One Man's Terrorist Is Another Man's Secretary of Homeland Security
As defined by the FBI, "the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives". This definition includes three elements:
(1) Terrorist activities are illegal and involve the use of force. (2) The actions are intended to intimidate or coerce. (3) The actions are committed in support of political or social objectives. (FEMA-SS)
So far, force against the majority of American citizens hasn't been used, but I say that elements two and three are smeared all over this latest announcement from Tom Ridge: we are intended to be intimidated by the latest announcement, and it's clear that it's been issued in pursuit of political objectives:
He couldn't say where. He couldn't say when. He couldn't say who. He couldn't say how. So why did Tom Ridge even bother coming out before the microphones and cameras yesterday, stirring up public anxiety about a pre-election terror attack?
Because their credibility was at risk
But how credible is Ridge's supposed evidence of a pre-election attack?
I have no idea. And neither, I promise you, does Tom Ridge. Or John Ashcroft, Or Dick Cheney. Or any of the other Bush administration officials who are shooting these vague warnings around. If a terror attack were as certain and as imminent as Ridge is making out, wouldn't he raise the color-coded terror threat immediately? He's leaving it at yellow, right where it is.
Watch carefully now. Something cynical is happening here.
With each new pointless warning, with each new breathless plea, those around George W. Bush are trying to link the terrorists with the Democrats. The implication isn't accidental, and it gets real ugly real fast: A vote for John Kerry, we are supposed to conclude, is a vote for Osama bin Laden.
You'd have to say that al-Qaida hasn't done too badly under George W. Bush, and not just because Bush was president during the 9/11 terror attacks. Bin Laden is still a free man. So is bin Laden's chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. And so is Mullah Mohammed Omar, the supreme Taliban leader and bin Laden's most important ally. And the war in Iraq has turned that country into a hotbed of terrorists from across the Middle East. The war and the occupation have been a rhetorical bonanza for al-Qaida and like-minded groups. American soldiers, controlling an oil-rich Muslim country! Killing innocent civilians, leaving embittered relatives behind! The Abu Ghraib prison-torture photos!
Can't you hear the terror recruiters now?
Sure can! I read the Arab and Muslim media as much as I can, and there are numerous reports of this very effect upon the Muslin population of the world, not that you could find them covered on FAUX News. I certainly hope that the BFEE/PNAC Pwtroelum Pirate Posse is satisfied with their result, which if plyed correctly, will guarantee that the political objective of subverting the Constitution and converting the United States of America into a corporate dictatorship whether any of their other plans come to fruition or not.
That's just one of the hypocrisies facing the American people which emanates from the Bush (mis)Administration. they talk a tough line, but it's only to be applied to those who aren't citizens, or who aren't looking like they are citizens. For example, the (mis)Administration is so worried about terrorism, why isn't this man on his way to Guantanamo?
A religious fundamentalist was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for plotting to blow up abortion clinics, churches he disagreed with, and gay bars after a judge ruled he is not a terrorist under federal law.
He's not going to go to Guantanamo or some military facility because he's a White Male Christian Republican!
Stephen John Jordi, who was turned in by relatives and church members, received the minimum sentence after U.S. district judge James Cohn decided not to treat him as a terrorist as the prosecutors requested. They had wanted Jordi to receive a sentence of seven to 10 years.
Cohn said federal laws require that plots have an international component to be considered terrorism. "This crime was strictly domestic and in no way transcended national boundaries," he said.
Male. Bovine. Excrement.
I never heard George Warmonger Bush make that excuse when he was going after Saddam for gassing the Kurds - citizens of his own country, just like the intended targets of this domestic bin Laden. Terrorism is terrorism, and the FBI definition above makes no such disctinction as this Monday, May 5, 2003 Bush Judicial Appointee [Last paragraph] makes in his ruling. Do you suppose Karl Rove had a hand in this?
[Gray Sidebar - Judge Cohn was confirmed on Thursday July 31, 2003, by the Senate on a 96-0 vote to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida - along with two other judges]
You lawyers out there just might want to take a peek at this - a questionaire on judicial proceedural matters filled out by the Honorable Judge Cohn - it might explain more about him. I'm no lawyer, and I couldn't tell you if he was a qualified jurist like he thinks he is or a political hack like I think he is. Maybe one of you can.
As a consumer, I feel so much better knowing Judge Cohn is on the job! As a uniion member, and as a politically active voter, I'm not so sure about him.
Congressman Robert Wexler has been granted an expedited calendar for the appeal of his state lawsuit by the 4th District Court of Appeals. Wexler’s state lawsuit argues that touch-screen voting machines violate Florida’s election laws, which require manual recounts in close elections. U.S. District Judge James Cohn granted an early and immediate pre-trial hearing on whether to grant an expedited schedule in the federal case. Wexler will appear in court for the hearing this Monday, March 22, 2004 at 9:00 A.M. at the United States District Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
A lawsuit Judge Cohn dismissed because "he didn't think a federal court should become 'deeply involved with election legislation and election procedures, which the Constitution and the Supreme Court have delegated to the states.' " Has someone notified Scalia????
Just try to tell me that this U.S. District Court Judge for S. Florida [May 1,2003] is NOT politically well-connected!!!
Rather than beat on Judge Cohn any further, I'm headed back to my original tack. Jurists such as Judge Cohn would merely make it hard to investigate criminal activity committed by the well-connected, such as the (I assume) contractors running about Afghanistan pretending to be counter-terrorists. There is certainly an international element in this story, Judge Cohn!
Three Americans arrested in Afghanistan were on a self-appointed counterterrorism mission that included abusing eight inmates in a private jail by hanging them by their feet, Afghan officials said Thursday. The U.S. Embassy identified one of the men detained Monday in a raid in Kabul as Jonathan K. Idema, a purported former Green Beret who claims to have links with Afghan militia forces. The American military has warned that Idema had been posing as a U.S. military or government employee. Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said the three men had, along with four Afghans also arrested Monday, "formed a group and pretended they were fighting terrorism."
These men should be tried under Afghan law, and even Judge Cohn can't save them now. but allow me to make one pertinent point:
It's no different if you are pretending to fight terrorism or if you are pretending to administer the wrath of God (which IS one of Osama's justifications), a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist.
It doesn't matter if you hide in a cave in Afghanistan or if you hide in the Halls of Government, intimidation and coersion are terrorist activities. Conducting terrorist activities makes one a terrorist.
While these activities I'm about to present are covered by a bad law, they otherwise would constitute terror activities on all three elements of the FBI definition.
The White House has gone to preventive war -- to protect the US government's newly-acquired right to spy on readers as part of counterterrorism investigations, promising to veto a multibillion-dollar spending bill if these powers are curtailed. The shot across the bow was fired Wednesday, ahead of a widely anticipated amendment by Representative Bernie Sanders that would prevent Federal Bureau of Investigation and other government agents from using a secret federal intelligence court to gain access to the reading records of library or bookstore patrons as part of counterterrorism probes.
But the White House will have none of it. Moving to nip the idea in the bud, the presidential Office of Management and Budget made clear it would rather see the whole appropriations bill die than allow changes to the USA Patriot Act.
I believe that a case can be made the USAP (U SAP - get it?) is merely legalized terrorism under the FBI's definition of the elements. Baring the legal cover, not cooperating with such an investigation threatens indefinite detention - a threatened use of force. These actions are intended to intimidate, and one can hardly deny that there is a political element to a law which inspires such a dogged defense of a bill which should be allowed to die, so that the constituent parts can be considered on their respective merits for renewal.
People will tend to avoid that which makes them afraid, and if some fear FBI retaliation for reading at a library, that might explain why the following is so:
The reading of books is on the decline in America, despite Harry Potter and the best efforts of Oprah Winfrey. A report released Thursday by the National Endowment for the Arts says the number of non-reading adults increased by more than 17 million between 1992 and 2002. Only 47 percent of American adults read 'literature' (poems, plays, narrative fiction) in 2002, a drop of 7 points from a decade earlier. Those reading any book at all in 2002 fell to 57 percent, down from 61 percent. NEA chairman Dana Gioia, himself a poet, called the findings shocking and a reason for grave concern. "We have a lot of functionally literate people who are no longer engaged readers," Gioia said in an interview with The Associated Press. "This isn't a case of 'Johnny Can't Read,' but 'Johnny Won't Read.'"
This is why it's so easy for the media to tout the Republican Party News and why people believe it unquestioningly. They don't/won't read, and they find it so much easier to let the media tell them what is going on. Control the media, and you control reality.
I'm not so sure that there is much of value to a terrorist in most libraries anyway. Now I can't attest for too many libraries, but if a terrorist was seeking information to plan a raid in my town's libraries, he'd better be prepared to deal with 'ancient' history! Our libraries haven't had much money to buy books lately (mostly due to California Republican anti-literacy policies, which eliminated library funding to protect property taxes - something I pay as a homeowner). He'd be much better served by the Internet, or even by our own government's USAID!
Is the FBI about to shut them down as a terrorist supporter? Somehow I doubt it!
There are other forms of terror that can be practiced. How about convincing retired folks on fixed incomes that you have the panacaea for their high drug costs and to support passage of your bill which really makes their medications even more expensive, while at the same time you make it illegal for them to seek other sources of medication??? And to lie about it all, forcing another official not to reveal the truth through threats and intimidation? For political reasons?
That is terror - and this man got away with it because he's politically well-connected:
The former Medicare chief pressured an agency official to keep secret his high cost estimates for prescription drug coverage for the elderly but did not break the law, government investigators said Tuesday.
Some congressional Democrats called for a congressional probe, saying the report lacked independence and relied on the administration's own legal reasoning.
The report found Scully acted "within the scope of his authority" and did not violate the law. However, investigators said they would have referred the matter for possible disciplinary action if Scully still worked for the government.
Is that why he " left the government last year for cushy job with a private Republican-oriented law firm"?
"Unfortunately, the chances of the public ever learning the whole story are dim. ... The need for a full congressional investigation is clearer than ever," Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, said in a statement.
But unfortunately, Our Elected Representatives have been kidnapped by The Best Government Corporate Campaign Contributions Can Buy, and are being held in pResident of Vice Dick Cheney's Secret Location:
TIME wrote: "Deep under Raven Rock Mountain, Site R is a secret world of five buildings, each three stories tall, computer-filled caverns and a subterranean water reservoir. It is just 7 miles from Camp David." Raven Rock Mountain is easily found using basic geographical maps.
At police headquarters yesterday, Commissioner Ray Kelly came out of his office after Tom Ridge was done in Washington. Kelly didn't pretend to know what the terrorists are planning - or who they'd vote for if they could. He said the only thing a big-city cop can ever say at such a time: His department will be ready at the end of August when the Republican National Convention comes to town.
Then, without being impolite to anyone in Washington, the New York police commissioner scoffed at the notion that al-Qaida has a candidate for U.S. president. "No," Kelly said plainly, "the information is not that they are trying to influence the election in a certain way." It's just that the terrorists have been emboldened. They could strike any time. And we'd better be ready for them.
They have already struck, they certainly remain emboldened, and their attitudes aren't going to change one bit. Take this blatant example:
Washington is abuzz over Rep. Jerry Weller's plans to marry Guatemalan congresswoman Zury Rios Sosa, whose father, Efrain Rios Montt, has been called that country's most notorious former dictator. Rios Sosa has been closely involved with her father's return to Guatemalan politics, helping run his unsuccessful presidential campaign in 2003. She also stands prominently in the Guatemalan Republican Front, the influential political party founded by her father.
Rios Montt, a retired general in the Guatemalan Army and charismatic evangelical preacher, seized power in a 1982 coup and declared a "scorched earth" campaign against leftist rebels who engaged in a 36-year civil war with the government. "The campaign entailed hundreds of massacres of indigenous communities," said Daniel Wilkinson, counsel for the America's Division of Human Rights Watch. Tens of thousands of people, mainly indigenous Mayans, were killed or disappeared. A United Nations report on the Guatemalan Civil War noted that the period of Rios Montt's rule, from 1982-1983, was the bloodiest in the nation's history.
Her ties to her father's politics are undeniable. At political rallies in 2003, she often spoke before him to whip up the crowd. At one such event, she called out to the crowd, "Guatemala knows he is the hard hand against narcotraffickers, organized crime and delinquency. What Guatemala wants is order, security and justice!" In fact, Guatemala did not want Rios Montt, and he placed third in the presidential election. He is currently under a loose house arrest and is being investigated for war crimes.
"The people of Guatemala know Zury Rios Sosa as a political leader. A popular vote getter," Weller said. But in much of Guatemala and internationally, she is better known for her loyalty to her father. In June 2003, when Rios Montt took a campaign trip to a rural village in the Guatemalan highlands, his car was pelted with rocks as villagers shouted "murderer" at him. Rios Montt was forced to flee, but his daughter had the final word on the incident. "What happened is a violation of human rights," she said of the villagers throwing stones.
Throwing stones at an oppressive governmental official is terrorism but the death of tens of thousands of indigent Mayans is not?
Certainly a woman only a terrorist Republican could love. I hope we can find a place with neighboring cells for them.
Copyrighted source material contained in this article is presented under the provisions of Fair Use.
FAIR USE NOTICE
This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.