Friday, December 17, 2010

Fallout from Wikileaks already hitting home?

In recent weeks, the disclosure of classified material by non-profit media group Wikileaks has been the subject of much discussion. So just a quick re-cap here to start off, for those that may not be familiar with the story. Wikileaks has published hundred of classified and sensitive documents, diplomatic cables, that give a revealing look inside America's international political and war strategies. Wikileaks claims to now have hundreds of thousands of such documents, which they promise to publish over time. The U.S. military claims these documents were leaked to Wikileaks by an Army Private whom they have kept in solitary confinement for the last seven months.

As a sort of sideshow now to this whole affair, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been detained in England on a warrant by Swedish authorities who want to question him over charges of sexual misconduct. Swedish officials claim that there is no political motivation behind these charges, and that the charges are unrelated to the goings-on at Wikileaks, despite the fact that he was already detained and questioned while in Sweden this past summer on these same charges. With the release of new material came this renewed effort to arrest Assange once again. The timing of all of this is certainly coincidental at the very least.

But now to the topic at hand, as it most directly pertains to the freedom of speech. In the United States, free speech is protected under the Constitution.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” -First Amendment

Free speech is also recognized internationally under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." -Article 19

Nevertheless, debate has raged as to whether or not Wikileaks is guilty of high crimes for publishing the classified material. The debate centers on whether or not free-speech protections extend to the publication of classified government documents and if Wikileaks did in fact break any laws that are already in place. Assange and Wikileaks were no doubt confident that they were breaking no laws, as numerous U.S.-based publications have printed sensitive material in the past without facing the threat of prosecution, and no pertinent laws have been put on the books since the First World War. (Not to mention the fact that Assange is not an American citizen, Wikileaks is not an American organization, and any such "crime" did not take place on American soil.) So it would seem that opponents of Wikileaks are really more concerned with how damaging the material is, rather than the fact that classified material is being published. 

Speaking from a supporter's home in England where he is staying under house arrest, Julian Assange stated today that he fears an imminent indictment by U.S. Authorities against either himself or Wikileaks by a secret grand-jury. An legal panel also predicts that there will be an indictment. 

A report of the panel's discussion can be found at this link:

The implications for free speech, and freedom of the press would be profound if such an indictment were handed down, and certainly if a conviction were secured it would completely undermine the very foundations of a free press in America. At stake here is one of, if not the most cherished and fundamental liberties that define us as a nation. More alarmingly, let us have a look at what effect this is having already on the American press. There is a virtual media blackout on the contents of the information published by Wikileaks, as the U.S. media runs spinelessly in full retreat of what has already been reported publicly, not only by Wikileaks themselves but by other news organizations in Europe and elsewhere. As Dr. Ron Paul points out in the audio recording here below, the main-stream corporate media are completely focused on the leak, rather than the content.

Also, U.S. Based servers have dropped or blocked access to the Wikileaks website, and an American must now access servers on foreign soil to read the content at all. So exactly what does it mean to be an American today, when we must travel to foreign soil, even digitally, in order to practice our Constitutionally protected rights? With corporate media already dominating the mindset of the masses with biased and incomplete reporting, outright blackouts of news, and then cramming their content with tabloid “junk-food news,” the last bastion of hope for free speech now is the internet. And that folks, is why there is a war on now to censor the internet. There is a war on to control what Americans think, and what Americans can and cannot see. You can read more about that here in one of our previous articles...

Some might say that American companies and press outlets have good reason to avoid Wikileaks like the plague right now, at least until the chips do fall where they may. Spineless as it may be to not defend the core principals by which a press organization operates in the first place, their fears are not without some merit. It does however show a lack of integrity, and boldly hints that profits are more important than the actual reporting of news. It also goes to show how oppressive our government actually is, that in this supposedly free country, the press will run and hide from anything that might upset the government, before any case has even been made. Now it appears that this hint of trouble has already undermined our ability as a people of a so-called free and open society to get the story, the full story, the true story. And now it has spilled over into general reporting, beyond news that has anything to do with the Wikileaks story.

Take the news that is being reported today for example, by the Associated Press, as it appeared on Yahoo. The story is about the CIA station-chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, being recalled from his post in the wake of his cover being blown in a Pakistani lawsuit accusing him, and others named in the suit, of killing civilians there with missile strikes. Threats have been made against him, and his name is being openly reported overseas, in Pakistan especially. Yet here in America, we are barred from knowing his name because, as the AP claims, “...he remains undercover and his name is classified.” So while the enemies of America now know full well the identity of the CIA station-chief, we here at home are still barred from this information. For what purpose?

CIA station-chief pulled from Islamabad

Clearly, material that was once considered classified, is no longer in fact classified once it is leaked to non-classified persons, regardless of the circumstances or the sensitivity of the information.

classified clas·si·fied [klas-uh-fahyd]
1. Arranged in classes or categories.
2. Available to authorized persons only, as for reasons of national security: a classified document.

This fact not only shows that the AP is being shamefully cautious and “white-gloved” when dealing with information that the U.S. government may object to being reported, but goes right to the heart of the matter as it pertains to the Wikileaks dissemination of formerly classified material. Once the material is leaked to non-classified personnel, it is no longer classified by the very definition of the word.

How much other material is being censored by the AP, or other news sources, which the American government may find objectionable? Are we to tolerate wholesale censorship and the destruction of our fundamental liberties, simply because the government might be offended by the reporting of fact, truth, or opinion? And when did this government for the people and by the people, suddenly become the masters of the people, dictating what is and is not allowed, in direct opposition the ideals put down as inalienable rights of the people in the founding document of this nation?

Some have argued that this whole matter with Wikileaks has been a “false-flag” operation all along, an “internet 9/11” as some conspiracy theorists have termed it, in order for the American government to seize control of the internet. Whether or not Assange and Wikileaks are actually a CIA asset is debatable, even if not likely, but one thing is clear; the American government is poised to exploit this matter in a way that stands in stark contradiction to the ideal this nation once held most dear.The days of freedom of speech and freedom of press in America, as we have known them for hundreds of years, are at an end.

We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights.  ~Felix Frankfurter

We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.  ~Edward R. Murrow
I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.  ~James Madison, speech, Virginia Convention, 1788
Nations grown corrupt
Love bondage more than liberty;
Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty.
~John Milton

(Special thanks to Ahkronn for contributing to this article)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Devious Censorship at Esteemed Newspaper

The MSMR has just received an email letter which is quite unsettling, but sadly, not surprising at all. It is not necessary to make an entire report, but we will instead publish the letter verbatim, as the author has given us permission to do. Special thanks to that author, "Jackinthebox," for taking the time to bring this to the attention of our readers.

Dear MSMReview:

Something has happened in the past few days that I think may be of some interest to you and your readers. A clear example of censorship on the part of a mainstream and “trusted” publication. Now I understand that in some cases, what is perceived as censorship can really be explained as necessary management of content, in a responsible manner. For example, just because your letter to the editor did not get printed, it is not necessarily deliberate censorship. This event however, is not one of those cases, and completely undermines the integrity and credibility of the publication in question.

Please let me start by introducing myself. I am “Jackinthebox.” an internet personality and avid message-poster across forums, message boards, news outlets, etc. Sometimes my name takes on variations on different forums in order to get through their registration process. For example, at the publication in question here, my member name is “Jaknthebox.” I have been a member there since August of 2009, and a lifelong reader of the print edition.

The publication in question is the Poughkeepsie Journal. A revered publication with a history of more than 220 years, making it the third oldest newspaper in the nation. It could be considered a local paper, but is much more than a backwater “hometown” print, having high readership in the historic Hudson Valley region north of New York City. It is no leap to say that many, many thousands of people read the Poughkeepsie Journal, as their primary source of news. It has been owned by the Gannett Company since 1977.

Because of its prominence, the integrity of such a news source is paramount in a nation built upon principals of liberty and free speech. Even more so in this region rich in history, which was first settled more than a century before the United States even existed. Of course, and in this day and age, any objective reader has to take into account that most stories reported to us are skewed in one way or another, often intentionally. Corporate gain, political bias, even intelligence agency psychological operations have all come to have an oppressive and overbearing influence on the public perception of events. It is one thing though, to report a story with a “slant” as me might expect FOX news, for example, to report from a Right-wing perspective. It is quite another to resort to blatant tactics of deliberate deception and tactics of disinformation. A news source is nothing without integrity.

Which now brings us to the issue at hand. In the time since I activated an account with the Poughkeepsie Journal's online edition, I have been quite active with my commentary. Being a life-long resident of the area, with family roots that go back to the first Dutch settlers who came here in the 1600's, local news stories are of particular interest to me. With an active account, readers may comment on most articles there, and I thoroughly enjoy doing so. Having such an outlet for readers to express their own opinions and perspective on issues related to those stories reported creates vibrant discussion and fosters greater understanding among fellow citizens. It also has the added benefit of “keeping them honest” so to speak, with readers able to critique the elements and veracity of each story.

Rarely though, is there ever much question of the integrity or factual basis of the articles. There have been some irregularities that I, and others have noticed in both print and online editions over the years, but I suppose that a certain amount of this is to be expected. No writer is perfect, and no operation operates flawlessly. Though they should strive to of course. Not all of their stories are original material either, as they share reports from other news sources such as the Associated Press, as most news outlets will do. Therefore, my commentary stayed focused on the issues, rather than getting involved in discussions which called their integrity into question. I also felt a certain sense of loyalty to the paper, and felt it was inappropriate to nitpick or to “attack them in their own house” so to speak. They have chose to personally reward me with a blatant insult which has thoroughly undermined their journalistic integrity and professionalism.

For several days I noticed that no one was checking the “recommend” counter on my comments as readers will do for comments that they enjoy or agree with. Nor was anyone quoting my posts to continue discussion based on what I had said, or to raise counter-points. Perhaps if my ego were larger I would have noticed sooner, but I didn't think much of it for maybe a week or more. That was until last night when I finally learned the truth of the matter. My comments have been removed from each and every article that I have commented on. On occasion they will remove member comments that are inappropriate but will leave a statement in such a comment box, stating that they have done so. “Comment has been removed for violating the terms of service.” Now some might consider that censorship, but I do understand the need to maintain some level of decorum for publicly viewed comments on their pages. My comments have been removed entirely though, as if they had never existed, without notice or explanation. Apparently my latest comments never appeared at all, except to me. But even in older articles where other members did in fact quote me in their own commentary, my original post which was quoted, is gone. I will attach captured screenshots to this letter in order to verify this.

Not only do I take this as a direct and personal insult, but so too should every member I interacted with, and so too should every reader of the Poughkeepsie Journal in the face of such blatantly deceptive censorship, calling into serious question the virtue of their entire operation. At the very lest they have completely disrupted the continuity of the ongoing commentary in many of these stories. I was not notified of any violation of their terms and conditions. I was not asked to modify the conduct of my posting habits in ways which may not have been covered by the T&C. My account remains open, and all of my comments are visible to me when I am logged in. They are not visible to any other members or readers though. My account profile is active when I am logged in, but any other readers will find a notice which states, “This community member's page is currently being reviewed by the editors. Jaknthebox has not made any contributions yet. Check back for updates or leave Jaknthebox a message.”

Clearly, this is censorship on the part of a company who should be doing everything possible to fight against censorship in order to bring information to the public. Moreover, it is being carried out in a highly deceptive and deliberate manner. Sadly, I had expected much more from the Poughkeepsie Journal. I had thought that they were large enough to cover all the current and relevant news, yet small enough to evade some of the more nefarious practices of larger main-stream media outlets who have been undermined by any number of behind-the-scenes groups and agendas.

People need to see that this sort of thing is happening. That this sort of thing is real, not the figment of the over-active imaginations of basement conspiracy-theorists. This is not crime of the century of course, but it is symptomatic of a systematic undermining of truth and fundamental American ideals. It is all too easy to take for granted what is reported as true and factual. All too easy to accept our news sources as the authorities of fact.

It happened to me this time, I'll take my bruises and move on. But I am certainly not alone. What will others do when it is their turn, their spouses turn, their parents turn, to be marginalized and silenced? To be lied to by those we trust? Really what can we do?

I was not sure where or how to air such a grievance. I expect I will make other inquiries into the matter. But in the meantime, I figured that this would be a story of interest for the Mainstream Media Review to take note of. Right up your alley in fact?

Thanks for taking the time to have a read.



Please keep us posted Jack if you get anywhere with this.  

Wikipedia - Poughkeepsie
Wikipedia - Poughkeepsie Journal


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tea Party or Brownshirts?

Alaska Dispatch editor and founder Tony Hopfinger was arrested Sunday as he posed questions to U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller. Following a town hall meeting at Central Middle School in Anchorage, Hopfinger pressed the Sarah Palin endorsed candidate if he had ever been reprimanded for politicking and other irregularities while working at the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008. Bodyguards told him to stop asking questions, or leave the public school building. The henchman refused to identify themselves, but threatened to arrest Hopfinger for trespassing, then acted, putting the journalist against the wall in an armbar and then slapped on a set of handcuffs, stating that he was now under arrest.

During his detainment, other reporters began filming and posing questions to Hopfinger, at which point the security detail also threatened to arrest them and pressed them down the hallway away from the detainee. After about 30 minutes, Hopfinger was finally released when Anchorage police arrived and refused to take him into custody.

In the wake of the arrest, Joe Miller told Fox and CNN on Monday that he had been required to bring his own private security detail for his town hall meeting at Central Middle School. The school district said that they made no such requirement however, that a hallway monitor and parking lot monitor were all that was expected. The Miller event failed to meet their contractual obligation to make an “expectation speech” at the beginning of the event, reminding people to be respectful, to park properly, and to remain only in permitted areas.

It is left to Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor Al Patterson to decide whether to charge Hopfinger with trespassing and assault alleged by the security team now identified as Dropzone Security Services. The basis of the assault charge stems from the fact that the Anchorage Dispatch editor shoved one of the guards. He counters that it was a defensive move to counter the encroachment upon his freedom of movement by the guards, which is a violation of his civil rights and can lead to liability under false imprisonment or even kidnapping if he was not breaking any laws by being there. But were the guards legally justified in making such a detainment, blocking his freedom of movement, based on a charge of trespass? Perhaps.

What many folks don't realize, is that private security actually have more authority than a police officer in some respects. Whereas a police officer must establish probable cause to make an arrest, a security contractor has no such obligation and can dictate conduct arbitrarily and at his own discretion as a contract agent of another person or the place being guarded. Something to think about there folks. Another unseen but potent facet of the corporate sponsored police-state that has been built up around us. Private security have more power than your local public servant peace officer. So long as they are operating within the confines of their contractual agreement.

In other words, yes, security guards can in fact kick you out of a public school that has been rented out for private use, and arrest you for trespassing if you refuse to leave. More on that in a moment though. This is hardly the sort of thing that a U.S. Senate hopeful should be endorsing anyway, legal or not. Refusing to answer a reporter's questions certainly leads one to conclude that the candidate might be trying to hide something that the public should know. Even if it were simply frivolous badgering by a reporter, having that reporter arrested hardly seems to be the sort of conduct we should expect from a Senate hopeful at a political event which the public had been invited to, even if it was paid for with private campaign funds. This was not some private fund-raising dinner in a hotel where a heckler came in and started upsetting tables. This was a public “town hall” meeting at a public school. Having a reporter arrested for asking questions hardly seems to be an expression of freedom and openness by a man hoping to represent Alaska in the United States Senate. And so much for the lip-service given to Constitutional liberty by right-wing politicians. Once again we see that there is an asterisk next to freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, that reads, “in designated areas, by permit only” where contract law supersedes the Constitution.

But had Mr. Hopfinger actually been trespassing in a designated area, privately secured under contractual agreement? The fact that the guards did not identify themselves and were not in uniform is one important point. If they failed to express by what authority the arrest was being made, the arrest may be invalid leaving them open to lawsuit for false imprisonment, even if they did in fact carry such authority. But did they even really have such authority there in the hallway of the school? No, in fact they did not. The event contract states that the district leased the stage, the cafeteria, and the parking lot, not the hallway in which the arrest took place. Therefore, those security agents had no more authority to arrest him there than if he were standing on a public street corner yelling through a bullhorn. They cannot charge that he was trespassing in an area in which they had no contractual authority over, any more than they could walk into a public school and arrest anyone they want on any other day.

Another sticking point is that Dropzone Security was practicing security without a business license. That's correct, Joe Miller hired a rogue, unlicensed security firm for his event. Depending on the laws of the state, this may in fact be a crime, and Dropzone is also in violation of the law. The IRS might also be interested look into the fact that this company has been operating a for-profit venture without a license for almost a year now. And hopefully Mr. Miller's accounts are in order as well, as to how he was actually paying this fly-by-night outfit. Regardless, the fact that Dropzone security no longer exists in the eyes of the law invalidates all authority of Dropzone security personnel and their contractual agreements. Now if each individual was contracted to Joe Miller directly, then we would have to look at their individual security licenses, and their personal contract agreement with him. That would also mean, that they were acting as private bodyguards, and not as event security staff, which also mean that they had no authority to make an arrest based in trespassing.

A little sidebar here for a moment. The authority of a security guard emanates from what some may call a citizen's arrest, or a private person's arrest as it is called in Alaska. This means that anyone can arrest anyone else if they witness that person commit a crime. If you contract to perform this task on behalf of another person or organization, this is called practicing security, and requires a license issued by the state. So contracting without a license is illegal, but you still have a right as a citizen to make an arrest when you witness a crime. So then, could these security guards have still made the arrest then, even if the contract with their employer was invalid? No, because as we said, the event lease only covered the stage, cafeteria, and parking lot, therefore the crime of trespass did not in fact occur. At that point, only an authorized representative of the school district could have validated such a charge.

Now back to the identity of the security guards. Each individual failed to identify themselves, to properly display or to provide on demand their Alaska state license to practice security, to identify the company they were working for, or to otherwise state by what authority the arrest was being made. As if that weren't bad enough, as it turns out, two of the guards that assisted in the arrest and tried to prevent reporters from filming the detention, are active duty soldiers of the United States Army, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Richardson. That's correct, the United States Army has now become directly involved in bullying and detaining reporters in public for political reasons. It should be noted however, that public information officer Maj. Bill Coppernoll has stated the soldiers did not have permission from their current command to work for Dropzone. That point of course could further complicate the validity of the arrest, and strengthen the case for a counter-suit of false imprisonment if Hopfinger should he decide to prosecute.

In short, the press is being bullied, detained, and accused of committing criminal activity by members of the U.S. Army on behalf of a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, after daring to ask questions about that candidate's improper use of public resources for partisan political activity. Brilliant.


SUBJECT: Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces on Active Duty

b. A member on AD shall not:

(1) Use his or her official authority or influence for interfering with an election; affecting the course or outcome of an election; soliciting votes for a particular candidate or issue; or requiring or soliciting political contributions from others.

(3) Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions.

Having active-duty military forces participate in partisan politics is un-democratic to say the least. Soldiers tieing up journalists on behalf of political candidates is so far over the line that it really calls into question just exactly what sort of country have we become. And what sort of candidate for the Senate would come out to emphatically support what happened? The true nature of of the Tea Party is revealed to be more authoritarian and fascist in practice than the “small government, pro-constitution” soundbites they offer up to the media. Yes, this is Joe Miller, Tea Party favorite. He refuses to speak to the press outside of carefully staged engagements, and uses the United States Army to threaten and imprison journalists in public should they dare to ask questions outside of his campaign format.

PhotobucketAlaska Dispatch editor detained at Miller event

Miller bodyguards at forum included active-duty soldiers

Breaking news from “Sarah Palin's Alaska”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Internet Security vs. Civil Liberty

From Washington DC it is being reported that the US government is taking a look at a new program now set to be rolled out in Australia, to make the internet “safer.” Before we get right to the topic, as a side note, it is worth mentioning that this is not the first time the Land Down Under has become the proverbial canary in the coalmine. In the late 1990's these freedom-loving people in a land of vast wilderness expanses was subject to new draconian restrictions on citizens' firearms. Today, statistics show that these heavy-handed restrictions by the government have done nothing to improve public safety. A fair argument can even be made that the loss of gun rights put the citizens there in more danger, at a very high monetary cost, yet the failed policy remains in place more than a decade later. Moreover, those statistics cannot show what the real cost may be when it comes to the values of liberty and freedom heralded by America, but supposedly also cherished by the rest of the “free world.” It seems that the global powers-that-be like to use a freedom-loving but sparsely populated land like Australia as a testbed for their control mechanisms over populations.

Here is some information on the impact of gun-control in Australia, information that you may not be allowed to view much longer if you are in Australia and your ISP doesn't want you to see this web-page...

Today, information is power. So it only stands to reason that the internet, the last bastion of unrestricted exchange of information, would be viewed by some as an entity which must be controlled, like all the other facets of our lives that have come under restrictions. It seems most of the so-called rights we are left with today require a user handbook in order to know how you can actually apply those rights without violating the law or some civil statute that may leave you broke and destitute should you stray afield of these control mechanisms. The internet however, is not so easily policed, with rapid dissemination of information made easy and with violators of public code more difficult to identify.

So it is no surprise that the current Presidential administration is meeting with industry leaders in order to find a way to put clamps on the internet. To impose security measures in the name of “safety” while claiming that civil liberty concerns are being weighed as anything more than a stumbling block to symbiotic government/corporate control of the internet. They are looking closely at portions of Australia's plan that are set to go into affect in December.

There, internet service providers will be allowed to alert a customer if their computer has been taken over by hackers. Seems like a good idea on the surface. As White House cyber-coordinator Howard Schmidt puts it, "Without security you have no privacy. And many of us that care deeply about our privacy look to make sure our systems are secure," But of course, the question then is, how effective is the software that is being used to identify threats? This also opens the door to “selective” policing, and lulls the public into a false sense of security. A very good hacker working on the cutting edge of up to the minute technology probably won't be detected. Government intrusions will not be reported most likely, even if they were detected. And of course, the corporations with their varying agendas will exploit this inherent vulnerability in selective policing. If your ISP is gathering usage data on you and selling it to another company, they certainly aren't going to send you a report about it.Besides, who better to judge their own security need better than the individual? Are legislated or corporate imposed requirements actually necessary?

Schmidt went on to say that the American public would go along with it if a company is willing to give them better security. Sure, why not? That is the real question. What is the real cost here? Because “giving” us better cyber-security is bound to have some strings attached. Nothing is free in this world, and no company, nor the government are about to spend millions, even billions of dollars and go well out of their way to “give” you anything, except syphilis perhaps.

Cyber-security expert James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies is of the opinion that the public would be amendable to the idea of having their ISP warn of cyber attacks, while helping them to clear malicious software from their systems through instructions, patches, and anti-virus programs. But isn't such help already out there? Well granted, security software and monitoring is not done by your ISP, but it's not like most of us are surfing the net without firewalls, malware removal tools at the ready, and even full retail grade security suites. Of course, much if it is not free, and some folks say in a sort of tongue-in-cheek manner that it is the cyber-security software companies themselves that are creating these threats in order to maintain the demand for their products and to insure continued update subscriptions. So will ISP's be providing for free what software companies have been charging for? Not for long, because as Mr. Lewis also explains, the public may be willing to pay a monthly service fee, just like all the other fees that are already attached to our utilities and communications services.

So rather than having the choice of whether or not you want to spend money on internet security, it will be mandatory that you now cover those costs as part of your standard contract with an internet service provider. For now though, the public is being softened up to the idea, like a crack dealer who give you your first few hits for free. Comcast is set to expand their Denver-based pilot program which alerts customers when their computers come under the control of a botnet. That program will go nationwide in the next few months. Seems all well and good, but even if the service is not itemized as a pay service, surely Comcast is not promising a freeze on general rate increases, which would help to cover the cost of the program, and whatever future security enhancements they may choose to “provide.”

Like Mr. Lewis said though, the public will probably be willing to pay a small fee with a non-chalant, “thanks for the info, good to know” sort of approach. After all, it could still be considered voluntary what company you choose as an ISP, though those options seem to have become more and more limited because of mergers. But in Australia, they are taking it a step further now. It's not just good-to-know info, but your ISP will insist that you do something about it. They are planning everything from warnings, to blocking outbound emails, to actually quarantining your entire system from the internet. That is not just one company, that is set to be the industry standard for all ISP's in Australia. It's one thing to be provided information to help keep your system safe and secure, it is quite another to have your access to the internet terminated because you are not up to date on your security maintenance tasks.

There are a few very big problems with that approach. Here in America, it could and should be seen as a direct assault on the First Amendment. To have your words, perhaps in the form of an email for example, being barred from distribution by some private corporation is a clear affront to liberty, even if it is in the interest of “internet security.” That's like saying that you cannot say what you want while standing on a street corner, because the guy who built the sidewalk is worried that you might cause damage to the sidewalk. Guess we'll have to go buy a pair of bowling shoes first. Freedom of speech, by paid permit only with proper attire.

Just because a person cannot afford internet security software, does not mean they should be barred access to the internet for one thing. But perhaps the ISP will be providing these fixes and software “free” of charge. Of course, then that means that your ISP could be installing who knows what into your system. What if the threat you are most concerned about is in fact your own ISP that you have been railing against on your web-page, or some other company that does business with your ISP, or the government who, no doubt, also have a cozy relationship with ISP's. What if these supposed fixes are malware themselves? What if these supposed fixes create system errors, as unnecessary system updates may do from time to time. But at least there, we still have a choice as to whether or not we update our systems. These new security ideas allow for no such freedom or choice in how you will maintain your system.

There is yet another serious concern, especially to folks like small business owners, folks who work from home, who depend on their computers for income. There may be times when a person is operating on a deadline, or may have some other immediate need for internet access such as a family emergency. A sudden and announced block could have serious and costly repercussions. Even for the person who is diligent with their system security knows that on occasion they may be subject to an attack or error that can take days to repair. Now you will be restricted or even barred from the internet during that time. Not to mention the fact that you might very well need internet access in the first place to make the repair. If you think they already thought this through, guess again. There is a whole nest of unforeseen problems that may or may not be fixed, as it is the consumer's problem, the citizens' problem, not theirs once these things are put in place.

Now a personal anecdote for a moment, if I may. In the US, a land-line telephone is considered so important, that even if you don't pay your bill, there are FCC regulations that bar outright and immediate termination of service. It can take months before that line is finally cut completely, and in that time the person who is in default will get many notices and still be able to dial the operator as well as 911. Several years ago I found out the hard way that digital communications are not governed by the same FCC regulations as the telephone company, and to not trust these companies any further than I can throw a television. I signed up for a triple-service plan with Cablevision, to have my telephone, television and internet all be provided by them for a single monthly rate. Because I made the switch part-way into the month, it created a billing error. I was told not to worry, that I had in fact been over-charged, and to not pay anything until my next regularly scheduled billing statement arrived. A few nights later, in the middle of the night, my roommate stopped breathing. I ran for the phone. I could not make a call. No, “sorry, your service has been suspended,” no dial-tone, no operator, no 911, nothing. I woke the neighbors, and got an ambulance there. My roommate was fine after a quick visit at the hospital. But you can bet that the next day I raised holy-hell with Cablevision, and a snotty supervisor that I finally got on the line from a neighbor's phone. That was how I learned the hard lesson of how not all service providers are the same or governed by the same regulations as technology advances. When I went back home, I found that she had in fact turned the telephone back on...and then an hour later my television and internet went dark. I ripped the box out of the wall and never dealt with Cablevision again.

Now just think of what an internet service provider like that will do if and when they are handed real power, as society becomes ever-more dependent on the internet. Are we really going to allow this sort of thing to be legislated into law, in the name of public safety, and then be forced to pay a fee on top of that? Apparently, because Mr. Lewis also tells us that it is inevitable that ISP's will play a role in internet security. Dale Meyerrose, vice president and general manager of Cyber Integrated Solutions at Harris Corporation states, "There are people starting to make the point that we've gone about as far as we can with voluntary kinds of things, we need to have things that have more teeth in them, like standards.” Teeth huh? Sounds like some folks are talking about sinking their teeth into the Constitution and our wallets. Standards? The same sort of standards that leave a person who has stopped breathing without a lifeline to the outside world? What threat justifies corporations or government imposing such standards and measures that will cause so many problems at considerable cost in time, money, and personal liberty?

According to former chief technology officer for the National Security Agency, Prescott Winter of California-based cyber-security firm ArcSight, the unfettered and unfenced technological wild-west is not secure, stating, “we need to take steps to make it safe, reliable and resilient.” Uh huh, so we keep hearing, but the reasons why are not so clear. It seems the spectre of oppressive corporate sponsored government is far more prevalent than the threat of any serious attack.

By what right does a corporation or government presume to dictate what level of security the individual may find necessary for their internet needs, or what they can afford? If one wants to buy some old laptop from a yard sale running windows 95 and go power up at the coffee shop to jump online, they should have every right to do so. But that is not the future envisioned by Mr. Meyerrose. Instead, he sees public wifi hotspots restricting access, blocking those laptops which are not equipped with certain security software, that do not meet whatever criteria the industry decides is the standard. Moreover, he sees that it will be your tax dollars that will be used to impose those standards, as tax breaks will be given to those providers who comply with the demands.

"I think that, quite frankly, there will be other governments who will finally say, at least for their parts of the Internet, as the Australians have apparently done, we think we can do better," says Prescott Winter. So it appears that they are indeed the canary in the coalmine, and that we are expected to go jump off the bridge behind them.

A report on this subject was made by the Associated Press and can be found at the following Yahoo News page...

US studying Australian Internet security program

For further reading on internet security, it is highly recommended that you read our previous article...

Friday, September 24, 2010

CIA Psyop: Cordoba Initiative

“I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.” ~Adolf Hitler

Wise words, from an evil man. How easily the masses are manipulated through emotion, that they will ignore all reason, not only allowing their most cherished values to be pushed aside, but demanding that they be swept away, so as to assuage their own anger and sadness. No case in recent history exemplifies that more than the fervor over the Islamic cultural center in downtown Manhattan. In a frenzy the people chant, “No mosque at Ground Zero!” Well folks, there are no plans for a mosque at Ground Zero. There are plans for a cultural center two blocks away from Ground Zero. Would there be such outrage if there were plans to build a Young Men's Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.) two blocks away from the site where a Christian fundamentalist blew up a Federal building, in Oklahoma City? Certainly not. But in this case, Americans are suddenly not only willing to allow, but are demanding that the government step in and trample the most very basic values of what it means to be an American in the first place. Have we made such great strides against racism and bigotry in this country, only to revert back to a “no n@ggers in this neighborhood” mentality?

The project for this cultural center was was begun in 2004. Their objective, to restore the old Burlington Coat Factory building and to upgrade the premises so that it is more suitable housing for a cultural center rather than the mosque that has already been operating there since the project's inception. Any city might be grateful for such a project restoring a dilapidated old building to improve a blighted property right smack dab in the middle of the busiest part of town. New York City may in fact be grateful for such development, but it is a national, even an international issue now. Suddenly after more than six years, and just in time for midterm elections with a Democrat as President and a Democrat controlled Congress, this smear campaign is launched into the headlines and used as a rallying cry by Republicans and their more rabble-rousing counterparts in the Tea Party movement.

But this isn't just about Republicans and Democrats. It never is anymore. As we have pointed out here before at the MSMReview, it is never as simple as Left vs. Right, and both parties are little more than two faces of a self-serving monolith giving the appearance of choice to the humble and near-sighted masses. By hobbling the Democrats in this election, it will become all the more easy to justifiably maintain the status-quo and to marginalize the chances of any real productive business from being done at all in Washington for another two years, as each side blames the other for the stalemate in any proposed initiative. At the same time it gives the power to the Democrat President to prosecute war in the middle-east as aggressively as his Republican predecessor, who's policies he has done nothing to reverse despite his posturing and promises before the last election. Anti-Muslim sentiment has been restored to its zenith, and is more deep-rooted now than ever before. Meanwhile, through the tactical application of propaganda, Conservatives have been made utter fools of, exposing their bigotry to anyone who is bothering to look at the situation with reason rather than emotion, having completely undermined the most revered tenets of Conservative philosophy for which they have always stood. How easily undone the traditional defenders of Constitutional liberty.

The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”
Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?
~Former Republican Presidential candidate, Congressman Dr. Ron Paul
Ron Paul's complete statement

By whom indeed. There is no political gain here for either Democrat or Republican. They both lose, as do the American people. So who really is behind all of this?

The Cordoba Initiative is the non-profit group leading the project to build the cultural center since it was founded in 2004 by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Several media outlets have tried to make the weakest of links between Rauf and any number of extremist organizations, and even Iran. What you don't see being played on a loop over your television set is that Imam Rauf has worked for the FBI as a counter-terrorism consultant. And what you don't see blazoned across the headlines of your newspaper is the fact that he also worked as a spokesperson for Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, Karen Hughes, during the Bush administration, as she headed up propaganda efforts in the Muslim world. Bush's favorite Imam traveled side-by-side with Hughes, attended the 2006 U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, and went to Morocco in 2007. So while some have tried to paint it that he has been traveling to the middle-east to collect funding from terrorists for the building project, it appears that he has actually been on diplomatic missions for the United States.

GZ Imam Helped FBI
Karen Hughes Opposes Cordoba House

Imam Rauf is not the only character in this story though. Another quite interesting person comes into play, far away from the media glare, offering up nearly a hundred-thousand dollars in seed money for the project between 2006-2008. The money reported to be their entire operating budget at that time came by way of the Deak Family Foundation, headed by one R. Leslie Deak, 52, a native of Scarsdale NY, who has served on the board of advisors for the Cordoba Initiative since its inception. His resume reports that he has “in-depth personal and business experiences in the Middle East.” He was born a Christian, converted to become an Orthodox Jew when he married, but then later divorced and again converted his religion, this time to Islam, when he married Moshira Soliman, with whom he shares a home in Rye NY. At least part of the year anyway, as he spends six months of the year in Egypt.

Resume on Linked In

Looking into Deak's background we see that he graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in international economics, but apparently didn't need to go much further in his education after going to work for his father, Nicholas Deak. The elder Deak had been an intelligence commander for the OSS, the predecessor of CIA, during WWII. He went on to found Deak & Co.which, along with subsidiaries, became one of the top gold and currency dealers in the world, controlling 20% of all retail gold sales in the U.S. and was the leading seller of the South African Krugerrand. Leslie Deak became Executive Vice-President of the the company. In 1978 the firm was convicted in Federal court and fined, for failing to report millions of dollars in large currency transactions with two Philippine businessmen. Then, in October 1984 the firm came under fire in a report by the President's Commission on Organized Crime alleging that their firm had been involved in a money laundering operation with Colombian drug cartels who had reportedly been bringing bags of cash, amounting to millions of dollars, right into the firm's NY offices. By December the firm had filed for chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court. In November the following year, a deranged homeless woman walked into their offices, shot and killed the receptionist, and then murdered the company's founder, Leslie Deak's father Nicholas.

After the bankruptcy, the Deak empire was broken up and sold in pieces but continued to operate. One company that traces it's roots back to the original corporation is Goldline International Inc. Goldline sponsors Conservative talking-head Glenn Beck among others. The company is now under investigation by a U.S. Congressional committee as well as local authorities in California, and is the target of a class-action lawsuit for trying to dump debased product onto gullible customers. The 300-employee company is projected to have revenues in excess of $1 billion for 2010/11. Glenn Beck is aired on FOX News, which is a subsidiary of News Corp., who's second largest shareholder is Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who also happens to be funding Imam Rauf's projects. As comically pointed out by humor-newsman Jon Stewart, the right-wing media company railing against the Cordoba Initiative, are actually the ones “funding terrorism” as they like to put it. The right wing media is railing against an initiative that they themselves are funding by proxy.

HUFFPO article with Jon Stewart video included
Wikipedia - Goldline International

Now let's take a look at another item on Mr. Deak's resume, to see if we can see any other interesting coincidences. In the same time period that he gave nearly a hundred-grand to the Cordoba Initiative, he gave about as much to the National Defense University Foundation. The NDU is a network of research centers and strategy/war colleges, including the National War College, all under the direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Deak's own resume makes it clear that he is a much more active part of operational national security than simply a donor to defense education. His resume describes his affiliation with the NDU under this entry:

National Defense University Foundation
(Non-Profit; Fund-Raising industry)
2003 — Present (7 years )
Raising funds to support unfunded initiatives at National Defense University, the preeminent strategic educational facility of the United States.

Selected by Secretary of Defense to Joint Civilian Orientation Conference. Participate in briefings with base commanders and Joint Chiefs on issues, operations and strategic objectives.

Deak sits on the board of directors chaired by one Mark Treanor. Mr. Treanor was Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Wachovia Corporation between 1998 through the collapse in 2008, and a major consolidator of campaign donations for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008. Coincidentally enough, Wachovia also had their hands in some serious drug-money laundering, like the Deak family had been accused of years earlier. Now owned by Wells Fargo, Wachovia recently paid a $160 million settlement to end a criminal probe of money laundering for drug cartels through Mexican exchange houses admitting “serious and systemic” violations of the Bank Secrecy Act failing to monitor $420 Billion in transactions. At face value, we might suspect that there might be some common bond of profiteering through illigal drugs, but it may be even more complex than that. It is well known by many that CIA has long been involved in the trug trade. So perhaps these businessmen have been operating fronts for that ubiquitous spy agency.

But is there any clue that Leslie Deak has any contact with anyone in the CIA? Even if he were in any way involved in business dealing with someone from the CIA, surely it wouldn't be a matter of public knowledge. Right? Well as a matter of fact, Deak's own resume once again gives us a clue. He lists himself as a business development consultant for Patriot Defense Group, LLC.

Who we are and what we do...

Patriot Defense Group, LLC. provides defense, security, and logistical services in support of corporate and government clients. We provide professional services, training, and logistics to those who defend America, her allies, and Fortune 100 companies in the defense, energy, financial, and media sectors. Our company is organized into two functional divisions to provide these specialized services.

Our defense and government services division focuses exclusively on the needs of the U.S. military and law enforcement communities as well as the requirements of friendly foreign governments. We focus our capabilities and resources to provide specialized training, curriculum development and logistics.
Our corporate services division, PDG Risk Management, provides business intelligence and specialized security services to corporate clients and high net-worth family enterprises. These services rely upon a unique composite team of operations officers drawn from the ranks of the military, intelligence, and law enforcement communities. Our specialized security services are proactive and focus on protecting our clients' resources.

Management Team

Patriot Defense Group, LLC is a company with a wealth of experience. Our principal officers and contract cadre have served in contingency and other operational roles in every major conflict since the Vietnam War. You will not find a more qualified group of dedicated professionals to meet your organization’s needs.

PDG’s CEO and founder was an infantry platoon leader in Desert Storm; had two separate commands of a U.S Army, Special Forces Operational Detachment – Alpha (A-team); and served for nine years as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State in the Middle East supporting American foreign policy and economic initiatives.

The managing director of PDG's defense and government services was a CIA Operations Officer with extensive experience ranging from hostile environments in Asia and Southwest Asia to counterterrorism operations throughout the Middle East.

PDG Risk Management is led by a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service who worked on the personal security details of former Presidents Bush and Clinton. He went on to serve as the Director of Security for Shaw Engineering in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.

Note that they do not name their managers. They do however name their strategic advisors. Alexander Cappello, finance and banking guru. The military man, General Doug Brown (U.S. Army, Ret.), who commanded the the entirety of US special operations forces, leading the War on Terror, until his retirement in 2007. The spook, James L. Pavitt, former Deputy Director for Operations at CIA, who controlled half of CIA's budget and a third of their deployed personnel. And then there is Leslie Deak, the “business development consultant” who will match this outfit with clients and financing.

Seems that Mr. Deak must have quite a few very powerful friends, throughout the world, in both private industry, as well as in military, government, and intelligence circles to do a job like that well. If one had a project they wanted to carry out, that might very well have global implications, is seems that he just might be the man who talk to, who could put together the financing, as well as bring together all the people that would need to meet in order to carry out an operation to a successful conclusion.

So just to re-cap now. While the media shine the spotlight on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, trying to paint him as a terrorist, he has actually done extensive work for our government in counter-terrorism and pro-American propaganda in the middle-east. Meanwhile, a key partner in the development of the “Ground Zero Mosque” has gone completely un-noticed. R. Leslie Deak, key investor and board-member of the Cordoba Initiative was born the son of a man who held a command position in the OSS, predecessor of the CIA. Leslie Deak got a basic education in international finance and helped his father command a large portion of the world's gold and currency supply, until his father was murdered and the company broken up, amid well-founded allegations of money laundering for Columbian drug lords. One portion of the company, which still publicly claims its roots back to the heyday of the Deak empire, funds the Conservative propaganda machine and is now under investigation for scamming their customers selling fake gold. Deak himself goes on to sit on the board of directors for a foundation which funds the premiere research and educational facilities that determine national defense strategy and who write the book on fighting the War on Terror. Chairman of the Board for that foundation was a key officer and top lawyer for Wachovia, while they were laundering billions of dollars for international drug cartels. Deak is also recruited to develop the business of a private group of clandestine operatives for hire to both corporate clients and foreign states.

Are we really to believe that Leslie Deak's invlovement in the Cordoba Initiative is purely philanthropic? Or that he wanted to get in on the ground floor of an investment opportunity in some rinky-tink little Muslim cultural center that no one would have paid any attention to at all had it not been for it's proximity to the site of the nation's worst tragedy since Pearl Harbor? (Not to mention the biggest conspiracy since the assassination of JFK.) Perhaps instead we should at least consider some other possibilities here. That perhaps this has been planned for quite some time to be a political trump card of sorts in the upcoming national election that will determine the control of the Congress of the United States. An ace in the hole for the Republicans perhaps? Or maybe, just maybe, something even bigger than that. A CIA psychological operation that will accomplish a number of objectives.

First, it will guarantee continued support for American imperialism in the middle-east. Second, it will thoroughly undermine the the power of our national political leadership to do anything more than act as administrators of the status-quo, as babysitters of the citizenry, while more secretive and nefarious groups carry out their agendas. And third, it will bring in a wealth of data as they gauge public reaction.

How easy would it be to mount an all-out assault on what little remains of the Constitution? How malleable are the minds of the people in the face of a perceived threat? How willing are the people to condemn an entire section of society? Like Hitler did to Jews as a people, to Slavs. To political, religious and racial groups, all based on propaganda. These are the things that they have learned from the mosque-project. They see better now who the extremists are right here at home. Those that are willing to do violence in support of their agenda, and those who are paying enough attention to see through it and who will hinder their progress. You see, articles like this, this is the threat to the enemies of freedom. Places like the MSMReview, and people who speak of like mind will be identified as sources of information that cannot be propagandized or brainwashed, who cannot be dealt a blow of amnesia to history through shock and awe. The enemies of freedom are not bearded religious man living in caves and mud huts. Oppression and tyranny are much closer to home. The words of liberty and truth, that is the threat to their power, this is what will hinder their goals, and hopefully one day be their undoing.

Whether or not the Cordoba Initiative ultimately succeeds in its publicly stated goal is irrelevant. The fight is all that ever mattered. Will reason triumph over emotion one day, for the masses, or is it destined to remain the exclusive purview of elitists and despots?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Protecting State Secrets: Obama Builds on Bush Doctrine

While the average Joe Six-Pack is preoccupied with political cannon-fodder broadcast over and over again through our televisions, the real damage being done by the Obama administration is being largely ignored. The news is little more than media distraction over the falsehood that Obama is a Muslim from Africa, while the pundits babble on and on about his support of a construction project blocks away from Ground Zero in Manhattan, but no one seems to be at all concerned about the Obama administration's hypocritical support of government abuses begun under the Bush administration. Abuses that Obama himself appeared to have grave concerns about in his run for Presidential office. The sham of the two-party system persists, as does the myth that we have any choice at the voting booth any more. That much is clear to those who dig a little deeper than fifteen-second soundbites while Obama carries on the work of his predecessor to completely invalidate the basic tenets of Constitutional governance.

In the first weeks that Obama began to get settled in, his Justice Department sought to dismiss a lawsuit by the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, in which it was alleged that the charity's lawyers and board members rights to due-process and freedom of speech were violated by officials at the White House, the National Security Agency, the Treasury Department and the FBI. No evidence was put forth to substantiate the government's claim that the Oregon-based charity might be funding terrorism. Nevertheless, an eavesdropping operation against the philanthropic organization had been carried out without a warrant or the approval of any judge. In Obama's campaign to “change Washington” he had criticized the Bush administration of too-often invoking the privilege of state-secrets to resist lawsuits and to ignore public disclosure rules. In this case, the Justice Department did just that, once again invoking the privilege of state-secrets, claiming that the lawsuit could not be allowed to go forward on the grounds that the disclosure of information would be a threat to national security. When U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker resisted the claim by the Justice Department, they ratcheted up the pressure, and threatened to seize documents in the court's custody. Hardly a shining example of the open-government voters had demanded. Perhaps this was an isolated example though? After all, to be sure, there are some legitimate state-secrets that must be protected from time to time, and maybe this charity was not so squeaky clean themselves. We will probably never know.

What we do know though, is that this is not an isolated example at all actually. We can look to the dismissal of Jewel vs. NSA in January of this year, 2010. This case from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) was filed on behalf of AT&T customers opposed to the National Security Agency's dragnet surveillance of America's phone calls and emails. In this case, the fact that this practice was not at all isolated was the very basis of the dismissal! A page from the EFF website tells us...

...U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker held that the privacy harm to millions of Americans from the illegal spying dragnet was not a "particularized injury" but instead a "generalized grievance" because almost everyone in the United States has a phone and Internet service.

"The alarming upshot of the court's decision is that so long as the government spies on all Americans, the courts have no power to review or halt such mass surveillance even when it is flatly illegal and unconstitutional," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston.

Of all the values espoused in the founding documents of this nation, perhaps none could be said to be more central to our national identity than the system of check-and-balances which keeps any one branch of government, among the three, from usurping unjust power, and toppling our nation into a despotic totalitarian order. It is indeed a value which rests at the very core of our entire structure of government from which all other Constitutional liberty is prescribed and ensured. No one branch of government has the right to operate autonomously without the oversight from another. Alarmingly, under the Bush administration, and now reinforced by the Obama administration, that entire system from which all others are based, has been thoroughly undermined in the interest of secrecy and unfounded claims of national security implications. Not only are judges being left out of their role in issuing warrants, even secret warrants on the basis of some evidence, to allow the government to spy on it's citizens, but now the courts are washing their hands of any involvement when it comes to litigation over clear, aggressive, well-documented violations of Constitutional liberty as a result. These rulings have essentially rendered our court system impotent, and relegated judges to nothing more than glorified traffic-wardens collecting revenue for the state. A rubber-stamp court system suddenly all-too reminiscent of Nazi Germany's People's Court. A paper-shuffling administration, subordinate to that of the Executive, rather than a genuine order of justice honorably maintaining our most precious values as a nation of free and self-determined people.

Louis Fisher, a Constitutional law expert from the Library of Congress wrote in an email to the Washington Post:
"1. The administration defends the state secrets privilege on the ground that it would jeopardize national security if classified documents were made available to the public. No one argues for public disclosure of sensitive materials. The issue is whether federal judges should have access to those documents to be read in their chambers.

"2. If an administration is at liberty to invoke the state secrets privilege to prevent litigation from moving forward, thus eliminating independent judicial review, could not the administration use the privilege to conceal violations of statutes, treaties, and the Constitution? What check would exist for illegal actions by the executive branch?"

What's a little illegal spying though? This is war right? A classic excuse used by tyrannical dictators the world over. Tell the people that it is in their own interest, in the name of their own safety, to have their own government spying on them, until the people one day wake up and realize from among the ruin, that it was their own government all along that was the enemy. Quite simply put, there is no excuse now, nor will there ever be any excuse, to crush Constitutional liberty. Those rights are our inalienable rights as human beings, they are not an arbitrary set of guidelines to apply and cancel whimsically on the tides of politics. These are things that an American President should know and know well, without being told. Especially one who just happens to be a Constitutional scholar. And anyone with common sense, scholar or no, should know that such abuses will not stop with violating our privacy. In fact, it has already turned to false and indefinite imprisonment, without any charges whatsoever, without any hearing or oversight by any courts. It has turned to torture of those innocents, at the hands of our own soldiers and agents, as well as our treacherous moves to hand over our prisoners to be tortured by foreigners in other countries.

In May of this year, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled unanimously that three prisoners being held at Bagram airforce base in Afghanistan had no right to habeas corpus hearings, handing the Obama administration a resounding victory in being able to hold prisoners indefinitely without any judicial oversight. Two Yemenis and a Tunisian claimed that they were being held without cause, were not terrorists, and had in fact been captured outside of the U.S. War-zone in Afghanistan. One is reported to have been captured in the far side of Asia, in Thailand, the second in Pakistan. Details on where the third detainee was captured are not clear. Tina Foster, a lawyer for the prisoners was quoted in a New York Times article as saying that the ruling gave a free hand to the Executive to “kidnap people from other parts of the world and lock them away for the rest of their lives.” The decision means that there is no judicial oversight, no burden of proof whatsoever to substantiate claims that a person might be a terrorist. She then went on to say...
“The thing that is most disappointing for those of us who have been in the fight for this long is all of the people who used to be opposed to the idea of unlimited executive power during the Bush administration but now seem to have embraced it during this administration. We have to remember that Obama is not the last president of the United States.”

Just a few days before the tumultuous national remembrance day of 9/11 this year, a Federal appeals court ruled that former prisoners of the Central Intelligence Agency could not sue over alleged torture in overseas prisons, even if they had since been released and had done nothing wrong, because such lawsuits might expose state-secrets. Like the pages right out of some bizarre Communist, One World Order pulp novel, state-secrets are now more important than revealing the facts of false-imprisonment and years of systematic physical and mental torture. A dark hour for liberty indeed. In this case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., by a 6-to-5 vote. Filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of five former prisoners, the suit alleged that the company had arranged CIA flights to transport prisoners to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation. This was not even a lawsuit against the government itself, or CIA, but a private company that was complicit in the allegations. So it can hardly be said that they were “just following orders” or that they should be afforded the same immunities afforded to the government. Where does that line of reasoning end? With Boeing dumping toxic waste in public schoolyard, immune from any legality or regulation because they contract with the government and the dumping is a matter of national security? As if the kidnapping, torture, and possibly even murder of people in some cases, weren't enough reason for concern.

The plaintiffs each make various claims regarding the details of their imprisonment and torture in places like a CIA “black-site” in Afghanistan, or after they were handed off in places like Egypt and Morocco. Lead plaintiff Binyan Mohamed is a citizen of Ethiopia and a legal resident of Britain. He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 where he was then reportedly turned over to CIA and flown to Morocco where he was tortured by their security services over the course of 18-months there. The torture is said to have included techniques such as using a scalpel to wound his genitals and then pouring caustic liquid on the wounds. From there he was transferred back to CIA custody and delivered to a prison in Afghanistan where he was sparsely fed, and kept in perpetual darkness with a constant blaring recording of women and children screaming 24 hours a day. He was moved again later to Guantanamo Bay Prison where he was held for another five years, before finally being freed in Britain last year, 2009.

In other testimony at various times, murder has indeed been alleged, and it is hardly a stretch to discern that murder is indeed a strong possibility under these conditions. Who would ever really know? While some allegations have indeed leaked out, they are difficult to substantiate, and it is difficult to gauge how many prisoners, guilty of nothing, may have been murdered since 9/11. We do know however, that President Obama himself has endorsed state-sponsored killing of American citizens without any judicial oversight. Not enemy combatants mind you, but in fact has arbitrarily ordered the assassination of New Mexico native Anwar al-Awlaki. No arrest order, no trial, no judicial approval or oversight, no fact-finding mission by an impartial party, just an order to kill this American citizen on sight, wherever he is found. On the battlefield or off, sleeping at home with his children, or shopping at your local supermarket. Though the Bush administration reserved the right to order such a killing, it is not believed that they ever did actually order such an action, particularly against an American citizen.

Through his family, the target has vehemently denied that allegations of the Obama administration that he is guilty of terrorism or in any way connected to al-Qaeda. He is reported to have exchanged emails with the Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, in which he spoke negatively of his views on soldiers at the base who take up arms against Islam. But when did it become a capital offense to be against the war, or to speak your mind on politics or religion? Are such views really to be considered so radical that they do not fall under the purview of freedom of speech, much less subject to summary execution on the orders of the President of the United States? There is not even an allegation that this man has actually participated in any specific terrorist acts, nor that he provided material or financial support to any acts of terrorism. While Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) calls al-Awlaki “terrorist No. 1 in terms of threat against us,” the only allegation that is really being made against him is that he is a recruiter for al-Qaeda. Unsubstantiated claims that this man is a recruiter for an imaginary organization that was originally nothing more than a legal fiction created by American courts to be able to prosecute any Muslim accused of being a terrorist under the RICO act. Such prosecutions are apparently no longer even necessary with people being locked away tortured and murdered without so much as a lawyer or a judge to review the facts.

Now some folks who read this will no doubt have trouble putting aside certain xenophobic tendencies and judge the matter objectively. Certain powers that be rely on that fervor and anti-Muslim sentiment to achieve their ends in undermining the Constitution and installing their totalitarian order. It has always been the same throughout the ages. Vilify some group of people or another in order to seize upon all that is righteous and impose their despotic order. What will you do when you suddenly find that you are now the enemy of the state? Their work is nearly done now. The camps are built, the rail cars are sitting idly by waiting, certainly figuratively, even if not literally as some claim. Seeing the utter lack of change in policy from one President to the next, who appeared to be so fully opposed to the policies of one another a few years ago, coming from opposing political parties, it has never been clearer that the Master of the White House is only there to serve an insidious agenda that is contrary to the ideals put forth by the founding fathers of this nation. Obama swept into office on the promise of change, yet there is no substantive change whatsoever. What will it take so that we hold our leaders accountable for imperial invasions and false wars, for peeling away the fundamental rights of the citizenry, for torture and murder? For allowing themselves to be undermined, allowing this Republic to be usurped by some hidden cabal of internationalists? State secrets do not protect the people, they protect those who seek to enslave and kill the people, make no mistake about it. These are the darkest hours of American liberty.

“We recognized that it was not enough to overthrow the old state, but that the new state must previously have been built up and ready to one's hand....In 1933 it was no longer a question of overthrowing a state by an act of violence; meanwhile the new state had been built up and all that remained to do was destroy the last remnants of the old state – and that took but a few hours.” ~Adolf Hitler

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” ~Thomas Paine

If you have the time, MSMReview highly recommends the following video, Taxi to the Darkside. In yet another example of the relation corporate media has to more nefarious agendas, this movie had an extremely difficult time reaching the public eye, despite critical acclaim when it was first viewed. The clearest example is when the Discovery Channel bought the rights to the movie, only to announce that they would never air the film, due to the controversial nature of the piece. The following presentation found on Google Video is about 80 minutes long.

“Taxi to the Darkside” Wikipedia Entry

U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

Al-Awlaki's father says son is 'not Osama bin Laden'

EFF Plans Appeal of Jewel v. NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Case

Jewel v. NSA

Handling Of 'State Secrets' At Issue

Expert Consensus: Obama Mimics Bush On State Secrets

Obama’s War on Terror May Resemble Bush’s in Some Areas

Detainees Barred From Access to U.S. Courts

Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A.

Obama wins the right to invoke "State Secrets" to protect Bush crimes

Confirmed: Obama authorizes assassination of U.S. citizen

Saturday, September 11, 2010

At the close of a day of refelction, a word from past Presidents

There is such a wealth of information available for research that stands in stark contrast to the commonly accepted story surrounding the events of 9/11, that we here at the MSMReview elected to not try to publish one all-encompassing article to point out the wealth of inconsistencies in main-stream media coverage of the day's events nine years ago, or the subsequent failures of our government to adequately explain the truth. There is no new news today which brings us closer to the truth. Since the disastrous tragedy, much information has come to light which leaves the official explanation a clear and blatant falsehood, but rather than trying to assemble one massive review of all that information that is out there now, we chose to remain silent on this day. This is not the day for controversy or to stir up hatred, capitalizing on emotion to try to make a point. It is a somber day of remembrance. But as this day draws to a close, perhaps we can reflect on the words of past U.S. Presidents...


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