Confused by all the proposed changes to the Patriot Act ricocheting through the Capitol? The Center for Democracy and Technology
(CDT) has put together a handy chart comparing the current law with the various amendments in the House and Senate.
The chart compares proposed amendments (.pdf) to National Security Letters (NSLs) and the so-called “lone wolf” provisions of the Patriot Act. The proposals have only been passed by the judiciary committees, and face further amendments
before they hit the full House and Senate for votes.
According to Gregory Nojeim, CDT’s director of project on freedom, security and technology, although neither of the current proposals goes far enough
in fixing all of the problems that civil libertarians find in the Patriot Act, they do show improvements.
“There’s no doubt that the legislation that emerges from this process and goes to the president will have additional
civil liberties protections,” he told Threat Level. “It will certainly fix the gag order provision that comes
with NSLs, to bring it in line with the Constitution. It will certainly have more reports to Congress and audits to ensure
more transparency in the use of key Patriot Act powers.”
He notes that the House bill is the better of the two bills, since it would allow the “lone
wolf” surveillance provision — which the Justice Department says has never been used — to expire at the
end of this year. It also offers a standard for NSLs that is slightly more strict than the Senate version and imposes a December
2013 sunset on NSL authority that would roll back their usage to what was allowed prior to the passage of the Patriot Act.
NSLs are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions
and others to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail
addresses, websites visited and more.
NSLs have been used since the 1980s, but the Patriot Act expanded the kinds of records that could be obtained with them.
They do not require court approval, and currently come with a built-in lifetime gag order. With an NSL, the FBI need merely
assert that the information is “relevant” to an investigation, and anyone who gets a national security letter
is prohibited from disclosing that they’ve received the request.
Under the new House proposal, rather than simply assert that information needed is relevant to an investigation, the FBI
would have to create a written statement of specific facts showing reasonable grounds for why the information it’s seeking
pertains to a foreign power or a suspected agent of a foreign power who is under investigation. The FBI would have to put
this in writing at the same time it issues an NSL, although the statement would not be served to an entity with the NSL. It
would be retained by the FBI and available for examination by the inspector general when needed.
The Senate proposal, on the other hand, only requires that the FBI produce a statement of facts showing reasonable grounds
that the information sought is relevant to an investigation, and doesn’t specify the involvement of a foreign power
or agent of a foreign power.
Both proposals require the FBI to include notice in NSLs letters that the recipient has the right to seek judicial review
of the order — though the recipient must still comply with the letter pending that review.
Both also loosen the restrictions on a court to uphold a gag order. Whereas the current legislation requires that the court
accept the government’s simple assertion that disclosing the existence of an NSL would jeopardize national security,
the Senate and House proposals require the FBI to produce a statement of facts to back its claim that disclosing the existence
of an NSL would harm national security or diplomatic relations, or endanger an investigation or the safety of a person.
The House proposal goes a step further and allows the court to issue a gag order for only 180 days, to be re-assessed for
renewal at 180-day increments.
The FBI’s use of NSLs to get information on Americans without a court order increased dramatically last year, from
16,804 in 2007 to 24,744 in 2008. The 2008 requests targeted 7,225 U.S. people. Justice Department inspector general audits
in 2006 and 2007 revealed that the bureau had been abusing the letters.
Auditors found that the FBI evaded limits on (and sometimes illegally issued) NSLs to obtain phone, e-mail and financial
information on American citizens. It also under-reported the use of NSLs to Congress.
About 60 percent of a sample of the FBI’s NSLs did not conform to Justice Department rules, and another 22 percent
possibly violated federal statute because they made improper requests of businesses or involved unauthorized collections of
The audit also criticized the FBI for improperly tracking its use of NSLs.
In a report submitted to Congress last May, the Justice Department asserted that the FBI has since implemented a number
of corrective actions, such as replacing the database it used for tracking NSLs, which “reduced errors in compiling
statistics necessary for Congressional reporting.”
The FBI also issued a number of “corrective NSLs” to “provide legal authority to retain information it
had previously received” for so-called “exigent” requests and “blanket NSLs” that had been viewed
as problematic. Exigent requests involve an informal emergency request to a business to voluntarily hand over information
until a more formal NSL can be issued to cover the request.
For example, the FBI reviewed the circumstances around more than 4,000 phone numbers it obtained through NSLs to determine
if proper legal process was used to obtain them. If the review team couldn’t find documentation that proper legal process
was followed or if the process was insufficient, but the team determined the phone number was relevant to a national security
investigation, the agency issued a corrective NSL for the data. If not, then the agency purged the collected data from its
The Senate Judiciary bill would impose a sunset on NSLs for the first time — December 31, 2013 — after which
the law for NSLs would revert to their status prior to the passage of the Patriot Act.
Both the Senate and House bills would also remove a restriction that prevents an entity from challenging a gag order with
regard to Section 215 requests — which deal with business records. Under this section, the government can demand that
third-party entitites hand over your financial, library, travel, phone, medical records and others without your knowledge
or consent, simply by certifying to a court that the records are needed for a terrorism investigation. Entities that receive
such orders are under a gag order, which they cannot challenge until a year has passed.
The Senate and House proposals would allow entities to challenge the gag order right away.
Nothing has ever changed the world as quickly as the Internet.
Less than a decade ago, "60 Minutes" went to the Pentagon to do a story on something called information warfare, or cyberwar as some people called it. It involved using computers and the Internet as weapons.
Much of it was still theory, but we were told that before too long it might be possible for a hacker
with a computer to disable critical infrastructure in a major city and disrupt essential services, steal millions of dollars
from banks all over the world, infiltrate defense systems, extort millions from public companies, and even sabotage our weapons
Today it's not only possible, all of that has actually happened. And there's a lot more we don't even
It's why President Obama has made cyberwar defense a top national priority and why some people are
already saying that the next big war is less likely to begin with a bang than with a blackout.
"Can you imagine your life without electric power?" Ret. Adm. Mike McConnell asked "60 Minutes" correspondent
Under the pretext of the war on terror and through initiatives such as the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), as
well as other commitments, there has been an ongoing effort to further harmonize North American security priorities. The militarization of the continent, along with U.S.-Canada integration is taking place in areas of
law enforcement, border services and the armed forces. More is being done to better protect the northern border, but
somehow government needs to strike a balance between security and the movement of goods and people.
On May 27, 2009, Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and Minister of Public Safety, Peter Van Loan issued
a Joint Statement on the Canada-U.S. Border. It went on to say, “We are committed to a collaborative approach to our border, one that enhances our security
and public safety while facilitating the trade and travel that connect our two countries.” They agreed to hold
twice yearly summits to further manage border issues. The Shiprider Agreement was also signed which allows the RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct joint armed patrols of shared waterways.
The scope of the agreement is broad and might push the definition of boundary waters. Any integrated cross-border maritime
law enforcement operation could include land pursuits and aerial support. This could involve the cooperation of provincial
and state police, the Canadian military, immigration and border patrol, along with other agencies.
Back in March of 2008, Stuart Trew of the Council of Canadians reported, Joint RCMP-Homeland Security “Shiprider” pilot project to be made permanent. He questioned and rightfully so, “Where were the public hearings on the Shiprider project? Where was the
parliamentary debate or political oversight on this and on the security integration measures in the SPP in general?”
At the time, no public announcement was made about the pilot project because authorities apparently wanted to keep an element
of surprise as to their new border strategy. Later, officials were forced to reveal some of the project’s details
when U.S. officers were spotted in Canadian waters. The rationale being offered by some to counter any perceived loss
of sovereignty is that the joint program will allow Canadian authorities aboard American vessels going into American waters
and the reverse coming into Canadian waters. Although it is important to work together on shared security concerns,
this agreement could set a dangerous precedent and be further expanded.
The final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative came into effect on June 1 of this year. It requires Canadians and Americans to have a passport or other secured documents
to cross the border by land. U.S. officials remain concerned on how risk assessments of people entering Canada are conducted
as well as the differences in its immigration and visa policies. The northern border has also become another front for
the war on terror and is now being patrolled by unmanned drones. While security at the U.S.-Canada border is being tightened,
not enough is being done to protect the southern border. It is clear that the Obama administration wishes to relax immigration
restrictions with Mexico and supports some sort of amnesty program. Further securing the northern border could be part
of an effort to give the illusion that the U.S. government is taking action.
The Civil Assistance Plan was signed by the U.S.-Canadian military in February of 2008. The plan would allow the military of one nation to support
the other during a civil emergency. The agreement goes well beyond any cross-border crisis. Even though it threatens
the sovereignty of each country, there was no public debate and no Parliamentary or Congressional oversight. Similar
to the SPP, the Civil Assistance Plan is shrouded in secrecy with missing annexes that remain classified. There are
concerns that this agreement could lead to foreign troops being used for gun confiscation and a martial law scenario.
Increasingly, the military is being used at sporting events, checkpoints and in some cases, in response to crime. Foreign
troops are participating in more training exercises on American soil. Many military drills are also taking place in
urban areas to further acclimate military presence on the streets.
An increased continental approach to security which includes law enforcement, border initiatives and the military could
serve to further bind North America into a single foreign policy entity. A militarized security perimeter could be used
to restrict, track and trace our movements. While some talk about further hardening the border, there is a focus to
ensure that it remains open to the free flow of goods as well as cheap labor. There is little doubt that having secure
borders should be a priority and that it is important to work together to achieve common objectives. This should not be at
the expense of our sovereignty, privacy and freedom.
Dana Gabriel is an activist and independent researcher who writes about trade, globalization, sovereignty, as well
as other issues. Contact: // <![CDATA[ var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addy26812
= 'newworldordermustbestopped' + '@'; addy26812 = addy26812 + 'hotmail' + '.' + 'com'; document.write( ''
); document.write( addy26812 ); document.write( '' ); //n // --> // ]]> firstname.lastname@example.org
The FBI today revealed its latest marketing campaign with the arrest of four easily
manipulated dupes recruited at a New York mosque.? Special Marketing Expert, Robert Fuller of the FBI, expertly concluded a year long project to induce a collection of disaffected mentally disadvantaged
anti-Semites into an attempted act of terrorism.? Keeping with FBI post 9/11 marketing policies, all weapons and explosives
used in the feigned attack were harmless duds, in contrast to their marketing event of September 11, 2001, when two men Robert
Fuller conveniently avoided detaining, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, went on to fly actual airplanes into real buildings.
marketing genius Fuller in creating the would-be terror cell, a confidential informant (CI), under the FBI thumb for a previous criminal career in fraud (i.e. lying and deception), manipulated the unfortunate group of mental midgets into
a long list of federal crimes by driving the defendants across state lines into Connecticut for the purpose of obtaining an
inoperable surface to air missile and? inert c4 explosives, thereby making their crimes interstate in nature.
The complaint enumerates several exchanges between the would-be terrorists where actionable planning takes place.?
The CI is present at each and every one of these exchanges.? Indeed, the CIA provides all of the materials used in the fake
terror attacks.? He even participates in obtaining cell phones and other materials needed for the operation.? Reading the
complaint, it appears that the entire operation would never have occurred if not for the FBI's CI with a criminal background
Peppered throughout the complaint are repeated and emphasized links between Islam and terrorism as well as links between Jews and victimhood.?
Downplayed is the fact that fact that the would-be terrorists clearly intended Americans, including American military personnel,
as targets of their fantasized attack.? Naturally, these are the themes we expect to see in an FBI terror marketing extravaganza.?
Moreover, this marking push coincides with the recent escalating attempts of war criminal Dick Cheney to rewrite the history
of terror in the United States.? While Mr. Cheney may no longer be in office, he appears to have the continuing marketing
support of the FBI.
Because this content does not reside on the portland indymedia servers, portland indymedia
can make no guarantees regarding the nature or safety of this content nor the anonymity in viewing it.
Today's Marketing Climax
As of present, we are yet to hear of the
FBI sending terror recruiters to synagogues with the goal of recruiting would-be anti-Muslim terrorist nor evangelical churches
with the aim of stirring up abortion clinic bombings.? At this point in time, the winning marketing theme is Islamic terrorism
WASHINGTON: In a new revelation, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the CIA of the United
States and his country's ISI together created the Taliban.
"I think it was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and CIA created them together," Zardari
told the NBC news channel in an interview.
Blog: Opposing the Taliban
In the interview, which was given to the NBC on May 7, Zardari also accused the US of supporting the
military rule of Pervez Musharraf who was alleged to be taking sides of the Taliban.
He disagreed with the popular belief in the US that the Pakistan military and intelligent services
still have sympathies for the Taliban.
"I think General Musharraf may have had a mindset to run head and hand with the hound but certainly
not on our watch. We don't have a tough process at all," Zardari said.
Asked about the influential role of the Pakistan army, Zardari said he is in control of everything
in the country, including the military.
"The Parliament has final say. It's the Parliament form of government, and I am a product of the Parliament,"
Earlier, Zardari in an another interview had said that India was not a "threat" to his country and
that Pakistan had moved some of its forces from its Indian border to western frontier to eliminate Taliban in its tribal belt.
Should USA be tried and convicted in international court for creating the Taliban?
Last Friday, the Obama administration turned to the “dark-side” yet again, and appealed a district court ruling that would give detainees in Afghanistan a chance to challenge their detention before a judge.
The Justice Department also went on to ask the judge to halt proceedings on three other habeas corpus cases.
This wasn’t the first time we’d seen this from the Obama administration. Back in February, the
Justice Department announced it would no longer use the term “enemy combatant”, which sounds great!, until you
hear the part about them saying that despite this change, they still have the authority to detain suspects indefinitely,
without charge or trial.
Sounds like Cheney to me.
And get this, the detainees represented in this most recent case weren’t captured on the battlefield
in Afghanistan. They were Yemenis and Tunisians the U.S. government decided might be a threat for whatever unknown
reason, and locked them away for six years without any charges.
It is one thing to detain those captured on the surrounding battlefield at a place like Bagram, which respondents correctly
maintain is in a theater of war. It is quite another thing to apprehend people in foreign countries — far from any Afghan
battlefield — and then bring them to a theater of war, where the Constitution arguable may not reach. Such rendition
resurrects the same specter of limitless Executive power the Supreme Court sought to guard against in Boumediene — the
concern that the Executive could move detainees physically beyond the reach of the Constitution and detain them indefinitely
That’s coming from a judge who Glenn Greenwald notes:
is an appointee of George W. Bush, a former Whitewater prosecutor, and a very pro-executive-power judge.
And that Boumediene Supreme Court ruling he references? Listen to what Obama had to say about that before he
Today’s Supreme Court decision ensures that we can protect our nation and bring terrorists to justice, while
also protecting our core values. The Court’s decision is a rejection of the Bush Administration’s attempt
to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo - yet another failed policy supported by John McCain. This is an important step
toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between
fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus. Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for
more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy.
Right. So, what happened to Barack Obama? Why does that phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely”
keep ringing in our heads? The only way we’re going to banish the forces of the “dark-side”, as
Cheney likes to call them, is by holding everyone responsible for unleashing said forces accountable.
Accountability means no one is above the law. President. Republican. Democrat. It doesn’t matter.
Greenwald argues Spain not only has the right to do this, but actually has an obligation under the Convention Against Torture and Geneva Conventions.
And more importantly, the primary responsibility under these international laws to prosecute lie with the country
whose officials authorized the crimes.
Why does it feel like Obama will fight to hold onto that “limitless Executive power” every step
of the way? Could there be any clearer a reason why this nation must move forward with an independent commission of inquiry?
(you can tell Congress to do just that here)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether the president may order that
people picked up in the United States be detained indefinitely and without criminal charges.
The court is undertaking a fresh review of the Bush administration's aggressive use of preventive detention
for suspected terrorists. The administration asserts that the president has the authority to order the military to detain
anyone suspected of being an al-Qaida member.
The administration's policy is being challenged by Ali al-Marri, a Qatar native who was seized in the
United States and is the only enemy combatant currently being held on U.S. soil. The government says al-Marri is an al-Qaida
Al-Marri, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, says he cannot be imprisoned without charge
or trial. He was arrested in Peoria, Ill.
Al-Marri has been held in virtual isolation in a Navy brig near Charleston, S.C., for
nearly 5 1/2 years.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., said in a split decision that the president
has such power, but that al-Marri must be given the chance to persuade a federal judge that he is not an enemy combatant.
The administration argued that al-Marri's case should first go to federal district court in South Carolina,
instead of to the Supreme Court.
Al-Marri said that the case was of such constitutional importance that it should be heard by the high
court now — and the justices apparently agreed.
The case will not be argued before March, meaning that President-elect Barack Obama will be in the
White House and decisions about al-Marri will be made by him.
During the presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly criticized President George W. Bush for being too
aggressive in asserting executive authority.
Brooke Anderson, chief national security spokeswoman for the transition, has previously refused to
say what Obama would do about al-Marri. She did not immediately comment Friday.
It is rare for an incoming administration to reverse course on a case before the high court, although
it does happen.
The new administration has options if it wishes to avert a Supreme Court hearing.
It could send al-Marri home to Qatar or transfer him back to civilian court to face criminal charges.
The government followed the latter path in the case of U.S. citizen Jose Padilla rather than have the high court take up the
matter. Padilla, who was arrested in Chicago and held in the same brig as al-Marri, was convicted in a criminal trial in federal
court in Miami.
Obama also is weighing what to do with the roughly 250 foreigners who are being
held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The court has ruled that those men must be able to argue for their
freedom before a federal judge, but it has not questioned the authority to seize and hold them.
Al-Marri arrived in the U.S. with his wife and five children on Sept. 10,
2001 — one day before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. He entered the country on a student visa seeking
a master's degree in computer science from Bradley University, a small private school in Peoria, Ill.
He was arrested three months later as part of the FBI's investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks. Prosecutors
indicted him on charges of credit card fraud and lying to the FBI, not terror charges.
But in June 2003, Bush said al-Marri had vital information about terror plots, declared him an enemy
combatant and ordered him transferred to military custody.
The government says al-Marri trained in al-Qaida camps and met with Osama bin Laden and Sept. 11 mastermind
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. His laptop was filled with information about poisons, coded e-mail messages and lectures by bin Laden
and others on the importance of martyrdom, the government says.
Civil liberties groups were joined by former Attorney General Janet Reno, former FBI Director William
Sessions, former generals and other ex-government officials in urging the court to review the case.
They said the justices should overturn the appeals court ruling backing the president's authority to
detain terrorism suspects in the U.S. without charges.
The case is al-Marri v. Pucciarelli, 08-368.
Maryland Police Put Activists'
Names On Terror List 10-8-08
aaandre writes with word of a Washington Post story which begins:
"The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases
that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday. The police also entered the activists' names
into the federal Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area database, which tracks suspected terrorists. One
well-known antiwar activist from Baltimore, Max Obuszewski, was singled out in the intelligence logs released by the ACLU,
which described a 'primary crime' of 'terrorism-anti-government' and a 'secondary crime' of 'terrorism-anti-war protesters.'"
According to the article, "Both [former state police superintendent Thomas] Hutchins and [Maryland Police Superintendent Terrence]
Sheridan said the activists' names were entered into the state police database as terrorists partly because the software offered
limited options for classifying entries." Reader kcurtis adds "The State Police say they are purging the data, but this is
one more example (on top of yesterday's news that datamining for terrorists is not feasible due to false positives) of just how badly the use of these lists can be abused."
ACLU calls for probe of Chertoff over 'terrorist' watch listNick Juliano
The American Civil Liberties Union wants Congress to investigate the Department
of Homeland Security's creation of "militarized zones" within the US in its overuse of a terrorist watch list and other programs
that endanger privacy and civil liberties.
"The Department of Homeland Security has far too many ill-conceived programs
that fail to account for privacy, due process and other principles that assure fairness to the innocent," Caroline Fredrickson,
director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office said in a news release. "It is time for Congress to recognize the Bush
administration's security apparatus is an emperor without any clothes."
ACLU calls for probe of Chertoff over 'terrorist' watch listNick Juliano Published:
Thursday July 17, 2008
The American Civil Liberties Union wants Congress to investigate the Department of Homeland
Security's creation of "militarized zones" within the US in its overuse of a terrorist watch list and other programs that
endanger privacy and civil liberties.
"The Department of Homeland Security has far too many ill-conceived programs
that fail to account for privacy, due process and other principles that assure fairness to the innocent," Caroline Fredrickson,
director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office said in a news release. "It is time for Congress to recognize the Bush
administration's security apparatus is an emperor without any clothes."
Fredrickson said DHS agents are overzealous
in their patrol of the "border," sending agents and border check-points up to 150 miles away from the border, in effect transforming
"many towns into militarized zones."
Homeland security Secretary Michael Chertoff was testifying Thursday before the
House Homeland Security Committee Thursday about DHS's border security procedures.
"DHS's collection of personal data
on millions of U.S. citizens and its ever-expanding surveillance infrastructure should raise alarms for the committee," Fredrickson
said. "DHS provides the illusion of security without the purported benefits to our nation."
The department has previously
come under scrutiny for seizing traveler's electronic data without warrants in the course of border searches. Chertoff defended
the policy in a recent USA Today op-ed.
The ACLU previously has criticized the Transportation Security Administration,
which was folded into DHS when it was created after 9/11, for creating a terrorist watch list that has now ballooned to more
than 1 million names.
"The Akif Rahman experience is an example of DHS's inept border screenings. This week, during
an event to mark the one millionth name record on the terrorist watch list, Rahman, an American citizen, spoke about how he
has repeatedly been detained at the U.S.-Canada border. Rahman has been interrogated extensively about the mosque that his
family attends and his religious observances. Yet, after being shackled and submitting to humiliating searches, he is always
'cleared' to leave. When he finally filed a lawsuit, he learned that many U.S. citizens of Arab or South Asian descent suffer
the same degrading fate. The committee should question Secretary Chertoff about the department's targeting of American citizens.
"The committee also needs to investigate reports of racial profiling at the immigration checkpoints that involve Latino
residents being disproportionately stopped," Fredrickson said.
Chertoff defended one border program, referred to as
Operation Streamline, in a speech last month. According to the Dallas Morning News DHS credits the zero-tolerance border policy
with reducing the flow of illegal immigrants.
"These illegal migrants come to realize that violating the law will
not simply send them back to try over again, but will require them to actually serve some short period of time in a jail or
prison setting - and will brand them as having been violators of the law," Chertoff said in a speech last month.
ACLU says the cost of such programs is too high and denies too many citizens their rights.
"The presence of DHS and
National Guard agents in the Rio Grande Valley as far as 150 miles into the U.S. has transformed many towns into militarized
zones. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) have immigration checkpoints in the Texas towns of Sarita, Falfurrias and Laredo,"
Fredrickson said. "This past May CBP made announcements in the media that it intended to continue screening for immigration
status at these checkpoints during natural catastrophes and emergency situations. Fortunately, when Texas Governor Rick Perry
pointed out that the checkpoint delays could cost lives, CBP retracted its statement but has yet to fully communicate this
to the residents of the Rio Grande Valley."
Three days after Americans saw the Bush administration's counterterrorism chief say the Iraq war has likely not made
the United States safer from terrorism, the official announced his resignation, citing health reasons.
In an e-mail sent to his staff Wednesday afternoon, Adm. Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC),
said he was stepping down to "take care of some long-delayed surgery that I can no longer neglect."
The center serves as an all-source intelligence operation, synthesizing information from the CIA, the Pentagon, the FBI
and elsewhere and analyzing the threat of terrorism to the United States.
A spokesman said that Redd, 63, needed to have both of his knees replaced, which would require a long period of rehabilitation
during which he could not work.
On Monday, NBC News broadcast an interview with Redd in which he said that the U.S. was "probably" not safer from terrorism
today than it was before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In the longer term, he said, "We'll wait and see."
Redd's comment apparently contradicted an assertion made by President Bush's top counterterrorism adviser, Fran Townsend,
that the terrorist threat "would have been worse" if the United States had not invaded Iraq.
NCTC spokesman Carl Kropf said Redd's decision to leave was "absolutely not" related to his comments, and that he had not
been pressured in any way to step down.
No replacement has been named. When Redd leaves on Nov. 10, he will be temporarily replaced by his deputy until a new director
is confirmed, Kropf said.
In a statement released this afternoon, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell thanked Redd for his service.
"I know his decision to step down was difficult," McConnell said. A spokesman for his office said there was "no pressure whatsoever"
on Redd to resign.
Here is more
"trumped up fear"
By claiming these false hope worries over mundane "what if's"
All the while allowing boats and trucks and huge cargo shipment to pass the check in with not a second or even first
look over - we now see more of this "fear mongering"
This is MORE SPIN to trample your rights, ditch th eConstitution, and to spy on citizens. They are not serious about
stopping terrorism. If they were they would investigate the Bush/Cheny cabal.
Senators Blast Canadian Border Security
GAO Investigation Said it Would Be Easy to Smuggle Dangerous Materials From Canada
Senators are calling for greater security along the Canada-U.S. border after a
U.S. government investigation said it would be easy to smuggle radioactive materials and other contraband across the northern
The independent Government Accountability Office told Congress Thursday it sent
investigators to test security along the border was able to easily simulate the cross-border movement of radioactive materials
and other contraband with no border patrol agents anywhere in sight.
"Our work clearly shows substantial vulnerabilities in the northern border to
terrorists or criminals entering the U.S. undetected," Gregory Kutz, the GAO's managing director of special investigations,
told members of the Senate Finance Committee.
GAO testimony suggested the U.S. border with Canada is disproportionately short-staffed,
drastically underprotected, and disturbingly vulnerable to terrorists.
Senators Alarmed by Border Security
"I am quite alarmed at how easy it is to get across the border," said Senate Finance
Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., as he heard testimony from officials from the GAO and the Department of Homeland Security.
However, Ronald Colburn, deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, said he was not
surprised by the report.
"We agree with the GAO's findings," he said. "The border is not as secure as it
Focusing Resources on U.S.-Mexico Border
Colburn said part of the reason GAO investigators could easily cross an unmanned
stretch of the Canada-U.S. border was that his agency's resources are used to protect the most vulnerable areas of the American
border -- the Mexico border. Colburn said that is where 99 percent of illegal border activity takes place.
However, GAO investigators were able to easily cross the Mexican border as well,
although it was the serious understaffing at the northern border that raised the ire of senators during the hearing.
At one location on the Canadian border, the U.S. Border Patrol was alerted to
GAO activities through a citizen's tip, but agents were unable to find the GAO investigators.
The GAO said it found several ports of entry that had posted daytime hours and
were simply left unstaffed overnight.
'How to Man 4,000 Miles?'
Colburn said there are approximately 250 U.S. Border Patrol agents on duty at
any given time out of a total of approximately 1,000 assigned to the Canadian border. There are 12,000 U.S. Border Patrol
agents assigned to the Mexican border.
"How are 250 people going to man 4,000 miles? It sounds like you need more people,"
"This demonstrates how our borders are so porous," said Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.,
who said that a 24-1 ratio of agents patrolling the southern border versus the northern border represented "a disparity of
Salazar questioned how Colburn could claim that the Mexican border was the most
vulnerable area. Quoting a 2002 Canadian Security Intelligence Service report that said that, with the possible exception
of the United States, which is the principal terrorist target, there are more international terrorist organizations active
in Canada than anywhere else in the world.
Lawmakers also cited the case of Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian terrorist caught by
a quick-thinking U.S. border guard crossing the border at Port Angeles, Wash., with approximately 100 pounds of explosives
that were going to be used in a planned millennium terror attack at Los Angeles International Airport.
Senators pressed Colburn on exactly how many agents the U.S. Border Control needs
to adequately protect the Canada-U.S. border.
'We Cannot Skimp on Resources'
"You've not been specific," Baucus told Colburn. "You've been avoiding questions.
You've not been candid. Your testimony is not satisfactory. I don't get the sense that you really care."
Baucus told Colburn to "dedicate more time and resources to address this problem
that's been so exposed today."
Other senators from border states expressed alarm, including Sen.Olympia Snowe,
"This is deeply disturbing news. The fact is that the northern border is understaffed
and undermanned," Snowe said.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., demanded that Colburn tell lawmakers whether he had
the necessary resources to patrol the borders effectively, saying no work the committee did could be more important than finding
a solution to this issue.
"This is very troubling," Schumer said. "This report highlights a serious problem.
...We cannot skimp on resources. We cannot spend more than $200 billion on the war in Iraq and then skimp on resources here.
You can't play offense and not play defense."
The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush
administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious
impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined
our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.
The damage these three words have done -- a classic self-inflicted wound
-- is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were
plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor
our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare -- political intimidation through the killing of
But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was
deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a "war on terror" did accomplish one major
objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier
for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq
could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the
postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Support for President Bush in the 2004 elections was also mobilized
in part by the notion that "a nation at war" does not change its commander in chief in midstream. The sense of a pervasive
but otherwise imprecise danger was thus channeled in a politically expedient direction by the mobilizing appeal of being "at
To justify the "war on terror," the administration has lately crafted
a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier
U.S. struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate
military powers, a status al-Qaeda neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with
Iran. Such war would then plunge America into a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and perhaps also Pakistan.
The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle.
It acquires a life of its own -- and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation
that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful
words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself"; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence
despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans
within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist
act in the United States itself.
That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing
on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany,
Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts. In his latest justification for his war in Iraq,
President Bush even claims absurdly that he has to continue waging it lest al-Qaeda cross the Atlantic to launch a war of
terror here in the United States.
Such fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media
and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism,
are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces
new threats. That puts a premium on the presentation of credible scenarios of ever-more-horrifying acts of violence, sometimes
even with blueprints for their implementation.
That America has become insecure and more paranoid is hardly debatable.
A recent study reported that in 2003, Congress identified 160 sites as potentially important national targets for would-be
terrorists. With lobbyists weighing in, by the end of that year the list had grown to 1,849; by the end of 2004, to 28,360;
by 2005, to 77,769. The national database of possible targets now has some 300,000 items in it, including the Sears Tower
in Chicago and an Illinois Apple and Pork Festival.
Just last week, here in Washington, on my way to visit a journalistic
office, I had to pass through one of the absurd "security checks" that have proliferated in almost all the privately owned
office buildings in this capital -- and in New York City. A uniformed guard required me to fill out a form, show an I.D. and
in this case explain in writing the purpose of my visit. Would a visiting terrorist indicate in writing that the purpose is
"to blow up the building"? Would the guard be able to arrest such a self-confessing, would-be suicide bomber? To make matters
more absurd, large department stores, with their crowds of shoppers, do not have any comparable procedures. Nor do concert
halls or movie theaters. Yet such "security" procedures have become routine, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and further
contributing to a siege mentality.
Government at every level has stimulated the paranoia. Consider, for example,
the electronic billboards over interstate highways urging motorists to "Report Suspicious Activity" (drivers in turbans?).
Some mass media have made their own contribution. The cable channels and some print media have found that horror scenarios
attract audiences, while terror "experts" as "consultants" provide authenticity for the apocalyptic visions fed to the American
public. Hence the proliferation of programs with bearded "terrorists" as the central villains. Their general effect is to
reinforce the sense of the unknown but lurking danger that is said to increasingly threaten the lives of all Americans.
The entertainment industry has also jumped into the act. Hence the TV
serials and films in which the evil characters have recognizable Arab features, sometimes highlighted by religious gestures,
that exploit public anxiety and stimulate Islamophobia. Arab facial stereotypes, particularly in newspaper cartoons, have
at times been rendered in a manner sadly reminiscent of the Nazi anti-Semitic campaigns. Lately, even some college student
organizations have become involved in such propagation, apparently oblivious to the menacing connection between the stimulation
of racial and religious hatreds and the unleashing of the unprecedented crimes of the Holocaust.
The atmosphere generated by the "war on terror" has encouraged legal and
political harassment of Arab Americans (generally loyal Americans) for conduct that has not been unique to them. A case in
point is the reported harassment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its attempts to emulate, not very
successfully, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Some House Republicans recently described CAIR members
as "terrorist apologists" who should not be allowed to use a Capitol meeting room for a panel discussion.
Social discrimination, for example toward Muslim air travelers, has also
been its unintended byproduct. Not surprisingly, animus toward the United States even among Muslims otherwise not particularly
concerned with the Middle East has intensified, while America's reputation as a leader in fostering constructive interracial
and interreligious relations has suffered egregiously.
The record is even more troubling in the general area of civil rights.
The culture of fear has bred intolerance, suspicion of foreigners and the adoption of legal procedures that undermine fundamental
notions of justice. Innocent until proven guilty has been diluted if not undone, with some -- even U.S. citizens -- incarcerated
for lengthy periods of time without effective and prompt access to due process. There is no known, hard evidence that such
excess has prevented significant acts of terrorism, and convictions for would-be terrorists of any kind have been few and
far between. Someday Americans will be as ashamed of this record as they now have become of the earlier instances in U.S.
history of panic by the many prompting intolerance against the few.
In the meantime, the "war on terror" has gravely damaged the United States
internationally. For Muslims, the similarity between the rough treatment of Iraqi civilians by the U.S. military and of the
Palestinians by the Israelis has prompted a widespread sense of hostility toward the United States in general. It's not the
"war on terror" that angers Muslims watching the news on television, it's the victimization of Arab civilians. And the resentment
is not limited to Muslims. A recent BBC poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries that sought respondents' assessments of the
role of states in international affairs resulted in Israel, Iran and the United States being rated (in that order) as the
states with "the most negative influence on the world." Alas, for some that is the new axis of evil!
The events of 9/11 could have resulted in a truly global solidarity against
extremism and terrorism. A global alliance of moderates, including Muslim ones, engaged in a deliberate campaign both to extirpate
the specific terrorist networks and to terminate the political conflicts that spawn terrorism would have been more productive
than a demagogically proclaimed and largely solitary U.S. "war on terror" against "Islamo-fascism." Only a confidently determined
and reasonable America can promote genuine international security which then leaves no political space for terrorism.
Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, "Enough of this hysteria, stop
this paranoia"? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense.
Let us be true to our traditions.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to
President Jimmy Carter, is the author most recently of "Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower"
Olbermann: And lastly tonight, a Special Comment, about
— lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved,
march through a cesspool… While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a
book with a glowing red cover…
The President of the United States — unbowed,
undeterred, and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies
of freedom: The Democrats.
By: Lonevet 07/24/06
THE CASE OF CHAOS
progressives talk about the stupidity of this administration, I remember what Governor Richards once said during the campaign
before the 2000 election. She told democrats not to underestimate this guy, he is smarter than he seems. If you believe that
Bush and those who control him are stupid then you are foolish. I suggest we start acknowledging the concept of Organized
Chaos as the driving force behind this administration. This is not a new concept but one that should get more attention because
it is closer to the truth than any others in the market place of ideas. Bush is out to create chaos whenever he can; this
is why I write this piece.
There are many very smart people in the Bush administration, they know how to wage war
(yet we are losing in Iraq and Afghanistan, why?) They know how to win/steal elections and control the majority of Americans
at any given time. Why are we in quicksand in Iraq and Afghanistan? I believe that it is all going as planned, create chaos
and the NeoCons make billions. The other things they have/will achieve are:
Most Democrats are terrified to open their mouths except to say "Yes Sir."
The Bill of
Rights is a hindrance in fighting terrorism, according to the neocons and their minions.
We now accept the premise
that a country can invade another nation only based on "Maybe."
Torture is something that is necessary to keep us
safe, according to Bush and Cheney. They just do not call it torture. The rest of the world sees us as the nation of lunatics,
who will kill you---and at your funeral will say, "Here is another victim for freedom.
Chaos lets all the lunatics
out to roam and kill without any concern they may face war crimes.
Chaos allows this administration to grant wavers
to DOD to enlist skin heads, violent criminals, people who given the chance will kill and rape "In-Theater."
allows the Secret Service to arrest anyone for anything. Most of the time the charges will be dropped--- but the message has
been sent. Chaos allows the republican politicians to "Pontificate" about life while destroying country after country.
Chaos allows Turkey to consider invading the northeast section of Iraq based on our arguments.
the oil companies to make billions while laughing about the military doing their bidding.
Chaos allows our elections
to be controlled by private corporations who will not tell us how our votes are counted, just the results.
for the corruption of the entire government under republican control.
Chaos allows the labeling of any disagreement
with our government an act of treason.
Chaos allows the complete commercialization of our press, we now get better
news from our comics than CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CBS, ABC and NBC.
started with a warning from Gov. Ann Richards, I will leave you a warning to the Republicans who still have some sense of
honor, your party has been high jacked by a group who make the Mafia look like altar boys, they are murderers, thieves and
"Un-American." We will lose this great republic if you do not stand up and take your party back. Democrats must find their
core values and fight for them. Fear is what's killing this nation, not terrorists! We, the people, must vote in huge numbers
to send a message that we will fight for our freedoms.
By Lonevet 07/24/06
Here is a Great Link to Noam Chomsky On the subject of TERROR
After I read this It helped define the origin of Terror and this ugly war against it.
It was a very enlightening article and is the opening link on my Terror Page
25 Jan 2006 (UK) Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, is facing an onslaught over the Government's
anti[pro]-terror laws after figures showed nearly 36,000 people were stopped and searched under the emergency powers last
year. The number of people stopped and searched each year has soared since the Act came into force in 2001, when 10,200 people
“For most of the 1,307, Mr. Padilla was tortured by the United States government
without cause or justification.” Michael Caruso, acting Federal Public Defender; “Motion to Dismiss for Outrageous
Government Conduct”, US District Court, Miami Division
“This is conduct that shocks the conscience.” Supreme Court 342 US
at 166 ibid
Jose Padilla is an innocent man. His story tells us everything we need to know
about the Stalinist regime currently operating in Washington and their utter disdain for human rights, civil liberties and
Padilla was taken into custody on May 8, 2002 at Chicago’s O’ Hare
Airport by Federal agents and placed in solitary confinement. He was stripped of his constitutionally-guaranteed rights and
forbidden to see an attorney. He was detained as a material witness although Attorney General John Ashcroft accused him publicly
of being a “dirty bomber”; alleging that he was planning to detonate a nuclear device within the United States.
He was not charged with a crime.
For the next 4 years he was isolated, tortured and used as a lab-rat in drug experiments
with LSD and other mind-altering hallucinogens. To date, the government has never produced a scintilla of evidence proving
that Padilla is guilty of anything. Still, no attorney, no court, and no law have been able to set him free. The entire system
has buckled under the load of imperial power leaving every American exposed to the capricious actions of the president. What
happened to Padilla can happen to any of us and no one is truly safe until the case is fairly resolved.
The Padilla case proves that Bush was planning to overturn habeas corpus and institute
a de-facto dictatorship from the very beginning. Padilla has never been a threat to national security; in fact, the government
has changed its story nearly every time it makes a public statement. There was no dirty bomb, no fissile material, no weapons,
no explosives, no conspiracy, and no provable link to terrorists. The government has no case and they know it. Padilla is
merely the unwitting victim of a plan to discard the Bill of Rights and establish the supreme power of the presidency. The
passing of the “Military Commissions Act of 2006” last month has made the Padilla case unnecessary. The congress
approved Bush’s request to expand his powers so that he can imprison anyone he chooses and do with them whatever he
likes. The legislation creates a modern-day monarch who can ignore the due process provisions in the law and apply the Geneva
Conventions however he sees fit. If Bush wants to round up citizens or non-citizens and torture them as “enemy combatants”;
he is now free to do so. The congress rubber-stamped everything that Bush was trying to achieve in the Padilla case.
That doesn’t mean that Padilla will be set free; far from it. But at least
he will get his day in court. Before he was charged with a crime (a period which lasted 3 and a half years) one government
spokesman candidly admitted:
“Providing him with counsel would break –probably irreparably, the
sense of dependency and trust that the interrogators are hoping to create. If he had access to counsel or if he learned that
a court was hearing his case could provide him with the expectation that he would some day be released.” (Motion: Michael
Isn’t this a tacit admission that Padilla was being tortured while he was
in military custody? It also shows that Bush’s agents were extorting information from Padilla in violation of his civil
According to his attorney, Padilla has been the victim of cruel and relentless
abuse from the very beginning of his confinement. He was kept in complete isolation in a windowless 9’ by 7’ cell
where he was repeatedly exposed to various techniques of sense deprivation, sleep deprivation, and radical temperature changes.
All reading materials, TV, radio and newspapers were banned. His exercise regimen was limited to a short stroll during the
night to prevent him from seeing the sun. He was constantly deceived as to his real location and “hooded and forced
to stand in stress positions for long periods of time”. These types of abuse are normally associated with tyrannical
regimes, but they have become standard procedure for the Bush administration.
The abusive treatment of Padilla is chronicled in Defense attorney Caruso’s
“Mr. Padilla was often put in stress positions for hours at a time. He would
be shackled and manacled with a belly chain, for hours in his cell. Noxious fumes would be introduced to his room causing
his eyes and nose to run.”
“Often he had to endure multiple interrogators who would scream, shake,
and assault Padilla. Additionally, he was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide
(LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP) to act as a form of truth serum during his interrogations.”
“The deprivations, physical abuse, and other forms of inhuman treatment
visited upon Mr. Padilla caused serious medical problems that were not adequately addressed. Apart form the psychological
damage done to Mr. Padilla, there were numerous health problems brought on by the conditions of his captivity. Mr. Padilla
frequently experienced cardiothoracic difficulties while sleeping, or attempting to fall asleep, including heavy pressure
on his chest and an inability to breathe or move his body.”
“However, it is important to recognize that all of the deprivations and
assaults recounted above were employed in concert in a calculated manner to cause him maximum anguish. It is also extremely
important to note that the torturous acts visited upon Mr. Padilla were done over the course of almost the entire three years
and seven months of his captivity in the Naval Brig designed to create dependency and destroy his will to live.”
Padilla has been of no consequence to Bush in his war on terror. He’s simply
provided the means to overturn the traditional protections of habeas corpus and the 8th amendment’s provisions against
“cruel and unusual punishment”. The case sets an important precedent that the president is no longer required
to comply with the law. Bush can arbitrarily repeal anyone’s “inalienable rights” by simply declaring him
an enemy combatant. The presumption of innocence is no longer assured.
The Padilla case reflects the inherent dangers of an all-powerful and unaccountable
executive. Those who would sacrifice their freedom for the false promise of security should take note of Padilla and consider
the risks of removing the safeguards which have traditionally protected us from the brutality of the state.
Robert Bolt makes this very point in his play “A Man for All Seasons”
when the protagonist Sir Thomas More warns:
“And when the last law was down, and the devil turned round on you, where
would you hide, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast. Man’s laws not
God’s! And if you cut them down do you think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes. I’d
give the devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake!”
It would be far better to let a terrorist go free than to destroy the law. The
law is our only refuge from the terror of the state.
WATCH THE POWER OF NIGHTMARE SERIES EXPLAIN HOW TERROR IS USED TO CONTROL AND WAGE WAR[
from the BBC ]
In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now
they promise to protect us from nightmares.
The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror
network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these nightmares.
In a new series, the Power of Nightmares explores how the
idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organized terrorist network is an illusion. It is a myth that has spread unquestioned
through politics, the security services and the international media.
At the heart of the story are two groups:
the Americanneo-conservatives and the radical Islamists.
Both were idealists who were born out of the failure of
the liberal dream to build a better world. These two groups have changed the world but not in the way either intended.
Those with the darkest fears became the most powerful
Together they created today's nightmare vision of an organized
terror network. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. Those
with the darkest fears became the most powerful. The rise of the politics of fear begins in 1949 with two men whose radical
ideas would inspire the attack of 9/11 and influence the neo-conservative movement that dominates Washington.
Both these men believed that modern liberal freedoms were eroding the bonds
that held society together. The two movements they inspired set out, in their different ways, to rescue their societies from
this decay. But in an age of growing disillusion with politics, the neo-conservatives turned to fear in order to pursue their
vision. They would create a hidden network of evil run by the Soviet
Union that only they could see.
The Islamists were faced by the refusal of the masses to follow their dream
and began to turn to terror to force the people to "see
KBOO FM (Portland Oregon)
Noble Resolve an interview with joint forces command
Next week, from August 20th to 24th, the U.S. military
will be conducting what they call an 'experiment' in Portland, called 'Operation Noble Resolve 07-2'. All military branches,
as well as the Northern Command and the Joint Forces Command, will be participating in the simulation, in which they will
play out the military's role in responding to a natural disaster - in this case, an earthquake in Portland. KBOO's Jenka
Soderberg speaks with Lieutenant Colonal Steve Smith of the U.S. Joint Forces Command about the planned simulation.