September 2011

A Disturbing Truth

Dear Friend of Radio Liberty,

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

W.B. Yeats: The Second Coming (1919)

“America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government….

She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart….

Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be.

But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.

She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....

[America’s] glory is not dominion, but liberty.”
John Quincy Adams: Independence Day Address, 1821

“Oh, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.”
   Shakespeare: Measure for Measure

Tariq Aziz was a 16-year-old Pakistani infuriated by the push-button war being waged in that country by Washington, in which missile strikes are conducted by remote-controlled drones operated by pilots thousands of miles away. After a drone-fired missile killed several civilians October 28, Tariq volunteered for the dangerous task of taking pictures and gathering evidence from the site on behalf of human rights attorney Clive Stafford Smith.

Three days later, Tariq and his cousin Waheed were killed in another drone attack staged against people described as “suspected militants.” Tariq was sixteen; Waheed was twelve.

Pakistan is riddled with informants and bounty hunters eager to sell out rivals, neighbors – sometimes even family members – to the CIA. Most of the supposed terrorist suspects who wound up in Guantanamo were innocent people who had been seized because of accusations made by such loathsome, opportunistic people.

Smith insists that the lethal drone strike that murdered Tariq and his cousin “was the result of some Pakistani informants who want to show their paymasters they are doing their jobs. So they make up a story and a poor kid dies.”

“Tariq was a good kid, and courageous,” continued Smith. “My warm hand recently touched his in friendship; yet, within three days, his would be cold in death, the rigor mortis inflicted by my government. And Tariq’s extended family, so recently hoping to be our allies for peace, has now been ripped apart by an American missile — most likely making any effort we make at reconciliation futile.” (1)

This was not the first time the United States Government has summarily executed an innocent teenager by way of a remote-controlled drone.

When radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, was summarily executed by a drone strike in Yemen in late September, a large segment of the population gloated that this was appropriate punishment for a “traitor.” Similar sentiments were expressed when Awlaki’s 16-year-old son – who had traveled to Yemen trying to find his father — was executed by way of a drone-fired missile shortly thereafter. The administration initially claimed that the teenager was an adult “militant” legitimately targeted as a combatant. That story was quickly demolished by the youngster’s family, who were able to document that he was a perfectly normal American teenager who had been born in Colorado in 1995.

Even if Anwar al-Awlaki were a convicted traitor – a criminal offense that must be proven in court on the basis of a confession, or the sworn testimony of at least two witnesses to the same overt act – the government is forbidden by the Constitution to practice “corruption of blood” by inflicting punishment on his innocent family members and heirs. But in our post-constitutional era, the Regime in Washington is entitled to kill whomever it chooses, on the basis of whatever transitory whim possesses the president.

"I have one question for you," one of Abdulrahman's young friends angrily commented to a Time magazine reporter. "Who can't America kill?"(2) The answer is that the Regime can kill anybody, anywhere, at any time – and it is doing so with promiscuous glee, even as most Americans remain torpidly indifferent to the monstrosity their government has become.

“Every now and then it’s worth pausing to reflect on how often we talk about the killing of people by the U.S.,” observed former civil liberties litigator and Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald. “Literally, the U.S. government is just continuously killing people in multiple countries around the world. Who else does that? Nobody — certainly nowhere near on this scale. The U.S. President expressly claims the power to target anyone he wants, anywhere in the world, for death, including his own citizens; he does it in total secrecy and with no oversight; and this power is not just asserted but routinely exercised. The U.S., over and over, eradicates people’s lives by the dozens from the sky, with bombs, with checkpoint shootings, with night raids — in far more places and far more frequently than any other nation or group on the planet.” (3)

In fact, there are some Americans who take perverse pride in the scope and efficiency of the government’s killing apparatus. During a recent visit to New Hampshire, former Senator and GOP presidential aspirant Rick Santorum endorsed assassination of foreign scientists as an instrument of policy when employed by the U.S. government.

“On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead," Santorum explained, broadly intimating that the U.S. government was responsible. "I think that's a wonderful thing, candidly….I think we should send a very clear message that if you are [a] scientist from Russia or North Korea or from Iran, and you are going to work on a nuclear program to develop a nuclear bomb for Iran, you are not safe."

"When people say, `You can't go out and assassinate people' — well, tell that to al-Awlaki,” Santorum continued, a satisfied smirk on his face. “We've done it. We've done it to an American citizen."(4)

In other words: Since the U.S. government can summarily murder a U.S. citizen at any time, no human being on the face of the planet is safe.

During the Cold War, many Americans were marinated in horrifying stories about the hideous crimes committed by the Soviet Regime and its imperial satellites. We were constantly told that a government capable of treating its own subjects that way would visit unimaginable horrors on any nation it conquered. That is a true principle –and it applies to the government that presumes to rule us. What defies understanding and beggars the imagination is the fact that this state of affairs is actually applauded by a supposedly Christian, pro-life politician like Rick Santorum.

At least to some people, the Awlakis were Americans only by accident of birth. Their political views made them suspect, and the fact that they had traveled abroad and (in the case of the father) criticized the U.S. government on foreign soil strongly intimated sympathy for terrorism. Besides, lethal sanctions of this kind only apply to people who live abroad – right?

Wrong.

For years, the same unmanned drones that have been used to conduct missile strikes abroad have been plying the skies over the United States. Now, for the first time, a supposedly civilian law enforcement department will deploy an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can be upgraded into a fully realized weapons platform.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Conroe paid $300,000 in federal homeland security grant money and Friday it received the ShadowHawk unmanned helicopter made by Vanguard Defense Industries. A laptop computer is used to control the 50-pound unmanned chopper, and a game-like console is used to aim and zoom a powerful camera and infrared heat-seeking device mounted on the front.

“To be in on the ground floor of this is pretty exciting for us here in Montgomery County,” Sheriff Tommy Gage said. (5)

He said the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) could be used in hunting criminals who are running from police or assessing a scene where SWAT team officers are facing an active shooter.

“Tapped to operate the Montgomery County Sheriff’s helicopter UAV are Sgt. Melvin Franklin, a licensed pilot, and Lt. Damon Hall, who heads the department’s crime lab and crime scene unit,” continues the report. Michael Buscher, chief executive officer of manufacturer Vanguard Defense Industries, observed that the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is the first local law enforcement agency to buy one of his units, which he said are designed to carry weapons for local law enforcement. It will hardly be the last.

It’s reasonable to expect that, ere long, joystick-controlled missile platforms will become part of the standard SWAT arsenal. We should also anticipate learning that the term “bugsplat” has entered the law enforcement lexicon. That term, which was coined by Pentagon’s war planners prior to the Iraq war, was the name of a computer program intended to estimate the percentage of civilian casualties that would result in a given bombing raid.

The same lexicon of long-distance mass murder that gave us the term “bugsplat” offers another newly minted term to describe the terrified civilians who can be seen frantically running for cover: “Squirters.” The vaguely pornographic overtones of that expression are appropriate, given the ubiquity of what Dr. P.W. Singer of the Brookings Institution calls “predator porn” – footage of drone attacks proudly circulated by the purported heroes responsible for the carnage.

In a 2009 U.S. Naval Academy lecture, Singer described how “the ability to download a video clip of combat is turning war into a form of entertainment.” This repellent new genre includes a modern variety of snuff film: “A Hellfire missile drops, goes in, and hits the target, followed by an explosion and bodies tossed into the air.” Singer described one clip of that kind, sent to him by a joystick-wielding assassin, that “was set to music, the pop song `I Just Want to Fly’ by the band Sugar Ray.”

Executive-authorized execution of troublesome people by way of remote-controlled drone strike is rapidly becoming the option of first resort for the Regime’s foreign wars. There is no reason to think that the protocols governing domestic use of that killing technology will be substantially different.

“Drones, in combination with other forms of electronic surveillance, make it easy to rapidly find and kill people (even in non-permissive areas),” observes retired U.S. Air Force Special Operations pilot John Robb. “As a result, assassination of threats has become the easy solution to many problems. It has become so popular that the process has become bureaucratized and automated through the development of an assassination list. The US President has one, and he can put US citizens on it via a simple, non-judicial, bureaucratic process.”

The current procedure “we see at work in Pakistan will eventually become commonplace in Mexico, Central America, and Northern Africa,” Robb continues. “However, the more interesting answer is how it gets applied to US internal security when the US/global economy crumps into depression, the US government goes bankrupt, and the current system loses much of its remaining legitimacy.” (6)

Within a few years, “predator porn” will become a regular feature of “reality TV” programs extolling the purported heroism of domestic police agencies – who have been folded seamlessly into an integrated, continent-spanning, militarized “homeland security” mechanism.

Shortly after 9-11, the U.S. Army created the U.S. Northern Command – the first “peacetime” battlefield command covering the United States itself. In early November, Northern Command was scheduled to conduct a massive field training exercise entitled “Operation Vigilant Shield 12.”

Government Security News reported that the exercise was also linked to a Canada Command exercise called “Determined Dragon,” and would run concurrently with Arizona’s “Vigilant Guard” exercise.

Vigilant Shield is based on a scenario involving “enemy attacks” and similar incidents set in Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and Washington, D.C. It envisions a coordinated effort involving everyone from local “first responders” — police, sheriffs, firefighters, and other emergency personnel — to NORAD and the Pentagon. It was also coordinated with the unprecedented November 9 nation-wide emergency alert system test.

The scope and detail of Vigilant Shield illustrated the extent to which geographically local police agencies are considered appendages of the military — part of an occupying army, rather than “peace officers” accountable to the communities in which they live.

The Framers of the U.S. Constitution sought desperately to prevent the creation of a standing army that would be used as an apparatus of repression. They would have no difficulty recognizing the militarized American “homeland” as precisely the nightmare they sought to avoid. They would also recognize in current “security” policies the same “long train of abuses” that had led to the revolt against British rule – but, to do some violence to the metaphor, that “long train” has now become a nuclear-powered locomotive.

One of the most insufferable impositions by the British Crown was the use of “writs of assistance” – essentially permission notes composed by occupation troops supposedly authorizing them to search any building at their pleasure and confiscate anything they found as “evidence” of smuggling and tax evasion. Enactment of the so-called Patriot Act ten years ago led to the routine use of national security letters (NSLs), or what former federal judge Andrew Napolitano calls “self-written search warrants” modeled after the colonial writs of assistance.(7)

The NSLs are submitted by the FBI to third parties – such as bank managers, librarians, and internet providers - who are forbidden to inform the subject of an investigation that the Feds are scrutinizing his affairs. More than 30,000 national security letters are now issued annually.

Nicholas Merrill, who operates a small internet service provider, defied a federal order to describe how, in 2004, “an FBI agent came to my office and handed me a letter. It demanded that I turn over information about one of my clients and forbade me from telling `any person’ that the government had approached me.”

Merrill has been “allowed to reveal my name to the public in connection with my case.” However, he still faces the prospect of imprisonment if he discloses any of the particulars of the order, including the identity of the targeted individual.(8)

Subjects of the Communist East German regime were legally required to inform on each other, and imprisoned for failing to do so. That differs little from the system inflicted on us through the so-called Patriot Act – just as the behavior of American law enforcement officials is becoming indistinguishable from that of their antecedents in previous police states.

Consider the case of Lebanese-born American businessman Naji Hamdan, who was kidnapped by secret police during a visit to the United Arab Emirates. For weeks, Hamdan was beaten every day by interrogators who demanded that he confess that he was a terrorist. (9) Despite the torture, the victim – who by this time had little to lose – resolutely protested his innocence.

Finally, the lead interrogator tried a different tactic: “If you don’t confess, I swear to God I’m going to bring your wife to this room, and you’ll see what we do to her.” That threat broke Lebanese-born American businessman Naji Hamdan. He spent nearly a year in prison in the United Arab Emirates before he was deported to Lebanon. (10)

This torture was carried out at the behest of the FBI, which had investigated Hamdan for years – and which never produced evidence of any criminal wrongdoing on his part. According to Hamdan, who has never been accused by U.S. officials of a crime, there was an American official present when the threat was made to torture his wife. He is just one of many U.S. citizens who have been tortured by foreign intelligence services on behalf of the FBI through a process called “proxy detention.” (11)

It was less than two centuries ago that John Quincy Adams warned Americans to eschew the temptations of empire, in favor of embracing the unqualified blessings of liberty and peace. Even then, ambitious and conniving men sought to aggrandize themselves by presuming to define a messianic mission for America. This would require the government to arrogate to itself the necessary power to make war upon foreign monsters of every conceivable shape and variety.

As was the case with the subjects of previous empires, Americans succumbed to the evil idea that they should celebrate the power of their rulers, rather than the liberties invested in them by their Creator. They took pride – rather than appropriate alarm - in the mutation of our modest commercial republic into a global Leviathan. They accepted the evil transaction in which we surrendered our liberties in order to purchase “dominion” for those who arrogantly rule us. They foolishly assumed that America was some happy exception to the political principle that it is impossible to have a giant’s strength without ruling as a tyrant.

After decades of gestation, the Rough Beast of undisguised imperial tyranny – the murderous bastard child of our degenerate institutions - has been born, and begun its lethal rampage.


REFERENCES

[1] “For Our Allies, Death from Above,” Clive Stafford Smith, New York Times, November 3, 2011; http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/opinion/in-pakistan-drones-kill-our-innocent- allies.html?_r=3&src=tp
[2] “An American Teenager in Yemen: Paying for the Sins of His Father?” Time magazine, October 27, 2011; http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2097899,00.html
[3] “The Killing of Awlaki’s 16-year-old Son,” Glenn Greenwald, Salon, October 20, 2011; http://www.salon.com/2011/10/20/the_killing_of_awlakis_16_year_old_son/singleton/
[4] For a video excerpt of the speech, see “Santorum: Dead Foreign Scientists a `Wonderful Thing,’” Crooks and Liars, October 27; http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/david/santorum-dead-foreign- scientists-wonderful-t
[5] “New Police Drone Near Houston Could Carry Weapons,” Click2Houston.com, October 28, 2011; http://www.click2houston.com/news/29619788/detail.html
[6] John Robb, “Drones and U.S. Internal Security,” Global Guerrillas blog, November 4, 2011; http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2011/11/drones-and-us-internal- security.html
[7] Andrew P. Napolitano, It’s Dangerous to Be Right when the Government is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011), pg. 97.
[8] “How the Patriot Act Stripped Me of my Free Speech Rights,” Nicholas Merrill, Washington Post, October 10, 2011; http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-the-patriot-act-stripped-me-of- my-free-speech-rights/2011/10/20/gIQAXB53GM_story.html
[9] “Naji Hamdan’s Nightmare,” The Nation, March 22, 2010; http://www.thenation.com/article/naji- hamdans-nightmare
[10] “American Held in UAE: `Proxy Detention’?” CBS News, July 19,2009; http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/19/eveningnews/main5173439.shtml
[11] “Locked Up Abroad – For the FBI,” Mother Jones, September/October 2011; http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/proxy-detention-gulet-mohamed?page=3

Written by William Grigg

* * * * *

We are entering a dangerous period because the American people have accepted the precept that the U.S. has the “right to kill anyone who may be a terrorist.” A similar program existed during the Vietnam war era. It was called “the Phoenix Program.” It was operated by the CIA and Special Forces units, and between 40 and 60 thousand civilians, (most of them innocent) were tortured and executed because paid informants accused them of being sympathetic to the Viet Cong.

What is happening today? The U.S. is morally and financially bankrupt, the world economy is collapsing, massive demonstrations are taking place across America, the Brotherhood of Darkness has destabilized the Near East and the Middle East, and devastating war in that region is imminent.

What lies ahead? Most people recognize something is seriously wrong, and want to preserve America, but they don’t know what to do. What can you do?

If 100 Radio Liberty supporters get one person a week to listen to my programs and accept my message, and if each of the new listeners get one person a week to listen and believe, we would have a million new listeners in 15 weeks, and a billion listeners in 25 weeks.

I hope you will join this effort.

Barbara and I appreciate your loyal support and your faithful prayers.

Yours in Christ,

Stanley Monteith


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