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FTR #822 The Snowdenistas, the GOP and Violent Secession

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. [1] The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by 10/02/2014. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #812 [2].  (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012 and con­tained FTR #748 [3].)

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Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1 [7]   Side 2 [8]

[9]

The Turn­er Diaries and Hunter, pub­lished by Green­wald’s client, the Nation­al Alliance

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram high­lights polit­i­cal con­ti­nu­ity between “the Snowdenistas”–political defend­ers of “Eddie the Friend­ly Spook” Snow­den, the GOP and para­mil­i­tary advo­cates of legal and phys­i­cal seces­sion from the Unit­ed States. The essen­tial points made here build on analy­sis pre­sent­ed in FTR #771 [10], among oth­er broad­casts.

(The GOP tri­umphs in the 2014 elec­tions were real­ized because two-thirds of eli­gi­ble vot­ers stayed home. In FTR #762 [11], we not­ed that the Snow­den “op” appears to have alien­at­ed many of the young ide­al­ists whose sup­port was cen­tral to Oba­ma’s 2008 tri­umph. We feel that the Snow­den “op” did much to enable the GOP off-year elec­toral suc­cess. Our analy­sis of the Snow­den “op” might seem strange or alien­at­ing to new­er lis­ten­ers. Snow­den and those around him can be suc­cinct­ly sum­ma­rized and under­stood by Snow­den’s views on Social Secu­ri­ty. “. . . Snow­den wrote that the elder­ly ‘wouldn’t be fuck­ing help­less if you weren’t send­ing them fuck­ing checks to sit on their ass and lay in hos­pi­tals all day.’ ”)

 

In FTR #756 [12], we not­ed the pro­found polit­i­cal con­nec­tions between the Snow­denistas and the neo-Con­fed­er­ate move­ment, an exten­sion of the white suprema­cist ide­ol­o­gy.

Green­wald’s new jour­nal­is­tic endeav­ors are being under­writ­ten by Pierre Omid­yar. Although super­fi­cial­ly iden­ti­fied with more “pro­gres­sive” polit­i­cal ele­ments, Omid­yar has been an active ide­o­log­i­cal and finan­cial sup­port­er of fas­cist ele­ments abroad, includ­ing the OUN/B heirs in Ukraine and the Hin­du nationalist/fascist polit­i­cal milieu of Naren­dra Modi abroad.

Domes­ti­cal­ly, Omid­yar’s Ebay firm [13] is a sup­port­er of the ultra-reac­tionary ALEC orga­ni­za­tion, a strong sup­port­er of the most benight­ed ele­ments of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and a staunch oppo­nent of action on cli­mate change.

Cit­i­zen Green­wald was not par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turbed by the recent pres­ence of  neo-Nazi Andrew Auern­heimer [14] at a recent social gath­er­ing at which he and Lau­ra Poitras were present.

Were this an iso­lat­ed inci­dent, one might be more inclined to dis­miss it as hap­pen­stance.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this fits all too neat­ly into a pat­tern with Cit­i­zen Green­wald. In an ear­li­er pro­fes­sion­al incar­na­tion as an attor­ney, he spent years run­ning legal inter­fer­ence for Nazi mur­der­ers. (This is dis­cussed at length in FTR #754 [15].)

Auern­heimer (aka “Weev”) is a strong advo­cate [16] of the para­mil­i­tary right and express­es open sym­pa­thy for the vio­lent over­throw of the gov­ern­ment and is of the same cloth as the sup­port­ers of Cliv­en Bundy and sedi­tious ele­ments high­light­ed below. He views Tim­o­thy McVeigh as a hero.

Much of the pro­gram focus­es on issues rel­e­vant to the GOP takeover of the Sen­ate and strengten­ing of its con­trol over the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Par­tic­u­lar empha­sis is on the GOP’s pro­found links to the vio­lent­ly para­mil­i­tary seces­sion­ist milieu.

Para­mil­i­tary vig­i­lantes patrolling the Texas bor­der against “ille­gal aliens” were recent­ly dis­cov­ered to have amassed ammo­ni­um nitrate [17] in quan­ti­ties suf­fi­cient to build a bomb sim­i­lar to that used in the Okla­homa City bomb­ing.

Of per­haps greater con­cern is the fact that Texas politi­cians have been sup­port­ive of those vig­i­lante groups, includ­ing Greg Abbott [18], the for­mer Texas Attor­ney Gen­er­al and now Gov­er­nor-elect.

Among the many GOP politi­cians embrac­ing far-right ide­ol­o­gy  is Joni Ernst, the new Sen­a­tor from Iowa. Ernst has been chat­ter­ing about “Agen­da 21,” [19] an ide­o­log­i­cal tenet of the John Birch Soci­ety that imag­ines a nefar­i­ous glob­al con­spir­a­cy involv­ing the Unit­ed Nations and polit­i­cal lib­er­als.

For­mer Rea­gan and George H.W. Bush speech­writer Dou­glas MacK­in­non [20] is preach­ing sedi­tion, advo­cat­ing that numer­ous states (includ­ing much of the for­mer Con­fed­er­a­cy) should secede from the Unit­ed States. MacK­in­non pro­pos­es call­ing the new state “Rea­gan.”

Mitch McConnell of Ken­tucky is the new Sen­ate Major­i­ty leader. Short­ly before the elec­tion, a ship owned by his father-in-law [21] was bust­ed with 40 kilo­grams of cocaine on board.

Con­clud­ing with dis­cus­sion of arms deal­er Vik­tor Bout, we note that he has retained the law firm [22] of for­mer Bush Attor­ney Gen­er­al John Ashcroft to rep­re­sent him in a bid for a new tri­al.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Okla­homa GOP Sen­a­tor Tom Coburn has pre­dict­ed vio­lence [23] if Oba­ma imple­ments an exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion; Vik­tor Bout’s sup­ply­ing of arms to Al Qae­da; overview of the Snow­den “op;” review of the neo-Con­fed­er­ate and neo-seces­sion­ist move­ments; review of the Cru­sade For Free­dom and the gen­e­sis of the Nazi wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty; review of Omid­yar’s hands-on appli­ca­tions of neo-lib­er­al the­o­ry in his Third World ven­tures; Mitch McConnel­l’s reliance on his in-laws’ fam­i­ly wealth; Joni Ern­st’s espousal of the arrest [24] of fed­er­al offi­cials attempt­ing to imple­ment the Afford­able Care Act; a GOP-ini­ti­at­ed inves­ti­ga­tion into Beng­hazi that cleared the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion [25] of all the charges lev­eled by the GOP.

1. EBay chief Pierre Omid­yar is the finan­cial backer of Glenn Green­wald’s cur­rent media ven­tures. EBay is also a sup­port­er of ALEC, one of the most destruc­tive enti­ties in the right-wing polit­i­cal armory.


“What Pos­si­ble Rea­son Can eBay Have for Stand­ing by Ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive Cli­mate Change Deniers at ALEC?” by David Holmes; Pan­do Dai­ly; 10/07/2014. [13]

The tech world’s strange love affair with ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive ALEC is unrav­el­ing.

Over the past two months, Google, Microsoft, Face­book, Yelp, and Yahoo have dis­tanced them­selves from the Amer­i­can Exec­u­tive Leg­is­la­tion Coun­cil (ALEC), a Koch Broth­ers-backed think tank that’s pushed just about every con­tro­ver­sial right-wing leg­isla­tive ini­tia­tive you can think of. Teach­ing cli­mate change denial in schools? Check [26]. Advo­cat­ing for Vot­er ID laws that dis­en­fran­chise minori­ties? Uh huh [27]. A nation­al “Stand Your Ground” law? Why not [28]?

The break­ing point for ALEC’s sour­ing rela­tion­ship with so many high-pro­file tech firms appears to be the group’s denial of strong, wide­ly-agreed-upon [29] evi­dence that cli­mate change is real and humans are mak­ing it worse. (ALEC recent­ly denied [30] its, uh, denial, but ALEC’s own mod­el leg­is­la­tion direct­ly con­tra­dicts its claims of inno­cence). But despite the risks [31] of align­ing your orga­ni­za­tion with anti-sus­tain­abil­i­ty inter­ests, there’s one high-pro­file tech firm that still hasn’t denounced the orga­ni­za­tion: eBay, along with its bil­lion­aire founder and chair­man Pierre Omid­yar.

Today, over eighty non-prof­its includ­ing the Sier­ra Club and Green­peace signed a let­ter [32] urg­ing eBay to end its affil­i­a­tion with ALEC. eBay, like Google and Microsoft in the past, is a mem­ber of ALEC’s Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Tech­nol­ogy Task Force, an affil­i­a­tion that costs the com­pany $5,000 a year in mem­ber­ship fees and thus rep­re­sents a direct form of finan­cial sup­port for the con­tro­ver­sial orga­ni­za­tion.

...

eBay spokes­woman Abby Smith has final­ly respond­ed [33] to the let­ter, say­ing that ALEC pro­motes issues that are “mate­r­ial to the suc­cess of eBay Inc and our cus­tomers” and that “our team of inter­nal stake­hold­ers meets reg­u­larly to assess the best approach for resolv­ing these issues.”

But would leav­ing ALEC real­ly have a neg­a­tive impact on eBay’s busi­ness?

Pos­si­bly. Yelp, for exam­ple, had a clear and legit­i­mate legal inter­est [34] in align­ing itself with ALEC. The orga­ni­za­tion craft­ed mod­el leg­is­la­tion to fight SLAPP law­suits, which could be used against Yelp’s users who post bad reviews. Indeed, eBay is cur­rently rely­ing on an anti-SLAPP argu­ment in a law­suit that a patent troll filed against it [35]. But user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent, which is usu­ally what anti-SLAPP leg­is­la­tion pro­tects, is not as fun­da­men­tal to its busi­ness as it is to Yelp. And again, even Yelp has cut ties with ALEC.

Anoth­er of the Task Force’s stat­ed areas of focus is “pro­mot­ing new forms of e‑commerce,” [36] which is cer­tainly in eBay’s wheel­house. But Ama­zon, the largest ecom­merce site in the US, felt no need to stay aligned with ALEC past 2012. Then there’s ALEC’s and eBay’s shared sup­port of net neu­tral­ity. That’s the same jus­ti­fi­ca­tion Face­book made when it donat­ed $10,000 to an anti-gay politi­cian [37]: We both sup­port a free and open Inter­net! But net neu­tral­ity has attract­ed sup­port among a very broad set of orga­ni­za­tions, and not all of them were just aban­doned by half a dozen of eBay’s peers.

What about eBay’s chair­man Omid­yar? Sure­ly, this “civic-mind­ed bil­lion­aire,” [38] who through his Omid­yar Net­work has giv­en hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to phil­an­thropic caus­es, wouldn’t dream of align­ing him­self with an orga­ni­za­tion like ALEC — an orga­ni­za­tion for whom social and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice plays a dis­tant sec­ond fid­dle to the Koch Broth­ers’ fun­house mir­ror ver­sion of free mar­ket cap­i­tal­ism. Or would he? As Mark Ames and Yasha Levine have report­ed [39], Omidyar’s pol­i­tics are dif­fi­cult, though not impos­si­ble, to suss out:

Omid­yar Network’s phil­an­thropy reveals Omid­yar as a free-mar­ket zealot with an almost mys­ti­cal faith in the pow­er of “mar­kets” to trans­form the world, end pover­ty, and improve lives—one micro-indi­vid­ual at a time.

And yet, the Omid­yar Net­work is also one of the lead­ing back­ers of the upcom­ing film “Mer­chants of Doubt,” [40] which seeks to expose the “sil­ver-tongued pun­dits-for-hire” spread­ing denial cam­paigns on seri­ous pub­lic health threats like tobac­co, tox­ic chem­i­cals, and yes, cli­mate change. Con­sid­er­ing that cli­mate change denial has become the pre­dom­i­nant force draw­ing tech com­pa­nies away from ALEC, eBay’s con­tin­ued mem­ber­ship con­sti­tutes a pret­ty sig­nif­i­cant con­tra­dic­tion for Omid­yar. And let’s not for­get that for many of the third world com­mu­ni­ties the Omid­yar Net­work wants to help, dev­as­ta­tion from cli­mate change isn’t just a well-sup­port­ed fore­cast — it’s already a real­ity [41].

Maybe eBay is too focused on its forth­com­ing Pay­Pal spin off [42] to pay atten­tion to the out­cry over ALEC. Maybe eBay has already decid­ed to let its ALEC mem­ber­ship lapse and it sim­ply hasn’t approved the move with its share­hold­ers. In any case, com­pa­nies like Face­book learned the hard way [43] what hap­pens when you align your­self with anti-sus­tain­abil­i­ty inter­ests that run counter to the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of your com­mu­nity or indus­try. And with the tide in the tech com­mu­nity clear­ly shift­ing away from ALEC and oth­er cli­mate change deniers, eBay needs to take con­trol of this nar­ra­tive before it spins out of con­trol, and peo­ple start accus­ing the com­pany of club­bing baby seals and cre­at­ing the hole in the ozone lay­er.

2a. While lam­bast­ing Bill Maher and oth­ers for crit­i­cal com­ments about Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ists, Cit­i­zen Green­wald was not par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turbed by the recent pres­ence of Andrew Auern­heimer at a recent social gath­er­ing at which he and Lau­ra Poitras were present.

Were this an iso­lat­ed inci­dent, one might be more inclined to dis­miss it as hap­pen­stance.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this fits all too neat­ly into a pat­tern with Cit­i­zen Green­wald. In an ear­li­er pro­fes­sion­al incar­na­tion as an attor­ney, he spent years run­ning legal inter­fer­ence for Nazi mur­der­ers. (This is dis­cussed at length in FTR #754 [15].)

Do note that the arti­cle below bad­ly under­states Cit­i­zen Green­wald’s pro-Nazi activ­i­ties.

In addi­tion, Wik­ileaks also tracks back to Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments. Eddie The Friend­ly Spook Snow­den is part and par­cel to the “Paulis­tin­ian” milieu. (To flesh out one’s under­stand­ing, do check out FTR #755 [44], about Wik­ileaks and FTR #756 [12] about the Paulis­tin­ian milieu. Wik­iLeaks and the Paulis­tini­ans are inex­tri­ca­bly linked with Green­wald and his asso­ciates.)

“iPad Hack­er Released From Jail, Par­ties with Glenn Green­wald, Pub­lishes Neo-Nazi Screeds” by Bob CescaThe Dai­ly Ban­ter; 10/09/2014. [14]

Way back in 2010, a so-called “white hat” hack­er named Andrew Auern­heimer, known online as “Weev,” exploit­ed a secu­rity loop­hole on Apple’s iPad and acquired the names of 114,000 AT&T cus­tomers who sub­scribed to the iPad 3G data ser­vice. Fol­low­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion, Weev, who had “stolen” (his words) the user data was pros­e­cuted and con­victed. To his cred­it, Weev informed AT&T of the secu­rity flaw and the com­pany quick­ly but­toned it up. But back in April of this year, Weev’s con­vic­tion was over­turned because he was evi­dently tried in the wrong state (New Jer­sey). He was sub­se­quently released from Pennsylvania’s Allen­wood Fed­eral Cor­rec­tional Com­plex on April 11, 2014. The indict­ment remains, but the con­vic­tion no longer stands.

Dur­ing his time in jail, Weev appar­ently became a neo-Nazi, com­plete with a tat­too not unlike Edward Norton’s tat­too in Amer­i­can His­tory X — a giant swasti­ka on his right pec­toral. After his release, he post­ed a series of racist and anti-Semit­ic remarks on a web­site called The Dai­ly Stormer [45], a white-suprema­cist site not to be con­fused with The Dai­ly CallerThe Dai­ly Beast or The Dai­ly Ban­terVia Gawk­er [46], here are some choice pas­sages:

I’ve been a long-time crit­ic of Judaism, black cul­ture, immi­gra­tion to West­ern nations, and the media’s con­stant stream of anti-white pro­pa­ganda. Judge Wigen­ton was as black as they come. The pros­e­cu­tor, Zach Intrater, was a Brook­lyn Jew from an old mon­ey New York fam­i­ly.[...]

The whole time a yarmulke-cov­ered audi­ence of Jew­ry stared at me from the pews of the court­room. My pros­e­cu­tor invit­ed his whole syn­a­gogue to spec­tate.[...]

They took con­trol of our sys­tems of finance and law. They hyper­in­flated our cur­rency. They cor­rupted our daugh­ters and demand­ed they sub­ject them­selves to sex work to feed their fam­i­lies. These are a peo­ple that have made them­selves a prob­lem in every nation they occu­py, includ­ing ours. What’s sad­dest is that we are the enablers of this prob­lem. The Jews abused our com­pas­sion to build an empire of wicked­ness the likes the world has nev­er seen.

No gray area there. Weev clear­ly hates Jews, African-Amer­i­cans and any­one he per­ceives as “anti-white.”

Oh, and in addi­tion to his con­ver­sion to the neo-Nazi cause as well as his seem­ingly pro­lific online hate speech, Weev attend­ed a par­ty [47] in New York soon after get­ting out of jail. The par­ty was held by none oth­er than Glenn Green­wald and Lau­ra Poitras to coin­cide with the cer­e­mony in which the duo received the Polk Award for their report­ing on Edward Snow­den and the Nation­al Secu­rity Agency.

Unless he crashed the par­ty, he was obvi­ously an invit­ed guest. But for a moment let’s assume Green­wald didn’t know Weev was invit­ed. Long before the par­ty, Green­wald had pre­vi­ously defend­ed Weev in The Guardian back in March, 2013, months before the author/reporter rose to inter­na­tional acclaim. Indeed, Green­wald named Weev as a “hack­tivist” who was being wrong­fully per­se­cuted by U.S. author­i­ties.

Just this week alone, a US fed­eral judge sen­tenced hac­tivist Andrew “Weev” Auern­heimer to 3 1/2 years in prison for exploit­ing a flaw in AT&T’s secu­rity sys­tem that allowed him entrance with­out any hack­ing, an act about which Slate’s Justin Peters wrote: “it’s not clear that Auern­heimer com­mit­ted any actu­al crime”, while Jeff Blag­don at the Verge added: “he cracked no codes, stole no pass­words, or in any way ‘broke into’ AT&T’s cus­tomer data­base – some­thing com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­firmed dur­ing tes­ti­mony.” But he had a long record of dis­rup­tive and some­times even quite ugly (though legal) online antag­o­nism, so he had to be severe­ly pun­ished with years in prison.

For a moment, let’s set aside the whole neo-Nazi thing. Let’s also not re-lit­i­gate the past in which Green­wald, dur­ing his law-prac­tice days, defend­ed [48] a com­pletely dif­fer­ent neo-Nazi. The fact that Green­wald con­tin­ues to blur the line between hack­ing and activism [49] is utter­ly baf­fling. The man­ner in which he ratio­nal­ized Weev’s actions is a gross illus­tra­tion of gra­tu­itous spin and dan­ger­ous over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion.

2b. Pan­do has an inter­view of ‘weev’ from his new home in Beirut.

” ‘Weev’ in Beirut: I Can’t Go Home Until ‘Most of the agents of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment are dead.’ ”  [16]by Dan Raile; Pan­do Dai­ly; [16] 11/21/2014. [16]

“The only hope I have of return­ing to the land I love, where I was kid­napped at gun­point and had my house bull­dozed, is if there is a such a con­sis­tent lev­el of change that most of the agents of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment are dead. I want to go home but I can’t.”

It’s late on a Tues­day evening and I’m sit­ting with Andrew Auern­heimer in the posh envi­rons of east Beirut’s Achrafieh neigh­bor­hood. The man most peo­ple know by his online han­dle, “weev [50],” is seat­ed across from me at a cozy cafe just down the street from the city’s flag­ship West­ern-style shop­ping mall. Auern­heimer, 29, is explain­ing why he’s been liv­ing in Beirut for the past month, and why he can’t return home to Amer­i­ca.

Weev’s road to Lebanon began in a New York City bar in May. He was just a few weeks out of fed­eral prison, sprung on appeal [51] after 14 months of incar­cer­a­tion and years of legal and pub­lic spar­ring with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment over hack­ing charges. Weev want­ed to catch the tele­vised spec­ta­cle of NASCAR dri­ver Josh Wise rac­ing around the track at Tallede­ga in a car embla­zoned with the head of the celebri­ty Shi­ba Inu, Doge, and the name of its hon­orary cryp­tocur­rency, Doge­Coin. As a native of Arkansas and the inter­net, Auern­heimer says he couldn’t miss it.

We’ve tells me how he’d met his girl­friend that night. A Syr­ian Alaw­ite and a tat­too artist, she has intro­duced Auern­heimer into her cir­cle in Lebanon and cov­ered a sig­nif­i­cant amount of him with Norse sym­bol­ogy in per­ma­nent black ink.

The mass-mar­ket appeal of their whirl­wind mod­ern romance is com­pli­cated by the fact that one of those tat­toos is a painstak­ing roco­co swasti­ka over his chest [46]. (Thank­fully, Gawk­er has already cov­ered [46] that exten­sively – it got me off the hook when Auern­heimer offered to show it to me.)

The star-crossed love angle goes part of the way toward answer­ing the ques­tion that had com­pelled me to seek out Auern­heimer dur­ing a recent trip to Lebanon. Name­ly, why in hell would an avowed white nation­al­ist super-troll and hack­er be liv­ing in Beirut?

Inter­net con­nec­tiv­ity is pret­ty atro­cious in Lebanon, not to men­tion the fre­quent elec­tri­cal out­ages. I hard­ly need to men­tion that the Mid­dle East isn’t entire­ly rec­on­ciled to the idea of West­ern suprema­cy, or that the cur­rent vogue of right-wing nation­al­ist move­ments through­out Europe (which weev describes as “promis­ing”) is antag­o­nism toward immi­grants from the for­mer lands of the Ottoman empire.

Over the course of a cou­ple of hours, cof­fee, cig­a­rettes and a plate of french fries, the pieces of an expla­na­tion come togeth­er.

Auern­heimer describes him­self as the “point per­son for the press” for the loose­ly orga­nized crews of which he is mem­ber, and has writ­ten that “I make art… I see fed­eral courts, finan­cial mar­kets, world media and the very act of human per­cep­tion as the can­vas.” Per­haps by meet­ing Weev and report­ing our con­ver­sa­tion, I’m act­ing as a con­duit for the expres­sion of this sort of “art.” If so, I’m tak­ing in mind the words of one of my favorite authors, Oscar Wilde:

“We can for­give a man for mak­ing a use­ful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for mak­ing a use­less thing is that one admire it intense­ly. All art is use­less.”

By this token, the cyber-activ­i­ty of weev is either use­less art or unfor­giv­able, harm­ful provo­ca­tion and quite pos­si­bly both.

He says he’s encour­aged by recent mili­tia move­ments like that of Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy, but that they don’t have their pri­or­i­ties straight. He tells me that he views Okla­homa City bomber Tim­o­thy McVeigh as a hero, and explained his vision of send­ing tiny drones laden with high explo­sives to the per­sonal res­i­dences of US fed­eral gov­ern­ment employ­ees.

“We are close to hav­ing atom­i­cally pre­cise engi­neer­ing for asym­met­ric war­fare. Cheap, 3D-print­ed drones. The tech is sim­ple. The drones that the US uses for airstrikes are crap. Sev­eral gen­er­a­tions behind. Pret­ty soon any­one who wants will be able to have some­thing bet­ter.”

“Some­how we need to get the ‘sol­dier types’ con­nected with the peo­ple who have the ideas about who should be tar­geted and how,” he says. “It’s about the ide­o­log­i­cal prepa­ra­tion of a seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion.”

Auern­heimer was freed from prison when his con­vic­tion was over­turned as uncon­sti­tu­tional in vio­la­tion of his 6th amend­ment rights to a fair tri­al in the juris­dic­tion where an alleged crime takes place. But he doesn’t get misty-eyed about the ben­e­fits of America’s rule of law.

“I’m pro-con­sti­tu­tion. I think it’s prob­a­bly the great­est polit­i­cal doc­u­ment ever writ­ten. But it’s been total­ly and sys­tem­at­i­cally cor­rupted. It’s not rule of law, its rule by lawyers. The only lan­guage the gov­ern­ment under­stands now is fear and vio­lence. And if you’re will­ing to go far enough, they’ll lis­ten. There was no Waco after Waco. They blinked.”

...

Lebanon has no extra­di­tion treaty with the Unit­ed States. Weev says that was a cru­cial cri­te­rion for him in choos­ing a new home. Oth­er can­di­date coun­tries were Ser­bia and Andor­ra, which he says is still his first choice, if he can ever afford it. He also tells me that he would pre­fer to live in Syr­ia, but is wait­ing, con­fi­dently, for things there to “cool down.”

* * *

Of course, trolling doesn’t work unless it elic­its pro­found reac­tions of dis­gust, hate or anger. And weev is one of the internet’s most famous trolls. He is also, some­what uncom­fort­ably, a dandy of dig­i­tal civ­il lib­er­tar­i­ans due to his intran­si­gence in the face of fed­eral harass­ment, out at the bleed­ing edge of the first amend­ment.

Weev’s three-year scrap with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has been [52] chron­i­cled [53] in great [54] detail in the media [55] and through his own [56]chan­nels [45] (here’s [57] the 2010 Gawk­er arti­cle that start­ed it.) It’s a thorny sto­ry with no sym­pa­thetic pro­tag­o­nist, and all sorts of legal, tech­no­log­i­cal and social impli­ca­tions. It was a promi­nent bat­tle in the so-called “hack­er-wars,” and he has received sup­port, on civ­il rights grounds, from the EFF [58]and Glen Green­wald [59].

Recent­ly, weev has jumped into the fray of the online brouha­ha [60] around Pan­do reporter Yasha Levine’s report­ing on the ori­gins [60] and fund­ing of Tor [60], a con­fus­ing mias­ma of alliances that has seen Tor evan­ge­lists claim­ing they are under­paid by the gov­ern­ment and a promi­nent ACLU Speech, Pri­vacy and Tech­nol­ogy Project staffer invok­ing the Pro­to­cols of the Elders of Zion.

Auernheimer’s swasti­ka tat­too is not a rhetor­i­cal device. Nor is his relo­ca­tion to Beirut a sim­ple farce. I can attest that the sort of vit­riol weev reg­u­larly writes on the inter­net springs as read­ily from Auernheimer’s lips as his key­board.

“Amer­ica doesn’t have a gun vio­lence prob­lem, it has a minor­ity prob­lem,” he says.

...

One aspect of the cul­ture that weev obvi­ously enjoys is the con­cept of “wasta,” an entrenched orga­niz­ing prin­ci­ple in Lev­an­tine neigh­bor­hoods, economies and polit­i­cal life, which rough­ly means “clout” or “influ­ence” or “who you know.” It also sig­ni­fies pro­tec­tion.

“I’ve got some wasta,” weev says. “Enough to mit­i­gate a con­trolled kid­nap­ping sit­u­a­tion. But there is a much greater risk that the US gov­ern­ment could just kill me.”

He refers to wasta fre­quently through­out our talk, and clear­ly rel­ishes the idea of a net­work of pro­tec­tion that doesn’t cave to threats of pros­e­cu­tion or vio­lence. He says he owes his wasta to his girlfriend’s fam­ily ties in Beirut.

“In Arkansas, where I was born and raised and the only home I’ve ever real­ly known, no one was will­ing to step up for me,” he says.

Weev has writ­ten of his own par­ents, who coop­er­ated with inves­ti­ga­tors in his case, that they “are per­fect exam­ples of how sec­u­lar lib­er­al­ism destroys fam­i­lies and will rot out the foun­da­tions of our very civ­i­liza­tion,” and that he pities his moth­er as “a brain­washed drone of a state gone mad.”

...

3. Police have report­edly found a box filled with ammo­nium nitrate in the hotel room of the recent­ly arrest­ed leader of one of the mili­tia groups oper­at­ing on the US/Mexican bor­der, rais­ing the ques­tion of what this mili­tia may have had in mind. Fer­til­izer for a nice hedge fence along the bor­der, per­haps?

“Records: Bor­der Mili­tia Mem­ber Had Ammo­nium Nitrate, Thou­sands of Rounds of Ammu­ni­tion in Hotel Room” by Joshua Fechter; My Sanan­to­nio; [17]10/29/2014. [17]

Fed­eral agents found a box filled with what appeared to be ammo­nium nitrate — which can cause major explo­sions — along with firearms and thou­sands of rounds of ammu­ni­tion dur­ing a search of the hotel room of mili­tia mem­ber Kevin Lyn­del Massey.

Agents with the fed­eral Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co, Firearms and Explo­sives, who searched Massey’s hotel room in Brownsville after an Oct. 20 arrest, found an AK-47 with six loaded mag­a­zines, a loaded hand­gun, a bal­lis­tic hel­met and sev­eral cam­eras, as well as the ammu­ni­tion box filled with sus­pected ammo­nium nitrate and fuel, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments [61] obtained by the San Anto­nio Express-News.

Ammo­nium nitrate can be a pow­er­ful explo­sive under cer­tain cir­cum­stances: a stock­pile of the sub­stance at a fer­til­izer plant in West caused the dead­ly April 17 explo­sion [62] that killed 15 peo­ple and injured more than 160 oth­ers. It’s also the sub­stance used by Tim­o­thy McVeigh in the 1995 Okla­homa City bomb­ing that killed 168 peo­ple.

Massey was arrest­ed in con­nec­tion to an Aug. 29 inci­dent [63] dur­ing which a Bor­der Patrol agent fired four shots at a man point­ing a weapon at the agent near the Rio Grande while pur­su­ing a group of immi­grants east of Brownsville, accord­ing to doc­u­ments [64] from the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the South­ern Dis­trict of Texas in Brownsville.

Dur­ing the inci­dent, agents seized a pis­tol from the man, iden­ti­fied as mili­tia mem­ber John Fred­er­ick Foer­ster, and two firearms – a pis­tol and rifle – car­ried by Massey, who was in the vicin­ity with anoth­er mili­tia mem­ber.

Foer­ster was arrest­ed Oct. 21.

The court has ordered a psy­chi­atric eval­u­a­tion on Foer­ster.

U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Ronald Mor­gan set Massey’s bond at $30,000 under sev­eral con­di­tions [65], includ­ing that Massey and his wife remove all firearms and ammu­ni­tion from their North Texas home.

...

4. Texas politi­cians are endors­ing the bor­der mili­tias.

Armed Right-Wing Mili­tias Amass­ing Along Texas Bor­der With State Lawmaker’s Bless­ing” by Ian Mill­hiser; Think Progress [18]8/08/2014. [18]

For much of the sum­mer, right-wing mili­ti­a­men have gath­ered near the Texas-Mex­i­co bor­der, many of them claim­ing that they are there as part of some­thing called “Oper­a­tion Secure Our Bor­der [66].” They include mem­bers of a move­ment that Pres­i­dent George W. Bush denounced as “vig­i­lantes,” [67] and they also include mem­bers of even more rad­i­cal groups that pro­mote wild con­spir­acy the­o­ries [68] and that explic­itly threat­en vio­lence against the gov­ern­ment [69].

...

Miller is not the high­est-rank­ing Texas offi­cial who has dis­missed crit­i­cism of armed vig­i­lantes patrolling the Texas bor­der. Late last month, the 12 Demo­c­ra­tic mem­bers of Texas’ con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion penned a let­ter to Greg Abbott, the state’s attor­ney gen­eral and the Repub­li­can can­di­date to be Texas’ next gov­er­nor. In it, the 12 law­mak­ers quote a mili­tia leader who said that You see an ille­gal. You point your gun dead at him, right between the eyes, and you say, ‘Get back across the bor­der or you will be shot.’ [70] They also ask Abbott to “denounce the actions of these mili­tia groups and clar­ify the juris­dic­tion these mili­tia groups have to patrol along­side local law enforce­ment and Bor­der Patrol agents.”

A spokesper­son for Abbott dis­missed the let­ter as a “par­ti­san polit­i­cal stunt [71].”

The mili­tias Abbott would not denounce include a volatile mix of para­noid anti-gov­ern­ment groups and poten­tially vio­lent gun activists [66]. Accord­ing to the Dal­las Morn­ing News, the ear­li­est wave of mili­ti­a­men com­ing to Texas includ­ed mem­bers of the Oath­keep­ers, a group which describes itself as an “asso­ci­a­tion of cur­rently serv­ing mil­i­tary, reserves, Nation­al Guard, peace offi­cers, fire-fight­ers, and vet­er­ans who swore an oath to sup­port and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion against all ene­mies, for­eign and domes­tic … and meant it [72].” Their web­site warns of gov­ern­ment offi­cials “disarm[ing] the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” “confiscat[ing] the prop­erty of the Amer­i­can peo­ple, includ­ing food and oth­er essen­tial sup­plies,” and “blockad[ing] Amer­i­can cities, thus turn­ing them into giant con­cen­tra­tion camps.”

The mili­ti­a­men also report­edly include mem­bers of the “Three Percenter’s Club [73],” a group which claims that its “mis­sion is give our mem­bers the capa­bil­i­ties and resources nec­es­sary to exe­cute Mil­i­tary Strate­gies to defend against for­eign and domes­tic ene­mies.” The Three Per­center move­ment takes its name from the “3% of the colonist [sic]” who alleged­ly “refused orders by the British Crown to sur­ren­der their firearms in the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion [73],” and it was found­ed by a con­ser­v­a­tive activist named Mike Van­der­boegh [74]. On his per­sonal blog, Van­der­boegh explained that one of the Three Per­center movement’s core beliefs is a will­ing­ness to offer vio­lent resis­tance to the gov­ern­ment [69]:

We intend to main­tain our God-giv­en nat­ural rights to lib­erty and prop­erty, and that means most espe­cially the right to keep and bear arms. Thus, we are com­mit­ted to the restora­tion of the Founders’ Repub­lic, and are will­ing to fight, die and, if forced by any would-be oppres­sor, to kill in the defense of our­selves and the Con­sti­tu­tion that we all took an oath to uphold against ene­mies for­eign and domes­tic.

We are the peo­ple that the col­lec­tivists who now con­trol the gov­ern­ment should leave alone if they wish to con­tinue unfet­tered oxy­gen con­sump­tion. We are the Three Per­cent. Attempt to fur­ther oppress us at your per­il.

To put it blunt­ly, leave us the hell alone.

Or, if you feel frog­gy, go ahead AND WATCH WHAT HAPPENS.

Last April, a sim­i­lar col­lec­tion of mili­tia orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing mem­bers of the Oath Keep­ers, gath­ered near the home of Neva­da ranch­er Cliv­en Bundy [75] to offer armed resis­tance to fed­eral offi­cials seek­ing to enforce a court order pre­vent­ing Bundy from ille­gally graz­ing his cat­tle on fed­eral land. Bundy briefly became a hero among con­ser­v­a­tive media fig­ures such as Fox News’ Sean Han­nity, and Sen. Dean Heller (R‑NV) labeled Bundy and his sup­port­ers “patri­ots.” [76] Bundy’s moment as a Repub­li­can folk hero end­ed fair­ly abrupt­ly, how­ever, after he made racist remarks about “the Negro.” [77]

What sets Bundy’s armed sup­port­ers apart from the mili­tia mem­bers gath­er­ing in Texas, how­ever, is that Bundy’s mili­tia squared off against trained fed­eral law enforce­ment offi­cials. The mili­ti­a­men in Texas, by con­trast, have threat­ened to point their guns at des­per­ate and often help­less peo­ple cross­ing the bor­der.

5a.  As you might expect, the mili­tias might be rather fond of gov­er­nor Greg Abbott giv­en his refusal to denounce their antics while he’s still Attor­ney Gen­eral.

“Mili­tia Leader Posed with Greg Abbott Four Days Before Feds Found Ammo­nium Nitrate, Weapons at Hotel”  [78]by Joshua Fechter; San Anto­nio Express [78]; 10/31/2014. [78]

Four days before fed­eral author­i­ties arrest­ed him on fed­eral weapons charges and found ammo­nium nitrate in his South Texas hotel room, bor­der mili­tia leader Kevin Lyn­del “K.C.” Massey chat­ted and posed for a pho­to with Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­ial can­di­date Greg Abbott at a cam­paign event in Brownsville.

The pho­to, tak­en at Brownsville restau­rant Cob­ble­heads on Oct. 16, shows Massey wear­ing an “Abbott for Gov­er­nor” stick­er on his mil­i­tary fatigues and shak­ing hands with the smil­ing can­di­date.

Video footage cap­tured by Fox 2 News [79] in Brownsville also shows Massey tak­ing pho­tos of Abbott while wear­ing a GoPro cam­era on his head, which was lat­er con­fis­cated dur­ing the raid.

Massey post­ed anoth­er pho­to of him­self and Abbott at the event on his Face­book pro­file — since delet­ed [80], but snagged by ValleyCentral.com [81] — with the cap­tion, “Try­ing to talk to Greg Abbott about the bor­der prob­lems. I gave him my num­ber we will see if he calls.”

Abbott deputy com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor Amelia Chas­se said Abbott and his cam­paign did not know who Massey was when the can­di­date posed with the mili­tia mem­ber. She declined to com­ment whether Massey posed a secu­rity threat to Abbott.

“This indi­vid­ual was part of a pho­to line at a pub­lic event and Greg Abbott took a pho­to with every­one who was in the line at that event,” Chas­se said, adding the two exchanged only “pleas­antries” dur­ing their brief encounter.

Agents with the fed­eral Bureau of Alco­hol, Tobac­co, Firearms and Explo­sives, who searched Massey’s hotel room in Brownsville after an Oct. 20 arrest, found an AK-47 with six loaded mag­a­zines, a loaded hand­gun, a bal­lis­tic hel­met and sev­eral cam­eras, as well as an ammu­ni­tion box filled with sus­pected ammo­nium nitrate — which can cause major explo­sions — and fuel, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments obtained by the San Anto­nio Express-News [82].

Chas­se declined to say whether Abbott sup­ports the group.

“Greg Abbott places his trust in the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safe­ty, bor­der sher­iffs, the Nation­al Guard and local law enforce­ment to do the job nec­es­sary to keep Tex­ans safe,” Chas­se said.

The cam­paign did not respond to a fol­low-up ques­tion regard­ing whether Abbott, an avid gun rights advo­cate, is con­cerned that some mili­tia mem­bers are alleged­ly patrolling the bor­der with weapons that, under fed­eral law, they are pro­hib­ited from car­ry­ing.

Abbott’s oppo­nent Demo­c­ra­tic guber­na­to­r­ial can­di­date Wendy Davis blast­ed Abbott in a state­ment for not con­demn­ing mili­tia groups’ activ­ity at the U.S.-Mexico bor­der.

“It’s hard to say what’s more dis­turb­ing: the fact that Greg Abbott met with a rad­i­cal mili­tia leader days before fed­eral author­i­ties found the same kind of explo­sives from the Okla­homa City bomb­ing in his hotel room or the fact that Greg Abbott is refus­ing to denounce his dan­ger­ous fringe group,” Davis said. “Mr. Abbott’s refusal to dis­close what they dis­cussed or con­demn this group shows a fright­en­ing lack of judg­ment from some­one who wants to be our gov­er­nor.”

In July, The Texas Demo­c­ra­tic Con­gres­sional Del­e­ga­tion, includ­ing U.S. Rep. Joaquin Cas­tro of San Anto­nio, called on Abbott to denounce mili­tia groups at the bor­der. At the time, Abbott spokes­woman Lau­ren Bean called the move a “par­ti­san polit­i­cal stunt.”

In a state­ment Fri­day, Cas­tro said the inci­dent “serves as a reminder that patrolling the bor­der should be left to the author­i­ties.”

“This is what hap­pens when you don’t stand up for the rule of law, and allow felons to ‘patrol’ the bor­der,” Cas­tro said. “Greg Abbott should take this oppor­tu­nity to denounce these groups.”

While the optics of the pho­to may be unwel­come for the Abbott cam­paign, it’s not like­ly to stir any major shake­ups four days from the Nov. 4 elec­tion, said Mark Jones, a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist at Rice Uni­ver­si­ty.

Jones point­ed out that can­di­dates take thou­sands of pho­tos with poten­tial sup­port­ers while on cam­paign­ing and are unable to vet each one.

“Cer­tainly for Abbott, it’s not some­thing you would like to see, but at the same time, polit­i­cal can­di­dates shake hands with peo­ple at polit­i­cal ral­lies and meet­ings on a dai­ly basis,” Jones said.

...

Ammo­nium nitrate has mas­sive explo­sive pow­er under cer­tain cir­cum­stances: a stock­pile of the sub­stance at a fer­til­izer plant in West caused the April 17 explo­sion that killed 15 peo­ple and injured more than 160 oth­ers and the sub­stance was also used by Tim­o­thy McVeigh in the 1995 Okla­homa City bomb­ing that killed 168 peo­ple. . . . .

. . . . Chas­se declined to say whether Abbott sup­ports the group.

5b. Okla­homa Sen­a­tor Tom Coburn is warn­ing that if Pres­i­dent Oba­ma issues an exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion peo­ple will sud­denly think “Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the Pres­i­dent ... then why should it apply to me?”
“GOP Sen­a­tor Warns of Vio­lence after Immi­gra­tion Order” by  [23]Susan Page; USA Today [23]; 11/20/2014. [23]

Okla­homa Sen. Tom Coburn warns there could be not only a polit­i­cal firestorm but acts of civ­il dis­obe­di­ence and even vio­lence in reac­tion to Pres­i­dent Obama’s exec­u­tive order on immi­gra­tion Thurs­day.

“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move out­side the author­ity of the pres­i­dent, and it’s going to be a very seri­ous sit­u­a­tion,” Coburn said on Cap­i­tal Down­load. “You’re going to see — hope­fully not — but you could see instances of anar­chy. ... You could see vio­lence.”

Coburn, 66, is a con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can but one who has a per­sonal rela­tion­ship with Oba­ma. They entered the Sen­ate in the same class, elect­ed in 2004, and the new sen­a­tors from oppo­site ends of the polit­i­cal spec­trum and their spous­es imme­di­ately hit it off at an ori­en­ta­tion din­ner. Last year, the pres­i­dent wrote a trib­ute in Time mag­a­zine to Coburn as “some­one who speaks his mind (and) sticks to his prin­ci­ples.”

“I real­ly like the guy,” Coburn, 66, told USA TODAY’s week­ly video news­maker series Wednes­day. “I thought he’s neat, and I think Michelle’s a neat lady.”

That his­tory gives Coburn’s stark assess­ment a spe­cial sting. On immi­gra­tion, he accus­es Oba­ma of act­ing like “an auto­cratic leader that’s going to dis­re­gard what the Con­sti­tu­tion says and make law any­way.” He says changes in immi­gra­tion pol­icy require pas­sage by Con­gress, not just the president’s sig­na­ture — a charge the White House dis­putes and on which legal experts dis­agree.

“Instead of hav­ing the rule of law han­dling in our coun­try today, now we’re start­ing to have the rule of rulers, and that’s the total antithe­sis of what this coun­try was found­ed on,” Coburn says. “Here’s how peo­ple think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the pres­i­dent ... then why should it apply to me?”

...

6a. Back in August peo­ple were ask­ing if far right GOP Sen­ate can­di­date Joni Ernst’s “flir­ta­tion” with the fringe would hurt her in the gen­eral elec­tion. She won.


“Will Joni Ernst’s Flir­ta­tions with the Polit­i­cal Fringe Haunt Her in Novem­ber?” by Mered­ith Shin­er; Yahoo News; [19]8/13/2014. [19]

In the weeks since her deci­sive June U.S. Sen­ate pri­mary win, Iowa Repub­li­can Joni Ernst has found her­self in the pre­car­i­ous posi­tion of being an estab­lish­ment-backed can­di­date who owes her shot at a nation­al office to some of the most con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers in the coun­try. That means that while she’s now got the full sup­port of the Nation­al Repub­li­can Sen­a­to­r­ial Com­mit­tee, she is also being con­fronted by sym­pa­thetic remarks she made ear­lier on fringe top­ics before audi­ences far to the right of the Iowa gen­eral elec­torate.

The lat­est pri­mary com­ments that could haunt her Sen­ate bid are on the top­ic of Agen­da 21, a com­mu­nity plan­ning pro­vi­sion in a decades-old Unit­ed Nations treaty that’s become an object of fear and con­spir­acy the­o­ries on the right, and espe­cially in the com­men­taries and writ­ing of Glenn Beck.

Yahoo News has obtained video show­ing Ernst at a Jan­u­ary GOP forum in Mont­gomery Coun­ty, Iowa, warn­ing that Agen­da 21 could force Iowa farm­ers off their land, dic­tate what cities Iowans must live in, and con­trol how Iowa cit­i­zens trav­el from place to place.

“The Unit­ed Nations has imposed this upon us, and as a U.S. sen­a­tor, I would say, ‘No more. No more Agen­da 21.’ Com­mu­nity plan­ning — to the effect that it is imple­ment­ing emi­nent domain and tak­ing away prop­erty rights away from indi­vid­u­als — I don’t agree with that. And espe­cially in a place such as Iowa, where we rely heav­ily upon our agri­cul­tural com­mu­nity, our rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. We don’t want to see things like emi­nent domain come into play,” Ernst said in response to a ques­tion about Agen­da 21 at the forum.

“We don’t want to see a fur­ther push with Agen­da 21, where the Agen­da 21 and the gov­ern­ment telling us that these are the urban cen­ters that you will live in; these are the ways that you will trav­el to oth­er urban cen­ters,” Ernst con­tin­ued. “Agen­da 21 encom­passes so many dif­fer­ent aspects of our lives that it’s tak­ing away our indi­vid­ual lib­er­ties, our free­doms as Unit­ed States cit­i­zens. So I would adamant­ly oppose Agen­da 21. I don’t believe it is respon­si­ble, not for Unit­ed States cit­i­zens.”

It wasn’t the only time Ernst addressed the top­ic or raised such fears dur­ing her pri­mary cam­paign. “What I’ve seen, the impli­ca­tions we could have here, is mov­ing peo­ple off of their agri­cul­tural land and con­sol­i­dat­ing them into city cen­ters, and then telling them that you don’t have prop­erty rights any­more,” she told a crowd in rur­al Ida Grove in Novem­ber 2013 [83], in response to a gen­eral for­eign pol­icy ques­tion and in remarks first report­ed by the Asso­ci­ated Press in June.

But with her pri­mary long in the rearview mir­ror and the gen­eral elec­tion less than 90 days away, Ernst now sounds more like a debunker of the con­spir­acy than an alarmist.

When asked by Yahoo News last week in Iowa about Agen­da 21 and her pre­vi­ous remarks on the issue — an issue so obscure that sev­eral out­side GOP cam­paign oper­a­tives approached for this sto­ry had nev­er heard of it — Ernst had changed her tune, and sound­ed more in sync with a gen­eral elec­tion audi­ence.

“I don’t think that the U.N. Agen­da 21 is a threat to Iowa farm­ers,” Ernst said in an inter­view in her Urban­dale cam­paign office. “I think there are a lot of peo­ple that fol­low that issue in Iowa. It may be some­thing that is very impor­tant to them, but I think Iowans are very smart and that we have a great leg­is­la­ture here, we have a very intel­li­gent gov­er­nor, and I think that we will pro­tect Iowans.”

...

Ernst has expressed out-of-the-main­stream views on a range of issues, from impeach­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma [84]to the issue of states act­ing to nul­lify fed­eral law, for which she was crit­i­cized by the edi­to­r­ial board of the Des Moines Reg­is­ter [85].
...

...
But her posi­tions on the 1992 U.N. rec­om­men­da­tions for coun­tries to become more envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able — which Beckmade the basis of his nov­el “Agen­da 21,” about a “vio­lent and tyran­ni­cal gov­ern­ment” rul­ing “what was once known as Amer­ica” [86]— are per­haps her great­est flir­ta­tion with the pol­i­tics of the con­spir­a­cy-mind­ed.

And unlike her impeach­ment remarks, the breadth and length of her response on the top­ic of Agen­da 21 seems to belie a deep knowl­edge of the con­spir­acy the­ory float­ed by con­ser­v­a­tive radio icons on an issue on which many can­di­dates would like­ly have no pre­pared talk­ing points or strong­ly held opin­ions. Many sources famil­iar with Iowa pol­i­tics note, how­ever, that the ques­tion of Agen­da 21 is more fre­quently dis­cussed in the Hawk­eye state’s agri­cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties than it is nation­al­ly.

The full audio of her Novem­ber com­ments, in response to a more gener­ic ques­tion about the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions and “the erod­ing of Amer­i­can sov­er­eignty via the Unit­ed Nations,” was also obtained by Yahoo News:

...

For now, Ernst says she’s not con­cerned about Agen­da 21 or even people’s per­cep­tion of her pre­vi­ous remarks on the mat­ter.

“I don’t think so,” she said, when asked whether she was wor­ried about this. “Peo­ple will think what they want to think about Agen­da 21 — but again, going back to Iowa: The Iowa way is to take care of Iowans, and that’s exact­ly what we intend to do. I think the U.N. is a far reach away from Iowa. I don’t think it’s a threat.”

6b. Note that in addi­tion to push­ing for nul­li­fi­ca­tion of Oba­macare [87], Ernst has also backed the arrest of fed­eral offi­cials try­ing to imple­ment it [24].


“EXCLUSIVE:
GOP­er Ernst Backed Arrest­ing Feds over Oba­macare in a 2012 Sur­vey” by Daniel Strauss; TPM Livewire; 10/03/2014.  [24]

 State Sen. Joni Ernst, the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for U.S. Sen­ate in Iowa, once said she would sup­port leg­is­la­tion that would allow “local law enforce­ment to arrest fed­er­al offi­cials attempt­ing to imple­ment” Oba­macare.

Ernst voiced her sup­port for that, as well as sup­port­ing leg­is­la­tion that would “nul­li­fy” Oba­macare in a Iowa State Leg­isla­tive Can­di­dates sur­vey for Ron Paul’s lib­er­tar­i­an-aligned Cam­paign for Lib­er­ty in 2012. It can be viewed here [88].

The ques­tion was: “Will you sup­port leg­is­la­tion to nul­li­fy Oba­maCare and autho­rize state and local law enforce­ment to arrest fed­er­al offi­cials attempt­ing to imple­ment the uncon­sti­tu­tion­al health care scheme known as Oba­maCare?” Ernst answered that ques­tion as “yes.”

Cam­paign for Lib­er­ty Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor Megan Stiles told TPM on Fri­day that the “yes” answer is what the group is look­ing for in can­di­dates. Stiles, how­ev­er, cau­tioned that the group does not endorse can­di­dates.

“States nul­li­fy­ing fed­er­al laws is one way of a check on the bal­ance of fed­er­al pow­er,” Stiles said. “So that’s an addi­tion­al way to fight Oba­macare. That’s what we’re look­ing for.” . . . .

7. For­mer Rea­gan speech­writer Dougas MacK­in­non is advo­cat­ing the breakup of the Unit­ed States.

“Author Says South Should Form New Nation with­out Gays and His­pan­ics called ‘Rea­gan’ ”  [20]by Travis Get­tys; Raw Sto­ry [20]; 10/22/2014. [20]

A con­ser­v­a­tive colum­nist and for­mer aide to Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan called on south­ern states to secede and form an ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive new nation named after his old boss.

Dou­glas MacK­in­non, a for­mer speech­writer for Pres­i­dents Rea­gan and George H.W. Bush, appeared Tues­day on The Janet Mef­ford Show to pro­mote his new book,“The Seces­sion­ist States of Amer­ica: The Blue­print for Cre­at­ing a Tra­di­tional Val­ues Coun­try … Now,” [89]report­ed Right Wing Watch [90].

He told the reli­gious con­ser­v­a­tive host that south­ern states – start­ing with Flori­da, Geor­gia, and South Car­olina – should leave the Unit­ed States so they can imple­ment a right-wing Chris­t­ian sys­tem of gov­ern­ment.

MacK­in­non envi­sions oth­er states join­ing, but he hopes to leave out Texas because “there have been a num­ber of incur­sions into Texas and oth­er places from some of the folks in Mex­i­co.”

“A grow­ing num­ber of our lead­ers seem deter­mined to erase our bor­ders,” he wrote in a recent syn­di­cated col­umn pro­mot­ing his book [91], “do away with the rule-of-law, expand the nan­ny state into a the­ol­ogy, bank­rupt or pun­ish Amer­i­can com­pa­nies in the name of fight­ing cli­mate change, do away with the 2nd Amend­ment, cen­sor or demo­nize the his­tory of west­ern civ­i­liza­tion and replace it with mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, give every kid a tro­phy and turn them into wimps, con­tinue to sup­port the com­pletely unfund­ed pub­lic-employ­ee pen­sions which are destroy­ing the finan­cial sol­vency of cities, coun­ties, and states across our nation, add bil­lions every day to our $17 tril­lion in debt, destroy our health-care sys­tem to sub­sti­tute social­ized med­i­cine, vil­ify fos­sil fuels, and attack all faith in God with a par­tic­u­lar and unhinged bias against the Chris­t­ian faith.”

He argued on the radio pro­gram that the South had “seced­ed legal­ly” and “peace­fully” in the months pri­or to the Civ­il War.

“Pres­i­dent Lin­coln waged an ille­gal war that was, in fact, not declared against the South after the South basi­cally did what we’re talk­ing about in this book now in terms of peace­fully, legal­ly and con­sti­tu­tion­ally leav­ing the union,” MacK­in­non said.

How­ever, MacK­in­non brushed aside Mefford’s con­cerns that seces­sion would trig­ger anoth­er Civ­il War, say­ing only that “it wouldn’t remote­ly come to that” because news cov­er­age is faster and more thor­ough in mod­ern times.

He said the new coun­try should be called Rea­gan, at least until vot­ers there could decide on a per­ma­nent name.

MacK­in­non did not specif­i­cally address dur­ing the radio pro­gram whether slav­ery would be legal in the new seces­sion­ist gov­ern­ment, nor did he describe the sta­tus of black peo­ple liv­ing in Rea­gan.

But he made clear that LGBT peo­ple would be sec­ond-class cit­i­zens – or worse – say­ing that advances in their rights as cit­i­zens was a major fac­tor in his call to break up the Unit­ed States.

“If you do believe in tra­di­tional val­ues, if you are a Chris­t­ian, if you are evan­gel­i­cal, if you do believe in the gold­en rule, then you’re see­ing all of this unrav­el before our eyes dai­ly,” he com­plained.

MacK­in­non said he devised his plan with the help of a mil­i­tary vet­eran friend, along with a group that includ­ed “a con­sti­tu­tional law expert, two for­mer mil­i­tary offi­cers, two for­mer diplo­mats, a min­is­ter, anoth­er spe­cial oper­a­tor, and experts on bank­ing, ener­gy, farm­ing, and infra­struc­ture.”

...

8. Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader-to-be Mitch McConnel­l’s fam­i­ly is in the news for the wrong rea­sons. (Most of McConnel­l’s for­tune appar­ent­ly comes from his in-laws.) His father-in-law (James Chao) has pros­pered because of his found­ing and pro­pri­etor­ship of a ship­ping line, The Fore­most Group.

That com­pa­ny has an opaque struc­ture, with many of its ships reg­is­tered in coun­tries that make com­pli­ance with mar­itime reg­u­la­tions eas­i­er to skirt.

Now, one of Fore­most’s ships (the Ping May) has been bust­ed sail­ing from Colom­bia for Ams­ter­dam with 40 kilo­grams of cocaine aboard.

In the post accessed below, author Nathan Downes asks a rel­e­vant ques­tion: How much of Fore­most’s largesse (and, by exten­sion, the McConnell clan’s wealth) is derived from shady enter­pris­es?

“40 KG of Cocaine Found on Mitch McConnel­l’s Father-in-Law’s Boat” by Nathaniel Downes; Addict­ing Info; 10/31/2014. [21]

James Chao, father of Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine, has a lot of ques­tions to answer after 40 kilo­grams of cocaine (about $6.7 mil­lion worth [92]) was found on the Ping May [93], a ship owned by the Fore­most Group [94], a com­pa­ny James Chao found­ed [95] and led to a tidy for­tune. But was that for­tune built on hon­est move­ment of legit­i­mate bulk trade goods, or has Mr. Chao been trad­ing in less than legal goods?

The cocaine, found in 40 sep­a­rate pack­ages, was dis­cov­ered dur­ing a rou­tine inspec­tion hid­den among a load of coal bound for Europe from the port of San­ta Mar­ta, Colum­bia onboard the Ping May, one of 15 ships Fore­most cur­rent­ly oper­ates, with anoth­er 8 under con­struc­tion [96]. The final des­ti­na­tion for the ship was to be the Nether­lands, like­ly one of the port cities sur­round­ing Ams­ter­dam. It is known that the Ping May has been wit­nessed at the port of Zaanstad [97], one of these cities, in the past.

Fore­most Group is the source of most of Sen­a­tor McConnell’s for­tune through gifts [98] and inher­i­tance [99] from his in-laws. It is a shad­owy cor­po­ra­tion, uti­liz­ing a com­plex scheme of shell com­pa­nies [100] to skip out on mil­lions in tax­es annu­al­ly [101].

They fly their ships under the flag of Liberia, a west African nation known for its lax labor pro­tec­tions [102], allow­ing Fore­most the oppor­tu­ni­ty to exploit its ships’ work­force with lit­tle fear of recrim­i­na­tion. How­ev­er, this sta­tus as an employ­er-friend­ly anti-labor nation also allowed west­ern African nations, such as Liberia, to become one of the epi­cen­ters for drug smug­gling through legit­i­mate chan­nels [103]. By work­ing to extract every red cent of prof­it at the cost of the labor­ers who make their for­tunes pos­si­ble, Fore­most may have sewn the seeds of its own down­fall.

It could be that some among the ships work­force, tired of being exploit­ed, decid­ed on being cre­ative with their income. It could be that the drug car­tels which dom­i­nate Colum­bia insert­ed the cocaine with­out any of the ships crew know­ing. Or it could be that Mr. Chao is in league with the drug car­tels, pos­si­bly for a very long time, and chose to fly under the Liber­ian flag for this very rea­son. We do not know.

It is most like­ly that Mr. Chao’s greed is the only crime for which he is guilty. By using this elab­o­rate scheme to not only defraud the US gov­ern­ment of owed tax­es but to exploit his work­force, Mr. Chao may have made such a sce­nario a fore­gone con­clu­sion. Now his com­pa­ny is under a micro­scope, the last place the very pri­vate man want­ed it.

9. Arms deal­er Vik­tor Bout has some unspec­i­fied “new­ly dis­cov­ered evi­dence” that he thinks will get him a new tri­al. He has hired for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al John Ashcroft’s law firm to rep­re­sent him. Bout had traf­ficked arms to, among oth­er groups, Al Qae­da.

“Arms Deal­er Bout Seeks New U.S. Tri­al, Hires Ashcroft Law Firm”  [22]by Jonathan Stem­pel; reuters.com; 11/03/2014. [22]

Con­victed Russ­ian arms traf­ficker Vik­tor Bout believes he has evi­dence to jus­tify a new U.S. tri­al and has hired the law firm of for­mer U.S. Attor­ney Gen­eral John Ashcroft to help him pur­sue his case.

Bout, 47, is serv­ing a 25-year prison sen­tence fol­low­ing his 2011 jury con­vic­tion for hav­ing con­spired to kill U.S. sol­diers by way of his agree­ment to sell weapons to a Colom­bian rebel group.

Accord­ing to fil­ings on Mon­day with the U.S. Dis­trict Court in Man­hat­tan, Bout hired the Ashcroft Law Firm and Alex­ey Tarasov, a Hous­ton-based lawyer, to help him obtain a new tri­al based on unspec­i­fied “new­ly dis­cov­ered evi­dence.”

U.S. Dis­trict Judge Shi­ra Scheindlin on Mon­day grant­ed Bout until Jan. 1, 2015 to for­mally seek a new tri­al, allow­ing his new lawyers more time to exam­ine the issues.

Bout’s dead­line to seek a new tri­al had been Mon­day, but he said the office of U.S. Attor­ney Preet Bharara in Man­hat­tan was “not opposed” to a 60-day exten­sion.

Michael Sul­li­van, a part­ner at Ashcroft’s firm and for­mer U.S. attor­ney in Mass­a­chu­setts who would work on the case, declined to com­ment. Tarasov did not respond to requests for com­ment.

A spokes­woman for Bharara declined to com­ment.

Bout’s chal­lenge fol­lows the Sep­tem­ber 2013 refusal by the fed­eral appeals court in Man­hat­tan to over­turn his con­vic­tion, which he claimed fol­lowed a “vin­dic­tive” pros­e­cu­tion and his improp­er extra­di­tion from Thai­land to face U.S. charges.

Jurors con­victed Bout of hav­ing agreed to sell arms to infor­mants pos­ing as mem­bers of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Armed Forces of Colom­bia, which the U.S. gov­ern­ment had deemed a for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion, and con­spir­ing to acquire and export anti-air­craft mis­siles.

Co-defen­dant Richard Chichak­li, a dual Amer­i­can and Syr­ian cit­i­zen, was con­victed of con­spir­acy charges last Decem­ber.

Bout is in a medi­um-secu­ri­ty prison in Mar­ion, Illi­nois, and is not eli­gi­ble for release until Dec. 15, 2029. He was the sub­ject of a 2007 book, “Mer­chant of Death.”

10. The end­less GOP drum­beat about Beng­hazi con­tin­ues, despite the fact that the lat­est [7th], GOP-ini­ti­at­ed inves­ti­ga­tion absolves Oba­ma and com­pa­ny of all of the GOP’s charges.

Eighth time’s a charm? [104]

“GOP Intel Report Debunks Its Own Party’s Nut­ty Beng­hazi The­o­riesby Ken Dilan­ian [AP]; Talk­ing Points Memo; 11/21/2014. [25]

A two-year inves­ti­ga­tion by the Repub­li­can-con­trolled House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee has found that the CIA and the mil­i­tary act­ed prop­erly in respond­ing to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplo­matic com­pound in Beng­hazi, Libya, and assert­ed no wrong­do­ing by Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion appointees.

Debunk­ing a series of per­sis­tent alle­ga­tions hint­ing at dark con­spir­a­cies, the inves­ti­ga­tion deter­mined that there was no intel­li­gence fail­ure, no delay in send­ing a CIA res­cue team, no missed oppor­tu­nity for a mil­i­tary res­cue, and no evi­dence the CIA was covert­ly ship­ping arms from Libya to Syr­ia.

In the imme­di­ate after­math of the attack, intel­li­gence about who car­ried it out and why was con­tra­dic­tory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambas­sador to the Unit­ed Nations, to inac­cu­rately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intel­li­gence ana­lysts, not polit­i­cal appointees, who made the wrong call, the com­mit­tee found. The report did not con­clude that Rice or any oth­er gov­ern­ment offi­cial act­ed in bad faith or inten­tion­ally mis­led the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

The House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee report was released with lit­tle fan­fare on the Fri­day before Thanks­giv­ing week. Many of its find­ings echo those of six pre­vi­ous inves­ti­ga­tions by var­i­ous con­gres­sional com­mit­tees and a State Depart­ment pan­el. The eighth Beng­hazi inves­ti­ga­tion is being car­ried out by a House Select Com­mit­tee appoint­ed in May.