The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Thursday, May 19, 2005


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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

FBI Sued Over Monitoring of Activist Groups


Five civil rights, animal rights and environmental groups are joining together to sue the FBI to release records about monitoring of anti-war and other political activities by federal agents assigned to counterterrorism duties.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the decision to file a lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington came after the FBI ignored Freedom of Information Act requests for the documents. The other organizations involved are the American-Arab Anti-discrimination Committee, Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and United for Peace and Justice.

The groups say they have been subjected to scrutiny by task forces set up to combat terrorism.

"We think that if they have some reason to hide from the public the files they have on political and religious groups, we want to know right now what it is," said Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director.

The FBI has denied singling out individuals or groups for surveillance or investigation based solely on activities protected by the Constitution's guarantees of free speech. Officials have said agents adhere strictly to Justice Department guidelines requiring evidence of criminal activity or indications that a person may know something about a crime.

The ACLU has been seeking FBI files on a broad range of individuals and groups that have been interviewed, investigated or subjected to searches by the task forces. The requests also sought information on how the task forces are funded, to determine if they are rewarded with government money by labeling high numbers of cases as related to terrorism.

The ACLU provided a list of examples, including the Quaker-affiliated American Friends Service Committee that had been monitored by Denver police and was listed as an "active case" by a local terrorism task force.

The FBI did release some records sought by the ACLU. They concern two political activists in Colorado, one of them a 21-year-old intern for the Friends group.

Sarah Bardwell has no criminal record, according to a partially censored report from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Denver. The report said her Denver residence was "found to be associated" with two groups that were of interest to the FBI.

Bardwell said one of the groups, Food Not Bombs, distributes vegetarian food to the hungry. "They are stretching as far as they can to insinuate that these organizations are doing something wrong," she said.

The other person whose FBI file was released is Scott Silber, 29, a former labor organizer for the Service Employees International Union. "The FBI was engaging in a campaign to intimidate people who were working on progressive causes," he said.

The FBI, in a statement, said it sought to interview Bardwell, Silber and others in Colorado "based on a specific and credible threat" of violence at last summer's Democratic National Convention in Boston.

© 2005 The Associated Press; © Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

Rudyard Kipling, 1919

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place.
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four --
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

* * * * *

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man --
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began --
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire --
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

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Airline Bailout

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