- Bomb Las Vegas, America's gambling Mecca and glittery
playground built on desert sands by mobsters such as Bugsy Siegel, Meyer
Lanksy, and Frank Costello?
- Only al-Qaeda, we are assured, would contemplate such
a depraved act -- and it stands to reason because those varmint Muslims
hate our way of life. They are envious of our freedom to play the nickel
slots and idle away carefree hours perched over blackjack tables -- or
get no fuss, no muss marriages at Circus Circus.
- As it turns out, the ubiquitous al-Qaeda harbored no
such plans to bomb Las Vegas -- or, for that matter, any other target in
America over the most cherished and commercialized of holidays. Apparently,
the whole thing was idle speculation on the part of the Washington Post.
- Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman took umbrage, chastised
the paper for "picking these rumors out of thin air and writing a
major story about them This could have a major effect on our quality of
life here. We depend on people coming here and feeling safe. If I were
the enemy, Vegas would be on the bottom of my list."
- Mr. Goodman, however, is missing the point -- that's
precisely what the Machiavellian Bushites want the American people to do:
agonize over irrational and unsubstantiated claims of vicious terrorists
lurking out there under cover of mistletoe, plotting radiological attacks
and who knows what other evil deeds, determined to destroy our "quality
of life," as well as our way of life, and imperil our sense of inviolability.
- In the week following last year's now largely forgotten
holiday season terror alert -- recall five Arab men who supposedly crossed
into the country via Canada -- the Bushites were rightfully accused of
manufacturing hysteria (resulting in the shut down of New York's harbor)
for political gain. But when no al-Qaeda sleeper cells blew up the Statue
of Liberty or mowed down Christmas shoppers in Times Square, the Bushites
blamed the whole thing on a perfidious informant, Michael Hamdani, an accused
forger of passports and traveller's cheques.
- As if to underscore the fact there's little difference
between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Democratic strategist Russ Barksdale
said at the time fake terror alerts make prefect sense. "Of course
the White House is going to exploit the terrorism threat to the fullest
political advantage. They would be fools not to."
- But when you scratch below the surface it becomes obvious
there are far more tangible and ominous aspects to Bush's manufactured
- After Tom Ridge went before the nation with his nebulous
claim of impending doom and destruction, six casino-hotels owned by the
MGM Mirage conglomerate wasted little time cross-referencing the names
and Social Security numbers of guests and job applicants against those
on law enforcement wanted lists. "We also now have a hotel security
directors association in Las Vegas," MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman
revealed. "They used to focus on passing information on pickpocket
rings, things of that nature. But since 9/11, their mandate has become
so much more serious."
- The USA PATROIT Act rushed on a whirlwind through Congress
now forces businesses to snoop on their customers. Retail businesses, the
telecommunications industry, and financial institutions are required to
violate customer privacy. Section 215 of the act removes probable cause
and allows federal law enforcement to subpoena any "tangible thing"
-- including customer records, library check-out lists, medical records,
and bank account information. All of it now may be shared with the CIA
and other intelligence agencies.
- Even before 9/11 and the passage of PATROIT, the government
was determined to use terrorism as a crowbar to pry into the private lives
- For instance, in June of 2000 the bipartisan National
Commission on Terrorism recommended the FBI and CIA be allowed to "bend
the rules to gather information on terrorist groups," CBS reported
at the time. Even before this, in 1996, the Clinton administration proposed
and Congress passed so-called anti-terrorism legislation that seriously
endangered constitutional and statutory due process protections. PATROIT
has now opened the floodgates and allows the government to further erode
- Earlier this month, the FBI implemented guidelines allowing
the agency to "conduct many more searches and wiretaps that are subject
to oversight by a secret intelligence court rather than regular criminal
courts," an official told the Washington Post. In other words, the
FBI no longer need worry about your civil liberties, specifically privacy
and due-process. Civil libertarians worry the new guidelines will be used
in cases not related to terrorism, such as civil criminal cases.
- "By eliminating any distinction between criminal
and intelligence classifications, it reduces the respect for the ordinary
constitutional protections that people have," Joshua L. Dratel, a
New York lawyer who has filed legal briefs opposing government anti-terrorism
policies, told The Washington Post. "It will result in a funneling
of all cases into an intelligence mode. It's an end run around the Fourth
- But it's not simply the Fourth Amendment under assault
by the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Bushites -- the First Amendment
is under attack as well.
- In November it was revealed that the FBI has meticulously
collected extensive information on the tactics, training, and organization
of antiwar demonstrators. In October the agency sent a memorandum to local
law enforcement agencies sharing this information prior to demonstrations
in Washington and San Francisco.
- "The FBI is dangerously targeting Americans who
are engaged in nothing more than lawful protest and dissent," Anthony
Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told
the New York Times. "The line between terrorism and legitimate civil
disobedience is blurred, and I have a serious concern about whether we're
going back to the days of Hoover" and COINTELPRO.
- "If COINTELPRO had been a short-lived aberration,
the thorny problems of motivation, techniques, and control presented might
be safely relegated to history," reported the Church Committee in
- "However, COINTELPRO existed for years on an 'ad
hoc' basis before the formal programs were instituted, and more significantly,
COINTELPRO-type activities may continue today under the rubric of 'investigation.'"
- Continue on an "ad hoc" basis they surely did
-- as intrusive FBI activities directed against the Committee in Solidarity
with the People of El Salvador, Earth First! and Judi Bari, the General
Union of Palestinian Students, the antiwar activist Brian Wilson and others
after Hoover presumably shuttered COINTELPRO in the early 70s demonstrate.
For as former FBI director Clarence M. Kelley testified before the Church
Committee, when the government believes it is "faced with sufficient
threat, covert disruption is justified" -- and the Constitution be
- Bush's fraudulent terror alerts endeavor to convince
America that "sufficient threat" exists to such a perilous degree
from a largely mythical al-Qaeda that not only is "covert disruption"
necessary -- as the FBI memorandum sent to local law enforcement alludes
-- but a wholesale decimation of the Bill of Rights is also in order. PATROIT
II -- with its specification that troublemakers shall be deported -- wasn't
craft on a whim by legal clerks with nothing better to do at the Justice
Department. It will be enacted and used in due time.
- Sooner or later there will need be a real "terrorist
event" in America, lest Bush earn the same reputation as Aesop's wily
sheep herder who cried wolf. No telling when exactly, but chances are it
will go down late next summer, about the time usually obeisant Democrats
get desperate about the idea of taking back the White House, not they actually
stand a snowball's chance in hell of doing so.
- Gen. Tommy Franks was not talking through his helmet
-- these guys actually believe democracy is a "grand experiment"
that has exceed its shelf life. So stay tuned for a "casualty-producing
event... that causes our population to question our own Constitution and
to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another
mass, casualty-producing event."
- Martial law is rarely kind to dissenters.
- Another Day in the Empire Weblog