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How our governments use terrorism to control us
7 years ago
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http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/november2005/291105controlus.htm

How our governments use terrorism to control us

Tim Howells | November 29 2005

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.

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7 years ago

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.

Article Continued...
7 years ago

The Pentagon Brings al-Qaeda to the Balkans

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.

End of Article
7 years ago

The Grand Design

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.

Some of why I don't celebrate 4th of july anymore
7 years ago
http://www.kurtnimmo.com/?p=916
“Behavior-Detection” Graduates from Airports to Bus and Train Stations
Thursday July 05th 2007, 5:31 am
In celebration of Independence Day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the feds have increased the visibility of armed goons at train stations and bus terminals across the country. “Officials from the Transportation Security Administration, formed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, said the additional security is not a response to any specific threat to any of the regions,” reports the Examiner. In other words, there are no terrorists and you are not in danger. Since the Constitution is nothing more than a “goddamned piece of paper,” according to the decider-commander guy, it makes sense the government has decided to roll out this in-your-face escalation—from airports to bus stations—on the same day baby-kissing politicians blabber on about liberty, freedom, equality under the law, inalienable rights, and representative government, blah, blah, blah.
thugcop_July4_07

“The federal security officers are part of the TSA’s Visual Intermodal Protection and Response teams, which consist of behavior-detection officers, federal air marshals not scheduled for flights, and rail, security and aviation inspectors,” the Examiner continues. “The VIPR (pronounced ‘viper’) program has conducted 84 targeted security assignments in the last 18 months.”

Behavior-detection officers. How perfectly Orwell. These guys are trained to detect “micro-expressions,” that is to say “a sign of an emotion being concealed,” as Paul Ekman, writing for the CIA’s favorite newspaper describes it. Had a fight with your wife, or experienced the death of a relative? Don’t show your emotions in public, bub, not unless you want three or four goons to “pull you aside,” that is to say interrogate you for the crime of inappropriate behavior in a public place. Not long ago, especially on the day we supposedly celebrate our freedom, this would have outraged most Americans. Now we thank the automatic weapon-toting goons and behavior-detection officers for treating us like criminals and slaves.

TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe told KWTX the VIPER goons are intended to provide “a visible deterrent,” whatever that means. Maybe she means we will be deterred from showing emotion in public, lest we be pegged as a terrorist, never mind there is “no credible, specific threat for the Fourth,” according to Howe. Of course, there was two incidents of patently absurd “foiled terrorist attempts” in London and Glasgow, nicely timed to coincide with the Fourth, when we are busy with fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, baseball games, etc., all supposedly commemorating our freedom. In fact, we have very little freedom and the Fourth is a day we celebrate our enslavement to government. In the not too distant past, it was enough to be fleeced by the government and follow a dizzy array of meaningless laws, but now we being conditioned to accept the police state personal and right up close like they do in other totalitarian countries.

Obviously, the plan is to expand the Gestapo zones from airports to bus terminals and train stations and eventually down to the highways and the intersection at the end of your neighborhood block. Of course, at present there are not enough cops, VIPER goons, and behavior-detection officers to do this effectively. “In this post-9/11 world, our state and local officers need more help, not less; and they need our assistance with both areas of their job: helping fight terrorism and protecting our communities from crime,” declared senator Joe Biden in 2005. “It’s these officers who not only deter and prevent crime, but also they likely will be the ones finding the bomb under the trash can or the ones to notice a terrorist cell moving in to an apartment building,” or detect and punish inappropriate behavior in the hood.

Article Continued...
7 years ago

Naturally, hiring more cops, “federal security officers,” and behavior-detection goons will be expensive, as the Ministry of Homeland Security readily admits, so get ready to fork over more cash. “Homeland security is expensive. It can’t be accomplished on the cheap. And because the war against terrorism is a national fight, a substantial portion of the responsibility falls to the federal government. It takes serious money to make the necessary changes to our services and infrastructure,” notes a Ministry press release. “In transportation, we must move beyond aviation and also secure mass transit, rails, air cargo, pipelines, tunnels, and bridges. These tough jobs and countless others can’t be accomplished with wishful thinking or a magic wand. And they cannot be accomplished by placing an unfair share of the burden on state and local governments who are already facing the worst fiscal crises in decades.”

In other words, the local cop shop will be federalized. Of course, there are not enough bodies to protect us from “al-Qaeda,” and that’s why the city of Santa Fe “is looking at the possibility of recruiting Mexican nationals to fill vacancies on the city police force,” according to the New Mexican. In addition to recruiting Mexicans, Gillian Alessio of the Santa Fe police department “said the Santa Fe police force, like others around the country, has found itself vying to recruit the same 21- to 30-year-olds as the U.S. military,” and thus looked to Mexico.

7 years ago

Thanks to  T W.  for sending me this related information

go to this website, click here >> http://www.hermes-press.com/brainwash1.htm

Brainwashing America - By Norman D. Livergood

     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: 

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?

     [ send green star]

7 years ago

http://www.alternet.org/rights/62858/?page=entire

U.S. Government's Plan to Protect You From Terrorist Livestock

By Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown. Posted September 19, 2007.


A new animal-tracking system could put Big Brother in your backyard -- even if you're not a farmer.
Now They're goin After Our HOMEGROWN
7 years ago

Thanks to  Rod G. StarsButterflies   for posting this related information

House Passes Thought Crime Prevention Bill
10-25-2007 www.roguegovernment.com Lee Rogers

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed HR 1955 titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. This bill is one of the most blatant attacks against the Constitution yet and actually defines thought crimes as homegrown terrorism. If passed into law, it will also establish a commission and a Center of Excellence to study and defeat so called thought criminals. Unlike previous anti-terror legislation, this bill specifically targets the civilian population of the United States and uses vague language to define homegrown terrorism. Amazingly, 404 of our elected representatives from both the Democrat and Republican parties voted in favor of this bill. There is little doubt that this bill is specifically targeting the growing patriot community that is demanding the restoration of the Constitution.
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.


This post was modified from its original form on 01 Nov, 15:54
Part 2
7 years ago
`(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.
`SEC. 899B. FINDINGS.  [ send green star]
7 years ago

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0712/S00247.htm

Michael Collins: Thought Control on the Internet

By an Overwhelming Majority Congress Brings You...

WhatAreYouLookingAt

By Michael Collins
Scoop Independent News
Washington, D.C.
Part 1

Cracking the Code – Who's to Blame for "Violent Radicalization"?

The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 passed 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:

Article Continued...
7 years ago

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.

Article Continued...
7 years ago

Who's Really Behind "Violent Radicalization?"

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.

Opposition6

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)

ENDS

7 years ago

Pending: S. 1959 Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

U.S. Senate Contact Information

Passed 404-6: H.R. 1955 Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

Understanding H.R. 1955: The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 Majority Staff, Committee on Homeland Security, Dec. 17, 2007

*************

Permission to reproduce in whole or part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article

7 years ago

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0712/S00248.htm

Part II - Internet Thought Control Bill Under Fire

House Committee Dismisses Criticisms of
Internet Thought Control Bill – H.R. 1995

By Michael Collins
Scoop Independent News
Washington, D.C.
Part 2 (
Part 1)

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)

DemFrontRunners

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.

Article Continued...
7 years ago

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.

Article Continued...
7 years ago

 

(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?

In Summary

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?

7 years ago
ENDS

U.S. Senate Contact Information

Pending: S. 1959 Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

Passed 404-6: H.R. 1955 Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

Understanding H.R. 1955: The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 Majority Staff, Committee on Homeland Security, Dec. 17, 2007

*************

Permission to reproduce in whole or part with attribution of authorship and a link to this article

The Pentagon and the US media
6 years ago

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pentagon-propaganda-over-torture-and-iraq-revealed-812735.html

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 CNN’s Donald Shepperd, a retired Air Force general, speaking live from Guantánamo said: “The impressions that you’re 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."