Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Return Of MKULTRA

The Return of MKULTRA? Evidence Mounts that Drugs Were Used on CIA “Ghost Detainees” During Coercive Interrogations

In A Question of Torture, historian Alfred W. McCoy tracks the nightmarish world of the CIA’s Project ARTICHOKE and its later metastasis, MKULTRA through two distinct, though overlapping phases:

First, esoteric, often bizarre experiments with hypnosis and hallucinogenic drugs, from 1950 to 1956; then, more conventional research into human psychology until 1963 when the agency compiled the fruits of this costly investigation in a definitive interrogation manual.1

As revelations emerge that top Bush administration officials gave the intelligence “community” and Pentagon a “green light” to torture, evidence mounts that CIA and Special Operations Command interrogators used mind-altering drugs on prisoners subjected to coercive interrogations.

According to a report published in Tuesday’s Washington Post,

At least two dozen… former and current detainees at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere say they were given drugs against their will or witnessed other inmates being drugged, based on interviews and court documents.

Like [Adel al-] Nusairi, other detainees believed the injections were intended to coerce confessions.2

The Pentagon and the CIA deny the charges, claiming that the stories are “either fabrications or mistaken interpretations of routine medical treatment,” Warrick reports.

However, the allegations have returned with a vengeance after this month’s release of a Justice Department memo that explicitly approved the use of drugs on prisoners.

The March 2003 memo, penned by Office of Legal Counsel attorney John Yoo, rejected a decades-old ban on the use of “mind-altering substances,” on prisoners. Yoo argued that drugs could be used provided they did not inflict permanent and “profound” psychological damage. The memo claims that U.S. law, as interpreted by Bushist torture enablers, “does not preclude any and all use of drugs.”

When coupled with “reverse-engineered” interrogation techniques derived from the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program, the forced drugging of detainees at Guantánamo Bay’s Camp Delta detention facility and CIA “black sites,” all but guarantee a regime of “profound” psychological torture.

In a report published earlier this month, Congressional Quarterly’s Jeff Stein reports,

‘The new Yoo memo, along with other White House legal memoranda, shows clearly that the policy foundation for the use of interrogational drugs was being laid,’ says Stephen Miles, a University of Minnesota bioethicist and author of ‘Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror.’ ‘The recent memo on mood-altering drugs does not extend previous work on this area,’ he said. ‘The use of these drugs was anticipated and discussed in the memos of January and February 2002 by DoD, DoJ, and White House counsel using the same language and rationale. The executive branch memos laid a comprehensive and reiterated policy foundation for the use of interrogational drugs.’3

With a “green light” from the administration, Guantánamo Bay torturers’ got what they wanted from Adel al-Nusairi: a forced “confession.” A former Saudi policeman captured in 2002 by U.S. forces in Afghanistan, el-Nusairi told his attorney during an interview at America’s premier gulag, that after hours of interrogation, always preceded by an injection of an unknown drug, his interrogators would rouse him from a fitful sleep–for more questions.

“I was completely gone,” he remembered. “I said, ‘Let me go. I want to go to sleep. If it takes saying I’m a member of al-Qaeda, I will,” according to the Washington Post.

As documented by investigative reporter Stephen Grey in Ghost Plane, prisoners destined for CIA “black sites” or other notorious dungeons in Central Asia or the Middle East, were administered sedatives by “rendition teams” to “calm” their shackled and hooded victims.

These new reports suggest that upon arrival, suspected “terrorists”–real or imaginary–have been drugged as an integral element of their “enhanced interrogation” experience.

French national Mourad Benchellali, a Guantánamo prisoner for three years related how after being administered “medicine” or “vitamins” by his captors said that “these medicines gave us headaches, nausea, drowsiness,” Benchellali wrote in an e-mail to the Washington Post. “But the effects were different for different detainees. Some fainted or threw up. Some had reactions such as pimples.”

But then there were periods when things were demonstrably worse. Benchellali described that periodic injections, “often administered by force,” left him by degrees, feeling nauseated and light-headed. “We were always tired and always felt groggy.”

Benchellali related to Warrick how “a different type of injection seemed to be reserved for detainees who were particularly uncooperative.” The former prisoner described episodes also related by four other detainees in interviews or court documents, of a particularly chilling quality. “The injection would make them crazy. They would have a crisis or dementia — yelling, no longer sleeping, soiling themselves. Some of us suspected they were given LSD.”

As did the attorney representing accused “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla during his three year stint as an “enemy combatant” in a naval brig.

Michael Caruso, the chief federal defender who represented Padilla asserted in a motion last year that his client “was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations,” according to Congressional Quarterly’s Jeff Stein.

Nor would it be the first time the U.S. government used drugs as a means to induce a “confession” from a “resistant subject.” The CIA’s KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual, has this to say:

Drugs can be effective in overcoming resistance not dissolved by other techniques. As has already been noted, the so-called silent drug (a pharmacologically potent substance given to a person unaware of its administration) can make possible the induction of hypnotic trance in a previously unwilling subject. …

Particularly important is the reference to matching the drug to the personality of the interrogatee. The effect of most drugs depends more upon the personality of the subject than upon the physical characteristics of the drugs themselves. If the approval of Headquarters has been obtained and if a doctor is at hand for administration, one of the most important of the interrogator’s functions is providing the doctor with a full and accurate description of the psychological make-up of the interrogatee, to facilitate the best possible choice of a drug.

Persons burdened with feelings of shame or guilt are likely to unburden themselves when drugged, especially if these feelings have been reinforced by the interrogator. And like the placebo, the drug provides an excellent rationalization of helplessness for the interrogatee who wants to yield but has hitherto been unable to violate his own values or loyalties.

Like other coercive media, drugs may affect the content of what an interrogatee divulges. Gottschalk notes that certain drugs “may give rise to psychotic manifestations such as hallucinations, illusions, delusions, or disorientation”, so that “the verbal material obtained cannot always be considered valid.” For this reason drugs (and the other aids discussed in this section) should not be used persistently to facilitate the interrogative debriefing that follows capitulation. Their function is to cause capitulation, to aid in the shift from resistance to cooperation. Once this shift has been accomplished, coercive techniques should be abandoned both for moral reasons and because they are unnecessary and even counter-productive.4 [emphasis added]

Note the emphasis above: if a doctor is at hand for administration. Which inevitably gives rise to the question: were physicians or other health care professionals present during torture sessions? The answer unfortunately, may be “yes.”

According to psychoanalyst Stephen Soldz, a fierce critic of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) cozy relationship with the CIA and Pentagon throughout Washington’s “war on terror,” some APA members advised interrogators on the most “effective” techniques to psychologically “break” detainees. Soldz writes,

At this point it is unknown if psychologists are involved as among those “health” professionals who involuntarily administered drugs. But we should remember that, thanks partly to military support, a number of psychologists can now legally prescribe drugs. And some of those prescribing psychologists were with the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams [BSCTs] at Guantánamo. It also should be remembered that in 2003 the American Psychological Association co-sponsored with the CIA an invitation-only Science of Deception Workshop that discussed, among other topics, “What pharmacological agents are known to affect apparent truth-telling behavior?” CIA consultant torturers James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were among those invited to attend, as were several of their superiors.5

As Washington’s “bad apples”–wide swathes of the national security apparatus–”took the gloves off” and went to “work the dark side” as vice president Dick Cheney recommended shortly after the September 11 attacks, those with “boots on the ground,” CIA officers, Special Forces operators and mercenary contractors, inevitably complied.

Just as inevitably, new documents–and ever-more revelatory horrors–will emerge, a steady drip, drip, drip from the suppurating wound that is the “post-Constitutional” order created by the rogue Bush regime.

  1. Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror, New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006, p. 26. #
  2. Joby Warrick, “Detainees Alleged Being Drugged, Questioned,” Washington Post, Tuesday, April 22, 2008, Page A01. #
  3. Jeff Stein, “Evidence Grows of Drug Use on Detainees,” Congressional Quarterly, April 4, 2008. #
  4. KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation, J. Narcosis, July 1963. #
  5. Stephen Soldz, “A Crisis for the Health Professions: The Involuntary Drugging of U.S. Detainees,” CounterPunch, April 23, 2008. #

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press. Read other articles by Tom, or visit Tom's website.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Holy Joe, Again. Someone Needs To Lock Him Up, For His Own Good

If God Has a problem with Iran, let God deal with it.

Lieberman at Hagee Conference: U.S. Should Attack Iran because God Hates Israel’s Enemies

Despite popular outcry from the American Jewish community, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman pressed ahead with his third annual appearance at John Hagee's summit for Christians United For Israel (CUFI), an evangelical group with powerful fundraising capabilities and long-standing ties to DC insiders including President Bush. Over 42,000 petitioners called for Lieberman to renounce the controversial televangelist as Senator John McCain did this past May when it was discovered Hagee was selling DVDs which included a speech he made implying that the creation of Israel was the result of God's plan for Hitler to wipe out six million Jews. Although it is well-known the membership of CUFI adopts an apocalyptic theology calling for the annihilation of the Jewish race as a key part of the impending rapture, Lieberman's logic is unclear to many in the Jewish community who sincerely hope God will not exterminate them any time soon.

(That's not entirely accurate, if it is possible to be accurate about such nuttiness. The rapture happens before all of the roasting, toasting and poaching. That way the "raptured" can join Jesus in the good seats as the rest of us endure the tribulation, like fans at a football game, rooting for Satan to torture us all all do death, or is that Alberto Gonzales doing the torturing for Satan?

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

OMG! Bush Says Regimes Should Not Ignore Will Of People

This, coming from Bush would be LOL, fall-in-the-floor funny, were people not dying because Bush totally ignores
the will of Americans.

Bush: ‘No regime should ignore the will of its own people.’

In a statement regarding new sanctions against Zimbabwe today, President Bush declares that “no regime should ignore the will of its own people“:

The regime has also continued its ban against NGO activities that would provide assistance to the suffering and vulnerable people of Zimbabwe. No regime should ignore the will of its own people and calls from the international community without consequences.

TPM’s Eric Kleefeld notes the irony of the Bush administration, which proudly ignores public opinion in the United States, instructing other countries to listen to “the will of its own people.” Kleefeld suggests that the administration look at “the direction of polling data at home — not to mention international opinion — showing that people want a timetable to withdraw from Iraq.”

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ex-Advisors Warn Against Threatening Iran

It takes ex-advisers such as these men to figure this out? Hell we could have told the Bushies this years ago!

It seems odd to me that a man, like Junior, would spend his entire first term, and now he is shouting ever louder, telling everyone who would listen that Iranian leadership is NUTZ; you know, the real macadamia in this loony bin we call the global community. According to just about everyone in this White House, and certainly everyone at Fuax Noise, Ahmedejhad is some kind of insane end-timer (not unlike Junior's pew-mates) who intends to bring about the end of days (at least for Israel.) Oooo.K.

We get it. Ahmedinejad is a full blown psychotic.

So why, Junior and company, do you keep poking at him? It doesn't take a first year psychologist to know that you just don't poke at a psychotic. Why, that would be a truly igornant thing to do, unless you're goal is to bring about a very psychotic response from said psychotic person. Of course, that would be a psychotic thing to do, thus making Junior and his henchmen NUTZ as well.

Oh, crap. We are so screwed!

Or maybe not. Maybe Jesus, the hidden Imam (is that it?) and Moses himself, for that matter, are going to come back. Actually descend through the clowds, very dramatic, and proceed to bitch slap every religious hater and say:

You may well be a vicious, cowardly, vengeance-seeking group of moral and religious whores, who will either believe or sell a whole lot of horse-hockey as the truth, making tons of money off our names and treating each other like the scum you believe you are and are doing a good job of actually being, and for that reason and many more, we are gonna slap you "back to where you once belonged."

Another time in space, another dimension.

The rest of mankind, who longs for peace, abundance, social justice and that sort of "satanic thing," you know, Heaven on Earth, Eden, the Kingdom of God, as they are described in scripture, shall live into the next world, as this one passes away.

There, will mankind continue to aspire to all-goodness, through hope, faith in knowledge and community.

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 23, 2008; A11

The Bush administration should stop talking about a military attack as an option if negotiations do not immediately halt Iran's uranium reprocessing program, two former national security advisers said yesterday.

"Don't talk about 'do we bomb them now or later?' " said Brent Scowcroft, adviser to presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush, during a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on the negotiations between the United States and Iran.

Scowcroft added that by mentioning that threat, "we legitimize the use of force . . . and may tempt the Israelis" to carry out such a mission. He said he thinks that negotiations must continue and that sanctions have had an effect on Tehran, noting that even with elevated oil prices, Iran, alone among oil producers, is having a difficult time economically.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, adviser to President Jimmy Carter, described the Bush administration's policy of maintaining the option of military action as "counterproductive."

"I don't want the public to believe a preemptive attack can be justified," he said. Repeating the possibility "convinces Iran it is being threatened . . . and maybe it ought to have a [nuclear] weapon."

He added that a U.S. attack on Iran would be a "disaster," suggesting it could result in the U.S. fighting "for at least two decades" on four fronts -- Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Brzezinski said he fears that if negotiations break down between now and the end of the year, some in the Bush administration might believe "it justifies doing something."

Both former advisers said they think both Washington and Tehran are internally divided on how to proceed, making progress difficult before the next U.S. president takes office. But they said that President Bush's sending Undersecretary of State William J. Burns to the most recent negotiations with Iran was a positive step.

"It brings the U.S. solidly in with the Europeans and the Russians," Scowcroft said.

Both also said there are parallels between negotiations with Iran and previous talks with North Korea on its nuclear programs. One difference is the role of China: Scowcroft pointed out that the Chinese, once engaged in the North Korea discussions, were "decisive" because Beijing has enormous economic leverage over Pyongyang.

China does not have similar influence over Iran. Scowcroft said that in partnership with the Germans, the two "could affect the Iran negotiations."

Staff writer Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Lieberman has Apparently Blown A Circuit

Lieberman Compares Hagee To Moses, Says Bloggers Would Have Attacked Him Too»

41176850.jpg Yesterday, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). spoke at the controversial pastor John Hagee’s Christians United For Israel Washington-Israel Summit. Lieberman’s close political ally, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), finally rejected Hagee’s endorsement in May. Lieberman, however, says he still has the utmost respect for the pastor, who once said that Hurricane Katrina was punishment to New Orleans for hosting a gay pride parade.

In his address last night, Lieberman used the “tone” of a biblical sermon. He blasted bloggers, reaffirmed his bond with Hagee, and compared the pastor to biblical figures. The Hartford Courant reports:

In response to what he termed the “pretty aggressive campaign,” Lieberman said in his speech, “The bond I feel with Pastor John Hagee and each and every one of you is much stronger than that and so I am proud to stand with you here tonight.”

Lieberman again drew a parallel between Hagee and biblical figures, this time saying biblical heroes, unlike the demigods of Greek mythology, “are humans — great humans, but with human failings.” Lieberman said that Moses had his shortcomings, too.

“Dear friends, I can only imagine what the bloggers of today would have had to say about Moses and Miriam.”

In justifying his decision to speak to Christians United, Lieberman claimed that Hagee has “expressed his regrets about each of the most controversial statements he has made.” In fact, though Hagee pledged “a greater level of compassion and respect for my Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ,” and apologized to Jews, he has never expressed regret over his comments about Katrina.

So according to Lieberman, endorsing John McCain and making offensive comments = parting the Red Sea.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Police States Popping Up All Over

Looks Like we should all buy Tasers, now.

Taser Deaths Are Rising - Can We Defend Ourselves From Abuse?

Taser deaths are rising throughout the United States, Canada, and other global communities whom have adopted their use. Tasers are not safe, and their use constitutes cruel and unusual punishment; under some circumstances, the Taser is used as an instrument of torture against ordinary citizens, some of whom are losing their lives. It’s time for Congress to step-in and regulate Tasers just as they do firearms, and discharging a Taser should not be common-place, but the exception rather than the rule.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

End Around Democrats For Rover

Seems the only way to get Rove is on his on terms; against the law.

Find him and beat him within an inch of his rotten life.

Rove End-Runs House Democrats - Jason Leopold

Former White House political adviser Karl Rove, who has refused to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, ran an end-around against Democratic leaders by having his denial of sponsoring a political prosecution inserted into the Congressional Record by a senior Republican. Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the committee’s ranking Republican, submitted a written question-and-answer exchange with Rove in which the political strategist said he played no role in the controversial prosecution of Alabama’s former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman. The surprise move angered the panel’s Democratic leaders who have been discussing whether to hold Rove in contempt for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena that demanded that he testify under oath at a hearing two weeks ago.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

More of Obama in Berlin.

Berlin, more than any other city, represented Communism v. Capitalism. Of course it was framed as Communism v. Democracy (a term the Republicans seem to no longer understand but use when it helps their cause). There is a huge difference and, had most Americans had the civics/American history teachers and the mother I was blessed to have, they would know that that has been the false but very expensive struggle in which we have been engaged throughout our lifetimes.

Is anyone else as sick of this as I am?

If you are too young to remember McCarthy, Nixon and Launch-on-Warning computers in Soviet Russia, and our missiles 5 minutes from Moscow; the Contras, the Bush instigated arms to Iran for money and arms for the Contras, circumventing the will of congress, as stated in the Boland amendment and, therefore, the people.

I'm sick of it! I am real sick!

I am ready for something drastic (non-violent, ofcourse), but something that will wake up this race of people.

The Democratic presidential nominee, who delivers the sole public foreign policy speech of his overseas tour here Thursday, was dubbed 'president of the world' by Der Spiegel.

I can understand the emotions, especially after the Junior and Dick Show, but that phrasing is unfortunate.

The centerpiece of Barack Obama's overseas tour comes Thursday in Berlin when the Democratic presidential candidate gives the only public foreign policy speech of his trip to an Obama-mad crowd of Germans who see him as another John F. Kennedy. He's in a country and a continent making no secret it is ready for change.

"Germans have a great desire to see this as a historic moment," says Bastian Hermisson of the Heinrich Boll Foundation, who estimates that 100,000 will turn out for the speech. "His message that people can hope the world can change for the better – that resonates. The excitement is a sign that we still feel the US is a relevant force, an influence for better or worse."

On his much-scrutinized world jaunt to listen and learn, the Illinois senator is visiting a city at the heart of America's traditional alliance after visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, where the US-Europe relationship is most at risk for reasons of war, oil, and security.

Berlin, twice rebuilt in the 20th century, has symbolic significance, experts say – both for Europe's past and its future. Germany is regarded as the political epicenter of Europe, strategically located between East and West. America may cherish its relations with Paris and London, where Obama travels next, but to move Europe as a whole will require the next president to bolster ties with Berlin, experts say.

"In Berlin, his speech is to Europe, not just to Germany," says Dan Hamilton, director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington. "It used to be that for the US, the problems were Europe's divisions. Today, the challenge is unity. Berlin reflects this in a way no other city in Europe does."

This city, with its plethora of historical sites, reflects many fears and hopes of the new Europe: Berlin has the largest Turkish population outside Turkey. New immigrant groups mean that in some schools, very little German is spoken. Russian-language newspapers abound in the subway press stands. There are fears of a rising China, and, closer to home, angst about rapidly depopulating cities in the old East.

Berlin is special in the American framework, too: the place where fascism peaked and was defeated; ground zero for the fight over the political values of democracy and communism, for Kennedy's "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today it is where East meets West in a vastly freer but more complicated world.

Obama is expected to stress that an America under his leadership would not act unilaterally, will close Guantánamo, be newly cooperative with Europe on climate change and energy. But the presumptive nominee is also expected to add a note of realism, saying that a productive new relationship will require more of Europe – in Afghanistan, and even in Iraq.

Dr. Hamilton, a former deputy assistant secretary of State, anticipates something like, "If Europe and the US stick together, they represent a core group that can get things done in this world. If we don't work together, things don't get done. Iraq and [the] Kyoto [Protocol] are examples."

"The guy needs to demonstrate a willingness to move toward a multilateral approach," says François Heisbourg, head of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research. "I don't think the Europeans expect a detailed foreign policy speech. They want to know if he's a quick learner, does he understand how serious security policy is?"

His audience isn't likely to be hard to win over. Obama may be taking political heat at home, and he's run into a local spat over the location of the Berlin speech. But Germans on both the left and right don't seem to care: 76 percent of Berliners would vote for him, and he's been dubbed by influential news magazine Der Spiegel as "the president of the world." He could "stand on his head" and it wouldn't matter, said one media critic.

Obama originally sought to speak at the historic Brandenburg Gate, but Chancellor Angela Merkel disapproved. "No German candidate for high office would even think of using the National Mall [in Washington] ... for a rally because it would not be seen as appropriate," said spokesman Thomas Steg.

The alternative venue, a famous winged victory column not far away – the Siegessäule featured in the hauntingly beautiful Wim Wenders film "Wings of Desire" – will allow cameras to still frame Obama with the Gate behind.

Obama will, however, meet with Mrs. Merkel. Born and raised in East Germany and fluent in Russian, she is expected to brief him on why Europe has a different take on Moscow. The next US president will have to deal with the thorny question of NATO expansion into Georgia and Ukraine next year – opposed by Germany, but broadly supported by both US parties.

Karen Donfried, vice president of the German Marshall Fund in Washington, argues that Obama's upside in Europe is his ability to inspire. "He's an inspirational individual and that may be important when it comes to offering a vision that asks Europeans to do more. Currently there's a disconnect between policy elites and the public in Europe."

Obama's post-cynical style "makes it possible to have faith in politics," agrees Norbert Rottgen, of Merkel's conservative CDU party.

The potential downside, Dr. Donfried says, would take place if Senator McCain defeats Obama. "The Europeans all think Obama is already elected, they think he will win. If he doesn't, it's going to be a huge letdown in Europe."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Here It Comes! The Next Big Sortage.....Water

Call it a bizarre water season or think of it as our future. In the Midwest, 500-year level floods. That means hydrologists believe that "a flood of this magnitude has a 0.2 percent chance (1 in 500) of happening in a given year in a specific location." Of course, the last 500-year Midwestern floods happened only an uncomfortable 15 years ago in 1993. In the Southwest and Southeast, there have been droughts that, in the last year, have threatened to outrun recorded history, and then, of course, there's California. That state has received a "record lack of rainfall" -- state capital Sacramento got only 0.17 of an inch of rain this spring, thoroughly wiping out the previous record set in 1934. The result, of course, has left the state burning up well before its normal fire season officially begins about now.

You might think that Mother Nature, acting like some vengeful goddess, was sending a message to our legislators, but, as former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega points out below, don't count on them paying much attention. We seem, in short, to be up a swollen creek without a paddle. (Or is it a dry gulch with lots of tinder and too many matches?) De la Vega "indicted" George W. Bush at this site back in November 2006 and wrote the popular book -- a TomDispatch spinoff -- United States v. George W. Bush et al.. She now returns focused on a remarkably crucial long-term problem -- water -- and a remarkably consistent, do-nothing Congress. Tom

Our National Water Policy…

Oh, Wait, We Don't Have One
By Elizabeth de la Vega

"Lisa, the whole reason we have elected officials is so we don't have to think all the time. Just like that rainforest scare a few years back. Our officials saw there was a problem and they fixed it, didn't they?" -- Homer Simpson

On June 24, 2008, Louie and I curled up on the couch to watch seven of the nation's foremost water resources experts testify before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

This was a new experience for us. For my part, the issue to be addressed -- "Comprehensive Watershed Management Planning" -- was certainly a change of pace from the subjects I ordinarily follow in Judiciary and Intelligence Committee hearings. I wasn't even entirely sure what a "watershed" was. I knew that, in a metaphorical sense, the word referred to a turning point, but I was a bit fuzzy about its meaning in the world of hydrology. (It's the term used to describe "all land and water areas that drain toward a river or lake.")

What was strange from Louie's point of view was not the topic of the day, but that we were stuck in the house. Usually at that hour, we'd be working in the backyard, where he can better leverage his skill set, which includes chasing squirrels, digging up tomato plants, eating wicker patio chairs, etc. On this particular afternoon, however, the typically cornflower-blue San Jose sky was the color of wet cement, and thick soot was charging down from the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains. Sitting outside would have been about as pleasant as relaxing in a large ashtray.

It would have been difficult, on such a day, not to think about water.

June 24, 2008: Water on the Brain

In California, of course, it was the lack thereof. Thanks to the driest spring on record in many areas -- including in San Jose, where recordkeeping began in 1875 -- the whole state was parched. Far worse, large chunks of it were burning. To be precise, on June 24th, there were 842 wildfires blazing, the result of "dry lightning," which -- I've now learned -- happens when conditions are so dry that the rain never makes it to the plain. It evaporates in mid-air.

In the Midwest, on the other hand, water was everywhere, cascading across the land and through towns; or, it was threatening to do so, as terrified homeowners and volunteers desperately hoisted sandbags onto levees that were failing, due to forces as powerful as the mighty Mississippi and as seemingly innocuous as burrowing muskrats. The flooding had been ongoing for weeks, killing dozens of people, displacing thousands, and causing billions of dollars of crop, building, and other damage. With California burning and Iowa underwater, the Red Cross national disaster relief fund for 2008 was already entirely depleted, although six months of potential weather devastation of various sorts still lie ahead. The balance, its finance director had announced, was "zero."

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Weekly News was reporting that the deluge had swept record amounts of storm-water into lakes and rivers, "bringing along pollutants from urban streets, farm fields and construction sites." To make matters worse, as of late June, Wisconsin communities had already identified 164 "overflow events" -- a polite term for the release of untreated sewage into the state's waters.

Where were all these chemicals and all that muck ultimately headed? Some of it would be spewed into the Great Lakes, already beset by a host of problems. To name a few: slimy Eurasian water milfoil that clogs boat propellers, fish viruses, chemicals that cause glandular disturbances (think: intersex fish), Asian carp that eat everything in sight, zebra mussels by the trillions, and -- not to be forgotten -- lots and lots of chicken manure. (This is a huge and serious issue, but I can't resist mentioning that it was the topic of the recent Great Lakes Manure Handling Expo, which you may have missed.)

The quality of water in the Great Lakes was not the only challenge; there are also myriad ongoing conflicts about quantity -- about the right to use the 6 quadrillion tons of water the five lakes contain. Ironically, on June 24th, Nestlé Corporation, a party to an infamous Great Lakes water dispute, was also facing a water quality problem. That very day, the Federal Drug Administration notified Northeasterners that Nestle's Pure Life Purified Drinking Water was not as pure as might be imagined. After filling its bottles with Lake Michigan water, Nestle had managed to contaminate some of that very same bottled water with cleaning compound.

But back to the June floods. Where else will the pollution from them be heading? For one thing, down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. When it gets there, the nitrogen and phosphorus swept into the current from upriver farmers' fields will do what those farmers intended it to do: make things grow. Unfortunately, it will be fertilizing algae, which sucks oxygen out of its surrounding waters as it decomposes, adding to an already existing "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico where marine life can no longer live.

Even before the relentless late spring rains, scientists had predicted that, in the summer of 2008, this barren area off the Louisiana coast would grow to be a Massachusetts-sized 10,000 square miles. Post-flood, with even more fertilizer and freshwater pouring into the Gulf, that estimate was increased to 12,000 square miles or more, the equivalent of the state of Maryland.

Now, I'm neither a scientist, nor an engineer, nor anything remotely similar to either of the above. Once we got past the planaria in Biology 101, I could never find whatever it was we were supposed to be analyzing on that microscope slide. (I'm not proud of this: it's simply the stark, unvarnished truth.) But even to a layperson, these Viewmaster shots of the extreme water issues facing the United States in the summer of 2008 -- random as they may seem -- suggest a panoramic picture of the state of water resources management in this country. In four words, it is sheer chaos.

Still Floundering After All These Years

It would be easy, even tempting, to blame the turbulent state of the nation's water affairs on the Bush administration. Certainly, they've provided ample cause: gutting, and failing to enforce, the Clean Water Act, for instance, and, at best, simply ignoring the obvious problems of floods, droughts, and hurricanes, of shifting weather patterns, of contaminants old and new, and a myriad of other water disasters through eight long years.

The truth is, though, that scientists, engineers, and environmental planners have been advising Congress for years that holistic watershed management is the only rational and practical way to address complex water quality and quantity issues. Why that persistent recommendation? As Delaware River Basin Commission Executive Director Carol Collier told the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment on June 24th, bodies of water don't respect political boundaries; we have to manage them "on the rivers' terms." And the stakeholders from both riverbanks -- as well as from up and downstream -- all need to be at the table. Notwithstanding this long-term chorus of expert advice, our elected officials have merrily continued to legislate piecemeal, funding billions of dollars of local water-related projects without regard to their overall value or impact.

Tragically, as it turns out, faced with the urgent need to change our management of U.S. waters, Congress has, for decades, been standing "up on the watershed" -- just as in the Indigo Girls song -- and they've been floundering. But you can't say it hasn't been a bipartisan effort.

Although the witnesses at the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee hearing were decidedly nonpartisan, the testimony of each and every one made this fact abundantly, even painfully, clear. They were all measured and polite, of course, but you didn't have to be Karnac the Magnificent to sense the frustration.

Consider, for example, the testimony of Larry Larson, the Executive Director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers. He began: "Once again we are seeing devastating floods in the Midwest -- likely billions in losses to farms, homes, businesses and infrastructure." Then, he ticked off some causes: population growth, migration, climate changes, degradation of water-based resources, deteriorating infrastructures, encouraging wetlands-draining and crop growth on marginal land, addressing water quality but not quantity, over-reliance on dams and levees to prevent floods.

His conclusion?

"Without dramatic shifts in our approaches and actions, by 2050 flood losses are likely to be far greater, ecosystems may well collapse, the nation's quality of life will be diminished, and all hope of sustainable communities will be lost."

Not long after that cheery forecast, there was Paul Freedman, Vice President of the Water Environment Federation and President of LimnoTech, an Ann Arbor-based water consulting firm. While preparing his presentation, he said, he had recognized some irony:

"Twelve years ago this month, I co-chaired one of the earliest and largest watershed conferences ever to occur. [The Water Environment Federation] organized it jointly with fifteen federal agencies. Well over a thousand experts participated and more than five thousand participated through videoconference… At the time it was kind of this aha moment, you know, we'd made enormous progress since the Clean Water Act of 1972, but further progress toward restoring the physical, chemical and biologic health of our water resources, and protecting public health and well-being was stalled.

"Everyone agreed there, watershed management was the only answer to take us into the twenty-first century."

Of course, that particular aha moment occurred in 1996. But University of Maryland Professor of Engineering Gerald Galloway -- a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General who was the 2007 President of the American Water Resources Association -- had a similar one in 1994.

After floods in 1993 had devastated many of the same Mississippi River towns that were once again inundated on June 24, 2008, he led an interagency team to study the complex problem of floodplain management. And, unsurprisingly, his team concluded that the United States should abandon its project-by-project approach to water resources. Not only, they pointed out, does such fragmented funding lead to ineffective, sometimes conflicting results, it actually forecloses possibilities for cooperation by, and among, federal agencies. As Galloway noted, "If you don't have the money, it's awfully hard to come to the party."

We could rewind to even earlier aha moments. On February 17, 1952, for example, a New York Times headline reads, "Bill Asks Policy for River Basins: President's Commission Files Draft that Sums Up its Plan for Water Resources." The President in question was Harry Truman and the plan was, according to the article, "based solidly on the commission's original and far-reaching premise that entire river basins must be considered in one broad and uniform policy." In 1933, of course, the United States formed the Tennesee Valley Authority to execute a model comprehensive, collaborative approach to the water and power issues in that region. It has been, in Galloway's words, a "shining example" -- albeit one rarely followed.

Words of the Day

In the end, when it came to an assessment of the current state of our national water policy, there were precious few positive sentiments voiced at the hearing. Instead, the most often-used descriptions were alarmingly negative.

As applied to programs and projects, the words of the day included fractured, ad hoc, isolated, random, haphazard, inconsistent, stovepiped, and mish-mash. Relative to congressional committees and federal agencies, the term was hodge-podge. Larry Larson testified that there are a grand total of 36 congressional subcommittees that oversee water-related issues in some fashion or another -- with few clearly-delineated divisions of authority.

And just how many federal offices are there in this mix? Well, last week, I spent a really enjoyable day calling U.S. Government offices and doing on-line research. In the end, I determined -- conclusively -- that it is not possible to actually know how many federal agencies engage in freshwater-related research, administration, projects, oversight, disaster relief, and/or reconstruction.

There appear, however, to be at least two dozen: The Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Food & Drug Administration, the Department of Transportation, the National Park Service, the Agricultural Research Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of the Census, the Office of Housing and Urban Development, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Economic Development Administration, the State Department's International Boundary and Water Commission, the Rural Utilities Service, and several Department of Homeland Security offices that are probably too secret for us to be talking about.

Finally, with regard to laws, the operative terms were outdated and inadequate. The Clean Water Act of 1972 has made a dramatic difference in water quality and is justifiably considered to be a big success. As Freedman explained, however, the problems that exist in today's environmental landscape are "dramatically different in scale and in nature" than they were thirty-some years ago.

In the 1970s, he said, the main environmental driver was "point source pollution" -- that is, harmful substances spilled directly into water. Now, however, concerns include contaminants from indirect, but ever more ubiquitous, "nonpoint sources" -- remember the chicken manure? -- as well as "land use, ecosystem restoration, water scarcity, flooding, invasive species, endocrine disruptors, climate change, etc. -- the list goes on."

Consequently, Freedman told the Committee:

"Trying to solve these problems with the 1972 Clean Water Act is like trying to use a 1972 auto repair manual to repair a 2008 electric hybrid. It just doesn't work. So it is with other independent and dated federal programs that don't reflect the large scale and complexity of the problems we're dealing with today."

Too Many Uh-oh Moments

As I write this in mid-July, Louie is munching on a trellis. The smoke in our neighborhood has mostly cleared, leaving behind a stonewashed denim-blue sky. Safe and dry and happily back in the yard, it would be relatively easy to follow Homer Simpson's advice. The disasters that dominated the headlines on June 24, 2008 have now been relegated to interior news pages and after all, there are three dozen congressional committees working on our national water issues.

But the reality is, of course, nothing has changed. The lives of approximately 11 million people in ten Midwestern states have been upended and -- in far too many instances -- devastated by this year's wave of Mississippi River floods. The damage and the pain are immediate and ongoing. In California, too, the nightmare continues for the thousands of people who lost their homes and loved ones. Since May, there have been 1,700 wildfires sparked by lightning here; more than 300 are still raging, and 752,000 acres have been scorched. The fire "season" in the West is now year-round; reservoirs in the southeast are still depleted; fish are dying in the Great Lakes; our water is medicated with pharmaceuticals; the lost wetlands have not miraculously reappeared; and the hurricane season looms for at least three months to come.

One could argue that a fractured, ad hoc, haphazard mish-mash of random, inconsistent, and stove-piped projects, administered by a hodge-podge of 36 congressional committees and more than 20 agencies in accordance with outdated and inadequate laws constitutes a national water policy. A de facto one. But with so many ignored aha moments followed by ever-more-frequent and disastrous uh-oh moments, it seems we could use a policy that's not quite so dependent upon sandbags and firehoses.

Elizabeth de la Vega is a former federal prosecutor with over twenty years experience. A contributor to TomDispatch since 2005, her pieces have appeared in various publications including the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times,, Truthout, Common Dreams and the Public Record. The author of United States v. George W. Bush et al., she may be contacted at or through Speakers Clearinghouse.

Copyright 2008 Elizabeth de la Vega

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Obama and The Europeans. Good News.

Sorry for the language, but screw the governments! Our only real interest is in the opinion of the people of every nation, not their freakin' governments!

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) -- Standing before a massive crowd in a city that once symbolized division, Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday warned about the dangers of allowing new walls to come between the United States and its allies.

Sen.  Barack Obama addresses a large crowd Thursday at the Victory Column in Berlin, Germany.

Sen. Barack Obama addresses a large crowd Thursday at the Victory Column in Berlin, Germany.

Click to view previous image
1 of 3
Click to view next image

"People of the world -- look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one," Obama said at Berlin's Victory Column in the Tiergarten park.

"The fall of the Berlin Wall brought new hope. But that very closeness has given rise to new dangers -- dangers that cannot be contained within the borders of a country or by the distance of an ocean," he said.

Obama said people of all nations must stand together to face challenges of the 21st century -- from terrorism to global warming to genocide.

"We cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats or escape responsibility in meeting them," he said.

The greatest danger, Obama said, "is to allow new walls to divide us from one another." Read a transcript of the speech

Obama called on Europeans and Americans to join together to "defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it." Video Watch Obama call for unity »

"If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope," he said.

Obama started his speech by introducing himself as a "proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world."

Police estimated that more than 200,000 people came to watch the speech, according to The Associated Press. Video Watch the crowds wait for Obama »

He gets bigger crowds in Europe tahn in the U.S. Anyone care to guess what that means? My hunch is, whatever it means, it's positive.

Shortly before the address began, Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, chided Obama and said he'd rather give a speech in Germany as president than as a presidential candidate.

"So we're going to be campaigning across the heartland of America and talking about the issues that are challenging America today," McCain said outside a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.

The Democrat said earlier his address was not a "political rally."

Crowds gathered at the Victory Column to listen to musical acts in the hours leading up to Obama's arrival.

Obama originally had hoped to speak in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate, where President Kennedy was photographed during a 1963 visit after the rise of the Berlin Wall. Expressing solidarity with the people of the divided city during the same trip, Kennedy declared, "Ich bin ein Berliner."

That phrase -- which means "I am a Berliner" -- expressed the unity of the West in the Cold War era.

The gate also was the site of a speech by President Reagan in 1987 in which he memorably urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down" the wall.

But use of the landmark apparently was vetoed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who a spokesman Wednesday said disapproved of plans to co-opt it as a "campaign backdrop."

Asked whether he looked to Reagan's and Kennedy's Berlin speeches for inspiration, Obama said, "They were presidents. I am a citizen."

"But obviously Berlin is representative of the extraordinary success of post-World War II effort to bring a continent together, to bring the West together -- East and West together," he said.

Nonetheless, as a youthful Democratic presidential hopeful who has promised change if elected and invoked comparisons with Kennedy, Obama's strategists hope a warm welcome from Germans will play well with voters.

Obama is in Germany for the latest leg of an international trip intended to bolster his foreign policy credentials at home and set out his vision for a new era of transatlantic cooperation.

So far, his trip has taken him to Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Obama is expected to stop in France and Great Britain before returning to the United States.

Obama has said he is making the trip as a senator and not a presidential candidate.

Robin Oakley, CNN's European political editor, said Obama enjoyed widespread popularity in Europe.

"He is one of those politicians who reaches parts other politicians don't reach," Oakley said. "After the unpopularity of George W. Bush, the world is waiting to love America again, and many see in Obama, with his youth and his optimism, somebody who can bring that about."

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Send Karl Rove To Jail

Group claims 100,000 signatures in 'Send Rove to Jail' campaign
07/24/2008 @ 8:50 amFiled by John Byrne

That's the name of the website now claiming to have over 101,000 signatures in their campaign to urge the House Judiciary Committee to cite former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove for contempt.

Rove failed to testify after being subpoenaed by the Judiciary Committee to provide information regarding the selective prosecution of former Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman. RAW STORY's reporting on Siegelman's case, along with that of CBS' 60 Minutes, sparked a national outcry that resulted in Siegelman being let out of jail pending appeal.

"We call on the the House Judiciary Committee to cite Rove with contempt for failing to comply with a Congressional subpoena," the petition at the website reads. "Since Rove regards the law with such contempt, it's high time the law and Congress hold him in contempt as well. We demand the [Committee] let Rove know he can't decide which subpoenas he obeys and which he ignores."

Both the Committee and House Democrats have subpoenaed numerous Bush Administration officials. Some have failed to show up, while others, like former Attorney General John Ashcroft, repeatedly declined to answer, citing their own forgetfulness.

"I must admit, it's been difficult for me sometimes to distinguish between what I in fact recall as a matter of my own experience, and what I remember from the accounts of others," the former Attorney General said on July 17.

Next Tuesday, a coalition of organizations -- including Brave New Films, The Nation magazine, Campaign for America's Future, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Progress Now Action and CREDO Mobile -- will deliver the petition to the House Judiciary Committee.
The online petition, created by Brave New Films and housed at, claims to have amassed over 100,000 names in less than six days. As of Thursday morning, the total was 101,722.

"Karl Rove is not above the law," Robert Greenwald, founder and president of Brave New Films, said in a release. "Rove's refusal to comply with a Congressional subpoena makes a mockery of the justice system. Even former high government officials like Rove are accountable to the law. Rove needs to learn that we live in a democracy, not a dictatorship."

"Karl Rove has built a career out of bending the law, but now he seems to feel entitled simply to break it," added Michael Kieschnick, President of CREDO Mobile. "We expect the House Judiciary Committee to agree that Karl Rove is in contempt and should be sent to jail if he persists in his flagrant disregard for the laws of this country."

The "Send Rove to Jail" campaign follows the liberal film company's "Lieberman Must Go" campaign. It was also a Brave New Films video that exposed Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) relationship with the controversial Reverend Rod Parsley, forcing McCain to denounce the pastor's endorsement.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

State Police Spying Is Dangerous Repression

As one of the members of the Baltimore Pledge of Resistance who has been spied on by the Maryland State Police, I feel it important that people understand that we in the Pledge of Resistance are the most peaceful, non-terrorist type folks you could ever hope to meet. We are committed to raising awareness about the destructive forces of violence in our society and our country, which is one of the reasons we have protested the invasion of Iraq since before it occurred. It is because we love and value this country so much that we work to make it better, and we start by insisting that those in power obey its laws. It is because we are profoundly anguished by our government's illegal actions and what it has done to us and to our brothers and sisters around the world that we continue our peaceful work.

This spying and infiltration of the Pledge of Resistance and the Baltimore Coalition to Stop the Death Penalty cuts to the core of what we are as a country. Does the First Amendment of our Constitution really mean what it says when it guarantees freedom of speech, assembly and to petition our government, or is it something we learn about in school but never really understand and then forget? Do we as a people tolerate the tactics that countless dictators, past and present, use to terrorize their citizens to perpetuate their power? Or do we recognize spying on peaceful people who are trying to make this government and this country a truly free and harmonious place for what it is - repression in its rankest and most dangerous form that must not be tolerated in the United States of America?

The author of this article is an idealist, not that there is anything wrong with that. The problem comes when the idealist expects that the powerful in this country, or any other, are like-minded thinkers. They aren't, as a rule, idealists in the general understanding of the definition of the word. If they have an ideal at all, it is the acquisition and keeping of power. Those who lust for power all share one fear. They fear those they have wronged in some way, even if the fear is irrational. For example, the DIA (Defense intelligence agency) have shown a great deal of interest in typically non-violent groups of activists, like Quakers, during the Bush administration. Any number of groups of non-violent activists have been and are being surveilled.

Actually, as someone who has been around for awhile, as someone who is not a "professional activist" but rather a "rainy day activist," while it does sicken me to my core, I was not in the least surprised to learn that Americans were and are being surveilled. The only thing that surprised me, at all, was the massiveness of the surveillance program, and that is only what we know about at this time.

A no-less-important issue is that in these dreadful economic times, the resources of our state were diverted to fund this illegal activity. I find it ironic, and would be laughing if I weren't so upset, that my tax dollars funded my surveillance. And your and my tax dollars have been diverted from dealing with real crime (of which there is no shortage), and real criminals who do mean us harm, to investigating two groups that by the repeated admissions of the infiltrators were engaging in nothing criminal and were completely nonviolent.

I am not only outraged but also sickened to my soul that because I do not agree with some of the policies of my government and work peacefully to change them, someone with power and authority decided that I have no First Amendment rights and labeled me a security threat and worse.

This is not what this country stands for. This is not who we are. Whatever side of the political or ideological spectrum people find themselves on, this issue cuts across all those boundaries. No one who is working peacefully and nonviolently should ever be surveilled - it is a simple and fundamental truth.

Much has happened in the last almost eight years (and during other periods of time) that do an extreme disservice to this nation and to its people. The Bill of Rights has been being chipped away almost since the moment of its inception. Ordinary people, be they activists or not, must understand that a major part of our responsibility as citizens of this very young Democratic Republic, is to recognize the constant struggle between those in power and the rest of us and join in that struggle. The nation depends on it.

We in the Pledge of Resistance need to know who ordered this surveillance and why it was ordered. We also need a full accounting of the surveillance because we are almost certain we were infiltrated earlier than the documents suggest, and we want to know what steps are being taken to ensure that the surveillance is halted and never started again. The state police and Gov. Martin O'Malley owe this to every citizen of this state and certainly to us in the groups surveilled.

The First Amendment is the United States of America. I believe it and live it. Do you?

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.