Michael Wolsey's Blog
by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton
Posted at Lewrockwell.com
June 7, 2008
The George W. Bush administration responded to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon with an assault on U.S. civil liberty that Bush justified in the name of the “war on terror.” The government assured us that the draconian measures apply only to “terrorists.” The word terrorist, however, was not defined. The government claimed the discretionary power to decide who is a terrorist without having to present evidence or charges in a court of law.
Frankly, the Bush administration’s policy evades any notion of procedural due process of law. Administration assurances that harsh treatment is reserved only for terrorists is meaningless when the threshold process for determining who is and who is not a terrorist depends on executive discretion that is not subject to review. Substantive rights are useless without the procedural rights to enforce them.
Terrorist legislation and executive assertions created a basis upon which federal authorities claimed they were free to suspend suspects’ civil liberties in order to defend Americans from terrorism. Only after civil liberties groups and federal courts challenged some of the unconstitutional laws and procedures did realization spread that the Bush administration’s assault on the Bill of Rights is a greater threat to Americans than are terrorists.
The alacrity with which Congress accepted the initial assault from the administration is frightening. In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act passed by a vote of 98 to 1 in the Senate and by 357 to 66 in the House. The act was already written and waiting on the shelf before the 9/11 attack. Indeed, the FBI and Department of Justice have tried for years to introduce PATRIOT Act provisions into the law. That act was introduced immediately after the attacks, and few members of Congress read its contents prior to passing it.
Congress, the Bush Adminstration and Continuity of Government Planning–The Showdown
March 31, 2008
by Peter Dale Scott
In August 2007, Congressman Peter DeFazio, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the House that he and the rest of his Committee had been barred from reviewing parts of National Security Presidential Directive 51, the White House supersecret plans to implement so-called “Continuity of Government” in the event of a mass terror attack or natural disaster. (1)
Norm Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, commented, “I cannot think of one good reason” for denial. Ornstein added, “I find it inexplicable and probably reflective of the usual, knee-jerk overextension of executive power that we see from this White House.” (2)
The story, ignored by the mainstream press, involved more than the usual tussle between the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government. What was at stake was a contest between Congress’s constitutional powers of oversight, and a set of policy plans that could be used to suspend or modify the constitution.
There is nothing wrong with disaster planning per se. Like all governments, the U.S. government must develop plans for the worst contingencies. But Congress has a right to be concerned about Continuity of Government (COG) plans refined by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld over the past quarter century, which journalists have described as involving suspension of the constitution. (3)
In the 1980s, a secret group of planners inside and outside the government were assigned, by an Executive Order, to develop a response to a nuclear attack in which the U.S. government had been decapitated, forcing an alternative to the constitutional rules of succession. Two of these planners were Dick Cheney, then a Congressman, and Donald Rumsfeld, then a private citizen and CEO of the G.D. Searle drug company.
“One of the awkward questions we faced was whether to reconstitute Congress after a nuclear attack.It was decided that no, it would be easier to operate without them,” said one of the COG planners in the 1980s, who spoke to James Mann (The Rise of the Vulcans, 141-42). James Bamford reported the same remark in his book Pretext for War (p. 74).
After the end of the Cold War, the urgency of coming up with plans faded. The COG nuclear planning project “has less than six months to live,” reported Tim Weiner of the New York Times. (April 17, 1994). Mann and Bamford concluded, wrongly, that all the COG planning of the Reagan era had been abandoned.
Rule by fear or rule by law?
by Lewis Seiler, Dan Hamburg
The San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, February 4, 2008
“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.”
- Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943
Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of “an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.”
Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.
Ich bin ein Berliner (That goes for you too.)
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
– Justice William O. Douglas
I was born the very day World War II ended. My fellow postwar “Baby Boomers” grew up on old black and white documentaries of that war and the events leading up to it. But those films never really answered the most important question, a question that has nagged me, and I suspect most of my generation
How does something that extraordinary happen? It’s a question that has not only burdened American Baby Boomers, but three generations of postwar Germans as well. But for them it’s much more than just a historical curiosity. For postwar Germans it’s also been a nagging sense of collective guilt – guilt about events they had nothing to do with, but guilt nonetheless. It’s a guilt built on the realization that their parents and grand parents either participated in, supported and/or enabled what happened over half a century ago — or, at the very least, did nothing to prevent or stop it.
Of course the fascist rulers of the Third Reich ruled with a heavy hand. So it’s not hard to understand why so many Germans simply laid low rather than oppose the regime.
“Nazi terror from above and the demise of the rule of law started just a few days after Hitler’s assumption of power in January 1933. The penalties of opposition became higher and higher. In the first nine months alone, at least 100,000 people, most of them leftist Germans, were thrown into hastily erected concentration camps. Others ended up in ordinary prisons and many died. Countless more were roughed up by rampaging brownshirts in broad daylight or taken into police custody on trumped-up political charges. By 1936, a brutal police state had penetrated virtually all spheres of life.” ( New York Times books.)
While the rules have tightened here since 9/11, we’ve not experienced anything near that scale. Speaking out is remains a survivable exercise.
Which begs the question; what will be our excuse? How will we explain the things we’ve allowed this administration to get away with — the torture, the “renditions,” the secret prisons, the warrant-less wiretapping, the lies we and our media allowed to stand? What are we going to tell our grand children when they ask us what the hell we were thinking, feeling and doing while all that was afoot?
I understand it’s against the rules of polite society to recklessly throw the “f” word around by comparing anything that’s happening today to the kind of atrocities that occurred under Hitler. It”s even worse to compare any contemporary American political/religious/social leader to Hitler.
So I won’t. I won’t go that far, because it hasn’t gone that far – yet.
Neo-Cons: Make Bush Dictator Of The World
Paul Joseph Watson
Friday, August 17, 2007
If you thought Stu Bykovsky’s call for a new 9/11 was the lowest the Neo-Cons could sink, think again. A right-wing foundation with links to Dick Cheney has called for Bush to be made lifetime president, ruler of the world, and for Iraq to be ethnically cleansed of Arabs by means of a nuclear holocaust.
The Family Security Matters organization masquerades as an independent “think tank” yet was highly influential in President Bush’s re-election in 2004 and has links to top Neo-Con ideologues.
The outfit poses as an advocacy group for a new breed of goose-stepping brownshirts – so-called “security moms,” who are noted for their blind obedience to neo-conservatism as a result of believing every ounce of fearmongering that emanates from the Bush administration on the inevitability of mass casualty terror attacks.
“In late 2004, Media Matters for America discovered that the phone number listed on FSM’s website actually belonged to the Center for Security Policy (CSP), a rabidly hardline foreign policy outfit run by former Reagan administration figure Frank Gaffney,” reports Right Web.
The Center for Security Policy is an umbrella organization that includes the National Security Advisory Council, whose members hold senior positions within the Bush administration itself. Former and current members include Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams and the organization has also given awards to Donald Rumsfeld.
The FSM foundation itself also has ties to the Anti-Defamation League, the International Women’s Forum, numerous nationwide television and print media outlets, and includes on its board of advisors Neo-Con radio host Laura Ingraham and former director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, James Woolsey.
Representatives of FSM also routinely appear as guests on Fox News and their website is a cesspool of anti-American fervor – acting as a cheerleader for the invasion of Iran, the warrantless wiretapping program (opponents of which are labeled “traitors”) and lauds the Patriot Act as “An irreplaceable tool utilized by our Secret Service to keep us safe.”
Read the rest of this article here.
Editor’s note: The Family Security Matters website was taken down but not before it was cashed on the internet and can be found here.
The Timeline to Tyranny
Ten advances towards the end of freedom and privacy in the United States
by Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
The top ten advances towards tyranny in the United States during the tenure of the Bush administration, from the Patriot Act to the latest expansion of the illegal eavesdropping surveillance program.
1) The USA Patriot Act
The party line often heard from Neo-Cons in their attempts to defend the Patriot Act either circulate around the contention that the use of the Patriot Act has never been abused or that it isn’t being used against American citizens. Here is an archive of articles that disproves both of these fallacies.
The Patriot Act was the boiler plate from which all subsequent attacks on the Constitution were formed.
2) Total Information Awareness
“Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as “a virtual, centralized grand database,” infamously wrote New York Times writer William Safire, announcing the birth of Total Information Awareness, a kind of Echelon on steroids introduced a year after 9/11.
TIA was not canned, it was simply removed from the newspaper, renamed and continues to operate under a guise of different programs.
3) USA Patriot Act II
The second Patriot Act was a mirror image of powers that Julius Caesar and Adolf Hitler gave themselves. Whereas the First Patriot Act only gutted the First, Third, Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and seriously damaged the Seventh and the Tenth, the Second Patriot Act reorganized the entire Federal government as well as many areas of state government under the dictatorial control of the Justice Department, the Office of Homeland Security and the FEMA NORTHCOM military command.
The Domestic Security Enhancement Act 2003, also known as the Second Patriot Act is by its very structure the definition of dictatorship.
Anthrax Coverup: A Government Insider Speaks Out
by Steve Watson
Is it possible that the anthrax attacks were launched from within our own government? A former Bush 1 adviser thinks it is.
Francis A. Boyle, an international law expert who worked under the first Bush Administration as a bio-weapons adviser in the 1980s, has said that he is convinced the October 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people were perpetrated and covered up by criminal elements of the U.S. government. The motive: to foment a police state by killing off and intimidating opposition to post-9/11 legislation such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the later Military Commissions Act.
“After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Bush Administration tried to ram the USA PATRIOT Act through Congress,” Boyle said in a radio interview with Austin-based talk-show host Alex Jones. “That would have set up a police state.
“Senators Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) were holding it up because they realized what this would lead to. The first draft of the PATRIOT Act would have suspended the writ of habeas corpus [which protects citizens from unlawful imprisonment and guarantees due process of law]. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, come these anthrax attacks.”
“At the time I myself did not know precisely what was going on, either with respect to September 11 or the anthrax attacks, but then the New York Times revealed the technology behind the letter to Senator Daschle. [The anthrax used was] a trillion spores per gram, [refined with] special electro-static treatment. This is super weapons-grade anthrax that even the United States government, in its openly proclaimed programs, had never developed before. So it was obvious to
me that this was from a U.S. government lab. There is nowhere else you could have gotten that.”
Boyle’s assessment was based on his years of expertise regarding America’s bio-weapons programs. He was responsible for drafting the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 that was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
After realizing that the anthrax attacks looked like a domestic job, Boyle called a high-level official in the FBI who deals with terrorism and counterterrorism, Marion “Spike” Bowman. Boyle and Bowman had met at a terrorism conference at the University of Michigan Law School. Boyle told Bowman that the only people who would have the capability to
carry out the attacks were individuals working on U.S. government anthrax programs with access to a high-level biosafety lab. Boyle gave Bowman a full list of names of scientists, contractors and labs conducting anthrax work for the U.S. government and military.
Bush Directive for a “Catastrophic Emergency” in America: Building a Justification for Waging War on Iran?
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, June 24, 2007
“Another [9/11 type terrorist] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets” (Statement by Pentagon official, leaked to the Washington Post, 23 April 2006)
The US media consensus is that “the United States faces its greatest threat of a terrorist assault since the September 11 attacks” (USA Today, 12 February 2006) The American Homeland is threatened by ” Islamic terrorists”, allegedly supported by Tehran and Damascus.
America is under attack” by an illusive “outside enemy”.
Concepts are turned upside down. War becomes Peace. “Offense” becomes a legitimate means of “self-defense”. In the words of President Bush:
“Against this kind of enemy, there is only one effective response: We must go on the offense, stay on the offense, and take the fight to them.” (President George W. Bush, CENTCOM Coalition Conference, May 1, 2007)
The intent is to seek a pretext to wage a preemptive war.
A “terrorist attack on America” could be used to justify, in the eyes of an increasingly credulous public opinion, on “humanitarian grounds”, the launching of a major theater war directed against Iran and Syria.
Allegedly supported by Iran, the terrorists are said to possess nuclear capabilities. They are supposedly planning to explode “radiological dispersion devices” (RDD) or “dirty bombs” in densely populated urban areas in the US. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell had already forewarned in 2003 that, “It would be easy for terrorists to cook up radioactive ‘dirty’ bombs to explode inside the U.S. … How likely it is, I can’t say…” (10 February 2003).
The sheer absurdity that Al Qaeda might have advanced capabilities to wage a nuclear attack on America is, nonetheless, pervasive in US media reports. Moreover, numerous drills and exercises, simulating a terrorist attack using nuclear devices, have been conducted in recent years, creating the illusion that “the threat is real”:
“What we do know is that our enemies want to inflict massive casualties and that terrorists have the expertise to invent a wide range of attacks, including those involving the use of chemical, biological, radiological and even nuclear weapons. … [E]xploding a small nuclear weapon in a major city could do incalculable harm to hundreds of thousands of people, as well as to businesses and the economy,…(US Congress, House Financial Services Committee, June 21, 2007).