NEW YORK – A newly disclosed secret memo authored by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in March 2003 that asserts President Bush has unlimited power to order brutal interrogations of detainees also reveals a radical interpretation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure. The memo, declassified yesterday as the result of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, cites a still-secret DOJ memo from 2001 that found that the “Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.”
The October 2001 memo was almost certainly meant to provide a legal basis for the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program, which President Bush launched the same month the memo was issued. As a component of the Department of Defense, the NSA is a military agency.
“The recent disclosures underscore the Bush administration’s extraordinarily sweeping conception of executive power,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “The administration’s lawyers believe the president should be permitted to violate statutory law, to violate international treaties, and even to violate the Fourth Amendment inside the U.S. They believe that the president should be above the law.“
US Homeland Security overlord Michael Chertoff has told reporters that he believes plans for increased use of satellite surveillance by American law-enforcement agencies are ready to move forward. However, Democratic politicians remain unconvinced that adequate privacy and civil liberties safeguards are in place.
“I think the way is now clear to stand NAO up and go warm,” said Chertoff, briefing journalists about the proposed National Applications Office.
NAO would allow US police, immigration, drug-enforcement and other officials to have access to data from various US satellites passing above America. It is understood that the information would be supplied mostly by spacecraft which at the moment are used for meteorological and geological surveying, or other scientific tasks. Satellites of this type can often deliver high-resolution images which would also be useful to law enforcement.
NEW YORK – The military is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans’ Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, the ACLU said Tuesday.
Vice President Dick Cheney opposed the signing ratification of a treaty banning the use chemical weapons, a recently unearthed letter shows.
183 countries pledged never to “develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain chemical weapons, or transfer, directly or indirectly, chemical weapons to anyone” under the Chemical Weapons Convention, put into effect in 1997.
But in a letter dated April 8, 1997, then Halliburton-CEO Cheney told Sen. Jesse Helms, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that it would be a mistake for America to join the Convention. “Those nations most likely to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention are not likely to ever constitute a military threat to the United States. The governments we should be concerned about are likely to cheat on the CWC, even if they do participate,” reads the letter, published by the Federation of American Scientists.
Biological weapons delivered by cyborg insects. It sounds like a nightmare scenario straight out of the wilder realms of science fiction, but it could be a reality if a current Pentagon project comes to fruition.
Right now, researchers are already growing insects with electronics inside them. They’re creating cyborg moths and flying beetles that can be remotely controlled. One day, the US military may field squadrons of winged insect/machine hybrids with on-board audio, video or chemical sensors. These cyborg insects could conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions on distant battlefields, in far-off caves, or maybe even in cities closer to home, and transmit detailed data back to their handlers at US military bases.
Today, many people fear US government surveillance of email and cell phone communications. With this program, the Pentagon aims to exponentially increase the paranoia. Imagine a world in which any insect fluttering past your window may be a remote-controlled spy, packed with surveillance equipment. Even more frightening is the prospect that such creatures could be weaponized, and the possibility, according to one scientist intimately familiar with the project, that these cyborg insects might be armed with “bio weapons”.
For the past 50 years, work by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – the Pentagon’s blue skies research outfit – has led to some of the most lethal weaponry in the US arsenal: from Hellfire-missile-equipped Predator drones and stealth fighters and bombers to Tomahawk cruise missiles and Javelin portable “fire and forget” guided missiles.
Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura vehemently savaged the official 9/11 story on a syndicated national radio show today, saying the WTC collapsed like a controlled demolition and was pulverized to dust as he also highlighted the impossible 10 second free fall speed of the towers.
Appearing on The Alex Jones Show, Ventura said that his initial reaction to 9/11 was much like most people at the time, and he accepted the official story outright, a response he now regrets because he was in a position of power and could have used it to raise a lot of pointed questions.
“I kicked myself when it initially happened that the light didn’t go off but I was so shocked that this thing had even taken place that I apologize for not being more aware,” said Ventura, adding that watching Loose Change at the insistence of his son was part of the catalyst for his wake up call.
“To me questions haven’t been answered and are not being answered about 9/11,” said Ventura, before highlighting the collapse of Building 7, a 47-story tall skyscraper that was not hit by a plane but collapsed in its own footprint in the late afternoon of September 11.
“Two planes struck two buildings….but how is it that a third building fell 5 hours later?” asked Ventura, “How could this building just implode into its own footprint 5 hours later – that’s my first question – the 9/11 Commission didn’t even devote one page to that in their big volume of investigation,” added the former Governor.
Ventura then explored how it was possible that all three buildings could rapidly collapse at almost free fall speed.
“How could those buildings fall at the speed of gravity – if you put a stopwatch on them both of those World Trade Center buildings were on the ground in ten seconds – how can that be?” asked Ventura.
“If you took a billiard ball and dropped it from the height of the World Trade Center in a vacuum it would hit the ground in 9.3 seconds and if you took that same billiard ball and dropped it 10 stories at a time and merely stopped it and started it it would take 30 seconds – if you dropped it every floor of the World Trade Center to the ground, simply stopping and starting it on gravity it would take over 100 seconds to reach the ground,” he surmised.
The former wrestling star then questioned how low-temperature burning jet fuel could melt steel.
“Jet fuel is four fifths kerosene – which is not a hot burning fuel – and they wanted us to believe it melted these steel structured girders and caused these buildings to pancake collapse to the ground?” he stated.
“I was on the site within two weeks after it happened and I saw none of these pancakes – wouldn’t they all be piled up in a huge mass on the ground and yet everything was blown into dust – when you look at it from that aspect none of it makes any sense,” said Ventura.
“Never before in the annuls of history has a fire caused a steel structure building to fall to the ground like these two did,” he concluded.
Having undergone Basic Underwater Demolition Seal training, Ventura is speaking from an experienced standpoint and he unequivocally stated that he thought the buildings were deliberately imploded.
“Upon looking at the film in super-slow motion and the way the buildings fell and comparing that to the way that they do like a controlled demolition of a hotel in Las Vegas, they both fell identical.”
“I did watch the film of Building 7 going down and in my opinion there’s no doubt that that building was brought down with demolition,” said the former Governor.
Ventura also questioned the lack of wreckage outside of the Pentagon after Flight 77 allegedly struck the building.
“When I was watching Loose Change with a friend of mine – he happens to work for a company that helps build the Boeing airplanes and they said that when the engines completely disappeared and were destroyed, his response was, excuse my French – bullshit!,” said Ventura.
“I turned to him and said why and he said because they’re made of titanium steel – they can’t disintegrate.”
Ventura said that the corporate media were going to continue to cover-up the truth about 9/11, but that the number of credible people speaking out and increasing education and knowledge about the subject would eventually reap dividends.
“We don’t want to lose our country, after all it’s still our country and until they put us down we have the power,” Ventura concluded.
Al Gore at the UN climate change conference in Bali in 2007.
Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty images
· Huge drive for Congress action on global warming
· $300m TV campaign will focus on job opportunities
Al Gore yesterday launched a drive to mobilise 10 million volunteers to force politicians to act on climate change – twice as many as the number who marched against the Vietnam war or in support of civil rights during the heyday of US activism in the 1960s.
During the next three years, his Alliance for Climate Protection plans to spend $300m (about £150m) on television advertising and online organising to make global warming among the most urgent issues for elected American leaders.
The wecansolveit.org initiative aims to build up pressure on the next US president to support stringent mandatory emissions controls when they come before Congress, and take a leadership role at the renegotiation of the Kyoto treaty.
Justice Department document said Bush could ignore torture bans
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Tuesday released a now-defunct legal memo that approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terrorism suspects, saying that President Bush’s authority during wartime trumps any international ban on torture.
The Justice Department memo, dated March 14, 2003, outlines legal justification for military interrogators to use harsh tactics against al-Qaida and Taliban detainees overseas – so long as they did not specifically intend to torture their captors.
Even so, the memo noted, the president’s wartime power as commander in chief would not be limited by the U.N. treaties against torture.