Outlawing civil dissent under Obama & the Patriot Act

A couple of reminders about the truth behind the empty rhetoric of Obama on his grandstanding trip to Eire and Britain.

Firstly, an article from the magazine Counterpunch, which provides an overview of the (at least ) 2,600  arrests of activists protesting in the US since Obama’s inauguration.

These arrests have been for a whole spectrum of causes, including;

. . . . people protesting US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo, strip mining, home foreclosures, nuclear weapons, immigration policies, police brutality, mistreatment of hotel workers, budget cutbacks, Blackwater, the mistreatment of Bradley Manning, and right wing efforts to cut back collective bargaining.

Examples include;

February 15, 2011.  A former CIA agent turned whistleblower was arrested and battered by police for standing silently and turning his back during a speech on the need for human rights in Egypt delivered by the US Secretary of State.   Veterans for Peace.

April 24, 2011. Sixteen protestors against nuclear weapons at the Nevada National Security Site were arrested after a sixty mile sacred walk from Las Vegas.  Nevada Desert Experience.  Pace e Bene.

July 6, 2010.  Seventy eight people protesting against police brutality in Oakland California and the trial involving a shooting by a BART police office.

March 4, 2009, nine people seeking to present a letter to CEO of Alliant Technologies outlining how weapons manufacturers were prosecuted as war criminals at the end of WWII were arrested in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  Alliant Action.

 

Patriot Act poster

Another article in a Veterans Today article, posted by Susan Lindauer, who describes herself as;

the second non-Arab American ever indicted on the Patriot Act

is a comprehensive insight into the workings of the US secret state, and how it will persecute even its own, without any semblance of the ‘natural justice’ trumpeted as a democratic human right for everyone else by the US Government.

She goes on to describe the work that she had carried out for the US Government over the years ;

I had worked in anti-terrorism for almost a decade, covering Iraq and Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Malaysia at the United Nations. At the instruction of my CIA handler, I had delivered advance warnings about the 9/11 attack to the private staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Office of Counter-Terrorism in August, 2001. FBI wire taps prove that I carried details of a comprehensive peace framework with Iraq up and down the hallowed corridors of Capitol Hill for months before the invasion, arguing that War was totally unnecessary.

She continues;

I delivered those papers to Democrats and Republicans alike; to my own second cousin, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card; and to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who lived next door to my CIA handler. Gratis of the Patriot Act, we had the manila envelope and my hand written notes to Secretary Powell, dated a week before his infamous speech at the United Nations. My papers argued that no WMDs would be found inside Iraq, and that the peace framework could achieve all U.S. objectives without firing a shot.

She then  describes how she did what she describes as ‘the unthinkable’ . . .

I phoned the offices of Senator Trent Lott and Senator John McCain, requesting to testify before a brand new, blue ribbon Commission investigating Pre-War Intelligence. Proud and confident of my efforts, I had no idea Congress was planning to blame “bad intelligence” for the unpopular War.  Over night I became Public Enemy Number One on Capitol Hill . . . . Thirty days later I awoke to hear FBI agents pounding on my door. My nightmare on the Patriot Act lasted 5 years . . .

She describes how the Patriot Act grants prosecutors and police extraordinary powers of the sort that Kafka predicted in The Trial – ‘warrantless searches and FBI tracking surveillance’. She describes her time as a ‘suspect’ ;

Throughout five years of indictment, my attorneys and I never got to read a single FBI interview or grand jury statement. Under the Patriot Act, the whistleblower/defendant has no right to know who has accused him or her of what criminal activities, or the dates of the alleged offenses, or what laws got broken.

The interest in her was no doubt because of her contacts, and the sinister truths which started to emerge in the post-9/11 USA;

I knew that “sometime in October, 2001″ an Iraqi diplomat gave me the English translation of a book on depleted uranium, which showed how cancer rates and birth defects had spiked in Iraqi children. And I was quite certain that on October 14, 1999, an Iraqi diplomat asked me how to channel major financial contributions to the Presidential Campaign of George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Her reward for being an honest agent, and one obviously with some sort of ethical sensibility was being ;

. . . thrown in prison on a Texas military base without so much as a hearing—and threatened with indefinite detention and forcible drugging, to boot.

So next time you see someone standing at a podium with the Great Seal of the USA on the front, you can be assured that what they are saying will probably have no resemblance to the political reality of the lives of their own citizens . . .

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