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October 19, 2006

A weblog about the politics and affairs of the old and glorious City of Albany, New York, USA. Articles written and disseminated from Albany's beautiful and historic South End by Daniel Van Riper. If you wish to make a response, have anything to add or would like to make an empty threat, please contact me.

UPDATE: Malik The Snitch, a known criminal, is granted freedom in
exchange for his services to the secret police.

UPDATE: They're wasting no time taking away the right to a fair trial retroactively... which, by the way, is clearly unconstitutional.
Read a Washington Post article about it here

October 19, 2006

The Terrorists Are Coming for You

The bogus convictions of a Muslim cleric and a businessman are a serious defeat for all patriotic Americans

I am deathly afraid of The Terrorists. I am afraid that they will smash down my door in the middle of the night and take me away to their hideout. When that happens, no one will be able to help me. Behind steel doors they will laugh happily as they destroy my brain with their refined torture techniques. And when they are through with their fun, these evil Terrorists will drop my battered, dead body on my doorstep as a warning to others, citizens who would dare defy the Reign Of Terror.

I’m not talking about Muslims. I certainly am not talking about hapless Kurdish and Bangladeshi refugees who have come to this country in search of a better life. Not even in my wildest paranoid fantasies have I ever worried that some imam of a local store front mosque would fire a rocket launcher at me. And the only way some marginal pizza shop owner could hurt me is if I ate some of his pizza and got indigestion.

I am terrified of the secret police. I know that under the unconstitutional “Patriot” Act that the secret police can label me a “domestic terrorist.” and under the new Military Commissions Act they can kidnap me or you at any time and hold us in solitary confinement for as long as they want. Think I’m exagerating? Then you haven’t been following the news lately, have you?

I am also afraid of the terrorist enablers. These are people born and raised in this country who haven’t the slightest notion of American freedom and responsibility. They obey any authority that claims to be better than they are. Without these enablers, The Terrorists could not carry out their incremental program of control by fear and oppression.

I am terrified of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI.) They are answerable for their activities to no one. No one, that is, except the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. In other words, the current inhabitants of The White House.

Terrorist Hideout On McCarty Avenue
Terrorist Hideout On McCarty Avenue

As such, when these secret police commit entrapment of a couple of hapless characters and treat them like enemies of The State and of The Party, they are merely doing the bidding of their masters in The White House. They are performing the political will of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

I do not have the words to express my outrage over the ridiculous convictions of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain down in the former post office building on Broadway, which is now a Federal Court House. Fortunately, Carl Strock of the Daily Gazette, who had been closely following the trial, did a better job of finding words in his column last Thursday.

Over the years Mr. Strock has written some really great things and some really dumb things in his column. Yet few of his writings are as moving as his humble apology to these men on behalf of all of us:

It is just your great misfortune that you were who you were at this time and in this place, that you were brown-skinned, bearded Muslim men speaking in foreign accents, in Albany, after the attacks of 9/11. The local FBI offce needed to prove itself in the new War on Terror, and you were it. As simple as that.

I am very sorry for you and your families, and as presumptuous as it may be, I apologize to you on behalf of my country.

Good luck.

Mr. Strock writes for an independent non-corporate daily newspaper. But he is still a respectable columnist. So he must be circumspect in assigning blame for this shameful mockery of justice:

So if we're going to talk about evil, is it evil what the FBI did to these men and their families? Is it evil what the U.S. attorney's office did in prosecuting the case? I don't have to tell you what I think. If evil means anything, it has to mean smashing people's lives for no legitimate reason.

Well, I write a blog and don’t have to answer to anybody, so I’m going to say the obvious truth right out loud so that everybody on this entire planet can see. The FBI, acting under orders from an illegitimate unelected White House, behaved exactly like the old Soviet Union’s KGB or the East German Stasi.

The FBI acted like a gang of rogue terrorist thugs. In a fair and just world, the FBI agents responsible for the entrapment and perjury would be sitting in jail cells at this very moment. The abuse of police powers as clearly defined by the United States Constitution is a very serious matter, and should be strictly enforced. This is one of the most important things that seperates our society from, for example, that of North Korea.

Following bogus unconstitutional statutes enshrined as “law” by an illegitimate ruling party, the FBI has left behind the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Having done so, they have also left behind their legitimacy as a legal law enforcement agency. Their only legitimacy is sheer naked terror and their guns.

Protesters Across The Street    March, 2004
Protesters Across The Street March, 2004
In other words, the FBI are the real terrorists.

To be honest, except on an abstract level, I don’t have much empathy for these two hapless immigrants, although I do know someone who knew the Imam before he was set up and arrested. My interest in their tragedy is purely selfish. I know that this carefully conducted abortion of justice is merely a stepping stone to my door. I’m next.

I am resigned to the inevitable knock on the door in the middle of the night. It will come, perhaps sooner than we expect. Unless something in our society changes fast, unless many, many people wake up and become instantly patriotic, then the secret police are soon going to roam through our Albany neighborhoods and collect the dissenters. Loud ones like me will go in the first roundups.

The terroristic secret police will do to patriotic citizens what they did to Aref and Mohammed. They will drag us out of our houses in the middle of the night. They will subject us to “interrogations” that are designed to break down our wills. They will throw us into small, solitary cells where they will subject us to things like sensory and sleep deprivation, forms of torture that are referred to as “abuse.”

Protesters Across The Street    March, 2004
Melanie Trimble of the NYCLU Across The Street, March, 2004

And since we dissenters will be termed “enemy combatants,” we will have no recourse to Constitutionally guaranteed due process. In fact, we will be held incommunicato indefinitely. In fact, we will be lucky if anybody ever sees us again.

Or finds our bodies.

What about the jury? How can six men and six women be so utterly and completely anti-American and just plain stupid? How could they have so cavalierly abrogated their solemn responsibilities as citizens?

According to renowned constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar, the original purpose of juries at the founding of our nation was to act as watchdogs, to counter abuse of due process by the courts and the police. Over the course of two centuries, this role has become restricted. Little by little the rights and responsibilities of juries have been whittled away.

But that main role as watchdog still remains. That’s why they are still present in the courtroom. The ruling party can decree all kinds of “laws” that force a judge to accept “secret” evidence on faith (as happened in this trial) but they cannot do that to a jury.

All the secret police can do is to put on a multi-media dog and pony show to cover up their lies and lack of evidence. That’s what they did here. All they can do is hope that the jury is dumb-ass enough to fall for their tricks and accept as legitimate their “secret” evidence. Which is what happened.

A content provider for the Hearst-owned Times Union tracked down a juror and got him to explain himself. Get a load of this:

"The whole issue was with regards to entrapment," the juror said. "This comes mighty close, but to me I don't think so. I think the government presented them with the opportunity and they took it. ... The one thing I kept stressing was what if Malik was for real."

What an enabler. No wonder this guy insisted on anonymity. I too would be ashamed to tell the world my name.

Oh yeah, Malik was for real, all right. “Malik the Snitch,” as Carl Strock called him, was the creature who performed the entrapment for the secret police. He is the sort of creature that is essential to the establishment and maintainance of corporate dictatorships based on terror. The shame-faced anonymous juror found this scatter-brained felon credible.

Asked to accept “secret evidence” on faith, these 12 numbskulls did not seem to be aware that such “evidence” is prohibited under the United States Constitution. Read Article I, Section 9:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

Well, no invasion or rebellion is in effect, last I heard. So what does “habeas corpus,” which is Latin for “you have the body” mean? According to Lect Law:

A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody. A habeas corpus petition is a petition filed with a court by a person who objects to his own or another's detention or imprisonment. The petition must show that the court ordering the detention or imprisonment made a legal or factual error.

Well, so what? Consider this point, also from Lect Law:

Jury exposure to facts not in evidence deprives a defendant of the rights to confrontation, cross-examination and assistance of counsel embodied in the Sixth Amendment.

That would be the Bill of Rights, item number six:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

To put it in plain language, the accused has a solemn right to be presented with and to challenge the evidence that he or she committed a crime. If the reason for arrest cannot be presented, then the government has no right to hold the accused. Secret evidence cannot be presented, therefore it is not evidence.

Why do we have this? If we don’t have a rational process for determining criminality, then the government... or more precisely, the persons who control the government... can snatch and destroy anybody they take a dislike to. that is how life was lived in the old Soviet Union, and that is what the White House and their allies desire for America today.

Why exactly did the White House want the Albany office of the FBI to carry out this entrapment and pursue this embarrasing trial? At first glance, one may think, as Mr. Strock does, that this is mere posturing. The local office is supposed to catch “terrorists” and by golly we’re gonna catch ‘em even if we have to manufacture ‘em.

Then there is the point of view of M. K. Halloran, writing a prominently displayed opinion piece in the last Sunday Gazette:

It seems as though the FBI has too much time on its hands, going after innocent men and tricking them into being a part of an elaborate scheme. Does this mean that there are not enough "real terrorists" here for the FBI to go after?

If that is true, then won't such tactics make other Muslims in this country more ready to become real terrorists? How will the rest of the Muslim population in America react to the case built against Aref and Hossain? Are such events supposed to "scare that population straight?" Or are such demonstrations of the bureau's prowess designed to turn at least a part of that population into terrorists, so that its agents have a real enemy to go after?

Perhaps the FBI has both these aims in mind. Like a winnowing-out process: the Muslims here who are easily cowed will be certain not to make any moves or say anything that could be construed as "terrorist oriented," and those who are so outraged by the actions of the FBI will suddenly be ready to join a terrorist cell. So, perhaps, such a purpose shows real cleverness on the part of the bureau, though some might say such cleverness is a waste of time and money.

This is a plausible theory. Remember, the FBI answers to the White House of Karl Rove. Anyone who has watched Rove carefully will instantly understand that such calculations are typical of that snivelling little demon. Divide people against themselves and seize control is his winning method.

But there is a simpler explanation that can be easily corraborated. The Republican Party, with help from all too many Democratic politicians, has imposed upon our nation the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

To put it simply, under this anti-American and unconstitutional legislation, the government no longer has to follow habeas corpus. Anyone who is declared an “enemy combatant” by government bureaucratic agencies no longer is allowed a fair trial. Or anything fair.

By the way, anyone can be declared an “enemy combatant.” Even natural born American citizens.

Are we starting to understand what is happening?

First, the secret police come for the funny looking foriegners, the “ brown-skinned, bearded Muslim men speaking in foreign accents.” Having been greeted with widespread scepticism, the KGB-FBI needed to put on a show trial with 12 hand-picked anti-American enablers. And they got away with their crimes.

Next, the secret police will expand their scope. Remember the so-called “Patriot” Act? It introduced a whole new class of criminal called the “domestic terrorist.” This is defined as anybody “who tries to change government policy by threatening the government.”

Threatening. Not physically attack, start a revolution or rape a congress man. That’s already covered by the US Constitution. Threaten. We’re talking about speech. And thoughts.

By strict definition this blog entry makes me a “domestic terrorist.”

If I had sat on that jury I guarantee that we would still be deliberating a week later. There may very possibly have been an 11 to 1 hung jury. But there is no way a patriotic American would have ended up on that jury. Only irresponsible idiots needed to apply.

So I am calling to the stupid nitwits who sat on that jury and betrayed their country. Contact me, I want to hear your explanations. If you have good reasons to have convicted these hapless foriegners, I’d really love to hear about it. Tell me. My email is on every title page of this blog.

Or are you too ashamed of what you’ve done?

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