The Militant Libertarian

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

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Farcical Definition at the Heart of the War on Terrorism

by James Bovard, January 30, 2006

A recent denunciation of U.S. government foreign policy offers insights into a paradox of the war of terrorism. On January 24, 2006, the East Timor Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation denounced the U.S. government for backing the 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor. In the following decades, a quarter million East Timorese residents died as a result of this incursion. The commission declared that U.S. “political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation.”

The Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor were among the most barbaric actions of the late 20th century. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met with Indonesian President Suharto in Jakarta the day before the invasion and gave U.S. approval. The primary concern of U.S. officials seemed to be to get back to Washington before the bloodbath began. Kissinger told Suharto, “We understand your problem and the need to move quickly but I am only saying that it would be better if it were done after we returned.” Kissinger, doing his best imitation of Lady Macbeth, urged Suharto, “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.”

Indonesia used U.S. military weapons to bombard East Timor and to crush resistance. The Indonesian military finally left East Timor in 1999, inflicting one more orgy of burning and killing on the island in the final days before its exit.

More people died as a result of the U.S.-backed invasion of East Timor than were killed by international terrorists in the subsequent 30 years. According to the U.S. State Department, between 1980 and 2005 fewer than 25,000 people were killed in international terrorist incidents around the globe.

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Monday, January 30, 2006

Tax Protestation!

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Out of Touch?

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

These Are The Dictator’s Secret Police

by Paul Craig Roberts

A provision in the "PATRIOT Act" creates a new federal police force with the
power to violate the Bill of Rights. You might think that this cannot be
true, as you have not read about it in newspapers or heard it discussed by
talking heads on TV.

Go to House Report 109-333 USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act
of 2005 and check it out for yourself. Sec. 605 reads:

"There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be
known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.'"

This new federal police force is "subject to the supervision of the
Secretary of Homeland Security."

The new police are empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any
offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any
felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have
reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed
or is committing such felony."

The new police are assigned a variety of jurisdictions, including "an event
designated under section 3056(e) of title 18 as a special event of national
significance" (SENS).

"A special event of national significance" is neither defined nor does it
require the presence of a "protected person" such as the president in order
to trigger it. Thus, the administration, and perhaps the police themselves,
can place the SENS designation on any event. Once a SENS designation is
placed on an event, the new federal police are empowered to keep out and
arrest people at their discretion.

The language conveys enormous discretionary and arbitrary powers. What is
"an offense against the United States"? What are "reasonable grounds"?

You can bet the Alito/Roberts court will rule that it is whatever the
executive branch says.

The obvious purpose of the act is to prevent demonstrations at Bush/Cheney
events. However, nothing in the language limits the police powers from being
used only in this way. Like every law in the U.S., this law also will be
expansively interpreted and abused. It has dire implications for freedom of
association and First Amendment rights. We can take for granted that the new
federal police will be used to suppress dissent and to break up opposition.
The Brownshirts are now arming themselves with a Gestapo.

Many naïve Americans will write to me to explain that this new provision in
the reauthorization of the "PATRIOT Act" is necessary to protect the
president and other high officials from terrorists or from harm at the hands
of angry demonstrators: "No one else will have anything to fear." Some will
accuse me of being an alarmist, and others will say that it is unpatriotic
to doubt the law's good intentions.

Americans will write such nonsense despite the fact that the president and
foreign dignitaries are already provided superb protection by the Secret
Service. The naïve will not comprehend that the president cannot be
endangered by demonstrators at SENS at which the president is not present.
For many Americans, the light refuses to turn on.

In Nazi Germany, did no one but Jews have anything to fear from the Gestapo?

By Stalin's time, Lenin and Trotsky had eliminated all members of the
"oppressor class," but that did not stop Stalin from sending millions of
"enemies of the people" to the Gulag.

It is extremely difficult to hold even local police forces accountable. Who
is going to hold accountable a federal police protected by Homeland Security
and the president?

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