Archive for February, 2013

Last week, Senators threatened to put a “hold” on the nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director over his refusal to answer questions about the use of drones to kill Americans on US soil. That the president’s nominee to head the agency that has used drones to kill perhaps thousands overseas could not deny their possible use at home should be shocking. How did we get to this point?

The Obama administration has rapidly expanded the use of drones overseas, as they appear a way to expand US military action without the political risk of American boots on the ground. In fact they are one of the main reasons a recent Gallup survey of Pakistan, where most US drone strikes take place, found that 92% disapprove of U.S. leadership. This is the lowest approval rate Pakistan citizens have ever given to the United States. And it is directly related to US drone strikes. The risk of blowback increases all the time. However the false propaganda about the success of our drone program overseas leads officials to believe that drones should also be used over US soil as well.

In attempt to ease criticism of the use of drones against Americans, some in Congress propose more oversight, as if that should make us feel any better. In last week’s hearings, CIA nominee Brennan suggested that he was open to a Congressional proposal to set up a secret court to oversee the president’s program to kill Americans by drone. Should we cheer that a court selected by government officials will meet in secret to oversee the president’s secret decisions on killing Americans without charge or trial? Has the Constitution been so eroded that we accept such a horrific and terrifying prospect?

While touting the success of its overseas drone program, the US administration refuses to even admit publicly that the CIA has an overseas drone program. In response to a recent ACLU Freedom of Information request regarding the existence of the CIA’s drone program, the Department of Justice responded, “”the very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents is itself classified.” How is that for government transparency?

Recently, Federal Aviation Administration official, Jim Williams, stated that no armed drones would presently be permitted in US airspace. But what good are the promises of government officials when the Constitution, and especially the Fourth Amendment, has been gutted? More than1,400 applications to use drones in US airspace have been approved, including for police, universities, and at least seven federal agencies. Do we want to live in a society where the government is constantly watching us from above? The East Germans and Soviets could only dream of such technology in the days of their dictatorship. We might ask ourselves how long before “extraordinary” circumstances will lead to a decision to arm those drones over US territory.

The US government justified its attack on Saddam Hussein in Iraq and against Gaddafi in Libya, and elsewhere, with claims that these despots were killing their own citizens without trial or due process. It is true that extra-juridical killing is the opposite of justice in a free society.

As Judge Andrew Napolitano wrote last week about the president’s assassination program, “When [the president] kills without due process, he disobeys the laws he has sworn to uphold, no matter who agrees with him. When we talk about killing as if it were golf, we debase ourselves. And when the government kills and we put our heads in the sand, woe to us when there is no place to hide.”

Dr. Ron Paul

Posted: February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Nice work here! I re-blogged your post

The Rio Norte Line

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Pravda West is not going to run this story – because it is not “a poor choice of words,” it is a rare glimpse into what this man truly thinks and believes:

Poor Choice of Words? Obama Says the ‘Problem Is…I’m Not Emperor of the United States’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=j3IHIsRu5yw

“This is something I’ve struggled with throughout my presidency,” Obama said. “The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”

Lest anyone try to argue this is just a poor choice of words, or the President’s attempt to explain why he can’t just “do what he knows needs to be done” (as Van Jones says Obama needs to do), DON’T!  This is a pattern with Obama that actually reflects this man’s resentment that he can’t just be emperor.  All Liberal/Progressives have this…

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I often contemplate the world we live in and our roles as citizens and the responsibility we have to one another and why we allow ourselves to be openly manipulated for short-term self-gratification.

Manipulation does not breed loyalty in the long-term and constant manipulations chasing self-serving gratifications after another I believe keeps us irresponsible as citizens extending the depth of manipulations we allow and accept.

Why do we expect our government to behave any differently than corporations? We do after all live in a corporation called the United States.

1871, February 21: Congress Passes an Act to Provide a Government for the District of Columbia, also known as the Act of 1871

With no constitutional authority to do so, Congress creates a separate form of government for the District of Columbia, a ten-mile square parcel of land (see, Acts of the Forty-first Congress,” Section 34, Session III, chapters 61 and 62).
The act — passed when the country was weakened and financially depleted in the aftermath of the Civil War — was a strategic move by foreign interests (international bankers) who were intent upon gaining a stranglehold on the coffers and neck of America.

Congress cut a deal with the international bankers (specifically Rothschild’s of London) to incur a DEBT to said bankers. Because the bankers were not about to lend money to a floundering nation without serious stipulations, they devised a way to get their foot in the door of the United States.

The Act of 1871 formed a corporation called THE UNITED STATES. The corporation, OWNED by foreign interests, moved in and shoved the original Constitution into a dustbin. With the Act of 1871, the organic Constitution was defaced — in effect vandalized and sabotage — when the title was capitalized and the word “for” were changed to “of” in the title.

To fully understand how our rights of sovereignty were ended, you must know the full meaning of sovereign.

                                           SOVEREIGN
“Chief or highest, supreme power, superior in position to all others; independent of and unlimited by others; possessing or entitled to; original and independent authority or jurisdiction.” –Webster—

In short, our government, which was created by and for us as sovereigns — free citizens deemed to have the highest authority in the land this was stolen from us, along with our rights. Keep in mind that, according to the original Constitution, only We the People are sovereign. Government is not

Sovereign, The Declaration of Independence says, “Government is subject to the consent of the governed.” That’s us — the sovereigns. When did you last feet like a sovereign?

The U.S. Government has NOT been subject to the consent of the governed since long before you or I was born. Rather, the governed are subject to the whim and greed of the corporation, which has stretched its tentacles beyond the ten-mile-square parcel of land known as the District of Columbia. In fact, it has invaded every state of the Republic.

The corporation has NO jurisdiction beyond the District of Columbia. You just think it does.

“You see, you are ‘presumed’ to know the law, which is very weird since We the People are taught NOTHING about the law in school. We memorize obscure facts and phrases here and there, like the Preamble, which says, ‘We the People. Established this Constitution for the United States of America,’ but our teachers only gloss over the Bill of Rights. Our schools (controlled by the corporate government) don’t delve into the Constitution at depth. After all, the corporation was established to indoctrinate and ‘dumb-down’ the citizens, not to teach anything of value or importance.

“Our corporate form of governance is based on Roman Civil Law and Admiralty, or Maritime, Law, which is also known as the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ and the ‘Law of the Seas’ — another fact of American history not taught in our schools. Actually, Roman Civil Law was fully established in the colonies before our nation began, and then became managed by private international law. In other words, the government — the government created for the District of Columbia via the Act of 1871 — operates solely under Private International Law, not Common Law, which was the foundation of our Constitutional Republic.

“This fact has impacted all Americans in concrete ways. For instance, although Private International Law is technically only applicable within the District of Columbia, and NOT in the other states of the Union, the arms of the Corporation of the UNITED STATES are called ‘departments’ –i.e., the Justice Department, the Treasury Department. And those departments affect everyone, no matter where (in what state) they live. Guess what? Each department belongs to the corporation — to the UNITED STATES.

“Refer to any UNITED STATES CODE (USC). Note the capitalization; this is evidence of a corporation, not a Republic. For example, In Title 28 3002 (15) (A) (B) (C), it is unequivocally stated that the UNITED STATES is a corporation. Translation: the corporation is NOT a separate and distinct entity; it is not disconnected from the government; it IS the government — your government. This is extremely important! I refer to it as the ’corporate EMPIRE of the UNITED STATES,’ which operates under Roman Civil Law outside the original Constitution.

“Congress is fully aware of this deception. So it’s time that you, too, become aware of the deception. What this great deception means is that the members of Congress do NOT work for us, for you and me. They work for the Corporation, for the UNITED STATES. No wonder we can’t get them to do anything on our behalf, or meet our demands, or answer our questions.

“Technically, legally, or any other way you want to look at the matter, the corporate government of the UNITED STATES has no jurisdiction or authority in ANY State of the Union (the Republic) beyond the District of Columbia. Let that tidbit sink in, then ask yourself, could this deception have occurred without full knowledge and complicity of the Congress? Do you think it happened by accident? If you do, you’re deceiving yourself.

“There are no accidents, no coincidences. Fact is the facts and confront the truth. Remember, you are presumed to know the law. THEY know you don’t know the law or, for that matter, your history. Why? Because no concerted effort was ever made to teach or otherwise inform you. As a Sovereign, you are entitled to full disclosure of all facts. As a slave, you are entitled to nothing other than what the corporation decides to ‘give’ you.

“Remember also that ‘Ignorance of the law is no excuse.’ It’s your responsibility and obligation to learn the law and know how it applies to you. No wonder the corporation counted on the fact that most people are too indifferent, unconcerned, distracted, manipulated or lazy to learn what they need to know to survive within the system. We have been conditioned to let the government do our thinking for us. Now’s the time to turn that around if we intend to help save our Republic and ourselves — before it’s too late.

“As an instrument of the international bankers, the UNITED STATES owns you from birth to death. It also holds ownership of all your assets, of your property, even of your children. Think long and hard about all the bills, taxes, fines, and licenses you have paid for or purchased. Yes, they had you by the pockets. If you don’t believe it, read the 14th Amendment. See how ‘free’ you really are.

Amendment XIV Section 1

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Where is your sovereignty?

Ignorance of the facts led to your silence. Silence is construed as consent; consent to be beneficiaries of a debt you did not incur. As a Sovereign People we have been deceived for hundreds of years; we think we are free, but in truth we are servants of the corporation.

“Congress committed treason against the People in 1871. Honest men could have corrected the fraud and treason. But apparently there weren’t enough honest men to counteract the lust for money and power. We lost more freedom than we will ever know, thanks to corporate infiltration of our so-called ‘government.’

“Do you think that any soldier who died in any of our many wars would have fought if he or she had known the truth? Do you think one person would have laid down his/her life for a corporation? How long will we remain silent? How long will we perpetuate the MYTH that we are free? When will we stand together as One Sovereign People? When will we take back what has been as stolen from the citizens of the republic?

“If the People of America had known to what extent their trust was betrayed, how long would it have taken for a real revolution to occur? What I believe is we need a Revolution in THOUGHT. We need to change our thinking, and then we can change our world. Our children deserve their rightful legacy — the liberty our ancestors fought to preserve, the legacy of a Sovereign and Fully Free People.”

From a speech in Congress in The Bankruptcy of The United States United States Congressional Record, March 17, 1993 Vol. 33, page H-1303. Speaker-Rep. James Traficant, Jr. (Ohio) addressing the House:

“Prior to 1913, most Americans owned clear, allodial title to property, free and clear of any liens or mortgages until the Federal Reserve Act (1913) “Hypothecated” all property within the federal United States to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve – in which the Trustees (stockholders) held legal title. The U.S. citizen (tenant, franchisee) was registered as a “beneficiary” of the trust via his/her birth certificate. In 1933, the federal United States hypothecated all of the present and future properties, assets and labor of their “subjects,” the 14th Amendment U.S. citizen, to the Federal Reserve System.

In return, the Federal Reserve System agreed to extend THE FEDERAL United States CORPORATION [emphasis added] all the credit “money substitute” it needed. Like any other debtor, the federal United States government had to assign collateral and security to their creditors as a condition of the loan. Since the federal United States didn’t have any assets, they assigned the private property of their “economic slaves”, the U.S. citizens as collateral against the un-payable federal debt. They also pledged the unincorporated federal territories, national parks forests, birth certificates, and nonprofit organizations, as collateral against the federal debt. All has already been transferred as payment to the international bankers.

Unwittingly, America has returned to its pre-American Revolution, feudal roots whereby all land is held by a sovereign and the common people had no rights to hold allodial title to property. Once again, We the People are the tenants and sharecroppers renting our own property from a Sovereign in the guise of the Federal Reserve Bank. We the people have exchanged one master for another.”

http://www.babalmagazine.com

Posted: February 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Davey D's Hip Hop Corner

If you’re in Southern Cali.. here’s whats jumping off this morning.. Right now in LA there is a police officer named Christopher Jordan Dorner who is accused of killing 2 people. They were a couple, one a college basketball coach and the other the daughter of a man who repped him when he was fired from LAPD..He is believed to have shot 3 officers killing one and has threatened to return and do more major damage..He’s accused of killing a Riverside police officer.. He is on the run as they have an all out manhunt …

**** Here’s a quick update*****WTF? So police in Southern California have shot two unarmed Asian women who were delivering newspapers..

The women were driving a truck similar to what the wanted LAPD officer is reported to be driving.. They saw the women throwing papers out the window and got spooked and shot them…

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Washington’s Blog
February 3, 2013

It’s now obvious to everyone that – even though criminal fraud dominates Wall Street – the Obama administration refuses to prosecute white collar crime.

Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton each prosecuted financial crime more aggressively than Barack Obama.

Of course, the lack of a fair and even-handed legal system destroys prosperity and leads to the breakdown of society.

National security claims are also used to keep financial fraud secret (and people who protest runaway criminality by the big banks are targeted as terrorists).  And when those in the private sector blow the whistle on potential crimes, they are targeted also.

But it’s not like the government isn’t aggressively using the legal system … it’s just using it to silence the truth.

Specifically, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidentscombined.

Government employees also goes out of their way to smear whistleblowersthreaten reporters who discuss whistleblower information and harass honest analysts.

Indeed, even high-level government employees are in danger.

For example, after the head of the NSA’s spying program – William Binney – disclosed the fact that the U.S. was spying on everyone in the U.S. and storing the data forever, and that the U.S. was quickly becoming a totalitarian state, the Feds tried to scare him into shutting up:

[Numerous] FBI officers held a gun to Binney’s head as he stepped naked from the shower. He watched with his wife and youngest son as the FBI ransacked their home. Later Binney was separated from the rest of his family, and FBI officials pressured him to implicate one of the other complainants in criminal activity. During the raid, Binney attempted to report to FBI officials the crimes he had witnessed at NSA, in particular the NSA’s violation of the constitutional rights of all Americans. However, the FBI wasn’t interested in these disclosures. Instead, FBI officials seized Binney’s private computer, which to this day has not been returned despite the fact that he has not been charged with a crime.

Other NSA whistleblowers have also been subjected to armed raids and criminal prosecution.

After high-level CIA officer John Kiriakou blew the whistle on illegal CIA torture, the governmentprosecuted him for espionage.

Even the CIA director was targeted with extra-constitutional spying  and driven out of office.

In reality, the government is spying on Americans to crack down on dissent … not to keep us safe.

And the top interrogation experts from U.S. military and intelligence services say that all torture is lousy at producing actionable intelligence, and the U.S. used Communist torture techniquesspecifically aimed at creating false confessions in order to create a false justification for the Iraq war.  Indeed, torture doesn’t prevent terrorism but rather creates new terrorists.

And the “bad guys” knew about torture long before Kiriakou blew the whistle.  As a top U.S. air force interrogator notes:

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

As such, it is clear that the point of prosecuting whistleblowers is to protect those in power, not protect our country …

As former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald notes:

The permanent US national security state has used extreme secrecy to shield its actions from democratic accountability ever since its creation after World War II. But those secrecy powers were dramatically escalated in the name of 9/11 and the War on Terror, such that most of what the US government now does of any significance is completely hidden from public knowledge. Two recent events – the sentencing last week of CIA torture whistleblower John Kirikaou to 30 months in prison and the invasive investigation to find the New York Times’ source for its reporting on the US role in launching cyberwarfare at Iran – demonstrate how devoted the Obama administrationis not only to maintaining, but increasing, these secrecy powers.

When WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables in 2010, government defenders were quick to insist that most of those documents were banal and uninteresting. And that’s true: most (though by no means all) of those cables contained nothing of significance. That, by itself, should have been a scandal. All of those documents were designated as “secret”, making it a crime for government officials to reveal their contents – despite how insignificant most of it was. That revealed how the US government reflexively – really automatically – hides anything and everything it does behind this wall of secrecy: they have made it a felony to reveal even the most inconsequential and pedestrian information about its actions.

This is why whistleblowing – or, if you prefer, unauthorized leaks of classified information – has become so vital to preserving any residual amounts of transparency. Given how subservient the federal judiciary is to government secrecy claims, it is not hyperbole to describe unauthorized leaks as the only real avenue remaining for learning about what the US government does – particularly for discovering the bad acts it commits. That is why the Obama administration is waging an unprecedented war against it – a war that continually escalates – and it is why it is so threatening.

To understand the Obama White House’s obsession with punishing leaks – as evidenced by its historically unprecedented war on whistleblowers – just consider how virtually every significant revelation of the bad acts of the US government over the last decade came from this process. Unauthorized leaks are how we learned about the Bush administration’s use of torture, the NSA’s illegal eavesdropping on Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law, the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the secret network of CIA “black sites” beyond the reach of law or human rights monitoring, the targeting by Obama of a US citizen for assassination without due process, the re-definition of “militant” to mean “any military age male in a strike zone”, the video of a US Apache helicopter gunning down journalists and rescuers in Baghdad, the vastly under-counted civilians deaths caused by the war in Iraq, and the Obama administration’s campaign to pressure Germany and Spain to cease criminal investigations of the US torture regime.

In light of this, it should not be difficult to understand why the Obama administration is so fixated on intimidating whistleblowers and going far beyond any prior administration – including those of the secrecy-obsessed Richard Nixon and George W Bush – to plug all leaks. It’s because those methods are the only ones preventing the US government from doing whatever it wants in complete secrecy and without any accountability of any kind.

Silencing government sources is the key to disabling investigative journalism and a free press. That is why the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer told whistleblowing advocate Jesselyn Radack last April: “when our sources are prosecuted, the news-gathering process is criminalized, so it’s incumbent upon all journalists to speak up.”

Indeed, if you talk to leading investigative journalists they will tell you that the Obama war on whistleblowers has succeeded in intimidating not only journalists’ sources but also investigative journalists themselves. Just look at the way the DOJ has pursued and threatened with prison one of the most accomplished and institutionally protected investigative journalists in the country – James Risen – and it’s easy to see why the small amount of real journalism done in the US, most driven by unauthorized leaks, is being severely impeded. This morning’s Washington Post article on the DOJ’s email snooping to find the NYT’s Stuxnet source included this anonymous quote: “People are feeling less open to talking to reporters given this uptick. There is a definite chilling effect in government due to these investigations.”

For authoritarians who view assertions of government power as inherently valid and government claims as inherently true, none of this will be bothersome. Under that mentality, if the government decrees that something shall be secret, then it should be secret, and anyone who defies that dictate should be punished as a felon – or even a traitor. That view is typically accompanied by the belief that we can and should trust our leaders to be good and do good even if they exercise power in the dark, so that transparency is not only unnecessary but undesirable.

But the most basic precepts of human nature, political science, and the American founding teach that power exercised in the dark will be inevitably abused. Secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of power. That’s why those who wield political power are always driven to destroy methods of transparency. About this fact, Thomas Jefferson wrote in an 1804 letter to John Tyler[emphasis added]:

“Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”

About all that, Yale law professor David A Schultz observed: “For Jefferson, a free press was the tool of public criticism. It held public officials accountable, opening them up to the judgment of people who could decide whether the government was doing good or whether it had anything to hide. . . . A democratic and free society is dependent upon the media to inform.”

There should be no doubt that destroying this method of transparency – not protection of legitimate national security secrets- is the primary effect, and almost certainly the intent, of this unprecedented war on whistleblowers. Just consider the revelations that have prompted the Obama DOJ’s war on whistleblowers, whereby those who leak are not merely being prosecuted, but threatened with decades or even life in prison for “espionage” or “aiding the enemy”.

Does anyone believe it would be better if we remained ignorant about the massive waste, corruption and illegality plaguing the NSA’s secret domestic eavesdropping program (Thomas Drake); or the dangerously inept CIA effort to infiltrate the Iranian nuclear program but which ended up assisting that program (Jeffrey Sterling); or the overlooking of torture squads in Iraq, the gunning down of journalists and rescuers in Baghdad, or the pressure campaign to stop torture investigations in Spain and Germany (Bradley Manning); or the decision by Obama to wage cyberwar on Iran, which the Pentagon itself considers an act of war (current DOJ investigation)?

Like all of the Obama leak prosecutions – see here none of those revelations resulted in any tangible harm, yet all revealed vital information about what our government was doing in secret. As long-time DC lawyer Abbe Lowell, who represents indicted whistleblower Stephen Kim, put it: what makes the Obama DOJ’s prosecutions historically unique is that they “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”. Not only doesn’t it draw this distinction, but it is focused almost entirely on those who leak in order to expose wrongdoing and bring about transparency and accountability.

That is the primary impact of all of this. A Bloomberg report last October on this intimidation campaign summarized the objections this way: “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.’”

The Obama administration does not dislike leaks of classified information. To the contrary, it is a prolific exploiter of exactly those types of leaks – when they can be used to propagandize the citizenry to glorify the president’s image as a tough guy, advance his political goals or produce a multi-million-dollar Hollywood film about his greatest conquest. Leaks are only objectionable when they undercut that propaganda by exposing government deceit, corruption and illegality.

***

As FAIR put it this week, whatever else is true: “The only person to do time for the CIA’s torture policies appears to be a guy who spoke publicly about them, not any of the people who did the actual torturing.”

Despite zero evidence of any harm from his disclosures, the federal judge presiding over his case – the reliably government-subservient US District Judge Leonie Brinkema – said she “would have given Kiriakou much more time if she could.” As usual, the only real criminals in the government are those who expose or condemn its wrongdoing.

Exactly the same happened with revelations by the New York Times of the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program. None of the officials who eavesdropped on Americans without the warrants required by law were prosecuted. The telecoms that illegally cooperated were retroactively immunized from all legal accountability by the US Congress. The only person to suffer recriminations from that scandal was Thomas Tamm, the mid-level DOJ official who discovered the program and told the New York Times about it, and then had his life ruined with vindictive investigations.

This Obama whistleblower war has nothing to do with national security. It has nothing to do with punishing those who harm the country with espionage or treason.

It has everything to do with destroying those who expose high-level government wrongdoing. It is particularly devoted to preserving the government’s ability to abuse its power in secret by intimidating and deterring future acts of whistleblowing and impeding investigative journalism. This Obama whistleblower war continues to escalate because it triggers no objections from Republicans (who always adore government secrecy) or Democrats (who always adore what Obama does), but most of all because it triggers so few objections from media outlets, which – at least in theory – suffer the most from what is being done.

And see this.

When the government acts like a “protection racket” – and pretends that the truth is too complicated or dangerous for the public to know – we’re in real trouble.

As Kiriakou points out:

President Obama just like president Bush has made a conscious decision to allow the torturers, to allow the people who conceived of the tortures and implemented the policy, to allow the people who destroyed the evidence of the torture and the attorneys who used specious legal analysis to approve of the torture to walk free.

***

In this post 9/11 atmosphere that we find ourselves in we have been losing our civil liberties incrementally over the last decade to the point where we don’t even realize how much of a police state the United States has become.Ten years ago the thought of the National Security Agency spying on American citizens and intercepting their emails would have been anathema to Americans and now it’s just a part of normal business.

The idea that our government would be using drone aircraft to assassinate American citizens who have never seen the inside of a courtroom, who have never been charged with a crime and have not had due process which is their constitutional right would have been unthinkable. And it is something now that happens every year, every so often, every few weeks, every few months and there is no public outrage. I think this is a very dangerous development.

 

 

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
January 31, 2013

Over 1000 Green Berets have signed a letter re-asserting their oath to support and defend the Constitution by protecting the second amendment rights of American citizens.

The letter, which originally featured at ProfessionalSoldiers.com, was written by “current or former Army Reserve, National Guard, and active duty US Army Special Forces soldiers.”

It highlights the fact that the Constitution was drafted primarily as a means of protecting citizens against “governmental tyranny and/or oppression,” further citing the words of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, who outlined the purpose of the second amendment when he stated, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

“Throughout history, disarming the populace has always preceded tyrants’ accession of power. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all disarmed their citizens prior to installing their murderous regimes,” states the letter. “At the beginning of our own nation’s revolution, one of the first moves made by the British government was an attempt to disarm our citizens. When our Founding Fathers ensured that the 2nd Amendment was made a part of our Constitution, they were not just wasting ink. They were acting to ensure our present security was never forcibly endangered by tyrants, foreign or domestic.”

The legal precedent of the right to keep and bear arms which includes weapons “in common use” by the military is also documented, as is the definition of the term “militia,” which as Court Justice Scalia ruled in 2008, “comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense.”

Tackling numerous sacred cows brought up by gun control advocates, the letter points out that the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban was completely useless in preventing mass shootings because instead of using high capacity magazines, shooters like Columbine killer Eric Harris simply bought more 10 round magazines and changed them more often.

The letter also documents how, despite its draconian gun ban in 1996, gun crime in the United Kingdom has continually increased, whereas firearm related homicides in the United States decreased by 9 per cent five years after the expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban.

At the end of the letter, eight steps are recommended to reduce gun violence while still maintaining the sanctity of the second amendment, including a repeal of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, which allows shooters to carry out their massacres unimpeded by responsible gun owners.

Stricter border controls to tackle the flow of illegal firearms from Mexico are also advocated, as is the return of firearm safety programs to schools. The letter also discourages the proliferation of violence in movies and video games, citing recent scientific studies which draw a correlation between desensitization to violence and aggressive behavior in young people and adults.

Amidst the Obama administration’s effort to curtail the second amendment through both executive orders and legislation, numerous top law enforcement officials from across the country have gone public to assert that they will not follow federal orders to confiscate firearms.

Last week,Gilberton, Pennsylvania Police Chief Mark Kessler promised not to enforce unconstitutional laws that eviscerate second amendment rights.

“I will take my uniform off and I will stand with freedom before I stand with tyrannical thugs,” he stated.

Read the full letter signed by the Green Berets below.

————————————————————

Protecting the Second Amendment – Why all Americans Should Be Concerned

We are current or former Army Reserve, National Guard, and active duty US Army Special Forces soldiers (Green Berets). We have all taken an oath to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.…” The Constitution of the United States is without a doubt the single greatest document in the history of mankind, codifying the fundamental principle of governmental power and authority being derived from and granted through the consent of the governed. Our Constitution established a system of governance that preserves, protects, and holds sacrosanct the individual rights and primacy of the governed as well as providing for the explicit protection of the governed from governmental tyranny and/or oppression. We have witnessed the insidious and iniquitous effects of tyranny and oppression on people all over the world. We and our forebears have embodied and personified our organizational motto, De Oppresso Liber [To Free the Oppressed], for more than a half century as we have fought, shed blood, and died in the pursuit of freedom for the oppressed.

Like you, we are also loving and caring fathers and grandfathers. Like you, we have been stunned, horrified, and angered by the tragedies of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Fort Hood, and Sandy Hook; and like you, we are searching for solutions to the problem of gun-related crimes in our society. Many of us are educators in our second careers and have a special interest to find a solution to this problem. However, unlike much of the current vox populi reactions to this tragedy, we offer a different perspective.

First, we need to set the record straight on a few things. The current debate is over so-called “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines. The terms “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” are often confused. According to Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson, writing in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, “Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term [underline added for emphasis], developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of assault rifles.”

The M4A1 carbine is a U.S. military service rifle – it is an assault rifle. The AR-15 is not an assault rifle. The “AR” in its name does not stand for “Assault Rifle” – it is the designation from the first two letters of the manufacturer’s name – ArmaLite Corporation. The AR-15 is designed so that it cosmetically looks like the M4A1 carbine assault rifle, but it is impossible to configure the AR-15 to be a fully automatic assault rifle. It is a single shot semi-automatic rifle that can fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute depending on the skill of the operator. The M4A1 can fire up to 950 rounds per minute. In 1986, the federal government banned the import or manufacture of new fully automatic firearms for sale to civilians. Therefore, the sale of assault rifles are already banned or heavily restricted!

The second part of the current debate is over “high capacity magazines” capable of holding more than 10 rounds in the magazine. As experts in military weapons of all types, it is our considered opinion that reducing magazine capacity from 30 rounds to 10 rounds will only require an additional 6 -8 seconds to change two empty 10 round magazines with full magazines. Would an increase of 6 –8 seconds make any real difference to the outcome in a mass shooting incident? In our opinion it would not. Outlawing such “high capacity magazines” would, however, outlaw a class of firearms that are “in common use”. As such this would be in contravention to the opinion expressed by the U.S. Supreme Court recent decisions.

Moreover, when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban became law in 1994, manufacturers began retooling to produce firearms and magazines that were compliant. One of those ban-compliant firearms was the Hi-Point 995, which was sold with ten-round magazines. In 1999, five years into the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. One of the perpetrators, Eric Harris, was armed with a Hi-Point 995. Undeterred by the ten-round capacity of his magazines, Harris simply brought more of them: thirteen magazines would be found in the massacre’s aftermath. Harris fired 96 rounds before killing himself.

Now that we have those facts straight, in our opinion, it is too easy to conclude that the problem is guns and that the solution to the problem is more and stricter gun control laws. For politicians, it is politically expedient to take that position and pass more gun control laws and then claim to constituents that they have done the right thing in the interest of protecting our children. Who can argue with that? Of course we all want to find a solution. But, is the problem really guns? Would increasing gun regulation solve the problem? Did we outlaw cars to combat drunk driving?

What can we learn from experiences with this issue elsewhere? We cite the experience in Great Britain. Despite the absence of a “gun culture”, Great Britain, with one-fifth the population of the U.S., has experienced mass shootings that are eerily similar to those we have experienced in recent years. In 1987 a lone gunman killed 18 people in Hungerford. What followed was the Firearms Act of 1988 making registration mandatory and banning semi-automatic guns and pump-action shotguns. Despite this ban, on March 13, 1996 a disturbed 43-year old former scout leader, Thomas Hamilton, murdered 16 school children aged five and six and a teacher at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland. Within a year and a half the Firearms Act was amended to ban all private ownership of hand guns. After both shootings there were amnesty periods resulting in the surrender of thousands of firearms and ammunition. Despite having the toughest gun control laws in the world, gun related crimes increased in 2003 by 35% over the previous year with firearms used in 9,974 recorded crimes in the preceding 12 months. Gun related homicides were up 32% over the same period. Overall, gun related crime had increased 65% since the Dunblane massacre and implementation of the toughest gun control laws in the developed world. In contrast, in 2009 (5 years after the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired) total firearm related homicides in the U.S. declined by 9% from the 2005 high (Source: “FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Master File, Table 310, Murder Victims – Circumstances and Weapons Used or Cause of Death: 2000-2009”).

Are there unintended consequences to stricter gun control laws and the politically expedient path that we have started down?

In a recent op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, Brett Joshpe stated that “Gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes.”We agree with Kevin D. Williamson (National Review Online, December 28, 2012): “The problem with this argument is that there is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment right that excludes military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear.”

“The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny. Consider the words of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story”: ‘The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.’

The Second Amendment has been ruled to specifically extend to firearms “in common use” by the military by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v Miller (1939). In Printz v U.S. (1997) Justice Thomas wrote: “In Miller we determined that the Second Amendment did not guarantee a citizen’s right to possess a sawed-off shot gun because that weapon had not been shown to be “ordinary military equipment” that could “could contribute to the common defense”.

A citizen’s right to keep and bear arms for personal defense unconnected with service in a militia has been reaffirmed in the U.S. Supreme Court decision (District of Columbia, et al. v Heller, 2008). The Court Justice Scalia wrote in the majority opinion: “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.“. Justice Scalia went on to define a militia as “… comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense ….”

“The Anti-Federalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.” he explained.

On September 13, 1994, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban went into effect. A Washington Post editorial published two days later was candid about the ban’s real purpose:“[N]o one should have any illusions about what was accomplished [by the ban]. Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic; its virtue will be if it turns out to be, as hoped, a stepping stone to broader gun control.”

In a challenge to the authority of the Federal government to require State and Local Law Enforcement to enforce Federal Law (Printz v United States) the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision in 1997. For the majority opinion Justice Scalia wrote: “…. this Court never has sanctioned explicitly a federal command to the States to promulgate and enforce laws and regulations When we were at last confronted squarely with a federal statute that unambiguously required the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program, our decision should have come as no surprise….. It is an essential attribute of the States’ retained sovereignty that they remain independent and autonomous within their proper sphere of authority.”

So why should non-gun owners, a majority of Americans, care about maintaining the 2nd Amendment right for citizens to bear arms of any kind?

The answer is “The Battle of Athens, TN”. The Cantrell family had controlled the economy and politics of McMinn County, Tennessee since the 1930s. Paul Cantrell had been Sheriff from 1936 -1940 and in 1942 was elected to the State Senate. His chief deputy, Paul Mansfield, was subsequently elected to two terms as Sheriff. In 1946 returning WWII veterans put up a popular candidate for Sheriff. On August 1 Sheriff Mansfield and 200 “deputies” stormed the post office polling place to take control of the ballot boxes wounding an objecting observer in the process. The veterans bearing military style weapons, laid siege to the Sheriff’s office demanding return of the ballot boxes for public counting of the votes as prescribed in Tennessee law. After exchange of gun fire and blowing open the locked doors, the veterans secured the ballot boxes thereby protecting the integrity of the election. And this is precisely why all Americans should be concerned about protecting all of our right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment!

Throughout history, disarming the populace has always preceded tyrants’ accession of power. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all disarmed their citizens prior to installing their murderous regimes. At the beginning of our own nation’s revolution, one of the first moves made by the British government was an attempt to disarm our citizens. When our Founding Fathers ensured that the 2nd Amendment was made a part of our Constitution, they were not just wasting ink. They were acting to ensure our present security was never forcibly endangered by tyrants, foreign or domestic.

If there is a staggering legal precedent to protect our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms and if stricter gun control laws are not likely to reduce gun related crime, why are we having this debate? Other than making us and our elected representatives feel better because we think that we are doing something to protect our children, these actions will have no effect and will only provide us with a false sense of security.

So, what do we believe will be effective? First, it is important that we recognize that this is not a gun control problem; it is a complex sociological problem. No single course of action will solve the problem. Therefore, it is our recommendation that a series of diverse steps be undertaken, the implementation of which will require patience and diligence to realize an effect. These are as follows:

1. First and foremost we support our Second Amendment right in that “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

2. We support State and Local School Boards in their efforts to establish security protocols in whatever manner and form that they deem necessary and adequate. One of the great strengths of our Republic is that State and Local governments can be creative in solving problems. Things that work can be shared. Our point is that no one knows what will work and there is no one single solution, so let’s allow the State and Local governments with the input of the citizens to make the decisions. Most recently the Cleburne Independent School District will become the first district in North Texas to consider allowing some teachers to carry concealed guns. We do not opine as to the appropriateness of this decision, but we do support their right to make this decision for themselves.

3. We recommend that Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) laws be passed in every State. AOT is formerly known as Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) and allows the courts to order certain individuals with mental disorders to comply with treatment while living in the community. In each of the mass shooting incidents the perpetrator was mentally unstable. We also believe that people who have been adjudicated as incompetent should be simultaneously examined to determine whether they should be allowed the right to retain/purchase firearms.

4. We support the return of firearm safety programs to schools along the lines of the successful “Eddie the Eagle” program, which can be taught in schools by Peace Officers or other trained professionals.

5. Recent social psychology research clearly indicates that there is a direct relationship between gratuitously violent movies/video games and desensitization to real violence and increased aggressive behavior particularly in children and young adults (See Nicholas L. Carnagey, et al. 2007. “The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence” and the references therein. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43:489-496). Therefore, we strongly recommend that gratuitous violence in movies and video games be discouraged. War and war-like behavior should not be glorified. Hollywood and video game producers are exploiting something they know nothing about. General Sherman famously said “War is Hell!” Leave war to the Professionals. War is not a game and should not be “sold” as entertainment to our children.

6. We support repeal of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it obviously isn’t working. It is our opinion that “Gun-Free Zones” anywhere are too tempting of an environment for the mentally disturbed individual to inflict their brand of horror with little fear of interference. While governmental and non-governmental organizations, businesses, and individuals should be free to implement a Gun-Free Zone if they so choose, they should also assume Tort liability for that decision.

7. We believe that border states should take responsibility for implementation of border control laws to prevent illegal shipments of firearms and drugs. Drugs have been illegal in this country for a long, long time yet the Federal Government manages to seize only an estimated 10% of this contraband at our borders. Given this dismal performance record that is misguided and inept (“Fast and Furious”), we believe that border States will be far more competent at this mission.

8. This is our country, these are our rights. We believe that it is time that we take personal responsibility for our choices and actions rather than abdicate that responsibility to someone else under the illusion that we have done something that will make us all safer. We have a responsibility to stand by our principles and act in accordance with them. Our children are watching and they will follow the example we set.

 

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