The Evolution of a Police State - November, 2011

The main problem I have with the "Occupy Wall Street" people is essentially this: where the hell were they when the economic bubble was being artificially sustained by the same people they are now complaining about? Where the hell were they when the corrupt/criminal system they are only now protesting was for years exploiting the globe so that they could continue purchasing affordable slave-labor goods and be able to enjoy three thousand channels on cable?

There were only a few lonely voices sounding the alarm when things seemed so wonderful and the sheeple were happily grazing on the bullshit they were provided by their financial slave-masters. Nonetheless, better late than never. I am glad Americans are slowly waking up from their stupor. Although the Occupy movement is toothless and very small at this time, if it is somehow sustained, more and more people will be joining it, thereby giving it more power and more legitimacy. Needless to say, officials have been feverishly trying to figure out what to do with these spontaneous protests sweeping the nation. They are nervous because they see the potential for a major disaster. Thus, America's neo-Bolshevik ruling elite have four major options on the table:

1) Be aggressive towards protesters (e.g. intimidation, pepper spraying, beatings, mass arrests) and hope the protesters will dissipate
2) Send into protester's ranks agent-provocateurs to cause violence and property damage and use such actions to criminalize the movement and crack down on it with full force
3) Try to co-opt the movement by either making deals with its spokespersons/leaders or simply by sending into their ranks well spoken political activists or "left" leaning celebrities covertly connected to the government to hijack the movement
4) Just wait for the winter freeze to do its work and hope that the legendary short attention spans of Americans (thanks to poor education, controlled news press, over medication and 24/7 television entertainment) can finally put an end to it all
But one thing is for sure, they are definitely afraid of the movement growing out of control. The Occupy protests were inspired by similar movements around the world and it has in turn inspired other movements around the world. I quietly joined the protesters on a couple of occasions to get a feel for what it was all about. Based on what I saw and heard, I have to admit, I don't have much hope in their ability to get anything serious done. They are currently too fragmented, too timid, too disorganized, too politically naive, too utopian, too socialistic, too hippyish, too liberal and too small in numbers. And unlike the Washington-backed armed thugs fighting the legitimate governments of Iran, Libya and Syria, the Occupy movement in America does not have any kind of backing. With that said, what the movement has started may become a foundational template upon which better and more affective protests can be organized in the future.

Nevertheless, just imagine: what if, say Russia or China, decided to covertly or overtly arm, fund and/or organize this budding movement in the United States? Wouldn't all hell break loose? Wouldn't Washington go berserk and saturate American cities with federal agents and the national guard? Wouldn't protesters be rounded up en-mass and sent to FEMA camps? Wouldn't protesters get gunned down as terrorists? Wouldn't Washington send a naval carrier task force to threaten any nation meddling in its internal affairs?

Well, supporting, arming, funding, organizing or encouraging protesters, insurgents and terrorists alike is exactly what the West, namely Washington, has been doing in places like Russia and China, not to mention most of central and south Americas, Africa, Middle East and central Asia...

By what divine law does Washington reserve the right to label nations good or bad and meddle in their internal affairs as a result? Who gave Washington the right to intervene in other nation's internal matters? Some Americans, including politicians, claim American exceptionalism, as their right. In the mind of its lunatic adherents, American exceptionalism more-or-less means the United States of America has been placed on earth to lead the nations of the world. In other words, similar to what the "chosen" Jews think, American fanatics think God has chosen the United States to decide what nations are deemed evil and what nations are deemed good, what nations can be destroyed, what nations need to be protected and sometimes what nations created out of thin air. This absurd and dangerous situation has gone long enough. The world cannot remain unipolar. American officials cannot be given the right to lead anything. American exceptionalism needs a healthy dose of Russian and/or Chinese interventionism to put Washington back in its rightful place.

Ironically, of all the protests we are now seeing taking place around the world, the most scared and the most timid protesters, those even afraid of looking at policemen in the wrong way have been the ones in the United States - home of the free land of the brave! But I don't blame them for being scared, they have been beaten by batons, shot at with deadly rubber-bullets, stun-grenaded, teargassed, maced and mass-arrested for merely trying to exercise their rights to speak up against financial exploitation and government corruption. Although "Joe six-pack" on Main street does not yet realize this, Americans are by-far the least free of all developed nations.

A fundamental problem we have here is that the state no longer fears its citizenry. This is fundamentally an un-American state of affairs, and it is against the very principals of the nation's founding fathers. For a governing body to be somewhat more considerate towards its subjects, it has to first fear them. This is why for generations Americans have been armed to the teeth. This is why for generations Americans have had large numbers of armed citizens' militias. This is the reason why America once had a free news press. And this is also the reason why the nation's financial/political elite has co-opted the nation's news press and it is currently working on disarming the population. Having already taken control of almost everything else in American life, if they manage to finally disarm the American citizenry, this nation will turn into a massive prison virtually overnight.

The only element in the nation that can potentially keep the hijacked federal government in check are the American militias of the Midwest. However, even these militias have been systematically defanged during the past several decades. Many of them today, if not all, are infested with informants and undercover agents. A couple of recent cases proves my point (see last two articles at the bottom of this page).

Sadly, the once proud and fiercely independent American is dying a slow and miserable death as the American dream turns into an American nightmare. Hollywood, pharmaceuticals, the controlled news press and the nation's indoctrinations centers also known as - schools - have turned a once vibrant and dynamic population into a mass of apolitical, mindless, materialistic and self-absorbed zombies. Despite what today's American sheeple want to believe, through their fearless actions the people of Europe have shown us all that they are far more independent - in body, mind and soul - than Americans.

America's neo-Bolshevik elite is currently seeking to turn the vast majority of the nation's work force into low wage earning slaves and mindless robots willing to fight and die for a handful of special interests in Washington. The US government is already by far the largest employer in the nation and they already regulate virtually everything in the lives of the citizenry. The ruling elite is running the nation like a corporation and the people as slave labor; and armed thugs in uniforms, be it the FBI, police or national guardsmen, are the ones tasked with making sure that the system stays intact.
What we are seeing take place in the United States today is the evolution of a massive police state.

Arevordi
November, 2011

***
Occupation Nation: US cops serve & protect the 1%: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0y7XROtjmAk

I AM NOT MOVING - Short Film - Occupy Wall Street: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RGRXCgMdz9A

An INTENSE moment of TRUTH with MAINSTREAM Media: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KLkMrJSXfdo#!

OWS Contagious: Global Revolution Live: http://www.youtube.com/user/russiatoday?blend=1&ob=4#p/u/25/ZQNSCwo__rQ

Occupy World St.: From NYC to Everywhere: http://www.youtube.com/user/russiatoday?blend=1&ob=4#p/u/12/73gtsiWu8g4

Athens Clashes LIVE: RT at Greece massive protest showdown: http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/6/1clq1yVlIS4

First night video of Occupy Rome clashes, cop cars on fire: http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/10/Ws29I_Afb48

Occupy London clashes: Fighting erupts at UK protest: http://www.youtube.com/user/russiatoday?blend=1&ob=4#p/u/13/HpqPM7E7PO0

Occupation rolls on: OWS raises $300K in funds: http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/2/xkbH3McUYqI

CrossTalk: Occupy Globe (ft. Pepe Escobar): http://www.youtube.com/user/RussiaToday#p/u/8/ufOTAFidGY8

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Buoyed by Wall St. Protests, Rallies Sweep the Globe

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Buoyed by the longevity of the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Manhattan, a wave of protests swept across Asia, the Americas and Europe over the weekend, with hundreds and in some cases thousands of people expressing discontent with the economic tides in marches, rallies and occasional clashes with the police. In Rome on Saturday, a rally thick with tension spread over several miles. Small groups of restive young people turned a largely peaceful protest into a riot, setting fire to at least one building and a police van and clashing with police officers, who responded with water cannons and tear gas. The police estimated that dozens of protesters had been injured, along with 26 law enforcement officials; 12 people were arrested.

By early Sunday in New York, 92 people had been arrested, including 24 accused of trespassing in a Greenwich Village branch of Citibank and 45 during a raucous rally of thousands of people in and around Times Square. More than 1,000 people filled Washington Square Park on Saturday night, but almost all of them left after dozens of police officers with batons and helmets streamed through the arch and warned that they would be enforcing a midnight curfew. Fourteen were arrested for remaining in the park.Three police officers were injured dealing with a rambunctious crowd at 46th Street and 7th Avenue; they were treated at Bellevue Hospital Center and released.

In Chicago, about 175 people were arrested at about 1 a.m. on Sunday after refusing to leave Grant Park before the 11 p.m. closing time, said Officer Laura Kubiak, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department. Other than in Rome, the demonstrations across Europe were largely peaceful, with thousands of people marching past ancient monuments and gathering in front of capitalist symbols like the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Similar scenes unfolded across cities on several continents, including in Sydney, Australia; Tokyo; Hong Kong; Toronto; and Los Angeles, where several thousand people marched to City Hall as passing drivers honked their support.

But just as the rallies in New York have represented a variety of messages — signs have been held in opposition to President Obama yards away from signs in support of him — so did Saturday’s protests contain a grab bag of sentiments, opposing nuclear power, political corruption and the privatization of water. Yet despite the difference in language, landscape and scale, the protests were united in frustration with the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

“I have no problem with capitalism,” Herbert Haberl, 51, said in Berlin. “But I find the way the financial system is functioning deeply unethical . We shouldn’t bail out the banks. We should bail out the people.”

In New York, where the occupation of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan was moving into its second month, a large crowd marched north early Saturday afternoon to Washington Square Park, where it was joined by several hundred college students who decried, among other things, student debt and unemployment. In late afternoon, the crowds marched up Avenue of the Americas toward a heavily barricaded Times Square, beseeching onlookers to join in with cries of “You are the 99 percent.” At Times Square, they convened with thousands of other protesters and caught hundreds of tourists unawares. “We thought they were going to stay down on Wall Street,” said Sandi Bernard — who is 59 and was visiting from Waldorf, Md. — while wondering if she would have trouble making the 8 p.m. curtain call for “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

Some tourists pumped their fists and whooped from atop double-decker sightseeing buses as the protesters cheered back. To keep 42nd Street clear the police shunted marchers up to 46th Street, where officers and the pressed-in masses had several run-ins. At one point the police pushed the barricades in toward the crowd, and the crowd pushed back. At another point two mounted officers moved their horses briefly into the throng.

Three people were arrested trying to take down barricades, the police said. Later, as officers tried to disperse people east on 46th Street, 42 people who the police said defied their orders were taken away, in plastic handcuffs, in three police wagons. One witness, Harry Kaback, a 26-year-old comic selling tickets to the Ha! comedy club, said the protesters were “getting rowdy” with the police and shouting in their faces. For the protesters, marching on Times Square held almost as much significance as did protesting against Wall Street.

“Times Square represents business as usual — buy, buy, buy in this economic climate, watch the latest show,” said Elias Holtz, 29, a Web designer who lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. “But the crisis is everywhere.” The protest moved back to Washington Square Park, where people listened to speeches and debated whether to stay while police officers marched down Fifth Avenue and into the square. One officer gave a warning as midnight approached: “The park closes at 24:00 hours. You can exit to the east, west or south. You have 10 minutes.”

Virtually everyone chose to leave, save 14 protesters who remained sitting in the dry bed of the park’s fountain and were arrested, the police said. Many headed back to Zuccotti Park, where there is no curfew. Earlier, about a dozen protesters entered a Chase branch in Lower Manhattan and withdrew their money from the bank while 300 other people circled the block, some shouting chants and beating on drums. The former Chase customers, who declined to reveal how much they had in their accounts — though a few acknowledged it was not much — said they planned to put their money into smaller banks or credit unions.

“The more resources we give to small institutions, the more they’ll be able to provide conveniences like free A.T.M.’s and streamlined online banking so they can compete with the larger banks,” said Hannah Appel, 33, a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.

Five people wearing masks were arrested during the march to Times Square for “loitering with masks,” said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, an apparent reference to an old state law prohibiting masked gatherings (the law does not apply to masquerade parties). And two dozen people were arrested at a Citibank branch on LaGuardia Place on trespassing charges. Some witnesses said that the protesters had tried to leave but were locked inside by bank employees. “They were trying to leave, but they wouldn’t let them,” said Meaghan Linick, 23, of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She said one woman who had been inside and left was forced back inside by police officers.

Citibank, in a statement, said the protesters “were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911.” The statement continued, “The police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed.” In Washington, several hundred people marched through downtown, beginning in the early morning, passing by several banks. Escorted by the police, the marchers also demonstrated in front of the White House and the Treasury Department before moving on to a rally on the National Mall, where they were joined by representatives of unions and other supporters.

“You see how people are beholden to corporate interests no matter how hard you might have worked to get them elected,” said Kelly Mears, 24, a former software engineer. “There is a disconnect.”

Saturday’s protests sprang not only from the Occupy Wall Street movement that began last month in New York, but also from demonstrations in Spain in May. This weekend, the global protest effort came as finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 industrialized nations meet in Paris to discuss economic issues, including ways to tackle Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. Tens of thousands of protesters assembled in Madrid on Saturday evening, when chants mingled with live music, including a rendition of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” lending the downtown area an upbeat feel on an unusually balmy fall afternoon.

Brief clashes were reported in London, where the police were out in force with dozens of riot vans, canine units and hundreds of officers. But the gathering, attended by people of all ages, was largely peaceful, with a picnic atmosphere and people streaming in and out of a nearby Starbucks.

The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, made an appearance when a crowd assembled in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral. To loud cheers, Mr. Assange called the protest movement “the culmination of a dream.” In Rome, the protests Saturday were as much about the growing dissatisfaction with the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who narrowly survived a vote of confidence on Friday, as they were about global financial inequities. Tens of thousands of people turned out for what started as peaceful protests and then devolved into ugly violence. The windows of shops and banks were smashed, a police van was destroyed, and some Defense Ministry offices were set alight.

“We don’t feel represented by the government. We feel made fun of,” Alessia Tridici, 18, said in Rome. “We’re upset because we don’t have prospects for the future. We’ll never see a pension. We’ll have to work until we die.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/world/occupy-wall-street-protests-worldwide.html?_r=1&ref=world

Countless Grievances, One Thread: We’re Angry

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Ken Alandt’s guitar, which he covered with bumper stickers and waved in the air at the Occupy Phoenix protest on Monday, is a symbol of the movement itself — a mélange of disparate causes, all of which prompt his blood to boil. Mr. Alandt, 53, an out-of-work stagehand and one of hundreds participating in Phoenix’s version of Occupy Wall Street, is furious that people are dying in foreign wars. He is angry that medical marijuana was still considered illegal despite Arizona voters’ approval of it. He is livid about his lot in life.

“Bro, I have been lied to so many times that I don’t know who to believe,” Mr. Alandt said. “All the world’s problems run downhill, and I’m at the bottom.”

Protesters have taken to the streets and parks in cities across America, and in foreign capitals to boot, all under the banner of the Occupy movement. But not every group that has embraced the name, nor every individual who answers its call, necessarily marches in the same contentious lockstep. While the protesters seem united in feeling that the system is stacked against them, with the rules written to benefit the rich and the connected, they are also just as often angry about issues closer to home, like education and the local environment. Each gathering bubbles up from its own particular city’s stew of circumstances and grievances, and the protesters bring along their pantheons of saints and villains.

“Peace activists, indigenous rights activists, immigrant activists — they’re all here,” said Liz Hourican, 40, who belongs to the antiwar group Code Pink and was scrawling a message in pink chalk on a sidewalk in downtown Phoenix, calling on American troops to come home. “It may sound different to you, but it’s all the same. We’re all stepping up and saying something’s wrong.” There may be no common manifesto or list of goals — something that has drawn criticism from both inside and outside the movement — but there is one common thread: anger. Some have looked for jobs for months; others have lost their homes to foreclosure. Angry, they all are.

“What brings me out here? Outrage — outrage with what’s going on in this country,” said Lucy Horwitz, 79, who participated in Occupy Los Angeles. “Right now, the first issue on my mind is that corporations can buy congressmen.”

In Lower Manhattan on Monday afternoon, protesters were drawn by a vast array of concerns: stark income inequality in the city, their family’s suffering from salary cuts, the embarrassment of resorting to food stamps despite working 40 hours a week. Kay Merryweather, 34, an artist on the Lower East Side, volunteers at Trinity Church, giving out food. She said that during the financial crisis, when banks were receiving bailouts and financial executives were receiving multimillion-dollar bonuses, the church often ran out before the long lines of working poor were fed. “The bankers were getting all of these millions,” Ms. Merryweather said. “And we didn’t have enough food.”

But not far away, Benny Zable, 66, a longtime activist, was protesting while wearing a gas mask and a suit that read “Work Consume Be Silent Die.” He said his outrage came from the heedlessness of economic growth. “It’s the greed factor,” Mr. Zable said. In Chicago, where 175 protesters were arrested over the weekend for curfew violations, a crowd outside the Federal Reserve Bank marched to the beat of improvised drums. “Education is a part of it; housing is a part of it; jobs are a part of it,” said Maryem Alyhabib, 34, who left her three children with her mother to protest for an hour and a half on Monday for the first time.

Without the symbolic power of a Wall Street, many local activists have improvised by occupying parks, street corners, always someplace with a link to the power structure they denounce. The many arrests that have taken place across the country have linked protesters in spirit.

“Just because you’re not on Wall Street doesn’t mean you’re not affected by what they do and the decisions that they make,” said Daniel Saltzman, 23, who was cited on a charge of criminal trespass over the weekend at Occupy Tucson. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the money to fly to New York, but we still can make a difference in our community.”

Some protesters in Phoenix shifted on Monday from a park near downtown to the State Capitol, where Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Republican presidential candidate, was meeting with local politicians who favor building more border fences.

Russell Pearce, the president of the Arizona State Senate, the Republican who has led the state’s immigration crackdown, dismissed the protesters. “Even the anarchists have a right to march down the street and hate America,” he said in an interview.

In Boston, a hub of colleges and universities, a higher education theme emerged among protesters. “What did I spend the last four years doing?” asked Becky De Freitas, a recent graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. “Fluent in Mandarin and French and no one wants to go for that? And it’s like, now what?”

In Atlanta, protesters marched to the intersection of Peachtree and Mitchell Streets, where many businesses have closed. “That block of businesses is a microcosm of everywhere,” said Sara Amis, 42, a writing instructor at the University of Georgia. “These problems are everywhere. What happened at Peachtree and Mitchell is happening all over the state, all over the country, and all over the world.”

In London, where thousands of protesters occupy a space under the soaring dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the city’s financial district, a bearded man in a Greenpeace jacket, George Barda, 35, engaged in a heated debate with a passer-by, Naveed Somani, 24, who works in development for the Commonwealth Secretariat, an intergovernmental organization.

Mr. Somani had stopped to express skepticism that such a nebulous movement could succeed. Mr. Barda said he hoped that all the Occupy protests around the world would unite, in time, to lay out concrete aims. “What we need to do is come up with demands that are common sense, inevitable,” Mr. Barda said.

Mr. Somani countered, “It’s nice to have a romantic fantasy.” The ad hoc nature of the protests led to some discord. Jean Marie Simpson, an actor and peace activist, objected when her fellow demonstrators at Occupy Tucson surrounded a man who had assailed the movement, shouting at him and thrusting signs in his face. “I left disappointed and disillusioned,” she said of her fellow occupiers.

But the inclusive nature of the movement, many said, gave it its strength. In Occupy Los Angeles, mothers from Malibu gathered outside City Hall with homeless people who took advantage of the free food offered in a tent city that is growing by the day. “Everyone is here for very separate reasons, and that’s one of the reasons that this movement works,” said Sam Agger, an Occupy Tucson participant.

Reporting was contributed by Ford Burkhart, Michelle A. Monroe and Kellie Mejdrich from Tucson; Jess Bidgood from Boston; Steven Yaccino from Chicago; Ian Lovett from Los Angeles; Isolde Raftery from Seattle; Dan Frosch from Denver; Robbie Brown from Atlanta; Ravi Somaiya from London; and Cara Buckley from New York.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/us/the-occupy-movements-common-thread-is-anger.html?_r=1&ref=us

Is an International Financial Conspiracy Driving World Events?

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Was Alan Greenspan really as dumb as he looks in creating the late housing bubble that threatens to bring the entire Western debt-based economy crashing down? Was something as easy to foresee as this really the trigger for a meltdown that could destroy the world’s financial system? Or was it done, perhaps, "accidentally on purpose"? And if so, why? Let’s turn to the U.S. personage that conspiracy theorists most often mention as being at the epicenter of whatever elite plan is reputed to exist. This would be David Rockefeller, the 92-year-old multibillionaire godfather of the world’s financial elite. The lengthy Wikipedia article on Rockefeller provides the following version of a celebrated statement he allegedly made in an opening speech at the Bilderberg conference in Baden-Baden, Germany, in June 1991:

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during these years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government which will never again know war, but only peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in the past centuries."

This speech was made 17 years ago. It came at the beginning in the U.S. of the Bill Clinton administration. Rockefeller speaks of an "us." This "us," he says, has been having meetings for almost 40 years. If you add the 17 years since he gave the speech it was 57 years ago—two full generations. Not only has "us" developed a "plan for the world," but the attempt to "develop" the plan has evidently been successful, at least in Rockefeller’s mind. The ultimate goal of "us" is to create "the supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers." This will lead, he says, toward a "world government which will never again know war."

Just as an intellectual exercise, let’s assume that David Rockefeller is as important and powerful a person as he seems to think he is. Let’s give the man some credit and assume that he and "us" have in fact succeeded to a degree. This would mean that the major decisions and events since Rockefeller gave the speech in 1991 have probably also been part of the plan or that they have at least represented its features and intent.

Therefore by examining these decisions and events we can determine whether in fact Rockefeller is being truthful in his assessment that the Utopia he has in mind is on its way or has at least come closer to being realized. In no particular order, some of these decisions and events are as follows:

The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement by the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations has led to the elimination of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs as well as the destruction of U.S. family farming in favor of global agribusiness.

Similar free trade agreements, including those under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, have led to export of millions of additional manufacturing jobs to China and elsewhere. Average family income in the U.S. has steadily eroded while the share of the nation’s wealth held by the richest income brackets has soared. Some Wall Street hedge fund managers are making $1 billion a year while the number of homeless, including war veterans, pushes a million.

The housing bubble has led to a huge inflation of real estate prices in the U.S. Millions of homes are falling into the hands of the bankers through foreclosure. The cost of land and rentals has further decimated family agriculture as well as small business. Rising property taxes based on inflated land assessments have forced millions of lower-and middle-income people and elderly out of their homes.

The fact that bankers now control national monetary systems in their entirety, under laws where money is introduced only through lending at interest, has resulted in a massive debt pyramid that is teetering on collapse. This "monetarist" system was pioneered by Rockefeller-family funded economists at the University of Chicago. The rub is that when the pyramid comes down and everyone goes bankrupt the banks which have been creating money "out of thin air" will then be able to seize valuable assets for pennies on the dollar, as J.P. Morgan Chase is preparing to do with the businesses owned by Carlyle Capital. Meaningful regulation of the financial industry has been abandoned by government, and any politician that stands in the way, such as Eliot Spitzer, is destroyed.

The total tax burden on Americans from federal, state, and local governments now exceeds forty percent of income and is rising. Today, with a recession starting, the Democratic-controlled Congress, while supporting the minuscule "stimulus" rebate, is hypocritically raising taxes further, even for middle-income earners. Back taxes, along with student loans, can no longer be eliminated by bankruptcy protection.

Gasoline prices are soaring even as companies like Exxon-Mobil are recording record profits. Other commodity prices are going up steadily, including food prices, with some countries starting to experience near-famine conditions. 40 million people in America are officially classified as "food insecure." Corporate control of water and mineral resources has removed much of what is available from the public commons, and the deregulation of energy production has led to huge increases in the costs of electricity in many areas.

The destruction of family farming in the U.S. by NAFTA (along with family farming in Mexico and Canada) has been mirrored by policies toward other nations on the part of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Around the world, due to pressure from the "Washington consensus," local food self-sufficiency has been replaced by raising of crops primarily for export. Migration off the land has fed the population of huge slums around the cities of underdeveloped countries.

Since the 1980s the U.S. has been fighting wars throughout the world either directly or by proxy. The former Yugoslavia was dismembered by NATO. Under cover of 9/11 and by utilizing off-the-shelf plans, the U.S. is now engaged in the military conquest and permanent military occupation of the Middle East. A worldwide encirclement of Russia and China by U.S. and NATO forces is underway, and a new push to militarize space has begun. The Western powers are clearly preparing for at least the possibility of another world war.

The expansion of the U.S. military empire abroad is mirrored by the creation of a totalitarian system of surveillance at home, whereby the activities of private citizens are spied upon and tracked by technology and systems which have been put into place under the heading of the "War on Terror." Human microchip implants for tracking purposes are starting to be used. The military-industrial complex has become the nation’s largest and most successful industry with tens of thousands of planners engaged in devising new and better ways, both overt and covert, to destroy both foreign and domestic "enemies."

Meanwhile, the U.S. has the largest prison population of any country on earth. Plus everyday life for millions of people is a crushing burden of government, insurance, and financial fees, charges, and paperwork. And the simplest business transactions are burdened by rake-offs for legions of accountants, lawyers, bureaucrats, brokers, speculators, and middlemen.

Finally, the deteriorating conditions of everyday life have given rise to an extraordinary level of stress-related disease, as well as epidemic alcohol and drug addiction. Governments themselves around the world engage in drug trafficking. Instead of working to lower stress levels, public policy is skewed in favor of an enormous prescription drug industry that grows rich off the declining level of health through treatment of symptoms rather than causes. Many of these heavily-advertised medications themselves have devastating side-effects.

This list should at least give us enough to go on in order to ask a hard question. Assuming again that all these things are parts of the elitist plan which Mr. Rockefeller boasts to have been developing, isn’t it a little strange that the means which have been selected to achieve "peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity" involve so much violence, deception, oppression, exploitation, graft, and theft?

In fact it looks to me as though "our plan for the world" is one that is based on genocide, world war, police control of populations, and seizure of the world’s resources by the financial elite and their puppet politicians and military forces. In particular, could there be a better way to accomplish all this than what appears to be a concentrated plan to remove from people everywhere in the world the ability to raise their own food? After all, genocide by starvation may be slow, but it is very effective. Especially when it can be blamed on "market forces."

And can it be that the "us" which is doing all these things, including the great David Rockefeller himself, are just criminals who have somehow taken over the seats of power? If so, they are criminals who have done everything they can to watch their backs and cover their tracks, including a chokehold over the educational system and the monopolistic mainstream media. One thing is certain: The voters of America have never knowingly agreed to any of this.

Richard C. Cook is a former U.S. federal government analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, NASA, and the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. His book on monetary reform entitled We Hold These Truths: The Promise of Monetary Reform is in preparation. He is also the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, "the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years." His website is at www.richardccook.com

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8450

Outrage Over Veteran Injured at ‘Occupy’ Protest

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For supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, whose diffuse anger has been a defining and sometimes distracting characteristic, the wounding of an Iraq war veteran here has provided a powerful central rallying point. The veteran, Scott Olsen, 24, was critically injured on Tuesday night when he was hit in the head with a projectile thrown or shot by law enforcement officers combating protesters trying to re-enter a downtown plaza that had been cleared of an encampment earlier in the day. Mr. Olsen, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine, suffered a fractured skull.

And while Mr. Olsen’s condition has since improved, his injury — and the oddity of a Marine who faced enemy fire only to be attacked at home — has prompted an outpouring of sympathy, as well as calls for solidarity among the scores of Occupy encampments around the nation. On Thursday night, camps in several major cities — including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia — were expected to participate in a vigil for Mr. Olsen, according to Iraq Veterans Against the War, of which he is a member.

“I think people would have been outraged even had this been a civilian,” said Jose Vasquez, the group’s executive director, “but the fact that he survived two tours of duty and then to have this happen to him, people are really upset about that.”

Friends of Mr. Olsen — who worked in computer systems at a Bay Area technology company — said that he had eagerly joined the Occupy movement, heading to the San Francisco camp after work and sleeping on the streets in solidarity with the campers there. He was in Oakland on Tuesday to take part in the demonstration there. “He was loving it,” said Jason Matherne, a fellow Iraq war veteran who met Mr. Olsen several months ago. “I think he believed that corporate greed needs to end, and I think he felt the war economy was part of that.”

Video of Mr. Olsen, lying bleeding and stunned, has been shown on the Internet and on television news reports, though what exactly hit him remained unclear. But Joshua Shepherd, 27, another veteran, said there had been a “barrage of police tear gas canisters flying everywhere.” “I did not know Scott had been hit,” Mr. Shepherd said. “People dragged him away.”

Since the skirmish, which resulted in more than 100 arrests, several liberal groups — including Amnesty International — have condemned the use of tear gas as well as the actions of Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, who said the measures were justified because protesters threw rocks. The Oakland police have since promised an investigation, and Ms. Quan repeated on Wednesday that Oakland is a “very progressive city” that supports the goals of Occupy Wall Street. But petitions were already circulating calling for the resignation of Oakland’s interim police chief, Howard Jordan.

Some 3,000 people gathered peaceably on Wednesday night, debating the merits of calling a general strike in Oakland next week, echoing calls from some Occupy supporters for a national strike. That event was followed by a march through downtown. Unlike Tuesday night, the Oakland police kept their distance.

Outside City Hall on Thursday, meanwhile, several tents had once again sprung up on the contested campground, after protesters removed a police barricade the night before. Nearby, a makeshift tribute to Mr. Olsen had been built around a flagpole, with the words “Pray 4 Scott” chalked onto the pavement. A handful of protesters also stood guard, including Joann Herr, 60, of Oakland, who said Mr. Olsen’s injury had enraged her. “I was mad,” Ms. Herr said. “How could you not be?”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/us/veterans-injury-at-occupy-protest-prompts-outrage.html?scp=1&sq=olsen&st=cse

The Shocking Truth About the Crackdown on Occupy

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US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers" covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that "It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk."

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests. To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors', city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted. The mainstream media was declaring continually "OWS has no message". Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors. When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, "we are going after these scruffy hippies". Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women's wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the "scandal" of presidential contender Newt Gingrich's having been paid $1.8m for a few hours' "consulting" to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies' profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists' privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can't suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy/print

DHS's Federal Protective Services seen at Portland 'Occupy' arrests

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a huge organization, with lots of smaller services lumped together in one big mis-matched umbrella. So when someone mentions "Homeland Security," they can be talking about anything from nuclear security to immigration agents. One lesser-known part of DHS is the Federal Protective Service (FPS), which is tasked with providing "integrated security and law enforcement services to federally owned and leased buildings, facilities, properties and other assets."

That mission might be one of the reasons that officers from the FPS have been spotted at several of the "Occupy" crackdowns, including the October 31 arrests in Portland. An OccupyPortland photographer was arrested by what appear to be officers from the Federal Protective Service, based on these photos, which include officers and vehicles bearing FPS logos. The photographer was arrested at Portland's Terry Shrunk Plaza, which is adjacient to both City Hall and the Edith Green-Wendall Wyatt Federal Building.

The plaza's location accounts for why FPS officers may have participated in the arrests, since the jurisdiction of the plaza is shared by both local and federal authorities. Both the Portland Police Department and the Federal Protective Service have not responded to a request for more information on this incident. At the time of the arrests, Chris Ortman, an agency spokesman in Washington, D.C. gave this statement to The Oregonian:

"FPS is working with the Portland Police Bureau to enforce the prohibition of overnight encampments at Schrunk Plaza, while protecting the safety and security of all involved."

The Federal Protective Service and their 15,000-plus contract security guards have been the target of Congressional scrutiny following a 2010 test in which officials from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) brought bomb-making materials into federal facilities without being detected by guards.

"How Could This Happen in America?" Why Police Are Treating Americans Like Military Threats

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Why is the armed might of the state, (necessary in waging war against foreign enemies) being applied to domestic policing of local communities and peaceful protests?

"How could this happen in America?"

"Is this still my country?"

In the past few days, those and similarly poignant Twitter posts have appealed to fundamental American values in objecting to the notorious U.C. Davis event, where police pepper-sprayed seated protesters, and to cities generally cracking down on the Occupy movement. The crackdowns have brought a military level of combativeness to what many Americans -- even those not in sympathy with the protesters -- would normally see as a police, not a military matter.

Police, not military. The distinction may seem academic, even absurd, when police are bringing rifles, helmets, armor, and helicopters to evict unarmed protesters. But it's an old and critical distinction in American law and ideology and in republican thought as a whole. The 17th-century English liberty writers, on whose ideas much of America's founding ethos was based, believed that turning the armed might of the state, (necessary in waging war against foreign enemies), to domestic policing of local communities tends to concentrate power in top-down executive action and vitiate treasured things like judiciary process, individual liberty, representative government, and free speech.

Constabulary and judiciary matters, high Whigs came to think, should never be handled by what they condemned as "standing armies." It's true, on the other hand, that keeping public order, not just aiding in prosecutions, is a duty of local police. When concerted crowd violence occurs against people and property, policing may be expected to be pretty violent too, and distinctions between combat and policing sometimes naturally blur.

But where protest is peaceful -- maybe loud, maybe deliberately annoying, combative in its rhetoric, even possibly illegal, yet not actually violent or dangerous -- treating it the way a state normally treats an outside military threat will give many Americans, across a broad political spectrum, a gut problem.

We've seen military hardware and tactics used in the Occupy crackdowns. We've seen them in post-9/11 federal funding in the states and municipalities for homeland security. We've seen them in the aptly named "war on drugs." And anyone who has watched shows like "Cops" has seen -- and may by now take for granted -- techniques and technologies of military-style police raids on homes, raids that in more upscale neighborhoods might amount to nothing more than knocking on a door and serving a warrant. A Twitter post from Joy Reid, of the blog the Reid Report, put it this way last week: "Disconnect: liberals see a suddenly 'militarized,' possibly federalized police force. Black people see 'the usual.'"

The police behavior at U.C. Davis -- manifestly not "rogue-cop," a trained, planned exercise -- reveals the cool military thinking behind the operation. Pepper-spraying looked surgical, preemptive, even robotic. The strategic directive must have been to conserve police effort and maintain police maneuverability at virtually any cost. Such efficiencies and capabilities would be important in a riot; they're not important when hoping to evict unarmed, seated protesters. It's not as if officers have been resorting to battle gear under otherwise unmanageable pressure or initiating violence only as a last resort. They've been arriving in battle gear. They've been construing noncompliance as potential attack. They've moved preemptively to disable attack where none existed, not just trying to evict but seemingly hoping to inspire fear, to punish and defeat.

The mood these operations convey is that failure to achieve police objectives must result in something awful for the body politic. In reality, leaving citizens sitting around a park or campus a few more days, even possibly illegally, might be frustrating for police and others; it's hardly the end of the world. Sometimes taking a few deep breaths is the only thing to do. But military training, tactics, and weaponry seem to inspire the idea in civic strategists that failure to achieve an objective is tantamount to fatal defeat by a hostile enemy. Intolerable. Not an option.

That mentality tends to place American governments at enmity with their dissident citizens -- and vice versa. The fact that much militarizing of police, over the past twenty years, has federal sources raises endlessly complicated questions that reflect strangely on the histories of American federalism and government suppression. A horrific theme of the Civil Rights Movement was police violence, and many Americans have branded on their brains the watercannons, clubs, dogs, fists, and boots used against nonviolent protesters in the 1950s; police involved were generally state and local. Then in 1957 federal troops -- the 101st Airborne Paratroopers -- entered Little Rock, Arkansas, with fixed bayonets, to enforce federal law by ensuring the entry of African American students to state school there; states-rights advocates talked about federal overreaching and police state, the end of liberty. Then again, in the 1960s and '70s the federal government, via its law-enforcement arm the FBI, carried out a covert war -- involving assassination, it's fairly uncontroversial to say -- on the militant activist group the Black Panthers, who it's fairly uncontroversial to say were not always peaceful protesters.

Responding now to police efforts against demonstrators, liberals and leftists have begun raising anew the issue of inappropriate police militarization and violence. Yet it's the libertarian right that has done much of the reporting and research on the issue in recent decades (Democracy Now! is among left-liberal institutions that have also covered the issue for many years). The current state of heightened awareness means there's a possibly interesting opportunity for people of varying backgrounds and politics to begin a new conversation. That conversation would involve some very strange bedfellows -- and might spark new enmities. The Salon columnist Joan Walsh's suggestion last weekend on Twitter that if police violence has federal sources, then President Obama bears some responsibility set off a torrent of invective violent even by Twitter standards.

James Madison may offer some long-range perspective. During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, arguing for forming a nation instead of retaining the confederation of states, he said that force applied to citizens collectively rather than individually ceases to be law enforcement and becomes war; groups so treated will seize the opportunity to dissolve all compacts by which they might otherwise have been bound. Madison's argued against militarism in favor not of anarchy but of a higher kind of law and order.

And in 1794, Secretary of State Edmund Randolph, advising President Washington (to no avail) to eschew military adventure against the so-called Whiskey Rebels, and to use prosecutions instead, argued passionately that the real strength of government always lies not in coercion but in the affection of the people. Randolph was facing an actual insurrection, with threat of secession, not a peaceful protest; there were federal crimes involved. Still he advised against a military operation. The loathing of military suppression as a substitute for due process of law, going back to our first administration, runs deep in the American psyche.

But it's worth remembering that equally strong feelings have always run the other way. Long before events known as the Whiskey Rebellion had risen to any kind of crisis, Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, was urging Washington to bring military force against citizens somewhere in the country; otherwise, Hamilton believed, authority would always be in question. When Washington did so, he ignored habeas corpus and nearly every individual right set out in the new Bill of Rights, federalizing militias to bring overwhelming force to shock and awe innocent citizens of an entire region of the country. In his book Crisis and Command, John Yoo, author of the notorious "torture memo," has defended the George W. Bush administration's tactics in dealing with suspected terrorists by citing precedent -- not wrongly -- in Washington's behavior in the 1790s.

"Is this still my country?" That's been a question from day one, asked by Americans of widely diverging views in response to government crackdowns on protest. Objecting to military violence against protesting citizens may be inherently American. The urge to crack down can look inherently American too.

William Hogeland is the author of the narrative histories 'Declaration' and 'The Whiskey Rebellion' and a collection of essays, 'Inventing American History.'

Source: http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/153170/%22how_could_this_happen_in_america%22_why_police_are_treating_americans_like_military_threats/?page=entire

Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window

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While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself. Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday. The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?

The answer on why now is nothing more than election season politics. The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor.

But there is a way to stop this dangerous legislation. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is offering the Udall Amendment that will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power. The Udall Amendment will make sure that the bill matches up with American values.

In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.

In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention.

The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown. That is an extreme position that will forever change our country. Now is the time to stop this bad idea. Please urge your senators to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

UPDATE: Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1013 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens, but it does not have to use its power unless ordered to do so.

But you don’t have to believe us. Instead, read what one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham said about it on the Senate floor: “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.” There you have it — indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial. And the Senate is likely to vote on it Monday or Tuesday.

Source: http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/senators-demand-military-lock-american-citizens-battlefield-they-define-being

When the Police Go Military

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RIOT police officers tear-gassing protesters at the Occupy movement in Oakland. The surprising nighttime invasion of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, carried out with D-Day-like secrecy by officers deploying klieg lights and a military-style sound machine. And campus police officers in helmets and face shields dousing demonstrators at the University of California, Davis with pepper spray. Is this the militarization of the American police?

Police forces undeniably share a soldier’s ethos, no matter the size of the city, town or jurisdiction: officers carry deadly weapons and wear uniforms with patches denoting rank. They salute one another and pay homage to a “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” hierarchical culture.

But beyond such symbolic and formal similarities, American law and tradition have tried to draw a clear line between police and military forces. To cast the roles of the two too closely, those in and out of law enforcement say, is to mistake the mission of each. Soldiers, after all, go to war to destroy, and kill the enemy. The police, who are supposed to maintain the peace, “are the citizens, and the citizens are the police,” according to Chief Walter A. McNeil of Quincy, Fla., the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, citing the words of Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern-day policing.

Yet lately images from Occupy protests streamed on the Internet — often in real time — show just how readily police officers can adopt military-style tactics and equipment, and come off more like soldiers as they face down citizens. Some say this adds up to the emergence of a new, more militaristic breed of civilian police officer. Others disagree.

What seems clear is that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and the federal Homeland Security dollars that flowed to police forces in response to them, have further encouraged police forces to embrace paramilitary tactics like those that first emerged in the decades-long “war on drugs.” Both wars — first on drugs, then terror — have lent police forces across the country justification to acquire the latest technology, equipment and tactical training for newly created specialized units.

“There is behind this, also, I think, a kind of status competition or imitation, that there is positive status in having a sort of ‘big department muscle,’ in smaller departments,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley. “And then the problem is, if you have those kinds of specialized units, that you hunt for appropriate settings to use them and, in some of the smaller police departments, notions of the appropriate settings to use them are questionable.”

Radley Balko, a journalist who has studied the issue, told a House subcommittee on crime in 2007 that one criminologist found a 1,500 percent increase in the use of SWAT (special weapons and tactics) teams in the United States in roughly the last two decades.

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally bars the military from law enforcement activities within the United States. But today, some local and city police forces have rendered the law rather moot. They have tanks — yes, tanks, often from military surplus, for use in hostage situations or drug raids — not to mention the sort of equipment and training one would need to deter a Mumbai-style guerrilla assault.

Such tactics are used in New York City, where Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly (whose department has had armored vehicles for decades) has invoked both the 19th-century military strategist Carl von Clausewitz and the television series “24” in talking about the myriad threats his city faces — both conventional and terrorist. After the would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad was arrested aboard a plane at Kennedy Airport in 2010, Mr. Kelly calculated the plot-to-capture time: Slightly more than 53 hours.

“Jack Bauer may have caught him in 24,” said Mr. Kelly, who served as a Marine commander in Vietnam. “But in the real world, 53’s not bad.”

IN truth, a vast majority of Mr. Kelly’s 35,000-member force are not specialized troops, but rank-and-file beat cops. But that did not stop Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from sounding like Patton at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week, when he boasted, “I have my own army in the N.Y.P.D.,” suggesting his reasons for preferring City Hall to the White House. More disturbing than riot gear or heavy-duty weapons slung across the backs of American police officers is a “militaristic mind-set” creeping into officers’ approach to their jobs, said Timothy Lynch, director of the criminal justice project at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. “It is in the way they search and raid homes and the way they deal with the public,” he said.

The more the police fail to defuse confrontations but instead help create them — be it with their equipment, tactics or demeanor — the more ties with community members are burned, he said. The effect is a loss of civility, and an erosion of constitutional rights, rather than a building of good will. “What is most worrisome to us is that the line that has traditionally separated the military from civilian policing is fading away,” Mr. Lynch said. “We see it as one of the most disturbing trends in the criminal justice area — the militarization of police tactics.”

Police officials insist they are not becoming more militarized — in their thinking or actions — but merely improving themselves professionally against evolving threats. This is the way to protect citizens and send officers home alive at the end of shifts in an increasingly dangerous world, they say. Of course, in the event of a terrorist attack, they have to fill the breach until federal or National Guard troops can rush in.

“If we had to take on a terrorist group, we could do that,” said William Lansdowne, the police chief in San Diego and a member of the board of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Though his force used federal grants to buy one of those fancy armored vehicles — complete with automatic-gun portals — he said the apparatus was more useful for traditional crime-busting than counter-terrorism. “We are seeing suspects better armed than ever before,” Chief Lansdowne said.

Now the Occupy movement and highly publicized official responses to it are forcing the public to confront what its police forces have become. But analysts say that even here the picture of policing is mixed. While scenes from Oakland were ugly, the police in Los Angeles and Philadelphia last week evacuated Occupy encampments relatively peacefully; Los Angeles officers used a cherry picker to pluck protesters from trees.

Police officers are not at war, said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, and cannot imagine themselves as occupying armies. Rather, they must approach any continuing Occupy protests, now or in the spring, with a respect for the First Amendment and a realization that protesters are not enemies but people the police need to engage with up the road.

“You can have all the sophisticated equipment in the world, but it does not replace common sense and discretion and finding ways to defuse situations,” Mr. Wexler said. “You can’t be talking about community policing one day and the next day have an action that is so uncharacteristic to the values of your department.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/sunday-review/have-american-police-become-militarized.html

NYPD Confirms CIA Officer Works at Department

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New York's police commissioner confirmed Thursday that a CIA officer is working out of police headquarters there, after an Associated Press investigation revealed an unusual partnership with the CIA that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying. But he and the CIA said the spy agency's role at the department is an advisory one.

Speaking to reporters in New York, commissioner Raymond Kelly acknowledged that the CIA trains NYPD officers on "trade craft issues," meaning espionage techniques, and advises police about events happening overseas. Kelly also said he was unaware of any other U.S. police department with a similar relationship with the CIA. "They are involved in providing us with information, usually coming from perhaps overseas and providing it to us for, you know, just for our purposes," Kelly said.

CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said the agency does not spy inside the United States and also described the relationship with the NYPD as collaborative. "Our cooperation, in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is exactly what the American people deserve and have come to expect following 9/11," she said.

A months-long investigation by the AP, published Wednesday, revealed that the NYPD has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as "rakers," into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They've monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.

Many of the operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The NYPD denied that it trolls ethnic neighborhoods and said it only follows leads. The mayor on Thursday defended the police department's efforts.

"In the end the NYPD's first job is prevention, and I think they've done a very good job of that," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said when asked about the police practices. "The law is pretty clear about what's the requirement, and I think they've followed the law."

Also Thursday, New York City Councilman Brad Lander said the city council should conduct an oversight hearing on the NYPD's programs, but Lander is not in a leadership position to enforce that such hearings take place. "We must be sure that the NYPD's intelligence gathering does not violate civil liberties, target and profile our city's diverse ethnic and religious communities," Lander said.

City Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the panel that oversees the police department, said the council already had scheduled two NYPD oversight hearings during which these issues could be raised. The disclosures about the NYPD's activities provoked exasperation in the city's Muslim neighborhoods, where government officials have sought to build relationships in Muslim communities and pledged to ensure that Muslims aren't targeted for discrimination.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=14379253

AP Exclusive: CIA following Twitter, Facebook

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In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day. At the agency's Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the "vengeful librarians" also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.

From Arabic to Mandarin Chinese, from an angry tweet to a thoughtful blog, the analysts gather the information, often in native tongue. They cross-reference it with the local newspaper or a clandestinely intercepted phone conversation. From there, they build a picture sought by the highest levels at the White House, giving a real-time peek, for example, at the mood of a region after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden or perhaps a prediction of which Mideast nation seems ripe for revolt.

Yes, they saw the uprising in Egypt coming; they just didn't know exactly when revolution might hit, said the center's director, Doug Naquin. The center already had "predicted that social media in places like Egypt could be a game-changer and a threat to the regime," he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press at the center. CIA officials said it was the first such visit by a reporter the agency has ever granted.

The CIA facility was set up in response to a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission, with its first priority to focus on counterterrorism and counterproliferation. But its several hundred analysts — the actual number is classified — track a broad range, from Chinese Internet access to the mood on the street in Pakistan. While most are based in Virginia, the analysts also are scattered throughout U.S. embassies worldwide to get a step closer to the pulse of their subjects.

The most successful analysts, Naquin said, are something like the heroine of the crime novel "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," a quirky, irreverent computer hacker who "knows how to find stuff other people don't know exists." Those with a masters' degree in library science and multiple languages, especially those who grew up speaking another language, "make a powerful open source officer," Naquin said.

The center had started focusing on social media after watching the Twitter-sphere rock the Iranian regime during the Green Revolution of 2009, when thousands protested the results of the elections that put Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad back in power. "Farsi was the third largest presence in social media blogs at the time on the Web," Naquin said. The center's analysis ends up in President Barack Obama's daily intelligence briefing in one form or another, almost every day.

After bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May, the CIA followed Twitter to give the White House a snapshot of world public opinion. Since tweets can't necessarily be pegged to a geographic location, the analysts broke down reaction by languages. The result: The majority of Urdu tweets, the language of Pakistan, and Chinese tweets, were negative. China is a close ally of Pakistan's. Pakistani officials protested the raid as an affront to their nation's sovereignty, a sore point that continues to complicate U.S.-Pakistani relations.

When the president gave his speech addressing Mideast issues a few weeks after the raid, the tweet response over the next 24 hours came in negative from Turkey, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, the Persian Gulf and Israel, too, with speakers of Arabic and Turkic tweets charging that Obama favored Israel, and Hebrew tweets denouncing the speech as pro-Arab. In the next few days, major news media came to the same conclusion, as did analysis by the covert side of U.S. intelligence based on intercepts and human intelligence gathered in the region. The center is also in the process of comparing its social media results with the track record of polling organizations, trying to see which produces more accurate results, Naquin said.

"We do what we can to caveat that we may be getting an overrepresentation of the urban elite," said Naquin, acknowledging that only a small slice of the population in many areas they are monitoring has access to computers and Internet. But he points out that access to social media sites via cellphones is growing in areas like Africa, meaning a "wider portion of the population than you might expect is sounding off and holding forth than it might appear if you count the Internet hookups in a given country."

Sites like Facebook and Twitter also have become a key resource for following a fast-moving crisis such as the riots that raged across Bangkok in April and May of last year, the center's deputy director said. The Associated Press agreed not to identify him because he sometimes still works undercover in foreign countries.

As director, Naquin is identified publicly by the agency although the location of the center is kept secret to deter attacks, whether physical or electronic. The deputy director was one of a skeleton crew of 20 U.S. government employees who kept the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok running throughout the rioting as protesters surged through the streets, swarming the embassy neighborhood and trapping U.S. diplomats and Thais alike in their homes. The army moved in, and traditional media reporting slowed to a trickle as local reporters were either trapped or cowed by government forces.


"But within an hour, it was all surging out on Twitter and Facebook," the deputy director said. The CIA homed in on 12 to 15 users who tweeted situation reports and cellphone photos of demonstrations. The CIA staff cross-referenced the tweeters with the limited news reports to figure out who among them was providing reliable information. Tweeters also policed themselves, pointing out when someone else had filed an inaccurate account. "That helped us narrow down to those dozen we could count on," he said.

Ultimately, some two-thirds of the reports coming out of the embassy being sent back to all branches of government in Washington came from the CIA's open source analysis throughout the crisis.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/ap-exclusive-cia-following-twitter-facebook-081055316.html

Militia Charged With Plotting to Murder Officers

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David B. Stone Sr. and his wife, Tina, made no secret about the fact that they were part of a militia, neighbors say. The couple frequently let visitors in military fatigues erect tents in front of their trailer home at the intersection of rural dirt roads, and the sound of gunfire was routine. “In Michigan, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to be in a militia,” said Tom McDormett, a neighbor. He added: “They would practice shooting, but that’s not a big deal. People do that all the time out here.”

But last Saturday night, Mr. McDormett watched through binoculars as the police raided the Stones’ home, tearing off plywood from the base of their two connected single-wide trailers to search under the floors. By Monday, the Stones were in green prison garb in a federal courthouse in Detroit, two of nine defendants facing sedition and weapons charges in connection with what Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called an “insidious plan.”

In an indictment against the nine unsealed on Monday, the Justice Department said they were part of a group of apocalyptic Christian militants who were plotting to kill law enforcement officers in hopes of inciting an antigovernment uprising, the latest in a recent surge in right-wing militia activity. The court filing said the group, which called itself the Hutaree, planned to kill an unidentified law enforcement officer and then bomb the funeral caravan using improvised explosive devices based on designs used against American troops by insurgents in Iraq.

“This is an example of radical and extremist fringe groups which can be found throughout our society,” Andrew Arena, the F.B.I. special agent in charge in Detroit, said in a statement. “The F.B.I. takes such extremist groups seriously, especially those who would target innocent citizens and the law enforcement officers who protect the citizens of the United States.”

The Hutaree — a word Mr. Stone apparently made up to mean Christian warriors — saw the local police as “foot soldiers” for the federal government, which the group viewed as its enemy, along with other participants in what the group’s members deemed to be a “New World Order” working on behalf of the Antichrist, the indictment said.

Eight defendants were arrested over the weekend in raids in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, the Justice Department said. The authorities arrested the Stones’ eldest son, Joshua M. Stone, 21, shortly before 9 p.m. Monday in Pittsford, Mich., about 20 miles west of his family’s home, an F.B.I. spokeswoman, Sandra Berchtold, said. A grand jury had secretly returned the indictments against the nine last Tuesday.

A law enforcement official said the plot appeared to be unconnected to recent threats against Democratic lawmakers who voted for legislation overhauling the nation’s health care system. According to the indictment, the group — apparently centered in Lenawee County, about 70 miles southwest of Detroit — has been meeting regularly since at least August 2008.

The group’s Web site suggested that it was motivated by apocalyptic religious scenarios more than any secular political fears. A rare mention of earthly politics on the site is a page devoted to discussion of efforts to unite Europe, with a suggestion that one high-ranking European official, Javier Solana, might be the Antichrist.

Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a liberal-leaning nonprofit group that tracks far-right networks, said the Hutaree’s philosophy was drawn from a populist strand that fuses fear of a conspiracy to create a one-world government with a belief that a war is imminent between Christians and the Antichrist, as described in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.

In April 2009, the Department of Homeland Security produced a report warning of a rising threat of right-wing terrorism, citing factors like economic troubles, the election of a black president and perceived threats to United States sovereignty.

Mark Potok, who leads a program that tracks right-wing groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said it first took note of the Hutaree last year amid a surge in new “Patriot” movement groups, race-based hate groups, extremist anti-immigrant groups, Christian militants and other variations. “We’re seeing all kinds of radical right-wing groups grow very rapidly, especially in the militia world,” Mr. Potok said.

The indictment said the Hutaree, in anticipation of a war against its enemies, had been engaging in “military-style training,” from weapons proficiency drills to “close quarter battle drills” and the use of “ambush kill zones.” The small group had acquired guns, ammunition, medical supplies, uniforms, communications equipment and “explosives and other components for destructive devices,” it said.

After attacking the police, the members planned to retreat to several planned “rally points” and wait for the authorities to come after them. They were preparing fighting positions as well as “trip-wired and command-detonated” bombs, it said. “It is believed by the Hutaree that this engagement would then serve as a catalyst for a more widespread uprising against the government,” the indictment said. In addition, Mr. Stone had announced “a covert reconnaissance exercise” in April, during which “anyone who happened upon the exercise who did not acquiesce to Hutaree demands could be killed,” the indictment said.

The United States attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Barbara McQuade, said the government raided the group this past weekend because that exercise would have “had the potential of placing an unsuspecting member of the public at risk.” The Hutaree Web site features the motto “Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive” and a video showing rifle-toting men in camouflage running through woods and firing weapons.

“Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment,” the Web site says, adding, “The Hutaree will one day see its enemy and meet him on the battlefield if so God wills it.”

By Monday, the Stones’ house stood empty, its front door ajar and two dogs still tied up in the muddy yard, which was littered with dilapidated furniture, a washing machine and tires. The Stones’ two sons were among those arrested. Joshua, the eldest, left the local school system after the fifth grade in 1999 to be home-schooled, and the younger son, David B. Stone Jr., 19, had never been enrolled, an official said.

Also charged were Joshua J. Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Mich.; Michael D. Meeks, 40, of Manchester, Mich.; Thomas W. Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Ind.; Kristopher T. Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio; and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio. They could face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/us/30militia.html?pagewanted

Georgia Men Charged With Plotting to Make Ricin

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Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested four Georgia men accused of plotting to buy explosives and produce a deadly biological toxin to attack fellow U.S. citizens and government officials. The Justice Department said the men were members of a fringe domestic militia group and had planned to manufacture ricin for use in their attacks.

The men attended meetings starting in March where they discussed carrying out crimes, including murder, in order to undermine federal and state government, prosecutors said. The targets included local police, federal government buildings and employees of agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service. The meetings were monitored by FBI agents with the assistance of a confidential informant, according to prosecutors. Two of the men also met with an undercover agent to discuss buying explosives and weapons parts, prosecutors said.

The men are Frederick Thomas, 73; Dan Roberts, 67; Ray H. Adams, 65; and Samuel J. Crump, 68. Thomas is from Cleveland, Georgia, and the other three men are from Toccoa. At a meeting at Thomas' house in March, Thomas said he had enough weapons to arm everyone at the table and that he had compiled a "Bucket List" of government employees, politicians, corporate leaders and media members he felt needed to be "taken out" to "make the country right again," according to court documents. "There is no way for us, as militiamen, to save this country, to save Georgia, without doing something that's highly, highly illegal. Murder," Thomas said during the meeting, court records show.

During a meeting in September, Crump said he wanted to make 10 pounds of ricin and disperse it in various U.S. cities, according to prosecutors. Authorities said he described one scenario in which the toxin would be blown from a car traveling on Atlanta highways. Last month, Adams allegedly gave Crump a sample of the beans used to produce ricin, prosecutors said. Ricin can cause death from exposure to as little as a pinhead amount. Most victims die between 36 hours and 72 hours after exposure, and there is no known antidote.

The most famous case of ricin poisoning was in 1978 when dissident Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov was killed when an assassin in London jabbed him with an umbrella that injected a tiny ricin-filled pellet. "These defendants, who are alleged to be part of a fringe militia group, are charged with planning attacks against their own fellow citizens and government," Sally Quillian Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a statement.

"While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security," she said.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/georgia-men-charged-plotting-ricin-012138938.html