by James Ridgeway
April 21st, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C.–The unsettling story of whistleblower Sibel Edmonds took another twist on Thursday, as the government continued its seemingly endless machinations to shut her up. The U.S. Court of Appeals here denied pleas to open the former FBI translator’s First Amendment case to the public, a day after taking the extraordinary step of ordering a secret hearing.
Edmonds was hired after 9-11 to help the woefully staffed FBI’s translation department with documents and wiretaps in such languages as Farsi and Turkish. She soon cried foul, saying the agency’s was far from acceptable and perhaps even dangerous to national security. She was fired in 2002.
Ever since, the government has been trying to silence her, even classifying an interview she did with 60 Minutes. Oral arguments in her suit against the federal government were scheduled for this morning, but yesterday the clerk of the appeals court unexpectedly and suddenly announced the hearing would be closed. Only attorneys and Edmonds were allowed in.
No one thought the three-judge appeals court panel would be especially sympathetic to the Edmonds case. It consists of Douglas Ginsburg, who was once nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court by President Reagan. He withdrew after it was revealed he had smoked pot as a college student; he later joined the appeals court. Another member, David Sentelle, was chair of the three-judge panel that appointed Ken Starr to be the special prosecutor investigating Clinton. Karen LeCraft Henderson was appointed a federal judge during the Reagan period, then put on the appeals court by the elder President Bush.…Continue reading
Extremely important “big picture” insights into the Bush team’s 9/11-enabled world from a fearless senator and a Holocaust victim family member.
by Harvey Wasserman
Columbus Free Press / Ohio
March 7, 2005
The U.S. Senate’s senior Constitutional scholar has correctly equated Bush with Hitler, and the usual attack dogs are howling. But they are wrong, and Americans must now face the harsh realities of an increasingly fascist and totalitarian GOP.
Octogenarian Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia made the equation in the context of Bush’s attack on Senate procedures which might slow or halt his on-going attempt to pack the courts with extreme right-wing fanatics. Byrd said Bush’s moves to destroy time-honored Senate rules parallel Hitler’s ramming fascist legislation through his gutted Reichstag. “Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality,” said Byrd. “He recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.”
Anti-Defamation League Director Abraham Foxman has played the holocaust card for the Republicans, saying “It is hideous, outrageous and offensive for Senator Byrd to suggest that the Republican Party’s tactics could in any way resemble those of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party.
GOP Chair Ken Mehlman has labeled Byrd’s remarked “reprehensible and beyond the pale,” remarks joined by Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum is best known for equating sexuality between consenting gays with bestiality between humans and dogs.
But Byrd is one of the few in either house of Congress to… Continue reading
by Scott McConnell
February 14, 2005
The Iraq war has brought out a “hunger for dictatorship” in the Right that could signal the end of American democracy. — Editor of American Conservative
Students of history inevitably think in terms of periods: the New Deal, McCarthyism, “the Sixties” (1964-1973), the NEP, the purge trial–all have their dates. Weimar, whose cultural excesses made effective propaganda for the Nazis, now seems like the antechamber to Nazism, though surely no Weimar figures perceived their time that way as they were living it. We may pretend to know what lies ahead, feigning certainty to score polemical points, but we never do.
Nonetheless, there are foreshadowings well worth noting. The last weeks of 2004 saw several explicit warnings from the antiwar Right about the coming of an American fascism. Paul Craig Roberts in these pages wrote of the “brownshirting” of American conservatism–a word that might not have surprised had it come from Michael Moore or Michael Lerner. But from a Hoover Institution senior fellow, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and one-time Wall Street Journal editor, it was striking.
Several weeks later, Justin Raimondo, editor of the popular Antiwar.com website, wrote a column headlined, “Today’s Conservatives are Fascists.” Pointing to the justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, Raimondo raised the prospect of “fascism with… Continue reading
By JOHN DOBBERSTEIN Tribune Staff Writer
SOUTH BEND — The laboratory director from a South Bend firm has been fired for attempting to cast doubt on the federal investigation into what caused the World Trade Center’s twin towers to collapse on Sept. 11, 2001.
Kevin R. Ryan was terminated Tuesday from his job at Environmental Health Laboratories Inc., a subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories Inc., the consumer-product safety testing giant.
On Nov. 11, Ryan wrote a letter to the National Institute of Standards and Technology — the agency probing the collapse — challenging the common theory that burning jet fuel weakened the steel supports holding up the 110-story skyscrapers.
Underwriters Laboratories Inc., according to Ryan, “was the company that certified the steel components used in the construction of the WTC buildings.”
Ryan wrote that last year, while “requesting information,” UL’s chief executive officer and fire protection business manager disagreed about key issues surrounding the collapse, “except for one thing — that the samples we certified met all requirements.”
UL vehemently denied last week that it ever certified the materials.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is conducting a $16 million, two-year investigation of the collapse of the twin towers. The agency expects to issue a draft report in January, and UL has played a limited role in the investigation.
Ryan wrote that the institute’s preliminary reports suggest the WTC’s supports were probably… Continue reading
by Ron Paul
Link to original
Last week’s announcement that the terrorist threat warning level has been raised in parts of New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. has led to dramatic and unprecedented restrictions on the movements of citizens. Americans wishing to visit the U.S. Capitol must, for example, pass through several checkpoints and submit to police inspection of their cars and persons.
Many Americans support the new security measures because they claim to feel safer when the government issues terror alerts and fills the streets with militarized police forces. As one tourist interviewed this week said, “It makes me feel comfortable to know that everything is being checked.” It is ironic that tourists coming to Washington to celebrate the freedoms embodied in the Declaration of Independence are so eager to give up those freedoms with no questions asked.
Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. This doesn’t stop governments, including our own, from seeking more control over and intrusion into our lives. As one Member of Congress stated to the press last week, “people who don’t want to be searched don’t need to come on Capitol grounds.” What an insult! The Capitol belongs… Continue reading
Those agape at the barbed-wire cage designated as a “free speech zone” in Boston may wonder how it can be topped for its fascist implications. Actually, this already happened last month and went largely unnoticed.
Early in his administration Bush invited a group of pharmaceutical firms, among them companies that have been financing him since he was Texas governor, to join a commission on mental health and disabilities known as the New Freedom Initiative.
In its report presented in June, NFI proposes a universal program of mental health “screening” for everyone in the United States – starting with a captive market of 52 million pupils and 6 million teachers in the schools. The panel recommends that those diagnosed with a syndrome receive a prescription regimen based on treatment algorithms devised by the participating drug companies. (Now what makes me think there is a syndrome waiting for pretty much everyone?) The algorithms (hey, science!) derive from a program already implemented by Bush in Texas.
Unfortunately, Orwellian moments like these are only going to come thicker. The thrust towards the New Feudalism, Corporate Totalitarianism, New World Order, or whatever other name you like is in the open now, and it will not slow down unless we arise as a people to end it.
The New Freedom program fits seamlessly into the Kean Commission report proposals for a national ID system using biometric indicators. If we are all about to be fingerprinted and retinal-scanned and fed into a single database integrating all federal… Continue reading