Feel the Fear: January 2003
Photographer Arrested for Taking Pictures of Vice-President's Hotel
2600 Magazine, December 5, 2002
"An amateur photographer named Mike Maginnis was arrested on Tuesday in his home city of Denver - for simply taking pictures of buildings in an area where Vice President Cheney was residing."
"The agent told Maginnis that his "suspicious activities" made him a threat to national security, and that he would be charged as a terrorist under the USA-PATRIOT act. The Secret Service agent tried to make Maginnis admit that he was taking the photographs to analyze weaknesses in the Vice President's security entourage and 'cause terror and mayhem.' "
"When Maginnis refused to admit to being any sort of terrorist, the Secret Service agent called him a "raghead collaborator" and a 'dirty pinko faggot.'"
Commentary: Ah, so that's how itís going to be now. There is apparently an ex post-facto law in place that says nobody is to come within some number of miles of a government official with any camera or recording device even for personal use without permission. That kind of press management went by another name in the old days...censorship and intimidation, and it was only practiced by totalitarian regimes that we all pointed to and said "See? That's why we fight for freedom everywhere, so that doesn't happen.Ē We used to get dissidents that defected here in order to be able to go where they wanted, say what they wanted and do what they wanted if they didn't harm anyone else. I wonder what the statute of limitations is on false advertising.
Itís clear the contempt that government agents have for the average citizen going about lawful activity. Most of them must be on full bore testosterone fueled "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" mode. They should be forced to sit in a room after hours and transcribe the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence a few dozen times. This assumes, maybe wrongly, that they are able to read and write at that level.
Bush Creates Second Legal System (out of his ass seemingly --B.)
Washington Post, December 1, 2002
"The Bush administration is developing a parallel legal system in which terrorism suspects -- U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike -- may be investigated, jailed, interrogated, tried and punished without legal protections guaranteed by the ordinary system, lawyers inside and outside the government say."
[Read article ]
Commentary: Holy Habeus-Corpus, Batman! In moves not seen since Abe Lincoln was bumping his quasi-tyrannical head on the tops of Whitehouse doors, Bush Jr. is bypassing the established legal system by fiat. Often using wartime justifications despite having Congress declare no formal wars; he just smiles and orders it done with the gusto of Il Duce. He should study more history i.e. "Sic Semper Tyrannis" is not the Yale motto.
Look, Its Big (Brother) Bird!
Newhouse News Service via the Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 1, 2002
"Having proved themselves in military operations overseas, pilotless remote-controlled drone airplanes are being talked about for a prominent new domestic duty: homeland security."
" 'There's a huge potential for UAVs to play a meaningful role in homeland security,' said Mike Heinz, vice president and general manager of unmanned systems for Boeing Co. in St. Louis, a UAV manufacturer. 'You're only limited in terms of your imagination by what you can do with them.' " [Read article]
Commentary: Thatís what people in the US need, the constant presence of predator drones flying over their cities looking down upon them and what they are doing at any given time. Good way to make them always mindful of their behavior, not to attract attention lest they incur the wrath of the State from above. These 21st century "swords of Damocles" will have the same function that KGB informers did in the USSR, i.e. oppress the people's spirits in the name of order and security. What I want to know is, will you have to watch it getting into a cab with a Pakistani driver? Hellfire missiles don't discriminate and we all know that once you associate with radical elements you are an enemy combatant.
Dick Armey to be Consultant for ACLU
Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle
December 5, 2002
"Departing House Majority Leader Dick Armey warned that the nation must guard against the "awful, dangerous seduction" of sacrificing freedom for safety in the fight against terrorism."
Commentary: First Bob Barr goes to work for the ACLU and now Dick Armey is thinking about it???? "Barney Fag" comment Dick Armey? Telling us to beware of those sacrificing Liberty for Security??? If these guys are concerned about a big brother authoritarian regime happening in the US, its now a very serious possibility...since at one time these guys were part of the most likely suspects. They were merely good ol' boys that wanted their slice of the American power pie. The guys they are concerned about make them look like small town hucksters.
See Dick. See Dick Build Bunkers. See Dick Hide.
JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
December 8, 2002
"Neighbors of Vice President Dick Cheney are being shaken and rattled at least once a day by mysterious blasts at the U.S. Naval Observatory where Cheney lives."
"The Navy says the explosions are part of a construction project that has been going on for several months now, but won't say more because the project is classified."
"Navy spokeswoman Cate Mueller described the work as an 'infrastructure improvement, a utility upgrade'."
Commentary: On the eve of "Son of Saddam: Gulf War Part Deux" we see the veep remodeling in a big way. Does he know something that we don't about the likelihood of localized terrorism in reprisal for stomping on Iraq? Maybe. Could be the Naval Observatory needs another sub basement for its atomic clock. Either that or those damn gophers from under the Pentagon have mutated and are spreading out! Run, Dick, Run!
Miranda Rule to be Sanctioned?
By David G. Savage
Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2002
"...the Supreme Court is about to reconsider that widely known rule, in the case of a farm worker here who was shot five times after a brief encounter with the police. Legal experts say the case has the potential to reshape the law governing everyday encounters between police and the public."
" The Oxnard police assert that the Miranda ruling does not include a "constitutional right to be free of coercive interrogation" but only a right not to have forced confessions used at trial."
"The Bush administration has sided with the Oxnard police in the case. Police can hold people in custody and force them to talk, so long as their incriminating statements are not used to prosecute them, argues a brief to the court filed by U.S. Solicitor Gen. Theodore Olson and Michael Chertoff, the chief of the Justice Department's criminal division."
Commentary: So we don't have a right to be free of coercive interrogation?? 'Scuse me while I whip this out....no itís not that, but my pocket Constitution right here. Lemme run this one by all you legal types...Amendment Eight: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed" yeah yeah, oh here..."nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.". Now I'm not a lawyer, I don't even play one on Annoy.com, but it seems to me that they are just ignoring this little document yet again for their own purposes. We should have a new lottery every election, betting on how long after the inaugurals that they violate their oaths to uphold it. The proceeds can go for the independent counsel to call for impeachment. I know, I know, dream on.
CIA Has "License to Kill" US Citizens Linked to Al-Quaida
JOHN J. LUMPKIN
Associated Press, December 3. 2002
"The authority to kill U.S. citizens is granted under a secret finding signed by the president after the Sept. 11 attacks that directs the CIA to covertly attack al-Qaida anywhere in the world. The authority makes no exception for Americans, so permission to strike them is understood rather than specifically described, officials said."
Commentary: How reassuring that in order to protect our freedoms as US citizens they can arbitrarily bypass our legal rights and execute us without due process (hey it works for Saddam!). I feel safer already. Agent Jethrow, do you have any comment? "You betcha. Lookout evil doers! I dun got my double-ought spy license so don' be givin' me any trouble!". I smell smoke, where's that Nero guy?
US Voting Machines Under Control of Small Cabal
American Free Press (www.americanfreepress.net)
November 10, 2002
"The companies that design, build, and operate most of the voting machines currently being used are privately held and secretive. Before the 2000 elections, when this reporter tried to learn who owned Omaha-based Electronic Systems and Software (ES&S), the largest voting machine company in the United States, the information was simply not available."
"ES&S, whose motto is ďBetter elections every day,Ē claims to have counted 100 million ballots in the 2000 election and 56 percent of the vote in the last four presidential elections. However, company officials have repeatedly refused to discuss the security of their voting machines or divulge who owns and directs the company."
Commentary: You'd think that after the 2000 election the watchdogs would be all over the electronic voting machines, making sure that the software was impartial and secure from hackers, verifying that the machines are tamperproof, that the data is encrypted and verified in every step of its path to the final tally. Oh no, we don't have enough trouble electing the losers that screw us as it is, lets increase it exponentially by hiding details about the electronic balloting process!
Dimpled RAM just won't fly next time, so lets make sure we don't make the process even more corruptible than it has been, or we will end up electing "Il Duce ex Machina" as maximum dictator for life.
US Citizens Will Have to Report When Entering or Leaving the US
AP Newswire via Wired.com
January 3, 2003
"Millions of travelers arriving and departing the United States will have to submit detailed personal information this year under rules proposed by the federal government Friday as part of the war on terrorism."
"The rules proposed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, once they are finalized, seek more information from travelers than under current law and for the first time extend the requirements to U.S. citizens and others previously exempted. "
Commentary: Can internal passports and visas be far behind? The Sovietization of America under the justification of terrorism is leaving even those with a high tolerance for whatever the administration does a little vaklempt. Tracking potentially dangerous aliens is one thing, monitoring every citizenís comings and goings as well as their personal business is another. The G8 nations want everyone who travels biometrically tagged and monitored eventually. (Stefan Krempl / Robert W. Smith -- Heise Online, December 12, 2002) I suppose we are all potentially dangerous aliens to those inside the beltway and the Hague.
Hundreds of Arabic Immigrants Arrested in California Sweeps
Jill Seargent, Reuters
December 18, 2002
" Shocked and frustrated Islamic and immigrant groups estimate that more than 500 people have been arrested in Los Angeles, neighboring Orange County and San Diego in the past three days under a new nationwide anti-terrorism program. Some unconfirmed reports put the figure as high as 1,000."
"A spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service said no numbers of people arrested would be made public. A Justice Department spokesman could not be reached for comment."
Commentary: Internment camps, anyone? While many of them were in violation of INS rules and some of them wanted for crimes, a majority of them have been living, working and paying taxes here for up to ten years. You'd think the INS would've been able to deal with them singly by now. As for a security angle, how many terrorists would voluntarily come down to INS HQ in response to a request to register their status? Someone at INS thinks they are being Dick Tracy. Well, they're half right.
Airport Security Hell: Man and Pregnant Wife Brutalized by System
Nicholas Monahan, Lewrockwell.com
December 21, 2002
"After some more grumbling on my part they eventually finished with me and I went to retrieve our luggage from the x-ray machine. Upon returning I found my wife sitting in a chair, crying. Mary rarely cries, and certainly not in public. When I asked her what was the matter, she tried to quell her tears and sobbed, "Iím sorry...itís...they touched my breasts...and..." Thatís all I heard. I marched up to the woman whoíd been examining her and shouted, "What did you do to her?" Later I found out that in addition to touching her swollen breasts Ė to protect the American citizenry Ė the employee had asked that she lift up her shirt. Not behind a screen, not off to the side Ė no, right there, directly in front of the hundred or so passengers standing in line."
"Rapes, car-jackings, murders, arsons Ė those are felonies. So is yelling in an airport now, apparently. I hadnít realized, though I should have. Luckily, I was getting a favor, though. I was merely going to be slapped with a misdemeanor."
Commentary: People used to think flying was like being in a herd of cattle being transported to the range. Now itís more like being in a crowd of maximum security prisoners going to and from lockdown, with all the physical treatment and expectation that you should just accept it because you don't deserve anything else.
Well, a lot of people think they do deserve better, and I can think of no better way to demonstrate that than reducing their travel by air, making it doubly tough on the airlines having to charge more for the "privilege" of adding new security while having less passengers. The FAA should step aside and let individual airlines determine how intrusive their security measures are and charge flights according to that level. People who don't mind the gulag express can pay the premium for it, the rest of us who acknowledge the one in a million risk of a terrorist incident can buy their tickets and take their chances for the low fares. Security would also improve on those flights if crew and licensed passengers could carry concealed, but we know how likely that is to pass.
The Cybersecurity Industrial Complex
Bruce Sterling, Wired Magazine
"The Feds have a massive, multiagency plan to protect the national information infrastructure. Get ready for IT police and network smart bombs."
Commentary: Get ready for the Net Fuzz in a big way. Already existent programs used for tracking criminals and foreign spies are being geared up for use on you, the domestic citizen. Much of it is already up and running. (John Markoff, New York Times, December 23,2002) Every big govt. agency wants to be in on the action (and the Congressional funding of course). I can see the pitch now, "We already know where you want to go today....access denied!".
Big Brother Eyes Taxes by the Mile
December 31, 2002
"The state of Oregon is considering the use of satellite technology to charge taxes based on how much mileage you drive your car."
Commentary: While the information on where you are in real time is present, they assure the residents that it would be illegal to use it. Kind of like it was going to be illegal to use the Social Security number for identification, no? This "ratbox" technology could, and I'm sure would, quickly devolve into a live tracking system for all cars in the state. I'm also quite sure that they couldn't resist the potential income flow by using the data to calculate speeds on each roadway and send a little extra bill your way every month for any infractions. So many wonderful uses, I'm sure they can think of more. If it sounds too EZ, pass.
CyberCensors: Holding Web Content Liable to Least Tolerant Countries' Laws
Lauren Weinstein, Wired Magazine
December 23, 2002
"Now comes word that Dow Jones can be sued for libel in an Australian court over the content of a Barron's article, viewed in Oz from a U.S. Web server."
" Recently, though, efforts have been accelerating to extend national courts' reach internationally into the nebulous and contentious arenas of speech -- libel, hate speech, political speech and the like. This could be disastrous for the open exchange of information, even within national borders."
"Legal speech standards vary greatly around the world. In some places, speech critical of leaders can land you in jail. That's not the case in the United States -- at least, not yet. "
Commentary: This makes about as much sense as allowing Saudi Arabia to extradite Hugh Hefner because someone smuggled in an issue of Playboy into the country and it was found by the morals police. Least common denominator content on the web? Apart from the weather, stock ticker, general news stories (no pictures or political content!) and the odd boring as shit blog (usually redundant), there would be a vast wasteland where once there was a vast, diverse infosphere. Shakespeare knew what do to with lawyers.
Ministry of Truth, Part Deux
CBS News, December 16, 2002
"Pentagon officials are debating whether to use the military to conduct covert propaganda operations in allied nations, ten months after disbanding a controversial office that had the same goal."
"There is agreement that it is appropriate for the military to do so-called "psychological operations" in adversary nations or in a nation when a military operation is under way. But critics say the Defense Department risks its credibility by doing such covert operations in allied or neutral nations."
Commentary: Funny, I thought Hollywood and the big news channels were in charge of all the propaganda to friendly and neutral nations. Everyone wants to be a star.
Tech Companies Chase Homeland Security
Alorie Gilbert, C/NET - news.com.com, July 12,2002
" Whether out of heartfelt patriotism in the wake of Sept. 11 or the desire to tap into the nearly $38 billion budgeted for homeland security spending in 2003, many information technology companies that previously paid little attention to government contracts are now going to great lengths to attract government business."
"Siebel Systems, a customer relationship management (CRM) software company, has been among the most active and outspoken in its appeal to the government's homeland security needs. Shortly after Sept. 11, the company created a homeland security business unit, which now employs 100 people, and announced it would build a set of applications geared specifically for homeland security."
Commentary: SOOOOOOOUEEEYY!!!!! Heeeere piggy piggies! Big government is back and the remaining shot-com'ers are stampedin' and steppin' on each other to be the first to line up at the taxpayer tittie bar. It seems to escape some of them that they are helping to create an infrastructure for hampering the system of rights, freedoms and free enterprise that allowed them to be successful in the first place. They should read some history, particularly what happened to the big German industries once Hitler came to power and showed his favoritism to certain companies...which quickly became de facto arms of the government in all but name. When their economy was damaged by the long war footing, slavery and forced labor kept it afloat. Business was booming for sure, right until the end. Morals don't raise the quarterly numbers (in the short term anyway). Larry Ellison of Oracle can lead us in a chorus of "Homeland, homeland, uber alles!".
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