise, we’re living in a police state.

We need whistle-blowers.

Leaking information without getting caught is difficult. It’s almost impossible to maintain privacy in the Internet Age. The WikiLeaks platform seems to have been secure — Bradley Manning was caught not because of a technological flaw, but because someone he trusted betrayed him — but the U.S. government seems to have successfully destroyed it as a platform. None of the spin-offs have risen to become viable yet. The New Yorker recently unveiled its Strongbox platform forleaking material, which is still new but looks good. This link contains the best advice on how to leak information to the press via phone, email, or the post office. The National Whistleblowers Center has a page on national-security whistle-blowers and their rights.

Leaking information is also very dangerous. The Obama Administration has embarked on a war onwhistle-blowers, pursuing them — both legally and through intimidation — further than any previous administration has done. Mark Klein, Thomas Drake, and William Binney have all been persecuted for exposing technical details of our surveillance state. Bradley Manning has been treated cruelly and inhumanly — and possibly tortured — for his more-indiscriminate leaking of State Department secrets.

The Obama Administration’s actions against the Associated Press, its persecution of Julian Assange, and its unprecedented prosecution of Manning on charges of “aiding the enemy” demonstrate how far it’s willing to go to intimidate whistle-blowers — as well as the journalists who talk to them.

But whistle-blowing is vital, even more broadly than in government spying. It’s necessary for good government, and to protect us from abuse of power.

We need details on the full extent of the FBI’s spying capabilities. We don’t know what information it routinely collects on American citizens, what extra information it collects on those on various watch lists, and what legal justifications it invokes for its actions. We don’t know its plans for future data collection. We don’t know what scandals and illegal actions — either past or present — are currently being covered up.

We also need information about what data the NSA gathers, either domestically or internationally. We don’t know how much it collects surreptitiously, and how much it relies on arrangements with various companies. We don’t know how much it uses password cracking to get at encrypted data, and how much it exploits existing system vulnerabilities. We don’t know whether it deliberately inserts backdoors into systems it wants to monitor, either with or without the permission of the communications-system vendors.

And we need details about the sorts of analysis the organizations perform. We don’t know what they quickly cull at the point of collection, and what they store for later analysis — and how long they store it. We don’t know what sort of database profiling they do, how extensive their CCTV and surveillance-drone analysis is, how much they perform behavioral analysis, or how extensively they trace friends of people on their watch lists.

We don’t know how big the U.S. surveillance apparatus is today, either in terms of money and people or in terms of how many people are monitored or how much data is collected. Modern technology makes it possible to monitor vastly more people — yesterday’s NSA revelations demonstrate that they could easily surveil everyone — than could ever be done manually.

Whistle-blowing is the moral response to immoral activity by those in power. What’s important here are government programs and methods, not data about individuals. I understand I am asking for people to engage in illegal and dangerous behavior. Do it carefully and do it safely, but — and I am talking directly to you, person working on one of these secret and probably illegal programs — do it.

If you see something, say something. There are many people in the U.S. that will appreciate and admire you.

For the rest of us, we can help by protesting this war on whistle-blowers. We need to force our politicians not to punish them — to investigate the abuses and not the messengers — and to ensure that those unjustly persecuted can obtain redress.

Our government is putting its own self-interest ahead of the interests of the country. That needs to change.

This essay originally appeared on the Atlantic.

EDITED TO ADD (6/10): It’s not just phone records. Another secret program, PRISM, gave the NSA access to e-mails and private messages at Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Skype, AOL, and others. And in a separate leak, we now know about the Boundless Informant NSA data mining system.

The leaker for at least some of this is Edward Snowden. I consider him an American hero.

EFF has a great timeline of NSA spying. And this and this contain some excellent speculation about what PRISM could be.

Someone needs to write an essay parsing all of the precisely worded denials. Apple has never heard the word “PRISM,” but could have known of the program under a different name. Google maintained that there is no government “back door,” but left open the possibility that the data could have been just handed over. Obama said that the government isn’t “listening to your telephone calls,” ignoring 1) the meta-data, 2) the fact that computers could be doing all of the listening, and 3) that text-to-speech results in phone calls being read and not listened to. And so on and on and on.

Here are people defending the programs. And here’s someone criticizing my essay.

Four more good essays.

I’m sure there are lots more things out there that should be read. Please include the links in comments. Not only essays I would agree with; intelligent opinions from the other sides are just as important.


Assata is Not a Terrorist: She is a Freedom Fighter like Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X & Martin L. King [#Feminist Friday]

While I don’t agree with all of the sentiments here I do agree that the way the American government has treated Blacks and other minorities is unwarranted and oppressive. Things need to change for all Americans who are not among the racists or elitists. (E)

Moorbey'z Blog

 

The attack on Sister Assata Shakur is an attack on the right of the Black masses and the Black liberation movement to resist oppression.  The U.S. government and all of its branches have always persecuted, jailed, exiled and murdered Black activists and revolutionaries no matter their philosophies or tactics-communism, Pan Africanism, separation, revolutionary nationalism, integration; nonviolence, armed self-defense, running for political office.

Assata, who was unarmed and shot 5 times with the intent to kill by the New Jersey state police, was a victim of the U.S. government COINTEL program, similar to the now so-called war on terrorism. It is designed pass new laws to justify murderous attacks of Black activists and revolutionaries, that saw the assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin L. King, Black Panthers and the frame-ups, jailing and forced exile of many named and unnamed activists that occurred under COINTELPRO.

The labeling of Sister Assata as a…

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Are Prisons Obsolete?

Many of my readers will dismiss this out of hand because the author is Angela Davis. That, I believe, would be a mistake. The fact that one may not agree with many of Davis’ views is in no way a judgement on everything she may express. The view that prisons need to be dealt with and, hopefully, eventually, completely destroyed is an idea well worth consideration. There might be some extremely rare, and I do mean EXTREMELY rare, circumstances where individuals need to be isolated from the majority of society.

Even then those individuals must be treated with respect and decency. They need to have living facilities where they can receive fresh air, good food and comfortable housing. We must switch to a view of attempting to help and restore them rather than penalize them while at the same time seeing to it that their victims are properly remunerated for any losses both emotional as well as actual. (E)


Serious doubt cast on FBI’s anthrax case against Bruce Ivins

WEDNESDAY, FEB 16, 2011 06:17 ET

Ivins at a 2003 awards ceremony at USAMRIID

For years, the FBI believed that it had identified the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks — former Army researcher Steven Hatfill — only to be forced to acknowledge that he wasn’t involved and thenpay him $5.8 million for the damage he sufferedfrom those false accusations.   In late July, 2008, the FBI announced that, this time, it had identified the Real Perpetrator:  Army researcher Bruce Ivins, who had just committed suicide as a result of being subjected to an intense FBI investigation.  Ivins’ death meant that the FBI’s allegations would never be tested in a court of law.

From the start, it was obvious that the FBI’s case against Ivins was barely more persuasive than its case against Hatfill had been.  The allegations were entirely circumstantial; there was no direct evidence tying Ivins to the mailings; and there were huge, glaring holes in both the FBI’s evidentiary and scientific claims.  So dubious was the FBI’s case that even the nation’s most establishment media organs, which instinctively trust federallaw enforcement agencies, expressed serious doubts and called for an independent investigation (that included, among many others, the editorial pages of The Washington PostThe New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal). Mainstream scientific sources were equally skeptical;Nature called for an independent investigation and declared in its editorial headline:  “Case Not Closed,” while Dr. Alan Pearson, Director of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferationrepresentative of numerous experts in the field — expressed many scientific doubts and also demanded a full independent investigation.  I devoted much time to documenting just some of the serious flaws in the FBI’s evidentiary claims, as well as the use of anonymous FBI leaks to unquestioning reporters to convince the public of their validity (see here, here, here, and here).

Doubts about the FBI’s case were fully bipartisan.  In August, 2008, The New York Times documented “vocal skepticism from key members of Congress.”  One of the two intended Senate recipients of the anthrax letters, Sen. Patrick Leahy, flatly stated at a Senate hearing in September, 2008, that he does not believe the FBI’s case against Ivins, and emphatically does not believe that Ivins acted alone.  Then-GOP Sen. Arlen Specter, at the same hearing, told the FBI they could never have obtained a conviction against Ivins in court based on their case — riddled, as it is, with so much doubt — and he also demanded an independent evaluation of the FBI’s evidence.  And in separate interviews with me, GOP Sen. Charles Grassleyand Democratic Rep. Rush Holt (a physicist who represents the New Jersey district from which the anthrax letters were mailed) expressed substantial doubts about the case against Ivins and called for independent investigations.

Despite all of this, the FBI managed to evade calls for an independent investigation by announcing that it had asked the National Academy of Sciences to convene a panel to review only the FBI’s scientific and genetic findings (but not to review its circumstantial case against Ivins or explore the possibility of other culprits).  The FBI believed that its genetic analysis was the strongest aspect of their case against Ivins — that it definitively linked Ivins’ research flask to the spores in the mailed anthrax — and that once the panel publicly endorsed the FBI’s scientific claims, it would vindicate the FBI’s case and end calls for a full-scale investigation into the accusations against Ivins.

But yesterday, the National Academy panel released its findings, and it produced a very unpleasant surprise for the FBI (though it was entirely unsurprising for those following this case).  As The New York Times put it in an article headlined “Expert Panel Is Critical of F.B.I. Work in Investigating Anthrax Letters”:  “A review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s scientific work . . . concludes that the bureau overstated the strength of genetic analysis linking the mailed anthrax to a supply kept by Bruce E. Ivins“; while the panel noted that the genetic findings are “consistent” with the claim that Ivins mailed the letters and can “support” an association, the evidence is far from “definitive,” as the FBI had long suggested.  The report, commissioned by the FBI, specifically concluded that “the scientific link between the letter material and [Ivins’] flask number RMR-1029 is not as conclusive as stated in the DOJ Investigative Summary.” This morning’s Washington Post article — headlined:  “Anthrax report casts doubt on scientific evidence in FBI case against Bruce Ivins” — noted that “the report reignited a debate that has simmered among some scientists and others who have questioned the strength of the FBI’s evidence against Ivins.”

In addition to reigniting doubts, the report has also reignited calls for an independent investigation into the entire FBI case.  Yesterday, Rep. Holt re-introduced his legislation to create a 9/11-style Commission, complete with subpoena power, with a mandate to review the entire matter.  Sen. Grassley told the Post:  “There are no more excuses for avoiding an independent review.”  Ivins’ lawyer added that the report confirms that the case against his client is “all supposition based on conjecture based on guesswork, without any proof whatsoever.”  All of that has been clear for some time, and yesterday’s report merely underscored how weak is the FBI’s case.

It is hard to overstate the political significance of the anthrax attacks.  For reasons I’ve described at length, that event played at least as much of a role as the 9/11 attacks in elevating the Terrorism fear levels which, through today, sustain endless wars, massive defense and homeland security budgets, and relentless civil liberties erosions.  The pithy version of the vital role played by anthrax was supplied by Atrios here and here; in essence, it was anthrax that convinced large numbers of Americans that Terrorism was something that could show up without warning at their doorstep — though something as innocuous as their mailbox — in the form of James-Bond-like attacks featuring invisible, lethal powder.  Moreover, anthrax was exploited in the aftermath of 9/11 to ratchet up the fear levels toward Saddam Hussein, as ABC News‘ Brian Ross spent a full week screeching to the country — falsely — that bentonite had been found in the anthrax and that this agent was the telltale sign of Iraq’s chemical weapons program, while George Bush throughout 2002 routinely featured “anthrax” as one of Saddam’s scary weapons.

That there’s so much lingering doubt about who was responsible for this indescribably consequential attack is astonishing, and it ought to be unacceptable.  Other than a desire to avoid finding out who the culprit was (and/or to avoid having the FBI’s case against Ivins subjected to scrutiny), there’s no rational reason to oppose an independent, comprehensive investigation into this matter.

Copyright ©2011 Salon Media Group, Inc.
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Florida professor arrested after carrying suspicious bagel on airplane

bagel

Dangerous, Terrorist Bomb?

Thursday, January 06, 2011
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

FROMhttp://www.naturalnews.com/030935_terrorism_bagel.html#ixzz1AewrAYxQ

(NaturalNews) If you carry bagels or other food items with you on an airplane these days, you’d better paint them red white and blue just to make sure all the passengers around you know you’re truly an American. Otherwise, they just might turn you in. In yet another case of air passengers turning into in-flight SS troops, a Florida professor was arrested, handcuffed and removed from a plane when his fellow passengersreported he had a “suspicious-looking bag” in his hands.

The contents of that suspicious-looking bag turned out to be a bagel with cream cheese, a set of keys and a hat.

But in America’s ultra-paranoid environment where the U.S. government actually encourages people to spy on each other (http://www.naturalnews.com/030648_W…), apparently just about anything can set off the suspicions of the citizens’ secret police. Maybe you talk funny, or walk funny or just look funny. Maybe your skin isn’t white. Maybe you speak with some sort of foreign accent which, as all Americans already know, means you must be a terrorist.

Perhaps you pay with cash instead of a credit card. What? Only a terrorist would carry cash! Or maybe you are just “suspiciously minding your own business” and not chatting it up with all the other people around you. That makes you a potential terrorist, too, didn’t you know?

I can’t wait to see how quickly I’ll be arrested on my next flight. I bring superfood powders and a Blender Bottle with that springy metal mixer inside. So during the flight, I’m sitting there mixing water and powders like some sort of mad chemist. Some nutritional noob sitting nearby would no doubt have no clue what was really going on and probably call the flight attendant to report, in secretive tones, “There’s a strange man sitting over there mixing up a bomb!”

And that’s all it would take. The FBI‘s anti-terrorism unit would be called out, the plane would be diverted to the nearest landing strip, the on-board Air Marshall would pull a gun on me, and I’d be arrested upon landing, then interrogated for 48 hours under the U.S. Patriot Act (no more Bill of Rights, see?) for the mere act of drinking superfoods on a flight.

Obama becomes Bush

This is no exaggeration, by the way. The paranoia has reached precisely such a level on airplanes crossing the skies of America today. This is all due to government-sponsored paranoia and the idea that people should all spy on each other. Just today, the Obama administration, which was elected primarily to oppose the secret prisons and fear-mongering of the Bush administration, has now announced that federal agencies should all spy on their employees to prevent future Wikileaks incidents (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4091643…).

Now, the mere act of not being a “happy” federal employee makes you a suspicious target for being spied on, too. This just gets more and more like1984 all the time, doesn’t it?

Be sure to watch my “report suspicious behavior at Wal-Mart” video at: http://www.naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=5…

Oh, and don’t bring a bagel on any flights. Your average corn-fed American thinks a bagel is “foreign food” and it immediately raises red flags that you might be a terrorist. Same story with hummous. Actually, hummous is even more suspicious and can earn you a trip to Guantanamo Bay just for mentioning it, because your typical TSA moron can’t differentiate between “hummous” and “Hamas.” They think “hummous” is a terrorist group.

The whole thing is so sadly laughable. Instead of addressing the real threats to America (such as the Federal Reserve and the FDA), the U.S. government turns the citizenry into a network of secret spies who now accuse each other of being terrorists for things like going to the bathroom too many times during a flight. (I drank some watermelon juice, okay?)

If you really want to protect the safety of the American people, just dismantle the FDA and end the government-protected monopolies for Big Pharma and conventional medicine. You would save upwards of several hundred thousand lives a year just from the decrease in deaths caused by the medical industry.

Big Pharma’s FDA-approved drugs, just by themselves, kill roughly 30 times the number of Americans killed in 9/11— every year! That’s why the FDA is far more dangerous than any terrorism group (http://www.naturalnews.com/009278.html).

In fact, the most suspicious person on an airplane these days should be drug company CEO. There’s a terrorist if I ever saw one. Someone call 911.

Sources for this story include:
http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local-.

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Brad Manning Has Rights!

by Karen Kwiatkowski

Recently by Karen Kwiatkowski: The Proper Response to WikiLeaks

At the culminating point of the movie A Few Good Men, Colonel Jessup, played magnificently by Jack Nicholson, angrily tells the truth and shockingly incriminates himself. The interrogating lawyer LT Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise), in his moment of victory, refuses to gloat. Instead, he abruptly ends his interrogation and demands that rule of law prevail, saying, “The defendant has rights!”

The famous courtroom scenes from this movie are well-known and oft-quoted by many Americans. A Few Good Men is formulaic, but it is the formula we particularly love – proud patriots who believe in right and wrong, in black and white, in law over lawlessness, Davids who fight a powerful Goliath. Against all odds, eventually our heroes win when the powerful and vindicating truth is revealed for all to see.

In another time, this would be the story of Bradley Manning.

A Few Good Men dramatically exposes the deformation and distortion of right and wrong that is the very demand of state utilitarianism, which is to say, an action is right if is promotes the state’s happiness, and an action is wrong if it tends to make the state unhappy. Colonel Jessup called for the harsh physical punishment of a “substandard Marine” and thus Corporal Santiago was killed by his comrades. The state, represented by Jessup, explains, “…Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives….”

Charged but not convicted of any crime, American airman Brad Manning is being held largely incommunicado at Guantanamo, without bedding or permission to exercise in his cell. He is purposely deprived of human contact. His current treatment – based on unproven charges – is far harsher than the treatment and sentences of four famous and convicted US federal-level spies.

Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested in early 2001, and charged with selling secrets to the Soviets during the preceding two decades. Upon arrest, Hanssen confessed and was able to hire as an attorney the extremely competent Plato Cacheris, who negotiated a plea bargain. After an entire career spent profiting from the sale of classified information to the Soviets and later the Russian Federation, he is held at Supermax in isolation. Well, not exactly like Brad Manning – Hanssen has bedding, books, and exercise.

The case of career CIA employee and horrific spy/profiteer, Aldrich Ames, is also instructive. After his arrest and lawyer-facilitated plea bargain, Ames was not held forever in isolation at a Supermax-style facility. Instead, he resides at Allenwood Federal Prison with the general population, and is able to receive visitors and to correspond with people outside the prison on issues of current interest.

Two other famous convicted federal-level spies of the same era include Army Warrant Officer James Hall and Army Colonel George Trofimoff. These military officers who sold secrets were not tortured, nor were they deprived of their constitutional rights to a fair defense. Even though they are convicted military spies, they are serving less intensive punishments than either Ames or Hanssen, and were treated far better than Airman Manning.

Manning is not accused of selling secrets, or profiting from their release. Washington has made charges; it suspects Manning is partly responsible for publicly embarrassing the federal security apparatus. But as the Pentagon and the State Department both admit, even if Manning was the source of some government documents, the revelations did not seriously impact government operations.

What has changed? Is Brad Manning thought by government to be a different kind of criminal? Has what he is alleged to have done more evil, more dangerous, more damaging than previous crimes, or even the crimes he may have exposed? Or is it Americans themselves who have changed, with a new 21st century sangfroid?

The Constitution languishes and the state has surged since 9/11. Americans, by and large, still accept the strawmen arguments for giving up their liberty. The modern American is afflicted, not blessed, with an overgrown and paranoid state, as this timeline of the evolution of solitary confinement in the land of the free and the home of the brave illustrates. Administrative lockdown –torture really – is the new black in the fashion of American governance, and many Americans politely applaud it.

Bradley Manning’s incarceration has been clearly designed to punish, to threaten, and to pressure him, and to frighten thousands of others who have access to records of government criminality and idiocy, and may be having pangs of conscience. To date, Manning has not confessed or plead guilty to any crime, despite months of pressure by his military-appointed defense team (only recently replaced by civilian attorney David Coombs). He is deprived of pillow and sheets as an apparent means of coercing some testimony that would help the government create a separate case against the Australian Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Keeping secrets – shutting down critics and eliminating public dissent – is the lifeblood of the state, and a reliable marker of totalitarianism. The mistreatment of Brad Manning while in military custody continues. As with others before him, Manning may be permanently physically and psychologically damaged before it’s over. This calculated destruction of a real human being is no accident. It is a widely practiced technique of despotic government at any level – whether in a disturbed family, in a prison or mental hospital, or by a government ostensibly put in place through a democratic process. Despotic government is sustained by silence, by blindness, by fear. It is destroyed by shared truth, by open eyes, and by a few courageous souls to lead the way.

Thus, Brad Manning is made out to be a different kind of criminal, one far more deadly to the state than international spies, profiteers, murderers and cheats. He angered the state when he exposed a few of its many crimes. Instead of thanking Brad Manning for revealing weaknesses in their secret-keeping mechanisms – the state became enraged and violent, and now demands his moral and spiritual destruction. Inseparable from Washington’s call for Brad Manning’s continued torture and deprivation of rights is Washington’s public political cheerleading for the detention and death of Australian Julian Assange.

The state believes that Brad Manning’s death, though tragic, will save lives of those the state deems valuable. Washington believes that Julian Assange’s death, while unfortunate, is necessary to maintain good order and discipline among the ruled.

The state indeed is at fault, but at least the US government assaults on Brad Manning, and on Julian Assange, are battles for nothing less than its own survival. If we do not believe in the state, we cannot be ruled by it. This is the fundamental lesson of the rise and fall of empires, from Rome to the Soviet Union.

In A Few Good Men, Lt Kaffee battled state-utilitarianism, in the face of near certain public humiliation, the almost certain end of his career, and the extreme likelihood of professional and personal failure. When he rose to the challenge, and took a great risk to do the right thing, the audience felt a rush of pride, cheering his achievement, and sharing a real sense of what we like to think it means to be an American. Brad Manning is both the hero in our modern story, as well as the defendant. If we as Americans cannot cheer him, because we are numb, fearful, afraid, and have forgotten our principles, at the very least we must be able to stand up and loudly proclaim, “The defendant has rights!”

December 20, 2010

LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page.

Copyright © 2010 Karen Kwiatkowski

The Best of Karen Kwiatkowski






 

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Tension grows between Calif. Muslims, FBI after informant infiltrates mosque

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 5, 2010; 12:47 AM

IRVINE, CALIF. – Before the sun rose, the informant donned a white Islamic robe. A tiny camera was sewn into a button, and a microphone was buried in a device attached to his keys.

“This is Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle,” he said into the keys as he sat in his parked car in this quiet community south of Los Angeles. “It’s November 13th, 4:30 a.m. And we’re hot.”

The undercover FBI informant – a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh – then drove off for 5 a.m. prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine, where he says he spied on dozens of worshipers in a quest for potential terrorists.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI has used informants successfully as one of many tactics to prevent another strike in the United States. Agency officials say they are careful not to violate civil liberties and do not target Muslims.

But the FBI’s approach has come under fire from some Muslims, criticism that surfaced again late last month after agents arrested an Oregon man they said tried to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. FBI technicians had supplied the device.

In the Irvine case, Monteilh’s mission as an informant backfired. Muslims were so alarmed by his talk of violent jihad that they obtained a restraining order against him.

He had helped build a terrorism-related case against a mosque member, but that also collapsed. The Justice Department recently took the extraordinary step of dropping charges against the worshiper, who Monteilh had caught on tape agreeing to blow up buildings, law enforcement officials said. Prosecutors had portrayed the man as a dire threat.

Compounding the damage, Monteilh has gone public, revealing secret FBI methods and charging that his “handlers” trained him to entrap Muslims as he infiltrated their mosques, homes and businesses. He is now suing the FBI.

Officials declined to comment on specific details of Monteilh’s tale but confirm that he was a paid FBI informant. Court records and interviews corroborate not only that Monteilh worked for the FBI – he says he made $177,000, tax-free, in 15 months – but that he provided vital information on a number of cases.

Some Muslims in Southern California and nationally say the cascading revelations have seriously damaged their relationship with the FBI, a partnership that both sides agree is critical to preventing attacks and homegrown terrorism.

Citing Monteilh’s actions and what they call a pattern of FBI surveillance, many leading national Muslim organizations have virtually suspended contact with the bureau.

“The community feels betrayed,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella group of more than 75 mosques.

“They got a guy, a bona fide criminal, and obviously trained him and sent him to infiltrate mosques,” Syed said. “And when things went sour, they ditched him and he got mad. It’s like a soap opera, for God’s sake.”

FBI and Justice Department officials say that the Monteilh case is not representative of their relations with the Muslim community and that they continue to work closely with Muslims in investigating violence and other hate crimes against them. Officials also credit U.S. Muslims with reporting critical information in a variety of counterterrorism cases.

The bureau “relies on the support, cooperation and trust of the communities it serves and protects,” FBI spokesman Michael Kortan said, adding that agents conduct investigations “under well-defined investigative guidelines and the law, and in close coordination with the Department of Justice.”

Officials said they have gone to great lengths to maintain good relationships with Muslims, including meetings hosted by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Last week, FBI officials met to discuss law enforcement and other issues with predominantly Muslim Somali community members in San Diego and Minneapolis.

Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, declined to comment on Monteilh, citing Monteilh’s lawsuit. He said that in certain circumstances, if there is evidence of a crime, FBI agents may “conduct an activity that might somehow involve surveillance in and about a mosque.”

But he said the agency does not target people based on religion or ethnicity.

“I know there’s a lot of suspicion that that’s the focus, that we’re looking at the mosques, monitoring who is coming and going. That’s just not the case,” he said.

The ‘chameleon’

Monteilh’s career as an informant began in 2003. Like many other informants, he was familiar with the inside of a prison cell. He had just finished a sentence for forging bank notes when local police officers he met at a gym asked him to infiltrate drug gangs and white supremacist groups for a federal-state task force.

“It was very exciting,” Monteilh said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I had the ability to be a chameleon.”

Monteilh, who stands over 6 feet tall and weighs 260 pounds, had worked as a prison chaplain before he was incarcerated. Married with three children, the Los Angeles native said that after he became an informant, an FBI agent on the task force sought him out. Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about informants, said Monteilh was promoted from drug and bank robbery cases because his information was reliable and had led to convictions.

In early 2006, Monteilh said, he met with his FBI handler at a Starbucks.

“She asked if I wanted to infiltrate mosques,” he said. At a follow-up session at a doughnut shop, he said, his new handler told him that “Islam is a threat to our national security.”

“It was very exciting,” Monteilh said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I had the ability to be a chameleon.”

Monteilh, who stands over 6 feet tall and weighs 260 pounds, had worked as a prison chaplain before he was incarcerated. Married with three children, the Los Angeles native said that after he became an informant, an FBI agent on the task force sought him out. Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about informants, said Monteilh was promoted from drug and bank robbery cases because his information was reliable and had led to convictions.

In early 2006, Monteilh said, he met with his FBI handler at a Starbucks.

“She asked if I wanted to infiltrate mosques,” he said. At a follow-up session at a doughnut shop, he said, his new handler told him that “Islam is a threat to our national security.”

Monteilh said he was instructed to infiltrate mosques throughout Orange and two neighboring counties in Southern California, where the Muslim population of nearly 500,000 is the nation’s largest. He was told to target the Islamic Center of Irvine, he said, because it was near his home.

FBI tactics were already a sensitive issue at the Irvine mosque, a stucco, two-story building that draws as many as 2,000 people for Friday prayers. With tensions rising between law enforcement and Muslims over allegations of FBI surveillance, J. Stephen Tidwell, then head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, spoke at the mosque in June 2006.

“If we’re going to mosques to come to services, we will tell you,” he said, according to a video of his speech. “. . . The FBI will tell you we’re coming for the very reason that we don’t want you to think you’re being monitored. We would come only to learn.”

Two months later, in August 2006, Monteilh arrived at the same mosque. He had called earlier and met with the imam. That Friday, he took shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, before hundreds of worshipers.

Worshipers said that in Monteilh’s 10 months at the mosque, he became almost manic in his devotion, attending prayers five times a day and waiting in the parking lot before the 5 a.m. prayer. Monteilh said he was told by the FBI to take notes on who opened the mosque each day.

Worshipers said his Western clothes gave way to an Islamic robe, a white skullcap and sandals, an outfit Monteilh said was chosen by his handlers. As he grew closer to Muslims, he said, the FBI told him to date Muslim women if it gained him intelligence.

Worshipers noticed that Monteilh often left his keys around the mosque, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who speaks often at the mosque.

“It seemed strange to people,” Ayloush said.

Inside the car remote on the bundle of keys was a microphone that recorded Muslims at the mosque, in their homes and at a local gym. Monteilh, who told people he was a fitness trainer, used the gym to seek out Muslim men.

“We started hearing that he was saying weird things,” said Omar Kurdi, a Loyola Law School student who knew Monteilh from the mosque and gym. “He would walk up to one of my friends and say, ‘It’s good that you guys are getting ready for the jihad.”

Worshipers said Monteilh gravitated to Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, an Afghan-born Arabic-language instructor who was a regular at Friday prayers.

Read the rest of the story

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Of Urgent Concern To All Who Claim To Love Freedom of Speech!!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Bradley Manning Support Network Condemns Unjust Detainment of Activist

MEDIA:
Mike Gogulski, Steering Committee, Bradley Manning Support Network press@bradleymanning.org

Washington, DC, November 10, 2010 – Last week, David House, a developer working with the Bradley Manning Support Network, was detained and had his computer seized by the FBI when returning from a vacation in Mexico. He committed no crime, nor was he ever alleged to have committed a crime. He was questioned extensively about his support for alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has been imprisoned at Quantico for over 160 days.

This invasive search is of great concern to all Americans who value the Constitutionally-protected rights to free speech and free assembly. The campaign to free Bradley Manning – which has garnered the support of tens of thousands of individuals from across the United States and the world – is rooted in a belief that government transparency is key to a healthy democracy. Our network stands firm in support of alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning and has raised over $80,000 for his defense. If he is a source for documents published by WikiLeaks illuminating the campaign of disinformation about US foreign wars, then Manning deserves the gratitude of the entire nation.

House sent an email to the Network describing his detainment, saying that, “My computer, video camera, and flash drive were confiscated, leaving me in a tough spot in terms of research obligations; the reason for the seizure, said the officials, was ‘border search.'”

The FBI denied House’s requests to have a copy of his research data. This seems to be part of a disturbing trend of intimidation and property seizure being carried out against activists critical of US policies, including the detainment and laptop seizure of activist Jacob Applebaum in July and the September 24th FBI raids against antiwar and social justice activists.

House has not been charged with a crime.

“I try to be as even-handed as possible, but based on the subject of the search I can’t help but feel that this constitutes a form of intimidation,” wrote House in an email to the Network, “I feel as though the DHS has turned to harassing the friends and supporters of Bradley Manning in a potential attempt to disrupt our abilities to run a legal defense network.”

The Bradley Manning Support Network denounces this recent attempt by the FBI to intimidate its supporters. Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime, and neither is standing up for Bradley Manning.

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I Love This!

Bank encourages second amendment

By ARTHUR HAHN/Managing Editor

Published:  

Thursday, August 19, 2010 11:59 AM CDT

CHAPPELL HILL — Any would-be robbers looking to walk into the bank here had best think twice.

There’s a new sign in town.

About a month ago, Chappell Hill Bank president Edward Smith looked at a sign on the front door prohibiting concealed weapons from his business and decided to make a policy change.

Licensed to carry a handgun? Come on in, and bring your weapon.

*

The sign, now prominently displayed on the bank’s front door, says, “Lawful concealed carry permitted on these premises. Management recognizes the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as an inalienable right of all citizens. We therefore support and encourage the carrying of licensed concealed weapons.”

Smith said he made the policy change to send a warning to potential robbers, and also to express support to Americans’ right to bear arms.

“We had the sign on the window, the red circle with the pistol inside and a line through it. And I started thinking, ‘We’ve got this no gun sign up and the guy (robber) can come in and do what he wants.

“But if you’ve got a policy allowing handguns, he won’t know how many people are going to be in here carrying a concealed weapon. There may be some little old lady who’s mad at the government, and she’d love to use it,” he said.

The bank has been robbed twice in the last three years, including last March when a Western-attired man walked in, ordered bank employees to fill a canvas bag with money and then fled in a pickup truck. The man, who did not brandish a weapon, has not been caught.

The sign has made Chappell Hill Bank and Smith somewhat of an Internet sensation.

A photo of the sign has made its way around the world, and Smith has even been interviewed for the National Rifle Association’s radio network (http://www.nranews.com/#/nranews). He’s also been contacted by other media outlets wanting to do stories.

“It’s kind of gotten a life of its own,” he said.

Expressions of support have far outnumbered criticism.

Smith been contacted by officials from larger banks considering to take similar action, and has received e-mails in support from across the United States and even from England, Canada and Germany.

“I haven’t gotten any from Chicago or California, which doesn’t surprise me,” Smith said with a laugh. “We did get a real nice e-mail from an 88-year-old World War II veteran who said it’s about time somebody stood up in this country.”

The NRA has even invited him to speak at an upcoming convention, but Smith said, “I’m still deciding on that.”

Smith said he’s only received one negative e-mail, from an anonymous sender.

The policy change has also brought Chappell Hill Bank a handful of new customers and comments from people outside Washington County that they’d bank there if they lived here, said Smith.

“I tell them that we’re a full-service bank and we’re on the Internet. They can bank online,” he said.

 

Thank you Wayne for bringing this article to my attention


Birth of the National Security State

From: http://www.campaignforliberty.com/article.php?view=1138

By Philip

Published10/04/10


Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served 19 years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was Chief of Base in Barcelona from 1989 to 1992, was designated as senior Agency officer for support at the Olympic Games, and served as official liaison to the Spanish Security and Intelligence services. He has been designated by the General Accountability Office as an expert on the impact of illegal immigration on terrorism.

Phil Giraldi is now the Francis Walsingham Fellow at The American Conservative Defense Alliance and provides security consulting for a number of Fortune 500 corporate clients. As a counter-terrorism expert, he has assisted multinational corporations in the upgrade of their security at overseas sites to help them comply with the Patriot Act. He was one of the first American civilians to travel to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, was brought in for consultation by the Port Authority of the City of New York in its planning, has assisted the United Nations security organization, and has helped develop a security training program for the United States Merchant Marine. He has written op-ed pieces for the Hearst Newspaper chain, is a columnist for AntiWar.com, and a contributing editor to American Conservative magazine. His media appearances include Good Morning America, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, FOX News, Polish National Television, al-Jazeera, and 60 Minutes. Phil was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European, and speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish.

It is not far fetched to speculate that the United States has, over the past ten years, been sliding into a form of authoritarianism that retains only some aspects of the constitution and a limited rule of law. America’s president can, for example, commit soldiers to combat overseas without a constitutionally mandated declaration of war by congress while it is quite possible to be detained by the authorities and locked up without any prospect of trial or opportunity to defend oneself. The government even believes it can kill American citizens based only on suspicion. I prefer to think of this transformation as the National Security State because it rests on a popular consensus that liberties must be sacrificed in exchange for greater public safety from various threats, international terrorism being the most prominent. It might just as well be called the National Warfare State as it also requires constant conflict to justify its existence.

Three elements are necessary for the creation of a National Security State. First, there must be a narrative that can be sold to the public justifying the transformation. Second, a system of laws and regulations must be created that enable the state to act with impunity and also to protect the government from challenges to its authority. Third, technology must be harnessed to enable the state to surreptitiously monitor and control the activities of its citizens. All of these elements have fallen into place over the past decade.

A recent example of abuse of authority by the government demonstrates how several of the key elements can come together. On September 24th, the Obama Administration declared that it would ask a federal court to block a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in opposition to the government’s contention that it has the authority to assassinate American citizens overseas if they are suspected of involvement with a terrorist group. The White House has invoked the state secrets privilege, contending that vital national interests would be betrayed if the case were to proceed and further that the president has the authority to target anyone for death in time of war. The state secrets privilege is the ultimate weapon to avoid exposure of government wrongdoing. It has been used frequently by the Obama administration in spite of Obama-the-candidate’s pledge that he would run an open and accountable government.

The ACLU case focused on the one US citizen known to be on the administration’s assassination list, Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Now, by all accounts al-Awlaki is an unsavory character, involved with at least one extremist group in Yemen, but the evidence that he is an actual terrorist or that he has been closely involved with plotting terrorist attacks has not been made public. At this point, he appears to have been condemned to death without any due process and without any opportunity to defend himself. The Obama Administration abuse of the state secrets privilege in this case is little more than justifying the practice of extrajudicial murder at the whim of a government bureaucrat. It also assumes that the whole world is a battlefield without any declaration of war by congress. If all of that is so, al-Awlaki can be killed and so can any other American for any reason or no reason.

State secrets is only one weapon in the arsenal employed by the government to create a framework of regulation that permits the government to act with impunity. The Military Commission Act, which candidate Obama vowed to let expire, was renewed in 2009 with virtually no changes. Under the MCA, someone can be imprisoned indefinitely on suspicion that he or she has provided material support to terrorism. Material support is not defined and can be interpreted to mean nearly anything. If accused, right to a trial by peers does not apply as the detainee is subject to a military tribunal and habeas corpus is null and void. And how does the government determine if someone is a “terrorism supporter?” Through evidence derived from Patriot Act authorized National Security Letters, which the FBI can obtain without any judicial process whatsoever to look into the private lives of each and every citizen. Nearly 25,000 National Security Letters were issued in 2008 alone. When someone receives a letter demanding that information be provided to the authorities it is a felony to reveal to the subject of the investigation that he or she is being looked at.

The second key element in the National Security State is the media depiction of a threat that makes the public fearful and willing to sacrifice rights in exchange for security. This effort is aided and abetted by the government, which is the principal cheerleader for the fear mongering. In the al-Awlaki case the media obediently depicts the man as a terrorist, never challenging the established narrative so it makes it easier for the public to accept that he should be killed for reasons of public safety. Another recent initiative of the same sort is the narrative that there are numerous American Muslims who have been radicalized and might carry out terrorist acts. One might reasonably note that as there are possibly ten million Muslims in the US if that were true there would be hundreds of incidents occurring annually, possibly one or two a day. Where are they? Yet the government suggests that there is an “emerging” threat and the media buys into it hook line and sinker. The public is again scared into supporting the National Security State.

Finally, there is the technical ability to look into the private lives of each and every citizen, which is increasing exponentially as the technology is refined. The federal government is currently seeking legislation to enable it to monitor internet, blackberries, and social networking sites. The centers of most American citizens are criss-crossed by surveillance cameras, while “traffic control” cameras record automobile information, and cell phone and internet providers maintain complete records on calls and emails for up to a year. These are records that the government can access through the National Security Letters, without any judicial review. Cell phone system monitors are able to locate anyone with a phone turned on within a distance of three feet and whenever a call is made the location is recorded. This means if you attend an anti-war rally your participation might wind up in a security file. Much of this and other information is collected into data bases, together with public record material like driving license information, credit reports, and details of criminal and civil litigation. How much of the information is actually retained is anyone’s guess, but it is safe to assume that it is all kept for some time and that government computers can retrieve it at will.

Having lived in Europe, I know that most of these intrusive technologies first appeared on that continent, where people accept a high level of state control, only to be picked up subsequently in the US. The British government is currently introducing legislation proposing that all wage and salary earners have their paychecks sent directly to the tax agencies for processing. The government’s stated intention is to make sure that taxes are being collected, but Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs service computers would also be alert to possible money laundering and terrorist connections, raising the fear level to justify the action. After processing, the British government would then pass whatever money remains on to the person who actually earned it. Scary, but it is perhaps something that will also be proposed in the US by a Joe Lieberman, John McCain or Lindsey Graham, all of whom have used fear of terrorism to justify curtailment of civil liberties and intrusion into areas once regarded as private. Or even by Barack Obama, who appears to believe that a benign big government provides a solution to whatever ails you and is already moving towards monitoring all financial transactions.

The only answer to the National Security State a demand on the part of US citizens to return to constitutionalism and a rule of law. The government should not be empowered to kill citizens extrajudicially, start wars of choice, detain suspects indefinitely and without charges, use state secrets claims to avoid scrutiny, and obtain private information without a warrant. It is difficult to imagine a return to normalcy under the best of circumstances, but congress is complicit in the process and will do nothing. Genuine change will only come about when we the people insist on it.


Copyright © 2010 Campaign for Liberty


It Is Official: The US Is a Police State

by Paul Craig Roberts

Recently by Paul Craig Roberts: The True Cost of the War

On September 24, Jason Ditz reported on Antiwar.com that “the FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of raids against the homes of antiwar activists in Illinois, Minneapolis, Michigan, and North Carolina, claiming that they are ‘seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.’”

Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: “The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that – the old view.” The new view, Napolitano said, is “to counter violent extremism right here at home.”

“Violent extremism” is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning’s FBI’s foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with “the material support of terrorism,” just as conservatives equated Vietnam era anti-war protesters with giving material support to communism.

Anti-war activist Mick Kelly whose home was raided, sees the FBI raids as harassment to intimidate those who organize war protests. I wonder if Kelly is underestimating the threat. The FBI’s own words clearly indicate that the federal police agency and the judges who signed the warrants do not regard antiwar protesters as Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, but as unpatriotic elements offering material support to terrorism.

“Material support” is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government’s lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government’s declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason.

As this initial FBI foray is a softening up move to get the public accustomed to the idea that the real terrorists are their fellow citizens here at home, Kelly will get off this time. But next time the FBI will find emails on his computer from a “terrorist group” set up by the CIA that will incriminate him. Under the practices put in place by the Bush and Obama regimes, and approved by corrupt federal judges, protesters who have been compromised by fake terrorist groups can be declared “enemy combatants” and sent off to Egypt, Poland, or some other corrupt American puppet state – Canada perhaps – to be tortured until confession is forthcoming that antiwar protesters and, indeed, every critic of the US government, are on Osama bin Laden’s payroll.

Almost every Republican and conservative and, indeed, the majority of Americans will fall for this, only to find, later, that it is subversive to complain that their Social Security was cut in the interest of the war against Iran or some other demonized entity, or that they couldn’t have a Medicare operation because the wars in Central Asia and South America required the money.

Americans are the most gullible people who ever existed. They tend to support the government instead of the Constitution, and almost every Republican and conservative regards civil liberty as a coddling device that encourages criminals and terrorists.

The US media, highly concentrated in violation of the American principle of a diverse and independent media, will lend its support to the witch hunts that will close down all protests and independent thought in the US over the next few years. As the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels said, “think of the press as a great keyboard on which the Government can play.”

An American Police State was inevitable once Americans let “their” government get away with 9/11. Americans are too gullible, too uneducated, and too jingoistic to remain a free people. As another Nazi leader Herman Goering said, “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. Tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace-makers for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger.”

This is precisely what the Bush and Obama regimes have done. America, as people of my generation knew it, no longer exists.

September 25, 2010

Paul Craig Roberts [send him mail], a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, has been reporting shocking cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. A new edition of his book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, has been released by Random House.

Copyright © 2010 Paul Craig Roberts

The Best of Paul Craig Roberts

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