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Posts: 8,844
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http://www.collapsenet.com/free-resourc ... ris-hedges

“The NDAA lawsuit is one of the key topics we have written about over the past year or so. For those of you that aren’t up to speed, one of the most popular posts we ever wrote was NDAA: The Most Important Lawsuit in American History that No One is Talking About. Basically, Section 1021 of the NDAA allows for the indefinite detention of American citizens without charges or a trial. Journalist Chris Hedges and several others sued Obama on the grounds of it being unconstitutional. Judge Katherine Forrest agreed and issued an injunction on it. This was immediately appealed by the Obama Administration to a higher court, which promptly issued a temporary stay on the injunction.

Yesterday, oral arguments began in front of this aforementioned higher court; the 2nd Circuit. As Chris Hedges states in the interview below, if they win the case then it will likely be brought in front of the Supreme Court within weeks. On the other hand, if the Obama Administration wins and the Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal, Hedges states: “at that point we’ve just become a military dictatorship.”

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“According to a report released this week by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, West African drug smugglers are playing a more direct role in trafficking the $1.25 billion worth of cocaine moving through the region every year. Most of the region’s cocaine still originates with Latin American cartels like the FARC, but these cartels’ direct involvement in trafficking drugs through Africa to Europe has declined. In their place, West African trafficking groups are building their own narcotics transport and distribution systems, pushing out the Latin Americans, and are now producing their own methamphetamine on a large scale.” - See more at: http://www.collapsenet.com/free-resources/collapsenet-public-access/news-alerts/item/10686-out-latin-american-drug-cartels-in-african-drug-cartels#sthash.uzOIQPZU.dpuf

“According to a report released this week by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, West African drug smugglers are playing a more direct role in trafficking the $1.25 billion worth of cocaine moving through the region every year. Most of the region’s cocaine still originates with Latin American cartels like the FARC, but these cartels’ direct involvement in trafficking drugs through Africa to Europe has declined. In their place, West African trafficking groups are building their own narcotics transport and distribution systems, pushing out the Latin Americans, and are now producing their own methamphetamine on a large scale.” - See more at: http://www.collapsenet.com/free-resources/collapsenet-public-access/news-alerts/item/10686-out-latin-american-drug-cartels-in-african-drug-cartels#sthash.uzOIQPZU.dpuf

“According to a report released this week by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, West African drug smugglers are playing a more direct role in trafficking the $1.25 billion worth of cocaine moving through the region every year. Most of the region’s cocaine still originates with Latin American cartels like the FARC, but these cartels’ direct involvement in trafficking drugs through Africa to Europe has declined. In their place, West African trafficking groups are building their own narcotics transport and distribution systems, pushing out the Latin Americans, and are now producing their own methamphetamine on a large scale.” - See more at: http://www.collapsenet.com/free-resources/collapsenet-public-access/news-alerts/item/10686-out-latin-american-drug-cartels-in-african-drug-cartels#sthash.uzOIQPZU.dpuf

“According to a report released this week by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, West African drug smugglers are playing a more direct role in trafficking the $1.25 billion worth of cocaine moving through the region every year. Most of the region’s cocaine still originates with Latin American cartels like the FARC, but these cartels’ direct involvement in trafficking drugs through Africa to Europe has declined. In their place, West African trafficking groups are building their own narcotics transport and distribution systems, pushing out the Latin Americans, and are now producing their own methamphetamine on a large scale.” - See more at: http://www.collapsenet.com/free-resources/collapsenet-public-access/news-alerts/item/10686-out-latin-american-drug-cartels-in-african-drug-cartels#sthash.uzOIQPZU.dpuf

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Watchdog Group Names Justice Department Most Secretive Agency
By Elizabeth Murphy | February 15, 2012 4:26 pm

The Justice Department has been awarded the Rosemary Award for Worst Open Government Performance .

The prize — awarded by the National Security Archive, which is based at George Washington University — is named after Watergate figure Rose Mary Woods, President Richard Nixon’s secretary who erased 18-some minutes of important Oval Office tapes.


In its report, directorTom Blanton said, “Justice edged out a crowded field of contending agencies and career officials who seem in practical rebellion against President [Barack] Obama’s open-government orders.”

Obama in 2009 issued a memo ordering improved openness and transparency, pointing to a greater “presumption of favor” of Freedom of Information Act requests. Attorney General Eric Holder followed suit with guidance to federal agencies that reversed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft’s October 2001 policy of denying records requests whenever legally possible.

At the time, Holder’s guidance was seen as a repudiation of George W. Bush-era secrecy. But those times have changed.

The watchdog group’s report found that the Justice Department has moved forward with “abusive prosecutions using espionage laws against whistleblowers as ostensible ‘leakers’ of classified information,” a mixed record on information requests and “recycled legal arguments for greater secrecy throughout the Justice’s litigation posture.”

The report found that there have been more ‘leaker’ prosecutions in the last three years than all previous years combined.

The department has failed to be the “change agent and role model” for Obama’s FOIA reforms that it promised to be, the report states.

Former Public Integrity Section chief William M. Welch II is “the single individual in 2011 who did the most to stomp on President Obama’s open government message,” the watchdog group said, pointing to Welch’s leading role prosecuting government employees who leaked information to the press. Welch has also come under scrutiny in the botched prosecution of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.


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Rethinking Watergate/Iran-Contra
March 9, 2013

Special Report: New evidence continues to accumulate showing how Official Washington got key elements of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals wrong, especially how these two crimes of state originated in treacherous actions to secure the powers of the presidency, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

A favorite saying of Official Washington is that “the cover-up is worse than the crime.” But that presupposes you accurately understand what the crime was. And, in the case of the two major U.S. government scandals of the last third of the Twentieth Century – Watergate and Iran-Contra – that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Indeed, newly disclosed documents have put old evidence into a sharply different light and suggest that history has substantially miswritten the two scandals by failing to understand that they actually were sequels to earlier scandals that were far worse. Watergate and Iran-Contra were, in part at least, extensions of the original crimes, which involved dirty dealings to secure the immense power of the presidency.

Presidents Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan photographed together in the Oval Office in 1991. (Cropped from a White House photo that also included Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.)

In the case of Watergate – the foiled Republican break-in at the Democratic National Committee in June 1972 and Richard Nixon’s botched cover-up leading to his resignation in August 1974 – the evidence is now clear that Nixon created the Watergate burglars out of his panic that the Democrats might possess a file on his sabotage of Vietnam peace talks in 1968.

Shortly after Nixon took office in 1969, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover informed him of the existence of the file containing national security wiretaps documenting how Nixon’s emissaries had gone behind President Lyndon Johnson’s back to convince the South Vietnamese government to boycott the Paris Peace Talks, which were close to ending the Vietnam War in fall 1968.

The disruption of Johnson’s peace talks then enabled Nixon to hang on for a narrow victory over Democrat Hubert Humphrey. However, as the new President was taking steps in 1969 to extend the war another four-plus years, he sensed the threat from the wiretap file and ordered two of his top aides, chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, to locate it. But they couldn’t find the file.

We now know that was because President Johnson, who privately had called Nixon’s Vietnam actions “treason,” had ordered the file removed from the White House by his national security aide Walt Rostow.

Rostow labeled the file “The ‘X’ Envelope” and kept it in his possession, although having left government, he had no legal right to possess the highly classified documents, many of which were stamped “Top Secret.” Johnson had instructed Rostow to retain the papers as long as he, Johnson, was alive and then afterwards to decide what to do with them.

Nixon, however, had no idea that Johnson and Rostow had taken the missing file or, indeed, who might possess it. Normally, national security documents are passed from the outgoing President to the incoming President to maintain continuity in government.

But Haldeman and Kissinger had come up empty in their search. They were only able to recreate the file’s contents, which included incriminating conversations between Nixon’s emissaries and South Vietnamese officials regarding Nixon’s promise to get them a better deal if they helped him torpedo Johnson’s peace talks.

So, the missing file remained a troubling mystery inside Nixon’s White House, but Nixon still lived up to his pre-election agreement with South Vietnamese President Nguyen van Thieu to extend U.S. military participation in the war with the goal of getting the South Vietnamese a better outcome than they would have received from Johnson in 1968.

Nixon not only continued the Vietnam War, which had already claimed more than 30,000 American lives and an estimated one million Vietnamese, but he expanded it, with intensified bombing campaigns and a U.S. incursion into Cambodia. At home, the war was bitterly dividing the nation with a massive anti-war movement and an angry backlash from war supporters.

Pentagon Papers

It was in that intense climate in 1971 that Daniel Ellsberg, a former senior Defense Department official, gave the New York Times a copy of the Pentagon Papers, the secret U.S. history of the Vietnam War from 1945 to 1967. The voluminous report documented many of the lies – most told by Democrats – to draw the American people into the war.

The Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers on June 13, 1971, and the disclosures touched off a public firestorm. Trying to tamp down the blaze, Nixon took extraordinary legal steps to stop dissemination of the secrets, ultimately failing in the U.S. Supreme Court.

But Nixon had an even more acute fear. He knew something that few others did, that there was a sequel to the Pentagon Papers that was arguably more explosive – the missing file containing evidence that Nixon had covertly prevented the war from being brought to a conclusion so he could maintain a political edge in Election 1968.

If anyone thought the Pentagon Papers represented a shocking scandal – and clearly millions of Americans did – how would people react to a file that revealed Nixon had kept the slaughter going – with thousands of additional American soldiers dead and the violence spilling back into the United States – just so he could win an election?

A savvy political analyst, Nixon recognized this threat to his reelection in 1972, assuming he would have gotten that far. Given the intensity of the anti-war movement, there would surely have been furious demonstrations around the White House and likely an impeachment effort on Capitol Hill.

So, on June 17, 1971, Nixon summoned Haldeman and Kissinger into the Oval Office and – as Nixon’s own recording devices whirred softly – pleaded with them again to locate the missing file. “Do we have it?” a Nixon asked Haldeman. “I’ve asked for it. You said you didn’t have it.”

Haldeman: “We can’t find it.”

Kissinger: “We have nothing here, Mr. President.”

Nixon: “Well, damnit, I asked for that because I need it.”

Kissinger: “But Bob and I have been trying to put the damn thing together.”

Haldeman: “We have a basic history in constructing our own, but there is a file on it.”

Nixon: “Where?”

Haldeman: “[Presidential aide Tom Charles] Huston swears to God that there’s a file on it and it’s at Brookings.”

Nixon: “Bob? Bob? Now do you remember Huston’s plan [for White House-sponsored break-ins as part of domestic counter-intelligence operations]? Implement it.”

Kissinger: “Now Brookings has no right to have classified documents.”

Nixon: “I want it implemented. … Goddamnit, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.”

Haldeman: “They may very well have cleaned them by now, but this thing, you need to –“

Kissinger: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Brookings had the files.”

Haldeman: “My point is Johnson knows that those files are around. He doesn’t know for sure that we don’t have them around.”

But Johnson did know that the file was no longer at the White House because he had ordered Rostow to remove it in the final days of his own presidency.

Forming the Burglars

On June 30, 1971, Nixon again berated Haldeman about the need to break into Brookings and “take it [the file] out.” Nixon even suggested using former CIA officer E. Howard Hunt to conduct the Brookings break-in.

“You talk to Hunt,” Nixon told Haldeman. “I want the break-in. Hell, they do that. You’re to break into the place, rifle the files, and bring them in. … Just go in and take it. Go in around 8:00 or 9:00 o’clock.”

Haldeman: “Make an inspection of the safe.”

Nixon: “That’s right. You go in to inspect the safe. I mean, clean it up.”

For reasons that remain unclear, it appears that the Brookings break-in never took place, but Nixon’s desperation to locate Johnson’s peace-talk file was an important link in the chain of events that led to the creation of Nixon’s burglary unit under Hunt’s supervision. Hunt later oversaw the two Watergate break-ins in May and June of 1972.

While it’s possible that Nixon was still searching for the file about his Vietnam-peace sabotage when the Watergate break-ins occurred nearly a year later, it’s generally believed that the burglary was more broadly focused, seeking any information that might have an impact on Nixon’s re-election, either defensively or offensively.

As it turned out, Nixon’s burglars were nabbed inside the Watergate complex on their second break-in on June 17, 1972, exactly one year after Nixon’s tirade to Haldeman and Kissinger about the need to blow the safe at the Brookings Institution in pursuit of the missing Vietnam peace-talk file.

Ironically, too, Johnson and Rostow had no intention of exposing Nixon’s dirty secret regarding LBJ’s Vietnam peace talks, presumably for the same reasons that they kept their mouths shut back in 1968, out of a benighted belief that revealing Nixon’s actions might somehow not be “good for the country.”

In November 1972, despite the growing scandal over the Watergate break-in, Nixon handily won reelection, crushing Sen. George McGovern, Nixon’s preferred opponent. Nixon then reached out to Johnson seeking his help in squelching Democratic-led investigations of the Watergate affair and slyly noting that Johnson had ordered wiretaps of Nixon’s campaign in 1968.

Johnson reacted angrily to the overture, refusing to cooperate. On Jan. 20, 1973, Nixon was sworn in for his second term. On Jan. 22, 1973, Johnson died of a heart attack.

Toward Resignation

In the weeks that followed Nixon’s Inauguration and Johnson’s death, the scandal over the Watergate cover-up grew more serious, creeping ever closer to the Oval Office. Meanwhile, Rostow struggled to decide what he should do with “The ‘X’ Envelope.”

On May 14, 1973, in a three-page “memorandum for the record,” Rostow summarized what was in “The ‘X’ Envelope” and provided a chronology for the events in fall 1968. Rostow reflected, too, on what effect LBJ’s public silence then may have had on the unfolding Watergate scandal.

“I am inclined to believe the Republican operation in 1968 relates in two ways to the Watergate affair of 1972,” Rostow wrote. He noted, first, that Nixon’s operatives may have judged that their “enterprise with the South Vietnamese” – in frustrating Johnson’s last-ditch peace initiative – had secured Nixon his narrow margin of victory over Hubert Humphrey in 1968.

“Second, they got away with it,” Rostow wrote. “Despite considerable press commentary after the election, the matter was never investigated fully. Thus, as the same men faced the election in 1972, there was nothing in their previous experience with an operation of doubtful propriety (or, even, legality) to warn them off, and there were memories of how close an election could get and the possible utility of pressing to the limit – and beyond.” [To read Rostow’s memo, click here, here and here.]

What Rostow didn’t know was that there was a third – and more direct – connection between the missing file and Watergate. Nixon’s fear about the file surfacing as a follow-up to the Pentagon Papers was Nixon’s motive for creating Hunt’s burglary team in the first place.

Rostow apparently struggled with what to do with the file for the next month as the Watergate scandal expanded. On June 25, 1973, fired White House counsel John Dean delivered his blockbuster Senate testimony, claiming that Nixon got involved in the cover-up within days of the June 1972 burglary at the Democratic National Committee. Dean also asserted that Watergate was just part of a years-long program of political espionage directed by Nixon’s White House.

The very next day, as headlines of Dean’s testimony filled the nation’s newspapers, Rostow reached his conclusion about what to do with “The ‘X’ Envelope.” In longhand, he wrote a “Top Secret” note which read, “To be opened by the Director, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, not earlier than fifty (50) years from this date June 26, 1973.”

In other words, Rostow intended this missing link of American history to stay missing for another half century. In a typed cover letter to LBJ Library director Harry Middleton, Rostow wrote: “Sealed in the attached envelope is a file President Johnson asked me to hold personally because of its sensitive nature. In case of his death, the material was to be consigned to the LBJ Library under conditions I judged to be appropriate. …

“After fifty years the Director of the LBJ Library (or whomever may inherit his responsibilities, should the administrative structure of the National Archives change) may, alone, open this file. … If he believes the material it contains should not be opened for research [at that time], I would wish him empowered to re-close the file for another fifty years when the procedure outlined above should be repeated.”

Ultimately, however, the LBJ Library didn’t wait that long. After a little more than two decades, on July 22, 1994, the envelope was opened and the archivists began the long process of declassifying the contents.

Yet, because Johnson and Rostow chose to withhold the file on Nixon’s “treason,” a distorted history of Watergate took shape and then hardened into what all the Important People of Washington “knew” to be true. The conventional wisdom was that Nixon was unaware of the Watergate break-in beforehand – that it was some harebrained scheme of a few overzealous subordinates – and that the President only got involved later in covering it up.

Sure, the Washington groupthink went, Nixon had his “enemies list” and played hardball with his rivals, but he couldn’t be blamed for the Watergate break-in, which many insiders regarded as “the third-rate burglary” that Nixon’s White House called it.

Even journalists and historians who took a broader view of Watergate didn’t pursue the remarkable clue from Nixon’s rant about the missing file on June 17, 1971. Though a few other historians did write, sketchily, about the 1968 events, they also didn’t put the events together.

So, the beloved saying took shape: “the cover-up is worse than the crime.” And Official Washington hates to rethink some history that is considered already settled. In this case, it would make too many important people who have expounded on the “worse” part of Watergate, i.e. the cover-up, look stupid. [For details, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative.]

The Iran-Contra Cover-up

Similarly, Official Washington and many mainstream historians have tended to dismiss Ronald Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal as another case of some overzealous subordinates intuiting what the President wanted and getting everybody into trouble.

The “Big Question” that insiders were asking after the scandal broke in November 1986 was whether President Reagan knew about the decision by White House aide Oliver North and his boss, National Security Advisor John Poindexter, to divert some profits from secret arms sales to Iran to secretly buy weapons for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels.

Once, Poindexter testified that he had no recollection of letting Reagan in on that secret – and with Reagan a beloved figure to many in Official Washington – the inquiry was relegated to insignificance. The remaining investigation focused on smaller questions, like misleading Congress and a scholarly dispute over whether the President’s foreign policy powers overrode Congress’ power to appropriate funds).

At the start of the Iran-Contra investigation, Attorney General Edwin Meese had set the time parameters from 1984 to 1986, thus keeping outside of the frame the possibility of a much more serious scandal originating during Campaign 1980, i.e., whether Reagan’s campaign undermined President Jimmy Carter’s negotiations to free 52 American hostages in Iran and then paid off the Iranians by allowing Israel to ship weapons to Iran for the Iran-Iraq War.

So, while congressional and federal investigators looked only at how the specific 1985-86 arms sales to Iran got started, there was no timely attention paid to evidence that the Reagan administration had quietly approved Israeli arms sales to Iran in 1981 and that those contacts went back to the days before Election 1980 when the hostage crisis destroyed Carter’s reelection hopes and ensured Reagan’s victory.

The 52 hostages were not released until Reagan was sworn in on Jan. 20, 1981.

Over the years, about two dozen sources – including Iranian officials, Israeli insiders, European intelligence operatives, Republican activists and even Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat – have provided information about alleged contacts with Iran by the Reagan campaign.

And, there were indications early in the Reagan presidency that something peculiar was afoot. On July 18, 1981, an Israeli-chartered plane crashed or was shot down after straying over the Soviet Union on a return flight from delivering U.S.-manufactured weapons to Iran.

In a PBS interview nearly a decade later, Nicholas Veliotes, Reagan’s assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, said he looked into the incident by talking to top administration officials. “It was clear to me after my conversations with people on high that indeed we had agreed that the Israelis could transship to Iran some American-origin military equipment,” Veliotes said.

In checking out the Israeli flight, Veliotes came to believe that the Reagan camp’s dealings with Iran dated back to before the 1980 election. “It seems to have started in earnest in the period probably prior to the election of 1980, as the Israelis had identified who would become the new players in the national security area in the Reagan administration,” Veliotes said. “And I understand some contacts were made at that time.”

When I re-interviewed Veliotes on Aug. 8, 2012, he said he couldn’t recall who the “people on high” were who had described the informal clearance of the Israeli shipments but he indicated that “the new players” were the young neoconservatives who were working on the Reagan campaign, many of whom later joined the administration as senior political appointees.

Neocon Schemes

Newly discovered documents at the Reagan presidential library reveal that Reagan’s neocons at the State Department – particularly Robert McFarlane and Paul Wolfowitz – initiated a policy review in 1981 to allow Israel to undertake secret military shipments to Iran. McFarlane and Wolfowitz also maneuvered to put McFarlane in charge of U.S. relations toward Iran and to establish a clandestine U.S. back-channel to the Israeli government outside the knowledge of even senior U.S. government officials.

Not only did the documents tend to support the statements by Veliotes but they also fit with comments that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir made in a 1993 interview in Tel Aviv. Shamir said he had read the 1991 book, October Surprise, by Carter’s former National Security Council aide Gary Sick, which made the case for believing that the Republicans had intervened in the 1980 hostage negotiations to disrupt Carter’s reelection.

With the topic raised, one interviewer asked, “What do you think? Was there an October Surprise?”

“Of course, it was,” Shamir responded without hesitation. “It was.”

And, there were plenty of other corroborating statements as well. In 1996, for instance, while former President Carter was meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Arafat in Gaza City, Arafat tried to confess his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations.

“There is something I want to tell you,” Arafat said, addressing Carter in the presence of historian Douglas Brinkley. “You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election,” Arafat said, according to Brinkley’s article in the fall 1996 issue of Diplomatic Quarterly.

As recently as this past week, former Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr reiterated his account of Republican overtures to Iran during the 1980 hostage crisis and how that secret initiative prevented release of the hostages.

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Former FBI agent rallies student Democrats at Wartburg

January 19, 2006

WAVERLY - Years before Coleen Rowley found national attention for revealing government mistakes prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, she supported President Bush.

"I believed he would reduce the deficit and play nice with other countries. I actually believed that."

On Wednesday, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent urged Wartburg College students not to be fooled again. Rowley, a New Hampton native, said radical Republicans have hijacked the party, and the 2006 election is the time to stop their efforts.

"I'm 51, and I've never seen a situation like this that is facing our country right now," she said. "I honesty don't think we have had these problems."

Rowley gained national recognition in 2002 for charging FBI supervisors blew a chance to unravel the Sept. 11 hijacking plot. Time Magazine named the Wartburg alum a person of the year for blowing the whistle on superiors. In 2003, before leaving the agency, Rowley opposed the Iraq War in front of a Senate committee.

She is now running for Congress in Minnesota's 2nd District. She was at Wartburg to inspire student Democrats.

"My last visit here was in 2002, and each time I come back to this place, it's a reminder - a humbling experience," she said.

Rowley, once a Republican, said she became a Democrat, because she doesn't agree with new conservative leadership.

"I don't think conservatives have changed," she said. "What has changed is the group that has grabbed power."

Rowley said President Bush believes he can create his own realities. But in the true reality is his policies have injured the nation, increasing the threat of war and terrorism and eroding civil rights.

"I would be willing to give up my privacy if we were getting something out of it, but what are we getting out of it?" she asked. "I would argue that terrorism has increased."

Rowley believes voters need to come forward to return the United States to its foundation.


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Was Bergoglio Complicit in Argentina's Dirty War?

By Hugh O'Shaughnessy, Guardian UK

13 March13


enedict XVI gave us words of great comfort and encouragement in the message he delivered on Christmas Eve.

"God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways," the pope said. "He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin. Again and again he begins afresh with us".

If these words comforted and encouraged me they will surely have done the same for leaders of the church in Argentina, among many others. To the judicious and fair-minded outsider it has been clear for years that the upper reaches of the Argentine church contained many "lost sheep in the wilderness", men who had communed and supported the unspeakably brutal Western-supported military dictatorship which seized power in that country in 1976 and battened on it for years. Not only did the generals slaughter thousands unjustly, often dropping them out of aeroplanes over the River Plate and selling off their orphan children to the highest bidder, they also murdered at least two bishops and many priests. Yet even the execution of other men of the cloth did nothing to shake the support of senior clerics, including representatives of the Holy See, for the criminality of their leader General Jorge Rafael Videla and his minions.

As it happens, in the week before Christmas in the city of Córdoba Videla and some of his military and police cohorts were convicted by their country's courts of the murder of 31 people between April and October 1976, a small fraction of the killings they were responsible for. The convictions brought life sentences for some of the military. These were not to be served, as has often been the case in Argentina and neighbouring Chile, in comfy armed forces retirement homes but in common prisons. Unsurprisingly there was dancing in the city's streets when the judge announced the sentences.

What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentine hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church's collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church's complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina's most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship's political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio's name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment

One would have thought that the Argentine bishops would have seized the opportunity to call for pardon for themselves and put on sackcloth and ashes as the sentences were announced in Córdoba but that has not so far happened.

But happily Their Eminences have just been given another chance to express contrition. Next month the convicted murderer Videla will be arraigned for his part in the killing of Enrique Angelelli, bishop of the Andean diocese of La Rioja and a supporter of the cause of poorer Argentines. He was run off the highway by a hit squad of the Videla régime and killed on 4th August 1976 shortly after Videla's putsch.

Cardinal Bergoglio has plenty of time to be measured for a suit of sackcloth – perhaps tailored in a suitable clerical grey - to be worn when the church authorities are called into the witness box by the investigating judge in the Angelelli case. Ashes will be readily available if the records of the Argentine bishops' many disingenuous and outrightly mendacious statements about Videla and Angelelli are burned.


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March 15, 2013
National Security Letters Are Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules
Court Finds NSL Statutes Violate First Amendment and Separation of Powers

San Francisco - A federal district court judge in San Francisco has ruled that National Security Letter (NSL) provisions in federal law violate the Constitution. The decision came in a lawsuit challenging a NSL on behalf of an unnamed telecommunications company represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

In the ruling publicly released today, Judge Susan Illston ordered that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) stop issuing NSLs and cease enforcing the gag provision in this or any other case. The landmark ruling is stayed for 90 days to allow the government to appeal.

"We are very pleased that the court recognized the fatal constitutional shortcomings of the NSL statute," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "The government's gags have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools. Our client looks forward to the day when it can publicly discuss its experience."

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The Truth Behind Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis: Breaking the Silence, the Catholic Church in Argentina and the ‘Dirty War’
By Horacio Verbitsky
Global Research, March 16, 2013


Argentina between 1976 and 1983 was wracked by a “dirty war” in which successive military regimes hunted down, tortured and “disappeared” tens of thousands of citizens. The process had begun when Argentina’s already febrile politics started to split open in the mid-1970s. The military seized power in a coup from Isabelita Peron’s government, in the wake of an armed insurgency by Montoneros guerrillas.

The dictatorship that followed consigned thousands of Argentineans into military detention. Most were tortured; a few were released, many were eventually murdered. These “disappeared” numbered in all around 30,000.

In 1979, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission visited Argentina and inspected the most notorious detention centre, the Navy Mechanical School in Buenos Aires. They found no prisoners. As Horacio Verbitsky reveals in this extract from his extraordinary book, the prisoners had been dispersed, some of them to El Silencio, an island property that had belonged to an official of the Catholic archbishop of Buenos Aires.

The Catholic church’s complicity in torture and murder in Argentina should be no surprise; it had, after all, long precedents in extreme doctrines that came to Argentina (and elsewhere in Latin America) from the far right in France. But many details of Horacio Verbitsky’s account are revelatory, and his researches are a vital contribution to continuing efforts in Argentina to reach a full historical, legal and moral accounting for the violations of the “dirty war” years.

 The River

“Transfer” was a word the prisoners feared, a word they all wanted to banish from their thoughts.

There were three weeks to the end of winter. The nights were still cold, but the sunshine brought a feeling of warmth returning, a good sign after all the hard months. They had been told they would be away until the end of the month. Some of them had told their families they would not be able to call or see them for several weeks. They had never been outside the Navy Mechanical School as a group before, and this novelty was disturbing. In the attic and basement of the officers’ mess that they were leaving, they had had enough time to get close. The links between them were recent but intense, cemented by the extreme situation they had shared, the outcome of which was still unclear.

Horacio Verbitsky’s new book “The Silence” has been longlisted for the 2005 Ulysses award for literary reportage

This time they were not called out by name and they were not lined up in the white-tiled corridor leading to the sickroom where they had been vaccinated. When the last of them climbed on board the bus, the officers’ mess was left empty to make room for a refurbishment. The aim was to deceive the members of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, who were arriving with makeshift but accurate drawings of the installations.

The bathroom was to be completely altered, a marble worktop, stainless-steel sinks and a wall-to-wall mirror were to be fitted to make the place look less forbidding. Partitions were to be knocked down, and the metal rings in the floor removed. The staircase between the basement and the attic was to be closed off.

The bus headed north, parallel to the River Plate. With their casual clothes and sports bags they might have seemed like so many similar groups of light-hearted young men and women out on an excursion. They were well aware of the deceit and disguise.

They cannot have taken more than half an hour to reach the landing-stage. The guards identified the vehicle and let them through. Other prisoners were brought to the same spot by car, blindfolded.

They were put on board a coastguard launch, made of wood like the boats that carry passengers between all the islands, but with the seats removed. They were made to lie on the floor in the midst of bags, crates of food, radio equipment and weapons. The launch headed up the River Tuyú-Paré towards the Chaña-Miní.

Some of the prisoners estimate the journey took little more than half an hour; others, more accurately, say an hour and a half. In the 19th century, the liberal bourgeoisie in Argentina had called this area the Tigre, in honour of the Tigris region in Mesopotamia. Only the people who live on the islands of the delta can distinguish all the 350 rivers, streams and channels into which they are divided. A century and a half ago, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento described the shape of these islands as “the most capricious imaginable”, an area where “the surface is an illusion: not everything is land that appears to be so, and there is no way of knowing beforehand what is of any use.”

There was nothing out of the ordinary about the dock they tied up at; nor about the house, which they walked towards across worn wooden planks and a muddy path. The building must have been around eighty years old. It was the same as many others in the Paraná delta, with a pitched corrugated iron roof, floors, walls and partitions made of wood, and raised on stilts to protect it from the frequent floods. The eight large rooms must have covered an area of a little less than 200 square metres. Radio equipment was set up in one of the rooms. There was an electric generator and lots of tools. A gas water-heater supplied the bathroom and the kitchen, and there were four water tanks for drinking water.

A stand of poplars, another of willows, and a third of birches filled the cultivated part of the island. The rest needed clearing. A dense screen of thorn bushes grew wild everywhere, making it impossible to penetrate more than 500 metres inland from the river.

Another, smaller group made the same journey in the cold of early morning. They were frightened rather than excited. Handcuffed and blindfolded, some of them were taken in a large van, others were put into a lorry with a thick green canvas awning. When they reached the landing-stage, they heard the barking of dogs and the rattle of weapons. They were put into an open launch and covered with a canvas. If any of them moved they were beaten.

These prisoners were put into a second building, smaller and rougher than the first. Its external walls were made of corrugated iron, and the gap between them and the wooden stilts had been filled in to accommodate them. Each night one or two of them were taken to the big house for a bath, along dark earthen paths, their way lit by torches. Despite the primitiveness of the conditions, these prisoners were happy that they were left on their own in this house, where the guards refused to sleep. This was the first time they were able to talk freely to each other, and thanks to this, they discovered that one of them was missing.

The last prisoner to arrive was “The Old Lady”, so called because she was 52 years old. Unlike the others, she was brought on her own. When she reached the island she read on the wooden sign that it was called El Silencio.

This was where the last men and women kidnapped by the Navy Mechanics School Task Force spent a month in September 1979.

The Catholic City

Cardinal Antonio Caggiano and his secretary Bishop Emilio Grasselli worked together in the two decades when Argentina’s defining tragedy was prepared. The cardinal played an important role in those preparations.

Elements of the Catholic church elsewhere had long taken an interest in “counter-terrorism”. In 1958, an advance party of La Cité Catholique arrived in Argentina. This was an offshoot of the French Catholic monarchist movement known as L’Action Française, created by in 1889 by Charles Maurras, the brilliant French philosopher and later apologist for Fascism. La Cité Catholique brought a doctrine of counter-revolutionary warfare and torture, justified as part of Thomist dogmatism.

Jean Ousset, Maurras’s private secretary, established La Cité Catholique in 1946. The idea originated in the French armed forces. In his book Le Marxisme-leninisme, Ousset states that this enemy can only be successfully combated by a “profound faith, an unlimited obedience to the Holy Father, and a thorough knowledge of the Church’s doctrines”.

Charles Lacheroy, a member of La Cité Catholique, was the first person to reflect on the ideological and technical reasons behind the defeat of the French colonial army in Indochina in 1954. Another member, Roger Trinquier, theorised on the use of torture in Modern Warfare, a bible for its followers.

Another of Ousset’s recruits was the chief French expert in psychological warfare – Colonel Jean Gardes. Between them they developed a new concept, that of subversion. This conceived a protean, quintessential enemy who, rather than being defined by his actions, was seen as a force trying to subvert Christian order, natural law, or the Creator’s plan. For this reason, Ousset states that “the revolutionary apparatus is ideological before it is political, and political before it is military”. This explains the wide range of enemies he sought to define.

When the torture that French paratroopers used in Algeria during the bloody war of 1954-62 aroused protests and debate, French military chaplains calmed the officers’ troubled consciences. One of them, Louis Delarue, wrote a text that was distributed to all units:

    “If, in the general interest, the law allows a murderer to be killed, why should it be seen as monstrous to submit a delinquent who has been recognised as such and is therefore liable to be put to death, to an interrogation which might be painful, but whose only object is, thanks to the revelations he may make about his accomplices and leaders, to protect the innocent? Exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures”.

As success in the Algerian war gradually slipped away from the crusaders, Ousset decided to create branches of La Cité Catholique in other parts of the world. The first of these was in Buenos Aires in 1958. Its members had been part of the clandestine Organisation of a Secret Army (OAS), which brought terror to Paris itself and attempted to assassinate General Charles de Gaulle, whom they accused of treason for withdrawing French forces from Algeria and thus facilitating its independence from French rule.

Charles de Gaulle succeeded in destroying the OAS and had several of his former military colleagues shot. The OAS chaplain, Georges Grasset, organised the flight of many members of the organisation along a route which led from Paris to Madrid and finally to Buenos Aires. Grasset himself arrived in 1962 to take charge of the Argentine branch.

Horacio Verbitsky is a leading Argentinean investigative journalist. He was given an International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2001. Among his books are The Flight: Confessions of an Argentine Dirty Warrior (New Press, 2005) and The Silence: from Paulo VI to Bergoglio, the secret links between the Church and the Navy Mechanics School (Buenos Aires, Editorial Sudamericana, 2005), which uncovers the assistance and protection that the Catholic Church gave to Argentina’s brutal military dictatorship.

Another founder of the OAS describes Grasset as “a true soldier-monk, a virulent anti-communist, who became the spiritual guide of the OAS. Thanks to him and the Cité Catholique network, of which he was one of the mainstays, several of the OAS leaders managed to find refuge abroad, particularly in Argentina”.

Jean Gardes reached Argentina in 1963. Forty years later, his daughter Florence showed the French journalist Marie-Monique Robin the notes her father had made. They show that, in March 1963, a naval lieutenant commander called Roussillon offered Gardes a deal: he would arrange Argentine government protection so that Gardes could settle in Neuquén; in exchange, he would deliver a series of lectures in the Navy Mechanics School on the counter-subversive techniques developed in France’s colonial wars.

Gardes, who soon established a small factory making paté de foie in Neuquén, did not ask to be paid or to have a fixed post, but only wanted to be an adviser. Gardes’ notes, as conserved by his daughter, coincide with those of the file on naval officer Federico Lucas Roussillon.

In 1955, the then Lieutenant Roussillon took part in the Catholic nationalist movement led by Eduardo Lonardi, which overthrew President Juan Domingo Perón. One of Lonardi’s general staff was Major Juan Francisco Guevara, who proposed that the password the conspirators should use should be: “God is Just”. By 1963 Roussillon was a member of the Naval Intelligence Service; he retired with the rank of captain in 1979, as Cardinal Caggiano was approaching the end of his life.

Soon after Gardes met Roussillon, the cadets at the Navy Mechanics School were also introduced to the world of counter-revolutionary warfare. In one of their courses they were shown the film The Battle of Algiers, an Italian-Algerian co-production made by the communist director Gillo Pontecorvo with the intention of exposing the methods used in Algeria by the French colonial army.

The film was subsequently used in counter-insurgency classes in Argentina and the United States to teach those same methods. The naval chaplain introduced the film and added a commentary from the religious point of view. Thirty-five years later, two of the cadets described the experience to Marie-Monique Robin:

Did the chaplain justify the methods used in The Battle of Algiers?

Anibal Acosta: Absolutely.

Including torture?

Julio César Urien: Yes. Torture was seen not as a moral problem but as a weapon.

Anibal Acosta: Part of the Catholic hierarchy supported this kind of practice. They showed us that film to prepare us for a kind of war very different from the regular war we had entered the Navy School for. They were preparing us for police missions against the civilian population, who became our new enemy.

The first edition of Le Marxisme-leninisme to be published outside France appeared in Buenos Aires on 6 February 1961, translated and annotated by Juan Francisco Guevara (now a colonel) and with a prologue written by Cardinal Caggiano, who thanks the “men of La ciudad catolica of Argentina” for publishing Ousset’s book.

Marxism, continues Caggiano, is born of the negation of Christ and his Church, “put into practice by the Revolution”. He affirms that Ousset’s book is a training tool for the “fight to the death” to which “all the peoples of the western world, America and those in Asia who are still resisting, are in grave, imminent danger of falling victim”.

According to Caggiano, it is necessary to “prepare for the decisive battle” even though the enemies have not yet “taken up arms”. As often happens in a continent that imports ideas, the doctrine of annihilation preceded that of the revolutionary uprising. In order to reinforce his idea of a holy war, Caggiano compared this vigil to the one that preceded the 1571 battle of Lepanto “to save Europe from domination by the Turk”. The book includes a list of the papal bulls condemning communism; they were the cross which kept Satan at bay.

In October 1961, Caggiano and the then president of Argentina, Arturo Frondizi inaugurated the first course on counter-revolutionary warfare in the Higher Military College. One of the tasks set in the course was to explain this quotation from the bishop of Verden, Dietrick von Nieken in 1411:

    “When the existence of the Church is threatened, it is no longer bound by the commandments of morality. When unity is the aim, all means are justified: deceit, treachery, violence, usury, prison and death. Because order serves the good of the community, and the individual has to be sacrificed for the common good.”

Among the advisers for this course were the French colonels Robert Bentresque and Jean Nougues; among its instructors were priests such as Victorio Bonamín, whom Caggiano had chosen as his associate in the military vicariate general. At the start of the course, the director of the Higher Military College explained that it would be dealing with a new kind of warfare “which we could call ‘internal warfare’”, to be fought “without concern for the means, or scruples, or ethical principles”.

This warfare knew no boundaries. Among the enemies were demagoguery, immorality, vices of all kinds, and low passions, all of which were employed “through the dialectic of communist action” in order to create “confusion and contradictions”. Caggiano, who attended the ceremony at Frondizi’s right hand, gave his blessing and invoked God’s aid so that the military might “discover the true path to defend the peace of our nations”. As usual, Grasselli was at his side. A few months later, Frondizi was overthrown, accused of being too tolerant towards communism.

The Island

When the photographer Marcelo Camilo Hernández, who had been forced to work as a laboratory technician in the Navy Mechanics School, went to the federal police to renew his passport, the navy task force kept his enrolment papers. They used the number and all his personal details to fake a new national identity document. Hernández left Argentina in mid-January 1979.

A fortnight later, the navy task force used his fake identity document to purchase El Silencio, an island a few metres from the mouth of the Chaná Miní river, where a huge coastguard detachment is based. The signature on the deed of sale is not that of the real Hernandez and there appears to have been no attempt even to make it look similar. This was how the navy got possession of the place it needed to hide the prisoners while the Inter-American Human Rights Commission was visiting Argentina.

According to the deed of transfer, the vendor of El Silencio was Emilio Teodoro Grasselli, secretary to the Military Vicar-General, who was well aware of what went on in the dictatorship’s clandestine concentration camps.

Grasselli had bought the island from Antonio Arbelaiz, a long-serving official of the curia (the papal civil service) who had been appointed diocesan administrator in 1966. It was said of Arbelaiz’s service in the curia: “Bishops come and go, but Arbelaiz remains”.

Every year, he would invite the priests and seminarians of the archdiocese to El Silencio for a classic barbecue. In his will, drawn up shortly after his appointment as diocesan administrator, he bequeathed everything to the archbishopric of the city of Buenos Aires, including the proceeds from the sale of the island.

Grasselli admitted that Arbelaiz had sold the island “to some friends of mine”. He claimed that they were motor-boat builders who needed a place to test, and that he himself had merely acted as an intermediary because he had worked with Arbelaiz in the curia. But the documentary evidence shows he was part of the group that bought it.

The deal was signed on 26 September 1975. Title deed Number 205 shows that Arbelaiz sold the island to Grasselli and his associates at a price equivalent to $21,350. The purchasers paid half the total amount, and guaranteed payment of the rest by mortgaging the island. Arbelaiz died in June 1976. Under the terms of his will, the curia was owed the other half of the agreed price, but on 28 November 1978 the curia asked for the mortgage to be cancelled and the land registry to be informed that “the entire sum has now been paid”. Did they already know of the transaction that was to take place two months later?

Jorge Alfredo Regenjo, one of the longest-standing residents of the Tigre, had worked as caretaker at El Silencio. He recalls that in 1979 the place became the property of someone called Señor Ríos. He saw coastguard launches arriving carrying 40-50 people. Some of the local inhabitants thought that Ríos was a colonel who worked in the presidential residence.

A boat contractor described how Archbishop Aramburu used to contract one of his launches to take people to the island. The cardinal would arrive in the morning, have a barbecue on El Silencio, then return to the city or to his residence in Olivos.

When questioned by the judicial authorities about the island and the concentration camp there, Grasselli said he had never met Marcelo Camilo Hernández. And perhaps he had not: whilst Hernández was out of Argentina, his father went to see a magistrate and declared that his son had never either bought or sold the island. Others did so by falsely assuming his identity.

In 1980, Hernández’s identity document was used yet again, this time to sell the island to Mario Pablo Verone, a member of Lande Ltd, an import-export company, who is the current owner. He paid $35,000 for it. A curious detail: there is no record of a deposit having changed hands, and the vendor declared that he had been paid before the contract was signed. A comparison with Hernández’s handwriting on a power of attorney he left for his father before leaving Argentina confirms that his signature was forged.

The deed states that the vendors and the purchaser signed the document in the presence of the notary Rubens N Larumbe Sepic. Both transactions, 1979 and 1980, were carried out in his office. But the notary says he has no recollection of any of the persons involved, and refers everything to what appears on the public documents he signed. Both Grasselli and his associates maintain that a “Señor Ríos” carried out the operation on behalf of Hernández. In other words, it was performed by Jorge Radice, the person responsible for all the real-estate business in which the Navy School was involved.

Christmas 1979

At the end of August, a guard told Basterra, a prisoner at the Navy Mechanical School, that he was going to be taken somewhere else. He was transferred, wearing handcuffs, shackles and a hood, in the middle of the night (of either 4 or 5 September), on board a Swat vehicle containing bunks for the periods of waiting prior to the kidnapping and torture of any new victim.

Basterra thought they were going to kill him. Beneath the hood, he tried to decipher the meaning of every sound he heard. As dogs barked, they took him to open ground by the river. He heard the guards’ weapons, their jokes about firing at a house where they saw light, the blows on the canvas of a boat onto which he was being carried. “I was stuck up against a piece of metal which dug into my shoulder. Each time I moved because of the pain, I was beaten with a rifle butt”.

He was never able to identify the spot where he spent the next month. “They put us in a very damp room, the water tasted bad, there was a rotten smell, and all of us fell ill”. The guards used walkie-talkies to speak to each other, and a radio to communicate with the Navy School. Among the prisoners detained with him were Brodsky; Lepiscopo; Enrique Ardeti; Villaflor’s wife, sister and brother-in-law; and Norma Cozzi and her partner.

    “They put us in the lower half of a house built on stilts that had been bricked in to make a room. It was an enclosed space with no ventilation, and several prisoners fainted from the heat. Then they opened the door. There was a tremendous stampede because a neighbour went by and saw us. We never found out what had happened to that neighbour, but we heard shouts and several shots.”

The guards were in the upper half of the house. One night after they had drunk too much they terrified the prisoners down below by stamping loudly on the wooden floor of their room, which was the prisoners’ ceiling.

Despite all the testimonies, Grasselli denied that there were ever any people kept prisoner on the island. “I don’t see how it could have been possible, because they were raised wooden floors. The house was small and very uncomfortable, so how could they keep people there, anybody could have escaped”. In addition, “there is no proper security there, how could they guard them? And besides, the passenger launch passes by in front of the house, it’s very visible”. This sounds like the judgment of a jailer rather than a priest.

Norma Cozzi met Josefina Villaflor, and, in this miserable hovel on the island, became friendly with her mother-in-law, La gallega Martínez. “She was a very intelligent girl, but she looked very ill. She had no idea what had happened to her husband”.

On the island, Norma Cozzi was able to talk to her aunt without any witnesses. During a stroll in the sun, Thelma Jara de Cabezas told her that they had killed Raimundo Villaflor in the Navy School. When she returned to the bricked-off room, Norma could not bring herself to tell this to La Gallega because she was worried that she might lose control and be killed by the guards. But she did tell Enrique Ardeti, another leading member of the Popular Armed Forces (Fap), known as Fatty Ramón. “For two days, he couldn’t speak. All he did was sleep. On the third day, he talked to Villaflor’s wife and sister. La Gallega took it very badly. She asked for tranquillisers, and spent the first days after hearing the news in a stupor”.

They learnt from their guards that there was another group of prisoners on the island who were not kept with hoods or shackles. These were prisoners who had been kept a long time and had adapted. These were the ones who had been brought in a navy bus like students on an outing. They later met one of them when he was brought to their house as a punishment for insulting a member of the task force. Because of the foul smell, their guards used to shackle them and then go off and leave them, so they were able to talk to each other. To lift their spirits, Basterra told them stories. This was how they spent their month on the island.

One of those in this larger group was Carlos Muñoz, who had been captured by the Navy School task force in November 1978. His process of recuperation had started three months later. He was obliged to forge identity documents in the navy workshops in order to save his life and to recover increasing amounts of freedom.

At first he was allowed to see his family again, in very occasional visits and always accompanied by navy personnel. Afterwards the visits became more frequent, and he was allowed to come and go on his own, and to sleep outside the Navy School at weekends. On Monday mornings, he had to present himself at a bar opposite the Navy School, and telephone from there using a code so that a car could pick him up and bring him back to the workshop. Muñoz also states that in the house on the island where he stayed, those prisoners who had got furthest in this “recuperation process” lived in normal conditions, without shackles or hoods.

Another member of this group was Enrique Fuckman, known as Cachito. The police had killed his 17-year-old younger brother in 1977, after he had been chased in the street and finished off when he fell to the ground injured. Both of them were Montoneros activists. Fuckman was kidnapped in November 1978 at the age of 22, and went through the whole cycle of the Navy School. When the prisoners were transferred to the island, he was working in the archive. He was among the first group of prisoners taken to El Silencio.

The prisoners in the larger house had a daily routine. They got up at 7am, had breakfast, and then were put to work. The men were given machetes to clear the land. The guards cut down poplars and willow trees with a chainsaw. The prisoners stripped the trunks and carried them to the water’s edge, where a launch came to pick up the timber. They also gathered leaves to make rope with. The navy personnel sold all this production.

The head of the task force, Captain Horacio Estrada, once said jokingly that the man who bought the timber saw the prisoners and thought they were workmen. He asked how they were paid, and when Estrada told him they got an hourly rate, he replied: “They’re taking the piss, boss. They should produce much more”.

While the men were dealing with the timber, the women did the house-cleaning and prepared food. They used water that had been made drinkable thanks to the use of four fibro-cement tanks suspended in a metal tower. As the water passed through narrow tubes between the four tanks, it became purified. An architect had designed the filter, using sand; he had been freed in 1978, and been recalled after the task force bought the island.

There was also time for leisure. One day a guard called Giba blew on his whistle and ordered: “4 o’clock: game of volleyball, insurgents versus lawfuls”.

“We got together and agreed – we have to lose this game without them realising it”, says Cachito. They carried out their plan without too much trouble. But when the game finished, Giba shouted again: “Now for the return match”. The umpire was Cachito. “You should have seen us. We were barefoot or in rubber boots. They had on their Fred Perry or Lacoste T-shirts, and were wearing Adidas running shoes”. Each team had their supporters to cheer them on: on one side the guards, known as the Greens because of the colour of their uniforms, on the other the prisoners who weren’t in the team.

This time something went wrong, and the result was the opposite. “We didn’t win it, they lost it”, according to a prisoner called Lorkipanidse. A guard called Peyón then ordered them to play the decider, and all their plans went out of the window. “Our blood was up, and we killed ourselves trying to beat them. Peyón was furious. He snatched the whistle from Cachito and took over as judge. He cheated, but they still lost. When the game was over, we took it out on them. We sang We are the Champions to the music of the Peronist march”.

Reprisals were harsh, but not as bad as they had been expecting. One of the prisoners was sent to the punishment hole under the floor of the smaller house for insulting a guard during the game. “The next day they made us get up at five o’clock, gave us no breakfast, and sent us off to haul logs with snakes all around us”.

“We were given machetes to do the work with, but they had rifles. One day the neighbour from across the channel opened the door to the downstairs of the small house. The guards rushed out with all their hardware”. The shots heard that day were fired by the marine known as Fatty Tomás, who was shooting ducks with his Ithaka rifle.

What did the neighbours, whose life was going on as normal, know about this group; what did people for whom time had not stopped hear and see of the prisoners?

Their comments reached the socialist leader Fernando Barberini, who had a daughter among the disappeared. When the dictatorship was over, Barberini passed them on to the Radical congressman Alberto Firpo. The two men began an investigation which ended in a lawsuit.

A sergeant in the Buenos Aires police lived opposite El Silencio. His wife’s curiosity was aroused by the large sacks she saw on the coastguard launches, the way helicopters flew low overhead without ever landing, and the sound of gunshots she heard from time to time. What she found most curious was the difference between the number of people arriving and those leaving.

Yet, when the investigating magistrate asked her to testify, she denied all knowledge of any large bundles being shifted. She agreed there had been a helicopter, and said that a coastguard launch had brought about 50 people to the island, some of them women. Some of the people worked, others sunbathed. The gunshots were target practice. Nothing in particular caught her attention.

The owner of the general store in Paraná Miní and Tuyú Paré saw the inhabitants of El Silencio arrive in groups. There was always someone in charge, although it was not always the same person. They played cards, drank, and talked a lot, until their chief shut them up. They bought lots of foodstuffs, always the best, and did not mind how much it cost. He never saw anyone in uniform, but coastguard launches did berth at the island’s landing-stage.

The coastguard station had a football pitch. A team from the coastguards and some locals used to play against another from El Silencio. The Chaná Miní hospital is opposite the station. The policeman’s wife told the doctor on duty there that she had seen 59 moving bundles. Then someone from El Silencio warned her that if she carried on talking, they would chop her head off and feed it to the catfish. Perhaps that is why, as a general rule, nobody knew anything.

On 2-3 October 1979, the prisoners were taken back to the Navy Mechanics School. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission had finished its inspection, without finding anything it was looking for.
Horacio Verbitsky is a leading Argentinean investigative journalist. He was given an International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2001. Among his books is The Silence: from Paulo VI to Bergoglio, the secret links between the Church and the Navy Mechanics School (2005) and The Flight: Confessions of an Argentine Dirty Warrior (New Press, 2005).

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Reply with quote  #9 
May 4, 2007
Kent State, Gov. Rhodes and the FBI
Why Four Died in Ohio


Ten days after Governor James A. Rhodes assumed office on January 14, 1963, a Cincinnati FBI agent wrote Director J. Edgar Hoover a memo stating:

"At this moment he [Rhodes] is busier than a one-armed paper hanger . . . . Consequently, I do not plan to establish contact with him for a few months. We will have no problem with him whatsoever. He is completely controlled by an SAC [Special Agent in Charge] contact, and we have full assurances that anything we need will be made available promptly. Our experience proves this assertion."

Why would the FBI assert that the newly-inaugurated governor of Ohio is "completely controlled"? Media sources like Life magazine noted the governor's alleged ties to organized crime and the Mafia in specific. Gov. Rhodes' FBI file, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, suggests that it may be because of the FBI's extensive knowledge of Rhodes' involvement in the numbers rackets in the late 1930's that the Bureau could count on his cooperation. FBI declassified material suggests that the Bureau's extensive influence over Governor Rhodes, perhaps due to their knowledge of his ties to the numbers rackets, may have played a role in the Governor's hard line law and order tactics that led to the deaths of four students at Kent State in 1970.

A November 19, 1963 FBI memo, again from a Cincinnati agent to Director Hoover, outlines specific allegations from a Bureau's confidential informant about Rhodes' involvement in the numbers racket between 1936-38. The informant, a bagman for local organized crime, gave detailed information about pick ups at a cigar store located between Buttles and Goodale Avenues reportedly owned by Rhodes' sister. Rhodes purportedly was running the gambling operation. Years ago, a Dispatch reporter told the Free Press that the governor had run a gambling operation in the Short North, called Jimmy's Place.

As Rhodes assumed public office, first as a Columbus School Board member, and later as the Mayor of the city, he began to make overtures to Director Hoover. In a February 1949 letter, Mayor Rhodes invited Hoover to sit on the advisory board of the All- American Newspaper Boys Sports Scholarships organization. Hoover declined. Rhodes thanked him and then invited him to address a banquet for the National Newspaper Boys Association in August of 1949. Hoover again declined.

Two years later, Rhodes was again attempting to contact Hoover. On July 27, 1951, Rhodes called the FBI director's office and at first refused to speak to Hoover's assistant L.B. Nichols. When told that the director was in "travel status," Rhodes explained the important nature of his call. He wanted "to invite the director to attend a celebrity golf tournament, . . . since its benefits were to go to youth organizations and he knew of the director's interest in youth work." Nichols declined on behalf of Hoover.

Finally, Rhodes persistence paid off. Rhodes and his wife were given a special tour of the FBI building in Washington D.C. on January 19, 1953. "During the tour Mr. Rhodes stated he wanted to say with all possible sincerity that during all these years he has had continued and absolute faith in one government agency ñ the FBI," reads the 1963 memo.

The "completely controlled" memo showed great sympathy to Rhodes' youthful gambling enterprise: "It is understandable that Rhodes has previously said that it was necessary during the Depression to do many things to keep body and soul together and to provide food for existence." Although the FBI fails to point out that Rhodes came from an affluent family who paid his way at Ohio State University during the Depression.

The memo goes on to describe Rhodes in the following manner: "He is a friend of law enforcement and believes in honest, hard- hitting law enforcement. He respects and admires FBI."

Moreover, the agency recommended taking "no further action" against Governor Rhodes and his alleged ties to the gambling racket since, "persons very close to him, such as SAC contact Robert H. Wolfe, Publisher, the Columbus Dispatch, speak very highly of Rhodes and his personal attributes. Wolfe knows Rhodes well and was an active financier of the campaign of Rhodes . . . ."

The SAC of the Cincinnati office took special interest in Rhodes' first election as governor. Incumbent Governor Michael V. Disalle had hired a former FBI agent to investigate and dig up dirt on Rhodes: "We have arranged with friendly newspaper contacts to endeavor to avoid any headline or other prominent mention of the former FBI status of [deleted]."

Following Rhodes' 1962 election, the FBI described the governor-elect in the following terms: "Rhodes is a Bureau friend of long standing. Our first contact of record was in November, 1943." The memo goes on to record that, "On June 18, 1945, the SAC of Cincinnati transmitted a news clipping from the 'Columbus Dispatch' of 6-7-45 indicating that Mayor Rhodes urged the establishment of a Bureau field office at Columbus." Rhodes is portrayed as very "active and very friendly toward the Bureau." Later FBI files would not include these early contacts between the FBI and Rhodes.

The Bureau does detail one obvious connection between Rhodes and organized crime in Columbus: "One informant stated that the gambling element in Columbus has made a great effort to influence Mayor Rhodes to permit open gambling in the city but without success. In 1949, however, it was noted that the informants alleged that Rhodes did not interfere with the 'numbers racket' as apparently he was still interested in the colored vote."

In July of 1963, a memo from the Cincinnati office on the subject of "Communist Speakers on College Campuses" noted that "Governor James A. Rhodes has signed into law legislation authorizing the trustees of any state-operated college or university to bar from using campus facility any person that they wish to bar."

The SAC in charge of the Cincinnati Bureau wrote Hoover on October 9, 1967 to relay a conversation he had with Rhodes three days earlier regarding the civil unrest and riots that had rocked the nation during the summer of 1967. "During the conference, we discussed matters of mutual interest, particularly civil disorders and the high crime rate. The Governor told me that he would extend his full facilities, and he is all for stopping racial discord the moment it starts. He revealed that his plan is to immediately deploy troops and/the state patrol as soon as trouble arises," the memo states.

The Cincinnati SAC concludes, "Our relationship with the Governor is of the highest order and he assured me that we can expect full cooperation from the State of Ohio on any matter of mutual concern."

By the mid-1960s, the CIA and the FBI were working together through the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on radical groups and harass peace organizations. The FBI's operation was known as COINTELPRO. The CIA's was Operation CHAOS.

In 1967, declassified government documents reveal that CIA Director Richard Helms, Hoover and President Lyndon Johnson believed that the domestic protest movements against the Vietnam War were being orchestrated by the Communist governments in Moscow, Peking, Havana and Hanoi.

Governor Rhodes used former SAC Ed Mason as an intermediary in an attempt to meet with Hoover on March 25, 1968. The FBI memo on the matter reads, "He formerly served as mayor of Columbus, Ohio and is a good friend of [deleted] of the 'Columbus

The FBI memo said, "SAC, Cincinnati advises that Rhodes has been extremely cooperative." Surprisingly, "there's no indication that Governor Rhodes has ever met Mr. Hoover and he has not received an autographed photograph."

Less than year before the tragic shootings at Kent State, the SAC of the Cincinnati Bureau sent Hoover a memo detailing Rhodes' attitude towards civil unrest: "He personally feels that the Director is the outstanding American and that he is the only person who has consistently opposed those persons who would subvert our government. He feels that the Director's stated position of dealing firmly with these groups is the only sensible method."

"He [Rhodes] commented on the riots and unrest which have occurred repeatedly and said that some of this might well have been avoided if the Director's warnings and advice had been followed. In Ohio, he has not hesitated to use the National Guard to deal with these situations and has instructed the Guard to act quickly and firmly. He feels that this is the only way to maintain law and order, and that the maintenance of law and order is the only way our government can survive," the memo records.

On May 4, 1970, Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause and William Schroeder were shot dead by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State. Numerous investigative accounts have alleged that the FBI was involved in the burning of the campus ROTC building, which led to the deaths of the students.

The SAC in Cincinnati paid a "courtesy call" on Governor Rhodes 18 days after the shootings. Governor Rhodes informed the FBI agent that he intended to keep the Ohio State University campus open, despite what some historians regard as one of the largest student riots in U.S. history. ". . . He [Rhodes] intends to mobilize sufficient members of the Ohio National Guard (ONG) to accomplish this, 'even if he has to put a guard in every classroom,'" the memo reads.

The Governor blamed the unrest on outside agitators and "commented that of the upwards of 100 persons arrested on May 21 and May 22, 1970, only a few were OSU students. . ." the memo notes. The FBI memo cites that of the 78 arrests, 35 were OSU students and two OSU employees, even though the majority of the arrests were made off-campus.

". . . the Governor also referred to the current investigation at Kent State University (KSU) and commented that he felt this would present an excellent opportunity for the Department of Justice, through some detailed statement to the news media after the investigation is completed, to get to the public the true story of campus agitation and to identify the organizers of the violence. The Governor appeared somewhat concerned at the possibility that members of the Ohio National Guard might finally end up being charged with an offense in connection to the shooting of the students at Kent," the memo stated, "He commented at one point that if the ONG members were indicted in regards to this matter that he felt a million dollars should be spent to defend them, if necessary."

The memo also records for history that, "The Governor commented several times on the close relationship he has enjoyed with the Bureau locally and as a whole."

Critics have long charged that the FBI deliberately covered up information about those responsible for ordering the Kent State shootings. A tape was recently released revealing what appears to be an order to shoot at Kent State. FBI declassified docouments strongly suggest that the FBI's extensive influence over Governor Rhodes, perhaps due to their knowledge of his ties to organized crime and the numbers rackets, may have played a key role in the Governor's violent and repressive tactics that led to death of four students at Kent State in 1970.

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Launch of Campaign to Revoke Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize
April 2, 2013

A campaign for revoking President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize got underway today with a petition launched by a quarter-million member online group.

The petition, initiated by RootsAction.org, can be viewed along with a real-time tally of signers and their comments at: http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7647

Noting that the Obama administration “has widened the use of drones and other instruments of remote killing in several countries,” RootsAction said in a mass email today that “President Obama has made perpetual war look more perpetual than ever.”

Obama accepted the Nobel award 40 months ago with a December 2009 speech in Oslo.

The following policy analysts are available for interviews:

Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), is past president of Veterans for Peace. She said today: “When the Nobel Committee gave the Peace Prize to President Obama in 2009, for ‘his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,’ many criticized that decision, calling it premature and politically motivated. President Carter, himself a Nobel Laureate, called the decision ‘a bold statement of international support for his vision and commitment to peace and harmony in international relations.’ Since then, President Obama has emphatically disproven Carter’s belief by dramatically escalating the war in Afghanistan, killing thousands of innocent people with illegal drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere, and continuing to hold prisoners at Guantanamo.

Bolger added: “The Nobel Committee has deeply diminished the prize by awarding it to Obama in the first place; it is now obvious . . . that they made a serious mistake. The Committee needs to revoke the prize in order to restore its value.”

Rowley, a former FBI special agent and legal counsel in the Minneapolis field office, wrote a “whistleblower” memo in May 2002 and testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures. She says that the influential Nobel Committee Secretary Geir Lundestad “has repeatedly but unsuccessfully attempted to explain how it is to be expected that the 2009 recipient Obama would be engaged in two wars as leader of the world’s ‘superpower.’ So, how can the Prize continue to inspire peacemaking when it no longer is in keeping with Alfred Nobel’s original intent but instead has been turned on its head to promote militarism and war?”

Rowley also commented: “During the last five years the dispute over the implementation of Nobel’s prize for the ‘champions of peace’ has come to a head. The Norwegian awarders seem to reinterpret Nobel’s wishes and award the prize for whatever in their judgment is good and valuable, based on their own ‘broad concept of peace.’”

Rowley retired from the FBI in 2004 and is now a public speaker and writer. She interviewed Nobel Secretary Lundestad a year ago, when he was in Minnesota for the “Nobel Peace Forum.” For background, see Rowley’s 2012 Huffington Post article “Nothing ‘Purist’ — Just Everything Hypocritical About Awarding Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize to Promote Western Militarism”

Solomon, who wrote the book “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” is founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and co-founder of RootsAction.org. He said today: “If President Obama is to remain as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, then Bernie Madoff may as well be Financial Planner of the Year.”

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The growing militarization of U.S. police
Thousands of SWAT-type raids changing face of law enforcement

As politicians exploit the Newtown tragedy to promote new laws to restrict firearms and implement universal background checks that could lead to gun registration and confiscation, another parallel trend– namely, the increasing militarization of law enforcement, most visibly demonstrated by the growing use of massive, SWAT-type raids on businesses and individuals, sometimes with federal involvement or authorization – is heightening concerns that America is moving toward a police state.

Mountain Pure SWAT raid: The Movie

Mountain Pure Water, LLC is headquartered on Interstate 30 just outside the town of Little Rock, Arkansas. The company manufactures and distributes beverage containers, spring water, fruit drinks, and teas. In January 2012, about 50 federal agents, led by Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General Special Agent Cynthia Roberts and IRS Special Agent Bobbi Spradlin, swooped in, guns drawn. Without explanation they shut down plant operations, herded employees into the cafeteria, and confined them to the room for hours. They could not so much as use the bathroom without police escort. Cell phones were confiscated and all Internet and company phones were disabled.

Plant Manager Court Stacks was at his desk when police burst through his office door, guns drawn and pointed at him—a thoroughly unprofessional violation of basic firearms discipline in this circumstance, and the cause of numerous accidental SWAT killings.

According to Mountain Pure CEO John Stacks, the search warrant was related to questions about an SBA loan he secured through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to recover tornado losses to his home, warehouse and associated equipment. Stacks says the SBA apparently doesn’t believe that assets listed as damaged in the storm were actually damaged.

The search warrant was extremely vague and some agents’ actions may have been illegal, according to company attorney, Timothy Dudley. Comptroller Jerry Miller was taken to a private room and interrogated for over three hours by SBA Special Agent Cynthia Roberts, the raid leader. He requested an attorney and was told, “That ain’t gonna happen.” According to Miller, the SBA unilaterally changed the terms of Stacks’ loan. He says he asked Roberts what gave the SBA authority to do that, and that she responded, “We’re the federal government, we can do what we want, when we want, and there is nothing you can do about it.” Miller said during the raid Roberts “strutted around the place like she was Napoleon.”

Stacks said the company has had three IRS audits in the past three years, including one following the raid, with no problems. The SBA has still not filed any charges, continues to stonewall about the raid’s purpose, and refuses to release most of the property seized during the raid.

Quality Assurance Director Katy Depriest, who doubles as the company crisis manager, described agents’ “Gestapo tactics.” She added that they confiscated CDs of college course work and educational materials for a class she had been taking that resulted in her flunking the course. Those materials have not yet been returned.

Attempts were made to contact Roberts for this article, but she is no longer employed by the SBA. Questions were directed to the Little Rock, Arkansas U.S. Attorney’s office. The USA’s public affairs officer had no comment; however they have convened a grand jury to evaluate the case.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/the-growing-militarization-of-u-s-police/#jXQP3sOruKxl04ic.99

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 April 12-14, 2013

Contaminated Nation
Inhuman Radiation Experiments

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the declassification of top secret studies, done over a period of 60 years, in which the US conducted 2,000 radiation experiments on as many as 20,000 vulnerable US citizens.[i]

Victims included civilians, prison inmates, federal workers, hospital patients, pregnant women, infants, developmentally disabled children and military personnel — most of them powerless, poor, sick, elderly or terminally ill. Eileen Welsome’s 1999 exposé The Plutonium Files: America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War details “the unspeakable scientific trials that reduced thousands of men, women, and even children to nameless specimens.”[ii]

The program employed industry and academic scientists who used their hapless patients or wards to see the immediate and short-term effects of radioactive contamination — with everything from plutonium to radioactive arsenic.[iii] The human subjects were mostly poisoned without their knowledge or consent.

An April 17, 1947 memo by Col. O.G. Haywood of the Army Corps of Engineers explained why the studies were classified. “It is desired that no document be released which refers to experiments with humans and might have adverse effect on public opinion or result in legal suits.”[iv]

In one Vanderbilt U. study, 829 pregnant women were unknowingly fed radioactive iron. In another, 188 children were given radioactive iron-laced lemonade. From 1963 to 1971, 67 inmates in Oregon and 64 prisoners in Washington had their testicles targeted with X-rays to see what doses made them sterile.[v]

At the Fernald State School, mentally retarded boys were fed radioactive iron and calcium but consent forms sent to parents didn’t mention radiation. Elsewhere psychiatric patients and infants were injected with radioactive iodine.[vi]

In a rare public condemnation, Clinton Administration Energy Sec. Hazel O’Leary confessed being aghast at the conduct of the scientists. She told Newsweek in 1994: “I said, ‘Who were these people and why did this happen?’ The only thing I could think of was Nazi Germany.”[vii] None of the victims were provided follow-on medical care.

Scientists knew from the beginning of the 20th century that radiation can cause genetic and cell damage, cell death, radiation sickness and even death. A Presidential Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments was established in 1993 to investigate charges of unethical or criminal action by the experimenters. Its findings were published by Oxford U. Press in 1996 as The Human Radiation Experiments.

The abuse of X-radiation “therapy” was also conducted throughout the ’40s and ’50s. Everything from ringworm to tonsillitis was “treated” with X-radiation because the long-term risks were unknown or considered tolerable.

Children were routinely exposed to alarmingly high doses of radiation from devices like “fluoroscopes” to measure foot size in shoe stores.[viii]

Nasal radium capsules inserted in nostrils, used to attack hearing loss, are now thought to be the cause of cancers, thyroid and dental problems, immune dysfunction and more.[ix]

Experiments Spread Cancer Risks Far and Wide

In large scale experiments as late as 1985, the Energy Department deliberately produced reactor meltdowns which spewed radiation across Idaho and beyond.[x] The Air Force conducted at least eight deliberate meltdowns in the Utah desert, dispersing 14 times the radiation released by the partial meltdown of Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979.[xi]

The military even dumped radiation from planes and spread it across wide areas around and downwind of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Dugway, Utah. This “systematic radiation warfare program,” conducted between 1944 and 1961, was kept secret for 40 years.[xii]

“Radiation bombs” thrown from USAF planes intentionally spread radiation “unknown distances” endangering the young and old alike. One such experiment doused Utah with 60 times more radiation than escaped the Three Mile Island accident, according to Sen. John Glen, D-Ohio who released a report on the program 20 years ago.[xiii]

The Pentagon’s 235 above-ground nuclear bomb tests, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are not officially listed as radiation experiments. Yet between 250,000 and 500,000 U.S. military personnel were contaminated during their compulsory participation in the bomb tests and the post-war occupation of Japan. [xiv]

Documents uncovered by the Advisory Committee show that the military knew there were serious radioactive fallout risks from its Nevada Test Site bomb blasts. The generals decided not to use a safer site in Florida, where fallout would have blown out to sea. “The officials determined it was probably not safe, but went ahead anyway,” said Pat Fitzgerald a scientist on the committee staff.[xv]

Dr. Gioacchino Failla, a Columbia University scientist who worked for the AEC, said at the time, “We should take some risk… we are faced with a war in which atomic weapons will undoubtedly be used, and we have to have some information about these things.”[xvi]

With the National Cancer Institute’s 1997 finding that all 160,000 million US citizens (in the country at the time of the bomb tests) were contaminated with fallout, it’s clear we did face war with atomic weapons — our own.

John LaForge works for the nuclear watchdog group Nukewatch in Wisconsin and edits its Quarterly newsletter.


[i] “Secret Radioactive Experiments to Bring Compensation by U.S.,” New York Times, Nov. 20, 1996

[ii] Eileen Welsome, The Plutonium Files,  Delta Books, 1999, dust jacket

[iii] Welsome, The Plutonium Files, p. 9

[iv] “Radiation tests kept deliberately secret,” Washington Post, Dec. 16, 1994; Geoffrey Sea, “The Radiation Story No One Would Touch,” Project Censored, March/April 1994

[v] Subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Power, “American Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Three Decades of Radiation Experiments on U.S. Citizens,” US Gov’t Printing Office, Nov. 1986, p. 2; St. Paul Pioneer, via New York Times, Jan. 4, 1994

[vi] “48 more human radiation experiments revealed, Minneapolis StarTribune, June 28, 1994; Milwaukee Journal, June 29, 1994

[vii] Newsweek, Dec. 27, 1994

[viii] Joseph Mangano, Mad Science: The Nuclear Power Experiment, OR Books, 2012, p. 36

[ix] “Nasal radium treatments of ’50s linked to cancer,” Milwaukee Journal, Aug. 31, 1994

[x] “Reactor core is melted in experiment,” Washington Post service, Milwaukee Journal, July 10, 1985

[xi] “Tests spewed radiation, paper reports,” AP, Milwaukee Journal, Oct. 11, 1994

[xii] “Secret U.S. experiments in ’40s and ’50s included dropping radiation from sky,” St. Paul Pioneer, Dec. 16, 1993

[xiii] Katherine Rizzo, Associated Press, “A bombshell: U.S. spread radiation,” Duluth News Tribune, Dec. 16, 1993

[xiv] Catherine Caufield, Multiple Exposures, p. 107; Greg Gordon in “Wellstone: Compensate atomic vets,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, Mach 17, 1995; Associated Press, “Panel Told of Exposure to Test Danger,” Tulsa World, Jan. 24, 1995

[xv] Philip Hilts, “Fallout Risk Near Atom Tests Was Known, Documents Show,” New York Times, March 15, 1995, p. A13; and Pat Ortmeyer, “Let Them Drink Milk,” Institute for Environmental & Energy Research, November 1997, pp. 3 & 11

[xvi] Philip J. Hilts, “Fallout Risk Near Atom Tests Was Known, Documents Show,” New York Times, March 15, 1995

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Paranoid Shift

By Michael Hasty

January 10, 2004: (Online Journal) Just before his death, James Jesus Angleton, the legendary chief of counterintelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency, was a bitter man. He felt betrayed by the people he had worked for all his life. In the end, he had come to realize that they were never really interested in American ideals of "freedom" and "democracy." They really only wanted "absolute power."

Angleton told author Joseph Trento that the reason he had gotten the counterintelligence job in the first place was by agreeing not to submit "sixty of Allen Dulles' closest friends" to a polygraph test concerning their business deals with the Nazis. In his end-of-life despair, Angleton assumed that he would see all his old companions again "in hell."

The transformation of James Jesus Angleton from an enthusiastic, Ivy League cold warrior, to a bitter old man, is an extreme example of a phenomenon I call a "paranoid shift." I recognize the phenomenon, because something similar happened to me.

Although I don't remember ever meeting James Jesus Angleton, I worked at the CIA myself as a low-level clerk as a teenager in the '60s. This was at the same time I was beginning to question the government's actions in Vietnam. In fact, my personal "paranoid shift" probably began with the disillusionment I felt when I realized that the story of American foreign policy was, at the very least, more complicated and darker than I had hitherto been led to believe.

But for most of the next 30 years, even though I was a radical, I nevertheless held faith in the basic integrity of a system where power ultimately resided in the people, and whereby if enough people got together and voted, real and fundamental change could happen.

What constitutes my personal paranoid shift is that I no longer believe this to be necessarily true.

In his book, "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower," William Blum warns of how the media will make anything that smacks of "conspiracy theory" an immediate "object of ridicule." This prevents the media from ever having to investigate the many strange interconnections among the ruling class—for example, the relationship between the boards of directors of media giants, and the energy, banking and defense industries. These unmentionable topics are usually treated with what Blum calls "the media's most effective tool—silence." But in case somebody's asking questions, all you have to do is say, "conspiracy theory," and any allegation instantly becomes too frivolous to merit serious attention.

On the other hand, since my paranoid shift, whenever I hear the words "conspiracy theory" (which seems more often, lately) it usually means someone is getting too close to the truth.

Take September 11—which I identify as the date my paranoia actually shifted, though I didn't know it at the time.

Unless I'm paranoid, it doesn't make any sense at all that George W. Bush, commander-in-chief, sat in a second-grade classroom for 20 minutes after he was informed that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center, listening to children read a story about a goat. Nor does it make sense that the Number 2 man, Dick Cheney—even knowing that "the commander" was on a mission in Florida—nevertheless sat at his desk in the White House, watching TV, until the Secret Service dragged him out by the armpits.

Unless I'm paranoid, it makes no sense that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sat at his desk until Flight 77 hit the Pentagon—well over an hour after the military had learned about the multiple hijacking in progress. It also makes no sense that the brand-new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sat in a Senate office for two hours while the 9/11 attacks took place, after leaving explicit instructions that he not be disturbed—which he wasn't.

In other words, while the 9/11 attacks were occurring, the entire top of the chain of command of the most powerful military in the world sat at various desks, inert. Why weren't they in the "Situation Room?" Don't any of them ever watch "West Wing?"

In a sane world, this would be an object of major scandal. But here on this side of the paranoid shift, it's business as usual.

Years, even decades before 9/11, plans had been drawn up for American forces to take control of the oil interests of the Middle East, for various imperialist reasons. And these plans were only contingent upon "a catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor," to gain the majority support of the American public to set the plans into motion. When the opportunity presented itself, the guards looked the other way . . . and presto, the path to global domination was open.

Simple, as long as the media played along. And there is voluminous evidence that the media play along. Number one on Project Censored's annual list of underreported stories in 2002 was the Project for a New American Century (now the infrastructure of the Bush Regime), whose report, published in 2000, contains the above "Pearl Harbor" quote.

Why is it so hard to believe serious people who have repeatedly warned us that powerful ruling elites are out to dominate "the masses?" Did we think Dwight Eisenhower was exaggerating when he warned of the extreme "danger" to democracy of "the military industrial complex?" Was Barry Goldwater just being a quaint old-fashioned John Bircher when he said that the Trilateral Commission was "David Rockefeller's latest scheme to take over the world, by taking over the government of the United States?" Were Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt or Joseph Kennedy just being class traitors when they talked about a small group of wealthy elites who operate as a hidden government behind the government? Especially after he died so mysteriously, why shouldn't we believe the late CIA Director William Colby, who bragged about how the CIA "owns everyone of any major significance in the major media?" 

Why can't we believe James Jesus Angleton—a man staring eternal judgment in the face—when he says that the founders of the Cold War national security state were only interested in "absolute power?" Especially when the descendant of a very good friend of Allen Dulles now holds power in the White House.

Prescott Bush, the late, aristocratic senator from Connecticut, and grandfather of George W Bush, was not only a good friend of Allen Dulles, CIA director, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and international business lawyer. He was also a client of Dulles' law firm. As such, he was the beneficiary of Dulles' miraculous ability to scrub the story of Bush's treasonous investments in the Third Reich out of the news media, where it might have interfered with Bush's political career . . . not to mention the presidential careers of his son and grandson.

Recently declassified US government documents, unearthed last October by investigative journalist John Buchanan at the New Hampshire Gazette, reveal that Prescott Bush's involvement in financing and arming the Nazis was more extensive than previously known. Not only was Bush managing director of the Union Banking Corporation, the American branch of Hitler's chief financier's banking network; but among the other companies where Bush was a director—and which were seized by the American government in 1942, under the Trading With the Enemy Act—were a shipping line which imported German spies; an energy company that supplied the Luftwaffe with high-ethyl fuel; and a steel company that employed Jewish slave labor from the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Like all the other Bush scandals that have been swept under the rug in the privatized censorship of the corporate media, these revelations have been largely ignored, with the exception of a single article in the Associated Press. And there are those, even on the left, who question the current relevance of this information. 

But Prescott Bush's dealings with the Nazis do more than illustrate a family pattern of genteel treason and war profiteering—from George Senior's sale of TOW missiles to Iran at the same time he was selling biological and chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, to Junior's zany misadventures in crony capitalism in present-day Iraq.

More disturbing by far are the many eerie parallels between Adolph Hitler and George W. Bush:

A conservative, authoritarian style, with public appearances in military uniform (which no previous American president has ever done while in office). Government by secrecy, propaganda and deception. Open assaults on labor unions and workers' rights. Preemptive war and militant nationalism. Contempt for international law and treaties. Suspiciously convenient "terrorist" attacks, to justify a police state and the suspension of liberties. A carefully manufactured image of "The Leader," who's still just a "regular guy" and a "moderate." "Freedom" as the rationale for every action. Fantasy economic growth, based on unprecedented budget deficits and massive military spending.

And a cold, pragmatic ideology of fascism—including the violent suppression of dissent and other human rights; the use of torture, assassination and concentration camps; and most important, Benito Mussolini's preferred definition of "fascism" as "corporatism, because it binds together the interests of corporations and the state."

By their fruits, you shall know them.

What perplexes me most is probably the same question that plagues most paranoiacs: why don't other people see these connections?

Oh, sure, there may be millions of us, lurking at websites like Online Journal, From the Wilderness, Center for Cooperative Research, and the Center for Research on Globalization, checking out right-wing conspiracists and the galaxy of 9/11 sites, and reading columnists like Chris Floyd at the Moscow Times, and Maureen Farrell at Buzzflash. But we know we are only a furtive minority, the human remnant among the pod people in the live-action, 21st-century version of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

And being paranoid, we have to figure out, with an answer that fits into our system, why more people don't see the connections we do. Fortunately, there are a number of possible explanations.

First on the list would have to be what Marshal McLuhan called the "cave art of the electronic age:" advertising. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Karl Rove, gave credit for most of his ideas on how to manipulate mass opinion to American commercial advertising, and to the then-new science of "public relations." But the public relations universe available to the corporate empire that rules the world today makes the Goebbels operation look primitive. The precision of communications technology and graphics; the century of research on human psychology and emotion; and the uniquely centralized control of triumphant post-Cold War monopoly capitalism, have combined to the point where "the manufacture of consent" can be set on automatic pilot.

A second major reason people won't make the paranoid shift is that they are too fundamentally decent. They can't believe that the elected leaders of our country, the people they've been taught through 12 years of public school to admire and trust, are capable of sending young American soldiers to their deaths and slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent civilians, just to satisfy their greed—especially when they're so rich in the first place. Besides, America is good, and the media are liberal and overly critical. 

Third, people don't want to look like fools. Being a "conspiracy theorist" is like being a creationist. The educated opinion of eminent experts on every TV and radio network is that any discussion of "oil" being a motivation for the US invasion of Iraq is just out of bounds, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist." We can trust the integrity of our 'no-bid" contracting in Iraq, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist." Of course, people sometimes make mistakes, but our military and intelligence community did the best they could on and before September 11, and anybody who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist."

Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of JFK, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a "conspiracy theorist."

Perhaps the biggest hidden reason people don't make the paranoid shift is that knowledge brings responsibility. If we acknowledge that an inner circle of ruling elites controls the world's most powerful military and intelligence system; controls the international banking system; controls the most effective and far-reaching propaganda network in history; controls all three branches of government in the world's only superpower; and controls the technology that counts the people's votes, we might be then forced to conclude that we don't live in a particularly democratic system. And then voting and making contributions and trying to stay informed wouldn't be enough. Because then the duty of citizenship would go beyond serving as a loyal opposition, to serving as a "loyal resistance"—like the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, except that in this case the resistance to fascism would be on the side of the national ideals, rather than the government; and a violent insurgency would not only play into the empire's hands, it would be doomed from the start.

Forming a nonviolent resistance movement, on the other hand, might mean forsaking some middle class comfort, and it would doubtless require a lot of work. It would mean educating ourselves and others about the nature of the truly apocalyptic beast we face. It would mean organizing at the most basic neighborhood level, face to face. (We cannot put our trust in the empire's technology.) It would mean reaching across turf lines and transcending single-issue politics, forming coalitions and sharing data and names and strategies, and applying energy at every level of government, local to global. It would also probably mean civil disobedience, at a time when the Bush regime is starting to classify that action as "terrorism." In the end, it may mean organizing a progressive confederacy to govern ourselves, just as our revolutionary founders formed the Continental Congress. It would mean being wise as serpents, and gentle as doves.

It would be a lot of work. It would also require critical mass. A paradigm shift.

But as a paranoid, I'm ready to join the resistance. And the main reason is I no longer think that the "conspiracy" is much of a "theory."

That the US House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that the murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy was "probably" the result of "a conspiracy," and that 70 percent of Americans agree with this conclusion, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the Bay of Pigs fiasco, "Operation Zapata," was organized by members of Skull and Bones, the ghoulish and powerful secret society at Yale University whose membership also included Prescott, George Herbert Walker and George W Bush; that two of the ships that carried the Cuban counterrevolutionaries to their appointment with absurdity were named the "Barbara" and the "Houston"—George HW Bush's city of residence at the time—and that the oil company Bush owned, then operating in the Caribbean area, was named "Zapata," is not "theory." It's fact.

That George Bush was the CIA director who kept the names of what were estimated to be hundreds of American journalists, considered to be CIA "assets," from the Church Committee, the US Senate Intelligence Committe chaired by Senator Frank Church that investigated the CIA in the 1970s; that a 1971 University of Michigan study concluded that, in America, the more TV you watched, the less you knew; and that a recent survey by international scholars found that Americans were the most "ignorant" of world affairs out of all the populations they studied, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the Council on Foreign Relations has a history of influence on official US government foreign policy; that the protection of US supplies of Middle East oil has been a central element of American foreign policy since the Second World War; and that global oil production has been in decline since its peak year, 2000, is not "theory." It's fact.

That, in the early 1970s, the newly-formed Trilateral Commission published a report which recommended that, in order for "globalization" to succeed, American manufacturing jobs had to be exported, and American wages had to decline, which is exactly what happened over the next three decades; and that, during that same period, the richest one percent of Americans doubled their share of the national wealth, is not "theory." It's fact.

That, beyond their quasi-public role as agents of the US Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Banks are profit-making corporations, whose beneficiaries include some of America's wealthiest families; and that the United States has a virtual controlling interest in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, the three dominant global financial institutions, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That—whether it's heroin from Southeast Asia in the '60s and '70s, or cocaine from Central America and heroin from Afghanistan in the '80s, or cocaine from Colombia in the '90s, or heroin from Afghanistan today—no major CIA covert operation has ever lacked a drug smuggling component, and that the CIA has hired Nazis, fascists, drug dealers, arms smugglers, mass murderers, perverts, sadists, terrorists and the Mafia, is not "theory." It's fact.

That the international oil industry is the dominant player in the global economy; that the Bush family has a decades-long business relationship with the Saudi royal family, Saudi oil money, and the family of Osama bin Laden; that, as president, both George Bushes have favored the interests of oil companies over the public interest; that both George Bushes have personally profited financially from Middle East oil; and that American oil companies doubled their records for quarterly profits in the months just preceding the invasion of Iraq, is not "theory." It's fact.

That the 2000 presidential election was deliberately stolen; that the pro-Bush/anti-Gore bias in the corporate media had spiked markedly in the last three weeks of the campaign; that corporate media were then virtually silent about the Florida recount; and that the Bush 2000 team had planned to challenge the legitimacy of the election if George W had won the popular, but lost the electoral vote—exactly what happened to Gore—is not "theory." It's fact.

That the intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was deceptively "cooked" by the Bush administration; that anybody paying attention to people like former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, knew before the invasion that the weapons were a hoax; and that American forces in Iraq today are applying the same brutal counterinsurgency tactics pioneered in Central America in the 1980s, under the direct supervision of then-Vice President George HW Bush, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That "Rebuilding America's Defenses," the Project for a New American Century's 2000 report, and "The Grand Chessboard," a book published a few years earlier by Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, both recommended a more robust and imperial US military presence in the oil basin of the Middle East and the Caspian region; and that both also suggested that American public support for this energy crusade would depend on public response to a new "Pearl Harbor," is not "theory." It's fact.

That, in the 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously approved a plan called "Operation Northwoods," to stage terrorist attacks on American soil that could be used to justify an invasion of Cuba; and that there is currently an office in the Pentagon whose function is to instigate terrorist attacks that could be used to justify future strategically-desired military responses, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That neither the accusation by former British Environmental Minister Michael Meacham, Tony Blair's longest-serving cabinet minister, that George W Bush allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen to justify an oil war in the Middle East; nor the RICO lawsuit filed by 9/11 widow Ellen Mariani against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Council on Foreign Relations (among others), on the grounds that they conspired to let the attacks happen to cash in on the ensuing war profiteering, has captured the slightest attention from American corporate media is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the FBI has completely exonerated—though never identified—the speculators who purchased, a few days before the attacks (through a bank whose previous director is now the CIA executive director), an unusual number of "put" options, and who made millions betting that the stocks in American and United Airlines would crash, is not a "theory." It's fact.

That the US intelligence community received numerous warnings, from multiple sources, throughout the summer of 2001, that a major terrorist attack on American interests was imminent; that, according to the chair of the "independent" 9/11 commission, the attacks "could have and should have been prevented," and according to a Senate Intelligence Committee member, "All the dots were connected;" that the White House has verified George W Bush's personal knowledge, as of August 6, 2001, that these terrorist attacks might be domestic and might involve hijacked airliners; that, in the summer of 2001, at the insistence of the American Secret Service, anti-aircraft ordnance was installed around the city of Genoa, Italy, to defend against a possible terrorist suicide attack, by aircraft, against George W Bush, who was attending the economic summit there; and that George W Bush has nevertheless regaled audiences with his first thought upon seeing the "first" plane hit the World Trade Center, which was: "What a terrible pilot," is not "theory." It's fact.

That, on the morning of September 11, 2001: standard procedures and policies at the nation's air defense and aviation bureaucracies were ignored, and communications were delayed; the black boxes of the planes that hit the WTC were destroyed, but hijacker Mohammed Atta's passport was found in pristine condition; high-ranking Pentagon officers had cancelled their commercial flight plans for that morning; George H.W. Bush was meeting in Washington with representatives of Osama bin Laden's family, and other investors in the world's largest private equity firm, the Carlyle Group; the CIA was conducting a previously-scheduled mock exercise of an airliner hitting the Pentagon; the chairs of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were having breakfast with the chief of Pakistan's intelligence agency, who resigned a week later on suspicion of involvement in the 9/11 attacks; and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States sat in a second grade classroom for 20 minutes after hearing that a second plane had struck the towers, listening to children read a story about a goat, is not "theoretical." These are facts.

That the Bush administration has desperately fought every attempt to independently investigate the events of 9/11, is not a "theory."

Nor, finally, is it in any way a "theory" that the one, single name that can be directly linked to the Third Reich, the US military industrial complex, Skull and Bones, Eastern Establishment good ol' boys, the Illuminati, Big Texas Oil, the Bay of Pigs, the Miami Cubans, the Mafia, the FBI, the JFK assassination, the New World Order, Watergate, the Republican National Committee, Eastern European fascists, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the United Nations, CIA headquarters, the October Surprise, the Iran/Contra scandal, Inslaw, the Christic Institute, Manuel Noriega, drug-running "freedom fighters" and death squads, Iraqgate, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, the blood of innocents, the savings and loan crash, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the "Octopus," the "Enterprise," the Afghan mujaheddin, the War on Drugs, Mena (Arkansas), Whitewater, Sun Myung Moon, the Carlyle Group, Osama bin Laden and the Saudi royal family, David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, and the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States, is: George Herbert Walker Bush. 

"Theory?" To the contrary.

It is a well-documented, tragic and—especially if you're paranoid—terrifying fact.

Michael Hasty is a writer, activist, musician, carpenter and farmer. His award-winning column, "Thinking Locally," appeared for seven years in the Hampshire Review, West Virginia's oldest newspaper. His writing has also appeared in the Highlands Voice, the Washington Peace Letter, the Takoma Park Newsletter, the German magazine Generational Justice, and the Washington Post; and at the websites Common Dreams and Democrats.com. In January 1989, he was the media spokesperson for the counter-inaugural coalition at George Bush's Counter-Inaugural Banquet, which fed hundreds of DC's homeless in front of Union Station, where the official inaugural dinner was being held.


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Graham says FBI should confront people who view ‘Islamist’ websites

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), appearing Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said that he believes Americans would be made safer if Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents would physically confront non-criminals over their web surfing activities, especially if that person is on a watch list and has been looking at “Islamist” sites online.

Explaining that there were warning signs known to various U.S. law enforcement agencies that one of the accused Boston bombers may have been a threat, Graham said the attack was pulled off because of “a failure to share information and missing warning signs — we’re going back to the pre-9/11 stovepiping.”

He added that if someone federal agencies had received tips about “goes on the Internet for the whole world to see, to interact with radical Islamic websites, how do we miss that?”

“So, we’re going to have to up our game,” Graham continued. “When one of these guys goes into the system and then leaves the country, we need to make sure we know where they’re going and interview them. And when somebody in a database like this begins to openly interact with radical Islamist websites, an FBI agent should knock on his door and say, ‘You told us before you wanted to be an Olympic boxer, that you love this country. What the hell is going on here? We’re watching.’”

Graham’s comments illustrate not just the astonishing level of monitoring foreign nationals within the U.S. can be subjected to, but also the type of policing preferred by one of the Senate’s foremost advocates of drone bombing and the system of military justice set up by the Bush administration for terror war prisoners.

In the wake of the Boston Marathon attack, Graham has been adamantly calling for a more militarized response to domestic terrorism incidents, joining with fellow Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to urge fellow lawmakers to expand the definition of terrorism so that anyone with a connection to “radical Islam” would automatically be classified as an “enemy combatant” with practically no legal rights.

Similarly, Graham has emerged as one of the Senate’s loudest voices on the Boston bombing, calling for the Obama administration to send the surviving suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to a military prison despite any evidence that he or his brother were linked to a terrorist organization.

Former CIA Deputy Director Phillip Mudd, appearing on Fox News last week, took a position contrary to Graham’s, saying that Tsarnaev should be charged as a murderer instead of a terrorist. “This looks more to me like Columbine than it does al Qaeda,” he said. “Two kids who radicalized between themselves in a closed circle go out and commit murder. I would charge these guys as murders, not terrorists.”

Considering the militarized response to the Boston bombings, which involved massive surveillance, aerial drones with heat detection sensors and door-to-door searches that virtually shut the city down, it’s hard to imagine what Graham’s vision for a more overwhelming response would actually look like on the ground.

Still, it should be noted that authorities later credited the media for Tsarnaev’s capture, saying the turning point came when photos of the suspects were widely publicized on the Internet. The Obama administration has said that Tsarnaev will not be charged as an enemy combatant.

This video is from “Face the Nation,” aired Sunday, April 28, 2013.

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Friday, May 03, 2013
Muslim on Watch List Stumbles With Lawsuit
 - A Muslim man chose the wrong court to fight inclusion on the terrorist watch list and the dozens of screenings that ensued, a federal judge ruled.

     Sadique Jaffer, a naturalized U.S. citizen, practicing Muslim and frequent traveler, said the government harasses and detains him every time he flies.
     The Zanzibar native allegedly appeared on the FBI's radar after he filed a defamation complaint in 2007 against "certain members of the local Shia Muslim community board."
     Jaffer said he is at odds with other members of his community because he is outspoken against those who would "use their faith as a political force."
     He allegedly agreed to cooperate with the FBI and report any threat, but quickly found himself repeatedly detained while re-entering the United States.
     At the first stop, in August 2007, Jaffer had reached Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas, on a return flight from Costa Rica. He claimed to have been detained for four hours, during which time he was deprived of food and water and verbally abused if he "so much as turned his head."
     Some time later, an FBI agent allegedly revealed that Jaffer's name was on the government's terrorist watch list.
     Jaffer said he wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security's redress program for traveler complaints, requesting the detentions stop. It went on for several months without resolution before the harassment stopped in 2009.
     But in June 2012, the secondary screenings and detentions resumed.
     Though U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell noted that Jaffer has been detained more than 50 times since 2007, he dismissed the complaint Wednesday.


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John Boles: FBI Cyber Division Deputy Assistant Director
  | May 7, 2013 8:43 am

John Boles started out his career as a cryptologic technician in the Navy before rising through the ranks of the FBI to his current position: Deputy Assistant Director of the Bureau’s Cyber Division.

FBI Cyber Division Deputy Assistant Director

Speaking before the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism and homeland security in March, Boles classified the biggest cyber threatsU.S. businesses and government currently face as coming from any of four actors: “foreign intelligence services, terrorist groups, organized crime enterprises, and hactivists.”

Cybersecurity, he added, “may well become [the FBI's] highest priority in the years to come.” It is currently the FBI’s third priority, after counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

Boles was named to the position in September, less than a year after becoming the special agent in charge of the Norfolk Division last February. He first joined the FBI in 1995 as a special agent in the Sacramento Division, where he investigated cyber crime, white collar crime and terrorism, among other things. He also became the leader of a sniper team and worked as a SWAT team operator in Sacramento.


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Obama nominates new head of FBI , hand picked for him by Military-Industrial complex where he
recently worked . The nominee for FBI  Director James Comey refused to reveal an illegal spying operation
against American citizens when testifying before Congress .
Watch video to catch glimpse of next Obama Nightmare  soon to be playing
at the J Edgar Hoover building and Main street USA.

 Brought to you by the people who gave you:
1. President Kennedy assassination
2. Martin Luther King assassination
3. Congressman Hale Boggs assassination
4. Congressman Allard Lowenstein asasassination
5. 1993 1st World Trade Center bombing
6. Lockerbie bombing
7. Oklahoma City bombing
8. TWA Flight 800 bombing
9. 911
10. Senator Paul Wellstone assassination
12. Mumbai Terrorist attack
13. Boston Marathon bombing

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Keith Alexander To Deputy FBI Director Sean Joyce: 'Tell Your Boss I Owe Him Another Friggin' Beer'

  Posted: 06/19/2013


National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander got caught by a hot mic after the public hearing on the NSA's Internet and phone data sweeps Tuesday.

"Tell your boss I owe him another friggin' beer," Alexander said to FBI deputy director Sean Joyce.

HuffPost's Michael McAuliff reported earlier on the hearing:

The House Intelligence Committee's public hearing featured leaders from the office of the director of national intelligence, the NSA, the FBI and the Department of Justice, all called to respond to revelations from leaker Edward Snowden that the United States collects records on the phone calls of U.S. citizens and sweeps extensive data from the Internet. The remarkable array of spymasters in an open session highlighted how seriously the intelligence officials believe the leaks have hurt U.S. security, but the hearing also raised questions about whether counterterrorism officials were doing all they could to protect Americans' constitutional rights.

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New Book Series Alleges a Multibillion-Dollar Gold Theft Was Connected to President Kennedy’s Assassination
June 30, 2013

In the newly released book series, The Gold House trilogy, authors John Clarence and Tom Whittle allege that in the summer of 1961 the U.S. Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, and high-ranking army officers reportedly met at a private residence in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Their purpose, according to an eyewitness: to gather information about a vast hoard of gold bars and ancient artifacts at a remote site named Victorio Peak situated on a nearby military installation. In July that summer the treasure was placed under the control of the U.S. Attorney General. In book two of the trilogy, authors Clarence and Whittle present an official July 31, 1961 transcribed phone conversation between the commanding general at the nearby installation and the Director of Silver & Gold Operations at the U.S. Mint that exposed an approved army operation to search for and remove the gold.

The Gold House trilogy books recounts how in the summer of 1963 President Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon Johnson traveled to White Sands, supposedly to witness a series of missile firings. But according to an article in the Hobbs Daily News-Sun (AP) that day, they also inspected a proposed landing site for future space missions. From there the authors allege the president and vice president secretly flew to Victorio Peak to examine its treasure.

Authors Clarence and Whittle allege in The Gold House trilogy books that sources reported the president later made arrangements to meet with the co-discoverer of the treasure in Denver to resolve the question of its ownership. The meeting was to take place after the president’s November 1963 trip to Dallas, Texas. Before that meeting occurred, 35th President of the United States was assassinated. Clarence and Whittle allege the assassination may well have stemmed from a conflict concerning the disposition of the treasure, a conversation overheard by an onsite witness who was nearby when the president and vice president inspected the treasure.

As recounted in The Gold House trilogy, other political and military individuals played a major role in the illegal removal of a large portion of the treasure. The Gold House books also allege that a remote ranch east of Camargo in Chihuahua, Mexico, was purchased from the former president of New Mexico. The ranch, Las Pampas, contained an airstrip reportedly used to facilitate the theft of Victorio Peak gold and its further transport out of Mexico. According to sources the flights began in 1969 and continued for about one year, transporting more than 100 tons of gold. Until these records were obtained, Terry Delonas, the grandson of Doc and Ova Noss, had no proof of what he had long-suspected: “The research Mr. Clarence has done explains exactly why the government was afraid of a full excavation of the chambers beneath Victorio Peak," he states in the video.

“The thefts did not stop with LBJ; in 1973 Nixon sent a recovery team to White Sands Missile Range...soon, 37 tons of gold disappeared. The value of the gold extracted is overwhelming, exceeded only by the evidence presented in The Gold House–The Lies, The Thefts. Clarence and Whittle present well-documented paper trails including: bank records, warehouse receipts and much more, enough to take to a jury––and win.”––Barr McClellan, attorney and ¬New York Times best-selling author

“The Gold House trilogy is a tour de force of research and reporting. Meticulously researched and explosive in the revelations it uncovers. Clarence and Whittle have uncovered information that will require scholars and commentators of modern U.S. political history to reevaluate the presidencies of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.” —Gerald D. McKnight, professor emeritus of history at Hood College and author of Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why

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 Tomgram: Matthew Harwood, Counterterrorism in the Twilight Zone
 July 9, 2013.

They went without saying a word.  In the dead of night, the last U.S. troops slipped out of Iraq and across the Kuwaiti border.  There was no victory parade.  No departure ceremony.  They never said goodbye. They didn’t even cancel scheduled meetings with their Iraqi counterparts. They just up and left, weeks before their departure deadline in December 2010.

The Americans took home their weapons and vehicles, of course.  They took much of their heavy equipment and electronics gear, too.  They also took something far more intimate, something you might assume belonged to the Iraqi people, something you probably never knew existed: “a massive database packed with retinal scans, thumb prints, and other biometric data identifying millions of Iraqis,” as Spencer Ackerman put it when he wrote about those digital records in 2011.

In the years after the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the U.S. military collected biometric data on around three million Iraqis.  It’s done the same for millions of Afghans.  And it’s keeping this information in perpetuity.  Back in 2011, a spokesman for the Tampa, Florida-based U.S. Central Command told Ackerman, “We have this information, and rather than cull through it all and say 'bad guy, good guy, bad guy, good guy,' it’s better to just keep it.”  Just why may be unclear, but the capture and retention of this data fit a pattern: the U.S. drive to expand its national security state into a global security initiative.

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Four Years in Jail for ‘FBI Fantasy’

• Retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander says he has evidence to prove friend is innocent

By Pat Shannan

Readers of AMERICAN FREE PRESS will remember the series of articles run on these pages in 2010-11 concerning the plight of the Monroe County, Tennessee man who tried to expose fraud in the local court and grand jury system. Instead, United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Walter Fitzpatrick (Ret.) found himself jailed for trying to perform a citizen’s arrest when the cops wouldn’t enforce their own laws.

According to the man who started it all, the following federal attack on him and Darren Huff of Dallas, Georgia, in the small Tenn. town of Madisonville, was just one more Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provocation, and he now has the evidence to prove it.

“Darren Huff is an innocent man in jail for four years for a crime that never happened,” said Fitzpatrick.

When interested citizens came to Madisonville on April 20, 2010 for a court hearing on the Fitzpatrick matter, Huff was followed from north Ga. by the FBI, detained at the interstate exit by state and local law enforcement and released after agreeing to lock his legally-registered rifle and handgun in the toolbox of his pickup truck. No arrest was made and Huff proceeded peacefully into town. The police saw that the supporters were not there to provoke violence but to stand up for a fellow American who was being wronged by the system.

“The FBI saw it as another invitation to create a crime where none existed,” said Fitzpatrick. He proved his point with Special Agent Mark Van Balen’s sworn affidavit on April 26.

Even though video shows Huff being determined not to be a security risk by the Tenn. authorities and released, six days later Van Balen swore out an affidavit “full of lies and deception,” according to Fitzpatrick, including Huff’s alleged threats to “make arrests on various individuals, that he was ready to die for his rights and that if they didn’t have enough people on April 20 to do all they planned to do that day, that they would be back in one to two weeks.”

Huff has repeatedly denied making any such outrageous statements, and Van Balen even admits in his affidavit that he never heard anything provocative from Huff.

Van Balen claims that Huff was heard making threats at the traffic stop by a Lt. Don Williams of the Drug Task Force and these were passed on to him. Van Balen makes no claims of personal knowledge as to any lawbreaking by Huff. In fact, court testimony showed that Huff was under FBI surveillance from the night of April 19. Huff was followed when he left home at 4 a.m. and was watched all day. There was never a moment when the FBI did not know where Huff was during that 24-hour period, and he was never a threat to anyone.

Fitzpatrick told AFP that he has located and interviewed 31 of the 33 people known to have been on the scene that morning outside of the Monroe County courthouse. None of the 31 was armed or even saw anyone other than law enforcement officers armed. The other two were a Knoxville news reporter and cameramen who refused to identify themselves when Fitzpatrick asked them to do so.

Not one of the 31 citizens was approached and questioned by any of the 150 law enforcement officers on the scene as to whether or not they were armed. Fitzpatrick has collected statements from all 31. It was a peaceful assembly.

“Furthermore,” said Fitzpatrick, “Darren Huff not only was unarmed the whole time but he spent his morning at Donna’s Old Town Café across the street and the only time he briefly set foot on the courthouse property was to take sausage biscuits and coffee to officers standing there. However, my hearing was being held four blocks away at a separate courthouse building unknown to Huff, and he was never there.

“Federal officials not only successfully prosecuted and convicted a U.S. citizen for a thought crime,” added Fitzpatrick, “but the only one with the thought was the fantasizing FBI agent.”

Huff is more than a year into serving a four-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas. He is still waiting for his attorney, Gerald Gulley of Knoxville, to file his appeal. Gulley did not return AFP’s calls.

Fitzpatrick cites a little known FBI program known as “Operation Vigilant Eagle” that involves surveillance of veterans who express views critical of the government. This includes those who discuss a pending revolution on the Internet.

“Anybody in America who stands up for the rights of American citizens as outlined by the Constitution is being targeted and jailed by the federal government,” he said.

This case is significant and chilling because the FBI has prepared it to stifle dissent.

In their slick description of it on their website, they brag that “Huff was sentenced to four years in prison for transporting firearms across state lines with the intent to cause a civil disorder. It was the first time this violation was successfully prosecuted.”

- See more at: http://americanfreepress.net/?p=11620#sthash.I5WwpxRV.dpuf

Four Years in Jail for ‘FBI Fantasy’
July 17, 2013   AFP
28_Huff FBI Fantasy

• Retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander says he has evidence to prove friend is innocent

By Pat Shannan

Readers of AMERICAN FREE PRESS will remember the series of articles run on these pages in 2010-11 concerning the plight of the Monroe County, Tennessee man who tried to expose fraud in the local court and grand jury system. Instead, United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Walter Fitzpatrick (Ret.) found himself jailed for trying to perform a citizen’s arrest when the cops wouldn’t enforce their own laws.

According to the man who started it all, the following federal attack on him and Darren Huff of Dallas, Georgia, in the small Tenn. town of Madisonville, was just one more Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provocation, and he now has the evidence to prove it.

“Darren Huff is an innocent man in jail for four years for a crime that never happened,” said Fitzpatrick.

When interested citizens came to Madisonville on April 20, 2010 for a court hearing on the Fitzpatrick matter, Huff was followed from north Ga. by the FBI, detained at the interstate exit by state and local law enforcement and released after agreeing to lock his legally-registered rifle and handgun in the toolbox of his pickup truck. No arrest was made and Huff proceeded peacefully into town. The police saw that the supporters were not there to provoke violence but to stand up for a fellow American who was being wronged by the system.

“The FBI saw it as another invitation to create a crime where none existed,” said Fitzpatrick. He proved his point with Special Agent Mark Van Balen’s sworn affidavit on April 26.

Hard Assets Alliance

Even though video shows Huff being determined not to be a security risk by the Tenn. authorities and released, six days later Van Balen swore out an affidavit “full of lies and deception,” according to Fitzpatrick, including Huff’s alleged threats to “make arrests on various individuals, that he was ready to die for his rights and that if they didn’t have enough people on April 20 to do all they planned to do that day, that they would be back in one to two weeks.”

Huff has repeatedly denied making any such outrageous statements, and Van Balen even admits in his affidavit that he never heard anything provocative from Huff.

Van Balen claims that Huff was heard making threats at the traffic stop by a Lt. Don Williams of the Drug Task Force and these were passed on to him. Van Balen makes no claims of personal knowledge as to any lawbreaking by Huff. In fact, court testimony showed that Huff was under FBI surveillance from the night of April 19. Huff was followed when he left home at 4 a.m. and was watched all day. There was never a moment when the FBI did not know where Huff was during that 24-hour period, and he was never a threat to anyone.

Fitzpatrick told AFP that he has located and interviewed 31 of the 33 people known to have been on the scene that morning outside of the Monroe County courthouse. None of the 31 was armed or even saw anyone other than law enforcement officers armed. The other two were a Knoxville news reporter and cameramen who refused to identify themselves when Fitzpatrick asked them to do so.

Not one of the 31 citizens was approached and questioned by any of the 150 law enforcement officers on the scene as to whether or not they were armed. Fitzpatrick has collected statements from all 31. It was a peaceful assembly.

“Furthermore,” said Fitzpatrick, “Darren Huff not only was unarmed the whole time but he spent his morning at Donna’s Old Town Café across the street and the only time he briefly set foot on the courthouse property was to take sausage biscuits and coffee to officers standing there. However, my hearing was being held four blocks away at a separate courthouse building unknown to Huff, and he was never there.

“Federal officials not only successfully prosecuted and convicted a U.S. citizen for a thought crime,” added Fitzpatrick, “but the only one with the thought was the fantasizing FBI agent.”

Huff is more than a year into serving a four-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas. He is still waiting for his attorney, Gerald Gulley of Knoxville, to file his appeal. Gulley did not return AFP’s calls.

Fitzpatrick cites a little known FBI program known as “Operation Vigilant Eagle” that involves surveillance of veterans who express views critical of the government. This includes those who discuss a pending revolution on the Internet.

“Anybody in America who stands up for the rights of American citizens as outlined by the Constitution is being targeted and jailed by the federal government,” he said.

This case is significant and chilling because the FBI has prepared it to stifle dissent.

In their slick description of it on their website, they brag that “Huff was sentenced to four years in prison for transporting firearms across state lines with the intent to cause a civil disorder. It was the first time this violation was successfully prosecuted.”
- See more at: http://americanfreepress.net/?p=11620#sthash.I5WwpxRV.dpuf

Four Years in Jail for ‘FBI Fantasy’

• Retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander says he has evidence to prove friend is innocent

By Pat Shannan

Readers of AMERICAN FREE PRESS will remember the series of articles run on these pages in 2010-11 concerning the plight of the Monroe County, Tennessee man who tried to expose fraud in the local court and grand jury system. Instead, United States Navy Lieutenant Commander Walter Fitzpatrick (Ret.) found himself jailed for trying to perform a citizen’s arrest when the cops wouldn’t enforce their own laws.

According to the man who started it all, the following federal attack on him and Darren Huff of Dallas, Georgia, in the small Tenn. town of Madisonville, was just one more Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) provocation, and he now has the evidence to prove it.

“Darren Huff is an innocent man in jail for four years for a crime that never happened,” said Fitzpatrick.

When interested citizens came to Madisonville on April 20, 2010 for a court hearing on the Fitzpatrick matter, Huff was followed from north Ga. by the FBI, detained at the interstate exit by state and local law enforcement and released after agreeing to lock his legally-registered rifle and handgun in the toolbox of his pickup truck. No arrest was made and Huff proceeded peacefully into town. The police saw that the supporters were not there to provoke violence but to stand up for a fellow American who was being wronged by the system.

“The FBI saw it as another invitation to create a crime where none existed,” said Fitzpatrick. He proved his point with Special Agent Mark Van Balen’s sworn affidavit on April 26.

Even though video shows Huff being determined not to be a security risk by the Tenn. authorities and released, six days later Van Balen swore out an affidavit “full of lies and deception,” according to Fitzpatrick, including Huff’s alleged threats to “make arrests on various individuals, that he was ready to die for his rights and that if they didn’t have enough people on April 20 to do all they planned to do that day, that they would be back in one to two weeks.”

Huff has repeatedly denied making any such outrageous statements, and Van Balen even admits in his affidavit that he never heard anything provocative from Huff.

Van Balen claims that Huff was heard making threats at the traffic stop by a Lt. Don Williams of the Drug Task Force and these were passed on to him. Van Balen makes no claims of personal knowledge as to any lawbreaking by Huff. In fact, court testimony showed that Huff was under FBI surveillance from the night of April 19. Huff was followed when he left home at 4 a.m. and was watched all day. There was never a moment when the FBI did not know where Huff was during that 24-hour period, and he was never a threat to anyone.

Fitzpatrick told AFP that he has located and interviewed 31 of the 33 people known to have been on the scene that morning outside of the Monroe County courthouse. None of the 31 was armed or even saw anyone other than law enforcement officers armed. The other two were a Knoxville news reporter and cameramen who refused to identify themselves when Fitzpatrick asked them to do so.

Not one of the 31 citizens was approached and questioned by any of the 150 law enforcement officers on the scene as to whether or not they were armed. Fitzpatrick has collected statements from all 31. It was a peaceful assembly.

“Furthermore,” said Fitzpatrick, “Darren Huff not only was unarmed the whole time but he spent his morning at Donna’s Old Town Café across the street and the only time he briefly set foot on the courthouse property was to take sausage biscuits and coffee to officers standing there. However, my hearing was being held four blocks away at a separate courthouse building unknown to Huff, and he was never there.

“Federal officials not only successfully prosecuted and convicted a U.S. citizen for a thought crime,” added Fitzpatrick, “but the only one with the thought was the fantasizing FBI agent.”

Huff is more than a year into serving a four-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas. He is still waiting for his attorney, Gerald Gulley of Knoxville, to file his appeal. Gulley did not return AFP’s calls.

Fitzpatrick cites a little known FBI program known as “Operation Vigilant Eagle” that involves surveillance of veterans who express views critical of the government. This includes those who discuss a pending revolution on the Internet.

“Anybody in America who stands up for the rights of American citizens as outlined by the Constitution is being targeted and jailed by the federal government,” he said.

This case is significant and chilling because the FBI has prepared it to stifle dissent.

In their slick description of it on their website, they brag that “Huff was sentenced to four years in prison for transporting firearms across state lines with the intent to cause a civil disorder. It was the first time this violation was successfully prosecuted.”

- See more at: http://americanfreepress.net/?p=11620#sthash.I5WwpxRV.dpuf

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 July 24, 2013

National Security State, Advent of Fascism
Obama’s Fanaticism Over Secrecy, Surveillance and Repression

If the US were not engaged in actions and policies that are illegal, immoral, aggressive, war-provoking, and therefore, it is fair to say, evil, the issue of leaks would never arise, there being no rhyme or reason for them and the increasingly widening effects of government’s stringent, escalating, and still counting,  countermeasures,  for  suffocating a public consciousness of wrongdoing through a campaign of massive surveillance in order to prevent further revelations and ensure continued societal blindness to, and even the endorsement of, interventions, assassinations, cyberwarfare, indefinite detentions, a global system of military bases poised for purposes of internal espionage leading to regime change, the enforcement of a favorable climate for trade, investment, and the extraction of resources,  and much else which can be subsumed under the heading of national self-interest (always taken for granted and non-negotiable), all in violation, or skirting the edges, of international law, itself largely crafted to serve American needs, and implemented largely through active support of world financial institutions, trading blocs, military organizations, of essentially kept nations seemingly anxious to do our bidding.  With a framework like that, no wonder the desire to keep the lid on.  Secrecy is not a nervous twitch, nor an excess of zeal in the promotion of a misconstrued American Innocence (saving the world for democracy, humanitarian interventionism, or similar self-advantaged formulas), but a central enabling mechanism in the use of power, primarily military-oriented, for ends capitalistic and nationalist encompassed in a single system defining the US’s Exceptionalist drive for unilateral dominance of the global structure.  Ideology alone doesn’t do the job (it never did!), nor do exports magically traverse the sea lanes, greeted at foreign ports with hosannas; capitalism is a fractionated international order, inclined to trade rivalries and the forcible settlement of differences.  War determines outcomes, and in turn requires the regimentation of thought on the home front.  Obama’s fanaticism about secrecy is therefore perfectly reasonable and rational, if one happens to subscribe to ruling-groups’ ends (along with an added dash of sadism, which he applies by diverting resources from a sound social safety net to satisfy the military appetite) of a government-assisted unrestrained capitalism, government itself, of course, simultaneously invisible in its subventionary function while whipped in place unmercifully when performing any sort of welfare or ameliorative function.

Secrecy is the ideal camouflage for surrounding, covering, and protecting the class-state, its system of power, its elites’ hidden agenda, and the political-cultural mechanisms which engineer consent to the national purpose as defined from above, not so much to hide ordinary hanky-panky–favoritism to contractors, political contributors, etc.– but war crimes real time, which seldom result in the internal democratization of the offending power, and instead contribute to wealth-and-power differentiation among the populace, which bears the brunt of such policies, whether drafted to fight in wars to enforce US capitalist objectives or placed in vulnerable positions domestically so as not to be in position to press for systemic reforms (essentially moderate, as measured by democratic theory and practice) such as the demand for collective bargaining rights, freedom of expression, and the curbing of the maldistribution of wealth.  For capitalism, especially in America, where political and economic democracy are disconnected so that pro forma electoral freedom coexists with corporate monopolization and the concentration of wealth, the ballot box somehow becomes an exhaustive remedy for  ruling groups’ hegemonic purposes abroad and the instilling of institutional-cultural docility at home.  These goals are mutually dependent; one cannot be fulfilled without the other.  Which suggests that a pattern of convergence is in process of formation, secrecy providing the bridge, or better, connecting rod, between foreign intervention and domestic surveillance, now becoming conflated into a singular mode of repression intended to bring into question, amenable to prosecution, whatever is considered to be politically-economically-militarily unacceptable, whether this means questioning either domestic or foreign policy and activity, with each sharing the other’s identity, and no doubt soon, degree of penalization.

In this light, a radical, whose social protest extends beyond the aforementioned moderate demands of the reformer (themselves stopping short of systemic overhaul, but nonetheless worth contesting in the absence of their achievement), is in the cross-hairs of a government unused to substantive criticism in either the domestic- or foreign-policy realms, hence under Obama the acceleration of countermeasures to stifle—again, the import of surveillance, even as a dark shadow making individuals think twice about holding, still less communicating, suspicious thoughts—a potentially awakened political consciousness, “awakened” given the Snowden and Manning Revelations on a unified US government pressing the total integration of military, capitalistic, and geostrategic assumptions, and behind that, the integration as well of structure, ideology, and policy making, to the end of maximizing State power both in its own right and the better to promote and service the political economy of capitalism, nay, an advanced mode of capitalism facing the strains of a changing, now multipolar, context of international politics.  Gaps in the integrative process leave room, i.e., mental space, for popular resistance through the perception of the forced joining of parts, integration as per se repression, whereby everything must be brought into conformity with an homogenous composition of forces focused on promoting  expansionist-aggressive systemic tendencies (particularly the mature stage of capitalism warns of senility, and therefore, the resort to extreme measures even to remain in place) while also promoting silence and/or complicity at home.  In this way, intervention (and with it, targeted assassination, regime change, global political and economic influence, counterrevolution as a generalized  posture) neatly dovetails with surveillance (and the further splintering of traditional civil liberties, presumably mandated by a counterterrorism policy), so that when we return to the radical, be it on either front, the lines between foreign and domestic “criminal” activity is starting to blur—the further conflation, facing the individual directly, so that our hypothetical whistleblower of the future in whichever realm is left open to the charge of treasonous conduct, as indeed is being contemplated or already decided with respect to Snowden and Manning.

The preceding overview, especially the overall convergence of structure, ideology, and policy, transcending narrow fields of operation, or boundaries of scope and practice (e.g., the CIA, contrary to its charter, is as much an operational as intelligence force, and perhaps as much involved in domestic as in foreign theaters of activity), speaks to Obama’s elaboration, inheriting much of, thence adding still more to, the work of his predecessors  dating from the immediate aftermath of the Second World War through his own presidency, of a Secretive, National-Security, Militarized State, whose monolithic façade is beginning to seriously break down, thanks in equal parts to overextension unsupported by sufficient political-economic (but not military) resources, a globalization process, ostensibly American-led yet actually witnessing the dispersion of power, with China and Russia independent centers, and peripheral nations, like Brazil, shaping into no-longer dependent industrializing countries, and finally, in a by no means exhaustive listing, the revelations themselves, in which, to Obama, Snowden is the Anti-Christ, and Manning, the Mephistophelian figure, upsetting expectations of an hypostatized democratic leadership phony in fact from the start.  Thus, with cracks showing in Leviathan’s armor, matters are tensing up; Obama is getting antsy.  The heavy-handed, until now still secretive, program of surveillance, which I initially took to be a means for scaring Americans into regimented, compliant mode, actually also is unwitting admission on the part of Obama, the National-Security State, and Authority in general of an unremitting  fear at the top as well, both that the tightly coiled structure of power is becoming unstuck, and that as layer upon layer of obfuscation is cleared away it will be seen that our political and military high-and-mighty trusted leaders, i.e., themselves, are merely run-of-the-mill war criminals.  Certainly, armed drones for targeted assassination, as one example, must have crossed their minds, if not troubled their sleep, that international-law violations stood on the horizon.  Nor did waterboarding comport well with democratic leadership, nor mass surveillance and data mining, nor indefinite detention, nor a 1000-and-1 daily favors to American business, banking, and industry, which makes the infliction of suffering on others worthwhile.

Turning, then, to the highlights of surveillance, just as occurring over the last few days (for anyone who questions the importance of Snowden, this heightened government activity, generously termed damage control, should put the issue to rest, for his revelations had and will continue to have an implosive force showing a central core naked of moral scruple, the vacuum to be filled with capitalist-military strivings for undisputed global power), I must quickly note that, first, counterterrorism has been the screen for the preliminaries of internal regimentation for some time (an implicit domestic antiradicalism  gained through creating a climate of superpatriotism—present already, though less organized—and obedience to regulations designed to stimulate respect for emergency powers and the whole concept of prevailing danger, and second, Obama is not a Johnny-come-lately to the use of repression, with purported threats from outside serving as a rationale, for we see from the earliest days of his administration the smooth transition from Bush II, with no inner qualms publicly manifested, that appeared to many—myself also fooled—as mere political inertia, when in reality it represented a purposeful, vital continuity which, in short order, blossomed into a full-scale qualitative escalation, so that by 2011 at the latest he had in place the secrecy-element, the determined prosecution of whistleblowers (under Bush there were no successful convictions, or even cases reaching that stage), a National-Security Team second-to-none in its interventionist, war-making, brook-no-opposition, at home or abroad, proclivities, in sum, a newly-articulated design and framework in which the intervention-surveillance duopoly was ready to spring forward in writing a new chapter in American capitalist-military expansion.

Ah, the Aspen Security Forum, an annual event:  we think of Tea Party nutcakes running around decrying big government, when it is the “respectables,” in such meetings as this, who represent the thinking and planning of Pentagon officials and interested citizens (aka, defense contractors, war-inspired think-tank fellows, consultants and lobbyists of every stripe anxious to push their ideological agendas and/or their military hardware and products), who are the aspirant, more sophisticated, better connected, and thus more dangerous power-wielders, adjuncts of, and sometimes, as now, members in good standing of, a practically-speaking ruling class of capitalist-military-(and slightly to the side) economic elites, whose names, such as General Keith B. Alexander, head of NSA, and Ashton B. Carter, from Harvard professor to deputy secretary of defense, need to be fleshed out and made familiar.  An unfailing barometer for determining the national-defense/national-security atmosphere, the Forum, last Thursday (July 18), bore witness to the Snowden Phenomenon, forcing a scrambling around to maintain the machinery of war—here, the magnification of cyberwar in the nation’s arsenal—and the continued institutionalization of government secrecy, both signifying a further convergence of unitary purpose.  Sanger and Schmitt write in the New York Times on the 18th that NSA “has imposed new rules designed to sharply restrict the sharing and downloading of top-secret material from its computer networks” following Snowden, as related by “two of the Pentagon’s most senior officials” at the Forum that day.  Discussing the “two-man rule,” applied to the handling of nuclear weapons (“two computer systems administrators [working] simultaneously when they are inside systems that contain highly classified material”), Alexander said that in future “the most sensitive data” will be put “in a highly encrypted form” and made limited in accessibility, to prevent its being moved “throughout the nation’s intelligence agencies and the Defense Department.”

So far, pretty obvious.  Alexander defended massive surveillance, his “You need a haystack to find a needle” statement perhaps vying with George Tenet’s “slam dunk” one for contemporary imbecilic honors, but he redeems himself by revealing for the first time that Obama, soon after taking office, was informed of Bush’s NSA-surveillance operations—specifically “the number of errors the agency made,” which the General termed, according to the reporters, “the inadvertent collection of information about American citizens.”  Inadvertent?  Here the account becomes intensely interesting.  Even Sanger and Schmitt want to get Obama off the hook.  Alexander continues: “When the president first came on board, we had a huge set of mistakes that we were working through in 2009.  He [Obama] said essentially, ‘I can see the value of these [italics, mine], but how do we ensure that we get these within compliance and that everything is exactly right?’”  At first, one—and the reporters—think a critical view of the Bush surveillance programs is being expressed.  Yet, Obama’s concern is not termination but legitimation, and here he called for an NSA self-policing of its actions, a “directorate of compliance,” and subsequently, ensuring the favorable approval of the FISA Court.  He did the same with the armed drone for targeted assassination: cover the government’s (and his own) rear via in-house legal justifications, including secret White House Counsel memos and secret FISA Court decisions.  Inadvertence = legalized criminal activity, whether massive surveillance or killing women and children as “collateral damage.”

The Forum breaks further new ground, Alexander and Carter revealing the formalization of cyberwarfare as “a new mission” using “a class of weapons that the Obama administration has rarely discussed in public,” with 4,000 military personnel deployed to the Pentagon to start operations.  Secrecy, thou art wondrous!  Obama “accelerated” Bush’s “Olympic Games” program, and then, as the purpose of our whole discussion, instigated (more politely, inaugurated), as here, programs of his own, more elaborate and devastating.  From targeted assassination to cyberwarfare, perhaps a new signature weapon to which he is committed, with Carter excitedly saying, as proof of its importance (never mind accusations leveled against China in this realm, our Exceptionalism is our badge of honor): “I wanted to start this fast.  Fundamentally, we’re spending everything we can think about spending intelligently for, notwithstanding our budget hassles, because this is an area we are protecting even as our military capabilities will be cut.”  Cyberteams are planned, under Alexander’s command, a revealing of details of “one of the military’s most closely held projects.”  The focus on teams, “in addition to the N.S.A. work force,” enables planning to start from scratch, with the possibility of modeling them after Special Ops units.  In all of this, Obama is not a passive onlooker.  Make it legit, but make it work:  cyberwarfare, another feather in his cap.

On July 19, Charlie Savage reported in The Times that the US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit (Richmond, Va.), by a 2-1 vote, ruled that James Risen of the paper “must testify in the criminal trial” of a former CIA agent “charged with providing him with classified information.”  The majority opinion held that the  First Amendment did not protect a reporter receiving  “unauthorized leaks” from divulging his source—a clear test of freedom of the press, and, to the dissenting judge (Savage’s paraphrase) “a serious threat to investigative journalism.”  The judge stated, “The majority exalts the interests of the government while unduly trampling those of the press, and in doing so, severely impinges on the press and the free flow of information in our society.”  Apparently, the Supreme Court, 40 years before, had delineated a precedent applicable only to grand jury investigations, leaving the issue of trials up in the air; still, the Obama administration (here DOJ) immediately stated, “We agree with the decision,” as well they might, for Justice has prosecuted more than twice the number of leak cases under Obama than under previous president’s combined.  AG Holder, given the criticism over “subpoenaing Associated Press reporters’ phone records and portraying a Fox News reporter as a criminal conspirator [a serious charge] in order to obtain a warrant for his e-mails,”  in response “announced new guidelines for leak investigations,” which hardly alters my characterization: Obama’s fanaticism about leaks.  Risen’s case was first tried in a lower court, the decision held in his favor on the ground that he was protected “by a limited ‘reporter’s privilege’” under the First, the Obama administration then appealing, arguing “that such a reporter’s privilege did not exist,” and now, on July 19th, the Appeals Court reversed the decision of the lower court and Risen is compelled to testify or go to jail. The Obama people play hard ball; Risen “has vowed to go to prison,” rather than comply.

The flurry of activity of July18-19 is not happenstance, but a direct response to Snowden, his revelations, and the frustration on Obama’s part that he remains out there, seeking asylum world opinion on his side and in effect thumbing his nose at the Leviathan.  Towering America meets it match; a government that is afraid of its own transparency, is not a democratic government.  Slowly  the wheels are turning against the US, not just because of the outrage over surveillance, but a proper understanding if not in America then globally that surveillance is not cops-and-robbers child’s play but the linchpin of a repressive social order capable of striking out viciously against all who oppose it.  Why else surveillance?  The momentum continues, so long as Snowden remains free and capable of releasing further documents, fittingly, the fascistic state-secrets doctrine, USG’s favorite defense against judicial and/or public oversight, and launching pad for the Obama-Holder-DOJ prosecutions using the Espionage Act against whistleblowers, now being turned inside out and upside down.  Stripped of the state-secrets doctrine, i.e., of no avail when the information becomes revealed, America looks quite totalitarian in its pursuit of national policy (and pretty shabby in its need for conformity at home, deference, abroad).  Hegemony loses its luster, as do militarism and capitalism, when it is realized by others that US fine pronouncements are the cover for dominance: over the global structure,  markets, capital flows, and, the human underside, cheap, docile labor abroad (and increasingly, at home), all predicated on a compliant American public, consumerism their bread-and-circuses to ensure absolute devotion to the System of Enterprise, as meanwhile, the defense budget and the culture of militarization expand.  Yes, why else surveillance?

Then, on July 20th, another article in the New York Times, by Sharon LaFraniere, providing context for the Obamaean (i.e., the whole administration, in military lockstep about self-protection, whether national-security advisers, CIA, Pentagon, FDA, Interior, all having something to hide) fanaticism about secrecy—and the president’s own frenetic urge to strike out at leakers, masking a profound insecurity about being found out as a potential/actual war criminal, platitudinous leader, and simple careerist.  The title of the article, “Math Behind Leak Crackdown: 153 Cases, 4 Years, 0 Indictments,” superbly captures the reality, for it refers to the record of the Bush administration, not Obama’s, who would strain every muscle to rectify the situation.  Once again, in the Bush-Obama relationship, we see, first, overlap and continuity, second, the latter’s intensification of policy and program, and third, the progression from intensification to a qualitative leap: Obama on surveillance and prosecutions leaves Bush in swaddling clothes.  Here’s another name to remember in the White House cast of characters: Dennis C. Blair, Obama’s national intelligence director until 2010, who, examining the Bush record (as in the article’s title) “was dismayed by what he found.”  He said it “was pretty shocking to all of us,” which led to “a series of phone calls and meetings” with AG Holder to work out “a more aggressive strategy to punish anyone” leaking national-security secrets.  Blair put the matter well: “My background is in the Navy, and it is good to hang an admiral once in a while as an example to the others.  We were hoping to get somebody and make people realize that there are consequences to this and it needed to stop.”

This was precisely the mindset that, subsequent to his comment, would lead to the prosecution (along with solitary confinement) of Manning, and represent administration thinking and policy in the attempt to capture Snowden.  But, ironically, it is not “an admiral once in a while,” but retired General James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (until mid-summer 2011) who is being investigated for leaking classified information.  More on this momentarily, but we see right away the self-devouring nature of surveillance, the passion for secrecy, the fear of leaks—the net is cast ever wider, now a top-ranking general.  The reporter, picking up on Blair’s remark about consequences, gives us a convenient summary, including the preceding day’s Appeals Court decision: “The Obama administration has done its best to define those consequences, with an aggressive focus on leaks and leakers that has led to more than twice as many prosecutions as there were in all previous administrations combined.  It also led to a significant legal victory on Friday when a federal appeals court accepted the Justice Department’s argument that the First Amendment does not protect reporters from having to reveal the sources suspected of leaking information to them.” (Italics, mine)  So much for Obama’s respect for the First Amendment and for freedom of the press.

Whether, as the reporter, citing “present and former government officials,” claims the focus on leaks at the highest levels of the administration “was driven by pressure from the intelligence agencies and members of Congress,” or the reverse, Obama’s desire to prove himself in spirit one of the former and to placate conservatives and war hawks of both parties of the latter, the fact remains that he has drawn very close to the CIA (and CIA-JSOC paramilitary operations) and the Democratic head of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dianne Feinstein, has carried water for him in demanding the zealous prosecution of leakers, chastising in closed hearings, as early as 2009, Holder, Blair, and FBI Director Mueller, for not doing enough.  To critics of the Manning-Snowden revelations (Snowden incidentally acknowledged Manning as a source of inspiration), things were getting out of hand; secrecy must be preserved in the national interest and at all costs.  To critics of the critics, perhaps, with the Cartwright case, things are getting out of hand the other way (a distinctly minority view, both in government and the nation as a whole, sold on national security as the holy of holies).  In his case, it was revelation of Obama’s new love—cyberwarfare, the attack on Iran’s nuclear program, that brought him to Coventry courtesy the DOJ.  (The case against Risen of The Times also had to do with his revealing information about Iran, “a covert operation to deceive” its nuclear scientists.)  Cartwright, though, by definition, “represents an escalation of effort,” in the reporter’s words, compared with previous prosecutions of officials, never above mid-level in ranking, and in the words of a member of the Federation of American Scientists, “The Cartwright case stands alone.  It is a sign that the administration is not backing off its anti-leak crusade.  It is still going full-tilt.”

Putting all of this together, Ms. LaFraniere also discusses administration procedural matters, such as DOJ imposition of “a tight deadline to decide whether to open criminal inquiries into leaks, shortening to just three weeks a review process that had often dragged on for months,” one finds overwhelming support for the idea that Obama’s actions have had a chilling effect on public scrutiny of all areas of government, a tightening both of rhetoric and practice, in which surveillance, prosecution, condemnation of divulging documents pointing to illegality and worse, indicate to me the advent of fascism in America.  The term “fascism” should not be bandied about.  I think it fits structurally (the high degree of concentration in the economic sector , along with the more significant marker, the interpenetration government and business), militarily (not only aggressive conduct of foreign policy, but the militarization of capitalism), culturally (a profound disregard for the valuing of equality, whether in race relations or in deference shown business, political, and military leaders as part of an hierarchical ordering of economic and social relations), and now, more overt signposts, as seen above, when a government resorts to massive surveillance, to hide its dirty linen.  A fitting close to these thoughts can be found in the excellent article by Carlos Borrero in today’s (July 23) CounterPunch, when he writes: “Systematic surveillance can only be understood as an essential part of state repression, the purpose of which is to intimidate those that question the status quo by promoting a culture of fear.  One can never be separated from the other.”  His reference is to US repression of anticolonist forces in Puerto Rico, yet the statement is equally valid for America (that which has been inflicted on the exploited comes back with equal force to the exploiter, fearful his pathological quest for dominance will someday prove his undoing).  If further indictment of Obama and the liberalization of militaristic capitalism to make it palatable to the American people is required, I cite the drone campaign for targeted assassination, a scenario for permanent war—the advent (arrival on the scene) of fascism, dressed in the fashion of humanitarian interventionism and domestic silence concerning the atrocities practiced at home, on the poor and the dissidents of every stripe and persuasion.

Norman Pollack is the author of “The Populist Response to Industrial America” (Harvard) and “The Just Polity” (Illinois), Guggenheim Fellow, and professor of history emeritus, Michigan State University. His new book, Eichmann on the Potomac, will be published by CounterPunch/AK Press in the fall of 2013.

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Reuters: IRS manual instructed agents how to hide secret DEA/NSA intel

The nation’s tax collectors were instructed for two years on how to conceal evidence obtained by a secret unit inside the Drug Enforcement Administration cooperating with the National Security Agency.

An Internal Revenue Service manual posted online in 2005 and removed in 2007 instructed agents on how to conceal classified evidence forwarded by the DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD) in investigations of Americans, Reuters reports.

Reuters reported Monday that the SOD forwards tips acquired from the National Security Agency, “wiretaps by foreign governments, court-approved domestic wiretaps,” and a DEA phone and Internet database called DICE. These tips go to federal agents and local law enforcement officers.

Officials at both the DEA and the NSA stressed that the DICE database and the NSA database currently at the center of controversy were different databases.

Recipients of the information are then instructed to engage in a decades-old law enforcement technique called “parallel construction;” the tipped-off agent might use other non-secret means to justify beginning an investigation into a suspect and conceal the origin of the evidence.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that the IRS manual — no longer available online — instructed agents to use the evidence as leads, but find new “independent” evidence to justify the investigation.

Evidence obtained from SOD, which is closely guarded by the DOJ, cannot be directly used in an investigation.

The IRS already came under fire earlier this year for having a policy that allowed its criminal division to engage in the warrantless search of a suspect’s electronic communications. That policy was amended following pressure from members of Congress.

The parallel construction technique advised by the SOD is legal, but not without its critics.

Both Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul have both spoken critically of the program.

Rogers, a former FBI agent, told talk show host Mike Huckabee, “If they’re recreating a trail, that’s wrong and we’re going to have to do something about it.”

Paul, who has staked his claim on the defense of the Constitution, also expressed concern over the technique, noting that the protection of individual liberty was just as important a function of the government as national security.

Two dozen federal government agencies comprise the unit, which was formed in 1994, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency and Internal Revenue Service.

The unit engages in investigations involving drug crimes, money laundering, and organized crime.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters during a Tuesday press conference that the Justice Department was “looking at some of the issues raised” by Reuters’ report on Monday.

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Monica M. Miller Named Special Agent in Charge of Sacramento Field Office

Director Robert S Mueller, III has appointed Monica M Miller as the special agent in charge of the Sacramento Field Office. Since 2012, Ms. Miller has served as an FBI senior detailee to the Central Intelligence Agency, where she oversaw counterespionage personnel. Ms.

Miller joined the FBI in 1989 as a special agent and was assigned to the Washington Field Office (WFO), where she worked a variety of violent crime cases. In 1994, she transferred to the New Orleans Field Office’s Shreveport Resident Agency to work white-collar crime and numerous other criminal violations. She joined the San Juan Field Office in 1999 and investigated public corruption cases and coordinated the division’s human source program. Ms.

Miller performed similar duties at WFO from 2004-2005. She was promoted to supervisory special agent at WFO in 2006 and managed linguists and personnel working counterintelligence cases. In 2008, she joined the Human Resources Division to serve as chief of the Transfer Unit, which manages personnel transfers within the FBI’s 56 field offices and its legal attaché offices. Ms.

Miller moved to Atlanta after being promoted in 2010 to assistant special agent in charge of the Administrative Branch, where her duties also included oversight of six resident agencies. Before joining the FBI, Ms. Miller served in the United States Army in military intelligence. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

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Ex-FBI lawyer linked to surveillance abuses poised for federal judge post

Valerie Caproni, up for judgeship in important terrorism court, likely to come under fresh scepticism in wake of NSA revelations

Valerie Caproni
Caproni has come under bipartisan criticism over the years for enabling widespread surveillance later found to be inappropriate or illegal. Photograph: Getty

A former senior FBI official implicated in surveillance abuses is poised to become a federal judge in one of the US's most important courts for terrorism cases.

Valerie Caproni, the FBI's top lawyer from 2003 to 2011, is scheduled to receive a vote on Monday in the Senate for a seat on the southern district court of New York.

Caproni has come under bipartisan criticism over the years for enabling widespread surveillance later found to be inappropriate or illegal. During her tenure as the FBI's general counsel, she clashed with Congress and even the Fisa surveillance court over the proper scope of the FBI's surveillance powers.

And Caproni faces renewed skepticism for describing surveillance conducted under the Patriot Act as more limited than it actually is, now that the Guardian has revealed and the Obama administration confirmed that the National Security Agency uses the act to collect and store the telephone records of hundreds of millions of Americans.

"It is a shame that the White House has chosen to nominate former FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni to a lifelong position as a federal judge given her narrow views of Americans' privacy rights as demonstrated by her actions in the George W Bush administration," said Lisa Graves, a Justice Department official in the Clinton and early Bush administrations.

"Government officials that secretly approved of overbroad surveillance programs the public is only seeing now because of leaks, and whose testimony on the issue obscured rather than revealed these abuses, should be held to account for their actions in a public forum," said Mike German, a former FBI agent.

German, now a lawyer with the ACLU, would not comment on Caproni specifically, citing ACLU policy of neutrality on nominations. But he continued: "Excessive secrecy always threatens democracy, but misleading and incomplete testimony before Congress and the courts simply cannot stand unaddressed without doing real damage to constitutional government."

A Senate staffer who requested anonymity predicted that Caproni would probably win confirmation, but added, "lots of procedural options are available to gum up the works" when her nomination moves to a Senate floor vote.

A representative of the defense company Northrop Grumman, where Caproni currently serves as an executive, said Caproni was not available for interviews.

Even before the Guardian's phone records revelations, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, lawmakers found Caproni to be complicit in surveillance abuses.

A 2010 report by the Department of Justice's internal watchdog found that the FBI misused a type of non-judicial subpoena known as an "exigent letter" to improperly obtain more than 5,500 phone numbers of Americans.

"The FBI broke the law on telephone records privacy and the general counsel's office, headed by Valerie Caproni, sanctioned it and must face consequences," said John Conyers, then the chairman of the House judiciary committee, in April 2010, who called for then-FBI director Robert Mueller to fire her.

Conyers said he was "outraged" that the FBI invented "exigent letters" to more easily obtain phone records, and intimated Caproni was responsible for it. "It's not in the Patriot Act. It never has been. And its use, perhaps coincidentally, began in the same month that Ms Valerie Caproni began her work as general counsel," Conyers said in a hearing that month. The FBI stopped using exigent letters in 2006.

Lawmakers' dissatisfaction with Caproni over surveillance has a long pedigree.

In an April 2008 House hearing, Caproni told lawmakers that if a phone number obtained from a telephone company using a nonjudicial subpoena ostensibly authorized by the Patriot Act was unrelated to a "currently open investigation, and there was no emergency at the time we received the records, the records are removed from our files and destroyed".

In fact, the NSA, at the time of Caproni's testimony and today, stores phone records such as phone numbers on practically all Americans for up to five years, whether or not they are connected to an "open investigation".

Numerous intelligence, Justice Department and law enforcement officials have testified this summer that the NSA can pass phone records to the FBI that it has "reasonable articulable suspicion" are connected to terrorism, although NSA deputy director John C Inglis could not cite a single case where the phone records have clearly disrupted a domestic terror attack.

"Caproni knew that the Bush administration could use or was using the Section 215 provision in the Patriot Act to obtain Americans' phone records on a broad scale, an issue that has recently been documented by the whistleblower material first printed in the Guardian," said Graves, a former deputy assistant attorney general who dealt with Caproni extensively while working on national security issues for the ACLU.

At one meeting in 2007, Graves recalled, "Caproni said she thought civil libertarians were wasting their time complaining about the NSL [national security letter] powers because the government could just obtain all that information and more through a 215 order by the Fisa court or through a grand jury subpoena issued by a single federal prosecutor and because those orders are secret we would never know. When pressed about that, she insisted that going around the limits on the NSL powers by using 215 or grand jury subpoenas was no big deal and a perfectly permissible use of those powers."

Graves said: "That may be technically true, but it also demonstrates her lack of regard for Americans' countervailing interest not to have records about their communications or business transactions swept up in secret by government agencies without any indication that they themselves have done anything wrong."

In 2007, the Justice Department's inspector general found "widespread and serious misuse of the FBI's national security letter authorities" to obtain business records, including "unauthorized collection of telephone or internet email transactional records," as the inspector general, Glenn Fine, summarized in March 2007 House testimony. That finding did not even hint that the collection of phone records in secret was even more widespread.

Without disclosing the full scope of the surveillance, Caproni called the improper collection of those phone records "a colossal failure on our part".

Acknowledging bipartisan anger on the House judiciary committee, Caproni testified: "We're going to have to work to get the trust of this committee back, and we know that's what we have to do, and we're going to do it."

A 2008 Justice Department inspector general's report into surveillance under the Patriot Act found that Caproni clashed with the Fisa court, a secret court that oversees surveillance for the purposes of foreign intelligence, over the scope of the court's authority.

The heavily redacted report found that in 2006, the Fisa court indicated it would not sign off on an FBI request for business records under section 215 of the Patriot Act – the section used to justify the bulk phone-records database – "because of first amendment concerns." It is extremely rare for the Fisa court to deny the government a surveillance request.

Caproni, the FBI's general counsel at the time, "told the OIG [office of inspector general] that the Fisa court does not have the authority to close an FBI investigation," according to a footnote in the report.

Caproni "believed there was enough information to predicate the investigation", the Justice Department inspector general found. "She said she disagreed with the court and nothing in the court's ruling altered her belief that the investigation was appropriate."

Because of redactions, it is unclear if the FBI investigation in that case continued against the Fisa court's objection.

While Caproni's nomination by President Obama has largely flown under the Washington radar, it has not been without controversy. Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate judiciary committee, threatened in June to block Caproni's impending judgeship when it goes for a vote on Monday.

Grassley had been seeking records from the FBI about the exigent-letters surveillance controversy for at least six years, only to be told by Caproni in 2008, when she was the FBI's top lawyer, that "that the documents I was waiting for were on her desk, awaiting her review", Grassley said on the Senate floor June 13.

Having not received the documents he wanted, Grassley warned: "While I did not hold Ms Caproni's nomination in committee, I reserve my right to do so on the Senate floor." Grassley's office did not return requests for comment about his plans for Caproni's floor vote.

In order to win approval from the Senate judiciary committee, Caproni had to take the rare step of vowing to recuse herself from a broad category of cases "where my impartiality could be reasonably questioned", including those where "I had personal or supervisory involvement in a matter while at the FBI."

"I would certainly recuse myself if I were presented with a case that would require me to rule on the legality of a national security program as to which I provided legal advice while I was a government employee, unless there was controlling precedent already in place regarding such a program," Caproni wrote to senator Richard Durbin on 8 July.

Caproni will be very likely to hear many of those cases as a federal judge. Her nomination is for one of the country's most important federal courts for terrorism cases: the southern district court of New York.

"The southern district of New York has historically been the premier venue for terrorism cases. Today, many of the most high profile of these cases continue to find their way into this district court. Its historical memory, and the experience of its judges, are second to none," said Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham University's Center on National Security.

"For all of her virtues, you have to think twice about putting someone on the court with this level of concern about her role in surveillance abuses," Greenberg said. "The symbolism of this is significant. The courts are torn over this issue."


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see link for full story

 Friday, Sep 27, 2013 08:20 AM EST
America’s creeping police state
We're already under full-time surveillance. Can the executive branch's ever-growing authoritarianism be stopped?
By Fred Branfman

For those alarmed by the steady growth of lawless, violent and authoritarian U.S. Executive power for the last 50 years, the events of the past few months have been exciting. The emergence of a de facto coalition of progressives and conservatives opposing the National Defense Authorization Act law giving the Executive the right to unilaterally detain or execute American citizens without a trial, and NSA mass surveillance of phone and Internet data, has been unprecedented, and offers the first hope in 70 years that Executive power can be curbed

The most important development has been the public and congressional reaction to President Obama’s proposal to strike Syria. A huge majority of the American people opposed even a limited military action by the Executive Branch. Reading the polls, the President decided to seek congressional authorization for a limited military action. For the first time in living memory, Congress clearly opposed him. It is too soon to say what this will mean for the future, but the implications clearly extend beyond just this particular strike or President.

The main arena besides the Middle East where the issue of the Executive Branch vs. Congress and the American people will play out in coming months will concern attempts to limit not only Executive surveillance of innocent Americans, but its other assaults on the very foundation of democracy itself.

The fundamental issue involved amidst the ongoing cascade of revelations about NSA wrongdoing is this: what must be done to roll back the Executive Branch’s creation of a surveillance state, which is just one more major economic crisis or 9/11—as even centrists like Bob Woodward and Tom Friedman warn—from becoming a police-state.

Most of the focus until now has been on trying to absorb the dimensions of the surveillance state we have suddenly learned we are living in since June 6. But it is now time to focus on the actions needed to end its assaults on democracy.

This is not a simple question, either politically or technically. Politically, it is impossible to envision ending the surveillance state without a broad left-right coalition both in Congress and among the public devoted to doing so. But it will be difficult to maintain a coalition of progressives and Tea Partiers, liberals and conservatives, who neither trust nor respect one another—particularly when fought by an Executive that will hit back against attempts to control it with everything it has.

The technical questions are even trickier. How does Congress write and pass laws to prevent Executive Agencies from undertaking surveillance and population control measures when, to paraphrase Congressman Keith Ellison, “Congress doesn’t know what it doesn’t know”? How can Congress control Executive wrongdoing when Executive officials invoke the mantra of national security to avoid providing it with information?

Had Edward Snowden not risked life imprisonment or worse to reveal that the U.S. Executive Branch has created a surveillance state, we would still know virtually nothing about it. The ranking Senate and House Intelligence committee chairs, Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers, would still be covering up Executive wrongdoing, and even those members angered at its criminality would still be muzzled from saying anything. The Judiciary would still not only be rubberstamping Executive actions, but expanding Executive Branch power. The mass media would still be routinely conveying its denials of wrongdoing to the American people whenever the issue arose.

At present, when the heads of the Senate or House Intelligence Committees assure us that they are overseeing the Executive, what they mean is that they are dutifully repeating Executive talking points on documents provided them with the words “top secret” stamped on them, but only consisting of what Executive agencies want them to know. They have no means of independent oversight, which means they have no meaningful oversight. And the judiciary has not only acknowledged this, but said they no longer have “confidence” in the Executive.

If even the secret FISA Court no longer has confidence in the Executive, neither can the rest of us. During the 1960s, the FBI regularly used its secret intelligence to blackmail and threaten not only activists but politicians, presidents and Martin Luther King, Jr. As Internet security expert C.J. Radford has written, “the issue is what happens if this data, and these capabilities, fall into the wrong hands. A malicious government employee, a change in government, court rulings, regulations or leadership could all open this information, and these capabilities, up to cross agency analysis, open use, or criminal activity.”

That is, not only can this information be misused by government employees, but private sector companies, criminals and foreign governments as well. With the NSA spending 70% of its funding on contracts with private sector firms, which are even more corruptible than government agencies, this is a matter of urgent concern.

It is the height of naiveté to have any confidence whatsoever in the current system. It is clear that the heart of any serious attempt to create democracy in this nation must involve not only stopping such obvious assaults on democracy as the mass collection of phone and Internet records of innocent Americans, but a fundamental restructuring of the relationship between our three branches of government.

Since neither the courts nor Congress can any longer have confidence in NSA assertions, they clearly must give themselves the capacity—including experts with full access to raw data, answerable to them and not the Executive—to fulfill their constitutionally required mandate to check and balance Executive power.

This restructuring of relationships between the three branches of government must also profoundly alter the Executive’s ability to hide its wrongdoing from the American people by classifying trillions of pages annually on the false grounds of “national security.” In an article entitled “Ex-MI6 Deputy Chief Plays Down Damage Caused By Snowden Leaks,” for example, the Guardian reported that Nigel Inkster said that “Al-Qaida leaders in the tribal areas of Pakistan had been ‘in the dark’ for some time… referring to counter measures they had taken to avoid detection by western intelligence agencies. Other ‘serious actors’ were equally aware of the risks to their own security from NSA and GCHQ eavesdroppers, he said.”

The Executive Branch, as does the U.K.’s NSA as quoted above, keeps its secrets from the American people primarily to avoid the “political embarrassment” of having its fraud, waste, abuse and illegality revealed.

As a Brennan Center For Justice study on classification has noted, “Over-classification is rampant, and nearly everyone who works with classified information recognizes the problem. In 1993, Senator John Kerry, who reviewed classified documents while chairing the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, commented, ‘I do not think more than a hundred, or a couple of hundred, pages of the thousands of [classified] documents we looked at had any current classification importance.’ The classification system must be reformed if we are to preserve the critical role that transparent government plays in a functioning democracy.”

President Obama cannot seriously talk of “transparency” without supporting efforts to reduce present classification of government documents by the 90% that experts like Secretary of State John Kerry and Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg estimate would in no way harm national security.

The following steps are needed.

The Bottom Line: No Bulk Collection Of Americans’ Phone And Internet Metadata, Destroy Files That Exist

Obama on August 8 announced a response to Snowden’s revelations: “First, I will work with Congress to the following measures in pursue appropriate reforms to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the program that collects telephone records.  Second, we can take steps to make sure civil liberties concerns have an independent voice in appropriate cases by ensuring that the government’s position is challenged by an adversary (before) the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court …

Number three, the Department of Justice will make public the legal rationale for the government’s collection activities under Section 215 of the Patriot Act …  Fourth, we’re forming a high level group of outside experts to review our entire intelligence and communications technologies.”

These were clearly illusory reforms, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted, that would continue mass surveillance of Americans. First, the Executive would continue to only tell Congress and the Judiciary what it felt was “appropriate“for them to know—including the FISC “adversary”; second, the “legal rationales” for Executive wrongdoing are just that: rationales which no one concerned about Executive surveillance can take seriously; and thirdly four of the five “outside experts” Obama wound up appointing are all deeply implicated in Executive wrongdoing, including former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell, and they are to report to director of National Intelligence James Clapper, a key architect of the surveillance state.

Predictably, the first meeting of this Potemkin Panel did not even discuss NSA surveillance of innocent Americans and only confined itself to private sector concerns. Open Technology Institute director Sascha Meinrath, who attended the meeting, declared that “My fear is it’s a simulacrum of meaningful reform … Its function is to bleed off pressure, without getting to the meaningful reform.”

A N.Y. Times editorial accurately noted that “President Obama proposed a series of measures on Friday that only tinker around the edges of the nation’s abusive surveillance programs. It is the existence of these programs that is the problem, not whether they are modestly transparent. As long as the N.S.A. believes it has the right to collect records of every phone call … then none of the promises to stay within the law will mean a thing.”

Mr. Obama’s “reforms” thus still envision continued Executive collection of hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone and Internet records. Believers in democracy must set their own “red line” against surveillance of innocent Americans.

A line must be drawn somewhere. Once we allow the Executive to store all our emails and Internet communications for all time, why not allow them to read them if they decide it might protect somebody, somewhere, sometime? Why should a court get involved? Don’t we trust them? As Edward Snowden has said, “the Internet is on principle a system that you reveal yourself to in order to fully enjoy, which differentiates it from, say, a music player. It is a TV that watches you.”

But this does not “protect” us nearly as efficiently as would a real TV or flat screen equipped with a transponder allowing them to watch us whenever they wish. Where do we draw the line?

Mr. Obama and present congressional leaders’ typically honeyed words mean nothing absent a complete halt to gathering information on innocent Americans. Republican House Judiciary Chair Robert Goodlatte, for example, recently declared ”I am committed to … our nation’s intelligence collection programs includ(ing) robust oversight, additional transparency, and protections for Americans’ civil liberties.” But at the same time he stated that “eliminating this program altogether without careful deliberation would not reflect our duty, under article I of the constitution, to provide for the common defense,” and had opposed the Conyers-Amash amendment in July that would have ended NSA surveillance of innocent Americans.

The “reforms” proposed by Goodlatte and other Republican House leaders are clearly meant to head off any significant reform of NSA mass surveillance. A serious attempt to bring democracy to America must have the following bottom line: no mass surveillance of any kind of Americans about whom there is no evidence of wrongdoing. None.

The first and necessary  step toward creating a “functioning democracy” in America is for both the House and Senate to pass the Conyers-Amash amendment forbidding NSA mass collection of phone and Internet American records of innocent Americans.

Institute Genuine Congressional Oversight

At the moment, congressional oversight of the Executive has become a pathetic joke. The Senate and House Intelligence Committees have clearly failed in their constitutional obligation to provide “checks and balances” on the Executive. Three major reforms are needed.

A. Elect Committees Who Oversee Not Promote Executive Wrongdoing, Beginning By Replacing Senator Dianne Feinstein And Rep. Mike Rogers.

The present heads of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers, and ranking minority party members Senator Saxby Chambliss and “Dutch” Ruppersberger, have merely served as spokespeople for the Executive, delivering a long series of deceptive “talking points” provided by the NSA meant to excuse rather than correct Executive abuses.

Mr. Rogers, a former Executive Branch FBI agent, has particularly distinguished himself by insulting the intelligence of both his fellow House members and the American people.

He has declared on Meet the Press that Snowden “went outside all of the whistleblower venues that were available to anyone in this government, including people who have classified information. We get two or three visits from whistleblowers every single week in the committee, and we—we investigate every one thoroughly. He didn’t choose that route.”

This is absurd. Mr. Rogers already knew, and had done nothing about, Snowden’s concern that the Executive was collecting Americans’ phone and Internet records. There was obviously no point for Snowden to go to Rogers, and the latter is clearly insulting the intelligence of the American people in continuing to make this crude claim.

Rogers’ claim that other whistleblowers have avenues within government to correct Executive abuses is also untrue. The New Yorker has reported on how although NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake did go through official channels, nothing was done. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank recentlyreported how DOD whistleblower Gina Gray was fired for seeking to correct DOD mismanagement at the Arlington National Cemetery, after using internal channels.

Milbank also commented “President Obama, in his news conference this month, said that Edward Snowden was wrong to go public with revelations about secret surveillance programs because ‘there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.’ This is a common refrain among administration officials and some lawmakers. But it’s a load of nonsense. Ask Gina Gray.”

Among their many other major failures of NSA oversight:

—Both Feinstein and Rogers claimed on ABC News on June 9 that NSA surveillance had been responsible for the capture of NY Subway Bomber Najibullah Zazi and Mumbai bomber David Headley. But two days later, in a story titled”NSA Surveillance Played Little Role In Foiling Terror Plots, Experts Say,” the Guardian revealed that both men had been captured through surveillance in the UK, with no NSA input.

—Mr. Rogers first claimed that Snowden should be charged with espionage because his revelations had led to “changes in the way they communicate that we can already see being made by the folks who wish to do us harm.” He then supported the administration’s claim a few weeks later that a worldwide travelers’ alert was based on the NSA overhearing the two top Al Qaeda “bad guys” —Ayman al-Zawari and Yemen’s Wuhayashi—communicate with each other. Both statements cannot be true, and perhaps neither were. Furthermore, if true, releasing the information about this specific phone call was clearly a breach of national security, as it tipped off the two top Al Qaeda leaders  that their phone calls were being overheard. If true, Rogers clearly would have committed precisely the act of revealing “sources and methods” that he claimed justified the charge of treason for Mr. Snowden.

—Both Feinstein and Rogers, like Obama, repeatedly claimed the NSA was not conducting illegal surveillance. Even after the Washington Post published its story on “thousands” of abuses involving tens of thousands of individual cases, Feinstein declared that ”as I have said previously, the committee has never identified an instance in which the NSA has intentionally abused its authority to conduct surveillance for inappropriate purposes,” and Roger said that he had seen he had seen “no intentional and willful violation of the law.”

The paper also reported that “Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) did not receive a copy of the 2012 audit until the Post asked her staff about it.”

Feinstein then changed her story, claiming that she had received the report under a different name. But the point was undeniable: she has clearly failed her oversight duties, not even bothering to read whatever study she saw revealing NSA abuses, let alone doing anything about them or even informing her own constituents of them.

—Numerous members have accused the House  Intelligence Committee of withholding information from them. As the Guardian reported on August 14, “Morgan Griffith, a Republican who represents Virginia’s ninth district, has been critical of the committee for blocking attempts by non-members to obtain information about classified programs. On August 4, the Guardian published a series of letters he had written to the committee requesting more details, all of which had gone unanswered.

Congress needs to elect Members of the Senate and House Intelligence committees who see their job as checking and balancing Executive power, not merely serving as spokespeople for it.

B. Indict Executive Branch Officials When They Commit Perjury

Executive Branch officials not only regularly lie to but hide information from Congress, most notably recently when director of National Intelligence James Clapper denied in open session that the NSA was collecting data on American citizens, and then compounded his lie a few days later by claiming he had misunderstood the question. Senator Wyden quickly revealed that he had sent the question over to him the day before the hearing. NSA chief Keith Alexander has also repeatedly lied to Congress. The N.Y. Daily News reported on a June 18House Intelligence Committee hearing, for example, that ”NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander testified his agency’s programs are subject to strict oversight.” Alexander also testified at the same hearing that NSA surveillance had caught the N.Y.C. Subway and Mumbai bombers, another lie revealed by the Guardian as noted above.

But though senators and representatives know they are being lied to by Executive Branch officials, they have not had the courage to indict them for perjury when they do so. Congress has allowed director Clapper and General Alexander to remain in their posts after knowing beyond any doubt that they have committed perjury before it. This lack of courage must end. The only way to stop Executive officials from lying to Congress and the American people is for Congress to swear them in and punish them when they are caught lying, at very least by dismissal from their posts, but ideally by criminal prosecution.

C. Give Congress the Right to Declassify Data Indicating Waste, Fraud, Abuse and Crimes By the Executive

One of the most shocking revelations concerning congressional oversight is that even when a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee like Sen. Wyden learns that the Executive is committing crimes against the American people, that senator is muzzled from revealing it to them. Although the senator could release this information on the floor of the Senate without fear of prison, he or she fears being attacked for jeopardizing national security, being removed from the Intelligence Committee, censure by colleagues, and/or losing the next election.

It is clearly time for the legislative representatives of people, not unelected members of the Executive, to be given the legal and moral right to declassify and make public Executive actions that they believe are illegal or immoral.

Someone must decide, after all, whether a given body of information should be kept secret from the American people. In a democracy, those who make this decision should represent the people of the nation, not gigantic, secret bureaucracies which regularly deceive the people and are accountable to no one but themselves.

D.  Congress Must Have The Capacity To Genuinely Oversee Executive Agencies

Members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees must assert their right to be treated as genuine representatives of the governed. To begin with, they must demand the right to take notes on classified material the Executive shows them and to have properly cleared staff members accompany or represent them at briefings. They must punish NSA staff members who play Orwellian word games with them, refusing to answer questions honestly unless the exact words are used as the NSA defines them, which they keep secret.

Members must also insist that they be given all information on NSA activities. At present, the NSA withholds significant information even from Senate and House Intelligence Committee members. Legislators must severely punish Executive Branch officials who continue to hide significant information from them.

Most importantly, however, Congress cannot exercise constitutionally-required oversight of Executive Branch activities unless they can independently investigate them. The Intelligence Committees, like the FISA courts (please see below), must hire significantly more staff, with the knowledge, power and mandate to oversee Executive Branch military, intelligence and police activities that potentially threaten the democratic rights of the American people.

Give the Judiciary the Capacity to Genuinely Oversee Executive Agencies Like the NSA

Meaningful judicial oversight of Executive Branch officials is the other fundamental pillar of the constitutionally-mandated system of checks and balances  upon which democracy rests.

President Obama  lied once again when he stated at a June 7 press conference  that “federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”

In fact, the Judiciary exercises no meaningful oversight of the Executive whatsoever. The FISA court established to oversee NSA surveillance, for example, is not allowed to judge specific cases and has only been given the right to approve the guidelines the NSA claims it is following—although the court does not know if it is in fact following them. Even more importantly, the Executive has asserted its right to withhold any information it wishes from the Judiciary, for example prosecuting individuals but not providing the court evidence of their wrongdoing on the grounds of “national security.”

In response to this absence of judicial oversight, President Obama has promised simply to allow an “adversary” to argue against the NSA during a FISA court hearing. But since the Executive will continue to withhold any information it feels might harm its case on the grounds of “national security,” this “reform” is meaningless.

FISA Court Head Judge Reggie Walton, a conservative who has betrayed his mandate by expanding Executive power rather than overseeing it, has revealed the heart of the problem with proper judicial oversight when he stated that, “The FISC (Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court) is forced to rely upon the accuracy of the information that is provided to the Court. The FISC does not have the capacity to investigate issues of noncompliance.”

There is thus clearly one key step that must be taken if the Judiciary is to be given meaningful oversight over the Executive: it must be given the capacity, knowledge and information to make an informed judgment of Executive compliance with the law.

If the FISC is to provide genuine oversight over the NSA, it must be given a vastly expanded budget that allows it to hire hundreds if not thousands of its  own intelligence experts, with the proper clearances and access to information.

And where might funds for the judiciary to hire its own analysts come from? As Dana Priest and William Arkin point out in Top Secret America, hundreds of billions of dollars have been given to the NSA and other intelligence agencies to expand their activities, to the point, they say, where ”its entirety, as Pentagon intelligence chief James Clapper admitted, (is) visible only to God.”

The intelligence community is clearly far too large and is wasting huge amounts of money, beginning with its storing of all phone and Internet records of American citizens. There is no rational relationship between the vast amount of money it spends and its results. Ending its surveillance of Americans will be an obvious first place to cut their budgets, and a portion of the savings should spent to give both the Legislative and Judicial branches the “capacity” to evaluate Executive Branch police and intelligence activities.

Provide Strong Whistleblower Protection

Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch executive director, has noted that “the whistleblower protection provided to government employees who expose evidence of wrongdoing does not extend to those who disclose what is deemed national security information. Whistleblowers facing prosecution can’t even defend themselves by showing that their disclosures caused no harm and promoted the public interest. Wrongdoing involving this information is supposed to be revealed only to an agency’s inspector general or to the congressional intelligence committees. Yet government employees who tried to use these procedures to complain about NSA overreaching faced retaliation and even prosecution — which might help explain why Snowden skipped these mechanisms and went directly to the media. The problem is aggravated by the government’s temptation to protect information that is simply embarrassing or politically fraught rather than truly a matter of national security.”

Genuine whistleblower protection would have two aspects. First, internal: ensuring that whistleblowers who do go through official channels have an independent body evaluate their charges, and provide them  with full protection from punishment by superiors whose wrongdoing they have revealed.

Second, external: The Executive Branch must end its prosecution of whistleblowers who reveal classified information to the media or public; or, in those rare instances where there is a case for actual damage having been done to “national security,” the whistleblower must receive a fair trial by a jury that is given access to the information in question so that it can determine to what extent national security was harmed, and that takes into account the whistleblower’s motivation.

Restructure the Present System of Classification

Executive over-classification of information lies at the heart of its many threats to democracy. It classifies enormous amounts of information that could be of no conceivable use to our enemies, e.g. the equivalent of 20 million filing cabinets one agency classified in one 18-month period alone. Secrecy is by its very nature undemocratic. Executive classification of documents is also at the very heart of its threats to journalists and whistleblowers seeking to uncover Executive abuses.

Daniel Ellsberg has written an important article on how and why the Executive over-classifies information:

    “One of the most experienced security authorities in the Pentagon, William F. Florence, who had drafted many of the Department of Defense regulations on classification, testified as an expert witness in Congressional hearings and in my trial that at most 5% of classified material actually satisfied the official criteria of potential relevance to national security (which he had played a major role in formulating) at the moment of original classification; and that perhaps 1/2 of 1% continued to justify protection after two or three years.”

If 95% of what is classified would not help our enemies, why does it remain classified? Part of the answer is that if it was revealed it would embarrass Executive Branch officials, and/or reveal waste, fraud, abuse and illegal acts that could lead to calls to cut their budgets, their dismissal, and/or prosecution.

As Dana Priest and Bill Arkin also note in Top Secret America, a top-secret classification is a “passport to prosperity for life.” It provides well-paying jobs and its holders are far less likely to face unemployment than those in the private sector.

Ellsberg also tellingly explores the psychological dimensions of the classification system:

    “I suggest that there are psycho-social aspects (that) apply to ‘secret societies’ ranging from the Mafia or associations like the Masons to the CIA. It is a mark of worth, of membership in a valued group, possession of a valuable identity. It is a sign of being trusted by other members of the prestigious group: a token of being perceived by them as trustworthy, worthy of membership, of being ‘one of them,’ a ‘brother’ or ’member of the family.’ Not only the membership in the group, but the specific acceptance of one’s loyalty — to the group, to its purposes, to the other members, and its secrets— conveys and expresses a new, prestigious status, a positive identity, a source of self-respect and pride and a basis for the respect and deference of others.”

While members of the Executive Branch thus have powerful practical, material and psychological motivations for hiding vast amounts of information from the American people that have nothing to do with national security, the American people have a correspondingly strong interest in preventing them from doing so any longer.

Ellsberg ends his article with a list of steps needed to curb Executive abuses of the classification system. They include: reducing the number of documents that are classified by over 90%, and keeping those that remain classified for no more than three years; at most administrative penalties not criminal prosecutions for leaks not involving communications intelligence, nuclear weapons data and identities of clandestine agents, and not even administrative sanctions for Executive Branch whistleblowers giving information to appropriate Members of Congress; effective whistleblower protection to all federal employees; vastly beefed up Freedom of Information Act processes; limiting the “States Secret privilege” allowing Executive officials to withhold information from even the judiciary; including in all secrecy agreements a clause that states that nothing in the agreement permits them give false or misleading testimony to Congress or the Judiciary; required briefing of all federal employees, military officers and members of Congress that the Oath of Office they all take to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States” requires them to disobey illegal orders.

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The Police State Wants What the Police State Wants

[Note: Since the lifting of the federal court gag order on October 2, Ladar Levison and his company, Lavabit, have been getting some media attention (including a somewhat snide and incomplete story on page one of the New York Times). What follows in an effort to reconstruct at least the outline of a personal nightmare inflicted by our government on a small business owner who had done no wrong, even in the government’s eyes ­– at least until he started taking his constitutional rights seriously.]

The Fourth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution is anti-police-state

“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.” [emphasis added]

The founding document of the United States is inherently suspicious of a government’s willingness to abuse its powers, a suspicion rooted in centuries of tyranny around the world. Even the U.S. government, as well as state and local governments, have abused their powers from time to time since the country’s beginning. The drift toward an American police state intensified under the guise of anti-Communism, but that was mostly a convenient cover for state intrusion into people’s lives. The Soviet Union collapsed, but the nascent American police state kept growing. The Patriot Act of 2001, a massive assault on personal and political liberty, was largely written before 9/11 and passed, largely unexamined, in the hysterical atmosphere and raw panic of that over-hyped “new Pearl Harbor.”

Now we have a police state apparatus of almost unimagined dimension, most of which is kept secret and remains unknown, despite the efforts of a few reporters and whistle blower, who tell the truth at their personal peril.

The “American police state” is likely an abstraction in the minds of many people, and as long as they remain unknowing and passive, it’s likely to leave them alone. But even law-abiding innocence is not a sure protection of a person’s right to be secure. And when the police state comes after you in one of its hydra-headed forms, the assault can be devastating.

For starters, the state won’t always tell you when it begins

The intrusion of the police state into your life can shatter your world even before you realize it’s begun. Fight it, or surrender to it, the cost is huge. Recovery may be possible, eventually, if it’s ever allowed, but it will be hard, and it will take time.

In May 2013, Ladar Levison was 32 when the police state first came after him. The dreaded “knock on the door” was actually only an FBI business card on his door at home. And Levison’s initial interactions with the FBI were reportedly mild and civil, at first by email and later in person. The FBI was interested in Levision because he owned and operated a secure email service called Lavabit. From the FBI point of view, Lavabit was too secure, because the NSA and the rest of the security state couldn’t get into it.

Right out of college, Levison had started Lavabit as a sole proprietorship in April 2004 (the same month Google launched Gmail at a much greater scale). Having grown up in San Francisco, Levison studied computer science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where he still lives. While working on his start-up, he supported himself mostly with internet security projects for financial services. He also worked as a consultant on website development for clients such as Dr Pepper, Nokia, and Adidas.

What Lavabit was selling was secure email, much more secure than anything Google, Microsoft, or most other email providers were offering. The demand was not that great at first. It took six years for Lavabit to gather enough paying subscribers to allow Levison to devote himself to the business fulltime in 2010. Even when the FBI became interested in Lavabit in May 2013, it was still a small company, with two employees and about 400,000 subscribers. But one of those subscribers was another American about Levison’s age, 30-year old Edward Snowden, the whistleblower whose leaked documents have added so much to our understanding of the dimensions and activities of the American police state. Snowden opened his moc.tibaval@nedwonsde email account in 2010.

Political repression may not be the government’s overt intent, but it works

At this point, there’s no indication that Levison and Lavabit ever had anything but a commercial relationship with Snowden. It’s even possible that Snowden had nothing to do with the FBI’s initial interest in Lavabit. It may be that Lavabit’s effective security was sufficient offense to the surveillance forces to make it an object of attack for its own sake. In May 2013, Levison says he had the impression the FBI agents who talked to him didn’t even know who or what was the subject of their investigation. The FBI hasn’t said.

Levison is not an obviously political person, he hasn’t been revealed to be involved in party politics or political causes. “Until last summer, Mr. Levison, a Republican of libertarian leanings, had not been active in politics,” according to the New York Times October 9. He seems to be the person he seems to be: a thoughtful, hardworking, physically fit, computer business guy who has had a dog named Princess since January 2010 and who spends a lot of his spare time keeping in shape playing beach volleyball.

Princess has her own album on his Facebook page, where the dominant theme by far is Levison’s competition in beach volleyball (with albums for Sunday Night, as well as Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Nights) and there is one picture of Levison with Rep. Ron Paul. Levison’s page shows membership in just one Facebook group, “OCCUPY (Support) EDWARD SNOWDEN and All Other Whistleblowers,” to which someone else added him about two months ago. Among his 43 “Likes,” Levison lists two Interests (programming and computers), lots of volleyball Activities, and six books, including William Gibson’s Neuromancer, George Orwell’s 1984, and Dostoevski’s Crime and Punishment.

From another perspective, Levison is as political as the Fourth Amendment, which is as profoundly political as it gets. It was the Patriot Act’s assault on the Fourth Amendment, Levison says, that contributed to his decision to start Lavabit in 2004, when the act was up for renewal and much in the news. Among the many objections to the act was that it gave to federal agents excessive authority to, in effect, write their own search warrants on no other authority but their own. In the Orwellian language of the act, these personal searched warrants are known as “national security letters.” Levison designed the security architecture of the Lavabit email and storage services to be beyond the reach of unwarranted searches, even in national security letters. As Levison recalled on Democracy Now! in August:

“And as I was designing and developing the custom platform, it was right around when the PATRIOT Act came out. And that’s really what colored my opinion and my philosophy, and why I chose to take the extra effort and build in the secure storage features and sort of focus on the privacy niche and the security focus niche…. [for] people who want email but don’t necessarily want it lumped in and profiled along with their searches or their browsing history or any of their other Internet activities.”

You can’t reveal what you don’t know – and that provides more security

During May 2013, Levison met for “a couple hours” with FBI agents at his office, where he explained how his security system and his business operated. As Levison told Democracy NOW! the service included his personal pledge of security:

“I’ve always liked to say my service was by geeks, for geeks. It’s grown up over the last 10 years, it’s sort of settled itself into serving those that are very privacy-conscious and security-focused. We offered secure access via high-grade encryption. And at least for our paid users, not for our free accounts—I think that’s an important distinction—we offered secure storage, where incoming emails were stored in such a way that they could only be accessed with the user’s password, so that, you know, even myself couldn’t retrieve those emails.

“And that’s what we meant by encrypted email. That’s a term that’s sort of been thrown around because there are so many different standards for encryption, but in our case it was encrypted in secure storage, because, as a third party, you know, I didn’t want to be put in a situation where I had to turn over private information. I just didn’t have it. I didn’t have access to it.”

Over the years, Lavabit has received and complied with “at least two dozen subpoenas” from the local sheriff’s office to the federal courts, Levison says, “I’ve always complied with the law.” Each of those subpoenas targeted a specific individual and appeared to Levison to be consistent with the Fourth Amendment. As recently as June 2013, he complied with an unrelated subpoena seeking information on one of his subscribers accused of violating child pornography law.

A secret subpoena from the American police state is different

On June 6, 2013, the Guardian began publishing surveillance state revelations based on documents from Edward Snowden, the Lavabit.com email subscriber. On June 9, Snowden revealed that he was the whistlblower who leaked documents to the Guardian and others. The first secret court order against Lavabit came the next day.

On or about June 10, the Justice Dept., on behalf of the FBI, went to federal court to compel Lavabit to provide information “relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation” involving someone with a single Lavabit email account. The FBI has not identified the subject of this investigation, but it is widely believed to be Snowden.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (the Fourth Circuit) granted the FBI’s request and issued the disclosure order against Lavabit that same day. A one-page, single-spaced attachment to the order listed the categories of information to be disclosed, including names, addresses, phone records, other subscriber identities, billing records, activity records, and “information about each communication” – in other words, everything about the email account “not including the contents of communications.” The order did not mention encryption keys, SSL keys, or the like. These are closely guarded secrets in a security business like Lavabit.

The U.S. Magistrate Judge who signed the initial order gave Lavabit 10 days to comply. He also sealed the court records from public view and further ordered that Lavabit “shall not disclose the existence of the application of the United States, or the existence of this order” to anyone except “an attorney for Lavabit.” In other words, Levison was subject to a gag order before he ever found out the FBI was definitely coming after him.

In the meantime, on June 14, the Justice Dept. filed a sealed criminal complaint against Snowden, who was then in Hong Kong. The government accused him of three offenses – theft of government property and two forms of “unauthorized communication” the Espionage Act of 1917. The criminal complaint, which was made public a week later, gave the government 60 days to file a formal indictment.

Getting unsatisfying compliance, the FBI decided to raise the stakes

According to a later Justice Dept. filing: “Mr. Levison received that order on June 11, 2013. Mr. Levison responded by mail, which was not received by the government until June 27, 2013. Mr. Levison provided very little of the information sought….” [emphasis added]

On June 28, the day after getting Levison’s belated response to the June 10 order, the Justice Dept. went back to the Fourth Circuit Court in Alexandria seeking an order “authorizing the installation and use of a pen register/trap device on an electronic mail account” – an FBI wiretap on email. Levison had no notice of the government motion and no opportunity to contest it. A new judge on the case, Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan, promptly ordered the wiretap installed on the basis that the government “has certified that the information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation….” Like the first order, this order did not mention encryption keys, SSL keys, or the like.

FBI special agents met with Levison in Dallas the same day to discuss the new order, which Levison had not yet received, as well as a prior summons to appear before a grand jury. The agents presumably explained to Levison that the court had issued a secret order based on a secret motion, itself based on secret evidence (or none at all) and that Levison was not only compelled to comply but was also still under court order to keep the whole secret process a secret, this time with no exception even for his attorney.

According to a later government filing, “Mr. Levison told the agents that he would not comply with the pen register order and wanted to speak to an attorney. It was unclear whether Mr. Levison would not comply with the order because it was technically not feasible or difficult or was not consistent with his business practice of providing secure, encrypted email service for his customers.”

As Levison months later explained to reporters about Lavabit: “We’re wholly focused on secure email. Without it, we have no business.” In Levison’s view, breaking Lavabit’s security without the right to tell his customers would have been to commit commercial fraud.

Judge Buchanan keeps the pressure on Levison and Lavabit

Following this meeting, the Justice Dept. immediately went before Judge Buchanan seeking an order to compel Lavabit to comply with the other Magistrate’s earlier order and install the FBI wiretap and to “furnish agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, forthwith, all information, facilities, and technical assistance necessary to accomplish the installation and use of the pen/trap device…” as ordered pursuant to federal law [U.S. Code, Title 18, sec. 3123].

Judge Buchanan immediately granted the “Order Compelling Compliance Forthwith,” based in part on her findings that “Lavabit informed the Federral Bureau of Investigation that the user of the account had enabled Lavabit’s encryption services and thus the pen/trap device would not collect the relevant information” and that “Lavabit informed the FBI that it had the technological capability to obtain the information but did not want to ‘defeat [its] own system’…”

Judge Buchanan ordered Lavabit to provide “unencrypted data pursuant to the Order.” Noting that failure to comply “forthwith” would subject Lavabit to “any penalty within the power of the court,” Judge Buchanan added in her own handwriting, “including the possibility of criminal contempt of court.” This order was issued under seal.

Previously, Levison faced the possibility of being fined for civil contempt if he failed to comply. Now he also faced going to jail. And the court’s most recent orders, in their plain language, prevented Levison from discussing his situation with anyone, not even an attorney.

According to the FBI, agents “made numerous attempts, without success, to speak and meet directly with Mr. Levison” during the next ten days. On July 9, the Justice Dept. returned to the Fourth Circuit court seeking an order for Lavabit to show cause why it “has failed to comply with the orders entered June 29” by Magistrate Buchanan, and why Lavabit should not be held in contempt of court for its failure to comply.

Judge Hilton decides a hearing with the parties present might help

Judge Claude Hilton issued the show cause order the same day, including a summons for Lavabit to appear at a hearing a week later. Judge Hilton is a secrecy case veteran, having served on the secretive FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court from 2000 to 2007. The Judge continued to keep the Lavabit case under seal, but reinstated Lavabit’s exception to the gag rule when consulting with an attorney.

The next day, Levison went to the FBI field office in Dallas for a meeting/conference call that included prosecutors and FBI agents in Washington and his attorney in San Francisco, convened “to discuss Mr. Levison’s questions and concerns… [that] focused primarily on how the pen register device would be installed on the Lavabit LLC system, what data would be captured by the device, what data would be viewed and preserved by the government… [and] whether Mr. Levison would be able to provide ‘keys’ for encrypted information.”

The parties did not reach an agreement at the meeting and the next day, July 11, Levison’s attorney informed the FBI that she no longer represented Levison or Lavabit. The same day, Levison “indicated that he would not come to court [for the July 16 show cause hearing] unless the government paid for his travel,” according to a government filing.

Rather than engage in a dispute over travel expenses, the FBI served Levison with a subpoena to appear before a Fourth Circuit grand jury, also on July 16. The government is responsible for the travel arrangements of grand jury witnesses, and the FBI so advised Levison by email. The grand jury subpoena left little wriggle room in its effort to force Lavabit to surrender the encryption keys that were essential to its business:

“In addition to your personal appearance, you are directed to bring to the grand jury the public and private encryption keys used by lavabit.com in any SSL (Secure Socket Layer) or TLS (Transport Security Layer) sessions, including HTTPS sessions with clients using lavabit.com website and encrypted SMTP communications (or Internet communications using other protocols) with mail servers;

“Any other information necessary to accomplish the installation and use of the pen/trap device ordered by Judge Buchanan on June 28….”

“I don’t trust you, but you should trust me” and vice-versa

Levison responded on July 13 with an email to the U.S. Attorney’s office, offering an alternative to the FBI-operated wiretap. Levison proposed that he would collect the court-designated data himself. While he didn’t state it in the email, this would address one of Levison’s primary concerns, that there was no effective oversight to prevent the FBI from gathering more data than the court had allowed. Levison proposed to design and implement the solution, gather the data manually, and provide it to the FBI at the end of the 60-day court order – for a price of $2,000. For another $1,500, he offered to provide data “more frequently,” which would require implementing an automated system.

The U.S. Attorney chose not to explore the offer. In a brusque and internally contradictory reply email the same day, an assistant U.S. Attorney explained “that the proposal was inadequate because, among other things, it did not provide for real-time transmission of results, and it was not clear that Mr. Levison’s request for money constituted the ‘reasonable expenses’ authorized by the statute.” The government later admitted to the court that it was “unclear” as to precise details of the proposal. The clear implication of Levison’s proposal is a willingness to provide real-time transmission for reasonable compensation. But that would leave Levison in control. The government didn’t consider that a useful compromise.

On July 15, Levison flew to Washington for his show cause hearing at 10 the next morning, although he thought it was set for 10:30 and arrived late. He was appearing pro se, representing himself without an attorney.

Even a federal court hearing can be a comedy of errors

The government goal for the July 16 hearing remained unchanged: “Lavabit LLC may comply with the pen register order by simply allowing the FBI to install the pen register devise and provide the FBI with the encryption keys.” Lacking compliance, the government asked the court to impose a civil contempt sanction of $1,000 a day until Lavabit complied.

The government also requested a search warrant for the encryption keys. Judge Hilton granted the search warrant before the hearing began.

As it turned out, the 20-minute hearing resulted in no change in the legal standing of the parties, but did produce a transcript with moments of unintentional hilarity.

Present in the courtroom were Judge Hilton and the court staff. U.S. Attorney James Trump represented the government, along with three other lawyers and an FBI agent. Levison was alone.

The U.S. Attorney wanted to know if Levison was going to comply with the wiretap order, but Judge Hilton wouldn’t ask and Levison wouldn’t say. Or rather, Levison said he had always been ready and willing to comply with installation of the wiretap, but he was reluctant to give up the encryption codes, which would give the FBI access to all 400,000 of his subscribers even though the court order named only one. “There was never an explicit demand that I turn over those keys,” Levison said.

The U.S. Attorney argued that Judge Buchanan had effectively if not specifically ordered Levison to turn over the encryption keys. Judge Hilton wasn’t touching that: “I’m not sure I ought to be enforcing Judge Buchanan’s order.” Judge Hilton said that his order was to install the wiretap and Levison had said he’d do that, so – “You’re trying to get me to deal with a contempt before there’s any contempt, and I have a problem with that.”

Levison moved to unseal all but the sensitive information in the proceedings. Judge Holton denied the motion, based on the underlying criminal investigation. Levison asked the judge to order “some sort of external audit to ensure that your oders are followed to the letter” as to FBI data collection. The judge refused. Levison moved to continue the hearing to allow him to retain counsel. Judge Hilton granted the continuance.

Levison and Lavabit get legal representation from a Virginia firm

Levison’s new attorney is Jesse Binnall of Bronley & Binnall PLLC in Fairfax, Virginia. Binnall, 34, was a communication major at George Mason University and graduated from the Law School there in 2009. Binnall and Levison would later be among the first guests on the New Ron Paul Channel in mid-August.

On July 25, Binnall filed under seal a “Motion to quash” the outstanding grand jury subpoena and the search warrant against Lavabit. The motion requested “that this Court direct that Lavabit does not have to produce its Master Key. Alternatively, Lavabit and Mr. Levinson request that they be given an opportunity to revoke the. current encryption key and reissue a new encryption key at the Government’s expense. Lastly, Lavabit and Mr. Levinson request that, if they are required to produce the Master Key, that they be reimbursed for its costs which were directly incurred in producing the Master Key….”

In support of his motion, Binnall made a number of arguments against the actions of the government, which had not faced serious legal opposition up to this point.

Binnall pointed out that giving the government access to Lavabit’s Master Key is tantamount to giving the government access to all of Lavabit’s 400,000 users. That amounts to a general warrant that is unconstitutional, Binnall wrote, and:

“It is axiomatic that the Fourth Amendment prohibits general warrants [with Supreme Court cases cited]…. The Fourth Amendment’s particularity requirement is meant to ‘prevent the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another’ [citation omitted]. This is precisely the concern with the Lavabit Subpoena and Warrant and, in this circumstance, the particularity requirement will not protect Lavabit. By turning over the Master Key, the Government will have the ability to search each and every ‘place,’ ‘person [and] thing’ on Lavabit’s network…. Additionally, the Government has no probable cause to gain access to the other users accounts.”

The government seemed unconcerned about Levison’s business survival

Bindall also argued that the court should quash the subpoena and search warrant as creating an “undue burden” on Lavabit as defined by law [U.S. Code Title 18, sec. 2703]:

“Not only has Lavabit expended a great deal of time and money in attempting to cooperate with the Government thus far, but, Lavabit will pay the ultimate price –the loss of its customers’ trust and business – should the Court require that the Master Key be turned over. Lavabit’s business, which is founded on the preservation of electronic privacy, could be destroyed if it is required to produce its Master Key.”

Also on July 25, Binnall filed a motion to unseal court records and to lift the gag order on his client, since the “gag order infringes upon freedom of speech under the First Amendment, and should he subjected to constitutional case law. “

Unsurprisingly, the U.S. Attorney filed a motion in opposition.

At the motion hearing on August 1, Judge Hilton engaged in lengthy colloquy with attorney Binnall. Before the 25-minute hearing was half over, the judge had denied both motions and the U.S. Attorney had said little more than “Good morning.” Judge Hilton gave Levison and Lavabit until 5 p.m. Dallas time on August 2 to comply.

Levison’s compliance took an unexpected form

The next day in Dallas, at about 1:30 p.m., Levison provided information that purported to be full compliance with the court’s orders. Whether it was actual compliance remains uncertain. The government was not happy and engaged with attorney Binnall to achieve satisfactory compliance, without success. On August 5 the government filed a motion for sanctions against Levison, calling his apparent compliance “unworkable” and describing it as follows:

“Mr. Levison gave the FBI a printout of what he represented to be the encryption keys needed to operate the pen register. This printout, in what appears to be 4-point type, consists of 11 pages of largely illegible characters. See Attachment A. (The attachment was created by scanning the document provided by Mr. Levison; the original document was described by the Dal!as FBI agents as slightly clearer than the scanned copy but nevertheless illegible.) Moreover, each of the five encryption keys contains 512 individual characters — or a total of 2560 characters. To make use of these keys, the FBI would have to manually input all 2560 characters, and one incorrect keystroke in this laborious process would render the FBI collection system incapable of collecting decrypted data.”

When this compliance effort became public two months later, TechCrunch called it “an epic troll.” At the time, the government was not amused and called for the court to sanction Levison $5,000 a day, beginning at noon August 5. The court promptly granted the motion, while reminding the parties that all aspects of the matter remained under seal. Known only to the participants and some court employees, the case was still unknown to the public.

Levison makes a tantalizing public announcement

That secrecy ended on August 8, when Ladar Levison shut down Lavabit, posting a short notice on the Lavabit.com website, together with a link to the Lavabit Legal Defense Fund. As Levison explained:

“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on – the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

“What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

“This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”

Also on August 8, Levison fully complied with the Fourth Circuit courts orders, turning over the encryption keys to a now defunct service. He had incurred 2 days of sanctions – owing the government $10,000 – which remains pending.

The next day, Silent Circle, a global encrypted communications service, stayed in business but preemptively wiped out its email service (about 5 per cent of its customers) in anticipation of a government request that the company wouldn’t want to have to obey. “Meanwhile, Silent Circle is working on replacing its defunct e-mail service with a system that doesn’t rely on traditional e-mail protocols and keeps no messages or metadata within the company’s grasp. It is based on a protocol often used for instant messages and other applications. [CEO Mike] Janke says the goal is for this to not be e-mail, but ‘for all intents and purposes it looks, feels, and acts like e-mail,’” according to MIT Technology Review.

Lavabit’s closing drew some news coverage over the next week, but any story was hampered by the gag order that severely limited what Levison and Binnall could safely say. As Levison told Forbes the day after shutting down Lavabit:

“This is about protecting all of our users, not just one in particular. It’s not my place to decide whether an investigation is just, but the government has the legal authority to force you to do things you’re uncomfortable with….The fact that I can’t talk about this is as big a problem as what they asked me to do…. The methods being used to conduct those investigations should not be secret.”

The FBI and the Justice Dept. Have not commented publicly about the Lavabit case beyond their court filings.

Being secret, federal court appeal gets no news coverage

On August 15, Lavabit attorney Binnall filed notice – under seal – that he was appealing the federal district court’s rulings of August 1 and August 5 to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In other words, the government can not only keep the public ignorant of what it’s doing, it can also prevent the public from knowing that anyone objects to the government’s actions as unconstitutional.

In the Lavabit case, at least, this changed abruptly on October 2, when Judge Claude Hilton ordered a censored version of 23 documents (162 pages) made public. The redactions in these documents appear, from context, to be intended mostly to conceal details of the criminal investigation into Snowden or some other lavabit.com user. Since the unsealing of the court documents, news coverage had expansed, and Levison and Binnall have appeared in public across the country to argue their cause. As Levison put it on his Facebook page October 2:

“If the Obama administration feels compelled to continue violating the privacy rights of the masses just so they can conduct surveillance on the few then he should at least ask Congress for laws providing that authority instead of using the courts to force businesses into secretly becoming complicit in crimes against the American people.”

On 2005, a U.S. Senator addressed a similar concern, when Congress was about to pass a law creating the “national security letter,” a secret government process much more intense and unforgiving what Levison went through last summer:

“This is legislation that puts our own Justice Department above the law. When national security letters are issued, they allow federal agents to conduct any search on any American, no matter how extensive, how wide-ranging, without ever going before a judge to prove that the search is necessary. All that is needed is a sign-off from a local FBI agent. That’s it.

“Once a business or a person receives notification that they will be searched, they are prohibited from telling anyone about it, and they’re even prohibited from challenging this automatic gag order in court. Even though judges have already found that similar restrictions violate the First Amendment, this conference report disregards the case law and the right to challenge the gag order.

“If you do decide to consult an attorney for legal advice, hold on. You will have to tell the FBI that you’ve done so. Think about that. You want to talk to a lawyer about whether or not your actions are going to be causing you to get into trouble. You’ve got to tell the FBI that you’re consulting a lawyer. This is unheard of. There is no such requirement in any other area of the law. I see no reason why it’s justified here.

“And if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document, through the library books that you read, the phone calls that you’ve made, the emails that you’ve sent, this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. No judge will hear your plea; no jury will hear your case. This is just plain wrong.”

The question is: how much of a police state do we have already?

That Senator was concerned eight years ago, and that Senator was Barack Obama. Today, national security letters are part of the law of the land, the Obama administration uses them, and if you get one, talking about it is against the law. In that context, since Ladar Levison apparently did not get a national security letter, he was lucky. The country, not so much.

On October 10, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Lavabit filed the opening brief of its appeal of the lower court’s orders. The United States has until November 4 to file its answer. This will take awhile, it will take effort to follow, but it matters.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This article was first published in Reader Supported News. Read other articles by William.


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NY to judge: Unseal documents on '71 Attica riot


ALBANY, N.Y. • New York’s attorney general has asked a state judge to release sealed documents about the 1971 riot and retaking of Attica state prison in an effort to reveal the full history of the nation’s bloodiest prison rebellion and answer the questions of families whose loved ones died there.


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Man sues DHS, NSA for the right to parody them on mugs, T-shirts
"Forbidding citizens from criticizing them is beyond the pale,” lawyer says.

by Cyrus Farivar - Oct 29 2013, 4:49pm EST


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HORROR: Report Links U.S. Special Forces To War Crimes

“In the fall of 2012, a team of American Special Forces arrived in Nerkh, a district of Wardak province, Afghanistan, which lies just west of Kabul and straddles a vital highway. The members installed themselves in the spacious quarters of Combat Outpost Nerkh, which overlooked the farming valley and had been vacated by more than 100 soldiers belonging to the regular infantry. They were U.S. Army Green Berets, trained to wage unconventional warfare, and their arrival was typical of what was happening all over Afghanistan; the big Army units, installed during the surge, were leaving, and in their place came small groups of quiet, bearded Americans, the elite operators who would stay behind to hunt the enemy and stiffen the resolve of government forces long after America’s 13-year war in Afghanistan officially comes to an end.


But six months after its arrival, the team would be forced out of Nerkh by the Afghan government, amid allegations of torture and murder against the local populace. If true, these accusations would amount to some of the gravest war crimes perpetrated by American forces since 2001. By February 2013, the locals claimed 10 civilians had been taken by U.S. Special Forces and had subsequently disappeared, while another eight had been killed by the team during their operations.

“They’re venomously anti-American there,” one U.S. official says. “It’s always been that way. Sometimes our adversaries are the men and women of a community.”


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November 7, 2013 | By Jennifer Lynch

San Diego Gets in Your Face With New Mobile Identification System

[51_pm]The San Diego regional planning agency, SANDAG, has been quietly rolling out a new mobile face recognition system that will sharply change how police conduct simple stops on Americans. The system, which allows officers to use mobile devices to collect face images out in the field, already has a database of 1.4 million images and serves nearly 25 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the region.

Over the summer, EFF sent a California Public Records Act request to SANDAG for more information on the program. From the records we received, we’ve learned that the program, called “TACIDS” (Tactical Identification System), serves law enforcement agencies as diverse as the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the DEA, ICE, the California Highway Patrol and even the San Diego Unified School District. The officers use a Samsung tablet or Android mobile phone to take a picture of a person “in the field” and run that picture against databases of mugshot photos and DMV images from across several states to learn his or her identity. According to users, the system returns high-accuracy results in about eight seconds.

The Center for Investigative Reporting published an in-depth report on the program today, based in part on research conducted by EFF and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

[tacids_user_chart-space]The devices are supposed to be issued to “terrorism liaison” officers, but none of the documentation so far has shown any nexus between TACIDS use and terrorist activities.  A chart we received (to the left) shows that, as of July 2013, there were 133 TACIDS-enabled mobile devices out in the field. While the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department had the most devices (55) and had made the most queries to the system (1,280), it was not the most proportionally active user. That honor went to the San Diego State University PD – the department only had one device (and presumably only one user of that device) but used it to make nearly 200 queries.

CIR obtained more recent numbers that show the program has since expanded by another 45 devices, with a total of 5,629 queries since TACIDS launched. Even the California Department of Insurance and the Del Mar Park Rangers now have mobile facial-recognition devices.

One of the most concerning aspects of the system is that TACIDS allows officers to upload photos to its database right from the field. This means that officers can stop a person on the street, take her picture, and enter that picture in a biometric database based on little or no suspicion.

One anecdote in an official report from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer was particularly chilling:

“Today while conducting warrant services in Oceanside, we made contact with the neighbors of a subject we were looking for. As we were talking to the individuals who lived next door, our "spidy senses" were tingling. So this neighbor became the focus of a field interview. The subject was being evasive answering our questions. It was determined that the subject was in the United States illegally so we arrested him for that. I decided to transport the subject downtown, still not knowing exactly who I had in custody. While driving him to jail, I prodded a little more and the subject stated that in 2003 he received a conviction for DUI in San Diego and that was the ONLY time he was arrested. So I whipped out the Droid and snapped a quick photo and submitted for search. The subject looked inquisitively at me not knowing the truth was only 8 seconds away. I received a match of 99.96%. This revealed several prior arrests and convictions and provided me an FBI #. When I showed him his booking photo, his jaw dropped. Thanks again for the opportunity to evaluate this device.”

A TACIDS draft policy document shows that officers may collect face images in three distinct circumstances—each of which is problematic in its own right. First, officers may take photos of a person who “consents” to have his picture taken. The Supreme Court has said in several cases that if a person answers police questions when he should feel “free to leave,” the encounter is “consensual,” and it doesn’t trigger Fourth Amendment protection—even under circumstances where police conduct is such that no reasonable person would actually feel free to leave (such as when the cops block an exit or show their weapons). Based on laudatory comments about the TACIDS system like the one above, it appears officers are exploiting that perception to use TACIDS to identify people who aren’t under reasonable suspicion.

In the second scenario discussed in the draft policy, officers may collect a face image from anyone “lawfully detained.” In 2004, the Supreme Court upheld a Nevada law requiring people to identify themselves to police officers. The court held that as long as those stops were based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, they, too, did not trigger Fourth Amendment (or Fifth Amendment) protections. Stopping someone to take their picture to “identify” them would likely receive the same treatment under the Court’s analysis. However, as we’ve seen in the recent revelations about New York’s stop and frisk program, an overwhelming majority of these types of stops are not actually based on any objective reason to suspect a person of wrongdoing. And the NYPD’s own reports show that these programs overwhelmingly impact minority groups.

The third scenario contemplated by the policy is the most concerning. In that scenario, the cops are allowed to collect photos of people with whom they are not even in contact. This includes photos from security cameras and social media as well as “the capturing of facial images from a distance as part of surveillance operations.” As we discussed in our testimony to Congress on facial recognition last year, taking a person’s photo and entering it into a biometric database without her knowledge can have a serious chilling effect on First Amendment-protected activities. The Supreme Court has long recognized the societal value in the ability to remain anonymous and the ability to associate with others privately without fear that the government is watching. Using face recognition technology in the way proposed by SANDAG destroys this anonymity and puts everyone under the threat of government surveillance.

Although the draft policy includes some measures intended to protect privacy, these measures do not go far enough. For example, the policy explicitly allows face image collection based on First-Amendment protected activities like an “individual’s political, religious, or social views, associations or activities” as long as that collection is limited to “instances directly related to criminal conduct or activity.” But “criminal conduct or activity” is such a vague concept that it places no effective restrictions on police action. As we’ve seen in the ACLU of Northern California’s case challenging California’s DNA collection law, even peaceful political protests can result in arrest and biometric collection.

Not so long ago, our society would have recoiled from this type of stop and search. As an Arizona Supreme Court justice noted in 1983, “[t]he thought that an American can be compelled to 'show his papers' before exercising his right to walk the streets, drive the highways or board the trains is repugnant to American institutions and ideals.” In 1990, the Florida Supreme Court said police questioning based on no individualized suspicion was “foreign to any fair reading of the Constitution” and compared it to “Hitler's Berlin,” “ Stalin's Moscow,” and “white supremacist South Africa.” It’s disheartening to think how much has changed in the last 23 years and especially in the years since 9/11.

We hope that San Diego residents will push back on TACIDS before the program is rolled out to additional devices and agencies and linked to fixed video cameras in court buildings and on public transportation. We also hope that Americans across the country will question whether the impact of this type of technology on Constitutionally-protected activities is worth the huge cost and the minimal benefit to law enforcement from its use.



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 see link for full story   Our Government Has Weaponized the Internet. Here's How They Did It
“The internet backbone — the infrastructure of networks upon which internet traffic travels — went from being a passive infrastructure for communication to an active weapon for attacks.
According to revelations about the QUANTUM program, the NSA can “shoot” (their words) an exploit at any target it desires as his or her traffic passes across the backbone. It appears that the NSA and GCHQ were the first to turn the internet backbone into a weapon; absent Snowdens of their own, other countries may do the same and then say, “It wasn’t us. And even if it was, you started it.” If the NSA can hack Petrobras, the Russians can justify attacking Exxon/Mobil. If GCHQ can hack Belgicom to enable covert wiretaps, France can do the same to AT&T. If the Canadians target the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Chinese can target the U.S. Department of the Interior. We now live in a world where, if we are lucky, our attackers may be every country our traffic passes through except our own.
Which means the rest of us — and especially any company or individual whose operations are economically or politically significant — are now targets. All cleartext traffic is not just information being sent from sender to receiver, but is a possible attack vector.”  


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Video History Of The Original Black Panther Party


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Wednesday, November 27, 2013Last Update: 9:48 AM PT
Boy, Tasered in School, Is in a Coma


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The first thing any smart criminal justice consumer comes to grips with is
are local, state and county, did I mention federal police, are they bringing heroin and cocaine into Denver to destabalize the community  and drum up business when arrests are slow. After all, these activities are being funded by your tax dime.
DEA supervisor has detailed CIA  agents collaborating with Denver law enforcement to bring heroin and cocaine into Denver. Read his books , go to his website also read his essay about CIA  asset Oliver North trafficking in heroin and cocaine here. The second posted story connects to Mike Levine's essay.

1st read
see link for full story


1st read

I Volunteer to Kidnap Oliver North
Michael Levine

        Undercover DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was tortured to death slowly by professionals.   Every known maximum-pain technique, from electric shocks to his testicles to white hot rods inserted in his rectum, was applied.   A doctor stood by to keep him alive.   The heart of the thirty-seven year old father of two boys refused to quit for more than twenty-four hours.  His cries, along with the soft-spoken, calm voices of the men who were slowly and meticulously savaging his body, were tape-recorded.

        Kiki, one of only three hundred of us in the world (DEA agents on foreign assignment),   had been kidnapped in broad daylight from in front of the U.S. Consular office in Guadalajara, Mexico by Mexican cops working for drug traffickers and, apparently, high level Mexican government people whose identities we would never know.  They would be protected by people in our own government to whom Kiki's life meant less than nothing.

        When teams of DEA agents were sent to Mexico, first, to find the missing Kiki, then to hunt for his murderers,  they were met by a the stone wall of a corrupt Mexican government that refused to cooperate.  To the horror and disgust of many of us, our government backed down from the Mexicans; other interests, like NAFTA, banking agreements and the covert support of Ollie North's Contras,  were more important than the life of an American undercover agent. DEA agents were ordered by the  Justice Department, to keep our mouths shut about Mexico; an order that was backed up by threats from the office of Attorney General Edwin Meese himself.   Instead of tightening restrictions on the Mexican debt, our Treasury Department moved to loosen them as if to reward them for their filthy deed.   As an added insult Mexico was granted cooperating nation in the drug war status, giving them access to additional millions in American drug war funds and loans.

        Somehow a CIA—unaware that their own chief of Soviet counter intelligence, Aldrich Ames, was selling all America's biggest secrets to the KGB for fourteen years with all the finesse of a Jersey City garage sale—was able to obtain the tape-recordings of Kiki's torture death.  No one in media or government had the courage to publicly ask them explain how they were able to obtain the tapes, yet know nothing of the murder as it was happening; no one had the courage to ask them to explain the testimony of a reliable government informant, (during a California trial related to Camarena's murder), that Kiki's murderers believed they were protected by the CIA.  Nor did our elected leaders have the courage to investigate numerous other reports linking the CIA directly to the murderers.

        Our government's sellout of Kiki Camarena, of all DEA agents, of the war on drugs, was such that United States Congressman, Larry Smith,  stated, on the floor of Congress:

        "I personally am convinced that the Justice Department is against the best interests of the United States in terms of stopping drugs...  What has a DEA agent who puts his life on the line got to look forward to?  The U.S. Government is not going to back him up.  I find that intolerable."

         What does Oliver North have to do with this?

         A lot of us, Kiki's fellow agents, believe that the Mexican government never would have dared take the action they did, had they not believed the US government to be as hypocritical and  corrupt as they were and still are.  And if there was ever a figure in our history that was the paradigm of that corruption it is the man President Reagan called "an American hero"; the same man Nancy Reagan later called a liar:  Oliver North.

        In fact, when Costa Rica began its investigation into the drug trafficking allegations against North and naively thought that the U.S. would gladly lend a hand in efforts to fight drugs, they received a rude awakening about the realities of America's war on drugs as opposed to its "this-scourge-will-end" rhetoric.

        After five witnesses testified before the U.S. Senate, confirming that John Hull—a C.I.A. operative and the lynch-pin of North's contra re supply operation—had been actively running drugs from Costa Rica to the U.S. "under the direction of the C.I.A.,"  Costa Rican authorities arrested him.   Hull then quickly jumped bail and fled to the U.S.—according to my sources—with the help  of DEA, putting the drug fighting agency in the schizoid business of both kidnapping accused drug dealers and  helping them escape; although the Supreme Court has not legalized the latter . . . yet.

        The then-President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias was stunned when he received letters from nineteen U.S. Congressman—including Lee Hamilton of Indiana, the Democrat who headed the Iran-contra committee—warning him "to avoid situations . . . that could adversely affect our relations."     Arias, who won the Nobel prize for ending the contra war, stated that he was shocked that "relations between [the United States] and my country could deteriorate because [the Costa Rican] legal system is fighting against drug trafficking."

        And why would I volunteer to kidnap Ollie?  For three reasons: first, kidnapping is now legal; second,  I have experience kidnapping; and third, it is the only way those tens of millions of Americans who have suffered the betrayal of their own government will ever see even a glimmer of justice.

         Several years after Kiki's last tape-recorded cries were shoved well under a government rug,  a maverick group of DEA agents decided to take the law into their own hands. Working without the knowledge or approval of most of the top DEA bosses, whom they mistrusted, the agents arranged to have Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain, a Mexican citizen alleged to have participated in Kiki's murder,  abducted at gun point in Guadalajara Mexico and brought to Los Angeles to stand trial.

        On June 16, 1992, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Machain Decision that the actions of those agents was "legal."  The ruling said in no uncertain terms that U.S. law enforcement authorities could literally and figuratively kidnap violators of American drug law in whatever country they found them and drag them physically and against their will to the U.S. to stand trial.  Immediately thereafter the Ayatollahs declared that they too could rove the world and kidnap violators of Islamic law and drag them back to Iran to stand trial.  Kidnapping, therefore, has now become an accepted tool of law enforcement throughout the world.

        Resorting to all sorts of wild extremes to bring drug traffickers to justice is nothing new for the U.S. government.  At various times during my career as a DEA agent I was assigned to some pretty unorthodox operations—nothing quite as radical as invading Panama and killing a thousand innocents to capture long-time CIA asset Manny Noriega—but I was  once, (long before the Machain Decision), assigned to a group of undercover agents on a kidnapping mission.   Posing as a soccer team, we landed in Argentina in a chartered jet during the wee hours of the morning, where the Argentine Federal Police had three international drug dealers—two of whom had never in their lives set foot in the United States—waiting for us trussed up in straight-jackets with horse feed-bags over their heads, each beaten to a pulpy, toothless mess.  In those years we used to call it a "controlled expulsion."    I think I like the honesty of kidnapping  a little better.

        By now you're probably saying, "Get real Levine you  live in a nation whose politicians ripped their own people off for half a trillion dollars in a savings and loan scam, a nation whose Attorney General ordered the FBI to attack a house full of innocent babies, and this is the decade of Ruby Ridge, Waco and Whitewater-gate; your own people sent Kiki Camarena to Mexico to be murdered and then gave aid and comfort to those who murdered him—how can you expect justice?"

        If you aren't saying these things you should be.   And you'd be right.  Under the current two-party,  rip-off system of American politics with their complete control of main stream media, I expect Ollie North to have a bright future in politics, while hundreds of thousands of Americans like John rot in jail.  Ollie North, after all, is the perfect candidate.  But there is one faint glimmer of hope remaining, and it isn't in America.

        Since the democratic and staunchly anti-drug Costa Rica is, thus far,  the only nation with the courage to have publicly accused Oliver North, a US Ambassador and a CIA station chief of running drugs from their sovereignty to  the United States, I find myself, duty-bound to make them, or any other nation that would have the courage to make similar charges,  the following offer:

        I, Michael Levine,  twenty-five year veteran undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, given the mandate of the Supreme Court's Machain Decision and in fulfillment of my oath to the U.S. government and its taxpayers to arrest and seize all those individuals who would smuggle or cause illegal drugs to be smuggled into the United States or who would aid and abet drug smugglers,  do hereby volunteer my services to any sovereign, democratic nation who files legal Drug Trafficking charges against Colonel Oliver North and any of his cohorts; to do everything in my power including kidnapping him, seizing his paper shredder, reading him his constitutional rights and dragging his butt to wherever that sovereignty might be, (with or without horse feed-bag); to once-and-for-all stand trial for the horrific damages caused to my country, my fellow law enforcement officers, and to my family.

2nd read

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Mexican Drug Lord Who Killed DEA Agent Accused of Stashing Billions of Dollars in Secret Overseas Accounts

Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, who ordered the kidnapping, torture and killing of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in 1985, has stashed billion of dollars in secret overseas accounts, an ex-DEA agent claims.

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CIA-backed Palantir reportedly worth $9 billion, jumping 50 percent in two months


Palantir, the big data miner that provides services to the FBI, CIA, and many Wall Street firms, is looking like a rocket ship these days. The company is expected to announced a new round of funding this week that will value the company at $9 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports. That's a 50 percent increase from September, when Palantir was valued at $6 billion.

What accounts for the company's fast ascent? Some skeptics say it's the frothy funding environment where Dropbox is aiming for an $8 billion valuation and Pinterest is looking at a $3.8 billion one. However, Palantir's ability to cross-reference large sets of data is increasingly crucial as large caches of data become more and more common.


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70 year old grandmother slammed into ground after handcuffing by police.


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see link for full essay

Chris Hedges
The Last Gasp of American Democracy

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the ... y_20140105

Posted on Jan 5, 2014

By Chris Hedges

This is our last gasp as a democracy. The state’s wholesale intrusion into our lives and obliteration of privacy are now facts. And the challenge to us—one of the final ones, I suspect—is to rise up in outrage and halt this seizure of our rights to liberty and free expression. If we do not do so we will see ourselves become a nation of captives.

The public debates about the government’s measures to prevent terrorism, the character assassination of Edward Snowden and his supporters, the assurances by the powerful that no one is abusing the massive collection and storage of our electronic communications miss the point. Any state that has the capacity to monitor all its citizenry, any state that has the ability to snuff out factual public debate through control of information, any state that has the tools to instantly shut down all dissent is totalitarian. Our corporate state may not use this power today. But it will use it if it feels threatened by a population made restive by its corruption, ineptitude and mounting repression. The moment a popular movement arises—and one will arise—that truly confronts our corporate masters, our venal system of total surveillance will be thrust into overdrive.

The most radical evil, as Hannah Arendt pointed out, is the political system that effectively crushes its marginalized and harassed opponents and, through fear and the obliteration of privacy, incapacitates everyone else. Our system of mass surveillance is the machine by which this radical evil will be activated. If we do not immediately dismantle the security and surveillance apparatus, there will be no investigative journalism or judicial oversight to address abuse of power. There will be no organized dissent. There will be no independent thought. Criticisms, however tepid, will be treated as acts of subversion. And the security apparatus will blanket the body politic like black mold until even the banal and ridiculous become concerns of national security.

I saw evil of this kind as a reporter in the Stasi state of East Germany. I was followed by men, invariably with crew cuts and wearing leather jackets, whom I presumed to be agents of the Stasi—the Ministry for State Security, which the ruling Communist Party described as the “shield and sword” of the nation. People I interviewed were visited by Stasi agents soon after I left their homes. My phone was bugged. Some of those I worked with were pressured to become informants. Fear hung like icicles over every conversation.

The Stasi did not set up massive death camps and gulags. It did not have to. The Stasi, with a network of as many as 2 million informants in a country of 17 million, was everywhere. There were 102,000 secret police officers employed full time to monitor the population—one for every 166 East Germans. The Nazis broke bones; the Stasi broke souls. The East German government pioneered the psychological deconstruction that torturers and interrogators in America’s black sites, and within our prison system, have honed to a gruesome perfection.

The goal of wholesale surveillance, as Arendt wrote in “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” is not, in the end, to discover crimes, “but to be on hand when the government decides to arrest a certain category of the population.” And because Americans’ emails, phone conversations, Web searches and geographical movements are recorded and stored in perpetuity in government databases, there will be more than enough “evidence” to seize us should the state deem it necessary. This information waits like a deadly virus inside government vaults to be turned against us. It does not matter how trivial or innocent that information is. In totalitarian states, justice, like truth, is irrelevant.
The object of efficient totalitarian states, as George Orwell understood, is to create a climate in which people do not think of rebelling, a climate in which government killing and torture are used against only a handful of unmanageable renegades. The totalitarian state achieves this control, Arendt wrote, by systematically crushing human spontaneity, and by extension human freedom. It ceaselessly peddles fear to keep a population traumatized and immobilized. It turns the courts, along with legislative bodies, into mechanisms to legalize the crimes of state.

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LAPD officer accused of beating, kicking restrained suspect in the head
By JOEL RUBIN contact the reporter
CrimeLaw EnforcementLos Angeles Police Department
An LAPD officer is being investigated for allegedly kicking a restrained suspect in the head
Chief Charlie Beck says he's "extremely concerned about this particular use of force"
A Los Angeles police officer is under investigation after being accused of beating and kicking a suspect who was being held down by other officers, according to sources close to the probe.

The altercation was captured by a private company’s security camera. Several police officials who saw the video told The Times that the officer delivered a powerful kick to the suspect’s head. One said the officer resembled “a football player kicking a field goal.” Another described it as “horrific.” The suspect, they said, had surrendered and was not resisting the officers.

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Inappropriate use of Tasers by Denver deputies
By The Denver

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LAPD study focused on small part of discipline system
Charlie Beck
Police Chief Charlie Beck launched the review after the February 2013 shootings by former Officer Christopher Dorner, who criticized the LAPD's discipline process.
LAPD discipline survey dealt with serious cases in which officers faced possible termination or suspension
The officers were blunt in their assessment of the Los Angeles Police Department's disciplinary system: It was unfair and needed to be fixed.

"It's all about who you know," wrote one of more than 500 officers and civilian employees who participated in a written survey conducted by the LAPD. "It seems that people with more time on [the job] get more of a break," wrote another.

The criticism was documented by LAPD officials who examined the agency's discipline process in the wake of the Christopher Dorner shooting rampage last year.

But the review analyzed only a narrow segment of the LAPD's expansive system for investigating and disciplining officers.

The report, which took 20 months to complete and will be presented to the city's Police Commission on Tuesday, focused mostly on officers sent to hearings for possible termination or lengthy suspensions after being accused of serious misconduct.

You've got a perception that if you're a friend of the chief's, then all of the sudden it's better. You can't quantify that. So that's a perception issue for the chief to work on.
- Steve Soboroff
The review looked for disparities in whether officers of certain ranks, gender, or race were ordered to the hearings and ultimately penalized, concluding that data showed there was little merit to the complaints of bias.

Left unexamined, however, was the vast majority of the LAPD's misconduct cases, which are handled by officers' commanders.

The president of the union that represents the department's roughly 9,900 rank-and-file officers dismissed the report Monday as a disappointment.

Tyler Izen was critical of what he said were efforts by officials to blame officers' concerns on their poor understanding of how the discipline system works.

"They are saying the employees don't get it…I think [officers] are afraid they are going to be fired," he said. "I would like to see all the raw data because this report doesn't tell me much."

Steve Soboroff, president of the Police Commission, acknowledged that some officers believe the discipline system favors those with connections. But he praised the report, saying that it did a good job of analyzing claims of bias based on gender, rank and ethnicity. He said it would have been impossible to quantify all the complaints of disparities in punishments.

"You've got a perception that if you're a friend of the chief's, then all of the sudden it's better," Soboroff said. "You can't quantify that. How do you do the statistics on that? So that's a p

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Pregnant St. Louis woman loses left eye after police officer shoots non-lethal round at car
November 28 2014

A pregnant St. Louis woman lost her left eye after a violent run-in with law enforcement earlier this week.

Dornnella Conners says an officer fired a non-lethal bean-bag round at the car she was in – shattering the passenger side window.

Shards of glass bloodied her face and robbed her of sight in her left eye, according to reports.

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After a flawed killing by cops, LAPD chief must decide what to do
LAPD Chief Beck on Recent Local Protesters, Faults Officers in Shooting Man After Chase
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck talks about recent local protests following the Ferguson and Garner grand jury verdicts, and faults LAPD officers in the killing of an unarmed man.

After finding three officers violated LAPD rules in deadly shooting, Beck must now decide the consequences
Beck said he sympathized with the officers, 'but I cannot let that sympathy influence my decisions'
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday he must strike a difficult balance in deciding how to discipline three officers who violated department policies when they shot and killed an unarmed man after a pursuit last year.

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Greg Flannery is a investigative reporter
from Cincinnati.
We brought Leonard Gates and him to speak
at our conference investigating FBI agents committing voter fraud.

Here is his new article.

Hitler’s American Soldier
In Uncategorized on 12/10/2014 at 4:32 pm
A story of war and circumstance

By Gregory Flannery

The year 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II. In the early 1990s I interviewed the late Frank Leonhartsberger, who was born a U.S. citizen but fought for Nazi Germany during the war. That was not his choice.

Leonhartsberger was born in Allentown, Pa. When his father died, his mother – an Austrian immigrant – took the 1-year-old boy with her and returned to her homeland. A few years later, Nazi Germany annexed Austria. In 1945, when Leonhartsberger was 16 years old, he was drafted.

In 1949 Leonhartsberger returned to the United States. In the 1950s his cousin, Franz Pfingstl, gave him a collection of 90 snapshots of Hitler and top Nazi leaders. Leonhartsberger did not know who shot the photographs and could not identify their setting. He said he only knew that the photos were supposed to have been taken on Hitler’s birthday. One of the photographs is reproduced on this page.

Leonhartsberger gave me his collection of photos, most of which have never been published. I used to believe the photos were the most interesting part of his story. I spent a lot of time trying to identify them and eventually succeeded. The photos were, in fact, taken on the occasion of Hitler’s 52nd birthday, which he spent in the Austrian town of Monichkirchen. Arriving April 11, 1941, and leaving two weeks later, Hitler met with Count Ciano of Italy and Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria. He congratulated the officers who had nearly finished conquering Greece and Yugoslavia, and he reviewed plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union.

I was wrong. The most compelling thing about Frank Leonhartsberger’s experience was not the photos, but his personal story. He likely was not the only U.S. citizen who found himself in Hitler’s army. But his account – given me over the course of four hours in his dimly lit apartment in Ormond Beach, Fla., abetted by the consumption of lots of Scotch whiskey – is an eloquent testament about the horrors of war and racism. What follows are his words verbatim; I have added only the sub-headings.

The testament of Frank Leonhartsberger

If you had a cigarette, you went off somewhere by yourself, or else all of a sudden you had five friends. We had no cigarettes during the war. God, that was rough.

When I was born, they made a mistake in the name. They recorded it as Franz Leon Hans Berger. When I was getting ready to go to school in the ’30s, it became a problem. Austria is full of bureaucracy. Everything has to be just so, a little bit like the English when it comes to documents. It took forever to get this thing straightened out. I remember my mother saying, “Well, they got the name right, but they got the doggoned date wrong.” I was supposed to have been born in 1929, but on that paper, on that birth certificate, it was 1927.

My father died 25 March 1930. My mother took me back to my grandparents in Austria. She had brothers and sisters over there. One of them took care of the saloon, one took care of the grocery store. We had a gasthaus and a little grocery store. We were considered rather rich. We had a big house in Rudersdorf Berg. We lived up in the hills. We had no electricity. Every week we had to shine the kerosene lamps. It was a wonderful childhood, all the kids growing up together.

I had a cousin who had polio. She was two years older than me. She couldn’t get around. I gave her my tricycle, and she lived on that tricycle ’til the day she died. She died when she was 30.

My mother remarried and we moved to Ubersbach. We opened up a grocery store, a soup-to-nuts grocery store. We had bread, we had booze, we had farm implements, we had fabric. It was quite a nice life, really.

Every town has a drunk. Our drunk was the finest accordion player in town. It was a button accordion — not keys. He taught me to play. Music was a very important part of my life after the war, because I sang for many of my meals.

When Hitler took over in 1938, we would march up and down the street yelling because Hitler had liberated us. What he had liberated us from, I don’t know.

The people in the city were very Nazified, but the poor farmers didn’t understand any of it. Every little town had a Nazi or two. Put the attitude was, “Let’s get stoned tonight and see if the morning may be a little brighter.” Ambition was never the Austrian strong point

‘I didn’t see any glory’

I was in the Hitler Youth. If you’re a kid and someone gives you a uniform, whoopee! We marched around and sang and got indoctrinated. It was not a bad thing, really. You learned a little discipline, no doubt about it. I got pushed around a few times because I didn’t march right.

I went into the army when I was 16. The fact was, I was not 16 years old; but according to my papers, I was. After the Hitler Youth, everyone went into the Arbeits Dienst, a mandatory work crew that got you ready for the army. Our weapon was a highly polished spade.

All of a sudden, the whole squadron became a part of anti-aircraft. We got our battery, and by now the war was going pretty bad, so we kept the same uniforms. 1 worked radar.

I remember the first kill we had was one of ours.

The only chance we had to shoot somebody was when some poor guy got half-crippled up there. He couldn’t steer, he couldn’t maneuver

You Americans have no idea what war is. You’ve never seen war. Look at it through a young fellow’s eyes. I saw kids thrown around in the street after a bombing raid. You can’t imagine it. And after the war, there’s thousands of people walking the street, dazed, no idea where you’re getting your next meal, or any meal. I remember one time I was so hungry I stole some bread — and that was during the war. If anybody ever thinks there’s glory in it, there’s nothing but misery. That’s all there is.

There are a lot of people fascinated by war, and some people think there’s honor in war. “All for the Fuhrer and the Fatherland!’ That’s a crock of shit. I didn’t see any glory. There’s no cover. I was scared to death. Day and night, bombing.

We shot down a lieutenant from New York. He came down with no chute or a bad chute. When he hit the ground, he nearly buried himself. On his plane he had a pair of baby shoes. Maybe it was a good luck charm. He had the names of different missions written on them — Berlin, Dusseldorf, Vienna. I carried those shoes around with me for the rest of the war. I thought maybe I could give them to his family, but after the war I lost everything.

When we got a hit, we would send groups down to pick them up, because sometimes the people would try to kill them. It was impossible not to hate the Americans. They just bombed your city and killed your family.


‘I have nightmares’

On the last day of the war, we were high on a hill. We could see the Russians coming and hear the tanks rumbling. There were only a dozen left. All the officers and staff were gone.

We were blowing up the 88s and blowing up the barracks and everything. We didn’t want the Russians to get it. We thought it was very heroic, but we were nitwits. We should have gotten the hell out of there. It was raining, and the Russians were bombing.

My good friend placed a hand grenade on a machine gun nest, then fell in. When I hear this SS crap, don’t get me wrong. At the end of the war it was 15-year-old kids who had no other uniform left but the SS uniforms.

They had no more than a few weeks training. They weren’t SS troopers, they were poor Hitler Youth marching to the front to be slaughtered, half of them too young to shave.

Years after the war they would drift home from Russia. People had given up on them long ago.

A few weeks before the war ended they issued us these anti-tank weapons. They were like stovepipes. You had to get as close as the front door. I had no intention of using them.

They dropped firebombs on Graz. They would drop them by the thousands. Just to show you that you remember the funny stuff, there was a beautiful neighborhood there called Puntigam. I remember going home, hopping over these picket fences. If they would have timed us, we would have made the Olympics. The picket fences were burning. They were bombing. It was sheer fright making us streak like that. It was a sight to behold.

We used to eat noodles and ground horsemeat and acorn coffee.

One time after we were bombed, I was digging out. I kept trying to lift this typewriter out. It was all mangled, but I kept pulling and trying to get it out. 1 pulled that typewriter

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Jon Rappoport's Blog


Why is it illegal for communities to protect themselves from harm? Dec
by Jon Rappoport
Why is it illegal for communities to protect themselves from harm?

by Jon Rappoport

December 30, 2014


The supposed answer to that question is the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, Article 6, paragraph 2:

“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”

By inference, the individual states declare their own supremacy when local communities try to nullify or avoid state statutes.

Keep in mind that the US Constitution enumerates powers granted to the federal government, and reserves all other powers for the states or the people. But this restraint has been trampled on so many times it’s barely visible under the tonnage of federal law and regulation.

Therefore, the Supremacy Clause becomes: “We, the federal government, can do anything we want to, and the states and the people are bound by it.”

So…what happens when the people of a community decide that a medical drug or pesticide (see also this) or genetically modified organism or fracking chemical or vaccine is poisonous and must be banned?

The state preempts the community, and if the state doesn’t, the federal government will move in and assert its ultimate authority.

Take the case of Roundup, or any of the pesticides that contain the toxic glyphosate. If the EPA or the USDA or the FDA decides glyphosate is harmless, and if their “science” is a sham, and if they are merely caving in to big corporations who want to sell it, the people would have no recourse.

“It’s the law, and you have to submit to liver and kidney damage at the very least.”

That’s the absurdity.

If health and life aren’t the basis of law, if they are ignored, if they are necessary sacrifices on the altar of federal or state control, then all bets are off.

For the past 25 years, I’ve been documenting exactly this: medical and scientific fraud that leads to great harm. This fraud is not only permitted, it’s embodied in federal and state regulations.

I frequently cite Dr. Barbara Starfield’s stunning review, “Is US health really the best in the world?” It was published on July 26, 2000, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

At the time, Starfield was a widely respected public health expert working at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Her credentials and those of JAMA were impeccably mainstream.

She concluded that, every year, FDA-approved medical drugs killed 106,000 Americans. That adds up to over a million deaths per decade.

In the wake of her published review, and for the next nine years, as she told me in a 2009 interview, no one in the federal government approached her to help remedy this ongoing plague of destruction. Nor was she aware of any systematic remedial federal effort.

But you see, the FDA is a federal agency set up by federal law. It is tasked with approving all medical drugs as safe and effective before they are released for public use.

So if a local community decided, on its own, to ban a deadly medicine, its vote would be struck down from above.

“Suffer. Die. It’s the law.”

power outside the matrix

There are people who are happy to settle for choice. “As long as I’m free to refuse the medicine, I’m good. Let others take it if they want to.”

But we’re not talking about a choice between pears and oranges. We’re talking about poison.

And despite recalls, lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, and heavy fines, the killing continues.

Therefore, on the basis of self-protection, a community has the right to enact a ban.

Unless self-protection must surrender to the System. Then we are looking at lawless government pretending to be lawful.

These phrases come to mind:

“…certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

“…in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

Making these goals come to fruition when communities are under toxic attack is impossible. Therefore, governments that support and enshrine such attacks are violating the very origin of laws.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.

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26 comments on “Why is it illegal for communities to protect themselves from harm?”

        Why is it illegal for communities to protect themselves from harm? | peoples trust toronto says:
December 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm
[…] Vía Jon Rappoport’s Blog http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/why-is-it-illegal-for-communities-to-protect-themselves… […]

Mary Macnab says:
December 31, 2014 at 1:05 pm
A reference to the true meaning of the last word “notwithstanding” (as per Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English language” 1882) corrects the misinterpretation of the Supremacy Clause which the federal government claims as its meaning:

“NOTWITHSTANDING, the participle of withstand, with ‘not’ prefixed, and signifying not opposing.”

From Québec says:
December 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm
This is the phrase that comes to my mind:

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

From Québec says:
December 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm
On a another angle, if the Military will not overthrow such despotic Government, you can work on having small victories, attacking smaller companies, like Vani Hari aka the “Food Babe” did and is still doing.

If you boycott small companies that uses toxic products, they will remove them to be able to survive. This is what the “Food Babe” did and is still doing with a lot of success.

If small food companies start getting rid of toxic elements in their foods and pharmacists start banning medical toxic chemicals in their drugs, these BIG BAD Corporations will hurt so badly, that they might get back their sanity.

See all the victories this single girl had:

Start listening at 15:40

Food Babe Attacked For Speaking The Truth

From Québec says:
December 30, 2014 at 6:40 pm

In other words: [politically speaking] Don’t try to blow off the hole building in one shot.
Take one brick at a time and it will eventually crash.

Rastafari says:
December 31, 2014 at 1:29 pm
food babe wants to label GMOs.

she has alot of big-media logos on her site.

she petitions fake-food companies to stop with coloring, antibiotics, etc., and sometimes wants “no gmo” but that is not the top demand.

as long as GMO dominates the scene, nothing else really matters. will I eat at chick fillet if they have removed coloring from their GMO-fed chicken? no.

we who care about this critical issue want to stop the corporations.

but as long as prussian-educated sheeple still eat and support GMO poison-nonfood, we are doomed. looks like the new world order knows this fact.


boycott all of it…

* their “grocery stores” where you can’t find a grocery cart full of real, uncontaminated food.

* their “restaurants” where you can only get government-approved ingredients, no natural food allowed.

* their “food products” which have no food at all in them.

do you shop at wally world or similar? stop now. tell them you are boycotting and that you are joining others to boycott. then do it.

I’ve been doing this for years, and although I promote this as a successful measure to take, I can’t say I’ve had much success with it.

sadder than sad, is that most don’t seem to care. at all.

/s/ Rastafari

seamlessone says:
December 30, 2014 at 7:34 pm
Mob rule is the law of the land, not the Constitution. The big mobs rule the smaller mobs, that is the nature of Democracy. Until mob rule is replaced with something else, that will always be the nature of the beast. Federal representatives represent the greater/larger mob. The smaller mobs are irrelevant. The individual is irrelevant. Inalienable rights are not relevant to the mob. The mob(and/or its representatives) determines what rights are alienable and they can add laws to trump any others at any time. Mob rule trumps all.

Thankfully the mob is slow, and dumb, blind, and easily outsmarted. The mob is highly predictable, and therefore its danger is quite limited.

walt says:
December 31, 2014 at 2:50 am
We are a Republic where the right of one person cannot be outweighed by the mobs.
At least that is what it is suppose to be.

Vincent Nunes says:
January 2, 2015 at 12:20 pm
In absolute agreement – we must remove GMOs and their associated pesticides from our food supply, before our food supply no longer exists.

Terminator genes – remember that.

Doña says:
January 2, 2015 at 12:16 pm
Danger quite limited? That is a naive comment..

seamlessone says:
December 30, 2014 at 8:04 pm
“Therefore, governments that support and enshrine such attacks are violating the very origin of laws.” I would suggest that our current government is the natural outcome of “law”. Seems to me that the origin of “law” with regards to the founding fathers, was in its essence an attempt to protect the mob from itself. It was flawed from the beginning.

Mature men don’t need laws, and the law can only restrain the mob for so long. The founding fathers who truly believed in “unalienable rights” or “natural rights” would have been better off starting their own civilization somewhere, rather than attempting to create a body of law to guide the hoards of immature imbeciles. The mob is not interested in unalienable rights. The mob needs a parent, who gives them rights and structure, and tells them what it means to pursue Liberty and to secure its blessing. The mob is only interested in the kind of freedom that exists under daddy and mommy’s wings.

roberta4949 says:
December 30, 2014 at 8:17 pm
as long as food is properly labeled no need to ban it, people who dont want it wont buy it wont be long before they stop making it (hopfully not get gov to allow them to mislabel it on purpose) but gmo good or bad is still pretty much matter of who you ask. we dont want to make the same mistake gov seem to always make assume they speak for most people when in fact it is actually a minority that want something banned or required. I figure it is best to take scaremongers with a grain of salt until you get enough information (such as reading a good chemistry book is a great start, I tried to read a biochemistry book once will require a bit more effort for me to do so, very dry reading hard to understand sometimes) I say let people decide what they want using their wallets, and stop using government to force ones opinion on others remember it is usually a minority that seems to speak for the majority many times the majority are unware of actions being taken or are fine with the products being used. just require labeling.

Michael Burns says:
January 1, 2015 at 3:19 pm
And in your wisdom Roberta what shall that label be…a skull and cross bones, the usual label for a poison.
Or shall we allow them place a label that states that the product contains a GMO when 90% of the population does not understand what that means…especially for life on planet earth.

roberta4949 says:
January 3, 2015 at 5:31 pm
the problem with bans is they fail to take in account that the information about why something is banned could be wrong. also dont forget it interferes with free will, if someone is ignorant of something there is plenty of information for them to read, I will give you an example, for me I was trying to increase my intake of whole grains for my carb sources instead of the stripped stuff so how do I know what I am getting? it is called reading, I got on the web and looked up defintions of whole grains what is considered a whole grain and how to read labels the problem with people today is they want to be led by the hand all the time, without using their head ot gain knowledge. wisdom keeps crying out in the streets so to speak but most ignore it because they dont want to be bothered with educating themselves. and frankly I do not like others making decisions for me using state power to force me to not have something i want or may not want, the choice should be mine should it not? if 90 percent do not understand why dont you campaige for increasing their knowledge? does a parent stop educating their children and lead them their whole lives what to pick do eat or not eat or where to go what life decisions to make and what career choices to make how to spend their money what to vote on? no you educate htem teach them how to find information, how to think for themselves and how to decide. where to go for information and how to weight costs/benefits. and then decide for themselves. will they always make the right choice that doens’t lead to a serious problem for them? no, but that is how you learn. you make your bed and you sleep in it, you dont sleep in it then complain no one else made the bed for you. you dont force your opinions on others through state force, because that opinion is usually developed by someone elses poltical agenda that has nothing to do with science and everything to do with gaining power or destroying competitors or some other agenda they have that we would refuse if it were plainly stated.

Jill Hall says:
December 30, 2014 at 9:25 pm
The generalized answer to the question is that it’s “bad for business”, and so must not be allowed. We are living in a world where the decision-makers worship money, or (as they used to say) Mammon. But there is no indication that the neo-liberal cult of “growth” is anything other than a surrogate religion that demands worldwide subservience. Whom does it benefit? The “priest” class, as always. The supposed “trickledown” effect that got the Randian romantic Milton Friedman his Nobel Prize in economics (awarded solely, btw, by the Swedish National Bank) has not happened after 30 years, and the world is worse off than anyone can remember.

Capitalism eventually eats itself. For a consumer society to exist, there needs to be a large middle class that can afford to buy products they don’t actually need, but would like to have. But corporations owned by blind shareholders/investors are only interested in increasing profits, which is now achieved by investing in automation and robotics rather than employing pesky salaried workers. Thus the buying force disappears, and the consumer society caves in.

Paul Tarsuss says:
December 31, 2014 at 12:03 am
‘When you see total corruption come to power, know that I am nigh at the door’ – Jesus Christ



Blessings All, in Jesus Christ

robinsoncaruso1 says:
December 31, 2014 at 12:05 am
Mahalo again bro. always enjoy your intellect.

enlitnd1 says:
December 31, 2014 at 1:29 am
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
What laws are the supreme law of the land?
Those made in PURSUANCE of the Constitution. To pursue means to follow. That restricts legislation to those enumerated powers found within article1, section 8 of the Constitution.
Which treaties shall be the supreme law of the land?
Those treaties made under the authority of the united States.
What is the authority of the united States?
The enumerated powers found in article1, section 8 of the Constitution.

seamlessone says:
December 31, 2014 at 4:43 am
Authority is irrelevant without force. Try to “enforce” the constitution and it quickly becomes clear that ‘enforcement force’ is lacking. When your unalienable rights are being trampled on, who are you going to call? The police? A lawyer? Your Senator? Sure. What agency is going to protect your unalienable rights? The very idea of unalienable rights is a joke nowadays, and most people are clueless as to what that phrase even means, ie to what it points.

Unalienable rights(Natural Law) is the Supreme Law of the Land and it existed long before the Bill of Rights. Billions of years before! Its scope is far beyond the Bill of Rights. Frankly, Natural Law didn’t ever need the protection of the Founding Fathers to begin with, and still doesn’t to this day. People mistakenly equate a support for the Bill of Rights with a kind of support for our Unalienable Rights. Unalienable rights do not need the protection from a Bill of Rights, and as history has shown, the mob doesn’t care about Bills of Rights and when they have sufficient force to trample such Bills (without consequence) they will.

calusirius says:
December 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm
“When your unalienable rights are being trampled on, who are you going to call?”


“WE…” are the militia of the several states. Those who serve within our governments were forbidden to create law enforcement – federal and state. They were required to use us, as the Militia which is why the congress can call us, as the trained Militia, out, and the president THEN becomes the Commander in Chief. Then if needed a military is formed, usually form the ranks of the Militia. It is why the Governor can call them out when needed for the state.

Tench Coxe: “Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American…The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

Richard Henry Lee: “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”

Samuel Adams: “It is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to have an army stationed among them, over which they have no control … The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no danger of their making use of their Power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them..”

George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment: “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

Samuel Adams: “Under every government the last resort of the people, is an appeal to the sword; whether to defend themselves against the open attacks of a foreign enemy, or to check the insidious encroachments of domestic foes. Whenever a people … entrust the defence of their country to a regular, standing army, composed of mercenaries, the power of that country will remain under the direction of the most wealthy citizens.
And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions”.

Patrick Henry: “If you have given up your militia, and Congress shall refuse to arm them, you have lost every thing. Your existence will be precarious, because you depend on others, whose interests are not affected by your infelicity.”

Even George Washington believed that we should have our own sources of military arms just in case.

George Washington: “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies.”

Defiant says:
December 31, 2014 at 10:57 am
I sometimes…often…disagree with you…but today you’re RIGHT ON THE MONEY!

Andrewjohn says:
December 31, 2014 at 11:06 am
The US Constitution in and of itself is a sham and a snare and one’s belief in this phony document ultimately leads to damnation and I’ll explain why.

There are two frames for instituting Law. By the Church and State or separate of the Church and State. The key question everyone has on their mind or should have on their mind is Church? Which Church then?? The Church founded by Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church of the One Great Faith! And that Faith is Catholicism….and headed by the Church at Rome, therefore Roman Catholicism.

What people fail to realize and understand is that the movement of one heretical and demonic man known as Martin Luther failed miserably at his calling which he chose when he entered a German Monestary. Needless to say , Luther didn’t like it. So he pinned his 95 thesis to the door of the monastery on All Hallow’s Eve in 1517. All Hallow’s Eve is traditionally known as Halloween and it is the day before All Saint’s Day which is a Feast day in Roman Catholicism honoring the Saints who’ve been Canonized.

Many expert Catholic Theologians agree that in 1517 Christendom began its gradual downward slid and the Apostacy age began. This was an epic notable mark within the Church Age which Jesus Christ Himself said that His Kingdom would reign for a 1000 years. It is understood that the Christiandom clock started when the Roman Empire was the first country in Europe to recognize Catholicism as a legal right and was granted total state protection. This was accomplished under Constatine in 330AD or there abouts. Before this however, Christendom made a strong impression on Europe when a little farm girl who became known as Jone of Arc lead her fellow Frence Countrymen against the wicked rebels of… guess who boys & girls??? That’s right children, Bloody England! When England was Catholic it was known as Mary ( Merry ) England. But with its bellicose attitude and complete disregard for human rights and equal privileges for those who sought the benefits of hard work, family, liberty, and property rights, English evil government was a complete opposite. The tyrants reap what people have sown unto themselves.

In 1717 Heretic and Tyrant Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and was excommunicated because of an issue with his first wife whom he murdered because she couldn’t bear him a son. Prior, he sought a divorce which the church refused to grant him an annulment.

So the Demonic church of England was formed by the head demon himself. At this point, all I will indicated is that England has been the world’s cancer and has been for a very long time. Even as far back as the 1200’s with England constantly picking fights with Scotland and Ireland. This country of murders and thieves i.e. England is what needs to be examined for centuries of human rights crimes and it’s no plainer that that.

The lesson is that the United States Inc. is a clone of England and do keep in mind that it was England that created the movement for the criminal zionist state of Israelhel and thus the Bolshivik Revolution. It was England along with their Traitorus henchmen of Scotland who opposed Roman Catholicism and brought about the Illuminati i.e. the York and Scottish Rites of the Masons. Behind the scene were the Bloshivk jews of Russia. Keep in mind that the plan for the Russian revolt was hatched out of York! New York that is.

The framers of the US Constitution and including george washington were nothing but a bunch of murdering marauders with a human rights crimes sheet that stretches for miles. They were not Christian of the Catholic sect so they were heretics. The form of government they brought to America was De Facto meaning by force and not justice. Compared to De Jure law which has as it’s Ministers people of Lord God’s will which Lord God Himself considered all his work good!

Without the True Church restored in Holy union with the State you will have nothing but Zionist agony til the end of days. And by De Jure law it is up to every capable Man to make that restoration occur.

Michael Burns says:
January 1, 2015 at 3:51 pm
By Pope Francis estimation there are 8000 paedophile priests of a clergy of 414,000…
what he failed to mention is how many cardinals and popes are/were paedophiles.
The priesthood has always been a perfect hideout for these sick individuals.
Personally I am not ready for that many paedophiles in government. But of course we have had megalomaniac, sadomasochism, psychopaths, liars, sodomites, xenophobes…might as well add pedophilia to the mix.


calusirius says:
December 31, 2014 at 1:02 pm
First, it is the US Constitution AND ALL THAT IS “IN PURSUANCE THEREOF” it that is supreme, not the people who serve within the federal or state governments. Where it it does not conflict with the states or where it is not expressly stated within the US Constitution or in the state-that -you-are-located-in’s Constitution then it is up to the people themselves.

More then that, the duties of those who serve within the federal government are separated into 3 branches, each with authority over different and listed things with very few LISTED where 2 branches share the authority – which is the only time they can share it.

What our problem is today is that many federal agencies are under the executive branch, but are using the authority (powers) of the other two branches which is forbidden to them. The executive branch executes the laws made by those we put into office. Those legislators are NOT allowed to hand those decisions to any agencies assisting them. Nor can they pass their authority to another branch.

Basically, none of those agencies have any legitimate authority for what they do. Why? Because they blend all three branches powers into one agency, usually under the executive branch. They create the law or regulation (legislative), they decide if you are guilty of breaking it (judicial duty with a jury of ones peers), and then they enforce it (executive branch). That breaks completely the separation of powers required by the US Constitution.

As Dr. Edwin Vieira: “This has nothing to do with personalities or subjective ideas. It’s a matter of what the Constitution provides…

The government of the United States has never violated anyone’s constitutional rights…
The government of the United States will never violate anyone constitutional rights, because it cannot violate anyone’s constitutional rights. The reason for that is: The government of the United States is that set of actions by public officials that are consistent with the Constitution. Outside of its constitutional powers, the government of the United States has no legitimacy. It has no authority; and, it really even has no existence. It is what lawyers call a legal fiction.

… the famous case Norton v. Shelby County… The Court said: “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties. It is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”

And that applies to any (and all) governmental action outside of the Constitution…”
What are the defining characteristics of a limited government? They are its disabilities; what it does not have legal authority to do. Look at the First Amendment… What does it do? It guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion. But how does it do that? I quote: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” etcetera. “Congress shall make no law;” that’s a statement of an absence of power. That’s a statement of a disability…

How do you define, or how would you characterize, a government resting in the unrestrained will of Congress, or any other political body? It is by definition a totalitarian government…

Well, Americans would have had to understand and enforce their Constitution. You notice I say Americans, not the Congress or the Supreme Court, because who is the final arbiter of this document? [holding a copy of the Constitution] It is not Congress, and it is not the Supreme Court. It is “we the people.” Read the thing. How does it start? “We the people do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States”; not “we the politicians,” not “we the judges.” Those people are the agents of the people. We the people are the principals.
The doctrine is very clear that, being the principals, we are the Constitution’s ultimate interpreters and enforcers. You don’t have to take my word for it. Let’s go back to the Founding Fathers…
The Founding Fathers were profound students of law and political philosophy, their knowledge unequaled by any today. Their mentor in that era was William Blackstone, who wrote Blackstone’s Commentaries, probably the most widely read legal treatise of its time, certainly here in the United States. What did Blackstone write about this subject? He wrote, “Whenever a question arises between the society at large and any magistrate vested with powers originally delegated by that society, it must be decided by the voice of the society itself; there is not upon earth any other tribunal to resort to.”
We the people are the Constitution’s ultimate interpreters. (Dr. Edwin Vieira, http://www.constitution.org/mon/vieira_03225.htm )

James Madison : “Because if . . . [An Unalienable Natural Right of Free Men] . . . be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited: It is limited with regard to the coordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free Government requires, not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained: but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the greater Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them, and are Slaves”

The answer is easy, know the US Constitution. Enforce it as the Militia of the several states since they are the ONLY constitutionally assigned force with the constitutionally assigned duties to:
– Enforce the US Constitution and each state’s Constitution,
– Enforce and keep the “Laws of the Union” (which are constitutional laws ONLY),
– Protect the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, and
– “to suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”.

Thomas Jefferson: “The government created by this compact (the Constitution) was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party (the people of each state) has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”

Alexander Hamilton: “Every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

James Madison, Federalist 46, 315-23: “The Foederal and State Governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, instituted with different powers, and designated for different purposes… They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone; and that it will not depend merely on the comparative ambition or address of the different governments, whether either, or which of them, will be able to enlarge its sphere of jurisdiction at the expence of the other. Truth no less than decency requires, that the event in every case, should be supposed to depend on the sentiments and sanction of their common constituents.”

James Madison: “The ultimate authority resides in the people, and that if the federal government got too powerful and overstepped its authority, then the people would develop plans of resistance and resort to arms.”

Federalist 57, James Madison wrote that Congress “can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society.”

Madison, Federalist 39: “Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.”
Alexander Hamilton: “Until the people have, by some solemn and authoritative act, annulled or changed the established form, it is binding upon themselves collectively, as well as individually; and no presumption, or even knowledge, of their sentiments, can warrant their representatives in a departure from it, prior to such an act.” (It was established!)

28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

Amaterasu Solar says:
December 31, 2014 at 1:16 pm
Considering that We have had, since 1871, a (foreign owned) corporation masquerading as [redface]ur” governMENT (controlMIND), that has a corporate structure that reads mostly like the original constitution (but that the phrase “for the united states of America” was changed to “of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”), and without the Bill of Rights – from which We get the powers reserved to Us in the 10th amendment – We can see why this corporation does what it does with impunity. The original government stands vacant, and the Bill of Rights moot.

Corporate “law” states that profit is the prime purpose of all corporations. Not the good of the People.

A solution to this is to make corporations moot. And to set up governANCE that promotes the PRINCIPLES We are told this country stands for: Individual freedom, pursuit of happiness, and the ability for All to create as They choose within Ethics.

My work is geared to that end and I share again, for the reader, the solution which will provide Us with true freedom while making all corporations moot:

T.A.P. – You’re It!


“Revolution in ideas, not blood.”


“Did You give an oath and find it’s bait and switch? Well, there is no oath then, is there?”
“ALL money systems promote the most psychopathic to the top of the money/power heap – THEY will do ANYTHING to get there.”
“The love of money is the root of all evil; remove the soil in which the root grows…”
“If the universe is made of mostly “dark” energy…can We use it to run Our cars?”
“If You want peace, take the PROFIT out of war.”

Colin Greenlaw says:
January 1, 2015 at 4:29 pm
Yes, Jon, the very “origin of laws” – the Source of our being, who founded the very principle of law and enunciated ten basic precepts that should underlie every humane and protective enactment. The government (national, corporate, or individual) which by proclamation or legislation violates those principles, is by nature in defiance of not only those immutable laws, but undermines its own sustainability and will ultimately self-destruct. The Eternal is above and beyond the impudence and insolence of mortal man, not only in power and intellect, but by virtue of patience and humility to extend the offering of repentance and redemption for all humankind to the designated higher state.

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Ex-corporal cops plea in DEA agent assassination plot

January 13, 2015 | 8:38pm
Ex-corporal cops plea in DEA agent assassination plot

A former German corporal who authorities say is a deadly sniper copped a plea Tuesday to being part of a squadron of elite ex-military personnel that plotted to assassinate a federal DEA agent.
Dennis “Nico” Gogel pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to conspiring to murder the agent and a confidential informant in Liberia for a $800,000 payday.
Gogel – who faces a likely sentence of up to 28 years in prison under his deal with the feds — also confessed to other crimes including attempting to import cocaine and possessing machine guns with silencers and other firearms. He had faced life in prison prior to copping a plea.
Led by Former US Army Sgt. Joseph “Rambo” Hunter, the international crew of veteran snipers and ex-counter-intelligence officers formed a security detail and hit squad for a supposed crew of heavyweight Colombian drug smugglers, who were working with authorities, the feds said.
The bloody band of brothers also included former US Army Sgt. Timothy Vamvakias, former Polish counter-terrorism expert Slawomir Soboros
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