Newest McCain official: President has “near dictatorial powers”

McCain reaches into the most deceptive propaganda organ in America to staff the highest level of his communications apparatus.

Bill Kristol today proudly announces that one of his Weekly Standard staff members, Michael Goldfarb, was just named the Deputy Communications Director of the McCain campaign. Last April, this newest McCain official participated in a conference call with former Senator George Mitchell, during which Mitchell advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Afterwards, this is what Goldfarb wrote about what he thinks are the powers the President possesses in our country:

Mitchell’s less than persuasive answer [to whether withdrawal timetables “somehow infringe on the president’s powers as commander in chief?”]: “Congress is a coequal branch of government…the framers did not want to have one branch in charge of the government.”True enough, but they sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security.

As I noted at the time:

Until the Bill Kristols and John Yoos and other authoritarians of that strain entered the political mainstream, I never heard of prominent Americans who describe the power that they want to vest in our political leaders as “near dictatorial.” Anyone with an even passing belief in American political values would consider the word “dictatorial” — at least rhetorically, if not substantively — to define that which we avoid at all costs, not something which we seek, embrace and celebrate.

And the very idea that the Founders — whose principal concern was how to avoid consolidated power in any one person — sought to vest “near dictatorial power” in the President is too perverse for words. But that’s been the core “principle” driving the destructive radicalism of the last seven years, and it’s an extremist view that is obviously welcomed at the highest levels of the McCain campaign.

Kristol closes his boastful announcement by noting that the pro-dictatorial Goldfarb will return to the Weekly Standard after the campaign ends — “unless he’s appointed national security adviser in the McCain White House.” Somehow, McCain continues to be depicted in the media as a “moderate” and the like despite the enthusiastic support of our nation’s most crazed and unprincipled warmongers. But even more revealing is that McCain is now staffing his communications apparatus at the highest levels by reaching into Bill Kristol’s The Weekly Standard — one of the most deceptive propaganda organs of the Bush years. Does one even need to point out that there are few things more incompatible with one another than “straight talk” and The Weekly Standard?

UPDATE: Michael Goldfarb on waterboarding and other illegal interrogation practices internationally considered to be “torture” (h/t A.L.):

The Times indicts the Bush administration for exposing terrorists captured abroad to “head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.” Boo hoo.

McCain is a deeply principled opponent of torture and waterboarding which is why his new communications official’s view of objections to those techniques is “Boo hoo.”

UPDATE II: Last October, this is what Goldfarb wrote in arguing that telecoms deserve amnesty even if they broke the law in enabling warrantless spying on Americans:

[I]f federal agents show up at a corporate headquarters for a major American company and urgently seek that company’s officers for assistance in the war on terror, the companies damn well ought to give it as a matter of simple patriotism, whether the CIA wants a plane for some extraordinary rendition or help in tracking terrorists via email. . . . [T]o expect a company to resist a plea from the government for help in a time of war is ridiculous.

So, consistent with his President-as-Dictator vision, McCain’s new communications official believes that — as I wrote at the time — when “federal agents” come knocking at your door and issue orders, you better “damn well” obey — you had better not “resist” — even if the orders you’re being given are illegal, even if they’re designed to spy on Americans in violation of the law, and even if they’re intended to facilitate the torture of detainees. That’s what patriotic Americans do — they obey the orders of their near-dictatorial Leader, so sayeth the heel-clicking Michael Goldfarb. That’s a superb, and very mainstream, new addition to the maverick McCain team.

Glenn Greenwald
Jun. 02, 2008

Source: Salon

Bob Barr A Poor Representative Of Liberty

The Libertarian Party recently nominated former Republican Congressman Bob Barr as their presidential nominee. This nomination represents a compromise of the principles that the Libertarian Party used to stand for. Party members decided that they were going to sell out the principles of their party in exchange for some coverage in the corporate controlled media. Is some coverage in the establishment media worth having a man at the front of the party with an incredibly dubious past pertaining to freedom and liberty? Although it is possible that Barr might have changed his ways and realized his mistakes for not abiding by the Constitution, his record speaks for itself. Barr voted in favor of the Patriot Act, worked for the CIA throughout the 1970s and supported the phony war on drugs for several years. The Patriot Act is one of the most tyrannical pieces of legislation ever passed in the history of the United States. The war on drugs is entirely against the principles of the Libertarian Party. Considering Barr’s record of supporting anti-freedom policies and legislation, he is not a suitable choice to vote for in the general election. If you want to vote for a candidate that believes in liberty and the Constitution, write in Ron Paul.

Barr won the nomination over Mary Ruwart who would have been a fine candidate to promote the Libertarian cause. Ruwart is an author who has supported the cause of individual freedom for many years. She is a long time member of the Libertarian party and had none of the baggage that Barr has. By selecting Barr as the presidential nominee, the Libertarian Party has selected a poor representative.

Below is a blurb from a Bloomberg report talking about how Barr has upset many Libertarians with his dubious past.

Barr has angered Libertarians by backing what they view as abuses of government, including efforts to crack down on drugs and his vote for the Patriot Act, which gave the government expanded powers, such as wiretapping, to fight terrorism. Civil libertarians condemn his co-sponsorship of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, and his opposition to abortion.

Read moreBob Barr A Poor Representative Of Liberty

This Is What The CIA Thinks Of Freedom of Information Act Requests

After CIA Director Michael Hayden publicly admitted that the CIA has, in fact, waterboarded detainees, the agency could no longer cling to its last excuses for covering up the use of the very word “waterboarding” in CIA records. As a result, yesterday we obtained several heavily redacted documents in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other organizations seeking documents related to the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas.

While the documents do, in fact, reveal the word “waterboarding” or some variation, they leave pretty much everything else to the imagination. The pages that haven’t been completely withheld (many of them contain the words “Denied in Full” instead of any actual content) have the clandestine blacked-out look that’s become a sort of trademark of this administration. This is my favorite:

One of the documents is a heavily redacted version of a report (PDF) by the CIA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on its review of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. The report includes information about an as-yet-undisclosed Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinion from August 2002. Interestingly, this opinion appears to be the same OLC memo authorizing specific interrogations methods for use by the CIA that is being withheld by the CIA as a classified document in the ACLU’s FOIA litigation — but the OIG report refers to this document as “unclassified.”

The CIA continues to withhold many more documents that should not be secret. The incomplete response to the ACLU’s demand for records reflects a complete disregard for the right of the American public to know when and how often the government has employed illegal interrogation methods.

Read moreThis Is What The CIA Thinks Of Freedom of Information Act Requests

Cops & Customs Agents Caught Drug Smuggling

New cases follow September 2007 crash of CIA plane containing 4 tonnes of cocaine

Following last September’s crash of a Gulfstream jet used by the CIA for torture flights that contained 4 tonnes of cocaine, more customs officials and cops have been caught in drug smuggling and drug dealing rackets.

Customs supervisor Walter Golembiowski and officer John Ajello face narcotics, bribery and conspiracy charges after they were arrested for helping smuggle drugs and contraband through New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“The investigation has led to the indictment and prosecution of more than 20 people – “from distributors to overseas sources of supply” – and the seizure of more than 600 pounds of imported hashish and other drugs from the United States and France,” according to a CNN report.

Meanwhile in Texas, Cameron County Constable Saul Ochoa was arrested by the FBI yesterday morning for possession and distribution of marijuana.

Ochoa’s brother is Justice of the Peace Benny Ochoa III of Port Isabel and his cousin is Port Isabel Police Chief Joel Ochoa.

“The grand jury charged Ochoa with possessing five to 10 pounds of marijuana on four different days in May with the intent to distribute. Each of the four counts carries a maximum five years in prison and $250,000 fine,” according to a Brownsville Herald report.

While reports of customs agents and cops dealing drugs are almost routine, the real head of the hydra has always been CIA involvement in smuggling drugs that end up on America’s streets, a symbiotic process that also helps finance wars and terrorist groups to do the bidding of the U.S. government around the world.

The corporate media will report on lesser drug smuggling scandals involving cops and customs agents, but when it comes to the gargantuan sprawling CIA drug smuggling racket, the silence is deafening.

In September 2007, a Florida based Gulfstream II jet aircraft # N987SA was forced to crash land in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after it ran out of fuel.

After accident investigators arrived on the scene they discovered a cargo of nearly 4 tonnes of cocaine.

Journalists discovered that the same Gulstream jet had been used in at least three CIA “rendition” trips to Guantanamo Bay between 2003 and 2005.

Kevin Booth’s underground hit documentary American Drug War features footage of former DEA head Robert Bonner admitting that the CIA was involved in cocaine smuggling operations.

Former DEA agent Cele Castillo, who has appeared on The Alex Jones Show many times, personally witnessed CIA drug smuggling operations funneled through terrorists that were also involved in kidnappings and the training of death squads on behalf of the U.S. government.

Investigative reporter Gary Webb was instrumental in exposing CIA cocaine trafficking operations before his alleged suicide in 2004. In the You Tube clip below, Webb traces the history of Agency involvement in drug smuggling and its links to financing wars in central America.

Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, May 29, 2008

Source: Prison Planet

Iraq war: former Bush aide admits manipulating opinion

Related Article: Government Insider: Bush Authorized 9/11 Attacks

The White House “culture of deception” has been exposed by Bush’s former press secretary

Report Details Dissent on Guantánamo Tactics

WASHINGTON – In 2002, as evidence of prisoner mistreatment at Guantánamo Bay began to mount, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents at the base created a “war crimes file” to document accusations against American military personnel, but were eventually ordered to close down the file, a Justice Department report revealed Tuesday.

The report, an exhaustive, 437-page review prepared by the Justice Department inspector general, provides the fullest account to date of internal dissent and confusion within the Bush administration over the use of harsh interrogation tactics by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency.

In one of several previously undisclosed episodes, the report found that American military interrogators appeared to have collaborated with visiting Chinese officials at Guantánamo Bay to disrupt the sleep of Chinese Muslims held there, waking them every 15 minutes the night before their interviews by the Chinese. In another incident, it said, a female interrogator reportedly bent back an inmate’s thumbs and squeezed his genitals as he grimaced in pain.

The report describes what one official called “trench warfare” between the F.B.I. and the military over the rough methods being used on detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The report says that the F.B.I. agents took their concerns to higher-ups, but that their concerns often fell on deaf ears: officials at senior levels at the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council were all made aware of the F.B.I. agents’ complaints, but little appears to have been done as a result.

The report quotes passionate objections from F.B.I. officials who grew increasingly concerned about the reports of practices like intimidating inmates with snarling dogs, parading them in the nude before female soldiers, or “short-shackling” them to the floor for many hours in extreme heat or cold.

Such tactics, said one F.B.I. agent in an e-mail message to supervisors in November 2002, might violate American law banning torture.

More senior officials, including Spike Bowman, who was then the head of the national security law unit at the F.B.I., tried to sound the alarm as well.

“Beyond any doubt, what they are doing (and I don’t know the extent of it) would be unlawful were these enemy prisoners of war,” Mr. Bowman wrote in an e-mail message to top F.B.I. officials in July 2003.

Read moreReport Details Dissent on Guantánamo Tactics

China: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

Excerpts from the long but excellent article:

“Over the past two years, some 200,000 surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the city. Many are in public spaces, disguised as lampposts.”

“The security cameras are just one part of a much broader high-tech surveillance and censorship program known in China as “Golden Shield.” The end goal is to use the latest people-tracking technology — thoughtfully supplied by American giants like IBM, Honeywell and General Electric — to create an airtight consumer cocoon:”

“Like everything else assembled in China with American parts, Police State 2.0 is ready for export to a neighborhood near you.”

“This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the “Great Firewall.” Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.”

“Here is a small sample of what the company (L-1) does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland Security’s massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with “mobile iris and multimodal devices” so they can collect biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department’s “largest facial-recognition database system”; and produces driver’s licenses in Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst to discuss, in “extremely general” terms, what the division was doing with contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company’s CEO would only say, “Stay tuned.””

“It is L-1’s deep integration with multiple U.S. government agencies that makes its dealings in China so interesting: It isn’t just L-1 that is potentially helping the Chinese police to nab political dissidents, it’s U.S. taxpayers. The technology that Yao purchased for just a few thousand dollars is the result of Defense Department research grants and contracts going as far back as 1994, when a young academic named Joseph Atick (the research director Fordyce consulted on L-1’s China dealings) taught a computer at Rockefeller University to recognize his face.”
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Thirty years ago, the city of Shenzhen didn’t exist. Back in those days, it was a string of small fishing villages and collectively run rice paddies, a place of rutted dirt roads and traditional temples. That was before the Communist Party chose it – thanks to its location close to Hong Kong’s port – to be China’s first “special economic zone,” one of only four areas where capitalism would be permitted on a trial basis.

The theory behind the experiment was that the “real” China would keep its socialist soul intact while profiting from the private-sector jobs and industrial development created in Shenzhen. The result was a city of pure commerce, undiluted by history or rooted culture – the crack cocaine of capitalism. It was a force so addictive to investors that the Shenzhen experiment quickly expanded, swallowing not just the surrounding Pearl River Delta, which now houses roughly 100,000 factories, but much of the rest of the country as well.

Read moreChina: Police State 2.0 is Ready for Export

The Last Roundup: MAIN CORE

In my case, there’s no way the programs I want to talk to Congress about should be public ever, unless maybe in 200 years they want to declassify them. You should never learn about it; no one at the Times should ever learn about these things.
– Russell Tice, Former NSA SIGINT Officer


I’m going to provide a one paragraph summary, just to make sure that the implications of this are clear to everyone:

The U.S. Government has, almost certainly, established a database and tracking system for something like eight million Americans who have been designated as threats to national security. The system is called MAIN CORE and it is being run under the auspices of highly classified Continuity of Government (COG) operations. MAIN CORE uses a variety of intelligence sources as inputs, including your email, web activity, telephone and private financial information. In the event of a major national security crisis, it is alleged that Americans listed in the MAIN CORE database, “Could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.”

The Last Roundup, by Christopher Ketcham, appeared in the May/June 2008 issue of Radar Magazine. (Full text here and here.)

Below are some excerpts from The Last Roundup. I have provided explicit pointers to the related materials on Cryptogon:

Read moreThe Last Roundup: MAIN CORE

In ‘Spies for Hire,’ U.S. Security Gets Outsourced

It’s become a $50 billion a year industry: Corporations like Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, and IBM are being paid to do things the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Pentagon usually do, including analysis, covert operations, electronic surveillance and reconnaissance.Investigative journalist Tim Shorrock details the outsourcing of U.S. intelligence in his new book, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing.

Shorrock has covered the intersection of business and national security for over 25 years, writing for such publications as The Nation, Mother Jones and Salon.com, among others.
'Spies for Hire' coverOn May 9, 2006, John Humphrey, a former CIA officer making his way up the management ladder of one of the nation’s largest intelligence contractors, made a stunning disclosure to Intelcon, a national intelligence conference and exhibition at a hotel in Bethesda, Maryland. Outsourcing, Humphrey declared, was out of control. Contractors deployed in Iraq and other hotspots overseas were making decisions and handling documents that, in earlier times, had been the sole responsibility of U.S. military and intelligence officers. This had caused a “paradigm shift” in the relationship between government and the private sector, and left companies like his in an untenable position.

Five years ago, “you’d never have a contractor supporting an operation on the field where they’re making a recommendation to an officer,” said Humphrey. Nor would you find a contractor “making little contributions here and there” in the reports intelligence officers sent back to Washington. “This concerns me a lot, the way these lines are blurring,” he went on. “We shouldn’t be involved in some of these intelligence operations, or the planning, or the interrogations and what have you.” Unless government started taking more responsibility in the field, he warned, the “blowback” for the contracting industry could be profound.

The intelligence professionals in the room looked stunned. They had just sat through two days of upbeat discussions about the annual $10-billion expansion of U.S. intelligence budgets and the opportunities that money presented for defense contractors, information technology vendors, and former national security officials who still held their top secret security clearances. Upstairs in the exhibition hall, thirty-five companies were displaying the latest high-tech spying equipment and competing to recruit new employees, who could earn up to three times government pay by migrating to the private sector. Words like “blowback” did not come easily at such gatherings.

Read moreIn ‘Spies for Hire,’ U.S. Security Gets Outsourced

Report Pushes Passage Of Thought Crimes Bill

“First off, the threat of terrorist operated Internet sites is a complete fraud. IntelCenter a CIA front group which supposedly finds all of these Al-Qaeda terrorist video and audio tapes on the Internet never provides the source of where they obtain the terrorist propaganda.”

“If these materials were real terrorist propaganda and they didn’t want to reveal the source, why have we not seen warrants served, the web servers seized and people questioned? Why is it that the terrorist video and audio tapes that are released by this so called terrorist organization always seems to indirectly help the Bush administration?”

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The Internet is now becoming a new front in the phony terror war. Legislation like the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 that is in the forms of HR 1955 and S 1959 which seek to give the government powers to define thoughts and belief systems as homegrown terrorism, is on the brink of being pushed down our throats. HR 1955 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 404-6 and now it appears as if the U.S. Senate is attempting to justify its future passage.

The U.S. Senate homeland security committee lead by war mongering fascist Joesph Lieberman, investigated the so called growing threat of terrorists using the Internet for recruiting and training purposes. In their report, they paint the Internet as a dangerous tool for terrorists and conclude that new laws need to be passed “to prevent the spread of the ideology.” It is incredibly convenient that S 1959 provides the legislation that is called for in their report. The true purpose of this report is to push for the passage of S 1959 which will give the government powers similar to what the government of Oceania used in George Orwell’s book 1984.

Read moreReport Pushes Passage Of Thought Crimes Bill