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Comey Lied? Trump Vindicated? Ron Paul says Nobody’s Safe From PATRIOT Act

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) dropped a bombshell yesterday when he revealed that members of the Trump campaign...

PATRIOT Act At 15: Do You Feel Safer?

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of President George W. Bush signing the PATRIOT Act into law. It was supposed to be only a temporary...

Poland’s Patriot Act: PiS government proposes new anti-terrorism law

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Dorota Niemitz Seizing on the terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22,...

After PATRIOT Act Reform, Spying Continues

With the sunsetting of Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act last week, we were told that the NSA had stopped its bulk collection...

Retooling the Patriot Act

The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The...

Don’t be fooled – worst aspects of the Patriot Act remain

The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The...

FBI Misuse of Patriot Act Authority

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - America is a police state. The FBI is the nation's Gestapo. It's abuse of power and misconduct are longstanding. It's an...

Reviving the Patriot Act

Even as talk about the expiry of various parts of the USA Patriot Act was taking place, the background was never going to move...

Greenwald: Obama, Media ‘Irresponsible’ for Scaring Public Over Patriot Act

"The whole world has changed when it comes to this debate as a result of the revelations of Edward Snowden" (Common Dreams) - The Patriot Act...

People Power Can Terminate the Patriot Act and Its Ugly Siblings

This Sunday, at midnight, the notorious Section 215 of the Patriot Act is set to expire. Section 215 has been the basis for the...

Patriot Act/NSA Surveillance, Call Your Senators Now!

The Senate is in recess, but they will be returning on Sunday for a last minute vote on the extension of the Patriot Act’s...

Fallacies of PATRIOT Act ‘Compromises’

WASHINGTON - The Washington Times reported earlier this week: “Obama scolds Senate: Skip recess, get back to work on Patriot Act reform.” Politico is reporting: “To meet...

Corporate Media Accused of Parroting Fear-Mongering over Patriot Act

(Common Dreams) - With key provisions of the USA Patriot Act nearing a long-awaited expiration date, there remains one last adversary to take down in...

Scaremongering About the Patriot Act Sunset

In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are warning...

Justice Department Report Directly Contradicts the Attorney General’s Claims about the Patriot Act

In the midst of the last-minute Congressional debate about whether to re-authorize Patriot Act Section 215, the Justice Department Inspector General (IG) released a...

For 7 Years, FBI Defied Law for Seeking a Person’s Records Under Patriot Act

A Justice Department inspector general’s report shows that for seven years the Federal Bureau of Investigation violated statutory law designed to restrict the agency’s...

Protesters Gather in Dozens of Cities to Call for the End of Patriot Act...

WASHINGTON - As the sun set on Thursday, activists and Internet users of varying political stripes gathered outside Senate offices across the country and...

As Spying Foes Look to ‘Sunset’ Patriot Act, White House Turns up the Pressure

Justice Department memo reveals pressure campaign as two competing spy bills head to vote (Common Dreams) - With key provisions of the Patriot Act set to...

Most Americans against Patriot Act, poll shows

Most Americans are against the Patriot Act, used by the NSA as a legal basis for spying on people, a new poll shows. According to...

Litmus Test: Will Patriot Act Spying Continue?

With key provisions of the so-called Patriot Act set to expire on June 1, the fight to preserve the Constitution is heating up — and...

White House, senators call for end to NSA phone data collection as Patriot Act...

(RT) -  A handful of US senators used a series of speeches to denounce the NSA’s ability to collect mass amounts of Americans phone...
Photo of (left to right) Kirk Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake. (Photo: Kathleen McClellan/ Government Accountability Project)

National Security Whistleblowers Call for Repeal of Patriot Act

Prominent national security whistleblowers are calling for the full repeal of the USA Patriot Act, charging that under that legislation the federal government has...

Author Of The Patriot Act: Government Backdoors Into iPhones Are Unnecessary

Michael Chertoff , co-author of the Patriot Act, a set of laws that provided the US government with broad surveillance powers in the wake...

Police Using Controversial Patriot Act Authority for ‘Everyday’ Cases: Civil Liberties Group

A contentious surveillance provision of the Patriot Act, which allows law enforcement to conduct searches while delaying informing the suspect, is broadly used, but...

Terror and the Patriot Act of 2001, Implemented in the Immediate Wake of 9/11

In the fall of 2001 members of the U.S. executive branch terrorized Congress into passing the Patriot Act that assaulted the rights of citizens. Graeme...

Patriot Act Author: Congress Are “Cheerleaders” For NSA

Calls Feinstein bill “a joke” Steve Watson Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the man who authored the original PATRIOT Act of 2001, says that the House and...

CIA Looking at Your Financial Transactions: Collecting Records from the Likes of Western Union...

Slowly but surely, Spook Central is showing its cards. Spook Central is the national security state – from the NSA to the CIA to...

CIA Grabbing Data On Money Transfers Using Patriot Act

One senses that this is only the tip of the iceberg, but nonetheless the CIA's bulk collection of international money transfer details is making...

Even the Author of the Patriot Act Is Trying to Stop the NSA

Fruzsina Eördögh October 28, 2013 It’s been about four months since Edward Snowden’s leaks on the NSA’s blanket surveillance programs outraged privacy and Internet activists the...

Patriot Act author aims to end NSA bulk collections in new legislation

The Republican co-author of the US Patriot Act is set to reveal bipartisan legislation that would curb the domestic surveillance power of intelligence agencies. Rep....

Department of Justice to review FBI surveillance under Patriot Act

The Department of Justice Inspector General is set to conduct a new review that will dig into “any improper or illegal uses” of the...

Government’s “Secret Interpretation” of Patriot Act: “EVERYTHING” Is Relevant … So Spy on EVERYONE

Senators Wyden and Udall – both on the Senate Intelligence Committee, with full access to information on the spying program – have said that for at least 2 years that the government was using a “secret interpretation” of the Patriot Act which would shock Americans, because it provides a breathtakingly wide program of spying

Congressmen Call to Gut PATRIOT Act

Bob KinzelVermont Public RadioJune 17, 2013 Recently, it was revealed that the National Security Agency has...

The Path That the Patriot Act Paved

Regardless of how it is constituted, whether it is “democratic” or otherwise, no government poses a larger threat to liberty than a government that...

The Path That the Patriot Act Paved

Regardless of how it is constituted, whether it is “democratic” or otherwise, no government poses a larger threat to liberty than a government that...

FBI client data requests under Patriot Act quietly skyrocket after tech firm resistance

The FBI greatly expanded data sharing requests under the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act when tech firms tried to resist the bureau’s...

Patriot Act allows US to spy worldwide, Europeans outraged

Information that Europeans keep stored online could be accessed by US law enforcement agencies. That's according to a report issued by one university in...

USA using Patriot Act against its own citizens

Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lundeby's bedroom in his mother's Granville County home is nothing, if not patriotic. Images of American flags are everywhere on the bed,...

Detailed Report On Patriot Act Abuses

The American Civil Liberties Union released a comprehensive report today examining widespread abuses that have occurred under the USA Patriot Act, a law that...

Federal judge rules 2 Patriot Act provisions unconstitutional

A federal court on Wednesday struck down two provisions of the Patriot Act dealing with searches and intelligence gathering, saying they violate the Fourth...

Video: Patriot Park: Reenactment of the decisive WW2 battle for Berlin

CORRECTION: Original title had incorrect data. A replica of the German Reichstag will be presented to the public for the first time. Patriot Park...

True Patriotism in Action

Norman Pollack Exciting news, related by Mark Mazzetti, “Burglars Who Took on F.B.I. Abandon Shadows,” in the New York Times (Jan. 7), concerns eight antiwar...

Vigilantes or patriots? FBI arrests head of militia rounding up illegal migrants at US...

Federal agents have detained the head of New Mexico’s people’s militia group, whose volunteer forces have...

The Great Con of American Patriotism, with Ron Kovic and Maj. Danny Sjursen

From TruthDig and KCRW: American soldiers born decades apart in the state of New York, Ron Kovic and Maj. Danny Sjursen are two crucial dissenting...

US contractors rejoice at the new Red Scare — RT USA News

US politicians and media peddling scary stories about Russia and China may have a more pedestrian...

‘We are the real patriots’

Pentagon says troops won’t ‘come in contact’ with caravan migrants at Mexico border —...

The US military has said that its troops deployed to the Mexico border to help stop...

Right-wing Patriot Prayer faces off with anti-fascist protesters in Portland (VIDEOS) — RT US...

Right-wing Patriot Prayer group’s rally for the ouster of the mayor of Portland has been marred...

Flat Earthers & patriots incensed at ‘removal’ of US flag from moon landing film...

US patriots and Flat Earthers alike took to Twitter to vent their outrage following the premiere...

Army vet launches t-shirts with ‘patriotic’ message for Kaepernick & Nike — RT US...

A clothing company founded by US veterans has responded to Nike’s collaboration with former NFL quarterback...

‘Patriot or warmonger?’ McCain’s track record comes under public scrutiny — RT US News

The death of John McCain caused mixed feelings and triggered a heated debate over the American...

Video: Portland protest: Clashes erupt as Patriot Prayer & Antifa stage rival rallies

Hundreds of demonstrators from the right-wing Patriot Prayer group and Antifa activists launched rivaling protests in Portland. There was heavy police presence ... Via Youtube

Tensions high as Patriot Prayer & Antifa protestors stage rival rallies in Portland —...

Hundreds of demonstrators from the right-wing Patriot Prayer group and Antifa activists have launched rivaling protests...

Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro

July 20, 2018 by Tom Clark All those amazon prime boxes stackt at your door all this free act now...

Tribute to Robert Parry: Investigative Journalist and Patriot

Robert (Bob) Parry was born in 1949 and died suddenly from pancreatic cancer in January 2018. An enthusiastic tribute to him and his work...

Patriotic’ agent dumps James Woods on Independence Day over apparent political differences — RT...

Actor James Woods says he was dumped as a client by his “political liberal” agent in...

Tribute to Robert Parry, Investigative Journalist and Patriot

Robert (Bob) Parry was born in 1949 and died suddenly from pancreatic cancer in January 2018. An enthusiastic tribute to him and his work...

‘Low point in US patriotism:’ Number of ‘extremely proud’ Americans slips below 50% for...

With politics and society increasingly divided, only 47 percent of US citizens polled say they’re "extremely...

‘Low point in US patriotism:’ Number of ‘extremely proud’ Americans slips below 50% for...

With politics and society increasingly divided, only 47 percent of US citizens polled say they’re "extremely...

Howard Bryant on Black Athletes & Activism

PlayStop pop out ...

An Act of Symbolic Racism

‘Stop US war machine!’ Activists try to obstruct USS Portland commissioning (VIDEO) — RT...

A crowd of roaring left-wing anti-war activists have staged a protest in Portland during the commissioning...

Inglorious Snitching: Adrián Lamo, Chelsea Manning, and Patriotism

The hacking community, like poets, tend to be irritable tribesmen and women. Their modus operandi functions on the stab, the enthusiastic penetration of insecure...

Because This Is 2018, An Actual Nazi Is the GOP Candidate For An Illinois...

  Leaving Roy Moore and his paltry pedophile tendencies in the dust, Arthur Jones - in-your-face Nazi, vehement Holocaust denier, devoted white supremacist and oh...

I Nominate Donald Trump For Best Actor in a Reality Drama

Photo by DAVID HOLT | CC BY 2.0 Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor playerThat struts and frets his hour upon the stageAnd then...

Giving Up Patriotism and Integration Myths for MLK Day

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout) "The trouble is that we live in a failed system. Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources....

There Is Nothing Patriotic or Conservative About Our Bloated Defense Budget – Blog

Several times over my 29 years in Congress I have wondered whether there are any fiscal conservatives at the Pentagon. It seems that the Defense...

Leaders Schumer and Pelosi Join Members of Congress and Patriotic Millionaires for Rally Against...

WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, with House Republicans set to vote on their disastrous plan that gives tax breaks to the richest Americans and wealthy corporations,...

Kaepernick, Patriotism, and the Perversion of Protest

Art by Evan McCarthy | CC BY 2.0 In the opening pages of his Symbolic Uses of Politics, sociologist Murray Edelman writes, “Political forms thus...

Patriots and Protesters Should Take a Knee for the Constitution

by John W. Whitehead / September 28th, 2017 Seems like in the past 15 years or so the idea of patriotism has changed some. More...

Patriotism? Liam Neeson urges to blow the whistle on alleged Trump-Russia collusion

Morgan Freeman’s anti-Russian sentiment is apparently contagious as fellow Hollywood star, Liam Neeson, has decided to...

Patriots and Protesters Should Take a Knee for the Constitution

Photo by Kate Ter Haar | CC BY 2.0 “Seems like in the past 15 years or so the idea of patriotism has changed some....

9 arrested after 'antifa' activists clash with far-right protesters in Oregon & Washington (PHOTOS)

At least nine people were arrested after clashes in Oregon and Washington saw 'antifa' activists attack...

Hundreds march in San Francisco against now-canceled ‘Patriot Prayer’ rally (VIDEO)

San Francisco authorities have banned a public gathering set up by the right-wing ‘Patriot Prayer’ group...

Protest poop: San Francisco activists plan to confront right-wing rally with dog feces

San Francisco dog owners plan to create a carpet of excrement at the location where the...

Islamophobia Is the Glue That Unites Diverse Factions of the Far Right

Women brandish US flags and shout at the "March Against Sharia" at Foley Square on June 10, 2017 in New York City. (Photo: Eduardo...

Patriotism, Witch Hunts, and Donald Trump Jr

The momentum against the Trump administration is building, and it should come as no surprise that it comes via the least original of avenues:...

Patriotism in the Trump Era

In one of his first official acts upon taking office, President Trump designated the day of his inauguration a "National Day of Patriotic Devotion."...

UK minister tells broadcasters to be ‘patriotic’ during Brexit, Twitter responds swiftly

Published time: 24 Jun, 2017 15:49 Edited time: 24 Jun, 2017 15:50 UK cabinet minister...

Gunman Shoots Congressman, Police at Virginia Baseball Practice

A gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington early on Wednesday, wounding several people including...

Patriotism or Nationalism

GRIFFIN INTERNET SYNDICATE, OCTOBER 16, 2001 – This is a season of patriotism, but also of something that is easily mistaken for patriotism; namely,...

The Illegal Entity of Rojava and Imperial “Divide and Rule” Tactics

Part 2 of 2 part series: "A Liberated Area in the Middle East"?: Western Imperialism in Rojava Rojava supporters may point out that YPG fighters...

Why Vault 7 Tools Used by Private Contractors Shows US Intel Needs a Ground-Up...

So, let's begin at the end. The fastest way to get things done on a geopolitical level has become hiring the private Intel and...

Vimy Ridge, First Nations and Martial Patriotism

Amidst an orgy of martial patriotism that is finally over, there was a sad irony. In recent days the Canadian Forces, banks, politicians, sports TV...

Why Vault 7 Tools Used by Private Contractors Shows US Intel Needs a Ground-Up...

The Vault 7 exposé by WikiLeaks neglected to mention the most important part of the disclosure. Sure, the CIA has all these tools available....

On Economic Patriotism: Capitalist Nationalism and the Making of American Political Identity

Photo by Metro Centric | CC BY 2.0 It is frequently said that Americans are the most patriotic population in the world. From childhood we...

US ally used $3mn Patriot missile to down $200 drone

Published time: 16 Mar, 2017 12:07Edited time: 16 Mar, 2017 12:08 A US ally used a $3...

Pre-Emptive Attack Iran Bill Active in US House

You will often see potentially important pieces of legislation languish in the US House. A bill will remain active, meaning that it can be...

English patriotism is overtaking British identity, poll shows

British identity is declining rapidly and English patriotism is on the rise with many more now describing themselves as just English, a new study...

Despicable Israel Bullies Artists Into ‘Patriotism’

Israeli arts companies have to fill out forms agreeing to perform in the settlements or face budget cut (RINF) - Israel’s far-right culture minister, Miri Regev, scored a...

‘Patriotism is always cool’: KISS uses concert to bash Kaepernick’s national anthem protest (VIDEO)

Despite once claiming “there’s only one nation and that’s KISS nation,” the iconic rock band has...

Colin Kaepernick Isn't Unpatriotic, Levi's Is

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick speaks at a news conference in New Orleans, January 30, 2013. (AJ Mast / The New...

We Don’t Know If the Department of Defense Is Actually Providing Security

The U.S. Army has been falsifying its accounting records to the tune of $6.5 trillion for the year, according to a recent...

Public Eclipse of a Shining Patriot

Heroism always occurs in the sunshine. Whenever we envision ourselves saving the day someone is universally there as witness. Whether it be the...

Video: 75th anniversary of Great Patriotic War: Soviet Union played decisive role in defeating...

June 22 marks exactly 75 years ago since the start of the Great Patriotic War. On that day in 1941, Nazi Germany attacked the...

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan

Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey...

New Obama rule allows doctors to declare patriots, conservatives and Constitutionalists mentally ill to...

Following the Alinsky—Marx playbooks to the letter, one thing Barack Obama and complicit members of Congress have managed to do during his tenure is...

#OregonUnderAttack: People slam lack of govt action after Bundy’s militia takeover in Oregon

Clive Bundy’s armed rancher militia taking over a federal building in Oregon seems to have aroused no concrete action from the government, compared to...

Report: Military Spent Over $10 Million on ‘Paid Patriotism’

You know when you go to a baseball game and invariably during some inning break the team points out a group of soldiers or...

Analog resistance: Activists protest CISA by faxing Congress

Privacy activists are flooding Congress with messages of opposition to the cyber surveillance bill due to be considered by the Senate, using faxes rather...

USA Freedom Act is Anything But

To get to the point: there is nothing – nothing at all – in any recent law or legislative action that will in any...

TTIP: the Corporate Empowerment Act

Paul Craig Roberts  (RINF) - The Transatlantic and Transpacific Trade and Investment Partnerships have nothing to do with free trade. “Free trade” is used as...

The USA Freedom Act Doesn’t End Bulk Data Collection

The business records provision of the Patriot Act, known as Section 215, is scheduled to expire on June 1st. It’s the legal basis for...

Noam Chomsky: Edward Snowden a True Patriot Who Should be Honored

Noted linguist also says 'global assassination program' is fuelling terrorism. Andrea Germanos Noam Chomsky said that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is a true patriot who revealed vast surveillance...

When War Erupts Patriots Will Be Accused Of Aiding “The Enemy”

In modern times, war is never what it seems. Mainstream historians preach endlessly about grand conflicts over territory, resources, political impasse, and revenge, but...

Coalition of Civil Liberty Advocates and Intelligence Community Whistleblowers Oppose USA Freedom Act

WASHINGTON - OffNow has joined a trans-partisan coalition of surveillance whistleblowers, civil liberties advocates, and organizations representing millions of Americans urging Congress to reject...

Flimflam Patriotism: Obama’s War Address

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News Is that John Wayne riding toward us, Winchester across his chest, the setting sun as background? Naw, it’s POTUS surrounded by the...

Release of Senate report on torture stalled by CIA redactions

Eric London Senator Dianne Feinstein announced last Friday that the Senate Intelligence Committee would delay the release of a declassified summary of its voluminous report...

What Exactly Are the Spy Agencies Doing with their Bag of Dirty Tricks?

Newly-released documents from Edward Snowden show that the British spy agency GCHQ has developed numerous offensive digital tools. But what exactly are they doing with these dirty...

On July 4, Be a Patriot: Stop Another US Military Intervention in Iraq

Medea Benjamin This July 4, the fireworks won’t just be in celebration of Independence Day. There will undoubtedly be fireworks in cities throughout the Middle...

Patriots Preventing Malfeasance

Lisa Cerda If you’re looking for justice in America, you have been trained to no longer expect it from the court system, the police department...

Why Risk Prison to Protest Drone Murders? An Activist Explains.

Judging from my email box in recent years -- which often differs on this question with such sources of knowledge as my television or the New York Times -- the conscience of our country lies somewhere near Syracuse, New York.  Here's an email from an activist named Judy Bello, for example:
"Breaking news: 
"MaryAnne Grady-Flores was convicted in DeWitt Town Court last night on 2nd Degree Contempt of an Order Of Protection.  Grady-Flores, who did not intend to violate the Order despite its immorality and invalidity, was taking pictures of others at the base - the Ash Wednesday Witnesses -  who engaged in nonviolent civil resistance blocking the front Gate to Hancock base for which they were subsequently acquitted.

"In a heinous abuse of an instrument meant to protect the innocent from violence, Orders of Protection are being used to protect violent transgressions of international and moral law from citizen oversight. While trying to publicize and support a movement to ground the drones and end the wars which take countless innocent lives, Grady-Flores was arrested for noncompliance with an order that does not specify particulars outside of how you might attack another human, something she would never do. She understood the Order to mean that she was forbidden to join the protest.

"The Guilty verdict was proffered by a jury 5 minutes after they had asked the judge for a legal definition of 'keep away', and he had replied that they 'are the sole triers of fact'.

"The two-day trial included testimony from Colonel Earl A. Evans who is the party protected by the OOP, Catholic Priests Father Bill Pickard and Tim Taugher, Catholic Workers Bill Frankel-Streit and Ellen Grady, sister. Grady-Flores also testified on her own behalf."
So, a woman dedicated to nonviolence was convicted of going near a military base, where a Colonel, not feeling safe enough with, you know, the military base, had a legal order of protection against her.  Of course this is a legalistic gimmick aimed at denying people their rights to speech and assembly, as at least one court has already ruled.  But it isn't working.  These people are continuing to speak and assemble.  And they're refusing to take plea bargains that would keep them out of prison.
I emailed another activist, Jack Gilroy, to ask what's going on. Here's what he sent back in response to my questions:
What is your background as an activist?
My activism began in 1964 with the Tonkin Bay lies. Later in that decade I took on the job as UpState NY Director of Committee of Responsibility, a group organized by Quaker MD’s who were treating Vietnamese war injured children. After Nixon blocked our confirmed hospital beds and plastic surgeons in upstate NY, my family and I emigrated to Australia. While there teaching high school I had my students help wake up Aussies to French Nuclear testing off the coast of Australia. Other groups (Greenpeace etc) were involved by the sight of fourth form (10th grade) Aussie kids on top of the ABC (Australian Broadcasting System) at the French Consulate in Sydney led to other actions around the country to press the French.

Back in the USA I had my senior high students watch as I climbed a fence into the largest store house of nuclear weapons in the USA. I was in a Santa Clause suit and a bag with candy and hand bills urging federal workers to find a real job….a life giving job.

Environment was major with my students and they commandeered the four corners of the original IBM setting in Endicott NY demanding that IBM pay per pound of hydroflorocarbons emitted each year…IBM the greatest polluter of the Ozone according to the EPA. Locals, with IBM the backbone of the job force, had no idea that their wonder company was doing wrong -- until students contacted media and the story was blasted. Kids can make a difference.  (Two years later, President Bush met with IBM officials in the Rose Garden to award them for their winning reduction of ozone pollutants. Students by then were in college or elsewhere and of course, not mentioned.)  My main claim to fame is my thousands of students who understood I didn’t buy the lies fed to them by the text books and media bullshit. I hope they are questioning and acting. But being a sheep has its advantages even for the committed.

So, my activism has been education. Our play, The Bench, a story about apartheid, made it to many schools around the Southern Tier of NY while Mandela was still incarcerated at Robins Island. Today, my play, The Predator, (you helped clean up a few items in it) has been done around the nation in small group settings such as the Pittsburgh Foreign Affairs Council etc. I believe education is the key -- slow, but it works if persistence is one’s forte.

I told you a bit about my activism to close the US Army School of the Americas and my southern jail, federal diesel therapy and various federal prisons for a six month ‘holiday’. It did close but opened up weeks later with a new name. C’est la vie. C’est la guerre.

Why do you believe protesting is a strategic tool?

It has worked historically. Need I repeat what most people of historical awareness know as fact….in the past 100 years….Gandhi, King, Chavez, Walesa, Mandela, Romero, Berrigans, etc.

Silence is the enemy of justice and we have great silence today. Silence is based in fear but is comfortable and safe. Sheepherders are our guides today rather than national leadership. Hiding in the middle of the flock is safe. Few speak out about our murderous ways. 


What has been accomplished?
It has been noted that drone action has been cut back in Afghanistan over the past year (as well as in Pakistan, but Hancock targets are in Afghanistan). Have we made a difference? Don’t know, but we’re trying.
So many eloquent statements have been made in so many trials at DeWitt, the Hancock Killer Drone court room. We hope that at least some local people and base personnel have to have had their consciences pricked. Since our actions, media has perked up info on drones --- we may be part of that nationwide drone talk, especially killer drones, not cutesy drone ideas like delivering packages to one’s door. Most people were ignorant several years ago and most people are still ignorant. But there is a swell of information and we think our actions have contributed to that.
My good friend, Ed Kinane, a long time justice activist from Syracuse, has much more experience in dealing with the media on the drone issue. Ed says that he takes from activist Dorothy Day who said: "Being faithful is more important than being effective." My own take is that Ed and the many that have put themselves on the line have been effective…even if only to their own conscience.

How have the approaches of the police and the courts changed?

Police are doing their job. I once witnessed Federal Marshalls at the Pentagon (back in pre 2001 days) hosing down old ladies who were doing a ‘die in’ to protest Pentagon support for a school of assassination at Ft Benning. Elizabeth McAllister (widow of Phil Berrigan) was standing next to me and she asked one of the Marshalls if he would do the same thing if it was gasoline. The Marshall turned to Liz and said: "I'd follow my orders, Lady".

So cops are doing what they are paid to do. They are not told to stop the killing going on inside of the base so they do what they are told and arrest those who say our government should not be breaking the law of country and God and natural law. But like the pilots who do the killing and the surrounding support people, it's the system that thrives on doing what they are told to do by the criminals at the top. We need to educate the police to have a conscience and see the real enemy . . .  the killers, not those who protest.

Courts are not much different. There is a sense of affinity between the Air Force personnel, smartly dressed, ramrod straight who stand or sit before judge and/or jury and make a fine presentation of patriotism . . . doing the job of heroes. It's a tough act to question. Judges and jurors have been taught to respect those who kill to keep us safe. The decisions made by the judges have been almost all in favor of the base and the killing Q9 drones and their crews. The one jury trial so far, just last week (May 17th.) rendered a decision in favor of the base. The case was a charge of a violation of an Order of Protection. An OPP is usually used to allow a spouse to keep away an abuser. Now, it is being creatively used at Hancock Air Base as an instrument to prevent First Amendment Rights to be practiced. Mary Anne Grady, a long time nonviolent peace activist, mother of four, every day hard working business woman was at a demo on Ash Wednesday at Hancock to do the media work of photos and video. She did not engage in the demonstration for she was ordered to not go on the base. She is shown in videos on the road in front of the base (cars and joggers going by right next to her) but Hancock Air Base now claims to have a lease on half of the public road that Mary Anne stood on and filmed. She faces a possible severe sentence on July 10th being found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a Syracuse jury of six. (Mary Anne was told months ago that juries may not be any better than judges -- tens of thousands stand and cheer at Syracuse Basketball games for the military and staff of the 174th Attach Wing at Hancock.)


What is your current legal situation?

My legal status is a jury trial at DeWitt Court starting at 8:30 a.m. on July 14th. First day mostly picking of jurors and opening statements and second day direct and cross examination, judge advise to jury and decision of guilt or innocence. I could be sentenced to one year in the Jamesville Penitentiary for my nonviolent die to remember those we have killed in Afghanistan (and God and the NSA only know where else). I think there is a chance of winning this one. If so, it could set a precedent. There are many jury trials to follow mine. Schedules go into late 2015….all for the same action. One judge said: "This has got to stop". Former President of Veterans For Peace, Elliott Adams, agreed with the judge. Elliott said, "Yes, your honor, it has to stop, we need to stop the killing and you need to be part of that stop effort."

I’ve been to most trials and have to say that there is little concern of judges to do anything to stop the assassinations. They are doing their job and following the "law". Now, we need to prove the so called law is illegal.


What would you recommend that people do who share your concern?
Here is what Ed Kinane had to say about recommending what to do. Ed walks the walk. Ed has lived in federal confinement for his peace and justice activism. Ed says:

That depends on whether they are far or near and where they are in life (in terms of dependents and responsibilities). Our campaign has a whole range of tactics they can join in or support: educate themselves; read some of the key drone books and reports; write letters to the elected base commanders; take part in our twice-monthly demos across the road from Hancock; attend the De Witt court when we defendants appear there; take part in annual conferences (usually in April); invite us to speak to their classes, community groups or congregations; contribute $$$ to our bail fund or to such anti-drone groups as codepink; work to pass local resolutions and ordinances restricting surveillance and weaponized drones over local or regional airspace; take part in fact-finding delegations to drone-plagued areas (Pakistan); risk arrest at Hancock, at other drone bases, or other relevant venues (federal buildings, drone research or production facilities, etc.); become a federal tax resister -- i.e.stop paying federal income taxes (much of which goes to the Pentagon war machine).



I'll add a few more:

Visit Upstate Drone Action Reports at

Spring Days of Drone Action.

Sign the petition to ban weaponized drones.

Get your city or state to oppose drones.

Get anti-drone shirts, stickers, hats, etc.

Every Tuesday: Stop the Killing.

Read about drones.

Plan for a Global Day of Action Against Drones on October 4, 2014.

Join the movement to end all war, with all weapons, at

read more

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Talk of impeachment is rampant in the halls of Congress, ordinary Americans are waking up all across the country; and they are angry. Even liberals are beginning to see the dangers posed by Barack Obama. Liberal constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley says that the United States is in a “constitutional crisis,” and the ACLU has called Obama “judge, jury and executioner.”

The last time there were anti-Obama protests in Washington DC, 1.8 million bikers roared through the town and patriots tore down the “Barrycades” that were preventing the nation's heroes from reaching their monuments; the ones that they earned with their sweat, their devotion to country, and their blood. When protesters started marching towards the White House Obama got into Marine One and fled the nation’s capital. On May 16th millions of Americans are set to converge in Washington DC for Operation American Spring, and Obama can see the handwriting on the wall. He desperately needs a win to avoid impeachment and conviction by the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors against the people of the United States.

According to former CIA spy Dr. Jim Garrow, Obama intends to quash all of the scandals plaguing his administration by announcing to the world that humanity has been in contact with extraterrestrials, and that he (Obama) has been selected to speak for humanity. Garrow says that this announcement will be timed to come after an imminent currency collapse orchestrated by Russia and China in a secret deal approved by Obama, who has not given up on his plans to wipe out up to 300 million Americans with an electromagnetic pulse - a triple threat from a POTUS known to double-down when his back is against the wall.

An EMP would send the US back to the 1800's without the infrastructure to support 314 million people. Overnight those people would be too busy trying to stay alive, too busy fighting hunger and disease to fight the absolute tyranny Obama and his masters seek to impose on the United States. With the nation crippled after attacks from numerous vectors, including terrorist attacks within the US perpetrated by Chinese, North Korean, and Iranian terrorists, Obama intends to complete his stranglehold on the country by asking for UN forces to keep the peace and suppress dissent. The irony is that those forces will be made up largely of our communist and Muslim enemies. I suppose we'll be busy fighting them too.

Obama’s plan to set off an EMP last fall was thwarted by three brave flag and general officers of the United States military, men in charge of our nuclear security, who were subsequently fired from their positions when they refused to give Obama access to those weapons. According to Dr. Garrow, one of the weapons Obama tried to steal was detonated at sea in the Atlantic Ocean causing a 2.2 magnitude earthquake that was verified by the US Geological Survey. Two more weapons are still under the control of patriotic members of the United States military.

This exciting episode is one that you do not want to miss.

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Concerning the Facts and Consequences of the Tragic Death of President John F. Kennedy

By Fidel Castro

The following is the text of a commentary and analysis delivered by Fidel Castro on Cuban radio and TV, Saturday evening, November 23, 1963, one day after the assassination of President Kennedy.

The address gives the reader insight into the immediate analysis of the assassination which a political expert such as Castro was able to make.

This English translation of the speech was released by the Cuban delegation to the United Nations in 1963. It is here reproduced with minor editing of grammar and punctuation.

The address was edited by Robert Morrow in 2012 and previously appeared at The Education Forum.

Always, when something very important has happened,
national or international, we have thought it desirable to speak
to the people, to express our opinions. And in every such case to
express the orientation of the Government, the orientation of our
Party, so that each one of us all know the attitude we should
adopt in each one of these situations.

It is true that we are somewhat accustomed to various types
of unexpected events, important, serious events, because since the
victory of the Revolution our country has had to face a series of
problems, a series of situations that have prepared the people to
carry forward their victorious revolution.

Therefore, because of the events of yesterday in the United
States in which the President was murdered, because of the
repercussion these events can have, because of the role that the
United States plays in the problems of international policy,
because of this, we believe that we should make a specially
objective and calm analysis of these events and of their possible

The government of the United States, the former
administration of Eisenhower and the Kennedy administration,
did not practice precisely a policy of friendship toward us. The
policy of both administrations was characterized by its aggressive,
hostile, and implacable spirit toward our country.

Our country was the victim of economic aggressions intended
to cause the ruin of our economy and the starvation of our
people; it was the victim of all kinds of attacks that caused
bloodshed; hundreds of our compatriots have lost their lives,
defending themselves from attacks of U.S. imperialism, and not
only this. The hostility and the aggressiveness of U.S. imperialism
toward our country took us to the brink of war which was
fortunately avoided, took the world to the brink of thermonuclear

And even when we were not facing a situation like the crisis
of October, and the time of the invasion of Giron [Bay of Pigs],
we were all perfectly aware that if the plots they were planning
against our country had been carried through, that is to say, if
imperialism had been able to establish a beachhead on our shores,
that struggle would have cost our people tens of thousands, and
perhaps even hundreds of thousands of lives.

We have been victims of the constant hostility of the United
States. And among the rulers and the leading men of the United
States, there falls on Kennedy an important responsibility in these

Nevertheless, the news of the murder of the President of the
United States is serious news and bad news. We should analyze
it thoroughly in order to understand it; above all, analyze it
serenely and dispassionately, as revolutionaries should analyze
these things.

I say it is bad news, leaving aside the human question, in that
the sensitivity of man, any man, is affected by an act of this
nature, by a crime, by a murder. I say that leaving these
questions aside, I always react and I am sure that this is the
reaction of the immense majority of human beings – we always
react with repulsion toward murder and toward crime.

We cannot consider this to be a correct weapon of struggle -
no, we cannot consider that. Above all under the conditions in
which it happened, because – like all these things – it is always
necessary to consider the atmosphere, the things, the

In other settings, under other circumstances, whatever they
may be in a normal situation, in a peaceful situation, a deed of
this nature is never justifiable. Especially in the middle of a
crowd, in the presence of women, all these things, which above
all – I say – are the circumstances that lead us to take a
condemnatory attitude toward something, even though some
deeds of a political nature, some crimes of a political nature, may
or may not be justified.

In the circumstances that surrounded the assassination of
President Kennedy, we believe it has no justification.

But analyzing the question from the political, objective point
of view, I also said it was serious news, bad news.

And some will ask why? Why precisely the Cubans, who
have received so many aggressions on the part of the United
States, from the Kennedy Administration itself, why can they say
that it is bad news, why can they take an attitude of this kind in
the face of this news? But in the first place we Cubans must react
as revolutionaries. In the second place, we Cubans, as conscious
revolutionaries, should not confuse men with systems. And we
have to begin by considering that we do not hate men, we hate

We hate the imperialist system, we hate the capitalist system,
but this does not mean that we hate men as such, as individuals,
part of a machine, a more or less important part of a system.

So we should not confuse hatred of a system with the
sentiment we should harbor toward men, which is a different
sentiment; it is not a sentiment of hatred, and much less a
sentiment of hatred which in a case like this would be despicable.

As Marxist-Leninists, we know that the role of man is a
relative role in each historical epoch, in each society, at each
given moment, and we should know the role that man plays in
each society. And above all it is a question of elemental principle:
we do not hate men, we hate systems.

We would be happy at the death of a system; the
disappearance of a system would always make us happy. The
victory of a revolution always makes us happy.

The death of a man, even though this man may be our
enemy, does not make us happy. In the first place, this should be
our attitude as a matter of principle.

And further it is very characteristic of us Cubans, of Latins,
of Spanish-Americans- who are a mixture of races with certain
characteristics – that death always ends our animosity. We
always bow with respect in the face of death, even though it may
be the death of an enemy.

But then, I said that the deed itself could have very negative
repercussions on the interests of our country. But it is not the
interests of our country in this case but the interests of the whole
world that are involved. We must know how to place the
interests of mankind above the interests of our country. I
consider it a negative event for the interests of mankind. And I
am going to explain why.

Because in certain international political situations, at a given
moment, there can be bad situations or worse situations. The
death of President Kennedy has all the perspectives involved in
going from a bad situation to a worse situation: the possibility
exists that from a determined situation, another situation could
unfold and develop that could be highly damaging to the interests
of peace, to the interests of mankind.

Why? Do we perhaps think that the United States holds a
defensible political position in the international field? No, the
international policy of the United States cannot be defended. Its
policy of aggression, policy of violating the rights of other
nations, of interference in the internal affairs of other countries,
of domination, of repression, of bloodshed, of alliance with the
most reactionary sectors of the world, of participation in bloody
wars against the people who struggle for their liberation – as in
the case of South Vietnam – its attitude towards the people of
Latin America, its attitude towards us, and finally its
international position, is in no way defensible from the moral
point of view.

However, within American society and within the policy of
the United States, there are supporters of a much more
reactionary policy, of a policy much more aggressive, much more

And the whole condition of the internal policy of the United
States, the internal struggle for power in the United States, the
currents that struggle within the United States, the assassination
of President Kennedy, tend to convert the present policy of the
United States into a worse policy and to aggravate the evils of
U.S. policy.

That is to say that there are elements in the United States
who defend a more reactionary policy in every field, in
international and internal policy, and these are the sole elements
who can benefit from the events that occurred yesterday in the
United States.

Why? Because in the United States a number of forces, a
number of very powerful bodies within U.S. society, very much
influenced by big interests in the United States, have been
developing, and there is no doubt that a U.S. President possessing
the highest authority implies a situation less serious than a
President without the highest authority, in such a situation.

A President is a political man, who should take into account
many factors, advice, opinions, and influences, who is eminently
political, who without doubt, behaves differently in general than
those who we might say are not professional politicians, who
have other professions, other interests, and those political
reactions are always the worst reactions.

In the United States there are a number of powerful forces:
economic, political, military. Many of these forces have a fixed
policy and more than once we have spoken of this problem.
Take the clash, for instance, between the political currents of the
State Department and the military currents of the Pentagon. We
have often seen the manifestations of this struggle in Latin
America, how there are currents in the United States, above all
military currents that support the policy of military coups, and
there are political currents that defend another type of policy -
not that it is a good policy, but clothed in a civilian government,
even pseudo-liberal.

Unquestionably when [there] is a recognized, accepted, strong
authority in the United States, the dangers that arise from the
struggle of a whole series of reactionary currents within the
powerful organizations of the United States are much less than
when this authority does not exist. And without any shadow of
doubt, Kennedy had this authority in the United States.

Now, suddenly a new situation is created, where a President
who, because of circumstances in which he holds power, that in
being Vice President, and then because of an unexpected
circumstance becoming President of the Republic, independent of
what his character may be, because here it is not a question of
the character of the person or his personality, but [because] of the
circumstances, does not come to power with the same personal
authority as President Kennedy had. And therefore a question
begins to arise in respect to the influence within all those forces,
of the new authority who assumes power, of the new President
who takes over the reins of Government.

In the United States there are very reactionary currents, racist
currents, that is to say opposed to the demand for the civil and
social rights of the Negro population, Klu Klux Klan people,
who lynch, who kill and use dogs, who bitterly hate all Negro
citizens in the United States, who nurture a brutal hatred. Those
naturally are the ultra-reactionary.

In the United States there are economic forces, powerful
economic interests, just as ultra-reactionary, who have a
completely reactionary position on all international problems. In
the United States there are forces that support an increased
intervention by the United States [in] international questions, a
greater use of the U.S. military in international questions. There
are, for example, currents in the United States that are
intransigent supporters of the direct invasion of our country.
In the United States there are partisans of the application of
drastic measures against any government that adopts the smallest
measure of a nationalist character, of an economic character that
benefits its country.

And finally, there are a number of groups that can all be
included in one concept: the ultra-right in the United States, the
ultra-reaction in the United States, and this ultra-reaction in each
and every one of the internal and external problems of the
United States is an advocate of the worst procedure, of the most
aggressive and most dangerous and most reckless policy against

In the United States there are also liberal currents, some more
liberal, some more advanced, other less advanced. There are some
men on the right who are more radical, and other more
moderate. There are certain intellectual sectors that are not
constantly thinking in terms of force, but are thinking along lines
of diplomacy, instead of force, who have a less aggressive policy
- a more moderate policy.

That is to say, in the United States there is a whole range of
political thinking that runs from men of the extreme right to
men of the extreme left, men who are more to the left in their
political thinking.

And in this situation there is a variety of opinion, of more or
less moderate attitudes. There are liberals, intellectual sectors of
the United States who understand the errors in the policy of the
United States, who are not in agreement with many of the things
that the United States has done in international policy.

And what happened yesterday can only benefit those ultrarightist
and ultra-reactionary sectors, among which President
Kennedy or some of the men who worked with him cannot be
included. They could not be placed in the extreme reaction- in
the extreme right.

And even within the situation in the United States, within
the policy of the United States, which as a whole is indefensible,
Kennedy was strongly attacked by the most reactionary, most
aggressive, and most war-like circles.

You will recall that on the eve of the October crisis of last
year, there was a whole campaign, with great pressure, including
laws and resolutions in Congress, pushing Kennedy [and] the
Administration towards war, trying to create a situation of
imperative action.

Everybody will recall that on other occasions, we have stated
that one of the political errors of Kennedy in respect to Cuba
was to have played the game of his enemies. For example, to
have continued the invasion plans against Cuba that the
Republican administration had organized.

And out of all this arose the possibility in the United States
for a policy of blackmail on the part of the Republicans. That is,
Kennedy presented the Republicans with the weapon of Cuba.
How? He continued the aggressive policy of the Republicans, and
they used it as a political weapon against him.

But at times very strong campaigns, powerful movements
within the United States Congress pressed the Administration for
a more aggressive policy against us. All those factors and all these
forces on the extreme right in the United States fought Kennedy
very hard precisely on those points in which he did not agree
with the extreme aggressive policy called for by these sectors.

There are a number of issues that gave rise to constant
criticism by these ultra-right sectors. For instance, the Cuban
problem, the agreement reached at the time of the October Crisis
not to invade Cuba, one of the points in Kennedy’s policy most
consistently attacked by the ultra-reactionary sectors. The
agreement on the ending of nuclear tests was another point very
much debated within the United States, and it had the most
resolute and fierce opposition of the most ultra-reactionary.

Elements in the United States were against agreements of this

Everyone knows what our position was on this problem.
Everyone also knows the reason for our position, regardless of
the fact that we consider that this was a step forward that could
mark the beginning of a policy of lasting peace, in favor of true
disarmament, but a policy that was never applied in our case.
Because while the nuclear test ban treaty was being signed, the
policy of aggression against Cuba was accentuated.

But we are not now analyzing the problem in relation to
what happened in our case, but in relation to what was
happening in the world, and above all in relation to what some
were doing and others thinking in the United States.
That is to say, there were many sectors in the United States,
many ultra-reactionary elements that carried out a fierce
campaign against the nuclear test ban treaty.

There are other elements in the United States that violently
opposed the legislation of civil rights proposed by Kennedy
regarding the Negro problem in the United States.

We are not dealing with the case of a revolutionary law or of
a great effort, because this great effort in favor of equality and
civil rights, especially in favor of the rights of the U.S. Negroes,
has not been made in the United States. But be that as it may it
was legislation that contained a series of measures that, from a
legal point of view, tended to protect the rights of the Negro
population. This legislation was blocked and held back by the
strong opposition of the most reactionary sectors in the United
States, of those sectors in favor of racial discrimination.

And thus, on a whole series of issues of international policy,
there are in the United States elements that support a preventive
nuclear war, who are in favor of launching a surprise nuclear
war, because they stubbornly think that this should be the policy
of the United States. Reactionary and neo-fascist elements
without any consideration whatsoever for the most elementary
rights of nations or the interests of mankind.

And it is a strictly objective fact that there are such types of
capitalists, such types of reactionaries. And there is no doubt that
the worst type of capitalism is nazism; the worst type of
imperialism was nazism. And the most criminal mentality was
the mentality of imperialism in its nazi form. And so there is a
whole series of degrees in these questions.

So analyzing the question objectively, whenever a strong
accepted personal authority is lacking in the situation, ways and
conditions in which U.S. policy is carried out, all these
reactionary forces find a magnificent opportunity, and in fact are
finding a magnificent opportunity, to unleash their unbridled and
ultra-reactionary policy.

And these are the sectors, the currents, the only ones that
could benefit by an event such as the one that occurred yesterday
in the United States.

This is analyzing the automatic result of this event. Independent
of another aspect of the question: What is behind the
assassination of Kennedy? What were the real motives for the
assassination of Kennedy? What forces, factors, circumstances
were at work behind this sudden and unexpected event that
occurred yesterday?

News that took everyone by surprise, something that possibly
no one had even imagined.

Even up to this moment, the events that led to the murder of
the President of the United States continue to be confused,
obscure, and unclear.

And there are some things which are clear symptoms of what
I have been saying: that the most reactionary forces in the United
States are at large.

For instance, the worst symptom is the advantage they are
taking of the event to unleash within the United States a state of
anti-Soviet hysteria and of anti-Cuban hysteria; this, in the first
place. It means that the new administration that is taking over
may find itself facing a situation of hysteria, unleashed in the
United States, precisely by the most reactionary sector of the
country, by the most reactionary press, with the great resources
that powerful political currents have within the United States.

That is to say that already they are combining to create a
frame of mind in the U.S. public opinion, and its worst
characteristic is that they are waging a campaign in the worst
McCarthyite spirit, in the worst anti-communist spirit.

At the time of President Kennedy’s murder, it ran through
the minds of most people . . . and surely it ran through the
minds of the large majority of U.S. citizens, and this was only
logical- that President Kennedy’s assassination was the work of
some elements who disagreed with his international policy; that
is to say, with his nuclear treaty, with his policy with respect to
Cuba – which they did not consider aggressive enough, and
which they considered weak – with his policy with respect to
internal civil problems of the United States. Not many days ago,
the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Adlai Stevenson was attacked
in the same city of Dallas by ultra-conservative elements of the
John Birch Society and counter-revolutionary elements in league
with them. This event drew the attention of us all.

I even thought, what degree of reaction will those people
reach, when they consider that Stevenson deserves attack for his
international policy?

In spite of how reactionary U.S. international policy has
been, there are elements who physically assault Stevenson,
because they consider that U.S. policy is a weak policy, a bad
policy, that it is not a sufficiently reactionary policy.

This ran through everybody’s mind. Did it run through the
mind of anyone that it might be a leftist? No, that did not occur
to anyone. Why? Because the controversy within the United
States today, the fierce controversy was taking place between the
most ultra-reactionary elements, the ultra-right elements, and the
more moderate elements of U.S. politics.

The internal controversy was not characterized by a struggle
of the communists of the United States with the Government of
the United States; it was not characterized by a struggle of leftist
elements or liberal elements. This does not mean that the leftist
elements supported Kennedy’s policy; but the struggle, the battle
waged without quarter was taking place within the United States
between the extreme right, the extreme reaction, and the more
moderate elements, in Congress, in the press, on the streets,

International tension had even diminished considerably in recent
months. These months were not months like the October crisis, not
like the months following the October crisis …. The United States
was not living through one of those stages of McCarthyism
characterized by unbridled persecution of the most progressive
elements of the United States. No, there have been other stages in
which the struggle is between reaction and the progressives. The
main task of reaction was to persecute the progressive elements, and
in such circumstances one might think that a progressive, persecuted
by blood and fierce, a fanatic haunted by his ideas, might be capable
of reacting in such a way. No, the United States was not living
through such a period. It was not living through a period of
unbridled McCarthyism. It was living through a period of fierce
controversy between the more moderate sectors – among which
can be found many of Kennedy’s collaborators – and the ultrareactionary
sector of American society.

Therefore, it was neither logical, nor reasonable, that anyone
could think that it could be a leftist fanatic; in any case it would
be a rightist fanatic, if it was a fanatic at all.

But naturally it was very difficult in the face of an event of
this nature for such unscrupulous people – like many U.S.
politicians- such immoral people, such dishonest and shameless
people as are many of those elements who represent the
reactionary cynical sectors of the United States, warmongers,
irreconcilable enemies of Cuba, supporters of an invasion of
Cuba – although this might be at the cost of thermonuclear war
- it was very difficult for them not to try to take advantage of
this circumstance to turn all their hatred, all their propaganda
and all their campaign against Cuba.

This did not surprise us. I have already said that we were
somewhat used to these things. The struggle, life, have made our
people into a people with iron nerves, a serene people. We have
just lived through the hurricane, and we faced the test with
dignity and honor, we have faced many tests with dignity and
honor. We foresaw that from these incidents there could be a
new trap, an ambush, a Machiavellian plot against our country;
that on the very blood of their assassinated President there might
be unscrupulous people who would begin to work out
immediately an aggressive policy against Cuba, if the aggressive
policy had not been linked beforehand to the assassination, if it
was not linked, because it might or might not have been. But
there is no doubt that this policy is being built on the still warm
blood and the unburied body of their own tragically assassinated

They are people who do not have an iota of morality; they
are people who do not have an iota of scruples; they are people
who do not have an iota of shame; who perhaps may believe that
in the shadow of the tragedy they can take us off guard,
demoralized, weak, the kind of beliefs into which the imperialists
always so mistakenly fall. And sure enough, yesterday at 2 P.M.
the first cable: November 22, UPI … because we should note
this; that of the news agencies, one has been more moderate,
more objective – the AP – and there is another that has been
excessively and unrestrainedly untruthful, a shameless promoter
of a policy and a campaign of slander against Cuba, that is UPI.
But that is not all, because there is a previous series of very
interesting UPI reports, and even a series of UPI campaigns
against President Kennedy himself, which links the news agency
with the ultra-right groups, which are interested in taking
advantage of the situation for their adventurous and warlike
policy, or because these circles are connected with the
assassination of President Kennedy.

And we can see this clearly through the cables: “Dallas,
November 22, UPI- today the police arrested Lee H. Oswald,
identified as the chairman of the Fair Play for Cuba Committees,
as the main suspect in the assassination of President John F.
Kennedy.” Right away Cuba and right away the Soviet Union.
And so they dedicated themselves to carrying out a fierce antiSoviet
and anti-Cuban campaign.

Cable: “The U.S. Embassy today confirmed that Lee H.
Oswald was in the Soviet Union. An Embassy official stated that
Oswald visited the Embassy in November of 1959 and according
to available information he left the Soviet Union in 1962. He
added that it was not known when the man suspected of killing
President John F. Kennedy had traveled to the Soviet Union,
what the purpose of his trip had been and how long he had
stayed in the Soviet Union. There were unconfirmed reports that
Oswald asked for Soviet citizenship and that he could not get it.”

Thus, from the very first cables there is an attempt to suggest
the responsibility of the Soviet Union and the responsibility of
Cuba, as if anyone could believe – anyone who is not a half-wit
- and has a little common sense – that any Government, the
Soviet government or the Cuban Government .. . and if they
don’t want to believe us, they don’t have to believe us; that is
unimportant. Perhaps they will think that we are hot-headed;
perhaps they feel that they have carried out too many aggressions
against us, but to suggest that the Soviet Union could have any
responsibility in this incident . . . can anyone believe that to
suggest that we could have had any responsibility … can anyone
believe that? Anyone who is not a half-wit, who has a little
common sense, who knows when men are working for a cause
and who know which roads lead a cause to victory?

Yet, nevertheless, this was the first thing they tried to suggest.
Listen to this cable “that they did not know the purpose of his
trip and how long he stayed in the Soviet Union.” That was the
first insinuation. And that was what made all this seem
suspicious, because it so happened that the most unexpected thing
- as unexpected as the assassination itself – was that
immediately a suspect appeared who – by a coincidence – had
been in Russia, and-what a coincidence -he is related to a
Fair Play for Cuba Committee. That is what they began to say.
And so, immediately a guilty person appeared: a suspect who had
been in the Soviet Union and who sympathized with Cuba.

Of course, although it is extraordinarily difficult to
manufacture a frame-up of this nature, it is possible that at this
moment they are not pursuing such an objective. They are
pursuing another objective, because they cannot invent just any
kind of responsibility.

They are trying to organize a campaign of hysteria, to excite
the minds of the people and unleash hysteria within the United
States; an anti-communist, anti-progressive, anti-liberal, anti-Soviet,
anti-Cuban warmongering hysteria within the United
States. If they had the slightest sense of responsibility, of
seriousness, or of good faith, they would not unleash a campaign
of this nature, as they have done, as can be seen in all the cables.

Let us read this one: “November 22, UPI- The assassin of
President Kennedy is an admitted Marxist who spent three years
in Russia trying to renounce his U.S. citizenship, but later
changed his mind and got a return trip to the United States paid
for by the United States Government.” That is already a
suggestion of blame to the Soviet Union. He was identified as Lee
H. Oswald, 24 years old, ex-U.S. marine and chairman of the
Fair Play for Cuba Committee.

So, right after that, the insinuation against Cuba. And this is
how they have begun all cables, all UPI cables, all reports,
Through the reports they have twenty times repeated the same
idea and the same thing, using a well-known technique at which
they are masters- to insinuate what they want to insinuate, to
sow the suspicion that they want to sow over this affair, to
slander the Cuban Revolution, to slander the Soviet Union, to
create hysteria against our countries.

It says: “Oswald was captured after a shooting fray when he
hid in a movie house ” … Thousands of reports came in on this,
many of them contradictory.

” . . . The police say that Oswald worked in a school
textbook warehouse in Texas … after the crime the police found
a Mauser rifle in the building,” etc . . .. It says where he was
born, it says that on October the 30th he turned up at the U.S.
Embassy in Moscow, on October 30th of 1959, and told the
officials that he wanted to give up his American citizenship.

“According to reports, he told the Embassy officials: ‘I am a
Marxist.’ The Federal Bureau of Investigations confirmed that
Oswald went to Russia and requested Soviet citizenship.

“Oswald told the Embassy officials that he intended to
disclose to the Soviet authorities everything he knew from the
three years he had been in the Marine Corps.”

Listen to that: “Oswald told the Embassy officials that he
intended to disclose to the Soviet authorities everything he knew
from three years he had been in the U.S. Marine Corps. The
Embassy officials said that Russia never granted Oswald the
citizenship he requested.”

Already they have in their hands a guilty person- true or
false? They have already produced someone who is guilty. They
have him. And now look: you will see the whole course followed
by this campaign.

” … He told the officials that he intended to disclose all the
secrets he knew.” Well, later I will refer to that again.

In February, 1962 Oswald apparently changed his mind and
returned to the United States. He had in the meantime married
a Russian, Marina, had a child. This man, who is charged with
something more than desertion, with being a spy, with confessing
that he is going to disclose military secrets, simply returned
peacefully to the United States- according to them.

It says: “The Embassy officials went over the case and since
he had not been granted Soviet citizenship, they decided to give
him a passport for the United States … “

Can anyone who has said that he will disclose military secrets
return to the United Sates without being arrested, tried, without
being sent to jail?

It says: “Government records show that he left Moscow with
485 dollars for expenses, which the United States Government
gave to him.

“This year Oswald requested another passport. He told the State
Department that he wanted to visit England, France, ,Germany, the
Netherlands, Finland, Italy, and the Soviet Union; he said he
planned to make a trip in October or December 1963,o r in January
of 1964. The passport was issued in New Orleans on June 25th;
however, it is not known whether Oswald returned the money that
was loaned to him for the first return trip to the United States.

“If he did not pay, the new passport should not have been
issued,” they say. We will use their own reports:

“Dallas, November 22 -another cable -the President of
the United States, John F. Kennedy, was shot to death today.
The police arrested, as the main suspect of the murder, a proCastro
American” . . .

Now we find that the man who murdered Kennedy is proCastro.
We know there are very few pro-Castros-what they
call “pro-Castros” in the United States.

They call them “pro-Castro.” They label as “pro-Castro”
anyone it suits them to according to their propaganda and the
business at issue.

Now we find that the man who was yesterday in the Fair
Play Committee-in the first cable-was then a “pro-Castro”
American who had once tried to become a Soviet citizen. That
is how all the cables go, you will see.

Another cable, “Dallas, November 22, UPI-Police arrested
Lee H. Oswald today, a Marxist supporter of the Cuban Prime
Minister Fidel Castro.”

There is not a single cable in which they do not connect the
action, the name of the individual whom they assure is guilty,
with the Cuban Revolution, with the Soviet Union, with Fidel
Castro, pro-Castro, supporter of the Prime Minister, admirer of
the Cuban Prime Minister.

It says: “A supporter of the Cuban Prime Minister, Fidel
Castro, who tried to obtain citizenship in the Soviet Union,
where he lived for several years, denied any knowledge of the
criminal action. Oswald killed a policeman. . ..” etc.

And later on, in the same cable: ” … although Oswald, who
heads the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a pro-Castro entity in
this city, admitted ownership of the gun with which the
policeman …” They keep repeating this all the time.

This one comes later. The most noticeable item here is the lie
that this gentleman headed a Fair Play Committee. A lie. We
started putting together all the information and statements that
have appeared, to see whether there was a Fair Play for Cuba
Committee in that area of Texas or in New Orleans. They said
that this man … where did they get that? … They said that he
presented himself as secretary of a sectional unit of the Fair Play
for Cuba Committee in New Orleans or in Dallas. Some cables
say that it was in the month of August, other cables say it was
last week. That is what they say.

That is the reason for calling this man “pro-Castro.” And
that he had defended the Cuban Revolution in a broadcast there.

All this is very queer. We had no news of any such statement.
But we looked for reports: Cities where there were Fair Play for
Cuba Committees of which we had knowledge – New York,
Los Angeles, Cleveland, Baltimore, Chicago, Tamp a,
Youngstown, Washington, San Francisco, Minneapolis,
Philadelphia, Detroit – but nowhere is there a Fair Play for
Cuba Committee in Dallas or in New Orleans.

Strange because within their Organization they are superinfiltrated
by U.S. citizens, and F.B.I. and CIA agents. Isn’t that
so? Because everything that the CIA and the FBI do there has
been proved. Later they said other things.

Here it says also: “The Chairman of the National Committee
declared that the Fair Play for Cuba Committee has never
authorized the establishment of a chapter in any city of Texas or
Louisiana. ‘I can say that Lee Harvey Oswald was never Secretary
or Chairman of any Fair Play for Cuba Committee in any city
of the United States.’ “

But you see, throughout the world, they began to spread the
poison from the first moments, that a Fair Play for Cuba
Committee was involved. Other things appear later on. Later we
will try to analyze who this true or false culprit could be. And
we must stick to what they say, we must base ourselves on what
they themselves say. All right. That was the 22nd …

“November 23, Dallas UPI – Pro-communist Lee Harvey
Oswald was charged today with the assassination of President
Kennedy. Police said that the paraffin test on Oswald’s hands gave
positive results that traces of gun-powder were found ” etc. . . .

Dallas, November 23rd, UPI- The result of the tests made
on Oswald’s face is still unknown. Such traces could only exist
if the suspect had fired a gun.”

So, in the first paragraph they start by saying, “procommunist,”
in the second paragraph they speak of something
else. Third paragraph – Oswald, a Marxist and sympathizer of
the communist regime in Cuba had oatmeal for breakfast … In
other words, in order to say what he had for breakfast, they
repeat that he was a Marxist and sympathizer of the communist
regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba. Get it? It is clear enough. We
know these people quite well; we have become almost experts in
knowing these shameless characters.

They say: “He had oatmeal, apricots, bread, and coffee for
breakfast, and sat down comfortably to wait for the authorities
to continue questioning him.”

“Dallas, November 23rd, UPI- The local police have proof
that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by CastroCommunist
Lee Harvey Oswald, according to an official
announcement today.” So he was murdered by a Castrocommunist?
Now this man is no longer an American, he is no
longer a Marine, this man whom they taught to shoot and kill in
the Marine Corps, now this man whom they made an expert
shot and sent to all U.S. imperialist bases throughout the world
is no longer a Marine. No, he was no longer an American, he
was a Castro-Communist, even though we never in our life heard
of the existence of this person.

You see how all this propaganda works. An American, a real
American, born there, educated by American society and
American schools, seeing American films, in the American armed
forces, American in every way. All of a sudden he is no longer
this; there is nothing of this in the cables. Now we read: ‘By the

All right, Captain Will Fritz said they were certain of this,
etc. This was yesterday; now this was today in the afternoon:
“Jesse Curry, Dallas Chief of Police, said today that Lee Harvey
Oswald admitted being a communist. And now he admitted it
today; yesterday he admitted nothing. Today it appears that he
admitted being a communist. “Curry added that Oswald
admitted to police officers questioning him last night that he was
a member of the Communist Party.” Now the man has turned
out to be a member of the Communist Party. As time passes
they discover more titles for this man. The true man or supposed
man, this they do not know. Who can … ?

All right. One thing is clear: among all the things connected
with the assassination is the unleashing of a campaign of slander
against the Soviet Union and against Cuba, and a series of
perfidious insinuations that have no other object than to repeat
a thousands times their intrigue and sheer infamy to create an
anti-Soviet and anti-Cuban hysteria among the U.S. people and
in public opinion.

So these gentlemen are playing a very strange role in a very
strange play, and no one knows what sinister plans may be
behind all this.

All right. On the other hand, there is an official statement by
the State Department, issued today, which declares: “State
Department authorities said today that they had no evidence to
indicate that the Soviet Union or any other power is involved in
the assassination of President Kennedy.

“Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine who lived three years
in Russia, has been charged with the crime. When 24 years old
Oswald went to Russia; he announced his intention of giving up
his U.S. citizenship. After changing his mind and returning to the
United States last year, Oswald became a sympathizer of the
Cuban prime Minister, Fidel Castro.” So they repeat themselves
even in the cables where they say they deny they lie. . . . The
cable goes on: “State Department officials say that they have no
evidence that Cuba is involved in what Oswald did.”

Naturally, there is no need for anyone to make excuses for
Cuba. There is no need for anyone to apologize for Cuba. Cuba
is not asking anyone to excuse her, or pardon her, because even
the very idea that we should have to defend ourselves from such
an infamy is repugnant in itself. Repugnant in itself.

So we have no need for anyone to defend us or apologize on
our behalf. Why does the State Department have to come out
today with such a statement? What does this show? It shows that
the U.S. authorities themselves, some people in the United States,
have become aware of the danger of the anti-Soviet and antiCuban
campaign unleashed by the most reactionary and warlike
circles in the United States.

In other words, the State Department itself understands the
danger of such a policy, the very dangerous dead end into which
such a campaign of slander and hysteria can lead the United

So this shows that there are people in the United States who
have understood the need to get out of this situation. This does
not mean that the danger is over, because we do not know what
is behind the assassination of Kennedy. What is behind the
assassination of Kennedy is not known at the moment.

The statement does not eliminate the danger of some frame-up
that could be concocted there, but indicates that there are
already people in the United States who have understood the
danger and risk in such a campaign and indicates that, possibly,
there are people in the United States who do not agree with such
an adventure, with such madness, with such nonsense that is
being carried out in such a criminal and irresponsible way.

All right. The State Department has felt the need to
counteract this policy, because who knows where this policy, this
campaign, may lead.

Later other things have appeared, because all this is very
mysterious. Another cable, this time by Associated Press, says:
“A 1961 letter …” Of course the United Press International has
said nothing on this because its campaign has been one-sided, in one
direction only, but not just the UPI. We were listening yesterday to
broadcasts of U.S. stations and the very same campaign was being
carried on the radio. The name of Castro was mentioned almost
more often than the name of the man whom they charge with the
murder, incessantly repeated over the radio in the United States.

See how these people act and how much they hate the
Revolution. Why should we not suspect that these people could
be capable of anything, from the murder of Kennedy up to what
they are doing now? People moved by such hatred, people who
act with such absolute lack of scruples …

The AP cable reads: “A letter dated 1961 found in Pentagon
files raises doubts whether Texas governor, John Connally, and
not President Kennedy, was the main target of the assassin who
shot both yesterday in Dallas.

“The letter, dated January 31st, 1961, was written by hand in
Minsk, Soviet Union, by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former Marine,
charged with murdering Kennedy and wounding Connally.

“Oswald returned a year ago after spending three years in the
Soviet Union.

“The letter was addressed to Connally, then Secretary of the
Navy, asking that the dishonorable discharge of Oswald be
canceled. The request was denied, and if it is shown that he is the
man who fired at Kennedy and Connally, the question might be
raised of whom he had more motive to want to kill.

“A copy of Oswald’s letter was sent to Connally, who had
left his post as Secretary of the Navy on December 20th 1961.
Connally briefly replied to Oswald on February 23, 1962, that he
was no longer in the Navy and that he had referred his letter to
the new Secretary of the Navy.

“A copy of Connally’s letter was sent to the new official,
Fred Korth, who referred it to the Marine Corps. The Marine
Corps referred it to a court of appeals which confirmed Oswald’s
dishonorable discharge. Oswald’s letter maintained that his
discharge was a gross error or an injustice.”

There are some other cables here in which they speak about
a threat, cables that say that in the letter Oswald threatened the
then-Secretary of the Navy, that he would take any means to
avenge himself for that injustice. And that very same Secretary of
the Navy was accompanying Kennedy.

So they themselves have now brought up another possible

We have here a report which reads: “District Attorney Henry
Wade declared today that he expects to be able to secure a death
sentence for Lee Harvey Oswald, former Marine, who has been
formally accused of the murder of President John F. Kennedy,
according to reports issued by U.S. new agencies.

The report adds that Wade has been District Attorney in
twenty-four murder cases and secured twenty-three death
penalties. It seems that this District Attorney is a hangman – a
life sentence in the other case.

“Wade added that he is in possession of material evidence
against Oswald, but refused to say what this evidence was. He
said that it has not yet been established whether the Mauser that
was found is the murder weapon.

“In all the questioning Oswald has denied that he took any
part in the murder.

“Captain Will Fritz, Chief of the Homicide Squad of the
Dallas Police, said that in his opinion, Oswald killed President
Kennedy and that for him the case is closed.”

Later we have to try to look at some of the facts on who this
accused man can be, but we want to speak of the campaign
carried on by United Press International.

It just so happens that these events occurred precisely at a
moment when Kennedy was being severely attacked by those
who considered his Cuban policy too weak.

It could not be us, but only the enemies of the Revolution
and the enemies, in general, of a more moderate policy, a less
warlike policy, the enemies of a policy like this who might be
interested in the death of President Kennedy, the only ones who
perhaps could have received the news of the death of Kennedy
with satisfaction.

A few days ago an incident drew my attention. This was
while the Inter-American Press Association Conference was
taking place. It was a scandal, because several governments were
strongly attacked, crudely attacked like the government of Brazil,
by a certain Mexquita, who said horrible things about the
President of Brazil, who even talked about and called for a coup
in Brazil; where statements were also made against other
presidents, against other Latin American countries, there in the
United States, and they made long tirades publishing a whole
series of opinions against the speech delivered by Kennedy in
Florida, because the speech delivered by Kennedy in Florida was
disappointing for a number of persons who favor a more
aggressive policy against Cuba. It was a disappointment for the
counter-revolutionary elements and it was a disappointment for
the warmongering elements in the United States.

And so, a series of cables. Here “Miami, Florida – The
Cuban exiles waited tonight in vain for a firm promise from
President Kennedy to take energetic measures against the
communist regime of Fidel Castro.”

It says: “They waited tonight in vain for a firm promise” .. .
Many met in the offices of the revolutionary organizations and
in their homes, to listen to President Kennedy over the radio.
The Spanish translation broadcast over the radio station of the
exiles. They listened when the President said: “We in the
hemisphere should use all the means at our disposal to prevent
the establishment of another Cuba in the hemisphere.” That is,
they did not accept the fact he said “to prevent the establishment
of another Cuba in the hemisphere,” because they thought that
it carried with it the idea of accepting one Cuba. Many exiles had
hopes of more vigorous statements to liberate Cuba from
communism, but nevertheless, some felt that the U.S.
government was waging a secret war of infiltration against Castro
that could not be disclosed. It says that thousands of exiles
attended an open air rally in view of Kennedy’s arrival, and they
heard criticism because of what they described as a weak U.S.
policy toward Cuba.

Jose Ignacio Rivero,Editor-in-exile of the Diario de La Marina,
the oldest Havana newspaper (he will stay there all his life), and
Emilio Nunez Portuondo, former President of the United
Nations Security council, called for more positive action by the
United States.

Rivero, a member of the Inter-American Press Association,
where Kennedy spoke, expressed his doubts over a sinister
intrigue among international politicians. That is an “intrigue “
because they want to co-exist with us.

It says: He also said in the meeting that “the weak U.S.
policy towards Cuba and other American nations is an
international shame.” This was said by Ignacio Rivero, this one
from Diario de La Marina, who you know is an ultra-ultra and
who has to be linked to the ultra-ultra elements in the United

So these elements openly state there that “the weak U.S.
policy toward Cuban and other American Nations is an
international shame…

“Miami Beach: Latin American newspaper publishers and
editors in response to the speech delivered by President Kennedy
tonight … said that he had not taken a strong enough position
against the communist regime of Fidel Castro.” That is, that
there, where the most reactionary representatives of the press
within and without the United States met, according to UPI and
AP cables, many of them said that he had not taken a strong
enough position against the communist regime of Fidel Castro …

Augustin Navarre of El Espejo of Mexico, felt that the speech
was extremely weak and that his observations on Cuba were not
sufficient …. He added that “it was necessary to rescue Cuba
under Fidel Castro from Communism and not to maintain the
status quo.” They are speaking against any coexistence. Other
Cuban newspaper owners in exile made similar statements.
A series of cables began to arrive. Here: “The president of the
Cuban Medical Association in exile, Enrique Huerta, stated that
the speech did not clarify any of the fundamental questions
related to the Cuba problem … He wanted a unanimous attack,
a unanimous attack of Kennedy.

The newspaper added that the weak policy followed by the
Kennedy Government in respect to Castro, as a result of the
policy followed by his predecessor Eisenhower, made it possible
for Castro and Khrushchev to cement Cuba into a police state,
where the people have practically no hope of successfully
rebelling without large-scale outside help.

The newspaper continued: “Kennedy now refuses to allow
Cuban exiles to launch attacks against Cuba from U.S.t erritory.”

What is the difference between that way of thinking and
taking advantage of the assassination of their President to carry
out that policy? See what some of those reactionary circles
thought about Kennedy. It says: “Kennedy now refuses to allow
Cuban exiles to launch attacks against Cuba from U.S. territory,
and in fact uses U.S. air and naval power to maintain Castro in
power.” That is to say,t hey accuse Kennedy of using naval and
air power to maintain Castro in power.

“There is a considerable difference,” says the newspaper,
“between this attitude and the daring words about Cuba said by
Kennedy during the 1960 Presidential campaign. We doubt that
many voters have been disoriented by the President’s remarks in
relation to Cuba the day before yesterday.” It says “And many
voters will not have been disoriented.”

So there was observed a current of unanimous criticism
against what the ultra-reactionary sectors considered a weak
policy toward Cuba. And that is how these people think.

And there are cables and more cables and more cables,
because they never wrote so many cables. It is obvious, how the
news agencies made a tremendous propaganda of all the criticisms
made of Kennedy because of his Cuban policy. The UPI
overflowed with information as it had never done before, picking
up all the criticisms of Kennedy because of his Cuban policy ….

Julio Mexquita Ciro, an utterly shameless reactionary who
went there to speak against the President of Brazil to carry on a
campaign against Brazil and to promote a reactionary, fascist
coup against Brazil – see what he says: “Julio Mexquita Ciro,
… who yesterday moved the editors of the IAPA meeting with
his analysis of the economic and political situation in his country,
said it was an error on the part of the United states not to have
realized the danger that the presence of Cuba meant for the
whole continent. Mexquita was in favor of collective action,
armed collective action by the hemisphere against Cuba, because
‘I am a defender of free determination of nations,’ he said.”

Mexquita, Mosquito, Mezquino, all means the same thing; just
see how reactionary he is. The cable adds; “. . . the Brazilian
editor described as primitive President Kennedy’s way of looking
at the agrarian problem of the hemisphere, and he said that the
agrarian problem cannot be measured with the same yardstick for
all the nations of the hemisphere.” Why did he say this? Because
he represents the oligarchy, the big landholders in Brazil, and as
I was talking precisely about different shades of policy. Kennedy’s
policy prompted a type of agrarian reform which is not
revolutionary, of course, which is not revolutionary but which
clashed with the interest of the oligarchs. And it is very strange
that in these days, on the eve of the assassination of Kennedy, a
coincidence as never before had been noted. In the opinion of the
ultra-reactionary sectors within and without the United
States ….

And this individual talks here about Kennedy’s primitive way
of looking at the agrarian problem. And then finally there is
something very interesting – really very interesting …

It says the third editor to express his opinion, Carbo, who is
director of the Executive Council of the Inter-American Press
Association – which is a very important job in the intellectual
sectors of reaction and the oligarchy – emphasized that there
were not strong statements in favor of the liberation of Cuba like
the statements that had been made in previous speeches by
President Kennedy, especially in the one he made after the heroic
battle of Playa Giron -that “heroic battle” where every one of
them ended defeated and imprisoned- forecasting the crisis of
the communist regime of Cuba. He claims in “Cuba the situation
of the government verges on the insoluble, economically,
politically and internationally since Castro is no longer reliable,
not even to Russia.’ ‘

But most important of all is how the statement made by this
gentleman who holds an important post in reactionary intellectual
circles in the United States and abroad as Director of the
Executive Council of the Inter-American Press Association, how
his statement ends -and this is what drew my attention. The
editor of the confiscated Havana newspaper ended by saying: “I
believe a coming serious event will oblige Washington to change
its policy of peaceful co-existence.” What does this mean? What
did this gentleman mean when he said this three days before the
assassination of Kennedy? What did this gentleman who holds an
utmost post in the ultra-reactionary intellectual circles in and
outside of the United States, the Director of the Executive
Council of the Inter-American Press Association, mean in a cable
that is not from Prensa Latina, but from Associated Press, dated
November 19th -AP Num, 254, AP November 19th, Miami
Beach – when he said: “I believe that a coming serious event will
oblige Washington to change its policy of peaceful co-existence?”

What does this mean, three days before the murder of
President Kennedy? Because when I read this cable it caught my
attention, it intrigued me, it seemed strange to me. Was there
perhaps some sort of understanding? Was there perhaps some sort
of thought about this? Was there perhaps some kind of plot? Was
there perhaps in those reactionary circles where the so-called
weak policy of Kennedy toward Cuba was under attack, where
the policy of ending nuclear threat was under attack, where the
policy of civil rights was under attack …. Was there perhaps in
certain civilian and military ultra-reactionary circles in the United
States, a plot against President Kennedy ‘s life?

How strange it is really that the assassination of President
Kennedy should take place at a time when there was unanimous
agreement of opinion against certain aspects of his policy, a
furious criticism of his policy. How strange all this is.

And this man who appears as the guilty person, who was he?
Who is he? Is he really guilty? Or is he only an instrument? Is he
a psychopath, sick? He could be one or the other. Or is he by
any means an instrument of the most reactionary circles in the
United States. Who is this man?

Here we have a report of the New York Times on Oswald
that says, “Last July he tried to enter the Cuban Student
Directory, to take part in the plans to overthrow the
revolutionary regime of Fidel Castro.” It was no longer a Castroplot.
According to the New York Times he was trying to enter a
counterrevolutionary organization to overthrow the Cuban
Revolution. The paper names Cuban refugee sources as the basis
for this information.

Oswald was able to return to the United States thanks to a
loan of 435 dollars and 71 cents granted to him by the U.S.
Government. He succeeded in getting money after an appeal to
Senator John G. Tower, Republican, Texas, and he returns from
the Soviet Union on U.S. Government money through the
intervention of a Republican Senator from Texas.

Oswald has at present a U.S. passport which he obtained as
a photographer who wanted to travel abroad during the months
of October, November, and December of this year and visit the
Soviet Union, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, and Italy.
How strange it is. Since he was arrested yesterday in Dallas, as a
suspect, the U.S. radio and television have been stressing that
Oswald is the chairman of the Dallas chapter of the Fair Play for
Cuba Committee.

“Questioned in New York on this point the Executive
Secretary of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee denied that
Oswald held such a post, and added that there is no chapter of
this organization in Texas.”

The New York Times, in explaining the contact established
between Oswald and the Cuban counter-revolutionaries, says that
Jose Antonio Denuza, spokesman of the so-called Cuban Student
Directory, had declared in Miami that Oswald met with the
delegates of that anti-Castro group in New Orleans last July.

Denuza – The New York Times added – said that Oswald
said he wanted to aid the Cubans in the fight against
communism, and offered 10 dollars contribution and his help in
military training of an invasion.

Carlos Bringuier, delegate of the counterrevolutionary
organization referred to, said to the New York Times that “at first
I suspected Oswald. I frankly thought that he might be an FBI or
CIA agent trying to find out what we were doing.” So Cuban
counter-revolutionaries are saying that when Oswald tried to
enter their organization he was not accepted because they
believed he was from the CIA or FBI, and that he was trying to
find out what they were up to.

How curious! And this is not what they publish but they say
that he is a Castroite, a communist, an admirer of Fidel Castro.
And now it appears that he tried to enter the organization and
was not admitted because they thought he belonged to the FBI
or CIA. They must know pretty well the kind of agents the FBI
and CIA have since they deal with them a l

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This war veteran's blood, indeed, the blood of everyone who was ever wounded or killed in the line of duty, has been shed on behalf of a nation that is increasingly turning on those veterans with a paranoid vengeance; declaring them possible "domestic terrorists" along with Preppers, "Birthers", pro-Lifers, environmentalists, home-schoolers, Christians, and even - ridiculous as it sounds - people who pay for their purchases in cash.

This witness, who has come forward to tell his story, has been an extremely vocal Patriot, and has experienced direct intimidation in the form of black vans with tinted windows (but without license plates) parking down the street from his house hacking into his WiFi and spying either on him or on the whole block. More disturbingly, he says that he was paid a visit by a Black Hawk helicopter that flew so low the pilot could have trimmed the man’s tree with his main rotor.

The witness, who spoke on camera on the condition that his identity be obscured, said that a Black Hawk helicopter buzzed his home twice, once flying no more than 20-25 feet above the ground directly over his backyard. The pilot hovered, he said, looked him dead in the eye for a few seconds, then turned his aircraft and flew off.

Angered at what was clearly an act of intimidation the witness said, "They can take my blood, they can take my life, but they will never take the rights that God granted me. Those are God-given, and there's not a man walking on this Earth that can come up against God and win."

Operating under cover of the largest air combat exercise in the country called "Northern Strike," the skies over Northeastern Michigan have been filled with flights of attack helicopters, all fully loaded, flying back and forth to the gunnery range at Camp Grayling. C-130's have also been landing at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center filled with foreign troops taking part in these exercises, which include ground operations. I personally ran into four individuals in the local Walmart who bore all the hallmark signs of being Spetsnaz - Russian Special Forces. That story will be released shortly.

Untold numbers of citizens across the United States who have opinions that differ from those of the current administration have suffered some form of intimidation at the hands of an increasingly paranoid government that is desperately trying to survive a series of scandals, any one of which could bring the Obama administration crashing down.

That intimidation has been most visible of late in the form of IRS targeting of Conservative groups, and Justice Department investigations of mainstream journalists. FOX News Washington Bureau Chief James Rosen was nearly charged with espionage by the Justice Department. A DOJ affidavit accused Rosen of being “an aider, an abettor, and/or a co-conspirator” simply for doing his job.

This targeting of journalists was telegraphed by former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano who said that the National Operations Center’s Media Monitoring Initiative and its Office of Operations Coordination and Planning can collect personal information from news anchors, journalists, reporters or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”

But when the government sends a Black Hawk helicopter to hover just feet above the head of an innocent American citizen who has done absolutely nothing other than voice his opinion in accordance with the 1st Amendment, terrorizing that citizen and his wife, that action goes beyond simple intimidation and enters the realm of criminality; a condition to which the Obama administration is no stranger.

It is, in fact, illegal for a pilot to fly his craft in such a manner. Using an attack helicopter to intimidate and terrorize American citizens who have done absolutely nothing wrong represents a clear and present danger to the citizens of this town, this county, this state, and this country.  At the urging of this reporter, the source in this episode is going to contact local civil authorities to ask them to open an investigation into this matter.

We, the citizens of Alpena Michigan, want this pilot’s wings clipped. If an investigation reveals that the pilot was ordered to fly his helicopter with the intent of intimidating the source and his family, we expect the United States government to punish the person who issued those orders to the fullest extent of the law.

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Marching into the capitol rotunda in Charleston, the protesters chanted "Hey, Governor Tomblin, stop mountain bombing!" as they unfurled a giant banner which read, "Support the People, not the Polluters."

Taking the megaphone, Dustin White of Boone County declared, "It is not our patriotic duty to die for gas or coal. We will stand up and demand a better West Virginia. We will fight. We will fight for clean air. We will fight for clean water. We will fight for our history and our future. And one day we will win.”

He continued: "We’re here today to mainly talk about the health impacts of these practices. There are ways to produce electricity that doesn’t put people in jeopardy. We are fighting for that type of future."

According to a statement released by Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival (RAMPS), the protest was spurred by a recent onslaught of proposed legislation, such as HB 2579 which slashes water safeguards for selenium poisoning undercutting West Virginia’s "already meek pollution control standards." 

Before entering the building, activists from across Appalachia gathered outside the the capitol. Despite the scant media coverage of the event, an opposition rally of coal workers and supporters also gathered on the lawn.

Deirdre, an activist from the Pennsylvania gasfields, spoke to the crowd:

We are here to show that we are united and saying ‘no’ to all dirty and deadly industries. What we want is a clean and healthy economy in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and beyond, an economy that doesn’t poison our water, toxify our air, sicken our bodies and fracture our communities… The West Virginia governor, just like our governor in Pennsylvania, has blood on his hands. They have followed the orders of polluting industries. They have acted as traitors to the people who elected them.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Turkish protesters want Patriots out

Turkish people hold an anti-NATO rally in Ankara on January 20, 2013.

Turkish people have once again protested against the presence of NATO forces and its Patriot missile batteries in Turkey, expressing solidarity with the people of Syria.

Anti-capitalist Muslim groups and activists took to the streets of Istanbul on Saturday and chanted anti-NATO slogans.

The protesters say they do not want Turkey to be a NATO member state. They are also opposed to a war in neighboring Syria.

The demonstration in Istanbul came a day after anti-US protesters outside the Turkish prime minister’s office in Ankara rallied against the official visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in the country to coordinate plans to support militants fighting the Syrian government.

In November 2012, NATO announced a plan to deploy six Patriot missile batteries to “protect Turkey” from potential Syrian missile strikes. The Patriots are deployed by the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands, and they became operational in the southern cities of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, and Adana in February.

The Western alliance says the missiles are to avoid dangers caused by the crisis in Syria. However, countries like Iran, Russia and China have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the deployment. They say the move will only increase regional tensions.


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Deadly Impacts of US Sponsored Sanctions on Iran


by Farid Marjai and Mehrnaz Shahabi

“Iranian Mothers for Peace,” in an open letter of January 2013 to Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, and Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Heath Organization, have alerted the responsible world bodies and human rights organizations to the critical shortage of vital medication due to the US/EU-led sanctions on Iran and their deadly impact on the lives and health of the Iranian population.

“Iranian Mothers for Peace” is a non-profit forum, well known and respected in Iran’s civil society. In 2006 a number of social activists came together to form this forum. “Mothers for Peace” is not a political party and organizationally it has a flexible structure. “Mothers for Peace” takes pride that its 700 participants come from very diverse political backgrounds and different social classes. It affirmatively celebrates diversity which it considers a reflection of the tolerance the group espouses.

With the ideal of peace in mind, “Mothers for Peace” is open to all participants who take a stand against any form of violence, poverty, and oppression.

“In our campaigns to protect the environment, we encourage measures that reduce the impact of human violence against it. We take solid steps to eliminate and mitigate gender inequality. Over the years, our projects have focused on welfare of addicts and prisoners, and publicizing their rights.

The scope of our vision and work is to achieve social security and permanent peace. Hence, this non-profit institution has a wider definition of the concept of ‘peace’; it refutes the narrow perspective of ‘peace’ as mere absence of external military violence and confrontation. And it is precisely in this context that we view the Western-imposed crippling sanctions on the people of Iran as a form of structural violence — a silent, yet a predatory war.

The everyday reality we observe on the ground in Iran has convinced us that the draconian sanctions are victimizing the very fabric of the society we intend to strengthen.

Presently, a number of the core group members of ‘Mothers for Peace’ are suffering from cancer. Sadly, they are having a difficult time obtaining the medicines needed for their treatment, and like many of their compatriots they suffer from unnecessary additional anxiety that might further deteriorates their precarious health condition.”

Below is the text of the open letter (published at in English.

January, 26, 20013

Dr. Margaret Chan
Director General
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27

Dear Dr. Margaret Chan

As you know, the illegal and inhumane actions led by the US and the EU, targeting the country and the population of Iran, with the stated intention to put pressure on the government of Iran, have intensified in the past two years and increasingly harsher sanctions are imposed almost on a monthly basis. The regulations governing these inhumane and arbitrary sanctions are executed with such strict inflexibility that Iran is now excluded from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) and the sanctions on banking transactions are preventing Iran from even purchasing its needed medical supplies and instruments. On the other hand, to avoid suspicion for dealing with Iran, the European banks are fearful not to engage in any kind of financial transactions with Iran and, therefore, in practice, refuse any transfer of payment for medical and health-related items and raw materials needed for the production of domestic pharmaceutical drugs, even payment for well-recognized drugs for the treatment of Special Diseases, which are not of dual use.

Madam Director,

Are you aware that while American and European soldiers’ lives in Afghanistan are being saved by Iranian anti-snake venom potions and medication, Iranian hemophilic children, cancer patients, and those suffering diabetes, under the pretext of the execution of ‘smart sanctions’, are being deprived of their lifeline medication and face death or irreversible disability? We ask you: What could possibly be the intended target of the wealthy and powerful US and European statesmen’s ‘targeted’ and ‘smart’ sanctions but to destroy the physical and psychological health of the population through the increase of disease and disability?

Madam Director,

We respectfully request from you and from all the relevant international bodies, specially, the World Health Organization and human rights organizations, to act according to their humanitarian and legal responsibilities, and demand the American and European countries leading sanctions on Iran to urgently create the necessary mechanism for opening financial transactions and letters of credit to facilitate the purchase of medicine for Iranian patients.

The right to health and access to medical treatment and medication is one of the fundamental human rights anywhere in the world. Please do not allow the killing of our sick children, beloved families, and fellow Iranians from the lack of medicine, caught in instrumental policies of coercion and power.

Iranian Mothers for Peace

Farid Marjai is a writer and activist. Mehrnaz Shahabi is an anti-war activist and independent researcher.

Two US Patriot missiles arrive in Turkey

German military vehicles carrying equipment for NATO Patriot missiles disembark at Turkey's southern port of Iskenderun on January 21, 2013.

Two Patriot missile systems, sent by the United States, have arrived in southern Turkey.

The US vessel carrying parts of the surface-to-air missiles docked at the southern port of Iskenderun on Wednesday.

The systems are to be deployed near the Syrian border.

On Monday, two German batteries, which have been deployed around the southeastern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Syrian border, became operational.

On Saturday, the Netherlands activated two Patriot batteries near the southern city of Adana.

In November 2012, NATO announced a plan to deploy six batteries to “protect Turkey” from potential Syrian missile strikes.

Syria, however, insists that it would never attack any neighbor, denouncing the deployment an act of provocation.

Iran, Russia and China have also criticized the move, arguing that the missiles will only heighten regional tensions.


First NATO Patriot battery goes operational in Turkey

Dutch soldiers, with the Patriot system in the background, chat during media day at a military airbase in Adana, southern Turkey, January 26, 2013. (Reuters / Murad Sezer)

Dutch soldiers, with the Patriot system in the background, chat during media day at a military airbase in Adana, southern Turkey, January 26, 2013. (Reuters / Murad Sezer)

NATO has declared operational the first Patriot anti-missile battery deployed in southern Turkey, set to intercept possible rockets fired from Syria. The other five units are expected to be in place and operational over the next few days.

The first battery to go combat ready was provided by the Netherlands, according to NATO. The unit is the latest version of the US-made Patriots, which is optimized for intercepting incoming rockets. It’s deployed in the city of Adana.

Other Patriot systems, which are expected to be set up and made fully operational by the end of January, will be stationed in the Turkish cities of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep.

The United States, Germany and the Netherlands are providing two such anti-missile facilities each. NATO claims the deployment of the surface-to-air missile Patriot systems is ‘defensive only’ and ‘it will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation’.

Turkey has raised fears that more violence could spread across the border from Syria, including the possible use of chemical weapons, following an incident earlier in October, when several shells of Syrian origin fell on Turkish territory, killing several civilians. Ankara retaliated with artillery strikes. It later asked for NATO help in December to beef up its air defenses against a possible Syrian attack. The request was granted, as the United States, Germany and the Netherlands decided to send Patriots to Turkey, along with a contingent of 1,200 soldiers to operate them.

Military vehicles of a Patriot missile system are loaded on a ship in the harbour of Travemuende, January 8, 2013. (Reuters / Fabian Bimmer)
Military vehicles of a Patriot missile system are loaded on a ship in the harbour of Travemuende, January 8, 2013. (Reuters / Fabian Bimmer)

The Syrian government has described the NATO deployment as a provocation, while Russia and Iran have protested against the deployment of Patriot missile systems.

“The more military hardware you accumulate in one place the more risk you have that this hardware one day would be used,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RT earlier in December. “As for the purpose of this deployment, yes, I read and hear that some experts believe that if it is intended to prevent any Syrian crossfire then it could be positioned a bit differently. And as it is envisaged to be positioned, some people say it is quite useful to protect the American radar which is part of the American missile defense system they are building quoting, ‘the threat from Iran’. If this is the case then it is even more risky, I would say, because this multiple purpose deployment could create additional temptations.”

Turkey has already witnessed some negative reaction inside the country, amid protest still underway. Many of the local population in the port cities, where the missiles due to be based, are strongly against the deployment. In the town of Kahramanmaras protesters burnt US, NATO and Israeli flags several days ago.

The Patriot system is pictured during media day at a military airbase in Adana, southern Turkey, January 26, 2013. (Reuters / Murad Sezer)
The Patriot system is pictured during media day at a military airbase in Adana, southern Turkey, January 26, 2013. (Reuters / Murad Sezer)

“Is there a war of Syria against Turkey? No, there isn’t. These missiles are for Israel and against Iran,” Turkish citizen Malik Ecder Kirecci, told the media.

Like many Turkish locals, independent observers are also skeptical about the nature of the Patriot’s mission and if the missiles will protect the Turks at all.

“Considering that the US wants to use Turkey as an advance missile shield, the Patriots might be stationed there forever. Turkey wanted to modernize its weapons anyway and had already started taking bids for similar weapons systems. Under these circumstances, the weapons are most likely directed against Iran," Dmitry Polikanov, the vice president of the Moscow-based PIR Center and an independent think-tank, told RT.

The North Atlantic alliance also deployed Patriot batteries on Turkish soil during the US-led invasion of Iraq 10 years ago. However, they were never used and were withdrawn a few months later.

Dutch soldiers Geroal Bakker and Nick Hoetjes (R), with the Patriot system in the background, chat during media day at a military airbase in Adana, southern Turkey, January 26, 2013. (Reuters / Murad Sezer)
Dutch soldiers Geroal Bakker and Nick Hoetjes (R), with the Patriot system in the background, chat during media day at a military airbase in Adana, southern Turkey, January 26, 2013. (Reuters / Murad Sezer)

Patriot missiles to be stationed in Turkey

German military vehicles carrying equipment for NATO's Patriot missiles unload at Turkey's Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, January 21, 2013.

NATO's Patriot missile batteries shipped to Turkey are set to be deployed in military bases in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir and Batman.

Some 100 Patriot missiles, unloaded at Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Iskenderun earlier in January, will be stationed at the air bases in the two provinces bordering Syria.

Some 360 Dutch troops stationed in Incirlik Air Base near the southern city of Adana and led by Colonel Erik Abma will operate the batteries.

The NATO missile systems are slated to remain in Turkey for a six-month period, which the military alliance may extend.

Meanwhile, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft have been deployed to the Konya 3rd Main Jet Base Command.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said at least three US-made Predator drones will be deployed to guard NATO's radar base in the village of Kurecik in Malatya Province.

The NATO military alliance approved a request by Turkey for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles along the border region with Syria on December 4, 2012.

The Turkish people have held several protest demonstrations against the military plan. The Syrian government has also censured the move, calling it another act of provocation from Ankara.


Up in arms: Turkey Patriots ready by weekend amid local protest (PHOTOS)

Turkish leftists and nationalists protest against the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey near the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun in Hatay province January 21, 2013. (Reuters / Umit Bektas)

Turkish leftists and nationalists protest against the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey near the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun in Hatay province January 21, 2013. (Reuters / Umit Bektas)

Patriot missile batteries sent to Turkey from NATO countries will start operating this weekend, despite continuing protests from local activists unhappy at their deployment. In the latest incident German troops were mobbed by protesters.

After Ankara asked for NATO help in December to beef up its air defenses against a possible Syrian attack, the United States, Germany and the Netherlands have sent Patriots to Turkey, along with a contingent of 1,200 soldiers to operate them.

The Dutch army will be the first to have them operational, British Brigadier Gary Deakin, a senior NATO official told Reuters.

“We expect to have an initial operating capability this weekend, that is what we are aiming at. The first units will arrive on station, they will plug in to the NATO command and control network and they will be then ready to defend the population. The full capability we are aiming to deliver at the end of this month,” he said.

German military vehicles carrying equipment for NATO patriot defence missiles are deployed at a military base in Kahramanmaras January 23, 2013.(Reuters / Umit Bektas)
German military vehicles carrying equipment for NATO patriot defence missiles are deployed at a military base in Kahramanmaras January 23, 2013.(Reuters / Umit Bektas)

But many of the local population in the areas where the missiles will be based are against the deployment and angry at the presence of foreign soldiers on Turkish soil,

“As Muslim Turks we are against foreign soldiers,” said Mr Tutuen, the President of the Kanhranmaras division of the religious Felicity Party, in the south eastern region of Anatolia, it was reported Wednesday by the UAE English language newspaper, the National.

Since NATO troops started to arrive in Turkey, there have been protests by Islamist and leftist groups. In the town of Kahramanmaras protesters burnt US, NATO and Israeli flags.

About 400 German troops will man the Patriot batteries in Kahramanmaras and will live in a Turkish army barrack overlooking the town, which is about 100 kilometers north of the Syrian border.

“Deterrence may help to diffuse tension a little,” said Col Marc Ellermann, the commander of the German unit.

Turkish leftists and nationalists protest against the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey near the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun in Hatay province January 21, 2013. (Reuters / Umit Bektas)
Turkish leftists and nationalists protest against the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey near the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun in Hatay province January 21, 2013. (Reuters / Umit Bektas)

But the locals are skeptical at the nature of the mission and if the missiles will protect them at all.

“If they put their missiles here, that means we will be the first place that will be attacked, doesn’t it?” Alaatin Namli, a local shop owner, told the National.

“Is there a war of Syria against Turkey? No, there isn’t. These missiles are for Israel and against Iran,” said Malik Ecder Kirecci, who runs a corner shop next to the barracks housing the German soldiers.

Tuesday saw several hundred protesters gather in Iskenderun and outside the Incirlik NATO airbase in Adana against the deployment. Police broke up the demonstrations with tear gas, pepper spray and batons.

Seven German soldiers have already been mobbed Tuesday in the port city of Iskenderun, in the southern Turkish province of Hatay.

A leftist group member clashes with Turkish riot policemen during a protest against NATO Patriot missiles in front of the US military base on January 21, 2013 at Incirlik in Adana. (AFP Photo / Anil Bagrik)
A leftist group member clashes with Turkish riot policemen during a protest against NATO Patriot missiles in front of the US military base on January 21, 2013 at Incirlik in Adana. (AFP Photo / Anil Bagrik)

While on their way to the market, they were attacked by a group of activists from the Turkey Youth Union who tried to throw sacks on their heads. The soldiers managed to escape with the help of locals and took shelter in a jewelry shop, before the activists were detained by riot police.

The planned stunt was a reference to an incident when US soldiers arrested Turks during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and put sacks over their heads; judged as deeply insulting by many Turks.

The fact that the soldiers in Iskenderun were German and not American did not seem to make any difference.

“Whether it was German or American soldiers whose heads we put sacks on, it does not matter. All of them are NATO soldiers. We will not allow Turkey to be the centre for attacks in the Middle East,” said the leader of the group, it was reported in the Turkish press.

The German unit will travel from Iskenderun to Kahramanmaras over the next few days by road and authorities in Kahramanmaras are trying to work out the best way of doing this with minimal disruption.

For the time being some residents are prepared to give the Germans the benefit of the doubt, as long as they behave themselves.

While Cuma Tahiroglu, a parliamentary candidate for the Felicity Party in Kahramanmaras, warned that if the Germans flaunt their weapons around town they “will turn into Americans in our eyes.”

Members of Turkish unions stage a protest against the deployment of patriot missiles by NATO in Turkey on January 20, 2013 In Ankara. (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
Members of Turkish unions stage a protest against the deployment of patriot missiles by NATO in Turkey on January 20, 2013 In Ankara. (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)

Members of Turkish unions stage a protest against the deployment of patriot missiles by NATO in Turkey on January 20, 2013 In Ankara. The banner reads: "No to Patriots". (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)
Members of Turkish unions stage a protest against the deployment of patriot missiles by NATO in Turkey on January 20, 2013 In Ankara. The banner reads: "No to Patriots". (AFP Photo / Adem Altan)

A leftist group member bites the arm of aTurkish riot policeman during a protest against the deployment of NATO Patriot missiles, on January 21, 2013, in front of a US military base at Incirlik in Adana. (AFP Photo)
A leftist group member bites the arm of aTurkish riot policeman during a protest against the deployment of NATO Patriot missiles, on January 21, 2013, in front of a US military base at Incirlik in Adana. (AFP Photo)

‘Patriots in Turkey ready by February’

NATO says its Patriot surface-to-air (SAM) missiles being deployed along Turkey’s border with Syria should be operational by early February.

“We would expect the Patriots to be operational by early February, if not earlier,” a spokesperson for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said on Monday.

He said the transport of troops and material got underway in early January and would continue over the next few weeks.

In November 2012, NATO announced a plan to deploy six Patriot missile batteries to “protect Turkey” from potential missile strikes from Syria.

The United States and Germany are providing two batteries and about 400 troops each to operate the missiles. The Netherlands will also dispatch 360 troops and the other two batteries.

Germany will begin deploying its main contingent of up to 350 soldiers in mid-January.

A team of US military forces have already been stationed in the southeastern city of Gaziantep and more personnel and equipment would be airlifted there in the coming days.

Each Patriot battery has an average of 12 missile launchers.

Syria has censured the Turkish plan to deploy the Patriots along its border, calling it another act of provocation by the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the turmoil that began in Syria nearly two years ago. The Syrian government says the chaos in the country is being orchestrated from outside.


Patriot Dawn — The Resistance Rises: “The Government of the United States of America...

The following excerpt appears in the new book Patriot Dawn – The Resistance Rises, by Max Velocity. Max has served in both, the British and the U.S. armies, and also as a high threat security contractor. He has served on six military operational deployments, including to Afghanistan immediately post-9/11, and additionally he spent five years serving as a security contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan. During his career in the British Army he served with British SOF (The Parachute Regiment), to include a role training and selecting recruits for the Regiment. More recently, he has served in a Combat Medic and Civil Affairs role in the US Army Reserves. He is the author of two previous books: Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival  and Rapid Fire! Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations.

His latest book, Patriot Dawn – The Resistance Rises, is a step away from the user friendly tactical manuals he is known for, and combines the excitement of an action-packed fictional novel with real-world battle hardened experience in offensive, defensive and counter-insurgency strategies and tactics.

The United States has descended into Civil War. The storm was rising for some time, a Resistance in the hearts of American Patriots to the strangulation of liberty by creeping authoritarianism. The scene was set. It just took a little push.

A terrorist attack on the United States leads to war with Iran, followed by collapse, as the economy goes over the cliff. The final blow is a widespread opportunistic Chinese cyber attack, taking down the North American Power Grid.

From the ashes, the Regime emerges. Liberty is dead. What remains of the United States of America is polarized.

The Resistance Rises.

Jack Berenger is a former Army Ranger Captain, living in northern Virginia with his family. Following the collapse, they fall foul of Regime violence and evacuate to the farm of an old Army friend. Jack is recruited into the resistance, to train the fledgling forces in the Shenandoah Valley. The fight begins. Resist.

The following excerpt appears in the prologue of Patriot Dawn – The Resistance Rises and takes place just after a large-scale terrorist attack on Washington D.C.

The terrorist attackers were reported to have been recruited, abetted, directed and sponsored by Iran, although the details were unclear and it appeared that an investigation was not the top priority of the Administration.

How had the terrorists managed to charter this plane, which had apparently originated in Dubai on a one stop flight to the US, loading it with two hundred heavily armed fighters, without alerting any suspicion?

However, the focus following the attack was not international but domestic, and the priority was the ‘safety and security’ of the public by the accelerated implementation of the massive domestic surveillance and policing drive.

Fear was paramount and the masses were even more convinced that giving up their freedom and rights was in their best interests for their ‘safety and security’. Many internet bloggers and alternative media sites were describing the attack as a ‘False Flag’, abetted by the ‘Powers That Be’, but those crackpots were soon shut down by the Department of Homeland Security, in order to prevent further ‘panic mongering’.

The attack also provided the justification for war against Iran. However, that war was prosecuted by the Administration in the form of a primarily naval and air campaign that limited the involvement of ground troops.

This limitation allowed for the deployment of troops as convenient to the agenda of the Administration and the military-industrial complex, but ensured that sufficient active duty units remained available for domestic operations.

The attack on Iran was however the final straw that preceded the total meltdown of the Middle East.

As part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, measures were in place to allow Posse Comitatus laws to be ignored domestically. This was activated by executive order and active duty and reserve U.S. Army units were used to reinforce the National Guard in operations against domestic terrorists and sleeper cells.

The terrorist attack had precipitated the final mortal blow to liberty and the destruction of the United States of America as a Constitutional Republic. It was true that the erosion of liberty and the Bill of Rights had been going on for some time; the Constitution was viewed by many as a dead document, and the measures had already been put in place for the implementation of a state of emergency.

The attack had been a terrible thing, but at the same time it was so convenient to the agenda of the Administration. Everything since the attack had been the death rattle of liberty as the police surveillance state was fully imposed.

Due process and Habeus Corpus were suspended, and the NDAA allowed arrest and internment without probable cause or trial on the simple suspicion by the authorities that someone posed a terrorist threat; a system that was easily abused.

Everything in society was now centered on compliance and obedience to authority. Questioning of the orders of those in authority positions was not tolerated. America was no longer the land of the free, but anyone with a mind had seen that coming for a long time.

Anyone with ideas counter to the official line, or who argued or challenged authority, was labeled a ‘domestic terrorist’, arrested and interned in ‘corrective and reeducation facilities’.

Following the activation of the NDAA by Executive Order, a state of emergency was implemented. It was necessary, because another terrorist attack could happen at any time, and anyone could be a terrorist. There was a lot of talk about sleeper cells and many citizens were arrested and interned without trial. ‘Extremist terrorist’ organizations, including Patriot and conservative organizations such as the Tea Party, were outlawed.

It wasn’t really clear to the general public exactly what happened next, given that they only got their information from the Administration via the heavily state directed mainstream media, and the internet was now under heavy lockdown. However, the economic dangers that had been looming and fueled by the continuous policy of ‘Quantitive Easing’, or money printing by the Federal Reserve, finally came home to roost.

The economy went over the cliff. There was much discussion that the actual precipitator of the plunge was the cabal of bankers who were the real power behind the Regime; they had pulled the financial plug, causing a massive run on the banks and hyperinflation, just like they had done in 1929 to cause the Great Depression. But who really knew, given the lockdown?

The effect was ultimately to cripple the economy, destroying the middle classes. What better way to turn the screws of citizen compliance when so many were now reliant on entitlement handouts?

The ‘progressive’ agenda of collective socialism was nearing its ultimate fulfillment; coerced redistribution of wealth, except now no-one was generating any wealth to feed the monster of the dependent welfare classes.

Statist authoritarian big central government was the order of the day, even though those policies spelled the death of the country. Many ‘progressives’ yearned for that, so that the ‘United Socialist States of America’ could rise from the ashes.

The government of the United States of America was no longer an ‘Administration’; it was a totalitarian Regime.

You can continue reading the remainder of this prologue at Max Velocity Tactical

Order your copy of Patriot Dawn – The Resistance Rises at or Create Space

Also available for Kindle

Germany begins deployment of Patriot missiles to Turkey

The air defense missile system "Patriot" (AFP Photo/DPA/Bernd Wustneck)

The air defense missile system "Patriot" (AFP Photo/DPA/Bernd Wustneck)

Following suit with the US, Germany and the Netherlands have begun deployment of troops and Patriot missiles along the Syrian-Turkish border. Despite claims they will protect against a Syrian threat, some fear Turkey is now the real "security risk".

­Tuesday morning saw a ship carrying two Patriot missiles set out from a northeastern German seaport and a convoy of German soldiers fly out of the Dutch city of Eindhoven. They will assemble along the Turkish-Syrian border in preparation for the arrival of the defense systems in several weeks’ time.

Germany is sending a total of 350 troops to reinforce the border zone between the two countries, along with the US, which has pledged to send up to 400 troops and two missile batteries. The Netherlands will be providing the remaining two missile batteries.

All six missile batteries are expected to be fully operational by the end of January.

NATO, which is coordinating the deployment of the forces along the border, says that Syria poses a significant threat to neighboring Turkey and has described the move as purely defensive.

The Dutch Chief of Defense, General Tom Middendorp, told reporters that the risk of missile fire from Syria should not be downplayed.

"We want to prevent what could amount to large numbers of casualties among innocent civilians," he said, adding that "scud missiles have a potential range of hundreds of kilometers, so they could easily hit Turkish cities. Besides explosives, they can also carry other types of payload, for instance chemical warheads."

Fears have been growing over the possible use of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile in the conflict and their falling into extremist hands. Moscow, however, has labeled these claims a pretext to push for foreign intervention in Syria.

Russia has criticized the NATO decision to deploy Patriots along the border on the basis that they could be used for offensive purposes as well as defensive, potentially escalating the ongoing conflict.

‘Turkey the real risk’

Concern has been voiced that the reinforcement along the Turkish border could be used as a platform to enforcement a no-fly zone above Syria or mount attacks on targets inside the country. Manuel Ochsenreiter, a German journalist told RT that the deployment of the troops and missiles was "questionable".

"The government is not acting in public interests or in the interests of national security,” he said, stating the German government was kowtowing to NATO’s and the Western community’s interests.

Ochsenreiter said that deploying weapons and soldiers to the area was already an offensive act, especially given the Syrian opposition’s numerous calls for reinforcements and arms.

He described the troop build-up along the border as “a high risk for the entire region,” perhaps preempting a situation similar to the conflict in Afghanistan where the conflict dragged out for over 10 years.

Syrian President Bashar Assad outlined a peace solution to the conflict in Syria on Sunday, starting with the withdrawal of international support for opposition agents he condemned as “terrorists linked with Al-Qaeda.”

Assad’s plan was rejected by the nascent opposition group the Syrian Coalition as “empty rhetoric” and said that his stepping down could be the only prerequisite to negotiations.

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Snowden says Australia watching its citizens ‘all the time,’ slams new metadata laws

Published time: May 09, 2015 15:02

Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden (Reuters/Charles Platiau)

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden accused Australia of undertaking mass surveillance of its citizens and passing laws on the collection of metadata that he says do not protect society from acts of terrorism.

Snowden, addressing the Progress 2015 conference in Melbourne via satellite link, criticized Australia's new metadata laws, which allow the government and intelligence agencies to keep a constant watch on citizens.

"What this means is they are watching everybody all the time,” the former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower said. “They're collecting information and they're just putting it in buckets that they can then search through not only locally, not only in Australia, but they can then share this with foreign intelligences services.”

Last month, Australia passed controversial laws that require telecommunications firms to retain their customers’ phone and computer metadata for two years.

READ MORE: Congress mulls future of metadata collection after court's condemnation

Snowden decried this disturbing trend, warning that regardless of what you are doing “you're being watched."

He compared Australia's mass surveillance system to that being used in the UK.

"Australia's role in mass surveillance around the world is similar to the UK and the Tempora program," he said.

Snowden, who has been living in Moscow since June 2013 after receiving political asylum, criticized the Australian government’s passage of a metadata program that is being used, he said, to “collect everyone's communications in advance of criminal suspicion."

"This is dangerous," he told the conference.

The former system administrator for the CIA said such invasive surveillance technologies had nothing in common with traditional liberal societies.

READ MORE: NSA's telephone metadata collection not authorized by Patriot Act - appeals court

"This is not things that governments have ever traditionally been empowered to claim for themselves as authorities.

"And to have that change recently ... is a radical departure from the operation of traditional liberal societies around the world."

Snowden repeated his position that acts of terrorism in the US and elsewhere have not been thwarted by conducting mass surveillance on citizens.

"Nine times out of 10 when you see someone on the news who's engaged in some sort of radical jihadist activity, these are people who had a long record," he said.

"The reason these attacks happened is not because we didn't have enough surveillance, it's because we had too much."

READ MORE: Millennials worldwide show broad support of Edward Snowden – poll

Aside from average citizens, he warned that journalists are also at risk of having their contacts exposed by the mass surveillance.

"Under these mandatory metadata laws you can immediately see who journalists are contacting, from which you can derive who their sources are."

He excoriated such a turn of events, saying the purpose of a free press in society is to “act as an adversary against the government on behalf of the public."

Snowden’s comments came on the same day that a US federal appeals court ruled the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records was illegal. In a unanimous decision, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York called the bulk phone records collection "unprecedented and unwarranted."

The ruling, which Snowden called “extraordinarily encouraging,” comes as Congress confronts a June 1 deadline to renew a section of the Patriot Act that allows the NSA’s bulk data surveillance.

Meanwhile, Snowden seems determined to reveal more information from the National Security Agency (NSA) files, hinting there was yet more information about Australia’s intelligence work that would be revealed at a later date.

Appeals Court Strikes Down Bulk NSA Phone Spying

Appeals Court Strikes Down Bulk NSA Phone Spying

by Stephen Lendman

On June 11, 2013, the ACLU challenged "the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' phone records (ACLU v. Clapper)."

It argued that doing so violates Fourth and First Amendment rights, saying: 

"Because the NSA's aggregation of metadata constitutes an invasion of privacy and an unreasonable search, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment." 

"The call-tracking program also violates the First Amendment, because it vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity."

NSA claims authorization under the Patriot Act's Section 215 - the so-called "business records" provision.

It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates fundamental First Amendment rights. It does so by mandating secrecy. 

It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what's happening to them. It compromises free expression, assembly and association. 

It authorizes the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.

It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. 

It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons.

At the time of its suit, the ACLU said "(w)hatever Section 215's 'relevance' requirement might allow, it does not permit the government to cast a seven-year dragnet sweeping up every phone call made or received by Americans."

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorized surveillance relating to "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers." 

It restricts spying on US citizens and residents to those engaged in espionage in America and territory under US control. 

No longer. Today anything goes. America is a total surveillance society. Obama officials claim no authority can challenge them. Governing this way is called tyranny.

The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. It held Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act doesn't permit bulk collection of Americans' phone records. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously - overturning a lower court decision.

The Obama administration argued that the ACLU lacked "standing" to challenge NSA surveillance practices, and Congress "precluded" judicial review except by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court most often only hearing government arguments.

The appeals court rejected this reasoning, saying:

"If the government is correct, it could use Section 215 to collect and store in bulk any other existing metadata available anywhere in the private sector, including metadata associated with financial records, medical records, and electronic communications (including e‐mail and social media information) relating to all Americans." 

"Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans."

ACLU staff attorney Alex Abdo called the ruling "a resounding victory for the rule of law."

"For years, the government secretly spied on millions of innocent Americans based on a shockingly broad interpretation of its authority." 

"The court rightly rejected the government’s theory that it may stockpile information on all of us in case that information proves useful in the future." 

"Mass surveillance does not make us any safer, and it is fundamentally incompatible with the privacy necessary in a free society."

ACLU deputy legal director/lead counsel in the case Jameel Jaffer explained:

"This ruling focuses on the phone-records program, but it has far broader significance, because the same defective legal theory that underlies this program underlies many of the government’s other mass-surveillance programs." 

"The ruling warrants a reconsideration of all of those programs, and it underscores once again the need for truly systemic reform."

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) executive director Cindy Cohn called the ruling "a great and welcome decision and ought to make Congress pause to consider whether the small changes contained in the USA Freedom Act are enough."  

''The 2nd Circuit rejected on multiple grounds the government's radical reinterpretation of Section 215 that underpinned its secret shift to mass seizure and search of Americans' telephone records.''

“While the court did not reach the constitutional issues, it certainly noted the serious problems with blindly embracing the third-party doctrine - the claim that you lose all constitutional privacy protections whenever a third-party, like your phone company, has sensitive information about your actions."

EFF's legislative analyst Mark Jaycox added:

"Now that a court of appeal has rejected the government's arguments supporting its secret shift to mass surveillance, we look forward to other courts - including the Ninth Circuit in EFF's Smith v. Obama case - rejecting mass surveillance as well." 

"With the deadline to reauthorize section 215 looming, we also call on Congress to both expressly adopt the interpretation of the law given by the court and to take further steps to rein in the NSA and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

One court victory doesn't mean overall triumph. The right-wing Supreme Court may have final say - or Congress able to legislatively circumvent High Court or other judicial rulings with no administration opposition by either party.

US governance serves powerful entrenched interests at the expense of popular ones. It's fundamentally anti-democratic, anti-freedom. 

Odds strongly favor no change in business as usual. Sacrificing precious liberties for greater security assures losing both.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Appeals court rules NSA bulk data collection illegal

A federal appeals court ruled the National Security Agency’s controversial mass collection of Americans’ phone records is illegal.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 97-page opinion Thursday that the laws used to justify the bulk data collection program “have never been interpreted to authorize anything approaching the breadth of the sweeping surveillance at issue here.”

The ruling by the three-judge panel in New York comes as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which has been used as a basis for the NSA’s data collection, is due to expire next month and members of Congress are debating whether to renew the law, modify it, or let it die.

The court’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) arguing the data collection program violates privacy rights of Americans.

A lower court judge had ruled the program was constitutional and the ACLU appealed that ruling.

The appeals court, however, did not say whether the NSA’s program violates the privacy rights of Americans because it was never properly authorized by existing law.

The judges also did not order the bulk data collection to stop.

In June 2013, Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, began leaking classified intelligence documents showing the extent of the NSA’s spying activities.

According to the documents, the agency has been collecting phone records of millions of Americans as well as foreign nationals and political leaders around the world.

US civil liberties advocates argue that the collected phone records could give intelligence agencies a road map to Americans' private activities.


Kerry at Yale

Kerry at Yale

by Stephen Lendman

On May 18, he returned to his alma mater. He's class of 1966. He was a mediocre student. He barely managed to graduate. 

He got four freshman year Ds. His cumulative four-year 76 numerical rating barely avoided failure. Gentlemen C's got him through.

He was Yale's featured Class Day speaker. He addressed graduating students. His mother stressed integrity.

"Integrity, John," she said. His father said "diplomacy was really being able to see the world through the eyes of someone else, to understand their aspirations and assumptions."

Two important lessons Kerry never learned. He's vying for Washington's worst ever Secretary of State dishonor. 

He fronts for imperial lawlessness. He's an unindicted war criminal. He represents America's dark side. 

He mocks legitimacy. He shames the office he holds. He's mindless of rule of law principles. He's a serial liar. He's a moral coward.

He's deplores peace. He's brazenly hawkish. He's indifferent to human suffering. 

He relishes spoils of war. He's what Paul Craig Roberts calls a "two-bit punk." More on what he said below.

In November 1984, he was elected Massachusetts junior senator. He succeeded Paul Tsongas. He stepped down for health reasons. 

On January 2, 1985, he took office. For over 29 years, he supported US imperial lawlessness. He was Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman.

On February 1, 2013, he became America's 68th Secretary of State. Its top diplomat. Its front man for ruthless power.

His style reflects bullying, bluster and Big Lies. His job involves telling other nations who's boss. Explaining Washington rules. Demanding compliance or else.

His estimated net worth exceeds $300 million. He's a billionaire through his wife's wealth. She's heir to the Heinz fortune.

Kerry's Senate voting record was deplorable. He was Israel's man in Washington.

He supported NAFTA, Big Media, welfare reform, Plan Columbia, Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF/September 2001), the USA Patriot Act, its 2006 and 2011 reauthorizations, and annual national defense budgets for war.

He endorsed war on terror lawlessness. He backed Bush's imperial aggression. He supported Obama's war on Libya. 

He favors ravaging and destroying Syria. He's for targeting Iran next. He's administration Ukraine agenda front man. He supports illegitimate fascist putschist rule.

Earlier he backed Bush's No Child Left Behind scheme to privatize public education.

He endorsed energy policies benefitting Big Oil, Obamacare, reduced food stamp funding, and freedom threatening cybersecurity legislation among other undemocratic measures.

He favors doubling special forces death squads. He wants them deployed globally. He wants their role in America's war on terror enhanced.

He wants greater US military strength. He wants it better able to wage global wars. He wants stepped up intelligence gathering. He favors tougher anti-terrorist policies. 

He supports offensive national missile defense. He's against cutting nuclear weapons below START levels.

He's brazenly anti-Russian. He's hostile to Moscow/Beijing ties. He has close Wall Street ties. He and George Bush are Yale grads.

He was president of Yale's Political Union. He belonged to Skull and Bones. So did Bush, his father, and grandfather.

In 1832, it was founded. Throughout most of its history as an all-male secret society. Women were excluded until selectively admitted in the 1990s. Its headquarters building is called the Tomb.

Alumni include former presidents, Supreme Court chief justices, CIA officials, cabinet members, congressmen, senators, business leaders, and other prominent members of society.

Hundreds of living ones remain. S&B is Yale's elitist secret society. Members are carefully vetted.

It's more than a club. Fifteen members are chosen annually. It may be America's most elite network. 

Inductees are considered potential future business, government, legal, and other type prominent leaders.

Its alumni have enormous influence. They run America. They've done it for years. Dominant S&B alumni families control it. 

They include Bush, Bundy, Harriman, Lord, Phelps, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, Taft, and Whitney, among others. Inter-marriage is encouraged.

One observer calls it "an international mafia - unregulated and all but unknown." 

Its agenda reflects New World Order dominance. It wants personal freedoms compromised. Ceremonial silence is sworn.

Bonesmen automatically advance to positions of power. They're expected to serve prominently. Former members financed Hitler. Current ones are fascists. They're neo-Nazis.

Many Bonesmen have close Wall Street ties. At least a dozen are linked to the Fed. 

They control America's media, prominent legal institutions, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Trilateral Commission.

Silence is Skull and Bones' golden rule. Bonesmen are sworn to secrecy. They reflect the worst of America's dark side. Kerry is current Exhibit A.

His Class Day address ignored his imperial agenda. It substituted lies for vital truths. 

He pretended support for peace, civil rights, popular needs, immigration reform that matters, and environmental sanity.

He ludicrously called what happened after he graduated a "daring journey of progress played out over years, decades, and even generations."

"On the world stage," he said, "you will not escape it…We see huge, growing populations of young people in places that offer little education, little economic or political opportunity."

He fabricated concern for "do(ing) more to coordinate an attack on extreme poverty, provide education, opportunity, and jobs…"

He stressed "refus(ing) to accept the downsizing of America's role in a very complicated world."

He told class of 2014 Yale grads: "Your job is to disturb the universe."

He pretended for better, not worse. He meant furthering US dominance. 

Enforcing Washington rules. Targeting outliers for removal. Eliminating major rivals. Waging war on humanity.

He ludicrously claimed "most of the rest of the world doesn’t lie awake at night worrying about America’s presence."

"They worry about what would happen in our absence…(W)hat makes America different from other nations…is that we are united by an uncommon idea…"

"(T)hat we’re all created equal and all endowed with unalienable rights." 

"America is not just a country like other countries. America is an idea and we. All of us, you - get to fill it out over time."

"At Yale, we say your degree admits you to all its 'rights and responsibilities.' " 

"It means we need to renew that responsibility over and over again every day. It's not a one-time decision."

Kerry urged keeping faith in government. Remain hopeful. Stay active. Find solutions. 

Keep "faith with the ability of institutions to do big things when demanded."

It bears repeating. Kerry ignored America's dark side. His lead role. His criminal agenda. 

His war on freedom. His hawkishness. Disdaining peace. Supporting wrong over right. 

Defending the indefensible. Failing as America's top diplomat. Remaining unaccountable. His policies risk potential global war. 

Yale's class of 2014 includes students from 61 countries. Vietnam among others. Ones America ravaged and destroyed. 

They know America's dark side best. Likely Kerry's lead imperial role. His support for wealth, power and privilege. His lawlessness.

His deplorable human rights record. His support for wrong over right. His disdain for what matters most.

New grads can make a difference. Doing so requires making right choices. 

Hopefully one is being Kerry's worst nightmare. Being opposite his imperial madness. 

Being on the right side of history. Wanting societies fit to live in. Supporting peace, equity and justice. Governance of, by and for everyone.

Endorsing right over wrong. Doing it because it matters. Spreading the word. 

Urging others to do the same thing. Beating Kerry and like-minded scoundrels at their own dirty game.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Sacking NYT Executive Editor Jill Abramson

Sacking NYT Executive Editor Jill Abramson

by Stephen Lendman

In September 2011, she succeeded Bill Keller. On May 14, The Times headlined "Times Ousts Jill Abramson as Executive Editor, Elevating Dean Baquet."

It reflects "an abrupt change of leadership." Times chairman/publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. claimed "an issue with management in the newsroom."

Times staff familiar with her relationship with Sulzberger suggested she was "polarizing and mercurial." She "clash(ed) with (managing editor) Baquet.

He was "angered" over Abramson's "job offer" to senior London Guardian editor Janine Gibson. She wanted her as "co-managing editor."

"Conflict between them arose." Sulzberger got involved. He decided earlier to sack her. On May 15, he appointed Baquet executive editor.

"(N)either side (explained) detail(s) about Abramson's firing," said The Times. She was its first female executive editor in its 160-year history.

In 1997, she joined the broadsheet. She served as Washington bureau chief. As managing editor. 

Earlier she was a Wall Street Journal correspondent/reporter/deputy bureau chief. The American Lawyer staff reporter. 

The same capacity at Time magazine. As Legal Times editor-in-chief. She taught at Princeton. She's an American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow.

As an undergraduate, she was arts editor of the Harvard Independent.

In 2012, Forbes named her its fifth most powerful woman. She ranked after German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and Melinda Gates.

Michelle Obama ranked seventh. IMF chief Christine Lagarde was eighth.

Baquet is The Times first African-American executive editor. He promised staff he'd "listen hard…be hands on…be engaged…walk the room. That's the only way I know how to edit," he said.

David Bromwich is Yale University Professor of Literature. On May 15, he headlined "After 9/11: The Stories We Tell and the Stories We Don't."

He writes on civil liberty issues. About "America's wars of choice." About its "continuous engagement in multiple wars."

"And if not wars, then widely distributed black-op killings, in faraway places where (America claims having an) interest."

Officially it's called counterterrorism. Their alleged terrorism, not ours.

Bromwich called civil liberty wars "poisonous." Fundamental freedoms are destroyed. "(T)hings come up every day," he said.

He addressed Abramson's sacking. He cited Sulzberger's claimed reasons. They "seem credible enough," he said.

"(A)nd yet, the same qualities were compatible with (lots) of her predecessors." It begs the question. Why was Abramson sacked and not them?

It's unlikely for her management style. She learned former executive editor Bill Keller earned more than she did. She asked for a raise. Likely comparable pay and benefits.

It sounds credible, said Brownwich. Hardly reason to sack her. Or wanting a co-managing editor. As executive editor, it was her call.

Nothing suggested she was wrong. Executives make important decisions. It's their job. They get fired for serious bad ones. Ones adversely affecting profits. 

Abramson likely thought added managing editor strength would boost Times readership. It was her call to make. No reason to sack her.

Something else led Sulzberger to do so. Other than what he said. 

In January, Abramson called Julian Assange and Edward Snowden heroes.

"I view (Snowden), as I did Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, as a very good source of extremely newsworthy information," she said.

The Times didn't cover his revelations straightaway. At the same time, Abramson didn't avoid controversy.

Months earlier, she called the Obama administration "the most secretive" in her experience.

"I dealt directly with the Bush White House," she said. "(W)hen they had concerns (about) stories (relating) to national security…"

"The Obama administration had seven criminal leak investigations. That is more than twice the number of any previous administration in our history."

"It's on a scale never seen before. This is the most secretive White House that, at least as a journalist, I have ever dealt with."

It reflects direct orders from Obama, she added. In June 2013, she expressed concern over Justice Department officials surveilling reporters.

She said "the process of news gathering is being criminalized." Perhaps her views came home to roost.  

Perhaps the real reason for her sacking. Publicly criticizing US policy Times correspondents, commentators and editors defend in print appears cause for dismissal.

It reflects gross hypocrisy. Publishing one thing. Saying something entirely different at times. Bashing the White House The Times deplorably defends in print.

Baquet avoided doing it. As Times managing editor or elsewhere. He was a New Orleans-based Times-Picayune journalist. Then the Chicago Tribune.

In 1990, he became The Times' metropolitan editor. Then a business desk special projects one.

In 2000, he became LA Times managing editor. Then editor-in-chief. In 2007, he returned to the NYT. His positions included Washington bureau chief, national editor, assistant managing editor, managing editor, and now executive editor.

In 2006, he killed an LA Times story about NSA spying on Americans. About wiretapping them. About operating illegally.

About unconstitutional data-mining. About troubling civil liberty violations. About authorizing searches on millions of Americans without court-authorized warrants. 

Mark Klein worked for AT&T for 22 years. In 2004, he retired. After doing so, he turned whistleblower. 

He revealed blueprints and photographs of NSA's secret room. It's inside the company's San Francisco facility.

Three other whistleblowers submitted affidavits. They explained post-9/11 lawless NSA spying on millions of Americans. 

The FBI, CIA, Pentagon, state and local agencies operate the same way.

Spies "R" us defines US policy. America is a total surveillance state. It's unsafe to live in. Everyone is suspect unless proved otherwise.

The 2012 FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act renewed warrantless spying. It passed with little debate. 

On December 30, 2012, Obama signed it into law. Doing so largely went unnoticed. 

Warrantless spying remains law for another five years. Phone calls, emails, and other communications may be monitored secretly without court authorization. 

Probable cause isn't needed. So-called "foreign intelligence information" is sought. Virtually anything qualifies. Vague language is all-embracing.

Constitutional protections don't matter. All major US telecommunications companies are involved. 

So are online ones. They have been since 9/11. Things now are worse than then.

One expert said what's ongoing "isn't a wiretap. It's a country-tap." It's lawless. 

Congress has no authority to subvert constitutional provisions. Legislation passed has no legitimacy. Constitutional changes require amendments. 

The Patriot Act trampled on Bill of Rights protections. Doing so for alleged security doesn't wash. Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process rights were compromised. 

So were First Amendment freedom of association ones. Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures were violated. Unchecked sweeping surveillance followed.

So-called "sneak and peak" searches are conducted through "delayed notice" warrants, roving wiretaps, email tracking, as well as Internet and phone use.

Section 215 pertains to alleged suspects, real or contrived. It authorizes government access to "any tangible item." 

Included are financial records and transactions, education and medical records, phone conversations, emails, other Internet use, and whatever else Washington wants to monitor.

Individuals and organizations may be surveilled whether or not evidence links them to terrorism or complicity to commit it. In other words, everyone is fair game for any reason or none at all.

Post-9/11, sweeping surveillance became policy. What Bush began, Obama escalated. 

Privacy rights are systematically violated. Good journalism requires telling people what they most need to know. 

Media scoundrels suppress it. They bury truth. They substitute misinformation rubbish. They lie, distort, mislead, conceal and twist reporting to fit official US policy.

They mock legitimate journalism. They betray its core ethical standards. They shame themselves in the process.

Expect Baquet to continue The Times ignoble tradition. It supports wealth, power and privilege. 

It does so at the expense of popular interests. Burying truth and full disclosure. Expect more of the same going forward.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

United We Stand and Shout and Dance and Make it Better

I'm looking forward to speaking on Saturday, May 10, at the United We Stand Festival in Los Angeles (and at an earlier event) where dozens of speakers and musicians will be standing together against such evils as: "the PATRIOT Act, NDAA, NSA, war on drugs, drones, ... war, GMO, ... central banks, corporatism," and in favor of "Internet freedom, election reform, honest media/music/art, education/student leadership, the environment, ...."

This is nice timing, with Vermont having just become the first state to call for a Constitutional Convention to strip legalized bribery out of U.S. politics, and with the U.S. Senate planning a vote on a Constitutional amendment to allow Congress to limit said bribery. Sixteen states have urged Congress to act, which remains a quixotic pursuit. Even more disturbing than Congressional dithering is the failure of each of those 16 states to tack on a few words to do what Vermont has done and create a work-around should Congress members choose not to bite the greasy hand that feeds them.  Think about what must motivate that failure to add a call for a Constitutional Convention.

There's also the problem that should Congress and the states ever pass an amendment allowing Congress to limit campaign "contributions," Congress would still have to take the additional step of actually doing so. And you can guess as well as I can what Congress considers a reasonable limitation -- just look at the minimal limitations that Congress was imposing before the Supreme Court outrageously attacked those limits in Citizens United and McCutcheon, after which the impeachment of some justices, or the legislative removal of some powers from the Supreme Court would have made more sense than accepting that the Constitution needed changing. 

The Constitution was not intended to give rights to corporations or to equate bribery with the protected act of free speech.  But it's going to take a massive movement of public pressure to compel our government to read or rewrite the Constitution well.  So, perhaps we're just as well off rewriting it.  And that opens up all sorts of possibilities, most of which can't possibly be worse than what we've got now.  We could end the presidential system, the Supreme Court's unaccountability, gerrymandering, corporate monopolies -- including of communications media -- and the pretended legality of war.  We could create a guaranteed income and mandate environmental sustainability.

But without even diving that deeply into creating a better Constitution, we could add something like this:

<<The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law. The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

All elections for President and members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate shall be entirely publicly financed. No political contributions shall be permitted to any federal candidate, from any other source, including the candidate. No political expenditures shall be permitted in support of any federal candidate, or in opposition to any federal candidate, from any other source, including the candidate. The Congress shall, by statute, provide limitations on the amounts and timing of the expenditures of such public funds and provide criminal penalties for any violation of this section.

State and local governments shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for state or local public office or any state or local ballot measure.

The right of the individual U.S. citizen to vote and to directly elect all candidates by popular vote in all pertinent local, state, and federal elections shall not be violated. Citizens will be automatically registered to vote upon reaching the age of 18 or upon becoming citizens at an age above 18, and the right to vote shall not be taken away from them. Votes shall be recorded on paper ballots, which shall be publicly counted at the polling place. Election day shall be a national holiday.

Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

During a designated campaign period of no longer than six months, free air time shall be provided in equal measure to all candidates for federal office on national, state, or district television and radio stations, provided that each candidate has, during the previous year, received the supporting signatures of at least five percent of their potential voting-age constituents. The same supporting signatures shall also place the candidate's name on the ballot and require their invitation to participate in any public debate among the candidates for the same office.>>

I'm confident that there are thousands of people who can draft this reform that well or better, that Congress will only scrape the surface (and that only if a Constitutional Convention is looming), that such a Convention actually happening would be a big step forward, and that people who are ready for serious change are starting to stand united:

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Duplicitous Obama Civil Rights Hyperbole

Duplicitous Obama Civil Rights Hyperbole

by Stephen Lendman

Obama represents the worst of rogue governance. On April 10, he honored Lyndon Johnson. One war criminal paid tribute to another.

He spoke at his Austin-based Presidential Library and Museum. He did so commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

His words rang hollow. The New York Times called his speech "stirr(ing)." It stopped short of denouncing his duplicity. More on what he said below.

America's human and civil rights record is by far the world's worst. No other nation matches its lawlessness. None approach it.

It's by far the world's most unprincipled. It's responsible for virtually every crime imaginable and then some.

It's police state than democracy. It's more battleground than homeland.

Lawless FBI, CIA, NSA, FEMA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Border Patrol, and other federal operatives work jointly with state and local authorities. 

They target fundamental freedoms. They harm their own people.

Anyone can be arrested, charged, prosecuted, and imprisoned for any reason or none at all. US citizens at home or abroad can be murdered. Obama can order them killed by presidential diktat.

Others can be arrested and detained. They can be held indefinitely. They can be thrown into military dungeons. They can be denied civil justice. They can be held uncharged.

Innocence is no defense. State terrorism is official policy at home and abroad. Police states operate this way. America is by far the world's worst.

Freedom, human rights, and other democratic values don't matter. Supporting right over wrong is hazardous. 

Challenging Washington's right to dominate globally risks persecution or death. America is unfit to live in. Things go from bad to worse.

Obama exceeds the worst of his predecessors. Rogue governance defines his agenda. Humanity may not survive on his watch.

On July 2, 1964, Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Officially it's called:

"An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes."

It was more feel good than do good. Objectives fell short of promise. They were more hype than reality. They weren't achieved. Things today are worse than ever in modern times.

On June 11, 1963, Jack Kennedy called for legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public…"

He included "hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments." He urged "greater protection for the right to vote."

Segregationists kept legislation from being enacted. Bottling it up in committee works as intended.

Kennedy's November 22, 1963 assassination changed things. Johnson was a former Senate Majority Leader. He was a powerful mover and shaker.

He wielded bully pulpit power as president. He supported civil and voting rights legislation. On November 27, 1963, he told Congress:

"No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long."

Enactment of legislation he sought followed. Designed to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin fell woefully short.

Powers enacted were weak. They remain so. Equal protection under law is more fantasy than real. It's a figure of speech.

Millions of persons of color bear witness. Muslims in America at the wrong time know the sting of US injustice. They're persecuted for praying to the wrong God. Constitutional protections don't help.

Johnson's July 2, 1964 statement rang hollow. He called signing the Civil Rights act a "proud triumph."

"Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom," he said. 

They died for imperial lawlessness. More than ever today. Johnson didn't explain. Nor presidents following him.

"Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities," he said. For America's rich, well-born and able alone. 

"Now our generation of Americans has been called on to continue the unending search for justice within our own borders," he added. 

It's selectively given. America has the best democracy money can buy.

"We believe that all men are created equal," said Johnson. "Yet many are denied equal treatment."

The vast majority do today. A select few benefit. They do so at the expense of all others.

"We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights," said Johnson. 

"Yet many Americans do not enjoy those rights." Overwhelming numbers enjoy few today. 

Freedom is an endangered species. It's disappearing in plain sight. Tyranny is on a fast track toward replacing it. International, constitutional and US statute laws don't matter.

Democracy is pure fantasy. A year after civil rights legislation passed, the Voting Rights Act followed. On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed it into law.

It nominally supports 15th Amendment protections. They prohibit federal or state governments from denying citizens voting rights based on "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

On February 3, 1870, it was ratified. Fulfillment didn't follow promise. Nor from the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

US voting rights were constitutionally flawed by design. America's founders enfranchised adult white male property owners only.

Laborers were excluded. So were women. They were considered homemakers and child-bearers alone. Slaves were called property, not people. 

Native Americans, free Black men, apprentices, felons, and persons considered incompetent were denied.

From inception to today, US elections were never open, free and fair. Big money controls them. Electoral fraud is rife.

Things are pre-scripted. Voters have no say. Secrecy and back-room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process.

Candidates are pre-selected. Monied interests own them. Key outcomes are predetermined. America is a one-party state.

Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. Not a dime's worth of difference separates them.

Independent candidates are shut out. Media scoundrels ignore them. 

Issues mattering most are unaddressed. Horse race journalism and trivia substitute.

Millions of Americans are disenfranchised. Criminal records alone exclude many. Effort to suppress minority voters are rife.

Half of eligible voters opt out. They do so because interests they most care about go unaddressed. 

Because candidates from either party don't care. Because corporate-controlled touchscreen electronic voting machines are rigged.

They're programmed using secret software. They're easy to manipulate. They steal elections.

They provide no receipts. Excluding them prevents vetting. Opponents end up with voter choices. Losers are declared winners.

Partisan politics serves privileged elites. Democracy is pure illusion. It's a figure of speech. It bears repeating. Americans get the best one money can buy. 

Supreme Court rulings affirmed it. One dollar = one vote. Deep pockets cast many. It's the American way. It shams the right way.

Commemorating civil rights legislation ignores today's deplorable conditions. Duplicitous Obama rhetoric highlighted the disgraceful state of the nation. He called expressing them "a singular honor."

Doors "swung open for" him, he said. "That's why I'm standing here today," he added. 

"…I have lived out the promise of LBJ's efforts." He spoke at the end of a three-day summit. It commemorated civil rights law. Carter, Clinton and GW Bush spoke earlier. 

None connect to popular struggles. Jim Crow never touched their lives. Human and civil rights eroded on their watch. 

So did other fundamental freedoms. They did nothing to prevent it. They support wealth, power and privilege. Ordinary people don't count. People of color least of all.

Clinton signed the repressive 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) into law. It violates constitutional protections. 

It compromises habeas rights. It limits judicial relief. It assured more capital punishment for innocent victims. 

Nearly always, people of color, Muslims, or others among society's most disadvantaged are affected.

Clinton lied calling AEDPA "an important step forward in the federal government's continuing efforts to combat terrorism."

Its enactment had nothing whatsoever to do with it. International or homegrown terrorism is a ruse.

Clinton said he requested legislation after Oklahoma City. On April 19, 1995, a massive explosion destroyed its downtown Murrah Federal Building.

It killed 168 people. Hundreds more were injured. A 16-block area was affected. Over 300 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

Elgin Air Force Base's Armament Wright Laboratory studied the incident. No single truck bomb caused it. 

Former director/explosives and ordnance expert/(Ret.) Brig. General Benton K. Partin was in charge. His report was damning. In part it said:

"Indeed, a careful examination of photographs showing the collapsed column bases reveal a failure mode produced by (internally installed) demolition charges and not by a blast from (a) truck bomb" as claimed.

Additional forensic evidence showed other devices were involved. Official reports suppressed what happened. 

Lies substituted for truth. It's longstanding US practice. So-called terror plots are state-sponsored. 9/11 is Exhibit A.

Bush administration police state laws followed. Civil and human rights were targeted. They were eviscerated.

Patriot Act legislation alone gutted Fifth and 14th Amendment due process rights.

First Amendment ones eroded. Anyone can be wrongfully accused. Prosecutions can claim membership in, association with or support for so-called "undesirable groups."

Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures no longer exist. Unchecked surveillance was authorized.

Powers include accessing personal financial, medical and other records. So-called "sneak and peak" searchers are OK.

"Delayed notice" warrants were approved. Warrantless searches became standard practice.

So were roving wiretaps, email and text message tracking, as well as Internet and telecommunications monitoring.

Prosecutions include secret evidence withheld from defense counsel. It's officially OK. It's common police state practice.

Guilt by accusation follows. For the first time, so-called "domestic terrorism" became a federal crime.

Virtually none exists. Numerous innocent victims were charged. They languish unjustly in America's gulag. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other political prisoners do so.

Patriot Act legislation began things. Other harsh measures followed. Homeland Security is America's Gestapo. 

It operates ruthlessly. It does so extrajudicially. It targets innocent victims. It lies calling them terrorists.

Military commission legislation gutted civil protections. It grants extraordinary power to detain, interrogate, and prosecute alleged terrorists extrajudicially.

It legalized torture. Bush made it official US policy. It continues under Obama. He exceeded the worst of all his predecessors.

He presides over a repressive police state apparatus. Big Brother watches everyone. Mass surveillance is official US policy.

Fake war on terror persists. Rule of law principles don't matter. Nor democratic values. Human and civil liberty violations are rife.

Administration policies are the most secretive in US history. Whistleblowers are ruthlessly targeted. Exposing government lawlessness was criminalized.

So is protesting for fundamental constitutional rights. Tyranny is official US policy. Executive diktats can declare martial law. 

Constitutional law can be suspended. It can be abolished altogether. Federal troops can be deployed against ordinary people.

Peaceful protests are endangered. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation authorized indefinite detentions. 

Anyone can be held without charge or trial. Solely based on suspicions, baseless allegations or none at all is OK.

Presidents have unchecked authority to arrest, interrogate and indefinitely detain law-abiding citizens. They can target anyone they wish. They can do it extrajudicially.

No one is safe. Due process, civil protections, and judicial fairness don't apply. Abuse of power replaced them. Obama endorses them.

He mocks legitimacy. He governs lawlessly. His duplicitous civil right rhetoric rings hollow. His agenda bears witness to his lies.

'No one knew politics and no one loved legislating more than President Johnson," he said . 

"He was charming when he needed to be, ruthless when required."

"Those of us who've had the singular privilege to hold the office of the presidency know well that progress in this country can be hard and it can be slow, frustrating. And sometimes you're stymied." 

"You're reminded daily that in this great democracy, you are but a relay swimmer in the currents of history, bound by decisions of those who came before, reliant on the efforts of those who will follow to fully vindicate your vision." 

"But the presidency also affords a unique opportunity to bend those currents by shaping our laws and by shaping our debates, by working within the confines of the world as it is, but also by reimagining the world as it should be."

Obama's demagoguery wore thin long ago. Duplicity substitutes for truth. His deplorable record speaks for itself. He's a world class con man.

He's a war criminal multiple times over. He's a serial liar. He's a moral coward. Throughout is tenure, he waged war on freedom.

He's gone all-out to destroy it altogether. He deplores equity and justice for all. He's beholden solely to monied interests.

He supports wealth, power and privilege. He's mindless of popular needs. He trashed human and civil rights throughout his tenure.

He represents the worst of rogue governance. His agenda is state terrorism writ large. His worst crimes go unpunished. 

He's got nearly three more years left in office. Humanity may not survive his onslaught.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Text of UN Human Rights Council Report on US Human Rights Abuses

UN Human Rights Council Report on US Human Rights Abuses
Human Rights Committee
Concluding observations on the fourth report of the United States of America

1. The Committee considered the fourth periodic report of the United States of America (CCPR/C/USA/4 and Corr.1) at its 3044th, 3045th and 3046th meetings (CCPR/C/SR/3044, CCPR/C/SR/3045 and CCPR/C/SR/3046), held on 13 and 14 March 2014. At its 3061st meeting (CCPR/C/SR/3061), held on 26 March 2014, it adopted the following concluding observations.
A. Introduction
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the fourth periodic report of the United States of America and the information presented therein. It expresses appreciation for the opportunity to renew its constructive dialogue with the State party’s high level delegation which included representatives of state and local governments on the measures that the State party has taken during the reporting period to implement the provisions of the Covenant. The Committee is grateful to the State party for its written replies (CCPR/C/USA/Q/4/Add.1) to the list of issues (CCPR/C/USA/Q/4), which were supplemented by the oral responses provided by the delegation and for the supplementary information provided to it in writing.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee notes with appreciation the many efforts undertaken, and the progress made in protecting civil and political rights by the State party. The Committee welcomes, in particular, the following legislative and institutional steps taken by the State party:
(a) The full implementation of article 6(5) of the Covenant in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), despite the State party’s reservation to the contrary;
(b) The recognition by the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008), of the extraterritorial application of constitutional habeas corpus rights to aliens detained at Guantánamo Bay;
(c) The Presidential Executive Orders 13491 (“Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”), 13492 (“Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities”) and 13493 (“Review of Detention Policy Options”), issued on 22 January 2009;
(d) The support for the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples announced by President Obama on 16 December 2010;
(e) The Presidential Executive Order 13567 establishing periodic review for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility who have not been charged, convicted, or designated for transfer, issued on 7 March 2011.
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
Applicability of the Covenant at national level 
4. The Committee regrets that the State party continues to maintain its position that the Covenant does not apply with respect to individuals under its jurisdiction but outside its territory, despite the contrary interpretation of article 2(1) supported by the Committee’s established jurisprudence, the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice and state practice. The Committee further notes that the State party has only limited avenues to ensure that state and local governments respect and implement the Covenant, and that its provisions have been declared to be non-self-executing at the time of ratification. Taken together, these elements considerably limit the legal reach and the practical relevance of the Covenant (art. 2).  
The State party should:
(a) Interpret the Covenant in good faith, in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to its terms in their context, including subsequent practice, and in the light of its object and purpose and review its legal position so as to acknowledge the extraterritorial application of the Covenant under certain circumstances, as outlined inter alia in the Committee’s general comment No. 31 (2004) on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on States parties to the Covenant;
(b) Engage with stakeholders at all levels to identify ways to give greater effect to the Covenant at federal, state and local levels, taking into account that the obligations under the Covenant are binding on the State party as a whole, and that all branches of government, and other public or governmental authorities, at every level are in a position to engage the responsibility of the State party under the Covenant (General Comment. No. 31, para. 4);
(c) Taking into account its declaration that provisions of the Covenant are non-self-executing, ensure that effective remedies are available for violations of the Covenant, including those that do not, at the same time, constitute violations of U.S. domestic law, and undertake a review of such areas with a view to proposing to the Congress implementing legislation to fill any legislative gaps. The State party should also consider acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Covenant providing for an individual communication procedure.
(d) Strengthen and expand existing mechanisms mandated to monitor the implementation of human rights at federal, state, local and tribal levels, provide them with adequate human and financial resources or consider establishing an independent national human rights institution, in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles) (General Assembly resolution 48/134).
(e) Reconsider its position regarding its reservations and declarations to the Covenant with a view to withdrawing them. 
Accountability for past human rights violations
5. The Committee is concerned at the limited number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of members of the Armed Forces and other agents of the U.S. Government, including private contractors, for unlawful killings in its international operations and the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees in U.S. custody, including outside its territory, as part of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” program. While welcoming the Presidential Executive Order 13491 of 22 January 2009 terminating the programme of secret detention and interrogation operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Committee notes with concern that all reported investigations into enforced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that had been committed in the context of the CIA secret rendition, interrogation and detention programmes were closed in 2012 leading only to a meagre number of criminal charges brought against low-level operatives. The Committee is concerned that many details of the CIA programme remain secret thereby creating barriers to accountability and redress for victims (arts. 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 14).
The State party should ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention, or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in command positions, are prosecuted and sanctioned, and that victims are provided with effective remedies. The responsibility of those who provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behavior should also be established. The State party should also consider the full incorporation of the doctrine of ‘command responsibility’ in its criminal law and declassify and make public the report of the Senate Special Committee on Intelligence into the CIA secret detention programme.
Racial disparities in the criminal justice system
6. While appreciating the steps taken by the State party to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including the enactment in August 2010 of The Fair Sentencing Act and plans to work on reform of mandatory minimum sentencing statutes, the Committee continues to be concerned about racial disparities at different stages in the criminal justice system, sentencing disparities and the overrepresentation of individuals belonging to racial and ethnic minorities in prisons and jails (arts. 2, 9, 14, and 26). 
The State party should continue and step up its efforts to robustly address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including by amending regulations and policies leading to racially disparate impact at the federal, state and local levels. The State party should ensure the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act and reform mandatory minimum sentencing statutes.
Racial profiling
7. While welcoming plans to reform the “stop and frisk” program in New York City, the Committee remains concerned about the practice of racial profiling and surveillance by law enforcement officials targeting certain ethnic minorities, and the surveillance of Muslims undertaken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the absence of any suspicion of wrongdoing (arts. 2, 9, 12, 17, and 26).   
The State party should continue and step up its measures to effectively combat and eliminate racial profiling by federal, state and local law enforcement officials, inter alia by: (a) pursuing the review of the 2003 Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies and expanding protection against profiling on the basis of religion, religious appearance or national origin; (b) continuing to train state and local law enforcement personnel on cultural awareness and inadmissibility of racial profiling; and (c) abolishing all “stop and frisk” practices.
Death penalty
8. While welcoming the overall decline in the number of executions and the increasing number of states that have abolished the death penalty, the Committee remains concerned about the continuing use of the death penalty and, in particular, racial disparities in its imposition that affects disproportionately African Americans, exacerbated by the rule that discrimination has to be proven case-by-case. It is further concerned by the high number of persons wrongly sentenced to death, despite existing safeguards, and by the fact that 16 retentionist states do not provide for compensation for the wrongfully convicted and other states provide for insufficient compensation. Finally, the Committee notes with concern reports about the administration by some states of untested lethal drugs to execute prisoners and the withholding of information on such drugs (arts. 2, 6, 7, 9, 14, and 26).  
The State party should (a) take measures to effectively ensure that the death penalty is not imposed as a result of racial bias; (b) strengthen safeguards against wrongful sentencing to death and subsequent wrongful execution by ensuring inter alia effective legal representation for defendants in death penalty cases, including at the post-conviction stage; (c) ensure that retentionist states provide adequate compensation for the wrongfully convicted (d) ensure that lethal drugs for executions originate from legal, regulated sources, and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that information on the origin and composition of such drugs is made available to individuals scheduled for execution; (e) consider establishing a moratorium on the death penalty at the federal level and engage with retentionist states with a view to achieving a nationwide moratorium. The Committee also encourages the State party, on the 25th anniversary of the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, to consider acceding to the Protocol. 
Targeted killings using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones)
9. The Committee is concerned about the State party’s practice of targeted killings in extraterritorial counter-terrorism operations using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) also known as ‘drones’, the lack of transparency regarding the criteria for drone strikes, including the legal justification for specific attacks, and the lack of accountability for the loss of life resulting from such attacks. The Committee notes the State party’s position that drone strikes are conducted in the course of its armed conflict with Al- Qaida, the Taliban, and associated forces and in accordance with its inherent right of national self-defense and are governed by international humanitarian law, as well as by the Presidential Policy Guidance that sets out standards for the use of lethal force outside areas of active hostilities. Nevertheless, the Committee remains concerned about the State party’s very broad approach to the definition and the geographical scope of an armed conflict, including the end of hostilities, the unclear interpretation of what constitutes an “imminent threat” and who is a combatant or civilian taking a direct part in hostilities, the unclear position on the nexus that should exist between any particular use of lethal force and any specific theatre of hostilities, as well as the precautionary measures taken to avoid civilian casualties in practice (arts. 2, 6, and 14). 
The State party should revisit its position regarding legal justifications for the use of deadly force through drone attacks. It should: (a) ensure that any use of armed drones complies fully with its obligations under article 6 of the Covenant, including in particular with respect to the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality in the context of an armed conflict; (b) subject to operational security, disclose the criteria for drone strikes, including the legal basis for specific attacks, the process of target identification and the circumstances in which drones are used; (c) provide for independent supervision and oversight over the specific implementation of regulations governing the use of drone strikes; (d) in armed conflict situations, take all feasible measures to ensure the protection of civilians in specific drone attacks and to track and assess civilian casualties, as well as all necessary precautionary measures in order to avoid such casualties; (e) conduct independent, impartial, prompt and effective investigations of allegations of violations of the right to life and bring to justice those responsible; (f) provide victims or their families with an effective remedy where there has been a violation, including adequate compensation, and establish accountability mechanisms for victims of allegedly unlawful drone attacks who are not compensated by their home governments.
Gun violence 
10. While acknowledging the measures taken to reduce gun violence, the Committee remains concerned about the continuing high numbers of gun-related deaths and injuries and the disparate impact of gun violence on minorities, women and children. While commending the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation of the discriminatory effect of “Stand Your Ground Laws”, the Committee is concerned about the proliferation of such laws that are used to circumvent the limits of legitimate self-defence in violation of the State party’s duty to protect life (arts. 2, 6, and 26). 
The State Party should take all necessary measures to abide by its obligation to effectively protect the right to life. In particular, it should: (a) continue its efforts to effectively curb gun violence, including through the continued pursuit of legislation requiring background checks for all private firearm transfers in order to prevent possession of arms by persons recognized as prohibited individuals under federal law and strict enforcement of the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban legislation of 1996 (the “Lautenberg Amendment”); and (b) review Stand Your Ground Laws to remove far-reaching immunity and ensure strict adherence to the principles of necessity and proportionality when using deadly force in self-defence.
Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
11. The Committee is concerned about the still high number of fatal shootings by certain police forces, including, for instance, in Chicago, and reports of excessive use of force by certain law enforcement officers including the deadly use of tasers, which have a disparate impact on African Americans, and use of lethal force by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the U.S.-Mexico border (arts. 2, 6, 7, and 26).  
The State Party should  (a) step up its efforts to prevent the excessive use of force by law enforcement officers by ensuring compliance with the 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officers; (b) ensure that the new CBP directive on use of deadly force is applied and enforced in practice; and (c) improve reporting of excessive use of force violations and ensure that reported cases of excessive use of force are effectively investigated, alleged perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, that investigations are re-opened when new evidence becomes available, and that victims or their families are provided with adequate compensation. 
Legislation prohibiting torture
12. While noting that acts of torture may be prosecuted in a variety of ways at both the federal and state levels, the Committee is concerned about the lack of comprehensive legislation criminalizing all forms of torture, including mental torture, committed within the territory of the State party. The Committee is also concerned about the inability of torture victims to claim compensation from the State party and its officials due to the application of broad doctrines of legal privilege and immunity (arts. 2 and 7).
The State party should enact legislation to explicitly prohibit torture, including mental torture, wherever committed and ensure that the law provides for penalties commensurate with the gravity of such acts, whether committed by public officials or other persons acting on behalf of the State, or by private persons. The State party should ensure the availability of compensation to victims of torture. 
13. While noting the measures taken to ensure compliance with the principle of non-refoulement in cases of extradition, expulsion, return and transfer of individuals to other countries, the Committee is concerned about the State party’s reliance on diplomatic assurances that do not provide sufficient safeguards. It is also concerned at the State party’s position that the principle of non-refoulement is not covered by the Covenant despite the Committee’s established jurisprudence and subsequent state practice (arts. 6 and 7). 
The State party should strictly apply the absolute prohibition against refoulement under articles 6 and 7 of the Covenant, continue exercising the utmost care in evaluating diplomatic assurances, and refrain from relying on such assurances where it is not in a position to effectively monitor the treatment of such persons after their extradition, expulsion, transfer or return to other countries and take appropriate remedial action when assurances are not fulfilled. 
Trafficking and forced labour
14. While acknowledging the measures taken by the State party to address the issue of trafficking in persons and forced labour, the Committee remains concerned about cases of trafficking for purposes of labour and sexual exploitation, including of children, and criminalization of victims on prostitution-related charges. It is concerned about the insufficient identification and investigation of cases of trafficking for labour purposes and notes with concern that certain categories of workers, such as farm workers and domestic workers, are explicitly excluded from the protection of labour laws, thus rendering these categories of workers more vulnerable to trafficking. The Committee is also concerned that workers entering the U.S. under the H-2B work visa programme are also at a high risk of becoming victims of trafficking/forced labour (arts. 2, 8, 9, 14, 24, and 26).
The State party should continue its efforts to combat trafficking in persons, inter alia by strengthening its preventive measures, increasing victim identification and systematically and vigorously investigating allegations of trafficking in persons, prosecuting and punishing those responsible and providing effective remedies to victims, including protection, rehabilitation and compensation. It should take all appropriate measures to prevent the criminalization of victims of sex trafficking, including child victims, to the extent that they have been compelled to engage in unlawful activities. The State party should review its laws and regulations to ensure full protection against forced labour for all categories of workers and ensure effective oversight of labour conditions in any temporary visa program. It should also reinforce its training activities and provide training to law enforcement and border and immigration officials, as well as to other relevant agencies such as labour law enforcement agencies and child welfare agencies. 
15. The Committee is concerned that under certain circumstances mandatory detention of immigrants for prolonged periods of time without regard to the individual case may raise issues under article 9 of the Covenant. It is also concerned about the mandatory nature of the deportation of foreigners without regard to elements such as the seriousness of crimes and misdemeanors committed, the length of lawful stay in the U.S., health status, family ties and the fate of spouses and children staying behind, or the humanitarian situation in the country of destination. Finally, the Committee expresses concerns about the exclusion of millions of undocumented immigrants and their children from coverage under the Affordable Care Act and the limited coverage of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years by Medicare and Children Health Insurance, all resulting in difficulties in access of immigrants to adequate health care (arts. 7, 9, 13, 17, 24 and 26).
The Committee recommends to the State party to review its policies of mandatory detention and deportation of certain categories of immigrants in order to allow for individualized decisions, to take measures ensuring that affected persons have access to legal representation, and to identify ways to facilitate access of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years and their families to adequate health care, including reproductive health care services.
Domestic violence 
16. The Committee is concerned that domestic violence continues to be prevalent in the State party, and that ethnic minorities, immigrants and American Indian and Alaska Native women are at a particular risk. The Committee is also concerned that victims face obstacles to obtaining remedies, and that law enforcement authorities are not legally required to act with due diligence to protect victims of domestic violence, and often inadequately respond to such cases  (arts. 3, 7, 9, and 26)
The State party should, through the full and effective implementation of the Violence against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, strengthen measures to prevent and combat domestic violence, as well as to ensure that law enforcement personnel appropriately respond to acts of domestic violence. The State party should ensure that cases of domestic violence are effectively investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and sanctioned. The State party should ensure remedies for all victims of domestic violence, and take steps to improve the provision of emergency shelter, housing, child care, rehabilitative services and legal representation for women victims of domestic violence. The State party should also take measures to assist tribal authorities in their efforts to address domestic violence against Native American women.
Corporal punishment 
17. The Committee is concerned about the use of corporal punishment of children in schools, penal institutions, the home, and all forms of child care at federal, state and local levels. It is also concerned about the increasing criminalization of students to tackle disciplinary issues arising in schools (arts. 7, 10, and 24).
The State party should take practical steps, including through legislative measures where appropriate, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings. It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment and should conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects. The State party should also promote the use of alternatives to the application of criminal law to address disciplinary issues in schools.
Non-consensual psychiatric treatment
18. The Committee is concerned about the widespread use of non-consensual psychiatric medication, electroshock and other restrictive and coercive practices in mental health services (arts. 7 and 17).
The State party should ensure that non-consensual use of psychiatric medication, electroshock and other restrictive and coercive practices in mental health services is generally prohibited. Non-consensual psychiatric treatment may only be applied, if at all, in exceptional cases as a measure of last resort where absolutely necessary for the benefit of the person concerned provided that he or she is unable to give consent, for the shortest possible time, without any long-term impact, and under independent review. The State party should promote psychiatric care aimed at preserving the dignity of patients, both adults and minors.

Criminalization of homelessness
19. While appreciating the steps taken by federal and some state and local authorities to address homelessness, the Committee is concerned about reports of criminalization of people living on the street for everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, sitting in particular areas etc. The Committee notes that such criminalization raises concerns of discrimination and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment (arts. 2, 7, 9, 17, and 26).
The State party should engage with state and local authorities to: (a) abolish criminalization of homelessness laws and policies at state and local levels; (b) ensure close cooperation between all relevant stakeholders including social, health, law enforcement and justice professionals at all levels to intensify efforts to find solutions for the homeless in accordance with human rights standards; and (c) offer incentives for decriminalization and implementation of such solutions, including by providing continued financial support to local authorities implementing alternatives to criminalization and withdrawing funding for local authorities criminalizing the homeless.  
Conditions of detention and use of solitary confinement
20. The Committee is concerned about the continued practice of holding persons deprived of their liberty, including juveniles and persons with mental disabilities under certain circumstances, in prolonged solitary confinement, and about detainees being held in solitary confinement also in pretrial detention. The Committee is furthermore concerned about poor detention conditions in death row facilities (arts. 7, 9, 10, 17, and 24).
The State party should monitor conditions of detention in prisons, including private detention facilities, with a view to ensuring that persons deprived of their liberty be treated in accordance with the requirements of articles 7 and 10 of the Covenant and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. It should impose strict limits on the use of solitary confinement, both pretrial and following conviction, in the federal system, as well as nationwide, and abolish the practice in respect of anyone under the age of 18 and prisoners with serious mental illness. It should also bring detention conditions of prisoners on death row in line with international standards.
Detainees at Guantánamo Bay 
21. While noting President Obama’s commitment to close the Guantánamo Bay facility and the appointment of Special Envoys at the Departments of State and Defense to continue to pursue the transfer of detainees designated for transfer, the Committee regrets that no timeline for closure of the facility has been provided. The Committee is also concerned that detainees held in Guantánamo Bay and in military facilities in Afghanistan are not dealt with within the ordinary criminal justice system after a protracted period of over a decade in some cases (arts. 7, 9, 10, and 14).
The State party should expedite the transfer of detainees designated for transfer, including to Yemen, as well as the process of periodic review for Guantánamo detainees, and ensure either their trial or immediate release, and the closure of the Guantánamo facility. It should end the system of administrative detention without charge or trial and ensure that any criminal cases against detainees held in Guantánamo and military facilities in Afghanistan are dealt with within the criminal justice system rather than military commissions and that those detainees are afforded the fair trial guarantees enshrined in article 14 of the Covenant. 
NSA surveillance
22. The Committee is concerned about the surveillance of communications in the interests of protecting national security, conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) both within and outside the United States through the bulk phone metadata program (Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act) and, in particular, the surveillance under Section 702 of Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) conducted through PRISM (collection of the contents of communications from U.S.-based companies) and UPSTREAM (tapping of fiber-optic cables in the U.S. that carry internet traffic) programs and their adverse impact on the right to privacy. The Committee is concerned that until recently, judicial interpretations of FISA and rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) have largely been kept secret, thus not allowing affected persons to know the law with sufficient precision. The Committee is concerned that the current system of oversight of the activities of the NSA fails to effectively protect the rights of those affected. While welcoming the recent Presidential Policy Directive (PPD-28) that will now extend some safeguards to non-US persons “to the maximum extent feasible consistent with the national security”, the Committee remains concerned that such persons enjoy only limited protection against excessive surveillance. Finally, the Committee is concerned that those affected have no access to effective remedies in case of abuse (arts. 2, 5(1), and 17).
The State party should:
(a) take all necessary measures to ensure that its surveillance activities, both within and outside the United States, conform to its obligations under the Covenant, including article 17; in particular, measures should be taken to ensure that any interference with the right to privacy complies with the principles of legality, proportionality and necessity regardless of the nationality or location of individuals whose communications are under direct surveillance;
(b) ensure that any interference with the right to privacy, family, home or correspondence be authorized by laws that (i) are publicly accessible; (ii) contain provisions that ensure that collection of, access to and use of communications data are tailored to specific legitimate aims; (iii) are sufficiently precise specifying in detail the precise circumstances in which any such interference may be permitted; the procedures for authorizing; the categories of persons who may be placed under surveillance; limits on the duration of surveillance; procedures for the use and storage of the data collected; and (iv) provide for effective safeguards against abuse;
(c) reform the current system of oversight over surveillance activities to ensure its effectiveness, including by providing for judicial involvement in authorization or monitoring of surveillance measures, and considering to establish strong and independent oversight mandates with a view to prevent abuses;
(d) refrain from imposing mandatory retention of data by third parties;
(e) ensure that affected persons have access to effective remedies in cases of abuse.
Juvenile justice and life without parole sentences
23. While noting with satisfaction the Supreme Court decisions prohibiting life without parole sentences for children convicted of non-homicide offenses (Graham v. Florida), and barring mandatory life without parole sentences for children convicted of homicide offenses (Miller v. Alabama) and the State party’s commitment to their retroactive application, the Committee is concerned that a court still may, within its discretion, sentence a defendant to life without parole for a homicide committed as a juvenile and that a mandatory or non-homicide related sentence of life without parole may still be applied to adults. It is also concerned that many states exclude 16 and 17 year olds from juvenile court jurisdictions and thus juveniles continue to be tried in adult courts and to be incarcerated in adult institutions (arts. 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, and 24). 
The State party should prohibit and abolish all juvenile life without parole sentences irrespective of the crime committed, as well as all mandatory and non-homicide related sentences of life without parole. It should also ensure that all juveniles are separated from adults during pretrial detention and after sentencing and that juveniles are not transferred to adult courts. States that automatically exclude 16 and 17 year olds from juvenile court jurisdictions should be encouraged to change their laws.
Voting rights
24. While noting with satisfaction Attorney General Holder’s statement of 11 February 2014 calling for a reform of prisoner disenfranchisement State laws, the Committee reiterate its concern about the persistence of state-level felon disenfranchisement laws, its disproportionate impact on minorities, and the lengthy and cumbersome state voting restoration procedures. The Committee is further concerned that voter identification and other recently introduced eligibility requirements may impose excessive burdens on voters resulting in de facto disenfranchisement of large numbers of voters, including members of minority groups. Finally, the Committee reiterates its concern that residents of the District of Columbia are denied the right to vote for and election of voting representatives to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (arts. 2, 10, 25, and 26).
The State party should ensure that all states reinstate voting rights to felons who have fully served their sentences, provide inmates with information about their voting restoration options and remove or streamline lengthy and cumbersome state voting restoration procedures, as well as review automatic denial of the vote to any imprisoned felon, regardless of the nature of the offence. It should also take all necessary measures to ensure that voter identification requirements and the new eligibility requirements do not impose excessive burdens on voters resulting in de facto disenfranchisement. The State party should also provide for the full voting rights of residents of Washington, D.C. 
Rights of indigenous people
25. The Committee is concerned about the insufficient measures being taken to protect the sacred areas of indigenous peoples against desecration, contamination and destruction as a result of urbanization, extractive industries, industrial development, tourism and toxic contamination. It is also concerned about restricted access of indigenous people to sacred areas essential for preservation of their religious, cultural and spiritual practices and the insufficiency of consultation conducted with indigenous peoples on matters of interest to their communities (art. 27).
The State party should adopt measures to effectively protect sacred areas of indigenous peoples against desecration, contamination and destruction and ensure that consultations are held with the communities that might be adversely affected by State party’s development projects and exploitation of natural resources with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent for the potential project activities.
26. The State party should widely disseminate the Covenant, the text of the fourth periodic report, the written responses that it has provided in response to the list of issues drawn up by the Committee and the present concluding observations so as to increase awareness among the judicial, legislative and administrative authorities, civil society and non-governmental organizations operating in the country, as well as the general public. The Committee also requests the State party, when preparing its fifth periodic report, to continue its practice of broadly consulting with civil society and non-governmental organizations.
27. In accordance with rule 71, paragraph 5, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the State party should provide, within one year, relevant information on its implementation of the Committee’s recommendations made in paragraphs 5, 10, 21 and 22 above.

28. The Committee requests the State party, in its next periodic report, due to be submitted on 28 March 2019, to provide specific, up-to-date information on all its recommendations and on the Covenant as a whole

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

by Stephen Lendman

Congratulations, Mr. President. You're the latest in a long line of lawless leaders. You achieved rogue status without really trying.

Contempt for rule of law principles, duplicity and moral cowardice define your administration. Pretense otherwise doesn't wash.

Instead of improving lives for ordinary Americans, you created worse than ever conditions.

You more than ever made America a gangster state. Millions worldwide call it a pariah one. They do so for good reason.

You stole public wealth. You handed Wall Street crooks trillions of dollars. You gave war profiteers trillions more. 

You impoverished millions. You left 100 million working-age Americans unemployed. 

You ignore human need. Homelessness and hunger aren't your concerns. 

You're systematically destroying middle class society. You're heading America on a fast track toward third world status. A second one toward full-blown tyranny.

You promised hope and change. You campaigned for peace. You promised all US forces out of Afghanistan in your first year in office.

You assured Palestinian sovereignty free from occupation harshness. You said decades of what Israel imposed would end.

You promised Guantanamo closure once and for all. You pledged within one year of taking office.

Bush administration war criminals will be held accountable, you said. Torture will end by decree. 

So will indefinite detentions. Lawless military commissions trials won't be tolerated.

Labor rights will be supported. So will public education. And you can keep your doctor, you said. 

You guaranteed universal healthcare with a public option. It'll be more affordable than before, you claimed. 

You'll end unconstitutional executive authority. You'll help Americans facing foreclosure keep their homes.

You promised real immigration reform within one year of taking office. You'll "revisit the Patriot Act."

You'll "overturn unconstitutional executive decisions during the past eight years."

You'll be a uniter, not a divider. You'll serve all Americans equitably, justly, fairly and honorably.

"It's time to turn a page," you said. "We'll restore our values." The "days of compromising them are over." 

We'll "secure a more resilient homeland." We'll "adhere to the Geneva Conventions." 

Freedom is too precious to lose. You've gone all-out to destroy it on your watch. You've done so at home and abroad.

You said openness and transparency in government will be a hallmark of your administration. You'll increase whistleblower protections.

Big Brother will be banished. "(N)o more illegal wiretapping of American citizens," you pledged.

No more "spy(ing) on citizens who are not suspected of a crime." No more privacy invasions.

No more human and civil rights violations. "No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient."

No more extrajudicial operations. No more favoring monied interests over popular ones. No more wars for power and profit.

No more less than treating everyone equitably and justly. No more defending the indefensible.

Arundhati Roy once called Tony Blair a "psychopath." She described Bush the same way. She said you're no different from them. And then some, this writer adds.

You did more to make America unfit to live in than any of your predecessors. You've waged political, economic and hot wars on humanity. 

You threaten its survival. Your policies risk WW III. You're unapologetic. Your rampaging continues.

Your waging multiple direct and proxy wars. You target all independent countries for regime change.

You're waging war on Syria. You launched it. You killed tens of thousands. You bear full responsibility. You want a subservient pro-Western stooge replacing Assad.

You ravaged and destroyed Libya for the same purpose. You turned it into a charnel house. You're doing the same thing to many other countries. Countless millions suffer horrifically on your watch.

Ukraine is your latest victim. Congratulations. You claimed another imperial trophy. As long as you can keep it.

It's at the expense of millions of Ukrainians deserving better. You want them marginalized, exploited, impoverished and denied fundamental freedoms.

You want Ukraine run by fascist extremists. You bought victory on the cheap. Keeping it is something else entirely.

Reports estimate you spent $5 - $10 billion transforming Ukraine from a democracy to a pro-Western fascist police state.

It's pocket change compared to multi-trillions waging war on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and other countries below the radar.

You elevated anti-Semitic, hate-mongering, xenophobic, ultranational neo-Nazis to power. 

You expressed support for their extremism. You called them "the voice of the people." You blamed Ukraine's legitimate government for their street crimes.

You endorsed usurpation of power. On Saturday, your press secretary lied, saying:

"We have consistently advocated a de-escalation of violence, constitutional change, a coalition government, and early elections, and today's developments could move us closer to that goal."

Fact check: You planned violence. You initiated it. You stoked it. You funded it. You want total control over Ukrainian policy. You want ordinary Ukrainians having no say.  

"The unshakeable principle guiding events must be that the people of Ukraine determine their own future."

Fact check: You've gone all-out to prevent it. You stole their future.  

"We welcome constructive work in the Rada and continue to urge the prompt formation of a broad, technocratic government of national unity."

Fact check: Usurped Rada (parliament) authority has no legitimacy. It's polar opposite real democracy.

You deplore it. You tolerate it nowhere. You deny Americans what they deserve. You operate the same way globally.

"We welcome former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s release from a prison hospital today, and we wish her a speedy recovery..." 

Fact check: She's a criminal. She stole tens of millions of dollars. She did so at the expense of ordinary Ukrainians. She belongs in prison. Releasing her was lawless.

"We continue to urge an end to violence by all sides and a focus on peaceful, democratic dialogue, working pursuant to Ukraine’s constitution and through its institutions of government."  

Fact check: It bears repeating. You spent billions on violently toppling Ukraine's legitimate government. You want pro-Western fascist extremism replacing it.

You got what you wanted so far. Keeping it may be something else entirely. The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. It has miles to go. It's outcome is very much undecided.

"Going forward, we will work with our allies, with Russia, and with appropriate European and international organizations to support a strong, prosperous, unified, and democratic Ukraine." 

"…(T)he Ukrainian people should know that the United States deeply values our long-standing ties with Ukraine and will support them as they pursue a path of democracy and economic development."

Fact check: Ukrainian youths are ignorant. They're mindless about what's going on. They're easily manipulated. For how long matters most.

Older Ukrainians aren't stupid. They know how America operates. They know wherever it shows up, extreme violence and human misery follow.

They reversed George Bush's Orange Revolution. Don't bet they won't undo your 2.0 version. The battle for Ukraine's soul just began.

Note: Anonymous Ukraine monitors what's ongoing. It's members are divided. Some are brainwashed by Western propaganda.

Others know their country is being colonized for plunder. They'll fight it. They want no part of exploitive EU membership.

They reject US meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs. They oppose NATO membership. They deplore fascist extremists usurping power. They know your dirty hands are involved.

They want peace and stability. They want Ukrainians deciding their own future. They want sovereign independence defended. 

They'll be heard from going forward. They won't stand by idly watching you wreck their country. They won't "go gentle into that good night."

"Operation Independence continues," they said. "Expect us."

One coup d'etat isn't enough for you. You want another. You want Venezuela's democratic government toppled. 

You want Bolivarian social justice destroyed. You want Venezuela returned to its bad old days. 

You bear full responsibility for street violence. You're funding it. You're directing it. You pull the strings.

Destabilization continues. CIA operatives are involved. So are State Department organizations.

Coup plotting is violent. Days of violence caused 10 deaths so far. Scores were injured. Your funded fascists are responsible.

Since 1999, you, Bush and Clinton spent billions of dollars targeting Venezuela for regime change. Bolivarianism survived everything done to destroy it.

It's resilient. It's institutionalized. The vast majority of Venezuelans support it. They won't tolerate your plot to steal what's too important to lose. Or the Hemisphere's most democratic country.

They'll fight to keep hard won gains. Victor Hugo once explained nothing stronger than "an idea whose time has come."

It's deep-rooted in Venezuela. It reflects Simon Bolivar's vision. He wanted the imperial curse "to plague Latin America with misery in the name of liberty" ended.

He wanted national resources distributed equitably and fairly. Chavez was his modern-day incarnation. 

Chavismo reflects his commitment. Maduro carries his torch.

The battle to preserve Bolivarian values continues. They won't wane and die. Your dirty scheme is familiar.

You want Venezuela looking like America. You want police state viciousness replacing democracy. You want neoliberal harshness replacing Bolivarian fairness.

You want what Venezuelans won't tolerate. You want what they won't let you get. 

Maybe Americans will awaken to reality. Maybe they'll react the same way. It's their future. If they won't protect it, no one will do it for them.

It bears repeating what other articles said. Resist or perish. There's no in-between. Spread the word. Tell others. We're all in this together. Defeating your agenda is too important a fight to lose.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Western Manipulated Violence in Ukraine

Western Manipulated Violence in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Last November, protests erupted in Ukraine. Violence followed. Previous articles discussed it. Washington's dirty game was explained. Imperial lawlessness reflects it.

It has many forms. It includes trampling on fundamental rule of law principles. Toppling democratically elected governments is OK. 

So is assassinating foreign leaders. Replacing them by coup d'etats is longstanding US policy. Waging war to do it is standard practice. 

Anything goes defines America. Washington rules alone matter. Imposing them worldwide matters most. 

At issue is replacing sovereign independent governments with pro-Western stooge ones. It's denying democratic freedoms. 

It's a game as old as empire. It's imposing diktat authority. It's plundering nations for profit. 

It's impoverishing them. It's bankrupting them. It's trapping them in debt. It's turning workers into serfs. It's imposing police state rules. It's cracking down hard on resisters. 

It's justifying might over right. It's calling destructive practices liberating ones. It's proliferating state-sponsored propaganda claiming it.

It's letting monied interests run things. It's letting them benefit at the expense of all others. It's championing wrong over right. 

Rogue states operate this way. America is by far the worst. Ukraine is one of many US targets. The battle for its soul continues. It involves weakening and isolating Russia.

It's about exploiting Ukrainian resources. It's about denying worker rights. It's about wage slavery replacing freedom. 

It's about imposing one-sided Western trade deals from hell. It's about benefitting foreign investors. It's doing it at the expense of popular interests. It's colonizing Ukraine for profit.

Washington's dirty game is transparent. EU partners are complicit. Street thugs were recruited. They're militants. They're paid to commit violence. Radical nationalists joined them.

Protests quieted down for some weeks. Days earlier things changed. Last Sunday, thousands demonstrated in Kiev's Independence Square.

Violent clashes followed. They continued for five days. They can persist much longer. Western enlisted thugs initiated things. 

Washington wants democratically elected Viktor Yanukovyich ousted. It wants a convenient stooge replacing him.

It wants Orange Revolution 2.0. It wants 2004 repeated. It wants to take full advantage like earlier. It wants what most Ukrainians reject.

Protests erupted after Ukraine enacted new legislation. It criminalizes disruptive protests. It targets public disorder. It aims to prevent manipulated demonstrations from becoming a national rebellion.

It went too far. It risks press freedom. It criminalizes legitimate protests. Vaguely defined extremism carries a potential three year sentence.

Protesters face up to 15 years in prison. Wearing a helmet or mask while they're ongoing can mean 10 days in jail. So can pitching tents without police permission.

Criminalizing violent demonstrators is legitimate. Leaders promoting it bear most responsibility. Holding them accountable is vital. 

The alternative is out-of-control anarchy. No nation would tolerate letting things go this far. That's what revolutions are made of. 

Stopping violent ones protects everyone. Doing it responsibly is legal. 

Peaceful protests are legitimate. Legislation shouldn't deny them. Last year, police showed remarkable restraint. Not this week. On the one hand, they had good reason to change tactics.

Protesters are extremely violent. They crossed the line. They became rioters. They hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police. Fires erupted. Things escalated out-of-control. Over-the-top legislation followed.

Dozens of police were injured. They responded with tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons. At least three protestors died. 

RT (formerly Russia Today) said "protestors climbed atop the main gate of the Dynamo football stadium..." They used it "as a strongpoint…" 

They bombarded police from that vantage point. At one point they  had to retreat. "Demonstrators delivered gasoline canisters and empty bottles to make more Molotov cocktails," said RT.

Police "suffered head injuries, fractures, burns, stab and slash wounds, as well as poisoning by 'unknown substances.' "  

A rubber bullet struck an RT cameraman. No injury was reported. A plastic shield on his back protected him.

A Ukraine ICTV channel cameraman was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet. Doctors expect him to lose partial sight.

Protesters "built a wooden catapult on European Square," said RT. A three-meter-tall ballistic device was used. It launched rocks and firecrackers at police. They destroyed it in response.

Protesters are nicknamed Euromaiden. Extremist elements lead them. They include Western enlisted militants. So-called Right Sector hardliners are involved.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry condemned the "commandants of Maiden." They're providing rioters with "dangerous cold steel arms," it said.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov called extremist protesters terrorists. They're provocateurs. They're criminals. They warrant punishment.

Opposition elements gave protesters two-meter-long wooden sticks. They're dangerous. They have sharp metal tips. They're improvised weapons. They're can injure or kill.

Hardliners pledged continued disruptive protests. They demand Yanukovych resign. They demand snap elections.

On Thursday, Yanukovych called a special session of parliament. It's scheduled for next week. Speaker Volodymyr Rybak said relevant issues will be discussed.

"The opposition and the parliamentary majority should come together and consider the questions which have arisen: the resignation of the government and those questions linked to laws passed by parliament," he said.

Earlier this week, Yanukovych called for dialogue. He suggested compromise. At the same time, he said all legal means will be used to maintain stability.

Washington reacted as expected. Sanctions involving freezing assets abroad and travel bans were threatened. Some US visas were revoked.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf issued a statement. In part, she said:

"The United States strongly condemns the increasing violence on the streets of Kiev, which has led to casualties and the shooting deaths of two protesters." 

"We urge all sides to immediately de-escalate the situation and refrain from violence." 

"Increased tensions in Ukraine are a direct consequence of the Ukrainian government's failure to engage in real dialogue and the passage of anti-democratic legislation on January 16." 

"We urge the Government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation and beginning a national dialogue with the political opposition." 

"The United States has already revoked visas of several people responsible for violence, and will continue to consider additional steps in response to the use of violence by any actors."

Washington bears full responsibility for manipulating street violence. Complicit EU partners share it. They want unchallenged control of Ukraine. They want it politically and economically. 

They want Russia shut out. It's mindful of what's ongoing. It's well aware of manipulative Western practices. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned about things "spinning out-of-control."

"We have information that much of this is being stimulated from abroad," he said. "(M)embers of several European governments rushed to the Maiden without any invitation and took part in anti-government demonstrations."

Fact check

In America, police routinely brutalize peaceful protesters. Occupy Wall Street ones were attacked nationwide. So are global justice advocates.

Patriot Act legislation created the crime of "domestic terrorism." Doing so potentially criminalizes dissent, anti-war protesters, civil and human rights defenders, environmental and animal rights activists, and all forms of legitimate civil disobedience.

On March 8, 2012, Obama signed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 into law. It passed both Houses near unanimously.

It "(a)mend(ed) the federal criminal code to revise the prohibition against entering restricted federal buildings or grounds to impose criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly enters any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority."

Protesters may be prosecuted for exercising their First Amendment rights. They can be imprisoned for doing so.

Vague language gives authorities wide latitude. They can interpret new provisions freely. Restraints aren't imposed. It's up for grabs how ruthlessly this law will be used.

Treating protesters violently in America isn't new. It's longstanding practice. Anything goes is officially sanctioned. 

Double standard hypocrisy defines US policy. If anything half-resembling Ukraine protests erupted, extreme state-sponsored violence would confront them. It would happen straightaway.

Federal, state and local authorities would go all out to stop them. Nothing too extreme would be avoided.

In spring 1969, then California Governor Ronald Reagan declared a state of emergency. He did so when none existed.

He deployed National Guard troops and state police. He unleashed them against peaceful People's Park protesters. "Bloody Thursday" followed. Dozens were injured, some seriously.

Months later, Reagan defended his action. "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with," he said. "No more appeasement." 

On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guard troops murdered four Kent State protesters. Nine others were seriously wounded.

US history is full of similar incidents. During unionism's formative years, workers were terrorized for organizing." 

In company-owned towns, they were evicted from homes, beaten, shot, and hanged. It was done to leave management empowered.

In May 1886, Chicago Haymarket Square demonstrators rallied peacefully. They did so for an eight-hour day.

Someone threw a bomb. Police violence followed. Eleven nonviolent protesters were killed. Dozens were injured.

Seven innocent defendants were sentenced to death. Another got 15 years in prison.

Justice was systematically denied. Things are much worse today. Unions are largely busted. Activism is treated harshly.

Police across America are brutal. They don't tolerate what Ukrainian cops did for weeks. It bears repeating. Until last Sunday, they showed remarkable restraint.

Where things go from here remains to be seen. On January 23, RT headlined "Ceasefire in Ukraine: Barricades doused out, violence an inch from reigniting."

Thursday was day five of violent confrontations. Opposition leaders and government officials are negotiating. It's doubtful whether "they will be able to stop the rioters," said RT.

Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko said both sides agreed on a "quiet period." Protesters promised to refrain from violence. For how long remains to be seen.

Discussions focused on revoking new draconian legislation. Klitschko wants much more besides. He wants what he won't get.

He wants Yanukovych to resign. He wants ministerial resignations. He wants snap elections.

Wednesday negotiations accomplished nothing. Opposition extremists threatened "to go on the offensive." They've been doing it for five days. They did so for weeks last year.

"Protesters remain in Grushevskogo Street," said RT. "Radical anti-government activists" are positioned near Ukraine's parliament building.

Wednesday night throughThursday afternoon, rioters "burn(ed) tires, smash(ed) up streets, and erect(ed) barricades..."

Central Ukraine resembles a war zone. It's filled with smoke, barricades and debris. None of this would be tolerated in America for five minutes. It's continued in Kiev intermittently for weeks.

Former Ukraine President Leonid Kravchuk thanked police. He did so for showing more restraint than rioters deserved.

"I am grateful to the guys and (Ministry of Internal Affairs) Berkut (special units), who are standing there now," he said. 

"I do not condone nor approve of the fact that they cleared out the students on November 30, although the right thing to do would be to criticize the person who gave out the order."

"Now they are going through an incredible challenge: being beaten up, having stones and burning mixtures thrown at them, and they stand there and endure." 

"Not a lot of countries have militaries that would tolerate such  treatment in a similar situation."

For sure not America, Britain, France or other major EU nations. State-sponsored viciousness would follow anything half-resembling Ukrainian violence.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces routinely bludgeon them. They target peaceful resisters. They shoot them in cold blood. 

They mass-arrest others. They charge them with terrorism. They attack Gazans by land, sea and air. They fire missiles at nonviolent civilians.

US-supported Egyptian security forces operate the same way. Police state harshness is official policy. So is cold-blooded murder.

Before late Thursday's "quiet period," violent clashes exceeded anything previously seen. Five days of protests left three dead. Hundreds of protesters were injured. So were nearly 200 police.

According to RT:

"Shocking footage showed rioters armed with sticks and flares attacking cordons of security forces surrounding government buildings." 

"Donned in orange helmets, the protesters threw stones, debris, and Molotovs directly at police."

"Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs published a video showing a group of officers being suddenly attacked from behind a fence on Monday."

"Petrol bombs are being thrown in the middle of the cordons, setting police uniforms on fire."

Prime Minister Azarov said police are told to use force only against violent protesters.

"Instructions given to law enforcement authorities were simple," he said. "Avoid the use of force against peaceful demonstrators, and prevent violent seizure of government buildings and institutions."

"The question of resignation is in the competence of Parliament," he added. It has sole authority. Yanukovych's coalition holds majority control. They're won't likely vote themselves out of office.

At the same time, added Azarov:

"It is absolutely unrealistic" to hold snap elections. New ones are scheduled "in less than a year."

"Do you think we can hold elections when the central part of Kiev has virtually been occupied by militants? What elections can we talk about when people are rioting?" Restoring stability matters most.

Ukrainian authorities aren't stupid. Nor Russian ones. Ararov called what's ongoing a coup d'etat attempt.

"The building of the Cabinet of Ministers is under siege and the building of the Lviv region's administration has been taken over." 

"The people who are fighting against us are militants, not the opposition. These are different things."

"It's a real coup attempt, and everyone who backs this coup should clearly say 'Yes, we support the overthrowing of the lawful administration in Ukraine,' instead of hiding behind peaceful protesters." 

"The line was crossed when so-called peaceful (ones) started using Molotov cocktails and taking over state buildings."

No government would tolerate what's ongoing. None should. What follows in Ukraine remains to be seen. 

Conflict resolution is nowhere in sight. Don't expect Washington's dirty hands to yield. Nor complicit EU partners. 

The battle for Ukraine's soul continues. At stake is preserving its sovereignty.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

ACLU v. Clapper Ruling

ACLU v. Clapper Ruling

by Stephen Lendman

A previous article said the following:

On June 11, the ACLU filed suit. It challenged "the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' phone records."

It argued that doing so violates Fourth and First Amendment rights, saying: 

"Because the NSA's aggregation of metadata constitutes an invasion of privacy and an unreasonable search, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment." 

"The call-tracking program also violates the First Amendment, because it vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity."

NSA claims authorization under the Patriot Act's Section 215. It's known as the "business records" provision. 

It permits collecting "any tangible thing...relevant" to alleged foreign intelligence or terrorism related investigations. It way oversteps. It's unconstitutional. 

It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates fundamental First Amendment rights. It does so by mandating secrecy. 

It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what's happening to them. It compromises free expression, assembly and association. 

It does so by authorizing the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.

It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons.

"Whatever Section 215's 'relevance' requirement might allow, it does not permit the government to cast a seven-year dragnet sweeping up every phone call made or received by Americans," said ACLU.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorized surveillance relating to "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers." 

It restricts spying on US citizens and residents to those engaged in espionage in America and territory under US control. 

No longer. Today anything goes. America is a total surveillance society. Obama officials claim no authority can challenge them.
Governing this way is called tyranny.

On December 16, Federal District Court of the District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon ruled against NSA spying.

He called it "almost Orwellian" and much more, saying:

"The threshold issue is whether plaintiffs have a reasonable expectation of privacy that is violated when the Government indiscriminately collects their telephone metadata along with the metadata of hundreds of millions of other citizens without any particularized suspicion of wrongdoing, retains all of that metadata for five years, and then queries, analyzes, and investigates that data without prior judicial approval of the investigative targets."

"I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary' invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval." 

"Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment." 

It's core constitutional law. It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Mass NSA surveillance does it lawlessly.

It has nothing to do with national security. Claims otherwise ring hollow. America spies for control. It does so for economic advantage. Espionage is longstanding policy.

Corporate secrets are stolen. So are political ones. Top foreign government and business officials are spied on. Virtually everyone is fair game.

Domestic spying is longstanding. It's unconstitutional. It doesn't matter. Two federal judges disagreed. If ACLU appeals to the Supreme Court, it'll likely lose.

It's stacked with right-wing extremists. Five current justices are Federalist Society members: Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas.

Elena Kagan is ideologically sympathetic. As dean of Harvard Law School, she hired Bush's outgoing Office of Legal Counsel director, Jack Goldsmith. Francis Boyle called him a war criminal.

Kagan bragged about putting him on staff. Boyle quoted her saying she "love(s) the Federalist Society." It's ideologically over-the-top. It's extremely right-wing.

With these type justices on America's High Court, ordinary people haven't a chance. Nor judicial fairness.

In September 2012, Congress overwhelmingly passed the 2012 FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act. 

Obama signed it into law. He called doing so a national security priority. He lied. It reflects police state lawlessness. It extends the 2008 FISA Amendments Act (FAA). It's for another five years.

It authorizes warrantless spying. It does so without naming names or probable cause. It violates Fourth Amendment protections. 

Overseas phone calls, emails, and other communications of US citizens and permanent residents may be monitored without authorization. Perhaps domestic ones covertly. 

Probable cause isn't needed. Anything goes is policy. Constitutional protections don't matter. Police states operate this way.

ACLU lawyers filed suit. It passed through lower courts to the Supremes. In October 2012, High Court justices heard oral arguments. Clapper v. Amnesty International challenged the constitutionality of warrantless spying.

On February 26, the Supreme Court ruled. It dismissed ACLU's case. It violated constitutional protections doing so. 

It ruled against lawyers, journalists, human rights groups, and others challenging protections too important to lose.

It said they couldn't prove surveillance was "certainly impending." They didn't have required standing to sue, they claimed. 

Saying so was absurd on its face. It's a standard never before used. Imposing it denies the legitimate right to sue. Doing so reflects police state justice.

It wasn't the first time fundamental rights were denied. It won't be the last. Warrantless electronic spying is intrusive. It's institutionalized.

Congress approves. So does Obama. America's Supremes violated the public trust. They've done it many times before. They'll do it again. Lawless NSA spying is safe in their hands.

In ACLU v. Clapper, Judge William Pauley heard arguments. ACLU called for the program to be ended. Ahead of the hearing, its legal director, Jameel Jaffer, said:

"This vast dragnet is said to be authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, but nothing in the text or legislative history of that provision remotely suggests that Congress intended to empower the government to collect information on a daily basis, indefinitely, about every American’s phone calls."

"This kind of dragnet surveillance is precisely what the fourth amendment was meant to prohibit."

"The constitution does not permit the NSA to place hundreds of millions of innocent people under permanent surveillance because of the possibility that information about some tiny subset of them will become useful to an investigation in the future."

ACLU argued against blanket seizure of its phone records. Doing so violates its core constitutional rights. It compromises its ability to work with journalists, advocacy groups, whistleblowers and others.

It claimed standing because NSA has access to its phone records. It didn't matter. Judge Pauley rejected its challenge. He called mass NSA surveillance legal.

He called it a valuable tool against terrorism. He said it "only works because if collects everything." He either lied or doesn't understand what's going on.

He claimed meta-data collection "represents the government's counter-punch" against Al Qaeda's terror network.

"The collection is broad, but the scope of counterterrorism investigations is unprecedented," he said.

Mass phone data collection "significantly increases the NSA's capability to detect the faintest patterns left behind by individuals affiliated with foreign terrorist organizations." 

"Armed with all the metadata, NSA can draw connections it might otherwise never be able to find."

Without them, he claimed, "the civil liberties of every citizen" would be "imperil(ed)." 

"The question for this court is whether the government's bulk telephony metadata program is lawful. This court finds it is." 

"But the question of whether that program should be conducted is for the other two coordinate branches of government to decide."

Judge Pauley nonsensically said mass telecommunications surveillance could have perhaps prevented 9/11.

"The government learned from its mistake and adapted to confront a new enemy: a terror network capable of orchestrating attacks across the world," he claimed.

"It launched a number of counter-measures, including a bulk telephony metadata collection program - a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data."

It bears repeating. NSA mass surveillance has nothing to do with national security. Pauley knows nothing about spying. His ruling reads like an NSA press handout. His legal judgment leaves much to be desired. 

Most other federal judges are no better. Police state lawlessness remains in good hands. Judge Leon is an exception who proves the rule. 

He's an unheard voice in the wilderness. We need lots more to make a difference. We need them throughout the judiciary. 

We need them on the highest court in the land. We need them in all government branches. We need what we don't have.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Federal Judge Rules Against Mass Surveillance

Federal Judge Rules Against Mass Surveillance

by Stephen Lendman

On December 16, Federal District Court of the District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon issued a damning 68-page ruling. He called NSA spying unconstitutional. It's "almost Orwellian," he said.

"The threshold issue is whether plaintiffs have a reasonable expectation of privacy that is violated when the Government indiscriminately collects their telephone metadata along with the metadata of hundreds of millions of other citizens without any particularized suspicion of wrongdoing, retains all of that metadata for five years, and then queries, analyzes, and investigates that data without prior judicial approval of the investigative targets."

"I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary' invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval." 

"Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment." 

It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Doing so violates core constitutional law. Mass NSA surveillance does it writ large.

It has nothing to do with national security. America's only enemies are ones it invents. NSA spies globally. It watches everyone. It monitors allies. It's about control. 

It's for economic advantage. It's to be one up on foreign competitors. It's for information used advantageously in trade, political, and military relations.

Domestic spying is longstanding. It's institutionalized. It's unconstitutional. It doesn't matter. Nothing before was done to stop it. Judge Leon took an important first step

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer commented on his ruling, saying:

"This is a strongly worded and carefully reasoned decision that ultimately concludes, absolutely correctly, that the NSA’s call-tracking program can’t be squared with the Constitution."

"As Judge Leon notes, the government's defense of the program has relied almost entirely on a 30-year-old case that involved surveillance of a specific criminal suspect over a period of two days."

"The idea that this narrow precedent authorizes the government to place every American under permanent surveillance is preposterous."

"We hope that Judge Leon's thoughtful ruling will inform the larger conversation about the proper scope of government surveillance powers, especially the debate in Congress about the reforms necessary to bring the NSA's surveillance activities back in line with the Constitution."

"The bipartisan USA Freedom Act, which has 130 co-sponsors already, would address the constitutional problems that Judge Leon identifies."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls the proposed measure "a substantial improvement to America's laws regarding mass surveillance."

At the same time, it's "a floor, not a ceiling." It addresses a small portion of NSA abuses and "overreaching government secrecy."

It leaves important unfinished business. EFF endorses passage. Lots more needs to be done, it stressed.

Judge Leon's ruling marks the first successful NSA legal challenge. Conservative activist Larry Klayman and Charles Strange filed suit (Klayman v. Obama). Strange's son was killed in Afghanistan.

Months earlier, ACLU filed a similar suit (ACLU v. Clapper). It challenged "the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' phone records."

It argued that doing so violates Fourth and First Amendment rights, saying: 

"Because the NSA's aggregation of metadata constitutes an invasion of privacy and an unreasonable search, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment." 

"The call-tracking program also violates the First Amendment, because it vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity."

NSA claims authorization under the Patriot Act's Section 215. It's known as the "business records" provision. 

It permits collecting "any tangible thing...relevant" to alleged foreign intelligence or terrorism related investigations. It way oversteps. It's unconstitutional. 

It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates fundamental First Amendment rights. It does so by mandating secrecy. 

It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what's happening to them. It compromises free expression, assembly and association. 

It does so by authorizing the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.

It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons.

"Whatever Section 215's 'relevance' requirement might allow, it does not permit the government to cast a seven-year dragnet sweeping up every phone call made or received by Americans," said ACLU.

On November 22, US District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge William Pauley heard arguments. He hasn't yet ruled.

Judge Leon granted plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. He ordered the Obama administration to stop collecting their phone data. 

He ruled whatever it currently has must be destroyed. At the same time, he stayed his ruling. He cited potential "significant national security interests at stake."

He gave Obama's Justice Department time to appeal. He said his decision applies only to plaintiffs. It doesn't affect NSA's mass data-mining.

At the same time, his ruling is an important first step. For years, he said, constitutional issues were adjudicated under "a cloak of secrecy."

He referred to the unaccountable FISA court. It's virtually rubber-stamp. It mocks judicial fairness and legitimacy. 

Judge Leon's ruling is an important step in the right direction. "While Congress has great latitude to create statutory scheme like FISA," he said, "it may not hang a cloak of secrecy over the Constitution."

EFF called his decision "historic." Ruling for Klayman and Strange symbolically condemns mass surveillance.

Obama's Justice Department relies on two Supreme Court rulings. In Miller v. United States (1976), the Supreme Court ruled:

"The Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the obtaining of information revealed to a third-party and conveyed by him to Government authorities, even if it is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third-party will not be betrayed." 

The Court added that information revealed to another source "takes the risk (of being) conveyed" to someone else.

In Smith v. Maryland (1979), the High Court extended the so-called third party doctrine to telephone communications. 

It said in "expos(ing) that information" to phone company equipment, individuals "assumed the risk that the company would reveal to police the numbers dialed."

In US v. Jones (2012), Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor acknowledged the need to update Fourth Amendment protections, saying:

"People disclose the phone numbers that they dial or text to their cellular providers, the URLS that they visit and the e-mail addresses with which they correspond to their Internet service providers, and the books, groceries and medications they purchase to online retailers." 

"I would not assume that all information voluntarily disclosed to some member of the public for a limited purpose is, for that reason alone, disentitled to Fourth Amendment protection."

In United States v. US District Court (the so-called Keith case) (1972), a unanimous Supreme Court ruling upheld Fourth Amendment protections in cases involving domestic surveillance targeting a domestic threat.

Judge Leon addressed Smith v. Maryland, saying:

"The question before me is not the same question that the Supreme Court confronted in Smith." It's "a far cry from the issue in this case."

He differentiated between then and now. Obtaining limited information on one person is vastly different from daily mass surveillance. He was blunt stating:

"This short-term, forward looking (as opposed to historical), and highly-limited data collection is what the Supreme Court was assessing in Smith." 

"The NSA telephony metadata program, on the other hand, involves the creation and maintenance of a historical database containing five years' worth of data." 

"And I might add, there is the very real prospect that the program will go on for as long as America is combatting terrorism, which realistically could be forever."

"Admittedly, what metadata is has not changed over time." 

"As in Smith, the types of information at issue in this case are relatively limited: phone numbers dialed, date, time, and the like." 

"But the ubiquity of phones has dramatically altered the quantity of the information that is now available, and more importantly, what that information can tell the Government about people’s lives."

"Put simply, people in 2013 have an entirely different relationship with phones than they did thirty-four years ago."

"Whereas some may assume that these cultural changes will force people to 'reconcile themselves' to an 'inevitable' 'diminution of privacy that new technology entails,' I think it is more likely that these trends have resulted in a greater expectation of privacy and a recognition that society views that expectation as reasonable."

In other words, privacy intrusions today are simple. They happen with digital age technology ease. Greater diligence is required to protect rights too important to lose. 

Courts and Congress are obligated to do so. Judge Leon's ruling represents an important first step in the right direction. Lots more needs to be done.

A Final Comment

Edward Snowden issued a statement. He praised Judge Leon's ruling, saying:

"I acted on my belief that the NSA's mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts." 

"Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans. rights. It is the first of many."

Separately, he offered to help Brazil investigate harmful NSA spying. He'll do it in return for permanent political asylum. He said so in an open letter to all Brazilians. Folha de S. Paulo published it. 

It's a Brazilian daily broadsheet. Snowden in part said:

"I've expressed my willingness to assist where it's appropriate and legal, but, unfortunately, the US government has been working hard to limit my ability to do so." 

"Until a country grants me permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak out."

Brazilian senators asked Snowden for help. He's willing to provide it.

"I don't want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded." 

"That's not something I'm willing to support, it's not something I'm willing to build, and it's not something I'm willing to live under."

It remains to be seen if Brazil takes him up on his offer. Snowden urged it, concluding:

"If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let it be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems."

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

ACLU v. Clapper

ACLU v. Clapper

by Stephen Lendman 

On June 5, London's Guardian headlined "NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily."

Numerous reports followed based on information Edward Snowden revealed. He connected important dots for millions.

Institutionalized spying on Americans isn't new. It's longstanding. Little was revealed publicly. Too few people knew. It's far more invasive than most suspect. Core constitutional rights are violated.

On June 11, the ACLU filed suit. It challenged "the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's mass collection of Americans' phone records."

It argued that doing so violates Fourth and First Amendment rights, saying: 

"Because the NSA's aggregation of metadata constitutes an invasion of privacy and an unreasonable search, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment." 

"The call-tracking program also violates the First Amendment, because it vacuums up sensitive information about associational and expressive activity."

NSA claims authorization under the Patriot Act's Section 215. It's known as the "business records" provision. 

It permits collecting "any tangible thing...relevant" to alleged foreign intelligence or terrorism related investigations. It way oversteps. It's unconstitutional. 

It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates fundamental First Amendment rights. It does so by mandating secrecy. 

It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what's happening to them. It compromises free expression, assembly and association. 

It does so by authorizing the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.

It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons.

"Whatever Section 215's 'relevance' requirement might allow, it does not permit the government to cast a seven-year dragnet sweeping up every phone call made or received by Americans," said ACLU.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorized surveillance relating to "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers." 

It restricts spying on US citizens and residents to those engaged in espionage in America and territory under US control. 

No longer. Today anything goes. America is a total surveillance society. Obama officials claim no authority can challenge them.  Governing this way is called tyranny.

The 2008 FISA Amendments Act authorized warrantless spying. The 2012 FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act renewed doing so for another five years.

Phone calls, emails, and other communications are monitored secretly without court authorization. 

Probable cause isn't needed. So-called "foreign intelligence information" sought means virtually anything. Vague language is all-embracing.

Hundreds of millions of Americans are targeted. Major telecom and Internet companies cooperate. They do so willingly. They were granted retroactive immunity.

All three branches of government are involved. They're complicit in sweeping lawlessness. Congressional leaders are regularly briefly. Bipartisan ones are fully on board. So are US courts. 

In 2008, the ACLU challenged the FISA Amendment's Act constitutionality. It did so on behalf of a broad coalition of human rights groups, attorneys, labor, legal and media organizations.

Their work requires them to communicate with people worldwide. In 2009, a federal judge dismissed the suit. It did so claiming ACLU's clients couldn't prove their communications were being monitored.

In 2011, an appeals court reversed the ruling. The Obama administration appealed to the Supreme Court. In October 2012, it heard oral arguments.

On February 26, 2013, it ruled 5 - 4 against ACLU. It held its plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge warrantless spying.

On November 22, London's Guardian headlined "NSA bulk data collection violates constitutional rights, ACLU argues."

It did so in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Judge William Pauley heard arguments. ACLU called for the program to be ended. Ahead of the hearing, its legal director, Jameel Jaffer, said:

"This vast dragnet is said to be authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, but nothing in the text or legislative history of that provision remotely suggests that Congress intended to empower the government to collect information on a daily basis, indefinitely, about every American’s phone calls."

"This kind of dragnet surveillance is precisely what the fourth amendment was meant to prohibit."

"The constitution does not permit the NSA to place hundreds of millions of innocent people under permanent surveillance because of the possibility that information about some tiny subset of them will become useful to an investigation in the future."

ACLU argued that blanket seizure of its phone records violates its constitutional rights. Doing so compromises its ability to work with journalists, advocacy groups, whistleblowers and others.

It argued it has standing because Washington has access to its phone records. Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery claimed otherwise.

ACLU has no standing, he said, because it can't prove NSA surveillance harmed its activities, members or clients.

"The program is carefully calibrated for the purpose of" counterterrorism, he claimed. He lied saying it's "not the kind of indiscriminate use of the data that the plaintiffs suggest."

He said congressional intelligence committees were fully briefed. Pauley was skeptical. He cited "veteran congressman" Representative James Sensenbrenner (R. WI).

He submitted an amicus brief. It said "he had no idea of what was happening" when he voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act's Section 215.

Delery argued that sweeping NSA surveillance is constitutional. Not according to ACLU lawyer Alex Abdo. Sustained/sweeping invasion of its privacy violates its Fourth Amendment rights, he said.

Jaffer argued that if current NSA practices continue, authorization other than from Section 215 may permit bulk collection of virtually everything, everywhere, for any claimed reason.

"The Supreme Court has admonished many times that the Congress doesn't hide elephants in mouse-holes," he said. "I think that's what the government is proposing here."

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a Washington-based public interest research center. It focuses on civil liberties issues. It's dedicated to protecting privacy rights.

On November 18, it headlined "Supreme Court Declines EPIC's Challenge to NSA Domestic Surveillance Program, Leaves in Place Order of Surveillance Court."

EPIC argued against a secret FISA court order requiring Verizon to give NSA access to all its customer records. Doing so exceeded its legal authority, it said.

"It is simply not possible that every phone record in the possession of Verizon is relevant to a national security investigation," it stressed. The High Court rejected its argument without explanation.

Expect more challenges ahead. Shareholder pressure groups want telecom companies to provide more information on what they provide NSA.

Trillion Asset Management and New York State Common Retirement Fund filed motions. They call for AT&T and Verizon to disclose more about their "metrics and discussion regarding requests for customer information by US and foreign governments."

In February 2012, NSA's five page document explained its "SIGINT (signals intelligence) Strategy." It said US laws don't meet its needs.

It explained a four year strategy to "aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully to the information age."

"The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on NSA's mission," it stressed.

It wants unrestricted mass surveillance authority. It wants to be able  to collect data from "anyone, anytime, anywhere." It'll decrypt codes intended to keep personal information private.

It intends to "revolutionize" analysis of data it collects. It wants to "radically increase (its) operational impact."

It doesn't clarify what legal or policy changes it may seek. Its powers are nominally granted by Congress, executive authority and the FISA court.

It already operates extrajudicially. It has broad latitude to do so. It's report argues for more flexibility. It wants greater than ever sweeping authority. It wants to "dramatically increase its mastery of the global network."

An NSA statement said:

"NSA's Sigint strategy is designed to guide investments in future capabilities and close gaps in current" ones. 

"In an ever-changing technology and telecommunications environment, NSA tries to get in front of issues to better fulfill the foreign-intelligence requirements of the US government."

Critics like ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, EPIC and others cite core constitutional rights violations. Modern technology facilitates police state lawlessness.

Everyone is vulnerable. There's no place to hide. Freedom is fast disappearing. Alleged security concerns ring hollow. They're cover for what's too precious to lose.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Merkel in NSA’s Crosshairs

Merkel in NSA's Crosshairs

by Stephen Lendman

Nations spying on each other is longstanding. Friends do it on foes. Allies do it on each other.

Washington's Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally."

The Pentagon accused Israel of "actively engag(ing) in military and industrial espionage in the United States."

US national security officials consider Israel at times a genuine counterintelligence and espionage threat. France perhaps feels the same way about America. Add Germany to the list.

On October 24, the Washington Post headlined "Germans launch probe into allegations of US spying."

Reports about NSA listening to her phone calls is the latest diplomatic row. Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle summoned US ambassador John Emerson to explain.

"For us, spying on close friends and partners is totally unacceptable," he said. "This undermines trust and this can harm our friendship. We need the truth now."

Merkel said "trust needs to be reestablished" with Washington.
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere called what's gone on "really bad. We can't simply return to business as usual."

White House press secretary Jay Carney lied saying:

"The US is not monitoring and will not monitor communications of the chancellor."

At the same time, he added:

"We are not going to comment publicly on every specified, alleged intelligence activity." 

"And, as a matter of policy, we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations." 

"We have diplomatic relations and channels that we use in order to discuss these issues that have clearly caused some tension in our relationships with other nations around the world, and that is where we were having those discussions."

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf lied claiming Washington isn't involved in "some big dragnet." What's ongoing "are intelligence activities…with a defined purpose," she said.

"We want to make sure that we’re striking the proper balance between the legitimate security concerns and countering legitimate security threats, and protecting the privacy that all people around the world think is important, and we certainly do as well."

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is a confessed perjurer. He admitted lying to Congress about NSA spying. On October 22, he said:

"Recent articles published in the French newspaper Le Monde contain inaccurate and misleading information regarding US foreign intelligence activities."  

"The allegation that the National Security Agency collected more than 70 million “recordings of French citizens’ telephone data” is false."

"While we are not going to discuss the details of our activities, we have repeatedly made it clear that the United States gathers intelligence of the type gathered by all nations."  

"The US collects intelligence to protect the nation, its interests, and its allies from, among other things, threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

"The United States values our longstanding friendship and alliance with France and we will continue to cooperate on security and intelligence matters going forward."

Merkel is currently under fire for mishandling earlier reports about NSA spying. According to German Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information Peter Schaar:

"The report that the chancellor's mobile phone was also tapped shows how absurd the attempt was to end the debate about the surveillance of everyday communications in this country."

"In light of the new revelations, it was downright irresponsible not to have pushed harder to get to the truth."

Schaar referred to German Chancellery chief of staff Ronald Pofalla's August statement. At the time, he downplayed clear evidence about NSA targeting Germany and other EU nations.

Green Party parliamentary floor leader Anton Hofreiter demanded Merkel "make public what she knew and when."

Does she or doesn't she know NSA monitors her cell phone calls? Publicly she calls it a "grave breach of trust."

Other EU leaders expressed outrage. They threatened to delay trade negotiations. European parliament president Martin Schulz said:

"This is a moment when we should pause and think over how the free trade pact is being approached. For us, a line has been reached." US intelligence agencies are "out of control."

German officials launched an official investigation. On Wednesday, Merkel spoke to Obama. He lied saying Washington "is not monitoring and will not monitor" her communications.

Major Italian newspapers said a parliamentary committee was told Washington monitored internal telecommunications, emails and text messages.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta raised the issue with John Kerry. The Secretary of State lied saying Obama's goal was striking a balance between security and privacy.

Foreign leaders protest too much. They know more than they admit. Official outrage is mostly for domestic consumption. Allies spying on each other isn't new. 

According to former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner:

"Let's be honest. We eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don't have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous."

At the same time, security expert Constanze Stelzenmueller said there's a "general assumption that certain kinds of people were off limits."

"No one has a problem with spying on the bad guys. But when you start spying on your partner in leadership, who is presumably not a terrorist, that raises a lot of questions about trust."

London's Guardian said "(w)ith each leak, American soft power hemorrhages, and hard power threatens to seep away with it."

Merkel is known as a frequent cell phone communicator. She often sends text messages that way.

Last summer, her upgrading it to a modified BlackBerry Z10 made national headlines.

On October 24, Der Spiegel headlined "Frenemies: Spying on Allies Fits Obama's Standoffish Profile," saying:

Diplomats aren't surprised about US spy agencies monitoring allies like Merkel. She and Obama aren't close friends. Obama "failed to foster close relationships with other heads of state," said Der Spiegel.

It "caus(ed) much frustration around the world."

"Complaints about Merkel's 'lost friend' are misplaced. Obama doesn't want to be a friend."

The atmosphere during a recent unnamed EU head of state Washington visit was called "frosty by those in the entourage." 

"Obama didn't find the time for even a little small talk. (I)t seemed to some like an appointment with a lawyer."

Obama was "initially uncomfortable" about Washington's so-called "special relationship" with Britain.

An unnamed African head of state remarked after visiting Washington that he longed for the days of George Bush. At least with him, he said, you knew where you stood.

Israel was upset that Obama didn't visit during his first term. He's upset other heads of state.

"So much non-diplomacy is new among US presidents," said Der Spiegel. Reagan wooed Margaret Thatcher.

GHW Bush confided in Helmut Kohl. Clinton was close to Tony Blair. GW Bush had "a whole team of 'buddies.' " He entertained them at his ranch.

In 2010, Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl said Obama has no close friends among world leaders. "But what for," asked Der Spiegel? "He has the NSA."

On October 23, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) headlined "NSA Spying in Congress: Stop the Intelligence Committee and What to Watch for in Upcoming Bills."

Congress was busy during the 16 day government shutdown. Various NSA related bills are being considered. A "still secret" House and Senate intelligence one aims to continue unrestrained telecommunications monitoring.

It'll "likely provide some window dressing transparency, while shoring up the legal basis for the spying," said EFF.

Since Snowden's documents were released, House and Senate intelligence committee chairs Rep. Mike Rogers (R. MI) and Senator Diane Feinstein defended NSA spying.

"While we have opinions about what the best way forward is, the only sure way to not go backwards, or seal the status quo into stone, is to stop the bill currently in the works by the Intelligence Committee chairs," said EFF.

It wants congressional legislation enacted against mass spying. It should either reverse Patriot Act provision 215 or act in some other way.

Section 215 pertains to alleged suspects. It authorizes government access to "any tangible item." 

Its language is vague and deceptive. It permits meta-data-mining.
Virtually anything can be monitored. Warrantless searches without probable cause are authorized. 

Information obtained can include financial records and transactions, education and medical records, phone conversations, emails, other Internet use, and whatever else Washington wants access to.

At issue are serious constitutional violations. First and Fourth Amendment rights are compromised. Other constitutional protections are at risk.

Anyone can be spied on for any reason or none at all. No probable cause, reasonable grounds, or suspicions are needed.

Lawless practices need fixing, said EFF. FISA Court operations need curbing. Increased transparency is vital. Intrusive National Security Letters (NSLs) are troubling.

They've been around since the mid-1980s. Pre-9/11, they had more limited authority to secure records and other personal information on alleged terrorists and spies. 

The USA Patriot Act's Section 505 changed things. It permits expanded FBI's authority to obtain personal customer records from ISPs, financial institutions, credit companies, and other sources without prior court approval.

At issue only is claiming information sought relates to alleged terrorism or espionage investigations. No proof is needed.

Innocent people are targeted. Virtually anything in public or private records can be obtained. 

Gag orders prevent targeted individuals or groups from revealing the information demanded. NSL use continues increasing exponentially. Doing so reflects police state tyranny.

Congressional action can change things. Legislation is being proposed to do so. Passage appears unlikely. Hardliners want status quo maintained. Future prospects look dim.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

New NSA Revelations

New NSA Revelations

by Stephen Lendman

NSA is one of 16 known US spy agencies. They're all up to no good. They violate core rule of law principles. 

They do whatever they want. They operate out-of-control. They're powers unto themselves. NSA reflects Big Brother writ large.

It operate globally. It's the world's biggest spy agency. It watches everyone. Advanced technology lets it go where no previous counterpart went before.

Privacy no longer exists. Congress ignores its lawlessness. Oversight is absent. NSA takes full advantage. 

Two Washington Post articles revealed more. They're based on documents Edward Snowden provided. Expect lots more disclosures ahead.

On October 14, WaPo headlined "NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally." Many belong to Americans.

"The collection program (hasn't) been disclosed before." Intercepts include email address books and so-called buddy lists.

They're from online instant messaging and/or cell phone text displays. They're lists people want to keep track of.

They show who's online or off, on but away from their computer, people with their phones on or off, and who's currently using them.

NSA collects contact lists in large numbers. They amount to a sizable portion of email/instant messaging accounts.

Data analysis lets NSA "search for hidden connections." It permits mapping relationships "within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets," said WaPo

In one day last year, "NSA's Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers."

These figures are typical. They repeat daily. They add up. They "correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year." .

NSA has access to about 500,000 buddy lists as well as huge numbers of web-based email accounts.

A previous article called NSA spying worse than you think. Rules followed are its own. 

It can monitor virtually everyone everywhere electronically. Doing so is unconnected to terrorism or other national security concerns.

Big Brother has lots of other Brothers watching. They're making a list. They're checking it twice. They know who's naughty or nice.

They read your emails. They know what web sites you visit. They know your medical and financial history.

They know the company you keep. They watch every move you make. They know what you do, where and when.

They know when you're sleeping. They know when you're awake. They know when you're bad or good. They know secretly. They know intrusively.

They know because they can go where no previous spy agencies went before. They exceed their capabilities. 

Perhaps one day they'll be able to anticipate things before they happen. Maybe they'll be able to read minds.

"(S)ecret arrangements with foreign governments or allied intelligence services" controlling online traffic permits collecting  buddy lists and emails, said WaPo.

Millions of Americans are affected. NSA won't say how many. Perhaps its tens of millions. NSA can target virtually everyone everywhere.

DNI spokesman Shawn Turner lied saying it's "focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets like terrorists, human traffickers and drug smugglers." 

"We are not interested in personal information about ordinary Americans."

False! It targets you, me, our neighbors, families and friends.

NSA collects virtually all telecommunication records. They gotten under a separate program. Director Keith Alexander defends the practice.

He lied calling it an essential counterterrorism/foreign intelligence tool, saying:

"You need a haystack to find the needle." He finds virtually none. So-called terror plots exposed were fake. Domestic ones virtually don't exist. What's claimed is fabricated.

It's done for political advantage. It generates fear. It justifies lawless NSA operations.

Online call lists provide "far richer sources of data than call records alone," said WaPo. 

Address books include email addresses, phone numbers, street locations, as well as business and personal information.

Combined they let NSA "draw detailed maps of a person's life." Doing so creates false impressions.

NSA isn't authorized to collect bulk contact lists. According to senior intelligence officials, doing so from US facilities is illegal.

NSA does what it wants anyway. It accesses information globally. When obtained from overseas, it assumes "you're not a US person," it claims.

Global sweeps target everyone. Americans are as vulnerable as foreigners. So-called "checks and balances built into (its) tools" don't exist or aren't used.

NSA claims authorization under the Patriot Act's Section 215. It oversteps. It's unconstitutional. 

It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates First Amendment rights. 

It does so by mandating secrecy. It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what’s happening to them. It compromises free expression, assembly and association. 

It does so by authorizing the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.

It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. 

It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons. Doing so turns constitutional rights on their head. 

Separately WaPo headlined "Documents reveal NSA's extensive involvement in targeted killing program."

NSA claims it "focuse(s) on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets."

It does so, it says, to "protect the nation and its interests from threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."

Drone warfare makes more enemies than friends. Most deaths are innocent men, women and children. Few are so-called high-value targets.

In search for them, NSA "draped a surveillance blanket over dozens of square miles of northwest Pakistan," said WaPo.

Anything electronic can be tracked. NSA's secret Counterterrorism Mission Aligned Cell (CT MAC) is involved in doing it.

It focuses on hard-to-find terrorism targets. Considerable time and effort goes into doing it.

NSA's Alexander claims his mission is "noble." He lied again saying:

"Our job is to defend this nation and to protect our civil liberties and privacy."

He's way over-the-top out-of-control. He defends imperial lawlessness. He destroys civil liberties and privacy in the process.

Records indicate NSA "depends heavily on highly targeted network penetrations to gather information that wouldn’t otherwise be trapped in surveillance nets that it has set at key Internet gateways," said WaPo.

It assigned senior analysts to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center. Others work alongside CIA counterparts. They do so at almost all major US embassy and overseas military bases.

According to a former US intelligence official:

It "you wanted huge coverage of the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), NSA had 10 times the manpower, 20 times the budget, and 100 times the brainpower."

He compared NSA with CIA's Information Operations Center (IOC). 

"NSA relies on increasingly sophisticated versions of online attacks that are well-known among security experts." 

"Many rely on software implants developed by the agency's Tailored Access Operations division with code-names such as UNITEDRAKE and VALIDATOR."

Other methods are used. NSA obtains vast amounts of information. Its Tailored Access Operations division extends way beyond Pakistan.

It targets Yemen, African and other locations. Murder, Inc. is official Obama administration policy. US citizens are as vulnerable as foreigners.

Death squads operate in 120 or more countries. CIA agents are everywhere. They're licensed to kill. NSA secretly tracks suspects.

Summary judgment means no arrests. No Miranda rights. No due process. No trial. Just death by diktat.

Obama appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. He decides who lives or dies. CIA chief John Brennan helps him choose.

With or without evidence, anyone called Al Qaeda or accused of terrorist connections gets marked for death.

NSA's job is find them. CIA's job is kill them. Only eliminating America's enemies matter. Whether real or imagined makes no difference. 

Everyone is fair game. Right or wrong is someone else's problem. Advancing America's imperium alone matters.

A Final Comment

On October 11, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court released a new legal opinion. It reauthorized NSA's collection of virtually all American made phone calls without warrants.

Doing so violates Fourth Amendment protection against lawless searches and seizures. It applies to all unreasonable intrusions.

Telecommunication call log meta-data must be approved every 90 days. Doing so is virtually rubber-stamp. Police states operate that way. America is by far the worst.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

The Ghost of Authoritarianism in the Age of the Shutdown

Posted on Oct 18, 2013

By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

This piece first appeared at Truthout before the government shutdown was resolved.

In the aftermath of the reign of Nazi terror in the 1940s, the philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote:

National Socialism lives on, and even today we still do not know whether it is merely the ghost of what was so monstrous that it lingers on after its own death, or whether it has not yet died at all, whether the willingness to commit the unspeakable survives in people as well as in the conditions that enclose them.

Adorno’s words are as relevant today as they were when he first wrote them. The threat of authoritarianism to citizen-based democracy is alive and well in the United States, and its presence can be felt in the historical conditions leading up to the partial government shutdown and the refusal on the part of the new extremists to raise the debt ceiling. Adorno believed that while the specific features and horrors of mid-century fascism such as the concentration camps and the control of governments by a political elite and the gestapo would not be reproduced in the same way, democracy as a political ideal and as a working proposition would be under assault once again by new anti-democratic forces all too willing to impose totalitarian systems on their adversaries.

For Adorno, the conditions for fascism would more than likely crystallize into new forms. For instance, they might be found in the economic organization of a society that renders “the majority of people dependent upon conditions beyond their control and thus maintains them in a state of political immaturity. If they want to live, then no other avenue remains but to adapt, submit themselves to the given conditions.” In part, this speaks to the role of corporate-controlled cultural apparatuses that normalize anti-democratic ideologies and practices as well as to the paramount role of education in creating a subject for whom politics was superfluous. For Adorno, fascism in its new guise particularly would launch a systemic assault on the remaining conditions for democracy through the elimination of public memory, public institutions in which people could be educated to think critically and the evisceration of public spaces where people could learn the art of social citizenship, thoughtfulness and critical engagement. He also believed that the residual elements of the police state would become emergent in any new expression of fascism in which the corporate and military establishments would be poised to take power. Adorno, like Hannah Arendt, understood that the seeds of authoritarianism lie in the “disappearance of politics: a form of government that destroys politics, methodically eliminating speaking and acting human beings and attacking the very humanity of first a selected group and then all groups. In this way, totalitarianism makes people superfluous as human beings.”

The American political, cultural, and economic landscape is inhabited by the renewed return of authoritarianism evident in the ideologies of religious and secular certainty that legitimate the reign of economic Darwinism, the unchecked power of capital, the culture of fear and the expanding national security state. The ghosts of fascism also are evident in what Charles Derber and Yale Magress call elements of “the Weimer Syndrome,” which include a severe and seemingly unresolvable economic crisis, liberals and moderate parties too weak to address the intensifying political and economic crises, the rise of far-right populist groups such as the Tea Party and white militia, and the emergence of the Christian Right, with its racist, anti-intellectual and fundamentalist ideology. The underpinnings of fascism are also evident in the reign of foreign and domestic terrorism that bears down on the so called enemies of the state (whistleblowers and nonviolent youthful protesters) and on those abroad who challenge America’s imperial mission; it is also visible in a growing pervasive surveillance system buttressed by the belief that everyone is a potential enemy of the state and should be rightfully subject to diverse and massive assaults on rights to privacy and assembly.

The return to authoritarianism can also be seen in the pervasive and racist war on youths, whether one points to a generation of young people saddled with unspeakable debt, poverty and unemployment, or the ongoing criminalization of behaviors that either represent trivial infractions, such as violating a dress code, or more serious forms of terrorism, such as incarcerating increasing numbers of low-income whites and poor minority youths. Americans live at a time when the history of those who have been cheated, murdered or excluded is being destroyed. Eliminated from this history are the collective narratives of struggle, resistance and rebellion against various forms of authoritarianism. We live in a time in which the politics of the moral coma is alive and well and is most visible in the ways in which the rise of the new extremism in the United States is being ignored. The repudiation of intellectual responsibility confirms what Leo Lowenthal once called the “regression to sheer Darwinism - or perhaps one should say infantilism,” along with any sense of moral accountability toward others or the common good. The government shutdown offers a clear case of a kind of historical and social amnesia and a rare glimpse of the parameters of the new authoritarianism.

During the past few decades, it has become clear that those who wield corporate, political and financial power in the United States thrive on the misery of others. Widening inequality, environmental destruction, growing poverty, the privatization of public goods, the attack on social provisions, the elimination of pensions and the ongoing attacks on workers, young protesters, Muslims and immigrants qualify as just a few of the injustices that have intensified with the rise of the corporate and financial elite since the 1970s. None of these issues are novel, but the intensification of the attacks and the visibility of unbridled power and arrogance of the financial, corporate and political elite that produces these ongoing problems are new and do not bode well for the promise of a democratic society.

Such failings are not reducible either to the moral deficiencies and unchecked greed of both major political parties or the rapacious power of the mega banks, hedge funds and investment houses. Those intellectuals writing to acknowledge the current state of politics in America understand the outgrowth of a mix of rabid racism, religious fundamentalism, civic illiteracy, class warfare and a savage hatred of the welfare state that now grips the leadership of the Republican Party. The new extremists and prophets of authoritarianism are diverse, and their roots are in what Chris Hedges calls the radical Christian right, Michael Lind calls the reincarnation of the old Jeffersonian-Jacksonian right and what Robert Parry and Andrew O’Hehir call racist zealots. All of these elements are present in American politics, but they are part of a new social formation in which they share, even in their heterogeneity, a set of organizing principles, values, policies, modes of governance and ideologies that have created a cultural formation, institutional structures, values and policies that support a range of anti-democratic practices ranging from the militarization of public life and acts of domestic terrorism to the destruction of the social state and all those public spheres capable of producing critical and engaged citizens.

Needless to say, all of these groups play an important role in the rise of the new extremism and culture of cruelty that now characterizes American politics and has produced the partial government shutdown and threatens economic disaster with the debt-ceiling standoff. What is new is that these various fundamentalist registers and ideological movements have produced a coalition, a totality that speaks to a new historical conjuncture, one that has ominous authoritarian overtones for the present and future. There is no talk among the new extremists of imposing only an extreme Christian religious orthodoxy on the American people or simply restoring a racial state; or for that matter is there a singular call for primarily controlling the economy. The new counter-revolutionaries and apostles of the Second Gilded age are more interested in imposing a mode of authoritarianism that contains all of these elements in the interest of governing the whole of social life. This suggests a historical conjuncture in which a number of anti-democratic forces come together to “fuse and form a kind of configuration” - a coming together of diverse political and ideological formations into a new totality. The partial government shutdown is a precondition and test run for a full coup d’état by the social formations driving this totality. And while they may lose the heated battle over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, they have succeeded in executing their project and giving it some legitimacy in the dominant media.

Hiding beneath the discourse of partisan politics as usual, the authoritarian face of the new extremism is overlooked in the dominant media by terms such as “the opposing party,” “hard-line conservatives” or, in the words of New York Times columnist Sam Tanenhous, the party of “a post consensus politics.” In fact, even progressives such as Marian Wright Edelman fall into this trap in writing that “some members of Congress are acting like children - or, more accurately, worse than children.” In this case, the anti-democratic ideologies, practices and social formations at work in producing the shutdown and the potential debt-ceiling crisis are not merely overlooked but incorporated into a liberal discourse that personalizes, psychologizes or infantilizes behaviors that refuses to acknowledge or, in fact, succumbs to totalitarian tendencies.

There is no sense in the mainstream liberal and conservative discourses that a new authoritarianism haunts the current notion and ideal of governance and is the culmination of what Hannah Arendt once viewed as a historical trend toward the limiting, if not elimination, of the political as it relates to and furthers the promise of a democracy to come. The wider contexts of power and politics disappear in these discourses. We get a glimpse of this erasure in a statement by former Texas congressman and Republican Party House majority leader Dick Armey. In commenting on the shutdown, Armey raises the issue of “How does a guy like Ted Cruz, who’s relatively new in town, who nobody knows, who hasn’t even unpacked his bags, drive this whole process?” What Armey ignores in this revealing and stark assessment is that the very cultural, economic and political conditions that he has helped to put in place along with a range of other right-wing ideologues helped to create the perfect storm for Cruz to appear and set in motion the authoritarian tendencies that have been percolating in the social order since the late 1970s.

What is clear in the current impasse is that the Republican Party has held the U.S. government hostage, in part, because it disagrees with a health initiative that has been endorsed by a large segment of the American people, been deemed legal by the Supreme Court and played a significant role in getting Barack Obama re-elected. For some, these practices resemble a politics that appropriates the gangster tactics of extortion, but this understanding is only partially true. There is a deeper order of politics at work here, and there is more at stake than simply defunding the Affordable Care Act. As Bill Moyers points out, the attack on the Affordable Care Act is only one target in the sights of the new extremists. He writes:

Despite what they say, Obamacare is only one of their targets. Before they will allow the government to reopen, they demand employers be enabled to deny birth control coverage to female employees. They demand Obama cave on the Keystone pipeline. They demand the watchdogs over corporate pollution be muzzled, and the big, bad regulators of Wall Street sent home. Their ransom list goes on and on. The debt ceiling is next.

Moyers is correct, but his argument can be extended. What Americans are witnessing is a politics that celebrates a form of domestic terrorism, a kind of soft militarism and a hyper-masculine posturing in which communities are organized around resentment, racism and symbolic violence. With the partial government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling crisis engineered by the extremists driving the Republican Party, the amount of human suffering, violence and hardships that many individuals and families are experiencing border on catastrophic and open up a whole new act in the theater of cruelty, state violence, human misery and the exercise of raw and savage power.

The assassins now in power are cultivating a culture of fear, vengeance and hatred not only directed at disposable populations such as the poor, low-income minority youths, whistleblowers, immigrants and those who are disabled, uninsured and unemployed - but also at civil liberties, labor unions, women’s reproductive rights and voting rights. Neoliberal common sense now colonizes everyday life and spreads the market-driven gospel of privatization, commodification, deregulation and free trade. Competitiveness, self-interest and decentralization are the new mantras governing society and provide the ideological scaffolding for “moulding identities and characterizing social relations.” The pursuit of the public good, social justice and equality has been replaced by the crude discourse of commerce, the drive for profits and “rational choice models that internalize and thus normalize market-oriented behaviour.” Entrepreneurial identities replace all modes of solidarity invested in democratic principles, and self-interested actors supplant the discourse of the public good. The production of capital, services and material goods “are at the heart of the human experience.”

The connection between private troubles and public considerations has been broken. The many problems the American people now face - from unemployment and poverty to homelessness - regardless of the degree to which they are caused by larger social, economic and political forces are now individualized, placed on the shoulders of the victims who are now solely responsible for the terror, hardship and violence they experience. The shutdown is not another example of an egregiously inept and morally corrupt group of politicians, it is a flashpoint registering the degree to which the United States has become an authoritarian state, one now governed by a system in which economics drives politics, irrationality trumps reason, the public good is canceled out by an unchecked narcissism and ethical considerations are subordinated to the drive for profits at any cost.

For those who have refused to participate in the willful amnesia that marks the contemporary slide into authoritarianism, the totalitarian practices of the past few decades have been quite clear. Domestic spying; secret prisons; kill lists; military aggression; the rise of corporatism; the death-dealing culture of hyper-masculinity, drones and the spectacle of violence; and a monochromatic media have not only registered a shift from state power to corporate power but also a move from the welfare state to the warfare state. Consumer sovereignty erases the rights and obligations of citizens and eviscerates ethical claims and social responsibilities from the meaning of politics. Government is viewed as the enemy, except when it benefits the rich, corporations and hedge fund executives. At the same time that social programs are viewed as a pathology and drain on the state, intellectuals are incorporated into a spectacle of conformity where they lose their voices and become normalized.

The hijacking of democracy by extremists in and outside of the government appears completely disassociated from the needs of the American people, and as such the instruments of dominant politics, power and influence appear unaccountable. And unaccountability is the stuff of political tyrants, not simply religious fanatics or market fundamentalists; it has been a long time in the making and has been fed by a relentless culture of fear, warfare, greed, inequality, unbridled power formations, the destruction of civil liberties and a virulent racism that has a long history in the United States and has gone into overdrive since the 1980s, reaching its authoritarian tipping point after the tragedy of 9/11.

Obama may not be responsible for the government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis, but he can be charged with furthering a climate of lawlessness that feeds the authoritarian culture supportive of a range of political, economic and cultural interests. The American anti-war activist Fred Branfman argues that:

Under Mr. Obama, America is still far from being a classic police-state of course. But no President has done more to create the infrastructure for a possible future police-state. This infrastructure will clearly pose a serious danger to democratic ideals should there be more 9/11s, and/or increased domestic unrest due to economic decline and growing inequality, and/or massive global disruption due to climate change.

The new extremists in the Republican Party are simply raising the bar for the authoritarian registers and illegal legalities that have emerged under Bush and Obama in the past decade - including the bailing out of banks guilty of the worst forms of corporate malfeasance, the refusal to prosecute government officials who committed torture, the undermining of civil liberties with the passage of the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, the establishment of a presidential kill list and the authorization of widespread surveillance to be used against the American people without full transparency.

The current crisis has little to do with what some have called a standoff between the two major political parties. It is has been decades in the making and is part of a much broader coup d’état to benefit the financial elite, race baiters, war mongers and conservative ideologues such as the right-wing billionaires, David and Charles Koch, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation policy hacks and other extremist individuals and organizations that believe that democracy poses a threat to a government that should be firmly in the hands of Wall Street and other elements of the military-industrial-surveillance-prison complex.

The willingness and recklessness of the new extremists to throw most of the American people, if not all vestiges of economic security and democracy, into political and economic chaos is a measure of the depth and degree to which the United States has become subject to a new form of authoritarianism. Not only has the shutdown caused the American public $300 million a day and portends a financial catastrophe, but it has shut down programs such as WIC that provide funding for “nearly nine million pregnant women, recent mothers, and their children under age five who rely on the program’s supplemental vouchers for healthy food, expensive infant formula, and other necessities. Fifty-three percent of all infants born in the U.S. are fed through the WIC program.”  Nineteen thousand students in Head Start have lost their funding, 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed, and life-saving research for “children with serious medical needs has been affected.” In Maine, many of the poor will go without funds for heating, the Environmental Protection Agency has furloughed more than 16,000 workers, or 95 percent of its workforce, prompting what Sara Chieffo, the legislative director of the League of Conservation Voters, has called “a polluter’s heyday.”

It gets worse. Thousands of safety inspectors for the Federal Aviation Administration no longer on the job because of the shutdown will not be able to perform “included inspections for the de-icing of aircraft on the tarmac and checks that pilots do not fly longer than allowed.” As Think Progress has pointed out, this heavy-handed exercise of raw power means more people will get sick because routine food inspections by the FDA will be dramatically reduced, cutbacks in the staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will put the country at risk for the spread of infectious diseases, many low-income poor will be cut off from needed nutritional assistance, agencies that conduct workplace inspections and ensure worker safety will not be on the job, and the work of public health researchers may be set back for years. In fact, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, which already were underfunded for years, are “scrambling to recall furloughed employees to deal with a dangerous food-borne salmonella outbreak and a lethal Hepatitis outbreak in Hawaii.”  As Michal Meurer and Candice Bernd point out, food-borne illnesses pose a real and dangerous threat to the American public, and the government shutdown should be seen as part of a broader right-wing plan to dismantle regulatory agencies, regardless of the lethal impact they may have on the American people. The food safety system is in crisis not for lack of resources and expertise but because of willful recklessness put into place through the right-wing policies of the new authoritarianism. There is more at work here than the recklessness of Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and other Tea Party Republicans, bankrolled by a handful of billionaires; there is also the echo of authoritarianism that now saturates the American cultural and political landscape, endlessly normalizing itself in the media and other cultural apparatuses that showcase and normalize its corrupt politics, racist and class-based ideologies and culture of cruelty, all enabled under the sanctity of the market and in the name of state security. The shutdown and debt ceiling crisis signal the depth and degree to which the United States has become subject to a new form of authoritarianism.

A new type of criminal regime now drives American politics, one devoid of any sense of justice, equality and honor. It thrives on fear, the false promise of security and an egregious fusion of economic, religious and racist ideologies that have become normalized. This new dystopia wants nothing more than the complete destruction of the formative culture, collectives and the institutions that make democracy possible. Inequality is its engine, and disposability is the reward for large segments of the American public. It ideologies and structure of politics often have been hidden from the American public. The shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis have forced the new authoritarianism out of the shadows into the light. The lockdown state is on full display with its concentrated economic power and the willingness of the apostles of authoritarianism to push millions of people into ruin. Paraphrasing Eric Cazdyn, all of society is now at the mercy of a corporate, religious, and financial elite just as “all ideals are at the mercy of [a] larger economic logic.” The category of hell is alive and well in the racist and imperial enclaves of the rich, the bigoted, the bankers and hedge fund managers.

The question that remains is how can politics be redefined through a new language that is capable of articulating not only what has gone wrong with the United States but how the forces responsible can be challenged in new ways by new social formations and collective movements?  The crisis caused by the shutdown needs to be addressed through a discourse in which the ghosts and traces of historical modes of authoritarianism can be revealed in tandem with its newly revised edition. This is a daunting task, but too much is at stake to not take it up. The authoritarianism that rules American society functions as more than an apology for inequality, the ruthlessness of the market and the savage costs it imposes on the American public; it also represents a present danger that cannot be repeated in the future. Authoritarianism in its present form in America is the result of the formative culture, modes of civic education and sites of public pedagogy necessary for a viable democratic society degenerating into caricature, or what Adorno called an “empty and cold forgetting.” The ghost has become a reality, although it has been reconfigured to adjust to the specificity of the American political, economic and cultural landscape in the 21st century. In 2004, I wrote a book titled The Terror of Neoliberalism: The New Authoritarianism and the Eclipse of Democracy. What is different almost a decade later is a mode of state repression and an apparatus of symbolic and real violence that is not only more pervasive and visible but also more unaccountable, more daunting in its arrogance and disrespect for the most fundamental elements of justice, equality and civil liberties.

The new authoritarianism must be exposed as a politic of disaster and a new catastrophe, one that is rooted in large-scale terror and the death of the civic imagination. It has to be contoured with a sense of hope and possibility so that intellectuals, artists, workers, educators and young people can imagine otherwise in order to act otherwise.  If we have entered into an era of what Stanley Aronowitz calls “the repressive authoritarian state,” there are signs all over the globe that authoritarianism in its various versions is being challenged in countries that extend from Egypt and Greece to Chile and Mexico. The radical imagination is alive, but it has to be a site of struggle by those committed to creating a new politics, modes of identity, social relations, power arrangements and moral values that offer the glimpse of political and economic emancipation.

psyberartist (CC BY 2.0)

Extreme Political Correctness Is Making Public School Education Pure Hell For America’s Children

Political Correctness

Political correctness is taking over America, and this is especially true when it comes to our public schools.  In the United States today, our public schools are being transformed into “Big Brother” training centers where virtually everything that our children do inside and even outside of school is being monitored, tracked, scrutinized and put into permanent records.  As you will read about below, some U.S. public schools are now even monitoring the social media accounts of their students and are ready to pounce on any perceived violation.  “Zero tolerance” policies have been implemented at public schools nationwide, and if a student does break “the rules”, it can result in immediate arrest and it can end up haunting them for the rest of their lives.  Meanwhile, the content of the “educational instruction” that our children are receiving continues to decline.  At this point, public schools in American have become little more than government indoctrination centers, and a steady stream of politically correct propaganda is being endlessly pumped into their heads.  Our children may not know how to read, write or do math very well, but they sure do know how to let others do their thinking for them.  As a result, most of our public school students are dumb as a rock, and as you will see below a new study has found that U.S. adults “are dumber than the average human”.

Political correctness in our schools has become so pervasive that it has even crept into the playgrounds.  For example, footballs and baseballs have been deemed “dangerous” at one middle school in Long Island and have been permanently banned…

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, officials at Weber Middle School in Port Washington are worried that students are getting hurt during recess. Thus, they have instituted a ban on footballs, baseballs, lacrosse balls, or anything that might hurt someone on school grounds.

But if that was the worst our kids had to put up with, they could certainly survive it.

Unfortunately, these days a single politically incorrect mistake by your kid could result in an arrest and being hauled out of school in handcuffs.  Just consider the following examples from a recent article by John Whitehead

These days, it is far too easy to rattle off the outrageous examples of zero tolerance policy run amok in our nation’s schools. A 14-year-old student arrested for texting in class. Three middle school aged boys in Florida thrown to the ground by police officers wielding rifles, who then arrested them for goofing off on the roof of the school. A 9-year-old boy suspended for allegedly pointing a toy at a classmate and saying “bang, bang.” Two 6-year-old students in Maryland suspended for using their fingers as imaginary guns in a schoolyard game of cops and robbers. A 12-year-old New York student hauled out of school in handcuffs for doodling on her desk with an erasable marker. An 8-year-old boy suspended for making his hand into the shape of a gun, in violation of the school district’s policy prohibiting “playing with invisible guns.” A 17-year-old charged with a felony for keeping his tackle box in his car parked on school property, potentially derailing his chances of entering the Air Force. Two seventh graders in Virginia suspended for the rest of the school year for playing with airsoft guns in their own yard before school.

This is the constant danger that is looming over the heads of our public school students today.  And what makes this even worse are the “zero tolerance” policies that have been put in place all over the country.  It does not matter if your kid is a straight A student that has never done a single thing wrong.  If your kid breaks the politically correct rules, the hammer will be brought down on your kid very hard.  And according to Whitehead, many schools are now continually monitoring the social media accounts of their students for any “violations”…

Despite a general consensus that zero tolerance policies have failed to have any appreciable impact on student safety, schools have doubled down on these policies to the detriment of children all across the nation. Indeed, the zero tolerance mindset is so entrenched among school administrators all over America that we are now seeing school officials reaching into the personal lives of students to police their behavior at all times. For example, 13,000 students in the Glendale Unified School District in California are now being subjected to constant social media monitoring by school officials. Superintendent Richard Sheehan has hired private firm Geo Listening to analyze the public social media posts of students both off and on campus. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or any other social media platform, students will have their posts and comments analyzed for evidence of “bullying, cyber-bullying, hate and shaming activities, depression, harm and self harm, self hate and suicide, crime, vandalism, substance abuse and truancy.”

Unfortunately, the Glendale program is simply one component of a larger framework in which all student activity is treated as an open book by school administrators. What we are witnessing is a paradigm shift in American society, in which no personal activity is safe from the prying eyes of government agents and their corporate allies. Every decision and action, no matter how innocent, is scrutinized, analyzed, filed, stored, and eventually held against you when those in power feel like it.

You can read the remainder of Whitehead’s outstanding article right here.

So does it make you feel safer knowing that school authorities are “monitoring” your kids at all times?

And while they are sitting in the classroom, the goal is to “shape young minds” to accept the politically correct agenda of the progressives.

If parents only knew what was going on in these classrooms they would be absolutely shocked.  For example, one sixth grade class in Arkansas was recently given an assignment to “revise” the Bill of Rights because it has become “outdated”

Sixth graders at the Bryant School District in Arkansas were given an assignment to “revise” the “outdated” Bill of Rights by deleting and replacing two amendments, using the “War on Terror” and the Patriot Act as a guide.

The worksheet, which is the first Constitutional assignment of the school year, tells students that they will be on a “National Revised Bill of Rights Task Force” who will “prioritize, prune, and add amendments” for a “Revised Bill of Rights.”

“The government of the United States is currently revisiting the Bill of Rights,” the assignment states. “They have determined that it is outdated and may not remain in its current form any longer.”

Is that the kind of stuff that you want your kid to be taught?

Meanwhile, the reading, writing and math skills of U.S. students continue to decline.  The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Dave Hodges

For the most part, the end product our schools are producing is grossly substandard. SAT reading scores have declined to 40 year lows and there is no sign of a rebound. Since reading is the key to all knowledge, we are sending our children to a gunfight with a butter knife. Before the defenders of the public school system raise their voices in opposition, everyone needs to realize that our school children have been under attack for decades. Even the best educators have referred to our public education system as “the deliberate dumbing down of America.”

The results of our foolish national experiment with progressive education are predictable.  A brand new international study just released by the U.S. Department of Education revealed that “U.S. adults are dumber than the average human“.  The following is how USA Today described the findings of the study…

Americans have been hearing for years that their kids are lagging behind the rest of the developed world in skills. Now it’s the adults’ turn for a reality check.

A first-ever international comparison of the labor force in 23 industrialized nations shows that Americans ages 16 to 65 fall below international averages in basic problem-solving, reading and math skills, with gaps between the more- and less-educated in the USA larger than those of many other countries.

What is the solution?

Well, it would be nice if our public schools would stop doing all of the politically correct garbage and would start focusing on reading, writing and math again.

But we all know that is not going to happen.

So it is up to individual parents to make the choices that are going to be right for their own children.  Our kids are not going to be getting a high quality education in the public schools, but they are not going to be able to be successful in life without one.

About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth. His new thriller entitled “The Beginning Of The End” is now available on

Michael T. Snyder's Shocking New Novel About The Future Of America

Enemy of the State: A Dons of Time Preview

"Well-constructed, action-flooded sci-fi set in a realistic historical world." - Kirkus Reviews
This is an excerpt from Greg Guma's new novel, Dons of Time, available October 21 from Fomite Press. Order now at a discount and help with the launch.
Emerging from the airport baggage claim late the following afternoon he crossed to the taxi stand for a lift into town. It would be only minutes to the Hilton and a comfortable room with a commanding view of the waterfront and Lake Champlain. But then he heard his last name being called and noticed a wiry-haired kid holding a cardboard sign with the word “Wolf” on it.
“I’m Wolfe,” he said, “Tonio, or T. You here for me?”
“I guess so,” the kid shrugged, “this way.” He grabbed Tonio’s bag without asking and led him into the parking garage, boarding the elevator for the top. When they emerged and Tonio saw the vehicle, a faded blue cargo van more than two decades old, he began to suspect he’d made a mistake. Before he could do anything, the side door slid open and three more young guys with scarves over their faces invited him inside.
“I hope you’re with Harry.”        
Rather than answer they handed him a scarf and asked him to blindfold himself. “Just for now,” one of them apologized. These definitely weren’t Shelley’s people; their greeting would not have been so civil. The government was also out. It didn’t use rusty vans or operatives who dressed like hippie Zapatistas. This had to be Harry. Still, why the drama? Despite his explanation over the phone it didn’t compute.
The ride took two hours, at first on paved streets and the Interstate, then on local roads, and several minutes at the end over rough gravel and dirt. When the van finally rolled to a stop and it was time to remove the blindfold, he could have been anywhere from the Canadian border to New Hampshire.
Harry was waiting at the cabin door. He had always enjoyed costumes and preferred facial hair. This day he looked like a cross between a pirate and a panda. “You have questions, I know,” he announced. “Thanks for coming.”
“It better be good.” Tonio shook his hand and followed.
The cabin was larger and more functional than it looked from the driveway, part tech center, part mountain retreat. Computer terminals covered one wall, screens running data, charts, and video streams. Three college-age hackers monitored them. The rest of the main room was taken up by a large oak table, several couches and thrift shop chairs, a hard-working woodstove, all facing several unmarked doorways and an archway that opened onto the communal kitchen. 
Harry flopped down in a ratty lounge chair, and said, “It was necessary, believe me. Not on my end, in this case. We have good reasons to play it safe with you, my friend. You may already be a person of interest.”
“That’s extreme,” Tonio objected, “but I do believe Shelley had a tail on me.”
“That’s not what worries me.” He pointed up with a finger, as far as Tonio knew meaning either God or spy satellites.
“What does worry you? More to the point, what’s happened to you, man? Last I knew you were a radio personality.”
“A personality, right, I remember when I had one of those,” Harry mused. “Last time I saw you we were about to take over Seattle, right? Blocking the WTO, now that was a demo. Things looked promising in ‘99, didn’t they?  Even after the coup – that’s what I call W’s first term – we totally derailed that FTAA deal in Quebec. But they were already starting the crackdown. After the attacks…well, you know that story, Patriot Act, wiretapping, secret searches, the whole deal. Plus, for the first time the CIA gets a direct role in deciding who gets rounded up or hit. It was the first stages of drone justice.”
That still didn’t explain why he was hiding in the woods, and Harry knew it.
“I was operating above ground then,” he reminisced. “But things were changing. It was an eavesdropping bonanza. The intelligence budget hit $60 billion after 9/11 and thousands of new private contractors got into the game. It was a very lucrative club in a very growing industry. And Fort Meade, that was the Gold Rush zone for masters of the data stream.
“I still had the show then. But instead of the usual stuff I started talking about the surveillance state, what the government was really up to. Big mistake as it turns out. In 2007 I tried to board a flight to DC and found out I was on a no-fly list.” After more than an hour of interrogation Harry was released. But not his laptop, cell phone, camera and USB drive. 
As Harry outlined the rest of his path from radio host to underground man Tonio heard more than he wanted about Crystal City and the Wiretappers’s Ball, a secret annual gathering where experts shared their latest toys and competed to create the ultimate bugging device. Harry had managed to infiltrate it and bring out pictures. He also talked on the air about Verint Systems and Narus, major private eavesdropping operations that reached most of the planet. They made it easier to block websites considered politically or culturally threatening to those in power.
The next flashpoint for Harry came after the Democrats capitulated on amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He explained that the changes gave the telecoms legal immunity while providing a go-ahead for the NSA to target almost anyone classified as a terrorist. Obama, who was running for President at the time, opted to support the amendments. Once he was in office, the move toward mass surveillance launched almost a decade earlier continued to escalate. Obama’s Justice Department invoked “state secrets” to stop citizens from suing the government for spying on them. In fact, it argued that the feds had immunity from litigation for any surveillance that violated the law.
“You thought I was being ridiculous about emails, right?” Harry reminded him. “There’s a reason, Sherlock, the CIA. They’ve invested heavily in Visible Technologies, which analyzes social media. It can look into half a million websites a day. But the biggest reason we’re here, instead of enjoying room service on your tab, is because in 2010 they demanded all the visitor information from Truthsquad. I mean everything, and we weren’t supposed to tell anyone about it under penalty of prosecution for impeding a federal investigation.
“The IFC – that’s the Internet Freedom Center – challenged the subpoena.” He was winding down. “But it was obvious where this was heading. They’d already jailed Bradley Manning for the Wikileaks cables and Julian was under house arrest. The handwriting was on the wall. It was only a matter of time ‘til that knock on the door and I’m a suspected cyber-terrorist. That was two years ago, shortly before we set up here. Just in time it turns out, since now I’m on the terrorist screening database. Drone bait -- if they ever find me outside the country.”
“But we’re safe and secure?”
“Like a frog’s ass, baby. Acoustic dampening, the latest in encryption. We just added self-destructing e-mails and encrypted cell phone calls, anything you send digitally. By next year there will be a commercial self-destruct app on the market, but ours is better. My rule of thumb is either that the message is destroyed after it’s read, or else no more than an hour or two after sending it goes poof, like Mission Impossible. But your current security, not so great.”
Considering what he had just heard Tonio wasn’t surprised Harry felt that way.
Stay in touch for the conclusion of this chapter. Like Dons of Time on Facebook.

Snooping and the Demise of "Hope and Change"

You've got to marvel at the industry of Cold Warriors and their offspring constantly reminding us of the state security measures-- real or imagined-- suffered by the inhabitants of the former Eastern European socialist countries. Books, movies, television and anecdotes have deeply embedded in the minds of people in the US the notion that life in Eastern Europe was under oppressive monitoring with spies lurking everywhere. Countless reports of visits to socialist countries told of the suspicions or hunches or impressions of being followed, watched, or overheard. I was always disappointed, in my admittedly infrequent visits to Eastern Europe or Cuba, that I never shared these experiences. I was either incredibly myopic or deemed not nearly as worthy of attention as were others.

Outside of the minority of US citizens who systematically question every “truth” endorsed and proclaimed by official circles, most people feel secure in believing that “we” don't do what “they” do or did. In fact, the certitude of our superiority in respecting privacy, speech, and beliefs serves as a pillar of the mythology of the land of the free.

Of course many of us on the left know better. We know first hand that the US security services operate without restraint or oversight. We know that everysignificant anti-war movement, everycommittee in solidarity with the victims of US imperialism, everyparty to the left of the Democrats, and even everyrenegade celebrity earns the attention of the US secret police agencies. We know that the tens of thousands of operatives employed and the huge budgets granted are not there for occasional or aberrant spying, but for systematic surveillance and monitoring of anyone perceived as challenging the ruling class consensus. We know that, whenever the need is felt, laws are passed that violate or stretch the intent of the Constitution. And extra-legal means-- easily concealed from the public-- are also common.

But you don't have to be among that select group to know what security services do. You don't have to be an anti-war activist to know that FBI files do not magically appear, but are created through surveillance and informants. The sordid history of the FBI, especially during the Hoover era, is available for all to see. Congressional committees have exposed enough of the chicanery, illegal activity, and violence of the security agencies to give everyone but the willfully blind an idea of just how fragile our privacy and personal integrity are under this self-styled democracy.

Yet liberals-- occupying a political category brazenly drawing its name from “liberty”-- have woefully fallen short in confronting the rise and expansion of the intrusive, Orwellian surveillance state, a process that only accelerated since the Second World War. The fears of the Cold War provided a handy excuse for government intrusion into the lives of hundreds of thousands of US citizens, driving such august institutions as the American Civil Liberties Union into backsliding and equivocation.

We saw it again in the uprisings of the 1960s, when even more presumably innocent citizens became the object of surveillance by a myriad of federal, state, and municipal spy agencies. Once again, the response was loud and clamorous on the part of the liberal establishment, but to little effect. Only Nixon's outrageous near-coup and the persistence of a few members of the normally somnolent media saved us from even further devolving toward a repressive, intrusive state in the early 1970s.

A further step towards a police state arrived with the so-called “War on Terror.” Few in the liberal establishment defied the hysterical surrender of the rights to privacy, speech, or association that ensued. In fact, most joined conservatives in a race to empower the security agencies with money, manpower, and legislation.

Oddly, those who find it so easy to identify snooping in foreign lands are conveniently blind to that malignancy in their own neighborhoods.

And now comes the Snowden affair.

The Nation magazine pens a headline, “A Modern Day Stasi State,” really a gratuitous slap at the former German Democratic Republic, to characterize the Snowden revelations of massive and comprehensive surveillance by the NSA. The truth is that nothing that the GDR security services could have possibly envisioned parallels the collection of every electronic communication by every US citizen. Perhaps the liberals at The Nation draw some perverse satisfaction from the false belief that other countries have gone to the same lengths to monitor their unsuspecting and innocent citizens.

And in an editorial commentary (“Snoop Scoops”) by Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorkermagazine attempts to simultaneously maintain three pathetically weak excuses for the Administration's secretive spying programs: first, the Snowden revelations expose nothing new-- we already knew about the NSA programs; second, the NSA collects the content, but doesn't examine it; and third, there is nothing illegal about the NSA surveillance.

The best that can be said for the Hertzberg apology is that maybe his boss, the old Cold Warrior David Remnick, forced him to write this nonsense. The fact that one could follow threads and leaks to learn of NSA programs hardly excuses the absence of the topic in most mainstream media and popular discussion. Hertzberg glaringly fails to point to any effort on the part of his magazine to discuss the NSA surveillance. Moreover, if everyone knew about the programs, how do we account for the hysterical response of the Administration, its cronies (Senator Feinstein called Snowden a “traitor”), and apologists? How do we account for the criminal charges against Edward Snowden? For revealing something everybody knew?

Clearly this is a sleazy sidestepping of the profound dangers raised by the government's license to snoop.

Only the terminally gullible would believe that the content of collected data lies untouched in NSA electronic files. With nearly one and a half million government employees and contractors enjoying top secret clearance, surely a few would be tempted to check the e-mails or phone calls of their neighbors, ex-lovers, or rivals. Hertzberg takes literally the assurances of the same people who have been trying desperately to keep NSA activity from public scrutiny.

I suppose one could equally say that “nothing illegal” occurred in Nazi Germany, given that laws were passed enacting or enabling nearly all of the carnage inflicted by the fascist regime. In truth, the vast powers granted by the Patriot Act and the secret kangaroo courts legitimizing NSA acts guarantee that legality washes over anything and everything that government agencies do or could do, as they equally would sanction the SS or Gestapo in the Third Reich.

Indeed, our moment is not so remote from those moments preceding the consolidation of fascist rule in Italy or Germany. Like those times, liberals and social democrats are temporizing, excusing, and denying the assault on privacy, personal security, association, and dissent.

The true history of those times-- not the convenient history that blames the staunchest opponents of fascism, the Communists-- points to the treason and capitulation of bourgeois politicians who sought to compromise, outsmart, or neutralize the tide of fascism. Similarly, our liberal politicians populating the Democratic Party (with a few notable, courageous exceptions) rush to establish their security bona fides by endorsing the expansion of the police state. They show the same misplaced confidence in their ability to restrain or control the uncontrollable.

Amplifying the hesitation of liberals is the embarrassing role of the Obama Administration in the construction of the NSA police state. After giving their undivided, unqualified support to the candidacy of hope, change, and the restoration of liberal values, the liberal establishment finds itself in the uncomfortable position of defending the trappings of a police state or, conversely, righteously attacking their designated standard bearer. This dilemma has driven liberals to such outrageous statements as Hertzberg's: “The critics [of the NSA] have been hard put to point to any tangible harm that has been done to any particular citizen,” a statement worthy of a self-satisfied burgher in Munich in 1934.

Particularly bruised by the Snowden revelations are those pseudo-radicals who have unceasingly called for a love fest with the Democratic Party as a response to the “fascist danger.” How does one enlist those who we now know have crafted and implemented fascist-like policies as partners in stopping fascism? Surely embracing them as anti-fascist allies borders on insanity.

Perhaps it is only fitting that those seduced by the pied piper of hope and change have arrived at this juncture. However, we have lost far too much ground to this political silliness. There is too much at stake. We deserve better.

Zoltan Zigedy

Surveillance USA

Ever since The Patriot Act came into being, the body of liberties citizens cherish have been chipped away by a bloated security state keen to find nourishment.

‘Beyond Orwellian’: Outrage Follows Revelations of Vast Domestic Spying Program

Outrage and rebuke are flying after explosive news broke late Wednesday that the National Security Agency, claiming authority under the Patriot Act and using a secret court order, has demanded (and been receiving) millions of phone records from Verizon which include all the company's "telephony metadate" for all its US-based customers over a three month period.

8 Ways Obama Is As Bad — Or Worse — Than Bush On Civil...

Despite a rare court victory on Friday, Obama's legacy is dismal.

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March 18, 2013  |  

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Civil libertarians won a rare court victory against the Obama Administration’s ‘War on Terror’ on Friday when a U.S. District Court blocked the FBI from ordering telecom companies to turn over their customer’s data, such as e-mails and other records, and blocked FBI gag orders on this domestic spying program.

“In today's ruling, the court held that the gag order provisions of the statute violate the First Amendment and that the review procedures violate separation of powers,” Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers, who brought the suit, said. “Because those provisions were not separable from the rest of the statute, the court declared the entire statute unconstitutional.”

This is the second time in recent months that civil libertarians have won a court victory over the Obama administration, although it is all but certain that it will appeal and seek to suspend the ruling. Last fall, a federal court suspended a section of a major defense bill that gave the government permission to arrest people who were suspected of speaking with alleged terrorists, which included several journalists who sued. However, another federal court reinstated that provision pending appeal.

“What is appears to illustrate is there are probably duel U.S. Pakistani nationals or maybe U.S. Afghan nationals who are being detained in military facilities and denied due process,” said Chris Hedges, an ex-foreign correspondent who sued.

What these developments underscore is that the Obama Administration barely differs from the George W. Bush Administration when it comes to the ‘War on Terrorism.’ While the Obama Administration has not continued specific tactics used by his predecessor, such as CIA black sites and specific torture techniques known as “enhanced interrogation,” it has gone further than Bush in other areas, such as with targeted assassinations using drones, and expanding the domestic national security state.

“There are the two War on Terror presidents,” wrote Glenn Greenwald recently. “ George Bush seized on the 9/11 attack to usher in radical new surveillance and detention powers in the PATRIOT ACT, spied for years on the communications of US citizens without the warrants required by law, and claimed the power to indefinitely imprison even US citizens without charges in military brigs.

“His successor, Barack Obama, went further by claiming the power not merely to detain citizens without judicial review but to assassinate them (about which the New York Times said: ‘It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing’). He has waged an unprecedented war on whistleblowers, dusting off [Woodrew] Wilson’s Espionage Act of 1917 to prosecute more then double the number of whistleblowers than all prior presidents combined. And he has draped his actions with at least as much secrecy, if not more so, than any president in US history.”

Let’s go through these and other areas that, as the National Journal said, should result in an “F” for Obama when historians assess his civil liberties record.

This February, published a list of eight contrasting the Obama and Bush Administrations on civil liberties. On six of the eight areas, Obama expanded or codified his predecessor’s policies:

1. Patriot Act is renewed on May 27, 2011: “Obama signs a renewal of several of the Patriot Act’s most controversial segments, including the use of ‘ roving wiretaps,’ the government’s expanded access to business records, and the ‘lone wolf’ provision, which allows surveillance of individuals not affiliated with any known terrorist organization. 

2. Wiretaps and Data Collections: “On December 30, 2012, Obama signs a five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act. Provisions for more oversight and public disclosure failed to pass Congress.” (This is the law that the Electronic Frontier Foundation challenged and won a U.S. District Court injunction against last week. The administration has 90 days to appeal.)

The Threat of the Imperial Presidency

President Obama prepares to board Air Force 1. (AP Photo)Civil libertarians, human rights advocates and peace advocates should insist on a renewed congressional assertion of its power under the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, to take part in declaring war. Among the many reasons for this reassertion is that social movements typically have greater influence over elected congressional representatives than over the more remote and secretive executive branch.

Historically, American presidents have “encroached on Congress’s war making responsibilities, leaving the legislative branch increasingly irrelevent,” according to an analysis by Bennett Ramberg, a former State Department analyst in the first Bush administration.

Recent hearings by the Senate Intelligence Committee on CIA director John Brennan’s authority and the House Judiciary Committee into drones are at least momentary signs that Congress may be ready to reclaim some of its powers. Statements by President Obama literally asking Congress to write “new legal architecture” to “rein in” his presidency and those of his successors, are clear indications that the growth of an Imperial Presidency may be limited. The bipartisan vote of nearly 300 House members against the administration’s launching of the six-month 2011 Libyan war is the most concrete example of legislative unease.

As Congress considers its options, it is crucial that the public be included in a rightful role. The public sends its sons and daughters to risk their lives in war, pays the taxes that fund those wars and accepts the burden of debt, the paring back of social programs and restrictions on civil liberties in the name of war. The public has a right to know, obtained through public debate and public elections, the rationale, the costs and the predicted outcomes of any military venture. James Madison, cited by Ramberg, gave the reason centuries ago: “Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued or concluded.”

Section 4(b) of the War Powers Resolution mandates that “the President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to committing the Nation to war and to the use of United States Armed Forces abroad.” Yet only insistent congressional pressure has forced the Obama administration to disclose some of its internal legal memoranda concerning drones, apparently in exchange for senate approval of Brennan’s nomination. It continues to resist the spirit of Section 4(b).

Hopefully, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will take up the reform of war-making powers as a major priority. Already, one of the CPC’s co-chairs, Representative Keith Ellison, has expressed the need to reform and reverse the administration’s secret drone war. In the Senate, strong leadership on transparency has come from Senator Ron Wyden. Libertarian Republican senator Rand Paul is demanding to know whether the White House will unleash drone strikes on American citizens. Longtime activist groups like Code Pink suddenly are finding themselves in the center of a national conversation.

Three senators who voted for Brennan’s confirmation—Wyden, Mark Udall and Susan Collins—also issued a call on March 5 “to bring the American people into this debate and for Congress to consider ways to ensure that the president’s sweeping authorities are subject to appropriate limitations, oversight and safeguards.”

By most accounts, this fuss over the Imperial Rresidency wasn’t supposed to be happening. The drone wars were supposed to be cheap for the taxpayer, erase American military casualties and hammer the terrorists into peace negotiations. The assassination of Osama bin Ladin was supposed to be the turning point. But even with the wars being low-intensity and low-visibility, the “secrets” have remained in the public eye, especially the drone war.

From a peace movement perspective, pressure from anywhere for any steps that will complicate and eventually choke off the unfettered use of drones will be an improvement over the status quo.

From a peace movement perspective, pressure from anywhere for any steps that will complicate and eventually choke off the unfettered use of drones will be an improvement over the status quo. For some, like Ramberg, a reform of the 1973 War Powers Act is overdue. That resolution, which passed during an uproar against the Nixon presidency, actually conceded war-making power to the president for a two-month period before requiring congressional authorization. The original 1973 Senate version of the war-powers bill, before it was watered down, required congressional authorization except in the case of armed attack on the US or the necessity of immediate citizen evacuation. No president has ever signed the war powers legislation, on the grounds that it encroaches on the executive branch, although most presidents have voluntarily abided by its requirements.

Ramberg lists the US military actions undertaken after the War Powers Resolution “with minimal or no congressional consultation,” as: Mayaguez (1975), Iran hostage rescue action (1980), El Salvador (1981), Lebanon (1982), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), Panama (1989), Iraq (May 1991, 1993), Somalia (1993) Bosnia (1993-95), Haiti (1993, 2004) and Kosovo (1999), leaving out Sudan (1998) and the dubious authorizations for Iraq and Afghanistan.

The immediate issue ripe for attention is the drone policy, conducted especially in Pakistan by the CIA in utter secrecy, but also spreading through Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Mali.

Drone attacks clearly are acts of war as defined by the War Powers Resolution, although the WPR was written mainly to contain the deployment of American ground forces. The drone war rests more squarely on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), the underlying legal rationale for the “global war on terrorism.”

The challenge of reform, as opposed to emergency tinkering, will require prolonged efforts to amend and clarify both the WPR and AUMF. Allowing any president a sixty-day period before seeking congressional authorization, as the WPR does, makes no sense in drone warfare. Instead, the president should be required to seek congressional permission if he wishes to target a clearly definable “enemy,” and be required to issue public guidelines, including necessary disclosure, governing the use of force he contemplates. That means:

First, Congress should establish a special inspector general, like the SIGUR created for Iraq and Afghanistan, to define, monitor and determine civilian casualties (“collateral damage”) from drone strikes. Currently that information is collected by the CIA, which has a conflict of interest, not to mention a curtain of secrecy.

Second, Congress will need to draft guidelines sharply narrowing—or even banning—the use of “signature strikes,” which permit drone attacks against targets profiled according to identity, such as young males of military age (which could be civilians, participants in a wedding or funeral, etc.).

The open window for “reining in” the president’s executive powers could close at any time.

Third, Congress or the courts will have to restore the open-ended concept of “imminent threat” to its traditional meaning, as an immediate operational threat aimed at American citizens, US territory or facilities. Under the elastic formulation employed by Brennan and others, the simple fact of ill-defined jihadists holding meetings anywhere on the planet is an “imminent threat” justifying military action. And according to the CIA interpretation, the threat is a “continuous” one, carrying over from war to war. But if every “potential” threat is defined as “imminent,” and all the threats are continuous, the CIA, Special Forces and American military will be spread thin indeed from the jungles of the Philippines to the ghettos of Britain.

The 2001 AUMF was written to justify the unofficial military doctrine of the “long war,” developed by counterinsurgency advisers to General David Petraeus and the State Department, like David Kilcullen, who project a conflict of fifty- to eighty-years’ duration against ill-defined Muslim fundamentalists. The designated targets of the AUMF are “Al Qaeda” and “associated” terrorist groups. That overly broad definition authorizes a global war in the shadows against forces whose actual links to Al Qaeda are difficult to discern and who may or may not be threats against the United States. If targeted by the United States, however, the likelihood of their becoming threats will only increase.

A recent example in a long list of these targets is Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the 40-year-old Algerian who may or may not have been killed last week in Chad. Belmokhtar allegedly carried out the January attack on an Algerian gas plant in which thirty-seven foreign hostages died. He did so in retaliation against France’s military intervention in its former colony of Mali, and against Algeria’s siding with Western counterterrorism policies. Otherwise, Belmokhtar was nicknamed the “Marlboro Man” because of his decades-long involvement in smuggling cigarettes. Ten years ago he led one faction of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, before breaking away to form his own force in the Sahel.

The question is whether the 2001 AUMF was written to cover a regional warlord like the “Marlboro Man” whose history is “smuggling, kidnapping and fighting for decades in the Sahel,” or whether it is being used as a blanket authorization for official kill lists and CIA drone assassins everywhere.

Finally, Congress should commission an independent body to evaluate whether the war on terrorism, including the drone attacks, has made Americans “safer.” The rise of the drones—as well as cyber-warfare—has a lulling effect on public opinion since American group operations are ending and casualties are down. But the 9/11 attacks took place unexpectedly as a result of burning grievances in the Muslim world. The official metrics of safety (e.g., how many jihadist “leaders” have been killed, whether insurgent attacks are up or down) ignore the incendiary hatred and desire for revenge building in Muslim communities suffering from remote drone attacks. A few empirical studies have shown a direct correlation between the rise of suicide bombers and US/Western occupation of Muslim lands, but the mass illusion of safety from terrorism tends to persist. A national conversation, including the forgotten ways in which we are made less safe by the war on terrorism, is sorely needed.

In perspective, the effort to prevent the restoration of an Imperial Presidency is long and politically difficult, something like reversing the mass incarceration policies and police buildups that followed the neoconservatives’ “war on gangs” campaign of the early 1990s, which the Clinton administration adopted. Many liberals in general, and Democrats in particular, cringe at being labeled “soft on crime” (or “soft on terrorism”). Some on the left, on the other hand, seem to think that the threat of terrorism is manufactured. However, if another attack should occur against the United States, the danger that a second Patriot Act will pass is real. Current US policies inadvertently provoke that possibility, with the drone strikes the equivalent of attacking a hornet’s nest. Therefore, the open window for “reining in” the president’s executive powers could close at any time. Hearings to reform of the 2001 AUMF and the 1973 WPR could not be more urgent.

© 2013 The Nation

Tom Hayden

Tom Hayden is a former state senator and leader of 1960's peace, justice and environmental movements. He currently teaches at PitzerCollege in Los Angeles. His books include The Port Huron Statement [new edition], Street Wars and The Zapatista Reader.

US Attorney General Gives the Go-Ahead on Domestic Drone Strikes: May Be Necessary Under...


When Congress authorized the deployment of some 30,000 drones over U.S. skies with the passage of the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act in 2012 many civil liberties groups, privacy advocates and Americans expressed their concerns about the possibility that these surveillance tools could be used within the borders of the United States much like they are on the battlefields of the middle east where scores of innocent civilians are killed almost every day as collateral damage in direct strikes against alleged terrorists.

Those fears are very quickly being realized not as possibilities, but actualities.

In response to questions recently voiced by Senator Rand Paul about drone strikes being used against American citizens on American soil without charge or trial, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a public statement indicating that the government has the right to use armed unmanned aerial vehicles should “extraordinary circumstances” arise.

Holder writes:

On February 20, 2013, you wrote to John Brennan requesting additional information concerning the Administration’s views about whether “the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, without a trial.”

As members of this administration have previously indicated, the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so. As a policy matter moreover, we reject the use of military force where well-established law enforcement authorities in this country provide the best means for incapacitating a terrorist threat. We have a long history of using the criminal justice system to incapacitate individuals located in our country who pose a threat to the United States and its interests abroad. Hundreds of individuals have been arrested and convicted of terrorism-related offenses in our federal courts. 

The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront.

It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.

For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.

Full Text (PDF)

The official position of the United States government is that a drone, or any military asset for that matter, can be deployed by the President of the United States or his surrogates without regard to the sixth amendment of the US Constitution, which requires that citizens be afforded the right of facing their accusers, to call witnesses and to be tried by a jury of their peers.

Senator Paul responded to the Attorney General’s comments and warned of the dangers of the new policy:

“The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans.”

Last month President Obama responded to questions about domestic drone strikes:

First of all… there’s never been a drone used on an American citizen, on American soil.

We respect and have a whole bunch of safeguards in terms of how we conduct counter-terrorism operations outside of the United States. The rules outside of the United States are going to be different than the rules inside of the United States.

I am not somebody who believes that the President has the authority to do whatever he wants or whatever she wants, whenever they want,  just under the guise of  counter-terrorism.

There have to be checks and balances on it.

Based on Eric Holder’s memo, the President, and therefore agencies under his control, do believe that they have the authority to use lethal force against those identified as “terrorists.”

As the Attorney General noted in his letter to Senator Paul, there are hundreds of Americans that have been tried and convicted as terrorists, and thousands more that have been identified as terrorists by government officials.

U.S. attorney Anne Tompkins recently prosecuted Bernard Von Nothaus for minting silver coins he branded as “liberty dollars.” After Vot Nothaus was convicted, Tompkins referred to his actions as a unique form of domestic terrorism.

Local law enforcement officials attending DHS sponsored training events have widely reported that the definitions for “terrorist” activity are becoming very broad, as outlined by one police officer at James Rawles’ Survival Blog:

During the past several years, I have witnessed a dramatic shift in the focus of law enforcement training.  Law enforcement courses have moved away from a local community focus to a federally dominated model of complete social control. Most training I have attended over the past two years have been sponsored by Department of Homeland Security (DHS), namely the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

No matter what topic the training session concerns, every DHS sponsored course I have attended over the past few years never fails to branch off into warnings about potential domestic terrorists in the community.

So how does a person qualify as a potential domestic terrorist?  Based on the training I have attended, here are characteristics that qualify:

  • Expressions of libertarian philosophies (statements, bumper stickers)
  • Second Amendment-oriented views (NRA or gun club membership, holding a CCW permit)
  • Survivalist literature (fictional books such as “Patriots” and “One Second After” are mentioned by name)
  • Self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)
  • Fear of economic collapse (buying gold and barter items)
  • Religious views concerning the book of Revelation (apocalypse, anti-Christ)
  • Expressed fears of Big Brother or big government
  • Homeschooling
  • Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties
  • Belief in a New World Order conspiracy

Earlier this year a kindergarten student was suspended from school after officials reported that she made a terrorist threat utilizing a Hello Kitty bubble gun.

The Attorney General of the United States of America just gave the President the go-ahead on domestic drone strikes.

Under the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, no Constitutional protections need be afforded to American citizens, thus, anyone can be classified as a domestic terrorist at the President’s discretion.

If you mint a silver coin, stockpile food, refuse to turn in your high capacity magazine, voice beliefs that may be considered subversive to the government, or have a toy resembling a gun, you maybe labeled a terrorist.

As such, you can also be targeted for extermination.

Why Latin America Didn’t Join Washington’s Counterterrorism Posse

John Brennan.(Photo: Center for Strategic & International Studies / Flickr)There was a scarcely noted but classic moment in the Senate hearings on the nomination of John Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism “tsar,” to become the next CIA director.  When Senator Carl Levin pressed him repeatedly on whether waterboarding was torture, he ended his reply this way: “I have a personal opinion that waterboarding is reprehensible and should not be done.  And again, I am not a lawyer, senator, and I can't address that question.”

How modern, how twenty-first-century American!  How we’ve evolved since the dark days of Medieval Europe when waterboarding fell into a category known to all as “the water torture”!  Brennan even cited Attorney General Eric Holder as one lawyer who had described waterboarding as “torture,” but he himself begged off.  According to the man who was deputy executive director of the CIA and director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center in the years of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and knew much about them, the only people equipped to recognize torture definitively as “torture” are lawyers.  This might be more worrisome, if we weren’t a “nation of lawyers” (though it also means that plummeting law school application rates could, in the future, create a torture-definition crisis).

To look on the positive side, Brennan’s position should be seen as a distinct step forward from that of the Justice Department officials under the Bush administration who wrote the infamous “torture memos” and essentially left the definition of “torture” to the future testimony of the torturer. (“[I]f a defendant [interrogator] has a good faith belief that his actions will not result in prolonged mental harm, he lacks the mental state necessary for his actions to constitute torture.”)

And keep in mind that Brennan has good company for his position.  Recently, the Open Society Institute published the most comprehensive investigation yet of the offshore system of injustice that George W. Bush and his top officials set up to kidnap “terror suspects,” imprison them without charges or end, and torture and abuse them, or “render” them to other countries willing to do the same.  It turns out that 54 nations (other than the U.S.) took part in setting up, aiding, and maintaining this American global gulag.  It’s a roster of dishonor worth noting: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

Remarkably, according to the Open Society report, just one of those states evidently had a lawyer on hand who could actually recognize torture, even if well after the fact.  “Canada,” its authors write, “is the only country to issue an apology to an extraordinary rendition victim, Maher Arar, who was extraordinarily rendered to, and tortured in, Syria.”

Given this, Greg Grandin, TomDispatch regular and author of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Lost Jungle City, explores a geographical miracle: of those 54 countries, only two, the U.S. and Canada, came from the Western Hemisphere! Tom

The Latin American Exception: How a Washington Global Torture Gulag Was Turned Into the Only Gulag-Free Zone on Earth
By Greg Grandin

The map tells the story.  To illustrate a damning new report, “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detentions and Extraordinary Rendition,” recently published by the Open Society Institute, the Washington Post put together an equally damning graphic: it’s soaked in red, as if with blood, showing that in the years after 9/11, the CIA turned just about the whole world into a gulag archipelago.

Back in the early twentieth century, a similar red-hued map was used to indicate the global reach of the British Empire, on which, it was said, the sun never set.  It seems that, between 9/11 and the day George W. Bush left the White House, CIA-brokered torture never saw a sunset either.

All told, of the 190-odd countries on this planet, a staggering 54 participated in various ways in this American torture system, hosting CIA “black site” prisons, allowing their airspace and airports to be used for secret flights, providing intelligence, kidnapping foreign nationals or their own citizens and handing them over to U.S. agents to be “rendered” to third-party countries like Egypt and Syria.  The hallmark of this network, Open Society writes, has been torture.  Its report documents the names of 136 individuals swept up in what it says is an ongoing operation, though its authors make clear that the total number, implicitly far higher, “will remain unknown” because of the “extraordinary level of government secrecy associated with secret detention and extraordinary rendition.”

No region escapes the stain.  Not North America, home to the global gulag’s command center.  Not Europe, the Middle East, Africa, or Asia.  Not even social-democratic Scandinavia.  Sweden turned over at least two people to the CIA, who were then rendered to Egypt, where they were subject to electric shocks, among other abuses.  No region, that is, except Latin America.

What’s most striking about the Post’s map is that no part of its wine-dark horror touches Latin America; that is, not one country in what used to be called Washington’s “backyard” participated in rendition or Washington-directed or supported torture and abuse of “terror suspects.”  Not even Colombia, which throughout the last two decades was as close to a U.S.-client state as existed in the area.  It’s true that a fleck of red should show up on Cuba, but that would only underscore the point: Teddy Roosevelt took Guantánamo Bay Naval Base for the U.S. in 1903 “in perpetuity.”

Two, Three, Many CIAs 

How did Latin America come to be territorio libre in this new dystopian world of black sites and midnight flights, the Zion of this militarist matrix (as fans of the Wachowskis' movies might put it)?  After all, it was in Latin America that an earlier generation of U.S. and U.S.-backed counterinsurgents put into place a prototype of Washington’s twenty-first century Global War on Terror.

Even before the 1959 Cuban Revolution, before Che Guevara urged revolutionaries to create “two, three, many Vietnams,” Washington had already set about establishing two, three, many centralized intelligence agencies in Latin America.  As Michael McClintock shows in his indispensable book Instruments of Statecraft, in late 1954, a few months after the CIA’s infamous coup in Guatemala that overthrew a democratically elected government, the National Security Council first recommended strengthening “the internal security forces of friendly foreign countries."

In the region, this meant three things.  First, CIA agents and other U.S. officials set to work “professionalizing” the security forces of individual countries like Guatemala, Colombia, and Uruguay; that is, turning brutal but often clumsy and corrupt local intelligence apparatuses into efficient, “centralized,” still brutal agencies, capable of gathering information, analyzing it, and storing it.  Most importantly, they were to coordinate different branches of each country’s security forces -- the police, military, and paramilitary squads -- to act on that information, often lethally and always ruthlessly.

Second, the U.S. greatly expanded the writ of these far more efficient and effective agencies, making it clear that their portfolio included not just national defense but international offense.  They were to be the vanguard of a global war for “freedom” and of an anticommunist reign of terror in the hemisphere.  Third, our men in Montevideo, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Asunción, La Paz, Lima, Quito, San Salvador, Guatemala City, and Managua were to help synchronize the workings of individual national security forces.

The result was state terror on a nearly continent-wide scale.  In the 1970s and 1980s, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s Operation Condor, which linked together the intelligence services of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile, was the most infamous of Latin America’s transnational terror consortiums, reaching out to commit mayhem as far away as Washington D.C., Paris, and Rome.  The U.S. had earlier helped put in place similar operations elsewhere in the Southern hemisphere, especially in Central America in the 1960s.

By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans had been tortured, killed, disappeared, or imprisoned without trial, thanks in significant part to U.S. organizational skills and support.  Latin America was, by then, Washington’s backyard gulag.  Three of the region’s current presidents -- Uruguay’s José Mujica, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega -- were victims of this reign of terror.

When the Cold War ended, human rights groups began the herculean task of dismantling the deeply embedded, continent-wide network of intelligence operatives, secret prisons, and torture techniques -- and of pushing militaries throughout the region out of governments and back into their barracks.  In the 1990s, Washington not only didn’t stand in the way of this process, but actually lent a hand in depoliticizing Latin America’s armed forces.  Many believed that, with the Soviet Union dispatched, Washington could now project its power in its own “backyard” through softer means like international trade agreements and other forms of economic leverage.  Then 9/11 happened.

“Oh My Goodness”

In late November 2002, just as the basic outlines of the CIA’s secret detention and extraordinary rendition programs were coming into shape elsewhere in the world, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld flew 5,000 miles to Santiago, Chile, to attend a hemispheric meeting of defense ministers.  "Needless to say,” Rumsfeld nonetheless said, “I would not be going all this distance if I did not think this was extremely important." Indeed.

This was after the invasion of Afghanistan but before the invasion of Iraq and Rumsfeld was riding high, as well as dropping the phrase “September 11th” every chance he got.  Maybe he didn’t know of the special significance that date had in Latin America, but 29 years earlier on the first 9/11, a CIA-backed coup by General Pinochet and his military led to the death of Chile’s democratically elected president Salvador Allende.  Or did he, in fact, know just what it meant and was that the point?  After all, a new global fight for freedom, a proclaimed Global War on Terror, was underway and Rumsfeld had arrived to round up recruits.

There, in Santiago, the city out of which Pinochet had run Operation Condor, Rumsfeld and other Pentagon officials tried to sell what they were now terming the “integration” of “various specialized capabilities into larger regional capabilities” -- an insipid way of describing the kidnapping, torturing, and death-dealing already underway elsewhere. “Events around the world before and after September 11th suggest the advantages,” Rumsfeld said, of nations working together to confront the terror threat.

“Oh my goodness,” Rumsfeld told a Chilean reporter, “the kinds of threats we face are global.”  Latin America was at peace, he admitted, but he had a warning for its leaders: they shouldn’t lull themselves into believing that the continent was safe from the clouds gathering elsewhere.  Dangers exist, “old threats, such as drugs, organized crime, illegal arms trafficking, hostage taking, piracy, and money laundering; new threats, such as cyber-crime; and unknown threats, which can emerge without warning.”

“These new threats,” he added ominously, “must be countered with new capabilities.” Thanks to the Open Society report, we can see exactly what Rumsfeld meant by those “new capabilities.”

A few weeks prior to Rumsfeld’s arrival in Santiago, for example, the U.S., acting on false information supplied by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, detained Maher Arar, who holds dual Syrian and Canadian citizenship, at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport and then handed him over to a “Special Removal Unit.” He was flown first to Jordan, where he was beaten, and then to Syria, a country in a time zone five hours ahead of Chile, where he was turned over to local torturers.  On November 18th, when Rumsfeld was giving his noon speech in Santiago, it was five in the afternoon in Arar’s “grave-like” cell in a Syrian prison, where he would spend the next year being abused. 

Ghairat Baheer was captured in Pakistan about three weeks before Rumsfeld’s Chile trip, and thrown into a CIA-run prison in Afghanistan called the Salt Pit.  As the secretary of defense praised Latin America’s return to the rule of law after the dark days of the Cold War, Baheer may well have been in the middle of one of his torture sessions, “hung naked for hours on end.”

Taken a month before Rumsfeld’s visit to Santiago, the Saudi national Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was transported to the Salt Pit, after which he was transferred “to another black site in Bangkok, Thailand, where he was waterboarded.” After that, he was passed on to Poland, Morocco, Guantánamo, Romania, and back to Guantánamo, where he remains.  Along the way, he was subjected to a “mock execution with a power drill as he stood naked and hooded,” had U.S. interrogators rack a “semi-automatic handgun close to his head as he sat shackled before them.”  His interrogators also “threatened to bring in his mother and sexually abuse her in front of him.”

Likewise a month before the Santiago meeting, the Yemini Bashi Nasir Ali Al Marwalah was flown to Camp X-Ray in Cuba, where he remains to this day.   

Less than two weeks after Rumsfeld swore that the U.S. and Latin America shared “common values,” Mullah Habibullah, an Afghan national, died “after severe mistreatment” in CIA custody at something called the “Bagram Collection Point.” A U.S. military investigation “concluded that the use of stress positions and sleep deprivation combined with other mistreatment... caused, or were direct contributing factors in, his death.”

Two days after the secretary’s Santiago speech, a CIA case officer in the Salt Pit had Gul Rahma stripped naked and chained to a concrete floor without blankets.  Rahma froze to death.     

And so the Open Society report goes... on and on and on.

Territorio Libre 

Rumsfeld left Santiago without firm commitments.  Some of the region’s militaries were tempted by the supposed opportunities offered by the secretary’s vision of fusing crime fighting into an ideological campaign against radical Islam, a unified war in which all was to be subordinated to U.S. command.  As political scientist Brian Loveman has noted, around the time of Rumsfeld’s Santiago visit, the head of the Argentine army picked up Washington’s latest set of themes, insisting that “defense must be treated as an integral matter,” without a false divide separating internal and external security.

But history was not on Rumsfeld’s side.  His trip to Santiago coincided with Argentina’s epic financial meltdown, among the worst in recorded history.  It signaled a broader collapse of the economic model -- think of it as Reaganism on steroids -- that Washington had been promoting in Latin America since the late Cold War years.  Soon, a new generation of leftists would be in power across much of the continent, committed to the idea of national sovereignty and limiting Washington’s influence in the region in a way that their predecessors hadn’t been. 

Hugo Chávez was already president of Venezuela.  Just a month before Rumsfeld’s Santiago trip, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the presidency of Brazil. A few months later, in early 2003, Argentines elected Néstor Kirchner, who shortly thereafter ended his country’s joint military exercises with the U.S.  In the years that followed, the U.S. experienced one setback after another.  In 2008, for instance, Ecuador evicted the U.S. military from Manta Air Base.  

In that same period, the Bush administration’s rush to invade Iraq, an act most Latin American countries opposed, helped squander whatever was left of the post-9/11 goodwill the U.S. had in the region.  Iraq seemed to confirm the worst suspicions of the continent’s new leaders: that what Rumsfeld was trying to peddle as an international “peacekeeping” force would be little more than a bid to use Latin American soldiers as Gurkhas in a revived unilateral imperial war. 

Brazil’s “Smokescreen”

Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks show the degree to which Brazil rebuffed efforts to paint the region red on Washington’s new global gulag map.

A May 2005 U.S. State Department cable, for instance, reveals that Lula’s government refused “multiple requests” by Washington to take in released Guantánamo prisoners, particularly a group of about 15 Uighurs the U.S. had been holding since 2002, who could not be sent back to China.

“[Brazil’s] position regarding this issue has not changed since 2003 and will likely not change in the foreseeable future,” the cable said.  It went on to report that Lula’s government considered the whole system Washington had set up at Guantánamo (and around the world) to be a mockery of international law.  “All attempts to discuss this issue” with Brazilian officials, the cable concluded, “were flatly refused or accepted begrudgingly.”

In addition, Brazil refused to cooperate with the Bush administration’s efforts to create a Western Hemisphere-wide version of the Patriot Act.  It stonewalled, for example, about agreeing to revise its legal code in a way that would lower the standard of evidence needed to prove conspiracy, while widening the definition of what criminal conspiracy entailed.

Lula stalled for years on the initiative, but it seems that the State Department didn’t realize he was doing so until April 2008, when one of its diplomats wrote a memo calling Brazil’s supposed interest in reforming its legal code to suit Washington a “smokescreen.”  The Brazilian government, another Wikileaked cable complained, was afraid that a more expansive definition of terrorism would be used to target “members of what they consider to be legitimate social movements fighting for a more just society.” Apparently, there was no way to “write an anti-terrorism legislation that excludes the actions” of Lula’s left-wing social base.

One U.S. diplomat complained that this “mindset” -- that is, a mindset that actually valued civil liberties  -- “presents serious challenges to our efforts to enhance counterterrorism cooperation or promote passage of anti-terrorism legislation.”  In addition, the Brazilian government worried that the legislation would be used to go after Arab-Brazilians, of which there are many.  One can imagine that if Brazil and the rest of Latin America had signed up to participate in Washington’s rendition program, Open Society would have a lot more Middle Eastern-sounding names to add to its list. 

Finally, cable after Wikileaked cable revealed that Brazil repeatedly brushed off efforts by Washington to isolate Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, which would have been a necessary step if the U.S. was going to marshal South America into its counterterrorism posse. 

In February 2008, for example, U.S. ambassador to Brazil Clifford Sobell met with Lula’s Minister of Defense Nelson Jobin to complain about Chávez.  Jobim told Sobell that Brazil shared his “concern about the possibility of Venezuela exporting instability.”  But instead of “isolating Venezuela,” which might only “lead to further posturing,” Jobim instead indicated that his government “supports [the] creation of a ‘South American Defense Council’ to bring Chavez into the mainstream.”

There was only one catch here: that South American Defense Council was Chávez’s idea in the first place!  It was part of his effort, in partnership with Lula, to create independent institutions parallel to those controlled by Washington.  The memo concluded with the U.S. ambassador noting how curious it was that Brazil would use Chavez’s “idea for defense cooperation” as part of a “supposed containment strategy” of Chávez. 

Monkey-Wrenching the Perfect Machine of Perpetual War

Unable to put in place its post-9/11 counterterrorism framework in all of Latin America, the Bush administration retrenched.  It attempted instead to build a “perfect machine of perpetual war” in a corridor running from Colombia through Central America to Mexico.  The process of militarizing that more limited region, often under the guise of fighting “the drug wars,” has, if anything, escalated in the Obama years.  Central America has, in fact, become the only place Southcom -- the Pentagon command that covers Central and South America -- can operate more or less at will.  A look at this other map, put together by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, makes the region look like one big landing strip for U.S. drones and drug-interdiction flights. 

Washington does continue to push and probe further south, trying yet again to establish a firmer military foothold in the region and rope it into what is now a less ideological and more technocratic crusade, but one still global in its aspirations.  U.S. military strategists, for instance, would very much like to have an airstrip in French Guyana or the part of Brazil that bulges out into the Atlantic.  The Pentagon would use it as a stepping stone to its increasing presence in Africa, coordinating the work of Southcom with the newest global command, Africom.   

But for now, South America has thrown a monkey wrench into the machine.  Returning to that Washington Post map, it’s worth memorializing the simple fact that, in one part of the world, in this century at least, the sun never rose on US-choreographed torture.

Report: Realistic Urban Training is DHS and DOD “Conducting Desensitizing Exercises”

Just a couple years ago we reported that the U.S. military was involved in war gaming scenarios that included training for such things as large scale economic collapse and civil unrest. Photos from the training exercises showed simulated situations that included protesters holding up “We Need Food Now” signs. It was a clear sign that the government is preparing for just such an event, and that they were training military personnel to respond in the capacity of a domestic police force.

The warnings we and others issued were ignored by most of the population and dismissed by many as nothing more than conspiracy theory and fear mongering.

A few years on, the military continues to step up exercises focused on urban deployment and as recently as last month held live exercises in heavily populated US metropolitan areas.

Residents of Miami and Houston were treated to troop mobilizations, machine gun fire, and gunships flying over their cities. After concerned callers reported the activities to local news stations, the media quickly moved to calm fears of a terrorist attack or invasion. They smiled while they did it and shrugged off the unprecedented displays as just your average, everyday military exercise.

Except, of course, the US military, up until recently, has never openly trained in U.S. cities, and especially not in scores of cities with training spread over such a short period of time.

Which begs the question, why are the military and local law enforcement holding realistic urban training exercises on the streets of America when they could do it at any of the hundreds of training facilities around the world?

Via: The Daily CruxBurning Platform

I was once stationed at Camp Lejuene, NC.  As a Navy Corpsman, I helped care for Marines.  I tell you this because inevitably there will be those that assume I hold some anti-military motive.

At no time during my time there were “realistic urban training” exercises conducted in towns and cities.  This is a recent development.

The training has been coordinated with local, county and state agencies and officials, including the Ridgeland police and fire departments, according to a Marine Corps news release.

Although there is no danger, Farao said residents should stay away if they see training under way or uniformed personnel.

Realistic Urban Training is happening all over the U.S.  

In Miami, Florida on January 26, 2013, Army Backhawk helicopters swooped through the city at night, firing door-guns and chasing make-believe bad guys like something out of an action movie.  The fired blanks echoed off of the buildings, scaring many residents into taking cover.  The local news reported excitedly about the exercise, stating it was only a drill and for residents not to be concerned. However, there was no journalistic follow up asking hard questions.  Such as, who authorized an exercise without informing the public?  Why conduct this type of training in a populated U.S. city and put citizens at risk?  Isn’t this a violation of Posse Comitatus?  No hard follow up questions were asked, and to my knowledge, have not been since.

Not even when the same exercise occurred in Houston, Texas on January 29, 2013.   The U.S. Army along with other agencies took over the Carnegie Vanguard High School in Houston on Monday. Alarmed residents called police and complained about gunshots and helicopters.  No details were provided about the training.  Watch the KTRK-TV Houston report and hear how alarmed residents responded after hearing gunshots and seeing military helicopters flying over their homes.

According to Sgt. 1st Class Michael Noggle, an Army spokesman based at Fort Bragg, N.C., “We were invited by the city of Galveston to conduct joint training exercises to enhance the effectiveness of both services in order to better protect the residents of Galveston.”

He went on to say in an email that “The purpose of the realistic urban training is to give our Special Operators an opportunity to hone their skills in a controlled, but unfamiliar, realistic urban environment that cannot be replicated with the bare-boned facades found on military installation ranges.”

I’ve highlighted a few examples, but there are more.  In a search I came upon these others.  Los Angeles, CA,  Plainville and Worchester, Massachusetts.  As reported in the other stories, residents were unaware of the drills until helicopters swooped over their neighborhoods. And here’s more: Minneapolis, MN, and this in East Saint Louis, MO.  There are many more, but these links provide a foundation for further research.

I spoke with a high-ranking, military source in DHS.

Preferring to remain unnamed for obvious reasons, he told me, “DHS and DOD are conducting desensitizing exercises all across the U.S.,” he paused, then added, “we’re being prepared for mass civil unrest in major U.S. cities.  DOD will be expected to help – when we’re requested.”

I asked if there was a timeline for expecting civil unrest in our cities and why should we expect it to begin with.

I was told that there were many reasons, but that the continued devaluation of our currency, the predicted history-setting prices for gasoline this summer and the continued gun control debate are forming a perfect storm of civil discontent.  When this storm hits, it will most assuredly produce mass casualties.  When does DHS expect this to happen? 

This summer.

From a high-ranking source deep within DHS, who has strong DOD ties, we are being told that joint DOD-local law enforcement exercises are to desensitize us to military occupation.  When asked if there was any concern about violating Posse Comitatus, he stated “no concern at all,” and added, “That’s been a non-issue for a long time.”

Source: The Allegiant

We are hearing similar reports from DHS, DOD, and law enforcement sources known by numerous investigators and reporters in alternative media. Many of the sources have requested to remain anonymous, prompting skeptics to call it bunk. However, it’s hard to believe that there is nothing to this. Furthermore, if you were privy to details that your government was about to implement a massive police state and past whistle blowers were imprisoned and had their lives destroyed, would you be willing to share your name and put your family in harm’s way?

As noted by Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones in a recent report at, there is a strong possibility that whatever the US government is preparing for has been orchestrated by the elite, who hope to benefit in the form of money, resources and power, something we’ve seen throughout history:

Every indication clearly suggests that authorities in the United States are preparing for widespread civil unrest. This trend has not emerged by accident – it is part of a tried and tested method used by the banking elite to seize control of nations, strip them of their assets, and absorb them into the new world order.

 There is a crucial economic imperative as to why the elite is seeking to engineer and exploit social unrest.

One of the final steps of the process, the “IMF riot,” detailed how the elite would plan for mass civil unrest ahead of time that would have the effect of scaring off investors and causing government bankruptcies.

“This economic arson has its bright side – for foreigners, who can then pick off remaining assets at fire sale prices,” writes Palast, adding, “A pattern emerges. There are lots of losers but the clear winners seem to be the western banks and US Treasury.”

In other words, the banking elite creates the very economic environment – soaring interest rates, spiraling food prices, poverty, lower standards