Posted on Oct 29, 2007
By Chris Hedges
A Dallas jury, a week ago, caused a mistrial in the government case against this country’s largest Islamic charity. The action raises a defiant fist on the sinking ship of American democracy.
If we lived in a state where due process and the rule of law could curb the despotism of the Bush administration, this mistrial might be counted a victory. But we do not. The jury may have rejected the federal government’s claim that the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development funneled millions of dollars to Middle Eastern terrorists. It may have acquitted Mohammad el-Mezain, the former chairman of the foundation, of virtually all criminal charges related to funding terrorism (the jury deadlocked on one of the 32 charges against el-Mezain), and it may have deadlocked on the charges that had been lodged against four other former leaders of the charity, but don’t be fooled. This mistrial will do nothing to impede the administration’s ongoing contempt for the rule of law. It will do nothing to stop the curtailment of our civil liberties and rights. The grim march toward a police state continues.
Constitutional rights are minor inconveniences, noisome chatter, flies to be batted away on the steady road to despotism. And no one, not the courts, not the press, not the gutless Democratic opposition, not a compliant and passive citizenry hypnotized by tawdry television spectacles and celebrity gossip, seems capable of stopping the process. Those in power know this.… Continue reading
UPDATE: Since this article was written, H.R. 1955 was passed in the House, by a vote of 404-3. Roll call posted at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll993.xml
October 25, 2007
By Col. Dan Smith
Congresswoman Jane Harman has introduced legislation–H.R. 1955: “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism”–that is expected to be referred to the House Rules Committee for assignment of floor time for debate by the House. This is a bill that is unneeded, unwise, and unfortunately will pass and be signed into law as it purports to be part of the response to 9/11 and the global war on terror.
At base, Harman’s proposal seems to be a direct attack on First Amendment rights. No where is this more clear than in the third introductory paragraph (the “where as” section) that provides the context for the action desired. Specifically, this legislation aims at the unregulated nature of the Internet:
“The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.”
Moreover, Harman is telling the American public, citizens and permanent residents, that they are too dumb to recognize hate speech, demonizing rhetoric, and propaganda, and are so morally immature that they are not capable of knowing when to “blow off” terrorists and their messages designed to incite large scale insurrection
One also gets the impression that Harman believes that terrorist criminality has become so wide and the number of people… Continue reading
NY Times Op-Ed Contributor
By STUDS TERKEL
Published: October 29, 2007
EARLIER this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the White House agreed
to allow the executive branch to conduct dragnet interceptions of the electronic
communications of people in the United States. They also agreed to “immunize”
American telephone companies from lawsuits charging that after 9/11 some companies
collaborated with the government to violate the Constitution and existing federal
law. I am a plaintiff in one of those lawsuits, and I hope Congress thinks carefully
before denying me, and millions of other Americans, our day in court.
During my lifetime, there has been a sea change in the way that politically
active Americans view their relationship with government. In 1920, during my
youth, I recall the Palmer raids in which more than 10,000 people were rounded
up, most because they were members of particular labor unions or belonged to
groups that advocated change in American domestic or foreign policy. Unrestrained
surveillance was used to further the investigations leading to these detentions,
and the Bureau of Investigation — the forerunner to the F.B.I. —
eventually created a database on the activities of individuals. This activity
continued through the Red Scare of the period.
In the 1950s, during the sad period known as the McCarthy era, one’s
political beliefs again served as a rationale for government monitoring. Individual
corporations and entire industries were coerced by government leaders into informing
on individuals and barring their ability to earn a living.
I was among… Continue reading
The Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Retroactive immunity for telecom companies who engaged in illegal spying at the behest of the NSA is at the heart of a bill currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, even before having been officially introduced, is being hotly debated by bloggers, electronic privacy groups, and civil libertarians, as well as presidential contenders (CT Senator Chris Dodd has actually posted a petition at his election website, encouraging readers to support his threatened “hold” on the bill). We should compare the issues involved here with the retroactive immunity provided CIA interrogators in the September, 2006 Military Commissions Act, who could otherwise have been accused of war crimes.
Below, we direct readers to an important series of programs from PBS’ Frontline to help readers investigate the background of this issue, and a deeper consideration of some of what’s at stake in continually ceding power to a rogue Executive bent on dissolving the few civil liberties which currently remain untouched.
Lest readers be swayed by the Administration’s repeated argument that “9/11 makes this necessary,” the Rocky Mountain News reported (emphasis added) on October 11, 2007 that this spying was underway well before 9/11/01:
… Continue reading
“The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.
by Mitch Albom
Free Press Columnist
October 21, 2007
This should make you angrier than you have been over almost anything since
Sept. 11 — and that includes the war in Iraq.
A recent report showed that 75% of fake bombs or bomb parts got past Transportation
Security Administration security at Los Angeles International Airport and 60%
got past TSA screeners at Chicago’s O’Hare.
Those are two of the busiest airports in the world. Those are two of the juiciest
targets a terrorist could desire.
Seventy-five percent? Three out of four times? We are constantly hearing the
tired and misguided phrase “fight ‘em over there so we don’t have to fight
They needn’t bother with us over there. With a 75% chance of success, why would
they go anywhere BUT here?
The heart of the matter
Now, the reason this news should have you outraged — and more importantly,
why our president and his national security team should be outraged — is this
failure draws a straight line to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and that
field in Pennsylvania six years ago.
Unlike Iraq, which had nothing to do with the actual explosions of Sept. 11,
airport security was at the heart of that tragedy. Tighter security, from passenger
identity to spotting box cutters, could have thwarted that day.
Can you imagine how our lives would be different if those 19 hijackers had
been stopped? Think about every security issue you now face in daily life, think
about the economic drain on this nation, think about the war, the lives lost,
the political hate, and all of it goes back to how those men got on those planes.…
‘A Coup Has Occurred’
By Daniel Ellsberg
September 26, 2007 (Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007)
Consortium Editor’s Note: Daniel Ellsberg, the former
Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of
the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming war with Iran and the loss
of liberty in the United States at an American University symposium on Sept.
Below is an edited transcript of Ellsberg’s remarkable speech:
I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which
I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here
that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.
If there’s another 9/11 under this regime … it means that they
switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently
constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and
accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth.
Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? …
They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not.
But if they’re not now they will be after another 9/11.
And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran,
you will then see an increased attack on Iran — an escalation —
which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country,
including… Continue reading
Astute readers have brought some virtual outrage to our attention in the last few days, which we’re passing on here, in hopes it will be of help to you in making decisions about virtual privacy and safety, and as yet more evidence that the practice of censoring ‘inconvenient’ truth is alive and well right here in the good ol’ USofA. These readers reported that an internet search for 911truth.org, using Google’s search engine, no longer finds 911truth.org in the results!
Intrepid researchers that we are, we tried this for ourselves and, indeed, they’re right! Go ahead…try it. Enter “911truth.org” in a Google search bar and you’ll find, currently, the first entry in response is some unheard of site based in the country Nauru. (Nauru?, we asked ourselves, wondering how we could possibly have missed that in geography class. Wikipedia helped with that oversight. Ah, but, of course! It’s that 8.1 square mile phosphate rock island in Micronesia, whose government “has resorted to unusual measures to obtain income.” Briefly a tax haven and money laundering center, Nauru now houses a detention center for Australian asylum seekers.) Well, then–that explains it, eh?
So then, the site with the greatest number of hits which most closely matches the search string “911truth.org” is … not … 911truth.org? In fact, the main (index) page of 911truth.org isn’t even in the list generated by a Google search for ‘911truth.org’! A page from our site linking to the Chicago conference we hosted in June 2006 shows up.… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
The anti-war movement has proven impotent to stop the war in Iraq despite the fact that the war was initiated on the basis of lies and deception. The anti-war movement stands helpless to prevent President Bush from attacking Iran or any other country that he might demonize for harboring a future 9/11 threat.
September 11 enabled Bush to take America to war and to keep America at war even though the government’s explanation of the events of September 11 is mired in controversy and disbelieved by a large percentage of the population.
Although the news media’s investigative arm has withered, other entities and individuals continue to struggle with unanswered questions. In the six years since 9/11, numerous distinguished scientists, engineers, architects, intelligence officers, pilots, military officers, air traffic controllers, and foreign dignitaries have raised serious and unanswered questions about the official story line.
Recognition of the inadequacy of the official account of the collapse of the twin towers is widespread in the scientific and technical community. One of the most glaring failures in the official account is the lack of an explanation of the near free-fall speed at which the buildings failed once the process began. Some scientists and engineers have attempted to bolster the official account with explanations of how this might happen in the absence of explosives used in controlled demolitions.
By LARRY CELONA
September 6, 2007 — Two more cops have died of 9/11-related lung cancer, according to their families.
Officer Frank Macari, 51, died on Monday, after a five-year battle with the disease.
Macari, a 13-year veteran of the force assigned to Brooklyn, developed a tumor on his leg in December 2001, after working at Ground Zero. He leaves a wife and stepdaughter.
Officer Madeline Caro, 41, a 16-year veteran, succumbed to lung cancer in July. Carlo, assigned to the South Bronx, also spent days at the World Trade Center site. She leaves a son and daughter.
Macari’s family will file papers, as Carlo’s family has done, to obtain line-of-duty benefits from the NYPD.
Meanwhile, the sixth annual NYPD 9/11 Memorial Weekend begins tomorrow with a 1 p.m. parade in lower Manhattan, ending at the police memorial wall at Liberty Street and South End Avenue. The weekend includes a Saturday-night concert at Town Hall in honor of the NYPD’s 9/11 victims. It stars tenor Ronan Tynan.
Source URL: http://www.nypost.com/seven/09062007/news/regionalnews/two_9_11_sick_cops_die.htm
by Jenna Orkin* http://mikeruppert.blogspot.com
August 27, 2007
The tragic fire at the former Deutsche Bank building in Lower Manhattan nine
days ago which took the lives of two firefighters, Joseph Graffagnino, 33 and
Robert Beddia, 53, and which has already spawned two criminal investigations,
highlights problems about which the community of Lower Manhattan has been warning
The company hired to perform the demolition of the building whose chief claim
to fame, post-9/11, was that it had been contaminated with 150,000 times the
normal levels of asbestos among other toxic substances, (which have since been
reduced to a supposedly “safe” level) has “apparently never done
any work like it” nor much of anything else since it was incorporated in
But while the John Galt Corporation has proven as mysterious as the eponymous
character in the Ayn Rand novel, Atlas Shrugged – which opens with the question,
“Who is John Galt?” – this elusiveness has allowed it to serve as
an effective front for members of Safeway Environmental Corporation whose contract
had been cancelled because of mob connections. One of Safeway’s owners, Hank
Greenberg, is a two-time felon who has been linked by the FBI to the Gambino
crime family. So it was no great surprise, when a building in the process of
demolition on Manhattan’s Upper West Side collapsed ahead of time, trapping
pedestrians including a seven-month-old baby, to learn that Safeway Environmental
was… Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2007 — Portland, Oregon
Portland to Host Terrorism Drill “NOBLE RESOLVE 07-2”
Aug. 20 to 24
Citizens Warn of Established Pattern for Such Drills to go “live”
This is an urgent advisory notice from concerned citizens of Oregon and Washington
about an upcoming U.S. Joint Forces Command emergency management exercise known
as NOBLE RESOLVE 07-2 that will simulate terrorism or disaster scenarios in
the Lower Columbia River Basin between Aug. 20th and Aug 24th, 2007.
NOBLE RESOLVE 07-2 was designed and will be directed by U.S. Joint Forces
Command (USJFCOM) and the Department of Homeland Security. We are aware of no
public notice concerning this exercise, but preliminary investigation has revealed
that Oregon National Guard officials and federal officials will
conduct the drill. Details from official sources are minimal.
This advisory is to document our concerns, raise public awareness and urge
citizen action based on the following facts:
1. NOBLE RESOLVE is a computer-based simulation of a large-scale emergency
situation (e.g. earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, or terrorist attack with nuclear
weapon) in order to train for managing all aspects of the emergency response
through comprehensive software.
2. Military exercises such as NOBLE RESOLVE 07-2 have a recent history of
coinciding with lethal “live” events. This occurred on 9/11/01 when
five or more major military or security exercises were in progress on the very
day of the actual attacks. The same phenomenon occurred with the London Bombings
7/7/05 during which a drill concerning multiple bomb attacks was being staged
on that day.…
By Jeremy Grant in Washington
Published: August 14 2007 00:06
The US government is on a ‘burning platform’ of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.
David Walker, comptroller general of the US, issued the unusually downbeat assessment of his country’s future in a report that lays out what he called “chilling long-term simulations”.
These include “dramatic” tax rises, slashed government services and the large-scale dumping by foreign governments of holdings of US debt.
Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.
“Sound familiar?” Mr Walker said. “In my view, it’s time to learn from history and take steps to ensure the American Republic is the first to stand the test of time.”
Mr Walker’s views carry weight because he is a non-partisan figure in charge of the Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of the US Congress.
While most of its studies are commissioned by legislators, about 10 per cent – such as the one containing his latest warnings – are initiated by the comptroller general himself.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Walker said he had… Continue reading
The Timeline to Tyranny
Ten advances towards the end of freedom and privacy in the United States
Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The top ten advances towards tyranny in the United States during the tenure
of the Bush administration, from the Patriot Act to the latest expansion of
the illegal eavesdropping surveillance program.
1) The USA Patriot Act
The party line often heard from Neo-Cons in their attempts to defend the Patriot
Act either circulate around the contention that the use of the Patriot Act has
never been abused or that it isn’t being used against American citizens. Here
is an archive of articles that disproves both of these fallacies.
The Patriot Act was the boiler plate from which all subsequent attacks on the
Constitution were formed.
2) Total Information Awareness
"Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription
you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail
you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you
make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions
and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a
virtual, centralized grand database," infamously wrote New York Times writer
William Safire, announcing the birth of Total Information Awareness, a kind
of Echelon on steroids introduced a year after 9/11.
NEW YORK, New York, August 8, 2007 (ENS) – The New York Press Photographers
Association is asking members of the media who covered the September 11 attacks
on New York’s World Trade Center to contact the association.
These journalists were exposed to the same toxic chemicals and dust as first
responders, and the association wants to ensure that they receive worker’s compensation
for health problems resulting from that exposure.
David Handschuh, the NYPPA intergovernmental affairs chair and a photographer
for the "New York Daily News," circulated a letter to media Tuesday
asking people who covered the attacks to come forward.
In the letter, Handschuh explains that New York State has passed a law extending
the time for "Rescue and Recovery Workers" to file for Workers Compensation
payment for injuries sustained while working at the World Trade Center until
August 14, 2008.
"This is VERY good legislation that will help many people but unfortunately
excludes photographers, journalists, reporters, producers, correspondents and
others in the media who covered the attack for months afterwards," wrote
"We feel that journalists have encountered the same health issues as other
rescue and recovery workers and should be treated equitably when it comes to
health challenges and care issues resulting from 9/11 exposure," he wrote.
Handschuh himself was injured while photographing the attack when debris from
the explosion of the second World Trade Center tower broke his leg, dislocated
his knee and caused other injuries.
Now among those suffering from breathing problems, Handschuh says he has… Continue reading
Top Ten Myths About the Illegal NSA Spying on Americans
From the ACLU
Watch ACLU’s National Town Hall Meeting on Spying, Secrecy, and Presidential
Power, held June 11, here.
MYTH: This is merely a "terrorist surveillance program."
REALITY: When there is evidence a person may be a terrorist,
both the criminal code and intelligence laws already authorize eavesdropping.
This illegal program, however, allows electronic monitoring without any showing
to a court that the person being spied upon in this country is a suspected terrorist.
MYTH: The program is legal.
REALITY: The program violates the Fourth Amendment and Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and will chill free speech.
MYTH: The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)
REALITY: The resolution about using force in Afghanistan doesn’t
mention wiretaps and doesn’t apply domestically, but FISA does–it requires
a court order.
MYTH: The president has authority as commander in chief of
the military to spy on Americans without any court oversight.
REALITY: The Supreme Court recently found the administration’s
claim of unlimited commander in chief powers during war to be an unacceptable
effort to "condense power into a single branch of government," contrary
to the Constitution’s checks and balances.
MYTH: The president has the power to say what the law is.
REALITY: The courts have this power under our system of… Continue reading
by Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis
It is time to think about the “unthinkable.”
The Bush Administration has both the inclination and the power to cancel the 2008 election.
The GOP strategy for another electoral theft in 2008 has taken clear shape, though we must assume there is much more we don’t know.
But we must also assume that if it appears to Team Bush/Cheney/Rove that the GOP will lose the 2008 election anyway (as it lost in Ohio 2006) we cannot ignore the possibility that they would simply cancel the election. Those who think this crew will quietly walk away from power are simply not paying attention.
The real question is not how or when they might do it. It’s how, realistically, we can stop them.
“From the public side, the only conceivable counter-force might be a national
strike or an effective long-term campaign of general non-cooperation… For only one thing is certain: denial will do nothing.”
In Florida 2000, Team Bush had a game plan involving a handful of tactics. With Jeb Bush in the governor’s mansion, the GOP used a combination of disenfranchisement, intimidation, faulty ballots, electronic voting fraud, a rigged vote count and an aborted recount, courtesy of the US Supreme Court.
A compliant Democrat (Al Gore) allowed the coup to be completed.
In Ohio 2004, the arsenal of dirty tricks exploded. Based in Columbus, we have documented more than a… Continue reading
Published: Thursday July 19, 2007
Hartmann began his program on Thursday by reading from a new Executive Order
(Ed. Full text at end)which allows the government to seize the assets
of anyone who interferes with its Iraq policies.
He then introduced old-line conservative Paul Craig Roberts — a former Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan who has recently become known for his
strong opposition to the Bush administration and the Iraq War — by quoting
the “strong words” which open Roberts’ latest
column: “Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year
from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran.”
(Ed. Posted here previously)
“I don’t actually think they’re very strong,” said Roberts of his
words. “I get a lot of flak that they’re understated and the situation
is worse than I say. … When Bush exercises this authority [under the new Executive
Order] … there’s no check to it. It doesn’t have to be ratified by Congress.
The people who bear the brunt of these dictatorial police state actions have
no recourse to the judiciary. So it really is a form of total, absolute, one-man
rule. … The American people don’t really understand the danger that they face.”
Roberts said that because of Bush’s unpopularity, the Republicans face a total
wipeout in 2008, and this may be why “the Democrats have not brought a
halt to Bush’s follies or the war, because they expect his unpopular policies
to provide them with a landslide victory in next year’s election.”
However, Roberts emphasized, “the problem with this reasoning is that
it assumes that Cheney and Rove and the Republicans are ignorant of these facts,
or it assumes that they are content for the Republican Party to be destroyed
after Bush has his fling.” Roberts believes instead that Cheney and Rove
intend to use a renewal of the War on Terror to rally the American people around
the Republican Party.…