Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Friday, May 27, 2011

2011-05-27 "Students, labor, community unite to Confront Wall Street & austerity" by Caleb T. Maupin from "New York F.I.S.T."
A broad coalition of teachers, students, labor and community organizations showed a high level of militancy as 20,000 protesters took to the narrow streets of New York’s financial district to oppose cuts in education and other social programs. New York City’s organized labor turned out in force for the May 12 action.
The United Federation of Teachers, representing all the teachers in New York City’s public schools, had some 6,000 members in the streets to oppose billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed layoffs and cutbacks. Other unions that mobilized included Transport Workers Union Local 100, Service Employees Local 32BJ, Communication Workers from both Verizon and the public sector, as well as New York Nurses United. A number of labor leaders spoke during a rally, along with City Council member Charles Barron.
The unions collaborated with the New York Coalition Against Budget Cuts, which mobilized thousands of students and people from community groups. The NYCABC organized a march from City Hall to Wall Street March 24, in which the largest component was youths and students.
Larry Hales, a key organizer of the March 24 action, and member of FIST, stated, “The massive outpouring on May 12 had its roots in the success of the ‘Day of Rage’ held on March 24. That action inspired many rank-and-file union members, who pressured their union leaders to call and endorse the next large action of forces opposed to massive cuts in public services.”

Community, student groups fired up -
Community organizations were there. Parent associations and tenant organizations marched, as did the Coalition for the Homeless. Contingents from local childcare centers, which also face cuts, joined the march. Hostos Community College faculty and students, along with part-time faculty and Professional Staff Congress members participated.
Thousands of high school students were encouraged by their teachers to participate, and they joined them in the streets to defend their education against cutbacks and privatization.
Some sections of the march emphasized opposition to the massive spending on war. Others loudly opposed cuts in AIDS research and treatment. A large contingent raised the demand for a national health insurance plan.
The march stepped off at 4:30 p.m., and despite the efforts of the police, the marchers were soon out in the streets. As the march continued, traffic and business halted as the many thousands of people wound their way through lower Manhattan to Wall Street, the center of world finance capital.
Slogans proclaimed “Make the banks pay!” and “Solve the budget crisis: End the wars, tax the rich!” Chants of “Tax the rich!” and “F**k Wall Street!” were heard by all.
Employees of Wall Street firms gathered around windows and looked down at the massive crowd of working-class people demanding justice.
When the march reached Water Street, police attempted to disperse the march and return to “business as usual” on a Thursday afternoon by pushing a contingent of youth. But when they suddenly moved to arrest two youth in the street, the crowd poured into the street, physically preventing the arrests, amid roars of “Let them go! Let them go!”
Soon, several hundred youth took the corner of Water and Wall streets, chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” The police pushed to clear the streets, using orange nets and metal barricades. The crowd pushed back.
Police shoved the faces of the young people with their hands, and struck youth who were pinned between the crowd and the nets. Despite this brutality, the confrontation continued, strengthened by the huge numbers of youth who were intent on carrying out an “occupation,” despite calls from more moderate march organizers to pull back.
The cops were attempting to defend the “private property” of Wall Street against students and youth who face cutbacks, unemployment and an insecure economic future. The standoff between the youth and the cops lasted 45 minutes. Some youths attempted to appeal to the police with chants used in Wisconsin, such as “Your job is next!” More radical sections chanted, “Wall Street thugs! Wall Street thugs!” Truckloads of police and metal barricades were used in the attempt to retake control of the area.
In other parts of lower Manhattan, police attempted to prevent people from joining the protest by blocking off entrances to march areas. Lucy Pagoada, a teacher and UFT member, told Workers World, “The police were giving people false directions, and not letting people get anywhere near the march. They had the streets blocked off.”
Most participants in the action could see that sentiment for a popular uprising against the capitalist drive to impose austerity on working and oppressed people was widespread. The desire for a more militant resistance movement exists not only among radical forces, but among countless youth who face extreme economic hardship caused by the current crisis.
Given the strength of the May 12 action, some organizers suspect that this summer will see an escalation of the struggle. On one side are labor, students and community organizations. On the other is the capitalist class, which seeks to strip away anything close to a decent life in this time of economic crisis.
2011-05-27 "Too Big to Do Time?: Fed Wrist-slap for Wachovia Bank Makes a Farce of the Drug War" by Linn Washington Jr.
The U.S. government won convictions against 23,506 drug traffickers nationwide during 2010, sending 96 percent of the offenders to prison, according to U.S. Sentencing Commission statistics.
Yet one of the biggest entities busted by the feds for involvement in drug trafficking last year received just a wrist-slap deal from federal prosecutors with nobody getting prison time.
During 2010, the U.S. government also won convictions against 806 persons involved in smaller-time drug-related money laundering, sending nearly 77 percent of those offenders to prison.
Yet when it came to a case involving billions of dollars in illegal drug profits, the federal government gave the same unusual wrist-slap to the same entity caught giving greed-blinded assistance to Mexican drug cartels by laundering billions of dollars in illegal profits for them.
So, what is this entity that federal prosecutors found worthy of big breaks for its laundering of billions of dollars, and for its blatant facilitating or tons of smuggled cocaine?
Meet Wachovia – once the nation’s sixth largest bank by assets and now a part of Wells Fargo Bank… a too-big-to-fail bank that for the feds is apparently too-big-to jail.
Wachovia recently completed what amounted to a year-long probation arising from a March 2010 settlement deal with federal prosecutors who were pursuing criminal proceedings against Wachovia for its facilitating of illegal money transfers from Mexico totaling $378-billion…a staggering sum greater than half of the Pentagon's annual budget, which included billions of dollars traced directly to violent Mexican drug cartels.
The record $160-million fine slapped on Wachovia under terms of that settlement deal included a $50-million assessment for failing to monitor cash used to ship into the US 22 tons of cocaine. (That fine amounted to less than two percent of Wachovia's profits during the prior year.)
Wells Fargo now owns Wachovia. Wells Fargo, federal prosecutors stress, was not involvement in the misdeeds that landed Wachovia in court, where it received a deferred prosecution deal.
Wells Fargo purchased Wachovia in early 2009 for $12.7-billion, shortly after Wells Fargo had received $25-billion in federal bail-out funds from the TARP program. That purchase helped make Wells Fargo America’s second-largest bank.
Many condemn the federal government settlement with Wachovia as a farce.
Criticism has come from persons in law enforcement frustrated by big-bank involvement in laundering drug money and from those who claim federal drug enforcement practices provide bigger breaks to drug kingpins than to low-level operators.
“All the law enforcement people wanted to see this come to trial. But no one goes to jail,” said Martin Woods, an English expert on anti-money laundering, whose work while with Wachovia’s London office helped unravel the drug connections. Woods says Wachovia officials bashed him for his investigative diligence and whistle-blowing as an employee.
“It’s simple: it you don’t see the correlation between the money laundering by banks and people killed in Mexico, you’re missing the point,” Woods said in an April 3, 2011 article published in The Observer, a British newspaper published on Sundays.
Wachovia’s involvement in big-time money laundering paralleled the period of a murderous escalation in violence in Mexico’s Drug War that has claimed the lives of over 40,000 Mexicans since 2006 alone, with the dead including politicians, prosecutors, police, soldiers, drug gang members and innocent bystanders.
During the same month last year when federal prosecutors gave Wachovia a break, finding no need to imprison any bank personnel for their involvement in massive drug-tainted money laundering, other federal prosecutors were pounding domestic drug dealers with long prison sentences.
For example, an Anchorage, Alaska man received a ten-year term for selling four ounces of crack cocaine, while an East St. Louis, Ill. businessman received a life sentence plus a $2.25-million fine for distributing three thousand pounds of cocaine between 2004 and his arrest in April 2008.
The amount of cocaine trafficking that sent the Illinois man to prison for life – one and a half tons - was much smaller than that single 22 ton cocaine shipment referenced in the Wachovia settlement document.
The settlement agreement Wachovia officials signed with federal prosecutors in Miami last year clearly stated that the bank knew that many of the transactions with Mexican financial institutions from 2004 to 2007 carried the stench of drugs.
That settlement agreement stated in part that as early as “2005 Wachovia was aware that other large US banks were exiting the [Mexican] business based on [anti-money laundering] concerns…Despite these warnings, Wachovia remained in business” according to news media reports.
One reason Wachovia stayed in the business as others pulled out is that the bank reaped hefty fees from that money-laundering "business," in which billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveler’s checks and bulk cash shipments went into Wachovia accounts from Mexican exchange facilities called casa de cambios (CDCs).
Jeffery Solman, the federal prosecutor who handled the Wachovia case, stated last year that “Wachovia’s blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations.”
Last year Bloomberg News, in an article on the Wachovia money laundering scandal, reported how the federal government cited other mega-financial institutions in the U.S. like American Express Bank International and Bank of America for their complicity in laundering drug money.
Making a farce out of the nation's supposed War on Drugs, none of the mega-financial institutions identified by federal authorities as having been involved with laundering drug money and none of the well-paid individuals at those institutions which were facilitating that laundering has faced go-to-jail federal criminal prosecutions like those targeting small fry in the drug trade.
Days after Wachovia received its wrist-slap deal for laundering billions of dollars in drug money, federal prosecutors secured a five-year sentence for a 26-year-old Johnstown, Pa. man involved with a drug ring it claimed was responsible for $10,000 in drug sales per month.
Imprisoning that Johnstown street dealer for five years will cost taxpayers $113,115, based on the average cost of $22,623 annually to house a federal prisoner. He was one of six people netted during a drug crackdown in that small former steel town located in the mountains 66 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Alarming evidence of the Drug War farce – the prosecutorial pounding of small fry while major players get a pass – is evident in statistics from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the federal agency that advises Congress on criminal sentencing matters.
During 2009, in the Southern Florida district where Miami is located, 96.1 percent of the 669 persons convicted in federal courts for drug trafficking received prison time. Twenty-percent of the persons convicted in Southern Florida federal courts for simply possessing drugs received prison time.
Of the 67 persons convicted of money laundering during 2009 in those same Southern Florida courts, 77.6% went to prison, according to U.S. Sentencing Commission statistics.
As noted in that April 2011 article in The Observer, the conclusion of the Wachovia case “was only the tip of an iceberg, demonstrating the role of the “legal” banking sector in swilling hundreds of billions of dollars – the blood money from the murderous drug trade in Mexico and other places in the world – around their global operations, now bailed out by the taxpayer.”
That Observer article included observations made in 2008 by the then head of the United Nations office on drugs and crime providing evidence suggesting that drug/crime money was “the only liquid investment capital” available to banks on the brink of collapse.
“Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drug trade,” the Observer article quoted the U.N. official as stating. “There were signs that some banks were rescued that way.”
The June 2010 Bloomberg News article provided an ominous observation about the wrist-slap protection large banks receive from criminal indictments due to a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory: “Indicting a big bank could trigger a mad dash by investors to dump shares and cause panic in financial markets," says Jack Blum, a U.S. Senate investigator for 14 years and a consultant to international banks and brokerage firms on money laundering. The theory is like a get-out-of-jail free card for big banks, Blum says.
Another anti-money laundering expert disappointed with the federal government’s settlement with Wachovia is Robert Mazur, identified in the Observer article as one of the world’s “foremost figures” in providing anti-money laundering training and the point-man for US law enforcement during prosecutions against Columbian drug cartels two decades ago.
Mazur told The Observer, “The only thing that will make the banks properly vigilant to what is happening is when they hear the rattle of handcuffs in the boardroom.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

2011-05-26 "NYC forum builds resistance to state repression" by Dolores Cox
New York -
Last September FBI raids took place in several Midwestern cities. Twenty-three activists had their residences searched. Their belongings, such as computers, personal documents, organizing materials and files, were confiscated. These activists were served with subpoenas to appear before a Chicago grand jury. All have taken the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify against movements for peace and social justice. As a result, some could be indicted, leading to extended jail time for not cooperating with the federal government. These indictments may be imminent.
The latest raid took place at the home of a Los Angeles veteran Chicano activist, Carlos Montes, by the FBI and the County Sheriff during the week of May 16, indicating the attacks haven’t ended.
The government says it’s investigating the activists’ “material support for foreign terrorist organizations.” In reality, the activists are being accused of speaking truth to power against U.S. wars and terrible regimes abroad that the U.S. supports. These activists have stood in solidarity with the struggles of peoples of the world, especially those in Palestine and Colombia.
In New York City on May 21 the New York Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Al-Awda NY, DRUM and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement sponsored an event to build the resistance and support network for the activists. The groups also stress the urgency of strengthening international solidarity.
Hatem Abudayyed, a Palestinian human rights activist whose home in Chicago was raided, was one of the speakers. He emphasized the importance of forming alliances with other organizations. He also spoke about the U.S. government’s repression and attacks against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.
On May 6 the bank accounts of Abudayyed and his spouse were frozen. Organizers responded with a “day of action” against the government and the bank, making phone calls demanding the freezes be lifted. Five days later they were lifted, but the Twin Cities Federal Bank stated it no longer wanted them as customers and closed their accounts. Abudayyed stated that they’ve received support from the teachers’ union, academic community and religious leaders in Chicago.
Through an interpreter, the mother of a member of Desis Rising Up and Moving talked about the impact of local and federal law enforcement misconduct on South Asian, Arab and Muslim communities, particularly on the youth. At age 19 her son was targeted by the FBI and a New York police undercover agent in an entrapment scheme. He is now serving a 30-year prison sentence in a high-security Indiana prison built for Muslims, she stated. Youth there are not allowed contact with friends or family; none had prior criminal history. She added that people must make this government transparent and fight to change laws and the system.
Brandon King from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement gave an historical overview of the FBI’s counterintelligence program — founded in the 1950s — and police repression in Black communities. Black activists have always been targets of violence and assassinations. Statistically, there are more Black men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850. The establishment of COINTELPRO was to “neutralize” freedom fighters and groups during the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements. King stressed the need to have an elevated consciousness and to put an end to wars, terrorism and occupation here in the U.S.
Lamis Deek, an Al-Awda NY member and National Lawyers Guild attorney, spoke of increased post-9/11 threats and expansion of Homeland Security activities. Palestinians in New York continue to be victims of FBI entrapment by informants in “predisposition-to-commit-crimes” cases.
A Center for Constitutional Rights attorney, Shayana Kadidal, gave a legal update on the scope of the Material Support Statute in the wake of the June 2010 Supreme Court decision, Humanitarian Law Project vs. Holder. According to the U.S. Department of State, no material support is allowed to be given to “foreign terrorist organizations” anywhere in the world. Support is defined as giving skilled training, expert advice/assistance, personal help or services (including intangible services). The government uses the term “agent” acting on behalf of a group, rather than the word “member” of a group. Activism is considered material support. But government interpretations are also ambiguous.
To support and build resistance to FBI repression, sign the online “Pledge to Resist FBI and Grand Jury Repression” at www.StopFBI.net. Important emergency responses are planned in the event that indictments are handed down. In New York City the emergency action will take place in Times Square 5-7 p.m. outside the military recruiting station. For more information, contact nycsfrlist@gmail.com or 917-397-0103.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011-05-25 "Move Over Machiavelli: Wisconsin GOP Kills Public Financing to Pay for Voter Suppression" by Mary Bottari
You are a new Governor pursuing a radical, budget-slashing agenda. In your spare time, you work to pass the most restrictive Voter ID law in the nation, which turns out to be quite costly. What to do? Here is an idea. To pay for your voter suppression efforts, why not rob public financing for elections, a system designed to encourage a diversity of candidates and a flourishing of democracy?
That is exactly what Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP did this week when they raided the money set aside for the public financing of campaigns to pay for "the most radical Voter ID bill in the nation" according to Wisconsin Common Cause.
The move would kill a 34 year tradition of public financing for elections in Wisconsin. All public financing for state political races would end. Instead, the fund would be used to implement AB7 a "Voter ID" bill originally spawned by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The Allegation of Fraud is Merely a Front -
Republicans insist the Voter ID bill is needed to prevent fraud, but no one appears to be able to put their finger on a real problem in Wisconsin.
"Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen undertook an investigation after the 2008 presidential race and found only 20 questionable votes in an election of 2,983,417. Half of those folks were formerly convicted felons who did not know they were not allowed to vote," said Jay Heck of Wisconsin Common Cause. "Fraud has never been a problem in Wisconsin, we have an open system and people have a great deal of respect for it. The fraud issue is merely a front to prevent Democratic groupings from turning out and everyone knows it," said Heck.
The legislation would allow a narrow list of IDs for voting, including drivers licenses and state-issued ID cards. According to a 2005 UW-Milwaukee study, about 177,000 Wisconsinites aged 65 and older do not have state-issued IDs. Statewide, the percent of Wisconsin residents with a valid drivers license is 80 percent for males and 81 percent for females. For African-Americans, only 45 percent of males and 51 percent of females have a valid drivers license.
The bill makes it particularly burdensome for college students to vote, a group who overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008. Student IDs have to be issued from an accredited public or private college, include a student's signature and have a two-year expiration date. The 182,000 thousand students in the University of Wisconsin system and 300,000 in state technical colleges currently do not meet this requirement.
Many analysts think the bill was implemented in a rush in order to have an impact on the Wisconsin Senate recall elections scheduled for July 12th. "Many voters will understandably be confused and will think that they cannot vote in the recall elections without the photo voter ID -- which is likely the intent of the bill's proponents," says Heck.

Another Wisconsin Tradition Destroyed -
Wisconsin has provided some degree of public financing for campaigns since 1977. The idea was to foster a debate over ideas, not a race for the money. As a consequence, many candidates were able to run who otherwise would never have been able to, and candidates of both political parties regularly took public financing. This year, a little-known candidate named Joanne Kloppenburg was able to run for Wisconsin Supreme Court because of a public finance system for judicial races implemented two years ago. Kloppenburg came from behind to almost knock off a ten-year incumbent conservative Supreme Court Justice.
Perhaps this is exactly the type of democracy that the Wisconsin GOP is worried about. The money raided from the public financing system -- $1.8 million -- is insufficient to pay for the Voter ID bill, which is anticipated to cost $6 million over the next two years.
To Heck the tragedy is the destruction of another important Wisconsin tradition. "We were one of the first states in the nation to provide public financing for campaigns. We were held up as a model for the nation, passing public financing, open meetings laws, open records laws and the establishment of a state elections board and state ethics board after the Watergate scandal."
"What the Walker administration has done in just four months, has been to unravel decades of good government and progressive reform designed to inspire citizen confidence in state government. The whole post-Watergate reform effort has been swept away in just a few months. It's astonishing," says Heck.
But enough to make Richard Nixon proud.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011-05-18 "Secret FBI documents reveal attack on democratic rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists" from "Committee to Stop FBI Repression"
FBI agents, who raided the home of Mick Kelly and Linden Gawboy, took with them thousands of pages of documents and books, along with computers, cell phones and a passport. By mistake, they also left something behind; the operation plans for the raid, “Interview questions” for anti-war and international solidarity activists, duplicate evidence collection forms, etc. The file of secret FBI documents was accidently mixed in with Gawboy’s files, and was found in a filing cabinet on April 30. We are now releasing them to the public.
The raid at the Kelly/Gawboy home was one of the many coordinated raids at Minneapolis homes and the offices of the Anti-War Committee on September 24, 2010. Two additional homes were raided in Chicago. To date, 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists have received subpoenas to appear in front of a Chicago Grand Jury headed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
Taken as a whole, the secret FBI file shows the willful disregard for the rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists – particularly the first amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. The documents make it clear that legal activity in solidarity with the peoples of Colombia and Palestine is being targeted. The documents use McCarthy-era language, which gives one the feel that the 1950s red scare has returned. And finally, the documents show the chilling plans for the armed raid that took place at the home of Kelly and Gawboy on September 24, 2010.
The documents show that public advocacy for the people of Colombia was the genesis of the FBI investigation. The ‘Operations Order’ for the FBI SWAT Team states “The captioned case was initially predicated on the activities of Meredith Aby and Jessica Rae Sundin in support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a U.S. State Department designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO), to include their travel to FARC controlled territory.”
While we have no way of knowing if it was speaking tours or educational events on Colombia that got them so riled up, there is something we can state with certainty: There is nothing illegal about traveling to Colombia, or visiting the areas where the FARC is in charge. This is something that journalists, including U.S. journalists, do, and we have yet to hear of their doors being broken down. Upon returning from Colombia, Aby and Sundin spoke at many public events about their experiences.
The FBI interview questions for Meredith Aby ask “1) Have you ever met Lilia [sic] Obando? 2) Where? 3) When? 4) Why?” Liliana Obando is a well-known Colombian trade unionist who spoke in the Twin Cities at an event organized by the Anti-War Committee. She received a visa to travel in the U.S. from the U.S. government.
She spoke about the sickening human rights violations that were being carried out by the Colombian government and its paramilitary allies. While we understand that the Colombian government is the third largest recipient of U.S military aid, and that government officials would prefer that that people here in the U.S. don’t get a chance to hear about human rights abuses committed with their tax dollars, the fact remains: there is nothing criminal in trying to learn the truth. The FBI is attacking the right of anti-war activists to speak out against U.S. foreign policy.
Likewise, the “interview questions” make a big deal about delegations that visited Palestine. The Israeli authorities try to disrupt these trips because people return from them and expose the gross human rights violations that are carried out in the context of the military occupation. But once again – this is a legal activity that activists have every right to engage in.
The documents show how the FBI investigation expanded outwards, starting with Colombia and soon focusing on Palestine. How did the FBI get involved? The most likely explanation is that a undercover police officer going by the name “Karen Sullivan” infiltrated the Anti-War Committee shortly before the 2008 Republican National Convention. Among the first people she met were Meredith Aby and Jess Sundin, who often spoke at public events about what they saw in Colombia.
Karen Sullivan - the professional liar - then gave her reports to the FBI, paving the road to the September 24 raids.

The New McCarthyism -
When Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy went on a red-baiting witch hunt in the 1950s, communists, socialists and progressives of all stripes were hounded out of jobs, housing, the entertainment industry and institutions of higher education. More than a few people were jailed for their ideas. The secret FBI documents indicate an investigation is underway that takes its cues from this shameful past.
The FBI documents include 57 interview questions about Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the organization that some of those who were raided or subpoenaed to the Grand Jury are members of. The questions include; “Are you a member?” “How many members are there?’’ “Who are the leaders?” And on and on and on. It is like pages of the calendar have been turned back 60 years.
In the United States there is a constitutional right to association. Like-minded people are allowed to form groups and political parties that promote their views. FRSO members, along with others, were very active in organizing the massive anti-war protests at the Republican National Convention. They participate in the labor movement, community organizing, and the anti-war movement too. And they advocate that capitalism should be abolished and replaced with socialism. Given the bank bailout, continuous wars and the economic crisis it is not unreasonable to see these activities and views as a breath of fresh air.

“Dangerous” raid -
In the documents, the “Operations order” for FBI SWAT for “Operation Principal Parts” the raid on the Kelly/Gawboy home has the word “DANGEROUS” in underlined bold type at the top of the page. FBI agents were told to bring assault rifles, machine guns and two extra clips of ammunition for each of their side arms. Two paramedics were to stand by in the event of causalities. Other documents include photos of Kelly and Gawboy, as well as pictures of stairs leading to their front door and the front door itself.
What transpired on September 24 was this. Gawboy was awoken by the FBI pounding on the door. When she stated she wanted to see the search warrant, agents used a battering ram on the door, breaking the hardware and shattering a fish tank in the process. Gawboy was taken down the front steps in her nightgown while the FBI swat team entered her home.
The justification for this armed home invasion is given in the “Operations plan” - “Kelly is believed to be the owner of an unknown number of firearms which may be at his residence...”
Kelly, who learned to shoot while in Boy Scouts, owns guns – just like a lot of Minnesotans. The “Operation Plan” also claims that Kelly “offered to provide weapons training” - an outright lie that originated with the police infiltrator “Karen Sullivan” or a fiction writer at the FBI office.
The bottom line is this: there can be no justification for the raid in the first place, and still less for it to be done by agents smashing doors and wielding machine guns. This is a recipe for people getting hurt or killed. The events of September 24 and the ongoing grand jury are not about “material support of terrorism,” as any normal person would understand it. What is happening is this: anti-war and international solidarity activists are being targeted for practicing our rights to speak out and organize. We have done nothing wrong. Our activism is making this world a better place.

Attachment Size
1-CSFR statement.pdf 74.42 KB

2-Operation Order.pdf 1.6 MB

3-Interrogation Questions.pdf 2.2 MB

4-Surveillance photos.pdf 3.66 MB

5-Seizure and Subpoena.pdf 2.45 MB

6-Blank forms.pdf 2.56 MB

CSFR May 18 documents ALL.pdf 12.54 MB

Friday, May 13, 2011

Destruction of Libraries at Los Angeles Unified School District

"The disgraceful interrogation of L.A. school librarians: If state education cuts are drastic, the librarians' only chance of keeping a paycheck is to prove they're qualified to be switched to classroom teaching. So LAUSD attorneys grill them"  
2011-05-13 Hector Tobar from "LA Times" [http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/13/local/la-me-0513-tobar-20110513]:
In a basement downtown, the librarians are being interrogated.
 On most days, they work in middle schools and high schools operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District, fielding student queries about American history and Greek mythology, and retrieving copies of vampire novels.
 But this week, you'll find them in a makeshift LAUSD courtroom set up on the bare concrete floor of a building on East 9th Street. Several sit in plastic chairs, watching from an improvised gallery as their fellow librarians are questioned.
 A court reporter takes down testimony. A judge grants or denies objections from attorneys. Armed police officers hover nearby. On the witness stand, one librarian at a time is summoned to explain why she — the vast majority are women — should be allowed to keep her job.
 The librarians are guilty of nothing except earning salaries the district feels the need to cut. But as they're cross-examined by determined LAUSD attorneys, they're continually put on the defensive.
 "When was the last time you taught a course for which your librarian credential was not required?" an LAUSD attorney asked Laura Graff, the librarian at Sun Valley High School, at a court session on Monday.
 "I'm not sure what you're asking," Graff said. "I teach all subjects, all day. In the library."
 "Do you take attendance?" the attorney insisted. "Do you issue grades?"
 I've seen a lot of strange things in two decades as a reporter, but nothing quite as disgraceful and weird as this inquisition the LAUSD is inflicting upon more than 80 school librarians.
 "With my experience, it makes me angry to be interrogated," Graff told me after the 40 minutes she spent on the witness stand, describing the work she's done at libraries and schools going back to the 1970s. "I don't think any teacher-librarian needs to sit here and explain how they help teach students."
 Sitting in during two court sessions this week, I felt bad for everyone present, including the LAUSD attorneys. After all, in the presence of a school librarian, you feel the need to whisper and be respectful. It must be very difficult, I thought, to grill a librarian.
 For LAUSD officials, it's a means to an end: balancing the budget.
 Some 85 credentialed teacher-librarians got layoff notices in March. If state education cuts end up being as bad as most think likely, their only chance to keep a paycheck is to prove that they're qualified to be transferred into classroom teaching jobs.
 Since all middle and high school librarians are required to have a state teaching credential in addition to a librarian credential, this should be an easy task — except for a school district rule that makes such transfers contingent on having taught students within the last five years.
 To get the librarians off the payroll, the district's attorneys need to prove to an administrative law judge that the librarians don't have that recent teaching experience. To try to prove that they do teach, the librarians, in turn, come to their hearings with copies of lesson plans they've prepared and reading groups they've organized.
 Sandra Lagasse, for 20 years the librarian at White Middle School in Carson, arrived at the temporary courtroom Wednesday with copies of her lesson plans in Greek word origins and mythology.
 On the witness stand, she described tutoring students in geometry and history, including subjects like the Hammurabi Code. Her multi-subject teaching credential was entered into evidence as "Exhibit 515."
 Lagasse also described the "Reading Counts" program she runs in the library, in which every student in the school is assessed for reading skills.
 "This is not a class, correct?" a school district attorney asked her during cross-examination.
 "No," she said. "It is part of a class."
 "There is no class at your school called 'Reading Counts'? Correct."
 Lagasse endured her time on the stand with quiet dignity and confidence. She described how groups of up to 75 students file into her library — and how she works individually with many students.
 Later she told me: "I know I'm doing my job right when a student tells me, 'Mrs. Lagasse, that book you gave me was so good. Do you have anything else like it?' "
 It's a noble profession. And it happens to be the only one Michael Bernard wants to practice.
 "It's true, I'm a librarian and that's all I want to be," said the librarian at North Hollywood High School, who has been a librarian for 23 years and has a master's degree in library science.
 "The larger issue is the destruction of school libraries," Bernard told me. "None of the lawyers was talking about that."
 School district rules say that only a certified teacher-librarian can manage a school library. So if Bernard is laid off, his library, with its 40,000 books and new computer terminals, could be shut down.
 Word of the libraries' pending doom is starting to spread through the district. Adalgisa Grazziani, the librarian at Marshall High School, told me that the kids at her school are asking if they can take home books when the library there is closed.
 "Can I have the fantasy collection?" one asked her.
 If they could speak freely at their dismissal hearings, the librarians likely would tell all present what a tragedy it is to close a library.
 Instead, they sit and try to politely answer such questions as, "Have you ever taught physical education?"
It doesn't seem right to punish an educator for choosing the quiet and contemplation of book stacks over the noise and hubbub of a classroom or a gymnasium. But that's where we are in these strange and stupid times.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fascism at Florida State University

Charles G. Koch, an investor whose holdings are worth billions of dollars, has used his money to directly manage his own political ideology, beholden only to his own selfish interest, and of the interest of those like him who use the natural wealth and labor of the United States for private gain and influence. He has also secured a State University in Florida for the incubation of his own ideological academic followers.

"Billionaire's role in hiring decisions at Florida State University raises questions"
2011-05-09 by  Kris Hundley from "Tampa Bay Times" [http://www.tampabay.com//news/business/billionaires-role-in-hiring-decisions-at-florida-state-university-raises/1168680]:
A conservative billionaire who opposes government meddling in business has bought a rare commodity: the right to interfere in faculty hiring at a publicly funded university.
 A foundation bankrolled by Libertarian businessman Charles G. Koch has pledged $1.5 million for positions in Florida State University's economics department. In return, his representatives get to screen and sign off on any hires for a new program promoting "political economy and free enterprise."
 Traditionally, university donors have little official input into choosing the person who fills a chair they've funded. The power of university faculty and officials to choose professors without outside interference is considered a hallmark of academic freedom.
Under the agreement with the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, however, faculty only retain the illusion of control. The contract specifies that an advisory committee appointed by Koch decides which candidates should be considered. The foundation can also withdraw its funding if it's not happy with the faculty's choice or if the hires don't meet "objectives" set by Koch during annual evaluations.
 David W. Rasmussen, dean of the College of Social Sciences, defended the deal, initiated by an FSU graduate working for Koch. During the first round of hiring in 2009, Koch rejected nearly 60 percent of the faculty's suggestions but ultimately agreed on two candidates. Although the deal was signed in 2008 with little public controversy, the issue revived last week when two FSU professors — one retired, one active — criticized the contract in the Tallahassee Democrat as an affront to academic freedom.
Rasmussen said hiring the two new assistant professors allows him to offer eight additional courses a year. "I'm sure some faculty will say this is not exactly consistent with their view of academic freedom,'' he said. "But it seems to me it would have been irresponsible not to do it."
 The Koch foundation, based in Arlington, Va., did not return a call seeking comment.
 Most universities, including the University of Florida, have policies that strictly limit donors' influence over the use of their gifts. Yale University once returned $20 million when the donor demanded veto power over appointments, saying such control was "unheard of."
 Jennifer Washburn, who has reviewed dozens of contracts between universities and donors, called the Koch agreement with FSU "truly shocking."
 Said Washburn, author of University Inc., a book on industry's ties to academia: "This is an egregious example of a public university being willing to sell itself for next to nothing."
 • • •
 The foundation partnering with FSU is one of several non-profits funded by Charles Koch (pronounced "coke''), 75, and his brother David, 71. The aim: To advance their belief, through think tanks, political organizations and academia, that government taxes and regulations impinge on prosperity.
 The Koch philosophy is similar to that of Rick Scott, who, in one of his first acts as Florida's governor, froze all new state regulations on businesses, and has pushed for tax cuts.
 The Koch brothers own the second biggest private U.S. corporation, maker of such popular products as Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups and Stainmaster carpet. Koch Industries, which had $100 billion in sales last year, also owns thousands of miles of oil pipelines, refineries and Georgia-Pacific lumber. The Koch brothers are each worth $22 billion.
 Charles, chairman and CEO of Koch Industries in Wichita, Kan., cofounded the Cato Institute, a policymaking group, in 1977. His brother serves on the board. David, who lives in Manhattan and is Koch Industries' executive vice president, in 2004 started the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, which has worked closely with the tea party movement.
 The Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, to which he has given as much as $80 million a year, has focused on "advancing social progress and well-being" through grants to about 150 universities. But in the past, most colleges, including Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, received just a few thousand dollars.
 The big exception has been George Mason University, a public university in Virginia which has received more than $30 million from Koch over the past 20 years. At George Mason, Koch's foundation has underwritten the Mercatus Center, whose faculty study "how institutions affect the freedom to prosper."
 When President George W. Bush identified 23 regulations he wanted to eliminate, 14 had been initially suggested by Mercatus scholars. In a New Yorker profile of the Koch brothers in August, Rob Stein, a Democratic strategist, called Mercatus "ground zero for deregulation policy in Washington."
 • • •
 Now, rather than taking over entire academic departments, Koch is funding faculty who promote his agenda at universities where there are a variety of economic views. In addition to FSU, Koch has made similar arrangements at two other state schools, Clemson University in South Carolina and West Virginia University.
 Bruce Benson, chairman of FSU's economics department, said that of his staff of 30, six, including himself, would fall into Koch's free-market camp.
 "The Kochs find, as I do, that a lot of regulation is actually detrimental and they're convinced markets work relatively well when left alone," he said.
 Benson said his department had extensive discussion, but no vote, on the Koch agreement when it was signed in 2008.
 He said the Koch grant has improved his department and guaranteed a diversity of opinion that's beneficial to students.
 "Students will ultimately choose," he said. "If you believe strongly in something, you believe it can win the debate."
 Benson makes annual reports to Koch about the faculty's publications, speeches and classes, which have included the economics of corruption. He said FSU has promised to retain the professors in tenure-track positions hired under the Koch grant if the foundation ever feels they aren't complying with its objectives and withdraws support.
 "So far, they're fine with what's going on," Benson said. "But I agree with what they believe, whether they give us money or not."
 • • •
 As originally drafted, the agreement called for the Koch foundation and FSU to raise up to $6.6 million for six faculty positions. That plan has been scaled back in the face of the recession, but FSU's dean dismissed suggestions that he signed the deal with Koch because of financial strain.
 "This would have been an opportunity to improve our economics department under any circumstances," Rasmussen said.
 In addition to funding two slots, Koch has also donated nearly $500,000 for graduate fellowships. So far only BB&T, the bank holding company, has joined the effort, with its foundation pledging $1.5 million over 10 years. The money is being used to hire an instructor who is not eligible for tenure; BB&T had no control over the hire, Rasmussen said.
 A separate grant from BB&T funds a course on ethics and economics in which Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is required reading. The novel, which depicts society's collapse in the wake of government encroachment on free enterprise, was recently made into a movie marketed to tea party members.
 "If somebody says, 'We're willing to help support your students and faculty by giving you money, but we'd like you to read this book,' that doesn't strike me as a big sin," said Rasmussen of the BB&T arrangement, which the bank has with about 60 schools. "What is a big sin is saying that certain ideas cannot be discussed."
 Nor does he fear that the agreements with Koch and BB&T will prompt future donors to demand control over hiring or curriculum.
Said Rasmussen, "I have no objections to people who want to help us fund excellence at our university. I'm happy to do it."

Friday, May 6, 2011

2011-05-06 "Josh Wolf case renews debate on journalist rights" by Nanette Asimov from "San Francisco Chronicle" newspaper
Guilty verdicts for practicing journalism are the stuff of authoritarian nations and now, apparently, UC Berkeley.
A campus disciplinary panel has concluded that journalism student Josh Wolf should not have been inside Wheeler Hall on Nov. 20, 2009, during an 11-hour student occupation even though, the panel acknowledged, he was filming the protest as a journalist.
His punishment? No dungeon or leg irons, but he must write an essay to help the administration establish a clear policy on the rights of student journalists.
"I'm more than happy to do anything I can to remedy the situation for future journalists," said Wolf, 28. "But it seems absurd to make it my punishment. (I'm) a consultant without pay under threat of not getting my diploma."
For UC Berkeley and its students, Wolf's guilty verdict also raises questions about First Amendment rights, whether punishing one journalist leads others to censor themselves - known as the chilling effect - and who is a journalist in the first place.

Guilty as charged -
Wolf, who will graduate Saturday with a master's degree from Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, was found guilty last week of violating three sections of the campus-wide student conduct code when he accompanied students who seized Wheeler Hall to protest tuition hikes.
"That's disappointing," said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Virginia, who has tracked Wolf's case for a year.
Legally, he said, "having a press pass doesn't give you a license to trespass where other civilians can't go. Having said that, we generally forgive minor trespassing because it's important for us to get the story. So it's an awfully fine technicality to punish someone for zealously doing his job."
Wolf said the chilling effect is real, and that other student reporters have told him they worry about being punished for covering campus events and having to spend months defending themselves, as he did.
Associate Dean Christina Gonzales declined to speak about Wolf's case. But she said the Center for Student Conduct needs a policy for working with student journalists, and that one should be in place by fall.
The problem, Gonzales said, is knowing who is a journalist.
"What's the criteria?" she asked. "If someone is a tweeter, does that mean they're a journalist?"
On Nov. 20, 2009, three months into his two-year journalism program, Wolf hung his student press pass around his neck and entered Wheeler Hall with dozens of protesters to film their building takeover from the inside. It was a decision that Journalism School Dean Neil Henry called "defensible under the highest ideals of our profession," in an April 2010 letter to the Office of Student Conduct.

Arrests filmed -
"After the police broke through the door, everyone quickly ran into the classroom where I continued filming as students were arrested one by one," Wolf told the three-member disciplinary panel.
Police arrested Wolf, too.
It wasn't the first time he was taken into custody for journalism.
Wolf served 7 1/2 months in federal prison in 2006 and 2007 after refusing to turn over unedited footage of a violent demonstration in San Francisco involving federal property. He eventually posted the footage on his site, joshwolf.net.
In that case, Wolf's stance focused public attention on whether federal law should shield journalists from having to turn over unpublished material, as California law does. That debate continues in Congress.
Similarly, the Berkeley case draws attention to the rights of campus journalists.
Wolf's essay on that topic is due June 30, and he plans to comply.
But he'll also appeal the panel's finding that he broke university rules by covering the Wheeler occupation, he said.
Given all that has happened, would he again enter the building with the protesters to cover the story from the inside?
Yes, Wolf said. "Absolutely."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Billie Tucker, Leader of a "Tea Party" in Florida

Billie Tucker is a Christian Leader of a Florida Tea Party, and she claims to hear "voices from God" guiding her actions, and she works for the energy industry in order to gain a fat profit... an actual Fascist, and her work is to unite Christianity and Capitalism against the public good [and against the ecology].

"First Coast Tea Party leader vents, prays for help ‘fighting against tyranny’" 
2011-05-05 by Virginia Chamlee [http://floridaindependent.com/29131/first-coast-tea-party-billie-tucker]
In a new op-ed published on the conservative blog Florida Political Press, Jacksonville tea party leader Billie Tucker vents her frustration with the Florida political process and politicians she calls “worthless” and “unprincipled,” with “no backbone.” [http://www.floridapoliticalpress.com/2011/05/05/the-sun-refused-to-set/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter]
Tucker’s post compares God to a sunset, “hanging around and refusing to leave,” as she vents about politics and the liberal media:
[begin excerpt]
As the fiery sun looked back at me, I started telling Him about the lame politicians, the liberal media, and I mentioned how hard it was getting to keep on going. He seemed to understand because His glow was strong and powerful, yet soft and warm.
I asked Him to fix everything. He could do it if He wanted to and I certainly wanted Him too. He just kept glowing and changing the clouds around him to a shade of yellow and orange.
I mentioned how hard it was to fight the left with their powerful money and strong organization and we are nothing but a small army of patriots who are tapped out of resources, money and energy. He kept glowing and seemed to be smiling at my rants.
“Didn’t He understand how hard it is to read where a politician who is ‘on your side’ votes with the other side?” writes Tucker. “Or how the media portrays a corrupt man as a great guy and portrays a great guy as a weak man? Or how hard it is to trust anyone anymore?”
God answers that He, too, has suffered from “bad press” and betrayals:
His glow got stronger and wider and the horizon lit up across the roof tops. His message back to me was “I understand, Billie. I got some bad press too. I was a good guy and they painted me as a bad guy. And, remember I was betrayed too.”
[end excerpt]
Tucker ends the piece with a prayer to be guided in “fighting against tyranny,” and encourages supporters to pray that “God Save the USA.”
Tucker is a force with which to be reckoned on the First Coast. When then-candidate Rick Scott campaigned in Jacksonville in July 2010, he specifically mentioned Tucker’s “important work” in as the director of the First Coast Tea Party [http://floridaindependent.com/4813/rick-scott-offers-stump-speech-rhetoric-at-jacksonville-barbecue].
In a more recent interview with The Florida Times-Union [http://m.jacksonville.com/news/florida/2011-02-17/story/rick-scott-refuses-federal-funds-high-speed-railway], Tucker applauded Scott’s rejection of $2.4 billion in federal funds to go toward a high-speed rail project: ”We are spending billions of dollars on a luxury item. … If he’d allowed this to happen, he would have lost the support of the people who worked hard to elect him.”
Tucker seemingly has allies in many big-name Jacksonville residents. In September, the Times-Union reported [http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-09-14/story/local-tea-party-leader-has-consulting-contract-jea] that she has made more than $90,000 consulting with board members of JEA, the Jacksonville Electric Authority.
In a December 2010 profile, Tucker said [http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=532450] that she has considered starting a campaign against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, but that she “doesn’t really have it in [her] heart” to run for office.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2011-05-04 "Budget cuts, pathway to homelessness" by Lynda Carson
Oakland – On April 14, the draconian budget slashing proposal known as HR 1473, which was promoted by Tea Party radicals and right-wing Republican extremists, was passed in the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Obama. Around $38 billion was cut from the nation’s domestic programs in a skirmish that nearly shut down the government, and HR 1473 is recorded as being the most extreme budget cutting legislation passed by Congress in American history.
People are so desperate in these harsh economic times, when the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes, that during January of 2011, the Oakland Housing Authority opened up its Section 8 (Housing Choice Voucher Program) waiting list, and it was estimated that around 100,000 needy low-income families would apply for the coveted subsidized Section 8 housing vouchers during the five-day application period. The Section 8 voucher contracts allow low-income households to pay only 30 to 40 percent of their income towards rent, and the government subsidizes the remainder in monthly rental payments to the landlord.
Despite the need for more Section 8 vouchers for the poor, Oakland Housing Authority executive director Eric Johnson stated in a Chronicle article, “There are currently only 650 vouchers available, and about 50 vouchers get freed up every month.”
With the passage of HR 1473, the nation’s housing programs and many other programs for the poor and the working class took some mammoth funding cuts. In part its passage was due to a number of Democrats who sided with the extremist Republicans in shredding the safety net, including California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. Additionally, a number of California’s members of the House of Representatives also sold out and voted for HR 1473, including Jackie Speier, Anna Eshoo, Jim Costa, Michael Thompson, Brad Sherman, Howard Berman, Adam Schiff and Susan Davis.
HR 1473 cut $504 million from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. The WIC program is a federally subsidized food program administered by the states that serves nutritionally at risk low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants until their first birthday and children up to the child’s fifth birthday.
WIC serves 45 percent of all infants born in the United States, offering supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education and counseling in addition to screening and referrals to other health, welfare and social services. WIC operates through 1,900 local agencies in 10,000 sites located in county health departments, hospitals, mobile clinics, community centers, schools, public housing, migrant health centers and camps, and Indian Health Service facilities. In FY 2009, the WIC budget was $6.8 billion, and the FY 2010 budget was $7.25 billion.
Additionally, $600 million was cut from the budgets of community health centers all across the nation. Soaring food prices make these draconian budget cuts to programs serving women, infants and children even more devastating at a time when families are least likely able to afford the barest of necessities just to survive.
HIV and disease-prevention funds were cut by $1 billion, and HR 1473 cut $25.1 million out of the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Voucher Program, grabbing over half of the funding from the veterans’ much cherished housing program. The veterans’ housing program’s present funding totals only $49.9 million and, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 23 percent of homeless people in America are veterans and 33 percent of the men who are homeless are veterans.
Among other budget cuts made through HR 1473, $125 million was cut from the Section 8 housing program, $149 million from the Public Housing Operation Fund, $456 million from the Public Housing Capital Fund, $426 million from the Section 202 housing program for the elderly, $115 million from the Section 811 housing program for the disabled and $100 million from the Hope VI program.
HR 1473 also cuts $390 million from the Low Income Housing and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and $942 million from the Community Development Fund, plus $51 million from the Native American Housing Block Grants, $218.2 million from the Home Investment Partnerships program, $654 million from the Community Development Block Grant program, and billions of dollars from other programs assisting the poor, elderly and disabled.
Since passing HR 1473, the Republicans smell blood and they want even deeper budget cuts to the nation’s domestic programs. On April 15, the Republicans in the House of Representatives passed new legislation called the Path to Prosperity in an effort to shrink the government so small that it could be drowned in a bathtub.
The proposal known as a Path to Prosperity is a scheme to make the rich even richer. It attacks Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security and among other things would cut $6.2 trillion mostly from `domestic programs during the next decade, devastating the poor, elderly and disabled. It also offers an additional $800 billion in tax breaks and would block the $1.5 trillion Bush-era tax breaks to the rich and super rich from ever expiring.
With so many Democrats siding with Republicans lately in the attacks on the poor, the poor and working class do not have proper representation in Congress, so we must speak out to represent ourselves.
The Tea Party-GOP’s so-called Path to Prosperity proposal is a master plan to enrich the already wealthy, while creating a Path to Homelessness for everyone else.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

2011-05 "The Patriot Act: When Truth Becomes Treason" by Susan Lindauer
Susan Lindauer is a former Asset covering Iraq & Libya and the second non-Arab American indicted on the Patriot Act and is the author of Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq, which reveals details of her CIA team’s 9/11 warnings and a comprehensive peace option with Iraq.
Many Americans think they understand the dangers of the Patriot Act, which Congress has vowed to extend 4 more years in a vote later this week. Trust me when I say, Americans are not nearly frightened enough.
Ever wonder why the truth about 9/11 never got exposed? Why Americans don’t have a clue about leadership fraud surrounding the War on Terror? Why Americans don’t know if the 9/11 investigation was really successful? Why the Iraqi Peace Option draws a blank? Somebody has known the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden— or his grave—for the past 10 years. But nobody’s talking to the people.
In significant part, that’s because of the Patriot Act— a law that equates free speech with sedition. It’s got a big agenda, with 7,000 pages of Machiavellian code designed to interrupt individual questioning of government policy. In this brave new world, free speech under the Bill of Rights effectively has been declared a threat to government controls for maintaining stability. And the Patriot Act has become the premiere weapon to attack whistle blowers and dissidents who challenge the comfort of political leaders hiding inconvenient truths from the public. It’s all the rage on Capitol Hill, as leaders strive to score TV ratings, while demogauging their “outstanding leadership performance” on everything from national security to environmental policy.

Truth has Become Treason -
But wait—Congress assures us the Patriot Act only targets foreigners, who come to our shores seeking to destroy our way of life through violent, criminal acts. Good, law abiding Americans have nothing to fear. The Patriot Act restricts its powers of “roving wiretaps” and warrantless searches to international communications among “bad guys..” Congress has sworn, with hand on heart, it’s only purpose is breaking down terrorist cells and hunting out “lone wolf” mad men.
That’s what they told you, right? And you believed them? You trust the government. Well, that was your first mistake. With regards to the Patriot Act, it’s a fatal one. Would the government lie to you? You betcha! And they have.
The Patriot Act reaches far beyond terrorism prevention. In my home state of Maryland, State Police invoked the Patriot Act to run surveillance on the Chesapeake Climate Action Network dedicated to wind power, recycling and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. They infiltrated the DC Anti War Network, suggesting the group might be a front for “white supremacists,” and Amnesty International, claiming to investigate “civil rights abuses.” Opponents of the death penalty also got targeted (in case they got violent).
Bottom line: truth tellers who give Americans too much insight on any number of issues are vulnerable to a vast arsenal of judicial weapons typically associated with China or Myanmar. In the Patriot Act, the government has created a powerful tool to hunt out free thinking on the left or right. It doesn’t discriminate. Anyone who opposes government policy is at risk
How do I know all this? Because I was the second non-Arab American ever indicted on the Patriot Act. My arrest defied all expectations about the law. I was no terrorist plotting to explode the Washington Monument. Quite the opposite, I had worked in anti-terrorism for almost a decade, covering Iraq and Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Malaysia at the United Nations. At the instruction of my CIA handler, I had delivered advance warnings about the 9/11 attack to the private staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Office of Counter-Terrorism in August, 2001. FBI wire taps prove that I carried details of a comprehensive peace framework with Iraq up and down the hallowed corridors of Capitol Hill for months before the invasion, arguing that War was totally unnecessary.
I delivered those papers to Democrats and Republicans alike; to my own second cousin, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card; and to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who lived next door to my CIA handler. Gratis of the Patriot Act, we had the manila envelope and my hand written notes to Secretary Powell, dated a week before his infamous speech at the United Nations. My papers argued that no WMDs would be found inside Iraq, and that the peace framework could achieve all U.S. objectives without firing a shot.
In short, I was an Asset who loudly opposed War with Iraq, and made every effort to correct the mistakes in assumptions on Capitol Hill.
Then I did the unthinkable. I phoned the offices of Senator Trent Lott and Senator John McCain, requesting to testify before a brand new, blue ribbon Commission investigating Pre-War Intelligence. Proud and confident of my efforts, I had no idea Congress was planning to blame “bad intelligence” for the unpopular War.
Over night I became Public Enemy Number One on Capitol Hill.
Thirty days later I awoke to hear FBI agents pounding on my door. My nightmare on the Patriot Act lasted 5 years— Four years after my arrest, the Court granted me one morning of evidentiary testimony by two supremely credible witnesses. Parke Godfrey verified my 9/11 warnings under oath. Otherwise, I never got my day in Court.

The Patriot Act’s Arsenal to Stop Free Speech -
If you care about America and the traditions of freedom, whether you’re progressive or conservative, you should be angry about this law.
First come the warrantless searches and FBI tracking surveillance. My work in anti-terrorism gave me no protection. I got my first warrantless search after meeting an undercover FBI agent to discuss my support for free elections in Iraq and my opposition to torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqi detainees. (Sorry guys, body wires don’t lie.)
If truth tellers don’t get the message to shut their mouths, the Justice Department ratchets up the pressure. Defendants face secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony. Throughout five years of indictment, my attorneys and I never got to read a single FBI interview or grand jury statement. Under the Patriot Act, the whistleblower/defendant has no right to know who has accused him or her of what criminal activities, or the dates of the alleged offenses, or what laws got broken.
Of course, I was able to piece together my activities. I knew that “sometime in October, 2001″ an Iraqi diplomat gave me the English translation of a book on depleted uranium, which showed how cancer rates and birth defects had spiked in Iraqi children.
And I was quite certain that on October 14, 1999, an Iraqi diplomat asked me how to channel major financial contributions to the Presidential Campaign of George Bush and Dick Cheney. The Justice Department got the date from me, since I reported my conversation immediately to my Defense Intelligence handler, Paul Hoven.
It’s unlikely the grand jury knew that, since the Justice Department has the prerogative to keep a grand jury in the dark. In this brave new world, a grand jury can be compelled to consider indictments carrying 10 years or more in prison, without the right to review evidence, or otherwise determine whether an individual’s actions rise to the level of criminal activity at all.
That’s just the beginning. Once Congress scores an indictment against a political opponent, the Justice Department can force Defense attorneys to undergo protracted security clearances, while the whistle blower cum defendant waits in prison— usually in solitary confinement or the SHU. After the security clearance, prosecutors have an ironclad right to bar attorneys from communicating communications from the prosecution to the defendant, on threat of disbarment, stiff fines or prison sentence.
Scared yet? Once you get to trial, the situation gets much worse. The Patriot Act declares that a prosecutor has no obligation to show evidence of criminal activity to a jury at all. And the Defense can be denied the right to argue a rebuttal to those secret charges, because it requires speculation that might mislead the jury—or might expose issues that the government considers, well, secret. After all that a Judge can instruct a jury that the prosecution regards the secret evidence as sufficient to merit conviction on the secret charges. The Jury can be barred from considering the lack of evidence in weighing whether to convict.
Think I’m exaggerating? You would be wrong. That’s what happened to me. All of it—with one major glitch. All of this presumes the whistle blower’s lucky enough to get a trial. I was denied mine, though I fought vigorously for my rights. Instead, citing the Patriot Act, I got thrown in prison on a Texas military base without so much as a hearing—and threatened with indefinite detention and forcible drugging, to boot.
Americans are not nearly afraid enough.
Neither is Congress. As of this week, members of Congress should be very afraid. Anyone who votes to extend the Patriot Act should expect to pack their bags in 2012. They will be targeted for defeat. Above all, the words “freedom” and “Constitution” will never appear in their campaigns without suffering extreme public scorn—never, ever again.