ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Dissidents ‘want troops on streets’

RADICAL REPUBLICANS TIED TO BOMBINGS INTENDED TO DEPLOY TROOPS IN CITY STREETS.

Arlene Foster, David Simpson and Lord Morrow following a meeting with Security Minister Paul Goggins
Arlene Foster, David Simpson and Lord Morrow following a meeting with Security Minister Paul Goggins
A STARK warning that dissident republicans are intent on stoking violence to bring troops back onto the streets was offered yesterday by the DUP after a meeting with the Security Minister.
MLAs Arlene Foster, David Simpson and Lord Morrow of Clogher Valley met with Paul Goggins at Stormont in the wake of recent attempted bomb attacks in the Fermanagh border area.

The latest device was found at Wattlebridge, near Newtownbutler, on Saturday after two separate telephoned warnings to police.

Following yesterday’s meeting, the DUP called for full PSNI resources to be targeted on the dissident groups.

Mr Simpson said: “People want to see this threat nipped in the bud early before these groups have a chance to grow in strength and capacity to engage in criminality.”

Lord Morrow of Clogher Valley said: “The level of threat which dissident republicans pose to the police and public has increased. They are actively recruiting and they are growing.”

Mrs Foster said: “The dissident republicans are trying to prevent the normalisation of Northern Ireland society.

“What they want to see happen is soldiers back on Ulster’s streets. We must not give in to their agenda.”

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said that those responsible for the bomb at Wattlebridge offered nothing positive.

British Troops take to streets for battle fitness test

BritishTroops take to streets for battle fitness test

By JENNI DUNNING

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Soldiers carrying guns will be marching through London streets this week.

But don’t be alarmed, the guns aren’t loaded.

It’s just practice for the annual battle fitness test for about 50 members of the 22 London Service Battalion, an army logistics unit.

“Our intent is not to scare anybody, it’s just to conduct our training,” said Capt. Tristan Hatfield, an operations and training officer.

The group started last night, marching 9.4 kilometres in full gear — carrying rucksacks, tactical vests and weapons.

Tomorrow, they will march 7.7 kilometres and then 5.1 kilometres on Oct. 23.

After each march, they do a so-called fireman’s carry, hoisting another soldier and equipment over a distance.

The battalion will join others from Windsor and Hamilton at CFB Borden on Oct. 26 for the actual fitness test — a 13-kilometre march.

They must complete the test in slightly more than two hours, which is the minimum fitness requirement for the Canadian Forces.

Local battalions usually do practice marches on country roads north of London or at Wolseley Barracks.

This year, they decided to change the routine and hit the city’s streets.

“It’s basically that we don’t want to walk in circles on the base,” Hatfield joked.

The soldiers do a loop from the barracks on Oxford Street East, head west to Dufferin Avenue, then turn around, heading through side roads to Quebec Street and Mornington Avenue.

Most of the streets have sidewalks, so the group won’t stop traffic or have to close roads.

The march can sometimes be mind over body, Hatfield said.

“You’re thinking about the march and how much your feet hurt . . . and not step on uneven ground.

“It is essentially a good time to get to know one another, the soldiers. You move as a group and arrive . . . fit to fight. It gets easier every year that you do it.”

Is Martial Law Imminent?

Is Martial Law Imminent?

Dave Gibson
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, 15,000 federal troops patrolled the streets of New Orleans. We were told that they were there to stop the looting and perform humanitarian duties. Of course, the widespread looting was brought under control, but under that control, many law-abiding citizens lost their rights as well. Soldiers as well as armed Blackwater contractors went house to house, detaining citizens and confiscating their firearms…Martial law had come to New Orleans.

The worst scene I can remember from those terrible days was of a patrol of U.S. soldiers arriving at the home of an elderly woman. The soldiers forced their way into the woman´s home, wrestled her to her kitchen floor, handcuffed her, and confiscated her revolver (her only protection against the violent criminals in that city). The woman cried and pleaded with the soldiers to allow her to protect herself.

Despite her loud protests, the soldiers then picked up the woman and placed her onto the back of their truck. Though she wanted to stay in her home, these soldiers took her away against her own will.

I don´t know what happened to that poor woman, but I remember thinking…MY God! If that can happen there, it can happen in any American city!

Unfortunately, it would appear that the groundwork for martial law in this country has been laid and may be soon implemented. It could be declared in the event of another terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or even a worsening financial crisis.

On October 13, President Euro Pacific Capital Peter Schiff appeared on the Glenn Beck Show. Their most troubling exchange follows:

SCHIFF: You know, what`s going to happen, of course, is as inflation starts running out of control and prices start going through the roof, the government again is going to focus on the symptoms and not the disease.And they are going to impose price controls on energy, on food, on a lot of other things that are vital, which means shortages, which means long lines, black markets, civil unrest. All this stuff is coming if we don`t stop. [...]

BECK: Peter, let`s talk a little bit about martial law. Why would that even be a consideration?

SCHIFF: Well, I don`t think it was a threat if they had rejected the bailout Bill, but I think it is a possibility a few years down the line. We just spoke a little bit about price controls and the effect that they are going to have.

If we have shortages of food, if we have rolling blackouts. And people are upset, and they are hungry, and they are cold, there could be civil unrest. There could be looting, rioting, and that might be the impetus for the government to declare martial law.

BECK: You know, I don`t think you`re a couple of years away from something like that. I mean, honestly, Peter, I mean, look at what`s happening. In a half hour, I`ve got a congressman on about — about the racism cries. I mean, there are people that are right now so disenfranchised, and I think being encouraged to be disenfranchised on both sides, that at any time this damn thing could break apart.

SCHIFF: Yes. And we`re giving the government so much power. And you know, you give up a lot more civil liberties. When you have martial law and you`ve got the military policing our streets, when you`ve got suspension of habeas corpus, you`ve got curfews, you can`t be out of your house after dark, and they can just pick you up and put you in prison and keep you there indefinitely without charges, and there`s nothing you can do about it?

I mean, we`re giving up one liberty after another, all to protect ourselves from this economic crisis, which needs to happen anyway, but it doesn`t need to be nearly this bad.

BECK: Peter, this is — I mean, we`re in Crazytown, USA. But my gut tells me that, two years down the road — let`s just use that number — this country is not going to look anything like it does today. Our world has changed; it just hasn`t caught up.

On October 17, 2006, President Bush signed into law the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. The new law allows the President to declare a “public emergency” at his own discretion, and place federal troops anywhere throughout the United States. Under this law, the President also now has the authority to federalize National Guard troops without the consent of Governors, in order to restore “public order.” The President can now deploy federal troops to U.S. cities, which eliminates the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. In short, Bush can now declare Martial Law anytime he pleases.

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An Excerpt from the John Warner Defense Authorization Act follows:

Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.” Section 333, “Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law” states that “the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of (“refuse” or “fail” in) maintaining public order, “in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.

On October 1, the U.S. Army´s 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division began their stateside mission under U.S. Northern Command. It is the first time that an active duty Army unit has been assigned this type of mission. They are known as the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force. They will be responsible for responding to terrorist attacks, and restoring order in case of civil unrest.

Among supposed humanitarian duties, their specific job is to provide crowd and traffic control and to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

In addition to their standard weapons, the 1st Brigade has been equipped with mobile road blocks, spike strips for stopping vehicles, shields and batons, beanbag bullets, and taser guns.

Last month, Col. Roger Cloutier told the Army Times: “It´s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they´re fielding. They´ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we´re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The soldiers of the Third Infantry Divison are battle-hardened combat veterans and have done three tours of duty in Iraq, they hardly seem suited to “crowd control” duties.

Ordinarily, such use of the military on U.S. soil would violate the law. However, with Bush´s order to suspend Posse Comitatus, the military is now free to patrol the streets of our cities and arrest American citizens.

Recently, the Congress approved the $850 billion bailout of Wall Street, but not before the public overwhelmingly objected, which prompted the House of Representatives to initially reject the bill. Despite our objections, many Congressmen who only days earlier were adamantly opposed to any such measure, returned and voted to approve the bailout and even added $150 billion to the original bill. Why would lawmakers only a month away from an election make such a vastly unpopular move?

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) seems to have answered this question, though the press has largely ignored the stunning information he divulged.

Congressman Sherman on the House floor told his colleagues and the C-SPAN cameras alike: “Many of us were told in private conversations that if we voted against this bill on Monday that the sky would fall, the market would drop two or three thousand points the first day, another couple thousand points the second day, and a few members were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no.”

A very troubling report came out in August 2007, when KSLA-12 in Shreveport, Louisiana reported that members of the clergy have been enrolled in a federal education program, which teaches them how to “quell dissent” amongst their congregations. So-called Clergy Response Teams are being trained by FEMA to convince people to follow government orders, in the event of martial law.

The evidence that we the people are at risk of being placed under martial law, and losing all of our rights as guaranteed by the Constitution is overwhelming.

Thirty years ago, we enjoyed the benefits of a press which took their responsibility to the public very seriously. Any signs pointing to the implementation of martial law would have drawn the attention of our journalists. However, in the age of “imbedded reporters,” our press has a much-too cozy relationship with those in government. A complicit press is making it easy for our government to erode civil liberties.

As the old Chinese curse states…These are “interesting times” indeed.

Civilian dead are a trade-off in Nato’s war of barbarity

Civilian dead are a trade-off in Nato’s

war of barbarity

The killing of innocent Afghans by US bombs is the result of a calculation, not just a mistake. And it is fuelling resistance

Seumas Milne

While the eyes of the western world have been fixed on the global financial crisis, the military campaign that launched the war on terror has been spinning out of control. Seven years after the US and Britain began their onslaught on Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and capture Osama bin Laden, the Taliban surround the capital, al-Qaida is flourishing in Pakistan and the war’s sponsors have publicly fallen out about whether it has already been lost.

As the US joint chiefs of staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen concedes that the country is locked into a “downward spiral” of corruption, lawlessness and insurgency, Britain’s ambassador in Kabul, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, is quoted in a leaked briefing as declaring that “American strategy is destined to fail”. The same diplomat who told us last year that British forces would be in Afghanistan for decades now believes foreign troops are “part of the problem, not the solution”.

The British commander Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith was last week even blunter. “We’re not going to win this war,” he said, adding that if the Taliban were prepared to “talk about a political settlement”, that was “precisely the sort of progress that concludes insurgencies like this”. The double-barrelled duo were duly slapped down by US defence secretary Robert Gates for defeatism. But even Gates now publicly backs talks with the Taliban, which are in fact already taking place under Saudi sponsorship.

This is the conflict western politicians and media continue to urge their reluctant populations to support as a war for civilisation. In reality, it is a war of barbarity, whose contempt for the value of Afghan life has fuelled the very resistance that western military and political leaders are now unable to contain.

In this year alone, for every occupation soldier killed, at least three Afghan civilians have died at the hands of occupation forces. They include the 95 people, 60 of them children, killed by a US air assault in Azizabad in August; the 47 wedding guests dismembered by US bombardment in Nangarhar in July – US forces have a particular habit of attacking weddings; and the four women and children killed in a British rocket barrage six weeks ago in Sangin.

By far the most comprehensive research into Afghan casualties over the past seven years has been carried out by Marc Herold, a US professor at the University of New Hampshire. In his latest findings, Herold estimates that the number of civilians directly killed by the US and other Nato forces since 2006, up to 3,273, is already higher than the toll exacted by the devastating three-month bombardment that ousted the Taliban regime in 2001. And over the past year civilian deaths at the hands of Nato forces have tripled, despite changes in rules of engagement.

But most telling is the political and military calculation that underlies the Afghan civilian bloodletting. “Close air support” bomb attacks called in by ground forces – which rose from 176 in 2005 to 2,926 in 2007 and are now the US tactic of choice – are between four and 10 times as deadly for Afghan civilians as ground attacks, the figures show, and air strikes now account for 80% of those killed by the occupation forces.

But while 242 US and Nato ground troops have died in the war with the Taliban this year, not a single pilot has been killed in action. The trade-off could not be clearer. With troops thin on the ground and the US military up to their necks in Iraq and elsewhere, US and Nato reliance on air attacks minimises their own casualties while guaranteeing that Afghan civilians will die in far larger numbers.

It is that equation that makes a nonsense of US and British claims that their civilian victims are accidental “collateral damage”, while the Taliban’s use of roadside bombs, suicide attacks and classic guerrilla operations from civilian areas are a sign of their moral depravity. In real life, the escalating civilian death toll is not a mistake, but the result of a clear decision to put the lives of occupation troops before civilians; westerners before Afghans.

Dependence on air power is also a reflection of US imperial overstretch and the reluctance of Nato states to put more boots on the ground. But however much the nominal Afghan president Hamid Karzai rails against Nato’s recklessness with Afghan blood, the indiscriminate air war carries on regardless. Given that the US government spent 10 times more on every sea otter affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill than it does in “condolence payments” to Afghans for the killing of a family member, perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

But nor should it be that the occupation’s cruelty is a recruiting sergeant for the Taliban. As Aga Lalai, who lost both grandparents, his wife, father, three brothers and four sisters in a US bombing in Helmand last summer, put it: “So long as there is just one 40-day-old boy remaining alive, Afghans will fight against the people who do this to us.”

That doesn’t just go for Afghanistan. Gordon Brown recently told British troops in Helmand: “What you are doing here prevents terrorism coming to the streets of Britain.” The opposite is the case. The occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq – and the atrocities carried out against their people – are a crucial motivation for those planning terror attacks in Britain, as case after case has shown. Now the US is launching attacks inside Pakistan, the risks of further terror and destabilisation can only grow.

Senior Pakistani officials are convinced Nato is preparing to throw in the towel in Afghanistan. Both Bush and the two US presidential candidates are committed to an Iraq-style surge, though the number of troops being talked about cannot possibly make a decisive difference to the conflict – and in Barack Obama’s case may be as much about providing political cover for his plans for Iraq. But the strategic importance of Afghanistan doesn’t suggest any early US withdrawal: more likely an attempt to co-opt sections of the Taliban as part of a messy and protracted attempt to rearrange the occupation.

It will fail. The US and its allies cannot pacify Afghanistan nor seal the border with the Taliban’s Pakistani sanctuary. Eventually there is bound to be some sort of negotiated withdrawal as part of a wider regional and domestic settlement. But many thousands of Afghans – as well as occupying troops – look certain to be sacrificed in the meantime.

s.milne@guardian.co.uk

Spying on Activists Discussed at Forum

Spying on Activists Discussed at Forum
Group Questions Why Some, Not Others

By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 12, 2008; C03

The 53 men and women wrongly classified by the Maryland State Police as terrorists include two Catholic nuns, a Democratic candidate for Congress, a man who campaigns against military recruiting at high schools and one person who has never set foot in the state.

They share a passion for peaceful political protest. But as the activists were invited last week to review their files before they are purged from state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, their identities indicate that the 14-month surveillance operation in 2005 and 2006 targeted not just local opponents of the death penalty and Iraq war, as police claim, but a broader group.

Frederick lawyer Barry Kissin, his wife and two other members of the Frederick Progressive Action Coalition received letters from the police last week notifying them that they were on the list. Since the anthrax attacks in 2001, the group has been devoted to marching peacefully to fight the government’s expansion of biodefense research at Fort Detrick, arguing that the research will pose a health threat.

“That’s what ties the four of us together,” said Kissin, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat in 2006.

Kissin was one of 70 activists who gathered at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church yesterday for a forum sponsored by the Washington Peace Center to discuss a strategy to ensure that their names are erased from any anti-terrorism databases. Among their questions are why some of them were targeted and others spared. Some people named in surveillance logs released in July by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland — which sued for the documents under public records laws — have not been contacted by police.

Some who made the list said they were not in Maryland when the spying took place, prompting them to wonder if the operation went on for longer or if their names were culled from other databases. The activists were furious that they will not be allowed to keep paper copies of their files or review them with attorneys for the ACLU, which is representing many of them.

“I am not a fringe person, and none of us are fringe people,” said David Zirin, a sportswriter and death penalty opponent from Silver Spring, referring to a characterization by former state police superintendent Thomas E. Hutchins at a legislative hearing last week.

State police spokesman Greg Shipley said Friday that he did not know how commanders in the Division of Homeland Security and Intelligence decided which names to enter in the databases. “What [State Police Superintendent Col. Terrence B. Sheridan] has said is the action taken wasn’t appropriate and that’s why the individuals’ names are being purged.”

State Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery) told the group that he plans to co-sponsor a bill in the upcoming legislative session that would prohibit covert monitoring by police of any political group unless they have an “articulated” suspicion of criminal activity.

Their antiwar protests landed Sister Carol Gilbert and Sister Ardeth Platte, both of Baltimore , in federal prison in Colorado after they trespassed on a military base and poured blood into a nuclear missile silo to protest the war in Afghanistan . When they received their letters from the state police, they were offended that they would be able to review only “relevant” information the police have gathered on them. “Anything you have on me is relevant as far as I’m concerned,” Gilbert said.

Nancy Kricorian, a New York writer who coordinates that state’s chapter of Code Pink, a national nonviolent women’s antiwar group, said she received an e-mail from the state police Monday asking for her address. She thought it was a prank. “Honestly, I’ve never been to Maryland,” she said, although she might have driven down Interstate 95 to the District to march in a Mother’s Day peace vigil in Lafayette Square. When Code Pink plans a protest in New York , she’s the one who calls police to let them know. “To me that’s a big irony here, that I’m the police liaison,” she said.

Although most activists on the list appear to represent progressive causes, a neo-Nazi who says he is the leader of the American National Socialist Workers Party said police contacted him last week, too. William A. White said that he moved from Derwood to Roanoke , Va. , in 2003, and wondered why he was under surveillance. White said he espouses nonviolence, although he has faced several criminal charges.

Pat Elder of Bethesda said he believed he was targeted for his leadership of a national network that opposes military recruitment in high schools. When he called the police to arrange to review his file, he said he was told he would have only a half-hour. After he requested more time, the commander on the phone told him he could have it because his file was “quite extensive.”

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