Guidelines Released Amid Protest from Congress, Privacy Groups and American Public
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/3/2008
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or email@example.com
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Washington, DC — New FBI guidelines governing investigations were released today after being signed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey. The American Civil Liberties Union quickly blasted the Department of Justice and FBI for ignoring calls for more stringent protections of Americans’ rights. The guidelines replace existing bureau guidelines for five types of investigations: general criminal, national security, foreign intelligence, civil disorders and demonstrations. The ACLU has been vocal in its disapproval of the overly broad guidelines, citing both the FBI’s and DOJ’s documented records of internal abuse.
The new guidelines reduce standards for beginning “assessments” (precursors to investigations), conducting surveillance and gathering evidence, meaning the threshold to beginning investigations across the board will be lowered. More troubling still, the guidelines allow a person’s race or ethnic background to be used as a factor in opening an investigation, a move the ACLU believes may institute racial profiling as a matter of policy.
“The attorney general today gave the FBI a blank check to open investigations of innocent Americans based on no meaningful suspicion of wrongdoing,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “The new guidelines provide no safeguards against the FBI’s improperly using race and religion as grounds for suspicion. They also fail to sufficiently prevent the government from infiltrating groups whose viewpoints it doesn’t like. The FBI has shown time and… Continue reading
Interview with Naomi Wolf author of “Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries” given October 4, 2008 on Mind Over Matters, KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle.
10/5/08: CNN reports on the October 1st assignment of active duty army within US. Note this sentence: “The U.S. military ‘is not a Swiss Army knife,’ ready to fight the Taliban one week, respond to a hurricane the next and put down a major political protest the third week…” (emphasis added).
Excuse me? ‘Putting down’ political protest is now what our Army has been assigned to do? But, wait — I thought this was America… ?
Thursday, 27 May 2004 Column: Catherine Austin Fitts
America’s Black Budget & the Manipulation of Mortgage & Financial Markets
Investors benefit from understanding the federal budget, credit policies and covert intervention that drive markets — often overriding fundamental economics. How has the US governmental apparatus become so powerful in the marketplace and what does it mean to the health of our economy? How unstable is the mortgage bubble and where are the opportunities for investors if the bubble bursts?
For providing us with a transcript of the show, special thanks to one of Jim Puplava’s Financial Sense NewsHour listener, Glenn Assheton-Smith, and his fellow investors at the http://www.siliconinvestor.com forums:
Epic American Credit and Bond Bubble Laboratory Forum http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/subject.gsp?subjectid=54034
Ride the Tiger with CD Forum http://www.siliconinvestor.com/stocktalk/subject.gsp?subjectid=54430
Catherine, we’ve seen a lot of information and a lot of concern on Wall St. about the Mortgage markets. We’ve seen consumers take on more debt when it comes to taking on bigger mortgages, refinance. But this story gets much bigger than just the credit itself.
CA: Sure. Where would you like to start?
JP: (Laughter) Well, let’s talk about black budgets and how the manipulation takes place in the mortgage and financial markets.
CA: OK. Let me start off with a story. When I became Assistant… Continue reading
Of course, this is that same Posse Comitatus Act that the Department of
Father Homeland Security now calls a “myth.” In an October 2000 article, “The Myth of Posse Comitatus,” Major Craig T. Trebilcock, U.S. Army Reserve, states:
“Through a gradual erosion of the act’s prohibitions over the past 20 years, posse comitatus today is more of a procedural formality than an actual impediment to the use of U.S. military forces in homeland defense.”
I say my country “was” dedicated … we were dedicated to prohibiting military occupation within America until 2006, when the John Warner Defense Authorization Act ( HR5122 ) was signed into law (specifically, see Section 1076, titled “Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies” pretty much threw out the Posse Comitatus Act altogether.
But in January 2008, it appears posse comitatus was somewhat restored through an amendment to H.R. 4986 : National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
Section 1068 – Revises federal provisions concerning the use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies to discontinue the executive authority to deploy active and reserve personnel during domestic response incidents. Repeals the authority of the President to direct the Secretary to provide supplies, services, and equipment to persons affected by major public emergencies.
Naturally, the President issued a signing statement when he signed the bill, indicating he will “construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.” Of course, this means he’ll interpret and carry out this Act… Continue reading
by John Byrne
September 23, 2008
It certainly pays to be Treasury Secretary if your former firm is a brokerage
house, a new study says.
Goldman Sachs Group — formerly run by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and
Morgan Stanley, stand to be among the biggest beneficiaries of a $700 billion
"Its benefits, in its current form, will be largely limited to investment
banks and other banks that have aggressively written down the value of their
holdings and have already recognized the attendant capital impairment,"
Jeffrey Rosenberg, Bank of America’s head of credit strategy research, wrote
in a report obtained by Bloomberg News yesterday.
Paulson was the head of Goldman Sach’s investment banking division from 1990
to 1994. He later became chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman, and
left his post to join the Bush Administration.
According to the study, the bailout benefits Paulson’s former firm more because
banks haven’t had to write down as many troubled mortage assets under accounting
rules. This means that participating in the program would cause them to actually
lose capital, as opposed to investment banks, which stand to gain.
Paulson $700 billion program is designed to remove "bad assets" from
the US financial markets to prevent credit for businesses from drying up, which
would send the economy into a further tailspin. Many businesses rely on credit
to fund their daily operations.
Lawmakers are debating the plan today.
"While Goldman and Morgan Stanley, both based in New York, were yesterday
granted permission… Continue reading
New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.
By LARA JAKES JORDAN
Associated Press Writer
New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.
Skeptical Democrats clashed with Mueller, who told the House Judiciary Committee
that FBI agents would no longer need solid evidence or allegations of wrongdoing
to spy on Americans even before opening investigations. Democrats also expressed
doubts that the Justice Department and FBI would protect civil liberties and
privacy rights after years of previous abuses and stymied congressional oversight.
During nearly two hours of testimony, Mueller described the tentative rules
– known as the attorney general’s guidelines – as a proactive way to prevent
The new rules would ensure that suspicious behavior is investigated, Mueller
said, citing a July 2001 memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix who noted a rising
trend of Middle Eastern men taking flight lessons. The agent’s warning was ignored,
and the 9/11 Commission later said it could have served as a clue to al-Qaida’s
“It is that kind of threat and identification of a very suspicious circumstance
that would warrant further investigation,” Mueller said. Additionally,
he said current guidelines make it “very difficult” for agents to
look into people believed to be traveling to terror hotspots, such as training
camps in Pakistan.…
by Peter Dale Scott
September 5, 2008
Though few Americans realize it, Cheney and Rumsfeld worked through the 1980s and 1990s on emergency nuclear-response plans which allegedly suspended the American Constitution and also Congress.1 (Through these decades Rumsfeld was CEO of a major pharmaceutical firm, and in the later 1990s Cheney was CEO of Halliburton; but their private status did not deter them from continuing to exercise a supra-constitutional planning power conferred on them by Ronald Reagan.)
Even fewer Americans know that these rules, originally dealing with a nuclear attack on America, were extended by Reagan Executive Order 12656 to cover “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.”2 And few Americans realize that at least some of these rules, known technically as Continuity of Government (COG) rules, were invoked before 10:00 AM on September 11, 2001.3
As he did in 2007, President Bush has again, on August 28, 2008, continued for another year the national emergency first officially proclaimed on September 14, 2001, along with “the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency”:
Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks
Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New… Continue reading
By Liliana Segura
September 2, 2008
After five years in legal limbo, the Palestinian university professor falsely
accused of terrorism is free, but faces contempt charges.
Breaking, from ABC News.
Former professor Sami Al-Arian, who was once charged by the U.S. government
with being a top Palestinian terrorist, has been released from custody for the
first time in more than five years.
Immigration authorities released Al-Arian to the custody of his daughter,
just hours before a federal judge had ordered the agency to explain Al-Arian’s
Al-Arian, who once taught computer science at the University of South Florida,
has been in the custody of either federal marshals or immigration authorities
since February 2003, when federal prosecutors charged him with being a leader
of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
His trial on those charges resulted in an acquittal on some counts and a hung
jury on others. He eventually struck a plea bargain admitting to lesser charges.
He currently faces contempt of court charges in federal court in Virginia
for failing to testify to a grand jury. Prosecutors strongly opposed his release
while he awaits trial.
Read more about the government’s persecution against Al-Arian here.
Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet’s Rights and Liberties
and War on Iraq Special Coverage.
Here are a few snippets from Greenwald’s post. Please go to his blog to read the entire thing, with excellent links and videos.
Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff’s department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than “fire code violations,” and early this morning, the Sheriff’s department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.
There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention. The DNC in Denver was the site of several quite ugly incidents where law enforcement acted on behalf of Democratic Party officials and the corporate elite that funded the Convention to keep the media and protesters from doing anything remotely off-script. But the massive and plainly excessive preemptive police raids in Minnesota are of a different order altogether. Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.…Continue reading
August 30, 2008
by John Byrne
As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President
Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring
that America remains in a state of permanent war.
Buried in a recent proposal by the Administration is a sentence that has received
scant attention — and was buried itself in the very newspaper that exposed
it Saturday. It is an affirmation that the United States remains at war with
al Qaeda, the Taliban and "associated organizations."
Part of a proposal for Guantánamo Bay legal detainees, the provision before
Congress seeks to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains
engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations,
who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated
to the slaughter of Americans.”
The New York Times‘ page 8 placement of the article in its Saturday
edition seems to downplay its importance. Such a re-affirmation of war carries
broad legal implications that could imperil Americans’ civil liberties and the
rights of foreign nationals for decades to come.
It was under the guise of war that President Bush claimed a legal mandate for
his warrantless wiretapping program, giving the National Security Agency power
to intercept calls Americans made abroad. More of this program has emerged in
recent years, and it includes the surveillance of Americans’ information and
"War powers" have also given President Bush cover to hold… Continue reading
August 8, 2008
Assuming the federal government has, after almost seven years, finally identified
the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks in 2001–admittedly a generous assumption
given that for most of those years, it pursued, hounded, embarrassed, and ruined
the career of the wrong man–larger dangers remain. As is normally the
case with issues surrounding terrorism, the average citizen will probably be
shocked to learn that their government is often a bigger threat than the terrorists.
Remember the CIA’s creation of the 9/11 threat by supporting the most
radical Islamist groups fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s
and then the U.S. government’s provocation of terrorist attacks from those
same militants by its non-Islamic military presence in Islamic Persian Gulf
countries in the 1990s, which had continued unnecessarily subsequent to the
first Gulf War.
Similarly, in the case of bioterrorism, the threat from the government is greater
than from foreign groups such as al Qaeda. Although U.S. intelligence has created
fear among the U.S. public by saying that al Qaeda has made efforts to obtain
biological weapons, the capabilities of small terrorist groups to make, handle,
weaponize, and disperse biological agents is very limited. Even Aum Shinrikyo,
a well-funded Japanese terrorist group that hired Ph.D. scientists, could not
successfully carry out a biological weapons attack. (Even their chemical attacks,
which are technologically easier to accomplish, were ham-handed and did not
result in mass deaths.) The sophisticated weaponization and dispersion of biological
agents are difficult for technologically… Continue reading
by Robert Parry
August 7, 2008
The U.S. military commission’s split guilty verdict on Ahmed Hamdan,
a former driver for Osama bin Laden, has drawn praise from the Bush administration
and criticism from civil rights groups, but what has been overlooked is the
chilling message that “the Hamdan principle” sends about future
prosecutions in the “war on terror.”
This new principle holds that anyone — regardless of how tangential a
connection to actual acts of terrorism — can be prosecuted through the
kangaroo court of the military commissions and be sentenced to a long prison
term (or even death). Though Hamdan is a Yemeni, the principle would seem to
apply to U.S citizens, too.
In effect, a parallel legal system has been created outside the U.S. Constitution
in which the President can order someone locked up indefinitely simply by calling
the person an “enemy combatant” and then subjecting the person to
what amounts to a “star chamber” proceeding that permits use of
secret evidence and coerced testimony.
Though some legal experts insist these special courts don’t apply to
U.S. citizens, the language of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and a recent
federal court ruling make clear that President George W. Bush’s asserted
wartime power to order indefinite detentions covers citizens and non-citizens.
In July, the conservative-dominated U.S. Appeals Court in Richmond, Virginia,
opened the door for Bush or a successor to throw American citizens as well as
non-citizens into a legal black hole by designating them “enemy… Continue reading
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
In a dramatic confluence of events today, two kangaroo courts announced their
pre-determined guilty verdicts.
In the first, 6 "military jurors" hand-picked by the Pentagon for
their loyalty to the U.S. government and its views, convicted Bin Laden’s alleged
driver, Salim Hamdan, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional
to try Gitmo detainees before a military tribunal, the former chief Gitmo prosecutor
said the trials were unfair and rigged, and even though Hamdan was unlawfully
The entire case for the "war on terror" has fallen apart, with a
advisor to the U.S. military confirming that the war on terror is a hoax because
there is no battlefield solution to terrorism" and the case for the
Iraq war being laid bare as a forgery
and a sham
(and the government’s whitewash of 9/11 being understood by many Americans).
The government needed a conviction against someone in Arab clothing
so that it could pretend that the multi-trillion dollar, economy-busting, war
crime-based war in the Middle East was justified.
In the second, Dr. Bruce Ivins has been convicted
by the FBI as being the anthrax killer without
any persuasive evidence. After falsely
accusing 2 other scientists as being the anthrax killer, and only weeks
after being forced to pay $6 million dollars to one of the scientists for such
false accusations, the FBI decided that it had to pin it on somebody.
So they launched a campaign… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
August 5, 2008
In last weekend’s edition of CounterPunch,
Alexander Cockburn updates the ongoing persecution of Sami Al-Arian by federal
prosecutors. Al-Arian was a Florida university professor of computer science
who was ensnared by the Bush Regime’s need to produce “terrorists”
in order to keep Americans fearful and, thereby, amenable to the Bush Regime’s
assault on US civil liberties.
The charges against Al-Arian were rejected by a jury, but the Bush Regime could
not accept the obvious defeat. If Al-Arian was not a terrorist, then other of
the Bush Regime’s fabricated cases might fall apart, too.
In open view, the US Department of Justice (sic) proceeded to trash every known
ethical rule of prosecution. I don’t need to repeat the facts, as they
are covered by Cockburn’s articles and in The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
Instead, I want to point out another meaning of the Al-Arian case. The Justice
(sic) Department itself knows that it is persecuting a totally innocent person
for reasons of a political agenda–the need to convince gullible Americans of
an ongoing terrorist threat. The existence of this threat is used to justify
the Bush Regime’s adoption of police state measures, such as spying on
Americans without warrants, arresting them without charges, and refusing to
let go of them when they are cleared by juries.
Sami Al-Arian is a fabricated terrorist created by federal prosecutors and
judges in behalf of an undeclared agenda. The Al-Arian case proves that terrorists
are in short… Continue reading
By Naomi Wolf
August 1, 2008
Is it possible to fall out of love with your own country? For two years, I,
like many Americans, have been focused intently on documenting, exposing, and
alerting the nation to the Bush administration’s criminality and its assault
on the Constitution and the rule of law — a story often marginalized at
home. I was certain that when Americans knew what was being done in their name,
they would react with horror and outrage.
Three months ago, the Bush administration still clung to its devil’s
sound bite, “We don’t torture.” Now, Doctors Without Borders
has issued its report documenting American-held detainees’ traumas, and
even lie detector tests confirm they have been tortured. The Red Cross report
has leaked: torture and war crimes. Jane Mayer’s impeccably researched
exposé “The Dark Side” just hit the stores: torture, crafted
and directed from the top.
The Washington Post gave readers actual video footage of the abusive interrogation
of a Canadian minor, Omar Khadr, who was seen showing his still-bleeding abdominal
wounds, weeping and pleading with his captors.
So the truth is out and freely available. And America is still napping, worrying
about its weight, and hanging out at the mall.
I had thought that after so much exposure, thousands of Americans would be
holding vigils on Capitol Hill, that religious leaders would be asking God’s
forgiveness, and that a popular groundswell of revulsion, similar to the nineteenth-century
anti-slavery movement, would emerge. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if torture
is… Continue reading
Tuesday July 22, 2008
Guantánamo BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The judge in the first American war crimes
trial since World War II barred evidence on Monday that interrogators obtained
from Osama bin Laden’s driver following his capture in Afghanistan.
Prosecutors are considering whether to appeal the judge’s ruling — a
development that could halt the trial of Salim Hamdan that began earlier Monday
after years of delays and legal setbacks.
"We need to evaluate … to what extent it has an impact on our ability
to fully portray his criminality in this case, but also what it might set out
for future cases," said Army Col. Lawrence Morris, the tribunals’ chief
Hamdan, who was captured at a roadblock in Afghanistan in November 2001, pleaded
not guilty at the start of a trial that will be closely watched as the first
full test of the Pentagon’s system for prosecuting alleged terrorists. He faces
a maximum life sentence if convicted of conspiracy and aiding terrorism.
The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said the prosecution cannot use a series
of interrogations at the Bagram air base and Panshir, Afghanistan, because of
the "highly coercive environments and conditions under which they were
At Bagram, Hamdan says he was kept in isolation 24 hours a day with his hands
and feet restrained, and armed soldiers prompted him to talk by kneeing him
in the back. He says his captors at Panshir repeatedly tied him up, put a bag
over his… Continue reading
Israel Planning a September/October Surprise?
By Ray McGovern
International Clearing House — You say you expected more rhetoric than reality from Senators Obama and McCain yesterday in their speeches on Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, that’s certainly what you got.
What I find nonetheless amazing is how they, and the pundits, have taken such little notice of the dramatic change in the political landscape occasioned by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s bombshell on July 7 — his insistence on a “timetable” for withdrawal of US troops before any accord is reached on their staying past the turn of the year.
Responding to a question at his press conference yesterday, President George W. Bush showed that he was vaguely aware that the timetable is, as Robert Dreyfuss says (in Truthout, July 7), a “big deal.” Bush even alluded haltingly to the possibility of extending the UN mandate still further.
But it is far from clear that Maliki, who is under great domestic pressure, would be able to sell that to the various factions upon which he depends for support, much less to those which he must keep at bay. As Dreyfuss points out, Maliki and his Shiite allies are also under considerable pressure from Iran, which remains the chief ally of the ruling alliance of Shiites. Most important, Maliki is by no means in control of what happens next.
Here’s where it gets sticky. No one who knows about third rails in US politics would expect the candidates or the fawning corporate media (FCM) to address how those now running Israel are likely to be looking at the implications of a large US troop withdrawal from Iraq next year.…Continue reading