the holistic radical

March 11, 2008

Is it the 21st century yet, or are we back in the times of petty bread & cricuses?

Filed under: criminalization of citizens — Tags: , , , , , — sesame seed @ 6:53 pm

Look, Spitzer isn’t perfect. Prostitution should be legalized anyway–as long as it’s a consensual, non-abusive transaction. It should be legalized because enforcement around prostitution is selective and often biased. Laws that are biased are unjust. Spitzer maybe didn’t cover his tracks, but were these WIRETAPS legal? That’s the question that’s getting very little media play, and it should worry all of us. Illegally procured evidence isn’t admissible, is it now? Or shall we just install the new camera-boxes in our new glass houses to make things easier on Big Bother?

see article & comments on alternet: http://www.alternet.org/rights/79297/

You know what should be illegal? Capitalism–exploiting another person to maximize your profit.

Selling tainted food should be a high crime and misdemeanor.

Approving chemicals for people to use as “Artificial sweeteners”  when they are deadly should be illegal. Millions have suffered numerous synergistic health effects from aspartame, sucralose, etc.

Downing two towers in 2001 to start a profiteering war should be illegal.

Intimidating small farmers and trying to genetically modify all food and cause food shortages should be illegal.

Prostitution is a venal sin compared to those. A trifle. These women weren’t living in FEMA trailers.

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February 10, 2008

Live in NYC? You’re going to be a criminal

Because when wealth is hoarded by the few, the many poor are a threat.

Let’s arrest the poor rather than keep them content and able to survive.

And then let’s take their genetic information (their DNA) as soon as we arrest them, even if they are never convicted.

Ticket quotas are common knowledge. Are arrest quotas far behind. “It was only a misunderstanding, officer!”–Too bad–once your genetic information is taken away, you can’t get it back. Well, if you scrounge up some money, maybe you can get your eyeballs switched like in “Minority Report.”

And this is the man people were praying would come in like a white knight to run for president?

—–

Bloomberg Wants to Get in Your Genes
Compared to the present mayor’s contempt for civil liberties, Giuliani was a piker
by Nat Hentoff
February 5th, 2008 6:19 PM

Our humble mayor, Mike Bloomberg, has been basking in the glow of largely unmerited approval around the country, ranging from his purported resurrection of the city’s school system (many parents and students beg to differ) to his handling of the city budget, among other feats of the managerial prowess that has made him a billionaire. Encouraged by the buzz, Bloomberg has been consulting specialists in national election law even as Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey diligently studies the terrain for a possible Bloomberg vault to the White House.Even that inflated kingmaker, the Reverend Al Sharpton, has knighted the mayor for diminishing the “tone of ugliness”in this city.

Since Bloomberg has given his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, free rein to curtail civil liberties (and has warmly encouraged Kelly to try succeeding him at Gracie Mansion), Sharpton might have mentioned one particularly noticeable and ugly mark of the Bloomberg regime, described here by Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union: “The black community continues to bear the brunt of police stops, [and] blacks continue to be singled out for stops that don’t ever result in an arrest.”

(However, a cop would have to be a rookie policeman recently moved from Juneau, Alaska, to stop and frisk the renowned Al Sharpton.)

But now our mayor has proposed an assault on the most fundamental constitutional rights of New Yorkers—one that exceeds the contempt for the Constitution shown by any mayor in all the years I’ve been covering civil liberties in this city. Not even Rudy Giuliani thought of this one, which was reported by Jim Dwyer in the January 19 issue of The New York Times:

“This week, the mayor proposed that everyone arrested for any crime in New York City—before the case has been judged—should be required to provide a sample of DNA.” (Emphasis added.)

Under New York State law, DNA can only be collected from those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors. But in New York City, the mayor’s proposal would force anyone who’s merely arrested to give up a DNA sample for a data bank even before they can appear in court (as the Constitution requires).

The New York Civil Liberties Union release, “Myths and Facts About DNA Data Banks,”makes clear that each of us “has a privacy interest in the information contained in their DNA—it is information you would not want falling into the hands of employers, insurance companies, and other actors who could use it against you. . . . While a fingerprint is a two-dimensional representation of the surface of your fingers, DNA contains a tremendous amount of sensitive information about you, including your susceptibility to certain diseases, family history and ancestry.”

What Bloomberg wants to do is take away our Fifth Amendment guarantees of “due process of law”—the foundation of our system of justice—and our Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”Having your fundamental privacy ransacked before you ever get the chance to defend yourself against a criminal charge not only magnifies Giuliani’s reckless legacy of imperial executive power in this city, but also sharply reveals Bloomberg as a presidential aspirant who will continue the Bush-Cheney administration’s subversion of the Bill of Rights.

As of this writing, I’ve seen very little press attention given to this omen of what Bloomberg’s America would be like. Where are the outraged editorials? Where are the protests from the city’s lawyers? And will there be a response from the New York City Bar Association—the nation’s most influential, as far as civil liberties are concerned—which has condemned past “revisions”of the Constitution by the Bush-Cheney regime in the most acutely critical terms.

New York City’s criminal-justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, told Jim Dwyer that the mayor’s proposed DNA search-and-seizure policy “will prevent crime,”and that even though there’d be some resistance on the basis of privacy concerns, its adoption was “inevitable.”

Do you agree? It would be extremely interesting to find out what the current presidential candidates of both parties think of Bloomberg’s proposal. Then again, the mayor’s total disdain for due process isn’t entirely surprising in view of his enthusiastic support for his police commissioner’s actions before and during the 2004 Republican National Convention here. As I described it in an earlier column, “J. Edgar Bloomberg: COINTELPRO in NY” (April 24, 2007), teams of undercover New York City police officers were sent around the country, as well as to Canada and Europe, to infiltrate and spy on not only anti–Iraq War groups, but also such potential dangers to national security as church groups, environmental organizations, and anti-death-penalty groups.

And during the NYPD’s decidedly extra-constitutional arrests during the Republican convention, those people incarcerated (not all of them protesters) were asked by police what they thought of George W. Bush and questioned on their other political views. After forceful objections by New Yorkers—and the New York Civil Liberties Union—the cops stopped violating the First Amendment with such questions, which were obviously none of their damn business. The mayor, of course, didn’t object to the policy of asking such questions.

As a further indication of J. Edgar Bloomberg and Ray Kelly’s need for a crash course on the Constitution, the New York Law Journal reported on February 16, 2007, that U.S. District Court Judge Charles S. Haight—who has had a busy time of it trying to force the NYPD to abide by the constitutional guidelines for police surveillance—charged the department with “egregious”spying on “political activity”after the Intelligence Division videotaped a protest by (I kid you not) the Coalition for the Homeless in front of Mayor Bloomberg’s residence.

If that Putin-style police surveillance was “egregious,”what is the word for probing the most intimately personal information of New Yorkers after they are arrested—and only arrested?

With any luck, the mayor may have unintentionally performed an educational service, quickening interest in other investigative uses and abuses of DNA by the police. Next week: What the mayor obviously doesn’t know about the maze of problems in implementing his proposal. For example: Such massive expansion of DNA testing greatly increases the likelihood of error that is already inherent in the system. Or perhaps he simply doesn’t care—until, God forbid, there’s a mix-up, and a perpetrator’s DNA is mislabled as Michael Bloomberg’s.

On the January 23, 2008, Letters page, Ethan Young calls me “reactionary”for being pro-life. On the same page, Joseph Carducci provides one of the reasons I am indeed pro-life. He writes: “Yes, Barack Obama is half-black and talks about change, but he does not want to change Roe v. Wade, a ruling that eliminates more black people than any other cause of death.”

Fascismwatch: an SS? A Gestapo? A Secret Police?

When the police grow this large, anyone not in the police will become a criminal.  

WHY is this not front page news?

WHY is this being conducted through private-sector partnerships, not subject to public scrutiny?

WHY is there no outrage?

WHY is our government preparing to declare martial law? Will it happen, say, right before the election?

Write to your newspapers, people. Do not take this lying down. Then vote Ron Paul.

Oh, you think a woman will stop this? Clinton was on the board of Wal-Mart for 6 years while her husband was governor of Arkansas (discussed on Bill Moyer’s journal–I get the podcasts). Do you think she really cares about people? What has Wal-Mart done for wages, job stability, and quality of life for your community?

Support alternet:

AlterNet

FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including ‘Shoot to Kill’

By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive
Posted on February 8, 2008, Printed on February 9, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/76388/

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does — and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law. InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.

“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.

“At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector,” the InfraGard website states. “InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.”

In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, http://www.infragard.net, which adds that “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard.”

To join, each person must be sponsored by “an existing InfraGard member, chapter, or partner organization.” The FBI then vets the applicant. On the application form, prospective members are asked which aspect of the critical infrastructure their organization deals with. These include: agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation.

FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed an InfraGard convention on August 9, 2005. At that time, the group had less than half as many members as it does today. “To date, there are more than 11,000 members of InfraGard,” he said. “From our perspective that amounts to 11,000 contacts . . . and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America.” He added a little later, “Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense.”

He urged InfraGard members to contact the FBI if they “note suspicious activity or an unusual event.” And he said they could sic the FBI on “disgruntled employees who will use knowledge gained on the job against their employers.”

In an interview with InfraGard after the conference, which is featured prominently on the InfraGard members’ website, Mueller says: “It’s a great program.”

The ACLU is not so sanguine.

“There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations — some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers — into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” the ACLU warned in its August 2004 report The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.

InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and Homeland Security are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the “trade secrets” exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed.

“The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members,” the website states. “During interviews with members of the press, controlling the image of InfraGard being presented can be difficult. Proper preparation for the interview will minimize the risk of embarrassment. . . . The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the predilection of the answers, and identify the appropriate interviewee. . . . Tailor answers to the expected audience. . . . Questions concerning sensitive information should be avoided.”

One of the advantages of InfraGard, according to its leading members, is that the FBI gives them a heads-up on a secure portal about any threatening information related to infrastructure disruption or terrorism.

The InfraGard website advertises this. In its list of benefits of joining InfraGard, it states: “Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards, and much more.”

InfraGard members receive “almost daily updates” on threats “emanating from both domestic sources and overseas,” Hershman says.

“We get very easy access to secure information that only goes to InfraGard members,” Schneck says. “People are happy to be in the know.”

On November 1, 2001, the FBI had information about a potential threat to the bridges of California. The alert went out to the InfraGard membership. Enron was notified, and so, too, was Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley. He notified his brother Gray, the governor of California.

“He said his brother talked to him before the FBI,” recalls Steve Maviglio, who was Davis’s press secretary at the time. “And the governor got a lot of grief for releasing the information. In his defense, he said, ‘I was on the phone with my brother, who is an investment banker. And if he knows, why shouldn’t the public know?’ ”

Maviglio still sounds perturbed about this: “You’d think an elected official would be the first to know, not the last.”

In return for being in the know, InfraGard members cooperate with the FBI and Homeland Security. “InfraGard members have contributed to about 100 FBI cases,” Schneck says. “What InfraGard brings you is reach into the regional and local communities. We are a 22,000-member vetted body of subject-matter experts that reaches across seventeen matrixes. All the different stovepipes can connect with InfraGard.”

Schneck is proud of the relationships the InfraGard Members Alliance has built with the FBI. “If you had to call 1-800-FBI, you probably wouldn’t bother,” she says. “But if you knew Joe from a local meeting you had with him over a donut, you might call them. Either to give or to get. We want everyone to have a little black book.”

This black book may come in handy in times of an emergency. “On the back of each membership card,” Schneck says, “we have all the numbers you’d need: for Homeland Security, for the FBI, for the cyber center. And by calling up as an InfraGard member, you will be listened to.” She also says that members would have an easier time obtaining a “special telecommunications card that will enable your call to go through when others will not.”

This special status concerns the ACLU.

“The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment,” says Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program. “There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there’s information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don’t they just share it with the public? That’s who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . . This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.”

When the government raises its alert levels, InfraGard is in the loop. For instance, in a press release on February 7, 2003, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General announced that the national alert level was being raised from yellow to orange. They then listed “additional steps” that agencies were taking to “increase their protective measures.” One of those steps was to “provide alert information to InfraGard program.”

“They’re very much looped into our readiness capability,” says Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “We provide speakers, as well as do joint presentations [with the FBI]. We also train alongside them, and they have participated in readiness exercises.”

On May 9, 2007, George Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled “National Continuity Policy.” In it, he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with “private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.”

Asked if the InfraGard National Members Alliance was involved with these plans, Schneck said it was “not directly participating at this point.” Hershman, chairman of the group’s advisory board, however, said that it was.

InfraGard members, sometimes hundreds at a time, have been used in “national emergency preparation drills,” Schneck acknowledges.

“In case something happens, everybody is ready,” says Norm Arendt, the head of the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of InfraGard, and the safety director for the consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. “There’s been lots of discussions about what happens under an emergency.”

One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation — and what their role might be. He showed me his InfraGard card, with his name and e-mail address on the front, along with the InfraGard logo and its slogan, “Partnership for Protection.” On the back of the card were the emergency numbers that Schneck mentioned.

This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.

“The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage,” he says. “From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we’d be given specific benefits.” These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out. But that’s not all.

“Then they said when — not if — martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,” he says.

I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. “I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose,” he adds. “I’m so nervous about this, and I’m not someone who gets nervous.”

Though Schneck says that FBI and Homeland Security agents do make presentations to InfraGard, she denies that InfraGard members would have any civil patrol or law enforcement functions. “I have never heard of InfraGard members being told to use lethal force anywhere,” Schneck says.

The FBI adamantly denies it, also. “That’s ridiculous,” says Catherine Milhoan, an FBI spokesperson. “If you want to quote a businessperson saying that, knock yourself out. If that’s what you want to print, fine.”

But one other InfraGard member corroborated the whistleblower’s account, and another would not deny it.

Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she’s an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function — including engaging in lethal force — that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform.

“There have been discussions like that, that I’ve heard of and participated in,” she says.

Curt Haugen is CEO of S’Curo Group, a company that does “strategic planning, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, physical and IT security, policy development, internal control, personnel selection, and travel safety,” according to its website. Haugen tells me he is a former FBI agent and that he has been an InfraGard member for many years. He is a huge booster. “It’s the only true organization where there is the public-private partnership,” he says. “It’s all who knows who. You know a face, you trust a face. That’s what makes it work.”

He says InfraGard “absolutely” does emergency preparedness exercises. When I ask about discussions the FBI and Homeland Security have had with InfraGard members about their use of lethal force, he says: “That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened.”

“We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions,” the whistleblower says. “It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone.”

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/76388/

January 20, 2008

Kant’s Categorical Imperative Wins Out Again—If Only Our Politicians Could Recognize It

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011908Z.shtml

    Go to Original

    Tom Ridge: Waterboarding Is Torture
By Eileen Sullivan
The Associated Press

    Friday 18 January 2008

    Washington – The first secretary of the Homeland Security Department says waterboarding is torture.

    “There’s just no doubt in my mind – under any set of rules – waterboarding is torture,” Tom Ridge said Friday in an interview with the Associated Press. Ridge had offered the same opinion earlier in the day to members of the American Bar Association at a homeland security conference.

    “One of America’s greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don’t torture,” Ridge said in the interview. Ridge was secretary of the Homeland Security Department between 2003 and 2005. “And I believe, unlike others in the administration, that waterboarding was, is – and will always be – torture. That’s a simple statement.”

    Waterboarding is a harsh interrogation tactic that was used by CIA officers in 2002 and 2003 on three alleged al-Qaida terrorists. The tactic gives the subject the sensation of drowning.

    The CIA has not used the technique since 2003, and CIA Director Michael Hayden prohibited it in 2006, according to U.S. officials. The debate was recently revived when the CIA revealed it had destroyed videotapes showing the interrogations of two alleged terrorists, both of whom were waterboarded.

    Ridge’s comments come a week after a report that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said he would consider waterboarding torture if it were used against him. [NB: My emphasis.] 

    In a separate interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, the current Homeland Security secretary, Michael Chertoff, refused to say what he thinks of the interrogation technique. Chertoff, a former federal prosecutor and judge – who was also assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in 2002 – said the question should be asked in the context of a specific set of facts and a specific statute and should not be posed abstractly.

    “This is too important a discussion to have based on throwing one question at somebody,” Chertoff said.

    Attorney General Michael Mukasey has declined so far to rule on whether waterboarding constitutes torture. An affirmative finding by Mukasey could put at risk the CIA interrogators who were authorized by the White House in 2002 to waterboard three prisoners deemed resistant to conventional techniques.

    Ridge, homeland security adviser and then secretary from 2001 to 2005, said he was not involved in the discussions about CIA interrogation techniques. Rather, his department was a consumer of any intelligence gleaned from them.

    “I have no idea how any of the intelligence community extrapolated any information from anybody – where they got it, how they got it, and from whom they got it. But waterboarding is torture.”

    Ridge, a lawyer, wades into the waterboarding debate with both a military and civilian background. He is also a former Pennsylvania governor and congressman. He has since started his own homeland security consulting firm.

    “As a former soldier, I will tell you that we go to great pains, and a lot of men and women, who serve in the military at risk of their own lives, do everything they can to minimize civilian casualties and certainly do everything they can to respect the Geneva Convention.”

    The House and Senate intelligence committees want to prohibit the CIA from using any interrogation techniques not allowed by the military. That list includes waterboarding. If their intelligence bill containing the restriction is approved by Congress, it almost certainly will face a veto from President Bush.

  ——-

January 18, 2008

Incredible must-read article by Nat Hentoff–what the CIA had to destroy

Hentoff is a national treasure. We are running out of time to impeach Bush, and Hentoff presents more persuasive reasons why such action is not only warranted, but necessary. Average citizens will not be protected from CIA-allowed torture in the future, and the destruction of evidence going on here is not only unjust and morally shady, but it’s outright criminal–here are the actions of power out of control, here are the frantic moves of an empire crumbling.
The whole “is waterboarding torture” debate should not be taking place, and speaks volumes about our moral degradation. Of course waterboarding is torture: it is more than “simulated drowning”–it is all but real drowning–it is oxygen deprivation and it is being used to coerce information out of people–people who do not even have to be formally charged with any crime, who can be you or me called an “enemy combatant” (see the debate on internet freedoms and why S. 1959 must be defeated–Ron Paul is the only candidate taking a stand on this). Average citizens must go on the record and display their abhorrence to it, if governments are being reprehensible about it.
http://www.villagevoice.com/generic/show_print.php?id=78870&page=&issue=0803&printcde=MzYwMTc2NzQwMg==&refpage=L2FkbWluL2VkaXQvZWRpdC5waHA/aWQ9Nzg4NzAmc2VjdGlvbj1uZXdz
Nat Hentoff
What the CIA Had to Destroy
The many reasons this torture evidence was too hot to handle
by Nat Hentoff
January 15th, 2008 6:14 PM
So what was on those videotapes destroyed by the CIA? Let’s put a face to it. Abu Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and, after being shot in the groin while trying to escape, was sent to recover in a CIA secret prison. He would be the first of the CIA’s many “ghost prisoners”—and also the first to test the value of what the president has often described as an “alternative set of [interrogation] procedures . . . that are safe and necessary.”As described by Ron Suskind in The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 , Zubaydah—held in an ice-cold cell—was denied medication for his wounds, threatened with death, prevented from sleeping, incessantly blasted with pounding rock music (by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others), and, at last, waterboarded. After 30 seconds of feeling that he was on the verge of drowning, he was more than eager to answer any questions.

In a September 6, 2006, speech, George W. Bush triumphantly called Zubaydah “one of the top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.” After the application of those “alternative” interrogation procedures, which the president described as “designed to . . . comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations, [and which] the Department of Justice reviewed extensively and determined to be lawful,” the detainee “disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [to be] the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks” and “also provided information that helped stop a terrorist attack being planned for inside the United States.”

But, Suskind added, two weeks before Bush’s words of praise for these “coercive” interrogations, Dan Coleman—the FBI’s leading expert on Al Qaeda—asserted that Zubaydah was “insane, certifiable, split personality,” and that he wasn’t the top operative he was made out to be. The CIA was informed of Coleman’s assessment, and it was, “of course, briefed to the President and Vice President.” Undaunted, Bush made his congratulatory speech and then surreptitiously said to CIA director George Tenet: “I said he was important. You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?”

After his involuntary contribution to the advanced arts of interrogation, Zubaydah became a resident of our penal colony at Guantánamo Bay, which the president has made an entirely law-free zone, much like the CIA’s secret prisons. But after two Supreme Court decisions contradicted the commander in chief in his assertion of unfettered war powers, the Bush administration reluctantly set up a transparently prosecutorial kangaroo court there.

In April of last year, appearing before a status-review tribunal to determine whether he had been accurately designated as an enemy combatant, Zubaydah testified, as reported in the New York Times, that as a Palestinian, and because of American support for Israel, “I have been an enemy of yours since I was a child.”

However, he insisted that as a longtime adherent of “defensive jihad”—and despite what he’d said after being waterboarded—”I disagreed with the Al Qaeda philosophy of targeting innocent civilians like those at the World Trade Center. . . . I never conducted nor financially supported, nor helped in any operation against America.”

He explained that he’d made false statements while being tortured by the CIA. Asked by the president of the tribunal, an Air Force colonel, “Can you describe a little bit more about what those treatments were?”, Zubaydah obliged.

Not surprisingly, his answers are not part of the transcript. I expect that Attorney General Michael Mukasey would consider those waterboarding details to be “state secrets” involving highly classified “sources and methods.”

Paul Gimigliano, a professional Pinocchio (i.e., spokesman) for the CIA, said that however Zubaydah described his treatment, “The United States does not conduct or condone torture. The agency’s terrorist interrogation program has been implemented lawfully, with great care and close review.”

If you have any doubts, just ask Attorney General Mukasey, whose department is conducting a close review (but close for whose sake?) of the destroyed CIA interrogation tapes starring Abu Zubaydah. But the Justice Department says that it cannot tell us how long this inquiry—which is being conducted in conjunction with the CIA—will take.

That’s not surprising in view of the intricate tapestry of cover-ups woven by both agencies and by the White House. With so little time remaining before the next administration takes over, a special independent prosecutor must be appointed before more criminal evidence disappears.

According to a December 30 investigation by The New York Times, as “interrogations of Abu Zubaydah had gotten rougher” in the CIA secret prison, “each new tactic [had to be] approved by cable from headquarters.”

CIA headquarters? Justice Department headquarters? White House lawyers? Names, please!

There’s another crucial dimension to uncovering the effects of what Zubaydah— terrified that he was about to drown— allegedly revealed during those “rougher” interrogations: There are several cases of purported terrorists before our courts who are being prosecuted on the basis of Zubaydah’s desperate testimony in that CIA black site.

For example, American citizen José Padilla was arrested at O’Hare Airport in 2002, after allegedly conspiring with Zubaydah and Al Qaeda to set off a “dirty bomb” in the United States. Padilla—himself relentlessly tortured while being held for years as an “unlawful enemy combatant”—first appeared in court on those charges before none other than Michael Mukasey, at the time a federal judge in New York. Mukasey ordered him imprisoned on a material-witness warrant, based in part on the information that had been proffered by Zubaydah under waterboarding. Then, suddenly, Padilla was taken out of the federal-court system by order of George W. Bush and vanished for years without even a hearing or charges or access to a lawyer.

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, says: “It is not clear whether Mukasey knew Zubaydah’s statements were obtained by torture. But since he issued the warrant, Mukasey has a real or apparent conflict of interest” as one of the heads of the current investigation into the CIA- destroyed torture videos. Mukasey has appointed a career federal prosecutor to head the investigation and report back to him.

Cohn adds: “[Mukasey] has said it is premature to appoint an outside special counsel. But like the Nixon administration, the Department of Justice cannot be trusted to investigate itself. Congress should be pressured to pass a new independent-counsel stature.”

There are bipartisan constitutional lawyers beginning to apply that pressure, but there will be passionate resistance from Congressional Republicans. Do you think that Democratic Congressional leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will give a damn?

December 16, 2007

Letter to My Countryfellows

US & world politics we may not be able to change, but we can take charge of our health–and the issues are connected, deeply. I’ll try to compactly explain how & why it is so important (& possible) for you to take steps now to inform yourself and preserve your health, so that you can preserve your life, take care of yourself and the community you live in.

These aren’t things you will hear on The Nightly News or even PBS. That’s because those are corporations (Even the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) & all corporations uphold & worship only one thing– the Almighty Dollar. They want you to consume, and if you can’t or won’t, they’ll try to shred your self-esteem to bits. We must recognize that “better stuff” does not equal a “better life.” Although we are in an inflationary society that penalizes savings, we must learn how to provide for ourselves–and one of the most important ways to do this is through establishing our good health. Health is the wealth the elite do not want the masses to have.

So…if we accept the premise that the media is highly controlled, as are the schools, as is everything we learn…we know how providing alternate information or dissenting information can be a threat, even in this supposed “democracy.”

There is a bill–S. 1959– before the Senate now (please write or call your Senators) that supposedly quite innocently wises to establish a Committee-something-to-other to study the rise of “homegrown terrorism” and “violent radicalization.” However, this proposed law (we citizens still have the power to stop it) is really vague and can be used to shred the free speech rights of casically anyone who might be a little “fringe.” This “Committee” will try to get support from Academia to legitimate its claims–prove its hypothesis for them–that “homegrown terrorism” is a really big problem, far bigger than the 45 million Americans, say, without health insurance.

Things are getting dark in America, and yes, I want to be alarmist. Here I am passing on what I am reading from multiple sources about how bad things are now and how bad they are likely to get in “the future”–and let’s just say that it’s not a future that will be for everyone to participate in. And I don’t just mean the exclusion of some people from buying a house or retiring early. I mean the killing off the people, though:

–aspartame, splenda, splenda, etc., any and all artificial sweeteners

–vaccinations (forced)

–manufactured diseases and/or the release of biological agents

–Big Pharma medications (Avandia, Vioxx)

–tainted and genetically modified foods (GMOs–most commonly in corn and soy and products containing corn and soy)

–fluoridated water (and fluoridated salt in some countries)

–cell phone radiation/ computer radiation

As well as the “standard” killers:

polluted air

secondhand smoke

hazardous building materials

warfare

hunger/malnutrition

etc…

And how will people be controlled? This will be the icing on the cake. Already we have show trials in Guantanamo (no Geneva convention rights–no charges against “enemy combatants”–a test for here).

Plus show trials here:

–“plea bargains”

–the mass imprisonment of the poor, unemployed, and (mostly) nonwhite

–the 4th Amendment is dead–courtesy of the “Patriot” Act–Americans need to understand what this act means–this act was swept through Congress before they could read it, conveniently in the hysteria that set in during the few months after the events of 9/11/2001. The FBI can enter your home and search it when you are not around and they do not have to warn you, notify you, or have a warrant. This is insanity. Everyone is a potential criminal, and when that begins to be carried out, by searching us all, it will not be pretty.

The fact of the matter is that more prisons than schools are being built today in America–they can’t build them fast enough, at huge profits for (sub) contractors. And–hold on to your chair–concentration camps–“civilian labor camps”–are being built in America. By the way, in case of emergency, natural or man made, FEMA can take hold and declare martial law. No Constitution involved or required.

A few more points:

>>In 2005, to take effect in May 2008, something called the “REAL ID” was passed, because apparently terrorism is such a huge problem (more than, say, the 40,000 homeless in New York City alone). States will be pressured to force this National ID card onto its citizens because otherwise they will not get Federal Funding. If you, John Q. Citizen, do not submit to this card, you will not be allowed to: enter a Federal/Public Building, take a train, or take a plane. Can anyone say, “Police state”? “Papers, please!”

>>When this fascism does not prove to be enough to control the populace (“cards are not secure”), efforts will be made to put chips in people. Then such chips will be tied to all financial accounts you have, all buying and selling, and all cash will be eliminated. These chips have been invented already–they are called the Verichip–and are being marketed for “medical purposes” like Alzheimer’s patients, despite the facts that the chips are invasive, can have side effects, are extremely vulnerable to identity theft (the fastest growing crime in the US as all our information becomes interlinked with computers), and have not been proven more effective at person identification/medical identification than the good-old-reliable medicalert bracelets.

>>There will be bank runs in America again sometime soon, and 1929 will look like a picnic. This is because our money is worthless, printed by the Federal Reserve cartel of big bankers rather than our own government, and because any gold in fort knox ostensibly used to back up our ‘currency’ (such as it is) has been given away in foreign debt payments a long time ago–no audits of fort knox holdings since the 1950s…gold is over $800 an ounce now, it will move past $1000 in our lifetime, if not soon–people are waking up to the need for hard currency–after this point silver will also become more appealing as an investment…I wish I could be proud of my country, but it’s an oligarchy, not a democracy, and we are massively exploiting other countries and ourselves being screwed.

>> In 2010, or around then, depending on how fast the elite can work–and history shows they’re pretty efficient–there will be something called the North American Union, with one currency, the Amero (and presumably all our dollars will be even more worthless than they are now). If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard about this in “the media” (besides the fact that they are corporations, the CIA has a thing called Operation Mockingbird designed to plant their agents & disinformation into the media–to perpetrate their Psy Ops/ Psychological Operations aka Mind Control–I don’t know a lot about this, but I have no reason to disbelieve this–it’s because it’s an outrageous assault on national sovereignty and has nothing to do with trade. (NAFTA was just the beginning for this.) Supposedly the NAU (North American Union) will be “patterned after the EU,” but that would make it sound harmless, which it is most certainly not. It’s a step toward One-World Government, which the elites like the Rockefellers have wanted since WWII. An Asian Union (“for trade,” of course) is also in the works for 2015, and apparently there is already an African Union (which, again, I don’t know a lot about and would love to be sent information about, but I have no reason to disbelieve that the American media would censor this as well, as it censors other controversies like the idea that AIDS was probably created in the lab, and that certainly more AIDS deaths happen due to liver failure from toxic effects of antiviral cocktails than to the disease itself, etc.)

So…more to say but not now. I am not saying for anyone to liquidate their savings or do anything rash. I certainly don’t have any special information or all the answers. I just do a lot of browsing, which I present in the links here, and I keep an open mind.
See clip on YouTube or Google Video (alas, same difference: “Television is a Goddamned Amusement Park” from Network).

Please donate to and support Ron Paul–Tea Party Today!

https://www.ronpaul2008.com/donate/

November 19, 2007

WHERE THERE IS NO DISSENT, THERE IS FASCISM

Please check out these sites and media for yourself:

http://www.spychips.com

http://www.wtprn.com/ (interesting, but with a “conservative” slant on issues too urgent to be ideologically pigeonholed)

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/thermite_index.html

Alex Jones films to watch (google video or
psionplanet.tv
infowars.com):

Endgame
Matrix of Evil

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