Monday, September 27, 2010


By now you are very aware of the Justice Department of Barack Obama going nuts and sending in the FBI in four states to search, harass, and subpoena activists to a Chicago Federal grand jury.  While I remember back in the early 70s when grand juries popped up here, there, and everywhere targeting activists of the left wing variety, I'm not sure I recall anything quite so dramatic and draconian (as regards white activists, that is) since.  Last Friday's raids though were certainly a step in that direction.  This coming from the "hope and change" President whom the Oread Daily warned you wasn't all that much way before the election.

And today, in a follow up, the New York Times (the King of the Capitalist print media) reports the Obama Administration has drafted broad new regulations that will make it easier for cops and spooks to eavesdrop on your internet and e-mail communications.  The Times writes, 

"Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages."

"James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an Internet policy 
group, said the proposal had “huge implications” and challenged “fundamental elements of the Internet revolution” — including its decentralized design.

“They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet,” he said. “They basically want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.”
As is usual, the Justice Department cites threats of terrorism for both of the above actions.

For the millionth time folks, we have a one party system, one capitalist party with two wings.  While the two wings do have differences, they agree on the basics and they both will do whatever it takes to ensure THEIR SYSTEM is protected, not just Al Qaeda but from you and me, too.

The following articles come from the blog Ron Is Still Home and Op-Ed News respectively.


On September 24, 2010 the FBI raided several houses and a couple offices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago and North Carolina under the guise of looking for proof that the people living in those houses were involved with arganizations that "lent material support to terrorists." Ironically (or perhaps presciently) the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) also released an 88 page document titled The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the U.S on that day. Not content to criminalize the representation provided by attorneys to those accused of fomenting terrorism as in the case of Lynne Stewart, with these raids the Obama administration has stepped up the repression that became quite commonplace under George Bush. 

In short, the government is attempting to criminalize the organizing of antiwar protests. Furthermore, it wants to make opposition to Washington's assistance in repressing struggles for self-determination illegal. Other repressive actions by law enforcement against US citizens, including the sentencing of a videographer to 300 days in jail for trespass after he tried to film an unauthorized talk in Chicago and the acknowledgement by the Pittsburgh FBI office that it had spied on peace activists and used a private agency to help out, makes it clear that the PATRIOT Act and its excesses are alive and well under the Obama administration. Repression is a bipartisan activity, especially when it comes to the repression of the left.

These raids are a clear and vicious attempt to intimidate the antiwar movement. The grand jury is a fishing expedition, as evidenced (for example) by the warrant asking for papers from no determined time. This intimidation is a continuation of the harassment of the Twin Cities left/anarchist community that began before the 2008 Republican National Convention. If one recalls, several organizers had their homes and offices raided prior to the convention. In addition, hundreds of protesters were arrested and many more were beaten by law enforcement. Eight organizers were eventually charged with a variety of charges including conspiracy. As of September 25, 2010, three of those charged had all of their charges dropped and the rest face trial on October 25, 2010. 

This is not just about the movement in the Twin Cities, however. The September 24th raids also took place in Chicago and North Carolina. There is a grand jury being convened in October 2010 with the intention of perhaps charging some of the people (and maybe others) subpoenaed on September 24th. These raids are an attempt by the federal government to criminalize antiwar organizing They are also an attempt to make support for the Palestinians and other people fighting for self-determination illegal.

The PATRIOT Act was passed on October 26, 2001. Since that passage, the level of law enforcement intimidation and outright repression increased quite dramatically. From little things like protesters being forced to protest in so-called free speech zones or face arrest to the recent approval of the assassination of US citizens by federal death squads, there has been a clear progression away from any concern for protecting civil liberties. Indeed, the concern for civil liberties is usually dismissed by politicians, judges, and other people in power almost as if they were some worthless costume jewelry from your grandmother's jewelry box. As mentioned earlier, this harassment and repression is not new to US history. In addition to multiple murders of Black liberation activists, illegal surveillance, false imprisonment and other forms of harassment, the use of grand juries was essential to the repression of the antiwar and antiracist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. As the NLG document points out, "from 1970-1973, over 100 grand juries in 84 cities subpoenaed over 1,000 activists." However, nowadays there seems to be less resistance to it. Some of this can be attributed to the lack of press coverage, which is quite possible intentional. Much of the lack of concern, however, can be attributed to the state of fear so many US residents live in. This is a testimony to the power of the mainstream media and its willingness to serve as the government's propaganda wing.

To those who argue that the media doesn't always support the government and then cite Fox News' distaste for Obama or a liberal newspaper's distaste for certain policies enacted under George Bush, let me point something out. Like the two mainstream political parties (and the occasional right wing third party movement like the Tea Party), even when different media outlets seem to be opposing each other, the reality is that neither opposes the underlying assumptions demanded by the State. In fact, the only argument seems to be how better to effect the underlying plan of the American empire. The plan itself (or the rightness of the plan) is never seriously questioned.

The September 24, 2010 raids in the Twin Cities, Chicago and North Carolina may not seem like much, even to other antiwar organizers and leftists. The setting up of "free speech zones" may also appear minor. A grand jury fishing for supposed links to "terrorism" by antiwar activists may seem like no big deal. Violations of human rights in cases involving foreign nationals like Aafia Siddiqui (who was sentenced to 86 years after a trial that barely recognized her defense) do not even register on most Americans' radar. Yet, it is the cumulative effect of all of these efforts at repression that we should be aware of. As James Madison wrote: ""I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." If these seemingly minor encroachments on liberties we assume we have go unchallenged, how long might it be before assassinations and torture by the US military and their mercenary cohorts are carried out on US citizens? Oh wait, that's already happening.


by Paul Craig Roberts

On September 24, Jason Ditz reported on that "the FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of raids against the homes of antiwar activists in Illinois, Minneapolis, Michigan, and North Carolina, claiming that they are ‘seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.’"

Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: "The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’  is just that — the old view."  The new view, Napolitano said, is "to counter violent extremism right here at home."

"Violent extremism" is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning’s FBI foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with "the material support of terrorism," just as conservatives equated Vietnam era antiwar protesters with giving material support to communism.

Antiwar activist Mick Kelly, whose home was raided, sees the FBI raids as harassment to intimidate those who organize war protests. I wonder if Kelly is underestimating the threat. The FBI’s own words clearly indicate that the federal police agency and the judges who signed the warrants do not regard antiwar protesters as Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, but as unpatriotic elements offering material support to terrorism.

"Material support" is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government’s lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government’s declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason.

As this initial FBI foray is a softening up move to get the public accustomed to the idea that the real terrorists are their fellow citizens here at home, Kelly will get off this time.  But next time the FBI will find emails on his computer from a "terrorist group" set up by the CIA that will incriminate him. Under the practices put in place by the Bush and Obama regimes, and approved by corrupt federal judges, protesters who have been compromised by fake terrorist groups can be declared "enemy combatants" and sent off to Egypt, Poland, or some other corrupt American puppet state — Canada perhaps — to be tortured until confession is forthcoming that antiwar protesters and, indeed, every critic of the US government, are on Osama bin Laden’s payroll.

Almost every Republican and conservative and, indeed, the majority of Americans will fall for this, only to find, later, that it is subversive to complain that their Social Security was cut in the interest of the war against Iran or some other demonized entity, or that they couldn’t have a Medicare operation because the wars in Central Asia and South America required the money.

Americans are the most gullible people who ever existed. They tend to support the government instead of the Constitution,  and almost every Republican and conservative regards civil liberty as a coddling device that encourages criminals and terrorists.

The US media, highly concentrated in violation of the American principle of a diverse and independent media, will lend its support to the witch hunts that will close down all protests and independent thought in the US over the next few years. As the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels said, "think of the press as a great keyboard on which the Government can play."

An American Police State was inevitable once Americans let "their" government get away with 9/11. Americans are too gullible, too uneducated, and too jingoistic to remain a free people.  As another Nazi leader Herman Goering said, "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. Tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace-makers for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger."

This is precisely what the Bush and Obama regimes have done. America, as people of my generation knew it, no longer exists.

Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. 

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