Residents of western Michigan need fear terrorists no more. Courtesy of a Homeland Security grant, 13 counties are now prepared to thwart any and all terrorist attacks with… snow-cone machines. According to the Greenville Daily News, the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC), “a federal- and state-designated agency responsible for managing and administrating the homeland security program in Montcalm County and 12 other counties[,] … recently purchased and transferred homeland security equipment to these counties — including 13 snow cone machines at a total cost of $11,700.” (WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids puts the price tag at a mere $6,200.) WMSRDC got the money for the machines and other equipment via a grant from the Michigan Homeland Security Program.
In the midst of allegations of police brutality and police aggression at the OWS protests, the U.S. Senate approved a bill that is said to “explicitly create a police state”: the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA, passed by a vote of 93 to 7, virtually stated that all of the United States may be considered a battlefield, and therefore the American military is permitted to indefinitely detain any American perceived to be a threat.
Several amendments were proposed by both Democrats and Republican Senators, which would have deleted the dangerous provisions that would allow the indefinite detention of American citizens. While most of those amendments were overwhelming voted down, a single compromise amendment was passed that was intended to quell fears that American citizens may be imprisoned indefinitely, though skeptics remain uncomfortable with the final outcome.
Well, now they have done it. On Tuesday a bipartisan total of 61 Senators voted for and only 37 voted against provisions in latest Defense Authorization Act that would authorize the President of the United States to arrest and detain indefinitely, without charges or trial, people suspected of being enemies, or linked to enemies of the United States.
Most Democrats voted against the provisions but only two Republicans voted nay — despite the fact that it is the Republicans more than the Democrats who talk about the importance of abiding by the Constitution. The two Republican Senators who have both read and respected the Constitution of the United States and therefore voted against the travesty were Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The vote is such a blatant thumbing of senatorial noses at the Constitution of the United States that it might even be called revolutionary — or counterrevolutionary, meaning that it is an attempt to at least partially overthrow the revolution against the tyranny of the British crown beginning with the Declaration of Independence in 1776. When former Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) was criticized by some of his Senate colleagues for following a line of reasoning that is “pre-911,” the Senator, who cast the lone Senate vote against the controversial Patriot Act, replied that his critics were exhibiting a manner of reasoning that might be called “pre-1776.”
“I cannot comprehend how my teenage grandson was killed by a Hellfire missile,” a grieving grandfather complained to Time magazine, “how nothing was left of him except small pieces of flesh. Why? Is America safer now that a boy was killed?”
President Obama had authorized the drone strike that killed the 16-year-old American boy in October. He had also authorized a different drone strike in Yemen that killed the boy’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki, two weeks earlier. Anwar al-Awlaki had attached himself to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Like his son, he was a native-born American and U.S. citizen and had never been formally charged with a crime. But Obama stressed in a press conference after the drone killing of the elder Awlaki that the father had been killed because he had taken “the lead in planning and directing efforts to murder innocent Americans.”
In what may be a tale too bizarre to be believed by millions of Americans, the U.S. Senate appears ready to pass a bill that will designate the entire earth, including the United States and its territories, one all-encompassing “battlefield” in the global “war on terror” and authorize the detention of Americans suspected of terrorist ties indefinitely and without trial or even charges being filed that would necessitate a trial.
The bill could come to a vote as early as today, according to a bulletin issued by the American Civil Liberties Union. The legislation “goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans,” the ACLU statement said, describing the bill as having moved toward passage while most Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving and a long holiday weekend for millions of U.S. workers. “The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself,” the ACLU warned.
Labeled the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 1867 was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and approved in a closed-door committee meeting, according to the ACLU statement.
The new Libyan regime has promised to pursue political and economic integration with Sudan’s genocidal “President” Omar al-Bashir, designated a state sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. government since 1993 and wanted internationally for war crimes. Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil arrived in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on November 25 for talks with the socialist, Islamist despot ruling Sudan. According to news reports, he was received with open arms.
The two neighboring rulers lavished praises on each other's regimes and promised to pursue close cooperation on everything from “security” to transportation. Al Bashir also emphasized his disdain for late Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, who supported various rebel groups in Darfur and South Sudan.
"The Libyan people have presented the greatest gift for the Sudanese people, that is, liberating Libya from Gadhafi and his regime," al-Bashir told Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) during a conference held while Jalil was visiting. "The biggest harm inflicted on Sudan was by Gadhafi's regime. It was bigger than any harm caused by any of the colonialist countries hostile to Sudan."
A non-profit organization that receives taxpayer funding and works closely with the Department of Homeland Security is under fire for promoting unjustified terror and fear among the public about terrorism, claiming that Americans should be suspicious even of their best friends and neighbors.
Known as The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (The CELL), the organization produces propaganda designed to hype the threat of terrorism and persuade citizens that they can join the terror-war, too. It includes, among other ventures, a full-scale museum exhibit entitled “Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: Understanding the Threat of Terrorism” that presents terror as one of the gravest dangers facing humanity today.
“If this sounds like an expensive, museum-size example of America's paranoia, that's because it is,” noted a piece from The Economist by Alexander Ewing. “Indeed, the exhibition includes a Rand Corporation expert who notes that the probability of an American being killed in a terror attack is about one in a million, compared to one-in-7,000 or -8,000 chance of being killed in a car accident.”
On November 19, the New York Police Department arrested 27-year-old Jose Pimentel on charges of plotting to explode pipe bombs in New York City and the surrounding area. The next day city officials called a press conference to announce the NYPD’s great triumph in preventing terrorism by an alleged “al-Qaeda sympathizer” whom Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly described as “a total lone wolf.”
It turns out, however, that Pimentel was far from a lone wolf. As in so many other proudly proclaimed victories against domestic terrorists, he appears to have been greatly assisted by a paid government informant. In fact, the New York Times reports that the informant’s role was so significant that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, itself no stranger to busting terrorist plots instigated largely by its own informers, chose to drop its own investigation into Pimentel despite repeated pleas for cooperation from the NYPD.
The United Kingdom has announced that it will continue to use airport body scanners and backscatter X-ray scanners and will not permit passengers to opt out of the machines if they are chosen for further screening — despite reports of the potential dangers posed by radiation from the machines. The announcement follows the European Commission’s adoption of strict new guidelines regarding the limited use of the body scanners and a full ban of the backscatter X-ray scanners pending further studies.