Big Brother, Kill Lists, and Secrecy: What to Expect from Obama’s Second Term

Following Barack Obama’s significant electoral victory, the ways in which the President will interpret his new “mandate” are still very much up for debate. While pundits, many of whom got the election seriously wrong, fumble to come up with new predictions, an analysis of Obama’s track record and statements on national security policy can be quite illuminating. Two momentous stories of the past few weeks can help us evaluate current and future prospects for our Constitutional rights, a year after Osama bin Laden’s death and a decade after 9/11. One grim harbinger of what’s to continue: a nighttime drone strike in Yemen that killed three “al-Qaida militants” was carried out within 24 hours of Obama’s victory speech.

But even more important was the bombshell story that appeared in the Washington Post on October 23, revealing the existence of a new database within the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) that will list suspected terrorists and militants slated for extrajudicial assassination. The article details the creation of a “next-generation targeting list called the ‘disposition matrix’” which “contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled” to kill them, including the ability to map “plans for the ‘disposition’ of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.”

Additionally, on October 29, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Amnesty v. Clapper, evaluating a lawsuit filed by journalists, human rights workers, and lawyers, who claimed that their jobs are unnecessarily hampered by the specter of the National Security Agency eavesdropping on their communications with clients overseas. As described by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), “the [Supreme] Court will essentially determine whether any court… can rule on whether the [National Security Agency]’s targeted warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international communications violates the Constitution.”

What do NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program and the Obama administration’s recently developed “disposition matrix” have to do with one another? Two points resound in particular. First, both are only able to function in an environment of total secrecy. Also, they represent significant advances in the codification of a new norm for U.S. national security policy—one very much at odds with the constitutionally limited Commander-in-Chief of common lore.

Perhaps even more ominously, the infrastructure development of the Obama administration’s policy of targeted killing signals a creeping move toward domestic application. As drone technology continues to be imported home, the convergence of the kill-list(s) within the NCTC bureaucracy—which houses huge repositories of both domestic and foreign intelligence with no probable cause of criminality—is a foreboding development in this saga of eroding checks and disappearing balance.

Climbing Out of the Abyss, Jumping Back In

Unknown to the American people and to much of their government until the late 1970’s, NSA has enjoyed free rein to intercept the electronic communications of Americans and foreigners since its secret inception in 1952. To those who were familiar with it, the uniform joke was that NSA stood for “No Such Agency,” an indication of its covert and prized status within the intelligence community.

After media revelations of intelligence abuses by the Nixon administration began to mount in the wake of Watergate, NSA became the subject of Congressional ire in the form of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities—commonly known as the “Church Committee” after its chair, Senator Frank Church (D-ID)—established on January 17, 1975. This ad-hoc investigative body found itself unearthing troves of classified records from the FBI, NSA, CIA and Pentagon that detailed the murky pursuits of each during the first decades of the Cold War. Under the mantle of defeating communism, internal documents confirmed the executive branch’s use of said agencies in some of the most fiendish acts of human imagination (including refined psychological torture techniques), particularly by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Cold War mindset had incurably infected the nation’s security apparatus, establishing extralegal subversion efforts at home and brutish control abroad. It was revealed that the FBI undertook a war to destroy homegrown movements such as the Black Liberation Movement (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), and that NSA had indiscriminately intercepted the communications of Americans without warrant, even without the President’s knowledge. When confronted with such nefarious enterprises, Congress sought to rein in the excesses of the intelligence community, notably those directed at the American public.

The committee chair, Senator Frank Church, then issued this warning about NSA’s power:

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The reforms that followed, as enshrined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): a specially-designated panel of judges who are allowed to review evidence before giving NSA a warrant to spy on Americans (only in the case of overseas communication). Hardly a contentious check or balance, FISC rejected zero warrant requests between its inception in 1979 and 2000, only asking that two warrants be “modified” out of an estimated 13,000.

In spite of FISC’s rubberstamping, following 9/11 the Bush administration began deliberately bypassing the court, because even its minimal evidentiary standard was too high a burden of proof for the blanket surveillance they wanted. So began the dragnet monitoring of the American public by tapping the country’s major electronic communication chokepoints in collusion with the nation’s largest telecommunications companies.

When confronted with the criminal conspiracy undertaken by the Bush administration and telecoms, Congress confirmed why it retains the lowest approval rating of any major American institution by “reforming” the statute to accommodate the massive law breaking. The 2008 FISA Amendments Act [FAA] entrenched the policy of mass eavesdropping and granted the telecoms retroactive immunity for their criminality, withdrawing even the negligible individual protections in effect since 1979. Despite initial opposition, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama voted for the act as one of his last deeds in the Senate. A few brave (and unsuccessful) lawsuits later, this policy remains the status quo.

Seemingly Impossible to Stand (Up For Your Rights)

The latest challenge to government snooping, Amnesty v. Clapper, isn’t even about Big Brother’s legality in the first place. The defendants are appealing a federal circuit court’s decision that granted legitimate “standing” to the plaintiffs to bring suit disputing the electronic surveillance program’s constitutionality.

The Justice Department maintains that the plaintiffs don’t have standing to challenge the powers granted in the FAA because they are unable to claim with certainty that they were specifically wiretapped in the first place. Such a determination is impossible to make because all attempts to gather said information have hitherto been quashed by federal courts. They have overwhelmingly agreed with the government’s assertion that disclosing such information would divulge state secrets. Thus the only way to prove aggrieved status, and then challenge government snooping, is through government admission.

Despite pledges to use the privilege sparingly, Barack Obama’s administration has enshrined the Kafkaesque nature of American judicial proceedings in the War on Terror: the government claims it is a state secret whether you’ve been targeted for surveillance, thereby invalidating any legal challenges you may present because you can’t even prove you’ve been a victim.

As Justice Sonia Sotomayor put it ten seconds into the Solicitor General’s argument: “General [Donald Verrelli], is there anybody who has standing?”

The Supreme Court’s decision in Amnesty v. Clapper has the potential to determine how far the government can extend the cloak of secrecy over its national security activities. Notwithstanding the tough questioning by Sotomayor and her liberal colleagues on the bench, legal scholars note that the court usually doesn’t hear a case unless it sees legitimate ground to overturn a circuit court’s decision—which in this case would mean denying that the plaintiffs had standing to bring suit.

National Clearinghouse for Treasonous Contentions

Surreal judicial machinations aside, what are the real threats of the government collecting all the communications and personal data that fall into NSA’s surveillance net?

The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is a freshly minted bureaucracy—within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)—that houses and evaluates “terrorism” intelligence from the nation’s 16 other spy agencies, including NSA. It was created to streamline interagency intelligence sharing but ironically, or perhaps indicatively, has led to even more red tape.

Thanks to a series of new “guidelines” issued by the Attorney General, Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and head of NCTC in March of 2012, the center now also acquires information mined from any government database (ranging from local law-enforcement data to employment history and student records). It can also buy data from private sector aggregators—including millions upon millions of lawful commercial transactions over the past decade.

Previously, as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) noted, “the intelligence community was barred from collecting information about ordinary Americans unless the person was a terror suspect or part of an actual investigation.” When the NCTC acquired non-terrorism related data, such as that described above, it had to identify and discard it within 180 days. That regulation was scrapped in the new guidelines, which allow NCTC to collect innocuous data and “continually assess” information concerning innocent Americans for up to five years. The ACLU goes on to mention:

Perhaps most disturbing, once information is gathered (not necessarily connected to terrorism), in many cases it can be shared with “a federal, state, local, tribal or foreign or international entity, or to an individual or entity not part of a government”—literally anyone.

As revealed in a recent Washington Post expose, we now know the NCTC also coordinates counterterrorism operations such as the CIA’s targeted assassination program. As one anonymous official told the Post, “[i]t is the keeper of the criteria” that determine who is killed by the President. How is this designation reached? Presumably through the same ineffective algorithms and data-mining technology mentioned above.

FML: What Once Was TMI For TIA is Now A-OK

Immediately following 9/11, the Pentagon unveiled the closest thing to an actual “Big Brother” program that had ever earnestly been considered in the United States: Total Information Awareness (TIA). A pilot scheme designed to collate as much information as possible about as many people as possible within one massive database, TIA would have been accessible to government officials who could then extract actionable information about potential terrorists.

In 2003, Congress shut down the program after bipartisan objections to this massive domestic surveillance proposal reached a fever pitch. Among the concerns voiced was the need to protect the privacy of millions of Americans whose personal information – including “huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records”– would be stored and perused by deficient computer programs aimed at detecting suspicious activity patterns, without any probable cause to suspect criminal wrongdoing.

Regardless of the corporate rush to massage “big data” in order to target consumers, when such data-mining technologies are placed at the disposal of the state, the result is to contravene the protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment forbids the issuing of “warrants” that do not specify who is to be searched and for what purpose. But technological ubiquity and interconnectedness have called this fundamental Constitutional protection into question.

Despite the Congressional backlash against TIA, the government’s current data-mining operations represent the realization of TIA’s core purpose: the acquisition and storage of massive amounts of personal data that can be mined to determine everything the government would ever want to know about a person. By utilizing pattern recognition software, it can even lay out a timeline of your life’s activities: everything you’ve ever done since the program was initiated, with predictive (albeit fallible) algorithms used to foresee where or what you’ll be doing in the future.

The news of the Obama administration’s “disposition matrix” adds new icing to the cake. The Post’s article implies that the information culled from these databases can be used not just to track you, but to determine your “disposition” toward violence against the U.S. government: your predilection for terrorist activities—what could amount to a death sentence for crimes that have yet to be committed.

The only types of intelligence within these databases that can possibly be used to predict future criminal activity are suspicious commercial transactions (large bank transfers or the purchase of bomb-making materials, for example) or alarming speech. Despite assurances from the Obama administration that they’re simply targeting “bad guys,” the adoption of preventive counterterror measures requires the (currently secret) deployment of evidence against a suspect before they commit a crime. To borrow a phrase from the science-fiction dystopia Minority Report, it requires conviction of a “pre-crime.”

Because there have been notably few successful terrorist attacks on US interests (outside of declared war zones, like Iraq and Afghanistan, where the label “terrorist” lacks any objective meaning) since 9/11, it cannot conceivably be argued (nor has it) that the people the president is assassinating in Yemen and Pakistan have actually committed any acts of terrorism. So how did they get onto the list to begin with? Here, a close look at the most-discussed case arising from the targeted killing program is instructive.

I Left My Heart—and Right to Due Process—in Albuquerque?

Anwar al-Awlaki—the radical Islamist preacher from New Mexico who joined al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)—was assassinated by a drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011. His case has been a centerpiece of debate regarding the kill-list because of his status as an American citizen outside a declared war zone, which many argue should make applicable Constitutional protections like the right to due process of law.

Less often discussed, because they can never be definitively known, are the criteria leading to his placement on the kill list. Few claim that Awlaki was an innocent bystander—he openly preached for violence against the US military in retaliation for what he saw as unbridled aggression against Muslims across the world—but aside from anonymous assertions made in the press and the flourish of speeches from the White House, no government official has ever presented any evidence that he was an “operational commander” in the organization. That is to say, it has never been determined or even legitimately claimed that he committed an act of terrorism or engaged in a conspiracy to commit such an act.

What we do know is this: he was a remarkably successful recruiter of Western Muslims to the cause of al-Qaeda. His English fluency in particular made his sermons and speeches quite palatable to disaffected Muslims in the U.S. and Great Britain, including (allegedly) the Fort Hood shooter and the Underwear Bomber.

Many will say, “But surely incitement to violence of this sort is a crime, right?” Well, the lack of charges against him notwithstanding, it depends.

In 1969 the Supreme Court heard the case of Brandenburg v. Ohio, in which an Ohio-based Klansman was arrested for making a speech that advocated violence against government officials who, along with various minorities, “suppress[ed] the white, Caucasian race.” The statute he allegedly violated was a remnant of the 1919 Red Scare that prohibited advocating for violence to achieve political or industrial reform.

Brandenburg’s lower-court conviction was overturned because his speech failed three elements of what later became known as “the Brandenburg test” for criminal incitement—intent, imminence, and likelihood. To hastily summarize, urging criminal activity against specific persons in a situation where it can be reasonably conceived such action will take place is a crime. However, championing violence as a general method of achieving political goals without a clear target, subjective intention, or reasonable presumption of accomplishment is not a crime and is protected under the First Amendment.

So, where does Awlaki figure into this precedent? To our knowledge, his speech did not meet the criteria set forth in the Brandenburg decision, and is thus protected by the Constitution.

Which adds another layer of intrigue to the equation: could he have been added to the kill list not because of his criminal actions but because what he was doing—as threatening as it was—was not illegal under the law? Was assassination a convenient method of bypassing an arduous, and potentially unsuccessful, prosecution while demonstrating that anyone who challenges US power can and will be killed?

We will never definitively know the answers to those questions because they were eviscerated with Anwar al-Awlaki’s flesh following the explosion of a Hellfire missile in Yemen 13 months ago. And not even the whisper campaign being conducted in the media against the dead cleric can explain why his son, an American minor, was killed in a separate drone strike some two weeks later.

Enter the Legal Labyrinth

Because the Obama administration insists on keeping its national security policies furtive, the criteria for placement on the kill list remain off-limits in a court of law. Even if those placed on such a list somehow found out about it, they would be unable to challenge it in court—since, according to the Catch-22 interpretation of the government’s state-secrets privilege, knowledge of that designation can be considered a state secret.

Prior to al-Awlaki’s assassination, the ACLU and  Nasser al-Awlaki, the slain preacher’s father, brought suit to have the government disclose its reasoning in putting his son on a kill list. Although narrowly focused, the court’s decisions, as well as the procedural hurdles faced by the plaintiffs, are an enlightening model of how such cases tend to be adjudicated in the federal judiciary.

Ten days after Nasser al-Awlaki retained counsel on his son’s behalf, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) placed the son, Anwar, on a list that labeled him a “specially designated global terrorist.” Placement there made “it a crime for lawyers to provide representation for his benefit without first seeking a license from OFAC.” Only after OFAC reluctantly gave lawyers the right to sue on behalf of their client (after being sued itself), was the case allowed to proceed.

The court determined that the elder Awlaki didn’t have standing to ask why his son was listed as a “specially designated global terrorist,” because technically Nasser wasn’t the party subject to assassination. The judge presiding over the case also found that cases like this could not be adjudicated the way retroactive habeas cases arising from Guantanamo Bay are, because of the “[im]propriety of a judge doing so in advance of what he characterizes as a military decision,” as noted by Adam Serwer of The American Prospect. In sum, it was decided the court couldn’t determine the legality of extrajudicial state murder until it occurs.

To recap: you are placed on a kill list, making your assassination a priority of the state. First, you must fight in court to receive permission to even have legal representation. Then you must present yourself and file suit in federal court, thereby disclosing your location and possibly enabling the very murder you’re trying to halt (or, in this case, simply trying to figure out the justifications for). Moreover, the court cannot suspend your execution order because doing so would be preemptively second-guessing the executive.

And even if you get that far, the government can still assert the state-secrets privilege to withhold vital information from the court and prevent meaningful challenge. If this warren of procedural minutiae and legal dilemmas seems designed to obstruct and preclude accountability, that’s because it is.

Same Wine, Different Bottles

Due process of law, as it pertains to national security, has now become a fictive concept only seen in the movies. “Pre-crime,” whether determined by computer algorithm or physical activity, is now a reality punishable by death.

With the knowledge that some of the nation’s largest domestic data-mining programs are now housed under the same roof as the “disposition matrix” for determining who is threatening enough to kill by Hellfire missile, Americans should be acutely aware of the danger this presents. The potential for abuse is grave, and will remain so until the legislative and judicial branches of government tasked with checking executive power re-assert their Constitutional prerogatives.

The partisan duopoly enjoyed by the Democrats and Republicans recently gave the American public a choice between two candidates who embraced a vast majority of the same policies, yet struck different tones and styles in their rhetorical delivery. Both parties have endorsed George W. Bush’s once-controversial executive power grab. It is up to the people to begin a process that will stop this wholesale violation of the Fourth Amendment’s “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,” and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments’ due process clause: “nor shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….”

Referencing the temporary suspension of habeas corpus in Britain during WWII, Winston Churchill famously remarked:

The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.

George W. Bush, despite having a bust of the great English statesman, violated this maxim (and American law) by establishing a legal black hole for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Barack Obama doesn’t even bother with the challenges involved in kidnapping persons without due process; he just kills them.

With neither major political party willing to address this fundamental issue of our government’s relationship to its citizenry, and no endpoint in sight for the War on Terror that is used to justify the excesses of our current surveillance state, we may very well ask ourselves: What was this election for, anyway?

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  • Ralph Crown

    So I could be sitting in my house, minding my own business. A drone comes out of nowhere and kills me. Nobody knows why except an NSA program and a president I may or may not have voted for. My crime is something I may or may not intend to do. If there’s a mistake anywhere along the line, well, too bad.

    It’s like a cheap thriller, only it’s real. Does that scare the crap out of anyone else, or is it just me?

    • Winston Blake

      Muammar Gaddafi was pushing other Arab countries to adopt a gold standard currency which would have eclipsed the dollar and the euro.

      So the whole country of Libya was sacked in order to kill him.

      When the ‘rebels’ ousted Gaddafi, what was the first thing they did ? Form a new GOVERNMENT ?

      Nope. They formed a LIBYAN NATIONAL BANK.

      Now, why would they do that?

      And even though they ‘ousted’ Gaddafi, he remained sole proprietor of the Libyan National Bank (the original one) until he (and his heirs) died.

      So… guess what?

      The EUSSR needed Libya’s oil and since they have been on US military welfare since WW2, they had their dupe Sodom Hussein Obama arrange the assassination of their newly uncooperative stooge Muammar Queerdaffy, who they previously had on the UN Human Rights Commission.

      In Syria, nobody wants to get openly involved because it would force them to admit that George Bush was right and the WMDs Saddam Hussein did have and did use on Kurds and Iranians went over to his friend (and formerly theirs) Bashar al-Assad in the Ba’ath Socialist party.

      The EUSSR socialists can never face the facts of what socialism really is.

      Smuggling guns to narcoterrorists in Mexico is the same modus operandi as smuggling guns to the Salafist terror groups in Syria…

      The deliberate indifference to the planned assassination of US ambassador Stevens just eliminated one loose end.

      Leon Puñettas was just too busy having gay pride celebrations at the Pentagon and couldn’t spare the troops to protect an ambassador…

      (Serbia was bombed by NATO so the IMF could make loans to rebuild and get control of the iridium assets.)

      It is never, ever about human rights at all with these people, it is all about who controls….

      – –

      These people all believe the same thing…

      They all believe their weenies come from heaven and that this gives them some sanctified right to pass their collection plate at gunpoint for the gods of communism (themselves).

      Nobody panics when things go according to plan, even if the plan is horrifying.

      I’m not on anyone’s side.

      If the Iranians nuke Israel, the Palestinians also die in the fallout.

      If the Israelis nuke Tehran that doesn’t bother me either.

      It is a win/win situation for me, because I don’t like any of them.

      Antagonists on both sides profit from further conflict and these fake progressive “human rights” organizers would be unemployed if the conflicts ended.

      They feed off of the misery for their paychecks.

      I’d happily bury them all in the same hole so there is truly peace at last.

      • gogetem1

        What is your source for the claim about Syria receiving Saddam’s WMDs?

        • Winston Blake

          “The U.S. has lost track of some of Syria’s chemical weapons, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday, and does not know if any potentially lethal chemicals have fallen into the hands of Syrian rebels or Iranian forces inside the country.”

          – Foreign Policy (9-29)

          • The Ninth

            Does this mean that Ron Dumbsfeld’s armaments sales trip, including photo-op handshake w/ His Imperial Hindness was a failure, and the US wehrgemacht got a big “no sale” from Saddam?
            Or did the US do a deal like “guns for hostages? NEVER! so sold the materiel to Israel, who converted (via barter or payments or both) the US materiel into French, German, Russian and Chinese materiel?

        • Winston Blake

          1988. Al-Hakam, a large biological agent production facility, goes into operation in Iraq. Botulinin toxin and Anthrax are its main is its main production. By 1991 the plant produces about 125,000 gallons of agents. After stating for years that the plant was used to produce animal feed, the Iraqis admitted in 1995 that the plant was a biological warfare production facility. The admission comes only as a result of a high-level defection. The site is supervised by Dr. Taha’s staff at Muthanna State Establishment.

          In addition to producing biological warfare agents, they also conducted live-agent tests on animals. The Iraqis also later admitted they had prepared about 200 biological missiles and bombs. Still unaccounted for.

          Hans Branscheidt a chemical expert says (in 2003), that Iraq purchased eight mobile chemical laboratories from the Federal Republic of Germany. He says that the construction of an Iraqi research center for missile technology “became almost exclusively the work of German companies.” This report is confirmed by the head of Germany’s intelligence service, August Hanning.

          1990, August 6. The US Navy sends it’s commanders an intelligence assessment on Iraq’s bio-weapons capability warning that Iraq’s germ weapons may be effective against ships at distances of up to 25 miles. It also stated that Iraq has substantial amounts of Botulinin toxin, Anthrax, Cholera, and Staphylococcus–among other agents. The CIA warns that Saddam has a significant number of artillery shells, missiles, bombs, rockets and high-performance aircraft equipped with sprayers for dispensing these agents. 

          All modified Soviet equipment.

          1978-1990. Soviet Union sells Iraq (33) Il-76M/Candid-B Transport/tanker aircraft; (37) Mi-17/Hip-H Helicopters; (12) Mi-24D/Mi-25/Hind-D Combat helicopters; (30) Mi-8TV/Hip-F Helicopter; (61) MiG-21bis/Fishbed-N Fighter aircraft; (50) MiG-23BN/Flogger-H FGA aircraft; (30) MiG-25P/Foxbat-A Fighter aircraft; (8) MiG-25RB/Foxbat-B Reconnaissance; (41) MiG-29/Fulcrum-A Fighter aircraft; (46) Su-22/Fitter-H/J/K FGA aircraft; (25) Su-24MK/Fencer-D Bomber aircraft; (84) Su-25/Frogfoot-A Ground attack aircraft; (180) 2A36 152mm Towed guns; (100) 2S1 122mm Self-propelled guns; (100) 2S3 152mm Self-propelled guns; (10) 2S4 240mm Self-propelled mortars; (560) BM-21 122mm MRL; (576) D-30 122mm Towed guns; (576) M-46 130mm Towed guns; (10) SS-1 Scud/9P117M SSM launchers; (100) BRDM-2 Sagger-equipped tank destroyers; (200) PT-76 Light tanks; (60) SA-13/9K35 Strela-10 self-propelled AA systems; (160) SA-9/9P31 self-propelled AA systems; (2,150) T-62 Main battle tanks; (25) SA-6a/2K12 Kvadrat SAM systems; (80) SA-8b/9K33M Osa-AK Mobile SAM systems; (960) SA-13 Gopher/9M37 SAM’s; (100) SA-14 Gremlin/Strela-3 Portable SAM; (250) SA-16 Gimlet/Igla-1 Portable SAM’s; (840) SA-6a Gainful/3M9 SAM’s; (6,500) SA-7 Grail/Strela-2 Portable SAM’s; (1,290) SA-8b Gecko/9M33M SAM’s; (1,920) SA-9 Gaskin/9M31 SAM’s; (800) SS-1c Scud-B/R-17 SSM’s; (40) SS-1c Scud-B/R-17 SSM’s.

          1977-1990. France sells Iraq (23) Mirage F-1C Fighter aircraft; (85) Mirage F-1 Fighter aircraft (various versions); (18) SA-342K/L Gazelle Light helicopters (assembled in Egypt); (5) Super Etendard FGA aircraft for use with AM-39 anti-ship missiles against Iranian warships and oil tankers in the Persian Gulf; (85) AMX-GCT 155mm Self-propelled guns; (100) AMX-10P IFV’s; (150) ERC-90 Sagaie Armoured cars; (115) M-3 VTT APC’s; (2) Rasit Battlefield radars; (113) Roland Mobile SAM systems; (1) TRS-2100 Tiger Surveillance radar (Fitted in Iraq on an Il-76 transport aircraft designated “Baghdad-1”); (6) TRS-2230/15 Surveillance radars; (280) AM-39 Exocet Anti-ship missiles For Mirage F-1E and Super Etendard aircraft; (36) AM-39 Exocet Anti-ship missile For AS-332 helicopters; (450) ARMAT Anti-radar missiles For Mirage F-1E FGA aircraft; (240) AS-30L ASM’s For Mirage F-1E FGA aircraft; (1,000) HOT Anti-tank missile For SA-342K helicopters and VCR-TH tank destroyers; (534) R-550 Magic-1 AAM’s For Mirage F-1C fighter aircraft; (2,260) Roland-2 SAM’s; (300) Super-530F AAM’s For Mirage F-1C fighter aircraft.

          1981-1988. China sells Iraq (4) B-6 Bomber aircraft; (40) F-6 Fighter aircraft; (80) F-7A Fighter aircraft (Assembled in Egypt and transferred via Jordan); (50) Type-83 152mm Towed guns; (1,300) Type-59/T-54 Main battle tanks; (25) Type-653 Armored Recon Vehicles; (1,300) Type-69-II Main battle tanks; (650) YW-531C & YW-701/Type-63 APC; (100) CAS-1 Kraken/C-601 Anti-ship missiles For Tu-16/B-6 bomber aircraft; (1,000) HN-5A Portable SAMs.

          1978-1990. Germany (FRG), sells Iraq (28) BK-117 Helicopters (intended for VIP transport and Search & Rescue); (20) Bo-105C Light helicopters.

          1979-1989. Brazil sells Iraq (67) Astros-2 MRL’s; (350) EE-11 Urutu APCs; (280) EE-3 Jararaca Reconnaissance vehicles; (1,026) EE-9 Cascavel Armoured cars; (13) Astros AV-UCF Fire control radars for use with the MRLs.

          1979-1989. Switzerland sells Iraq (2) PC-6B Turbo Porter Light transport aircraft; (52) PC-7 Turbo Trainer Trainer aircraft; (20) PC-9 Trainer aircraft.

          1982. Austria sells Iraq (200) GHN-45 Towed guns. Officially ordered by Jordan, but illegally delivered to Iraq.

          1982. Libya sells Iraq (400) EE-9 Cascavel Armoured cars.

          1982. Iraq also establishes Muthanna State Establishment, also known as al-Muthanna, and operated under the front name of Iraq’s State Establishment for Pesticide Production. It has five research and development sections, each tasked to pursue different programs. In addition, the al-Muthanna site is the main chemical agent production facility, and took the lead in weaponizing chemical and biological agents–including all aspects of weapon development and testing in association with the military.

          1982-1990. Poland sells Iraq (15) Mi-2/Hoplite Light helicopters; (750) MT-LB APC’s; (400) T-55 Main battle tanks; (500) T-72M1 Main battle tanks.

          1982, October 27. Iraq’s first operational Scud Missile brigade, equipped with 9 launchers, fires its missiles at Iran. During the war, Iraq fires between 333 and 360 Scud missiles at Iran, 183 at Teheran alone. Iraq is known to have purchased over 1,000 Scud missiles from the Soviets during the war. The Iranians return the favor by firing their own Scuds at Baghdad.

          1983-1985. USA sells Iraq (31) Bell-214ST Helicopters (Officially bought for civilian use, but taken over by Air Force); (30) Hughes-300/TH-55 light helicopters (Officially bought for civilian use, but taken over by Air Force); (30) MD-500MD Defender light scout helicopters; (26) MD-530F light helicopters.

      • Tribe of DAN

        Excellent posts, brother, you’re my new hero.

  • gogetem1

    The whole Al-Awlaki case seems like such a mystery. Why was he invited to the Pentagon after 9/11 and also do a Q. and A. for the Washington Post about Islam?

    • John Patrick Morris

      Indeed, gogetem1: He was ALSO an FBI informant according to the man in charge of Able Danger, Colonel Anthony Shaffer.

      I feel like I am watching/witnessing Kafka’s “The Trial” every time I read about anything regarding an Executive Branch assertion of state secrets privilege.

      • gogetem1

        I didn’t know that Shaffer had pinned him as an FBI informant. I really need to check out his book! Thanks for the info.

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  • Kevin Dann

    Thanks Christian for this comprehensive overview of the Orwellian nightmare Obama has orchestrated. Are you aware of Executive Order 13228, establishing the “Homeland Security Partnership Council”? It seems to be a plan for the final institutionalization of a full-blown, top-to-bottom totalitarian police state in America:

  • Uncle Albert

    recall Macbeth, act 5 scene 5, where Mac says:

    “Send out more horses. Skirr the country round.

    Hang those that talk of fear. Give me mine armor.”? Well that’s how it goes in defeat, the tyrant turns against those he presumes to “protect”. Of course, in the present case, our intrepid leaders are saints, who would say otherwise?

  • nveric

    With an out of control federal government, which does not protect the Constitution, which does not defend the Constitution, what are American citizens going to do?

    Are citizens going to ignore the continual usurpation of lawful government?

    I do not consent for the federal government to exist any longer.

  • Sharon Scott

    Re “Was assassination a convenient method of bypassing an arduous, and
    potentially unsuccessful, prosecution while demonstrating that anyone who challenges US power can and will be killed?”
    Just read in ‘NATO’s Secret Armies’ Norwegian reporter (1990)released US/NATO secret document signed by then General McConnell (1967) “In t he case of domestic unrest,that might seriously affect the US troops or their mission such as a military uprising or a large domestic resistence against the government of the host country (US army) has to do everything in its power to suppress such unrest…if commander of US forces concludes that said government is not able to suppress such unrest then US troops can carry out those measures deemed necessary….

  • Uncle Albert

    A few cynics might claim that those who speak of fear are, as Macbeth shows us, by definition, “terrorists” and the interests designate these people as outlaws; then rain death upon them, or some of them, or torture them or simply, like Mac, hang them. this creates a self-justifying operation, as those who dare to stand up for themselves or their children are done to in like fashion. whatever the conscious intent, the function of the policy is itself to terrorize the people, all the people, including subjects, er, I mean “citizens”. what to expect now the mr magic underwear took a dive? More. Obviously they’ll do what they know how to do until it doesn’t work, after that they will do something else. many might say that we ought to expect to be further terrorized. (duh!). meantime reality looms – things like climate change and, ultimately, emerging facts that, as always, create or dictate the limits of political choice and action. Does everybody remember how Mac turned out?

  • Jesse Benson

    This kind of information is imparative for all of us who want to “think” and not just sing god bless America.

  • Pierre Adler

    What to expect of four more years of Obomba? Answer: more of the same — the slow slide towards economic, moral, ecological, and constitutional collapse.

  • John Patrick Morris

    What has happened in the USA has happened before, albeit in different forms. Instead of being termed fascist, this country can now be accurately termed Dictatorial Capitalism. As you must know, the USA [officially] ceased to be a republic on November 22, 1963 — forty-nine years ago, and probably well before that (National Security Act of 1947).

    Among other developments, the owners of this country saw the 1999 WTO riots as a warning to them; the people were starting to clamor for serious reform…violently. As a result, they began to “turn the screws” QUICKLY. It is a fact the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act had ALREADY been written BEFORE 9-11.

    9-11 was THEIR BIG EVENT: OUR Reichstag Fire. The owners had the motive and the means… and the apparatus to destroy/ridicule/discredit anyone of substance questioning the official story.

    We will have had 16 years of authoritarian policy implementation when Obama leaves the White House in 2016. He has been the perfect post-modern equivalent of what Walter Benjamin labeled in the 1930s, the aestheticization of politics, or, politics as style.

    The American spokesman for the total implementation of Dictatorial Capitalism has been dressed up in an articulate, people’s brand for the last eight years; a perfect play on the part of the Power Elite. With their preferred Bush Brand woefully tarnished, Obama took the reins. He has been the equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig.

    Look for a Bush re-brand from Jeb in 2016, and a continuation of this American nightmare.

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  • Matt Prather
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  • Jim Hyder

    Who does the fact checking for these dingle berries?

  • Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude

    You guys are harshing my buzz with all of this retro “rights” talk. Now is the time for someone to bankroll an operation by Anonymous to gain access to the list. Our first target – honey boo-boo.

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  • The Ninth

    Russ, Christian’s review above of what we should all agree (Style-book-style) should now be called The National Surveillance Agency does not mention James Bamford’s substantial work on the NSA, first in his “trilogy” on the National Surveillance Agency: 1) “The Puzzle Palace: Inside the National Security Agency, America’s Most Secret Intelligence Organization (The book the NSA tried to suppress”) –1983; 2) “Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency,” — 2002; and 3) “The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-/secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America” — 2008.

    The title of #3 should read: “…eavesdropping OF America,” because Bamford makes the assertion that, as of Jan-Feb, 2002, our Big Brother Agency had installed wiretaps on the trunk lines of all United States telecommunication carriers, whether the carriers cooperated or not. (US West did not; it’s CEO was brought up on insider trading charges–and because US West trunk lines were “co-located” (in the same building or “switch,” as these telecom computer-and-fibers-and-wires buildings are now called), with a cooperating rat-fink outfit, NSA got access anyhow. (The “taps” are now called “splitter boxes,” because they optically “split” the beams running through the glass fibres, keeping a copy of everything for themselves while passing the “real” traffic on its way.)

    Bamford also did a cover piece for WIRED magazine in early 2012 on the New Site the National Surveillance Agency is building, or has by now built, in Bluffdale, Utah, as their previous Total Information Awareness system had growing pains; not that it lacked land at Lackland AFB, but that it lacked GRID space — too much competition for electric power.

    Now let’s add this kicker: In the run-up to the 2010 Census, starting months before in 2009, some or all Americans’ Personal Dwelling Units, commercial buildings, apartment buildings, had their global positioning coordinates entered into the Census computer system(s).

    I don’t think these crews (I was not on one, but heard the scuttlebut and saw the printouts as I was trained to “enumerate” folks, starting out at Midnight, April 1, to get the homeless folks living under bridges and overpasses–we didn’t find any, as the Charles River was about 8 feet above flood stage)…I don’t think these GPS crews broke down GPS entries for homes BY ROOM–the gummint had problems even getting readings, as they’d bought “remaindered technology,” supposedly–trying to do this pin-pointing of where people live on the cheap.

    Think about it: You’re on a secret list, with no knowledge, no recourse. Teen-age kids in uniform (“I was just following orders”) are launching the killer drones from their gussied-up, hyper-game-console, satellite-communications-enabled portable command posts, and now, for precision targeting (in quotes) they have the latitude and longitude of your home, your business, and of course your church, library, grocery store, doctor’s office, your children’s school(s), names and addresses of all classmates (you think school districts would withhold this info from the Stats Polizei and the Heimats Versicherung Abteilung?! (That’s what I call the Homeland “security” department, given that I never heard America or the US or our nation referred to as “The Homeland.” After all, don’t we celebrate the fact that we’re a “melting pot”, a beacon to the tired, oppressed, weary, etc.? I would guess that the folks who consider the USA their “homeland” have another passport, to a country they likely call Der Vaterland (the fatherland).

    And I can almost guarantee that this will not be about “crimes”. This will be about exercising your rights and powers as an American citizen, one of those ever-so-weak “We the People of the United States” who, in hindsight, foolishly “ordained and established” a new government, a Republic–sometimes called a Representational Republic. It’s never ever been “a democracy,” if anyone would care to use a dictionary from time to time–or read the Constitution itself.

    Example: After I had returned from Vietnam and two years later had the occasion to peaceably assemble, in DC, and petition the government for a redress of grievances (the war in Vietnam), I actually signed a petition to that effect, from a brand new group calling itself Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The petition showed up the next Sunday as a full-page ad in the NYTimes, and my name was on the page, along with 80 or so others (and in large type). This was in September, as I was beginning my 2nd year of law school. And guess what–my GI education checks ceased to arrive. “You moved,” said the VA, so your VA center has changed. But I hadn’t moved. My two senators were no help. My two Congressfolks (residence/place of school) were of no help. But Jim Blakely, editor of the Rochester (NY) Democrat & Chronicle consumer “HELP!” column got the checks started again–in January, but with back checks included. Like so many people, I had forgotten the final sentence of the First Amendment (written in invisible ink, I believe), which goes: “However, if you exercise any of these ‘retained rights,’ of speech, printing, worshipping and/or assembling and petitioning, supra, you WILL be made to suffer.”

    Anyone who’s read the trial transcript of the King family vs. Jowers & Co-Conspirators unknown–I commend it to your attention, all 3,000 or so pages of it—will remember testimony like this: “[The Memphis police] beat up Vietnam veterans who were having breakfast five blocks away.”

    Here is the full testimony of Douglas Valentine in the wrongful death trial, King Family vs Jowers, & other unknown co-conspirators. (The King family won a jury verdict, setting out the conspiracy, from the Commander in Chief, CIA, FBI, the War Department including SecDef, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of the Army, and all the way down to non-coms in the espionage units, plus the Tennessee State Police and the Memphis Police Department. The assassin was an active Memphis police officer, who was a very good shot. Valentine’s testimony goes on for a bit, but I think well worth reading. And remember that using the military for activities on American soil was prohibited by the Posse Commitatus Act–that is, it is a crime to do so. However, the act was recently repealed (de facto, not de jure) by Shrub and Darth Bambi:

    Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Valentine. Thank you for making this journey, being with us [Page 1102] this afternoon. Would you please state for the record your full name and address?
    A. My name is Douglas Valentine, and I live in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.
    Q. Thank you. And what do you do for a living, Mr. Valentine?
    A. I’m a writer — a twice published writer.
    Q. And what is your specialty of writing and research?
    A. The intelligence operations of the United States Government.
    Q. Would you tell us some of the books that you have written?
    A. I’ve had two books published. The first was titled The Hotel Tacloban. It was about my father’s experiences as a prisoner of war in World War II. That book was published in 1984, ’85 and ’86. My second book was called The Phoenix Program, and that was published in 1990 and 1992.

    Q. Would you summarize for us what the scope and the concern of The Phoenix Program was? [Page 1103]
    A. The Phoenix Program was created by the CIA in Vietnam in 1967 as part of a recognition that the war could not be won militarily and that a second other war had to be waged against what was called the Vietcong infrastructure which was a jargon for the shadow government of the Vietcong.
    Q. Now, in the course of your research and work with respect to the Phoenix Program and that book, did you come upon information that has a bearing or is relevant to this case?
    A. Yes, I did. I interviewed hundreds of people who participated in the Phoenix Program, including military intelligence personnel officers and enlisted men who were assigned to the Phoenix Program in Vietnam.
    Some of these military intelligence personnel upon returning to the United States were assigned to military intelligence groups in the Continental United States and began to conduct surveillance and Phoenix type operations against anti-war demonstrators and people in the Civil Rights Movement. [Page 1104]
    Q. What was the range of activities that these groups were involved in?
    A. The military intelligence groups actually had lists of prominent members of the anti-war movement and the Civil Rights Movement. Particularly they focused on Vietnam [V]eterans [A]gainst the [W]ar, but they had an entire range of targeted individuals that they surveilled, including such well-known people as Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. But they also acted as agent provocateurs in demonstrations that would insight [incite] riots at demonstrations in order that the police could be called in and arrest individuals.
    Q. And break up demonstrations?
    A. Break up demonstrations that the military intelligence personnel had started, some of the problems that they had started themselves.
    Q. Now, the military intelligence structure covered the entire Continental United States, did it not?
    A. That’s right. There were seven [Page 1105] military intelligence groups in the Continental United States spread pretty much evenly across the country.
    Q. And the one that was connected with this region in the southeast was the 111th military intelligence group?
    A. That’s correct.
    Q. Was there any particular information that you happened to come upon with respect to the 111?
    A. Yes, and I included a passage in my book in The Phoenix Program about that. One of the intelligence — military intelligence individuals who had been in the Phoenix Program in Vietnam came back to the United States afterwards and worked in a military intelligence group — another one, not the 111. But there was common knowledge within all of the military intelligence groups about each other’s activities.
    And this individual heard a rumor at the time that the 111th military intelligence group had been conducting 24-hour a day surveillance of Martin Luther King and that [Page 1106] they had actually been in Memphis on April 4th, 1968 and had taken photographs of the assassination of Martin Luther King.
    Q. So the scuttlebutt or the rumor was that there had been 111th military intelligence group officers in Memphis at the time of the assassination in a vantage point with cameras running?
    A. That’s right.
    Q. And that they actually captured the assassination on film?
    A. That’s correct.
    Q. Have any of those photographs ever surfaced to the best of your knowledge?
    A. Not to my knowledge.
    Q. Did you speak with more than one source with respect to their existence?
    A. No, I did not. I spoke with one source.
    Q. With one source. Now, could you give us an overview of another intelligence group, the 902nd military intelligence group and what you learned about that organization?
    A. I thought I knew a lot. I thought I [Page 1107 knew almost everything about the various military intelligence groups, but I didn’t learn about the 902nd until 1996 in the course of researching the book that I’m writing now which is a book about federal drug law enforcement. And I did an individual — an interview with an individual named Phillip Manual who in 1975 was a staff investigator for the Senate Subcommittee on Permanent Investigations.
    And in the course of interviewing Mr. Manual, I asked him about his background, and he said he had been in the 902nd military intelligence group. So in the course of my interview with him, this was interesting to me so we temporarily digressed from the subject that I was interviewing him about and he explained — I asked him about the 902nd, and he refused to discuss the subject. He said it was a very secret organization and he had promised not to talk about it.
    So I subsequently filed a Freedom of Information Act request for information about the 902nd. And I filed that Freedom of [Page 1108] Information Act request in October of 1996, and I received a unit history from the United States Army on the 902nd. And that’s — having read that unit history is basically the extent of my knowledge of the 902nd.
    Q. Right. That was published by the Department of Defense?
    A. By the United States Army, and it was published in 1994 as a 50-year anniversary unit history. The 902nd was created in 1944, and this history was written in 1994 as a 50-year commemorative exercise.
    Q. Do you know where the 902nd military intelligence group was based in 1968?
    A. I believe it was based in Washington D.C.
    Q. Do you know that Mr. Phillip Manual was here in Memphis on April 4th, 1968?
    A. I know that, yes.
    Q. Do you know what his role was here in Memphis on April 4, 1968?
    A. What I know about his role here, I gathered from having read Orders to Kill Him (sic). [Page 1109]
    Q. What did you gather was his role?
    A. That he had arrived in Memphis I believe on April 3rd, and on April 4th at 3:00 — between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m., he met with a lieutenant from the Memphis Police Department. And I believe that man’s name was Arkin. And based on what Mr. Manual told Lieutenant Arkin, Lieutenant Arkin went to the fire station where a Memphis Police Department officer named Redditt was stationed and was observing the Lorraine Hotel, and Lieutenant Arkin asked that Mr. Redditt leave his post and return to police headquarters.
    Q. Have you subsequently tried to locate Mr. Phillip Manual?
    A. Yes, I have.
    Q. Have you had any success in finding him?
    A. No, I have not.
    Q. Any trace of him whatsoever?
    A. None whatsoever.
    MR. PEPPER: Thank you. Nothing further, Your Honor. [Page 1110]

  • Elizabeth Lindsey

    Fracking is already a form of chemical warfar against us, imminant domain means you don’t really own your property.. facebook and google have been gathering intell on us for awhile. I already have been seeing drones at night flying over a local fema center..dudes it’s done. Sleepy time is over wake up to the nightmare. Now the manipulated gun issue will be arming terroists..which will just be the folks thinking guns will save them(ha Ha). It does’nt seem real.

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