Friday, December 31, 2010

10 New Year's Re-Solutions For Non-violent Rebellion


Here are ten solutions through non-violent activism:

1. Buy Local Food: One of the most powerful cartels that has their tentacles into government is the food cartel. Their agenda has been to control the basic resources of food (corn, wheat, soy, rice).  The best way to conquer this cartel is by eating local; produce your own food, join and contribute to local cooperatives, and engage your neighbors and community for more local food solutions.  Local co-ops are also a great place to trade locally crafted goods and even services. Obviously, do your best to avoid GMO food and eat organically when you can.  Finally, be vocal and active in your opposition to GMO foods and the cartel control of the FDA.

2. Become More Self-Sufficient:  Our modern society has made us dependent on something or someone other than ourselves for most necessities such as electricity, food, water, medicine, security, and education. This dependence puts us at the direction or disposal of the cartel state. Therefore, the only entity that has the power to grant us liberty is ourselves; and we can take back our independence through self-sufficiency. Being self-sufficient means learning skills that will help you and your family survive economic downturns or other emergencies.  These skills may also help you to be less dependent on your job as they'll make you a useful independent producer. Lead your neighborhood and community toward production and away from dependence.

3. Get Healthier: The increasing pace of life seems to offer a wealth of distractions from the importance of living a truly healthy and free life.  Our modern world offers easy choices like fast-food in place of fresh produce; TV in place of reading, exercise, or meditation; Internet social networks in place of meaningful personal relationships, etc.  Identify the areas lacking in your own life and resolve to make the necessary changes that will increase your physical fitness, mental acuity, and your spiritual evolution.  These three areas are what truly sustain us in both good times and bad -- not smart phones, computer games, and the virtual world.

4. Buy Silver and Gold: America desperately needs a monetary revolution before the dollar experiment completely collapses. Like all revolutions this must start from a groundswell of rebellious action.  A good place to start is to convert your devaluing dollars to physical gold and silver.  This will punish the banks, especially JP Morgan and the Federal Reserve, as well as protect your assets. Furthermore, if the dollar continues to collapse, silver and gold may well become a viable currency in society once again, as it already is in some parts of Michigan. Buying junk silver is something anyone can afford to do and is highly recommended.

5. Expose the Agenda: The "agenda" is one of consolidation of wealth, power, and control in every facet imaginable. The international elite are approaching near one-world control, which they call full spectrum dominance of economies and societies.  In other words; national, local, and individual sovereignty is all but gone.  It is extremely important to engage your local community, especially community leaders and police, to reiterate their obligation to serve the local community under the Constitution, and not to follow illegal Federal demands. Above all, do not give in to the temptation of apathy as you begin to learn more about the systems of control.  These systems first count on your ignorance, then they count on laziness.  Finally, say what you stand for such as peace, liberty, and genuine justice with even more force than shouting about what you oppose.

6. Boycott: In the U.S. it has become obvious that a system has taken hold which is economically designed for one thing: consumption.  This is the value that each person has been given from birth.  So, one key way to assert your power and value in such a system is to vote with your wallet.  Every purchase you make either contributes to, or boycotts this corporatist structure.  Become aware of who the real owners are and what inhumane practices are behind the products you purchase, so that you can make intelligent choices that support your health and promote justice.  Additionally, it is important to learn the true contents of the products you buy, so that you don't fall prey to slick advertising and corporate misdirection. Join or create campaigns to educate shoppers and force better labeling of products so it is easier for others to consciously boycott them.

7. Local Politics: Forget wasting any of your energy and resources on Federal politics -- they have sold out long ago to the higher authorities that fund their multi-million dollar campaigns. Instead, get involved in small town politics and community initiatives.  The future will be built from the ground up, starting right in your own neighborhood.  Local politics is where you can affect tangible changes. Everything from removing chemicals from public water, to throwing the TSA out of your local airport, or refusing military recruitment or fusion centers in protest of the war on terror, can be accomplished at the local level.  Each minor victory will send shock waves to other small communities and the country as a whole, so be sure to document the steps you have taken to achieve victory, then share your story for others to emulate.

8. Military refusal: Do not contribute to fraudulent wars, and do not succumb to the pressure of feeling "unpatriotic."  There are countless groups of veterans who have seen through the government lies that have led to unnecessary deaths, as well as the financial destruction of the country.  There is, in fact, no more patriotic action that can be taken than to demand that our military be used properly to strengthen the country, rather than to weaken it. For some, there is absolutely no excuse for war, ever, and merely the act of showing up contributes to this affliction.  It is a profound resolution of courage to live by your convictions.  So, if opposing the fraudulent wars is your main issue, file as a conscientious objector and contribute to peace instead of war.  As Gandhi said, "There is no path to peace; peace is the path."

9. Don't Use Banks: The banks have proven to be some of the most immoral, dare we say "evil," institutions on the planet. Besides their Ponzi-style Wall Street casino and mortgage/foreclosure fraud, they also profit heavily from wars, Mexican drug gangs, and fleecing the public. Some are finding their actions so horrific that they'd prefer to default on their debts rather than give them another dime. That may be extreme given the consequences; however, we can at least vow not to take on any new bank financing of any kind -- mortgages, credit cards, or car loans, etc. Where possible, bank with local credit unions instead of the big banks that make up the cartel.  Another powerful action is to start or support a regional competing currency.  On the Federal level, we can tell our Congress reps to support Ron Paul's effort to legalize competing currencies nationwide.

10. Tax Resistance: Becoming a tax resister is a hardcore action of civil disobedience that comes with serious consequences -- unless of course you're Tim Geithner who gets to say "oops, my bad" in order to qualify as the head of collecting said taxes.  However, when the electoral process and two-party system proves to be a farce, corporations clearly win on every issue, and the will of the people is no longer represented in the media or the courts, people are left with little choice but non-violent rebellion in all its forms. Tax rebellion is often cited by conscientious objectors who oppose how the government uses taxpayer dollars to fund immoral deeds such as war, authorizing torture, building the police state, and fraudulent bank bailouts.  A second group of tax protesters refuse to file because they don't believe income taxes to be lawful under the Constitution.

The Raping of the Constitution Act

Gerald Celente: All This Fascism Began With The PATRIOT Act

Senator Obama on Illegal Domestic Surveillance

SPaul note: It is very interesting to go back in time to compare the philosophies of a leader before the reality of the U.S. Governmental machine taints their soul...

Government Against The People
Posted by Flatcap

In May 2008, before he became president, I wrote to the junior senator from my state, Barack Obama, with a direct question:

“Why is Congress doing nothing about the crimes committed by the current administration? In particular, why are you and your colleagues doing nothing in response to the abduction and outsourced torture of foreign nationals and the broad surveillance of U.S. citizens in flagrant violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?”

Sen. Obama had nothing to say on the subject of abducting foreign nationals, but he–or anyway his office–had a few things to say about the Bush administration’s criminal violations of FISA. Two years into the Obama presidency, it’s interesting to reread what Obama had to say back then and to ask ourselves if his administration is doing things any differently—or indeed is merely accelerating the wholesale violations of privacy and liberty that had begun in earnest during the Bush administration.

Thank you for contacting me concerning the President’s domestic surveillance program. I appreciate hearing from you.

Providing any President with the flexibility necessary to fight terrorism without compromising our constitutional rights can be a delicate balance. I agree that technological advances and changes in the nature of the threat our nation faces may require that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), enacted in 1978, be updated to reflect the reality of the post 9/11 world. But that does not absolve the President of the responsibility to fully brief Congress on the new security challenge and to work cooperatively with Congress to address it.

As you know, Congress has been considering the issue of domestic surveillance since last year. The debate continues, but the shift in party control on Capitol Hill has clearly had an impact on this critical discussion over the balance of power in our system of government. On January 17, 2007, after conducting its wiretapping program without court approval for over 5 years, the Justice Department announced that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court had approved its program to listen to communications between people in the U.S. and other countries if there is probable cause to believe one or the other is involved in terrorism. Then, in early February, the Justice Department announced that it would give the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees of both chambers of Congress access to previously withheld documents on the NSA program. The congressional committees with jurisdiction over this issue hailed the agreement as a step in the right direction.

However, there is still significant work to be done. Just before the August recess in 2007, Congress passed hastily crafted legislation to expand the authority of the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to conduct surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists without a warrant or real oversight, even if the targets are communicating with someone in the United States. This legislation was signed into law by the President on August 5, 2007, and expires after six months.

As you are aware, Congress is working on reforms to the FISA bill to be enacted before the expiration of the current legislation. On November 15, 2007, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3773, the Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007 (RESTORE Act) by a vote of 227-189. The House bill does not provide retroactive immunity for private companies that may have participated in the illegal collection of personal information, nor does it provide immunity for Administration officials who may have acted illegally.

On February 12, 2008, the Senate passed S. 2248, making its own reforms to FISA. I am disappointed that S. 2248, if signed into law, will grant an unprecedented level of immunity for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the President’s warrantless wiretapping program. I was proud to cosponsor several amendments, including the Dodd-Feingold amendment to strike the immunity provision, which would have enhanced privacy protections while maintaining the tools to fight terrorism. However, with the defeat of this amendment, telecom companies will not be held accountable even if it could be proven that they clearly and knowingly broke the law and nullified the privacy rights of Americans. I am frustrated by the President’s decision to play politics by threatening to veto any legislation not containing immunity. Why the President continues to try to hold this important legislation captive to that special interest provision defies explanation. The House and Senate must reconcile differences between the two versions of the bill before being signed into law.

The American people understand that new threats require flexible responses to keep them safe, and that our intelligence gathering capability needs to be improved. What they do not want is for the President or the Congress to use these imperatives as a pretext for promoting policies that not only go further than necessary to meet a real threat, but also violate some of the most basic tenets of our democracy. Like most members of Congress, I continue to believe that the essential objective of conducting effective domestic surveillance in the War on Terror can be achieved without discarding our constitutionally protected civil liberties.

Thank you again for writing. Please stay in touch as this debate continues.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

Judge warns of ‘Orwellian state’ in warrantless GPS tracking case

Daniel Tencer and Stephen C. Webster

Police in Delaware may soon be unable to use global positioning systems (GPS) to keep tabs on a suspect unless they have a court-signed warrant, thanks to a recent ruling by a superior court judge who cited famed author George Orwell in her decision. 

In striking down evidence obtained through warrantless GPS tracking, Delaware Judge Jan R. Jurden wrote that "an Orwellian state is now technologically feasible," adding that "without adequate judicial preservation of privacy, there is nothing to protect our citizens from being tracked 24/7." 

The ruling goes against a federal appeals court's decision last summer that allowed warrantless tracking by GPS.
Jurden was ruling on the case of Michael D. Holden, who police say was pulled over with 10 lbs. of marijuana in his car last February. Holden was allegedly named by a DEA task force informant in 2009, and in early 2010, without obtaining a warrant, police placed a GPS device on his car, allowing them to follow him whenever he used the vehicle.

Police investigators say they had the GPS on Holden's car for 20 days when they saw what they believed to be a cash-for-drugs exchange involving Holden in New Jersey. Police stopped him on a bridge crossing into Delaware and arrested him.

Unless there are special circumstances, "the warrantless placement of a GPS device to track a suspect 24 hours a day constitutes an unlawful search," Judge Jurden wrote in her ruling (PDF). "In this case, there was insufficient probable cause independent of the GPS tracking to stop Holden’s vehicle where and when it was stopped, and therefore, the evidence seized from Holden’s vehicle must be suppressed."

Prosecutors were forced to drop marijuana trafficking charges as a result.

Jurden argued that the same legal principle that allows officers to tail a suspect in traffic, without a warrant, doesn't apply to GPS because the devices reveal far more about a person under surveillance than physical surveillance could -- and more than police need.

"Prolonged GPS surveillance provides more information than one reasonably expects to 'expose to the public,'" she wrote. "The whole of one’s movement over a prolonged period of time tells a vastly different story than movement over a day as may be completed by manned surveillance."

She added, "It takes little to imagine what constant and prolonged surveillance could expose about someone’s life even if they are not participating in any criminal activity."

Wesley Oliver, an associate law professor at Widener University, told the Wilmington News Journal that the ruling falls in line with judicial opinions in New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere.

"Without such restrictions, Oliver said, an incumbent candidate for sheriff could track an opponent with a GPS device -- searching for visits to a strip club, mistress' house or clinic -- and be perfectly within the law," the paper reported.

But the issue is far from settled. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling las
 t August effectively allowing the use of GPS tracking without a warrant. Law enforcement agencies in the nine western US states covered by the Ninth Circuit now have the ability to use GPS without a warrant.

A dissenting judge in that case also referred to Orwell in his dissenting opinion.

"1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last," Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote.

That ruling is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Police want Video Taping of Officers to be Illegal

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ron Paul : Lying is Not Patriotic

US Has the Most Prisoners in the World

by James Vicini

WASHINGTON - Tough sentencing laws, record numbers of drug offenders and high crime rates have contributed to the United States having the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration in the world, according to criminal justice experts.A U.S. Justice Department report released on November 30 showed that a record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults -- were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.

According to the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College in London, more people are behind bars in the United States than in any other country. China ranks second with 1.5 million prisoners, followed by Russia with 870,000.

The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 people in the highest followed by 611 in Russia and 547 for St. Kitts and Nevis. In contrast, the incarceration rates in many Western industrial nations range around 100 per 100,000 people.

Groups advocating reform of U.S. sentencing laws seized on the latest U.S. prison population figures showing admissions of inmates have been rising even faster than the numbers of prisoners who have been released.

"The United States has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population. We rank first in the world in locking up our fellow citizens," said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, which supports alternatives in the war on drugs.

"We now imprison more people for drug law violations than all of western Europe, with a much larger population, incarcerates for all offences."

Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group advocating sentencing reform, said the United States has a more punitive criminal justice system than other countries.


"We send more people to prison, for more different offences, for longer periods of time than anybody else," he said.

Drug offenders account for about 2 million of the 7 million in prison, on probation or parole, King said, adding that other countries often stress treatment instead of incarceration.

Commenting on what the prison figures show about U.S. society, King said various social programs, including those dealing with education, poverty, urban development, health care and child care, have failed.

"There are a number of social programs we have failed to deliver. There are systemic failures going on," he said. "A lot of these people then end up in the criminal justice system."

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in California, said the high prison numbers represented a proper response to the crime problem in the United States. Locking up more criminals has contributed to lower crime rates, he said.

"The hand-wringing over the incarceration rate is missing the mark," he said.

Scheidegger said the high prison population reflected cultural differences, with the United States having far higher crimes rates than European nations or Japan. "We have more crime. More crime gets you more prisoners."

Julie Stewart, president of the group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, cited the Justice

Department report and said drug offenders are clogging the U.S. justice system.

"Why are so many people in prison? Blame mandatory sentencing laws and the record number of nonviolent drug offenders subject to them," she said.

The Prison Industry In The United States: Big Business Or A New Form Of Slavery?

HUMAN rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million - mostly Black and Hispanic - are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

"The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. "This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors."

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

Crime Goes Down, Jail Population Goes Up

According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:
Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years' imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams - 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years' imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.

The passage in 13 states of the "three strikes" laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.

Longer sentences

The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.
A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.

More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.

History Of Prison Labor In The United States

Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of "hiring out prisoners" was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else's land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery - which were almost never proven - and were then "hired out" for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of "hired-out" miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.

During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. "Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex," comments the Left Business Observer.

Who is investing? At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom's, Revlon, Macy's, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call "highly skilled positions." At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that "there won't be any transportation costs; we're offering you competitive prison labor (here)."

Private Prisons

The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton's program for cutting the cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates.

Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, "the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners." The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for "good behavior," but for any infraction, they get 30 days added - which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost "good behavior time" at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.

Importing And Exporting Inmates

Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state's governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.

After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 - ending court supervision and decisions - caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering "rent-a-cell" services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gulf Activists Harassed By TSA Agents Who Claim Filming Is Illegal

As anger against the TSA has mounted, many have wondered if activists will be specifically targeted in an attempt to scare and intimidate them. No subject has been bigger than the gulf disaster and it looks as one of the groups who exposed the extensive use of Corexit9500 in the gulf have fallen victim to TSA tyranny.

When Matt Smith, Gavin Garrison, and Heather Rally of Project Gulf Impact arrived at Ontario Airport in California Tuesday evening to board a plane headed back to the Gulf of Mexico, all three of them were pulled aside by TSA agents and patted down. Coincidentally, they were the only three people pulled out of the security lines.

Matt was the first to be let goand he immediately began filming Gavin and Heather in the holding cell. As he was filming, a TSA Security officer walked up and began to yell at him to turn the camera off and was quoted as saying:

“TSA doesn’t want stuff like this to end up on youtube”

When Matt informed him that it is perfectly legal to film in a public place, the TSA agent radioed in his supervisor. When the supervisor walked over to Matt and Heather, he informed Matt that it was a FEDERAL OFFENSE to film security in airports.

When Heather and Matt challenged this, he grew increasingly angry. He continued repeating that it was a federal offense yet when he was questioned about the law he was unable to provide an answer.

We now live in a country where traveling American citizens are subject to a Stasi type TSA that believes that it completely legal to fondle attractive women’s breasts yet illegal to film their intrusive security procedures.

These procedures are much more than Orwellian scanners; they are being used to break the will and spirit of the American people. If the government is able to to force the public into accepting these intrusive measures than society as we know it will come to an end.

To top it off, Janet Napolitono is openly declaring that TSA is coming to a mall and hotel near you, all in the name of stopping cave dwelling ninjas who can apparently stay out of the sights of every single intelligence agent in the CIA and still find time to make an Internet video calling for the killing of American and Israeli citizens.

WikiLeaks may spawn new sedition act

by Bob Barr

The infamous Sedition Act, which criminalized speech critical of the federal government and which was passed by the Federalists during another of America’s undeclared wars (that time, against France), lasted only three years, from 1798 to 1801.  However, if the congressional critics of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange have their way, a new and revised version of the Sedition Act may be in the offing.  

Thomas Jefferson, who became our third president in 1801, was not only a vocal critic of the Sedition Act, but pardoned those who had been punished pursuant to its terms.  Jefferson was, of course, right in his view of this law (which expired before its constitutionality could be determined by the Supreme Court).  His wisdom is well-needed today to quell the blood thirst of those clamoring for Assange’s head because of WikiLeaks’ release of cables and e-mails critical of and embarrassing to, the government. 

The primary vehicle these modern-day Federalists are looking to employ in order to criminalize the publication of information critical of government policies and actions is the venerable, but little-used 1917 Espionage Act.   

Many legal scholars, not prone to the pressures of public sentiment (which polls suggest strongly supports prosecuting Assange), correctly argue there simply is no proper basis for a case against the WikiLeaks founder under the Espionage Act, federal conspiracy laws, or other statutes.  In recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, several constitutional scholars eloquently presented the case for not prosecuting Assange; based on a fair reading of the First Amendment to the Constitution, current law, and sound policy. 

One of those who testified, the Hudson Institute’s Gabriel Schoenfeld, also noted in an interview with Politico that the government was “not going to be able to threaten or touch Julian Assange,” pointing out that there were clear conflicts with the First Amendment in steps the Justice Department appeared to be taking in an effort to construct a case against him. 

While some legal scholars, such as former Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein, encourage the government to prosecute Assange (based largely on a theory that his actions and motives are not those of a traditional journalist), the clear weight of constitutional law and policy argues to the contrary. 

A  Congressional Research Service report, “Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information,” published earlier this month, notes that the relevant provisions in the Espionage Act most frequently cited as a way for the Justice Department to build a case against Assange, have almost exclusively been used to prosecute the individual(s) making the information available without authorization.  In this case, that culprit allegedly is Army Private Bradley Manning; who almost certainly deserves prosecution. 

Reading the Espionage Act the way Assange’s critics would have us do, would open a Pandora’s Box of virtually unlimited reach.  As Benjamin Wittes, a legal analyst from the Brookings Institution, explained on his blog, such interpretation would reach even “casual discussions of such disclosures by persons not authorized to receive them to other persons not authorized to receive them – in other words, all tweets sending around those countless news stories, all blogging on them, and all dinner party conversations about their contents.”  There wouldn’t be enough jails to hold us all. 

Yet such ridiculously broad expansion of federal law, simply to pillory a person who clearly delights in embarrassing the government, would seem to be what some in Washington, including Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), just might have in mind.  And, unfortunately, there are many in the executive branch who appear to be moving in just such direction; actively constructing what may becomes a conspiracy case against Assange. 

We can only hope Jefferson’s wisdom and understanding will speak from across the ages to shine the bright light of constitutional truth on such dark plans.

One tip now enough to put name in database, officials say

Washington Post Staff Writer

A year after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials say they have made it easier to add individuals' names to a terrorist watch list and improved the government's ability to thwart an attack in the United States.

The failure to put Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on the watch list last year renewed concerns that the government's system to screen out potential terrorists was flawed. Even though Abdulmutallab's father had told U.S. officials of his son's radicalization in Yemen, government rules dictated that a single-source tip was insufficient to include a person's name on the watch list.

Since then, senior counterterrorism officials say they have altered their criteria so that a single-source tip, as long as it is deemed credible, can lead to a name being placed on the watch list.

The government's master watch list is one of roughly a dozen lists, or databases, used by counterterrorism officials. Officials have periodically adjusted the criteria used to maintain it.

But civil liberties groups argue that the government's new criteria, which went into effect over the summer, have made it even more likely that individuals who pose no threat will be swept up in the nation's security apparatus, leading to potential violations of their privacy and making it difficult for them to travel.

"They are secret lists with no way for people to petition to get off or even to know if they're on," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Officials insist they have been vigilant about keeping law-abiding people off the master list. The new criteria have led to only modest growth in the list, which stands at 440,000 people, about 5 percent larger than last year. The vast majority are non-U.S. citizens.

"Despite the challenges we face, we have made significant improvements," Michael E. Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in a speech this month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "And the result of that is, in my view, that the threat of that most severe, most complicated attack is significantly lower today than it was in 2001."

The master watch list is used to screen people seeking to obtain a visa, cross a U.S. border, or board an airliner in or destined for the United States.

The standard for inclusion on it remains the same as it was before - that a person is "reasonably suspected" to be engaged in terrorism-related activity. But another senior counterterrorism official, who like some others would speak only on the condition of anonymity, said that officials have now "effectively in a broad stroke lowered the bar for inclusion."

Timothy Healy, director of the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, which maintains the master list, said the new guidelines balance the protection of Americans from terrorist threats with the preservation of civil liberties. He said the watch list today is "more accurate, more agile," providing valuable intelligence to a growing number of partners that include state and local police and foreign governments.

Each day there are 50 to 75 instances in which a law enforcement official or government agent stops someone who a check confirms is on the watch list, a senior official at the Terrorist Screening Center said. Such "positive encounters" can take place at airports, land borders or consular offices, or during traffic stops.

The official recounted an incident two years ago in which a state trooper pulled over a truck driver for a traffic violation. The driver appeared nervous, was traveling to several states, had three cellphones and plenty of food in his truck, and made several calls during the stop. The trooper was able to confirm through a call to the Terrorist Screening Center that the man was on the watch list. It turned out, the official said, that an FBI case agent had an open al-Qaeda-related investigation on the truck driver.

The names on the watch list are culled from a much larger catch-all database that is housed at the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean and that includes a huge variety of terrorism-related intelligence.

From its inception in 2005, the database, the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or TIDE, was plagued by technical difficulties. In 2008, the counterterrorism center undertook a multimillion-dollar upgrade to streamline and more fully automate the database so that only one record exists per person, no matter how many aliases that person might have.

Those improvements should reduce errors and free up analysts for more pressing tasks, said Vicki Jo McBee, the counterterrorism center's chief information officer.

The new system will also ease the sharing of fingerprints and iris and facial images of people on the watch list among screening agencies, McBee said. And rather than sending data once a night to the Terrorist Screening Center's watch list, which can take hours, the new system should be able to update the list almost instantly as names are entered, McBee said.

Deployment has not been smooth. TIDE 2, as it is called, failed readiness tests and missed a December launch deadline. But now, McBee said, all tests have been passed and the system will be launched in January.

Meanwhile, the National Counterterrorism Center's has developed a 70-person pursuit group to investigate "sleeper" terrorism threats, with four teams examining the regional hotbeds in Africa; in Yemen and the Arabian Gulf; in Pakistan and Europe; and in the United States. A fifth picks up the rest of the world.

"We try to look at the unknowns, the terrorists lurking in the dark that you don't know about, like the Abdulmutallabs of the world," said an official familiar with the group.

The teams, which include analysts from the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, might take a tip about a suspect flying to the United States on a certain route, then study travel records to see whether they can find travelers who match the pattern.

They also mine Internet sites for clues, in "a careful, legal way," the official said. For instance, though analysts had not identified Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistan-born Connecticut man, before his May attempt to blow up a car in Times Square, a pursuit team delineated his network of associates in the United States in part by gleaning details from social networking sites, she said.

Much of the pursuit group's work is filtering out irrelevant information.

"We get a huge kick out of" handing a lead to the FBI, the official said. "But ... the ruling-out is almost as important as the actual finding of leads."
Staff writer Ann Scott Tyson contributed to this report.


David Edwards
Raw Story 
Salon's Glenn Greenwald tore into two CNN personalities Monday for their framing of a discussion about secrets outlet WikiLeaks.
First, Greenwald blasted CNN's Jessica Yellin for suggesting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was profiting from the disclosure of classified information. Assange has said that he agreed to a $1.3 million book deal to help defray legal costs.

Then he tore into CNN contributor and former Bush Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend, calling out her lie that WikiLeaks had dumped 250,000 US State Department cables without redacting sensitive information.

It was all downhill for CNN, right from the interview's start.

"Any qualm about the fact that he is essentially profiting from classified information and do you see any irony in the fact he is making money off of a corporate publisher?" Yellin asked.

"I would contest the premise of your question," Greenwald replied. "He is not profiting at all off classified information. The legal fees that he is facing already amount to $200,000. It is certain that his legal fees continue to sky rocket. He is clearly the leading target of governments around the world."

"There is no question that even with his $1.3 million book contract, at the end of the day, his legal fees are going to be vastly more than that. What this is a way for him to survive the legal onslaught that governments are launching," he said.

Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden where is he wanted for questioning in connection to alleged sexual assaults. He was free on bail in London at the time of this story's publication. The WikiLeaks founder has also said that he expects the US to charge him with espionage or conspiracy.

"He should also be prepared to go to jail for what he's done, as other revolutionaries have. No?" Yellin asked.

"Well, see, you're a journalist, so you should understand better than anybody that publishing classified information about what governments do is not actually a crime," Greenwald replied. "The New York Times exposed the Bush administration's top secret eavesdropping program, the CIA black site program. Wikileaks has never exposed a top secret. This is all secret, marked secret, a lower level designation and in the United States, again, journalists should know this better than anybody."

Yellin then asked Townsend if she agreed with Vice President Joe Biden's assertion that Assange is a "high-tech terrorist."

"There is no question," Townsend said.

"Your initial question was is he profiting from the commission of a crime and the answer to that is yes," she added. "This is a guy who committed a crime. He did not do what your standard journalists do and by the way, when your other guest refers to New York Times, even the New York Times, when they have very sensitive classified information, would come to the government and redact it."

"Fran Townsend can talk all she wants about how he has committed a crime," Greenwald shot back. "Many people believe that her [former boss President George W. Bush] has committed lots of crimes, but he hasn't been convicted of anything."

"[Assange] has not been charged with a crime and he has not been convicted of a crime in connection with these leaks and that's because you can say it all you want, but as a lawyer, I will tell you, and you ask any lawyer if this is true, it is not a crime in the United States to leak classified information if you don't work for the government."

"He didn't take any steps to understand the information," Townsend countered. "It was so vast, of what was public, whether or not it would be useful or not, he made no distinctions about the harm he might be doing to foreign governments, to the US government, to diplomats and soldiers around the world. He just wholesale threw this out there."

"That's totally false. That's just a lie," Greenwald said. "He has published less than 1 percent of the 250,000 diplomatic cables that he came into possession of, less than 2,000 of the 250,000."

Indeed, many of the cables released by WikiLeaks itself have been redacted to protect the identities of confidential sources.

"It's extraordinary how -- even a full month into the uproar over the diplomatic cable release -- extreme misinformation still pervades these discussions, usually without challenge," Greenwald wrote in his Tuesday column.

"[T]here was Fran Townsend spouting the cannot-be-killed lie that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped all the cables. And I'm absolutely certain that had I not objected, that absolute falsehood would have been unchallenged by Yellin and allowed to be transmitted to CNN viewers as Truth," he continued.

"Do you think Jessica Yellin would ever dare speak as scornfully and derisively about George Bush or his top officials as she does about Assange? Of course not," he wrote. "Instead, CNN quickly hires Bush's Homeland Security Adviser who then becomes Yellin's colleague and partner in demonizing Assange as a 'terrorist.'"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Believe They've Killed the Gulf

As 2010 comes to an end, one of the most horrific disasters of the year--the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon oilrig, which blew up and killed 11 workers and injured 17 others--continues to bring devastating impacts to residents living in and around the Gulf. For the most part, the corporate media has given up its duty to report on what is happening. While some news media periodically report on the status of lawsuits between the government and BP, very few reports examine the environmental devastation and the health impacts that Gulf Coast residents are experiencing. 

Elizabeth Cook, who is based in Louisiana and a lead organizer of the group Stop the Gulf Oil Disaster, has been working to build "a broad, determined and powerful peoples' response" ever since the disaster began to unfold. She has committed herself to pushing others to help "get out the truth and mobilize mass independent action" to address the devastation that BP and the government are wreaking upon people in the Gulf region as they continue to work together to preserve corporate profits instead of the wellbeing of the Coast's people. 

While most of the country ignores the massive crime against humanity that continues to be perpetuated in the Gulf by government authorities, Cook explains there are a number of "eyewitness reports" on traces of Corexit and oil being found and more and more people coming forward with severe health complications that are believed to be a direct result of the disaster and the disaster's cleanup efforts. [See this MSNBC post for more.]

She notes that Clint Guidry, Secretary of the Louisiana Shrimpers Association, that there are "daily permits being issued to BP to spray the Corexit. That this is being done secretly and the government is not only fully aware of it but allowing it." And, she adds that she thinks the motivation to spray the dispersant is political. She wonders about a government that "knowing the effects that this is going to have on our ecosystem and people," allows this horrific act to continue, "if in fact it is going on." And, she calls it a "crime against humanity and our environment."
Cook suggests that there are unconfirmed reports of BP going out and spraying Corexit under cover of the night.

The Times-Picayune recently posted a "year-end" report on the BP disaster and its continued impact, which made clear the oil is still there and so are the people. It noted that many have lost their livelihood and are now turning picking up aluminum cans to supplement their incomes. It reported that residents are experiencing stress, which is "showing up as physical and mental health problems" that include "headaches, intestinal problems, loss of appetite, depression and anger."

Business owners and residents are strongly discouraged by the fact that Congress failed to pass "legislation directing the spending of money from fines against BP and other responsible parties to pay for environmental restoration."
A number of people living along the Gulf believe the oil is still leaking. Cook doesn't know if this is true or not but acknowledges that there are reports of more oil leaking from groups doing independent reporting along the Gulf. She discusses how the climate in the Gulf could be one that promotes the spread of conspiracy theories: 

"I think it runs the gamut because you have folks who are in complete denial and are eating the seafood and believe what the government has said, that the disaster is mostly over. However, that's beginning to crumble a bit because when you see articles like what we've been seeing recently in the Times-Picayune saying people are becoming more and more concerned with seafood because of the independent testing that's going on and you even have the son of owner of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse saying maybe we should have a moratorium on gulf seafood for one year -" The façade is crumbling. And that independent editorial came about a week after you had the Secretary of the Navy proposing that the military be fed gulf seafood to makeup for the lack of demand...
"You have fishermen and shrimpers admitting that they're not eating their own catch. Yet, they are in a precarious situation where they know how are they going to feed their families if they don't keep fishing or shrimping. It's really an Orwellian state of mind down here, many contradictions."

The contradictions manifest themselves as independent testing finds oil that government or BP tests do not find. The contradictions come to the fore as people experience health effects from Corexit and the government denies it is being used. And, the contradictions appear as dollars are thrown at states to promote Gulf seafood and tourism as authorities simultaneously pressure residents to settle with BP instead of pursuing a larger lawsuit in the future that could net them more compensation for damage done but further damage BP's brand.

"It's a travesty," says Cook. "It's coercion because people are desperate and they need cash. They have bills to pay, mortgages to pay, notes on their cars, on their boats. People are being pressured into this situation. And I think it's terrible. I'm hoping that some will resist and decide to sue instead but I know for the sake of their families they may not be able to." 

When a person has health complications from Corexit, which "break down the molecular integrity" of substances it comes in contact with, it's much harder to wait BP out and see if you can't get a good settlement five, ten or fifteen years from now. For example, consider this story of Darla Rooks, a bayou fisherman. This is what happened after she came in contact with water she believes had oil and dispersants:
"My husband shook the nets and water went on me. I didn't have a menstrual period for four months. I had rash, itching irritated skin, something similar to bronchitis which I've never had. It lasted for three or four months. Eye irritations, heart pains, heart palpitations, involuntary muscles jumping all over my body, and continuous headaches day and night...all I would get is a about a 15 minute to a 20 minute break from pain relievers that are specifically designed to get rid of headaches, that's the only break I would get. And I had to eat those 24 hours a day, seven days a week for three to four months... And they want to tell me to eat the seafood? Why don't they eat the seafood. I'll go catch them and I'll throw BP a big old boil....I'm not eating it."
Cook worries about the oil and Corexit getting into the rain cycle. She notes that both can evaporate and get into the atmosphere. It is hard to pinpoint whether the oil or Corexit has gotten into the rain, but it certainly is possible. And, she confirms that there have been reports of oil raining down on residents and that the impact on the rain cycle in the region should be a concern.

Millions of dollars being given to "state governments so they won't speak openly about the continued oil that is washing up, that has been eyewitnessed by such groups as the Gulf Restoration Network" is basically "hush money." Governors like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana are accepting money and promoting seafood. They are no longer defending the wellbeing of Gulf residents, as they were in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.

The long term implications, Cook says, are that Gulf residents consider whether they should leave the region or not. Some of them leave or evacuate. Many stay because they have no choice--finances, emotions, culture, family ties, etc keep them from leaving. She notes there is a massive coverup going on by the U.S. government and that is something people down in the region have to deal with each and every day.

The following is a video highlighting the scale of the devastation from the disaster and cleanup efforts in the Gulf:

2011: A Brave New Dystopia


Flickr / Ludovic Bertron (CC-BY)

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell's "1984" and Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World." The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from "Brave New World" to "1984." The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley's feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. 

Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse. 

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake," Orwell wrote in "1984." "We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin uses the term "inverted totalitarianism" in his book "Democracy Incorporated" to describe our political system. It is a term that would make sense to Huxley. In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass. 

The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in "Brave New World," they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, "block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression."

The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence.

All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like "Oprah," promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is "the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face." We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by "continuous technological advances" that "encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge." 

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks. 

Attitudes and temperament have been cleverly engineered by the corporate state, as with Huxley's pliant characters in "Brave New World." The book's protagonist, Bernard Marx, turns in frustration to his girlfriend Lenina:
"Don't you wish you were free, Lenina?" he asks.
"I don't know that you mean. I am free, free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays."
He laughed, "Yes, 'Everybody's happy nowadays.' We have been giving the children that at five. But wouldn't you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else's way."
"I don't know what you mean," she repeated.
The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley's "Brave New World" to Orwell's "1984." The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called "near poverty," coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

We increasingly live in Orwell's Oceania, not Huxley's The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in "1984." Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein's image appears each day on Oceania's television screens as part of the nation's "Two Minutes of Hate" daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified. 

The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning--who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime -- mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of "1984." Manning is being held as a "maximum custody detainee" in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with anti-depressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell's dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These "special administrative measures" are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass -- African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell. 

"Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling," Winston Smith's torturer tells him in "1984." "Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves."

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere. 

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message--DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI's targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state's official Newspeak. The agents--our Thought Police--seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting "providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations." Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?" Orwell wrote. "It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself."