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Fear Factors

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Do U.S. pandemic plans threaten rights, ACLU asks

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, yahoo! news
January 14, 2008

U.S. policy in preparing for a potential bird flu pandemic is veering dangerously toward a heavy-handed law-enforcement approach, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday.

The group, which advocates for individuals’ legal rights based on the U.S. Constitution, said federal government pandemic plans were confusing and could emphasize a police and military approach to outbreaks of disease, instead of a more sensible public health approach.

“Rather than focusing on well-established measures for protecting the lives and health of Americans, policymakers have recently embraced an approach that views public health policy through the prism of national security and law enforcement,” the ACLU report reads.

But the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said the group had misunderstood the government’s approach and said current plans already incorporate many of the ACLU’s recommendations.

Infectious disease experts agree that a pandemic of some sort of influenza is inevitable, and most worries focus on H5N1 avian influenza. Although it mainly attacks birds, the virus has infected 349 people since 2003 and killed 216 of them.

A few mutations could turn it into a highly infectious disease for people and could kill millions globally.

Most countries are working to develop plans to deal with the potential consequences. The U.S. plans are available on Web sites such as http://pandemicflu.gov.

The ACLU said it was worried that the plan called for military and police involvement in enforcing a quarantine.

The ACLU experts said they… Continue reading

The Fear Factory

The FBI now has more than 100 task forces devoted exclusively to fighting terrorism. But is the government manufacturing ghosts?

GUY LAWSON
February 07, 2008

Click here to read a history of every homeland-security terror alert and the real news that was buried: “Truth or Terrorism? The Real Story Behind Five Years of High Alerts–A history of the Bush administration’s most dubious terror scares — and the headlines they buried” TIM DICKINSON, Feb 07, 2008

“So, what you wanna do?” the friend asked. “A target?” the wanna-be jihadi replied. “I want some type of city-hall-type stuff, federal courthouses.”

It was late November 2006, and twenty-two-year-old Derrick Shareef and his friend Jameel were hanging out in Rockford, Illinois, dreaming about staging a terrorist attack on America. The two men weren’t sure what kind of assault they could pull off. All Shareef knew was that he wanted to cause major damage, to wreak vengeance on the country he held responsible for oppressing Muslims worldwide. “Smoke a judge,” Shareef said. Maybe firebomb a government building.

But while Shareef harbored violent fantasies, he was hardly a serious threat as a jihadi. An American-born convert to Islam, he had no military training and no weapons. He had less than $100 in the bank. He worked in a dead-end job as a clerk in a video-game store. He didn’t own a car. So dire were his circumstances, Shareef had no place to live. Then one day, Jameel, a fellow Muslim, had shown up at EB… Continue reading

Planned Guantánamo Trials Deny 9/11 Defendants Basic Rights

Between The Lines
For The Week Ending Feb. 29, 2008
Posted Feb. 20, 2008

LISTEN to this week’s entire program/view the program summary.
Click here for downloadable or streaming audio, and more information.

Planned Guantánamo Trials Deny 9/11 Defendants Basic Rights

Interview with Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild,
conducted by Scott Harris

On Feb. 11, the Bush administration announced it would charge six detainees held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, alleged to be involved in the planning of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Among those being charged are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the purported mastermind of the 9/11 conspiracy. This is the first set of charges brought by U.S. authorities against Guantánamo detainees that related directly to involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

These trials will be conducted under the rules outlined in the Military Commissions Act passed in 2006 by the Republican-controlled Congress in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the original Bush trial procedures at Guantánamo were unconstitutional.

Although the Military Commissions Act forbids the admission of evidence extracted by torture, it permits evidence obtained by cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment if it was secured before Dec. 30, 2005. Thus, the Bush administration’s refusal to declare waterboarding as an act of torture will be a key issue in these trials. Other procedures criticized allow a trial to proceed in the absence of the accused, places the power to appoint judges in the hands of the Secretary of Defense, permits the introduction of hearsay and evidence obtained without a warrant, and denies the accused the right to see all of the evidence against them.…

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The Welch Whitewash: We Still Don’t Know What That Aug. 30 Nuclear Incident Was About

Mon, 02/25/2008
Dave Lindorff

A new report on the August 30 incident in which six nuclear-armed advanced cruise missiles were effectively “lost” for 36 hours, during which time they were, against all regulations, flown in launch position mounted on a pylon on the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress, from Minot AFB in North Dakota across the continental US to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, has left unanswered some critical questions about the event.

Directed by retired Air Force Gen. Larry D. Welch, the task force’s Report on the Unauthorized Movement of Nuclear Weapons found plenty wrong with the way the US military handles its nuclear weapons, but appears to have dealt lightly with the specific incident that sparked the inquiry—only giving it a few paragraphs.

According to the report, when nuclear-capable missiles are placed onto a pylon assembly (in the case of the B-52, these pylons can hold six missiles), procedures call for a clear distinction to be made as to whether they are armed with nuclear weapons or with dud warheads. In the storage bunker, pylons with dud warheads are supposed to be encircled with orange cones like those used by highway repair crews, and placards announcing that the warheads are duds are supposed to be hung on all four sides. This reportedly was not done, leaving no distinction between one pylon containing six nuclear-armed missiles, and two others that had missiles carrying nukes.

A second failure was in record keeping. According to regulations for handling nuclear weapons, every step… Continue reading

Your illusions are safe

Sources: Air marshals missing from almost all flights

By Drew Griffin, Kathleen Johnston and Todd Schwarzschild
CNN
March 26, 2008

(CNN) — Of the 28,000 commercial airline flights that take to the skies on an average day in the United States, fewer than 1 percent are protected by on-board, armed federal air marshals, a nationwide CNN investigation has found.

That means a terrorist or other criminal bent on taking over an aircraft would be confronted by a trained air marshal on as few as 280 daily flights, according to more than a dozen federal air marshals and pilots interviewed by CNN.

The Transportation Security Administration flatly denied those reports.

Greg Alter, assistant special agent in charge of the federal air marshal program, said the 280 number “grossly understates coverage by an order of magnitude” and that the number is “four digits,” but he would not elaborate.

In a post on its Web site responding to the CNN story, the TSA said it would not disclose the number of air marshals flying each day so as not to “tip our hand to terrorists.” However, it said, “The actual number of flights that air marshals cover is thousands per day.” Read the full response

The investigation found low numbers even as the TSA in recent months has conducted tests in which it has been able to smuggle guns and bomb-making materials past airport security screeners.

The air marshal program began in 1970, after a rash of airline hijackings, and it was expanded significantly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.…

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Evidence is Growing: Continuity of Government Plan is Currently in Effect

Friday, April 11, 2008
Georgewashington.blogspot.com

In two previous posts (here and here), I showed that Continuity of Government (COG) plans were implemented on September 11th, and I argued that it is possible that they have never been suspended.

Now, one of the top investigative journalists in the country, Larisa Alexandrovna (the lead journalist at Raw Story), says:

“it seems to me that this administration has justified its crimes by NOT suspending the state of emergency that went up on September 11, 2001. They are using emergency powers if you look at the whole of the spying, military actions inside the US, etc. I would wager that if asked, this administration will admit that we have been in a state of emergency for their tenure in office.”

Remember that Continuity of Government plans — that is, the measures that go into effect in case of emergency — suspend the Constitutional form of government, cut elected officials out of the loop, and may even allow the government to tell the media what it can and cannot report.

Remember also that the entire Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress has been denied access to the government’s Continuity of Government Plans even though it has clearance to view such plans (video; or here is the transcript). Indeed, a member of that Committee has said “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right”.

If we are in a state of emergency and COG plans… Continue reading

The Last Roundup

The Last Roundup illustration

Illustration by Brett Ryder

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





Editor’s Note:
This is an incredibly important article–one of the most important we’ve posted. It’s long, thorough, historical, and frightening… Several links for other, related reading are at the end. Please follow-up with your Representatives and other elected officials immediately, and let us know what you her. Thank you.

 
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

9/11, Deep State Violence, and the Hope of Internet Politics

Peter Dale Scott

The Deep State and 9/11

The unthinkable — that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians — has become not only thinkable but commonplace in the last century. A seminal example was in French Algeria, where dissident elements of the French armed forces, resisting General de Gaulle’s plans for Algerian independence, organized as the Secret Army Organization and bombed civilians indiscriminately, with targets including hospitals and schools. 1 Critics like Alexander Litvinenko, who was subsequently murdered in London in November 2006, have charged that the 1999 bombings of apartment buildings around Moscow, attributed to Chechen separatists, were in fact the work of the Russian secret service (FSB). 2

Similar attacks in Turkey have given rise to the notion there of an extra-legal “deep state” — a combination of forces, ranging from former members of the CIA-organized Gladio organization, to “a vast matrix of security and intelligence officials, ultranationalist members of the Turkish underworld and renegade former members of the [Kurdish separatist] PKK.” 3 The deep state, financed in part by Turkey’s substantial heroin traffic, has been accused of killing thousands of civilians, in incidents such as the lethal bomb attack in November 2005 on a bookshop in Semdinli. This attack, initially attributed to the Kurdish separatist PKK, turned out to have been committed by members of Turkey’s paramilitary police intelligence service, together with a former PKK member turned informer. 4 On April 23, 2008, the former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar was ordered… Continue reading

Bomb Iran? What’s to Stop Us?

By Ray McGovern
June 19, 2008

It’s crazy, but it’s coming soon — from the same folks who brought us Iraq.

Unlike the attack on Iraq five years ago, to deal with Iran there need be no massing of troops. And, with the propaganda buildup already well under way, there need be little, if any, forewarning before shock and awe and pox — in the form of air and missile attacks — begin.

This time it will be largely the Air Force’s show, punctuated by missile and air strikes by the Navy. Israeli-American agreement has now been reached at the highest level; the armed forces planners, plotters and pilots are working out the details.

Emerging from a 90-minute White House meeting with President George W. Bush on June 4, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the two leaders were of one mind:

“We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions, and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House.”

Does that sound like a man concerned that Bush is just bluff and bluster?

A member of Olmert’s delegation noted that same day that the two countries had agreed to cooperate in case of an attack… Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in America

There was almost an armed coup in the US.

A Marine General was lined up to lead it…

Over 500,000 men were identified as potential members of a private corporate army…

and the right wing press provided the propaganda to cover it.
The year was 1934…

Working link here:

The “Business Plot” (also the Plot Against FDR and the White House Putsch) was an alleged political conspiracy in 1933 wherein wealthy businessmen and corporations plotted a coup détat to overthrow United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, the Business Plot was publicly revealed by retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler testifying to the McCormack-Dickstein Congressional Committee. In his testimony, Butler claimed that a group of men had approached him as part of a plot to overthrow Roosevelt in a military coup. One of the alleged plotters, Gerald MacGuire, vehemently denied any such plot. In their final report, the Congressional committee supported Butler’s allegations of the existence of the plot, but no prosecutions or further investigations followed, and the matter was mostly forgotten.

On July 17, 1932, thousands of World War I veterans converged on Washington, D.C., set up tent camps, and demanded immediate payment of bonuses due them according to the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924. This “Bonus Army” was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant. The Army was encouraged by an appearance from retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, who had considerable influence over the veterans, being one of the most popular military figures of the time.…

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Kristol: Bush Might Bomb Iran If He ‘Thinks Senator Obama’s Going To Win’

On Fox News Sunday this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that President Bush is more likely to attack Iran if he believes Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going to be elected.

However, “if the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out,” Kristol said, reinforcing the fact that McCain is offering a third Bush term on Iran.

“I do wonder with Senator Obama, if President Bush thinks Senator Obama’s going to win, does he somehow think — does he worry that Obama won’t follow through on that policy,” Kristol added. Host Chris Wallace then asked if Kristol was suggesting that Bush might “launch a military strike” before or after the election:

WALLACE: So, you’re suggesting that he might in fact, if Obama’s going to win the election, either before or after the election, launch a military strike?

KRISTOL: I don’t know. I mean, I think he would worry about it. On the other hand, you can’t — it’s hard to make foreign policy based on guesses of election results. I think Israel is worried though. I mean, what is, what signal goes to Ahmadinejad if Obama wins on a platform of unconditional negotiations and with an obvious reluctance to even talk about using military force.

Kristol also suggested that Obama’s election would tempt Saudi Arabia and Egypt to think, ‘maybe we can use nuclear… Continue reading

McCain aide hits nerve with terror remark

By Edward Luce and Andrew Ward
June 24 2008

John McCain’s right-hand man hit a raw nerve on Monday when he said another terrorist attack on US soil would prove a “big advantage” to the Republican nominee’s general election chances.

The comments by Charlie Black, who is arguably Mr McCain’s most experienced adviser, put into words what many Republicans and Democrats have privately been stating for months.

Mr Black, 60, who is a veteran of every Republican presidential campaign since the 1980s and served in the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations, immediately apologised for his remarks, which were published in an interview with Fortune Magazine.

Mr McCain, whom opinion polls show is trailing Barack Obama, his Democratic rival, by between six and 15 points, said: “I cannot imagine why he would say it. I strenuously disagree?.?.?.?It’s not true. I have worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another terrorist attack on America.”

The Obama campaign said: “The fact that John McCain’s top adviser says that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a ‘big advantage’ for their political campaign is a complete disgrace and is exactly the kind of politics that needs to change.”

The controversy arrived at a bad moment for the McCain campaign, which has come under increasing fire from otherwise friendly Republicans for its alleged amateurism. Critics say it has sent out mixed signals about Mr McCain’s political direction and shown a lack of “message discipline”.

For example, last week the campaign put out a televised advertisement… Continue reading

Senate Passes Unconstitutional Spying Bill And Grants Sweeping Immunity To Phone Companies

ACLU Announces Legal Challenge To Follow President’s Signature

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312, media@dcaclu.org or
(212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

WASHINGTON – Today, in a blatant assault upon civil liberties and the right to privacy, the Senate passed an unconstitutional domestic spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and eliminates any meaningful role for judicial oversight of government surveillance. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 was approved by a vote of 69 to 28 and is expected to be signed into law by President Bush shortly. This bill essentially legalizes the president’s unlawful warrantless wiretapping program revealed in December 2005 by the New York Times.

‘Once again, Congress blinked and succumbed to the president’s fear-mongering. With today’s vote, the government has been given a green light to expand its power to spy on Americans and run roughshod over the Constitution,’ said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘This legislation will give the government unfettered and unchecked access to innocent Americans’ international communications without a warrant. This is not only unconstitutional, but absolutely un-American.’

The FISA Amendments Act nearly eviscerates oversight of government surveillance by allowing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to review only general procedures for spying rather than individual warrants. The FISC will not be told any specifics about who will actually be wiretapped, thereby undercutting any meaningful role for the court and violating the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

The bill further trivializes court review by authorizing the government to continue… Continue reading

Why is the Military Experimenting On Our Troops?

All military personnel who are headed to combat are required to take vaccinations. Are these shots leaving some troops deathly ill?

 …

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‘The Neocons Are Dying to Nuke Iran’ — An Interview with Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

By Kathy Sanborn

13/08/08 “ICH” — – Sanborn: When I read your article, “Marching Off Into Tyranny,” I was impressed by how you were able to concisely sum up one of the most important issues that we face as Americans, namely, the erosion of our civil liberties, mostly due to fabricated terrorism such as the anthrax scare and the attacks on 9/11. You talk about the Florida university professor, Al-Arian, who continues to be victimized by the Feds although a jury has cleared him of any terrorism charges. [As of August 8, 2008, the Associated Press states, “U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema postponed the trial indefinitely, questioning whether the government was overeager in filing charges.” –KS]

What was your wake-up call, Dr. Roberts, to the fact that the current administration was determined to take  away the civil liberties of Americans?

Roberts: When they responded to 9/11 with the Patriot Act. That document was thick, and it would have taken months and months to prepare it, yet it came out shortly after the 9/11 attacks.

Why does combating terrorism require an assault on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? It was clear to me that there was an undeclared agenda there.

On the day of 9/11, I knew right away that something was wrong. I had been an engineering student at Georgia Tech, and things just didn’t add up. As I watched the towers fall, I could see that the buildings were blowing up from the top, at least initially.… Continue reading

NY Times confirms US involvement in Nuclear Black Market

by Luke Ryland
September 5, 2008
LetSibelEdmondsSpeak.blogspot.com

In last Monday’s New York Times, David Sanger and William Broad wrote a front-page article about the CIA’s involvement in the nuclear black market.

The article demonstrates (again) that the New York Times, Sanger & Broad in particular, has simply become a mouthpiece for the government (see my previous articles 1, 2, 3) but they did let one fact slip through to the readership. I can only presume that the slip was accidental, because they don’t appear to have understood the ramifications of what they reported:

The US Government is covering up the fact that US citizens and entities are involved in the nuclear black market.

Background

Three members of the Tinner family in Switzerland were key suppliers to AQ Khan’s nuclear black market ring. They were arrested in 2004 and have been awaiting trial but the US government has been trying to sabotage the Swiss trial because “compromising and embarrassing information about the CIA’s activities with the Khan network” would be exposed if the trial were to proceed.

High-Level Visit

The New York Times reported that in July 2007, the Swiss Justice Minister came to the US to discuss the case with high-level US officials, apparently to find a mutually-acceptable arrangement regarding how to deal with the Tinner case.

According to an anonymous former Bush administration official:

“The State Department wanted the bomb plans destroyed as a way to stem nuclear proliferation, while the C.I.A. wanted to… Continue reading

9/11 Victims Target Saudis With Deep State Ties

by P. Devlin Buckley
September 5, 2008
The American Monitor

Law firms representing victims of the 9/11 attacks in an ongoing legal dispute with wealthy Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda have recently turned their attention to two individuals with unique ties to the U.S. government.

Lawyers for victims of the attacks, as well as insurance companies of property owners in New York, have filed a motion of discovery in federal district court in Manhattan targeting the Saudi-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) and two of its former executives, Khalid bin Mahfouz and Yassin al-Qadi.

Both Mahfouz and al-Qadi have a murky history that includes alleged ties to the CIA, the White House, the Bush family, al-Qaeda, and organized crime on a global scale.

The discovery motion, if granted, would advance the case by requiring both sides to disclose and exchange all available pertinent facts regarding the defendants. The motion comes just days after a circuit court ruled members of the Saudi government are immune from terrorism lawsuits in the United States, a setback in the plaintiffs’ case against Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. There are some defendants, however, the ruling does not protect, including Khalid bin Mahfouz, Yassin al-Qadi, and the NCB.

Government documents, expert testimony, and media reports dating back several years suggest Mahfouz and al-Qadi have raised millions of dollars for al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Evidence indicates some of the defendants’ activities were sanctioned by the U.S. government.

During the late… Continue reading

The Anthrax Case Reopens: Why Did the FBI Let the Fort Detrick Scientists Investigate Themselves?

by Bill Simpich tr u t h o u t | Report

The Congressional anthrax hearings of September 16-17 revealed that public pressure is keeping the doors open in the anthrax case. FBI Director Robert Mueller promised that the FBI will provide their evidence to a panel of experts for scientific evaluation. The battle will now turn to the independence of this panel, and whether “all evidence” or merely “scientific evidence” will be under review.

Photo of FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III

During the hearings, Mueller found himself under fire by Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman John Conyers for not having answers to their questions. Republican Arlen Specter was furious at Mueller for his unwillingness to assure them that Congress would have a role in determining the panel’s composition.

Meanwhile, new evidence shows just how deeply wrong ABC and Washington Post reporters have been over the years on their coverage of the anthrax attacks. They can’t have it both ways: Either they made repeated “mistakes” by relying on their sources, or several people deliberately lied in order to advance war on Iraq.

In his recent book Taking Heat, former White House secretary Ari Fleischer wrote that Bush was more shook up by the anthrax attacks than by any other event. White House officials repeatedly pressed Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by al-Qaeda or Iraq. After days of provocative statements designed to scare the American people, Cheney himself believed that he had been exposed to anthrax. Although the test… Continue reading

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