30 September, 2008
The ignorance of the average man on the street regarding this institution—which many blithely assume to be a branch of the Federal government—is a fruit of carefully managed educational misdirection. Books detailing the real history of the Federal Reserve are not front and center in economics courses. A student is more likely to have a copy of Adam Smith or Karl Marx shoved in front of his face than ever see The Federal Reserve Conspiracy by Eustace Mullins. Mullins was a protégé of Ezra Pound, whose monumental Cantos railed against the very foundation of our modern economy—usury.
The Federal Reserve is a private and unconstitutional group of elite banksters empowered to rape the country by fiat. Economic decisions from “the Fed” are crafted to benefit unseen Money Masters rather than the average family, the latter frequently an expedient sacrifice offered up to the great god of profit. Yet when economic disaster is apparent, the painted chorus of media whores lines up with the government to praise “the Fed” as the only savior and last hope of humanity. And Joe Sixpack burps and believes.
During economic crises, we are not supposed to ask, “Who benefits?” If we follow the money carefully it is possible to see that even in the darkest times, there are those who profit greatly. Instead we are supposed to watch the hand that is moving in this unfolding Stage Magic Show, not noticing the avarice-driven Overlords winking and stashing the rabbit under the table.
The Cryptocracy’s programming of the Group Mind has been a stunning success, leading the average victim to praise his rapists at the Federal Reserve. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the perversion of the situation is through a parable:
Once upon a time a man was walking down the street. Suddenly a 500 pound gorilla dropped from a tree and stomped the man into the ground. A group of empty suits ran up and looked at his remains, shaking their empty heads and muttering (as though by ventriloquism), “What can be done?” Strangely, the 500 pound gorilla came back and offered his help. The empty suits smiled and started working with the gorilla and put him forward as the only answer possible, listening to his grunts as though they were divine utterances. They studied his every gesture, even praising him for the way he peeled a banana.
A crazy tale? Not half as crazy as the reality behind it. Let’s decode: the man is the economy, the 500 pound gorilla is the Federal Reserve, and the empty suits represent the government. The unseen ventriloquist is the Cryptocracy.
Now who’s crazy?
by Tom Heneghan
International Intelligence Expert
click on link above
Posted by: AsteroidMiner on Sep 30, 2008
Religion is caused by any one or more of about half a dozen mental illnesses. The truth about religion can be found in these books:
"The Neuropsychological bases of god beliefs" Dr. Michael A. Persinger MD, psychiatrist 1987 "Religious people are just like my temporal lobe patients"
"The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind" Julian Jaynes Professor, Harvard University 1976 "Religious people are just like schizophrenic patients"
"The Psychiatric Interview in Clinical Practice" Roger A. MacKinnon, M.D., Robert Michels, M.D. W. B. Saunders Co. 1971 "Religiosity is a common symptom [of] schizophrenic patients"
"The God delusion" by Richard Dawkins. "Religion is caused by a kind of computer virus that infects the living computer, the human brain."
"The Science of Good and Evil" by Michael Shermer, 2004 "Morality and Ethics are now in the jurisdiction of Science and greatly improved thereby."
Many books in the new science called "Sociobiology": Morals and ethics are instinctive and they evolved.
"God: The Failed Hypothesis" by Victor Stenger. Scientific proof that god does not exist.
"The God Part of the Brain" by Matthew Alper 1996. "The USA is anomolusly religious because many early founder groups were religiously insane and fleeing prosecution in Europe. Religion is a genetic disorder."
"The Accidental Mind" by David J. Linden, 2007 Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Religion is caused by the extreme klugeyness of the "designed" by evolution brain. In particular, the narrative creation system cannot be turned off. It generates false narratives that are believed by the generating person. This is seen in experiments done in the laboratory. This book has the best explanation of resistance to evolution: "There has also been an assumption that if one accepts the idea that life developed without divine intervention, it necessarily follows that all aspects of religious thought must be rejected. Those who take this line of argument to extremes argue that when religious thought is rejected moral and social codes will degenerate and "the law of the jungle" will be all that is left. It is imagined by religious fundamentalists that those who do not share their particular religious faith are incapable of leading moral lives." These suppositions are not true many times over. Linden later mentions that the creationists [intelligent design advocates] are exactly 180 degrees wrong rather than just a little wrong. Being exactly wrong, they are unable to unlearn their error. See Sociobiology or Sciobio.
"Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism" edited by Petto & Godfrey, 2007. The ID and creationist crowd are trying to do away with science. They see science as a "godless religion." Science is a process, not a religion.
"Manufacturing Belief" by Lewis Wolpert http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2007/05/15/lewis_wolpert
"The End of Faith" and "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris
"Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon", by Daniel Dennett Let's do scientific research on religion and find out what causes it.
"Origins of the Modern Mind" by Merlin Donald 1991 "So what did you expect from a brain that is based on the Chimpanzee brain?"Atheism, A Case Against God" by George Smith
"God is not Great; how religion poisons everything" by Christopher Hitchens, 2007
By Scott Thill, AlterNet
Posted on September 30, 2008
"Raw capitalism is dead." -- Henry Paulson, U.S. Treasury secretary
"Can't we just all go out and say things are OK?" -- President Bush, to congressional leaders during bailout negotiations
I'm not much of an Army Times reader, but after reading that a brigade was shipping from Iraq in October to serve as "an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks" in the homeland right before the election, my antennae perked up. Same as they did when I read that an electoral college doomsday scenario exists in which Dick Cheney casts the deciding vote that gives McCain-Palin the White House.
That is, if Cheney and Bush don't take it for themselves. That may sound like fantasy, but don't kill the messenger. They are all strands of the Gordian knot the Bush administration has tied around the neck of the American people for the last two presidential terms, best represented today by the failed bailout of banks, brokers and other complicit parties that have since jacked the American people out of trillions. And while the Army Times revelation or election doomsday may turn out to be paranoia rather than prescience, the evidence just isn't there.
Like I said: antennae.
They've come in handy as bullshit detectors since Bush stole the election from a flat-footed Al Gore and set about engineering the greatest transfer of public wealth into private hands in American history. If you factor in Monday's failed takeover, as well as the $5 trillion the American people now owe thanks to the "bailout" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, not to mention the continuing hyper-expensive occupation of Iraq and so on, our citizenry is now so far in the hole that it's pointless griping about numbers. If you want one, use the figure put forth by Dennis Kucinich: half a quadrillion dollars. We have evolved past the point of economic or geopolitical reality and entered a phase of pure concept.
And all vectors of that phase point toward the conclusion that the proverbial shit has totally hit the fan -- head on, and all over again.
Meet the New Rome, Same as the Old Rome
"Franklin Roosevelt had to save capitalism from itself," Los Angeles Times business editor Tom Petruno told me as Washington Mutual and Wachovia became the latest banking dominoes to fall. "Is history repeating?"
Indeed, it is, as one could tell from the repetitive usage of loaded terms and phrases like "Great Depression," "meltdown," "apocalypse," "Armageddon" and more to describe the just-on-time cratering of the American economy. After the strange bedfellows in both parties torpedoed Bush, Bernanke and Paulson's so-called bailout, more than $1 trillion of market value in American equities disappeared in a single day. The Dow Jones average set a record for quickest suicide dive in a single day. Other indexes sunk to multiyear lows, wiping out years of value, and stocks across the board went negative like Ann Coulter. In fact, the only major stock that actually advanced on Monday was Campbell Soup.
Can there be a more fitting metaphor for the American economy stuck beneath the Bush administration's thumb?
But the reruns, and their loaded terminology, are merging: Bush himself is just another iteration of the infamous "New World Order" instituted by his father while trying to, what else, convince the American public that it needed to go to war against Saddam Hussein. The revisionism is transparent, befitting a government that cares nothing of what its people actually think. Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" recently juxtaposed Bush's address on the financial cataclysm with his pre-invasion speech in 2003 and found -- surprise! -- they were exactly the same.
This is a long way of saying that this particularly frightening crux of historical geopolitics, fascism and environmental calamity has been a long time coming. Failing banks? Deregulation. Endless war? Homeland security. Total information awareness? Transparent government. Bankrupt economy? The fundamentals are strong.
"Here's my question," Petruno adds. "If this is remembered as Black September, will that end up being too gentle a reference to what actually happened to the American financial system this month? It is beyond comprehension for people who have been on Wall Street their entire lives. I can only imagine how absolutely stunned the American public must be. Stunned, and very afraid."
It should be. From a military brigade armed for action in the homeland in blatant transgression of Posse Comitatus to what ex-hedge funder and financial personality Jim Cramer recently called "financial terrorism," the United States is pushing forward back.
To start with, the bailout was obvious theft, but our situation is more precarious than you think. The hyperreal credit default swap market, which few understand although it is estimated to involve tens if not hundreds of global trillions, is faltering under the weight of its own Ponzi origins. The scenario significantly worsens once you factor in the given that countries like China and others who have denominated their loans in dollars are shouldering our exploding debt, along with oil-soaked sovereign wealth funds from nations whose civil liberties records suck ass.
As I wrote last year on this clusterfuck, if the Chinese call in our debts and oil-producing countries decide to peg their petrodollars to the euro, you can more or less kiss the dollar goodbye. Which means the last thing you'll need to worry about is your stocks, retirement or credit cards. You will instead worry whether or not the cash you have on hand will be worth anything at all. That is the loaded gun that bankers, brokers and the White House is holding to the public's head, as I write. That trillion erased on Monday, as well as the trillions that have been lost and will be lost in the coming months, was nothing more than a hostage situation engineered by the Bush administration, the Federal Reserve and their partners in crime in finance, insurance and real estate business.
They don't call that sector FIRE for nothing. Fire destroys everything and leaves little in its catastrophic wake. Which raises the question: What's left to burn?
"I think our economic situation can get much worse," argues Danny Schechter, the veteran producer and author whose 2006 indie documentary "In Debt We Trust" covered this volatile territory long before CNN would. "Jobless claims are already at a seven-year high, but the government is worried about the reaction from Asia. We are living on other countries' money, and when that spigot gets cut off, we will be in deeper doo-doo. Part of the reason for the scale of the bailout is to show Asia and sovereign wealth funds that we will protect their interests."
But for how long? The Bush administration and Congress' disdain for the American people has been painfully obvious, so it's hard to believe they will call from sky-high Dubai to see how we are doing after making off with almost all of our money.
"It's a high-stakes gamble, which is why Paulson tried to do it quickly in a climate of shock and crisis," Shechter says. "He knew that the longer it takes, the more opposition it will attract. This plan, if eventually passed, will pre-empt the next president from doing anything about it, because there will be no money. They are wrecking the government by wrecking the economy first."
That shock doctrine, as Naomi Klein explained in her brilliant book of the same name, has foisted this same kind of disaster capitalism on country after country over the last century. Klein's book is littered with democracies that slept their way through coups and takeovers, entranced by one simulation or another. The United States was plugged into a matrix that onetime White House press secretary Ari Fleischer described as "an American way of life," adding without deceit that "it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life."
By destroying it? Mission accomplished.
"This is the September of surprise," Schechter concluded, "not a war on Iran but on America."
Civil War, the Rerun?
So, what's the next step for the shoe yet to drop? Perhaps the Army Times has the clues:
(The brigade) may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. ... The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
Like every move the Bush administration has ever made, from the Patriot Act to the occupation of Iraq and down to bankrupting the American economy, this maneuver is a solution in search of a problem that it seems destined to create. Look around you. Housing is over. Stocks are nosediving. The banks are gone. War is ceaseless. Civil liberties are disappearing. Nerds at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury are taking hostages. It is madness.
And mad people have a tendency to infect everyone around them. The difference is that when you go mad ... well, that's the question mark: What will happen?
Ask the late Iman Morales, who went crazy in Brooklyn on a ledge 10 feet above ground and was illegally tasered by New York police officers, eventually falling to his death, immobilized. A perfect metaphor for our economy, sure, but it's also the type of literal shock we might be awaiting, as the November election creeps nearer and shit begins to hit the fan with ferocity.
Many of us so-called alternative journos are not conspiracy nuts, but realists. We look at galvanizing leaders like Barack Obama, America's next president, and compare his impact to that of Lincoln, Kennedy or King -- without forgetting that all three were eventually assassinated. We are the type of realists who live through two Bush presidents, both of whom configured a New World Order, with and without the approval of the American people and the world at large. The type of realists that notice that after 9/11, we couldn't fly to Vegas, but Osama bin Laden's family was flown out of the country on government charter.
And here is what we see today: Crowds protesting in the streets, the people's money wiped out thanks to the Bush administration's latest economic shock and awe. An army brigade matter-of-factly betraying Posse Comitatus for the purpose of crowd control. The public trust and wealth almost robbed cleanly with congressional approval.
In other words, we see another unfolding coup, which is to say, a rerun. And there is no telling what the future may hold, or whether or not we are connecting vectors that should remain solitary. But our math has worked just fine in the past -- better than Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson's math, that's for sure.
And we'd love to be wrong about what's coming. But unfortunately that isn't up to us, and it never has been: It's up to the Bush administration. And it has never failed to let us down.
Scott Thill runs the online mag Morphizm.com. His writing has appeared on Salon, XLR8R, All Music Guide, Wired and others.
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
29 September, 2008
Monday, September 29th, 2008
The Rich Are Staging a Coup This Morning ...a message from Michael Moore
Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.
No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:
"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.
"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.
"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.
"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."
Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.
The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.
And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.
Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?
It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.
This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!
I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:
1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.
2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).
3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.
When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!
It is published in the local Grafton paper.
Check out his site:
A Ghost of a Chance, Part 4
Tasha and I put the last of the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher. "Arf," I said, "please reconsider."
"Oh, all right," he sighed, " but I don't really see the necessity to go back there." Twenty minutes later Tasha, Arf, Bonnie Jean and I pulled up in front of Abby's House.
As Arf turned off the motor the bulkier of the two Homeland Security agents strode over to his rental. "You're under arrest," he growled.
Arf looked confused. "What's going on?"
"You said Wrankin File was Abby Hoffman," the agent began. "And even though he's dead we checked. Same postmarks indicated this neighborhood. You know more than you let on," he bellowed.
"That's too farfetched." Arf said.
In front of the mailbox, his partner was embroiled in a heated argument with the elderly lady we had seen yesterday. Clutching her umbrella in both her hands, she aimed it at his knees. "Put that down," the agent yelled.
She shook her umbrella at him. "Give me back my letter!"
Eyes wide he clutched at the white envelope and looked toward his superior. Suddenly both agents agent began to wheeze and then to sneeze.
Faintly, I could see Bonnie Jean sprinkling what looked like yellow dust over each of them. Gasping, they pulled at their collars. Both rushed to the Hummer, pulling off their jackets and tossing them onto the front seat.
The tall one stomped back to our car. The other went toward the elderly lady. I heard a faint trill of giggles and then both of them again convulsed with body shaking sneezes.
"Obviously you know what's going on Brickwall," the taller one choked out between gasps.
Arf glared. "You don't know what you're talking about!"
Fending off whacks from the elderly lady's umbrella with one hand, the shorter agent snatched the envelope from her bony fingers. "Give that back to me," the she shouted.
The tall agent leaned in toward Arf. "You know she's Wrankin File. You're here. That adds up to conspiracy."
"Innocent until proven otherwise," Arf reminded him.
"Not anymore," he wheezed. "That stuff's washed out to sea. The New Patriot Act closed up liberal loopholes like that."
"What loopholes?" I asked.
He looked at me hard. "Don't you know we're at war!" He wagged his thumb at Arf like an umpire throwing a ball player out of a game. "You want to be his cellmate at Guantanamo?"
"Stephen," Tasha said. "Don't get into a conversation, please."
"Why not, is he a Martian or something?"
"It's just not a good idea," she said calmly.
"What's going on out here?" A stocky woman in a baggy tweed suit and thick brown shoes strode out of the house and looked around. "Maggie, what is this man doing to you?"
"Just because I'm mailing a letter he says I'm in violation of the Patriot Act. But I've been a patriot all my life so how come now all of a sudden I'm doing something wrong?"
"Homeland Security! This old woman's under arrest!" the agent blurted.
"For what? The Director trumpeted. She looked tenderly at Maggie. Despite her long white hair Maggie's face appeared incredibly youthful and angelic. "What happened dear?"
"He made me cry!"
The director drew herself up. "How dare you accost and insult one of my residents!"
"She wrote incriminating letters to the President. We caught her red handed."
"Is that true dear?"
Maggie looked down. "I get the feelings in my fingers that I have to write something down."
I heard a trill of laughter and saw Bonnie Jean trail her hands across his cheeks and tweak his nose.
"A confession," he cried out, pawing the air.
"Of what?" The Director grated. Her cheeks were red.
"Mailing a letter," The agent screamed. Pulled by invisible fingers, his ears stood straight out from his head. I smothered a giggle. Tasha's eyes were wide and her hand was over her mouth.
The director held out her hand. "Give me that letter." Slowly, one at a time, the agent's fingers detached themselves from it. The envelope fell into the director's hands.
"Incriminating! " he cried out. Tears ran from his eyes." Threat to our National Security." He began to shake all over.
I looked at Arf. "Is that guy serious?"
"He thinks he is" Arf shook his head. "Thinks he's riding shotgun with Paul Revere."
The Director looked at Maggie. "You wrote them? You mailed them to the President?"
"It wasn't me who wrote them," Maggie said. "It was that sweet boy's hand that took hold of mine and let what he wanted to say slip through my fingers. " She blushed. "He helps me up and takes my arm and walks with me all the way to the mailbox. And just as I'm slipping it into the box that mean man runs at me and tries to push me around. I whacked his knee with my umbrella and didn't care if I hurt him or not. He pulls my arm and tries to drag me over to that scary black truck." She pointed at the Hummer. "
The Director glared at the agent. "What she says is incriminating. With her testimony I can have you arrested for harassment and kidnapping. Leave these premises immediately."
Just then a police car pulled to the curb. Two officers got out and walked toward us. (To Be Continued)
The induction of a Double Mind in the populace has been a masterstroke of the Cryptocracy. The herd behaves as though it truly believes there is a real choice available in this two-party system, never wondering why there isn’t a strong alternative third party available, just as the cow doesn’t seem to mind the limits of its grazing ground (except for the occasional jerk of the rope when the cud-chewing bovid ventures too far).
One of the recent manifestations of this controlled myopia has been—on the Right—the call by certain activist Catholics to have sacramental communion withheld from abortion-supporting politicians, and, by extension, the faithful who in turn vote for them. In other words, priests are being pressured to withhold giving communion to Democrats for their implicit or explicit support for the termination of life.
Notably absent, however, is a similar call to withhold communion from war-mongering politicians, and, by extension, the faithful who vote for them. War is patently a grand termination of life, but such in-your-face data appear to escape the above activists, who are quite agitated within their half of the grand grazing pasture as they stare across the grass into the eyes of their blinking bovine counterparts.
In fact if support for death-oriented politicians became the bar for advancing to communion each Sunday Mass, the pews would remain filled with the ineligible and the liturgy would proceed at a quick pace to its conclusion. Such is the triumph of the Double Mind in our day, and while the above example exposes the blind hypocrisy of the Right, the mirror mentality exists no less on the Left. Witness the support for Obama by antiwar protesters who have suddenly “not noticed” his endorsement of the recent slaughter of civilians in Afghanistan inflicted by this country’s armed forces. The spectacle on both Left and Right is a sick jest worthy of the Joker, a recently revived apropos pop-cultural symbol.
Like the two pillars of the Kabbalah, Mercy and Severity, the Left and Right continue to provide a framework upon which to scaffold “thought.” Here’s an interesting dream: what if voting were limited to those free of the duality imposed by the cultural controllers, con artists, and Cryptocrats channeling information to the populace?
Perhaps the voting booths would stay as empty in November as a ghost town--fitting symbol of the real spiritual condition of this country.
By Bill Van Auken
25 September 2008
For the first time ever, the US military is deploying an active duty regular Army combat unit for full-time use inside the United States to deal with emergencies, including potential civil unrest.
Beginning on October 1, the First Brigade Combat Team of the Third Division will be placed under the command of US Army North, the Army’s component of the Pentagon’s Northern Command (NorthCom), which was created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks with the stated mission of defending the US “homeland” and aiding federal, state and local authorities.
The unit—known as the “Raiders”—is among the Army’s most “blooded.” It has spent nearly three out of the last five years deployed in Iraq, leading the assault on Baghdad in 2003 and carrying out house-to-house combat in the suppression of resistance in the city of Ramadi. It was the first brigade combat team to be sent to Iraq three times.
While active-duty units previously have been used in temporary assignments, such as the combat-equipped troops deployed in New Orleans, which was effectively placed under martial law in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, this marks the first time that an Army combat unit has been given a dedicated assignment in which US soil constitutes its “battle zone.”
The Pentagon’s official pronouncements have stressed the role of specialized units in a potential response to terrorist attack within the US. Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, attended a training exercise last week for about 250 members of the unit at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The focus of the exercise, according to the Army’s public affairs office, was how troops “might fly search and rescue missions, extract casualties and decontaminate people following a catastrophic nuclear attack in the nation’s heartland.”
“We are at war with a global extremist network that is not going away,” Casey told the soldiers. “I hope we don’t have to use it, but we need the capability.”
However, the mission assigned to the nearly 4,000 troops of the First Brigade Combat Team does not consist merely of rescuing victims of terrorist attacks. An article that appeared earlier this month in the Army Times (“Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1”), a publication that is widely read within the military, paints a different and far more ominous picture.
“They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control,” the paper reports. It quotes the unit’s commander, Col. Robert Cloutier, as saying that the 1st BCT’s soldiers are being trained in the use of “the first ever nonlethal package the Army has fielded.” The weapons, the paper reported, are “designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.” The equipment includes beanbag bullets, shields and batons and equipment for erecting roadblocks.
It appears that as part of the training for deployment within the US, the soldiers have been ordered to test some of this non-lethal equipment on each other.
“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” Cloutier told the Army Times. He described the effects of the electroshock weapon as “your worst muscle cramp ever—times 10 throughout your whole body.”
The colonel’s remark suggests that, in preparation for their “homefront” duties, rank-and-file troops are also being routinely Tasered. The brutalizing effect and intent of such a macabre training exercise is to inure troops against sympathy for the pain and suffering they may be called upon to inflict on the civilian population using these same “non-lethal” weapons.
According to military officials quoted by the Army Times, the deployment of regular Army troops in the US begun with the First Brigade Combat Team is to become permanent, with different units rotated into the assignment on an annual basis.
In an online interview with reporters earlier this month, NorthCom officers were asked about the implications of the new deployment for the Posse Comitatus Act, the 230-year-old legal statute that bars the use of US military forces for law enforcement purposes within the US itself.
Col. Lou Volger, NorthCom’s chief of future operations, tried to downplay any enforcement role, but added, “We will integrate with law enforcement to understand the situation and make sure we’re aware of any threats.”
Volger acknowledged the obvious, that the Brigade Combat Team is a military force, while attempting to dismiss the likelihood that it would play any military role. It “has forces for security,” he said, “but that’s really—they call them security forces, but that’s really just to establish our own footprint and make sure that we can operate and run our own bases.”
Lt. Col. James Shores, another NorthCom officer, chimed in, “Let’s say even if there was a scenario that developed into a branch of a civil disturbance—even at that point it would take a presidential directive to even get it close to anything that you’re suggesting.”
Whatever is required to trigger such an intervention, clearly Col. Cloutier and his troops are preparing for it with their hands-on training in the use of “non-lethal” means of repression.
The extreme sensitivity of the military brass on this issue notwithstanding, the reality is that the intervention of the military in domestic affairs has grown sharply over the last period under conditions in which its involvement in two colonial-style wars abroad has given it a far more prominent role in American political life.
The Bush administration has worked to tear down any barriers to the use of the military in domestic repression. Thus, in the 2007 Pentagon spending bill it inserted a measure to amend the Posse Comitatus Act to clear the way for the domestic deployment of the military in the event of natural disaster, terrorist attack or “other conditions in which the president determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order.”
The provision granted the president sweeping new powers to impose martial law by declaring a “public emergency” for virtually any reason, allowing him to deploy troops anywhere in the US and to take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of state governors in order to “suppress public disorder.”
The provision was subsequently repealed by Congress as part of the 2008 military appropriations legislation, but the intent remains. Given the sweeping powers claimed by the White House in the name of the “commander in chief” in a global war on terror—powers to suspend habeas corpus, carry out wholesale domestic spying and conduct torture—there is no reason to believe it would respect legal restrictions against the use of military force at home.
It is noteworthy that the deployment of US combat troops “as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters”—in the words of the Army Times—coincides with the eruption of the greatest economic emergency and financial disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Justified as a response to terrorist threats, the real source of the growing preparations for the use of US military force within America’s borders lies not in the events of September 11, 2001 or the danger that they will be repeated. Rather, the domestic mobilization of the armed forces is a response by the US ruling establishment to the growing threat to political stability.
Under conditions of deepening economic crisis, the unprecedented social chasm separating the country’s working people from the obscenely wealthy financial elite becomes unsustainable within the existing political framework.
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July 28, 2006
HOUSE LEADERSHIP INVOKES “MARTIAL LAW,” FORCING MEMBERS TO VOTE ON KEY BILLS WITHOUT FULL KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT THEY ARE VOTING ON: MOVE REPRESENTS EROSION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Statement by Robert Greenstein
Executive Director, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The House Republican Leadership has announced its intention to have the House vote, before adjourning on Friday or Saturday, on several major pieces of legislation that are not yet available to House members in final form because behind-closed-door negotiations on the proposals are still going on. The Leadership apparently intends to use a process known as “martial law” to allow these bills to be brought to the floor very shortly after negotiations are completed, with the result that Members of the House are likely to have virtually no time to examine and consider the details of the legislation before they will be required to vote on it.
Among the matters the House may be asked to vote on under martial law are a major conference report on pension legislation, a costly bill that would permanently reduce the estate tax and extend certain expiring tax provisions, and a bill that could combine a controversial health insurance proposal with an increase in the minimum wage (there also are reports that the estate tax, minimum wage, and expiring tax provisions may be combined into a single bill). The House Rules Committee on Thursday afternoon reported a resolution that would provide martial law authority in relation to all of these bills.
Under the martial law procedure, longstanding House rules that require at least one day between the unveiling of significant legislation and the House floor vote on that legislation — so that Members can learn what they are being asked to vote on — are swept away. Instead, under “martial law,” the Leadership can file legislation with tens or hundreds of pages of fine print and move immediately to debate and votes on it, before Members of Congress, the media, or the public have an opportunity to understand fully what provisions have been altered or inserted into the legislation behind closed doors. This is the procedure that the Leadership intends to use to muscle through important bills in the next two days.
This procedure diminishes democracy. When major legislation is being considered that would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the debt or affect millions of Americans in other ways, Members of Congress should have an opportunity to study the legislation for more than a couple of hours and to know what they are voting on.
The Bills in Question
The pension bill, which contains important changes in the rules governing defined benefit pension plans and tax laws affecting retirement savings (and also may serve as a vehicle for tax changes unrelated to retirement), has been the subject of vigorous debate for months among members of the House-Senate conference committee. Although a final agreement on the conference report has reportedly been imminent for days, the conferees were still working out differences as of Thursday evening. The legislation that would provide for a permanent reduction in the estate tax and the extension of a number of popular expiring tax provisions (such as the research and development tax credit) has not been finalized because the pension bill conferees are still debating whether some or all of those provisions should be included in the conference report on the pension bill. Legislation that would promote so-called “association health plans” and increase the minimum wage (and likely contain other provisions intended to make the minimum wage increase more acceptable to House conservatives) also is still being negotiated behind closed doors by Republican leaders.
Some of these bills are very costly. The sharp reductions in the estate tax that are under consideration, and provisions making permanent the pension tax cuts enacted in 2001 (which are expected to be in the pension conference report), would cost approximately $325 billion over the ten-year period from 2007 to 2016. And because most of these provisions would not take effect until after 2010, their long-term costs are much larger. During the first decade when these provisions would be fully in effect, 2012 to 2021, they would reduce revenues by about $700 billion. When the increased interest payments on the debt are included, the total impact on the budget rises to nearly $900 billion over that decade.
Despite these large costs, the plan of the House Republican Leadership appears to be to pass the martial-law rule the House Rules Committee reported last night, allowing any or all of the three bills to go directly to the House floor as soon as the private negotiations on them have been concluded — and before the public, the media, or even Members of the House themselves have an opportunity to examine the revised legislation carefully.
Among other things, this arouses suspicion that some of the changes that are being made in the proposals may be presented as easing certain controversial provisions of the bills, even if the reality is different. It also creates concern that some special-interest provisions may have been inserted into the bills, or some special interests may otherwise have been protected, in order to secure votes.
Use of the martial law procedure will enable the Leadership to seek to round up the votes needed to pass the bills before a full picture is available of what the bills actually do.
What is “Martial Law”?
The House leadership is using a parliamentary gambit to evade a longstanding House rule that is supposed to ensure that this kind of obfuscation does not occur. That House rule (Rule XIII(6)(a)) provides that a resolution (called a rule) reported by the Rules Committee cannot be considered by the House on the same legislative day that the rule is reported (except by a two-thirds vote of the House). This is supposed to ensure that Members of the House and the public have at least one day to examine and analyze what is in legislation before they have to debate and vote on it.
To maneuver around this House rule and rush the three proposals discussed above to a vote before they have been fully examined, the Rules Committee reported a rule late Thursday afternoon (H.Res. 958) that would waive the application of Rule XIII(6)(a). Instead, it would allow the Rules Committee to wait until the last minute and not to report the rules governing the consideration of these bills or to release the text of the bills themselves until immediately before debate and votes on the bills, and on the rules governing their consideration, commences.
This extraordinary procedure is known as a “martial law” rule because it suspends the normal procedures and safeguards and allows the House Leadership to operate in a more authoritarian fashion. It enables the Leadership to seek to ram a bill or conference report through before the Members have the opportunity to fully understand what they are voting on.
Legislation that has far-reaching implications for millions of Americans deserves to be considered under a more democratic process. Waiting until the last minute to reveal what is in these bills, and then “spinning” or potentially mischaracterizing changes in the bills without Members of the House or the public having an opportunity to obtain a more objective review of what the legislation does, is unfair to Members of the House. It also is unfair to the millions of Americans whose lives could be affected by this legislation. It represents a further step in reducing the degree of transparency and democracy in how this country is governed and how decisions are made. At a time when our leaders preach the goal of promoting democracy abroad, they should not be reducing it at home.
26 September, 2008
Everything will be OK.
And listen to Bob Neveritt on the James Martinez link above as you keep the zillion dollar economy, the discarnate state of electric conditions, afloat.
Listen all the way through. Don't quit. Then wind it back and listen again till you get it!
25 September, 2008
September 25, 2008 9:14 AM EDT
OMAHA, Nebraska - Nine children were left at a hospital by their father under the state's new "safe haven" law, a move officials feared could occur when they enacted the legislation to protect unwanted children.
The father, who was not identified, left the children aged 1 to 17 at Creighton University Medical Center's emergency room late Wednesday.
The law, which went into effect in July, allows caregivers to abandon children at any state-licensed hospital without fear of prosecution. It was initially intended to protect infants - like similar laws in other states - but was amended to include older children and teenagers.
At least four children between the ages of 11 and 15 have been abandoned by parents since the law took effect.
The nine youngsters surrendered Wednesday are OK, said Kathie Osterman, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. She didn't know how many were boys or girls, or why their father left them.
Nebraska was the last state in the nation to adopt a safe-haven law. Under previous law, a parent who abandoned a baby could have been charged with child neglect or abandonment, both misdemeanors, or child abuse, a felony.
State Sen. Arnie Stuthman said he introduced the bill intending to protect infants. In a compromise with senators worried about arbitrary age limits, the measure was expanded to include the word "child."
The law doesn't further define child, and some have interpreted that to mean anyone in Nebraska under the age of 19. Others have taken the common law meaning of child - those under age 14.
Abandoning teenagers was not the original intent of the law, Stuthman said Thursday.
"People are leaving them off just because they can't control them," he said. "They're probably in no real danger, so it's an easy way out for the caretaker."
24 September, 2008
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia man who police said passed gas and fanned it toward a patrolman has been charged with battery on a police officer.
Jose A. Cruz, 34, of Clarksburg, was pulled over early Tuesday for driving without headlights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three field sobriety tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station for a breathalyzer test.
As Patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair toward Parsons, lifted his leg and "passed gas loudly," the complaint said.
Cruz, according to complaint, then fanned the gas toward the officer.
"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons," the complaint alleged.
He was also charged with driving under the influence, driving without headlights and two counts of obstruction.
Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn't move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.
"I couldn't hold it no more," he said.
He also denied being drunk and uncooperative as the police complaint alleged. He added he was upset at being prepared for a breathalyzer test while having an asthma attack. The police statement said he later resisted being secured for a trip to a hospital that he requested for asthma treatment.
Cruz said the officers thought the gas incident was funny when it happened and laughed about it with him.
"This is ridiculous," he said. "I could be facing time."
23 September, 2008
The cost is $24.95, which goes to support the research mission of Richard C. Cook and Susan Boskey.
Research support provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. This is an expanded version, with primary documents attached, of a story that appears in the October 6, 2008 issue of The Nation.
By Sydney H. Schanberg
September 18, 2008
John McCain, who has risen to political prominence on his image as a Vietnam POW war hero, has, inexplicably, worked very hard to hide from the public stunning information about American prisoners in Vietnam who, unlike him, didn't return home. Throughout his Senate career, McCain has quietly sponsored and pushed into federal law a set of prohibitions that keep the most revealing information about these men buried as classified documents. Thus the war hero who people would logically imagine as a determined crusader for the interests of POWs and their families became instead the strange champion of hiding the evidence and closing the books.
Almost as striking is the manner in which the mainstream press has shied from reporting the POW story and McCain's role in it, even as the Republican Party has made McCain's military service the focus of his presidential campaign. Reporters who had covered the Vietnam War turned their heads and walked in other directions. McCain doesn't talk about the missing men, and the press never asks him about them.
The sum of the secrets McCain has sought to hide is not small. There exists a telling mass of official documents, radio intercepts, witness depositions, satellite photos of rescue symbols that pilots were trained to use, electronic messages from the ground containing the individual code numbers given to airmen, a rescue mission by a special forces unit that was aborted twice by Washington—and even sworn testimony by two Defense secretaries that "men were left behind." This imposing body of evidence suggests that a large number—the documents indicate probably hundreds—of the US prisoners held by Vietnam were not returned when the peace treaty was signed in January 1973 and Hanoi released 591 men, among them Navy combat pilot John S. McCain.
Mass of Evidence
The Pentagon had been withholding significant information from POW families for years. What's more, the Pentagon's POW/MIA operation had been publicly shamed by internal whistleblowers and POW families for holding back documents as part of a policy of "debunking" POW intelligence even when the information was obviously credible.
The pressure from the families and Vietnam veterans finally forced the creation, in late 1991, of a Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. The chairman was John Kerry. McCain, as a former POW, was its most pivotal member. In the end, the committee became part of the debunking machine.
One of the sharpest critics of the Pentagon's performance was an insider, Air Force Lieut. Gen. Eugene Tighe, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) during the 1970s. He openly challenged the Pentagon's position that no live prisoners existed, saying that the evidence proved otherwise. McCain was a bitter opponent of Tighe, who was eventually pushed into retirement.
Please read the rest of this article at its source: The Nation
By Ring of Fire
Bobby: “There are about 30 scams the republicans are deliberately using, particularly in the swing states to get democratic voters off the rolls. These scams originate in the so-called Help America Vote Act which was passed after the Florida debacle in the year 2000. It was originally suggested by democrats and republicans but it was passed by a republican congress with a republican senate and a republican president. And instead of reforming what happened in Florida it basically institutionalized all the problems that happened in Florida. And institutionalized a series of impediments that make it very difficult for democrats to register, for democrats to vote and then for democrats to have their vote counted.
“One of these requirements under HAVA is called “the perfect match” and what that does is little known but it is devastating. A quarter of the voters in Colorado have just been removed from the rolls because of this--just this one scam. And what it does is they use a computer system to compare your registration application to all other government records of you in the state. So they’ll look at your social security records, your motor vehicle records and any time you’ve had any interaction with the government and if there is any information on your voter registration that is different than the information on another government record that they find they remove you from the voting rolls.
“For example, if I registered as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and yet my motor vehicle license said Robert Frances Kennedy Jr. I’d be removed from the rolls. If your initial is different, if you leave an initial out, if you leave a “Jr.” out, if you leave a hyphen out in your name. And what they’ve done is a study in New York that said 80% of the errors are errors that were done by state clerks who are taking down this information. And particularly immigrant communities that people tend to vote democratic, people have names…spell Muhammad with an “o” instead of a “u” (crosstalk)
Pap: “Are the democrats suing to stop this?”
Bobby: “No, the democrats are doing nothing to stop it. In New Jersey, which is a swing state, 300,000 voters in New Jersey were just sent letters saying that they are now ineligible to vote. New jersey is nice enough to actually notify them--most states will not even notify them. And New Jersey intends to send out 870,000 letters so that is three quarters of a million people off the voting rolls in a state that could decide this vote by 50,000 votes. And these are democrats that are being pushed off the rolls.
Bobby: “Let me tell you about one other of these scams people should know about. If you’re a newly registered voter--and of course the democrats have done these gigantic registration drives--12 million people on registration--if you’re a new voter you MUST include your license or some other state I.D. when you come to vote. What that means is that if you’re a college kid (and college kids now--they’re sending in absentee ballots--they’re not going to the voting place, they do everything online or they do everything remotely--they don’t dream of going to the precinct house voting on election day and waiting in a long line) so if they send in the absentee ballot and they don’t include a color copy of their license their vote is going to be thrown into a trash can. And none of these people know this because you have had to read the law in order to know it. So there is no notification for when you fill out your registration form, so all of those 12 million people that the democrats have registered: those ballots are going to be just thrown out.
Pap: “And if democrats won’t talk about this how the hell’s anybody gonna know about it? I’m involved with this kind of thing every day--I didn’t know that until you just told me. The media is not talking about it. How in the hell is somebody gonna find this out? It’s just incredible.
Bobby: “Hopefully--Obama is getting 66 million dollars a month--hopefully somebody in the democratic organization is going to pay some attention to this before election day.
22 September, 2008
21 September, 2008
This report details the inhumane treatment of migrants at the border crossings in the Sonora Desert of Arizona. Please read.
17 September, 2008
Please read the new future-fiction short story by Joan d'Arc: featuring Barack Obama as president and the Beatles as the alien Fab Four.
From the upcoming HunterGatheress Journal, Volume 2, due October 15, 2008.
15 September, 2008
But shouldn't the Federal government pitch in on railroad and road infrastructure, including technology? We should have zippiteedooda train systems. State of the art. Where's the money? They got it to bail out Freddie and Fannie though?
The Hypocrits say: "we regulate by counting tombstones".
Isn't that an understatement?
September 15, 2008 7:10 PM EDT
LOS ANGELES - Federal officials blamed railroads Monday for refusing their requests to install an expensive safety feature on all U.S. tracks that many say could have prevented Southern California's deadly commuter train crash.
Railroads have balked at the cost and reliability of the technology, which is in use on only 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) of track out of about 140,000 miles (225,300 kilometers) nationwide.
The technology has not been installed on the Los Angeles track where 25 people died in a crash on Friday.
"Many times in this country, we regulate by counting tombstones," said Barry M. Sweedler, former director of the Office of Safety Recommendations for the National Transportation Safety Board.
"Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy like this with many people dead for action to take place, even though people in the know knew what needed to be done and didn't do it," he said.
The system known as positive train control monitors train location and speed using satellite-based positioning systems and digital communication. It can engage the brakes if a train fails to heed signals or gets on the wrong track.
Metrolink spokeswoman Higgins had to resign for being honest and stepping ahead of the feds to allege “human error.”
She had this to say:
Higgins said she believed the crash could have been prevented with technology that stops a train on the track when a signal is disobeyed. The technology was not in place where the collision occurred.
"I believe this technology could have prevented the accident. If he ran the signal the train would have been stopped. I've seen it tested. It makes a difference," she said.
14 September, 2008
A film by Peter Galison and Robb Moss
WINNER, Special Jury Award for Documentary Features, Independent Film Festival, Boston
WINNER, Best Documentary, Newport International Film Festival
"The most important of American Film Festivals opens Thursday night...as always, the (Sundance) documentary competition offers the most reliably involving films. The best of these include Secrecy...the question of how much we should rely on methods inconsistent with our values is intelligently and elegantly handled."
–Kenny Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Even more politically trenchant is the articulate policy debate called Secrecy, which tackles what is arguably the key question of the information age—namely how do we reconcile freedom and security? Directors Peter Galison and Robb Moss don't attempt to hide their belief that the U.S. government's increasing obsession with classification does more harm than good and is being used today primarily as a means for the executive branch to avoid accountability. To their credit, however, they also give ample screen time to former CIA and NSA employees who make strong cases for the opposing viewpoint. ...this evenhanded act of advocacy is required viewing for the hundreds of millions of us who have consented to be governed."
–Mike D'Angelo, The Screengrab
"Illuminating and frightening."
–Ian M. Fried, The Seminal
"Timely and layered."
–Nathaniel Rogers, Zoom-In.com
"Enlightening and entertaining."
–Noel Murray, AV Club
"This is a strong, probing essay that asks necessary questions."
–Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe
"Robb Moss and Peter Galison's Secrecy is quiet and discrete in its examination of how contemporary crimes are being papered over, and devastating in both its analysis and its presentation. (It's one of the few recent documentaries to incorporate animation that doesn't make your eyes cross, then roll.) There's a portrait in there of a career military lawyer who does the right thing against the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, and as his appearances increase, his fury grows: he is right, he knows he is right and history will record he is right."
–Ray Pride, Newcity Chicago
"Secrecy, from Harvard film-prof godhead Robb Moss and Harvard science-historian brainiac Peter Galison, attracted a very particular crowd (at Sundance): articulate, knowledgeable and borderline paranoid. The film's a balanced polemic (no, that's not a paradox) about our government's rapidly growing fetish for hiding information from its citizens; you can actually feel the movie focusing your understanding of the issues as you watch."
–Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
"No less mind-boggling is Robb Moss and Peter Galison's Secrecy, which traces the history of government confidentiality from its origins in the 1940s to its epidemic incarnation in the present day. Although it's not exactly non-partisan, the movie presents compelling, if frequently unnerving, arguments from both sides. Former CIA Jerusalem bureau chief Melissa Boyle Mahle explains, without blinking an eye, that secrecy has the advantage of allowing the government to take action that would seem inconsistent with our ideals if brought to light. Whatever you think of that reasoning, she's hardly the first to think it, just the first to say it without beating around the bush."
–Sam Adams, The Philadelphia City Paper
"Secrecy, a documentary about the benefits and detriments of government secrets, is the most powerful film I've seen at the (Philadelphia Film) fest so far. Directors Peter Galison and Robb Moss artfully lay out both sides of the argument...maddening and...devastating...the film hear(s) from numerous disagreeing voice...(and) does so with a distinct voice, incorporating hand-drawn animation and art installations to embody concepts. It also displays narrative verve, keeping its own secrets as it teases out the story... While many of the docs I've seen at the fest explore their chosen topics efficiently, and are compelling on that basis alone, this is the first one I've seen here that seems truly crafted."
–David Dylan Thomas, Blogcritics Magazine
"...which brings us to the trenchant meta-historical commentary of Secrecy, which was co-directed by Peter Galison and Robb Moss. The documentary probes the legal, political, and psychological aspects of the American government's practice of classifying information and traces it back to World war II. While presenting arguments for and against tight control, the film gradually becomes something more unnerving than an expose, screed, or 'white paper' summation—Secrecy describes a metastasizing mentality that can undermine both its own goals and responsible democracy."
–Nicolas Rapold, The New York Sun
"Filmmakers Peter Galison and Robb Moss are sophisticated enough to avoid easy answers and predictable left-wing outrage, focusing instead on the tough issues raised by the institutional use of secrecy, and turning to a diverse and exceedingly well chosen group of lawyers, journalists and government officials to plumb the depths of this rich, and troubling , subject. Moreover, this is an extremely artful, even elegiac piece of cinema, which makes deft use of animation, expressive music and narrative momentum. Such ambitious technique is rarely put to good use in documentaries — usually it's showy and distracting, often at odds with the weighty themes of such films. Most really strong political documentaries, such as Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight, eschew any self-conscious artifice at all. Secrecy goes the other direction, layering its fascinating story with dark beauty, and it merits comparison to the strongest works of masters of the genre like Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) and Errol Morris (The Fog of War)."
–PJ Johnston, San Francisco Sentinel
"In a riveting new documentary called Secrecy, former CIA operative Melissa Boyle Mahle tells the damnedest story about how a spy agency can outfox itself by over-classifying its files. Mahle describes how the CIA's Somalia analysts were deprived of intelligence in other parts of the building because they didn't have a 'need to know.' As a result, they were unable to warn U.S. troops that the rag-tag bands ransacking Mogadishu had been trained up by al Qaeda. As a result of that training, they had the wherewithal to bring down American helicopter gunships. 'They were entering the jihad movement,' she says. 'And yet that Somalia analyst never had access to that intelligence.' And so, Blackhawk down. Eight years later came 9/11, famously labeled a failure to 'connect the dots.' Eyewash. The CIA, FBI and others had dots. They hoarded them like marbles. Supposedly, the post-9/11 uber-spook National Intelligence Directorate has solved that problem, although a continuing stream of worrisome reports don't leave one confident.
But filmmakers Peter Galison and Robb Moss are after far bigger game than insider hijinks in Secrecy, which debuted to stunning reviews at Sundance in January... This vivid and disturbing exposure of the human dimension of the conflict between the government's duty to keep secrets and the peoples' right to know deserves a national audience.... You may think you know everything there is to know about military tribunals and Guantanamo, for example. But watching and listening to a defense lawyer's account of a prison visit — a story that seemed cut from a movie version of a totalitarian state's justice — gave me a new and visceral understanding of how far we've slid...and (the film's) visual power is almost overwhelming."
–Jeff Stein, National Security Editor, Congressional Quarterly
"Among the 100 or so documentaries at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival is the first-rate Secrecy. ... Marshalling a high-calibre line-up of interviewees from myriad backgrounds, including government, military, CIA and academia, Peter Galison and Rob Moss tackle this multi-headed and opaque subject with equanimity and balance. Poignant interviews with relatives from a landmark case that occurred over a half-century ago place state secrecy within its historical context, with commentators explaining why the "need-to-know" system of the Cold War is less secure today than an open system where information is more freely distributed. The intelligence failure of 9/11, where compartmentalized intelligence services couldn't see the full picture, is contrasted with the breakthrough that followed the Unabomber's screeds being published in the media. Information is power, but which information should be shared and with whom? And who should decide what should be kept secret?"
–Robert Alstead, Common Ground
"The inherent tension that exists between the public's right to know and the government's need for confidentiality in the service of national security is the subject of Secrecy, a powerful documentary by Harvard professors Peter Galison and Robb Moss. In addition to historical footage, the film employs a series of pulsating animated drawings, with the white ink against the black background injecting an appropriately unsettling, even sinister tone. Most chilling is the former CIA station chief who defends secrecy on the grounds that it 'allows us the latitude of action to use methods that are not necessarily consistent with our values as a nation.' "
–Jean Oppenheimer, The Village Voice
"In this age of political documentaries, it's always nice to come upon one that strives to be even-handed. Such is the case with Secrecy, which tackles the issue of government secrecy. Is it overused? Does it save lives? Going back to Pearl Harbor in 1941 — which some say could have been avoided if there had been better US intelligence — directors Peter Galison and Robb Moss recall incidents that might have been affected, for good or for bad, by secrecy: the bombing of a Marines barrack in Beirut in 1983, the 1948 crash in Georgia of an Air Force plane that killed three engineers and, of course, Sept. 11, 2001. The directors mix visual innovation with talking heads on both sides of the controversy. Neither side scores a knockout, although the pro-secrecy folks are bloodied."
–V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"Secrecy is equal parts history lesson, meditative essay, didactic poem and call to arms. [Secrecy] explores some chilling corridors of the clandestine. Secrecy acknowledges the necessity, in principle, of hiding certain types of critical information. In practice, the film finds much to be troubled about, starting with the momentous 1953 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Reynolds that set the legal precedent for the state-secrets privilege and was later revealed to have been founded on dubious grounds. Developing its analysis of what it calls 'the modern secrecy system,' ... the movie touches on the push-pull dynamic of the government versus the press; the culture clash between those shaped by the cold-war paradigm of information hoarding and those alert to the networked sensibility of the Internet era; the private toll of covering up; and the great danger to the public of secrecy for its own sake."
–Nathan Lee, The New York Times