Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The War on Terror Becoming “War on U.S. Constitution”

While the headlines are dominated by the divorce of Kobe Bryant, the fake death of Jon bon Jovi, and of course the Kardashians; 95% of Americans are unaware of a bill that is so unconstitutional that it will allow the government to decide who gets an old fashioned trial (along with right to attorney and right against self-incrimination) and who gets detained without due process and put into a FEMA camp. On 15 December 2015, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 has been passed by both houses of Congress separately, and a final version was approved by the Senate by a vote of 93 to 7.

The dangerous bill will allow the military to detain American citizens on American soil without due process. For the first time in our history, if this Act is not vetoed, American citizens may not be guaranteed their Article III right to trial. President Barack Obama plans on signing the bill into law tomorrow, according to reports coming from the White House. The Act legislatively codifies the President’s authority to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects, including American citizens, without trial as defined in Title X, Subtitle D, SEC 1031(a-e) of the bill.

Congressman and Republican presidential candidate, Ron Paul, said, “We have now institutionalized and codified martial law.” Mitt Romney was caught clueless at a New Hampshire Town Hall meeting and Newt Gingrich remains zipped on whether or not he supports this travesty to civil liberties of American citizens. The ACLU called it “an historic threat to American citizens,” and the bill was also criticized by the Directors of the FBI, the CIA, the National Intelligence Director and the U.S. Defense Secretary. Senator Lindsey Graham declared that suspected citizens open themselves up “to imprisonment and death. And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them: ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”

Just to be clear, this is not a republican vs. Democrat issue, as both parties almost unanimously passed this bill. Apparently, after all the gridlock in Congress, they can agree on at least one thing: taking more liberties away from American citizens. I don’t want to be put into a FEMA camp, so I will say that my last statement was just an attempt at being facetious.

Of course, the politicians will say we are just talking about a few cases. But in fact the sky’s probably the limit given the current legal ambiguity in the Patriot Act expansion of “material support for terrorism” to now include humanitarian aid and even mere advocacy speech without any need to prove an accused person intended to support any kind of terrorist violence. The Department of Justice has been currently using this ambiguity for over a year to investigate twenty three American citizens who are anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. Additionally, the "war on terror" will undoubtedly expand even more when it is de-linked from 9-11 -- see “The War on Terrorism Congress Never Declared -- But Soon Might” by Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor, expert on these issues and associate dean for scholarship at American University Washington College of Law: individual may be detained for providing “direct support” (which, in the government's view, may be nothing more than minor financial or logistical assistance) in aid of “associated forces” that are “engaged in hostilities against...coalition partners.” Thus, the NDAA effectively authorizes the military detention of any individual who provides such assistance anywhere in the world to any group engaged in hostilities against any of our coalition partners, whether or not the United States is in any way involved in (or even affected by) that particular conflict.

Given this expansion of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force contained in the 2012 NDAA to encompass undefined “associated forces,” we could witness the US government targeting a large range of political dissidents, human rights activists, humanitarians, and maybe even “occupiers.”

One thing is for sure, though: the political, military industrial, corporate class in Washington DC continues to re-make our constitutional republic into a powerful, unaccountable Military Empire, which could now officially turn U.S. “emergency war powers” into those that trump the Constitution. After years of the rants from conspiracy theorists, it appears that they were correct: Martial Law is coming to our country.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Amanda Knox Hires Superlawyer: Looking for Book Deal

The Amanda Knox PR machine, headed by the Marriott Group, is still in full swing. This time, David Marriott announced that Knox has hired D.C. superlawyer, Robert Barnett "to represent her in discussions with various book publishers who have expressed an interest in Amanda writing a book.” Although Barnett does not call himself a literary agent, he knows his way around seven-figure deals (he’s also repped President Barack Obama, former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Rosie O’Donnell and Barbra Streisand) — and the Knox family liked the fact that he’s a lawyer with a powerful firm behind him. Barnett is charging a hefty hourly fee instead of the standard 15 percent commission.

“The thing about Bob is not only does he know how to negotiate on behalf of his clients, but he’s very well-connected in the media world and can help create the perfect launch for the book,” said Carolyn Reidy, president of Simon & Schuster, who’s worked with Barnett for decades. Marriott did not elaborate on those additional opportunities but said few details of a potential book had been yet decided by Knox and her family, including an advance or the possibility of co-authors.

“This is a case I have followed from day one and never, not even for one moment, have I doubted the innocence of Raffaele Sollecito and Amanda Knox,” said Seattle-based literary agent, Sharlene Martin, in a recent statement.

Sharlene Martin has certainly been on the Knox bandwagon from the beginning. In a response to my query back in January 2011, Martin snippily replied to me, “It seems to me that it is YOU who is trying to cash in her [Knox’s] misfortune by writing a book for which you have NO inside knowledge or cooperation.” Apparently Martin must not have been aware of the plethora of official information made public about the case, including Judge Massei’s 427-page summation of the original trial, Judge Micheli’s extensive report, and my affiliation with In any event, Martin appears to believe that cashing in on the case is ok as long as you believe what she does.

Moreover, it appears that Martin is inferring that she knows more about the exclusive details of the case because she has spoken to the Knox family, as she also indicated in her response. I am assuming that by this she believes that this exclusive inside knowledge makes her an expert on Knox’s innocence; even though I have yet to find any credentials that she has any qualifications to analyze evidence or the like, and she has never publicly engaged in any discussion of why she believes Knox is innocent. Surely Knox’s parents have never twisted the facts in any way?!?!

Knox certainly has many questions to answer, as she was unable to truly clarify during the trial or otherwise. So it seems as though she may be willing to roll the dice and try to fool us once again with “the real” version of events in return for some much needed funding. Curt Knox and Amanda’s mother, Edda Mellas, who are divorced, have each said they’ve drained their retirement funds, taken out second mortgages and accrued credit card debt to pay for Amanda’s defense. The Knox family also have hundreds of supporters who have dug deep into their own pockets to support her, and some of them are now asking questions like: Why hasn’t she come clean as to exactly what was her role, how did things actually unfold, and what really happened?

In another related story, ANSA News has reported that Knox prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini’s, conviction has been reversed. Those who have been proclaiming Knox’s innocence have always used Mignini’s conviction to paint the prosecutor as crooked, and they used this as another reason for Knox’s innocence. Yet, surely there will be those who believe in Knox’s innocence that Mignini is still guilty, just as there are those who believe that Knox is still guilty even though her ruling was reversed.

Amanda Knox is still facing legal action for criminal slander brought by those she claimed maltreated her at an interrogation (not at the hands of Mignini). The next hearing on this case will take place in mid-May 2012. Meanwhile, we all anxiously await Judge Hellman’s sentencing report (which will detail Knox’s reversal), due out very soon. And of course, we also expect the prosecution to file an appeal (on Knox’s reversal) to Italy’s Supreme Court of Cassation—to take place probably soon after Hellman’s motivation report is released.