Google has spent the last decade building databases on everything, including each and every computer-using American citizen. Now it intends to join forces with the United States Military to put all that info to good use. The giant “swooshing sound” you are hearing right now is the major leap forward of the Mark of the Beast.
The DC: Google CEO Larry Page has rapidly positioned Google to become an indispensable U.S. military contractor. Google recently purchased Boston Dynamics, a robotics pioneer that produces amazing humanoid robots for the U.S. Defense Department.
This development invites attention to Google’s broader military contracting ambitions — especially since Boston Dynamics is the eighth robotics company that Google has bought in the last six months.
Just like drones are the future of air warfare, humanoid robots and self-driving vehicles will be the future of ground warfare according to U.S. defense plans.
There are many other reasons why the U.S. military is on path to become Google’s single largest customer. Likewise these reasons indicate Google has a closer working relationship with the NSA than it acknowledges publicly.
First, consider the military value of Google’s research and development efforts and the military contracting pipeline revenue it could represent.
Page created Google X, which is Google’s secretive research and development lab tasked with pursuing “moon-shot” technology breakthroughs. So far, Google X is best known for its earth-bound self-driving cars and Google Glass.
Tellingly, the purpose of the original “moon-shots” by the Soviet Union and America was military. The two Cold War superpowers were in a “space race” to publicly showcase the technological and military supremacy of their rival ideologies.
Simply, America’s Cold War “moon-shot” was about winning the military space and arms race with the former Soviet Union.
Even more tellingly, the greatest application for most all of Google X’s “moon-shot” technological efforts — are military. Like drones, self-driving vehicles, and robot soldiers could enhance military surveillance and payload delivery while reducing risks to military personnel.
Google Glass’ advances in wearable augmented reality could offer American soldiers tactical advantages over enemy combatants. Google’s Project Loon could quickly provide a supplemental battlefield bandwidth advantage in remote areas.
Second, Google’s personnel hiring signals its aspirations for a closer Google-military relationship
In 2012, Google hired Regina Dugan, the head of DOD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA), DOD’s in-house “moon-shot” idea factory. At the time a Google spokesperson said: “Regina is a technical pioneer who brought the future of technology to the military during her time at DARPA. She will be a real asset to Google.”
Simply, few people could have a better insider knowledge of the U.S. military’s future technology needs that Google could exploit than Ms. Dugan.
Third, Google has a long history of working for, and with, the NSA and the other U.S. intelligence services.
In 2004, Google purchased satellite mapping company Keyhole, which was strategically important enough to be funded by the CIA’s investment fund In-Q-Tel. Google turned the aptly-named “Keyhole” surveillance capability into the wildly popular Google Earth and Google Maps service used by over a billion people and over one million websites.
In 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that U.S. spy agencies use “Google equipment as the backbone of Intellipedia, a network aimed at helping agents share intelligence.” The article also reported that Google had a support contract with the NSA.
In 2010, the Washington Post reported that Google worked with the NSA to figure out how Chinese hackers broke into Google. The New York Times later reported that those Chinese hackers stole Google’s entire password system called Gaia.
Fourth, Google has too many unique capabilities and metadata sets that are of strategic value to the NSA to believe Google’s denials that it does not work closely with the NSA
Snowden’s NSA revelations have underscored the high value the NSA puts on collecting the metadata of who is communicating with whom, when, where, and how much.
Remember Google is metadata central. It is veritable surveillance catnip for the NSA Think about it.Google’s cookies track the Internet behavior of nearly 2 billion people. Over a billion people regularly use Google Search, Maps, Android, and YouTube. And about a half billion people use Gmail and Google + social media.
Former NSA Director Michael Hayden has said “Gmail is the preferred Internet service provider of terrorists worldwide.”
Thus Google has the unique capability to surveil for the NSA the online behavior of a targeted group of people by country, language, interests, keywords, names, communications, physical location, movements, time and more.
Simply put, Google’s world’s largest computer already can do what the NSA wants to do most.
Add to all this Google’s unique capability to instantaneously translate 80 different languages across applications, and why wouldn’t the NSA covet a close working relationship with Google?
Finally, the behavior of America’s greatest military rivals, Russia and China, speaks volumes about the likely extent of unreported close cooperation between Google and NSA/DOD.
Remember it was the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that invented the Internet in the early ‘70s. It is no coincidence that Russia and China have been the most hostile to allowing Google’s Internet dominance to extend into their countries.
In summation, the accumulating evidence indicates that the U.S. military is on path to become Google’s single largest customer.
Page’s strategic positioning of Google’s biggest investments to strongly align with future U.S. military needs is no coincidence. It is likely tacit confirmation of a much stronger relationship than Google has acknowledged to date.
Page’s creeping militarization of Google will increasingly become problematic for the privacy of Google’s foreign users, which generate over half of Google’s revenues. While U.S. law purportedly prevents the NSA from surveilling Americans without a warrant, the NSA’s official mandate is to surveil foreign signals intelligence.
Scott Cleland is President of Precursor LLC, a consultancy serving Fortune 500 clients, some of which are Google competitors. He is also author of “Search & Destroy: Why You Can’t Trust Google Inc. Cleland has testified before both the Senate and House antitrust subcommittees on Google and also before the relevant House oversight subcommittee on Google’s privacy problems.
10,000 feared killed in Philippines by super typhoon Haiyan( The Most High is NOT playing around anymore)
An estimated 10,000 people might have been killed in the central Philippine province of Leyte alone, which was almost completely destroyed by the powerful typhoon Haiyan, local authorities said.
DETAILS TO FOLLOW
The Senate now plans to vote to authorize Barack Obama to use U.S. military force in Syria on Wednesday. That is, Sept. 11. Surely God is a comedian playing to an audience with no sense of humor. The perverse horror.
Someone pinch me. This is a nightmare. Are we so far gone that our elected officials would vote to authorize military action in support of al-Qaida on the 12th anniversary of the day that al-Qaida declared war on America and slaughtered 3,000 of our sisters and brothers? This is the poison fruit of the Obama administration’s Shariah policy of scrubbing all counter terror materials of jihad. How can we expect our elected officials to understand the enemy’s doctrine when there is a national prohibition on such discussion?
Russia says that it has compiled a 100-page report showing that the Obama-backed Syrian rebels, not Assad, launched the chemical weapons attack. According to McClatchy, “Russia said the report had been delivered to the United Nations in July and includes detailed scientific analysis of samples that Russian technicians collected at the site of the alleged attack, Khan al Asal.” And also, “the statement drew a pointed comparison between what it said was the scientific detail of the report and the far shorter intelligence summaries that the United States, Britain and France have released to justify their assertion that the Syrian government launched chemical weapons against Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21.”
Will they vet this document at the Senate hearings, or will the clueless McCain’s insistence be enough? It certainly is enough for talking heads like Bill O’Reilly, who nearly took the head off of anyone last week who dared to mention al-Qaida and/or the jihadist elements in the Syrian opposition. But how can the American people be expected to believe anything this administration tells us when they blatantly and flagrantly lied about Benghazi? They blamed the YouTube video when it was Muslim terrorists, and they knew it all along.
The disconnect from reality doesn’t end there. Back in May, jihadists were arrested on the Syria/Turkey border with sarin gas – the same poison used in the disputed chemical weapons attacks. Reuters reported, “Secretary of State John Kerry’s public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by U.S. and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.”
Putin went further and called Kerry a liar.
This is the same denial template that the Obama administration employed in Egypt. Remember? The narrative was that it was a freedom revolution and that the Muslim Brotherhood had little role in the revolution and stood to gain nothing from it, despite evidence that I published from the very first, as did my few, brave colleagues. America was misled by the Obama administration when it assured Americans that the Muslim Brotherhood would have no political role in the “new Egypt.”
I was right then, and I am right now.
This has been a long time in the making. Back in April 2007, I interviewed prominent Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey on Middle Eastern affairs. It was a critical time: Bush had lost the Congress to the Democrats in the November 2006 election, and Pelosi and company were instituting their own foreign policy changes.
Regrettably, Sandmonkey and I stopped talking in 2011 when I warned that the “freedom revolution” in Egypt was a Muslim Brotherhood coup. He said that the Arab Spring in Egypt “had nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood.” The left and the Islamic supremacists went after me with all they had for my correct assessment in January 2011. We know how that went.
But that’s not my point. In 2007, Sandmonkey told me: “Any kind of democratic reform in the country [Egypt] for the past 3 years has been rolled back specifically because there is no more pressure coming from Washington anymore.” Under Obama, it only got worse.
And regarding Nancy Pelosi’s 2007 visit to Syria, he said: “The day after Pelosi’s visits there were immediate arrests of Syrian activists. That was the fruit she yielded. ‘Oh the Americans came over and they said they have a different foreign policy and they’re more interested in placating Bashar’s ego.’ And he went out and got [arrested] everyone he wanted because he knew he had an ally in Washington that wouldn’t pressure him as much.” Back then, Pelosi was placating Assad’s ego. Now he’s Hitler, and we’re enabling the jihadists.
We know who the opposition is. But you can expect the Obama administration to act shocked, shocked I tell you, when vicious jihadists take control of Syria. Obama will say that he acted too late. “If I hadn’t had to go to Congress, all would have been well.” And his propaganda organizations (ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS) will advance that big lie, as they have faithfully done his bidding for six years.
Assad is not scared of Obama (why should he be?), and he is not backing down. Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said last week that “the Syrian government will not change position even if there is World War III.”
With the Russians moving warships into the Mediterranean and the Chinese “observing” from their own warships as well, it looks as if it could shape up to be just that. And as Barack Obama told reporters that the first cell of Syrian “rebels” trained and armed by the CIA is already making its way to the battlefield, it could end up being a contest between the shirtless horseman and the helmeted bike rider.
This is exactly what I warned of back on Aug. 31. European readers expressed real fear concerning Syria and U.S. intervention. One wrote to me that Europeans “sense a possible ‘Archduke Ferdinand’ response igniting a world war too close to home. Since Barack Obama entered the scene, all hell has broken loose in every possible corner and nook and cranny. His failures are so epidemic, so unprecedented in modern history.”
Is Obama really going to go to war against the Russians aligned with al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood? Reset button, indeed.
Join us at Ground Zero at 1 p.m. at Cedar and Trinity to oppose this treason (details here).
My colleague Robert Spencer and I will host a press conference featuring speakers including 9/11 family members Rosaleen Talon and Nelly Braginsky, 9/11 first responder Alan T. DeVona, Sudanese human rights activist Simon Deng and Coptic Christian human rights activist Ashraf Ramelah. They will call attention to the plight of Christians in Syria and the cost of the Obama administration’s unreality about jihad terror worldwide. The NYPD denied our permit for our event, as well as denying a permit to a biker rally in Washington that opposed the Million Muslim March there. Who is running the show in America? The Muslim Brotherhood? We will be there nonetheless: freedom of assembly. Join us.
The British Parliament does not buy the lies of theObama administration which have been invented as a pretext to take America to war with Syria and drag its allies into the conflict. The American people, by a 9 to 1 margin are not in favor of attacking Syria. As a result, Putin is laughing at the clown that now occupies the presidency.
If at first we don’t succeed, lie, lie, again, should become the slogan for the criminal administration that is inhabiting the White House.
Once again, Obama has been caught with his “false flag hand” in the cookie jar. With increasing doubt over the “official story” that Assad crossed the “red line” and used chemical weapons against his own people has been called into question. The Obama administration has responded by releasing the following unclassified U.S. intelligence report disseminated on August 30thby the White House which concluded that there was “high confidence” that Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons several times in the last year, including the August 21st attack in the suburbs of Damascus.
“We have identified one hundred videos attributed to the attack, many of which show large numbers of bodies exhibiting physical signs consistent with, but not unique to, nerve agent exposure. The reported symptoms of victims included unconsciousness, foaming from the nose and mouth, constricted pupils, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. Several of the videos show what appear to be numerous fatalities with no visible injuries, which is consistent with death from chemical weapons, and inconsistent with death from small-arms, high-explosive munitions or blister agents. At least 12 locations are portrayed in the publicly available videos, and a sampling of those videos confirmed that some were shot at the general times and locations described in the footage. physical symptoms verified by medical personnel and NGOs, and other information associated with this chemical attack.”
How does a YouTube video demonstrate “rapid heartbeat?” These murderous criminals cannot even concoct a believable cover story.
In a case of “it is as we say it is,” the intelligence report went on to state that the Syrian opposition, who is in actuality, the CIA backed al-Qaeda forces in the region, does not have the “capability to manufacture 100 videos” of gas attacks upon the Syrian people. Really? The Syrian people cannot find and use 100 videos and upload them to YouTube? And even if Obama was telling the truth, the CIA could certainly have created 100 YouTube videos on their own.
If the US intelligence community had this information on August 21st, then why did it take nine days to become publicly available? If Obama’s goal was to prevent the further loss of innocent life in Syria, shouldn’t this information been immediately made publicly available? Shouldn’t a copy of the report have been made immediately available to the United Nations Security Council? If Obama wanted British support and participation in the upcoming American massacre of innocent Syrians, shouldn’t Obama have immediately made this information available to Parliament BEFORE they voted to not help Obama start WWIII?
If Obama was telling the truth in the August 21st report, shouldn’t every media outlet in the world have been immediately provided a copy of the evidence? Why is this evidence only now being made available AFTER the British rejection of our failed Syrian policies?
America, you are being asked to believe the fiction and accept the fact that we are going to commence WWIII based on series of YouTube videos. This kind of evidence wouldn’t even be admissible in traffic court.
Obama Thinks the World Is Dumber Than a Box of Rocks
Falsely using videos to mislead the American people as well as the rest of the world are not new behaviors consistent with the past behaviors of this administration.
I seem to recall that a rogue video was given as the reason that this administration used in order to fabricate an excuse as to why al-Qaeda would move to kill Ambassador Stevens and his security team nearly a year ago. Let’s reflect back to the early days following Ambassador Stevens assassination as the administration was clumsily attempting to establish a case for plausible deniability for their involvement in the murder.
September 16 — Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Candy Crowley
“There was a hateful video that was disseminated on the Internet. It had nothing to do with the United States government, and it’s one that we find disgusting and reprehensible. It’s been offensive to many, many people around the world. That sparked violence in various parts of the world, including violence directed against Western facilities including our embassies and consulates.”
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Rice also said that, “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.” Subsequently, Susan Rice was asking the American people to buy the fiction that Stevens was killed by a flash mob over a video that nobody watched in the Middle East.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Obama is caught, once again, dipping into his false flag playbook in order to justify more murder and more crimes against humanity.
Even if Assad did use chemical weapons against his people, and he did not, who cares? This is an internal matter for the Syrian people to deal with. Syria has done nothing to the United States. Syria poses no threat to anyone outside of Syria.
Has Obama appointed himself to become the judge, jury and executioner of the world? The United States has no right to enter into Syria no matter how many false flag attacks that Obama manufactures.
A Bad Omen for the American People
If Obama is foolish enough to go it alone in Syria, the American people need to be forewarned about what could lie ahead in order that our people can move to protect themselves from the consequences of living under this lunatic administration.
When and if Obama attacks Syria, I have had multiple sources inform me that Putin is prepared to strike Saudi Arabia. This could potentially stop the flow of oil from the Middle East. The United States government would immediately move to restrict private access to fuel in this country in order to conserve the reserves inside of the United States. This would paralyze our economy as our grocery stores and major retail outlets, which operate on real time delivery principles, would be virtually empty in matter of days. Our American way of life would end on this note.
America is facing the distinct possibility that Obama will use multiple false flag attacks on American soil in which Syria and possibly Iran take the blame. This would provide Obama with the pretext and the moral high ground from which to prosecute his war in the Middle East that he is so determined to engage in.
The false flag option is the most likely outcome of all the scenarios I have considered. This simply means that some of you who are reading these words might have to perish in order for Obama to pursue his mandate to eradicate Syria and Iran.
We should consider that the use of a false flag event against the American people fits the demonstrable mentality of this administration. Secondly, Obama needs a quick and decisive excuse to attack Syria and eventually Iran because he has some damning skeletons trying to get out of the closet. Obama has multiple scandals hanging over his head which were brought out in one short time frame in the mainstream media duringa 30 day period in May and June.
It is apparent to all that the release of this information on these multiple scandals was orchestrated because the release of information occurred in such a tight time frame. Any one of the following events could be grounds for impeachment and are far worse than anything ever done by Richard Nixon.
These scandals include but are not limited to the following:
1.The IRS spying on Obama’s political enemies.
2. The NSA spy scandal.
3. More damning information on the murder of Chris Stevens.
4. The AP reporters spy scandal.
5. Rumblings of resurfacing the Fast and Furious scandal in which Obama and Holder shipped guns to the Mexican cartels which have been used to kill tens of thousands including Border Patrol Agent, Brian Terry.
6. The Michael Hastings murder.
Who Is Blackmailing Obama?
Who would have released this damning information on Obama and then made it virtually disappear from the mainstream media? It had to be some interest who already controls the media and this would be the banksters. These are the same banksters who desire to preserve the Petrodollar which Iran threatens to destroy by selling oil for gold. I predict that unless Obama can quickly get us into a war in the Middle East, which would save the almighty Petrodollar, he will not complete his second term and will be removed as a result of the aforementioned scandals which are being used to blackmail Obama and force his hand in the Middle East.
I have said it before and it bears repeating, store the essential elements that you will need to survive what is coming.
America, we are in for some very dark days as Obama will not go quietly into the night.
Dr. Kevin Barrett
Rather than unilaterally bombing Syria, and setting off a regional conflagration that could escalate into nuclear confrontation with Russia, Obama has decided to seek Congressional approval before risking blowing up the world.
Obama’s surprise move left observers stunned – especially Israeli leaders and lobbyists, who had gleefully assured the world that Obama would bomb Syria starting Saturday.
Obama’s move makes it likely that a cataclysmic planetary nuclear holocaust will not happen for at least eight more days. On September 9th, when the US Congress returns from its month-long vacation, legislators will decide whether or not to risk destroying human civilization.
Obama’s decision to procrastinate, and preserve the world as we know it for one more week, may be braver than it appears at first glance. Obama has been under tremendous pressure from Israel and its American lobby to bomb Syria. The script for his speech announcing “we begin bombing in five minutes” – or words to that effect – had already been written. All the President had to do was stride up to the teleprompter and deliver it. Nobody had even considered seeking Congressional approval.
Yahoo News explained what happened next: “And then, sometime around 6 p.m. ET, Obama went for a 45-minute stroll around the South Lawn of the White House with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, the aides said. During that walk, the president said that he wanted to go to Congress.”
Some of Obama’s advisors strongly disagreed with the President’s last-minute postponement of World War III.
The same Yahoo News report explains how the Administration will try to ram a US attack on Syria through Congress: “Hammer home the potential threat to staunch ally Israel’s security.” The Congressional debate will pit the American people, who oppose attacking Syria by an overwhelming margin, against the Zionist lobby, which has Congress in its pocket, and which has been pushing hard for a US attack.
Does Obama really want Congress to authorize attacking Syria? Does he want to risk becoming the president who blew up the world? Or might he secretly hope that the American people will force Congress to vote down the war plan?
In his article “Obama’s Kennedy Moment” Richard Sheck suggests that Obama cannot directly stand up against the hawks without risking his political future – or even his life:
“Many writers have speculated that John Kennedy was assassinated because he resisted the demands of the military-industrial complex during the height of the Cold War… It’s 50 years later and history seems to be repeating itself to the extent that President Obama’s sudden ‘change of heart’ today places him in grave jeopardy from those who were hell-bent on ratcheting up the level of violence in the Middle East with the expected attack on Syria.
“By postponing and possibly stifling the plans for a wider war in the region, the President has risked much political capital and placed himself directly in the path of those who are eager to see him gone – whether through resignation, impeachment or worse.”
If Sheck is right, Obama hopes the American people will rise up and put Congress on notice: No war in Syria! This would give Obama the political cover he needs to avoid starting World War III.
While postponing World War III for one week by passing the buck to Congress hardly merits a Nobel Peace Prize, it may turn out to be one of the wiser and more courageous decisions the generally feckless Obama has made.
Though the US President has approved drone murders, bloated military budgets, anti-Constitution atrocities, and other horrors, he has at least resisted the pressure from Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby to launch a wider war in the Middle East. What’s more, Obama has made no secret of his loathing of Netanyahu. Rumors of Zionist threats to the President’s life have surfaced periodically. The Editor of the Atlanta, Georgia newspaper the Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, actually published an editorial calling on Israel to assassinate President Obama. Why? Because Obama won’t obey Netanyahu’s orders to attack Iran.
And the whole point of destroying Syria is to open the door for Netanyahu’s long-desired attack on Iran.
If President Obama is indeed playing a game of passive-aggressive resistance against Netanyahu’s orders to launch a major Mideast war, as seems to be the case, one hopes that Obama’s Secret Service detail is more loyal than JFK’s was.
By passing the buck to Congress, Obama may be saying to the Zionists: “Okay, this is your project, so make it happen yourselves. If you can’t push this through Congress, which you practically own outright, then it’s your tough luck. I don’t want to go down in history as the President who unilaterally decided to launch a potentially apocalyptic war in the Middle East. I know you don’t like it. So shoot me.”
Black Man Found Hanging from a Tree in Jersey City, New Jersey(The White Man is the Devil the bible speaks of)
By Yolanda Spivey
Jersey City, N.J. – A disturbing report is being circulated among various news outlets that a Black man was found hanging from a tree in a Jersey City, New Jersey park.
The lifeless body of the unidentified man, who appeared to be in his 60’s, was found in Lafayette Park on the morning of August 6, 2013. NJ.com reports that a woman “who was walking on Manning Avenue near Lafayette Street just outside the park,” saw the man and immediately reported the incident to police officials.
Gene Rubino, who is the spokesman for the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, said that the man was taken to Jersey City Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. He also told NJ.com “that foul play is not suspected and that there were no visible signs of trauma or assault.”
A woman who identifies herself as Nurse Tonya tells a different story. In the comment section posted on NJ.com, she writes, “I was there alone, in my truck, taking my two toddlers to the park to meet their daycare, and then on my way to work. I take the cobble stone road as a short cut and as I looked beyond the trees to see where the class was, I was curious why the park was COMPLETELY empty. I lowered my eyes as I was slowing down to see a man “Kneeling” yet hung from a tree.”
She then wrote that she called 911 but never got out of her car as she had her two children. She also wrote that what she saw didn’t appear to be suicide because his hands were tied behind his back. She wrote, “I saw the truth! I have two baby boys and am DEVASTATED that I have had to explain to toddlers why they saw a man hanging from a tree. Get the 911 tape and set the truth straight! I am mortified, insulted, and saddened but I will not be silent no [sic] that I feel there is inaccuracy.”
We tried reaching out to the Jersey City police media department, but our calls went unanswered.
For now, Lafayette Park remains closed as Police investigate this heinous incident.
The Obama administration has won the latest battle in their fight to indefinitely detain US citizens and foreigners suspected of being affiliated with terrorists under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
Congress granted the president the authority to arrest and hold individuals accused of terrorism without due process under the NDAA, but Mr. Obama said in an accompanying signing statement that he will not abuse these privileges to keep American citizens imprisoned indefinitely. These assurances, however, were not enough to keep a group of journalists and human rights activists from filing a federal lawsuit last year, which contested the constitutionality of Section 1021, the particular provision that provides for such broad power.
A federal judge sided with the plaintiffs originally by granting an injunction against Section 1021, prompting the Obama administration to request an appeal last year. On Wednesday this week, an appeals court in New York ruled in favor of the government and once again allowed the White House to legally indefinitely detain persons that fit in the category of enemy combatants or merely provide them with support.
Now with this week’s appellate decision, plaintiffs intend on taking their case to the Supreme Court. Should the high court agree to hear their argument, the top justices in the US may finally weigh in on the controversial counterterrorism law.
The so-called “indefinite detention” provision of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act has been at the center of debate since before President Barack Obama autographed the bill in December 2011, but a federal lawsuit filed by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Chris Hedges and others only two weeks after it went into effect remains as relevant as ever in light of a decision delivered Wednesday by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The plaintiffs in case had previously been successful in convincing a federal district judge to keep Section 1021 from being put on the books, but the latest ruling negates an earlier injunction and once again reestablished the government’s right to indefinitely detain people under the NDAA.
Tangerine Bolen, a co-plaintiff in the case alongside Hedges, told RT, “Losing one battle is not losing the war. This war is an assault on truth itself. It flaunts reason, sanity and basic decency. We will not stand down in the face of these egregious assaults on our rights and liberties.”
In a statement published to TruthDig, Hedges called the ruling “distressing” and said, “It means there is no recourse now either within the Executive, Legislative or Judicial branches of government to halt the steady assault on our civil liberties and most basic Constitutional rights.”
Section 1021 of the NDAA reads in part that the president of the US can indefinitely imprison any person who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the US or its coalition partners, as well as anyone who commits a “belligerent act” against the US under the law of war, “without trial, until the end of the hostilities.” The power to do as much was allegedly granted to the commander-in-chief after the Authorization to Use Military Force was signed into law shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but a team of plaintiffs have argued that Section 1021 provides the White House with broad, sweeping powers that put the First Amendment-guaranteed rights to free speech and assembly at risk while also opening the door for the unlawful prosecution of anyone who can be linked to an enemy of the state.
Only two weeks after the 2012 NDAA was signed into law, Hedges filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration challenging the constitutional validity of Section 1021.
“I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists … but that does not make me one,” he said at the time.
Naomi Wolf, an American author, told the Guardian last year that she has skipped meetings with individuals and dropped stories that she believed are newsworthy “for no other reason than to avoid potential repercussions under the bill.”
Hedges first filed suit on Jan 13, 2012, and was eventually joined by a number of activists, reporters and human rights workers from both the US and abroad, including Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, journalist Alexa O’Brien, Revolution Truth founder Bolen and Icelandic PM Birgitta Jónsdóttir. District Court Judge Katherine Forrest granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction against Section 1021 that May, only to make that decision permanent four months later. The Obama administration filed a stay against that injunction just days after, though, and the appeals court ruled this week that Judge Forrest’s decision must be vacated.
Carl Mayer, an attorney for the plaintiffs, previously told RT that he expected the White House to lose the appeal. “The Obama administration has now lost three times. They lost the temporary injunction, they lost the motion for reconsideration and they lost the hearing for permanent injunction. I say three strikes and you’re out,” he said.
But with the court’s 3-0 ruling this week, a federal panel concluded that the plaintiffs involved in the suit do not have standing to challenge Section 1021. In doing so, however, they offered what is the most official interpretation yet of a law that has continuously attracted criticism for nearly two years now.
After years of debate, the appeals court said once and for all that the NDAA does not apply to American citizens, and rehashed the Obama administration’s insistence that it simply reaffirmed rights afforded to the government through the AUMF.
“Section 1021(e) provides that Section 1021 just does not speak — one way or the other — to the government’s authority to detain citizens, lawful resident aliens or any other persons captured or arrested in the United States,” the court ruled.
“We thus conclude, consistent with the text and buttressed in part by the legislative history, that Section 1021 means this: With respect to individuals who are not citizens, are not lawful resident aliens and are not captured or arrested within the United States, the President’s AUMF authority includes the authority to detain those responsible for 9/11 as well as those who were a part of, or substantially supported, al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners — a detention authority that Section 1021 concludes was granted by the original AUMF.”
“But with respect to citizens, lawful resident aliens, or individuals captured or arrested in the United States, Section 1021 simply says nothing at all,” it concluded.
The AUMF, however, is still open to interpretation. An earlier legal ruling concluded that the AUMF “clearly and unmistakable” authorized detaining those who were “part of or supporting forces hostile to the US.” Then a memo issued in March 2009 just weeks’ into Pres. Obama’s first term even added that the government has the authority “to detain persons who were part of or substantially supported” anyone engaged in hostilities against US or its partners.
“In any event, the March 2009 Memo took the view that ‘the AUMF is not limited to persons captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan’ nor to those ‘directly participating in hostilities,’” the appeals court noted. When the DC Circuit weighed in further down the road, it determined that the AUMF authorized detention for those who “purposefully and materially support” those hostile forces, although this week’s ruling makes note that the Circuit Court has failed to ever figure out what “support” exactly means.
“The government contends that Section 1021 simply reaffirms authority that the government already had under the AUMF, suggesting at times that the statute does next to nothing at all. Plaintiffs take a different view,” wrote the court this week.
Definitions aside, however, the appeals court wrote that Hedges and his American co-plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the indefinite detention provisions since a subsection of that rule, 1021(e), frees US citizens from detention under the NDAA.
“We recognize that Section 1021 perhaps could have been drafted in a way that would have made this clearer and that the absence of any reference to American citizens in Section 1021(b) led the district court astray in this case. Perhaps the last-minute inclusion of Section 1021(e) as an amendment introduced on the floor of the Senate explains the somewhat awkward construction,” wrote the court. “But that is neither here nor there. It is only our construction, just described, that properly gives effect to the text of all of the parts of Section 1021 and thus reflects congressional intent.”
At the same time, though, the appeals court acknowledged that Iceland’s Jónsdóttir, co-plaintiff Kai Wargalla of Germany and other foreign persons could be detained indefinitely under the NDAA. Although Jónsdóttir has argued that her well-documented affiliation with the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks — particularly with regards to classified material its published much to the chagrin of the US government — is enough to land her in hot water, the court said indefinite imprisonment in a military jail cell is an unrealistic fear and she therefore lacks standing.
Jónsdóttir, 46, has been a member of the Iceland parliament since 2009, the same year that US Army Private first class Bradley Manning began supplying materials to WikiLeaks. Jónsdóttir and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange worked directly with raw video footage supplied by Manning showing a US helicopter fatally wounding innocent civilians and journalists, which the website later released under the name “Collateral Murder.” And although Pfc. Manning is currently on trial for “aiding the enemy” by supplying WikiLeaks — and indirectly al-Qaeda — with that intelligence, the court said Jónsdóttir herself has nothing to fear.
“The claims of Jónsdóttir and Wargalla stand differently. Whereas Section 1021 says nothing about the government’s authority to detain citizens, it does have real meaning regarding the authority to detain individuals who are not citizens or lawful resident aliens and are apprehended abroad,” the court ruled.
Elsewhere, the judges wrote that the government insists that WikiLeaks and Manning provided “some support” to hostile forces by publishing classified intelligence, and that the 25-year-old Army private is indeed facing prosecution for such that could put him away for life.
“One perhaps might fear that Jónsdóttir’s and Wargalla’s efforts on behalf of WikiLeaks could be construed as making them indirect supporters of al-Qaeda and the Taliban as well,” wrote the court. “The government rejoins that the term ‘substantial support’ cannot be construed so in this particular context. Rather, it contends that the term must be understood — and limited — by reference to who would be detainable in analogous circumstances under the laws of war.”
Because “plaintiffs have provided no basis for believing that the government will place Jónsdóttir and Wargalla in military detention for their supposed substantial support,” the court has rejected their lawsuit.
“In sum, Hedges and O’Brien do not have Article III standing to challenge the statute because Section 1021 simply says nothing about the government’s authority to detain citizens,” concluded the court. “While Section 1021 does have meaningful effect regarding the authority to detain individuals who are not citizens or lawful resident aliens and are apprehended abroad, Jónsdóttir and Wargalla have not established standing on this record. We vacate the permanent injunction and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
Meanwhile, the court’s decision did little to resolve what actually is allowed under the AUMF. In fact, the court said Section 1021 “does not foreclose the possibility that previous ‘existing law’ may permit the detention of American citizens,” making note of American Yaser Esam Hamdi and a three-year ordeal that left him without the right to habeas corpus or an attorney after he was picked up in post-9/11 Afghanistan on suspicion of terroristic ties. Instead, it confirmed that foreign citizens engaged with substantially supporting hostile forces— neither of which term is still properly defined — can be locked up in military jails.
Hedges previously said that he thought that the US was already using the NDAA to put some people away.
“If the Obama administration simply appealed it, as we expected, it would have raised this red flag,” Hedges said during an online Q-and-A session on Reddit when the White House last fought back. “But since they were so aggressive it means that once Judge Forrest declared the law invalid, if they were using it, as we expect, they could be held in contempt of court. This was quite disturbing, for it means, I suspect, that US citizens, probably dual nationals, are being held in military detention facilities almost certainly overseas and maybe at home.”
In a statement published to TruthDig on Wednesday, Hedges said that he plans to appeal. If accepted, the case of Hedges v Obama may go all the way to the Supreme Court. That’s a decision that will weigh with the justices, however, and Hedges said they are by no means required to hear their request.
“It is a black day for those who care about liberty,” wrote Hedges.
In her statement to RT, Bolen rejected the notion that she and others lack standing to challenge a law that plaintiffs believe is being used in secrecy.
“Good people have come forward to challenge the madness of the US government in the wake of 9/11 – people who have every reason to fear this atrocious panoply of laws and policies that are fundamentally eroding guaranteed liberties and basic human rights,” she said.
“The United States Government itself is behaving as a terror. Through indefinite detention of innocent civilians at Guantanamo, secret rendition, torture, murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and illegal drone bombings – it is fundamentally eroding the rule of law while harming national security. Courts are contradicting themselves on whether the government has the right to indefinitely detain even its own citizens, Congress has supported dragnet surveillance and other assaults on everything we were founded on, and yet somehow, our fears are only ‘speculation,’” she said.