Election Fraud is NOT the Real Problem – The Entire System is Corrupt!

Election Fraud is NOT the Real Problem – The Entire System is Corrupt!

Written by Jesse Richard

I am tired of hearing pathetic Democrats cry about stolen elections. Fine…it has been proven that George W. Bush and his handlers stole the last two presidential elections. The evidence is voluminous. The fact is that we have been living under the rule of enemies domestic for almost eight years and Congress, along with our military, have allowed these enemies of the state to remain in control of our government. Doesn’t that tell you something? Don’t you see a larger problem here?

Let me tell you whiny Democrats something…the Bush cartel did not steal the elections from the Democrats…they stole the election from the other criminal cartels who decide in advance which men we may choose from to be our president!

The battle over who becomes president does not take place among the citizens of this nation, it takes place among groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group. Let me tell you something…the Cheney/PNAC cabal stole the elections from George H.W. Bush, James Baker, George Schultz and associates, not from the Democrats. They are the ones who assembled the Bush administration and rigged the 2000 election to place them in power as a proxy presidential administration. The problem was that the Neocons, once in office, took control and did what they wanted to do, not what their sponsors wanted them to do.

Here is how it used to work. The media, which is controlled by the real power brokers in this nation, have controlled elections in the past by presenting and withholding selected information from the public in order to influence their voting. By doing so, they pretty much guarantee the outcome of an election. Do you think that if the media did their job and actually informed the public accurately about who George W. Bush was and what his qualifications were he would have stood a chance of becoming a US President? This guy was less qualified to be president than Brittney Spears is qualified to be a parent! He was a proxy for the real power brokers – the Bush Sr./James Baker gang. The problem was that those guys underestimated Cheney and his re-assembled crazies!

In 2000, the Internet came to the rescue of the electorate. For the first time, the public saw through the media mind control and voted against the pre-selected winner. Even the US media could not make a case for the pathetically unqualified historical failure known as W., becoming the next US president. The people were not going to follow the propaganda of the media and they were going to cast their votes accordingly. So the power brokers rigged the election in a new way…they messed with the votes.

In 2000, Al Gore was the people’s choice, or so it seemed. You see Gore was the choice of the people only because the media, at the behest of the power brokers, only present us with their menu. We think we get to choose our president, but we only see the menu after it is prepared by the global power broker chefs.

You can never become president. No matter how qualified you are your message will never be heard by your fellow Americans unless you are accepted by the power brokers. The damn media admit this to you every damn election! They tell you right out who is and who is not “electable!” They say this on the air! Pardon my language but what the fuck does that mean? Who the hell are they to tell me, a voter, who is electable? In a democracy we tell the media who is electable, in a dictatorship they tell us! Wake up folks…it’s obvious!

The fact is that in order to be a US president, or a member of Congress who has even the slightest relevance, you must be approved by either the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission (Obama) or these days the Neocons (McCain).

And guess who has the last say about whom you can elect, or I should say “select”? AIPAC! That’s right…if Israel doesn’t pre-approve our politicians…forget it…they are not selectable! And that’s a fact!

Wake up folks…the system is broken and for the life of me I can’t think of a single way to use the system to fix the system. We need a new system. “Selecting” a Democrat is not the answer. Our problems are bigger than that. Until we accept this fact we will continue to tear our nation apart with the red herring known as the “our guy is better than their guy” game. Republicans, Democrats and all other party members…get this through your heads…NONE OF THEM ARE OUR GUYS! Left & Right Unite! Think about it!

Chinese Summer Olympics Paid for by USA

Chinese Summer Olympics Paid for by USA

From American Gold to Gold Medals, the Chinese Win Twice

By Joel Hirschhorn,

The majesty, creativity and uniqueness of the Summer Olympics in China cannot be denied. It is an entertainment spectacle that will long be remembered and used as the gold standard that other nations will find difficult to match. Some people praise the Chinese for the gift they have given the world. But the economics of these Olympics merit more serious examination. Americans have paid for the massive, multi-billion dollar spending to create the Olympics venues in China.

First, over many years, American consumers have had little choice but to purchase Chinese products because myriad companies decided to increase their profits by importing goods from China made by low-paid workers made by companies not spending to comply with environmental, health and safety regulations, or setting up manufacturing facilities of their own there. Americans have to work very hard to find almost any product that is NOT made in China. From frozen tilapia fish to shoes to appliances to all clothing, consumers find little else in stores except stuff made in China. This explains an enormous nutty trade imbalance with China. The Chinese have amassed untold billions in US dollars from this one-sided trade disaster. While it is argued that consumers have benefitted from lower prices, millions of American workers have lost good-paying jobs once held in manufacturing industries.

What has the Chinese done with the piles of profits from swollen exports to the US? They became one of the largest sources of money that the US government has borrowed, because of an enormous budget deficit. So, first the Chinese make tons of money selling us products and then take some of those profits and loan the dollars to us, making still more money from the interest we must pay them.

In other words, the Chinese have us under their control. If they decided to abandon us, what would happen? Without them we would have nearly nothing to purchase. We have lost our manufacturing capabilities. Worse yet, our economic house of cards supported by debt would collapse if they stop loaning us money or decided to cash in all the financial instruments they own. The US is no longer an independent nation. China, in so many ways, is our master.

Without having the US as its number one customer for goods and money, the Chinese would never have been able to invest the billions they spent on creating the spectacular Summer Olympics (nor the billions they investing in expanding their military efforts and space program). We, the citizens of America, because of corporate greed and government incompetence, have paid for the Olympics. They are not a gift from the Chinese to the world, but a involuntary gift from Americans to the Chinese. They get all the credit, while we American suckers have paid for all of it.

Instead of so much focus on the “gold” in medals won by China, the US and other nations, much more focus should be given to the transfer of wealth from the US to China. And to add more insult to this mess, the skyrocketing increases in petroleum and other natural resources by the Chinese have increased prices hitting Americans. Again, all those increases from rapid industrialization spring from the lopsided trade between the US and China.

Look at it this way: In China millions of poor people are improving their economic condition and becoming middle class. Meanwhile, in the US millions of middle class people are losing economic ground and joining the working poor. In both countries the wealthy are becoming richer, with millionaires becoming billionaires.

Americans should be more interested in Olympics economics rather than in what country wins the most medals. In so many ways, American athletes are doing much better than their government. And all the talk about China not doing enough to build a stronger democracy misses the bigger point that America has long ago lost its democracy credentials as it became more of a plutocracy serving the rich and corporate classes. In the end, globalization is all about serving elites in all countries and transferring wealth from the middle class in developed countries to the poor in developing ones. No matter how many medals Chinese athletes win, the Chinese government stands as the winner over the US government.

THE POLICE STATE ROAD MAP-Read online

THE POLICE STATE ROAD MAP

Michael Nield

Part 2

The Art of Killing Quietly

THE FUNCTION OF POVERTY

“The standard of living of the average American has to decline…”

– Paul Volcker, Chairman of The Federal Reserve, New York Times, 18 October

1979

‘Money is power’. Well, to be precise, it’s the gap between the rich and poor

that counts. The objective of the elite is to maintain the capitalist structure as it

is with one vital difference. There will be no middle class in the New World Order.

Under public-private partnership, the middle class, free markets, and consumer

choice will be replaced with a neo-feudal society in which the Money Trust

dictates to an impoverished populace through a supranational technocracy. This

is international socialism, run for the benefit of the financial elite who own the

economy and control the emerging continental Politburos. The polite name for it

is ‘The Third Way’, but less deferential commentators call it ‘corporate fascism’.

The corporations need government to restrict consumer choice in the market

place, allowing the cartel to determine what we can buy, sell, or even do in our

own homes. The ‘Third Way’ is the path to utopia for our self-appointed

philosopher kings, advocated by the likes of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Gerhard

Schroder – their senior political puppets. There is no difference between

ostensibly right and left wing political parties about the eventual destination,

even if they appear to be travelling at different speeds towards it.

Real power, then, is achieved when the ruling class controls the material

essentials of life, granting and withholding them as if they were privileges, as

George Orwell reflected:

“From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it was clear to

all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and therefore to a great

extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the machine were used

deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt, illiteracy, and disease could be

eliminated within a few generations But it was also clear that an all-around

increase in wealth threatened the destruction… of a hierarchical society. In a

world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to eat, lived in a house

with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed a motorcar or even an

airplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most important form of inequality

would already have disappeared. If it once became general, wealth would confer

no distinction. Such a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and

security were enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are

normally stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for

themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later

realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it

away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of

poverty and ignorance… It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups

somewhere near the brink of hardship because a general state of scarcity

increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction

between one group and another… The social atmosphere is that of a besieged

city, where the possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between

wealth and poverty.”

(Read all)

AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH

AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH

by Neil Postman

We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another-slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity arid history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Or-well feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies ([Huxley’s sense stimulating movies], the orgy porgy [group sex in the novel], and the centrifugal bumblepuppy* [a child’s game in the novel; see description at end of essay]. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people arc controlled by inflicting pain, In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.

This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.

The Huxleyan Warning

There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled. In the first – the Orwellian – culture becomes a prison. In the second – the Huxleyan – culture becomes a burlesque.

No one needs to be reminded that our world is now marred by many prison-cultures whose structure Orwell described accurately in his parables. If one were to read both 1984 and Animal Farm, and then for good measure, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, one would have a fairly precise blueprint of the machinery of thought-control as it currently operates in scores of countries and on millions of people. Of course, Orwell was not the first to teach us about the spiritual devastations of tyranny. What is irreplaceable about his work is his insistence that it makes little difference if our wardens are inspired by right- or left-wing ideologies. The gates of the prison are equally impenetrable, surveillance equally rigorous, icon worship equally pervasive.

What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

In America, Orwell’s prophecies are of small relevance, but Huxley’s are well under way toward being realized. For America is engaged in the world’s most ambitious experiment to accommodate itself to the technological distractions made possible by the electric plug. This is an experiment that began slowly and modestly in the mid-nineteenth century and has now, in the latter half of the twentieth, reached a perverse maturity in America’s consuming love-affair with television. As nowhere else in the world, Americans have moved far and fast in bringing to a close the age of the slow-moving printed word, and have granted to television sovereignty over all of their institutions. By ushering in the Age of Television, America has given the world the clearest available glimpse of the Huxleyan future.

Those who speak about this matter must often raise their voices to a near-hysterical pitch, inviting the charge that they are everything from wimps to public nuisances to Jeremiahs. But they do so because what they want others to see appears benign, when it is not invisible altogether. An Orwellian world is much easier to recognize, and to oppose, than a Huxleyan. Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us. We are not likely, for example, to be indifferent to the voices of the Sakharovs and the Mandelas and the Walesas. We take arms against such a sea of troubles, buttressed by the spirit of Milton, Bacon, Voltaire, Goethe and Jefferson. But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture’s being drained by laughter?

I fear that our philosophers have given us no guidance in this matter. Their warnings have customarily been directed against those consciously formulated ideologies that appeal to the worst tendencies in human nature. But what is happening in America is not the design of an articulated ideology. No Mein Kampf or Communist Manifesto announced its coming. It comes as the unintended consequence of a dramatic change in our modes of public conversation. But it is an ideology nonetheless, for it imposes a way of life, a set of relations among people and ideas, about which there has been no consensus, no discussion and no opposition. Only compliance. Public consciousness has not yet assimilated the point that technology is ideology. This, in spite of the fact that before our very eyes technology has altered every aspect of life in America during the past eighty years. For example, it would have been excusable in 1905 for us to be unprepared for the cultural changes the automobile would bring. Who could have suspected then that the automobile would tell us how we were to conduct our social and sexual lives? Would reorient our ideas about what to do with our forests and cities? Would create new ways of expressing our personal identity and social standing?

But it is much later in the game now, and ignorance of the score is inexcusable. To be unaware that a technology comes equipped with a program for social change, to maintain that technology is neutral, to make the assumption that technology is always a friend to culture is, at this late hour, stupidity plain and simple. Moreover, we have seen enough by now to know that technological changes in our modes of communication are even more ideology-laden than changes in our modes of transportation. Introduce the alphabet to a culture and you change its cognitive habits, its social relations, its notions of community, history and religion. Introduce the printing press with movable type, and you do the same. introduce speed-of-light transmission of images and you make a cultural revolution. Without a vote. Without polemics. Without guerrilla resistance. Here is ideology, pure if not serene. Here is ideology without words, and all the more powerful for their absence. All that is required to make it stick is a population that devoutly believes in the inevitability of progress. And in this sense, all Americans are Marxists, for we believe nothing if not that history is moving us toward some preordained paradise and that technology is the force behind that movement.

Thus, there are near insurmountable difficulties for anyone who has written such a book as this, and who wishes to end it with some remedies for the affliction. In the first place, not everyone believes a cure is needed, and in the second, there probably isn’t any. But as a true-blue American who has imbibed the unshakable belief that where there is a problem, there must be a solution, I shall conclude with the following suggestions.

We must, as a start, not delude ourselves with preposterous notions such as the straight Luddite position as outlined, for example, in Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. Americans will not shut down any part of their technological apparatus, and to suggest that they do so is to make no suggestion at all. It is almost equally unrealistic to expect that nontrivial modifications in the availability of media will ever be made. Many civilized nations limit by law the amount of hours television may operate and thereby mitigate the role television plays in public life. But I believe that this is not a possibility in America. Once having opened the Happy Medium to full public view, we are not likely to countenance even its partial closing. Still, some Americans have been thinking along these lines. As I write, a story appears in The New York Times (September 27, 1984) about the plans of the Farmington, Connecticut, Library Council to sponsor a “TV Turnoff.” it appears that such an effort was made the previous year, the idea being to get people to stop watching television for one month. The Times reports that the turnoff the previous January was widely noted by the media. Ms. Ellen Babcock, whose family participated, is quoted as saying, “It will be interesting to see if the impact is the same this year as last year, when we had terrific media coverage,” In other words, Ms. Babcock hopes that by watching television, people will learn that they ought to stop watching television. It is hard to imagine that Ms. Babcock does not see the irony in this position. it is an irony that I have confronted many times in being told that I must appear on television to promote a book that warns People against television. Such are the contradictions of a television-based culture.

In any case, of how much help is a once-a-month turnoff? It is a mere pittance; that is to say, a penance. How comforting it must be when the folks in Farmington are done with their punishment and can return to their true occupation. Nonetheless, one applauds their effort, as one must applaud the efforts of those who see some relief in limiting certain kinds of content on television-for example excessive violence, commercials on children’s shows, etc. I am particularly food of John Lindsay’s suggestion that political commercials be banned from television as we now ban cigarette and liquor commercials. I would gladly testify before the Federal Communications Commission as to the manifold merits of this excellent idea. To those who would oppose my testimony by claiming that such a ban is a clear violation of the First Amendment, I would offer a compromise: Require all political commercials to be preceded by a short statement to the effect that common sense has determined that watching political commercials is hazardous to the intellectual health of the community.

I am not very optimistic about anyone’s taking this suggestion seriously. Neither do I put much stock in proposals to improve the quality of television programs. Television, as I have implied earlier, serves us most usefully when presenting junk entertainment; it serves us most ill when it co-opts serious modes of discourse- news, politics, science, education, commerce, religion-‘and turns them into entertainment packages. We would all be better off if television got worse, not better.

“Friends” and “ER” are no threat to our public health. “60 Minutes,” “Eye-Witness News” and “Sesame Street” are.

The problem, in any case, does not reside in what people watch. The problem is in that we watch. The solution must be found in how we watch. For I believe it may fairly be said that we have yet to learn what television is. And the reason is that there has been no worthwhile discussion, let alone widespread public understanding, of what information is and how it gives direction to a culture. There is a certain poignancy in this, since there are no people who more frequently and enthusiastically use such phrases as “the information age,” “the information explosion,” and “the information society.” We have apparently advanced to the point where we have grasped the idea that a change in the forms, volume, speed and context of information means something, but we have not got any further.

What is information? Or more precisely, what are information? What are its various forms? What conceptions of intelligence, wisdom and learning does each form insist upon? What conceptions does each form neglect or mock? What are the main psychic effects of each form? What is the relation between information and reason? What is the kind of information that best facilitates thinking? Is there a moral bias to each information form? What does it mean to say that there is too much information? How would one know? What redefinitions of important cultural meanings do new sources, speeds, contexts and forms of information require? Does television, for example, give a new meaning to “piety,” to “patriotism,” to “privacy”? Does television give a new meaning to “judgment” or to “understanding”? How do different forms of information persuade? is a newspaper’s “public” different from television’s “public”? How do different information forms dictate the type of content that is expressed?

These questions, and dozens more like them, are the means through which it might be possible for Americans to begin talking back to their television sets, to use Nicholas Johnson’s phrase. For no medium is excessively dangerous if its users understand what its dangers are. it is not important that those who ask the questions arrive at my answers or Marshall McLuhan’s (quite different answers, by the way). This is an instance in which the asking of the questions is sufficient. To ask is to break the spell. To which I might add that questions about the psychic, political and social effects of information are as applicable to the computer as to television. Although I believe the computer to be a vastly overrated technology, I mention it here because, clearly, Americans have accorded it their customary mindless inattention; which means they will use it as they are told, without a whimper. Thus, a central thesis of computer technology-that the principal difficulty we have in solving problems stems from insufficient data-will go unexamined. Until, years from now, when it will be noticed that the massive collection and speed-of- light retrieval of data have been of great value to large-scale organizations but have solved very little of importance to most people and have created at least as many problems for them as they may have solved.

In any case, the point I am trying to make is that only through a deep and unfailing awareness of the structure and effects of information, through a demystification of media, is there any hope of our gaining some measure of control over television, or the computer, or any other medium. How is such media consciousness to be achieved? There are only two answers that come to mind, one of which is nonsense and can be dismissed almost at once; the other is desperate but it is all we have.

The nonsensical answer is to create television programs whose intent would be, not to get people to stop watching television but to demonstrate how television ought to be viewed, to show how television recreates and degrades our conception of news, political debate, religious thought, etc. I imagine such demonstrations would of necessity take the form of parodies, along the lines of “Saturday Night Live” and “Monty Python,” the idea being to induce a nationwide horse laugh over television’s control of public discourse. But, naturally, television would have the last laugh. In order to command an audience large enough to make a difference, one would have to make the programs vastly amusing, in the television style. Thus, the act of criticism itself would, in the end, be co-opted by television. The parodists would become celebrities, would star in movies, and would end up making television commercials.

The desperate answer is to rely on the only mass medium of communication that, in theory, is capable of addressing the problem: our schools. This is the conventional American solution to all dangerous social problems, and is, of course, based on a naive and mystical faith in the efficacy of education. The process rarely works. In the matter at hand, there is even less reason than usual to expect it to. Our schools have not yet even got around to examining the role of the printed word in shaping our culture. Indeed, you will not find two high school seniors in a hundred who could tell you- within a five-hundred-year margin of error-when the alphabet was invented. I suspect most do not even know that the alphabet was invented. I have found that when the question is put to them, they appear puzzled, as if one had asked, When were trees invented, or clouds? It is the very principle of myth, as Roland Barthes pointed out, that it transforms history into nature, and to ask of our schools that they engage in the task of demythologizing media is to ask something the schools have never done.

And yet there is reason to suppose that the situation is not hopeless. Educators are not unaware of the effects of television on their students. Stimulated by the arrival of the computer, they discuss it a great deal-which is to say, they have become somewhat “media conscious.” It is true enough that much of their consciousness centers on the question, How can we use television (or the computer, or word processor) to control education? They have not yet got to the question, How can we use education to control television (or the computer, or word processor)? But our reach for solutions ought to exceed our present grasp, or what’s our dreaming for? Besides, it is an acknowledged task of the schools to assist the young in learning how to interpret the symbols of their culture. That this task should now require that they learn how to distance themselves from their forms of information is not so bizarre an enterprise that we cannot hope for its inclusion in the curriculum; even hope that it will be placed at the center of education, What I suggest here as a solution is what Aldous Huxley suggested, as well. And I can do no better than he. He believed with H. G. Wells that we are in a race between education and disaster, and he wrote continuously about the necessity of our understanding the politics and epistemology of media. For in the end, he was trying to tell us that what afflicted the people in Brave New World was not that they were laughing instead of thinking, but that they did not know what they were laughing about and why they had stopped thinking.

Cry, Lady Liberty !

Cry, Lady Liberty !

By Maryam Sakeenah


SEE
The Gray Lady of Bagram” (Prisoner 650)

Shortly after the disappearance of young Dr. Afia Siddiqui and her three minor children from Karachi in 2003, the American news channel NBC reported that she had been arrested in Pakistan ‘on suspicion of facilitating money transfers for Al Qaeda.’ Both Pakistani and US intelligence agencies, however, have since sworn an oath of silence over the issue. Senior Pakistani ministers have denied knowledge of her whereabouts. The Pakistani authorities have, however, insisted that Dr. Siddiqui ‘was connected to Al Qaeda,’ and that ‘you will be astonished to know about her activities.’ No evidence of these suspicious activities, however, has ever been shown the light of day.

Lord Nazir Ahmed, British MP, raised the issue in the House of Lords, highlighting the rampant human rights abuse the prisoner was subjected to. He held that this woman prisoner from Pakistan was ‘physically tortured and continuously raped by the officers at the prison, to the extent that she had lost her mind.’ Soon after, on July 6, British journalist and revert to Islam Yvonne Ridley who authored the book ‘In the Hands of the Taliban’, appealed to the Pakistanis to secure her release. She said: Today I am crying out for help – not for me, but for a Pakistan woman who you and I have never met, but she is our sister in Islam and she is in desperate need. She has been held in isolation by the Americans in neighbouring Afghanistan. As you know I was also held in Afghanistan, in prison for 10 days at the hands of the Taliban in September 2001. My story made international headlines, front page pictures and major stories on television. I was released on humanitarian grounds without charge even though I was guilty of entering the country without a passport or visa.But there has been not one word, not one paragraph about Prisoner 650 – the Grey Lady of Bagram … a murderous detention facility under the control of the US Military and intelligence services. I call her the Grey Lady because she is almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continue to haunt those who heard her.”

Yvonne Ridley quoted from former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Beg who authored ‘Enemy Combatant’, in which he recounts: “I began to hear the chilling screams of a woman next door. My mind battled with questions I was too afraid to ask. What if it was… my wife? Eventually I did agree to say whatever they wanted me to say, to do whatever they wanted me to do. I had to finish it. I agreed to be their witness to whatever. At the end of it all, I asked them, “Why have you got a woman next door?” They told me there was no woman next door. But I was unconvinced. Those screams echoed through my worst nightmares for a long time. And I later learned in Guantánamo, from other prisoners, that they had heard the screams, too, and believed it was my wife. They had been praying for her deliverance.” Other detainees from Bagram have attested to the same. In an interview on TV, a former Bagram detainee confirmed he had heard a woman’s screams, and also that he had seen her. He told that the other prisoners in Bagram had gone on hunger strike for six days to pressurize those incharge to stop torturing the woman. Yvonne Ridley continued: “Today I am making a demand that the US military hands over the Grey Lady immediately. We do not know her identity, we do not know the state of her mind, we do not know the extent of the abuse or torture. What I do know is that this would never happen to a western woman – what is wrong with the US military? Don’t they value a Muslim woman, is her life worthless, does she not deserve to be treated with respect? In truth I don’t think any of us with a conscience can rest until she is released. Sadly, she is not the only one.”

Weeks later, due to the overwhelming media attention on the issue, a frail, battered, badly wounded and immobilized Dr. Afia Siddiqui was produced in a US court. Her Lawyer Elizabeth Fink stated: “She is complaining of abdominal pain. She understands she lost part of her intestine, and suffers from continual intestinal bleeding. She has been here, judge, for one week and she has not seen a doctor, even though they (U.S. authorities) know she has been shot.” In view of the fact that Dr. Siddiqui had a serious wound in her abdomen and stitches all the way up her torso, the judge ordered that she must immediately be seen by a doctor. The explanation offered for the enormous and untreated bullet wound in her abdomen was that she had been ‘allegedly trying to fire on a group of U.S. troops who had come to question her in an Afghanistan prison.’ How a woman who could not even move, let alone walk, talk or even lift a gun shoot straight at an armed security officer defies any explanation. Ridiculously, the U.S. prosecutor told the court in an effort to explain, that this was ‘a complicated situation,’ and because of her ‘alleged attack on an American officer’, the decrepit woman was considered a ‘high-security risk.’ The US authorities pull a straight blank regarding the whereabouts and condition of Dr. Siddiqui’s three minor children. There have been conflicting statements about whether they are alive and if so, where. While the unforgivable brutality inflicted on ‘Prisoner 650’ has been shamelessly justified on the grounds of her ‘suspected involvement with Al Qaeda’, no amount of ‘logical discourse’ or ‘legal argument’ can ever attempt to justify how and why her baby and two toddler sons have been ‘punished.’ So much for America’s commitment to fundamental Human Rights and basic justice.

And yet, there are those who would jump in defence of this naked viciousness and barbarism, those sitting on high seats in prestigious offices of the great and mighty empire of the United States of America. Ms. Anne Patterson, US ambassador to Pakistan writes: “Ms. Siddiqui is accused of seizing a weapon and firing_ unprovoked_ on US personnel during questioning… At no time was Ms. Siddiqui mistreated or abused in any manner whatsoever… The United States has no definitive knowledge as to the whereabouts of Ms. Siddiqui’s children… She is charged in a criminal complaint filed in New York with one count of attempting to kill US officers and employees, and one count of assaulting US officers and employees. If convicted, she faces a sentence of 20 years in prison on each charge.”

After 9/11, the United States granted exclusive powers to the Executive to detain suspected terrorists for indefinite periods, denying judicial review of evidence on the basis of which a suspect is detained. The appalling truth, however, is that despite years of detention, the investigating authorities have utterly failed to produce any tangible evidence about involvement in terrorism, except for a minuscule percentage. The evidence found, however, in most cases, only proved that a number of detainees were being held without having any past record of links to terrorism, on the basis of mere suspicion.

With the issuance of John Yoo’s famous ‘torture memos’, certain methods of torture for interrogation of suspected terrorists were also licensed. These “torture memos,” advocate enhanced interrogation techniques. They attempted to make these war tactics acquire legality by refuting the Geneva Conventions altogether, so that violating them was no longer required. The government has authorized coercive interrogation methods publicly for non US citizens detained outside the US. For this purpose, the State has sent foreign terror suspects to locations outside the US where coercive interrogation (even involving torture in most cases) can be carried out. The US government holds an undisclosed number of detainees (presumably over 2000) at undisclosed locations. The CIA and FBI as a matter of course hand suspects over to foreign intelligence services for intensive interrogation. One US official was reported to have said, “If you don’t violate someone’s human rights some of the time, you probably aren’t doing your job.”

In 2004, horrifying images from Abu Ghraib prisons in Iraq were released into the media showing humiliation and abuse of prisoners. Shortly after, similar information about widespread prison abuse at Bagram prisons in Afghanistan was revealed. It afforded a glimpse into the inhuman barbarity unleashed on suspects and detainees that had been going on unabated behind the scenes.

The fact remains, however, that the Geneva Conventions signed and ratified by the US prohibit torture of prisoners of war even if obtaining information can save lives. The evidence that torture has in fact been used in US prisons has steadily built up revulsion in the public mind regarding the USA’s counter terror strategy and its unscrupulous conduct. President Bush, however, remained on denial amidst allegations of the use of torture: “The United States of America does not torture. And that’s important for people around the world to understand.”

Military lawyer Alberto J. Mora reported that policies allowing torture methods were officially handed down from the highest levels of the administration. ABC News reported on April 9, 2008 that “the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency.”

According to the New York Times, “What happened at Abu Ghraib was no aberration, but part of a widespread pattern. It showed the tragic impact of the initial decision by Mr. Bush and his top advisers that they were not going to follow the Geneva Conventions, or indeed American law, for prisoners taken in antiterrorist operations. The investigative file on Bagram showed that the mistreatment of prisoners was routine: shackling them to the ceilings of their cells, depriving them of sleep, kicking and hitting them, sexually humiliating them and threatening them with guard dogs — the very same behavior later repeated in Iraq.”

Steven C Welsh writes: “Under the Geneva Convention it is the United States as a nation which must confront its responsibility for the actions of the men and women representing it in its prisons.”

The horrendous exposition of unabated use of the vilest torture on detainees, the latest of which that has come to light is the nightmarish tale of Dr. Siddiqui has left ugly, deep scars reaffirming the image of the US as a state not befitting of its gigantic role in world politics. With leadership comes responsibility. Abu Ghraib, Bagram and the suffering of Afia Siddiqui has taught us that the ‘saviours’ are no better than the ‘terrorists’ they fight. The gaping black hole of moral depravity at the heart of the War on Terror stands exposed. Perhaps uglier still is the façade of a superior civilization that the US chooses to put up, and to which Ms. Anne Patterson chooses to play along: “The US justice system is based on the abiding principle that defendants are innocent until proven guilty… We would encourage you to remain open-minded but skeptical of sensational allegations that have no basis in fact.” Ms. Patterson’s ‘blind spot’ towards the utterly miserable physical, emotional and mental state of Dr. Siddiqui who is as of yet legally unconvicted is only too obvious.

Prominent writer Bob Herbert rejects attempts at ‘making over’ the ugly face of the U.S like Ann Paterson has chosen to do: “… There is also the grotesque and deeply shameful issue that will always be a part of America’s legacy — the manner in which American troops have treated prisoners under their control in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. There is no longer any doubt that large numbers of troops responsible for guarding and interrogating detainees somehow loosed their moorings to humanity, and began behaving as sadists, perverts and criminals.”

Abdul Malik Mujahid, understanding the degeneracy of a civilization represented through the horrors at US ‘anti-terrorist’ detention camps in an Islamic context, laments the loss of what Islam calls ‘haya’ in the West. ‘Haya’ implies an inner sensibility creating a sense of aversion from what is evil, obscene and indecent. It is a retraining influence that keeps the distinction between right and wrong, not letting it blur into a mishmash of confused morality. The Prophet of Islam (SAW) called it the ‘distinctive feature of Islam.’ Mujahid comments: “The photos of American soldiers abusing prisoners have stunned and disgusted the world. While such images shocked America, most Americans may not be able to comprehend what type of cultural threshold has been crossed in terms of dealing with Islam and Muslims. In a culture that sometimes values life less than honor, we have done the ultimate act of dishonoring people. May God forgive us. There certainly is a big cultural gap in the way people in the West deal with modesty and privacy of the body, and the way individuals in the Muslim world do, regardless of their level of Islamic practice. This Islamic sensibility of considering the human body part of a very personal realm is connected to the concept of honor, dignity and privacy. This should explain the deep pain, shock and horror over the nightmare of physical abuse and perverted sadism that went on in Abu Ghraib, (and that has victimized Dr.Afia Siddiqui and others like her). Unlike what some in America lead us to believe, no one hates America in the Muslim world because of democracy and freedom. It is the immorality of America (championed by Hollywood), along with American foreign policy which defines the conflict between the Westernized elite and religious elements in Muslim societies. Graphic images of this criminal behavior by some members of the most organized and educated army of the only superpower in the world are bound to become the most dominant images of this new “Crusade” in the collective psyche of Muslims.”

Deconstructing The Democratic Party Platform

Deconstructing The Democratic


Party Platform

By Case Wagenvoord

18 August, 2008
Countercurrents.org

The Democratic faction of America’s sole political party has published a draft of its Party Platform, and, yes, it is official: America is now a one-party nation. It’s right there on page three of the preamble to the platform: “There can be no Republican or Democratic ideas, only policies that are smart and right and fair and good for America—and those that aren’t.”

For lack of a better name, let’s call our lone party the Corporatist Party of America (CPA). Like all one-party oligarchies, the CPA represents a political spectrum. At one end of the spectrum sits the hard right of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), and at the other end sits the rabid Neocon right. The DLC is more inclined to mouth populist platitudes than the Neocons, but they’re both cut from the same cloth, even if the Neocons are the more sociopathic of the two.

This explains why presidential campaigns are so boring. How can there be a clash of principles if everyone agrees on the basics?

The platform itself is a study of the excruciating tension that exists between platitudes and reality.

The platitudes are:

· Renewing the American Dream

· Affordable Health Care

· Good Jobs with Good Pay

· Opportunity for Women

· A World Class Education for Every Child

· Investing in Manufacturing and Our Manufacturing Communities

· Restoring Fairness to our Tax Code

· Reforming Financial Regulation and Corporate Governance

· Smart, Strong, and Fair Trade Policies

· Fiscal Responsibility


The reality is:


· Our oligarchs need their empire, so we can’t afford any of the above.


America is not addicted to oil; instead, we have an oligarchy that is addicted to empire because they are convinced that a war economy is the only thing that is keeping the Great Depression at bay, and should we dismantle our military machinery, the country would slide into economic ruin, which we are anyway, but who’s paying attention?

To all appearances, we are the dumbest goddamn empire ever to stumble down the historical pike. The sole raison d’être of an empire is to create a revenue stream, either through taxes, tribute or a flow of raw materials back to the mother country.

Our empire is a loss leader awash in a sea of red ink. With a national debt of $9.6 trillion, it looks as if we’re missing the imperial boat, here. However, we forget that we are a nation of innovators who have redefined the meaning of empire: the sole function of the American Empire is to transfer public funds into the private pockets of our oligarchs.

As far as the CPA is concerned, our economy is a robust one. It can withstand a subprime debacle, skyrocketing oil and commodity prices, massive foreclosures and the impoverishment of its middle class. The one thing it could never withstand is an outbreak of peace.

This is why 9/11 was such a godsend for the CPA, and why the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia is the frosting on the cake. Our oligarchs need a constant influx of new threats to justify our annual trillion dollar defense budget.

The Democratic faction is singing their song set to the tune of military Keynesianism. The faction is four-square behind the messianic spreading of “liberal democracy” to the world. Note the use of “liberal democracy” as opposed to social democracy, which is evil in the eyes of the CPA. Liberal democracy is code for the Washington Consensus, which has left as much destruction in its path as the Christian missionaries did when they swept through Latin America in the sixteenth century.

Empire building is a form of dementia that invariably ends with the destruction of the imperial builder, not from the onslaught of barbarians from without, but from the barbarians within.

An example of our dementia is our Global War on Terror (GWOT) also known as the Eternal War of the Empty Policy. It posits an ultimate military victory over the terrorists.

Recently, the Rand Corporation, a government sponsored think-tank, issued a report that, in effect, suggested that the military approach was a really dumb way to fight terrorism. First of all, it doesn’t do the job. But what is even worse, according to the think tank is that, “[t]he use of substantial U.S. military power against terror groups also runs a significant risk of turning the local population against the government by killing civilians.”

Duh!

You don’t win hearts and minds by bombing a nation’s wedding parties.


Praise God, the Democrats are not flinching in the face of this revelation. Their platform (pg. 24) calls for sending “two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan” to continue wining their hearts and minds. And, we are going to carry the fight to al Qaeda by forming “a new partnership with Pakistan,” similar to the partnership that exists between a python and its prey.

Our oligarchs can sleep peacefully, tonight. The Democrats are telling us that, “To renew America’s leadership in the world, we must revitalize our military. That’s music to an oligarch’s ears.

And Progressives still wait around for the Democrats to deliver. Al From, a founder of the DLC summed it up nicely when he said, ‘The antiwar people cannot define the Democratic Party.”

Of course they can’t! Peace might break out.

The plain, simple truth that is the core nugget around which Progressives of all stripe must rally is that we must dismantle our empire and redirect its resources to healing America.

We won’t get any help from the Democrats on this. They’re in the enemy camp. So, we may have to start going our own way and begin the pain-in-the-ass work of building a movement. It’s doubtful any of us will live to see the results, but with luck and hard work, perhaps our children and grandchildren will.

Musharraf resigns as Pakistan president

Musharraf resigns as Pakistan president

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf resigned on Monday, bringing down the curtain on nine turbulent years of US-backed rule to avoid the first impeachment in the nuclear-armed nation’s history.

The former army chief, who seized power in a 1999 coup, announced the move in a lengthy televised address . He rejected the charges against him but said he wanted to spare Pakistan a damaging battle with the ruling coalition.

“After viewing the situation and consulting legal advisers and political allies, with their advice I have decided to resign,” Musharraf , wearing a sober suit and tie, said near the end of his one-hour address.

“I leave my future in the hands of the people.”

Celebrations erupted across the country after Musharraf bowed out, yet it was far from certain what would come next for a nation whose role in the “war on terror” has been increasingly questioned by Washington.

The White House said US President George W. Bush thanked Musharraf for his commitment against extremism and he would keep working with Pakistan’s government.

Musharraf’s decision to quit came after the coalition said it was ready to press ahead with impeachment as early as Tuesday on charges that reportedly included violating the constitution.

It was not known if he had concluded a deal that would save him from either going into exile or from facing prosecution in the days ahead. The coalition made no comment on his fate.

Coalition leaders Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, and Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted by Musharraf in 1999, were shown shaking hands and smiling after his speech but gave no immediate reaction.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani said it was a “historic day.”

“Today we have buried dictatorship for ever,” Gilani said in a special sitting of parliament. Pakistani stocks jumped more than four percent on the news of Musharraf’s resignation.

Musharraf, 65, appealed for reconciliation after his departure.

“If we continue with the politics of confrontation, we will not save the country,” he said. “People will never pardon this government if they fail to do so.”

Several close aides said Musharraf was not set to go into exile as several of Pakistan’s former leaders have done. “He is not going anywhere,” one aide said.

Senate chairman Mohammedmian Soomro will act as caretaker president until an election, which is expected in the next few weeks.

Musharraf’s troubles began last year when he sacked senior judges who opposed him, clearing the way for his re-election while still holding a dual role as head of the country’s powerful armed forces.

The move set off mass protests in the streets that built into a national crisis which saw Musharraf declare a state of emergency in November.

But he was compelled to quit as army chief within weeks, and after the December assassination of Bhutto, voters handed his opponents a massive victory in general elections in February.

“After the martyrdom of my mother I said that democracy was the best revenge — and today it was proved true,” said Bhutto’s 19-year-old son, Bilawal.

In Musharraf’s speech, however, he strongly defended every aspect of his time in power — even the coup nine years ago.

He said he had improved a tottering economy, helped establish law and order, fostered democracy and burnished the country’s international stature.

“On the map of the world Pakistan is now an important country, by the grace of Allah,” Musharraf said.

The president was also backed into a corner by the resurgence of Islamic militants in the tribal areas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, who launched a massive wave of attacks last year that left more than 1,000 dead.

Musharraf himself survived three assassination attempts and went from being a backer of the Taliban to a close US ally after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Cheering crowds poured into the streets in major cities across the country of 170 million people — the second most populous Islamic nation and the only one with an atom bomb — after he stepped down.

World leaders from Britain to Japan urged stability and unity in Pakistan, and called on Islamabad to continue its fight against extremism.

“President Bush is committed to a strong Pakistan that continues its efforts to strengthen democracy and fight terror,” US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Musharraf in a statement “a friend to the United States and one of the world’s most committed partners in the war against terrorism and extremism.”

EFF Analysis of “Patriot II,”

EFF Analysis of “Patriot II,”

Provisions of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 20031 that Impact the Internet and Surveillance

Read the bill

With the full effect of the USA Patriot Act (USAPA) on civil liberties in the United States still unknown, and without a shred of evidence that USAPA was required to help fight terrorism, the Bush Administration has been preparing a second piece of legislation. Tentatively titled the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003,” it was instantly dubbed Patriot II or Son of Patriot. For purposes of this report, it’s called USAPA II. Recently Attorney General Ashcroft denied that a bill was in the works, although he admitted that the leaked document is “what we’ve been thinking.”2

Whether or not USAPA II is introduced, it’s clear that the Patriot Act is casting a long shadow in Washington, D.C. For instance, Attorney General John Ashcroft recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had authorized more than 170 “emergency” FISA searches since 9/11. In the previous 20 years, attorneys general had only authorized a total of 47 emergency FISA searches.

The first Patriot Act assumes that lack of information caused by laws that restricted government information-gathering was a major reason for the September 11 terrorist attacks. But nothing could be further from the truth. The most objective analysis — that of the congressional joint inquiry committee focused on the government’s failure to “connect the dots.”3 It noted poor coordination between the many government agencies responsible for intelligence and counter-intelligence and poor sorting of the information it did have.

Simply collecting more information cannot solve this problem. But USAPA II makes the same mistake: it seeks more power to gather information with less oversight. Meanwhile, more agencies or task forces that you’ve never heard of are being created.

Let’s be frank. The government has an insatiable appetite for data. But the mindless accumulation of data is not intelligence. Intelligence requires focused thinking and focused questions. Instead, we’re building a Tower of Babel. If this continues, we’ll get the worst of both worlds — all the disadvantages of widespread privacy invasion with none of the security benefits.

Executive Summary

USAPA II, like its predecessor, is a grab bag of provisions spread throughout the legal landscape. One clear difference exists however. Unlike USAPA, USAPA II has no provisions that “sunset” after a certain time. All of its changes are permanent.

The breadth of USAPA II does make it difficult to break the bill down into neat categories. Nonetheless, many of the changes do fall into general areas. These are: 4

  1. Privacy Invasions. USAPA II dramatically widens the powers of government to invade the privacy of Americans and others living here. This includes:
    • Broad new authority to compel information from ISPs, friends, relatives, businesses and others, all without informing you.
    • Immunity for businesses that voluntarily turn over your information to law enforcement.
    • Extra punishment for use of cryptography– no connection to terrorism needed.
    • Instant police access to your credit reports upon certification that they are sought “in connection with their duties” — again, with no connection to terrorism needed.
    • Relaxed requirement of specificity for warrants for multi-use devices like PDAs and computers with telephonic capabilities.
    • DNA collected from all terrorism suspects/DNA database information open to all law enforcement.
    • Less judicial oversight of surveillance.
  2. More “End Runs” Around Limitations on Surveillance and Information Sharing. Federal, state and local officials can now freely share information, regardless of the original reason for gathering it. This includes information in your credit reports, educational records and visa records. It also includes information obtained by administrative subpoenas of any business, from your ISP to your credit card company to your grocer. It also includes DNA database information and information obtained through the secret court processes of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Much of this sharing need not have any relationship to terrorism investigation.
  3. Gag Orders and Increased Governmental Secrecy. The “sunshine of public review” is a key check on abuses of governmental power. But USAPA II makes it even harder for the public to evaluate what the government is doing with its broad new powers. USAPA II allows gag orders for subpoenas that force third parties to turn over information about their friends, loved ones or customers while making it unlawful for them to tell anyone except their lawyers about the subpoena. In a similar vein, the law creates broad new exceptions to the Freedom of Information Act for terrorism detainee information, prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from warning the public about environmental dangers from chemical releases and reduces the ability of judges to force the government to present its evidence in open court.
  4. Expanded Reach of Powers under the Control of Secret Courts. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was enacted more than 20 years ago to handle the special problem of non-criminal investigation of foreign intelligence activities in the United States. For this limited purpose, Congress established an unprecedented secret court system. USAPA expanded the reach of FISA and the secret court dramatically, and USAPA II goes even further. Under USAPA II, the secret court will be able to authorize searches of individuals with no connection to foreign governments or even terrorist organizations. It will increase the length of surveillance and decrease court oversight from the already low levels set by USAPA.
  5. Not Targeted to Terrorism. As with its predecessor, USAPA II contains many provisions that appear to be nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to increase governmental powers in areas unrelated to terrorism. In other areas, while terrorism is included, the provisions are not limited to terrorism-related investigations. These include government access to credit reports, sentence enhancements for using encryption, and sharing of some FISA-obtained information.

Analysis

  1. Shrinking Privacy Protections

    1. Everyone Else Turns Over Information About You.
      1. Increasing Amounts of Our Personal Information Is Held by Others. Even before USAPA’s passage, Americans found their privacy increasingly eroded through the stockpiling, aggregating, selling and spilling of their personal information by third parties. The government5 has long argued, and several courts have accepted, the proposition that if you reveal this information to one private entity for one purpose (like an ISP storing your e-mail or a mortgage company offering you a loan), you no longer have a Fourth Amendment right to protect the information from unfocused, unchecked law enforcement fishing expeditions.

        The danger of this is clearly demonstrated by events in recent memory. In the 1970s Americans discovered that the FBI had maintained dossiers on more than a million of us, including Martin Luther King and Truman Capote, and used the information to harass and threaten innocent people.6 Yet the information available to J. Edgar Hoover and his associates is nothing like the range of information about Americans that exists now and can be easily collected and organized now. Some examples of the increase in third-parties holding once-private information include:

        • Correspondence Contents. Letters written on paper were traditionally stored in the home or business. The post office neither kept nor stored your letters. To be able to read them, the government normally had to get a warrant to search your home or office by proving “probable cause” that you had done something wrong.
          • Now, an increasing number of Americans store their correspondence on computers at their ISPs where it can be obtained by law enforcement on much lower standards than those required for a physical search of your home, depending on whether the e-mail has been opened by and how old it is. And while you’d usually know whether someone had invaded your home and rummaged through your papers, you’re unlikely to ever find out that your e-mail had been searched while it was sitting on your ISP’s mail server.
        • Envelope Info. As with the content of your letters, the Post Office did not routinely gather or store the information contained on the front of your envelopes, i.e. who you communicate with and when. If law enforcement wanted this information gathered, it had to make a specific request and the information was only gathered after the request was received.
          • Now this “envelope” information is automatically gathered and stored by your ISP for every e-mail you send and receive. Because of this, the government can now have access to your past as well as future communications records based only on a statement that it is relevant to a criminal investigation; you don’t even have to be the target of the investigation.
        • Activities in the Non-Digital World. Your daily activities, whether wandering through a shopping mall, doing errands down a busy street, stopping for a burger or crossing a local bridge or toll road, used to be largely anonymous — the only way someone could know where you had gone was to follow you.
          • Now the ubiquitous use of surveillance cameras and data collection devices like EZ-Passes means that a record of your activities is created almost everywhere you go. That information is completely outside your control and can be obtained by government or even volunteered to them with no notice to you.
        • Online. All of your activities on the web are generally recorded, from the Google search where you locate information, to the various websites you visit while shopping, researching, or discussing, to your purchases, downloads and printing of information. Nearly all websites keep both a record of what you do while visiting them and your IP address, which can easily be used to identify and locate you. This information can be (and sometimes is) aggregated over time and various web locations creating a mini-dossier of your activities available to law enforcement with a simple subpoena under USAPA II (or in the case of websites such as e-Bay.com, simply handed over to law enforcement upon request).7

        Ultimately, this problem seems unlikely to be addressed in any significant way without broad recognition that the Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure include limitations on the government’s ability to gather and aggregate personal information about Americans that third parties gathered for other purposes.8

      2. USAPA II expansion. So more information about you is in the hands of third parties than ever before. USAPA II grants the government even more powers to gather and compile this information and reduces the safeguards intended to prevent its misuse. Specifically, USAPA II provides:
        1. Third Parties can be Compelled by Merely An Administrative Subpoena (secs. 128 & 129). Administrative subpoenas can be issued by government without prior court approval and are not even reviewed by a court unless the subpoenaed party (not you) objects. Under USAPA II, rather than seek a court order, the government will be able to issue a simple subpoena to require a third party such as your ISP, library, doctor, friend or loved one, to turn over information about you to the government. The government need only assert, if challenged, that the information was sought “with respect to an investigation” into any one of the broad category of offenses related to domestic or international terrorism. Another provision makes it easier to use “National Security Letters” (like subpoenas) to get information from ISPs, credit reporting firms, and financial institutions for “counter-intelligence” purposes. Additionally, USAPA II allows:
          1. Gag orders for those required to turn over information about you with penalties for telling anyone about the subpoena, including the target. 18 USC §1510(e) (secs 128 & 129)(see below)
          2. Judicial enforcement for noncompliance. Those subpoenaed can make a motion with the court to resist the subpoena on your behalf, but you’ll never know if they do.
        2. TIPS is back. Businesses encouraged to volunteer information about you (sec 313). This provision strengthens government’s ability to pressure businesses into giving information about their customers to law enforcement without a court order or subpoena. It also creates an incentive for snooping (or fulfilling a grudge). The provision creates civil liability protection for businesses and their personnel who voluntarily provide information to federal law enforcement agencies to assist with terrorism investigations. This would overrule many privacy laws, like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act provisions that prevent your ISP and other hosts of your communications from simply turning this information over to the police except in emergency situations.The EFF and many others were highly critical9 of the dive certifying organizations PADI, NAUI and SSI when they turned over information about all certified divers to the FBI without requiring any legal process. Indeed, when EFF challenged a similar request on behalf of a Beverley Hills dive shop, the US Attorneys office backed down10, apparently recognizing that it would be difficult to convince a judge of the need for this sort of broad, unfocused information. This provision would create an additional incentive for the businesses to yield to unreasonable fishing expeditions for data by law enforcement.
        3. Instant Police Access to Credit Reports With No Limits or Oversight (sec. 126). USAPA II would allow law enforcement to obtain your credit reports upon a simple certification that they will use the information only “in connection with their duties to enforce federal law.” The provision does not require that the investigation be related to terrorism or even to a violent offense. And the requirement of consumer notice is lifted, so you’ll never know when they pull your credit rating. 15 USC §1681b(a)(1).
      3. You Shouldn’t Protect Your Privacy: Cryptography Sentence Enhancements. (sec. 404). Just as the government encourages Americans to lock their doors and take other personal precautions against crime and terrorism, it should encourage Americans to use encryption. USAPA II steps in exactly the opposite direction, creating a five-year sentence enhancement for any person who, while committing or attempting to commit a federal felony, knowingly and willfully uses encryption technology to conceal any incriminating communication or information relating to that felony. This provision creates a disincentive for Americans to protect their data and information from identity thieves, stalkers and other criminals. It applies to any federal felony, most of which have nothing to do with terrorism. It creates the spectre of sentence enhancements for business travelers who use VPN systems to gain access to their data remotely or those who use file-sharing systems that utilize cryptography to protect the contents of a file.
      4. New Devices, Less Privacy. (sec. 124). This provision applies to those who have multi-function devices such as a BlackBerry or a computer with voice over IP or even a computer with a modem. It would eliminate the traditional rule that if the government wants to surveil or search you, it must specify “with particularity” what it is planning to search or listen to. That is, if the government gets a search warrant to monitor your e-mail it does not also get to monitor your telephone conversations unless the warrant says that too. This rule is designed to ensure that surveillance doesn’t become a “fishing expedition” and that law enforcement only does what it tells the court it is going to do. This provision would eliminate that limitation where the two functions are in one device.
        1. That is, a court order allowing the FBI to monitor your e-mail can also be used to monitor your telephone conversations if you use your computer for those calls, even if this sort of surveillance isn’t specified in the order and the “predicates” for wiretapping telephone conversations have not been met. This weakens privacy because telephone wiretaps are only allowed for investigating specified “serious” crimes, while e-mail intercepts are allowed for investigating any federal felony.
        2. Similarly, if the FBI gets an order to wiretap your modem line, they also have access to the stored data on your hard drive even if the information they discover is about a completely unrelated crime.
      5. DNA Database (secs. 302) EFF has long noted the dangers of centralized databases of information about Americans, ranging from the vulnerabilities of such databases to corruption, hacking and information leakage to the inevitability of bad data in large databases and the risk in relying upon them for such important issues as deciding who is a terrorist. USAPA II, by expanding the national DNA database in some extremely suspect ways, exacerbates these problems,
        1. Dramatic expansion of collection from “terrorism” suspects, not just those convicted (sec. 302, 303, 306) Previously DNA samples could only be taken from those convicted of terrorism. 42 USC. §14132. USAPA II allows collection and use of DNA samples of mere suspects, including suspected terrorists and persons suspected of being members of a terrorist organization. The Attorney General has tremendous discretion to designate someone as a “suspected terrorist.” It also allows collection from aliens engaged in activity that endangers national security and those designated “enemy combatants.”
        2. Collection from and Use of Database Info Beyond Terrorism (sec. 303). Creation of DNA database for terrorists includes input from all federal agencies — that is, if the Park Ranger decides that you are a suspected terrorist he can take a DNA sample. USAPA II also grants authority to use all federal biometric databases, including fingerprints, DNA and other identifying information to investigate terrorism or “other unlawful activities by suspected terrorists.”
        3. Sharing of DNA Information with State, Local or Foreign Agencies (sec. 303). USAPA II allows sharing of information with federal, state, local or foreign agencies to investigate terrorism or “other unlawful activities by suspected terrorists.”
        4. Coerced DNA Samples In Exchange for Release on Bail (sec. 306). USAPA II requires those terrorists or suspected terrorists in custody to give DNA samples as a condition of release.
      6. More Surveillance, Longer Surveillance, Less Privacy.
        1. Non-supervised Surveillance of Churches, Mosques, Protesters Returns (sec. 312). In many cities throughout the United States, past police abuses of surveillance authority, including the keeping of dossiers on innocent individuals, harassment of political activists and other constitutional rights violations have resulted in consent decrees and other court provisions preventing the wholesale, unsupervised surveillance of groups and organizations. Such surveillance continues today: last December, it was discovered that the Denver Police Department had kept thousands of dossiers on peaceful groups.11 USAPA II would repeal all of those decrees, allowing police to keep dossiers on innocent people and peaceful protest groups. It also allows police to attend community meetings, religious services and other associational activities as a matter of course with no judicial oversight to prevent abuse.
        2. Extended time for “domestic terrorism” searches and surveillance (sec. 123). Federal law has long maintained strict rules about law enforcement surveillance. USAPA II would relax those rules for investigations into domestic terrorism.
          1. Electronic surveillance can continue for 90 days without need for court reauthorization. The previous limit was 30 days. 18 USC §2518(5)
          2. Courts currently can order periodic progress reports from law enforcement to protect against abuses. The schedule of these reports is set by the judge, based upon his or her evaluation of the individual situation. USAPA II would restrict a court’s ability to monitor potential law enforcement abuse by preventing a judge from ordering reports for periods less than 30 days. §2518(6)
          3. USAPA II creates another way for law enforcement to delay telling you that your stored electronic communications have been searched. This is accomplished by adding “national security” to the list of specified “adverse results” that allow delay in notification. §2705
          4. Surveillance of “envelope” information (see above) has been extended to 120 days without court review rather than the previous 60 days. This surveillance, called pen/trap surveillance, involves the tracking of messages to and from a person, including sender/recipient, size, date, and all other “non-content” information. 18 U.S.C. §3213
        3. Nationwide search warrants for nonviolent acts (sec. 125) Issuance of terrorism-related search warrants by far away courts used to be limited to situations involving “violent acts.” Now, any court in the country may issue warrants that can be executed anywhere else in the country for any non-violent offense in the growing terrorism-related crimes list in §2332b(g)(5)(B), including computer crimes, harm to the communications infrastructure and providing material support to terrorists. 18 USC §2331.
        4. Allows full panoply of electronic surveillance techniques for not just terrorism crimes, but any offense in the broader list of “terrorist activities” (sec. 121 & 122). This provision allows the full use of electronic surveillance techniques against not just terrorism crimes but also acts of international or domestic terrorism. Under USAPA, the concept of “terrorism” was expanded dramatically to include any violation of federal or state law committed with the intent of affecting government policy and that is potentially dangerous. Obviously this sweeps in much activity formerly treated as civil disobedience and even activities where there is no intent to break the law, such as political protests, if someone gets hurt.
          1. The provision also allows for surveillance (wiretaps and pen traps) without a court order in emergency situations. 18 USC §2518(7) and § 3125.
          2. It also allows wiretaps and pen/traps orders for “envelope” information to be issued either where the order is to be executed or in the place where the alleged offense occurred or where the activities are being investigated. The goal is to make it easier to get jurisdiction for foreign wiretap requests, which don’t usually have a US jurisdiction for the investigation.

  2. End Runs Around Limitations on Various Forms of Surveillance. USAPA created a series of “end runs” around the checks and balances of various forms of surveillance, such as by removing limitations on the use of information gathered for one purpose for other purposes. This was given a boost recently by the FISA Court of Appeal, which held that the 30-year long assumption that there was a “wall” between domestic and national security surveillance was just a figment of the joint imaginations of several judges and hundreds of attorneys both inside and outside of government. But apparently even this is not sufficient for the Bush Administration. USAPA II authorizes even more information “sharing” and sets up so many easy ways for law enforcement to evade the strictures of traditional surveillance that it’s getting hard to keep track. And while some information sharing may be appropriate for legitimate terrorism investigations, USAPA II eliminates most of the USAPA I provisions that limited such sharing to terrorism investigations.
    1. Information sharing (Sec. 311). Consumer credit information, visa-related information, educational records can now be sent to state and local law enforcement with no limitations except “guidelines as the Attorney General shall issue to protect confidentiality.” The “sharing” need not be part of a terrorism investigation.
    2. DNA Database of Suspected Terrorists (sec. 303). Information in the DNA database, fingerprints or other “identifying information” may be shared by all federal and local agencies, and even foreign agencies if used to investigate terrorism or “other unlawful activities by suspected terrorists.”
    3. National Security investigations (Sec. 129) Information obtained through third-party administrative subpoenas issued by FBI officials for use in national security may be shared with federal, state and local law enforcement “as provided in guidelines approved by the Attorney General.” This information previously could not be shared unless the information was related to foreign intelligence collection and counterintelligence investigations. 18 USC. §2709.
    4. Free-flowing FISA Information
      1. FISA Information flows more easily to law enforcement (sec. 105). Any Deputy, Associate or Assistant US Attorney may authorize use of FISA-derived information in a criminal proceeding. Previously only the Attorney General himself could authorize such use. 50 USC §1806.
      2. Law enforcement can be given FISA pen register information about US citizens for any purpose, not just terrorism. (sec. 107). USAPA allowed this information to be given only for the purposes of investigating international terrorism. This limitation is removed.
        1. For telephones, this is the numbers you call and that call you along with dates and times and lengths of calls
        2. For e-mails, after USA Patriot Act, this is all non-message information including sender, recipient, date, size of message, existence of attachments and routing information– essentially, all header information except the subject line.
  3. Gag Orders Increased.
    1. Administrative Subpoenas Gag Orders (sec. 128 & 129). Those who are forced to give information to the government pursuant to administrative subpoenas, a list that could include everyone who you come into contact with or do business with, are forbidden from telling you or any other person (except counsel).
    2. Credit reports (sec. 126). When your bank or mortgage company seeks your credit report, notice to you is required. This requirement of consumer notice is lifted for government. 15 USC §1681b(a)(1).
    3. Grand jury subpoena gag orders (sec. 206): The Reef Seekers Rule. Subpoena recipients may now have secrecy imposed on them (except for counsel) in cases where serious adverse consequences may otherwise result. Fed. Rule Crim. P. 6(e)(2)(B). This provision would gag businesses like Reef Seekers Dive Shop which sought to draw attention to a grand jury subpoena seeking the names of all students who had not finished scuba classes. http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/20021021_eff_pr.html
  4. Government information black hole. Even while the privacy of Americans is being relentlessly reduced, the Bush Administration continues its assault on public access to information. In addition to the gag orders mentioned above, USAPA II contains several provisions that reduce transparency in government:
    1. Detainee Information Exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (sec. 201). The Government continues its cynical argument that the basis for refusing to give any public information about its detention policies, even to terrified friends and family, is to protect the privacy of those detained.
    2. Gagging the Environmental Protection Agency from informing us of dangers of chemical releases (sec. 202) EPA requires reports on dangers of chemical releases. 42 USC §7412(r). USAPA II limits both what information is given out and who can get it. Only those who live and work in the geographic area likely to be affected can see the reports, and access is “read-only,” so they cannot send it on to friends or loved ones (or the press). Additionally, the public is not allowed to see any information that might allow someone to deduce the location of the potential chemical threat.
    3. Capital buildings information exempt from FOIA (sec. 203).
    4. Reducing Judicial Oversight of Classified Information Requests (sec. 204). This provision increases the government’s ability to use secret evidence. It allows government shall be able to make a request for Classified Information Act procedures without notice to the other side and in the judge’s chambers rather than in the public courtroom. It reduces a judge’s ability to force the government to make its case in open court, even if the judge believes that this is necessary or appropriate.
  5. FISA on steroids. USAPA greatly expanded the power and scope of the once- limited secret court. In addition to the FISA provisions listed above that allow the information to be widely shared, USAPA II expands FISA authority to include:
    1. Individual with no connection to anyone else can now be deemed an “agent of a foreign power.” The FISA process of secret courts and surveillance was originally created to allow surveillance of agents of foreign governments — spies, foreign embassy officials and others affiliated with a foreign government. It was also limited surveillance on Americans who helped foreign agents to those who broke or were likely to break U.S. law. Only persons in these two categories qualified as “agents of a foreign power” who could be subject to the secret court processes. Under USAPA II, FISA jurisdiction can be invoked in almost any situation that can be linked to international terrorism, thus circumventing the protections and openness of regular court processes. Instead of the protections of domestic law, a person is subject to FISA’s broad, longer-term surveillance, reduced oversight and one-sided review before a secret court that never says no.
      1. Individuals can be foreign powers (sec 101). USAPA II allows an individual with no affiliation with a foreign government or a terrorist organization to be deemed a “foreign power” for purposes of FISA surveillance of that person and those associated with him or her.
        1. This provision was introduced as a separate measure, entitled, , and recently passed through a key Senate Committee. <!–12–>
      2. Reduced standards for surveillance (sec. 102) Americans who are deemed to be “agents of a foreign power” but who don’t break the law can now be subject to FISA surveillance. Previously there had to be a showing at the agent did or might break the law before these broad powers could be invoked.
        1. Longer wiretaps=Less court oversight (sec. 111). Organizations, corporations and associations of international terrorism used to be subject to wiretaps for no longer than 90 days before reauthorization by the FISA Court was required. They could also be treated as “U.S. Persons” under the law. Under USAPA II these groups are treated as “foreign powers,” the same as foreign governments, so wiretaps are allowed up to a year without court review. 50 USC §1801(i)(1)-(3) instead of (4)-(6). Note that this change only applies if the group is not substantially composed of US persons or if there is probable cause to believe that no communication or property of a U.S. person will be acquired.
    2. FISA Court oversight reduced other ways too (secs. 103-104). FISA allows the Attorney General to act without any court oversight in rare circumstances. 50 USC § 1802. USAPA II broadens those situations:
      1. the Attorney General may act without any court oversight for fifteen days after Congress authorizes any military force or after the US has suffered an “attack creating a national emergency,” in the purview of the Attorney General. Previously this sort of surveillance free for all was only allowed after a Congressional declaration of war.
      2. With only presidential authorization, the Attorney General may now wiretap foreign governments for all communications within the broad category of “technical intelligence.” Previously the Attorney General could not wiretap for spoken communications.
    3. No Accountability for Breaking the Rules (sec. 106). FISA has long provided a defense of “good faith reliance” on a FISA order even if the officer engages in unauthorized surveillance or searches or discloses information improperly. This defense is extended to situations where there is no FISA court order, but surveillance is allowed, such immediately after the United States has been attacked by terrorists or after war has been declared (see secs 103-104 above).
  6. Law Enforcement Powers Not Limited to Terrorism. As with USAPA before it, USAPA II does not limit the scope of the powers to those necessary or even related to terrorism. This includes:
    1. Information sharing (sec. 311). Consumer credit information, visa-related information, educational records may be freely shared. No relationship to terrorism is required.
    2. FISA Information may be shared to officials conducting any kind of criminal proceedings, not just terrorism (sec. 105).
    3. National Security investigation subpoena information can be shared without limitation as to its use (sec. 129)
    4. Law enforcement can be given FISA pen register information about US citizens for any purpose. (sec. 107).
    5. Grand jury subpoena gag orders are not limited to situations involving terrorism (sec. 206).
    6. Cryptography Sentence Enhancements apply without limitation to terrorism (sec. 404).
    7. The Environmental Protection Agency is prohibited from informing us of dangers of chemical releases (sec. 202). While the justification of this is to prevent terrorism, it is not limited to situations where terrorism is suspected.
    8. Information from multi-function devices is not limited to terrorism-related surveillance. (sec. 124).
    9. Reduced judicial oversight of classified information requests is not limited to terrorism (sec. 204).
    10. Autopsy Orders are not limited to terrorism investigations (sec. 127)
    11. Surveillance done at the request of foreign governments is not limited to either US or foreign terrorism investigations (sec. 313)
  7. Grab Bag: Widens Scope of Laws/More Penalties/More Power for the Attorney General.
    1. Broaden scope of “Material support to terrorism.” (sec. 402) This provision eliminates the requirement of criminal intent for those charged with “material support of terrorism” under 18 USC §2339A. It now allows conviction if the acts “by their nature” appear to intended for the terrorism purposes. USAPA II would broaden the definitions of “training” and “personnel,” further expanding the reach of the statute. The provision also attempts to create a constitutional justification for making mere “support” of terrorists a federal criminal offense. In general, such a broad, unfocused term as “support” would not be sufficient to criminalize activities under federal law. The statute tries to create this justification by tying the need to criminalize “support” to interstate and foreign commerce and the federal government’s need to control activities of Americans outside the United States.
    2. Additional Crimes on Death Penalty List (sec 411) Approximately fifteen additional crimes could trigger the death penalty under the category of “terrorist murders”
    3. 410. Expanded list of crimes with no statute of limitations. USAPA II eliminates the requirement that only crimes with a foreseeable risk of death or serious injury have no time limit for prosecution. Now all crimes included in the list at 18 USC. §2332b(g)(5)(B) list have no time limit. This includes “cyberterrorism” that causes financial damages only and “material support” for terrorism even if the activities are completely free of the risk of violence.
    4. 408. Increased supervised release for terrorism offenses. USAPA II allows increased times of supervised release, including up to life, for those convicted of a terrorism-related crime even if the crime does not involve risk of or actual death or serious injury. This includes cyberterrorism and material support for terrorism, even if no injuries occurred.
    5. Increased federal jurisdiction (sec. 403, 407). USAPA II attempts to shore up the arguments for federal (rather than state court) jurisdiction for any case involving terrorism (407), or weapons of mass destruction (403). It claims that federal jurisdiction is proper whenever the property that is attacked is used in interstate commerce or when any perpetrator crosses state line in furtherance of the offense or whenever foreign government owned property in the US is involved.
    6. Reduce Judicial Discretion (sec. 405) USAPA II creates a presumption of pre-trial detention in cases involving terrorism.18 USC 3142(e). This is a bit puzzling since it doesn’t appear that any judges have been unreasonably allowing terrorism suspects to go free on bail pending trial.
    7. Aviation Licenses Revoked more easily (sec. 409). USAPA II allows immediate suspension, revocation or denial of certificate for civil aviation for national security reasons if risk of air piracy or terrorism or a threat to airline or passenger safety.
    8. “Beijing Orders United States to Wiretap Chinese Democracy Activists” (sec. 321) USAPA II allows U.S. law enforcement to seek and execute search warrants and pen/trap orders on behalf of foreign governments. Previously the United States could only execute subpoenas for foreign governments. 28 USC §1782.
    9. Attorney General can override extradition treaties (sec. 322). Extradition for anything the U.S. Attorney General and Secretary of State want, even if not on the list of offenses where extradition is allowed under the treaty. For instance, the United States routinely refuses to extradite individuals who would be prosecuted for offenses that are protected by the First Amendment here. Under this provision, the Attorney General could decide, perhaps out of a desire to encourage an extradition back from a country, to extradite an American to Saudi Arabia who is being sought for speaking out against that government’s repression of women.
  8. Is there anything decent in there? As with USAPA before it, USAPA II does contain some provisions that are welcomed. It also includes several clarifications to USAPA provisions that were causing confusion (not included in this report) and several items that are unobjectionable, including:
    1. FISA Court of Review appointed counsel (sec. 108). Allows the Court to appoint an attorney to defend a lower FISA court judgment that the Attorney General chooses to appeal. This is a good start, but the statute should also provide for representation for the target of the surveillance, even if by an interest group, and should also provide for more transparency in the rules of the Court and for amici participation.
    2. Security provisions for governmental officials are not “income” to them (sec. 205). This provision would stop counting cost of security provisions for senior governmental officials as part of their income for tax purposes. Civil servants who require extra protection because of their duties should not be penalized in the tax code.
    3. Terrorism Hoaxes penalized even if no threats (sec. 401). Require reimbursement if expenses caused and authorize a civil action for such expenses.
    4. Autopsy Orders (sec. 127) The government can order autopsies whenever “necessary or appropriate in the conduct of federal criminal investigations.”
    5. FISA court compliance powers (sec. 109). While the EFF believes that the FISA court itself should be rethought and that its jurisdiction has become grossly overbroad under both USAPA and USAPA II, granting the court the authority to enforce its own orders makes sense as a matter of judicial efficiency.
    6. Airlines are “mass transportation” (sec. 406) This provision is expressly tied to the Richard Reid “shoe bomber” case. While Mr. Reid was charged with many offenses and ultimately pled guilty, the Court did dismiss one charge, that of using a “mass transportation vehicle.” This provision will allow an enhancement of sentence under 18 USC §1993 to up to life imprisonment for terrorist attempts on commercial airplanes, even if no death resulted.

Conclusion

USAPA II would create grave new violations of the privacy of ordinary Americans and place even more unchecked power into the hands of law enforcement and the intelligence community. We’re only beginning to see the effects of USAPA and the administration has not made the case that we are safer as a result of it. Now is certainly not the time to take even further steps down this dangerous path, especially when some of the steps may not be reversible. Massive governmental databases, for instance, are not easily destroyed.


[1] This analysis is of the draft of January 9, 2003.

[2] http://www.politechbot.com/p-04519.html

[3] http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/FISA/hill3.pdf
http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/FISA/Leahy.pdf

[4] This analysis only discusses the portions of USAPA II where EFF has expertise, mainly surveillance, general civil liberties and governmental transparency. USAPA II also has some extremely troubling provisions that increase the ability for the US to strip an American of his or her citizenship and prosecute individuals based upon financial activities, among others. Those provisions are outside the scope of this report but have been well discussed by others, including the ACLU at: http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=12166&c=206

[5] While this loss of privacy is something to be concerned about even when the entity seeking the information is a spammer hoping to sell you stuff or an ex-husband or stalker with darker intentions, it is equally if not more, troubling when the information is sought by governmental officials with the many more legitimate powers, including the power to throw Americans in prison and even strip Americans of their citizenship, if one of the USAPA II provisions is passed.

[6] Church Commission member Walter F. Mondale, “Democracy’s Challenge: Balancing Personal Liberty and National Security” June 6, 2000, at Macalister College. 2nd in the series Fifty Years: The Mondale Lectures on Public Service, available on the internet at:
http://lists.extension.umn.edu/pipermail/mnlre/2000-May/000001.html

[7] http://research.yale.edu/lawmeme/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=925

[8] See, e.g. sec. 101 of Erights bill introduced by Senator Leahy in 1999. http://www.cdt.org/crypto/legis_106/ERIGHTS/sectionanaly.shtml

[9] http://www.eff.org/EFF/Newsletters/EFFector/HTML/effect15.19.html#III

[10] http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/20021021_eff_pr.html

[11] http://www.aclu-co.org/newsletters/2002Apr/spy_files.htm
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/text/134533962_denver12.html

If We Could Speak to the People, What Would We Say?

If We Could Speak to the People, What Would We Say?

Peter Chamberlin

If we could reach beyond the news filter that keeps real news from the
American people, what would we say? If we figured-out how to get one message
out to the people, what could we say that would actually motivate them to
take a stand for themselves, for their families, for their country and their
world?

The same studies that power the social planners claim that barely 10% of any
group of people follow reason, meaning they cannot be reasoned with. The
same studies also predict that a clear majority of any targeted population
will respond to fear in a shock scenario. We might try reasoning with the
sleeping sheeple, but we would have better odds if we tried to scare them
awake. If we can convey a true image of the evil being done with our
consent, then we might shock the people into the harsh light of reality.

Our leaders are about to allow the economic collapse of the United States,
without telling you beforehand, or helping American citizens to make
emergency preparations.

Their solution to the problem is to seize control of the post-collapse world
militarily, eliminating everyone who gets in the way. This military solution
accepts a very large loss of human lives as necessary “collateral damage” to
the brave plan to take control of the world. When the American people are
overwhelmed by the economic catastrophe, they will hardly notice large
planned population reductions.

All of this is an acceptable solution to our government. For those who try
to protest after the “hammer goes down,” there are hundreds of detention
camps, capable of holding thousands of dissidents, waiting to accept your
silent screams.

But until we get to that point of no return, steps are being taken to reduce
and eventually eliminate all protests to governmental violence.
The Constitution is being reduced piecemeal to a powerless piece of paper.
The courts are bowing down to executive decrees.

Mankind is being kept in check by his own fear. In the face of fear we react
like herd animals, bunching together in search of elusive safety, making us
easily manipulated by those who have mastered the psychology of fear.

Terror is a key element of American politics. Votes are obtained by
frightening the people into your corner, or away from your “unsafe”
opponent. Candidacies are won and lost by negative campaigns of lies and
half-truths that paint your opponent as an unreasonable madmen and yourself
as a heroic messianic figure. US leaders depend upon political terrorism to
get their way in the world, from the local level of “Homeland Insecurity,”
to the international arena, where acts of bloody terrorism are routinely
committed to frighten the locals into political compliance.

“Terrorism–n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a
person or an organized group against people or property with the intention
of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological
or political reasons.”

State terrorism has been an integral part of American government for many
decades. Beginning with the terror campaign of carpet-bombing and
fire-bombing of civilian centers in Germany at the end of World War II (and
the a-bombs), American and British scientists have studied the psychology of
mass fear. This wholesale terror campaign was a new type of warfare,
targeting civilians, instead of concentrating on government centers. The aim
was political terrorism, to turn the citizens of Germany into political
tools to be used to force the German government into submission. By studying
the socio-economic repercussions of the fire-bombing, the American and
British psychologists and sociologists learned how to herd entire
populations through the tactics of fear.

Acts of violent terrorism for political and economic gains have continued
since “the Great War,” against both friend and foe.
Historically, American terror operations like “Operation Gladio” have been
aimed at our allies in Europe even more than against our enemies.
In “Gladio,” (as in all American terror campaigns committed under the banner
of “democracy”), public figures and officials are assassinated, attacks are
carried-out upon police and military forces of sympathetic governments,
trains are bombed with great loss of life, and “madmen”
go on public shooting sprees, all for the sake of scaring European national
opinion into America’s corner.

As always, American terror is hidden by the use of proxies and mercenary
forces, who are blamed for attacks committed covertly by our military and
intelligence agencies. The “war on terror” itself is probably the world’s
longest-running terrorist operation, intended to create the impression that
American-sponsored terror attacks are really the work of a new non-existent,
highly-organized global terrorist adversary. In simpler terms, the United
States government
is the center of world terrorism. Our own government, our
“defender”
against terrorism, is responsible for most terrorist attacks upon innocent
people in the world, that thousands of American troops are defending
against. American-trained forces are killing American soldiers who then
retaliate further against innocent civilian populations where the terrorists
choose to hide.

“Our government” is not really ours at all, having long ago surrendered our
national sovereignty to a consortium of global financiers through the
Federal Reserve System that controls the US.

“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws.”
Mayer Amschel Rothschild

In the process of bringing the US under the control of the international
financiers, represented by the Rothschild interests centered in Europe,
American industry has been destroyed (except for the military-industrial
complex
, needed to pound the recalcitrant world into submission), while the
sham called “democracy” was constructed to create the impression amongst the
unruly people that they actually have power. When the self-appointed
American aristocracy allowed the common man the “right” to vote, it was done
to stave-off more violent opposition and to deceive with the impression of
shared power. Today, decent folk, believing in the illusion of “fair
elections,” remain a real obstacle to saving American freedom from the
hidden dictatorship, which owns all the candidates produced in the
“two-party” system. As long as the majority believes in the system and
continues to empower its candidates, the dictatorship can remain hidden. In
order to expose the hidden machinations of the secret dictators we have to
burst the bubble of illusory democratic power.

At the same time, the fact that the dictatorship wishes to remain hidden,
playing the game of democracy, pretending to seek the counsel of the people,
then they are vulnerable. If they choose to continue the charade of
democratic government, then they have to limit their actions to those which
appear to be “freely” granted by the people through their “representatives.”
As long as those representatives hold the seats of power given them by the
overlords, they will answer only to them. But if enough people call the
representatives to task for failing American democracy they can at least be
forced to publicly answer the charges of failure. If the masses put the fear
of democracy and righteous retribution into the minds of the Congressional
slaves of the money-powers, then they too will begin to retreat from their
open support for measures calling for more war and less freedom. If the
people fully use the First Amendment powers to make democracy work then we
can turn the tide against the center.

They cannot openly carry-out the violent measures required for creating a
world dictatorship and a permanent state of war, taking the brazen violent
steps that have been planned, such as launching nuclear first strikes, or
using biologic attacks to “cull the herd.” As long as the real terrorists
are pretending to be democrats they must act accordingly. Until the world
rises-up against the American imperialist forces in sufficient numbers to
frighten the American people into becoming willing participants in the
genocide of half the earth, other lesser, though equally as threatening,
provocations will continue to be found to frighten us into authorizing the
slaughter.

By placing the will of the people into their formula, they have created a
time lag between cause and effect, where the planned actions must be
preceded by a provocation that motivates the people into consenting to their
own destruction. By incorporating a basically moral people into a completely
immoral plan for world domination, the master controllers have constructed a
flawed plan that depends upon a scientific effort to change good people into
bad. In a country as religious-natured as this one, the great leaders may
have falsely calculated that they can make a nation fear so much for its
life that it would sell its soul for a little peace of mind.

American state terrorism has also been directed against the citizens of the
United States themselves, through more subtle “silent weapons.”
For the entire duration of American terrorist operations against the world,
our government has waged war upon the minds of its loyal citizens through an
arsenal of psychological, economic, and legislative weaponry. The purpose of
these attacks has always been to destroy the American economy and the minds
of the people, while using the economic destruction to justify the full use
of the American military power against the rest of the world.

American leaders consistently work against American interests, while
enriching themselves and their wealthy sponsors who reap opportunity from
our Nation’s demise. In order for these anti-American power-brokers to force
the world into a global dictatorship with them at the helm, they have to
play the “democracy” card, while simultaneously undermining it. Our leaders
have to persuade us into allowing them to destroy democracy in the name of
preserving it. We the People have to be persuaded to peacefully allow the
planned destruction to take place before it can take place. We have to
accept our bleak fates, before it can become our fates.

But the scary truth about the American state terrorist acts that have been
committed so far is that they have provided the needed practice for the
despicable acts that are yet to come. The American war upon the human race
will utilize every weapon in our arsenal, once the way for their use has
been cleared. Weapons of mass destruction come in many forms. In a war for
control of the earth’s resources it would seem more logical to use the
weapons that kill, such as biological weapons, as opposed to those which
merely destroy everything. Instant Death is about to enter the world through
American hands.

The tragedy of our time, perhaps the ultimate tragedy of all time, is
roaring down the highway of life right at us, or is the greater tragedy the
weakness of the mind of man which is allowing this to happen? If we have the
power of change within us and we do nothing, inaction is an act of suicide.

We have to overcome this innate human weakness to prepare our fellow man for
the things that are about to befall this battered planet. So many things are
avoidable in this existence through the use of foresight; if only it was a
common human trait. Any sane person who sees oncoming danger will
automatically step out of its way. As a rule, we humans rarely choose to
step out of the way. Mankind has never been called “sane,” by anyone’s
definition. We must secretly harbor a deep desire to become “road kill” on
the cruel highway of life.