“I just want to be able to live and play like the other kids around the world.” She then said, “Mom, I don’t think we will have a real solution in Gaza until I’m old and married.”
via Stories from Gaza.
“I just want to be able to live and play like the other kids around the world.” She then said, “Mom, I don’t think we will have a real solution in Gaza until I’m old and married.”
via Stories from Gaza.
“The Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis…”
Craig Monteilh: ‘It is all about entrapment.’ Photograph: The Washington Post
Tuesday 20 March 2012
Craig Monteilh says he did not balk when his FBI handlers gave him the OK to have sex with the Muslim women his undercover operation was targeting. Nor, at the time, did he shy away from recording their pillow talk.
“They said, if it would enhance the intelligence, go ahead and have sex. So I did,” Monteilh told the Guardian as he described his year as a confidential FBI informant sent on a secret mission to infiltrate southern Californian mosques.
It is an astonishing admission that goes that goes to the heart of the intelligence surveillance of Muslim communities in America in the years after 9/11. While police and FBI leaders have insisted they are acting to defend America from a terrorist attack, civil liberties groups have insisted they have repeatedly gone too far and treated an entire religious group as suspicious.
Monteilh was involved in one of the most controversial tactics: the use of “confidential informants” in so-called entrapment cases. This is when suspects carry out or plot fake terrorist “attacks” at the request or under the close supervision of an FBI undercover operation using secret informants. Often those informants have serious criminal records or are supplied with a financial motivation to net suspects.
In the case of the Newburgh Four – where four men were convicted for a fake terror attack on Jewish targets in the Bronx – a confidential informant offered $250,000, a free holiday and a car to one suspect for help with the attack.
In the case of the Fort Dix Five, which involved a fake plan to attack a New Jersey military base, one informant’s criminal past included attempted murder, while another admitted in court at least two of the suspects later jailed for life had not known of any plot.
Such actions have led Muslim civil rights groups to wonder if their communities are being unfairly targeted in a spying game that is rigged against them. Monteilh says that is exactly what happens. “The way the FBI conducts their operations, It is all about entrapment … I know the game, I know the dynamics of it. It’s such a joke, a real joke. There is no real hunt. It’s fixed,” he said.
But Monteilh has regrets now about his involvement in a scheme called Operation Flex. Sitting in the kitchen of his modest home in Irvine, near Los Angeles, Monteilh said the FBI should publicly apologise for his fruitless quest to root out Islamic radicals in Orange County, though he does not hold out much hope that will happen. “They don’t have the humility to admit a mistake,” he said.
Monteilh’s story sounds like something out of a pulp thriller. Under the supervision of two FBI agents the muscle-bound fitness instructor created a fictitious French-Syrian altar ego, called Farouk Aziz. In this disguise in 2006 Monteilh started hanging around mosques in Orange County – the long stretch of suburbia south of LA – and pretended to convert to Islam.
He was tasked with befriending Muslims and blanket recording their conversations. All this information was then fed back to the FBI who told Monteilh to act like a radical himself to lure out Islamist sympathizers.
Yet, far from succeeding, Monteilh eventually so unnerved Orange County’s Muslim community that that they got a restraining order against him. In an ironic twist, they also reported Monteilh to the FBI: unaware he was in fact working undercover for the agency.
Monteilh does not look like a spy. He is massively well built, but soft-spoken and friendly. He is 49 but looks younger. He lives in a small rented home in Irvine that blends into the suburban sprawl of southern California. Yet Monteilh knows the spying game intimately well.
By his own account Monteilh got into undercover work after meeting a group of off-duty cops working out in a gym. Monteilh told them he had spent time in prison in Chino, serving time for passing fraudulent checks.
It is a criminal past he explains by saying he was traumatised by a nasty divorce. “It was a bad time in my life,” he said. He and the cops got to talking about the criminals Monteilh had met while in Chino. The information was so useful that Monteilh says he began to work on undercover drug and organised crime cases.
Eventually he asked to work on counter-terrorism and was passed on to two FBI handlers, called Kevin Armstrong and Paul Allen. These two agents had a mission and an alias ready-made for him.
Posing as Farouk Aziz he would infiltrate local mosques and Islamic groups around Orange County. “Paul Allen said: ‘Craig, you are going to be our computer worm. Our guy that gives us the real pulse of the Muslim community in America’,” Monteilh said.
The operation began simply enough. Monteilh started hanging out at mosques, posing as Aziz, and explaining he wanted to learn more about religion. In July, 2006, at the Islamic Center of Irvine, he converted to Islam.
Monteilh also began attending other mosques, including the Orange County Islamic Foundation. Monteilh began circulating endlessly from mosque to mosque, spending long days in prayer or reading books or just hanging out in order to get as many people as possible to talk to him.
“Slowly I began to wear the robes, the hat, the scarf and they saw me slowly transform and growing a beard. At that point, about three or four months later, [my FBI handlers] said: ‘OK, now start to ask questions’.”
Those questions were aimed at rooting out radicals. Monteilh would talk of his curiosity over the concepts of jihad and what Muslims should do about injustices in the world, especially where it pertained to American foreign policy.
He talked of access to weapons, a possible desire to be a martyr and inquired after like-minded souls. It was all aimed at trapping people in condemning statements. “The skill is that I am going to get you to say something. I am cornering you to say “jihad”,” he said.
Of course, the chats were recorded.
In scenes out of a James Bond movie, Monteilh said he sometimes wore a secret video recorder sewn into his shirt. At other times he activated an audio recorder on his key rings.
Monteilh left his keys in offices and rooms in the mosques that he attended in the hope of recording conversations that took place when he was not here. He did it so often that he earned a reputation with other worshippers for being careless with his keys. The recordings were passed back to his FBI handlers at least once a week.
He also met with them every two months at a hotel room in nearby Anaheim for a more intense debriefing. Monteilh says he was grilled on specific individuals and asked to view charts showing networks of relationships among Orange County’s Muslim population.
He said the FBI had two basic aims. Firstly, they aimed to uncover potential militants. Secondly, they could also use any information Monteilh discovered – like an affair or someone being gay – to turn targeted people into becoming FBI informants themselves.
None of it seemed to unnerve his FBI bosses, not even when he carried out a suggestion to begin seducing Muslim women and recording them.
At one hotel meeting, agent Kevin Armstrong explained the FBI attitude towards the immense breadth of Operation Flex – and any concerns over civil rights – by saying simply: “Kevin is God.”
Monteilh’s own attitude evolved into something very similar. “I was untouchable. I am a felon, I am on probation and the police cannot arrest me. How empowering is that? It is very empowering. You began to have a certain arrogance about it. It is almost taunting. They told me: ‘You are an untouchable’,” he said.
But it was not always easy. “I started at 4am. I ended at 9.30pm. Really, it was a lot of work … Farouk took over. Craig did not exist,” he said. But it was also well paid: at the peak of Operation Flex, Monteilh was earning more than $11,000 a month.
But he was wrong about being untouchable.
Far from uncovering radical terror networks, Monteilh ended up traumatising the community he was sent into. Instead of embracing calls for jihad or his questions about suicide bombers or his claims to have access to weapons, Monteilh was instead reported to the FBI as a potentially dangerous extremist.
A restraining order was also taken out against him in June 2007, asking him to stay away from the Islamic Center of Irvine. Operation Flex was a bust and Monteilh had to kill off his life as Farouk Aziz.
But the story did not end there. In circumstances that remain murky Monteilh then sued the FBI over his treatment, claiming that they abandoned him once the operation was over.
He also ended up in jail after Irvine police prosecuted him for defrauding two women, including a former girlfriend, as part of an illegal trade in human growth hormone at fitness clubs. (Monteilh claims those actions were carried out as part of another secret string operation for which he was forced to carry the can.)
What is not in doubt is that Monteilh’s identity later became public. In 2009 the FBI brought a case against Ahmad Niazi, an Afghan immigrant in Orange County.
The evidence included secret recordings and even calling Osama bin Laden “an angel”. That was Monteilh’s work and he outed himself to the press to the shock of the very Muslims he had been spying on who now realised that Farouk Aziz – the radical they had reported to the FBI two years earlier – had in fact been an undercover FBI operative.
Now Monteilh says he set Niazi up and the FBI was trying to blackmail the Afghani into being an informant. “I built the whole relationship with Niazi. Through my coercion we talked about jihad a lot,” he said. The FBI’s charges against Niazi were indeed later dropped.
Now Monteilh has joined an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the FBI. Amazingly, after first befriending Muslim leaders in Orange County as Farouk Aziz, then betraying them as Craig Monteilh, he has now joined forces with them again to campaign for their civil liberties.
That has now put Monteilh’s testimony about his year undercover is at the heart of a fresh legal effort to prove that the FBI operation in Orange County unfairly targeted a vulnerable Muslim community, trampling on civil rights in the name of national security.
The FBI did not respond to a request from the Guardian for comment.
It is not the first time Monteilh has shifted his stance. In the ACLU case Monteilh is now posing as the sorrowful informant who saw the error of his ways.
But in previous court papers filed against the Irvine Police and the FBI, Monteilh’s lawyers portrayed him as the loyal intelligence asset who did sterling work tackling the forces of Islamic radicalism and was let down by his superiors.
In those papers Monteilh complained that FBI agents did not act speedily enough on a tip he gave them about a possible sighting of bomb-making materials. Now Monteilh says that tip was not credible.
Either way it does add up to a story that shifts with the telling. But that fact alone goes to the heart of the FBI’s use of such confidential informants in investigating Muslim communities.
FBI operatives with profiles similar to Monteilh’s – of a lengthy criminal record, desire for cash and a flexibility with the truth – have led to high profile cases of alleged entrapment that have shocked civil rights groups across America.
In most cases the informants have won their prosecutions and simply disappeared. Monteilh is the only one speaking out. But whatever the reality of his year undercover, Monteilh is almost certainly right about one impact of Operation Flex and the exposure of his undercover activities: “Because of this the Muslim community will never trust the FBI again.”
By Michael Collins Piper
A leading critic of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) is purveying smears of “anti-Semitism” against some influential liberal groups by unfavorably comparing their stance to the nationalist, America-first point of view expressed by The Spotlight, the predecessor of AMERICAN FREE PRESS.
The liberal groups—which are closely associated with the Obama administration—are perceived, like the president and Paul, to be insufficiently supportive of Israel. Washington insiders see this as the latest effort by the Israeli lobby to undermine Obama’s already shaky support among Jewish voters.
A key propagandist involved in the affair is James Kirchik who won widespread media favor for authoring a hit piece on Paul, accusing him of purveying racism and anti-Semitism in Paul’s privately published newsletter—and, yes, attempting to “link” Paul to The Spotlight, among other supposedly horrible things.
One of a select few in the media whose writings appear in both the “liberal” New Republicand the “conservative” Weekly Standard—which, despite differences on domestic issues are otherwise vigorous advocates for Israel (and both of which published Kirchick’s attacks on Paul)—Kirchick used the forum of Israel’s daily Ha’aretz to sling his latest mud.
Describing The Spotlight as “one of the most notorious newspapers ever published in America,” and “for many years the country’s premier hate rag,” Kirchick complained that The Spotlight charged there were high-ranking political figures who, in The Spotlight’s estimation, placed “Israel first.” Now, to Kirchick’s dismay, he claims such liberal groups as the Center for American Progress (CAP) and Media Matters for America (MMA) are echoing such terminology, which, he says, “is an indication of just how deep the rhetoric of the far right has seeped into the discourse of the mainstream left.”
In fact, what this means is that people on both the traditional “right” and “left” are getting fed up with inordinate Israeli lobby influence on American foreign policy.
The items in controversy were not even published or endorsed by CAP, but, instead, appeared on the private Internet accounts of two CAP staffers. Yet supporters of Israel cite these items in an effort to smear CAP, and, by extension, the Obama White House.
One of the CAP staffers referred to “Israel firsters”—and he has since left the CAP staff. The second “controversial” item described a member of the Senate as more loyal to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)—the lobby for Israel—than to his own constituents. Associates of CAP and MMA were also slammed for openly discussing the clout of Jewish campaign contributions in the American political process, as though such discussion was beyond the pale.
The attacks on the liberal groups originated with Josh Block—a former AIPAC functionary—who packaged an assembly of CAP-connected writings, calling them an “outrageous vilification of pro-Israel Americans.”
The fact that CAP is—as The Washington Post has noted—“closely aligned with the White House” and “an idea generator for Obama’s Washington” is being repeatedly bandied about, to the point that it is now “complicating the president’s reelection outreach to some Jewish voters,” reflecting what another influential Washington daily, Politico, has called “Obama’s Jewish problem.” That problem is that key Jewish groups and leaders view the president to be insufficiently supportive of Israel, and their views are reverberating in the American Jewish community at large.
While—responding to the attacks—CAP declared the private writings of its staffers to be “inappropriate” and rushed to assert its own support for Israel, the Post noted that “the critics are not mollified.” The Post cited Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who said “the language is corrosive and unacceptable” and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, who said the statements were “anti-Semitic and borderline anti-Semitic,” adding that the ADL was concerned “this . . . think tank . . . does influence the administration.”
The Post said the controversy “could add friction to the already tense relationship between Obama and many pro-Israel Jews,” which, of course, was reflected in the recent call by a prominent figure in the Atlanta Jewish community for Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad, to assassinate the president.
On Dec. 7, 2011, The Washington Times reported that Doris Wise Montrose—the president of the Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors—charged that there was an “ongoing campaign by the White House to undermine Israel.” At the same time, Morton Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America, alleged evidence of “the hostility of the administration to Jews in Israel and its misplaced sympathy for Muslims and radical Muslims.”
Michael Collins Piper is an author, journalist, lecturer and radio show host. He has spoken in Russia, Malaysia, Iran, Abu Dhabi, Japan, Canada and the U.S. He is the author of Final Judgment, The New Jerusalem, The High Priests of War, Dirty Secrets, My First Days in the White House, The New Babylon, Share the Wealth, The Judas Goats, Target: Traficant and The Golem. You can order any of these books with a credit card by calling AFP/FAB toll free at 1-888-699-6397.
Friday, February 24, 2012
What if you are only allowed to vote because it doesn’t make a difference? What if no matter how you vote, the elites get to have it their way? What if “one person, one vote” is just a fiction created by the government to induce your compliance? What if democracyis dangerous to personal freedom? What if democracy erodes the people’s understanding of natural rights and the foundations of government, and instead turns elections into beauty contests?
What if democracy allows the government to do anything it wants, as long as more people bother to show up at the voting booth to support it than to oppose it? What if the purpose of democracy is to convince people that they could prosper not through the creation of wealth but through theft from others? What if the only moral way to acquire wealth – aside from inheritance – is through voluntary economic activity? What if the government persuaded you that you could acquire wealth through political activity? What if economic activity included all the productive and peaceful things we do? What if political activity included all the parasitical and destructive things the government does?
What if governments were originally established to protect people’s freedom, but always turn into political and imperialist enterprises that seek to expand their power, increase their territory and heighten their control of the population? What if the idea that we need a government to take care of us is actually a fiction? What if our strength as individuals and durability as a culture are contingent not on the strength of the government but on the amount of freedom we have from the government?
What if we’re seeing civil unrest around the world precisely because government is out of control? What if the cocktail of big government and democracy brings dependence and destruction? What if big government destroys people’s motivations and democracy convinces them that the only motivation they need is to vote and go along with whatever the government does?
What if the Republican primaries we’re seeing unfold aren’t actually as democratic as they may appear to be? What if the results you have seen from the states that have voted thus far don’t match the composition of the delegates those states send to the Tampa convention this summer because the polls aren’t what counts, but what counts are the secret meetings that come after the voting? What if Joe Stalin was right when he said the most powerful person in the world is the guy who counts the votes?
What if the greatest tyrant in history lives among us? What if that tyrant always gets its way, no matter what the laws are or what the Constitution says? What if that tyrant is the majority of voters? What if the tyranny of the majority in a democracy recognizes no limits on its power?
What if the government misinforms voters so as to justify anything the government wants to do? What if the government bribes people with the money it prints? What if it gives entitlements to the poor, tax breaks to the middle class and bailouts to the rich just to keep all of us dependent upon it? What if a vibrant republic requires not just the democratic process of voting, but also informed and engaged voters who understand first principles of limited government and free-market economics, and the divine origin of natural right
What if we could free ourselves from the yoke of big government through a campaign of education and information and personal courage that leads to a revolutionary return to first principles? What if the establishment doesn’t want this? What if the government remains the same no matter who wins elections?
What if because of Ron Paul‘s presidential campaign, because he isn’t campaigning just for votes as his competition is, because he is educating the population and winning the hearts and minds of a once free people and inspiring them to fight for their freedom once more, freedom wins? What if we can be free again? What will it take to make that happen?
Most people have taken an aspirin at one point or another in their life. Whether it was for a headache, a fever or any other pain, its typical use as a popular drug is something almost pervasive in the modern West.
Aspirin is also recommended to older patients as a daily use treatment for inflammation and heart health, but there are a number of considerations that should be pointed out when accepting or advocating the use of aspirin in general.
In ancient times, physicians would use willow tree bark, which actually contains the salicylic acid — the same ingredient used to synthesize aspirin today. Traditional physicians would use this as a natural treatment for aches, pains and fever. Despite the fact that this is a legitimate natural cure, aspirin itself is chemically manufactured and often comes with a number of side effects.
The most common of these is gastrointestinal disturbance, often causing stomach ulcers andintestinal bleeding. Numerous studies have been conducted on daily aspirin use for over two decades, with some further shocking conclusions.
Those on daily aspirin regimens had a twofold increase in hemorrhagic brain strokes, which cripple and kill. What’s more? Fatal heart attacks were actually not reduced at all by taking low dose aspirin daily. The ‘aspirin a day’ method is supposed to help prevent heart ailments in people with heart conditions, and has been popularly pushed as a positive prevention measure for artery clogging.
It’s expected that a routine aspirin user is subjecting themselves to these risks more often by doing so.
Aspirin has also been known to cause tinnitus when used in large doses or used routinely, and has been linked to the development of hearing loss. Aspirin also cannot be mixed with certain drugs, as they can have adverse interactions with each other. Some of these include antidepressants like Prozac, along with a number of others.
Those with allergic reactions to aspirin can also have adverse reactions to taking aspirin. Reye’s syndrome, which is potentially fatal, has also been linked to aspirin use in young people.
Aspirin interferes with the blood’s clotting action, which can sometimes occur within the blood vessels themselves. This usually happens when the arteries are subject to fatty buildup that damages the arteries, causing blood clots that block out the blood flow to the heart.
In the case of aspirin, the ‘treatment’ itself seems to be addressing a symptomatic issue rather than the root of the problem. Damaged arteries that are clogged with fatty deposits ultimately cause the vessels to be blocked and prevent blood flow. Rather than simply making the blood flow thinner and easier, the root problem of the clogged passages must be addressed, otherwise the victim is still all the more susceptible to heart failure and disease.
This article first appeared at Natural Society, an excellent resource for health news and vaccine information.
The Intel Hub
By Madison Ruppert
February 24, 2012
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has been leading a valiant effort to reveal the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Big Brother policies which include spying on Americans’ activity on social networks, especially people who express dissenting opinions.
EPIC is now claiming that the DHS actually lied to Congress during a hearing (read the transcript here) surrounding the DHS’s $11.4 million contract to monitor social networks for activity which is fully protected by free speech.
The group first published a significant amount of documents on this program, which was contracted to General Dynamics, in January. However, the second round of previously secret documents obtained by the group shows that the testimony given on the February 16 hearing by DHS was highly misleading.
Indeed, according to an interview given to Raw Story, EPIC found that the DHS actually ordered their analysts to do precisely what they vehemently denied during the hearing.
Ginger McCall, director of EPIC’s Open Government Project, has sent a letter to the ranking members of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, detailing this deception although aides for subcommittee chairman Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican, and ranking member Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, said that they had yet to read the letter, without any further elaboration.
Jackie Speier recently made news here at End the Lie for her opposition to the DHS program and her calls to end the practice – something which other government officials have steered clear of.
According to McCall, “There were several exchanges that [the DHS] had with members of Congress in which they sort of distanced themselves from the idea — that they weren’t engaging in this monitoring of public reaction to government proposals. But that’s… Well, it’s not true, according to the documents we obtained.”
“The DHS testimony, as well as the documents obtained by EPIC, indicate that the agency is monitoring constantly, under very broad search terms, and is not limiting that monitoring to events or activities related to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or manmade disasters,” McCall explained to lawmakers. “The monitoring is designed to be over-broad, and sweeps in large amounts of First Amendment activity. The DHS has no legal authority to engage in this monitoring.”
Of course the DHS regularly claims that the program is limited by their Privacy Impact Assessment which supposedly limits the amount of personally identifiable information (PII) collected.
This is somewhat like the claims made by FEMA, although at least they openly admit that they associate the author of the content with the content itself.
On the other hand, the DHS maintains that they only use such PII when it is a life and death situation.
However, the documents obtained through EPIC’s hard work reveal that there might be some overlap between the two programs.
In the case of the DHS program, analysts were instructed to look for “both positive and negative reports” about many of the agencies that fall under the DHS umbrella including, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and then the wide-open designation of “organizations outside of DHS.”
Of course, it doesn’t end there with calls to watch social media for discussions pertaining to many policies which the government obviously is worried about including drug policies, matters of cybersecurity, immigration policies and, unsurprisingly, American foreign policy.
Obviously the last item on that list brings up some heated debates and dissent, however, all of these issues are completely and totally covered by our Constitutional right to freedom of speech, hence McCall’s statement that the DHS “has no legal authority” to conduct such activities.
This has a profound effect on free speech online if you feel like a government law enforcement agency — particularly the Department of Homeland Security, which is supposed to look for terrorists — is monitoring your criticism, your dissent, of the government,” McCall told Raw Story.
This is precisely correct and is what some people refer to as the “chilling effect” wherein people will simply stifle their own free speech because they know that some gigantic government agency might be watching over their shoulder – in a fashion even George Orwell probably couldn’t predict – and especially when that same agency is supposed to be out looking for terrorists.
Part of the latest round of documents, which came after DHS officials nonsensically claimed that monitoring of dissent among Americans online was merely discussed and never actually implemented, brought what might be the most interesting document yet.
This is the DHS manual for analysts who monitor social media, which appears to be issued some time in 2001.
The manual, which you can read in full by clicking below, is replete with explicit instructions on what analysts working for the DHS should look out for in their domestic spying activities.
While the hearings have been far from conclusive and General Dynamics has been tight-lipped on the issue, EPIC has resolved to continue their admirable lawsuit against the DHS over their very possibly illegal activities.
They also said that they would continue to push Congress to hold hearings on the issue and have proposed that Congress immediately the program in its entirety.
Furthermore, they have called for Congress to conduct an investigation into if these same practices are going on within the ranks of other government agencies – which I think is a given.
It seems especially likely when one considers the Air Force’s call for so-called persona management software, along with their call to create a worldwide “social radar” which would make the DHS program look like child’s play.
Unfortunately, the original posting on the Federal Business Opportunities websiteappears to have been taken down, but thankfully there are plenty of articles still available which detail what it said.
Considering all of the Big Brother activities our government engages in, it seems that our so-called leaders are incredibly paranoid.
This begs the question: what are they so afraid of?
If we pay attention to their documents, it is very clear what it is that they are so afraid of and that is dissent.
This becomes even more obvious when one looks at the massive pushes to crack down on internet freedom, put more control into the hands of either the DHS or the NSA and military (depending on the proposed legislation) and restrict the ability of Americans to express their disapproval of a criminal, wildly out of control government.
The internet is one of the best ways to reach out to like-minded people and share critical information not otherwise available and it is very clear that the government knows this.
The types of Big Brother policies uncovered by EPIC are the symptom of a truly sick government seeking to stifle dissent by putting fear into the hearts of the American people.
Without a great number of Americans standing up and dissenting, we can expect this kind of behavior to continue. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to put as much pressure as humanly possible on our so-called representatives to actually do something about this.
This article originally appeared on End the Lie