The sponsorship of terrorism by western governments, targeting their own populations, has been a taboo subject. Although major scandals have received cursory coverage in the media, the subject has been allowed to immediately disappear without discussion or investigation. Therefore the appearance this year of two major studies of this subject is a welcome breakthrough, and provides essential reading for anyone struggling to understand the events of September 11, 2001 and the post September 11 world.
The studies are complementary. NATO's Secret Armies, Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe by Daniele Ganser concerns terrorism sponsored by American and British intelligence in Western Europe and Turkey between the end of World War II and 1985. The War on Truth, 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed chronicles the cultivation and sponsorship of militant Islamic terrorism by the intelligence services of the United States, Britain and Russia from 1979 to the present. Both studies are models of scholarship -- meticulously documented and carefully reasoned -- but the world they reveal will boggle the mind of the most wild-eyed conspiracy theorist.
Creating "Communist" Terrorism to Fuel the Cold War
NATO's Secret Armies describes how following World War II the US and Britain, fearing a Soviet invasion of Europe, established "stay-behind" paramilitary units throughout Western Europe and in Turkey. Had the anticipated Soviet invasion occurred these units would have constituted ready made resistance groups, trained and armed, with secure communications with each other and with their allies in Britain and the US. In some counties, for example Norway and Sweden, these stay-behind units were true to their original charters, remaining inactive until they disbanded at the end of the Cold War. In other countries, however, the paramilitary units were activated by their handlers in the United States as part of a hellish "Strategy of Tension" designed to convince left-leaning populations in Italy, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Turkey and other countries that their very lives were at risk from communist terrorists. The arms and bombs originally intended for the Soviets were turned instead on their own compatriots with the aim of placing the blame for the waves of terrorist attacks on communists.
In Italy the stay-behind operation was referred to as Gladio (Latin for "Sword"). The Piazza Fontana bombings that killed 16 and wounded 80 shortly before Christmas in 1969 initiated a wave of terrorist bombings in Italy by Gladio operatives that continued throughout the 1970s. The worst single bombing occurred in the Bologna train station in 1980, killing 85 and wounding 200. Another Gladio bombing in Brescia in 1974 killed eight and wounded 102, and the same year a train was bombed in Rome, killing 12 and wounding 48. The case that led to the discovery of the Gladio plots by the Italian courts was a 1972 bombing that killed three policemen.
The Gladio operations in Italy are relatively well known and well understood because of several high level judicial investigations that received coverage in the European press and have been the subject of a few books. One contribution of Ganser's book is to bring this material together in a concise and well organised format. Further, Ganser extends his study beyond Italy to examine the effects of stay-behind operations throughout Western Europe and in Turkey.
I was quite surprised to learn that by far the most extensive and destructive stay-behind operations were those carried out in Turkey under the code name Counter-Guerrilla. Among other crimes, a long series of bombings, random killings and assassinations, covertly perpetrated by CIA-controlled Counter-Guerrilla operatives in the late 1970s, were used as a pretext for the military coup in 1980 that led to the installation of a pro-American and pro-Israeli government there. I was also shocked to learn that stay-behind operatives were responsible for a series of horrific terrorist attacks in Belgium as late in the Cold War as 1985, although this is still the subject of unconvincing official denials.
One limitation of Ganser's study, which he frequently laments, is the unavailability of official documentation because all materials relating to the stay-behind operations remain highly classified. All Freedom of Information Act requests to date have been denied by American authorities. One might have hoped that at least with the end of the Cold War such atrocious strategies would be renounced, and that the implicated governments would make every effort to come clean and ensure that this history would not be repeated. Unfortunately, as The War on Truth by Nafeez Ahmed makes clear, the Strategy of Tension has proved to be so useful a tool both in terms of global and domestic politics that, far from being abandoned, these despicable operations have become increasingly accepted and commonplace.
Creating "Islamic" Terrorism for the Post-Cold War Era
Ahmed's study centres on the attacks of September 11, 2001, but the story begins in Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979. Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter at the time, has described in an interview how, even prior to the invasion, the US had taken steps to fund the Mujahedeen warlords and to inflame militant Islam in the region. The aim was to destabilise the region and to force the Soviets to invade -- to draw them into their own Vietnam-style quagmire.
According to Brzezinski, "We did not push the Russians into invading, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would. That secret operation was an excellent idea. The effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap."
After the Soviets' inglorious retreat from Afghanistan, and even more so after the collapse of the Soviet Union several years later, the policy of inflaming and exploiting militant Islam was credited by many in the US national security establishment for these historic developments. Ahmed has compiled irrefutable evidence that the United States did not abandon the militant Islamists after the end of the Cold War. In fact, American leadership at the very highest levels has continued to covertly protect, assist and guide militant Islam in general and al-Qaeda in particular in geopolitically important areas around the world, including Central Asia, North Africa, the Balkans, and the Philippines.
It is impossible to do justice to Ahmed's densely packed 390-page presentation here, but I will give some representative examples.
Sergeant Ali Mohamed Joins al-Qaeda
Ali Mohamed, an Egyptian intelligence officer, was fired in 1984 because of his religious extremism. In spite of this and in spite of the fact that his name was on the State Department's terrorist watch list, he was granted a visa to enter the US and became a US citizen. By 1986 he was a sergeant in the US Army and an instructor at the elite Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg. While in this position Mohamed travelled to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden, and he assisted with the training of al-Qaeda operatives both in Afghanistan and in the US. His immediate supervisors at Fort Bragg were duly alarmed by these illegal activities, and reported them up the chain of command. When their reports failed to produce any action, not even an official debriefing of Mohamed upon his return from Afghanistan, at least one of his supervisors, Lt. Col. Robert Anderson, concluded that Mohamed had been acting as part of an operation sanctioned by an American intelligence agency, "probably the CIA."
Mohamed's activities in support of al-Qaeda throughout the 1990s were of the highest significance to that organisation. In 1991, he handled security for bin Laden's move from Saudi Arabia to the Sudan. In 1993, Mohamed accompanied bin Laden's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, on a fund raising tour of the United States, again handling security arrangements. The funds raised helped support Zawahiri in a Pentagon supported mission in the Balkans, which will be discussed in the next section.
The al-Qaeda members trained by Mohamed in the United States included several who were later convicted in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Top secret US Army training manuals supplied by Mohamed to the defendants were produced as evidence at their trial.
Mohamed himself did the initial surveillance for the al-Qaeda bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. At the time Mohamed was on active reserve with the Special Forces and was a paid FBI informant. Mohamed was at long last charged with crimes in connection with the 1998 embassy bombings. In October 2000, he was convicted of five counts of conspiracy to murder nationals of the United States. However, the nature of Mohamed's plea agreement, the sentence handed down, if any, and Mohamed's present whereabouts remain secret.
The US national security establishment did not miss a beat in seeking to replicate the triumph in Afghanistan in other geopolitically critical areas. The Soviet puppet regime fell in Afghanistan in February 1992. That same year, the Pentagon started importing Afghan jihadists organised by bin Laden into Bosnia to wreak chaos and fuel the civil wars between Muslims and Serbs that devastated the former Yugoslavia in the following years. Bin Laden's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, served as commander of the Mujahedeen forces in the Balkans.
The role of the Pentagon in airlifting the Mujahedeen terrorists into Bosnia and Kosovo between 1992 to 1995 has been well documented and widely reported in the European and Canadian media, but almost completely ignored in the United States. However, the geopolitical advantages of breaking the former sovereign nation of Yugoslavia into a patchwork of NATO protectorates, under the firm control of the United States, did not go unnoted. New Republic editors Jacob Heilbrunn and Michael Lind celebrated the event in a New York Times article titled "The Third American Empire" published on January 2, 1996:
"Instead of seeing Bosnia as the eastern frontier of NATO, we should view the Balkans as the western frontier of America's rapidly expanding sphere of influence in the Middle East . . . The regions once ruled by the Ottoman Turks show signs of becoming the heart of a third American empire . . . The main purpose of NATO countries, for the foreseeable future, will be to serve as staging areas for American wars in the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf."
The CIA Brings al-Qaeda to the Philippines
In 1991, with the Afghan War winding down, the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group was formed in the Philippines around a core of radical Afghan veterans. They conducted their first kidnapping operation in 1992, and were responsible for a series of bombings and kidnappings throughout the 1990s that were highly destabilising for the Philippine government. Several high level al-Qaeda operatives, including Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed were involved. Funding was provided by one of bin Laden's brothers in law, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, an important figure in the funding of al-Qaeda operations worldwide.
Ahmed cites many authoritative sources, including Philippine intelligence officer Rene Jarque, Lt. Col. Ricardo Morales, and Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel, to show that the Abu-Sayyaf group has received special assistance and protection both from the Philippine military and from the United States. Pimentel in a speech before the Philippine Senate in July of 2000 accused the CIA of creating the terrorist organisation with the help of their contacts in the Philippine military and intelligence communities.
Two incidents in particular have exposed the connivance of the United States in the Abu Sayyaf reign of terror beyond a reasonable doubt. In December of 1994, Khalifa was arrested during a visit to San Francisco on immigration violations. The FBI was aware of his ties to the Abu Sayyaf group and to al-Qaeda, and began a criminal investigation. Khalifa's lawyers tried to stall the investigation and manoeuvre for extradition to Jordan. Incredibly, help came to Khalifa from on high. Secretary of State Warren Christopher personally wrote a three-page letter to Attorney General Janet Reno asking that the request for extradition be granted. Accordingly, the FBI investigation was cancelled and Khalifa was sent to Jordan per his own request, where he was soon a free man.
The second incident is even more extraordinary and revealing. Michael Meiring, an American citizen, arrived in the Philippines in 1992 and promptly formed close working relationships both with high government officials and with rebel leaders in the Abu Sayyaf group. In 2002, in the midst of a wave of Abu Sayyaf bombings, Meiring accidentally detonated a bomb in his own hotel room in Mindao causing grave injury to himself, requiring emergency hospitalisation. US authorities immediately intervened. FBI agents and "agents of the National Security Council" swept him away from his hospital room, first to a hospital in Manila where Meiring was kept incommunicado and was treated by a doctor hand-picked by the US embassy. Then Meiring was rushed back to the United States. Like Ali Mohamed, his fate and current whereabouts are unknown. Numerous attempts to have him extradited back to the Philippines for prosecution have been stonewalled by US authorities.
The motivations for American support of terrorism in the Philippines are not hard to guess. In 1991, the same year that Abu Sayyaf was formed, the Philippines Senate had voted to close all US military bases in their country, an action with profound implications for the military posture of the United States in South Asia. In 2002, due to the destabilising effects of the Abu Sayyaf operations, the US military were invited back into the country to participate in operation Balikatan ("shoulder to shoulder"), a joint US/Philippine military exercise purportedly aimed at eliminating terrorism. These operations required special exemptions from the Philippine Constitution, which forbids foreign armies from operating on Philippine soil. Once again, al-Qaeda, with the help of their American friends, had acted to advance the geostrategic interests of the United States.
The above examples are by no means isolated anomalies. The bulk of Ahmed's fine book is devoted to recording a pattern of evidence that is finally overwhelming. As he says in conclusion, "not only does the strategy employed in the new 'War on Terror' seem to provoke terrorism, but an integral dimension of the strategy is the protection of key actors culpable in the financial, logistical, and military-intelligence support of international terrorism."
And Then There Is September 11 Itself . . .
But what about the September 11 attacks themselves? Were they "blowback," i.e., unintended domestic consequences of foreign covert operations, or were they an integral part of the Strategy of Tension? Based in part on an analysis of intelligence warnings of the attacks, and on the absence of any air defence response, Ahmed strongly endorses the latter view. He reviews the dozens of very specific foreign and domestic intelligence warnings of terrorist attacks in the United States using airliners that came in the months leading up to the attacks. These in turn led to warnings issued by American intelligence to Pentagon officials, and to others, including author Salman Rushdie and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, to cancel all flight plans on the day of September 11, 2001. Meanwhile, no action whatsoever was taken to warn or to protect the American public.
Ahmed points out that the responsible authorities at the Pentagon and the Federal Aviation Administration have produced several profoundly contradictory accounts of their own actions on that day -- each subsequent story seemingly an attempt to remedy the shortcomings of a previous one. And still no remotely satisfactory account of the failure to intercept even one of the four hijacked airliners has been produced. Under ordinary circumstances, interception of wayward aircraft by military fighters would have been absolutely routine; such interceptions occurred at least 56 times in the calendar year prior to September 11, 2001. Ahmed points out that the attacks were allowed to proceed "entirely unhindered for over one and one half hours in the most restricted airspace in the world." He finds the idea that this was due to negligence beyond belief. Instead he argues that there must have been a deliberate stand-down of the air defence system managed by senior national security officials including the vice president and the secretary of defense.
The Future of the Strategy of Tension
The books reviewed herein document a continuous history over the last 40 years of the United States and other governments fostering and manipulating terrorism for their own ends. Terrorist organisations have been used to destabilise inconvenient regimes around the world, and to sow chaos, which can then serve as a pretext for military intervention.
Even more importantly, terrorism is used to create a crisis atmosphere at home under cover of which the crimes and corruption of government officials go unpunished, civil liberties are easily abandoned, and major wars can be launched under false pretences. Although at present there appears to be no reason for the terror-masters in Washington to consider changing their tactics, the publication this year of these two illuminating books raises the hope that the Strategy of Tension, which can only thrive in darkness and confusion, will ultimately have to be abandoned.
This site is devoted to exposing over forty years of U.S. government research into Extra Sensory Perception and the psychological 'technology' of individual mind control using drugs, hypnosis and abuse. It is an attempt to provide access to mainstream resources about this subject and to offer support to 'veterans' of the U.S. intelligence community's research and operational programs.
US Government Mind Control How the United States Government Finds, Chooses and Creates "Sleepers" by Gunther Russbacher
Through a combination of hypnosis and powerful drugs it was discovered that a human subject could in fact be programmed to kill at hearing a "trigger" word or command that had been planted in a subject's mind through intensive programming effort.
The subjects were often mental patients with a history of drug use. These made it easier to cover the trail of the mind control programming. Since they were already isolated and troubled no one would know and since they already had a history of mental trouble and drug use no one would care or even believe any strange revelations, should the experimentation go awry.
The massive archive of research on mind control was destroyed in 1970 by then CIA head Daniel Webster - Except for the most important documents regarding that research - The final method that was discovered to have worked. These most coveted methods are only available to the those in the very highest positions of control, CIA heads, and their bosses - The ruling elite at the Council of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and Bilderburg Group. Forty years later, the methods which have been given by these elite holders of man's dark secrets to their underlings for the purpose of creating mind controlled assassins, are leaking out. The following is one such account of the methods and applications of mind control.
An Overview of a Government Mind Control Program How the Subjects are Chosen
There is a huge effort to suppress any and all information regarding the United States government sponsored experimentation on human subjects for the purpose of mind control and ultimately assassination. Early US efforts at developing the methods of mind control date back to the 1950's project Monarch and the infamous Project MK-Ultra (The MK, in spy-speak sophistry, stands for Mind Control)Operation Open Eyes How the United States Government Finds, Chooses and Creates "Sleepers" by Gunther Russbacher
Mind-controlled, programmed zombies, also known as: Manchurian Candidates
as you can see David I am in total agreement with you.. the gov. has been performing testing/experiments on UNwilling and willing citizens of the U.S. for many, many years.. it's obvious that more of us have been their guinea pigs than want to be or are aware of..
even in school's the gov. brain-washes our children. They took God out of everything, however they "program" our children into what "they" want the to learn, believe etc.
we are under mind control every day, all day with the media's help for sure! and if all this doesn't work to control us, then what? Probably emerging diseases, mysterious one's with no ways to combat it, without immunizations.... then what will "they" put into these "immunizations"? Bio chips? more illness?
Thank God that more & more people are becoming aware of the b.s. that is happening, that has been happening! and no longer being blind, misled or in denial...
One technique that people in power have used to further their agendas is to repeat phrases over and over. It is almost hypnotic and the technique is in full swing using 9-11, terror and Saddam Hussein for effect.
One technique that people in power have used to further their agendas is to repeat phrases over and over. It is almost hypnotic and the technique is in full swing using 9-11, terror and Saddam Hussein for effect.
The puppet Bush regime is using new, aggressive forms of brainwashing to change the very way Americans think and feel.
This is the psychological dimension of the demonic cabal's general onslaught against American workers, just as the "war on terrorism" is the military dimension and corporate crime and tax cuts for the rich comprise the economic dimension.
We are living under the beginning stages of a military dictatorship in precisely the same way that 1930s Germans suffered under the Nazi regime.
As in the case of Nazi Germany, state-sponsored propaganda (brainwashing) is a vital part of the Bush regime's strategy.
New propaganda slogans are being overtly and subliminally implanted by Bush and his gang through their speeches and actions:
Dissent is treason
Constitutional liberties are less important than security
The "war on terrorism" excuses any attack on civil liberties
The Bush administration has the right and the duty to bring about "regime change" in any nation it chooses
The economy is basically sound
Only a few bad apples are found in the corporate barrel, which requires no new oversight laws
If Bush and Cheney say they're not guilty of corporate crimes, then believe it and shut up
It's okay to lie about weapons of mass destruction as a pretext of starting a pre-emptive war against Iraq
The election in 2004 was completely fair and legal
Karl Rove can out a CIA agent and not have to face any legal repercussions
Using the Republican Party strangle-hold on the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government to institute a dictatorship is okay
Propaganda American Style
Some of these mind programming tactics are so subtle that they can be overlooked in the hubbub of everyday life. For example, have you been aware that the very way in which the "public discourse" is being carried on is a subtle brainwashing strategy? The Congress, the media, the man and woman on the street are encouraged to ask only this question: How should the U.S. conduct its war against Iraq?
What about the questions:
Should the U.S. start a second war with Iraq?
Does an unelected American president have the right to force a "regime change" on another nation?
Why aren't Americans up in arms about Bush starting a second battle in his "war against terrorism?"
Why should American military personnel die merely for Bush's insane quest for world domination and oil?
The Bush puppet regime is engaging in other rather subtle brainwashing tactics:
[ send green star]
Was 911 A Mossad 'False Flag' Operation? Commentary From Dick Eastman firstname.lastname@example.org 3-23-2
Note - As with all commentaries on this site, the views of Mr. Eastman are his own and do not necessarily represent those of this site or its sponsors. -ed I am convinced the Paul Wolfowitz is a key man in the 911 frame-up. I certainly agree with the first writer below, and worry about how reasonable may be the worries of the second. But remember this, your Jewsih Doctor is not one of the Wall Street or City of London investment banker who put Bush and Wolfowitz. Some of the best minds working against Sharon and the 911 conspiracy frame-up are Jewish men and women in the U.S. and Israel (and, I have not doubt, in the U.K. too.) In fact Senator Lieberman has just called for a full-scale Senate investigation of 911 (along with McCain, Torricelli and other Senators, Republican and Democrat.) In this espionage false-flag business, you never know how your real friends or enemies are -- you are some times disappointed -- and much better -- you are sometimes pleasantly surprised. Dick Eastman Yakima, Washington 911 Was a Mossad False Flag OperationBy Sean McBride(McBride is a discussant in newsgroups investigating CIA drug-tradeinvolvement.)3-23-2 I've been strongly resisting coming to the best guess that 911 was a classic Mossad false flag operation, conducted with the full complicity of a Zionist political network loyal to Israel at the highest levels of the U.S. government, but some recent events have made it almost impossible to ignore the obvious. This is the theory that best fits the known facts. It's not enough that the U.S. has failed to capture a single planner behind or perpetrator of the 911 WTC and anthrax attacks. It's not enough that the U.S. is even failing to show any interest in capturing these "evildoers." But now we have George W. Bush urging Americans to pay no attention to Osama bin Laden and to forget he exists. What's that again? Forget about OBL? And forget about the anthrax attacks? OBL has conveniently been demoted from Lord Satan to a pesky "parasite," someone beneath our notice. You can't afford to capture "evildoers" when knowledge of the real identity and purposes of said evildoers would turn the popular understanding of 911 upside down and create the biggest crisis in American politics since the Civil War. Then we have the frantic efforts to shift the focus of attention regarding 911 to Iraq, even though there is not a shred of solid evidence that Iraq was involved in the attacks, and that the campaign to attack Iraq is being masterminded and promoted by Israel and Israeli loyalists in the American government like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. The question then arises: was the purpose of the 911 attacks to justify precisely this kind of military campaign, against the Palestinians, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and on down the line? Then there are reports about John Ashcroft, a militant Christian Zionist, demanding that the investigation into the 911 Israeli art student and movers spy rings be buried. Both spy rings appear to be closely-connected to the 911 WTC attacks in sinister ways about which Ashcroft would prefer to keep Americans in the dark. Here's the best guest so far of what happened on 9/11/2001... Osama bin Laden is a high level agent operated by the Israeli Mossad in cooperation with the CIA. OBL and his inner circle recruited the hijackers for 911, with the naive recruitees having little idea of what they were really getting into or about whom was pulling their strings (this was the false flag component of the operation). The hijacked planes were taken over on 9/11 by remote control -- the hijackers lacked the piloting skills to execute the maneuvers that were performed. Well-established procedures for handling situations of this kind were deliberately overridden by orders from on high within the Bush administration. The planes wer
[ send green star]
Rogue Bush Backers Prepare Super 9/11 False Flag Terror Attacks
By Webster Griffin Tarpley
Washington DC, June 6, 2004 — Intelligence patterns monitored here now point conclusively to the grave threat of an imminent new round of ABC (atomic-bacteriological-chemical) terror attacks in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and possibly other nations. These attacks could include nuclear detonations, radiological dirty bombs, poison gas and other chemical weapons, or biological agents, to be unleashed in such urban settings as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Vancouver BC, or London. The goal of these operations would be to produce a worldwide shock several orders of magnitude greater than the original 9-11, with a view to stopping the collapse of the Bush administration, the Wall Street-centered financial structures, and the US-UK strategic position generally. The attacks would be attributed by US/UK intelligence to controlled patsy terrorist groups who would be linked by the media to countries like Iran, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Egypt or Saudi Arabia, thus setting these states up for attack. The organizers of the attacks would in reality be substantially the same secret command cell in the United States which set up the 9-11 events and its associated networks, which have been able to continue in operation because of the abject failure of all 9-11 investigations to date to identify them. These forces are now in a desperate flight forward to escape from their current increasingly grim position. Their goal is now to establish a neocon fascist dictatorship in the United States, complete with martial law, special tribunals, press and media censorship, and the full pervasive apparatus of the modern police state.
The chatter in Washington points to state-sponsored terrorism on a grand scale, with the desperados of the neocon faction calling the shots. The looming event will be an "own goal" of the Americans. Given the prominence of the Congress, it might also be called Operation Guy Fawkes, recalling the state plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605.
In short, a coup d'etat is being prepared in the United States — not a coup against the existing government, but rather for the purpose of disciplining and dragooning the entire political process for escalated foreign aggression, with the homeland secured by emergency rule. It goes without saying that those associated with such a coup are felons, war criminals, and traitors to their country.
The leading edge of the propaganda campaign designed to establish the credibility of the coming ABC (atomic, bacteriological, chemical) terror wave is the May 26 press conference of Attorney General Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller to announce the coming summer "perfect storm" of terrorism. According to advance wire service reports, "U.S. officials have obtained new intelligence deemed highly credible indicating Al-Qaeda or other terrorists are in the United States and preparing to launch a major attack this summer ... (AP, 25 May 2004)
The following is a partial grid of evidence backing up this thesis. This overview cannot be exhaustive, but is sufficiently comprehensive to establish that a new pattern does indeed exist.
Since the beginning of April, there has been a qualitative escalation in the urgency and vehemence of the terror demagogy of the Bush administration. Bush and especially Cheney have made terror warnings their stock in trade since September 11, 2001, but early April 2004 stands out as a watershed, for reasons which are discussed below.
A dramatic turning point on the way to the current emergency came on April 21, when Bush delivered two speeches which represented a palpable escalation of the tone of his usual demagogy of terrorism and fear. In the afternoon, he assured the Newspaper Association of America, composed of newspaper editors, that Iran "will be dealt with" if they pursue a nuclear development program. Bush went on to characterize the United States as "a battlefield in the war on terror." He was at pains to build up the stature of Al-Qaeda, whose members he emphatically characterized as "smart, tough and sophisticated." Because the terrorists are so formidable, Bush said, the United States "is a hard country to defend. Our intelligence is good. It's just never perfect, is the problem. We are disrupting some cells here in America. We're chasing people down. But it is — we've got a big country."
Later, Bush spoke to the same themes at a closed-door gathering at the White House: "On Tuesday evening, Bush told Republican congressional leaders during a meeting at the White House that it was all bu
[ send green star]
Welcome . . . and congratulations for your willingness to look at the proof about 9-11.
No matter how painful the facts raised by this site may be, we — as patriotic Americans and people of good faith — must look at the evidence for ourselves.
This site is wholly non-partisan, and not intended to criticize or to bolster any political party. The sources cited come from across the political spectrum. The issues raised transcend political differences, and are vital to conservatives, liberals and moderates; they affect your life whether you are a republican, democratic, independent, or non-voter. Skeptical of theories which are not based on cold, hard facts? We encourage your skepticism, and applaud you for examining the facts for yourself. There are many bizarre conspiracy theories floating around about 9/11, which are spread either out of ignorance or for malicious purposes.
Think that no credible, high-level officials doubt the official version? Very well — you might wish to start by jumping ahead to this page.
Think only a handful of people question the official version of 9/11? Okay — take a look at this national poll.
Think the 9/11 Commission already investigated and reported what happened on 9/11? Fine — skip ahead to this page.
Think that 9/11 is a partisan issue?
Please read thisif you're a conservative who believes that 9/11 conspiracies are something cooked up by liberals and the Democrat party to weaken the conservative movement or to undermine the President's ability to lead the country in this dangerous time.
Please read this if you're a liberal who doesn't think that anyone credible questions 9/11.
Think that a 9/11 conspiracy would have been too big to keep secret? Or that you would have heard more about these facts on the news if they were true? Or that questioning 9/11 is insulting to America, or to the victims and their families, or that it gives aid and comfort to the enemy? We understand your concerns — and we will address those too.
This website provides links to credible sources, so that you can easily check the information for yourself (whenever possible, we cite mainstream news sources; at times we cite credible witnesses whose story is only covered by smaller publications). Just read and click. And then make up your own mind (if you have any trouble viewing the linked video, audio or printed sources, click here to see instructions.)(If you are new to the Internet, or you wish to print out this material, click here to see a 1-page version of this website. If you are short on time, you can print the 1-page version and read it at your leisure — all of the information is contained on one page for that very purpose. Then come back later and click on the links to see the proof for yourself.) If you get angry, afraid or overwhelmed by the information contained on this website ... Keep in mind that millions of Americans have felt these same t
[ send green star]
First let’s take a look at the definitions of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism as defined in Section 899A of the bill.
The definition of violent radicalization uses vague language to define this term of promoting any belief system that the government considers to be an extremist agenda. Since the bill doesn’t specifically define what an extremist belief system is, it is entirely up to the interpretation of the government. Considering how much the government has done to destroy the Constitution they could even define Ron Paul supporters as promoting an extremist belief system. Literally, the government according to this definition can define whatever they want as an extremist belief system. Essentially they have defined violent radicalization as thought crime. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.
`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideo logically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.
The definition of homegrown terrorism uses equally vague language to further define thought crime. The bill includes the planned use of force or violence as homegrown terrorism which could be interpreted as thinking about using force or violence. Not only that but the definition is so vaguely defined, that petty crimes could even fall into the category of homegrown terrorism. The definition as defined in the bill is shown below.
`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Section 899B of the bill goes over the findings of Congress as it pertains to homegrown terrorism. Particularly alarming is that the bill mentions the Internet as a main source for terrorist propaganda. The bill even mentions streams in obvious reference to many of the patriot and pro-constitution Internet radio networks that have been formed. It also mentions that homegrown terrorists span all ages and races indicating that the Congress is stating that everyone is a potential terrorist. Even worse is that Congress states in their findings that they should look at draconian police states like Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom as models to defeat homegrown terrorists. Literally, these findings of Congress fall right in line with the growing patriot community.
The biggest joke of all is that this section also says that any measure to prevent violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism should not violate the constitutional rights of citizens. However, the definition of viole nt radicalization and homegrown terrorism as they are defined in section 899A are themselves unconstitutional. The Constitution does not allow the government to arrest people for thought crimes, so any promises not to violate the constitutional rights of citizens are already broken by their own definitions.
Cracking the Code – Who's to Blame for "Violent Radicalization"?
The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 404 to 6 vote on Oct. 23. Not since the Iraq War Resolution have Democrats and Republicans found such a unifying cause. We're told that House Resolution 1955 (H.R. 1955) will be an essential tool enabling law enforcement to peg the sources of "homegrown terrorism" on the Internet.
The overwhelming bipartisan support makes it no surprise that the legislation presents a significant danger to citizens and the nation. This sentence is the new heart of darkness for free speech.
(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION - The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change. (Author's emphasis) (House Resolution 1955)
That one word, "facilitating," takes the bill beyond aiding the hunt for terrorists on the Internet. It creates an emerging standard for wrongdoing that can be applied to everyone who exercises net-based free speech. Senate 1959, the equivalent of H.R. 1955, is up for consideration now.
Here are some scenarios under the bill that could easily be called "thought crimes", i.e., "facilitating violent radicalization."
You post one of these statements on the Internet …
You are extremely upset about what you see as the nation's most serious problem – illegal immigration. You go to your Internet forum of choice and write a barn burner stating clearly that this administration and Congress are attacking the nation, breaking laws, and a threat to the safety of the people.
You find the deaths of American soldiers and 1.1 million Iraqi civilians totally unacceptable. You go to your Internet forum of choice and write a very strong post accusing the president and his henchmen with war crimes.
You're a former Reagan official, a "paleo-conservative." You argue that this administration's behavior represents tyrannical rule. You write a column published on the Internet where you ask questions about 911: "Who benefits? This question was conspicuously absent from the official investigation." You answer by naming Bush, Cheney, the Federalist Society and others.
You question the collapse of the WTC towers and conclude by arguing that a major casualty of 911"is the civil liberties that protect Americans from tyranny. President Bush and his corrupt Department of Justice (sic) have declared our constitutional protections to be null and void at the whim of the executive." Paul Craig Roberts, Sept. 10, 2007
… and a terrorist reads it. That terrorist subsequently commits a violent act. You don't know the person. You're not affiliated with him or her in any way. You don't advocate violence in your post nor do you approve of violence to achieve political goals.
None of that matters. You can be accused of facilitating "violent radicalization," which this bill specifically implies can be an outcome of flagrant opposition to the administration, even though you really just oppose the current or any future office holders. You're busted!
The scenario just mentioned is an outcome of H.R. 1955 and the yet-to-be-passed equivalent Senate Resolution 1959.
Rep. Harman's House committee just released a commentary on H.R. 1955, apparently to stem concerns about their intentions. On the opening page, the report states:
This legislation in no way restricts thought or speech. Both of these are legal activities that should be encouraged by all segments of our society and are welcomed in our system of open debate and dialogue. Radical thinking is not a crime and this legislation does not turn radical thinking into criminal behavior.
The next article on this topic will consider the full report. This language and today's report are no more convincing than the section of the bill on preserving civil rights. The actual language and evidence used to justify it are the critical concerns. The report does nothing to change those concerns other than to heighten concerns recalling Queen Gertrude's line in Hamlet: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
Congressional hearing: "…these are conspiracy theories…" and apparently "extremist belief systems."
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) is the chair of the House subcommittee that held hearings on H. R. 1955 (Full video) on Nov. 6, 2007. The bill had already passed in the House by a lopsided vote of 404 to 6 on Oct. 23, 2007. The committee met for just over an hour to consider this complex subject. During the testimony, "think tank" activists portrayed the Internet as a vehicle capable of whipping domestic extremists into a violent frenzy.
Mark Weitzman (right), of the Simon Wiesenthal Center lumped those who question official doctrine on post-2000 foul-ups with "pro-Iraqi" insurgents, a remarkable claim not supported by any evidence. That's right, by heavy-handed inference, those who seriously doubt the official explanation of 911 and speak up may be part of the domestic groups guilty of "adopting and promoting and extremist belief system." The witness said
Some of these are conspiracy theories that present a closed view of the world, such as blaming 9/11 as an "outside job" or blaming outside groups such as the U.S. government, or er the Jews etc.; some of these are pro-Iraqi insurgency videos, some of them are media portals that people can enter into, ones that you saw earlier with the flags -- the U.S. flags show that thy were based on U.S. servers..." (Video at 1:20)
Weitzman's testimony was disorganized and not at all persuasive. However, by his words, he associated "pro-Iraqi insurgency" with those who question the official story of 911. Weitzman then showed slides referencing Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (Video at 5:10) among slides noting real terrorist groups.
The architects and engineers are professionals who list their names and locations on the Web site referenced above. The group seeks scientific inquiry and investigation. The only conflict that they advocate is an open debate on the science of the official 911 story.
Weitzman failed to mention growing public opinion indicating that 45% of citizens want 911 reinvestigated and that nearly as many, 42%, doubt the official version explaining the events of 911.
Political activists with strong stands against the administration and Congress understood what this attack on an activist group might mean to their efforts. This resulted in immediate outrage on both right and left.
The Senate version of this bill was the subject of a committee hearing chaired by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in April. This barely caused a stir. But Harman's maladroit witness created a major controversy in October of this year.
H.R. 1955 authorizes structure to study "homegrown terrorism" and report back to Congress. Aside from the brief "definitions" and "findings" sections, just a few lines, the bill focuses on creating a commission which will, in turn, establish centers of "excellence" to study the supposed phenomenon. Reading the title then the timelines for reporting raises a serious question. If this is such a serious problem, how can Congress wait the 18 months the commission has to make its report?
The architects and engineers group sent a lengthy demand for an apology to Weitzman, noting the stunning inappropriateness of associating their group with any who advocate violence. In his reply, Weitzman backed away from any direct accusation but offered no apology.
We know how the game is played, don't we? It's a very crude but effective form of guilt by association and it works. Bush did it before the Iraq invasion by mentioning 911 and Saddam Hussein's name in the same speech over and over. This caused many to believe Hussein was responsible for 911 and justifying their support for the invasion. When you're caught you just say, "I never said that!" By that time, the damage is done.
The irony of all this is that those who would fit this definition most clearly, "facilitating violent radicalization," are the architects of the Iraq war and those in Congress who provide ongoing support through funding.
Here are the inevitable, empirically verified steps to radicalize individuals and groups. Initiate trade sanctions against a nation resulting in the death of 300,000 or more children. Then attack that nation because it has weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which are never found, thus negating the rationale for war. Create and implement a policy that shows disregard to for the safety of its people and their national treasures. Torture and humiliate citizens. And all the while, prolong the conflict even though the war is responsible for the death of over 1.1 million civilians.
Aren't these the type of actions that would surely "facilitate violent radicalization?" Even with all this, there has been no documented "homegrown terrorism" as a result of political posts on the Internet. However, there can be little doubt that this administration's war on Iraq is the proximate cause explaining whatever potential exists.
What's Congress Up To?
Clearly law enforcement needs to go where criminals congregate and needs to investigate, and make arrests. With or without this law, domestic and international criminals will continue to use the Internet for their goals and law enforcement will pursue them.
This bill seems more about those who harshly criticize those in power, elected officials. Viewed from that perspective, there are at least two goals for this legislation:
1) Chill domestic free speech by loyal, law abiding individuals or as the authors might have thought: "We're sick and tired of all these letters and accusations. Let's give them something to think about for a change. Whenever they make these accusations, they'll have to think about being tagged as a terrorist supporter."
2) Provide a tool to defame those who get too far out of line. They now have words to use against those Internet "trouble causers" who demand impeachment, say Congress is grossly negligent, call the war a travesty, etc., or as they might have thought: We'll be able to use 'facilitating homegrown terrorism' to shut down these people whenever we want. Who wants to even log on to a site that's associated with helping terrorists? All we have to do is make the charge."
H.R.1955 is an affront to the intelligence of all citizens. It's a disgrace to those who conceived it and serious mistake by those who voted for it. A majority of citizens now know the big lies about the Iraq War. They're also smart enough to know nonsense legislation with stealth intentions of a controlling kind, if they ever get to hear the full story.
There is still a last minute chance to stop this in the Senate (S. 1959). The Senate "thought crimes" bill may be camouflaged in some other legislation, never debated, and passed before we know it. But feedback tells the Senate that the public is aware of this latest step to dismantle Constitutional rights in the name of antiterrorism.
The Loyal Opposition
There was opposition to this bill that also constituted a bipartisan coalition. The following six U.S. Representatives voted no in the face of assured criticism by their opponents in 2008 and no discernible political gain.
Voted "Nay" (no) on H. R. 1955 Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Jerry Costello (D-IL), John Duncan (R-TN), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
What disturbs me most about this legislation is that it leaves the door wide open for the broadest definition of what constitutes "radicalization." Could otherwise nonviolent anti-tax, anti-war, or anti-abortion groups fall under the watchful eye of this new government commission? Assurances otherwise in this legislation are unconvincing. Ron Paul (R-TX)
“If you understand what his bill does, it really sets the stage for further criminalization of protest. This is the way our democracy little, by little, by little, is being stripped away from us.”
"It probably should have been H.R. 1984. Because what they were doing... is they were trying to criminalize thought... Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
On Monday, Dec. 17, the House Committee on Homeland Security posted this document in response to the many criticisms of House Resolution 1955, The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. Part 1 of this series examined the dangers that this bill posed to citizens and political groups using the Internet.
Based on the bill contents and the witnesses called to elaborate on the supposed problem of "homegrown terrorism," it appears that House bill and the Senate look alike (S.1959) pose a significant threat to political expression and free speech, particularly on the Internet (see Thought Control on the Internet and this collection for more detail).
H.R. 1955 passed by a 404-6 margin on Oct 23, 2007. On Nov. 6, 2007, the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment held a one hour plus hearing. Witnesses from "think tanks" elaborated on the need for the legislation. (Full video) Mark Weitzman was highly specific in portraying the Internet as a major source of violent radicalization. He showed slides of Internet web sites; he included some domestic political groups with very high visibility, and defined the threats as net-based communication and proselytizing. (Video of Weitzman testimony)
Sen. Barak Obama (D-IL) wrote The Independent and said he has no position on S. 1959 (the Senate equivalent of H.R. 1955). This followed The Independent's story that his emails to constituents indicated support for the bill.
There was a huge reaction to this hearing by U.S. political groups across the political spectrum. The reaction was so strong that presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) revised his apparent position of support as indicated in emails to constituents. In a recent email to The Independent the candidate's staff said that “Senator Obama has not taken a position on S. 1959. Should the bill be considered by the Homeland Security Committee, he will carefully evaluate it, as he does with all pieces of legislation,”
Committee on Homeland Security Staff Issues Response
Rep. Harman's subcommittee hearings sparked the controversy surrounding this legislation. Yet the main committee staff issued the three page response, not the subcommittee staff. The use of the committee staff may indicate some serious damage control. The Internet is not the third rail of U.S. politics but its heading in that direction.
On the first page of their response, the committee staff stated:
This legislation in no way restricts thought or speech. Both of these are legal activities that should be encouraged by all segments of our society and are welcomed in our system of open debate and dialogue. Radical thinking is not a crime and this legislation does not turn radical thinking into criminal behavior.
It's good to know that free thought and speech are still legal. However, there have been several extended periods in U.S. history where free thought and speech were seriously threatened. The most recent is the period dominated by McCarthyism from the late 1940's through the 1950's. The Smith Act (Alien Registration Act) of 1940 has a 20 year jail term for anyone who "prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays" information that would lead to the overthrow of the government. The McCarran Internal Security Act also enabled this period calling for "alien exclusion and deportation laws and allowing for the detention of dangerous, disloyal, or subversive persons in times of war or internal security emergency… "
During this time, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) terrorized citizens by calling them as before congressional committees where they were accused of being disloyal to the United States. Victims included people who merely attended a rally deemed subversive; those who formerly sympathized with the left but were disillusioned; active leftists; and completely uninvolved citizens smeared through guilt by association.
Few prosecutions came of these hearings. But for years, the message was clear – "watch what you say, don’t be too critical, and be careful who you associate with or we'll defame you by simply calling you before either of these committees."
Now we're told, "Trust us." We're supposed to trust despite heavy self censorship by the corporate news media since 911. We're supposed to trust despite the rapidly expanding "legal" options for spying and surveillance by federal law enforcement. We're supposed to trust despite the smear tactics used against administration opponents.
"Myths and Facts" from the Committee Staff
The committee devoted a page to what they called "myths and facts" about H.R. 1955.
Here are their "myths" stated in the exact terms of the document. These are the errors by critics of the legislation and the committee. Through our flawed logic and the magic of the Internet, we've already created "myths" about major legislation passed at a time when the House was supposed to consider only routine bills.
"Myth: H.R. 1955 is a “thought crime” bill that attempts to legislate constitutionally-protected speech." Staff, Senate Committee on Homeland Security (Committee staff)
The criticism of the bill wasn't that it "attempts to legislate constitutionally-protected speech." Rather, the concerns expressed were that the legislation lays the foundation for subsequent laws to do just that. In the mean time, just the hearings put a chill on those who adamantly oppose the current administration. Another concern was that strong opposition to elected officials was not the same as opposition the "government" since many administration opponents believe strongly that those officials are subverting the government.
This myth is only in the minds of the committee staff since the bill consists of definitions, findings, and the creation of a commission and academic centers to define what constitutes violent radicalization.
"Myth: H.R. 1955 is a “thought crime” bill that attempts to legislate constitutionally-protected speech". Committee staff
Who said that? As with the first myth, the committee staff has created what's called a "straw man" – misstating an opponent's argument. By refuting what wasn't said, the committee staff raise suspicions that the fears expressed are valid; namely that this bill lays the foundation fur such legislation.
"Myth: H.R. 1955 discriminates against particular races, ethnicities and religions." Committee staff
This bill is an equal opportunity enabler of thought control and limitations on free speech. The key witness supporting the entire concept chose to mention those who doubt the veracity of official explanations for 911 and those who adamantly oppose the government's immigration and border policies. These two groups mentioned in slides presented by the witness, slides which just happened to be among others mentioning "pro Iraqi sympathizers. The guilt by association was no accident.
"Myth: H.R. 1955 will lead to Internet censorship." Committee staff
Correctly stated and very accurate! Both House and Senate bills define "violent radicalization" as a problem leading to "homegrown terrorism." The definitions section of H.R. 1955 is clear that simply "facilitating ideologically based violence" is a major threat to national security.
(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change. H.R. 1955 SEC. 899A. DEFINITIONS
What does "facilitating" mean? Posting strongly worded charges against elected officials can inflame terrorists who read the posts. The Internet poster doesn't need to know the individual or be affiliated in any way, by the bill's definition. It's the loosest possible standard allowing a purely arbitrary connection between those with strong views and those who commit violent acts. Who will make these judgments?
The Internet is a key part of the process.
(3) The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens. H.R. 1955 SEC. 899B. FINDINGS.
If you define "facilitating" terrorism over a key medium, the Internet, what else will the bill do but result in restrictions, i.e., censorship? Are they going to study this, then say, "OK, the Internet allows these evil deeds to take place. Interesting isn't it." No, they're going to hold more hearings, have those doing the "facilitating" called to showcase their inflammatory political views, and then come up with legislation to stop the activity. They don't even need a law for these hearings. Investigation is sufficient cause to ruin a career or movement, as they tried with the 911 Truth movement.
Myth: H.R. 1955 is unnecessary because the threat of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism does not exist in the United States. Committee staff
This is a cheap rhetorical trick. By using the double negative, the committee staff tries to corner critics of the legislation and label them as fools who think that there's no threat of homegrown terrorism in the United States. We've already seen defamation and guilt by association presented to an attentive Harman subcommittee for two domestic political groups mentioned at the hearing. The Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (Video at 5:10) seeks to clear up the causes of the WTC towers collapse in order to understand who the true terrorists are. The anti immigration advocates who so strongly oppose current border policies are clear that one of their concerns in that porous borders are an opportunity that can be turned to the advantage of terrorists.
These groups don't have to be right to have the right to free speech. Their views don't need to be comforting to have the protection necessary to exercise that free speech. What the committee staff talking about? Who thinks that there's no threat from "homegrown" terrorist acts?
The first, second, and last "myths" are examples of misstating an opponent's case by creating "a straw man," then responding to that misstatement. That leaves just two myths that might characterize the position of the critics.
The stated myth of discrimination against one group is one belied by the cross section of groups opposing the legislation. It's the fear that this bill will be universally applied that drives the opposition.
The claim that this is not "internet censorship" is myth propagated by the Committee, subcommittee, and their supporters. Right now, the bill creates a standard for "facilitating violent radicalization" that could include many individuals and groups on the Internet who simply despise the Bush – Cheney administration and hold Congress in extreme contempt.
On the one "myth" that the committee got straight, that of "Internet censorship," we're left with "Trust me." Isn't that what Bush and Cheney said when they convinced Congress to pass the Iraq War Resolution? Aren't we paying for that naïve trust right now? Won't the unjust costs continue for decades to come?
Trust has to be earned. The characterization of critics and their arguments was misleading as presented by the committee statement. The response to the one accurately stated criticism, internet censorship, amounts to nothing more than "Trust me." The nature of the dialog at this point is hardly encouraging given the response of the committee staff.
Efforts will continue to stop this legislation before it becomes yet another tool in the arsenal of those who wish to end dissent and reinstitute conformity and quiescence. This is not what's called for given the state of the nation and the world today.
If Congress is looking for the cause of "violent radicalization," it need look no further than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and within its own chambers. Wasn't it the White House that proposed the Iraq War Resolution and the Congress that passed it? Are they not responsible for the incredible brutality of the war on Iraq, the clear cause of the severe hostility toward the United States?
U.S. SEES COMPUTER CONTENT SAME AS SEARCHABLE SUITCASE February 11, 2008 4:20 PM
Airport search of laptops sparks lawsuit
U.S. SEES COMPUTER CONTENT SAME AS SEARCHABLE SUITCASE
By Ellen Nakashima Washington Post
Article Launched: 02/07/2008 01:41:54 AM PST
WASHINGTON - Nabila Mango, a therapist and a U.S. citizen who has lived in the country since 1965, had just flown in from Jordan in December when, she said, she was detained by U.S. Customs officers and her cell phone was taken from her purse. Her daughter, waiting for her outside San Francisco International Airport, tried repeatedly to call her during the hour and a half she was questioned. But after her phone was returned, Mango saw that records of her daughters' calls had been erased.
A few months earlier in the same airport, a tech engineer returning from a business trip to London objected when a federal agent asked him to type his password into his laptop computer. "This laptop doesn't belong to me," he said. "It belongs to my company." Eventually, he agreed to log on and stood by as the officer copied the Web sites he had visited, said the engineer, a U.S. citizen who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of calling attention to himself.
The seizure of electronics at U.S. borders has prompted protests from travelers who say they now weigh the risk of traveling with sensitive or personal information on their laptops, cameras or cell phones. In some cases, companies have altered their policies to require employees to safeguard corporate secrets by clearing laptop hard drives prior to international travel.
Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus, two civil liberties groups in San Francisco, are filing a lawsuit to force the government to disclose its policies on border searches, including what rules govern the seizing and copying of the contents of electronic devices. They also want to know the boundaries for asking travelers about their political views, religious practices and other activities potentially protected by the First Amendment. The question of whether border agents have a right to search electronic devices without suspicion of a crime already is under review in the federal courts.
The lawsuit was inspired by some two dozen cases, 15 of which involved searches of cell phones, laptops, MP3 players and other electronics. Almost all involved travelers of Muslim, Middle Eastern or South Asian background, many of whom, including Mango and the tech engineer, said they are concerned they were singled out because of racial or religious profiling.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman, Lynn Hollinger, said customs officers do not engage in racial profiling "in any way, shape or form." She said a laptop may be seized if it contains information possibly tied to terrorism, narcotics smuggling, child pornography or other criminal activity.
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives, which represents 2,500 business executives in the United States and abroad, said it has tracked complaints from several members whose laptops have been seized and their contents copied before usually being returned days later.
The U.S. government has argued in a pending court case that its authority to protect the country's border extends to looking at information stored inside electronic devices. In border searches, it regards a laptop as no different from a suitcase.
As more and more people travel with laptops and BlackBerrys and cell phones, the government's laptop-equals-suitcase position is raising red flags.
"It's one thing to say it's reasonable for government agents to open your luggage," said David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University. "It's another thing to say it's reasonable for them to read your mind and everything you have thought over the last year."
Information Sought in Response to Growing Complaints of Harassment at U.S. Borders
San Francisco - The Asian Law Caucus (ALC) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit today against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DH for denying access to public records on the questioning and searches of travelers at U.S. borders. Filed under the Freedom of Information Act, the suit responds to growing complaints by U.S. citizens and immigrants of excessive or repeated screenings by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
ALC, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization, received more than 20 complaints from Northern California residents last year who said they were grilled about their families, religious practices, volunteer activities, political beliefs, or associations when returning to the United States from travels abroad. In addition, customs agents examined travelers' books, business cards collected from friends and colleagues, handwritten notes, personal photos, laptop computer files, and cell phone directories, and sometimes made copies of this information. When individuals complained, they were told, "This is the border, and you have no rights."
"When the government searches your books, peers into your computer, and demands to know your political views, it sends the message that free expression and privacy disappear at our nation's doorstep," said Shirin Sinnar, staff attorney at ALC. "The fact that so many people face these searches and questioning every time they return to the United States, not knowing why and unable to clear their names, violates basic notions of fairness and due process."
ALC and EFF asked DHS to disclose its policies on questioning travelers on First Amendment-protected activities, photocopying individuals' personal papers, and searching laptop computers and other electronic devices. The agency failed to meet the 20-day time limit that Congress has set for responding to public information requests, prompting the lawsuit.
"The public has the right to know what the government's standards are for border searches," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Laptops, phones, and other gadgets include vast amounts of personal information. When will agents read your email? When do they copy data, where is it stored, and for how long? How will this information follow you throughout your life? The secrecy surrounding border search policies means that DHS has no accountability to America's travelers."
When Nabila Mango, an American citizen and San Francisco therapist, returned from a trip to the Middle East in December, customs agents at San Francisco International Airport asked her to name every person she had met and every place she had slept during her travels. They also searched her Arabic music books, business cards, and cell phone, and may have photocopied some of her papers.
"In my 40 years in this country, I have never felt as vulnerable as I did during that interrogation," Mango said. "I want to find out whether my government is keeping files on me and other Americans based on our associations and ideas."
Amir Khan, an IT consultant from Fremont, California and a U.S. citizen, is stopped each time he returns to the country. Customs officials have questioned him for a total of more than 20 hours and have searched his laptop computer, books, personal notebooks, and cell phone. Despite filing several complaints, Khan has yet to receive an explanation of why he is repeatedly singled out.
"One customs officer even told me that no matter what I do, nothing would improve," said Khan. "Why do I have to part with my civil liberties each time I return home?"
Are you a reformist or an abolitionist? February 15, 2008 2:45 PM
After reading the article that I quote from and provide the link to below. I had to ask myself, and feel that everyone needs to honestly ask, “am I a reformist or an abolitionist when it comes to a global capitalist, corporatist system and civilization that is inherently and increasingly exploitive, ecocidal and genocidal?”
Personally, I can be no other than an “abolitionist”. I welcome everyone’s thoughts and comments. – Thomas (a.k.a. seditious conspirator)
“And there were two groups: the reformers and the abolitionists.The reformers promised people that slavery could be made more humane, that the slaves could be treated better, beaten and raped less – and so slavery did not have to be eliminated. They worked to pass laws against the extreme mistreatment of slaves, held rallies, raised money – an enormous amount of time, energy and resources were wasted trying to reform slavery. And, as they worked and worked, for decades and decades, more slaves got beaten and raped, conditions got worse and worse, and – the worst thing inmy view – people uncomfortable with slavery were given the comforting illusion that it did not have to be abolished.
The abolitionists, on the other hand, knew that slavery could not be reformed, that it was evil through and through, and that it had to be abolished. And their most dangerous opponents were not those who were unabashedly pro-slavery. Their most dangerousopponents were the reformers.” - My Son: Klan Reformer, A Political Fableby Stefan Molyneux
Pentagon propaganda over torture and Iraq revealed
By Leonard Doyle in Lancaster Monday, 21 April 2008
The Pentagon and the US media have been exposed for using pre-programmed military analysts to win hearts and minds of Americans over the war in Iraq, torture and detentions in Guantanamo Bay.
Kenneth Allard, an NBC military analyst and teacher at National Defence University, described the propaganda exercise as a "coherent, active," sophisticated information operation."
"Night and day, I felt we'd been hosed," he said.
The New York Times revealed that close ties exist between the Bush administration and former senior officers who acted as paid TV analysts on CNN and other channels. The analysts have received private briefings, trips and access to classified intelligence to influence their comments.
Robert Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, told the newspaper, "It was them (the Bush administration) saying, 'We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.'"
In one episode CNNs Donald Shepperd, a retired Air Force general, speaking live from Guantánamo said: The impressions that youre getting from the media and from the various pronouncements being made by people who have not been here in my opinion are totally false.
A number of the analysts used by US television also have extensive business interests in promoting the pro administration views.
"Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse - an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks," the newspaper said.
The Pentagon said the analysts were given only accurate information. Many of the commentators have ties to military contractors committed to the US war efforts, but those business links are almost never disclosed to viewers.
The report was based on 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records which described years of private briefings, trips.
The Pentagon documents referred to commentators as "message force multipliers" or "surrogates" who would deliver "themes and messages" on command to millions of Americans "in the form of their own opinions."