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Archive for the tag “president obama”

States Seceding from the Union : Can We? Should We?

There is a huge debate going on all over the internet regarding States seceding from the United States of America.  There are those, on one side who are completely in favor of this, those who are completely against this, and those who fall in a wide range of in between. Those who are against it, are so against it, they are telling those in favor of it to “Move to Somalia!” Move to Somalia? Really? Have these people seen how Somalia is governed? Have these people ever read our Constitution? How they equate people who want to restore our country to a Constitutional Republic (or declare Sovereignty with a State Constitution) with Somalia, I’ll never understand. But, I’ll leave that for another day and another discussion.

As of this writing, residents from the following states have added their own secession petitions: New Hampshire, Illinois, Idaho, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, Alaska, Utah, Wyoming, California, Delaware, Nevada, Kansas, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, New York, Colorado, Oregon, New Jersey, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama and Texas.

I count 39 States and I find that significant.  Now, before the White House will address a petition, it must first have 25,000 signatures. And to my knowledge, as of now, Texas is the only State that has met that requirement with over 80,000. Will the numbers of signers from other States increase? Probably. Will they each get the required 25,000? Doubtful. But what strikes me is citizens from39 of the 50 States are entertaining the idea of seceding from the Union. Suppose all 50 States end up filing petitions. Seems to me, with or without 25,000 signatures for each petition, that is something the White House must acknowledge. That goes well beyond a few fringe radicals having a temper tantrum.

But enough of me rambling. There are much smarter folks than I discussing this issue, so I will provide some links and maybe a brief commentary, and you decide. Is this something we #1) Realistically can do, and #2) Should do?

Ben Swann discusses Do States Actually Have The Right To Secede?

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.”

Texas Secession Petition Racks Up More Than 80,000 Signatures, Qualifies For White House Response

A petition for Texas secession has qualified to receive a White House response.

As of Tuesday evening, the petition — which asks for the peaceful withdrawal of the state of Texas from the union — had racked up more than 81,000 signatures. (Only 25,000 are needed to elicit an official response from the Obama administration.)

Continue Reading: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/texas-secession-petition-qualifies-for-white-house-response_n_2125159.html

Residents In More Than 30 States File Secession Petitions

Micah H. (no last name provided) of Arlington, Texas filed a petition that had nearly 60,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning.

It reads:

The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

Continue Reading: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/13/petition-to-secede-states_n_2120410.html

“Secession an important Constitutional Principle”

“It’s an American tradition to talk about secession”

Dr. Paul on Secession

Video from September 2008, describing Vermont, a very left leaning State, and their desire for secession.

THE STATES WANT TO SECEDE FROM THE UNION – FREE VT!

Following are two videos discussing New Hamphire citizens wanting to seced from 2009.

NH to Secede over Obama NWO Agenda

State of New Hampshire with Bill HCR 6 is just on one of several States who are drawing a line in the sand against the Federal Government. For any one of 6 very specific reasons, they will secede.

I. Declaring Involuntary Martial Law over any of the 50 States

II. Any kind of “domestic Draft” (Obama’s Service Corps)
*Obama’s Plan for The Draft- MANDATORY SERVICE everyone 18-25
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtDSwyCPEsQ

III. Any kind of required service of Minors (Youth Brigades)
*”Obama’s Nazi Youth Brigade”pt1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVjcRkeKFsc

IV. Surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to any corporation or foreign government. (UN Millenium Declaration, which Obama supports.
North American Union/SPP agreement.
UN Carbon Taxes)
*CNN-Lou Dobbs- Obama Backing North American Union Agenda – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgGEv-cdoms
**CNN- Obama and UN “Millenium Declaration”- Carbon Taxes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PePbtEABzGk

V. Any act regarding religion; further limitations on freedom of political speech; or further limitations on freedom of the press. (Fairness Doctrine)

VI. Any attempt to further restrict the the Right to Bear Arms
(Obama preposed a 500% tax on ammunition in his State and supports a nationwide version.
*CNN- Obama To BAN Guns SPREAD THIS FOLKS, PLZ!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vKfL2ETnF8

Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel want to put Gun Owners on a political black list that will strip them of their rights.
*Commie Rahm Emanuel to Disarm America:”#1 Issue”, Gun Owners are Terrorists
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vp7f1QKYmg

Obama’s Attorney General lobbied for the Total Gun Ban in DC, and thought it should go Nationwide.)

Heres the Bill:
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2009/HCR0006.html

Legislators tell feds to back off
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=87987

21 States Claiming Sovereignty: AZ, AL, AK, AR, CA, CO, GA, HI, ID, IN, KS, ME, MI, MO, MT, NH, NV, OK, PA, TX, & WA
http://www.mrstep.com/politics/az-wa-mo-nh-ok-claiming-sovereignty/

New Hampshire Bill to Secede from the Union

Glenn Beck’s interview with NH representative on NH bill to approve state’s desire to secede from the union

Even my own State, the Commonwealth of Virginia is getting in on this.

Peacefully Grant The COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA to Withdraw from The U.S.of America,and create it’s own Self-Government

Obama Federal Government Corruption,Lies,and Cover-Ups.Including potential Voter Fraud,with The Obama Admin.behind and Fostering the Ruination of Country,Laws,and Constitution,from every aspect of Governing,circumvention of the Law of The Land,and Utilization of Beurocratic means to bypass the Will of THE PEOPLE. 17 States so Far Have Filed for Secession.Must Originate and get 150 for WHITE house to post,and Recognize.Pls Sign:The government allows one month from the day the petition is submitted to obtain 25,000 signatures in order for the Obama administration to consider the request.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/peacefully-grant-commonwealth-virginia-withdraw-usof-americaand-create-its-own-self-government/R2BzGMPF

UPDATE!

Since starting this document, a lot has changed. It appears that now 7 States have the required 25,000 signatures and ALL 50 States are now on board.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North CarolinaTennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of onlineproposals.

Things are getting quite interesting friends. I am looking forward to watching this play out. For mor information on the petitions, please refer to We the People web site.
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Will the Arms Trade Treaty Suppress Second Amendment Rights?

The first round of UN Arms Trade Treaty talks may have fallen apart at the month-long conference held in NYC this past July, but as Ted Bromund over at Heritage noted at the time, “Now that the concept of the ATT has been invented, it cannot be uninvented. There are too many countries and too many left-wing nongovernmental organizations that want a treaty.” He was right and as Katie reported last week, it didn’t take very long to initiate another attempt. One question she raised in her post deserves more attention: “Is the argument from the U.N. that it won’t suppress Second Amendment rights an honest one?” And what about the Obama administration’s argument that they “will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms”?

Given our president’s feelings about our right to bear arms and his track record on gun control, the ATT has become an issue deserving very close attention.  Americans shouldn’t find comfort in assuming that for UN treaties to take effect, a two-thirds majority in the Senate is necessary. In a separate article Bromund notes that this understanding of the way treaties work is far too simplistic. I’d recommend reading that article in its entirety but to summarize:

“So, in the context of the ATT, if this conference produces a treaty that is open for signature, President Obama may sign it immediately. The U.S. will then hold itself to be under a legal obligation not to defeat the ATT’s “object and purpose.” The interpretation of this phrase will rest with the State Department’s lawyers, perhaps in a way directed by subsequent legislation, whose decisions cannot be predicted and are not easily subject to legislative oversight.”

Americans also shouldn’t be quick to believe the UN’s claims that the ATT will not infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. A report by the UN Coordinating Action on Small Arms titled “The Impact of Poorly Regulated Arms Transfers on the Work of the UN,” recognizes, on the one hand, that states have a right to “individual or collective self-defense” and that “the ATT does not aim to impede or interfere with the lawful ownership and use of weapons.” Yet on the other hand it states that because of the problem of diversion, or the transfer of weapons to the illicit market, “the arms trade must therefore be regulated in ways that would…minimize the risk of misuse of legally owned weapons.”

The Obama administration has also echoed claims that the ATT will not pose a threat to domestic gun owners. A Washington Times editorial sees right through it, however:

“It is hard to take the White House response seriously. The treaty instructs countries to“take the necessary legislative and administrative measures, to adapt, as necessary, national laws and regulations to implement the obligations of this treaty.” The agreement’s language is so broad, vague and poorly defined it could be stretched in a variety of ways that would pose a threat to the Second Amendment.”

In the end, of course, this treaty will do absolutely nothing to stop violence, terrorism and intra-state conflicts as its backers contend. The logistics alone are impossible and the fact that the Obama administration is agreeing to come together as equals with dictatorial regimes like Iran – a country which, by the way, received a top post at the July conference – is unconscionable.

So should we believe the administration (and the UN) when they assure Americans the ATT will not suppress our Second Amendment rights? And moreover, that they will not sign one that does? The administration’s keen interest in the treaty alone is cause for concern, but even more telling is when the adage ‘actions speak louder than words’ is applied to the Obama administration’s record. From Obamacare to Benghazi – honesty and transparency have not been their strong suits. Finally, the soaring gun sales in Obama’s first term and skyrocketing gun stocks since his reelection may tell you everything you really need to know about whether Americans take the administration at their word.

Watch Video: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2012/11/13/will_the_arms_trade_treaty_suppress_second_amendment_rights

Benghazi Massacre Far Graver Matter Than Watergate

The stunning resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, days before he was to testify on the CIA role in the Benghazi massacre, raises many more questions than his resignation letter answers.

“I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair,” wrote Petraeus. “Such behavior is unacceptable … as the leader of an organization such as ours.”

The problem: Petraeus’ “unacceptable behavior,” adultery with a married mother of two, Paula Broadwell, that exposed the famous general to blackmail, began soon after he became director in 2011.

Was his security detail at the CIA and were his closest associates oblivious to the fact that the director was a ripe target for blackmail, since any revelation of the affair could destroy his career?

People at the CIA had to know they had a security risk at the top of their agency. Did no one at the CIA do anything?

By early summer, however, Jill Kelley, 37, a close friend of the general from his days as head of CentCom at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., had received half a dozen anonymous, jealous, threatening emails.

“Back off.” “Stay away from my guy!” they said.

Kelley went to an FBI friend who ferreted out Broadwell as the sender and Petraeus as the guy she wanted Kelley to stay away from.

Yet, learning that Broadwell was the source of the emails, that Petraeus was having an affair with her, and that the CIA director was thus a target for blackmail and a security risk should have taken three days for the FBI, not three months.

And when Broadwell was identified as the source of the threats, did the Tampa FBI office decide on its own to rummage through her other emails? And when Petraeus’ secret email address popped up, did the local FBI decide to rummage through his emails, as well?

Was the CIA aware that Petraeus’ private emails were being read by the FBI?

Surely, as soon as Petraeus’ affair became known, FBI Director Robert Mueller would have been told and would have alerted Attorney General Eric Holder, who would have alerted the president.

For a matter of such gravity, this is normal procedure. Yet, The New York Times says the FBI and the Justice Department kept the White House in the dark. Is that believable?

Could it be that Obama and the National Security Council were kept ignorant of a grave security risk and a potentially explosive scandal that the Tampa FBI field office knew all about?

By late October, with the FBI, Justice and the White House all in “hear-no-evil” mode, an FBI “whistle-blower” from Florida contacted the Republican leadership in the House and told them of the dynamite the administration was sitting on.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office called Mueller, and the game was up. But the truth was withheld until after Nov. 6.

On Thursday, closed Senate hearings are being held into unanswered questions about the terrorist attack in which Amb. Chris Stevens, two former Navy SEALs and a U.S. diplomat were killed.

There are four basic questions.

Why were repeated warnings from Benghazi about terrorist activity in the area ignored and more security not provided, despite urgent pleas from Stevens and others at the consulate?

Why was the U.S. military unable to come to the rescue of our people begging for help, when the battle in Benghazi lasted on and off for seven hours?

Who, if anyone, gave an order for forces to “stand down” and not go to the rescue of the consulate compound or the safe house? A week before Petraeus’ resignation, the CIA issued a flat denial that any order to stand down ever came from anyone in the agency.

Fourth, when the CIA knew it was a terrorist attack, why did Jay Carney on Sept. 13, David Petraeus to Congress on Sept. 14, UN Amb. Susan Rice on Sept 16 on five TV shows, and Obama before the UN two weeks after 9/11 all keep pushing what the CIA knew was a false and phony story: That it had all come out of a spontaneous protest of an anti-Islamic video made by some clown in California?

There was no protest. Was the video-protest line a cover story to conceal a horrible lapse of security before the attack and a failure to respond during the attack — resulting in the slaughter?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sent word she will not be testifying. And she will soon be stepping down. Petraeus is a no-show this week. He is gone. Holder is moving on, and so, too, is Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

President Nixon’s Attorneys General John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst and his top aides Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman were all subpoenaed by the Watergate Committee and made to testify under oath about a bungled bugging at the DNC.

The Benghazi massacre is a far graver matter, and the country deserves answers. The country deserves the truth.

http://cnsnews.com/blog/patrick-j-buchanan/benghazi-massacre-far-graver-matter-watergate

What Now ‘Paulbots’?

So, what now?  The “election” is over. Ron Paul will retire.  If President Obama doesn’t declare himself Dictator Obama, we will get another opportunity to “elect” a President in 4 years. FOUR YEARS?!?!  Seems like a lifetime in one sense, and in another, it zips by in a flash.

Ok, where to begin? Well, let’s get the whole “who’s to blame?” thing out of the way. For months now, we have been hearing “You Paulbots are going to be responsible for Obama’s re-election!”  And more recently, “Thanks for re-electing Obama all of you who voted for Johnson!”

Let’s take a look at this. IF the GOP, the RNC,  and the “mainstream” media had not cheated, lied, and stolen through election fraud, and given Ron Paul a FAIR shot at the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney may very well have been President-Elect this morning.

Yep, you read that right. Even if everything during the Primaries up through the Convention, was played fairly, Romney may still have been the nominee. We still might not have had the numbers necessary to secure the nomination. This is purely “Monday morning quarterbacking” on my part. We MIGHT have had the numbers and taken the nomination, but it was always a long shot. At any rate, there are two things I am certain of, if we were given a level playing field.
#1).
IF Ron Paul would have gotten the nomination, he WOULD HAVE beaten President Obama. (A point I will address later)
#2). IF Romney got the nomination (fairly), the Republican Party would have brought many of the Paul supporters into the fold for the sake of unity in defeating President Obama.

Let’s begin with my second point first. The one thing that everyone from the extreme right wing religious Republicans all the way over to the socially liberal Independents, to include the core base of Libertarians agreed on through all of this, was Obama’s policies were wrong and he needed to be defeated. I don’t believe that was ever in dispute. The dispute rested in who to replace Obama with. And up until the Convention, that person SHOULD have been a negotiable point. But it never was. There was no choice. The GOP, RNC, and the media (along with the powers behind the scenes) took all choice away from ALL of us. 

Romney was SELECTED because it provided a win/win situation for Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, the Statists, and yes, the proponents of a New World Order. They ALL wanted 4 more years with Obama, who in his second term is likely to be more aggressive in implementing policies that are beneficial to all of them. But in the event Obama lost, who better to replace him with than a man who, based on his record, would continue those same policies? Romney was perfect!

But back to my point. If Romney, and the Republican Party would have played fair, and STILL won the nomination, I have no doubt, although disappointed, many Paul supporters would have supported Romney in the common goal of defeating Obama. I’m confident of this because, IF it were a fairly won nomination, Ron Paul would have, at the very least, had a platform to address the Convention. He would have been encouraged to help shape the Romney campaign and agenda. His advice would have been sought out in shaping policy for the future of Conservatism and the Republican Party. And as we all know, where Dr. Paul goes, so goes his supporters. Now you can claim this is pure speculation and opinion on my part, and it is. I don’t deny that. But it is pretty logical, as far as speculation goes. So, I’m sticking with it…IF this had been played out in a fair and honest manner, and Romney still secured the nomination, he would have garnered upwards of MILLIONS of additional supporters.

Ok, now on to my first point. IF everything had been done fair and square and Ron Paul would have secured the nomination, he would without doubt be taking the Oath of Office in January. How can I say this obvious opinion with such force and conviction?  How can I present my opinion so matter of factly?

Well, for starters, there is an overwhelming majority of Americans, who KNOW that the policies, both domestic AND abroad of the Obama administration are just not cutting it. This President has added TRILLIONS of dollars in debt, to an already out of control debt he claims to have inherited. He has broken nearly every campaign promise he made to get the job the first time. He has not only continued the war effort of the last President, but has expanded it, and will continue to do so. And speaking of the last administration, President Obama has continued to eliminate personal liberties of Americans through the extension of the Patriot Act, and implementing NDAA.  He has increased spending and manpower, and expanded the jurisdiction of the TSA.  He has exhibited a disdain for the process of our system by circumventing Congress through the use of Executive Orders. He has a Justice Department, under the head of Eric Holder, who at the very least is incompetent, but more realistically, criminal. And on and on and on. So, there are even die hard Liberals and Democrats who recognize this Administration’s policies are simply continuations of the Bush Administration’s policies. And they aren’t exactly thrilled about it.

Did any of you watch the “debates” between President Obama and Governor Romney? Yeah, me neither. After the halfway point of the first one, it was apparent, there was no “debate”. With all of their double talk, blame game, fool hearty attempts to prove how different they are, nobody bought it. The only ones who grudgingly, painfully, subjected themselves to the “show” were the pundits, bloggers, and sadists. It is abundantly clear, those “debates” were merely entertainment. Now, a President Obama vs. Congressman Paul series of debates would have been EPIC!

The President might have actually been put in a position to defend his FAILed policies:

Senator Obama campaigning in 2007….Gonna end the wars!
Congressman Paul 2012 debate….WHEN?

Senator Obama campaigning in 2007….Gonna put Americans back to work!
Congressman Paul 2012 debate…
WHEN?

Senator Obama campaigning in 2007….Gonna turn this economy around!
Congressman Paul 2012 debate…WHEN?

And these are just the easy ones. But specifically, imagine President Obama, while feebly attempting to defend his policies, trying to make valid arguments against Dr. Paul’s proposed policies!

For example, these wars. I think it’s safe to say America is “warred out“. How can President Obama defend his policies on war expansion AND argue against Dr. Paul’s policy of “Just march them home!”? Yes, I have simplified that, but how difficult must it be to make it true? Not one of these wars we are involved in does ANYTHING to make America safer. Even if you believe that there are bad guys who want to kill us, there is no valid justification for these UNDECLARED wars, and immoral occupations. These actions create enemies. So yes, “Just march them home!” while simplistic, seems to work just fine in my mind. But of course, President Obama would no doubt have come back with It’s complicated, and your proposal will leave us weak as a nation. Actually, it wouldn’t. Because Congressman Paul’s proposal of “Just march the home” includes DOUBLING the size of the U.S. Navy AND the U.S. Coast Guard.  Hey, aren’t those the guys and gals that protect OUR borders from a DEFENSIVE standpoint? I think I read that somewhere.

Need another example? How about the Patriot Act?, corporate bailouts?, printing/borrowing/spending?, NDAA?, ObamaCare?, No Child Left Behind?, the Dream Act? My intention here is not to rehash each of their positions on every issue, but to demonstrate that they actually DO differ…on just about every issue imaginable. There is a clear and distinct difference in their policy positions. We would have had a choice. We would have witnessed real debates. We would have seen a true fiscal Conservative, not merely saying Obama’s monetary policies are wrong, but explaining why they are wrong, AND presenting a realistic, workable, alternative. Did you hear Governor/Candidate Romney present such a plan? I sure didn’t. I heard an awful lot of You’re wrong, and I have a plan, but I heard nor saw this plan.

Back to the wars. I heard Governor Romney say a lot of the You did it wrong, and I would have done it differently, but it is clear…he had no intention of scaling back when it comes to war. In fact, that is one area he might have escalated faster than President Obama.

How about those bailouts, NDAA, TSA, and other issues that at best were gleaned over during the debates? Again, I heard nothing to suggest a Romney Presidency would have changed any of that. ObamaCare? Please….he created that monstrosity! No matter how many times he said I will repeal ObamaCare, he could never not follow that up with and replace it. Replace it how? I have always maintained he would replace the name of ObamaCare with its ORIGINAL moniker, RomneyCare.

So, IF the circus we witnessed over the last several months would have been conducted fairly, and IF Dr. Paul would have secured the Republican nomination, I am confident he would have been named President-Elect this morning. All, but the far left Liberals, and the die-hard Statists (NWO) are less than satisfied with one or more of President Obama’s policy implementations thus far, and MOST Americans are less than enthusiastic in him performing any better next term. Take the Democrats who are opposed to the wars. Given a choice of sticking with the current President, who is showing no signs of ending the wars, and a candidate who has said “March them home!”, a great number of those people (who voted for Obama last time for that very reason) are going to chance it with the guy who says he will end the wars.

But given the choice we were given, they chose to stick with the devil they know. The same is true for Independents, who are not necessarily Libertarians, who oppose corporate bailouts and Quantitative Easing. Given this choice we were given, they opted for 4 more years of one tax/print/spend guy, rather than risk 8 years of another borrow/print/spend guy. Had they been offered the choice of tax/borrow/print/spend OR cutting ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in the first year, with an actual plan proving it can be done, they would have chosen the latter.

We said the Republicans could not defeat Obama without us, and that has now been proven to be true. So, we have 4 more years of Obama. Well, put the blame where it belongs. It does NOT lie with the Paulbots, or the Johnsonites, or the Steinians, or with ANY other American who stood proud in their convictions by casting their vote. The blame lies entirely with the people who gave you NO CHOICE.

Believe it or not, there is actually an upside to Obama winning. While it is true, there is no appreciable difference between Obama and Romney, had Romney won, he would get the blame for the inevitable financial meltdown we are approaching. But more importantly than him getting the blame, capitalism and free markets would get the blame. No, Romney is not a true free market capitalist, but the media will mislabel his policies as such. 

I could go on showing that if Americans had a real choice, the outcome would have been much different, but I’d like to move on to the original intent of this article. What are we Paulbots (and other 3rd Party Independents) to do now? First and foremost, we continue to spread the message. It has ALWAYS been more than the man (Ron Paul).  It has, and should remain about the message. The message of individual liberty and personal responsibility. The message of free trade with nations while remaining secure in our defense. The message of retaining the fruits of YOUR labor and investing those fruits to suit YOUR needs.

Some of you have chosen Governor Johnson as your new Liberty Leader. Some of you have latched onto Rand Paul. Some have migrated towards other Parties, such as the Green and Constitution Parties. I admit, I was saddened and disappointed that so many of you chose that route BEFORE the Convention. However, at this point in the game, I am elated at the prospect of promoting ALL 3rd Party/Independent platforms. It is long overdue! Even after all I pointed out in this article of how America is disenfranchised,disappointed, and disgusted by the lack of choice this two-Party system gives them, a lot still see no alternatives. We certainly cannot depend on the media to enlighten them. It is up to us. Become the media.

Next, for those of you who have not had State elections for the Senate, House, and Governorships, get cracking! Start looking into the folks running for those seats. Investigate and vet them all out.  Dr. Paul formally endorsed 11 candidates for the House this cycle and yesterday EIGHT of those 11 won! And that, my friends is how we continue the R3VOLUTION! that IS the message! We get people in the House, Senate, and Governors mansions from all over this country who will continue Ron Paul’s legacy.

1). Justin Amash. Michigan 3rd District.
2.)
Thomas Massie. Kentucky 4th District.
3.)
Kerry Bentivolio. Michigan 11th District.
4.) Steve Stockman. Texas 36th District.
5.)
Randy Weber. Texas 14th District. To replace Congressman Paul. He’s got some big shoes to fill!
6.)
Ted Yoho. Florida 3rd District.
7.)
David Schweikert. Arizona 6th District.
8.) Walter Jones. North Carolina 3rd District.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/item/13555-the-ron-paul-revolution-moves-to-congress

I personally have high hopes for Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and Walter Jones. While these wins are indeed impressive, we have a lot more work to do. We need many more Rand Paul’s and Mike Lee’s in the Senate. Early predictions for the 2014 cycle lean toward a possible Republican takeover.
http://www.rollcall.com/issues/57_93/Senate_2014_Field_Looks_to_Favor_GOP-212263-1.html

We need to make sure they are Constitutional Republicans, or Libertarian. We’ve lost the Executive Branch for at least the next 4 years, the Judicial Branch offers little to no hope, so we must retake the Legislative Branch.

When researching these potential candidates, be sure they oppose such atrocities as Patriot Act, NDAA, bailouts, socialized health care, etc. But also be sure they favor things like nullificaction and State’s rights.

Six States were successful yesterday in approving initiatives that nullify unconstitutional federal laws! This is paramount to our success in restoring the Constitutional authority granted to the States through the Constitution.

1).  Montana,Referendum 122
2).  Colorado, Amendment 64
3).  Alabama, Amendment 6
4).  Washington State, Initiative 502
5).  Wyoming, Amendment A
6).  Massachusetts, Question 3

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2012/11/07/nullification-victories/

Another thing we should concentrate on, is electing honest local Sheriffs. They are our last best defense against a tyrannical government. Take a good look at how your local police department personnel are dressed, armed. Check out their vehicles. Read the current Police Beat section of your local newspapers. You may be quite surprised at the overkill tactics used by the ones who are hired to Protect and Serve you. While the staff of the Sheriff, including the deputies are hired personnel, they answer solely to the Sheriff who is normally elected by you and I. Look into your local Sheriff’s Department and see how you can get the right people to defend you against the State. I don’t want to come off as an alarmist in this particular post, but be prepared people.

A dichotomy frequently exists today between a sheriff’s jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of a local police department. A metropolitan area may encompass an entire county or more; police departments and sheriffs will often maintain concurrent jurisdiction in the overlapping area. A sheriff may assume that a local police department will do its duty in enforcing the law, but the primary obligation rests with the sheriff and requires him to act when evidence of neglect of that duty exists.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Sheriff

UPDATE!!! Citizens’ Grand Jury Indicts Obama and Biden

Overnight I was given a lot of other information that in one way or another deals with this issue. There are questions surrounding just how feasible this indictment is as far as legalities in convicting a sitting President and such. I have not been able to read all of this information, and certainly haven’t had time to give my own perspective. What I have done, is provide all of the links I received at the bottom of this post. I would really appreciate it if some of you who have the time and interest, to PLEASE leave some detailed comments and sources. I am thinking, since my time right now is being taken up on another subject I’m working on, that I may just make a finalized posting of this as a USER created blog post and host it on my site. I do hope the information I’ve listed here is enough to get some of you interested enough to do some further digging. Thanks for all your help.

I would be very interested in seeing Judge Andrew Napolitano’s take on this if anyone can find that!

Sometimes in my blog, I take creative license in the way I form my posts and link and unlink parts within. I will ALWAYS inform you, my loyal readers when I have done so, and ALWAYS provide the link for the original story. I have altered the original article somewhat here and you will find the link at the bottom.

Citizens’ Grand Jury Indicts Obama and Biden

OCALA, Fla., Oct. 30, 2012– /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —

Larry Klayman

Larry Klayman, founder and chairman of Freedom Watch, today announced that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden have been criminally indicted for having willfully released classified national security information concerning the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, U.S. and Israeli war plans concerning Iran and their cyber-attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The release of this information, among other harm to U.S. national security, resulted in the killing of members of Seal Team Six by terrorists and the arrest and imprisonment of American covert agents by Pakistan, such as the doctor who aided the CIA with regard to the bin Laden assassination. U.S.-Israeli war plans with Iran have also been compromised.

A true bill of indictment was issued by a Citizens’ Grand Jury in Ocala, Florida, who reviewed evidence and voted unanimously to indict Obama and Biden at 6:02 pm on October 29, 2012.

The authority for a Citizens’ Grand Jury 

can be found at :  www.citizensgrandjury.com.

The criminal defendants, Obama and Biden, will now be given notice of their indictment, arraigned and then tried for their alleged crimes.

Mr. Klayman, the Citizens’ Prosecutor, issued the following statement: “The Citizens’ Grand Jury, after having deliberated, yesterday issued a true bill of indictment.  It did the work that the government should have done, but does not have the integrity to do; that is hold these public officials accountable under the law. For far too long government prosecutors, who are put in place by politicians, have looked the other way as high public officials like Obama and Biden violate the law to further their political agendas. Now, as a result, the people must therefore exercise the rights given to them by the framers of the Constitution, and themselves take legitimate measures to restore the nation to some semblance of legality. This indictment of Obama and Biden is just the first step in a legal revolution to reclaim the nation from establishment politicians, government officials and judges who have represented only their own political and other interests at the expense of ‘We the People.’ Obama and Biden will now be tried in a court of law and I am confident that they will be convicted of these alleged crimes.”

The original Full Story can be read at :
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/30/4948682/citizens-grand-jury-indicts-obama.html

Citizens Grand Jury video evidence

Citizens’ Grand Jury Manual Grand Jury Qualifications and Selection of Grand Jury

http://www.citizensgrandjury.com/pdf/manual.pdf

A collection of videos from Freedom Watch Inc.

http://www.youtube.com/user/FreedomWatchInc?feature=watch

Editors Note:

I plan on adding information relating to this as it comes to me, and would be most grateful to readers of my blog for contacting me with any news concerning this matter.

This was submitted from a long time friend and frequent contributor to my research, Ali Myownbiz III :

Can It All Be Coincidence?

by Don Fredrick,

Don Fredrick

As I noted in the introduction to my book, The Obama Timeline, a jury at a murder trial will often find the accumulated circumstantial evidence so overwhelming that a guilty verdict is obvious—even though there may be no witness to the crime. “The jurors in the Scott Peterson trial believed the collection of evidence more than they believed Scott Peterson. Among other things, the jury thought that being arrested with $15,000 in cash, recently-dyed hair, a newly-grown goatee, four cell phones, camping equipment, a map to a new girlfriend’s house, a gun, and his brother’s driver’s license certainly did not paint a picture of a grieving husband who had nothing to do with his pregnant wife’s disappearance and murder.”

In the four years I have been gathering information about—and evidence against—Barack Hussein Obama, I have encountered hundreds of coincidences that strike me as amazing. None of those coincidences, by themselves, may mean much. But taken as a whole it is almost impossible to believe they were all the result of chance.

continue reading Full Story at :
http://www.themoralliberal.com/2012/10/03/can-it-all-be-coincidence/
 

Citizen grand jury indicts Obama

Groups in 20 more states reviewing eligibility claims

Published: 03/31/2009 at 8:35 PM by Bob Unruh

http://www.wnd.com/2009/03/93481/

In Conservative Circles, Calls for ‘Citizen Grand Juries’ Grow

By Dan Testa, 12-09-09

Earlier this year, protesters hold signs during a Tax Day Tea Party protest on north Main Street in Kalispell. – File photo by Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon

The idea of changing state law, or the state Constitution, to allow citizens to convene grand juries in their counties appears to be gathering steam in some conservative circles of Western Montana. The concept would allow citizens to summon juries comprised of members of the public to investigate alleged crimes – not just judges, as is the case currently.

With a Bitterroot man crafting language for a proposed ballot initiative and a Hungry Horse man forming a group to work on draft legislation, a measure allowing for citizen grand juries, in one form or another, seems poised for broader consideration in the coming year – by either the public or, possibly, lawmakers.
Continue Reading at : http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/in_conservative_circles_calls_for_citizen_grand_juries_grow/14634

Citizens Grand Jury Validity and Legal Authority

CAN CITIZENS FORM THEIR OWN GRAND JURY AND INDICT POLITICIANS FOR CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR

By Jim Frazier

An organization called the “American Grand Jury.org” has convened a Grand Jury and indicted President Obama for the crime of treason. Will their indictment be acknowledged in a U.S. District court of law? Are common citizens able to indict an elected official?

“Yes,” says Hal Von Luebbert,” author of “Citizen Power Now.” “The US government has no power to bring anyone to trial. The government can NOT find any person guilty of anything. Both of those powers belong to The People through use of a jury.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Colorado does not agree.  “I don’t think any citizen- convened Grand Jury has power to be enforced in a court of law,” said Jeff Dorschnor, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorneys office in Denver.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck echoed the same idea. “I’ve never heard of a Grand Jury called by citizens,” he said.

Mike Saccone, the Colorado Department of Law’s spokesperson, said, “There are no provisions for formation of citizen grand juries in Colorado. That is the way the statues stand now.”

Continue Reading at : http://www.greeleygazette.com/press/?p=4498

IF IT’S NOT A RUNAWAY, IT’S NOT A REAL GRAND JURY

by : ROGER ROOTS

I. INTRODUCTION

The doings of American grand juries are notoriously misunderstood and unknown by most sectors of the public.[1] Generally, the grand jury process escapes obscurity only when indictments are made public and when, for whatever reason, grand jury “leaks” are disclosed in the news media.[2] In theory, the grand jury is supposed to act as a check on the government — a people’s watchdog against arbitrary and malevolent prosecutions.[3] By and large, however, federal grand juries rarely challenge federal prosecutors.

Today, critics are nearly unanimous in describing the alleged oversight function of modern grand juries as essentially a tragic sham.[4] The Framers of the Bill of Rights would scarcely recognize a grand jury upon seeing the modern version conduct business in a federal courthouse.[5] In modern federal grand jury proceedings, the government attorney is clearly in charge and government agents may outnumber the witnesses by six-to-one.[6]

A “runaway” grand jury, loosely defined as a grand jury which resists the accusatory choices of a government prosecutor, has been virtually eliminated by modern criminal procedure. Today’s “runaway” grand jury is in fact the common law grand jury of the past. Prior to the emergence of governmental prosecution as the standard model of American criminal justice, all grand juries were in fact “runaways,” according to the definition of modern times; they operated as completely independent, self-directing bodies of inquisitors, with power to pursue unlawful conduct to its very source, including the government itself.[7]

Before the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure — which made independently-acting grand juries illegal for all practical purposes — grand juries were understood to have broad powers to operate at direct odds with both judges and prosecutors.[8] One recent criminal procedure treatise sums up the inherent inconsistency of the modern grand jury regime:

In theory, the grand jury is a body of independent citizens that can investigate any crime or government misdeed that comes to its attention. In practice, however, the grand jury is dependent upon the prosecutor to bring cases and gather evidence. Except in rare instances of a “runaway” grand jury investigation of issues that a prosecutor does not want investigated, the powers of the grand jury enhance the powers of the prosecutor.[9]

Thus, while the grand jury still exists as an institution — in a sterile, watered-down, and impotent form — its decisions are the mere reflection of the United States Justice Department.[10] In practice, the grand jury’s every move is controlled by the prosecution, whom the grand jury simply does not know it is supposed to be pitted against.[11]

The term “runaway grand jury” did not appear in legal literature until the mid-twentieth century.[12] The reason for this is that the term would have been inapplicable in the context of previous generations: every American grand jury known by the Constitution’s Framers would be considered a runaway grand jury under modern criminal procedure. Constitutional framers knew criminal law to be driven by private prosecution and did not contemplate the omnipresence of government prosecutors.[13] Additionally, early American common law placed far more power and investigative judgment in the hands of grand juries than does the criminal procedure of the twentieth century.

Although in 1946 the drafters of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure looked with horror at the prospect of grand juries that “could act from their own knowledge or observation,”[14] long-standing common law precedent upholds the power of grand juries to act “independently of either the prosecuting attorney or judge.”[15] At common law, a grand jury could freely “investigate merely on [the] suspicion that the law [was] being violated, or even because it want[ed] assurance that it [was] not.”[16] In light of the historic independence of the grand jury, the perfidy of the Federal Rules Advisory Committee in limiting the institution through codification can only be seen as willful subversion of well-settled law.[17] A truly independent grand jury — which pursues a course different from the prosecutor — is today so rare that it is an oddity, and a virtual impossibility at the federal level since Rule 6 was codified in 1946.

The loss of the grand jury in its traditional, authentic, or runaway form, leaves the modern federal government with few natural enemies capable of delivering any sort of damaging blows against it.[18] The importance of this loss of a once powerful check on the “runaway” federal government is a focus that has remained largely untouched in the legal literature.

This article examines the historic decrease in the powers of the American grand jury during the twentieth century. It introduces the subject of the grand jury in the context of the constitutional language which invoked it, and then compares the modern application of the institution at the federal level with its common law model.[19] Tracing the historic evolution of the grand jury as an anti-government institution in the English common law until its “capture” by the government in the mid-twentieth century, this article will demonstrate how the role of the grand jury has changed considerably over time. Finally, this article will argue that the modern loss of “runaway” or independent grand juries is unconstitutional and recommend a restoration of the grand jury’s historic powers.

Continue Reading at : http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/runaway.htm

SCOTUS on the unique power of Grand Jurors

A blog by : Natural Born Citizen

My recent post concerning the 5th Amendment right of we the people to use the “presentment” power to investigate criminal activity on our own volition to review Government activity and bring all criminality to justice was very well received.  It seems to have woken alot of people up to the possibility of reviving the Constitution.  The power of  “presentment” is not some fanciful concept but a very real provision stated unequivocally in the 5th Amendment.   There’s no legal reason why we can’t use it.

That being said, the question of how we can use it must be tackled.  But always keep this in mind when the naysayers start harassing you.  25 people sitting on Grand Juries is the way we do all criminal indictments in the US.  If somebody is facing the death penalty or life in prison, they must first be brought before a Grand Jury and if 13 of the 25 agree that the person should stand trial then that’s what happens.

Continue Reading at : http://naturalborncitizen.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/scotus-on-the-unique-power-of-grand-jurors/

LaRouche: Impeach Obama for Complicity in Murder of U.S. Ambassador Stevens

Sept. 15—Lyndon LaRouche today demanded that Congress remain in session to immediately convene impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives against President Barack Obama for his criminal complicity in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. officials were killed.

LaRouche declared this afternoon:

“President Obama was complicit before the fact in the events that lead to the killing of four valuable American diplomats. There is sufficient evidence to warrant immediate impeachment proceedings. U.S. officials were repeatedly warned, in the weeks preceding the 9/11 Benghazi attacks, that there was a breakdown of security in the city. The State Department issued a travel alert to all Americans, urging them to stay out of Libya. All of the evidence was there to impose strict security measures. Yet, nothing was done. That failure is on the President’s plate.”

Continue Reading at : http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2012/3937impeach_obama_complicity.html

Obama Supporters Actually Hate Obama’s Policies

***ATTENTION: This video is NOT in support of Mitt Romney, in any way, nor is this organization.***

Follow Luke @ http://www.twitter.com/lukewearechange

Luke Rudkowski hits the streets of NYC to find out where Obama supporters really stand on his policies. Now he did this in an underhanded way where the policies where presented to be Romney’s, but this was only done to get an honest opinion. The reactions when the truth was uncovered varied but they were very telling to say the least.

Here are some of the sources that were mentioned throughout the interviews

1st question, part 1 – Obama, in Europe, signs Patriot Act extension
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43180202/ns/us_news-security/t/obama-europe-signs-patriot-act-extension/#.UIkNUcXA_fU

1st question, part 2 – Warrantless Spying Skyrockets Under Obama
http://reason.com/archives/2012/10/03/warrantless-spying-skyrockets-under-obam

2nd question – President Obama Signed the National Defense Authorization Act – Now What?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/01/02/president-obama-signed-the-national-defense-authorization-act-now-what/

3rd question – Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

4th question – Drone wars and state secrecy — how Barack Obama became a hardliner
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/02/drone-wars-secrecy-barack-obama

Five Specific Questions Journalists Should Ask About the Drone Strike Policy

Before Monday night’s presidential debate, many of us urged Bob Schieffer to ask a question about drone strikes.

And, in fact – credit where credit is due – Bob Schieffer did ask a question about drones.

It can’t be said that we learned a great deal directly from the interaction. For reasons that aren’t really clear, Schieffer asked his question only of Mitt Romney. Here was the exchange:

SCHIEFFER: Let — let me ask you, Governor because we know President Obama’s position on this, what is — what is your position on the use of drones?
ROMNEY: Well I believe we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who pose a threat to us and our friends around the world. And it’s widely reported that drones are being used in drone strikes, and I support that and entirely, and feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology, and believe that we should continue to use it, to continue to go after the people that represent a threat to this nation and to our friends.

Schieffer’s choice to exclude President Obama was odd. About any current Administration policy one could say that we know Obama’s policy; after all, he’s in charge. The point is to give him the opportunity to defend his policy and to say what he intends to do going forward. Arguably we know Obama’s policy on health care reform, because he’s in charge of a policy that is being implemented. Would a debate moderator say: “let me ask you, Governor because we know President Obama’s position on this, what is — what is your position on health care reform?”

And so, using language Malcolm X might have appreciated – “we should use any and all means necessary” – Romney endorsed the President’s policy. [For those scoring at home, it’s a basic principle of the law of armed conflict that combatants do not get to use “any and all means necessary.”] So, at this level of abstraction, the candidates agree.

Nonetheless, the exchange was useful, because it put the issue on the table for discussion. Schieffer didn’t take the ball far, but he got it on the field, and that’s more than anyone else of his stature had previously done. As Mark Weisbrot noted at the Guardian, “It was a victory just to have drones mentioned.”

Others picked up the discussion. On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough said:

What we are doing with drones is remarkable. The fact that … over George W. Bush’s eight years when a lot of people brought up a bunch of legitimate questions about international law–my God, those lines have been completely eradicated in a drone policy that says that, if you’re between 17 and 30, and you’re within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up. And that’s exactly what’s happening.

Joe Klein responded:

But the bottom line in the end is: whose four year-old gets killed? What we’re doing … is limiting the possibility that four year-olds here are going to get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror

Writing in the Guardian, Glenn Greenwald noted that “Klein’s justification – we have to kill their children in order to protect our children – is the exact mentality of every person deemed in US discourse to be a ‘terrorist'” and that “Slaughtering Muslim children does not protect American children from terrorism.”

But it should also be noted that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan currently are not really about protecting civilians in the United States from terrorist attacks in any event. U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan today are primarily an extension of the war in Afghanistan, targeting suspected militants believed to be planning to attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Since the majority of Americans oppose the war the war in Afghanistan and want U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan, this is a highly relevant political fact: U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan are being carried out in support of a war in Afghanistan that most Americans oppose. Pretending that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan are about protecting civilians in the United States when they are primarily about extending the unpopular Afghanistan war across the border with Pakistan is therefore a pretty significant deceit.

The best solution to the problem of people trying to attack our troops in other people’s countries is to get our troops out of other people’s countries where people are likely to attack them.

When U.S. troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan, as most Americans want, then there will be no reason to use drone strikes to target militants in Pakistan who are trying to attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan, because there will be no militants in Pakistan trying to attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan, because there will be no U.S. troops in Afghanistan for them to attack. The situation is analogous to that which we faced in Iraq during the Bush Administration: we were told we had to keep our troops in Iraq to fight the people who were attacking our troops in Iraq, but the people attacking our troops were attacking our troops because they were there. Now that our troops have left Iraq, no-one is attacking our troops in Iraq anymore. The best solution to the problem of people trying to attack our troops in other people’s countries is to get our troops out of other people’s countries where people are likely to attack them.

Moreover, it is crucial to recognize that the mere existence of drone strikes is not the focus of international criticism. It is specific features of the drone strike policy which are overwhelmingly the focus of international criticism. There is relatively little international criticism, for example, about the U.S. use of drone strikes in Afghanistan compared to other use of air power, given that whether one supports or opposes it, the war in Afghanistan is generally considered internationally to be lawful overall [which is different from saying that specific actions within the war are lawful]. But there is a great deal of international criticism about the U.S. use of drone strikes in Pakistan, where considerable international opinion does not accept that the U.S. is conducting a lawful war.

And this is why, although it was a great first step that Bob Schieffer even said the word “drone” and made Mitt Romney say it too, to let politicians merely answer the question at this level of abstraction – “I support drone strikes, too” – is to let them off the hook. It’s crucial to drive down into the details of the policy as it exists today and get politicians on the record saying not just whether they support drone strikes as an abstraction but whether they support the details of the policy as it is being implemented today. And this is even more important now, given recent press reports that the current policy is being made permanent.

And this is why it would be tremendously useful if the high-profile TV talk shows would take this on, and devote enough time to it to drive down into details. CBS‘s Bob Schieffer (Face the Nation), NBC‘s David Gregory and Betsy Fischer (Meet the Press), CNN‘s Christiane Amanpour, and MSNBC‘s Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow should all be pressed to drive down into the detail of the current drone strike policy. It would be tremendously useful, for example, if these shows would invite the authors of the recent Stanford/NYU report on drone strikes on as guests and invite an Administration surrogate to respond in detail.

Here are five specific questions that it would be really helpful if these shows would explore:

1. The U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan recently acknowledged that 1) the U.S. government has an official count of the number of civilians the U.S. thinks have been killed in Pakistan as a result of U.S. drone strikes since July 2008 and that 2) this number is classified. What is this number, and why is it classified?

2. Journalists and independent researchers have reported that the U.S. has targeted rescuers with “secondary” or “follow-up” drone strikes. International law experts have said that if this is true, this is clearly a war crime under international law. The U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan has denied that the U.S. is targeting rescuers and has denied that the U.S. is conducting secondary strikes. What is the truth here? Is the U.S. targeting rescuers, or not? Is the U.S. conducting “secondary” strikes, or not? If the U.S. is targeting rescuers, is this a war crime?

3. Pakistani officials say they oppose U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan. The Pakistani parliament unanimously demanded that they stop. But U.S. officials claim that the Pakistani military has secretly approved the strikes. What is the truth here? If there is secret approval by the Pakistani military, but not by the democratically elected Pakistani government, should we be satisfied by that? Is such a situation politically sustainable in Pakistan? If there is not secret approval, is the U.S. violating international law with its drone strike policy? If the Pakistani military accepts some U.S. drone strikes but not others, does that count as approval of the drone strikes which the Pakistani military opposes, for the purposes of international law? If not, doesn’t that imply that the U.S. is violating international law, even if the Pakistani military approves some drone strikes?

4. U.S. officials have claimed that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan are narrowly targeted on top level terrorist suspects. But the U.S. is reported to be conducting “signature strikes” on unknown targets based on signals intelligence indicating “suspicious activity.” How is this consistent with the claim that the strikes are narrowly targeted on top level terrorist suspects?

5. White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan has claimed that civilian deaths in U.S. drone strikes have been “exceedingly rare.” The international humanitarian law principle of proportionality in armed conflict requires that civilian harm not be excessive in relation to anticipated military advantage. It has been reported that a mere 2% of the deaths in U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004 have been high level targets, while at least 15-30% of the deaths have been civilians. Are these numbers basically correct? If so, is it honest to say that civilian deaths have been “exceedingly rare”? If these numbers are basically correct, is the U.S. violating the international law principle of proportionality?

If you’d like the big TV talk shows to take these questions on, you can tell them so here.

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/10/26-0

Father of Slain SEAL: Who Made the Decision Not to Save My Son?

On meeting Obama: “Could not look me in the eye … like shaking hands with a dead fish.”

Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, who was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, reveals details of meeting Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at the publically broadcast memorial service for the slain Americans at Andrews Air Force Base only days after the attack. And, in a recent radio appearance, Woods publicly questions who made the call not to send in back-up forces to possibly save his son’s life, as well as the three other Americans killed in Benghazi (which includes the American ambassador to Libya).

“When [Obama] came over to our little area” at Andrew Air Force Base, says Woods, “he kind of just mumbled, you know, ‘I’m sorry.’ His face was looking at me, but his eyes were looking over my shoulder like he could not look me in the eye. And it was not a sincere, ‘I’m really sorry, you know, that your son died,’ but it was totally insincere, more of whining type, ‘I’m sorry.’”

Woods says that shaking President Obama’s hands at his son’s memorial service was “like shaking hands with a dead fish.”

“It just didn’t feel right,” he says of his encounter with the commander in chief. “And now that it’s coming out that apparently the White House situation room was watching our people die in real time, as this was happening,” Woods says, he wants answers on what happened—and why there was no apparent effort to save his son’s life.

“Well, this is what Hillary did,” Woods continues. “She came over and, you know, did the same thing—separately came over and talked with me. I gave her a hug, shook her hand. And she did not appear to be one bit sincere—at all. And you know, she mentioned that the thing about, we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video. That was the first time I had even heard about anything like that.”

Woods continues: “Apparently even the State Department had a live stream and was aware of their calls for help. My son wasn’t even there. He was at a safe house about a mile away. He got the distress call; he heard them crying for help; that’s why he and Glen risked their lives to go that extra mile just to take care of the situation. And I’m sure that wasn’t the only one received that distress call—you know, come save our lives … I’m sure that other people in the military, in the State Department, in the White House, received that same call that he would receive. And I’m sure that most military people would jump at the chance … to protect that life [and] not leave anyone behind.”

Woods made clear that he isn’t “mad,” but that he wants to the “truth” to be told because he feels ” abandoned.”

Woods says he was told by military officials that the military could have “come above [the area] and completely carpeted area,” and therefore saved the officials in Benghazi, Libya. But that someone gave the command for the American military not to save the lives of the Americans under attack.

“When I heard, you know, that there’s a very good chance that the White House as well as other members of the military knew what was going on and obviously someone had to say, don’t go rescue them. Because every person in the military–their first response [would be], we’re going to go rescue them. We need to find out who it was that gave that command–do not rescue them.”

Woods told his story to radio host Lars Larson. Here’s the full interview.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/father-slain-seal-who-made-decision-not-save-my-son_657782.html

Obama Doctrine: Global Elite Advance Their World Government Agenda Into National Security Strategy

Since Obama took office in 2009, political analysts and mainstream media pundits have failed to accurately identify any central ideology or grand strategy driving the administration’s policies. The government’s National Security Strategy Report has been the most likely place to find such a doctrine expressed officially, but when Obama’s administration issued their version in 2010, the mainstream media failed to bring to light the real agenda conveyed in the document.

The establishment media’s general interpretation was that the strategy represented a shift away from past policies of unilateralism, preemptive warfare, and military preeminence, towards policies of greater cooperation with international institutions. But an independent examination of the report, along with some of its guidelines now in operation, reveals that the document’s primary policy positions, while setting new precedents, are derived from an old, deep-rooted agenda for a world empire, propelled by elite finance oligarchs and global corporatists.

The document centers around the building of a new “international order” by overhauling, revitalizing and granting more authority to international institutions including the IMF, WTO, NATO, G20, the World Bank and especially the UN.

Decoding the 2010 National Security Strategy

In May of 2010, during presentations introducing and summarizing the new National Security Strategy Report, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke of shaping an international order that would emphasize the role of global institutions in national security policy. While speaking at the Brookings Institution, Clinton listed this new international order as one of the government’s four central goals, saying:

Our approach is to build the diverse sources of American power at home and to shape the global system so that it is more conducive to meeting our overriding objectives: security, prosperity, the explanation and spread of our values, and a just and sustainable international order.

Obama had used similar language a few days earlier at West Point saying:

So we have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation. (and) The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times…

Hearing the president speak of shaping a new international order as part of America’s National Security Strategy alarmed those in the alternative media who recognized the phrasing as a familiar reference to the Anglo-American elite’s efforts at establishing a world empire or “new world order.” The mainstream media, however, made no connections to a long-term elitist agenda, and instead framed the speech by contrasting Obama’s new strategy with those released under the Bush administration.

The Washington Post claimed that “Obama pledged to shape a new ‘international order’ based on diplomacy and engagement” which distanced itself from the Bush Doctrine of preemptive warfare. But when the document was later released, its contents proved to justify the concerns of so-called “conspiracy theorists.” Rather than simply promoting global cooperation or representing a positive new direction in policy, the strategy is instead a bold jump forward in the overarching, multi-administration-spanning agenda of global finance oligarchs to construct a world government.

The fact that this agenda has now openly emerged in America’s National Security Strategy doctrine illustrates the advanced degree to which this scheme has progressed outside public awareness, without any public discussion or debate.

The National Security Strategy Report (NSSR) is the primary policy document, prepared by the executive branch, outlining an administration’s formulation of grand strategy for the country. According to the National Security Strategy Archive, “It is intended to be a comprehensive statement articulating the worldwide interests, goals, and objectives of the United States that are important to its security.” Involvement in the creation of the report is regarded by many policy planners as “direct access to the President’s overall agenda and thus highly desirable.” Typically its contents have been the responsibility of National Security Council staff members, but influence has been proven to come from other sources as well.

Years after the 2002 NSSR was released, its primary author was revealed to be Philip Zelikow, a former National Security Council staffer under George Bush Sr. from 1989 to 1991. Zelikow was not a member of George W. Bush’s administration at the time, but rather worked as a “consultant” to his national security advisor Condoleezza Rice. Long after the report’s publication, he was discovered to be the secret writer of its infamous preemptive (more accurately preventive) war policy, earlier formulated by Paul Wolfowitz, which came to be known as the “Bush Doctrine.”

These reports are responsible for the implementation of long-term policy directives that can extend far into future administrations. Modern versions of the report have provided a continuity to national security policy by only being produced every four years in the middle of the presidential term, even though they are supposed to be released every year. According to the Goldwater-Nichols Act, “The President shall transmit to Congress each year a comprehensive report on the national security strategy of the United States,” in a “classified and unclassified form.” The notorious Bush NSSRs were issued in 2002 and 2006. Obama’s NSSR came in 2010 and the next NSSR will most likely be released in the middle of 2014.

The unclassified version of the new National Security Strategy was released to the public in late May of 2010 with little controversy considering its alarming contents. (Screenshots of this report and other sources have been provided below, with added highlighting or underlining, for quick reference.) The document centers around the old and familiar narrative of modern global crises requiring global solutions in the form of a new international order. This theme is introduced in the foreword of the report and repeated throughout, with the “international order” being referenced more than 25 times in the 52-page document, including major sections and subsections devoted to it. The following screenshots from page one contain the document’s opening paragraph summarizing the report’s overview and showing the central theme of the strategy to be the creation of this new international order.

Continue Reading: http://www.activistpost.com/2012/10/obama-doctrine-global-elite-advance.html

The SAME Unaccountable Government Agency Which Spies on ALL Americans Also Decides Who Gets ASSASSINATED by Drones

“The [Government Agency] — Now Vested With The Power To Determine The Proper ‘Disposition’ Of Terrorist Suspects — Is The SAME AGENCY That Is At The Center Of The Ubiquitous, Unaccountable Surveillance State Aimed At American Citizens.”

The Washington Post reports that the same agency which spies on all Americans also decides who is assassinated by drone or otherwise.

Over the pas. two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprintfor pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.

Among senior Obama administration officials, there is a broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al-Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.

***

Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.

***

White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan is seeking to codify the administration’s approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced.

***

The United States now operates multiple drone programs, including acknowledged U.S. military patrols over conflict zones in Afghanistan and Libya, and classified CIA surveillance flights over Iran.

Strikes against al-Qaeda, however, are carried out under secret lethal programs involving the CIA and JSOC. The matrix was developed by the NCTC [the National Counterterrorism Center], under former director Michael Leiter, to augment those organizations’ separate but overlapping kill lists, officials said.

***

The result is a single, continually evolving database in which biographies, locations, known associates and affiliated organizations are all catalogued. So are strategies for taking targets down, including extradition requests, capture operations and drone patrols.

***

The database is meant to map out contingencies, creating an operational menu that spells out each agency’s role in case a suspect surfaces in an unexpected spot. “If he’s in Saudi Arabia, pick up with the Saudis,” the former official said. “If traveling overseas to al-Shabaab [in Somalia] we can pick him up by ship. If in Yemen, kill or have the Yemenis pick him up.”

***

The administration has also elevated the role of the NCTC, which was conceived as a clearinghouse for threat data and has no operational capability. Under Brennan, who served as its founding director, the center has emerged as a targeting hub.

As Glenn Greenwald notes:

The central role played by the NCTC in determining who should be killed – “It is the keeper of the criteria,” says one official to the Post – is, by itself, rather odious. As Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts noted in response to this story, the ACLU has long warned that the real purpose of the NCTC – despite its nominal focus on terrorism – is the “massive, secretive data collection and mining of trillions of points of data about most people in the United States”.

In particular, the NCTC operates a gigantic data-mining operation, in which all sorts of information about innocent Americans is systematically monitored, stored, and analyzed. This includes “records from law enforcement investigations, health information, employment history, travel and student records” – “literally anything the government collects would be fair game”. In other words, the NCTC – now vested with the power to determine the proper “disposition” of terrorist suspects – is the same agency that is at the center of the ubiquitous, unaccountable surveillance state aimed at American citizens.

Worse still, as the ACLU’s legislative counsel Chris Calabrese documented back in July in a must-read analysis, Obama officials very recently abolished safeguards on how this information can be used. Whereas the agency, during the Bush years, was barred from storing non-terrorist-related information about innocent Americans for more than 180 days – a limit which “meant that NCTC was dissuaded from collecting large databases filled with information on innocent Americans” – it is now free to do so. Obama officials eliminated this constraint by authorizing the NCTC “to collect and ‘continually assess’ information on innocent Americans for up to five years”.

And, as usual, this agency engages in these incredibly powerful and invasive processes with virtually no democratic accountability:

“All of this is happening with very little oversight. Controls over the NCTC are mostly internal to the DNI’s office, and important oversight bodies such as Congress and the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board aren’t notified even of ‘significant’ failures to comply with the GuidelinesFundamental legal protections are being sidestepped. For example, under the new guidelines, Privacy Act notices (legal requirements to describe how databases are used) must be completed by the agency that collected the information. This is in spite of the fact that those agencies have no idea what NCTC is actually doing with the information once it collects it.

“All of this amounts to a reboot of the Total Information Awareness Program that Americans rejected so vigorously right after 9/11.

What has been created here – permanently institutionalized – is a highly secretive executive branch agency that simultaneously engages in two functions: (1) it collects and analyzes massive amounts of surveillance data about all Americans without any judicial review let alone search warrants, and (2) creates and implements a “matrix” that determines the “disposition” of suspects, up to and including execution, without a whiff of due process or oversight. It is simultaneously a surveillance state and a secretive, unaccountable judicial body that analyzes who you are and then decrees what should be done with you, how you should be “disposed” of, beyond the reach of any minimal accountability or transparency.

Americans on U.S. Soil May Be Targeted

This might be acceptable if the U.S. government was only targeting really bad guys, and if drones were not being used inside the borders of America itself.

But drones are becoming pervasive within the U.S.  Indeed, some of the numerous drones flying over American soil – projected by the FAA to reach 30,000 drones by 2020 – are starting to carry arms.

When torture memo writer John Yoo was asked last year whether drones could kill people within the United States, he replied yes – if we were in a time of war:

(Of course, since the U.S. has declared a perpetual war – and see this–  drones will always be in fashion.)

Indeed, the military now considers the U.S. homeland to be a battlefield.  The U.S. is already allowing military operations within the United States.    Indeed, the Army is already being deployed on U.S. soil, and the military is conducting numerous training exercises on American streets. And see this.

Government officials have said that Americans can be targets in the war on terror.   Obama has authorized “targeted assassinations” against U.S. citizens.

And it is not very comforting that the U.S. government labels just about every U.S. citizen as a potential terrorists.

The U.S. Activates Skynet

In the Terminator science fiction series, computers and machines – organized by “Skynet” – track people down who threaten the status quo of the machines and then selectively assassinate them.

The powers given to the NCTC remind me of Skynet. Especially given how fast the military is advancing its robotic capabilities:

They remind others of The Matrix.

Greenwald comments on the machine-like aspect the NCTC’s operations:

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko, writing today about the Post article, reports:

“Recently, I spoke to a military official with extensive and wide-ranging experience in the special operations world, and who has had direct exposure to the targeted killing program. To emphasize how easy targeted killings by special operations forces or drones has become, this official flicked his hand back over and over, stating: ‘It really is like swatting flies. We can do it forever easily and you feel nothing. But how often do you really think about killing a fly?’”

That is disturbingly consistent with prior reports that the military’s term for drone victims is “bug splat”. This – this warped power and the accompanying dehumanizing mindset – is what is being institutionalized as a permanent fixture in American political life by the current president.

***

At Wired, Spencer Ackerman reacts to the Post article with an analysis entitled “President Romney Can Thank Obama for His Permanent Robotic Death List”. Here is his concluding paragraph:

“Obama did not run for president to preside over the codification of a global war fought in secret. But that’s his legacy. . . . Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations writes that Obama’s predecessors in the Bush administration ‘were actually much more conscious and thoughtful about the long-term implications of targeted killings’, because they feared the political consequences that might come when the U.S. embraces something at least superficially similar to assassination. Whoever follows Obama in the Oval Office can thank him for proving those consequences don’t meaningfully exist — as he or she reviews the backlog of names on the Disposition Matrix.”

But one thing is clear.  Warmongering is always good for the super-elite, and bad for everyone else … And itdestroys freedom and prosperity.

Given that the national security apparatus has been hijacked to serve the needs of big business and to crush dissent, it’s not far-fetched to think that information gained from drones will be used for purposes that are not necessarily in the best interests of the American people.

As Greenwald notes:

The core guarantee of western justice since the Magna Carta was codified in the US by the fifth amendment to the constitution: “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” You simply cannot have a free society, a worthwhile political system, without that guarantee, that constraint on the ultimate abusive state power, being honored.

And yet what the Post is describing, what we have had for years, is a system of government that – without hyperbole – is the very antithesis of that liberty. It is literally impossible to imagine a more violent repudiation of the basic blueprint of the republic than the development of a secretive, totally unaccountable executive branch agency that simultaneously collects information about all citizens and then applies a “disposition matrix” to determine what punishment should be meted out. This is classic political dystopia brought to reality (despite how compelled such a conclusion is by these indisputable facts, many Americans will view such a claim as an exaggeration, paranoia, or worse because of this psychological dynamic I described here which leads many good passive westerners to believe that true oppression, by definition, is something that happens only elsewhere).

***

As the Founders all recognized, nothing vests elites with power – and profit – more than a state of war. That is why there were supposed to be substantial barriers to having them start and continue – the need for a Congressional declaration, the constitutional bar on funding the military for more than two years at a time, the prohibition on standing armies, etc. Here is how John Jay put it in Federalist No 4:

“It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people.”

In sum, there are factions in many governments that crave a state of endless war because that is when power is least constrained and profit most abundant. What the Post is reporting is yet another significant step toward that state, and it is undoubtedly driven, at least on the part of some, by a self-interested desire to ensure the continuation of endless war and the powers and benefits it vests. So to answer Hayes’ question: the endless expansion of a kill list and the unaccountable, always-expanding powers needed to implement it does indeed represent a great success for many. Read what John Jay wrote in the above passage to see why that is, and why few, if any, political developments should be regarded as more pernicious.

Note: While it may be tempting to say that spying and assassination are part of the new “post-9/11 reality”,  widespread spying on Americans, assassination, militarization of the police, the Patriot Act, indefinite detention,  and most of the other abuses were launched or contemplated long before 9/11.

http://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/the-same-unaccountable-government-agency-which-spies-on-all-americans-also-decides-who-gets-assassinated-by-drones/24393/

Obama Plans to Expand Assassination List

Thousands of people have been killed by the U.S. war on terrorism, but that hasn’t stopped the Obama administration from planning to add even more names to the so-called assassination list of those considered a threat to the country. The administration does not use the word “assassination,” preferring the term “targeted killing.”

The administration has spent the past two years developing a secret “disposition matrix” that The Washington Post says represents a “next-generation targeting list” for ridding the world of terrorists.

The fact that Osama bin Laden is dead and that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is winding down have not persuaded officials to slow down on clandestine programs designed to find and kill members of al Qaeda and similar organizations. According to the Post’s Greg Miller, the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command has set up a “targeting center” just 15 minutes from the White House, and the National Counterterrorism Center, formerly a data collection center not directly involved in operations, has been transformed into a “targeting hub.”

If anything the government intends to keep adding names to its assassination list for years to come, possibly even for another decade.

By some accounts the number of militants and civilians killed in American drone strikes since September 11, 2001, will soon exceed 3,000—a total greater than the number of those killed during the 9/11 attacks.

http://fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/obama-plans-to-expand-assassination-list/24389/

Executive Order — Establishing the White House Homeland Security Partnership Council

EXECUTIVE ORDER
– – – – – – –
ESTABLISHING THE WHITE HOUSE
HOMELAND SECURITY PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to advance the Federal Government’s use of local partnerships to address homeland security challenges, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. The purpose of this order is to maximize the Federal Government’s ability to develop local partnerships in the United States to support homeland security priorities. Partnerships are collaborative working relationships in which the goals, structure, and roles and responsibilities of the relationships are mutually determined. Collaboration enables the Federal Government and its partners to use resources more efficiently, build on one another’s expertise, drive innovation, engage in collective action, broaden investments to achieve shared goals, and improve performance. Partnerships enhance our ability to address homeland security priorities, from responding to natural disasters to preventing terrorism, by utilizing diverse perspectives, skills, tools, and resources.
The National Security Strategy emphasizes the importance of partnerships, underscoring that to keep our Nation safe “we must tap the ingenuity outside government through strategic partnerships with the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and community-based organizations. Such partnerships are critical to U.S. success at home and abroad, and we will support them through enhanced opportunities for engagement, coordination, transparency, and information sharing.” This approach recognizes that, given the complexities and range of challenges, we must institutionalize an all-of-Nation effort to address the evolving threats to the United States.
Sec. 2. White House Homeland Security Partnership Council and Steering Committee.
(a) White House Homeland Security Partnership Council. There is established a White House Homeland Security Partnership Council (Council) to foster local partnerships — between the Federal Government and the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, community-based organizations, and State, local, tribal, and territorial government and law enforcement — to address homeland security challenges. The Council shall be chaired by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (Chair), or a designee from the National Security Staff.
(b) Council Membership.
(i) Pursuant to the nomination process established in subsection (b)(ii) of this section, the Council shall be composed of Federal officials who are from field offices of the executive departments, agencies, and bureaus (agencies) that are members of the Steering Committee established in subsection (c) of this section, and who have demonstrated an ability to develop, sustain, and institutionalize local partnerships to address policy priorities.
(ii) The nomination process and selection criteria for members of the Council shall be established by the Steering Committee. Based on those criteria, agency heads may select and present to the Steering Committee their nominee or nominees to represent them on the Council. The Steering Committee shall consider all of the nominees and decide by consensus which of the nominees shall participate on the Council. Each member agency on the Steering Committee, with the exception of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, may have at least one representative on the Council.
(c) Steering Committee. There is also established a Steering Committee, chaired by the Chair of the Council, to provide guidance to the Council and perform other functions as set forth in this order. The Steering Committee shall include a representative at the Deputy agency head level, or that representative’s designee, from the following agencies:
(i) Department of State;
(ii) Department of the Treasury;
(iii) Department of Defense;
(iv) Department of Justice;
(v) Department of the Interior;
(vi) Department of Agriculture;
(vii) Department of Commerce;
(viii) Department of Labor;
(ix) Department of Health and Human Services;
(x) Department of Housing and Urban Development;
(xi) Department of Transportation;
(xii) Department of Energy;
(xiii) Department of Education;
(xiv) Department of Veterans Affairs;
(xv) Department of Homeland Security;
(xvi) Office of the Director of National Intelligence;
(xvii) Environmental Protection Agency;
(xviii) Small Business Administration; and
(xix) Federal Bureau of Investigation.
At the invitation of the Chair, representatives of agencies not listed in subsection (c) of this section or other executive branch entities may attend and participate in Steering Committee meetings as appropriate.
(d) Administration. The Chair or a designee shall convene meetings of the Council and Steering Committee, determine their agendas, and coordinate their work. The Council may establish subgroups consisting exclusively of Council members or their designees, as appropriate.
Sec. 3. Mission and Function of the Council and Steering Committee. (a) The Council shall, consistent with guidance from the Steering Committee:
(i) advise the Chair and Steering Committee members on priorities, challenges, and opportunities for local partnerships to support homeland security priorities, as well as regularly report to the Steering Committee on the Council’s efforts;
(ii) promote homeland security priorities and opportunities for collaboration between Federal Government field offices and State, local, tribal, and territorial stakeholders;
(iii) advise and confer with State, local, tribal, and territorial stakeholders and agencies interested in expanding or building local homeland security partnerships;
(iv) raise awareness of local partnership best practices that can support homeland security priorities;
(v) as appropriate, conduct outreach to representatives of the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, community-based organizations, and State, local, tribal, and territorial government and law enforcement entities with relevant expertise for local homeland security partnerships, and collaborate with other Federal Government bodies; and
(vi) convene an annual meeting to exchange key findings, progress, and best practices.
(b) The Steering Committee shall:
(i) determine the scope of issue areas the Council will address and its operating protocols, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget;
(ii) establish the nomination process and selection criteria for members of the Council as set forth in section 2(b)(ii) of this order;
(iii) provide guidance to the Council on the activities set forth in subsection (a) of this section; and
(iv) within 1 year of the selection of the Council members, and annually thereafter, provide a report on the work of the Council to the President through the Chair.
Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) The heads of agencies participating in the Steering Committee shall assist and provide information to the Council, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to implement this order. Each agency shall bear its own expense for participating in the Council.
(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof;
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals; or
(iii) the functions of the Overseas Security Advisory Council.
(c) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and appropriate protections for privacy and civil liberties, and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
BARACK OBAMA
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 26, 2012.

Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent

Complete with a newly coined, creepy Orwellian euphemism – ‘disposition matrix’ – the administration institutionalizes the most extremist powers a government can claim

The National Counterterrorism Center, the site of a new bureaucracy to institutionalize the ‘kill list’. Photograph: FBI

A primary reason for opposing the acquisition of abusive powers and civil liberties erosions is that they virtually always become permanent, vested not only in current leaders one may love and trust but also future officials who seem more menacing and less benign.

The Washington Post has a crucial and disturbing story this morning by Greg Miller about the concerted efforts by the Obama administration to fully institutionalize – to make officially permanent – the most extremist powers it has exercised in the name of the war on terror.

Based on interviews with “current and former officials from the White House and the Pentagon, as well as intelligence and counterterrorism agencies”, Miller reports that as “the United States‘ conventional wars are winding down”, the Obama administration “expects to continue adding names to kill or capture lists for years” (the “capture” part of that list is little more than symbolic, as the US focus is overwhelmingly on the “kill” part). Specifically, “among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade.” As Miller puts it: “That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism.”

In pursuit of this goal, “White House counterterrorism adviser John O Brennan is seeking to codify the administration’s approach to generating capture/kill lists, part of a broader effort to guide future administrations through the counterterrorism processes that Obama has embraced.” All of this, writes Miller, demonstrates “the extent to which Obama has institutionalized the highly classified practice of targeted killing, transforming ad-hoc elements into a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.”

The Post article cites numerous recent developments reflecting this Obama effort, including the fact that “CIA Director David H Petraeus is pushing for an expansion of the agency’s fleet of armed drones”, which “reflects the agency’s transformation into a paramilitary force, and makes clear that it does not intend to dismantle its drone program and return to its pre-September 11 focus on gathering intelligence.” The article also describes rapid expansion of commando operations by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and, perhaps most disturbingly, the creation of a permanent bureaucratic infrastructure to allow the president to assassinate at will:

“JSOC also has established a secret targeting center across the Potomac River from Washington, current and former U.S. officials said. The elite command’s targeting cells have traditionally been located near the front lines of its missions, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. But JSOC created a ‘national capital region’ task force that is a 15-minute commute from the White House so it could be more directly involved in deliberations about al-Qaeda lists.”

The creepiest aspect of this development is the christening of a new Orwellian euphemism for due-process-free presidential assassinations: “disposition matrix”. Writes Miller:

“Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix’.

“The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. US officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the ‘disposition’ of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.”

The “disposition matrix” has been developed and will be overseen by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). One of its purposes is “to augment” the “separate but overlapping kill lists” maintained by the CIA and the Pentagon: to serve, in other words, as the centralized clearinghouse for determining who will be executed without due process based upon how one fits into the executive branch’s “matrix”. As Miller describes it, it is “a single, continually evolving database” which includes “biographies, locations, known associates and affiliated organizations” as well as “strategies for taking targets down, including extradition requests, capture operations and drone patrols”. This analytical system that determines people’s “disposition” will undoubtedly be kept completely secret; Marcy Wheeler sardonically said that she was “looking forward to the government’s arguments explaining why it won’t release the disposition matrix to ACLU under FOIA”.

This was all motivated by Obama’s refusal to arrest or detain terrorist suspects, and his resulting commitment simply to killing them at will (his will). Miller quotes “a former US counterterrorism official involved in developing the matrix” as explaining the impetus behind the program this way: “We had a disposition problem.”

The central role played by the NCTC in determining who should be killed – “It is the keeper of the criteria,” says one official to the Post – is, by itself, rather odious. As Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts noted in response to this story, the ACLU has long warned that the real purpose of the NCTC – despite its nominal focus on terrorism – is the “massive, secretive data collection and mining of trillions of points of data about most people in the United States”.

In particular, the NCTC operates a gigantic data-mining operation, in which all sorts of information about innocent Americans is systematically monitored, stored, and analyzed. This includes “records from law enforcement investigations, health information, employment history, travel and student records” – “literally anything the government collects would be fair game”. In other words, the NCTC – now vested with the power to determine the proper “disposition” of terrorist suspects – is the same agency that is at the center of the ubiquitous, unaccountable surveillance state aimed at American citizens.

Worse still, as the ACLU’s legislative counsel Chris Calabrese documented back in July in a must-read analysis, Obama officials very recently abolished safeguards on how this information can be used. Whereas the agency, during the Bush years, was barred from storing non-terrorist-related information about innocent Americans for more than 180 days – a limit which “meant that NCTC was dissuaded from collecting large databases filled with information on innocent Americans” – it is now free to do so. Obama officials eliminated this constraint by authorizing the NCTC “to collect and ‘continually assess’ information on innocent Americans for up to five years”.

And, as usual, this agency engages in these incredibly powerful and invasive processes with virtually no democratic accountability:

“All of this is happening with very little oversight. Controls over the NCTC are mostly internal to the DNI’s office, and important oversight bodies such as Congress and the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board aren’t notified even of ‘significant’ failures to comply with the Guidelines. Fundamental legal protections are being sidestepped. For example, under the new guidelines, Privacy Act notices (legal requirements to describe how databases are used) must be completed by the agency that collected the information. This is in spite of the fact that those agencies have no idea what NCTC is actually doing with the information once it collects it.

“All of this amounts to a reboot of the Total Information Awareness Program that Americans rejected so vigorously right after 9/11.”

It doesn’t require any conspiracy theorizing to see what’s happening here. Indeed, it takes extreme naiveté, or wilful blindness, not to see it.

What has been created here – permanently institutionalized – is a highly secretive executive branch agency that simultaneously engages in two functions: (1) it collects and analyzes massive amounts of surveillance data about all Americans without any judicial review let alone search warrants, and (2) creates and implements a “matrix” that determines the “disposition” of suspects, up to and including execution, without a whiff of due process or oversight. It is simultaneously a surveillance state and a secretive, unaccountable judicial body that analyzes who you are and then decrees what should be done with you, how you should be “disposed” of, beyond the reach of any minimal accountability or transparency.

The Post’s Miller recognizes the watershed moment this represents: “The creation of the matrix and the institutionalization of kill/capture lists reflect a shift that is as psychological as it is strategic.” As he explains, extra-judicial assassination was once deemed so extremist that very extensive deliberations were required before Bill Clinton could target even Osama bin Laden for death by lobbing cruise missiles in East Africa. But:

Targeted killing is now so routine that the Obama administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain it.

To understand the Obama legacy, please re-read that sentence. As Murtaza Hussain put it when reacting to the Post story: “The US agonized over the targeted killing Bin Laden at Tarnak Farms in 1998; now it kills people it barely suspects of anything on a regular basis.”

The pragmatic inanity of the mentality driving this is self-evident: as I discussed yesterday (and many other times), continuous killing does not eliminate violence aimed at the US but rather guarantees its permanent expansion. As a result, wrote Miller, “officials said no clear end is in sight” when it comes to the war against “terrorists” because, said one official, “we can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us” but trying is “a necessary part of what we do”. Of course, the more the US kills and kills and kills, the more people there are who “want to harm us”. That’s the logic that has resulted in a permanent war on terror.

But even more significant is the truly radical vision of government in which this is all grounded. The core guarantee of western justice since the Magna Carta was codified in the US by the fifth amendment to the constitution: “No person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” You simply cannot have a free society, a worthwhile political system, without that guarantee, that constraint on the ultimate abusive state power, being honored.

And yet what the Post is describing, what we have had for years, is a system of government that – without hyperbole – is the very antithesis of that liberty. It is literally impossible to imagine a more violent repudiation of the basic blueprint of the republic than the development of a secretive, totally unaccountable executive branch agency that simultaneously collects information about all citizens and then applies a “disposition matrix” to determine what punishment should be meted out. This is classic political dystopia brought to reality (despite how compelled such a conclusion is by these indisputable facts, many Americans will view such a claim as an exaggeration, paranoia, or worse because of this psychological dynamic I described here which leads many good passive westerners to believe that true oppression, by definition, is something that happens only elsewhere).

In response to the Post story, Chris Hayes asked: “If you have a ‘kill list’, but the list keeps growing, are you succeeding?” The answer all depends upon what the objective is.

As the Founders all recognized, nothing vests elites with power – and profit – more than a state of war. That is why there were supposed to be substantial barriers to having them start and continue – the need for a Congressional declaration, the constitutional bar on funding the military for more than two years at a time, the prohibition on standing armies, etc. Here is how John Jay put it in Federalist No 4:

“It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people.”

In sum, there are factions in many governments that crave a state of endless war because that is when power is least constrained and profit most abundant. What the Post is reporting is yet another significant step toward that state, and it is undoubtedly driven, at least on the part of some, by a self-interested desire to ensure the continuation of endless war and the powers and benefits it vests. So to answer Hayes’ question: the endless expansion of a kill list and the unaccountable, always-expanding powers needed to implement it does indeed represent a great success for many. Read what John Jay wrote in the above passage to see why that is, and why few, if any, political developments should be regarded as more pernicious.

Detention policies

Assuming the Post’s estimates are correct – that “among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade” – this means that the war on terror will last for more than 20 years, far longer than any other American war. This is what has always made the rationale for indefinite detention – that it is permissible to detain people without due process until the “end of hostilities” – so warped in this context. Those who are advocating that are endorsing nothing less than life imprisonment – permanent incarceration – without any charges or opportunities to contest the accusations.

That people are now dying at Guantanamo after almost a decade in a cage with no charges highlights just how repressive that power is. Extend that mentality to secret, due-process-free assassinations – something the US government clearly intends to convert into a permanent fixture of American political life – and it is not difficult to see just how truly extremist and anti-democratic “war on terror” proponents in both political parties have become.

UPDATE

As I noted yesterday, Afghan officials reported that three Afghan children were killed on Saturday by NATO operations. Today, reports CNN, “missiles blew up part of a compound Wednesday in northwest Pakistan, killing three people – including one woman” and added: “the latest suspected U.S. drone strike also injured two children.” Meanwhile, former Obama press secretary and current campaign adviser Robert Gibbs this week justified the US killing of 16-year-old American Abdulrahaman Awlaki, killed by a US drone in Yemen two weeks after his father was, on the ground that he “should have a far more responsible father”.

Also yesterday, CNN profiled Abu Sufyan Said al-Shihri, alleged to be a top al-Qaida official in Yemen. He pointed out “that U.S. drone strikes are helping al-Qaida in Yemen because of the number of civilian deaths they cause.” Ample evidence supports his observation.

To summarize all this: the US does not interfere in the Muslim world and maintain an endless war on terror because of the terrorist threat. It has a terrorist threat because of its interference in the Muslim world and its endless war on terror.

UPDATE II

The Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko, writing today about the Post article, reports:

“Recently, I spoke to a military official with extensive and wide-ranging experience in the special operations world, and who has had direct exposure to the targeted killing program. To emphasize how easy targeted killings by special operations forces or drones has become, this official flicked his hand back over and over, stating: ‘It really is like swatting flies. We can do it forever easily and you feel nothing. But how often do you really think about killing a fly?'”

That is disturbingly consistent with prior reports that the military’s term for drone victims is “bug splat”. This – this warped power and the accompanying dehumanizing mindset – is what is being institutionalized as a permanent fixture in American political life by the current president.

UPDATE III

At Wired, Spencer Ackerman reacts to the Post article with an analysis entitled “President Romney Can Thank Obama for His Permanent Robotic Death List”. Here is his concluding paragraph:

“Obama did not run for president to preside over the codification of a global war fought in secret. But that’s his legacy. . . . Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations writes that Obama’s predecessors in the Bush administration ‘were actually much more conscious and thoughtful about the long-term implications of targeted killings’, because they feared the political consequences that might come when the U.S. embraces something at least superficially similar to assassination. Whoever follows Obama in the Oval Office can thank him for proving those consequences don’t meaningfully exist — as he or she reviews the backlog of names on the Disposition Matrix.”

It’s worth devoting a moment to letting that sink in.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/24/obama-terrorism-kill-list

Colin Powell endorses Obama

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection, arguing the president has improved the poor economy he inherited and sharply criticizing Mitt Romney’s foreign policy positions as a “moving target.”

“I voted for him in 2008, and I plan to stick with him in 2012,” Powell said of Obama on CBS’s “This Morning.” “I’ll be voting for he and for Vice President Joe Biden next month.”

(PHOTOS: Colin Powell over the years)

One of the most coveted endorsements remaining in the 2012 presidential race, Powell said Obama walked into a horrendous economic situation and has begun to turn it around.

“I think, generally, we’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude,” said Powell, who served as George W. Bush’s secretary of state. “It doesn’t mean all our problems are solved.”

While Powell, a Republican, said that he had the “utmost respect” for Romney, he charged that the former Massachusetts governor hasn’t outlined how he would pay for increased defense spending or for his proposed across-the-board tax cut.

(Also on POLITICO: Obama calls Colin Powell)

Powell had even harsher words for Romney’s foreign policy, questioning his changing stances on withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The governor who was speaking on Monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier,” Powell said.

“I’m not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy,” he added. “I don’t sense he’s thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have. He gets advice from his campaign staff that he then has to modify as he goes along.”

(Also on POLITICO: 7 takeaways from final debate)

While in the Bush administration, Powell regularly clashed with neoconservatives, some of whom are now advising Romney. Powell said he has “trouble with” some of Romney’s “very strong neoconservative views.”

While Powell has endorsed the Democratic presidential candidate in back-to-back elections, he said he remains a Republican.

“I think I’m a Republican of more moderate mold and that’s something of a dying breed, I’m sorry to say,” Powell said. “But, you know, the Republicans I worked for are President Reagan, President Bush 41, the Howard Bakers of the world, people who were conservative, people who were willing to push their conservative views, but people who recognize that at the end of the day you got to find a basis for compromise. Compromise is how this country runs.”

Powell said he had a “very good conversation” with Romney a few weeks ago, and said he regularly speaks to Obama. Neither man directly asked Powell for an endorsement, and Powell said he didn’t alert either campaign before making his announcement Thursday.

Obama Closer to Seizing Control of Cyberspace; Exec. Order Imminent

According to a copy of a draft executive order on cybersecurity obtained by the Associated Press (AP), President Obama will soon order “U.S. spy agencies to share the latest intelligence about cyberthreats with companies operating electric grids, water plants, railroads and other vital industries to help protect them from electronic attacks.”

For some time, government officials have insisted that Iran is planning a cyberattack on the electronic communications infrastructure of the United States. The AP reports that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the U.S. armed forces are “ready to retaliate” should Iran — or any other country — attempt an attack on U.S. cybersecurity.

Promises of the White House’s imminent issuing of the edict have been coming for months. The AP reports that regardless of the latest leak, “the White House declined to say when the president will sign the order.”

On September 19, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the executive order granting the president sweeping power over the Internet is “close to completion.”

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Napolitano said that the order is still “being drafted” and vetted by various high-level bureaucrats. But she also indicated that it would be issued as soon as a “few issues” were resolved. Assuming control of the nation’s Internet infrastructure is a DHS responsibility, Napolitano added.

“DHS is the Federal government’s lead agency for securing civilian government computer systems and works with our industry and Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government partners to secure critical infrastructure and information systems,” she informed senators.

Napolitano’s report on the role of DHS squares with the information revealed in the seven-page version of the order the AP has read. According to the report of their findings:

The draft order would put the Department of Homeland Security in charge of organizing an information-sharing network that rapidly distributes sanitized summaries of top-secret intelligence reports about known cyberthreats that identify a specific target. With these warnings, known as tear lines, the owners and operators of essential U.S. businesses would be better able to block potential attackers from gaining access to their computer systems.

The new draft, which is not dated, retains a section that requires Homeland Security to identify the vital systems that, if hit by cyberattack, could “reasonably result in a debilitating impact” on national and economic security. Other sections establish a program to encourage companies to adopt voluntary security standards and direct federal agencies to determine whether existing cyber security regulations are adequate.

The president’s de facto re-routing of all Internet traffic through federal intelligence officers deputizes more than just DHS as cybertraffic cops. The AP reports that “the Pentagon, the National Security Agency (NSA), the director of national intelligence, and the Justice Department” will all cooperate in the surveillance — in the name of national security, of course.

Corporate employees will be authorized to snoop, as well. Per the AP’s reading of the draft executive order, “selected employees at critical infrastructure companies would receive security clearances allowing them to receive the information.

As for those companies considered less critical to our national cybersecurity, “the government would ask businesses to tell the government about cyberthreats or cyberattacks. There would be no requirement to do so.”

Given the history of the federal government’s penchant for vague language, however, it is likely that despite the denial of compulsory cooperation with the government there will be a loophole just large enough to mandate private cooperation with the federal government.

Although the president and officials in his administration portray the attack as imminent, Congress isn’t persuaded, and on several occasions lawmakers have rejected measures calling for greater government control over the Internet and the communications infrastructure.

The president claims that this legislative lassitude is forcing him to bypass the Constitution and act alone to protect the country from cyberattacks. Once Barack Obama signs his name to this edict and assuming compliance with its mandates changes from voluntary to involuntary, he will possess powers only dreamed about by the most ambitious dictators of history.

“In the wake of Congressional inaction and Republican stall tactics, unfortunately, we will continue to be hamstrung by outdated and inadequate statutory authorities that the legislation would have fixed. Moving forward, the President is determined to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats and we will do that,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in an email reported by The Hill.

The demise of the bill in the Senate was not unforeseen. As The New American reported in July:

The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 has been the subject of some criticism as privacy advocates feared that the bill would pose too many threats to the constitutional rights of the American people.

Likewise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and IBM sent out letters to show their opposition for the original bill, asserting that it would overwhelm the industry with regulations.

In response to the criticism, Senator Lieberman reformed the original bill.

For example, the updated version of the bill reflects changes to the provision to assign the Department of Homeland Security the role of creating mandatory cybersecurity standards for infrastructure industries.

The newer version of the bill does not include language for “mandatory, regulatory sections,” but still requires a creation of industry best practice standards for the purposes of protecting critical infrastructure, but rather than making the adoption of those standards mandatory, the owners of the critical infrastructure adopt “voluntary” standards. The bill offers incentives to adopt those standards, such as liability protection, and access to threat information.

Some contend that the revisions are not ideal, however, as it gives the government the power to deny threat information to critical infrastructure owners who choose not to comply with the voluntary standards. Likewise, the incentives are too insignificant to fully incentivize any company to adopt the standards.

Since the beginning of his administration, President Obama has made cybersecurity a central plank in his presidential platform. As The New American reported in 2009:

The president pointed out that shortly after taking office he directed the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council to thoroughly review the federal government’s efforts “to defend our information and communications infrastructure” and to recommend improvements. He mentioned that National Security Council Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace Melissa Hathaway led the review team, and that the 60-day review included input from industry, academia, civil liberty and privacy advocates, every level and branch of government, Congress, and other advisers — even input from “international partners.”

To that end, the White House proposed legislation in 2011 and has ordered one after the other administration official to testify at no fewer than 17 congressional hearings on the subject.

In a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece penned by the president, he did his best to instill in the American people fear of the consequences we would suffer should someone launch a successful cyberattack on the critical infrastructure networks of our nation.

The AP reports that the version of the order it obtained was undated and that Obama administration spokesmen refused to disclose when President Obama would issue the order.

National Security Council spokesman Caitlin Hayden was quoted parroting the president’s party line on the urgent need for action, however: “Given the gravity of the threats we face in cyberspace, we want to get this right in addition to getting it done swiftly,” Hayden told the AP.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/item/13334-obama-closer-to-seizing-control-of-cyberspace-exec-order-imminent

Romney: I will have Israel’s back, including militarily

In final debate, Repubican nominee attacks president for sidelining Israel to curry favor with regional players • Obama vows Iran will not get nuclear bomb on his watch and touts unprecedented U.S. aid, says visit to Yad Vashem and Sderot had great impact on him.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney squared off on Monday in their final debate, which focused on foreign affairs.|Photo credit: Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Governor Mitt Romney sparred on Monday over who was Israel’s strongest defender but both agreed that a military strike over Iran’s nuclear program must be a “last resort.”

Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is for developing weapons and that economic sanctions have so far failed to stop, is almost certain to be among the top foreign policy challenges facing the next president.

Yet Romney and Obama, in their foreign policy debate, did not offer sharply contrasting policies to address the challenge. They agreed on the need for tough economic pressure — and for safeguarding Israel. “If Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily,” Romney said. “I will stand with Israel if they are attacked,” Obama said. Both were responding to a question on whether they would consider an attack on Israel an attack on the United States.

Obama later called Israel “a true friend and our greatest ally in the region,” and said Israel and the U.S. maintain “unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation, including dealing with the Iranian threat.” Obama went on to say that a nuclear Iran would be a national security threat to the United States. He stressed he would not let Iran obtain a nuclear bomb so long as he is president and would not let Iran “perpetually engage in negotiations that lead nowhere.”

Iran’s leaders have from time to time threatened to eradicate Israel, and Israeli leaders see an Iranian nuclear weapon as an existential threat. The question that has risen repeatedly this year is whether Israel would conduct a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear sites, which would put the United States in a difficult position of whether to enter another Middle East conflict.

The candidates did not say what they would do if Israel conducted a unilateral strike on Iran. Pressed by the moderator on how he would react if Israel were to launch a unilateral strike against Iran, Romney said, “Our relationship with Israel, my relationship with the prime minister of Israel [Benjamin Netanyahu] is such that we would not get a call saying our bombers are on the way or their fighters are on the way.” Romney and Netanyahu both worked for a Boston-based consulting firm in the 1970s. The two still maintain a close friendship, which was clearly on display during Romney’s visit to Israel over the summer.

Obama accused Romney of rushing to conclude that a military strike was necessary. “The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that, during the course of this campaign, he’s often talked as if we should take premature military action,” Obama said at Monday’s debate, which was the final such encounter before the Nov. 6 election. “I think that would be a mistake, because when I send young men and women into harm’s way, I always understand that is the last resort, not the first resort,” he said.

“We need to increase pressure, time and time again, on Iran because anything other than … a solution to this … which stops this, this nuclear folly of theirs, is unacceptable to America,” Romney said. “And of course, a military action is the last resort. It is something one would only … consider if all of the other avenues had been … tried to their full extent,” he said.

Romney challenged the effectiveness of Obama’s Iran policy, saying his perceived weakness has strengthened the ayatollahs’ resolve. “They have looked at this administration and felt that the administration was not as strong as it needed to be,” Romney said. “I think they saw weakness where they had expected to find American strength.” “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran. We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran,” Romney continued. “And — and we should not have wasted these four years to the extent they’ve — they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer.”

Obama bluntly said newspaper reports that Iran and the United States had agreed to hold bilateral talks on Tehran’s nuclear program were not true. Iran has also denied that bilateral negotiations on its nuclear program had been scheduled.

Romney went on to attack the president for sidelining the relations with Israel as part of the effort to curry favor with other Middle East players, evident by what the governor called an “apology tour.”

“You went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by [the] way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations,” Romney said. “And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations and on Arabic TV you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.”

Romney also attacked Obama for not acting to shore-up relations with Israel even after 38 members of Congress had sent him a letter urging him to do so. “They asked him, please repair the tension — Democrat senators — please repair the damage,” Romney said.

Obama said his administration and he personally consider Israel’s security paramount, in part owing to the impression left by his visit there as a candidate in 2008. “I went down to the border town of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children’s bedrooms, and I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles.” Obama also attacked Romney for using his recent trip to Israel to benefit his campaign war chest rather than to study the region. “When I went to Israel as a candidate, I didn’t take donors, I didn’t attend fundraisers, I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself [of] the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable.”

Speaking on Egypt, Obama said he would make sure Egypt’s pro-Islamic regime would uphold the country’s long-standing peace treaty with Israel. “That is a red line for us, because not only is Israel’s security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels,” Obama said.

On Syria, Romney tried to put Obama on the defensive by saying the administration has not led in the crisis in which thousands of Syrians have died and President Bashar al-Assad remains in power. “What I’m afraid of is, we’ve watched over the past year or so, first the president saying, well, we’ll let the U.N. deal with it,” Romney said. “We should be playing the leadership role there.”The United States should work with partners to organize the Syrian opposition and “make sure they have the arms necessary to defend themselves,” he said.

“I am confident that Assad’s days are numbered,” Obama said. “But what we can’t do is to simply suggest that, as Governor Romney at times has suggested, that giving heavy weapons, for example, to the Syrian opposition is a simple proposition that would lead us to be safer over the long term.” Obama also used Monday night’s debate to criticize Romney’s support for beginning the war in Iraq, for opposing his plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, for inconsistent stances on Afghanistan and for opposing nuclear treaties with Russia. “Every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong,” Obama said. Romney responded that “attacking me is not an agenda” for dealing with a dangerous world.

If and how the debate would affect the Nov. 6 presidential election was not clear. Foreign policy, the theme of the debate at Lynn University, in Boca Raton, Florida, has not been a major issue in a race centered on the U.S. economy. But both candidates were determined to appear to be strong leaders, rallying their supporters and winning over the remaining undecided voters.

Romney appeared more measured than Obama, agreeing with the president on a number of issues, perhaps seeking to appear more moderate to centrist voters who may determine the election’s outcome. Obama, from the opening moments, wasn’t as subdued. He said Romney would reinstate the unpopular foreign policies of President George W. Bush.

“Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s,” Obama said.

Romney said that despite early hopes, the ouster of despotic regimes in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere over the past year has resulted in a “rising tide of chaos.” He said the president has failed to come up with a coherent policy to grapple with the change sweeping the Middle East.

Foreign policy is generally seen as Obama’s strength and he highlighted two of his campaign’s main points, that he gave the order leading to the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and fulfilled a promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Romney, a multimillionaire businessman, has little foreign affairs experience. Romney congratulated Obama “on taking out Osama bin Laden and taking on the leadership of al-Qaida.” But he added, “we can’t kill our way out of this mess. … We must have a comprehensive and robust strategy.”

The election is a state-by-state contest and the outcome in a small number of states that are not predictably Democratic or Republican will determine the winner. With the final debate behind them, both men are embarking on a two-week whirlwind of campaigning. The president is slated to speak in six states during a two-day trip that begins Wednesday. Romney intends to visit two or three states a day. Already four million ballots have been cast in early voting in more than two dozen states. Just hours before the debate CNN published the latest “poll of polls,” showing Romney has been able to maintain his momentum. The poll, which is the average of five polls conducted over the past week, has both Obama and Romney locked in a dead heat — each garnering 47 percent support among likely voters. A Reuters/Ipsos poll from Monday night (before the debate) also had both candidates tied at 46% in a sample that included both registered and likely voters. Gallup’s daily tracking poll has Romney holding on to a 6% advantage among likely voters.

The last debate could turn out to be decisive in such a close race. One Democratic activist told Politico on Monday that the voters who had yet to make up their minds “go back and forth every day”. “One day they are for Romney, and one day they are for the president. Right now they have gone back to Obama. The last thing they hear matters. … It’s extremely fluid outside the base.”

For the first time since May, The Politico/George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll has Romney ahead in ten competitive swing states, with the former governor commanding a 50% to 48% lead among likely voters. This marks an upset from last week, when the president was at 49% to Romney’s 48%. In all-important Ohio, with its 18 electoral votes, Obama still maintains a 50% to 45% advantage among likely voters according to a Quinnipiac University/CBS poll, although Romney has been able to narrow the gap lately.

Meanwhile, real estate magnate Donald Trump, who is a Romney supporter, announced on Monday that he will release as early as Wednesday a political bombshell the could decide the race. Speaking on Fox News, Trump described it as “something very, very big concerning the president of the United States.” “It’s going to be very big. I know one thing — you will cover it in a very big fashion,” Trump said. Trump has been one of Obama’s most vocal critics and even questioned Obama’s claim that he was born in the United States. The U.S. constitution stipulates that the president must be a “natural-born” U.S. citizen.

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=6180

Romney Rep. Peter King: Presidential Kill List “Totally Constitutional”

Luke Rudkowski asks NY Congressman and Romney representative, Peter King for his insight on how Mitt Romney should handle the inheritance of Obama’s kill list should he become president. Peter King touts the kill list as “totally right, totally Constitutional” as he quickly becomes angered and derogatory towards Luke.

Another Obama Executive Order Allows Seizure of Americans’ Bank Accounts

The latest executive order (EO) emanating from the White House October 9 now claims the power to freeze all bank accounts and stop any related financial transactions that a “sanctioned person” may own or try to perform — all in the name of “Iran Sanctions.”

Titled an “Executive Order from the President regarding Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions…” the order says that if an individual is declared by the president, the secretary of state, or the secretary of the treasury to be a “sanctioned person,” he (or she) will be unable to obtain access to his accounts, will be unable to process any loans (or make them), or move them to any other financial institution inside or outside the United States. In other words, his financial resources will have successfully been completely frozen. The EO expands its authority by making him unable to use any third party such as “a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, subgroup or other organization” that might wish to help him or allow him to obtain access to his funds.

And if the individual so “sanctioned” decides that the ruling is unfair, he isn’t allowed to sue. In two words, the individual has successfully been robbed blind.

But it’s all very legal. The EO says the president has his “vested authority” to issue it, and then references endless previous EOs, including one dating back to 1995 which declared a “state of emergency” (which hasn’t been lifted): Executive Order 12957.

EO 12957 was issued by President Bill Clinton on March 15, 1995, which was also obliquely related to the Iran “problem”:

I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, find that the actions and policies of the Government of Iran to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.

Clinton’s EO further delegated such powers as were necessary to enforce the EO to the secretaries of the treasury and state “to employ all powers … as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government.”

Such EOs are the perfect embodiment of what the Founders feared the most: the combining of the legislative, executive, and judicial functions into one body. Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution says: “All legislative powers herein shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” As Thomas Eddlem, writing for The New American, expressed it, “then it stands to reason [that] none is left for the president.”

But Joe Wolverton, also in The New American, pointed out the particular piece of language the Founders used to limit the powers of the president which totalitarians have twisted to allow such powers to expand: the “take care” clause, to wit: Article II, Section 3: he [the president] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed…

With every EO, the president avoids the cumbersome constitutional safeguards spelled out by the Constitution, and uses them to implement policies he “knows” are right. Says Wolverton: “With every one of these … executive orders, then, the president elevates his mind and will above that of the people, Congress and the courts.”

The current administration has had a lot of help in justifying and codifying the legitimacy of executive orders, going all the way back to President George Washington who in 1793 issued his “Neutrality Proclamation,” which declared that the United States would remain neutral in the current conflict between France and Great Britain, and would bring sanctions against any American citizen who attempted to provide assistance to either party. The language of Washington is eerily similar to that used by President Obama in the present case:

I have therefore thought fit by these presents to declare the disposition of the United States to observe the conduct aforesaid toward those powers respectively, and to exhort and warn the citizens of the United States carefully to avoid all acts and proceedings whatsoever which may in any manner tend to contravene such disposition…

I have given instructions to those officers to whom it belongs to cause prosecutions to be instituted against all persons who shall, within the cognizance of the courts of the United States, violate the law of nations with respect to the powers at war, or any of them.

When James Madison protested Washington’s usurpation of powers not intended for the president, Congress acquiesced and passed, retroactively, the Neutrality Act of 1794, validating Washington’s usurpation.

President Lincoln engaged in similar usurpations, using presidential “directives” to run the early months of the Civil War, presenting Congress with, as Todd Gaziano put it,

the decision either to adopt his [directives] as legislation or to cut off support for the Union army.

Within his first two months in office, on April 15, 1861, Lincoln issued a proclamation activating troops to defeat the Southern rebellion and for Congress to convene on July 4.

He also issued proclamations to procure warships and to expand the size of the military; in both cases, the proclamations provided for payment to be advanced from the Treasury without congressional approval.

These latter actions were probably unconstitutional, but Congress acquiesced in the face of wartime contingencies, and the matters were never challenged in court.

President Franklin Roosevelt often overlooked the niceties of constitutional restraints as well. As Gaziano expressed it, “FDR also showed a tendency to abuse his executive order authority and [to] claim powers that were not conferred on him in the Constitution or by statute.”

As far as numbers of executive orders issued, Obama is a piker. At the moment, although the list is growing, his administration has issued 138 executive orders. President Theodore Roosevelt issued 1,006 while President Woodrow Wilson issued 1,791. Even President Calvin Coolidge used the EO “privilege” 1,253 times.

The granddaddy of them all, FDR, issued an astounding 3,728 executive orders, but of course he was in office longer than Obama.

President Bill Clinton issued only 364 executive orders, but he made the most of them, using this extra-legal power to, among other things, wage war in Yugoslavia without congressional approval. Cliff Kincaid collated the numerous EOs issued by Clinton in 1998 and 1999, and concluded:

Clinton waged his war on Yugoslavia through executive order and presidential directive. Clinton used executive orders to designate a “war zone,” call up troops, proclaim a “national emergency” with respect to Yugoslavia, and impose economic sanctions on the Belgrade government.

Clinton claimed war-making presidential authority through his “constitutional authority” to conduct “foreign relations,” as “Commander in Chief” and as “Chief Executive.” Under this self-designated authority, Clinton delegated command-and-control of U.S. forces to NATO and its Secretary-General Javier Solana, who decided when the air war would be discontinued…

The most outrageous executive order of all time was that issued by President Roosevelt that allowed the enforced internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans: 9066.

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) called EOs patently unconstitutional. When asked about them by Fox News’ Megan Kelly, Paul responded:

The Constitution says that only Congress passes laws. The executive branch is not allowed to pass laws, nor should the judicial system pass laws. So it is clearly unconstitutional to issue these executive orders.

They’ve been done for a long time, both parties have done it, but the Congress is careless. They allow and encourage and do these deals … to get the president to circumvent the Congress. If something’s unpopular and he can’t get it passed, well, let’s just sign an executive order. So I think that is blatantly wrong. I think this defies everything the founders intended. I think it’s a shame that Congress does it, and I think it’s a shame that the American people put up with it.

Correction: As originally written, this article placed the number of executive orders issued by the Obama administration at 900, based on an inaccurate source. We regret this misinformatiion. The figure cited in the article has now been corrected.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/13196-another-obama-executive-order-allows-seizure-of-americans%E2%80%99-bank-accounts

Shocking Secrets and Verifiable Facts about Barack Obama the MSM Refuses to Report

Shocking Secrets and Verifiable Facts about President Barack Obama the Mainstream Media Refuses to Report
If you think you know everything there is to know about Barack Obama, think again.

What you’ll hear on this episode of Catch Kevin: No Holds Barred! will not only shock you, it will alarm you!

Why does mainstream media refuse to give us the truth about the most powerful man in the world? Yet, a man who is shrouded in secrecy and immune to any and all vetting by that same media.
What information would have turned up had Barack Obama been properly vetted? Listen to this eye-opening, jaw-droppoing episode of Catch Kevin: No Holds Barred!

Fast and Furious Two: The Syrian Connection! Obama Administration Supplying the Munitions to Al Qaeda in Syria!

Watch Video:

http://www.surenews.com/obama/fast-and-furious-two-the-syrian-connection-obama-administration-supplying-the-munitions-to-al-qaeda-in-syria.htm

Foreign debt now $47,495 per household

President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao on March 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) – The debt that the U.S. government owes to foreign interests now equals approximately $47,495 for each household in the United States, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Treasury and the Census Bureau.

The portion of the U.S. government’s foreign debt now owed to interests in Mainland China is about $10,090 per household.

At the end of August, the latest period reported by the U.S. Treasury, foreign interests held a total of $5,430,000,000,000 in U.S. government debt. According to the Census Bureau’s latest estimate (which was for June 2012) there were 114,328,000 households in the United States. Therefore, the total U.S. government debt held by foreign interests was about $47,494.93 per household.

Back in January 2009, foreign interests held a total of $3,071,700,000,000 in U.S. government debt. That month, according to the Census Bureau, there were 111,079,000 households in the United States. Therefore the total U.S. government debt held by foreign interests was about $27,653.29 per household.

Since January 2009, the total U.S. government debt held by foreign interests has climbed from approximately $27,653.29 per household to approximately $47,494.93 per household—an increase of about $19,841.64 per household.

Among foreign interests, those in Mainland China hold the largest share of the U.S. government’s debt. The Mainland Chinese, according to the Treasury, owned $1,153,600,000,000 in U.S. Treasury securities as of the end of August.

Back in January 2009, interests in Mainland China held only $739.6 billion in U.S. government debt. That month, the U.S. government owed about $6,658 per American household to interests in China. As of the end of August, the U.S. government owed about $10,090 per American household to interests in China—an increase since January 2009 of about $3,432 per household.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/us-governments-foreign-debt-now-47495-household

Romney, Obama appeal to voters on Israel, talk tough on Iran

At the final presidential debate, both President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney appealed to voters in Boca Raton, Florida by talking tough on security for Israel and Iran’s future.

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the end of the third and final presidential debate October 22, 2012 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. (MANDEL NGAN/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney went head-to-head on foreign policy in the third and final presidential debate at Lynn University appealing to voters in Boca Raton, Florida by talking tough on security for Israel and Iran’s future.

Bob Schieffer, CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent and host of “Face the Nation,” moderated the 90 minute debate.

Both candidates tried to paint themselves as friends of Israel, while attacking their opponents’ record, in an attempt to court Jewish voters.

Romney criticized the president’s Middle East foreign policy, saying he had gone on an “apology tour” of the region but had skipped a visit to Israel in his first term.

“I want to underscore… if I’m President of the United States, when I’m President of the United States, we will stand with Israel,” said Romney. “And if Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily. That’s number one.”

In fact, post-debate fact checkers at the New York Times noted that both George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did not visit Israel in their first term.

President Obama had a strong come back, telling Romney on his most recent visit to Israel, he went to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

On the subject of Israel’s enemy Iran, Obama made news, explaining a recent New York Times story about one-on-one talks between the US and Iran are in fact false, explaining “Those are reports in a newspaper. They are not true.”

Both candidates talked tough on Iran and emphasized their commitment to seeing it remain nuclear free.

Romney said the Obama administration has been weak on Iran and that “we are four years closer to a nuclear Iran” reiterating that a “nuclear-capable Iran is unacceptable to America.”

However, despite repeated calls for continuing the US policy of “crippling sanctions” for Iran, Romney did not put forth any new policy ideas on how his administration would contain Tehran’s nuclear threat.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121022/romney-obama-appeal-voters-israel-talk-tough-ira?

Obama or Romney: War and Economic Collapse Regardless Who Wins the Election

CNN is making a big deal out of Romney’s “right leaning” supporters.

The corporate media branch of the Pentagon’s psyops program thinks there’s a good chance these “severely conservative” voters may push Romney over the top and get him installed in the White House as preeminent teleprompter reader for the global elite.

In August, Peter Schiff, economic adviser to Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, said he thinks the economic implosion will occur during the next administration.

He has no faith in Obama and little in Romney to turn things around.

Despite the flaccid neo-Tea Party rhetoric of Paul Ryan, prior to the Obama administration Republicans out-spent Democrats threefold. Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II racked up $6.4 trillion dollars in debt and thus put to rest the obscene fantasy of “fiscal conservatism.”

In September, according to official figures, the national debt surpassed $16 trillion. In reality, it is much higher – well over $200 trillion when unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security are thrown into the mix.

“Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt,” writes Boston University economic professor Laurence Kotlikoff.

Due to the astronomical debt and profligate spending by largely unaccountable professional political careerists in Washington, “what we have to look forward to is a very bleak future,” writes Michael Snyder.

“Even if we totally scrapped our current monetary system and repudiated the debt, the transition would be ‘rocky’ at best and we would not enjoy anything close to the standard of living that we are enjoying today.”

As for war, a Romney win in November will ensure the re-installment of the Bush-era neocons and a speedy timeline for war in the Middle East, particularly against Syria and sooner before later Iran.

Because the election is a couple of weeks away, Romney’s saying there’s no need to attack Iran in response to its imaginary nuclear weapons program.

His foreign policy advisers, on the other hand, are neocons who have repeatedly called for taking out Iran.

More frightening, Romney is close friends with Israel’s ardent Likudnik, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Mitt has stated that they “almost speak in shorthand.”

Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, told the New York Times that Romney would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel,” i.e., the U.S. will attack Israel’s enemies during the reign of Mitt.

In other words, if Romney wins we can expect an attack on Iran that would certainly compound the above mentioned economic problems.

Following Obama’s lackluster performance during the last presidential debate, his administration trotted out what can be described as “Iran Attack Light,” a plan to use “surgical strikes” against the country in lieu of an all-out attack.

Foreign Policy CEO and editor at large David Rothkopf, a former Clintonite, “reported that the White House and Israeli officials ‘assert that the two sides, behind the scenes, have come closer together in their views [regarding Iran] in recent days,’” according to the Jerusalem Post.

Bizarrely, the establishment media continues to pretend there is a widening chasm of difference between Obama and Romney.

In fact, they both present the same economic and foreign policy goals, which are, of course, not their goals but those of the global elite.

The establishment media does its part by playing up minor differences in style between the two and uses a trusty false left-right paradigm to distract weary voters and excite indoctrinated loyalists.

http://theintelhub.com/2012/10/17/obama-or-romney-war-and-economic-collapse-regardless-who-wins-the-election/

Monday’s Debate Puts Focus on Foreign Policy Clashes

When President Obama and Mitt Romney sit down Monday night for the last of their three debates, two things should be immediately evident: there should be no pacing the stage or candidates’ getting into each other’s space, and there should be no veering into arguments over taxes.

This debate is about how America deals with the world — and how it should.

If the moderator, Bob Schieffer of CBS News, has his way, it will be the most substantive of the debates. He has outlined several topics: America’s role in the world, the continuing war in Afghanistan, managing the nuclear crisis with Iran and the resultant tensions with Israel, and how to deal with rise of China.

The most time, Mr. Schieffer has said, will be spent on the Arab uprisings, their aftermath and how the terrorist threat has changed since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. No doubt the two candidates will spar again, as they did in the second debate, about whether the Obama administration was ready for the attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador, and three other Americans. Mr. Romney was widely judged to not have had his most effective critique ready, and this time, presumably, he will be out to correct that.

The early line is that this is an opportunity for Mr. Obama to shine, and to repair the damage from the first debate. (He was already telling jokes the other night, at a dinner in New York, about his frequent mention of Osama bin Laden’s demise.)

But we can hope that it is a chance for both candidates to describe, at a level of detail they have not yet done, how they perceive the future of American power in the world. They view American power differently, a subject I try to grapple with at length in a piece in this Sunday’s Review, “The Debatable World.”

But for now, here is a field guide to Monday’s debate.

LIBYA AND BENGHAZI Both candidates will come ready for a fight on this topic, but the question is whether it is the right fight. Mr. Obama already admitted mistakes on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and promised to get to the bottom of them, but the White House has been less than transparent about what kind of warnings filtered up from the intelligence agencies before the attack on the consulate, and whether there was a way that American security forces could have arrived sooner, perhaps in time to save some of the American lives. No doubt the argument will focus on a narrower issue: why the administration stuck so long to its story that this was a protest against a film that turned into something worse, rather than a preplanned attack by insurgents. For Mr. Romney, the task is to show that the Benghazi attack was symptomatic of bigger failings in the Middle East, a road he started down in the last debate, but an argument he never completed.

IRAN With the revelation in The New York Times on Sunday reported by Helene Cooper and Mark Landler that the Obama administration has secretly agreed in principle to direct, bilateral talks after the election, the urgent question for the candidates is this: in a negotiation, what would you be willing to let Iran hold onto in return for a deal that gave the United States and Israel confidence that Tehran could not gain a nuclear weapons capability? It’s a hard question for both men.

Mr. Romney has said he would not allow Iran to have any enrichment capability at all — something it is allowed under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as long as it is abiding by the treaty’s rules — a position that would kill any talks. But Mr. Obama does not want to say the obvious: that he is willing to allow Iran to hold onto some face-saving enrichment capability as long as it does not retain its stockpiles of medium-enriched fuel, which can be converted to bomb-grade. Also, look for answers to the question of whether the United States would back up Israel if it decided to conduct a military strike against Iran. Mr. Romney wants to show that Mr. Obama has created “daylight” between the United States and Israel; Mr. Obama wants to demonstrate that while he has Israel’s back, he is trying to protect the country from taking an action he considers unwise, at least at this stage.

CYBERWAR Mr. Obama cannot talk about “Olympic Games,” the covert program that the United States has conducted against Iran, with Israel’s help, using a cyberweapon against another country for the first time in history. But do Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney consider cyberweapons a legitimate tool in America’s arsenal, or too risky, since the United States is the most vulnerable country in the world? We have never heard either candidate answer the question.

AFGHANISTAN There was a time when Mr. Romney declared that America should not be negotiating with the Taliban, but that it should be killing all the Taliban. He stopped saying that after his aides suggested that it sounded like a prescription for endless war. Now both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama say they think that America should be out of Afghanistan by 2014, the internationally agreed deadline for the withdrawal of forces, though Mr. Romney has the caveat that he wants to hear from his generals first. (The generals thought that Mr. Obama’s insistence on setting a clear deadline for withdrawal was a bad idea — as did Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and many others.) So what do we want to hear from the candidates?

Lots.

For starters, if it looks as if Kabul could fall back into Taliban hands in a few years, do either of them think the United States should re-intervene? It would be nice to know if Mr. Obama agrees with his vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., that all American troops should be out by the end of 2014, since the White House plan calls for an “enduring presence” of 10,000 to 15,000 troops that would back up the weak Afghan security forces and keep an eye on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. (The remaining base would also be a place to launch drone strikes into Pakistan and Afghanistan, when necessary.) And for Mr. Romney, if he believes the pullout in Iraq was too hasty, and the pullout in Afghanistan risks making the same mistake, what kind of continuing presence would he have in mind?

THE ARAB UPRISINGS Afghanistan is already in America’s rearview mirror, but the Arab uprisings are not. Mr. Romney says that the rise of Islamic governments is an Obama administration failure. The White House says that if you have free elections in Islamic nations, you cannot be surprised when the Muslim Brotherhood and the harder-line Salafists win control of the government. The question is how to deal with these governments: conditional aid, to ensure American values are respected? Trade restrictions? Gentle persuasion?

This would also be the area to understand when and why each man would advocate future interventions. Mr. Obama joined in the Libya strike, which Mr. Romney thought was a mistake. But Mr. Obama has been hesitant to do much in Syria — a very different kind of conflict — while Mr. Romney says he would arm the rebels with heavy-duty antiaircraft and antitank weapons. Since the light weapons are already going into the wrong hands, how exactly would he find a way to overthrow Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad?

CHINA Perhaps the most important long-term subject of the debate. Mr. Romney promises a hard line, saying he would declare China as a currency manipulator from Day 1 of his presidency. But he has not said much about Day 2, or Year 2. This is the moment for each candidate to describe how he would counter China’s growing claims in the South China Sea and other disputed territories, how he would handle trade tensions, and how he would manage a world in which the United States, for better or worse, is going to be reliant on Chinese investment in American debt for years to come. And it is the moment for each to give his view of the leadership change under way in China, where three-quarters of the top political posts are about to change hands.

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/21/mondays-debate-puts-focus-on-foreign-policy-clashes/?hp

Constitutional Questions Hound Growing Domestic Role for US Military

Northcom Legal Team Struggles to Figure Out What It Can Legally Do

Created in 2002 without much public discourse, the Northern Command (Northcom) now sees Pentagon activities expanding dramatically across the continental United States, giving the military purview over droughts, wildfires, and public protests.

But is it legal, or even constitutional? That’s a question Northcom’s massive legal team is still struggling to come to grips with, as a command that was supposed to be aimed at defending against incoming missiles is turning into an all-encompassing leviathanwith interests across the board.

Exactly how much is already being done is even a matter of legal battles, as the ACLU has been struggling for years to get a handle on how big the active duty military deployments inside the United States already are, and how much bigger they are liable to get.

Seeking Northcom’s aid with hurricane relief has turned them into an all-purpose weather response force. Emergency response morphed into a possible military role in medical quarantines during the swine flu scare. Seeking their involvement into anti-terror operations has raised the prospect of domestic military surveillance at unprecedented levels. And surveillance of “terrorists” inevitably means surveillance of all domestic opposition factions, regardless of what they are opposing.

For most of American history the US military’s domestic role has been virtually non-existent, with small and hotly debated exceptions and a well-defined limit on using the military domestically. Northcom’s growth has been so fast and so poorly understood that it is no longer clear which, if any, of the existing laws on the books are being followed, and which have been brushed aside in the name of military expediency. This has left their own legally team forever doing catchup, and stuck trying to come up with legal justifications after the fact.

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/10/21/constitutional-questions-hound-growing-domestic-role-for-us-military/

US and Iran: Could Romney be tougher than Obama? Unlikely

Short of conducting a unilateral military strike or declaring war against the Islamic Republic, a Romney administration would be faced with the same legislative options on Iran as President Obama, who has already administered them.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 2. Ahmadinejad blames the steep drop in Iran’s currency to “psychological pressures” linked to Western sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.

In the run-up to Monday’s debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the most disputed foreign policy issue hasn’t been Afghanistan, where roughly 68,000 US troops are still based in the fight against Al Qaeda, or the contentious decision by the Obama administration to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

As moderator Martha Raddatz said at the Oct. 11 vice-presidential debate, the biggest national security threat faced by the United States is now considered to be the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Every American is less secure today because [President Obama] has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat,” Mitt Romney said at the Republican National Convention in August. The Republican candidate has since argued that Mr. Obama hasn’t been tough enough on Tehran, and he has vowed to institute a different, harsher sanctions program that will be sure to cripple the Islamic Republic.

But analysts, legal experts, and US-allied diplomats say that when it comes to sanctions on Iran, US legislation isn’t expected to differ much from one administration to another. Short of conducting a unilateral military strike or declaring war against the Islamic Republic, a Romney administration would be faced with the same legislative options on Iran as President Obama, who has already administered them.

Obama vs. Romney 101: 3 ways they differ on Iran

Former President George W. Bush began implementing legislation for harsher financial sanctions against Iran during his last two years in office. After the 2008 presidential election, the Obama administration instituted and expanded those sanctions at a speed that has made current US sanctions policy on Iran the harshest in contemporary history. This leaves a potential new Romney administration with few policy alternatives.

“The only thing Romney can really do to get to the right of Obama on Iran policy is to say he’d bomb Iran if elected president, or would actively promote and pursue a policy of regime change,” says Karim Sajadpour, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Given the misgivings Americans have about the Iraq war, I don’t think those are winning talking points for him.”

Since Obama became president in 2009, his administration has used a carrot-and-stick approach with the Islamic Republic, practicing a policy of limited engagement while boosting the implementation of Bush-era financial sanctions against Tehran and enacting new, tighter financial restrictions.

Iran’s economy began feeling the bite of new US and United Nations sanctions during the last two years of former President Bush’s second term in office. When Obama became president, the US Treasury Department upped the ante on Iran sanctions, accelerating their implementation and obtaining concrete commitments from US allies and private international entities to institute them as well.

Obama’s administration has also been tougher on US allies, particularly in Europe, flanking traditional diplomacy with direct pressure for collaboration on Iran policy, according to interviews with western European diplomats.

“A lot of what has come out on sanctions is a result of what Congress is passing,” says Erich Ferrari, a DC-based lawyer specializing in US Treasury legislation and author of the first comprehensive guide to US transactions regulations on Iran. “What Obama did was continue Bush-era policies and put them on steroids.”

Western European diplomats say Obama has been less willing than the Bush administration to engage in “multilateral conversations” with Europe on sanctions, opting instead to directly pressure some governments and private institutions to agree with and implement Washington’s unilateral sanctions laws.

As a result, US financial sanctions against Iran – now considered the harshest in recent history – have during the last four years been integrated into the global banking system much more quickly and deeply.

The US now sanctions foreign companies that do not significantly cut or completely stop purchases of Iranian oil, and it penalizes banks engaging in financial transactions with the Islamic Republic.

Coupled with a European embargo on Iran’s oil imposed in July, the country’s oil exports have fallen by more than 50 percent since last year, forcing Tehran to continue reducing oil production as a result of declining demand. This summer, Iraq out-produced Iran for the first time in more than twenty years, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

US banking sanctions have also hindered Tehran from accessing its foreign exchange reserves held overseas, constraining the ability of its central bank to defend the value of Iran’s national currency, which has fallen by roughly 80 percent since last year.

The European Union intensified its sanctions against Tehran last week, formally barring all trade and transactions with Iranian banks (except those with specific EU government permission), and tightening restrictions against Iran’s central bank, the National Iranian Oil Company, and the National Iranian Tanker Company.

In addition to sanctions, Iran has dealt with breaches to its security.

Since January 2010, Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, has reportedly conducted covert operations leading to the assassinations of at least four Iranian nuclear scientists, according to intelligence officials cited anonymously in a Time Magazine report. A wave of damaging cyberattacks targeting Iran’s nuclear-fuel centrifuges started in mid-2009.

“After this level of sanctions, the only thing left would be a real blockade of all communications,” says Roberto Toscano, who served as Italy’s Ambassador to Iran for five years until 2008.

Aside from a military strike on Iran by either the US or Israel, which could drag Washington into a regional war, the only policy option left beyond sanctions is diplomacy, Ambassador Toscano says, adding: “If we think sanctions alone will make them cave, this is not going to happen.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2012/1021/US-and-Iran-Could-Romney-be-tougher-than-Obama-Unlikely?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feeds%2Fusa+%28Christian+Science+Monitor+|+USA%29

‘Peace’ president’s war record: how Obama melted down his Nobel prize to make bullets

Obama continued George W Bush’s “war on terror” under a different name — extending Bush’s wars to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere while greatly expanding the war in Afghanistan.

When Sen. Barack Obama ran for the presidency in 2008 many wishful-thinking Democratic voters viewed him as a peace candidate because he opposed the Iraq war (but voted yes on the war budgets while in the Senate).

Some others assumed his foreign/military policy would be along the lines of Presidents George H. W. Bush (whom Obama admires) or Bill Clinton. Some who identified as progressives actually thought his foreign/military policy might tilt to the left.

Instead, center rightist that he is, Obama’s foreign/military policy amounted to a virtual continuation of George W. Bush’s Global War on Terrorism under a different name.

He extended Bush’s wars to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere while greatly expanding the war in Afghanistan, hiking the military budget, encouraging the growth of militarism in US society by repeatedly heaping excessive praise on the armed forces, and tightening the military encirclement of China.

Summing up some of his military accomplishments a few months ago, Obama declared: “We’ve succeeded in defending our nation, taking the fight to our enemies, reducing the number of Americans in harm’s way, and we’ve restored America’s global leadership. That makes us safer and it makes us stronger. And that’s an achievement that every American — especially those Americans who are proud to wear the uniform of the United States Armed Forces — should take great pride in.”

Obama actually has little to show for his war policy after nearly four years. Most importantly, Afghanistan — the war he supported with enthusiasm — is predictably blowing up in his face. A symbol of the Bush-Obama 11-year Afghan folly is the recent 2,000th death of an American soldier, not at the hands of the Taliban but a US-trained Afghan police officer, our supposed ally. The truth is that public opinion in Afghanistan has always overwhelmingly opposed the invasion, and rightly so.

Obama hopes to avoid the embarrassment of a takeover by the Taliban or another violent Afghan civil war (as happened in the 1990s) after the bulk of US troops pull out at the end of 2014. He’s made a deal with the Kabul government that allows Washington to keep thousands of American troops — Army, CIA agents with their drones, elite Special Operations forces and pilots — until 2024.

There are two reasons for this. One is to keep a US-controlled government in Kabul as long as possible. The other is to station American combatants near Afghanistan’s borders with Iran to the west and China to the east for another 10 years, a verdict hardly appreciated in Tehran and Beijing.

The Middle East is in turmoil. Israel is still threatening to attack Iran, an act that would transform turmoil into catastrophe. The Syrian regime refuses to fall, much to Washington’s chagrin. Egypt’s new government has just declared partial independence from Washington’s longstanding domination. The plight of the Palestinians has worsened during Obama’s presidency. Relations with China and Russia have declined.

Very few of Obama’s 2008 foreign/military election promises have come to fruition. He said he would initiate a “new beginning” in relations with the international Muslim community which had reached a low point under Bush. America’s popularity jumped after the president’s promising Cairo speech in 2009. But now, after repeatedly attacking Muslim countries with drone assassins, the rating is only 15% positive, lower than when Bush was in command.

Obama had promised to improve relations with Latin America, get diplomatically closer to Iran and Cuba, settle the Israel-Palestine dispute and close Guantanámo prison, among a number of unrealized intentions.

All the foreign developments the Democrats could really brag about at their convention were ending the war in Iraq “with heads held high” as our legions departed an eight-year stalemated conflict that cost Uncle Sam $4 trillion, and assassinating al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden (which drew the most enthusiastic of those jingoist “USA! USA! USA!” chants from Democratic delegates).

Actually, George W Bush ended the Iraq war by signing an agreement with the Baghdad regime — before the new president took office — to pull out all US troops at the end of 2011. Obama supported the treaty but tried unsuccessfully until the last minute to coerce the Iraqis to keep many thousands of American troops in the country indefinitely. (Antiwar.com reported Oct. 2 that up to 300 US soldiers and security personnel have been training elite Iraqi security forces for months.)

Obama as warrior president discombobulated the Republicans who in past elections always benefited from portraying the Democrats as “weak on defense.” Efforts to do so this year have fallen flat after the president in effect melted down his undeserved Nobel Peace Prize to make more bullets. Obama also obtained a second dividend. He wasn’t besieged by antiwar protests as was his predecessor, because most anti-Bush “peace” Democrats would not publicly oppose Obama’s militarist policies. (This essentially destroyed the mass US antiwar movement, which has been kept going on a much smaller scale by the left and the pacifists.)

Throughout Obama’s election declarations he occasionally speaks of, and exaggerates, increasing threats and hazards confronting the American people that only he can manage. He told the convention that the “new threats and challenges” are facing the country. Romney does the same thing, in spades.

Overstating the threats confronting the US is a perennial practice for Democratic and Republican presidents and candidates. George W. Bush brought this dishonest practice to an apogee, at times sounding as though he was reciting a Halloween ghost story to gullible children — but this year’s candidates are no slackers.

Historian and academic Andrew J. Bacevich, an Army colonel in the Vietnam War and now strongly opposed to America’s wars, mentioned fear-mongering in an article published in the January-February issue of The Atlantic magazine. He writes: “This national-security state derived its raison d’être from — and vigorously promoted a belief in — the existence of looming national peril…. What worked during the Cold War [fear of the ‘Communist menace’ and nuclear war] still works today: to get Americans on board with your military policy, scare the hell out of them.”

The main purpose of this practice today is to frighten the public into uncomplainingly investing its tax money into the largest military/national security budget in the world — about $1.4 trillion this year (up to $700 billion for the Pentagon and an equal amount for national security).

This accomplishes two objectives for that elite ruling class that actually determines the course of empire: First, it sustains the most powerful military apparatus in history, without which the US could hardly function as world leader (yes it has the biggest economy, but look at the shape it’s in).

Second, it constitutes a huge annual infusion of government cash — a stimulus? — into the economy via the military-industrial complex without the “stigma” of being considered a welfare-like plan to create jobs or benefit the people. (This is wrongly called Military Keynesianism, a notion that was repudiated by the great liberal economist John Maynard Keynes, who helped pull the US out of the Great Depression with his plan to increase government spending to end the crisis.)

The White House and Congress talk about reductions in military spending, and there may be some cuts by eliminating obsolete defense systems — but over the decade the budget will continue to expand. Obama said to the convention, and Romney will pledge the same if elected — “As long as I am Commander-in-Chief we will sustain the strongest military in the world.”

This has been a sine qua non for election to the presidency for decades. It is so familiar and so justified by official scare stories that most Americans don’t think twice about paying an annual national fortune to maintain the most powerful military machine in the world to deal with a few thousand opponents with relatively primitive weapons many thousands of miles away.

The US military, of course, has an entirely different purpose: at a time of gradual US decline and the rise several other countries such as Brazil, India and China, among others — Washington’s military power is intended to keep the United States in charge of the world.

http://stopwar.org.uk/index.php/usa-war-on-terror/1954-the-peace-presidents-war-record-how-obama-melted-down-his-nobel-prize-to-make-bullets

OBAMA CUTS DEAL WITH IRAN OVER NUKES

Sanctions to vanish in exchange for ‘temporary’ halt in enrichment work

Iranian and U.S. negotiators have reached an agreement that calls for Iran to halt part of its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of many of the U.S. sanctions against the Islamic regime, according to a highly placed source.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expects a letter from President Obama in a few days guaranteeing the details of the agreement, arrived at recently during secret negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

The source, who remains anonymous for security reasons and is highly placed in Iran’s regime, said that once Khamenei receives Obama’s guarantees, he will authorize an announcement by Iran on a solution to the nuclear crisis before the U.S. presidential elections.

The agreement calls for Iran to announce a temporary halt to partial uranium enrichment after which the U.S. will remove many of its sanctions, including those on the Iranian central bank, no later than by the Iranian New Year in March. Iran is in the throes of massive inflation and citizen unrest because of the sanctions.

French intelligence verified today that Yukiya Amano, the current director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has been given the go-ahead by the U.S. to be ready to travel to Iran and announce the agreement, according to Hamid Reza Zakeri, a former intelligence officer in the regime who has defected to Europe.

The source in Tehran said Khamenei has made it clear that unless he receives Obama’s written guarantees, he will not begin the process, which would dramatically boost Obama’s re-election chances. If the guarantees are not given, Khamenei has warned, Iran will speed up its nuclear program.

The guarantees would ensure the regime’s right to peaceful enrichment, quickly remove many of the sanctions, accept that Iran’s nuclear program does not have a military dimension and relieve international pressure on the regime while it continues its nuclear program. Also, the U.S. would announce that the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists was the work of a foreign country, though Israel would not be named, to increase legal pressure on Israel.

According to the Iranian source, a previous Obama letter to Khamenei indicated that it’s best for the regime not to give any motive to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, a message that was re-emphasized in the Qatar negotiations.

As reported exclusively by WND Oct. 4, a three-person delegation led by a woman on behalf of the Obama administration traveled to Qatar about Oct. 1 and met with Iranian counterparts, including Ali Akbar Velayati, the former foreign minister of the Islamic regime and a close adviser to Khamenei on international matters.

In the meeting, according to the source, the U.S. delegation urged an announcement, even if only on a temporary nuclear deal, before the U.S. elections to help Obama get re-elected. A Romney presidency, the delegation said, would surely move more toward Israel, and the Iranians were reminded that Obama has stood up to Israel against any plans to attack Iran. The regime’s delegate was urged to understand that if Iran does not stand by Obama, Israel will attack Iran.

Days after the WND report, Ali Akbar Salehi, the regime’s foreign minister, in an
interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, stated, “If our right to enrichment is guaranteed, we are prepared to offer an exchange.”

The same message was relayed by several other officials of the regime.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently in Kazakhstan that the sanctions can be lifted immediately if Tehran worked with world powers to address questions about its nuclear program.

Obama Pursuing Leakers Sends Warning to Whistle-Blowers

Eric Holder, attorney general under President Barack Obama, has prosecuted more government officials for alleged leaks under the World War I-era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined, including law-and-order Republicans John Mitchell, Edwin Meese and John Ashcroft.

The indictments of six individuals under that spy law have drawn criticism from those who say the president’s crackdown chills dissent, curtails a free press and betrays Obama’s initial promise to “usher in a new era of open government.”

Earlier: Obama Cabinet Flunks Disclosure Test With 19 in 20 Ignoring Law.

“There’s a problem with prosecutions that don’t distinguish between bad people — people who spy for other governments, people who sell secrets for money — and people who are accused of having conversations and discussions,” said Abbe Lowell, attorney for Stephen J. Kim, an intelligence analyst charged under the Act.

Lowell, the Washington defense lawyer who has counted as his clients the likes of Jack Abramoff, the former Washington lobbyist, and political figures including former presidential candidate John Edwards, said the Obama administration is using the Espionage Act “like a club” against government employees accused of leaks.

Multimedia: Despite Transparency Promise, U.S. Denies More Than 300,000 Information Requests in One Year.

The prosecutions, which Obama and the Justice Department have defended on national security grounds, mean that government officials who speak to the media can face financial and professional ruin as they spend years fighting for their reputations, and, in some cases, their freedom.

‘Sense of Shame’

Kim’s troubles began in September 2009 when Federal Bureau of Investigation agents appeared at the State Department, where he worked as a contract analyst specializing in North Korea. He was questioned about contacts with a reporter about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Eleven months later, Kim was indicted by a grand jury on counts of disclosing classified information and making false statements.

“To be accused of doing something against or harmful to U.S. national interest is something I can’t comprehend,” said Kim, 45, who has pleaded not guilty and faces as many as 15 years in jail if convicted. “Your reputation is shot and there is such a sense of shame brought on the family.”

Kim is one of five individuals who have been pursued by Obama’s Justice Department in connection with alleged leaks of classified information to the news media. The Defense Department is pursuing a sixth case against Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of sending documents to the WikiLeaks website.

New Directive

The Justice Department said that there are established avenues for government employees to follow if they want to report misdeeds. The agency “does not target whistle-blowers in leak cases or any other cases,” Dean Boyd, a department spokesman, said.

“An individual in authorized possession of classified information has no authority or right to unilaterally determine that it should be made public or otherwise disclose it,” he said.

Read more here: Transparency Outsourced as U.S. Hires Vendors for Disclosure Aid

On Oct. 10, Obama issued a policy directive to executive- branch agencies extending whistle-blower protections to national security and intelligence employees, who weren’t included in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act that passed the U.S. House last month and awaits Senate approval.

While the directive seeks to protect those workers from retaliation if they report waste, fraud or abuse through official channels, it “doesn’t include media representatives within the universe of people to whom the whistle-blower can make the disclosure,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center of Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program. That still gives Obama the option of pursuing prosecutions of intelligence employees who talk to the press, she said.

‘Important Step’

“The directive is definitely an important step in the right direction, but even if it’s faithfully enforced — and that’s an open question — it may not always be enough,” Goitein said. “A whistle-blower’s report could go to the very people who are responsible for the misconduct.”

Lisa O. Monaco, the top Justice Department official in its National Security Division, told lawmakers earlier this year that leaks are damaging to intelligence operations and the country’s national security as a whole.

“Virtually all elements of the intelligence community have suffered severe losses due to leaks,” Monaco said in February testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Romney Criticism

Still, even as the administration pursues its unprecedented crackdown on government leaks it does not condone, the prosecutions have fallen short of the wishes of lawmakers and other national security experts, who point to books and articles that have shed new light on classified operations.

The administration stands accused of anonymously releasing sensitive information to suit its own political purposes. The disclosure of operational details of the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden and attempts to disrupt Iran’s nuclear weapons program triggered the announcement in June of a Justice Department probe of those leaks.

That move was criticized by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who called for an independent investigation.

“Obama appointees, who are accountable to President Obama’s attorney general, should not be responsible for investigating leaks coming from the Obama White House,” Romney said in a speech at national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in July. “Who in the White House betrayed these secrets?”

‘Chilling Message’

Administration officials are far less forgiving of those who conduct unauthorized contacts with the press.

“They want to destroy you personally,” said Thomas Drake, a senior National Security Agency employee prosecuted in 2010 by Obama’s Justice Department under the Espionage Act. The message to government workers seeking to expose waste, fraud and abuse is “see nothing, say nothing, don’t speak out — otherwise we’ll hammer you,” he said.

Drake faced 10 felony counts in connection to an allegation that he shared classified information with a reporter. He was linked to a report in the Baltimore Sun about inefficiencies and cost over-runs in an NSA surveillance program that was later abandoned.

The case against Drake collapsed last year before trial after he agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, and the government dropped the more serious charges that could have sent him to jail for 35 years.

The prosecution was meant to “make me an object lesson and to send the most chilling message,” said Drake, who is adamant that he never handed over any classified information. “I was essentially bankrupted, blacklisted and blackballed. I was turned into damaged goods.”

Security Exception

Cases such as Drake’s indicate that Obama doesn’t “see the world of national security as being part of open government,” said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based federal watchdog group. “To me, that’s the most important part that needs an open government ethos foisted upon it.”

Monaco, who is an assistant attorney general, told lawmakers this year that advances in technology play a role in the uptick in prosecutions. Where investigators used to struggle to track down the origins of leaks, they now are able to check phone records, e-mail trails and even “employee physical access or badging records” to trace disclosures, she said.

Intelligence agencies are required to report any unauthorized disclosures to the Justice Department, Monaco said. From there, the department, along with the reporting agency, decide whether to open an investigation.

Kim’s Story

The South Korea-born Kim emigrated to the U.S. with his parents and sister in 1976. He spoke little English when he arrived and was enrolled in third grade. A naturalized citizen and graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Kim made a brief stop on Wall Street before heading to Harvard University to earn a Master’s degree in National Security. He then went to Yale, where at age 31, he earned his Ph.D in diplomatic and military history.

“I decided to forgo a lot of other career opportunities to work in the government,” Kim said.

Kim took a role as an analyst on a range of East Asian matters, with a specialty in North Korea. He briefed many high ranking officials, including then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

In June 2009, Kim is alleged to have discussed how North Korea might react to a United Nations resolution condemning its nuclear tests with reporter James Rosen of Fox News, according to a person familiar with the case. The relationship between Kim and Rosen began when the State Department’s press office arranged a briefing at the request of Kim’s superiors.

Allegations

Prosecutors say that when asked about his communications with the press by the FBI in their initial meeting in September 2009, Kim lied about a continued relationship with the reporter. That same day, he was told his State Department contract had been terminated for budget reasons, according to court filings.

The government alleges Kim’s contacts with Rosen included “efforts to conceal his relationship with the reporter and the secretive nature of their communications speaks volumes about the defendant’s knowledge of who was, and who was not, entitled to receive” information.

Kim declined to discuss specifics of his case in the interview in his lawyer’s office in Washington. His efforts to get the charges dismissed were rejected last year by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who in denying the motions to dismiss said that the alleged leak involved a report with a classification level that “could be expected to cause grave damage to the national security” if disclosed.

Costly Cases

Cases such as Kim’s, which can be drawn out for years as the prosecution and defense teams work with sensitive materials through dozens of filings and status reports can cost upwards of $1 million, according to Jesselyn Radack, a lawyer with the Government Accountability Project who has defended two individuals prosecuted under the law.

Kim said his parents sold their home in South Korea to help pay for his defense. His sister has also pitched in and a former college roommate has created a website to publicize his case and raise funds.

Radack said the Obama administration crackdown is part of an effort to shut down investigations into the workings of the national-security apparatus.

“At first I thought these Espionage Act prosecutions were to curry favor with the national security and intelligence establishments, which saw Obama as weak when he entered office,” Radack said. “It became abundantly clear the more people were indicted, when you read their indictments, that this was a way to create really terrible precedent for ultimately going after journalists.”

Subpoena Fight

The Justice Department disputes the claim that it would use the law to go after journalists. Monaco, in her testimony this year, pointed to department regulations that limit investigators’ access to reporters, even when doing so “makes these investigations more challenging.”

Still, those rules haven’t completely insulated journalists. James Risen, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the New York Times, was subpoenaed to testify at the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer indicted under the law for allegedly disclosing information about Iran’s nuclear program.

Risen and his lawyers have fought the subpoena, arguing in February that the subpoena threatens the role of journalism in serving the public interest.

Espionage Act

The Espionage Act, signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917, has until Obama took office been primarily deployed against some of the most damaging double agents in the U.S. history. Those include Aldrich Ames, a Central Intelligence Agency operative convicted in 1994 for spying for Russia, and Robert Hanssen, a former FBI agent convicted in 2001 of similar offenses. Both men are serving life sentences without parole in high-security federal prisons.

The law also prohibits the unlawful disclosure of national defense information to those not entitled to receive it — a provision that defense lawyers say is being abused by Obama’s prosecutors.

“I campaigned for him, contributed to him, voted for him and believed him,” said Radack of Obama. “For someone who pledged to protect and defend whistle-blowers, he certainly has not even remained neutral, he’s affirmatively set us back really, really far.”

Disclosure Provision

The Justice Department has used the disclosure provision to pursue five cases against government officials for allegedly sharing classified information with members of the news media. In 2009, former FBI linguist Shamai Leibowitz was indicted for handing over transcripts of government wiretaps of the Israeli embassy in Washington to a blogger. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.

Obama also continued the George W. Bush administration’s investigation of Drake, the NSA employee.

“It’s important to understand what’s going on in this country — the government has criminalized whistle-blowing,” said Drake, 55, who lost his $155,000-a-year NSA job in 2008. He now works as a wage-grade employee at an Apple store in a Washington suburb to support his family.

The Justice Department also continues to pursue Sterling, the former CIA officer, and John Kiriakou, an intelligence official who wrote a book detailing the illegal use of waterboarding by the CIA. Kiriakou is also accused of disclosing the identity of a CIA analyst to reporters.

Two Scandals

“The two biggest scandals of the Bush administration in terms of constitutional violations was the use of torture, and renditions, and secret surveillance — and the only two people to date who have been charged in connection with those scandals are myself and John Kiriakou,” Drake said. “That should tell you something about how hard the Obama administration is going to protect those programs.”

The Espionage Act charges against Drake were dropped last year, with the defendant accepting a minor penalty for exceeding the authorized use of a computer. The Justice Department prosecutors were excoriated by U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett for the more than two-year delay between the first search of Drake’s home and the indictment, as well as the decision to drop the most serious charges days before the case was scheduled to go to trial.

Judge’s Rebuke

“I find it extraordinary in this case for an individual’s home to be searched in November of 2008, for the government to have no explanation for a two-year delay, not a two and a half year delay, for him to be indicted in April of 2010, and then over a year later, on the eve of the trial, in June of 2011, the government says, whoops, we dropped the whole case,” Bennett said at Drake’s July 2011 sentencing, according to a court transcript.

Manning, the analyst who allegedly disclosed hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents to WikiLeaks, faces court-martial under the espionage law.

The president’s openness pledge is also undermined by a recent Bloomberg News analysis, which showed that 19 of 20 cabinet-level agencies disobeyed the Freedom of Information Act requiring the disclosure of public documents. In all, just eight of the 57 federal agencies met Bloomberg’s FOIA requests for top officials’ travel costs within the 20-day window required by the Act.

The White House disputes the notion that the president hasn’t kept his promise of transparency.

“While creating a more open government requires sustained effort, our continued efforts seek to promote accountability, provide people with useful information and harness the dispersed knowledge of the American people,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in an e-mailed statement.

Obama Meeting

In March last year, Obama met with five open-government advocates in the Oval Office. In the session, Brian of the Project on Government Oversight told Obama that the leak prosecutions were undermining his legacy.

“The president shifted in his seat and leaned forward. He said he wanted to engage on this topic because this may be where we have some differences,” Brian wrote in a March 29, 2011 POGO blog post. “He said he doesn’t want to protect the people who leak to the media war plans that could impact the troops.”

Today, Kim rarely sees his South Korean-born wife, who spends time largely in her native country with her parents. Without any security clearances, Kim is restricted to working on non-classified projects for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He said that most of his colleagues have abandoned him, refusing to return phone calls or letting him know that for professional reasons they’d rather he not pick up the phone. The case has left him isolated personally and professionally.

‘Like a Disease’

“I’m like a disease,” Kim said.

Because of preliminary legal wrangling, Kim’s case is unlikely to make it to court before the end of the year, according to a joint status report filed on Aug. 31.

Sitting in his lawyer’s office a few blocks away from the State Department where he once worked, Kim acknowledges that while he’s had bad days in the past 16 months, he has recognized that in the wake of his personal and financial woes, he may be the only person that can keep himself afloat.

“There was one time at home, one time, when I screamed out loud, when I yelled and I cried. The resentment was so deep,” Kim said. “But ever since then I haven’t shed another tear because if I break down, everything breaks down.”

The Kim case is U.S. v. Kim, 10cr00225, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Washington).

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-18/obama-pursuing-leakers-sends-warning-to-whistle-blowers.html

Ron Paul Presidential Debate Analysis: Why the American People Lost This Debate

This may seem like a cop-out, but I have to say tonight’s second presidential debate was a virtual tie.

Barack Obama came out swinging from the start, and he was much more aggressive and assertive than he was the first time around. Almost angry at times. Romney fought back hard and didn’t back down at all.

Obama portrayed Romney as some free-market capitalist deregulator, and Romney ran away from that (false) caricature every chance he could get. Even from someone like me who honestly sees virtually no difference between the two, even their rhetoric was very similar.

Both of them talked about “closing deductions,” cutting taxes for the middle class, attacked outsourcing, went after China, defended protectionism, limits on gun ownership, restrictions on immigration, and “energy independence.”

They really are struggling to keep this interesting. I can see why there are so many “undecided” voters. Predator R or Predator D?

Finally, I have to point the biggest lie that each of them told.

President Obama claimed that he ended the war in Iraq and is “winding down the war” in Afghanistan. Obama repeats this lie a lot, and it’s a shame Romney is such a warmonger himself that he can’t hit him on it. President Bush negotiated a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq before he left office, and Obama simply abided by it. In fact, Obama has been slowly sneaking in as many troops as he can into the region, especially in the lower Arabian Peninsula.

As I pointed out in my pre-debate coverage, Obama is not winding down the Afghan war in 2014 like he claims, but rather negotiating to keep U.S. troops there until 2024. Do I even need to mention his wars and drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, etc?

And as for Mitt Romney, the biggest lie that stood out for me was his claim that “China is manipulating its currency” and his general belligerence and hawkishness toward China. The first thing that comes to mind is: what about the manipulation of our currency by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve? The Fed has created over $16 trillion in money in the last few years, distributed it discreetly around the globe to foreign banks and foreign governments, and price-fixes interest rates. What about that “currency manipulation,” Mitt?

And finally, as I expected, the Fed, Obama’s wars overseas, the National Defense Authorization Act, the war on drugs, inflation, America’s growing police state, and our vanishing Bill of Rights were not mentioned at all. The ultimate winner is the status quo of the welfare-warfare state and the perpetuation of the One Party System, and the loser was the American people, liberty, peace, and sound economics.

This article was part of my debate liveblog/recap for PolicyMic.

The 7-Eleven Presidency

In the wake of the Treasury Department’s newly released summary of federal spending for 2012, it’s now possible to detail just how profligate the Obama years have been.  Here’s the upshot:  Under Obama, for every $7 we’ve had, we’ve spent nearly $11 (or, to be more exact, $10.95).  That’s like a family that makes $70,000 a year — and is already knee-deep in debt — blowing nearly $110,000 a year.

To illustrate this a bit differently, for every Jackson ($20) we’ve had available to spend under Obama, we’ve also borrowed a Hamilton ($10) and a Washington ($1) and spent those too.  The only thing is that, under Obama, we’ve (literally) spent the equivalent of 342 billion Jacksons, 342 billion Hamiltons, and 342 billion Washingtons — borrowing all of the Hamiltons and Washingtons.

Let’s take a look at the scorecard, based on official government figures.  In fiscal year 2012 (which ended on September 30), the federal government acquired $2.449 trillion in tax revenue and other receipts.  It spent $3.538 trillion — 44 percent more than it had available to spend.  The resulting deficit was $1.089 trillion.

In fiscal year 2011 (see table S-1), the federal government acquired $2.303 trillion in tax revenues and other receipts.  It spent $3.603 trillion — 56 percent more than it had available to spend.  The resulting deficit was $1.3 trillion.

In fiscal year 2010 (see table S-1), the federal government acquired $2.163 trillion in tax revenues and other receipts.  It spent $3.456 trillion — 60 percent more than it had available to spend.  The resulting deficit was $1.293 trillion.

In fiscal year 2009 — which was, for the most part, President Bush’s fiscal year (his final one) — Obama’s economic “stimulus” added $183 billion (see table 1-2) to the deficit (it would add far more in future years), on top of the deficit that we were already running that year under Bush.

So in all, under Obama, the federal government has acquired $6.846 trillion in tax revenues and other receipts, and it has spent $10.711 trillion — 56 percent more than it has had available to spend.

Moreover, Obama has amassed this historic record of fiscal profligacy even before his centerpiece legislation has really taken effect.  If it’s not repealed first, the colossally expensive Obamacare is poised to present grave new challenges to our fiscal solvency — and to our liberty — once it would become a reality on these shores in early 2014.

With one fiscal year of this 7-Eleven presidency still to come (regardless of the outcome on Election Day, fiscal year 2013 will belong to Obama) — and with the specter of Obamacare looming — our national debt is now over $16 trillion.  That’s more than $6 trillion higher (see table S-9) than it was during the first presidential debate of 2008, when Obama bemoaned what he called the “orgy of spending and enormous deficits” under Bush.

Yet Obama — who recently showed that he apparently has no idea how big our national debt is — amazingly says of that debt, “[W]e don’t have to worry about it short-term.”  In other words, if you have $7, spend $11 — let future generations of Americans worry about it.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/7-eleven-presidency_654846.html

Obamney vs Robama Are Payed To Lie

Welcome to Capital Account. Last night the two main contenders for US President debated issues including tax policy, jobs, energy, and the national debt. During the debate President Barack Obama proposed “the way we’re going to create jobs here is not just to change our tax code but also to double our exports.” But to whom, exactly, can we export? The Eurozone, the US’s largest trading partner, is contracting, and major emerging markets are slowing down. On the other hand, Mitt Romney stated that, “On day one, I will label China a currency manipulator.” China is the largest foreign customer for US debt; do we really want to start a trade war with China? And where was the discussion of lobbying, of special interests and of the favorable treatment for connected, too-big-to-fail firms? What about a serious conversation that delves into how we may finally begin slicing into the sacred cow of military spending and the major firms that benefit from it? Perhaps when it comes to these issues, the candidates are not very different; our guest, Joel Bowman, Managing Editor for The Daily Reckoning, describes the candidates as “Obamney” and “Robama.” We talk to Joel Bowman about why he feels the two candidates are not so different after all.

Plus, we often hear about likely voters, but what about the non-voter class in the US? Non-voters include those who are disillusioned by the lack of choice of candidates. We hear from Joel Bowman of the Daily Reckoning about what non-voters can do and why he thinks more Anarcho-capitalists are coming out of the woodwork. He also takes issue with the popular expression of the anarchist as a “molotov wielding hooligan.”

And the economy ranks as the most important issue among likely US voters, while government ethics and corruption ranks third. Why was there no talk of the Federal Reserve at last night’s debate? After all, the FBI has been busy investigating terror plots against the Fed itself, so one would think that the vitriol alone would warrant a broaching of the subject in the popular press. Also, where was the discussion of the too big to fail banks? What about common sense regulation that isn’t burdensome to business or tailored for oligopolies? Lauren and Demetri examine the major economic issues that have been missing from the debates in today’s “Loose Change.”

http://xrepublic.tv/node/642

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