For decades the federal government has been developing a highly classified plan that would override the Constitution in the event of a terrorist attack. Is it also compiling a secret enemies list of citizens who could face detention under martial law?
By Christopher Ketcham
In the spring of 2007, a retired senior official in the U.S. Justice Department sat before Congress and told a story so odd and ominous, it could have sprung from the pages of a pulp political thriller. It was about a principled bureaucrat struggling to protect his country from a highly classified program with sinister implications. Rife with high drama, it included a car chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., and a tense meeting at the White House, where the president’s henchmen made the bureaucrat so nervous that he demanded a neutral witness be present.
The bureaucrat was James Comey, John Ashcroft’s second-in-command at the Department of Justice during Bush’s first term. Comey had been a loyal political foot soldier of the Republican Party for many years. Yet in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he described how he had grown increasingly uneasy reviewing the Bush administration’s various… Continue reading
Posted at YouTube, John F Kennedy “President and the Press” Speech given on April 27, 1961 in New York.
That’s right, old JFK says everything that’s happening now is basically…well… unamerican… This is the full speech, “President and the Press.” I encourage you to listen to it first and not view the picture show on the video in front of you as the words speak for themselves.
By Robert O’Harrow Jr.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Intelligence centers run by states across the country have access to personal information about millions of Americans, including unlisted cellphone numbers, insurance claims, driver’s license photographs and credit reports, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post.
One center also has access to top-secret data systems at the CIA, the document shows, though it’s not clear what information those systems contain.
Dozens of the organizations known as fusion centers were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to identify potential threats and improve the way information is shared. The centers use law enforcement analysts and sophisticated computer systems to compile, or fuse, disparate tips and clues and pass along the refined information to other agencies. They are expected to play important roles in national information-sharing networks that link local, state and federal authorities and enable them to automatically sift their storehouses of records for patterns and clues.
Though officials have publicly discussed the fusion centers’ importance to national security, they have generally declined to elaborate on the centers’ activities. But a document that lists resources used by the fusion centers shows how a dozen of the organizations in the northeastern United States rely far more on access to commercial and government databases than had previously been disclosed.
Those details have come to light at a time of debate about domestic intelligence efforts, including eavesdropping and data-aggregation programs at the National Security Agency, and whether the government has enough protections in… Continue reading
By Tom Burghardt From Antifascist Calling…Exploring the shadowlands of the corporate police state
The Washington Post revealed Friday that the FBI is continuing its systematic violation of Americans’ Fourth Amendment guarantees against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
A Justice Department report concluded that the Bureau had repeatedly abused its intelligence gathering “privileges” by issuing bogus “national security letters” (NSLs) from 2003-2006. On at least one occasion, the FBI relied on an illegally-issued NSL to circumvent a ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain records the secret court deemed protected by the First Amendment.
While the Bush regime claims that the Bureau requires sweeping authority to invade the privacy of American citizens to “protect the homeland” from the Afghan-Arab database of disposable intelligence assets, al-Qaeda, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine determined that fully “60 percent of the nearly 50,000 security letters issued that year  by the FBI targeted Americans,” according to Post reporter Dan Eggen.
Despite the FISA court twice rejecting Bureau requests to obtain sensitive private records, determining “the ‘facts’ were too thin” and the “request implicated the target’s First Amendment rights,” the FBI used an NSL as a “work around” and proceeded anyway.
The stunning disregard for all legal norms under the Bush regime is encapsulated by FBI general counsel Valerie E. Caproni’s statement to investigators that “it was appropriate to issue the letters in such cases because she disagreed with the court’s conclusions.”
Fine asserted in the Inspector General’s report that the Bureau has… Continue reading
EFF Applauds House Passage of Surveillance Bill with No Telecom Immunity Bill Would Allow Spying Cases to Proceed Fairly and Securely
Washington, D.C. – This morning the House of Representatives passed a compromise surveillance bill that does not include retroactive immunity for phone companies alleged to have assisted in the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. The bill would allow lawsuits like the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s case against AT&T to proceed while providing specific security procedures allowing the telecom giants to defend themselves in court.
The House bill succeeded 213 to 197 despite the president’s threat to veto any bill that does not include immunity.
“We applaud the House for refusing to grant amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, and for passing a bill that would allow our lawsuit against AT&T to proceed fairly and securely,” said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. “Amnesty proponents have been claiming on the Hill for months that phone companies like AT&T had a good faith belief that the NSA program was legal. Under this bill, the companies could do what they should have been able to do all along: tell that story to a judge.”
The Senate is expected to consider the House bill when it returns from recess on Monday, March 31. House and Senate staff are expected to spend much of the break negotiating over differences between the new House bill and a previous Senate bill that includes immunity provisions.
“This newly-passed House bill represents a true compromise on the amnesty issue:… Continue reading
by Philip Giraldi
Sibel Edmonds is the FBI translator turned whistleblower who decided to go public late in 2002 and has been seeking to tell her story about high level corruption in the United States government involving Turkey and Israel. What makes her story particularly compelling is that the corruption relates to the theft and sale of United States defense secrets, most particularly nuclear technology. Sibel obtained her information while translating Turkish language telephone intercepts directed against several Turkish lobbying groups who had contact with senior officials in the Bush Administration, both at the Pentagon and in the State Department. Many of the officials involved are apparently the same neoconservatives who cooked the books to enable the rush to war against Iraq and who are continuing to urge more wars in the Middle East, most notably against Iran and Syria. Several of them are close allies of leading Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
To stop Sibel from telling her story, then Attorney General John Ashcroft subjected her to a state secrets privilege gag order after her appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes in October 2002 that not only forbade her providing details of her employment with FBI but also made the ban retroactive so that anything relating to her case would be considered a state secret. Edmonds had been discouraged by her experience with CBS as her most important points wound up on the cutting room floor. Then came the gag order, which she has observed while working assiduously to get… Continue reading
A city councilman and the cops don’t want you to have that Geiger counter without their permission
by Chris Thompson
Damn you, Osama bin Laden! Here’s another rotten thing you’ve done to us: After 9/11, untold thousands of New Yorkers bought machines that detect traces of biological, chemical, and radiological weapons. But a lot of these machines didn’t work right, and when they registered false alarms, the police had to spend millions of dollars chasing bad leads and throwing the public into a state of raw panic.
OK, none of that has actually happened. But Richard Falkenrath, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, knows that it’s just a matter of time. That’s why he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have asked the City Council to pass a law requiring anyone who wants to own such detectors to get a permit from the police first. And it’s not just devices to detect weaponized anthrax that they want the power to control, but those that detect everything from industrial pollutants to asbestos in shoddy apartments. Want to test for pollution in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of childhood asthma? Gotta ask the cops for permission. Why? So you “will not lead to excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety,” the first draft of the law states.
Last week, Falkenrath made his case for the new law before the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, where Councilman Peter Vallone introduced the bill and chaired the hearing. Dozens of university researchers, public-health professionals, and environmental lawyers sat… Continue reading
According to Jessica Lee of Indypendent and Kamau Karl Franklin of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act was penned with plenty of help from the RAND Corporation.
“Rep. Jane Harman, Democrat from California, has had a lengthy relationship with the Rand Corporation,” Lee tells Democracy Now, although she was unable to determine if RAND wrote the bill. On the 12th anniversary of the OKC bombing, Rep. Harman, as chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment, introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.
“The ‘Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007′ seeks to address the roots causes of radicalization, and would establish a grant program to provide funds to States to foster badly needed vertical information sharing from the Intelligence Community to the local level and from local sources to state and federal agencies,” explains Harman’s website. “It also creates a Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Radicalization and Home Grown Terrorism to examine the social, criminal, political, psychological and economic roots of domestic terrorism and to propose solutions, and promotes international collaboration on strategies to combat radicalization.”
Franklin mentions Brian Michael Jenkins, an “expert” on “terrorism, counterinsurgency, and homeland security,” according to RAND. Jenkins is “someone who helped the United States in counterinsurgency measures in Vietnam,” states Franklin. “In addition to that, he wrote a book, and in his own book” Jenkins declared that “in their international campaign, the jihadists will seek common ground… Continue reading
Ministry of Mythinformation Blog
Concerning the graduated repression of the Nazi regime, the Reverend Martin Niemoller, in 1945, stated, to the effect:
First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.
Though this quote has taken on many forms and endured several disputes, the ultimate interpretation stands. That silence about liberty infractions equals civil death.
Further, on the notion of leading the public headstrong into oblivion, the Nazis said it best:
“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia , nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany . That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Hermann Goering, 1946… Continue reading
Naomi Wolf on “The End of America”
It not only can happen here, it is happening here. Mussolini created the blueprint (with inspiration from Lenin), Hitler elaborated on it, Stalin studied Hitler…
Here’s how it works (notice how many Bush & Co. is using now.):
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy 2. Create a gulag 3. Develop a thug caste 4. Set up an internal surveillance system 5. Harass citizens’ groups 6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release 7. Target key individuals 8. Control the press 9. Dissent equals treason 10. Suspend the rule of law
Wolf’s conclusion? Impeachment of Bush and Cheney is not enough. Prosecuting (and jailing) them for crimes committed is the only rational solution.
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The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot is now available. Highly regarded among reviewers, Ms. Wolf’s book is a timely and urgent read for anyone concerned with the future of our Republic.
In a stunning indictment of the Bush administration and Congress, best-selling author Naomi Wolf lays out her case for saving American democracy. In authoritative research and documentation Wolf explains how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century’s worst dictatorships such as Germany, Russia, China, and Chile.
The book cuts across political parties and ideologies and speaks directly to those among us who are concerned about the ever-tightening noose being placed… 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.
A CALL TO ACTION – EMERGENCY MEETING
“First they came for the terrorists but I wasn’t a terrorist so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then they came for those suspected of terrorism, but I certainly wasn’t a suspect so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then they came for those who defended those who were suspected of terrorism, but I wasn’t defending such people so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then, one day, they came and began to “suspect” me, so I stayed very, very silent and went about my business.
And that is how I lost my soul.”
You can feel it in the air: many of us are living in the fear that we are one “bad event” away from this administration seizing power over the people in such a way that we will find ourselves swept up in a nightmare of tyranny such as we’ve never seen before.
Others before us have also lived in such times. Others before us have also witnessed the tyranny of empire, the fear it unleashes, and the trance it imposes on its population. There is a story in the Gospel of Mark (this Sunday I’ll be preaching about it) that has Jesus encountering a man in a graveyard, chained to the tombs and possessed by a powerful demon that has caused the man to become violent, insane, and out of control. The name of the demon is Legion, a military term that… Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Should an actual “showdown” occur over the constitutionality of Cheney’s stonewalling, we would welcome it. Let’s know exactly where we stand with respect to the willingness of elected officials to stand up to the criminals-in-chief.
It’s well past the time Leahy and company should have been pressing for these sorts of answers. Get on with it.
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 28 June 2007
The Bush administration may soon face a courtroom showdown over its secret eavesdropping programme after subpoenas were issued to the White House, Vice-President Dick Cheney, and the Justice Department.
There is a storm gathering over Mr Cheney in particular, with increasingly vocal demands for his impeachment for “political crimes against the nation”.
The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know the legal basis, if any, for the placing of wiretaps on American citizens without court warrants, as part of the war on terror.
These taps were placed by the National Security Agency, which runs a vast international electronic eavesdropping and codebreaking web with Britain’s GCHQ. When reports emerged in the media of the wiretaps, it provoked widespread anger.
The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy gave the Bush administration until 18 July to hand over documents which the White House described last week as highly classified and off limits.
Senator Leahy wrote: “Over the past 18 months, this committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorisation of and legal justification for this programme.”
The eavesdropping programme began after the attacks of 11 September 2001.…Continue reading
By MICHAEL DONNELLY
Whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
New Hampshire Constitution Bill of Rights, Article 10
“The message to the community is we will not tolerate acts of violence to affect public debate.”
— Federal Judge Ann Aiken
With the hectoring tone of a petty hall monitor, Clinton Judge Ann Aiken let out what the Operation Backfire/Green Scare prosecutions are really about. In an era of state-sponsored terrorism as “liberation,” where the United States has over 700 military bases in over 140 countries, a US judge actually deems the minor league violence of a handful of young, misguided idealists “terrorism” and scolds the larger, non-indicted community those activists came from this truly belongs to Orwell, Kafka, Cheney or Gonzales.
Just what “Community” is the judge chastising/profiling? The Eugene, Oregon community of radical environmentalists in particular, eco-activists in general and/or anyone who ever justified destroying the property of those who they viewed as oppressors. We’re not even talking about those like Golda Meir or Osama bin Laden who justified not just property destruction, but attacks on the persons of their enemies. All that ever happened in the Operation Backfire cases… Continue reading
by Sid Shniad
The Hidden History of 9-11-2001
Research in Political Economy
2006 Volume 23.
Ed. by Paul Zarembka
Governments have long found it useful to manufacture rationale for pursuing war and repression. The sinking of the Battleship Maine at the outset of the Spanish-American-Cuba War is the classic example. When President Harry Truman wanted to offer assistance to anti-Communist forces in Greece and Turkey in 1947, Republican senator Arthur Vandenburg promised his support if Truman would “scare the hell out of the American people.” In 1962, the Pentagon mounted Operation Northwoods, a plan involving false-flag actions, state-sponsored terrorism and the hijacking of planes on U.S. and Cuban soil designed to generate American public support for an invasion of Cuba. Then there was the case of the distraught young Iraqi woman testifying before U.S. Congressional hearings in the run-up to Gulf War I about babies being tossed out of incubators by Saddam Hussein’s soldiers.
The essays included in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001 lead to the conclusion that the attack on the World Trade Center may have been the biggest false-flag operation of them all. This 2006 issue of Research in Political Economy examines different aspects of 9-11, which, taken together, provide a serious challenge to those who dismiss the possibility that a government-based conspiracy was behind the events of 9-11.
The first section of the journal debunks the information provided by the U.S. government about the number and identity of the hijackers. Following that, other authors provide evidence indicating that it was impossible for the burning jet fuel from the planes to have caused the collapse of the World Trade Center towers; that a series of military war games taking place on 9-11 caused confusion in military circles and prevented normal emergency response operations to kick in; and that the insider trading in the shares of the airlines that were hijacked that day lays open the possibility that huge sums were made by people who were aware in advance of what was coming.…Continue reading
Update from Jonathan Simon, on EDA Data Analysis findings
To Everyone Keeping Score At Home–
My apologies for being out-of-touch over much of the past two very eventful days. I have been holed-up with Bruce O’Dell and a few others crunching numbers, lots of numbers, including historical data, pre-election polling trends, authentic(!) and adjusted official exit polls, independent exit polls and Election Day canvasses, and of course the reported returns. The analysis will go on for quite some time. But I want to give a very brief preliminary impression of what we see so far.
It is simply this: there are, venue for venue, plenty of “anomalies” and vote-shifting patterns to go around. So far, once again, the “glitch” pattern and the shift patterns do not appear to be random. Without pursuing a detailed analysis, it would be easy to overlook this while oohing and ahhiing at the overall results.
The danger here in our view is that E2006, because the Democrats “won,” will be spun as a triumph for electoral honesty and security–when in fact it appears that the combination of massive public revulsion and heightened public scrutiny may simply have made this one too high and risky a mountain for the prospective manipulators to climb to the top. There are numerous signs emerging that the climbing party brought its gear and tackled the slopes, reaching a good way up this Everest before meeting the howling winds and bitter cold that kept them from reaching the summit, as they had in prior expeditions up less lofty and forbidding peaks.…Continue reading
Tax Dollars to Fund Study on Restricting Public Data
by Richard Willing
With state, church, academia and the armed forces all slamming Constitutional windows and breaking out the duct tape, wonder whether the insiders or outsiders will end up suffocating first. Just as wholesale Internet surveillance is “justified” by kiddie porn, this clampdown on FOI protections is being peddled as “critical infrastructure defense.” Next time you want to know about the toxic waste your corporate neighbor is exuding, the graft that’s driving our energy policies, or the environmental impact of the new nuclear plant they’re planning down the street, remember you’re in state secrets land now, children. You want the terrorists to win?
The federal government will pay a Texas law school $1 million to do research aimed at rolling back the amount of sensitive data available to the press and public through freedom-of-information requests.
Beginning this month, St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio will analyze recent state laws that place previously available information, such as site plans of power plants, beyond the reach of public inquiries.
Jeffrey Addicott, a professor at the law school, said he will use that research to produce a national “model statute” that state legislatures and Congress could adopt to ensure that potentially dangerous information “stays out of the hands of the bad guys.”
“There’s the public’s right to know, but how much?” said Addicott, a former legal adviser in the Army’s Special Forces.
“There’s a… Continue reading
Churchill’s Ashes Still Hot;
Barrett Next to be Burned at Stake
- Freedom of speech in jeopardy as university instructor speaks up about 9/11
by Cathy Garger
Jul 7, 2006, 12:34
This week brought disturbing news to the 9/11 Truth community as Dr. Kevin Barrett, co-founder of the Muslim Christian Jewish Alliance for 9/11 Truth (MUJCA) faces more than summertime heat as his livelihood stands in the balance with a possible loss of his fall teaching assignment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Apparently, those in positions of power in the state of Wisconsin don’t care for Barrett’s political views. The instigator of Dr. Kevin Barrett’s inquisition is Rep. Steven Nass, a Republican State Legislator from Whitewater, Wisconsin, who has begun the process of skewering Dr. Barrett, a Muslim, apparently readying him for the stake (which, according to modern day acceptable methods of punishment, is actually more along the lines of taking a number in the Wisconsin State unemployment line). After remarks Barrett made on June 28 on Jessica McBride’s local WTMJ-AM (620) Wisconsin radio talk show, Rep. Nass expressed the desire to see Barrett barred from teaching an introductory course on Islam at the University of Wisconsin-Madison… Continue reading