The FBI Admits its Primary Focus is NOT Law Enforcement

Recently, the FBI made a significant change to its self-proclaimed primary focus in its fact sheet from “law enforcement” to “national security.” This change merely confirms what I and countless others have claimed to be true for quite some time. That the entire regulatory, security and intelligence apparatus of these United States has been redirected away from protecting the Constitution and the rule of law, toward a narrow focus on protecting the economic and social positions of the oligarch class at all costs under the guise of a “war on terror.” We have seen many signs of cronyism at the FBI for decades now, something most accurately pointed out in the priceless image “All My Heroes Have FBI Files.”

While this change to the FBI fact sheet is just confirmation of something we already knew, it’s still mind-boggling to see it shoved right in our faces:

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 2.52.09 PM

TechDirt covered this story well. Here are some excerpts:

A couple years ago, it was revealed that the FBI noted in one of its “counterterrorism training manuals” that FBI agents could “bend or suspend the law and impinge upon the freedoms of others,” which seemed kind of odd for a government agency who claimed its “primary function” was “law enforcement.” You’d think that playing by the rules would be kind of important. However, as John Hudson at Foreign Policy has noted, at some point last summer, the FBI quietly changed its fact sheet, so that it no longer says that “law enforcement” is its primary function, replacing it with “national security.”

Of course, I thought we already had a “national security” agency — known as the “National Security Agency.” Of course, while this may seem like a minor change, as the article notes, it is the reality behind the scenes. The FBI massively beefed up resources focused on “counterterrorism” and… then let all sorts of other crimes slide. Including crimes much more likely to impact Americans, like financial/white collar fraud.

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U.S. Military Changes Drone Rules to Make Targeting of Civilians Easier

The drone issue is just another topic in which President Barrack Obama has proven himself to be a world-class liar and master of deception. Despite his claims that drone strikes do little damage to civilian populations, in July we discovered that “of the 746 people killed in drone strikes in Pakistan from 2006-2009, an incredible 20% were civilians and 94 (13% of the total) were children.”

I suppose that number just isn’t good enough, because The Pentagon has decided to change the rules of engagement when it comes to drone strikes, now making it easier to target civilians. From The Washington Times:

The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.

Hey cops, how about you “try to avoid” beating the shit out of people and violating their constitutional rights for no reason. Yeah, because that’ll work.

In addition, instructions now tell commanders that collateral damage “must not be excessive” in relation to mission goals, according to Public Intelligence, a nonprofit research group that analyzed the military’s directives on drone strikes.

Administration officials say the strikes are legal because the U.S. is at war with al Qaeda and its associates. They also insist there is a wide gap between the government’s civilian casualty count and those of human rights groups.

Right, we are at “war with al Qaeda,” when it is convenient to be at war with them. When it is convenient to be allies with al Qaeda, we will do that too.

Despite Mr. Obama’s pledge for more transparency on drone strikes, the administration “continues to answer legitimate questions and criticisms by saying, ‘We can’t really talk about this,’” said Naureen Shah, advocacy adviser at Amnesty International.

Can’t. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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NSA Chief Admits “Only One or Perhaps Two” Terror Plots Stopped by Spy Program

Pressed by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing, Gen. Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA’s huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two — far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.

- From Today’s Washington Times

“One or perhaps two.” Or perhaps zero. The guy has the nerve to say “perhaps.” How do you not know? What a bunch of lying assholes. How the heck does 54 turn into “one or two,” and I’ll tell you something else, I don’t believe the one or two figure for a minute. I mean there’s no way he would say “zero” when he is fighting to keep his petty little Stasi state intact. Furthermore, how about some details here. What was the one plot the NSA foiled? Some teenager throwing firecrackers on the White House lawn? These guys need to get lost already. From the Washington Times:

The Obama administration’s credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government’s warrantless bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records.

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Rethinking 9/11: Building 7 Was the First Known Instance of a Tall Building Collapse from Fires

I’ve said for many years that I have no idea what actually happened on 9/11, but I am highly confident the government’s official story is complete and total bullshit. A third building fell on that fateful day, WTC7. No planes hit the building and yet it came down at free fall speed. Even the government itself admitted that:

The collapse of WTC 7 is the first known instance of a tall building brought down primarily by uncontrolled fires.

- From the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report 

Quite the coincidence, and not only brought down, but brought down at free fall speed. Watch the video and make up your own mind, but remember that all the civil liberties we have given up and all the wars we have launched were justified by 9/11.

How I Remember September 11, 2001

I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday. I was one year into my Wall Street career. I got up that morning just like every other morning and headed toward Union Square station to get on the subway down to 3 World Financial Center, the headquarters of Lehman Brothers. I had just purchased breakfast in the cafeteria when I saw one of the human resources folks from my floor yelling to evacuate. I was confused but I got my ass downstairs fast. When I got down there I joined the hundreds of others staring in awe skyward at the gaping hole in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. People speculated that a helicopter had hit the building, but I said no way. It looked like a bomb went off to me.

Shortly afterward, the ground started shaking and I heard an enormous explosion and saw fire and debris shooting out from behind the North Tower. The herd starting running and I was trampled on. We all retreated to safer ground, at which point I ran into some co-workers. I mentioned that I was a bit worried these things could fall, but I was ensured by a higher-up at the firm that this was impossible. It was at that point that some co-workers and I decided to take the long walk home to my apartment on east 12th street. As we walked, we saw people jumping from the buildings, and ultimately we saw the first one collapse in front of our eyes as we traversed through Soho.

In the days following the collapse, all I wanted was for the towers to be rebuilt just like before. I wanted the skyline back to what I had know since the day I came into this earth at a New York City hospital to be restored exactly as I had always known it. Career-wise, I felt I should leave Wall Street. I thought about going back to graduate school for political science, or maybe even join the newly created Department of Homeland Security (yes, the irony is not lost on me). I read a lengthy tome on Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. I was an emotional and psychological mess, and it was when I was in this state of heightened distress that my own government and the military-industrial complex took advantage of me.

It wasn’t just me of course. It was an entire nation that was callously manipulated in the aftermath of that tragedy. The courage and generosity exhibited by so many New Yorkers and others throughout the country and indeed the world was rapidly transformed into terrifying fear. Fear that was intentionally injected repeatedly into our daily lives. Fear that translated into pointless wars and countless deaths. Fear that was used to justify the destruction of our precious civil rights. Fear that was used to initiate a gigantic power grab and the source of tremendous profits for the corporate-statists and crony-capitalsits. Unfortunately, that is the greatest legacy of 9/11.

While all of the above is true, I now see a very bright silver lining. Although it took me an embarrassingly long time, I did wake up from the deep haze of propaganda and am now able to see things for what they really are. Of course, I am only one of millions globally who now recognize how badly we have been duped and are working to restore all of the precious things we have lost.

So let’s take 9/11 to remember all the people that were lost on that day, as well as all of those to whom we have done injustice in the name of the Orwellian never-ending “War on Terror.” Let’s strengthen our resolve to right all of these wrongs and make us proud of these United States once again. That is how I remember September 11, 2001.

In Liberty,
Mike

Released Documents Detail the C.I.A. Role While Embedded in the NYPD

The fact that the C.I.A. was embedded within the NYPD for a decade after 9/11 is not a new story, but what is new are details regarding involvement in domestic surveillance, which the agency is not permitted to engage in. The questions that I want to ask in light of this are: Which other police forces around the nation had or have C.I.A. agents embedded in them and what are their roles? Let’s not forget what Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Carl Bernstein has told us in 1977:

In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.

Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.

The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception.

We should all feel extremely uncomfortable that this agency was embedded within a domestic police force given it’s history.

Now, from the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general’s report.

That officer believed there were “no limitations” on his activities, the report said, because he was on an unpaid leave of absence, and thus exempt from the prohibition against domestic spying by members of the C.I.A.

Another embedded C.I.A. analyst — who was on its payroll — said he was given “unfiltered” police reports that included information unrelated to foreign intelligence, the C.I.A. report said.

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Department of Homeland Security: Selling Counterfeit Goods is Now “Terrorism”

If the IRS scandal wasn’t enough to convince you that bloated, corrupt, bureaucratic government institutions pose a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist attack ever could, this story should settle it once and for all. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is not only wasteful, power hungry, and entirely unnecessary, it is also rapidly transforming itself into the Vampire Squid of government.  In light of the fact that pretty much every terrorist plot the U.S. government has “thwarted” since 9/11 has been either FBI or CIA hatched schemes rooted in entrapment, the DHS has a lot of spare time on its hands to hunt frightening acts of “domestic terrorism.”  You know, like fake Gucci bags.  This story is beyond unacceptable.  From WIVB Channel 4 News:

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Federal agents swept through two shopping malls Monday, seizing fake merchandise and shutting down stores.

The Department of Homeland Security spearheaded the investigation that targeted mostly kiosks in the Walden Galleria and Boulevard Mall. Agents hauled bags and boxes out of the Boulevard Mall after stripping three kiosks of their merchandise.

Jim Spero, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Buffalo office of Homeland Security, says the sale of counterfeit goods – in Buffalo and beyond – poses a major security threat.

Oh please.  Get over yourself Jim.

“When you purchase counterfeit goods, when you sell counterfeit goods, you don’t know who you’re dealing with. You don’t know what kind of criminal activity you’re supporting,” Spero said. “It’s actually organized crime that is behind the distribution of these goods. It could be terrorists as well.”

9/11 was bad, but the government created “war on terror” and all that has come with it, is far, far worse.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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It’s Time to Repeal the AUMF

Even a mainstream media dinosaur like the New York Times will publish something decent and in the public interest from time to time.  In case you aren’t familiar with the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), it was the law enacted three days after 9/11 to provide the President of the United States with the flexibility to fight the now never-ending “war on terror.”  It is very important that we deal with the AUMF and get rid of it once and for all, since it is the key law used by the Obama Administration to justify the NDAA, and very soon may be used to kill “associates of associates” (basically anyone they want) of Al Qaeda without charges or a trial.  This editorial published l over the weekend calls for a repeal of the AUMF and I completely agree.  We can’t trust our current or future leaders to not abuse this authority.  From the New York Times:

Three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force. It was enacted with good intentions — to give President George W. Bush the authority to invade Afghanistan and go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban rulers who sheltered and aided the terrorists who had attacked the United States.

Mr. Bush used the authorization law as an excuse to kidnap hundreds of people — guilty and blameless people alike — and throw them into secret prisons where many were tortured. He used it as a pretext to open the Guantánamo Bay camp and to eavesdrop on Americans without bothering to obtain a warrant. He claimed it as justification for the invasion of Iraq, twisting intelligence to fabricate a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks.

Unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama does not go as far as to claim that the Constitution gives him the inherent power to do all those things. But he has relied on the 2001 authorization to use drones to kill terrorists far from the Afghan battlefield, and to claim an unconstitutional power to kill American citizens in other countries based only on suspicion that they are or might become terrorist threats, without judicial review.

The concern that many, including this page, expressed about the authorization is coming true: that it could become the basis for a perpetual, ever-expanding war that undermined the traditional constraints on government power. The result is an unintelligible policy without express limits or protective walls.

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Rand Paul’s Third Letter to the CIA: Can You Kill with Drones in the USA?

This letter is a few days old, but is very important for every American to be aware of. Essentially, Rand Paul is threatening to filibuster Barack Obama’s nominee for the CIA, John Brennan, due to his refusal to answer a simple question:

Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?

This should not be a complicated question to answer, yet it seems Obama, Brennan and pretty much every other little power consumed bureaucrat is incapable of doing so.  Below is Rand Paul’s letter reprinted in full (my emphasis added).

February 20, 2013

John O. Brennan

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. Brennan,

In consideration of your nomination to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), I have repeatedly requested that you provide answers to several questions clarifying your role in the approval of lethal force against terrorism suspects, particularly those who are U.S. citizens. Your past actions in this regard, as well as your view of the limitations to which you are subject, are of critical importance in assessing your qualifications to lead the CIA. If it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the Executive Branch by the Constitution, then the Senate should not confirm you to lead the CIA.

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How to Spot a Hypocrite in the Gun Debate and Other Reflections on Newtown

Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.

- Justice Louis D. Brandeis

How to Spot a Hypocrite in the Gun Debate and Other Reflections on Newtown
For those of you that follow me on twitter, some of the statements and themes you will read in this article will sound familiar.  What happened on December 14, 2012 was obviously a horrific tragedy that my simple mind can’t possibly wrap itself around, but what I can do is send my deepest thoughts, prayers and sympathies to all of those affected.  I can’t imagine the level of pain and suffering you are all experiencing.  This article; however, isn’t directed at you.  There is nothing I can do to ease your pain.  This article is for the rest of us who weren’t directly affected by the incident, but may be indirectly affected by certain parties’ emotional response to it and by those that will exploit it to justify agendas.

One of the key lessons from all of human history is that the easy way to deal with any tragedy is to scapegoat.  In some cases, like in Nazi Germany, the scapegoat proved to be unpopular minorities, especially Jews.  These days, many Americans have fallen into the trap of scapegoasting Muslims and the Islamic religion for all the bad things that happen on the planet.  The key similarity I see in these sorts of situations is that the population affected by some trauma (hyperinflation and economic collapse in Germany and 9/11 in the United States) tends to resort to the knee-jerk reaction of scapegoating an easy target rather than diving into the complexities of the issue and engaging in societal self-reflection.  This is extraordinarily dangerous.

From what I can tell, some of the most ridiculous polices are the direct result of a trauma, people getting emotional, and then begging for a response.    In my own lifetime, 9/11 is the perfect example.  Our national response to a gruesome attack that killed thousands of innocent civilians was to tear up the Constitution, specifically the cherished Bill of Rights, with insane Big Brother type legislation like the “Patriot” Act.  We basically launched the war on terror by waving a white flag.  Truly defeating terrorists wouldn’t have consisted of running to the mall and shopping, as George W. Bush insisted, or giving up the freedoms that made America the most attractive country to move to for the last two hundred years.  The way to judge victory or defeat in the ”war on terror” eleven years later is not to check the statistics on terrorist attacks.  They way to judge victory or defeat is to look at the nation economically, socially and politically and ask yourself are we better off or worse off?  I think the verdict is clear on that front, and I do in large part blame our childish and emotionally reaction to the national tragedy of 9/11.

Well here we stand in mid-December 2012, just days from the Mayan end of the world and another national tragedy has been unleashed on the land.  Most of the victims were innocent, helpless six and seven year old children that never even had the chance to fulfill their potential on this planet.  Unfortunately, just as Ron Paul told us, key parts of the Patriot Act were written and desired by certain factions well before 9/11, there is a powerful faction in the highest echelons of the elite that have wanted and continue to want to remove guns from the hands of innocent American citizens.  These people are not interested in easing violence; these folks want to disarm the public before the mathematically inevitable economic collapse occurs (see my article “Slaves are Always Disarmed”).  While many of these folks claims publicly that there is an “economic recovery” and happy days are just over the horizon, they know better and privately want to get all their ducks in a row before the final and horrific collapse occurs.  This is why the surveillance state is making such aggressive strides at the moment.  It is also why there is a panic to remove firearms from the public.

The person who bothers me the most on this entire topic is Mayor Michael Bloomberg, of my hometown NYC.  You can tell when someone is disingenuous if they freak out over gun violence like it is the biggest issue in America today and at the same time protect the banksters and their “too big to fail” culture, which has and continues to systemically steal trillions of dollars from the poor.  This is Michael Bloomberg to a tee, so this man should have no credibility on any moral subject when he protects and coddles the most dangerous criminal organizations on this planet.  I guess there is something “liberal” about white collar crime.

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