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Guest Post By John Whitehead
Imagine living in a country where armed soldiers crash through doors to arrest and imprison citizens merely for criticizing government officials. Imagine that in this very same country, you’re watched all the time, and if you look even a little bit suspicious, the police stop and frisk you or pull you over to search you on the off chance you’re doing something illegal. Keep in mind that if you have a firearm of any kind while in this country, it may get you arrested and, in some circumstances, shot by police.
If you’re thinking this sounds like America today, you wouldn’t be far wrong. However, the scenario described above took place more than 200 years ago, when American colonists suffered under Great Britain’s version of an early police state. It was only when the colonists finally got fed up with being silenced, censored, searched, frisked, threatened, and arrested that they finally revolted against the tyrant’s fetters.
No document better states their grievances than the Declaration of Independence. A document seething with outrage over a government which had betrayed its citizens, the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, by 56 men who laid everything on the line, pledged it all—“our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”—because they believed in a radical idea: that all people are created to be free.
Labeled traitors, these men were charged with treason, a crime punishable by death. For some, their acts of rebellion would cost them their homes and their fortunes. For others, it would be the ultimate price—their lives. Yet even knowing the heavy price they might have to pay, these men dared to speak up when silence could not be tolerated. Even after they had won their independence from Great Britain, these new Americans worked to ensure that the rights they had risked their lives to secure would remain secure for future generations. The result: our Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
Imagine the shock and outrage these 56 men would feel were they to discover that 238 years later, the government they had risked their lives to create has been transformed into a militaristic police state in which exercising one’s freedoms is often viewed as a flagrant act of defiance. Indeed, had the Declaration of Independence been written today, it would have rendered its signers terrorists, resulting in them being placed on a government watch list, targeted for surveillance of their activities and correspondence, and potentially arrested, held indefinitely, stripped of their rights and labeled enemy combatants.
Indeed, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, a cursory review of the true state of our freedoms as outlined in the Bill of Rights shows exactly how dismal things have become:
The First Amendment is supposed to protect the freedom to speak your mind and protest in peace without being bridled by the government. It also protects the freedom of the media, as well as the right to worship and pray without interference. In other words, Americans cannot be silenced by the government. Yet despite the clear protections found in the First Amendment, the freedoms described therein are under constant assault. Whether it’s a Marine detained for criticizing the government on Facebook, a reporter persecuted for refusing to reveal his sources, or a protester arrested for standing silently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, these are dangerous times for those who choose to exercise their rights.
The Second Amendment was intended to guarantee “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Yet while gun ownership has been recognized as an individual citizen right, Americans continue to face an uphill battle in the courts when it comes to defending themselves against militarized, weaponized government agents armed to the hilt. In fact, court rulings in recent years have affirmed that citizens don’t have the right to resist police officers who enter their homes illegally, mistakenly or otherwise.
The Third Amendment reinforces the principle that civilian-elected officials are superior to the military by prohibiting the military from entering any citizen’s home without “the consent of the owner.” Unfortunately, the wall of separation between civilian and military policing has been torn down in recent years, as militarized SWAT teams are now allowed to burst into homes unannounced in order to investigate minor crimes such as marijuana possession and credit card fraud. With domestic police increasingly posing as military forces—complete with weapons, uniforms, assault vehicles, etc.—a good case could be made for the fact that SWAT team raids constitute the forced quartering of soldiers within the private home, which the Third Amendment was written to prevent.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits government agents from touching you or placing you under surveillance or entering your property without probable cause and even then, only with a court-sanctioned warrant. Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment has been all but eviscerated in recent years by court rulings and government programs that sanction all manner of intrusions, including giving police carte blanche authority to break into homes or apartments without a warrant, conduct roadside strip searches, and generally manhandle any person in manner they see fit. Moreover, in the so-called name of national security, intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency now have the ability to conduct mass unwarranted electronic intrusions into the personal and private transactions of all Americans, including phone, mail, computer and medical records. All of this data is available to other government agencies, including local police.
The Fifth Amendment is supposed to ensure that you are innocent until proven guilty, and government authorities cannot deprive you of your life, your liberty or your property without following strict legal guidelines. Unfortunately, those protections have been largely extinguished in recent years, especially in the wake of Congress’ passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain Americans indefinitely without due process.
The Sixth Amendment was intended to not only ensure a “speedy and public trial,” but it was supposed to prevent the government from keeping someone in jail for unspecified offenses. That too has been a casualty of the so-called war on terror. Between the NDAA’s indefinite detention clause and the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) legislation, which has been used as justification for using drones to kill American citizens in the absence of a court trial, the Sixth Amendment’s guarantees become meaningless.
The Seventh Amendment guarantees citizens the right to a jury trial. However, when the populace has no idea of what’s in the Constitution—civic education has virtually disappeared from most school curriculums—that inevitably translates to an ignorant jury incapable of distinguishing justice and the law from their own preconceived notions and fears.
The Eighth Amendment is similar to the Sixth in that it is supposed to protect the rights of the accused and forbid the use of cruel and unusual punishment. However, the Supreme Court’s determination that what constitutes “cruel and unusual” should be dependent on the “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society” leaves us with little protection in the face of a society lacking in morals altogether. America’s continued reliance on the death penalty, which has been shown to be flawed in its application and execution, is a perfect example of this.
The Ninth Amendment provides that other rights not enumerated in the Constitution are nonetheless retained by the people. Popular sovereignty—the belief that the power to govern flows upward from the people rather than downward from the rulers—is clearly evident in this amendment. However, it has since been turned on its head by a centralized federal government that sees itself as supreme and which continues to pass more and more laws that restrict our freedoms under the pretext that it has an “important government interest” in doing so. Thus, once the government began violating the non-enumerated rights granted in the Ninth Amendment, it was only a matter of time before it began to trample the enumerated rights of the people, as explicitly spelled out in the rest of the Bill of Rights.
As for the Tenth Amendment’s reminder that the people and the states retain every authority that is not otherwise mentioned in the Constitution, that assurance of a system of government in which power is divided among local, state and national entities has long since been rendered moot by the centralized Washington, DC power elite—the president, Congress and the courts. Indeed, the federal governmental bureaucracy has grown so large that it has made local and state legislatures relatively irrelevant. Through its many agencies, the federal government has stripped states of the right to regulate countless issues that were originally governed at the local level.
Thus, even on those rare occasions when the courts provide us with a slight glimmer of hope that all may not be lost, those brief reprieves of judicial sensibility are quickly overwhelmed by a bureaucratic machine that continues to march relentlessly in lockstep with the police state.
This brings me back to those 56 men who risked everything—their fortunes and their lives—to speak truth to power in that sweltering Philadelphia heat 238 summers ago. Of those 56 signers, 9 died during the Revolution, 5 were captured by British soldiers, 18 had their homes looted and burned by the Red Coats, 2 were wounded in battle and 2 lost their sons during the war. Remarkably, these men—who were community leaders, business owners, judges, lawyers and inventors—sacrificed their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor so that you and I could live freely in a nation where we have the right to stand up and speak out against tyrannical government. In the face of torture and even death, they did not waver.
The choice before us is clear. In the words of Patrick Henry, will we choose dangerous freedom or peaceful slavery?
TODAY 19 REASIONS THE GOVERNMENT MIGHT THINK YOU ARE DOMESTIC TERRORIST.
1. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my government perpetrating crimes against the world . (Iraq, Ukraine, Syria,
2. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my government stripping me of my constitutional rights.
3. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my government and there immigration laws.
4. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with no knock raids by law enforcement officers. (includes
DHS,ATF,NSA, SWAT Teams BLM)
5. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with the governments version of what happen on 9/11.
6. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my governments version of what happen at the Sandy Hook School
7. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my governments version of what happened at the Boston bombings
8.. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my government on the right to keep and bear arms.
9. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my government on the NSA’s right to spy on me.
10. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with the president of the United States.
11. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I am
not a Democrat.
12. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my government forcing health care I cannot afford.
13. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
speak out about the crimes my governments commits.
14. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I question my Government.
15. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I am
an American veteran.
16. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my government on gay rights.
17. I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because I
disagree with my government on freedom of religion.
18 I am a domestic terrorist in my own country because my
government disagrees with me for being prepared for having a supply of food and
water in case of a local or national emergency.(Also known as being a prepper).
19. I am a domestic
terrorist in the eyes of my government because I am an American citizen
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Newly uncovered components of a digital surveillance tool used by more than 60 governments worldwide provide a rare glimpse at the extensive ways law enforcement and intelligence agencies use the tool to surreptitiously record and steal data from mobile phones.
The modules, made by the Italian company Hacking Team, were uncovered by researchers working independently of each other at Kaspersky Lab in Russia and the Citizen Lab in Canada, who say the findings provide great insight into the trade craft behind Hacking Team’s tools.
The new components target Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry users and are part of Hacking Team’s larger suite of tools used for targeting desktop computers and laptops. But the iOS and Android modules provide cops and spooks with a robust menu of features to give them complete dominion over targeted phones.
They allow, for example, for covert collection of emails, text messages, call history and address books, and they can be used to log keystrokes and obtain search history data. They can take screenshots, record audio from the phones to monitor calls or ambient conversations, hijack the phone’s camera to snap pictures or piggyback on the phone’s GPS system to monitor the user’s location. The Android version can qlso enable the phone’s Wi-Fi function to siphon data from the phone wirelessly instead of using the cell network to transmit it. The latter would incur data charges and raise the phone owner’s suspicion.
“Secretly activating the microphone and taking regular camera shots provides constant surveillance of the target—which is much more powerful than traditional cloak and dagger operations,” notes Kaspersky researcher Sergey Golovanov in a blog post about the findings.
It’s long been known that law enforcement and intelligence agencies worldwide use Hacking Team’s tools to spy on computer and mobile phone users—including, in some countries, to spy on political dissidents, journalists and human rights advocates. This is the first time, however, that the modules used to spy on mobile phone users have been uncovered in the wild and reverse-engineered.
Kaspersky and Citizens Lab discovered them after developing new methods to search for code fragments and digital certificates used by Hacking Team’s tools.
The modules work in conjunction with Hacking Team’s core surveillance tool, known as the Remote Control System, which the company markets under the names Da Vinci and Galileo.
In a sleek marketing video for Galileo, Hacking Team touts the tool as the perfect solution for obtaining hard-to-reach data—such as data taken by a suspect across borders or data and communications that never leave the target’s computer and therefore can’t be siphoned in transit.
“You want to look through your targets’s eyes,” says the video. “While your target is browsing the web, exchanging documents, receiving SMS….”
Hacking Team’s tools are controlled remotely through command-and-control servers set up by Hacking Team’s law enforcement and intelligence agency customers to monitor multiple targets.
Kaspersky has tracked more than 350 command-and-control servers created for this purpose in more than 40 countries. While Kaspersky found only one or two servers in most of these countries, the researchers found 64 in the United States—by far the most. Kazakhstan followed with 49, Ecuador with 35 and the United Kingdom with 32. It’s not known for certain whether law enforcement agencies in the U.S. use Hacking Team’s tool or if these servers are used by other governments. But as Kaspersky notes, it makes little sense for governments to maintain their command servers in foreign countries where they run the risk of losing control over the servers.
In addition to the modules that were uncovered, Citizen Lab obtained from an anonymous source a copy of the lengthy user’s manual that Hacking Team provides customers. The illustrated document explains in detail how to build the surveillance infrastructure needed to deliver implants to targeted devices and to use the software tool’s dashboard to manage intelligence gleaned from infected computers and phones.
“This gives new visibility into the operational procedures of lawful intercept malware,” says Citizen Lab researcher Morgan Marquis-Boire. “Previous research has allowed us to understand how the software works. This allows us a holistic view of how this type of targeted surveillance is conducted.”
The modules and training manual all show that Hacking Team is well aware of the attention its products have received from researchers in recent years and has taken several steps to thwart attempts to understand how its spy tools work.
“They are well aware that their product may show up on the analyst chopping block at some stage, and they’re taking various steps to mitigate this risk,” says Marquis-Boire.
The Android spy module, for example, uses obfuscation to make it harder to reverse-engineer and examine the module. And before installing itself on machines, Hacking Team’s main spy tool has scouting agents that conduct reconnaissance to identify anything on a system that might detect it.
Once on a system, the iPhone module uses advance techniques to avoid draining the phone’s battery, turning on the phone’s microphone, for example, only under certain conditions.
“They can just turn on the mic and record everything going on around the victim, but the battery life is limited, and the victim can notice something is wrong with the iPhone, so they use special triggers,” says Costin Raiu, head of Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis team.
One of those triggers might be when the victim’s phone connects to a specific WiFi network, such as a work network, signaling the owner is in an important environment. “I can’t remember having seen such advanced techniques in other mobile malware,” he says.
Hacking Team’s mobile tools also have a “crisis” module that kicks in when they sense the presence of certain detection activities occurring on a device, such as packet sniffing, and then pause the spyware’s activity to avoid detection. There is also a “wipe” function to erase the tool from infected systems. Hacking Team asserts that this will uninstall and erase all traces of the tools, but Citizen Lab discovered that initiating a wipe on some mobile phones creates telltale signs. On a BlackBerry, for example, it causes the device to automatically restart. On Android devices, the uninstall can, under certain conditions, cause a prompt to appear onscreen asking permission from the user to uninstall an application called “DeviceInfo”—the name the Android spy tool uses for itself.
In addition to the variety of obfuscation measures the tools use, Hacking Team also advises customers to set up several anonymous proxy servers through which to route data stolen from victim machines. In this way, researchers and victims won’t be able to easily follow the path the data takes back to command servers. Oddly, Hacking Team borrows the logo of the hacktivist group Anonymous—an empty black business suit—to designate the anonymized proxy servers in its user manual.
Hacking Team first developed its Remote Control System spy suite in 2001. Initially it was a free, open-source tool for conducting man-in-the-middle attacks and was used by hackers and security researchers alike. Soon, however, police in Milan contacted the two authors of the tool—Alberto Ornaghi and Marco Valleri—for help developing something to eavesdrop on Skype communications. Work on this tool evolved into RCS.
Hacking Team has long argued that its products are intended for lawful governmental interception only and that it won’t sell its products to repressive regimes and countries blacklisted by NATO. But its spy suite reportedly has been used to spy on the citizen journalist group Mamfakinch in Morocco and appears to have been used by someone in Turkey to target a woman in the U.S. who was a vocal critical of Turkey’s Gulen movement.
Indeed, the Android spy module that Citizen Lab uncovered was masquerading as a legitimate news app for Qatif Today, an Arabic-language news and information service that covers the Qatif region in eastern Saudi Arabia. The government of Saudi Arabia has faced off several times in the last few years against Shia protestors in the Qatif region who have demanded political reform from the Sunni government and the release of political prisoners.
Although the Citizen Lab researchers are careful to point out that they don’t know for certain that the Saudi government is using the Hacking Team tool to spy on political dissidents, circumstantial evidence shows this may be the case.
The malicious Qatif Today app was discovered after someone uploaded the file in March to the VirusTotal web site—a site owned by Google that aggregates several dozen antivirus scanners to detect malware. The file was signed with a bogus certificate that appeared to belong to Sun Microsystems. Citizen Lab found evidence that a Twitter account of interest to Shiites in Qatif may have been used to tweet a link to the malicious file to lure targets into downloading it onto their phones.
While Hacking Team’s core Galileo tool for spying on computers is valuable for governments, the mobile spy modules are particularly attractive to repressive regimes where activists and others use their mobile phones to organize and stay connected during protests.
Cops can install the phone implants directly onto a mobile device if they have physical access to it. But they can also install the implants if a user connects the mobile device to a computer—for example, to charge the device—and the computer is already infected with Da Vinci or Galileo.
The iOS spy module works only on jailbroken iPhones, but agents can simply run a jailbreaking tool and then install the spyware. The only thing protecting a user from a surreptitious jailbreak is enabling a password on the device. But if the device is connected to a computer infected with Da Vinci or Galileo software and the user unlocks the device with a password, the malware on the computer can surreptitiously jailbreak the phone to install the spy tool.
So far, the researchers haven’t uncovered any methods used for remotely infecting phones with the Hacking Team malware via a phishing attack or a malicious web site.
Citizen Lab points out in its report on the malware that it’s important to understand how Hacking Team’s tools work, since they are powerful weapons, no different from the types of tools used by nation states against one another. But in this case they’re employed by government customers not against other government targets but against ordinary citizens.
“This type of exceptionally invasive toolkit, once a costly boutique capability deployed by intelligence communities and militaries, is now being marketed for targeting everyday criminality and ‘security threats,’” they write. “An unstated assumption is that the entities able to buy these tools will use them correctly, and primarily for law enforcement purposes. As our research has shown, however, by dramatically lowering the entry cost on invasive and hard-to-trace monitoring, it lowers the cost of targeting political threats” too.
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Guest Post by Carl Herman
“The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.” – President Harry Truman, Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman (1974), Merle Miller, pg. 26.
The Bundy land case raises questions of US federal authority on the ~80% of Nevada they claim to “own.” It’s also a spark for Americans to act on a local issue within a context of US government “leaders” engaging in OBVIOUS crimes centering in war, money, and media (also in ~100 other crucial areas).
US land claims (and here) in Nevada and throughout the US Southwest originate in similar crimes to current US lie-started, treaty-violating, unlawful Wars of Aggression. These claims are from violating treaties with Native Americans, and a lie-started, treaty-violating, unlawful invasive war on Mexico.
If the land in question was stolen by the US federal government, and used US military to do so only with unlawful orders and lies to our trusting soldiers and families, then we have strong arguments that all ensuing claims of the federal government are void because anything passed as so-called “law” in obvious violation to the US Constitution is void with zero legal force.
US land claims on this stolen land are closer to the argument, “All land is the King’s land” than comprehensively truthful public consideration of what is and is not in the public’s best interests under a representative democratic republic of limited government under the US Constitution. US key policies are also far closer to fascism than a republic limited under law.
And that said, again, the big picture action is to arrest US “leadership” from more obvious crimes and lies in the present in war, money, and media (plus ~100 other crucial areas)
The Mexican-American War is vitally important to understand because it sets the precedent of a US president lying, violating clear treaty, and the US stealing resources at the expense of thousands of deaths of US soldiers, and many multiples of those deaths of the people we attacked. Then, as today, the majority of Americans believed their “leaders” in ignorance of the facts, and without media’s coverage of clear voices like Abraham Lincoln’s to explain the facts.
The US invaded Mexico in 1846 despite it being a clear treaty violation and upon clear lies of US President Polk: “ American blood shed upon the American soil.” The result of the war was the US taking 40% of Mexico’s land. Although historians note that freshman member of Congress Abraham Lincoln was/is correct that the president lied and violated a treaty with criminal complicity of Congress, both parties’ and media propaganda allowed the war to move forward without criminal prosecution. The House of Representatives had enough votes to censure the president for, “a war unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States,” but not to impeach. Importantly, I’m unaware of any historian’s rational challenge to this history, despite the lies of omission you’ll read in corporate media textbooks today.
But don’t believe any expert or me; use your critical thinking skills. This is as easy as our baseball rule analogy that when a person knows the rule when a runner is safe or out at first base, there’s no need to ask anyone. If you know that:
a treaty is defined in Article Six of the US Constitution as the “Supreme Law of the Land,”
the US had the Adams-Onís Treaty with Mexico (originally with Spain and formally transferred to Mexico in 1831) in crystal-clear language regarding the areas of the now Southwest US (including Texas with all the “border dispute” lands because the Sabine River between Louisiana and today’s Texas was the agreed border): “The two high contracting parties agree to cede and renounce all their rights, claims, and pretensions to the territories described by the said line, that is to say: The United States hereby cede to His Catholic Majesty, and renounce forever, all their rights, claims, and pretensions, to the territories lying west and south of the above-described line; and, in like manner, His Catholic Majesty cedes to the said United States all his rights, claims, and pretensions to any territories east and north of the said line, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, renounces all claim to the said territories forever.”
Therefore, the US Supreme Law was to forever recognize Texas and the now Southwest as Mexico’s land.
In baseball, you can (and do) say, “I know where first base is. I know when a runner is clearly safe or out at first base.” In this “current event” of life and death from our past, you can and should say, “I know what a treaty means. I know what a border means. I know when the US is 400 miles over the border that was defined in a treaty that they’re obviously into Mexico and not on American soil.” You may even artistically add, “Duh.”
Abraham Lincoln recognized claimed “reasons” for a “defensive war” against Mexico were obvious lies when inspected. Lincoln’s speech as a Member in the House of Representatives:
“I carefully examined the President’s messages, to ascertain what he himself had said and proved upon the point. The result of this examination was to make the impression, that taking for true, all the President states as facts, he falls far short of proving his justification; and that the President would have gone farther with his proof, if it had not been for the small matter, that the truth would not permit him… Now I propose to try to show, that the whole of this, — issue and evidence — is, from beginning to end, the sheerest deception.”
And Lincoln in a letter to his law partner:
“Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, — “I see no probability of the British invading us”; but he will say to you, “Be silent: I see it, if you don’t.””
I invite you to read Lincoln’s “ Spot Resolutions” for yourself to explain, document, and prove the US president of his day lying and leading an unlawful war for resources as an example of why Lincoln is considered to be one of the most brilliant writers in American history. If passed, Congress would have demanded President Polk to come before them and respond to Lincoln’s questions.
Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his taxes to support the unlawful war, and was jailed. Despite Lincoln having all the facts on his side, because the president, majority of Congress, and majority of the press wanted this war as an expression of the racist “ Manifest Destiny,” Lincoln didn’t have the votes to pass the Spot Resolutions. In fact, Lincoln was called “unpatriotic” and “Spotty” in derision by both parties’ “leadership” and the press.
Lincoln became so unpopular from these intentional lies and propaganda that he had no chance for re-election.
The war killed over 50,000 Mexicans and over 5,000 Americans, and is a clear historical precedent for US “leadership” to choose lies, dictatorship, and War of Aggression rather than truth, limited government under the law, and peace. In addition, the concluding Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo under Article VIII stated property ownership remained under those current owners. The long history from then to US “ownership” claims today I’m sure has abundant hypocrisy and crimes.
Although this history of the Mexican-American War is uncontroversially factual and as far as I’m aware undisputed among professional historians, corporate media-published high school textbooks will only state that the causes of war were a “border dispute” and repeat President Polk’s claims that Mexico invaded the US with “American blood shed on American soil.”
This is a massive lie of omission and commission to not communicate at least the preceding few paragraphs.
If history texts explained that a US President was the war-mongering liar that Lincoln explained in his speech and documented in the Spot Resolutions, and that Congress voted in criminal complicity to shred a US treaty, lie to the American public about who invaded whom, and be guilty of war-murdering tens of thousands of human beings, would you look at current US wars from the benefit of that accurate history?
“At first blush, a man is not capable of reporting truth; he must be drenched and saturated with it first.” – Henry David Thoreau, I to myself: an annotated selection from the journal of Henry D. Thoreau, 1837. Thoreau, like Abraham Lincoln, recognized claimed “reasons” for a “defensive war” against Mexico were obvious lies when inspected.
Perhaps this famous quote makes better sense now:
“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Vol. 1.
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THE END OF PRIVATE PROPERTY IN THE ERA OF THE AMERICAN POLICE STATE
Dec. 10, 2013 9:00am
JOHN W. WHITEHEAD – THE RUTHERFORD INSTITUTE
John W. Whitehead
John W. Whitehead is president of The Rutherford Institute and author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. Whitehead also drafted anti-drone legislation which is making its way through state and local legislatures.
“No power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.”—John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States
“How ‘secure’ do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and … forcibly enter?”—Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the lone dissenter in Kentucky v. King
If the government can tell you what you can and cannot do within the privacy of your home, whether it relates to what you eat, what you smoke or whom you love, you no longer have any rights whatsoever within your home.
If government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property. If school officials can punish your children for what they do or say while at home or in your care, your children are not your own—they are the property of the state.
If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government. Likewise, if police can forcefully draw your blood, strip search you, and probe you intimately, your body is no longer your own, either.
The End of Private Property in the Era of the American Police State
Jim Murray marches in the rain to protest National Security Agency surveillance of Americans Saturday, July 6, 2013, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Murray, along with members of the Occupy Chattanooga movement and independent protesters involved in the Restore the Fourth event, marched from Miller Park to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tenn. Restore the Fourth refers to the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Photo Credit: Shawn Paik/AP
This is what a world without the Fourth Amendment looks like, where the lines between private and public property have been so blurred that private property is reduced to little more than something the government can use to control, manipulate and harass you to suit its own purposes, and you the homeowner and citizen have been reduced to little more than a tenant or serf in bondage to an inflexible landlord.
Examples of this disregard for the sanctity of private property—whether in the form of one’s home, one’s possessions, or one’s person—abound. Here are just a few.
In San Rafael, Cali., it is now illegal to smoke a cigarette or other tobacco product inside “apartments, condos, duplexes, and multi-family houses.” Although lawmakers hope the ordinance will be “self-enforcing,” they’re encouraging landlords to threaten tenants with eviction should they run afoul of the law.
Disregard for the sanctity of private property abound.
In Ohio, it’s illegal to alter one’s car with a hidden compartment if the “intent” is to conceal illegal drugs. Although Norman Gurley had no drugs on his person, nor in his car, nor could it be proven that he intended to conceal drugs, he was still arrested for the “crime” of having a hidden compartment in the trunk of his car.
In Florida, and elsewhere throughout the country, home vegetable gardens are being targeted as illegal. For 17 years, Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll have tended the vegetable garden in their front yard, relying on it for 80 percent of their food intake, only to be told by city officials that they must get rid of it or face $50 a day in fines. The reason? The vegetable garden is “inconsistent with the city’s aesthetic character.”
In Iowa, a war veteran attempting to wean his family off expensive corporate farm products, GMOs and pesticides has been charged with violating a city ordinance and now faces up to 30 days in jail and a $600 fine for daring to raise chickens in his backyard for his personal use, despite statements of support from his neighbors.
In Virginia, school officials suspended two boys for the remainder of the school year and charged them with possession of a firearm after they were reported to the police for playing with toy airsoft guns in their front yard, while waiting for the morning school bus. At no time did the boys attempt to take the toy guns on the bus or to school.
The most obvious disrespect for property rights comes in the form of the tens of thousands of SWAT team raids that occur across the country on a yearly basis. Usually undertaken under the pretense of serving a drug warrant, these raids involve police arriving at a private residence in SWAT gear, armed to the hilt, kicking down doors, apprehending all persons inside the home, then determining if a crime has been committed. That was Judy Sanchez’s experience when FBI agents investigating gang activity used a chainsaw to cut through her door, then forced Sanchez and her child to the ground. It was only after invading Sanchez’s home and terrorizing her family that agents realized they had targeted the wrong address.
The End of Private Property in the Era of the American Police State
In this photo taken on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, York County police ride on the outside of the armored vehicle on their way to the scene of standoff in Hanover, Pa., where police say a man opened fire on officers who tried to serve him a warrant. Authorities report that police from West Manheim Township returned fire as the man barricaded himself in the house. Authorities say that when York County law enforcement agents eventually entered the home, the man was found dead. (AP Photo/York Daily Record, Jason Plotkin)
Unfortunately, we in America get so focused on the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant before government agents can invade our property (a requirement that means little in an age of kangaroo courts and rubberstamped warrant requests) that we fail to properly appreciate the first part of the statement declaring that we have a right to be secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects.” What this means is that the Fourth Amendment’s protections were intended to not only follow us wherever we go but also apply to all that is ours—whether you’re talking about our physical bodies, our biometric data, our possessions, our families, or our way of life. However, in an 8-1 ruling in Kentucky v. King (2011), the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned SWAT teams smashing down doors of homes or apartments without a warrant if they happen to “suspect” you might be doing something illegal in your home.
At a time when the government routinely cites national security as the justification for its endless violations of the Constitution, the idea that a citizen can actually be “secure” or protected against such government overreach seems increasingly implausible, while suggesting that a person take steps to secure his person and property against the government could have one accused of fomenting anti-government sentiment.
Nevertheless, the reality of our age is this: if the government chooses to crash through our doors, listen to our phone calls, read our emails and text messages, fine us for growing vegetables in our front yard, jail us for raising chickens in our backyard, forcibly take our blood and saliva, and probe our vaginas and rectums, there’s little we can do to stop them. At least, not at that particular moment. When you’re face to face with a government agent who is not only armed to the hilt and inclined to shoot first and ask questions later but also woefully ignorant of the fact that he works for you, if you value your life, you don’t talk back.
If the government chooses to crash through our doors there’s little we can do to stop them.
This sad reality came about as a result of our being asleep at the wheel. We failed to ask questions and hold our representatives accountable to abiding by the Constitution, while the government amassed an amazing amount of power over us, and backed up that power-grab with a terrifying amount of military might and weaponry, and got the courts to sanction their actions every step of the way.
However, once the dust settles and you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, I hope you’ll remember that the Constitution begins with those three beautiful words, “We the people.” In other words, there is no government without us—our sheer numbers, our muscle, our economy, our physical presence in this land. There can also be no police state—no tyranny—no routine violations of our rights without our complicity and collusion—without our turning a blind eye, shrugging our shoulders, allowing ourselves to be distracted and our civic awareness diluted.
So where do we begin? How do we go about wresting back control over our freedoms and our lives in the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds?
The End of Private Property in the Era of the American Police State
n this photo taken on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, a York County police officer waits near scene of standoff in Hanover, Pa., where police say a man opened fire on officers who tried to serve him a warrant. Authorities report that police from West Manheim Township returned fire as the man barricaded himself in the house. Authorities say that when York County law enforcement agents eventually entered the home, the man was found dead. (AP Photo/York Daily Record, Jason Plotkin)
There’s an old adage, albeit not a very palatable one, that says “when eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” The point is this: when facing a monumental task, take it one step at a time. In other words, we’re going to have to wage these battles house by house, car by car, and body by body. Most importantly, as I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re going to have to stop the partisan bickering—you can leave that to the yokels in Congress—and recognize that the suffering brought about by a police state will be the great equalizer, applying to all Americans, regardless of their political leanings (the fact that we are all now being targeted for government surveillance is but a foretaste of things to come).
As John Adams rightly noted, “The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”
It’s time for a second American Revolution. Not a revolution designed to kill people or tear down and physically destroy society, but a revolution of the minds and souls of human beings—a revolution promulgated to restore the freedoms for which our founders sacrificed their fortunes and their lives.
TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.
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tinker5Dec. 10, 2013 at 2:31pm
18 USC 2236 – Searches without warrant : Whoever, being an officer, agent, or employee of the United States or any department or agency thereof, engaged in the enforcement of any law of the United States, searches any private dwelling used and occupied as such dwelling without a warrant directing such search, or maliciously and without reasonable cause searches any other building or property without a search warrant, shall be fined under this title for a first offense; and, for a subsequent offense, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
This section shall not apply to any person—
(a) serving a warrant of arrest; or
(b) arresting or attempting to arrest a person committing or attempting to commit an offense in his presence, or who has committed or is suspected on reasonable grounds of having committed a felony; or
(c) making a search at the request or invitation or with the consent of the occupant of the premises.
This is STILL the law, unless President Obama does another Executive Order, as of 10 Dec 13.
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smokegrayDec. 11, 2013 at 8:44pm
yeah that is good on paper. but whom do you turn to when something happens surely not the law that condones it or politicians that are part of the collusion under color of law. and all those lawyers that are part of the same bar association as the judges and d.a.’s? just like the kangaroo courts. if your violated by these people whom do you turn to when you don’t have $10,000 to waste on a lawyer that isn’t going to represent you anyway cause they arn’t gonna go against those that secure their jobs.
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WartfaceDec. 31, 2013 at 12:22pm
All Goverment employees take the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC. It is illegal to follow an order of your superior if it is illegal. The people that ordered this home invasion and those that executed it should be jailed, fired and fined.
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NilssonDec. 10, 2013 at 4:10pm
After 9/11 the Israel-firster were rubbing their hands and saying now they can make the US more like Israel – a socialist country. The first head of DHS was an Israeli!
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FutureUserDec. 10, 2013 at 5:28pm
Aha! You see the problem is right there, with a little word such as “reasonable”. If tyrants and madmen rule the roost, who gets to say what is “reasonable” any more?
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charles116Dec. 11, 2013 at 1:00am
Sounds to me like folks should learn what the laws and ordinances are where they live
before engaging in farming or using their homes as houses of worship.
Our Founding Fathers didn’t envision = anarchy.
I guess we view the Constitution and Bill of Rights differently.
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TortoiseDec. 11, 2013 at 1:22pm
Seems like someone, at some level, is pushing us to a tipping point. Which leaves questions. First, which way do they want us to go? Why? Second, What do we intend to do about it — in what ways and in which direction do we choose to tip? Also, what might be our options for pushing back be?? Hmm. . .
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thegreatcarnacDec. 11, 2013 at 5:48pm
The feds are tyrants. Just think how bad they would be if they could disarm us. Do not make anything easy for them. Fight back on everything.
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DadzritesDec. 17, 2013 at 12:34pm
It took almost 50 years for the colonials to start a war with the British Government. It seems like it’s going to take less here given the current administration.
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propertyguyDec. 26, 2013 at 1:04pm
Truly one of the best and most honest depiction of our current state in the United States of America. We all need to stop complaining about he situation we find ourselves in and do something about it. Run for local office, work with election and re-election committees of politicians who know, understand and respect the Constitution. It starts with the first step and that step may save us from the billions of bullets our current government has ready to use on us “We the people”
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Anglo-Saxon KnightJan. 3, 2014 at 2:17am
When you can’t tell the difference between a police or a military special ops other than the name on the outfit. Your living in a police state! Unless your ready to kill and be killed for your rights, you are at the mercy of a police state!
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CommonsensicalJan. 4, 2014 at 12:39am
150 years ago, certain parts of the country had to have vigilantes to protect the populace by lynching criminals. If this goes any further, we will soon need vigilantes to protect the populace by lynching public officials and “law enforcement” agents… AFTER they strip out of their SWAT gear, of course… When we get to the point where we can’t feel secure in our homes, so should they! Even tyrants and crooked cops have to sleep somewhere…
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