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The Homeland Security Monstrosity

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)
November 19, 2002

Congress spent just a few short hours last week voting to create the biggest new federal bureaucracy since World War II, not that the media or even most members of Congress paid much attention to the process. Yet our most basic freedoms as Americans – privacy in our homes, persons, and possessions; confidentiality in our financial and medical affairs; openness in our conversations, telephone, and internet use; unfettered travel; indeed the basic freedom not to be monitored as we go through our daily lives – have been dramatically changed.
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Adam Kokesh and the Drugs and Guns Prosecution Trap

Drugs And Guns
photo: Daveybot

Podcast host Adam Kokesh appears to have joined the long list of victims of the US government's drugs and guns prosecution trap. After a US Park Police raid on his Virginia residence last week, media reported Monday that Kokesh was charged with possession of a Schedule I or II drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act while in possession of a gun. After his arrest, a judge ruled that Kokesh is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm through the end of his prosecution.

In the drugs and guns prosecution trap, when a defendant merely possesses a gun while allegedly in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, the government seeks to impose additional penalties for the gun possession. These penalties may be imposed even if the defendant did not use a gun in any violent activity or even in any activity related to drugs.
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William Hague: The Foolish Puppet

Hague Kerry
photo:Foreign and Commonwealth Office

British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced yesterday that his government would be spending nearly one million dollars providing the Syrian rebels with special hoods and other equipment to protect them from chemical weapons. He promised that the assistance would only go to "moderate" forces, but did not explain how he would measure who was moderate or who was extreme.

That will be no easy task. For example, as a commander of the Free Syrian Army, Abu Sakkar is considered a moderate. But his habit of eating the organs of dead Syrian army soldiers seems to most people pretty extreme. Likewise, FSA calls for all factions, including the jihadists, to unite may make it harder for Hague. Not to worry, though, British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt told the UK parliament that the Syrian rebels have promised to give back all the weapons after the fighting is over.

Hague's care package will also include some tablets to combat the symptoms of nerve gas and some special paper to detect the presence of certain chemical agents. These will all come in handy the next time the Syrian rebels decide to launch more chemical weapons, as they can be protected against any butterfingers jihadist while at the same time performing a quick wipe of the canister to send to the US to prove that it was the government forces who were using chemical weapons. It's a win-win.
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The Disease is War, Not Snowden

Feeding War
photo: Truthout.org

Why so many whistleblowers? Why the Tom Drakes? Why the Edward Snowdens and others? And why the persecution, unprecedented persecution by the administration?

The answer to those questions is a huge answer. And the answer is the national security state which we've become and the interminable war that we wage as that state.

So Snowden is not the disease. We don't have traitors or whistleblowers blooming all over because they are some sort of malady. The disease is war. We've been at war now and with no end in sight for over a dozen years, the longest in our history.

War breeds tyranny. War breeds people who want to prosecute and persecute those who reveal that tyranny. So what we have is the government becoming more draconian --clearly understandable. It always does in a period of war. And as it becomes more draconian, more and more whistleblowers coming. And we're going to see more. I would predict we're going to see a Snowden every six months. We're going to see whistleblowers every month. And we're going to see the government getting increasingly draconian in going after them.
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The Government’s ‘Passion’ to Protect Us

In a Washington Post profile today, we read that NSA Director Keith Alexander’s “passion” to protect us from terrorist threats led him to “collect it all,” meaning to intercept and store our every electronic interaction. According to the Post, Alexander used the “collect it all” approach in Iraq to help make it a safer place in the mid-2000s, and his success there led him to use it against the rest of us at home. Was Iraq really a success? Does Iraq seem like a safe place?
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A Possible Change in Turkey's Syria Policies?

Syriarebels

Although the main spot in the world news is still occupied by Egypt, which has come to the brink of civil war, the tensions in Turkey are constantly making themselves felt. While Egypt, according to the popular blog Haberturk, is already “going the way of Libya,” the civil disturbances in Turkey are clearly of a protracted nature. In the last several days the activity on the streets of Istanbul and other Turkish cities has died down somewhat, but has not faded away entirely. The police is still using tear gas and water cannon. Last weekend another wave of demonstrations rolled over Istanbul, demanding the resignation of Recep Erdoğan's government. The demonstrators attempted to penetrate the territory of Gezi Park, which was cordoned off by the police, but they were dispersed, and the police stated that it intends to continue suppressing attempts to conduct unsanctioned demonstrations.

The reasons for the protests in Turkey are complex, and vary from region to region; this compels the authorities not to act by force alone. For example, in Istanbul the reconstruction of Gezi Park and the adjacent Taksim Square was halted by a local court decision. However, while in the country's largest city the formal reason for the demonstrations was an attempt to destroy one of the few “green zones” in the city, in Hatay or Gaziantep, for example, the public displeasure (which appeared, by the way, much earlier) had completely different causes which were directly linked to the policy of the Turkish authorities on the “Syrian issue”.
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Why the EU is Also Desperate for Snowden's Capture

EU Snowden Protest
photo: -lucky cat-

It’s very revealing and symbolic that President Morales’ plane should have been forced to land in a European Union country after the withdrawal of overflight rights by other EU countries, because this, of course, shows how the European poodle jumps at the American circus master’s command. European governments are very obviously under the thumb of the Americans, they have shown this very blatantly.

And the reason why I say it’s symbolic is that the abuses which Snowden has revealed --  the explosion of espionage activity against US citizens and against the people around the world by the US government -- is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that there has been massive increase in cooperation in intelligence sharing between the United States and its European Union allies in the last ten years and certainly since 9-11. So it’s entirely appropriate, if you like, that the whistleblower should have been attempted to be caught by European Union countries, because the problem that he has revealed concerns intelligence sharing between the European Union and America as well as the increase of espionage by the American security forces.
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New Egyptian War: Americans Lose, Again

Looking at the banners in the massive Egyptian protests last week, we saw many anti-American slogans. Likewise, the Muslim Brotherhood-led government that was deposed by the military last week was very critical of what it saw as US support for the coup. Why is it that all sides in this Egyptian civil war seem so angry with the United States? Because the United States has at one point or another supported each side, which means also that at some point the US has also opposed each side. It is the constant meddling in Egyptian affairs that has turned Egyptians against us, as we would resent foreign intervention in our own affairs.

For more than 30 years, since the US-brokered Camp David Accord between Israel and Egypt, the US supported Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Over that period the US sent more than $60 billion to prop up Mubarak and, importantly, to train and seek control over the Egyptian military. Those who opposed Mubarak’s unelected reign became more and more resentful of the US, which they rightly saw as aiding and abetting a dictator and denying them their political aspirations.


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