Each Monday morning (except during pledge drives), the latest Law and Disorder Radio airs on WBAI and around the country on various radio stations throughout the week. Attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights are the co-hosts of the program. On this week's program, Michael Ratner spoke with former FBI agent and now an attorney Mike German about the war on dissent in this country. Michael Ratner has teamed with Margaret Ratner Kunstler for the new book Hell No, Your Right To Dissent. And until it's August 9th release by the New Press, you can read the column that Michael Ratner and Margaret Ratner Kunstler have written (The Progressive) about the current war on protest and dissent in the US. Excerpt:
President Obama campaigned on protecting our civil liberties, so you might have expected his attorney general, Eric Holder, to provide people with greater protections from FBI snoops. But he has not. And it is about to get even worse.
The new Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide will empower the FBI to dispatch surveillance teams, to follow targets, to dig through trash, to search commercial databases and to expand the use of informants to infiltrate a wide range of organizations.
If you are part of a group that disagrees with government policy in Iraq or Afghanistan, or that dislikes nuclear energy, the next time you throw out your trash, an FBI agent may be examining it a few hours later -- from what you eat to what you buy to what you read and think.
The next time you attend a meeting to fight for better schools, protest drug testing on animals or criticize almost any aspect of government policy, the person next to you may be an informant, recording everything you say. Or perhaps the informant will participate in the meeting, steering the organization's activities in ways the government wishes.
It is now almost ten years after 9/11, the event that frightened many into giving the FBI broad spying authority -- authority that now threatens the very essence of democracy. Piece by piece, the constitutional protections for dissent are disappearing.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
In his nationally televised speech Wednesday night, President Barack Obama announced a minimal withdrawal of US troops from the nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan. Obama’s proposal represented a tacit admission of the failure of the US intervention in Afghanistan and of the immense crisis of American capitalism to which a decade of multi-trillion-dollar expenditures on militarism has substantially contributed.
In concrete terms, Obama’s withdrawal proposal was crafted to give the US military command nearly everything it wanted, while helping him to get through his next election in 2012.
It calls for a token force of 10,000 to be withdrawn by the end of 2011. The July deadline set by Obama in December 2009, when he unveiled his proposed “surge” that sent another 33,000 troops into Afghanistan, will apparently come and go with no change on the ground in the occupied country. The generals will be allowed to decide what troops will be withdrawn and when over the next six months.
At the time that Obama announced the surge, the American public was told that it was a temporary measure that would “allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011.”
In reality, if the so-called “withdrawal” plan is completed, it will pull out only the 33,000 troops that he ordered into Afghanistan 18 months ago.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Maria E. Garzino
Federal Government Whistleblower, U.S. Office of Special Counsel
Mechanical/Civil Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
February 5, 2011
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20050
Dear Mr. President.
In the enclosed Request for Disposition, I will demonstrate that:
• In the event of a Katrina-level storm, the City of New Orleans is just as vulnerable
to catastrophic flooding as it was in 2005.
• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) knowingly installed equipment that
cannot adequately protect the city of New Orleans from flooding. The USACE
also used faulty installation and testing methods that increased the potential for
equipment failure. The USACE deliberately hid the flaws of this project from
both the public and the United States Congress.
• The USACE fraudulently embarked on a cover-up project, doing duplicate work
at a needless cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. The USACE deliberately
deceived Congress as to the nature of and reason for this work.
• Even the cover-up work is proceeding at a snail's pace while the city remains in
• In allowing the citizens of New Orleans to believe falsely that they are safe, the
USAGE and your Administration are guilty of a grave violation of the public
I ask that your Administration and the USACE remedy this shameful situation with all
due speed and offer my services to help you in doing so.
Maria E. Garzino
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District
Consider that the cover letter. There's a ten page letter documenting her findings. If you care or cared about New Orleans, I urge you to read it and to share it with as many people as you can. The White House is ignoring the letter.