Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Inside the FBI's Terrorism Factory

Thought Criminal-turned-trophy defendant James Cromitie.

 As an ex-convict, Newburgh, New York resident James Cromitie was thankful to find a steady job. As a Muslim convert, he was particularly grateful that he could wear his kufi -- a knit skullcap akin to a yarmulke -- at work without provoking his supervisor's disapproval. Some of the customers, however, took unintended offense.

"They know I'm a Muslim," Cromitie told Maqsood, a friend he had met at the local mosque, in an October 19, 2008 phone conversation. "My boss say, `Hey, Abdul, I want you to go help this lady.' And then she look at me [and says], `Oh. What is you, Muslim?' I'm like, `Yes.' `Oh, I'll get someone else to help me.... They really don't like Muslims."

When Maqsood asked why people "don't like Muslims," Cromitie, displaying a touch of frustration, replied: "Only Allah knows.... I think they think that we are better than them, but we don't think that." He went on to describe a few workplace conversations in which he described some teachings and practices of his faith; one of those chats was with an individual Cromitie described as "some guy I talked to, [a] nice Jewish guy." 
Federal Terrorism "facilitator" Shahed Hussain, aka "Maqsood."

This conversational thread proved irresistible to Maqsood, who eagerly seized it and gave it a stout yank. According to Maqsood, a wealthy man from Pakistan who claimed to be a Muslim religious scholar, the Prophet Mohammed "has forbidden us to have these, the Jews, Yahuds, because they are responsible for all of the evils in the world." 

For the rest of the conversation, Maqsood persistently wove anti-Jewish resentment into the conversation, seeking to stitch Cromitie's personal concerns into a larger canvas of hatred. He told Cromitie that "every second adviser in the White House, they Yahuds," and tried to convince him that the bloodshed carried out by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- "where your blood comes from" -- was a reflection of the all-encompassing evil of the Jews.

In fact, Maqsood had been plying Cromitie with messages of this kind for months, and the wealthy Pakistani was a little frustrated that his American acquaintance didn't appear to be a particularly apt pupil. Oh, sure, Cromitie would occasionally let slip a derogatory reference to Jewish people, particularly women who had insulted him at work. But for all of his flaws, mistakes, and frustrations, Cromitie displayed a persistent strain of embattled decency that led him to see Jews as individuals, rather than as a undifferentiated mass of malevolence. 

"Even some of our [Muslim] brothers is worser than the Yahudi," Cromitie commented during the October 19 phone chat, displaying an ability to assess individual merit in ways that transcend tribal loyalty. In a similar conversation a week earlier, Cromitie, referring to workplace insults he had experienced because of his Muslim religion, related that his religious convictions gave him the strength to endure them without retaliating: "I'm a Muslim; insha'Allah, Allah will take care of it."

This was entirely unacceptable, insisted Cromitie's self-appointed spiritual tutor. It was good to be angry at Jews and other infidels, but mere anger isn't enough; it has to be transmuted into the kind of "righteous" rage that ends in bloodshed. By way of an example, Maqsood referred to a terrorist bombing of a Marriott hotel in Pakistan. That act, Maqsood insisted, was carried out by  people he identified as "brothers" to "send a message" that supposedly brought glory to Allah. The people responsible for that crime were "doing good, wonderful jobs and I'm happy with that," Maqsood told Cromitie, who didn't share his self-designated mentor's enthusiasm. 

Madsood spared no effort to shepherd every conversation with Cromitie in the direction of "jihad." He would first identify a personal grievance. Then he would tie it thematically to legitimate acts of armed self-defense carried out by Muslims against Washington's military aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. Then Maqsood, his pose as holy man notwithstanding, worked to seduce Cromitie into accepting the proposition that terrorism is a legitimate form of "holy war." 

Once again, Cromitie found Maqsood's teachings unconvincing.

"We are kicking their asses in ... Kabul," Maqsood boasted.

"I don't care," replied Cromitie.

Undeterred, Maqsood continued to peddle the notion of militancy to someone not inclined to buy in.

"When I, when I see these, these Mushkirks, these Yahud, killing the Palestines, of killing Muslims, of killing people in, in Iraq or in Afghanistan, one of our brothers, I, I always think about going for a cause, you know?" Maqsood hectored Cromitie. "For a cause of Islam. Have you ever thought about that, brother?"

Cromitie, who was earnest in his faith, was obviously not on the same page with the oddly insistent man from Pakistan.

"It's sad that our Muslim folk and our children folk in Islam has to wake up to a bombing from somebody else every night, cannot sleep, have to be on point 24/7, have to sit up and wait, don't know what's coming next," he replied to Maqsood. "I think we need peace. In some way we have to make it happen." While he allowed that it may be necessary "to go answer the enemy in a different way," Cromitie didn't want to leave the impression that he would countenance violence against the innocent: "Don't look at it like I, like I wanna be a terrorist or something."

Oddly enough, although Cromitie was a convert and his Pakistani friend from the local mosque was a life-long Muslim -- and self-described scholar -- it was the former who espoused the orthodox view of jihad as a war of defense, and the latter who was promoting what traditional Muslims would regard as a heresy, namely jihad as an indiscriminate campaign of lethal violence against non-Muslims.

Akyol (center) with Pope Benedict and Grand Mufti Mustafa Arc.

As Turkish free market advocate Mustafa Akyol points out, the Koran -- contrary to the assumptions embraced by modern Islamists and the compulsive mosque-baiters with whom they're joined in a kind of morbid co-depedency -- teaches armed jihad as a defensive enterprise, commands Muslims to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, and prescribes limits even in making war against aggressors. 

Those principles, writes Akyol, "led the medieval Islamic jurists to create a literature of jus in bello, or rules of a proper conduct of war. For example, many of those jurists limited or banned the use of mangonels and catapults, for these war machines inflicted indiscriminate casualties on the enemy. In other words, even what the Westerners call `collateral damage' these days was a matter of concern for Muslim scholars of the Middle Ages. It is therefore ironic, and sad, that some of today’s Muslims — a tiny minority, to be sure — are willing to inflict not just `collateral' but also intentional damage on the enemy noncombatants."

Distinctions of that kind are not recognized by the intellectual architects of Islamic terrorism because their movement is inspired more by the 19th Century nationalism than by the teachings of Mohammed, according to Akyol. Like their counterparts from other backgrounds, those who peddle Islamist nationalism practice a form of indoctrination Akyol calls the "sloganization of scripture" -- that is, orphaning passages from the appropriate context and deploying them for the purpose of mobilizing political useful hatred.

Contemporary Muslim terrorists, Akyol observes, "attack innocent lives not because their religion tells them to do that — it actually tells them not to do that. They rather attack out of loathing, which is rooted in their political misfortunes." A sincerely devout Muslim, Akyol insists that for those who genuinely share his convictions, "Nothing, simply nothing, can justify the killing of innocents."

"Sloganization of scripture" can take the form of weaponizing a handful of passages from one's own holy books and treating them as a license to commit political murder. It can also mean winnowing a handful of incendiary texts from the sacred books of a different religion and using them to create a suitably hateful caricature. Maqsood, interestingly, appeared to be performing both of those roles in his dialogues with James Cromitie. This isn't surprising when it's understood that this purported Muslim holy man was actually an FBI provocateur named Shahed Hussain.

Cromitie in better times.
As noted in this space before, Hussain was what federal prosecutors called a terrorism "facilitator." A wealthy and politically connected criminal from Pakistan, Hussain showed up at the mosque in Newburgh flaunting a large, taxpayer-supplied bankroll and a fleet of late-model luxury cars. 

Blessed with a career criminal's instinct for sizing up a vulnerable target -- and, most likely, a detailed FBI dossier on his future victim -- Hussain quickly keyed on Cromitie, eventually rounding up three others (David Williams and Onta Williams and LaGuerre Payen) to take part in a purported plot to bomb a nearby synagogue and a local air national guard base.

All of them attended the same mosque. None of them had displayed any inclination toward militancy before the Feds deposited a terrorism "facilitator" in their midst. Yet a federal jury found all four of them guilty on terrorism charges stemming from a "plot" that was entirely manufactured by the FBI and carried out by way of Hussain.

"The FBI did not infiltrate a plot. There was no plot." That is, there was no plot on the part of the railroaded defendants. That there was a plot on the part of the FBI and its pet provocateur is indisputable. This would appear to be a perfect specimen of the process of "radicalizing" Muslims, which His Holiness Peter King, Inquisitor General of the Homeland Security State, considers to be the most acute existing threat to life, limb, and virtue.

In fact, the infiltration of mosques by Federal terrorism "facilitators" is the dominant form of "radicalization" taking place today. Similar efforts on the part of authentic Muslim militants may well be underway, but the FBI has refined the relevant techniques into a science.

Most American Muslims who refuse to cooperate with the Feds aren't trying to conceal subversives from the authorities; they're trying to avoid contact with the FBI's ever-growing pool of provocateurs and informants. The frame-up of the "Newburgh 4" splendidly illustrates the wisdom behind the decision not to cooperate with the Homeland Security apparatus, which will exploit any opportunity to manufacture a "terrorism plot."

Through Hussain, the FBI "created the criminal then manufactured the crime," insists a brief filed on behalf of Cromitie seeking for dismissal of the case on the grounds of "outrageous government conduct."

Posing as a wealthy and spiritually learned recruiter for the Pakistani terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hussain promised Cromitie and his impoverished friends at least $25,000 apiece (and $250,000 to Cromitie as "ringleader") for help in planting a bomb at a local synagogue and attacking military aircraft with surface-to-air missiles.

"The evidence at trial disclosed Shahed Hussain's cynical, but successful, effort to turn James Cromitie from an angry and disaffected man into a man motivated by money and spiritual reward to participate in a terrorist plot," Cromitie's brief continues. The Feds "designed, funded, supplied, engineered, and directed every detail of a highly dramatic and frightening -- but entirely fake -- terrorist plot, leading to the prosecution and conviction of Cromitie and his late-recruited compatriots."

Once Hussain had focused his attention on Cromitie, he was fiercely determined to suborn the hapless man into carrying out some role in a terrorist "conspiracy" -- even though his target was anything but eager to play along. About the only respite Cromitie experienced during the period between late 2008 and early 2009 was the space of several weeks in which "Moqsood" traveled to Pakistan, at FBI expense and under the Bureau's supervision, to attend a terrorist training camp.

In March 2009, after months of bribes, bullying, and brow-beating, Hussain provided Cromitie with an expensive camera to photographs of the air base and synagogue supposedly targeted in the plot. Rather than doing as he was told, Cromitie actually sold the camera to a neighbor for a fraction of its purchase price. He then told Hussain that he had mistakenly destroyed the camera by sitting on it.

Hussain might have been thinking of that episode during a wiretapped April 5, 2009 conversation in which he tweaked Cromitie for his reluctance to help in the supposed terror plot, despite the promise of a huge payday.

"I have to try to make some money, brother," Cromitie told Hussain, apparently in reference to his efforts to find honest work.

"I told you, I can make you 250,000 dollars, but you don't want it brother," Hussain replied.

The FBI's provocateur continued to pursue his "reward in two ways" strategy, playing on Cromitie's religious earnestness and exploiting his financial desperation by insisting that carrying out terrorist would be both pious and profitable. This meant, among other things, that whenever Cromitie would speak of forgiveness and forebearance in the face of hostility toward his Muslim faith, "Hussain -- posing as a religious wise man -- `corrected' him and proclaimed that the true, religiously mandated approach was to kill non-believers, not out of anger, but for the glory of Allah," summarizes the defense brief.

These religious appeals were coupled with blatant acts of bribery, shameless manipulation -- such as claiming that Cromitie's reluctance to cooperate was putting Hussain's life at risk -- and, finally, "veiled threats of physical harm against Cromitie." The provocateur followed a script written by FBI Special Agent Robert Fuller, who supervised every detail of the frame-up. Fuller provided cars, cameras, cell phones, and dummy explosives; he set up a storage warehouse for the bogus explosives and a "safe house" for those involved in the supposed plot.

Using Hussain as a ventriloquist's dummy in recorded meetings with Cromitie and his friends, Fuller did everything he could to get them to make a dramatic pronouncement of their determination to kill Jews and soldiers out of religious conviction. "Don't do it just for the money," Hussain urged Cromitie in one recorded conversation regarding violence against non-Muslims. "But do it, also say, in the name of Allah."

By early 2009, it must have seemed to Cromitie that he was trapped in some perverse game show. When he wasn't being whipsawed by Hussain's passive aggression, Cromitie was being teased with an ever-expanding list of prizes for cooperating: He was offered a BMW, his own barbershop, an expense-paid two-week vacation to Puerto Rico, and $250,000 in cash. All of this was being promised to an ex-con who was frantic to earn an honest living, a man who had a difficult time making enough to pay the rent.

Finally, after months of being pursued by this tenacious pest, Cromitie wearily relented: "Okay. F**k it. I don't care. Ah, man. Maqsood, you got me."

The problem here was that neither Cromitie nor any of his friends had any useful skills in carrying out a terrorist plot -- no training, no weapons, not even a driver's license. But they were four living, breathing, black American Muslims; all they had to do was show up at the right time and place to be arrested and photographed as living trophies symbolizing another triumph of the Homeland Security State.

In its reply to Cromitie's brief, the Regime stipulates to all of the facts while saying -- almost in so many words -- that it's perfectly acceptable to manufacture a crime in order to justify prosecuting someone who harbors unacceptable attitudes toward the State.

Hussain insists that prior to his recorded conversations with Cromitie, the target had expressed a desire to travel to Afghanistan to fight against U.S. personnel occupying that country. Those comments were never recorded; in fact, Cromitie was captured on tape saying exactly the opposite.

Nevertheless, according to the Feds, the frame-up was justified because Cromitie was an incipient terrorist on account of his "deeply held desire to avenge the injustices that in his eyes had befallen Islam and Islamic people around the world.... Cromitie hated Jews and the United States government and was not shy about expressing either sentiment.... The exploitation of a defendant's warped religious beliefs in violence sails far below the threshold of coercion that would be necessary for a viable claim of outrageous government conduct."

In fact, in every recorded instance in which the persecution of Muslims was addressed, Cromitie maintained that he was willing to leave vengeance in God's hands, trusting that justice would be done on Judgment Day; it was Hussain, the Feds' well-compensated veteran provocateur, who consistently peddled a "warped" religious belief in criminal violence against the innocent.

Cromitie had already spent a dozen years behind bars by the time the Feds targeted him for their provocation op. His most recent stint came after he was arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover narcotics operative behind a school. The narc most likely chose that location because of federal sentence enhancements: For someone who makes a living enticing people into committing drug offenses, getting a repeat offender to sell drugs near a school is the equivalent of a Scrabble maven playing "z" on the triple letter score square.

Like everything else of consequence done in the name of counter-terrorism, the Newburgh 4 case was staged for the institutional benefit of the Homeland Security State and the individual career advancement of a handful of FBI agents, federal prosecutors, and one exceptionally squalid informant.

One very telling indication of the perverse priorities at work here is found in the fact that the FBI actually intervened to prevent the arrest of David Williams, Cromitie's co-defendant, on larceny charges so that they could bust him as part of their contrived terrorist plot.

What political profit would result from allowing local authorities to prosecute Williams on a charge involving an actual property crime? On the other hand, arresting him as part of a black Muslim terrorist cell -- now, there's a bust with a high Q rating. Or, to recur to the Scrabble analogy, that's like playing the "z" tile on the triple word score square at the intersection of two fifteen-letter words.

In signaling her willingness to hear the Newburgh 4's appeal, Federal District Judge McMahon candidly described the supposed terrorist conspiracy as a pure Federal fabrication: "The plot was created before our very eyes in this courtroom," she stated.

"The law allows that to happen," lied Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raskin in reply. 
This is actually quite a stunning admission, coming as it does from someone of exalted rank within the "Justice" Department: He acknowledged that the Feds consider it to be legal and proper to manufacture terrorist plots in order to justify what can only be described as show trials. 
This isn't a news bulletin to people who had been paying attention, but there is some value in getting one of the producers of the long-running melodrama called Homeland Security Theater to make that key admission on the record. 
Obiter Dicta
Thanks to the generous assistance of my friend Kevin Craig, my Freedom Zealot podcasts now have a home on the Web. If my circumstances permit me to do so, I intend to produce them at least once a week.

In my next Pro Libertate installment, I am going to be examining the CPS/SWAT assault on the family of Detroit resident Maryanne Goldboldo, who had attempted to protect her teenage daughter from being forcibly drugged by agents of the local psihuska. I was immersed in the story above when news broke of the atrocity in Detroit.

If you can, please help keep Pro Libertate on-line. Thanks, and God bless!

Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hysterical Blindness

"Who's the Justiciar here?" Theodoric of York consults the Writ of Common Wisdom.

There exists today in our Grand and Holy Homeland a secret party of seditionists who stealthily undermine secular authority by seeking to govern themselves according to religious law. While eagerly exploiting the freedoms and material conveniences of our contemporary culture, they remain wedded to a pre-medieval worldview.  

Shockingly, they have wrested concessions from distracted or intimidated policy-makers. Whether through ignorance or opportunism, those officials are now effectively abetting the establishment of small but expanding theocratic islands inhabited by people who are subject to stern and exacting codes governing every aspect of life -- including diet, recreation, social activities, sex and other marital matters, and mandatory religious worship.

Most insidiously, this tiny but aggressive sect demands that its adherents submit to the authority of religious leaders, rather than civil courts, in dealing with disputes -- and this subversive arrangement has actually been upheld by the Obama administration! Thanks to a very capable lobbying effort on Capitol Hill, an organization rooted in this movement managed to secure a special exemption last year when the Obamacare measure was enacted. 

These official favors were granted despite the fact that the organization is directly tied to a group seeking to bring every element of America's culture into subjection to God's law, as understood by the group's adherents. Statements by prominent figures in the movement make it plain that they consider themselves to be soldiers in a divinely guided "army" with an all-encompassing social mandate.

Obviously this is yet another instance in which the Obama administration is quietly abetting the establishment of Sharia law -- or at least, it might be, were such a campaign actually underway, which it isn't. As it happens, the commendably insular and admirably government-aversive religious group described above the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSM), which was created for the purpose of helping fellow Christians obtain health coverage outside of government-controlled health insurance organizations. 

 HCSM, a project of Samaritan Ministries International, claims as many as 100,000 members who pool resources in a "need sharing" system to help reimburse each other's medical expenses (up to $100,000). Some conditions -- such as those resulting from drug and alcohol abuse -- aren't covered. Nor are abortions or care for unwed mothers (who can find help from other faith-centered crisis pregnancy organizations). 

The group also champions the laudable work of independent physicians such as the heroic Dr. Stansilov Burzynski, who has been persecuted by the Regime-aligned health care establishment for his innovative and promising cancer therapy.

James Lansberry, vice president of Samaritan Ministries, reports that this system has managed to meet the needs of its subscribers, a fact in which he sees the hand of Providence at work.

Samaritan Ministries (SMI), a tax-exempt charity, describes itself as a covenant-defined community of Christian believers dedicated to following the Bible's commandments "to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other or within the church."

"A member who chooses to violate this command of scripture and his covenant with his SMI brethren, and takes a dispute to court, destroys our fellowship and has chosen to be as if he had never been a Samaritan Ministries member and to not have his needs shared with the membership," the organization explains to interested prospects. "Therefore, in becoming a member or reaffirming  your membership, you agree that any claim or dispute you have with, or against SMI, its employees, directors, members and associate members, that is related to SMI and its ministries in any way, shall be settled by Biblically based mediation and, if necessary, legally binding arbitration. And SMI agrees similarly with respect to any matter SMI might have with you."

Sarah Posner of American Prospect points out that arrangements of this kind -- "contractual agreements to submit to dispute resolution outside of the courts, with choice-of-law provisions" -- are "quite common in religious settings." They are used by many Christian educational and charitable groups. Similar arbitration arrangements are used by various Jewish congregations. Yet in recent days the discovery of nearly identical mechanisms for private dispute-settlement among Muslims has triggered another mass convulsion among people who like to pretend that we live in the shadow of an incipient Caliphate. 

In 2002, a leadership dispute in the Islamic Education Center (ICE) in Tampa resulted in the ouster of three of the organization's trustees. The  ICE is governed by a "constitution" drawn up in 1993 by a Muslim scholar known as an A'lim. Under the provisions of that document's "Organizational Framework," the A'lim has veto power over the board of trustees, who agree to accept that scholar's guidance "to insure adherence to Islamic laws." This includes arbitration of disputes involving personnel and financial matters. In this case, the leadership dispute boils down to the question of controlling $2.2 million the ICE received from the Florida state government after it purchased some property from the mosque to use in a road construction project.

Three years ago a lawsuit was filed by the Mosque's former trustees, who wanted to move the dispute into Florida's civil court system.  In January, shortly before the trial was to begin, one of the parties requested an emergency injunction to enforce the arbiter's previous decision. 

This came as a surprise to Tampa Circuit Court Judge Richard Nielsen, who has observed that "Prior to the motion the court was not aware of any arbitration pending between the parties." 

On March 3, Judge Nielsen -- in what should be perceived as that rarest of things, an act of judicial restraint -- ruled that he would not intrude in a dispute that falls within the jurisdiction of an existing, written, contract-based private arbitration agreement. Unfortunately, this meant it was necessary for Nielsen to write the following words: "This case will proceed under Ecclesiastical Islamic law."

That phrase, predictably, caused the fever swamp to boil over.

"To all of the naysayers on the left who say that Sharia can never come to the U.S., here is the latest example of how it is slowly and stealthily creeping into our judicial system--in this case, courtesy of a foolish, non-Muslim judge (known as a useful idiot in Lenin's days)," sneered Erik Stakelbeck of CBN News, a preening blowhard who is no part of a journalist but plays one on cable TV. Variants of this soundbite quickly proliferated like mushrooms that had fed on the stuff Stakelbeck and his ilk have been diligently shoveling for the past several years. 

In fact, rather than opening the door to Sharia, Judge Nielsen was trying to nail it firmly shut. The constitutional religious freedom guarantees are intended to protect religious associations from government control; in this case Nielsen was dealing with an intramural dispute among faithful Muslims  who had freely chosen to submit to the rulings of a Muslim scholar. This doesn't change simply because there's a great deal of money at stake, and one side -- in this case, ironically, the incumbent trustees of the Mosque -- decides it might get a better deal from non-Muslims than it apparently got from the A'lin.

Nielsen knows very little about the Muslim religion and doesn't appear interested to learn much more. However, testimony from Islamic authorities in the pre-trial hearing demonstrated that "under ecclesiastical law, pursuant to the Qur'an, Islamic brothers should attempt to resolve a dispute among themselves," wrote the Judge in a supplemental ruling issued March 22. "If Islamic brothers are unable to do so, they can agree to present the dispute to the greater community of Islamic brothers within the mosque or the Muslim community for resolution. If that is not done or does not result in a resolution of the dispute, the dispute is to be presented to an Islamic judge for determination, and that is or can be an A'lim."

This arrangement shouldn't appear at all peculiar to Christians who are even superficially familiar with the New Testament (see particularly Matthew 18:15-17). Indeed, this is quite probably a procedure Muhammad borrowed directly from Christian teachings when he created his religion.
"From the outset of learning of the purported arbitration award, the court's concern has been whether there were ecclesiastical principles for dispute resolution involved that would compel the court to adopt the arbitration decision without consulting state law," explains Judge Nielsen. "Decisional case law both in Florida and the United States Supreme Court tells us that ecclesiastical law controls certain relations between members of a religious organization, whether a church, synagogue, temple or mosque."

Jacobins "Baptize" (drown) Christians who refused to worship the State.

 The likeliest alternative to that position, of course, would be one permitting the State to arbitrate all disputes that arise within religious associations -- including those involving finances, governance, discipline, and standards of conduct. This would create all kinds of opportunities for officious busybodies of the sort who seethe over the impudence of groups like Samaritan Ministries who dare to carve out little pockets of autonomy in defiance of the Leviathan State. 

There is nothing in Judge Nielsen's preliminary decision that would in any way facilitate the establishment of a Caliphate. However, if he were to break ICE to the saddle of the state, his actions would potentially be of great use to social engineers looking to destroy any institutional resistance to State control over all aspects of life.

Every association that settles its disputes through private contract derogates from the power of the State -- which is something to be encouraged and celebrated. Yet this is lost on the kind of people who can't see the facts through the fog of their own hyperventilation. Compulsive mosque-baiting is a difficult habit for some people to overcome. But if people do it long enough, they go blind.

One tragic fact is plain to see: There are too many Americans who simply fear Muslims more than they love or understand freedom.

Thank you so much for your generosity in helping to keep Pro Libertate on-line. If you can help, it will be very much appreciated. God bless!

Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The War Machine on the East River

The deed is done: The UN Security Council Declares War on Libya.

“There are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events, by time,” insisted the late Rep. Henry Hyde in 2002, as the regime of Bush the Lesser prepared to invade and occupy Iraq. “Declaration of war is one of them. There are things no longer relevant to modern society. Why declare war if you don’t have to? We are saying to the president, `Use your judgment.'” Having Congress declare war, Hyde concluded, would be “inappropriate, anachronistic – it isn’t done anymore."

Were Hyde still alive, it would be interesting to ask him this question: Is it more appropriate and up-to-date for the United States to be committed to a war completely unrelated to our national interest by a synod of foreign diplomats meeting in a room on the banks of the East River in New York? That is what happened today when the UN Security Council, acting in a role equivalent to the Mafia "Commission" granting permission for an inter-mob hit, voted to "authorize" war in Libya. This was done in a fashion entirely uncontaminated by the congressional interference that militarist conservatives like Hyde found so disagreeable.

Like most modern conservatives, Hyde's conspicuous reverence for the U.S. Constitution did not extend to the document's unambiguous provision that Congress alone has the power to commit the U.S. Government to war by way of a formal, explicit declaration. Conservatives of his type are stridently committed to strict construction of the Constitution regarding every function of the federal government, save only the costliest and most destructive one. 

Regarding the war-making power -- which Madison described as the greatest of all "enemies of public freedom" -- conservatives sound a great deal like FDR, who dismissed constitutional limitations on federal power as the archaic residue of "horse-and-buggy thinking."

Warfare "encompasses and develops the germ" of every variety of domestic tyranny, Madison warned. It breeds "armies, and debts, and taxes," which are "the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few"; this is why "no nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continued warfare." Madison's indictment, while sound, neglects one aspect of perpetual war's full-spectrum malignity: Continual warfare is, at best, a program for the incremental destruction of a nation's independence.

UN Peacekeepers play with a Somali youth.

The impending war with Libya is now added to the list of undeclared wars being conducted by the Regime in Washington. The Obama administration, emulating the diplomacy of the first Bush administration,circumvented Congress entirely, building an international "coalition" for a UN declaration of war. It did so in stupendously cynical fashion. 

Several days ago, the Arab League, by unrecorded voice vote, petitioned the UN to enact a "no-fly zone" over Libya. The League's resolution was brought about, in large measure, through a covert deal between Washington and Riyadh allowing the Saudis to dispatch an expeditionary force to Bahrain to help the Sunni al-Khalifa monarchy put down an uprising on the part of its suppressed and persecuted Shiite minority

Thus it is that with Washington's tacit blessing, Saudi troops are helping Bahrain's U.S.-equipped security forces to massacre peaceful protesters. This was done, once again, to secure an Arab League resolution asking the Security Council to authorize a "no-fly zone" in Libya, which the public was told would be a "limited" engagement. Of course, as Rep. Ron Paul points out, a "no-fly zone" is an act of war. When warplanes invade and occupy a country's air space, and the pilots are given orders to kill, foreplay has ended and intromission has occurred. 

Well, as long as we're in, we might as well do it to the hilt. In recognition of this principle,
the Obama administration has abandoned any pretense of restraint, urging the Security Council  for a resolution "authorizing" a "range of actions" going well beyond deployment of warplanes over Libya. This meant going the Full Monty in the form of a Chapter Seven resolution -- the UN equivalent of a formal declaration of war. As the war-crazed shrike serving as U.S. Secretary of State pointed out, this means that the U.S. and whatever coalition it can assemble will soon be bombing Libya. And once again, Congress played no role in this process.

It is abominable that 535 people in Washington assume they have the moral authority to compel Americans to make sacrifices of their lives and property in the service of what Daniel Webster (of all people) described as "the folly and wickedness" of the wars arranged by our rulers. Although requiring Congress to declare war didn't make those conflicts morally defensible, it did put those responsible on record. Now, however, such matters are disposed of by foreign diplomats and bureaucrats who are distant, unreachable, and beyond accountability of any kind this side of eternity.

Militarist conservatives generally denounce the UN as an impotent forum incurably devoted to pacifism and appeasement. Progressive internationalists treat the world body as an instrument for the peaceful resolution of disputes. Both of those perspectives are entirely wrong.

UN war propaganda: A January, 1943 front page.

"American critics of the United Nations often zero in on its lack of serious military capacity … [and consider it to be little more than ] ineffective do-goodery gone wrong," observed British journalist Simon Tisdall in a recent review of the book America, Hitler, and the UN. "Imagine their surprise, then, to learn that the UN was born amid nude scenes in a White House bathroom and that its primary purpose was as a war-fighting machine."

On December 28, 1941, just weeks after Pearl Harbor – an attack of which FDR had detailed advance knowledge, and which he permitted in order to open the “back door to war” – FDR suggested to Winston Churchill, a guest at the White House, that the anti-Axis coalition call itself “the United Nations.” Churchill agreed. The following New Year’s Day, FDR and Churchill formally introduced that name and the concept of “collective security” when they unveiled the Atlantic Charter.

Roosevelt and Churchill “set about creating a robust international organization that would not only win the war but … persuade the hitherto inward-looking American people of their country’s manifest destiny as a paramount international power with global duties and interests,” summarizes Tisdall. 

While the American public had never warmed to the notion of a peacetime League of Nations, “the idea of united nations joined in common cause against fascism proved immediately popular with an American public fearful of Japanese attacks on the US mainland…. The term `UN Forces’ was soon routinely substituted for `US’ `British,’ or `Russian’ forces in reports of allied military actions. American newspapers of the period took up the theme, carrying headlines such as `United Nations Powers Reveal Plan for Smashing Blows at Hitler’ … and `United Nations Pledge International Body to Keep Peace after the War.’"

Decades before George H.W. Bush claimed to have coined the expression "new world order" during a fishing expedition near Kennebunkport, FDR claimed that the term “United Nations” suddenly came to him while shaving. In his eagerness to share his epiphany, FDR supposedly barged in to tell Churchill the news while the British Prime Minister was naked and dripping wet from his morning bath.  

Diverting and disgusting as that mental image might be, FDR's queer little story is a patent lie. The fact is that the United Nations organization, both in concept and in name, was being discussed two years before America was maneuvered into World War II. 

On December 8, 1939, the U.S. State Department, working with a grand provided by the Rockefeller Foundation, commissioned the Council on Foreign Relations (a group not without influence in policy-making circles) to create a “Committee on Post-War Problems.” It was through that committee that the Roosevelt administration devised its grand military strategy, including the creation of a permanent United Nations organization following the war. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the war itself was seen by Roosevelt and his handlers as a means to create that world body.

“For Roosevelt, the critical task in 1943-45, beyond winning the war, was to commit the United States to postwar international structures before peace could return the nation to its old habits,” pointed out Establishment court historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. “So he moved methodically to prepare the American people for a continuing world role”; this meant, among other things, putting in place key elements of the UN system, beginning with the financial institutions – the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

“Above all, FDR  saw the United Nations, in the words of [presidential adviser] Charles E. Bohlen, as `the only device that could keep the United States from slipping back into isolationism," Schlesinger continued. "He was determined to put the United Nations in business while the war was still on so that the American people were still in an internationalist mood; hence the founding conference in San Francisco, which took place after his death but before victory. And, as Winston Churchill emphasized, the new international organization `will not shrink from establishing its will against the evil-doer or evil-planner in good time and by force of arms.’"

Fortunately – at least from Schlesinger’s depraved perspective – “the United States did not, as Roosevelt feared, slip back into isolationism. Within a few years after the end of the Second World War, the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, NATO, other security pacts, and overseas troop deployments entangled the United States in the outside world in ways that isolationists in their most despairing moments could hardly have envisaged.” This “upsurge in internationalism” was “a reaction to what was perceived as a direct and urgent threat to the security of the United States” from the Soviet Union and its satellites. 

What this means, Schlesinger candidly admitted, is that Joseph Stalin – a mass murderer far more prolific than Hitler – was the savior of the internationalist cause: “It is to Joseph Stalin that Americans owe the forty-year suppression of the isolationist impulse.” The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Schlesinger lamented, threatened the designs of internationalists “with the prospect that haunted Roosevelt half a century ago – the reversion to isolationism.”

Oddly enough, every time the specter of peace rears its ugly head, some convenient crisis materializes to dispel such an ominous prospect. In 1951, Americans were growing disenchanted with the costs and burdens of UN-centered “collective security”; fortunately, as Secretary of State Dean Acheson later recalled, “the Korean War came along and saved us." 

Sure, more than 50,000 Americans died, along with hundreds of thousands of Koreans and Chinese, in a pointless and endlessly protracted conflict – but that’s just the price that must be paid in order to keep Americans “engaged” in the world. The same can be said of 9/11, the “Pearl Harbor for a new century” that has given rise to the longest combat engagements in U.S. history – the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which, like every war since our nation entered the UN, have been conducted on the purported authority of the president, fortified by UN Security Council resolutions, without a constitutional declaration of war.

Americans, especially those who choose to enlist in the military, simply have to endure such outrages, according to Schlesinger. After all, he blithely declared, “We are not going to achieve a new world order without paying for it in blood, as well as in words and money."

The War Machine Empowered: Vandenberg signs the UN Charter.
The implications of U.S. involvement in a permanent UN organization were understood by at least some of the Senators who debated ratification of the Charter -- including those who opposed this repudiation of congressional war-declaring powers. 

Senator Arthur Vandenberg (R-Michigan), a one-time defender of U.S. independence who became an internationalist after being morally compromised by British intelligence, observed that requiring “the consent of Congress to every use of our armed forces … would violate the spirit of the [UN] Charter" -- as if that document, not the U.S. Constitution, was the one he was sworn to uphold. That confusion may have come naturally to Vandenberg, given that he had signed the Charter as a delegate to the UN's founding conference in San Francisco.

On December 20, 1945, Truman signed into "law" a measure called the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 (UNPA), which amounts to a statutory repudiation of Congress's constitutional duty to declare war. The UNPA authorizes the U.S. President to "negotiate a special agreement or agreements with the Security Council" concerning the use of American military personnel and facilities for UN "peacekeeping" and "peace enforcement" missions. 

The measure also specifies, "The President shall not be deemed to require the authorization of the Congress" to make American troops and assets available to the Security Council. In essence, Truman and his successors have used the UNPA as a perpetual declaration of war granting them authority to deploy American troops anywhere in the world under the color of the UN's purported authority.
During the final congressional debate over the UNPA on December 18, 1945, Representative Pete Jarman (D-AL), who volubly supported the measure, admitted: "After the Congress ratifies the agreement signed by the President with the Security Council those troops are at the disposal of the Security Council. Neither the President nor the Congress can prevent their use." 

Several congressmen emphatically condemned this proposed surrender of congressional authority. Representative John Robison (R-KY) observed that "this measure before us is violative of the Constitution of the United States, which expressly provides that Congress alone shall have the power to declare war .... [I]f this measure is adopted, Congress will not be called upon in the future to declare war as provided in the Constitution." 

Representative Frederick Smith (R-OH) concurred: "This measure strikes at the very heart of the Constitution. It provides that the power to declare war shall be taken from Congress and given to the President. Here is the essence of dictatorship, and dictatorial control over all else must inevitably tend to follow."
Representative Clare Hoffman (R-MI) admonished his colleagues -- in terms that seem almost prophetic -- that "the desire for peace should not lead us down a path that will bring us continuous war [and] give opportunity for the oppression of smaller nations." Hoffman yielded to nobody in his support for American military strength and insisted that "we should continue as we are, the greatest and strongest nation in all the world" and retain our independence from entangling diplomatic pacts. However, he lamented, "we are advised that we must go in, surrendering at least a portion, not only of our sovereignty, but of our freedom of action, and be bound by the decision of the Security Council."
Several UNPA supporters uninhibited by a capacity for shame invoked the Christmas holiday and blasphemously suggested that the UN represented the consummation of Christ's teachings. This cynical display of sanctimony provoked Representative Howard Buffett (R-NE) -- the Ron Paul of his era -- to offer this rebuke:
“A number of speakers here have mentioned with quite some piousness the birthday of the lonely Nazarene, but I do not think many of them have mentioned ... that it was probably the first international police force of all times that crucified the lonely Nazarene. It was the Roman legions that were in this land foreign to their own that crucified the lonely Nazarene whom we revere as the founder of Christianity. That leads me to the further observation that if great international police forces are set up we might again see the spectacle 2,000 years later of an international police force crucifying Christianity that the lonely Nazarene died for years ago."
Perhaps the most emphatic and perceptive critique of UNPA was delivered by Congresswoman Jesse Sumner (R-IL), who declared that "our government's peace program "is no peace program .... The movement for it is led by the same old warmongers, still masquerading as princes of peace, who involved us in a war while pretending their purpose was to keep us out of war." 
"And what have Americans gotten out of that war?" Sumner continued. "Nothing but Communism and corpses and [a] new eunuch world plunderbund...." Further, Sumner predicted, "This measure obviously authorizes the surrender to the new world supergovernment of enough American men and military might to conquer any nation in the world, including the United States, in the same way the southern states were conquered in the Civil War."
Validation of those warnings came quickly. As Schlesinger points out, the first test of this new mechanism came in 1951, when “President Truman proposed, without reference to Congress, to send four divisions to Europe – not to engage in combat but merely to reinforce the American Army under NATO,” a treaty organization that was designed to be a regional affiliate of the United Nations. This initiative was opposed by Senator Robert A. Taft (R.-Ohio), who correctly accused Truman of “usurping authority `in violation of the laws and the Constitution.’”

“Representative Frederic Coudert of New York City introduced a Sense of the Congress Resolution declaring that `no additional military forces’ could be sent abroad `without the prior authorization of the Congress in each instance,’” recounted Schlesinger. “Truman replied that he certainly did not need the approval of Congress to send more troops to Europe, and his administration `would continue to send troops wherever it is necessary to uphold our obligations to the United Nations.’”

Truman used America’s alleged “obligations” to the United Nations to justify sending troops to serve in NATO; shortly thereafter, in a remarkable example of seamless bootstrapping, Truman invoked the precedent of sending troops to serve under NATO command as authority for his decision to wage war on behalf of the UN in Korea. Although a cease-fire ended active hostilities, the UN-supervised Korean War has never ended, and U.S. military personnel remain entrenched in the Korean peninsula, under UN command, more than six decades later.

In similar fashion, American troops that were committed to enforcing a 1990 UN Security Council resolution against Iraq remain embroiled in Mesopotamia more than two decades later. Just a few weeks ago, the policymakers responsible for this state of affairs gathered at Texas A&M University to commemorate their crime.

“In the case of Desert Storm, I honestly believe history will say we got this one right,” insisted former President George H.W. Bush, who -- in a fashion worthy of Saddam Hussein -- celebrated his own wisdom and benevolence in an auditorium bearing his own name. Also on hand to praise the Dear Leader's insight and bold resolution was former Secretary of State James Baker, who extolled Desert Storm as “a textbook example of the way to go to war.”

The “textbook” to which Baker referred is one from which congress's constitutional war had been excised. Were Bush, Baker and their comrades a bit less besotted with themselves, they might have considered the possibility that the twenty-year war they began in 1991 might offer a textbook illustration of the disastrous consequences that result from ignoring the Constitution’s limits on presidential war powers. But this would mean accepting the proposition that they were subject to the rule of law, and accountable to the people whose lives and property they dispose of so whimsically.

The Desert Storm anniversary panel was moderated by Ryan Crocker, dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service, where the event took place. Crocker was also Bush the Elder’s former ambassador to Iraq. Given his background and the setting in which the discussion was held, it’s not surprising that nobody was interested in asking pointed and necessary questions. The closest thing to an inquiry of that kind came when Crocker asked the panel what would have happened if congress had not approved an inconsequential and constitutionally spurious resolution “authorizing” Bush to enforce a UN Security Council resolution against Iraq.

That question was eagerly answered by Dick Cheney, the ambulatory bile-sack who served as Bush the Elder's secretary of defense before becoming the power behind the throne when it was occupied by Bush's specially challenged namesake.

“I would have recommended that we go forward anyway,” Cheney declared. “I was a believer in the notion that we already had, from a legal standpoint, all the authority we need. I’m not a layer [but] I didn’t let that stand in the way.”

Baker eagerly seconded Cheney’s opinion, adding a critical bit of legal exegesis.

“Well, I am a lawyer,” Baker began, “and I would have argued the same thing. And I’m quite positive that the president would have gone [to war] anyway because we did have the authority under Article 51 of the UN Charter,” through which the Security Council is given the supposed authority to approve the use of military force in the interests of “collective security.” 

Conservative militarists invoke "National Security" to justify suspension of due process guarantees; progressive militarists appeal to "Collective Security" to sanctify aggressive war as a "multilateral" exercise. And of course, each of those collectivist factions will embrace the other's nostrums when convenient. The result of this depraved dialectic is a domestic garrison state on a permanent war footing, with the UN Security Council serving as an instrument of Washington's imperial ambitions. It will be interesting to see what role the War Machine on the East River will play as Washington's power and prestige continues its precipitous decline.

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Dum spiro, pugno!