Friday, July 10, 2009

The Makings of a Police State

Aren’t We There?I am starting my new series on a topic that for some reason, or reasons, has been designated as another of those ‘no no’ subjects. Even the mentioning of this topic is enough to get one labeled as an extremist, radical, nutty, kooky…Why do most people react this way? As with other issues here too we are looking at multiple factors.

For the government, the establishment, side of it, the reasons are obvious, and fit any government that is, has been, or was ever considered a police state. Have you ever come across a police state that actually considered itself to be a ‘police state’? Exactly, I didn’t think so. The governing/ruling powers of police states always seek to legitimize their police measures; whether made necessary by external threats, domestic threats, economic threats, security or terrorism threats…there is always a big threat(s) they point to and base their justification upon, and they always, and I mean always, claim that their measures are for the good of the public, for the security of their people, for the protection of their constituents. They portray their dissenters as collaborators in whatever ‘threat’ they claim they are fighting against, and silence their critics either with extreme authoritarian measures, or, if they are able to, by simply labeling them as radical, nutty, and kooky, enough to marginalize them and neutralize their potential effect.

The same holds true for the media side of this phenomena. After all, one of the major characteristics of a police state is social control and indoctrination through control of the media. These states utilize the media to spread their propaganda, to manufacture consent, to evilize chosen enemies, to paint dissent as unpatriotic, the dissenters as the enemies of the state, and of course the critics as the radical and nutty minority.

Now how about the people? Why are the majority of our people so quick to write off even the possibility of us becoming a police state, and do so in a similar manner as the government and media as described above? Aside from being indoctrinated by the establishment’s calculative presentations, most people seem to be guided by their own biased beliefs and misplaced values. It may be from misdirected patriotism, when their love of our nation subconsciously is coupled with the love of whoever may be ruling it. It may be the simple act of denial; just as parents blinded by their parental love and pride refuse to see and acknowledge the negative realities in their children, there are those who willingly put on blinders before their eyes just so that they don’t see the ugly realities inflicting the country they love and value. Maybe it is a case of extreme pride being misdirected towards those misperceived…

Whatever the reasons, the almost uniform response to those who even attempt to raise the police state question seems to be the same. Perhaps this is the reason why the very few outspoken legal experts, historians, and civil liberties activists, carefully, almost timidly, choose their words when it comes to the question of a police state in the USA. What I hear, what I read is usually along the following lines:

    We may be moving toward a police state.

    At this rate we may become a police state.

    Are we on our way to become a police state?

These people talk about a ‘police state’ as if there is this exactly defined state with even more exactly defined prerequisites, so that when this state is reached it can be uniformly declared by all as a police state at the exact same time. However, most of these same people, when I talk with them privately, in a hushed voice tell me that they actually think we are there, or almost there. They are so afraid to come out and say it. They are terrified at the prospect of being attacked, labeled, and marginalized. So this is why you get the careful phrasing, and when you get close, the hushed voices.

Anyhow, I am not known to shy away too much from being labeled, attacked, and/or ostracized. I have serious concerns for my country, where it is today, and where it’s headed. I have questions that I’ve been seeking answers for, which I want to share and discuss with you, openly and loudly, not in whispers. My main question pertaining to a police state is ‘aren’t we there?’ rather than ‘are we there?’ I keep scrutinizing the broad definitions and characteristics of a police state in every encyclopedia and other source I can get my hands on, then I check and compare those aspects with what we have today as a national security state, and every time I do this my checkmark list tells me we seem to be ‘there’ already:

On Invoking, Creating and Maintaining Perpetual Wars:

    Our ambigious unending War on Terror, Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

On Control and Monitoring Mass Communication:

    NSA’s domestic spying on US Citizens are made legal & advocated as necessary

On Search & Seizures with No Probable Cause or Judicial Oversight:

    FBI’s National Security Letters to be used on American Citizens with its Gag Order Provision

On Controlling & Restricting Citizens’ Mobility:

    TSA’s ever expanding secretive No Fly List with the ‘known’ inclusion of One Million Americans

On Government Operating in Extreme Secrecy:

    Government expenditures of nearly $10 BILLION to maintain tens of millions of secret documents and operations, and unconstitutional uses of Executive Privileges such as State Secrets Privilege

On Control and Usage of Media as Government’s Own Propaganda Machine:

    The American Mainstream Media today is an extension and mouthpiece of the Federal Government

On Silencing & Persecution of Dissent:

    Our government’s well-established record of its treatment of whistleblowers and critics, whether by gag orders or other overt and covert measures

On General Disregard for Human Rights and Related International Laws:

    Our Government’s documented record on Rendition and Torture

I can easily go on and list more items, and justify every single one of them with supporting documents, cases, and reports, but for now the above criteria should suffice for our upcoming discussions and analyses. While I am at it I want to preempt one expected argument I have heard more than once:

    ‘Of course we are not a police state, since you and others can write and talk about these issues without getting arrested or executed. Just look at all these bloggers and independent media…’

First, that’s confusing a totalitarian government with a police state. You don’t have to be a totalitarian state in order to be a police state. In fact police states can and do emerge in democratic countries – with the consent and acceptance of the populace. Totalitarianism is simply an extreme version.

Next, not being ‘there’ yet in this regard does not mean we don’t fulfill most if not all other criteria to be considered a police state. Nations gradually creep towards becoming a police state, in various stages and by various degrees.

Finally, this aspect may actually be an indicator of an even more pathetic situation. Meaning, by having complete control over the mass media and utilizing successful propaganda and indoctrination the government doesn’t even feel the need to go after the irate vigilant minority. They let their PR machine marginalize these voices and ensure their exclusion from the broad medium of communication channels.

Okay, now it is your turn. Don’t be shy, and please don’t censure yourself. Where do you see us as a nation? How do you define a police state? Do you think we are already there?

Source: After Downing Street.Org

Bookmark and Share

Congress Reveals Awareness of Signing Statements And Protests One of Them - Amazing!

The House rebuked President Obama for trying to ignore restrictions to international aid payments, voting overwhelmingly for an amendment forcing the administration to abide by its constraints.

House members approved an amendment by a 429-2 vote to have the Obama administration pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require a Treasury Department report on World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) activities. The amendment to a 2010 funding bill for the State Department and foreign operations was proposed by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), but it received broad bipartisan support.

The conditions on World Bank and IMF funding were part of the $106 billion war supplemental bill that was passed last month. Obama, in a statement made as he signed the bill, said that he would ignore the conditions.

They would "interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations by directing the Executive to take certain positions in negotiations or discussions with international organizations and foreign governments, or by requiring consultation with the Congress prior to such negotiations or discussions," Obama said in the signing statement.

Senior Democrats and Republicans railed against the notion that the president could ignore a law they had passed and he had signed.

"We do this not just on behalf of this institution, but on behalf of this democracy," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). "There's kind of a unilateralism, an undemocratic, unreachable way about these signing statements."

President George W. Bush had used signing statements to ignore a number of provisions in bills that he signed into law, frustrating Democrats in Congress. One Bush signing statement allowed the administration to ignore a provision banning the torture of terror detainees in situations threatening the nation's security.

Frank and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Texas) said that one way they could get presidents to stop issuing signing statements casting aside laws would be to refuse to fund their priorities. The amendment passed Thursday seeks to nullify Obama's signing statement by withholding funds from any agreement involving the Treasury Department that doesn't follow the conditions set out in the supplemental bill.

"The signal we send to the Treasury is very clear: Ignore statute at your peril," Kirk said.

The U.S. funding for the IMF, which will come in the form of a $108 billion credit line, was a sticking point in negotiations over the war supplemental bill. House Republicans opposed the legislation despite their support for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan because they viewed the IMF funding as an unnecessary "global bailout." House and Senate leaders included constraints on the IMF and World Bank funding as a way to ensure support from lawmakers skeptical over sending more money abroad, said House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.).

"Sometimes, the only way the votes can be found to provide the funds the admin wants is to provide certain limitations on the money," Obey said Thursday in a floor speech criticizing Obama's signing statement.

The State Department and foreign operations appropriations bill that contained the amendment was expected to win passage late Thursday. Both Democratic and Republican appropriators spoke in support of it during the floor debate Thursday afternoon.

Source: After Downing Street.Org

Bookmark and Share

Nah, It's Not A Hate Crime, The Victims Were White

Akron police say they aren't ready to call it a hate crime or a gang initiation.

But to Marty Marshall, his wife and two kids, it seems pretty clear.

It came after a family night of celebrating America and freedom with a fireworks show at Firestone Stadium. Marshall, his family and two friends were gathered outside a friend's home in South Akron.

Out of nowhere, the six were attacked by dozens of teenage boys, who shouted ''This is our world'' and ''This is a black world'' as they confronted Marshall and his family.

The Marshalls, who are white, say the crowd of teens who attacked them and two friends June 27 on Girard Street numbered close to 50. The teens were all black.

''This was almost like being a terrorist act,'' Marshall said. ''And we allow this to go on in our neighborhoods?''

They said it started when one teen, without any words or warning, blindsided and assaulted Marshall's friend as he stood outside with the others.

When Marshall, 39, jumped in, he found himself being attacked by the growing group of teens.

His daughter, Rachel, 15, who weighs about 90 pounds, tried to come to his rescue. The teens pushed her to the ground.

His wife, Yvonne, pushed their son, Donald, 14, into bushes to keep him protected.

''My thing is,'' Marshall said, ''I didn't want this, but I was in fear for my wife, my kids and my friends. I felt I had to stay out there to protect them, because those guys were just jumping, swinging fists and everything.

''I'm lucky. They didn't break my ribs or bruise my ribs. I thank God, they concentrated on my thick head because I do have one. They were trying to take my head off my spine, basically.''

After several minutes of punches and kicks, the attack ended and the group ran off. The Marshalls' two adult male friends were not seriously hurt.

''I don't think I thought at that moment when I tried to jump in,'' Rachel Marshall said. ''But when I was laying on the ground, I was just scared.''

Marshall was the most seriously injured. He suffered a concussion and multiple bruises to his head and eye. He said he spent five nights in the critical care unit at Akron General Medical Center.

The construction worker said he now fears for his family's safety, and the thousands of dollars in medical bills he faces without insurance.

''I knew I was going to get beat, but not as bad as I did,'' Marshall said. ''But I did it to protect my family. I didn't have a choice. There was no need for this. We should be all getting along. But to me, it seems to be racist.''

Akron police are investigating. Right now, the case is not being classified as a racial hate crime. There were no other reports of victims assaulted by the group that night.

The department's gang unit is involved in the investigation, police said.

''We don't know if it's a known gang, or just a group of kids,'' police Lt. Rick Edwards said.

The Marshalls say they fear retaliation at home or when they go outside. They are considering arming themselves, but they're concerned about the possible problems that come with guns.

For now, they are hoping police can bring them suspects. They believe they can identify several of the attackers.

''This makes you think about your freedom,'' Marshall said. ''In all reality, where is your freedom when you have this going on?''

Source: Ohio.Com News

Bookmark and Share

He’s Out! Holocaust Researcher Germar Rudolf Released On Own Recognizance:

Mild mannered family man walks free after serving 44 months on thought offense charges

Mannheim / Ba-Wü: As announced yesterday the dissident Germar Rudolf from JVA Mannheim prison has been released.

On October 19, 2005, Rudolf was arrested in the United States and deported to Germany. Upon arrival, he was arrested by police authorities and transferred to a prison in Stuttgart-Stammheim in Baden-Württemberg. In March 2007, the Mannheim District Court sentenced Rudolf to two years and six months in prison for inciting hatred, disparaging the dead and libel.

Some turbulent years preceded this. In the early ’90s Rudolf was doing scientific research and appraisal on the Auschwitz gas chamber complex. Since his research results stood in diametric contrast to the commercial and state ordered doctrine this led naturally to collisions with the government authority. Thus in May 1995 because of his appraisal of the gas chambers in Auschwitz, the regional court condemned Germar Rudolf to 14 months prison.

In order to escape this punishment, Rudolf fled to Spain in the spring of 1996 and from there to Great Britain, where Rudolf worked journalistically as a revisionist publishing revisionist material under the umbrella of the Belgian Foundation Vrij Historisch Onderzoek, VHO (Free Historical Research). During these activities, Rudolf acquired the Internet domain which he helped build into one of the largest revisionist websites in the world. In addition Rudolf created the revisionistic book publishing house Castle Hill Publishers.

Around 2004 Rudolf went to the USA where he married a US citizen and subsequently started a family, a request for asylum was denied on the basis that his application was “frivolous”. Germar Rudolf now 44 plans to return back into the USA to live with his American wife and child of four, to what extent he will become again revisionistic or politically active, is undecided……..

Visit Germar’s home page at

Source: Altermedia (Translation)

Bookmark and Share

Jewish group objects to ‘Great Famine’ case

KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) -- A Jewish group in Ukraine is objecting to a criminal case brought over the "Great Famine" committed in the 1930s.

The nation's security service is pressing the case against a list of former Soviet officials accused of committing the Holodomor, which caused the deaths of millions in Ukraine in 1932-33. Most of the names on the list were Jewish.

Ukrainian lawmaker Aleksandr Feldman, leader of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, said last week that it was "a farce" to press the case.

“All organizers of the Great Famine are dead," he said.

Last July, the Ukrainian Security Service released a list of high-ranking Soviet state and Communist Party officials -- as well as officials from NKVD, the police force of Soviet Russia -- that essentially blamed Jews and Latvians responsible for perpetrating and executing the famine because most of the names on the list were Jewish.

The Ukrainian Jewish Committee called on the secret service to revise the list, which incited interethnic hatred, in order to clear up the “inaccuracy.”

Feldman believes there is a danger that the “Holodomor Affair” materials are being used for political purposes.

In late May, security service head Valentin Nalivaychenko claimed at a meeting with representatives of the World Congress of Ukrainians that “Ukraine has collected enough evidence to bring a criminal case regarding the famine, which was artificially created by the Bolshevik regime and caused mass death of citizens.”

Through the World Congress of Ukrainians, Nalivaychenko turned to leading foreign lawyers with a request to help find out the circumstances connected with preparing and committing the genocide.

Source: Jewish Telegraph Agency

Bookmark and Share

Murdoch papers paid £1m to gag phone-hacking victims

• News of the World bugging led to £700,000 payout to PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor
• Sun editor Rebekah Wade and Conservative communications chief Andy Coulson – both ex-NoW editors – involved
• News International chairman Les Hinton told MPs reporter jailed for phone-hacking was one-off case

Rupert Murdoch's News Group News­papers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch journalists using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public ­figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills. Cabinet ministers, MPs, actors and sports stars were all targets of the private investigators.

Today, the Guardian reveals details of the suppressed evidence, which may open the door to hundreds more legal actions by victims of News Group, the Murdoch company that publishes the News of the World and the Sun, as well as provoking police inquiries into reporters who were involved and the senior executives responsible for them. The evidence also poses difficult questions for:

• Conservative leader David Cameron's director of communications, Andy Coulson, who was deputy editor and then editor of the News of the World when, the suppressed evidence shows, journalists for whom he was responsible were engaging in hundreds of apparently illegal acts.

• Murdoch executives who, albeit in good faith, misled a parliamentary select committee, the Press Complaints Commission and the public.

• The Metropolitan police, which did not alert all those whose phones were targeted, and the Crown Prosecution Service, which did not pursue all possible charges against News Group personnel.

• The Press Complaints Commission, which claimed to have conducted an investigation, but failed to uncover any evidence of illegal activity.

The suppressed legal cases are linked to the jailing in January 2007 of a News of the World reporter, Clive Goodman, for hacking into the mobile phones of three royal staff, an offence under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. At the time, News International said it knew of no other journalist who was involved in hacking phones and that Goodman had acted without their knowledge.

But one senior source at the Met told the Guardian that during the Goodman inquiry, officers found evidence of News Group staff using private investigators who hacked into "thousands" of mobile phones. Another source with direct knowledge of the police findings put the figure at "two or three thousand" mobiles. They suggest that MPs from all three parties and cabinet ministers, including former deputy prime minister John Prescott and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, were among the targets.

Last night, Prescott said: "I think Mr Cameron should be thinking of getting rid of Coulson."

However, a spokeswoman for Cameron said the Tory leader was "very relaxed about the story".

Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, one of many victims of mobile phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers, comments on the huge out-of-court settlements Link to this video

News International has always maintained it had no knowledge of phone hacking by anybody acting on its behalf.

Murdoch told Bloomberg news last night that he knew nothing about the payments. "If that had happened I would know about it," he said.

A private investigator who had worked for News Group, Glenn Mulcaire, was also jailed in January 2007. He admitted hacking into the phones of five other targets, including the chief ­executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor. Among the phones he hacked were those of the Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, celebrity PR Max Clifford, model Elle MacPherson and football agent Sky Andrew. News Group denied all knowledge of the hacking, but Taylor last year sued them on the basis that they must have known about it.

In documents initially submitted to the high court, News Group executives said the company had not been involved in any way in Mulcaire's hacking of Taylor's phone. They denied keeping any recording or notes of intercepted messages. But, at the request of Taylor's lawyers, the court ordered the production of detailed evidence from Scotland Yard's inquiry in the Goodman case, and from an inquiry by the Information Commissioner's office into journalists who dishonestly obtain confidential personal records.

The Scotland Yard files included paperwork which revealed that, contrary to News Group's denial, Mulcaire had provided a recording of the messages on Taylor's phone to a News of the World journalist who had transcribed them and emailed them to a senior reporter, and that a News of the World executive had offered Mulcaire a substantial bonus for a story specifically related to the intercepted messages.

Several famous figures in football are among those whose messages were intercepted. Coulson was editing the paper at this time. He said last night: "This story relates to an alleged payment made after I left the News of the World two and half years ago. I have no knowledge whatsoever of any settlement with Gordon Taylor.

"The Mulcaire case was investigated thoroughly by the police and by the Press Complaints Commission. I took full responsibility at the time for what happened on my watch but without my knowledge and resigned."

The paperwork from the Information Commission revealed the names of 31 journalists working for the News of the World and the Sun, together with the details of government agencies, banks, phone companies and others who were conned into handing over confidential information. This is an offence under the Data Protection Act unless it is justified by public interest.

Senior editors are among those implicated. This activity occurred before the mobile phone hacking, at a time when Coulson was deputy and the editor was Rebekah Wade, now due to become chief executive of News International. The extent of their personal knowledge, if any, is not clear: the News of the World has always insisted that it would not break the law and would use subterfuge only if essential in the public interest.

Faced with this evidence, News International changed their position, started offering huge cash payments to settle the case out of court, and finally paid out £700,000 in legal costs and damages on the condition that Taylor signed a gagging clause to prevent him speaking about the case. The payment is believed to have included more than £400,000 in damages. News Group then persuaded the court to seal the file on Taylor's case to prevent all public access, even though it contained prima facie evidence of criminal activity.

The Scotland Yard paperwork also provided evidence that the News of the World had been involved with Mulcaire in his hacking of the mobile phones of at least two other football figures. They filed complaints, which were settled this year when News International paid more than £300,000 in damages and costs on condition that they signed gagging clauses.

Taylor declined to make any comment. Goodman, now out of jail, said: "My comment is not even 'no comment'." A spokesman for News International said: "News International feels it is inappropriate to comment at this time."

Last night, John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP who chairs the culture, media and sport select committee, said the revelation "raises a number of questions that we would want to put to News International".

He added: "The fact that other people beyond the royal family had their calls intercepted was well known. But we were absolutely assured by News International that none of their journalists were aware of that, that Goodman was acting alone and that Mulcaire was a rogue agent".

Asked if the committee would reopen the issue, he said: "The committee will want to discuss it very urgently. I think we will do so tomorrow morning, and if we decide that there are further questions to ask, then certainly we would summon back witnesses and ask those questions."

Former Sunday Times editor Andrew Neil described the story last night as "one of the most significant media stories of modern times". "It suggests that rather than being a one-off journalist or rogue private investigator, it was systemic throughout the News of the World, and to a lesser extent the Sun," he said. "Particularly in the News of the World, this was a newsroom out of control.

Source: The Guardian

Bookmark and Share

Fed warns on Congressional scrutiny - AGAIN!

The Federal Reserve warned on Thursday that a growing congressional threat to curtail its independence would destabilise markets and raise the cost of servicing US debt for “current and future generations”.

Ron Paul, the Texas Republican, has gathered the support of a majority of the House of Representatives for a bill that would audit the Fed’s monetary policy decisions. He told a Congressional hearing he wanted the power to prevent the Fed being "secret and clandestine and serving special interests”.

The Fed is struggling to face down a political backlash from different parts of Congress amid scepticism over its policies designed to restart the flow of credit and the award of new powers to curb systemic risks.

Donald Kohn, vice-chairman of the Fed, argued at the House financial services subcommittee hearing that any sense of political interference would negatively affect markets. “Any substantial erosion of the Federal Reserve’s monetary independence likely would lead to higher long-term interest rates as investors begin to fear future inflation,” he said.

Not only did Mr Kohn argue that the Fed should be given the power to regulate large systemically significant companies, but he argued against giving up responsibility for consumer protection, asking Congress to overturn the Obama administration’s proposal to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

”I would hope that the Congress might think about whether there are ways of strengthening the Federal Reserve’s commitment to consumer regulation as an alternative to creating a new regulator,” he said.

As US authorities have considered how to reform the country’s regulatory regime in the wake of the current economic crisis, the Fed has been drawn into an argument with other regulators over who oversees the US’s largest financial institutions.

The conflict appeared to end with the Obama administration giving power over systemically significant insitutions to the Fed, with additional oversight from a council of regulators including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

But critics in Congress have not given up an attempt to push all or more of the power to the council, taking it away from the Fed. The hearing on Thursday heard support for that view. Mr Paul’s audit bill now has more than 250 co-sponsors.

Source: FT.Com

Bookmark and Share