Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) President Obama plans to use military drones in the skies over the United States to assassinate journalists, patriots and critics of his administration. That’s the inescapable conclusion from the emerging pattern of evidence now publicly available — keep reading for details.

Front and center in this pattern of evidence is the 16-page memo that was just released by Obama’s lawyers in the Department of Justice. This memo puts forth a “legal justification” for the President to order the drone assassination of any American citizen he names — anytime, anywhere, for any reason. This new power claimed by the President has no basis in federal law or the Constitution. It is an invented power of absolute tyranny that puts the power to decide who lives and who dies in the hands of one man. This document essentially legalizes the President acting as a serial murderer.

t is claimed that the purpose of this new power to simply name any American the President doesn’t like and immediately have them struck by a Hellfire missile launched from a drone is designed to “protect America.” Yet the 16-page memo that claims to justify all this was intentionally written to include Americans on U.S. soil as potential targets.

As Judge Andrew Napolitano explained just a few days ago on Fox News:

“This 16-page white paper is written so vaguely that the logic from it could… permit the President to kill Americans here in the United States.”

That’s the whole point, actually. If Americans on U.S. soil were to be excluded from such drone assassinations, such language would have been made readily apparent in the memo. But no such language is found in the memo. In fact, the tone of the document quite clearly states that the President has the authority to order drone killings of U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, under any circumstances.

This legal manipulation even has U.S. Senators worried. Democrat Senator Patrick J Leahy and Senator Charles Grassley sent a letter to Obama on Friday, stating, “The deliberate killing of a United States citizen pursuant to a targeted operation authorized or aided by our government raises significant constitutional and legal concerns.”

That’s the understatement of the year.

U.S. Senators are trying to create an “oversight committee” so that a few of them are part of the illegal, unconstitutional decision process of which Americans the U.S. government should murder next. As Kurt Nimmo reports with InfoWars.com:

Feinstein has proposed “legislation to ensure that drone strikes are carried out in a manner consistent with our values, and the proposal to create an analogue of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the conduct of such strikes,” in other words a secret tribunal that will hand down kill orders for Americans the government believes are “suspected militants.”

If drones are to be unleashed under the values of Feinstein — an outright traitor to the nation and a serial violator of the U.S. Constitution — then God help us all. Remember, Feinstein is the Senator who has already said she wants all Americans to turn all their guns in. She literally wants the entire U.S. civilian population disarmed so that government has all the weapons, including drones which Feinstein wants flying over U.S. cities, ready to strike named American citizens at any moment.

The American “battlefield” doctrine and the NDAA

In defending the drone assassination powers of the President, you might hear language used that says drones will “only be used on the battlefield.” That seems to imply they will only be used in the Middle East, right?

Wrong. The USA has been legally defined as the new “battlefield” by the NDAA. That’s the National Defense Authorization Act which also allows for the arrest and indefinite detention of American citizens without trial, without legal representation and even without them ever being charged.

The USA is the new “battlefield,” and when you combine the NDAA and the DOJ’s new drone killing justification memo, you now have the claimed legal framework for any American on U.S. soil to be arrested, detained, tortured or blown to bits without warning and without even a single shred of evidence being presented against him.

Yes, this is America today. Right now. You are living under a military dictatorship and most of you don’t even realize it yet. Even liberals and progressives are starting to wake up to Obama’s tyranny, by the way. On Democracy Now, Daniel Ellsberg recently described Obama’s actions as a “systematic assault on the Constitution.”

Who are the terrorists?

Of course, anyone who raises these points will be immediately dismissed with the claim that all this new power in the hands of the President will only be used “against terrorists.”

Okay, then who are the terrorists, exactly? It turns out they are YOU!

As Judge Napolitano recently explained:

The [Janet Napolitano DHS] memorandum said that people who are pro-life, people who believe in the right to keep and bear arms, returning veterans, people who think the government is too big and the IRS is too powerful, could be characterized as domestic terrorists. That could characterize two-thirds of the country. (Click here to see related video.)

Another DHS report named as terrorists anyone who opposes illegal immigration, abortion or federal taxes.

The pieces of the puzzle

So now it all becomes clear:

1) The NDAA legalized the federal government arresting, detaining and torturing American citizens if they were classified as “terrorists.”

2) The DOJ drone-killing memo legalized the President murdering anyone he names by simply claiming they might be associated with “terrorists.”

3) The DHS announces that anyone who isn’t an absolutely Big Government boot-licker and Obama worshipper IS A TERRORIST.

And there you have it: The full circle of justification to use military drone strikes against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. Simply call them terrorists, and the rest of the legal framework backs you up.

I repeat: All that is necessary to justify the murder of American citizens without trial is labeling them “terrorists” even with no evidence to support such a claim. The drone killings require no evidence. They only require the signature of one man.

Who is likely on the drone strike target list in the USA

So who is most likely to be assassinated by President Obama once drone strikes are fully unleashed in the USA?

• Journalists.
• Political opponents.
• Anti-government protesters. (One Hellfire missile takes ’em all out.)
• Online activists.
• Veterans.
• Gun owners and gun shops.
• Constitutionalists and libertarians.

Drone strikes are completely silent because the Hellfire missiles arrive faster than the speed of sound. You don’t even hear the missile until after the explosion. The blast radius of a Hellfire missile is 15 – 20 meters, and everything inside that radius is completely obliterated. This is more than enough to destroy entire homes, apartments and office buildings, not to mention vehicles and even light bunkers.

World Net Daily editor Joseph Farah actually voiced his concern about Obama being reelected, saying that he believed Obama would “kill journalists” if he won a second term. Farah is not being paranoid. He’s right on the money with where this is going. Click here to read his article published right before the 2012 election.

Drones are weapons of tyranny

In the history of America, rifles are the weapons of liberty, and in any war limited to just rifles and similar weapons, the People will always achieve victory over tyranny.

But tyrannies tend to rise up when specialized, highly-complex weapons come onto the scene, creating an imbalance of military power that suppresses the People. Drones are that new weapon: There is virtually no citizen defense against drones, and drones can strike targets anyone in the country with zero warning. You do not get called to appear in court, you do not get arrested, and you do not receive a warning. You’re simply murdered by the U.S. President without warning and without a trial. That’s the new America.

The cover story: Drone strikes that actually take out the homes of Obama’s political enemies can even be explained away as “bombings” using conventional explosives. A convenient cover story can keep drones out of the news, even while drone strikes are taking out journalists, activists and critics of the criminal Obama regime.

You might wonder, then, what is the strategy for defending against drones? It all comes down to men with rifles raiding drone airfields and taking them over. Once again, rifles become the single most important tool of resistance in the face of tyranny, which is exactly why the government is right now desperately seeking to register and confiscate all rifles in the hands of U.S. citizens. The MQ-1C Warrior drone has an operational range of 675 miles, meaning that drone airfields must be relatively close to intended targets. The airfields are the weak link, and this is what Americans must take back if drone mass murder is unleashed against American citizens (by any president, now or in the future).

There are also some high-tech defenses against drones. Iran appears to have hacked a drone by feeding it false GPS signals, guiding it to land on an Iranian runway where it was then taken into custody by the government there. This sort of GPS hacking appears to be relatively simple to accomplish, but the technique has never been proven in an actual military conflict.

Another defense against drones is to stay on the move. Don’t hole up in fixed locations for long periods of time. Drone strikes are only effective if the intended target’s location is known with certainty. In a resistance war against a tyrannical government, resistance forces will of course remain very mobile and unpredictable in their locations and movements. This will cause the government to waste lots of Hellfire missiles blowing up empty houses and likely killing the wrong people.

Every drone strike against U.S. targets will, of course, enrage the population even further, resulting in yet another mass wave of recruitment into the resistance. The more Americans Obama (or another president) kills with drones, the more powerful the resistance becomes. This spiral continues until there is either a violent armed overthrow of the government or the entire resistance movement is mass murdered by the government itself. In the case of the latter, that’s how we end up with Hitler, Stalin, Mao and other dictatorial tyrants who assume power in the aftermath of blood running in the streets.

Stop being so naive — this is happening NOW!

If you think any of this seems outlandish, you aren’t paying attention. The 16-page drone assassination memo has already been published. The NDAA is federal law. The DHS memos are real. All of us who question government, who own firearms, and who believe in the Bill of Rights have already been named terrorists.

The stage is being set to wage an all-out war with the American people. That’s the reason DHS has purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammo. It’s the reason DHS is buying 7,000 full-auto assault rifles. All these weapons and ammo are for exclusive use inside the United States of America, on U.S. soil.

This is why thousands of bulletproof roadside checkpoints have been purchased by DHS. It’s why steel cable dividers are being installed on highways, so that you can’t turn around when approaching a TSA checkpoint. This is why talk of shooting gun owners is openly tolerated and even encouraged in the mainstream media and on social networks.

We are witnessing a full-on ramping up toward total war with the American people. This war will be caused (false-flagged) by the government itself, and it will be waged on U.S. soil, using drone assassinations, nationwide gun confiscation, FEMA camps and of course a declaration of Martial Law to justify it all.

The end game is a complete takeover of America by socialist / communist / fascist forces and the outright abolition of liberties and firearms in the hands of citizens. America is scheduled for termination, and people like Obama have been placed in power precisely because he can fool enough people for a sufficient amount of time to get this plan underway without popular resistance. Obama is seductive and hypnotic, so his followers will think he’s helping America even while he’s actually destroying it by design.

Drones are terminators in the sky, controlled by one man — a tyrant who sits in the Oval Office and respects no boundaries of either the Constitution or federal law. He makes law up as he goes along, betraying his oath of office and violating the very tenants of justice upon which this country was founded.

Obama is a traitor to America and a danger to us all. For the sake of America’s future, he must be impeached, thrown out of office and replaced with a President who actually upholds the Constitution and respects the laws of the land.

Sources for this story include:
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/2/5/daniel_ellsberg_ndaa_indefinite_…
http://www.infowars.com/it-has-happened-here/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwJb5pbWhe4
http://www.wnd.com/2012/10/obamas-2nd-term-war-on-domestic-opposition…

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

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

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.

 

//

In the National Review, Kevin Williamson argues that nearly everyone calling for gun control either doesn’t understand or refuses to address the actual purpose of the 2nd Amendment. They talk, he says, as if there’s no legitimate reason for an American to have military grade weapons, as if the 2nd Amendment protects mere hunting and home security. “The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions,” Williamson writes. “There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for 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.”

Walter E. Williams makes a similar argument in a Townhall column. “There have been people who’ve ridiculed the protections afforded by the Second Amendment, asking what chance would citizens have against the military might of the U.S. government,” he writes. “Military might isn’t always the deciding factor. Our 1776 War of Independence was against the mightiest nation on the face of the earth — Great Britain. In Syria, the rebels are making life uncomfortable for the much-better-equipped Syrian regime. Today’s Americans are vastly better-armed than our founders, Warsaw Ghetto Jews and Syrian rebels. There are about 300 million privately held firearms owned by Americans. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And notice that the people who support gun control are the very people who want to control and dictate our lives.”

What do I think about this relatively common argument within the conservative movement? For now, I’ll refrain from answering. If you’re looking for considered objections, read Matt Steinglass in The Economist. In this item, we’re going to proceed as if the arguments above are correct — that there is a real danger of the U.S. government growing tyrannical; that the people must preserve checks on its power; and that the Framers best understood how to do so.

I respect that general reasoning.

What I can’t respect are the conservatives who invoke it during political battles over gun control, even as they ignore or actively oppose so many other important attempts to safeguard liberty.

Their inconsistency is incoherent.

Let me explain at greater length what I mean.

Even if we presume that the 2nd Amendment exists partly so that citizens can rise up if the government gets tyrannical, it is undeniable that the Framers built other safeguards into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to prevent things from ever getting so bad as to warrant an insurrection. Federalism was one such safeguard; the separation of powers into three branches was another; and the balance of the Bill of Rights was the last of the major safeguards.

If a “2nd Amendment solution” is ever warranted, it’ll mean our system already failed in numerous ways; that “solution” is also easily the most costly and dangerous of the safeguards we have.

It would probably mean another Civil War.

Yet the conservative movement is only reliable when it defends the 2nd Amendment. Otherwise, it is an inconsistent advocate for safeguarding liberty. Conservatives pay occasional lip service to federalism, but are generally hypocrites on the subject, voting for bills like No Child Left Behind, supporting a federally administered War on Drugs, and advocating for federal legislation on marriage. (Texas governor Rick Perry is the quintessential hypocrite on this subject).

And on the Bill of Rights, the conservative movement is far worse. Throughout the War on Terrorism, organizations like the ACLU and the Center of Constitutional Rights have reliably objected to Bush/Cheney/Obama policies, including warrantless spying on innocent Americans, indefinite detention without charges or trial, and the extrajudicial assassination of Americans. The Nation and Mother Jones reliably admit that the executive power claims made by Bush/Yoo/Obama/Koh exceed Madisonian limits and prudence informed by common sense.

Meanwhile, on the right, The Heritage Foundation, National Review, The Weekly Standard, and sundry others are more often than not active cheerleaders for those very same War on Terror policies. Due process? Warrants? Congressional oversight? You must have a pre-9/11 mindset.

It’s one thing to argue that gun control legislation is a nonstarter, despite tens of thousands of deaths by gunshot per year, because the safeguards articulated in the Bill of Rights are sacrosanct. I can respect that… but not from people who simultaneously insist that 3,000 dead in a terrorist attack justifies departing from the plain text of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth amendments, and giving the president de-facto power to declare war without Congressional approval.

The conservative movement has a broad, textualist reading of the 2nd Amendment… and nothing else.

I don’t understand a subset of the rank-and-file either.

If you’re a gun owner who worries that gun control today could make tyranny easier to impose tomorrow, I get that, and if you worry about federal excesses generally, I have no argument with you.

I think law-abiding Americans should always be allowed to own guns.

But if you’re a conservative gun owner who worries that gun control today could make tyranny easier to impose tomorrow, and you support warrantless spying, indefinite detention, and secret drone strikes on Americans accused of terrorism, what explains your seeming schizophrenia?

Think of it this way.

If you were a malign leader intent on imposing tyranny, what would you find more useful, banning high-capacity magazines… or a vast archive of the bank records, phone calls, texts and emails of millions of citizens that you could access in secret? Would you, as a malign leader, feel more empowered by a background check requirement on gun purchases… or the ability to legally kill anyone in secret on your say so alone? The powers the Republican Party has given to the presidency since 9/11 would obviously enable far more grave abuses in the hands of a would be tyrant than any gun control legislation with even a miniscule chance of passing Congress. So why are so many liberty-invoking 2nd Amendment absolutists reliable Republican voters, as if the GOP‘s stance on that issue somehow makes up for its shortcomings? And why do they so seldom speak up about threats to the Bill of Rights that don’t involve guns?

In the National Review piece I quoted at the beginning of this article, Kevin Williamson approvingly quotes “the words of Supreme Court justice Joseph Story — who was, it bears noting, appointed to the Court by the guy who wrote the Constitution.” Here’s the quoted passage:

The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence 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.

Conservatives love to invoke passages like that while defending a broad individual right to bear arms. Do they ever notice that its third sentence says, “It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace”? They love to invoke Madison. They are seldom if ever guided by his warning to the Constitutional Convention:

In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

The conservative movement may be right or wrong about any number of things, but it doesn’t agree with Joseph Story or James Madison when it comes to the best way to safeguard liberty.

It’s time to admit as much.

I believe in an individual right to bear arms, and I have no problem with Americans who advocate on behalf of that right. If the feds start rounding up innocents to slaughter I have no problem with an armed citizenry fighting back. But folks who want to guard against a tyrannical government are foolish to focus on the 2nd Amendment while abandoning numerous other rights for fear of terrorism. The right to bear arms is the costliest liberty we have, in terms of innocent lives lost as an unintended byproduct; it is very unlikely to be exercised against the U.S. government in the foreseeable future; and its benefits are less important to securing liberty than habeus corpus and due process, as the experience of other free peoples demonstrates.I understand why people advocate on behalf of the right to bear arms, despite the costs; I don’t understand why so many behave as if it is the most important safeguard against tyranny to maintain.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/01/the-strangest-conservative-priority-prepping-a-2nd-amendment-solution/266711/

 

(Natural News) Mike Adams (C),

There is a destructive, delusional meme spreading like a virus among many misguided Americans. It pushes the idea that government can pick and choose which rights codified in the Bill of Rights it wishes to recognize or discard on any given day.

This delusion is predicated on the concept that if a popular majority can be emotionally whipped into a frenzy over one particular right, then that right can simply be discarded and stricken from the Bill of Rights.

But no such power exists to discard any portion of the Bill of Rights, at least not without proper ratification by three-fourths of the fifty states. There is no such power found solely in the federal government. There is no such power placed solely in the executive branch, nor in Congress, nor in the White House.

The Bill of Rights describes a set of individual rights and liberties which are not granted by government, but recognized as DIVINE rights given to use by our Creator. Because government never granted the rights in the first place, it has no authority to take them away.

“The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to “create” rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting.” – William J Brennan Jr.

The individual liberties described in the Bill of Rights cannot be infringed, nor deleted, nor overridden by popular opinion… not even loudly screamed opinion. America is not a nation ruled by the tyranny of the mob. It isn’t even a democracy — it’s a republic, where certain inalienable rights describe the protection of each individual, even if that individual is the lone voice of sanity in a majority gone mad. The Bill of Rights protects individuals from the tyranny of mob rule — a phenomenon that routinely rears its head in any society where historical illiteracy is rampant and the masses are lulled into a state of complacency by charismatic but dishonest leaders.

It was the extended amendments attached to the Bill of Rights that outlawed slavery, guaranteeing individual freedom to those of African descent even in a time and place when the majority of voting citizens believed slavery was socially acceptable. And it was the Second Amendment that put firearms into the hands of those recently-freed slaves, ensuring that they could defend themselves against attackers of any color through the powerful expression of armed defense (aided by the laws of physics and certain materials from the table of elements, notably lead).

Another amendment beyond the Bill of Rights granted women equal voting rights in an age when the majority believed women should not be allowed to vote. It was the Bill of Rights that decriminalized prohibition, ending a dark era of mass criminalization of everyday citizens who suffered under the oppression of government law enforcement gone bad.

Yet today, incredibly, many African-Americans and women are actively assaulting the very document that first secured their own freedoms. They now wish to take their freedom and power and use it to enslave someone else by revoking other people’s rights under the Bill of Rights. This is the ultimate social betrayal, and it is a powerful demonstration of the principle that those who do not respect freedom for others do not deserve it for themselves.

The Second Amendment is not negotiable

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms — much like the Right of Free Speech — is not negotiable. Its protections are not subject to the whims of majority opinion, nor the screaming demands of hyperventilating media personalities. All the social media trolls and opinion writers in the world can comment all they want on the Second Amendment, yet the individual right to keep and bear arms remains immutable.

Just like the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is not negotiable. No Governor, Senator or President has any power whatsoever to banish the Second Amendment, and any who attempt to oppose it only brand themselves as criminal traitors to the United States of America. Any active effort to eradicate the Second Amendment outside of law — without going through the proper process of state ratification for Constitutional amendments — is, by definition, an act of sedition against the United States of America and its people.

Ironically, many who viciously attack the Second Amendment do so by invoking their free speech protections under the First Amendment. Yet they seem blind to the realization that the First Amendment itself is only made possible by the Second Amendment which balances power between the People and the government, ensuring that the individual right to bear arms serves as a check and balance against the monopoly of violence every government inherently seeks.

Disarmament of the populace is always the first step to depriving them of their civil rights and human rights. Without the right to bear arms, there is no right to free speech, no right to due process, no right to trial by jury and certainly no right to be secured against unreasonable search and seizure. A government with a monopoly of force is a government that respects no boundaries and honors no limits.

Grasping this point requires competent thinking, which is why so many who now flourish in America on the popularity of pop culture idiocy fail to understand it. It is intellectually lazy to blame gun rights for violence, requiring no depth of thought or reason. Only someone of higher awareness and possessing the aptitude for multi-layered thinking can realize the critical importance of distributed firepower in stopping government violence against the People. As Ron Paul recently said, “Government security is just another kind of violence.”

Ron Paul gets it. He understands that an imbalance of power in the hands of government inevitably leads to mass violence waged against the People. Those who are currently screaming for the population to be disarmed do not realize that in seeking to prevent one kind of violence (school shootings), they are unleashing a far more disastrous and horrifying violence by allowing the government to monopolize physical power over the citizens. This is a mistake that has been repeated throughout history, often at the cost of tens of millions of destroyed lives.

The Second Amendment was put in place precisely for the purpose of making sure that future Americans would not fall for the same mistake yet again. That’s why it is the second highest amendment, right after the right of free speech, indicating its crucial priority in the enumeration of sacred rights that must be protected at all costs.

The Bill of Rights does not require your endorsement

The validity of the Bill of Rights does not require your endorsement. In fact, it encourages tolerance of those with whom you disagree.

If you do not believe in the freedom of speech for those with whom you disagree, then you do not believe in it at all (a derivation of a quote from Noam Chomsky). If you do not believe in freedom of speech, then you do not believe in the Bill of Rights. And if you do not believe in the Bill of Rights, then you are not, at heart, an American. You are something else, something less evolved. Something archaic and outmoded. The Bill of Rights is the single most important milestone in the history of civilized society because it lays out, with near perfection, the divine principle of INDIVIDUAL rights and liberties that come directly from the Creator rather than from a “King” — also known as a dictator.

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Ratified in 1791, the Bill of Rights lifted human civilization out of the tar sands of tyranny and into the enlightenment of liberty. It was divinely inspired and stands eternal as the key milestone of human compassion, justice and equality. To oppose the Bill of Rights is to oppose human progress. That’s why the Bill of Rights is the single most progressive document that has ever been recognized by any nation.

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington

Why the Bill of Rights extends through all time and innovation

Importantly, the rights described in the Bill of Rights extend through all time and cover all innovations and technological advances. It was not written to cover only those things that existed in 1791, but rather to serve as a template of liberty encompassing innovation, advancement and all future expressions of those rights, regardless of what devices or technologies may come into existence.

The Right to Free Speech, for example, does not merely protect speech written on scrolls or rolled out of a Gutenberg press. It covers all expressions of free speech, including speech expressed through devices that did not exist in the late 1700’s: e-books, websites, blogs, television programs, bumper stickers and more. This very website, Natural News is a pure expression of the First Amendment. It would seem foolish and wrongheaded to argue that the First Amendment only applied to the printing press of the day and not to modern-day websites or e-books, yet that is exactly what many misguided people argue today when they say the Second Amendment only applies to “Muskets and bayonets.”

The Second Amendment guarantees your right to keep and bear the firearms of your time. What are the firearms of our time? AR-15 rifles. 308 sniper rifles. 50 caliber Barretts. 12-gauge shotguns. Handguns with night sights and high-capacity magazines. Your right to own, carry, buy, sell and transfer these items is as solidly safeguarded as your right to free speech. The Bill of Rights is not negotiable.

Those who oppose the Bill of Rights are enemies of America

Some misguided, if not treasonous, U.S. Senators, lawmakers and public servants in the executive branch of government currently suffer under the dangerous misconception that the Bill of Rights only exists because they allow it to. They foolishly believe that they can selectively pick and choose which rights to nullify via new legislation or by the stroke of an executive pen. This delusion is not merely wrong-headed and arrogant, it poses a grave threat to the Republic and all its future generations.

Enemies of the Bill of Rights are enemies of America. Whether those enemies be found in the media, in Congress, in the Oval Office or on the streets of America, they are unworthy of being called “Americans” at all. Those who despise liberty do not deserve liberty. Those who deliberately and maliciously attack the Bill of Rights do not deserve the protections of the Bill of Rights. Those who despise the Constitution and its Bill of Rights are publicly indicating they would prefer to live as subjects, not Citizens.

I propose that any who attempt to denounce Bill of Rights protections for others must first surrender their own rights and freedoms. Do not speak of taking away my Second Amendment rights while you enjoy the protections of the First Amendment. Surrender all your rights and freedoms first, because only then have you achieved the necessary moral consistency from which you can demand others be deprived of their rights.

Relocate to North Korea, in other words, and become a subject of Kim Jong-un and then continue your assaults of the Bill of Rights as a Korean gulag blogger. Because only then will you know how much you have lost, and how much you should have valued the liberties you so carelessly abandoned.

The Bill of Rights is not negotiable. If you oppose it, you betray not only yourself, but all Americans.

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