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Terrorists and the 1 Percent

Posted by troublemaker on January 2, 2012

The United States Department of State maintains a list of designated “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (1). Advocating or otherwise promoting any organization on that list is illegal in the United States. This is why Jubair Ahmad was arrested for “providing material support” to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) after uploading a video to YouTube. We cannot tell you what was in that video because it has been removed from Youtube. But we can tell you that the FBI’s sworn affidavit (2) seems to indicate the video was a collection of images which detail abuses at the U.S. detention camp Abu Ghraib, images of vehicles being attacked by road side bombs, and Muslim prayer segments. Jubair Ahmad, a legal immigrant to the United States, pled guilty (3).

Javed Iqbal, who has lived in New York for 26 years, was arrested for making the Al Manar TV channel available to customers of his satellite TV Company HDTV Ltd. The US Treasury declared Al Manar a terrorist organization claiming it participated it “supported Hezbollah’s fund-raising and recruitment activities.” (4) Both Al Manar and Hezbollah are on the list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (1), so although Javed Iqbal said he did not support Al Manal via personal ideology; offering that TV station in a package for his satellite TV Company amounted to material support. Iqbal pointed to the fact that his company also sold Christian and adult programming. He was sentenced to almost six years in prison.

Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK) is another organization named on the designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations list just like Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), Al Manal, and Hezbollah. So you would imagine supporting MEK would bring criminal charges as well. Evidently not if you are part of the elite.

“Ed Rendell, Andrew Card and John Bolton are openly advocating for MEK and are in many cases receiving significant sums of money for doing so.” (4)

Ed Rendell (D) – Former governor of Pennsylvania who is married to Federal Judge Marjorie Rendell. (5)

Andrew Card (R) – Former CEO of the American Automobile Manufacturers Association. Former White House Chief of Staff under President George W. Bush. Also served during the George H Bush administration. (6)

John Bolton (R) – Former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations who has served under several administrations. He is currently a commentator for Fox News and contributor for the Wall Street Journal. (7)

I am a strong advocate for First Amendment rights. That said, I have no worthwhile education when it comes to the organizations on that list. I would like to believe the United States Department of State has a very good reason for each organization to appear on that list. I would like to believe the U.S. Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies has a very good reason to seemingly ignore the First Amendment with respect to people like Jubair Ahmad and Javed Iqbal. I say I would like because so long as powerful people like Ed Rendell, Andrew Card, and John Bolton are not prosecuted alongside people like Jubair Ahmad and Javed Iqbal I have to wonder what is really going on in the United States.

How is it the rich and powerful (1%) have First Amendment rights but those same rights are no longer applicable to those of less wealth and power (99%)?

 

  1. US Department of State: Foreign Terrorist Organizations
  2. http://www.scribd.com/doc/63816237/Jubair-Ahmad-Affidavit
  3. http://newsroom-magazine.com/2011/executive-branch/justice-department/jubair-ahmad-pleads-guilty-to-lashkar-e-tayyiba-support-charges/
  4. http://www.salon.com/2011/08/10/mek_2/singleton/
  5. Wikipedia on Ed Rendell
  6. Wikipedia on Andrew Card
  7. Wikipedia on John Bolton

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NDAA – Obama approves martial law short cut

Posted by troublemaker on January 2, 2012

If I told you that U.S. president Obama can and will arrest, detain, and even execute U.S. citizens without “indictment of a Grand Jury”, you would probably think I am a conspiracy theory nut case. If I told you that there is nothing the courts can do about it, you’d probably think I were speaking about some secret government plot. The scariest part of this tail is that I am not speaking about a secret government conspiracy at all. Despite the constitutional safeguards against such conduct, the executive branch of the U.S. government is not only doing these things right out in the open, it is passing laws which make such actions superficially legal.

Earlier, we warned our readers that martial law was about to be effectively imposed in the United States (See: Martial Law Declared in the United States). If the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) were passed, that U.S. citizens could be arrested anywhere in the world (including within the United States) and held indefinitely without a trial. We pointed out that if NDAA were made law, that the right of right to habeas corpus was suspended.

Habeas Corpus literally means “you may have the body” (1). In the United States, it is one of the most basic civil rights. At its essence, a writ of Habeas Corpus is a demand that the government demonstrate how it is that a person has been legally detained. Without that right, a person may be arrested and held indefinitely without ever having his case heard by a court or jury of his peers. Without the right to habeas corpus, several sections of the Constitution of the United States of America and its amendments become null and void.

In the United States, the act of suspending the right to habeas corpus is broader than an attack on the civil rights of U.S. citizens; it is an attack on the foundation of that country. Like many other free nations, the basic structure of government includes a system of checks and balances exist called the “Separation of Powers”. In the United States, three branches of government exist which each exert authority on the other. In the United States, those three branches are the Legislative (Congress), Executive (President), and the Judicial (Courts). Suspending habeas corpus, severely limits the Judicial branch’s ability to check and balance the executive branch. Should NDAA be signed into law, the president of the United States could order a US citizen to be arrested and held indefinitely. Without habeas corpus, the Judicial branch (the courts) cannot demand the Executive branch (the president) show that a detention was legal.

On December 31, 2011 CNN reported that U.S. President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law (3). Although the executive branch may now order the arrest and indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without the constitutional right to a grand jury, we have the current president’s promise that he will not use those new powers against U.S. citizens.

“I want to clarify that my administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” – US president Obama quoted by CNN (3)

U.S. President Obama’s promise might be believed if he had not previously made the unilateral decision to put U.S. citizens to death without so much as a grand jury entitlement. While many are aware of the drone attack which killed U.S. Citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki for suspected support of terrorists (4), few question how it was that the President of the United States can order the death of a U.S. citizen. Even less people are even aware that at least two other U.S. citizens were put to death after Al-Awlaki and that each of those deaths was ordered by President Obama without so much as a grand jury indictment.

“CIA and military strikes this fall killed three U.S. citizens, two of whom were suspected al-Qaida operatives.” – Arizona Daily Star (5)

Although one can argue that the executions of these U.S. citizens and even the “Capture or Kill List” that the United States now maintains is necessary for the security of a free nation, the decision on who it is that must die should not rest in the hands of one person or one branch of government. This is why the framers of the U.S. Constitution not only incorporated a system of checks and balances; they specifically forbad actions like these executions from being decided by the government itself.

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” – The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution (6)

It is a “Grand Jury” who has the right to order a person to stand trial for a “capital, or otherwise infamous crime” and it is a jury who decides guilty and punishment. While one might argue the cases arose “in the land or naval forces”, we are not speaking about a battlefield or even with military involvement. We are speaking about the CIA following the orders of the president to execute U.S. citizens. While it might well be that the world is better off without those who have been executed, it is the very core of a free nation to depend on the people (the 99%) for such decisions rather than one person (the 1%) or even one branch of government.

Make no mistake, although President Obama has promised he will not use the authority granted by the NDAA against U.S. citizens, he has already done just the opposite before he signed NDAA into law. If the actions of the U.S. government do not scare you, you should at a very minimum be afraid of whatever it is that has caused that government to believe these actions are required.

  1. Habeas Corpus explained at Wikipedia.
  2. Separation of Powers explained at Wikipedia.
  3. CNN: Obama signs defense bill ‘with reservations’
  4. Mediaite: US Citizen And Top Terrorist Suspect Anwar Al-Awlaki Killed In Drone Attack
  5. Arizona Daily Star: Under Obama, a huge rise in drone strikes
  6. The Fifth Amendment at Wikipedia

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Freedom of Speech is Potentially Offensive

Posted by troublemaker on December 28, 2011

I am a citizen of the United States of America. On my mother’s side of the family, each man that we can count served his country in the military. Her brother served. Her father served. Her grandfather served. My father was the first in his line that was eligible for US military service. As the child of a German immigrant, serving took a bit of creative genealogy as at the time the U.S. was at war with Germany. My father even lied about his age to be eligible to defend the country of his birth. My service was not during war time, but I too served. None in my family were drafted. None in my family were career military. Each served because he loved the country of his birth. That family tradition will end with my children. Although I served my country, I cannot in good conscious ask my children to do the same because doing so requires first swearing an oath to God which amounts to a flat lie.

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” – From the US Army (1)

When I joined the military, I understood I would be setting aside certain rights in order to insure that those rights would continue for civilians. In the military, things such as freedom of speech must often be set aside to create a cohesive fighting force. If given a lawful order, questioning that lawful order can be counterproductive to unit moral. As the president of the United States is both a political figure and the literal commander in chief of the military, it is a very good idea for active members of the military to participate in politics only silently. This is why we tend to see military uniforms worn by Occupy protesters only when they are retired or otherwise no longer on active duty.

Today, we must ask what is it exactly that our military fights for if not the way of life described and guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States of America. While I will continue to teach my children the reverence and respect that our fighting men and women are entitled, I refuse to encourage my children to swear an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America to secure a position in which their job is to defend the very people who threaten that constitution. While other nations and rogue terrorists are certainly a threat to our way of life, the greater threat has shown itself to be our own government.

Tennessee Code Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 3 section 308 on Harassment (2)

It is illegal to: “(4)    Communicates with another person by any method described in subdivision (a) (1), without legitimate purpose:””(ii) In a manner the defendant knows, or reasonably should know, would frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities; and

“(B) As the result of the communication, the person is frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed.”

Although part (i) requires “malicious intent” there is no such provision in part (ii). As the definition of the methods includes “telephone, in writing or by electronic communication, including, but not limited to, text messaging, facsimile transmissions, electronic mail or Internet services”, it is entirely possible I am breaking Tennessee law by sharing the painting of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and his lovely wife here in this article.

Governor Bill Haslam and His Wife Crissy

Governor Bill Haslam and His Wife Crissy

We first became aware of the relatively new Tennessee law via Brandt Hardin, the artist who created the satirical painting at left. However, the law in Tennessee is just the latest successful attack against the Constitution of the United States. Although the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and the interpreted right to freedom of expression, it has long been held that such a freedom is not all inclusive. It has long been held that you may not yell “fire” in a crowded movie house. Such a restriction on freedom of speech does seem logical, however today it is illegal to do so even if that movie house is on fire. Why? Because it might interfere with sales at the concession stand.

Minnesota

“A jury in Minneapolis held blogger John (Johnny North side) Hoff liable for $60,000 in damages for a truthful post charging that the plaintiff was involved in a high-profile mortgage fraud case. The jury agreed with the plaintiff’s claim that the blogger had committed “tortious interference” by meddling with Moore’s employment.” – (4)

Former community leader Jerry Moore was fired from Jordan Area Community Council in January 2009. Moore was later employed by a university to study mortgage foreclosures. When community blogger John Hoff learned of Moore’s new position, Hoff published an article accusing Moore of being previously involved in a “high-profile fraudulent mortgage” (5). Moore was fired the day after the article was made public.
According to The Star Tribune, there was some connection with the Larry Maxwell who was sentenced to a 16 year prison stay. While we can speculate as to why Moore was not himself charged, the important issue in this case is that the statements made by John Hoff were presented in court as being truthful. If those statements had not been truthful, Moore could have sued for libel.

The Jury was right that the actions of Johnny Hoff met the definition of “tortious interference”, but wrong to have sided with the law and against the First Amendment. However, the right of Jury Nullification is not explained to jurors. Juries are commonly informed that they must rule based on the law rather than their sense of the law. As a result, the people are unable to express their true will. If legislators have removed a civil right, a jury is not allowed to restore that right. That situation begs the question what happened to having a jury of ones piers.

“Jane Kirtley, a U of M professor of media law and ethics, called the lawsuit an example of “trash torts,” in which someone unable to sue for libel, which by definition involves falsity, reaches for another legal claim. She predicted the verdict will be overturned.” (5)

Ohio

Although some claim that cases like these are easily overthrown, we know of at least one man who was given what amounts to a death sentence for similarly truthful statements. In that case, after essentially being fired for becoming disabled, the defendant created an online protest against the Ohio incorporation he felt did not respect the Americans with Dissabuilities Act.

The plaintiff argued that the truth of the defendants statements were immaterial, that Ohio law makes “tortious interference” illegal without respect to the truth of statements made against an Ohio business. The defendant lost at summary judgment without so much as a jury of his peers because he foolishly argued that his detailing of the plaintiff’s illegal actions were true, proven by photographs and investigations conducted by that state’s Attorney General and Environmental Protection Agency. The decision, which included $250,000.00 in punitive damages (the largest amount legally awarded in the State of Ohio) amounts to a death sentence because those punitive damages cannot be dismissed by bankruptcy. The defendant, who is dependent on expensive medications to sustain his life, is permanently disabled. Judgement in hand, the plaintiff has seized the small business property which the defendant used to sustain his life giving medication. As we see in the Ohio case, if one cannot afford a defense attorney one does not in fact have a right to even a trial by jury. The last time I spoke with the Ohio man, his kidneys were failing due to lack of medication.

The Ohio case referenced dealt with internet postings on a server in Florida which were made from a lap top in Kentucky.  I conclude that the Ohio law makes truthful statements and critical commentary illegal across the globe if that critical commentary adversely effects a business within the state of Ohio.

Across the United States

Make no mistake. The attacks on the First Amendment are not limited to Tennessee, Minnesota, or Ohio. These laws are sweeping the nation. These laws are clear in their intention to protect business and politicians (the 1%) from the truthful speech, critical commentary, and even the right to inform the public of illegal activity. Their application is to shield the 1% from the growing power that the Internet has returned to the 99%. They are why my children will be raised to fight for the Constitution of the United States of America but not for the people who truly run it. Not with their service and not with their patronage.

Occupy Christmas during all seasons. Depend on small, local economy and keep your money from supporting further attacks on liberty.

Demand new laws which protect truthful speech and commentary because obviously the First Amendment simply is not enough where it is prohibited by law.

 

  1. http://www.history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html
  2. http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-39/chapter-17/part-3/39-17-308/
  3. http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/07/potentially-offensive-portrait-governor.html
  4. http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=eba7d8dc-9bec-40c0-af42-dc7a5809a9f6
  5. http://www.startribune.com/local/117805398.html

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Martial Law declared in United States

Posted by troublemaker on December 1, 2011

Although the American people are not hearing the term martial law, the right to habeas corpus (1) has been indefinitely suspended. Habeas corpus literally means “you may have the body”. It is one of the most basic rights of law which essentially demands a person be brought before a judge. Without the right to habeas corpus, a person may be arrested on suspicion alone, whisked off to a secret prison, and held indefinitely. Although defenders of the National Defense Authorization Act (2) claim it is necessary to detain subversives, one must wonder exactly what a subversive is considered these days. Speaking against the National Defense Authorization Act, Rand Paul claimed that currently a US citizen who owns firearms or maintains more than seven days of food in his or her home can be considered a terrorist suspect. (3)

Although this might sound reasonable to an urban dweller, here in the foot hills of Kentucky you would be hard pressed to find a person without a few guns or seven days of food in their home. This time of the year, there is a coyote gun over the back door, the garden is put up in the root cellar, and I imagine most of my neighbors have also prepared for winter. Just the other year, we had an ice storm which took out our electricity and left us on our own for about two weeks. Evidently, being prepared for winter is now reasonable suspicion of terrorist activity.

“That’s right the military will now have the power to lock up anyone, even American citizens without due process and without being convicted of a crime.” (3)

Making matters scarier, the Army Times (4) reported that the ACLU has expressed concerns over US troop training and deployment. That report, written in 2008, details troop development and deployment within the United States for activation in late 2011. Their purpose is clearly for use against US citizens, crowd and riot control. The ACLU has demanded further information from the US Federal Government. (5)

So while the press might not be telling you we are now living under martial law, the military has been deployed to the United States for crowd control and your constitutional rights have suspended. If not the definition martial law (6), what is it? As the president of the United States is himself the commander in chief of the US armed forces, one might also use the term dictatorship. Time will tell how this plays out, but things are not looking good for the freedom and liberty that US citizens value so much.

  1. Habeas Corpus at Wikipedia
  2. National Defense Act
  3. Rand Paul speaks up.
  4. Army Times
  5. ACLU Demand
  6. Wikipedia on Martial Law

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