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Signs of the Times for Wed, 22 Feb 2006

Signs Editorial:

Tuesday February 21st 2006, 3:13 pm
Kurt Nimmo
David Horowitz, on the paycheck of the reactionary Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and CIA collaborator Richard Scaife's foundation, ranted and raved back at the outset of the Iraqi invasion in early 2003, issuing shrill warnings about a "Fifth Column … preparing to move into action to attempt to defeat America in its war against Saddam." According to Horowitz, the incipient "peace movement is not about peace" but is instead "a fifth column communist movement" determined "to destroy America and give victory to our totalitarian enemies." Horowitz predicted a violent communist revolution in the streets of America-possibly a flashback to earlier times when Horowitz was an antiwar radical responsible for orchestrating an often violent "peace" movement with his high profile Ramparts Magazine (until he decided working for the Straussian neocons was more profitable)-a hateful bedlam that did not occur because the 2003 antiwar movement primarily consisted of average Americans, not "communists" or "America-haters," as Horowitz would have it in his paranoid fantasies.

"On the day after the U.S. military action in Iraq begins, the Fifth Column is preparing to begin its own war at home," Horowitz prognosticated. "The plan is to cause major disruptions-illegal in nature-in cities across the country to disrupt the flow of normal civic life. These actions will tie up Homeland Security forces and create a golden opportunity for domestic terrorists. The Fifth Column left is also planning to invade military bases." Of course, none of this happened because it is no longer 1970 and Horowitz is no longer editorializing for Ramparts or hanging out with the Black Panthers, as he was wont to do in the day.

Nonetheless, paranoids such as David Horowitz have managed to infect influential Congress critters such as Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina, heir apparent of the reactionary reptile Strom Thurmond, and member of the Armed Services and Judiciary committees in the Senate. Earlier this month, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing "on Wartime Executive Power and the National Security Agency's Surveillance Authority," Graham, in an exchange with AG Alberto Gonzales, declared "the administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue fifth column movements" and "I stand by this president's ability, inherent to being commander in chief, to find out about fifth column movements, and I don't think you need a warrant to do that."

In other words the Bill of Rights does not apply to U.S. citizens who "sympathize with the enemy and collaborate with the enemy," even though the idea of Americans collaborating with the resistance in Iraq is nothing short of absurd on its face and, moreover, sympathizing with the victims of Bush's invasion is hardly illegal, although millions of Americans obviously find it offensive. "Senator, the president already said we'd be happy to listen to your ideas," Gonzales enthusiastically responded.

In fact, as we know, the NSA snoop program is not about listening in on "al-Qaeda" phone calls (which do not exist) but rather is more precisely about snooping the email and phone calls of Americans, in particular Americans involved in "a fifth column communist movement," as Horowitz would have it, exercising their one-time constitutional right to petition the government and speak their mind in the commons.

"In less paranoid times, Graham's comments might be viewed by many Americans as a Republican trying to have it both ways-ingratiating himself to an administration of his own party while seeking some credit from Washington centrists for suggesting Congress should have at least a tiny say in how Bush runs the War on Terror," writes Nat Parry. "But recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy."

For instance, this blog-and thousands of other websites-may be considered outlets disseminating information "considered helpful to the enemy" simply because they do not "support the troops," or rather support the "war effort," in fact an effort to illegally occupy a once sovereign nation. For diehard Straussian neocons and their facilitators such as Lindsey Graham, opposition to the invasion and occupation makes one a direct supporter of Osama bin Laden (or his ghost), Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (or his ghost), and Saddam Hussein (or his many doubles). As we know, Bush and the Straussian neocons live in a Manichean world where polarized black and white is the order of the day-you're either with the neocons, neoliberals, and the Zionists or you're with the terrorists, who consist of millions of Muslims in the Middle East (and possibly a billion or more if you throw in the Muslims of Asia and Africa).

There "was that curious development in January when the Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root a $385 million contract to construct detention centers somewhere in the United States, to deal with 'an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs,' KBR said," Parry continues.

Later, the New York Times reported that "KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space." [Feb. 4, 2006]

Like most news stories on the KBR contract, the Times focused on concerns about Halliburton's reputation for bilking U.S. taxpayers by overcharging for sub-par services.

"It's hard to believe that the administration has decided to entrust Halliburton with even more taxpayer dollars," remarked Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California.

Less attention centered on the phrase "rapid development of new programs" and what kind of programs would require a major expansion of detention centers, each capable of holding 5,000 people. Jamie Zuieback, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, declined to elaborate on what these "new programs" might be.

Some of us, however, have a pretty good idea what these "new programs" might very well be. Rex-84 Alpha Explan (Readiness Exercise 1984, Exercise Plan) was a "gaming exercise" created specifically by FEMA and DoD-with the participation of other federal agencies, including the CIA, the Secret Service, the Treasury, the FBI, and the Veterans Administration-to "fight subversive activities" and provide "authorization for the military to implement government ordered movements of civilian populations at state and regional levels," "arrest of certain unidentified segments of the population" and impose "martial rule," according to scholar Diana Reynolds. Rex-84 was part of "Operation Garden Plot," or Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, an outgrowth of the Kerner Commission "study" of "civil disorder" during the Johnson administration in the 1960s. "Garden Plot evolved into a series of annual training exercises based on contingency plans to undercut riots and demonstrations, ultimately developed for every major city in the United States. Participants in the exercises included key officials from all law enforcement agencies in the nation, as well as the National Guard, the military, and representatives of the intelligence community According to the plan, joint teams would react to a variety of scenarios based on information gathered through political espionage and informants. The object was to quell urban unrest," Donald Goldberg and Indy Badhwar wrote for Penthouse Magazine in 1985 (see Frank Morales, U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning: the War at Home).

In 2002, a few months after nine eleven, then AG Ashcroft made the Gestapo round-up aspect of REX-84 a frightening reality, although the corporate media buried the story in characteristic fashion. "Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's announced desire for camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be 'enemy combatants' has moved him from merely being a political embarrassment to being a constitutional menace," Jonathan Turley wrote for the Los Angeles Times. "Ashcroft's plan, disclosed last week but little publicized, would allow him to order the indefinite incarceration of U.S. citizens and summarily strip them of their constitutional rights and access to the courts by declaring them enemy combatants…. The camp plan was forged at an optimistic time for Ashcroft's small inner circle, which has been carefully watching two test cases to see whether this vision could become a reality. The cases of Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi will determine whether U.S. citizens can be held without charges and subject to the arbitrary and unchecked authority of the government."

Hamdi's case went before the Supreme Court on June 28, 2004, and, as Justice O'Connor stated, "a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens." However, O'Connor has since retired, replaced by the Federalist Society reactionary, Samuel Alito, who will undoubtedly rule in favor of an imperial presidency in the not too distant future. On November 22, 2005, José Padilla was indicted on charges he "conspired to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas" after being held without charge since May 8, 2002, thus suspending the Constitution's Fifth and 14th Amendments ("due process of law") and Sixth Amendment (trial by "an impartial jury") for several years.

"It is clear that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about martial law," Peter Dale Scott wrote earlier this month, following a January announcement Halliburton subsidiary KBR had received the little-known $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to build "temporary detention and processing capabilities." In the wake of nine eleven, "new martial law plans began to surface similar to those of FEMA in the 1980s," Scott explains. "In January 2002 the Pentagon submitted a proposal for deploying troops on American streets. One month later John Brinkerhoff, the author of the 1982 FEMA [continuity of government] memo, published an article arguing for the legality of using U.S. troops for purposes of domestic security" in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

"Many critics have alleged that FEMA's spectacular failure to respond to Katrina followed from a deliberate White House policy: of paring back FEMA, and instead strengthening the military for responses to disasters," Scott concludes. "A multimillion program for detention facilities will greatly increase NORTHCOM's [specifically tasked with domestic U.S. military operations] ability to respond to any domestic disorders," apparently including the "disorder" created by "fifth column movements," or people opposed to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and, soon enough, the invasion or at minimum "shock and awe" attack on the next target on the Straussian neocon roster, Iran. "Contrary to popular belief, there is no absolute ban on [military] intelligence components collecting U.S. person information," states a 2001 Defense Department memo that surfaced in January 2005. "MI [military intelligence] may receive information from anyone, anytime," Lt. Gen. Robert W. Noonan Jr., the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, wrote in the memo.

"Despite the Posse Comitatus Act's prohibitions against U.S. military personnel engaging in domestic law enforcement, the Pentagon has expanded its operations beyond previous boundaries, such as its role in domestic surveillance activities," writes Nat Parry. One such operation falls under the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Activity (or CIFA; see my CIFA: The Pentagon's COINTELPRO) "The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago," noted the Washington Post last November. "The proposal, made by a presidential commission-to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage," and more than likely "fifth column" behavior considered treason by at least one senator from South Carolina and no shortage of Straussian neocons, both in the White House and Pentagon.

As the NSA snoop program revealed, "investigating crimes" such as "treason" is not strictly for the likes of CIFA and the Pentagon. "This receipt of information presumably would include data from the National Security Agency, which has been engaging in surveillance of U.S. citizens without court-approved warrants in apparent violation of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act. Bush approved the program of warrantless wiretaps shortly after 9/11," Parry summarizes. "There also may be an even more extensive surveillance program. Former NSA employee Russell D. Tice told a congressional committee on Feb. 14 that such a top-secret surveillance program existed, but he said he couldn't discuss the details without breaking classification laws."

"Tice said he believes it violates the Constitution's protection against unlawful search and seizures but has no way of sharing the information without breaking classification laws," United Press International reported on February 14. "He is not even allowed to tell the congressional intelligence committees-members or their staff-because they lack high enough clearance." As an example to what whistleblowers can expect in the future, the UPI article concludes: "Tice was testifying because he was a National Security Agency intelligence officer who was stripped of his security clearance after he reported his suspicions that a former colleague at the Defense Intelligence Agency was a spy. The matter was dismissed by the DIA, but Tice pressed it later and was subsequently ordered to take a psychological examination, during which he was declared paranoid. He is now unemployed."

Horowitz's reactionary paranoia and mistrust of "communist" antiwar citizens and anti-Bush activists has infected the very highest reaches of the White House and Pentagon, where dissent is considered treason and the Bill of Rights viewed as an impediment to the Straussian neocon plan to destroy Muslim societies and culture. According to Horowitz, "this country was too tolerant toward the treason of its enemies within" and should not repeat the mistake of the Vietnam era, for which he shares partial responsibility. But as Newsweek noted on a sarcastic note, these "seem to be lonely days for the Birkenstock-and-beads set," and for good reason, although unmentioned by the likes of David Horowitz-because the vast majority of people opposed to the invasion and occupation of Iraq are wholly average, not especially radical and certainly not communist, middle class Americans. It is David Horowitz who lives in the past, not the antiwar "movement," which is in fact not even a movement as we understand it, taking the late 60s and early 70s as our yardstick.

Of course, the Straussian neocons running foreign policy and now the national security state out of the Bush White House, Pentagon, Justice and State Departments are not especially concerned with Horowitz's paranoid interior monologue as he chases "communist" ghosts from his antiwar and Black Panther past. Instead, as is the habit of all authoritarians and fascists, the Straussian neocons are simply interested in neutralizing and rendering ineffective any possible opposition-from Code Pink to legions of soccer moms-to their long-held master plan to decimate Islam and establish "American global military supremacy and to thwart the emergence of a rival superpower in Europe, Asia or the former Soviet Union," as spelled out in a 1992 "Defense Planning Guidance" memo crafted under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, then the Pentagon's Under Secretary for policy, and subsequently adopted by the Project for the New American Century in 1997. In order to run "multiple wars" in "multiple theaters," there will need to be zero tolerance for dissent on the home front-and that is what the Ministry of Homeland Security, the NSA snoop program, and CIFA are all about.

In the months ahead, we will see if the Halliburton camps are little more than another stupendous waste of taxpayer money or if the Straussian neocons sincerely intend to populate them with domestic enemies after some "catalyzing event" such as yet another "new Pearl Harbor" designed to light a fire under Iran or other targets on the neocon hit list. If history serves, chances are the latter will come to pass, and with a vengeance, as even a cursory examination of the Straussian philosophy reveals these guys are playing hardball and their teachers consist of the antediluvian Constitution hater Leo Strauss, the master of deception Niccolò Machiavelli, the "overman" theorist Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, and Nazi jurist and "concept of the political" (belligerent totalitarianism) proponent Carl Schmitt. If you throw these together and mix in a bit of Thomas Hobbes ("war of all against all") you certainly have a recipe for not only a crisis of civilization, but nuclear Armageddon.

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