Illustration by David Dees at ddees.com
The House Transportation and Defense Committee, on a voice vote, has approved legislation that would significantly broaden the role of the Idaho National Guard. House Bill 367 seeks to amend existing law to allow for circumstances when the Idaho National Guard and the Idaho Military Division could be utilized as a state law enforcement agency.
“There seemed to be no major opposition to this bill,” commented Rep. Linden Bateman, R-Idaho Falls. “It seems like a good idea to me and I supported it.”
A former rising star at the CIA accused of drugging, raping and taping Muslim women while stationed in the Middle East appeared before a federal judge in Virginia today after skipping a pre-trial hearing more than a week ago and going on what sources called an apparent drug binge. Andrew Warren was arrested after an intensive search by federal officials concerned he might be a danger to himself.
A U.S. government employee in Algeria allegedly drugged victims.
According to two federal law enforcement sources, drug paraphernalia and a handgun were found in the Virginia motel room where Warren, former CIA chief of station in Algeria, was arrested. Warren sat in a wheelchair during his Monday afternoon court appearance.
A person close to Warren told ABC News that State Department officials began searching for Warren 11 days ago after he missed a routine pre-trial appearance and could not be found. “His phones were shut off, and none of his family or friends had heard from him,” the person told ABC News.
Warren, 42, was located after federal law enforcement officers reached out to his friends and family, warning them that they were concerned for Warren’s safety and believed he was armed and consuming crack cocaine. He was arrested by local police, U.S. Marshals and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service at a Norfolk, Virginia Ramada Limited hotel late Monday. He was taken by law enforcement officials to a local hospital.
The former station chief’s fall from grace has been dramatic. According to two former CIA officials, Warren was a rising star at the CIA. He was a fluent Arabic speaker who had converted to Islam, making him an ideal officer in the Middle East for the intelligence agency. Officially, however, CIA has refused to acknowledge Warren was their spy.
Before being posted to Algeria, Warren had served in Egypt, Afghanistan, and a stint in that CIA domestic station in New York. It was in New York, a few years after 9/11, that supervisors spotted him as a potential star, ready to be deployed around the world as a spy. Within a very short time – four years – Warren had been posted as station chief in Algeria.
Warren worked for the agency in the Middle East until October 2008, until he was recalled from the region and then fired after two women came forward and accused him of rape, accusations which were first reported by ABC News’ Brian Ross in January 2009. He was charged with one federal count of sexual abuse in June.
March 30, 2010
Fox News has posted a second article today that highlights comments on Infowars.com. “Hundreds of comments were posted in response to an incendiary story on infowars.com, the radical far-right Web site owned by radio host Alex Jones. The story, entitled, ‘The Cost Of Defying Obamacare: $2,250 a Month And IRS Goons Pointing Guns At Your Family,’ focused on the ‘increasing militarization of the IRS’ and its expansion of powers under the new health care law,” writes Jana Winter.
“The federal government is investigating dozens of death threats to IRS employees that have been posted online since the House passed the health care bill,” Winter explains. “The health care law has sparked protests on radical anti-tax and anti-government Web sites and within their private, password-protected e-mail lists and message boards. Some writers have labeled March 21 — the day the House passed the bill – ‘Bloody Sunday,’ and they see it as a call to violent action against IRS workers.”
In addition to creating dozens of new bureaucracies – the Health Choices Administration, the Health Benefits Advisory Committee, the Health Insurance Exchange, and others – the Obamacare bill further empowers the IRS.
“Under the Democrats’ health care proposals, the already powerful — and already feared — IRS would wield even more power and extend its reach even farther into the lives of ordinary Americans, and the presidentially-appointed head of the new health care bureaucracy would have access to confidential IRS information about millions of individual taxpayers,” notesByron York, writing for the Washington Examiner.
In response to this outrageous and unconstitutional power grab by the federal government, millions of people around the country have called and sent emails to Congress and the White House. Thousands of websites have posted articles critical of Obamacare and millions of people have posted comments in opposition. Millions have joined the Tea Party movement. Countless others have promised to not vote for Democrats or Republicans in the mid-term elections, a prospect that horrifies the establishment.
Instead of mentioning the fact Obamacare is vastly unpopular and the is IRS hated and feared by millions of Americans – and that an increasing number of them are no longer shy about expressing their outrage — Fox News would have you believe that anger is confined to a small number of “anti-government” websites, most notably Alex Jones’ Infowars.com. Reading Fox News, the casual reader would arrive at the conclusion that a large number of Infowars.com readers are locked and loaded and ready to attack IRS employees.
In other words, Fox News, owned by the neocon Rupert Murdoch, is disseminating exactly the sort of propaganda the establishment has ordered up to demonize the growing and increasingly vocal opposition. Fox News is a cherished asset of Operation Mockingbird.
Fox News’ mission is to buttress the false right-left paradigm and steer the opposition into the ranks of the Republican party. It has already successful sabotaged the Libertarian Tea Party movement. It must now demonize the remaining opposition.
“While these threats are being investigated, experts doubt there is much that law enforcement can do to predict if any of these commenters actually plan on taking action. The only thing certain is that the online community of anti-government extremists is growing, and it is increasingly being viewed by law enforcement as a threat,” writes Winter.
Fox News, CNN, and other corporate media outlets serving as government propaganda mills are attempting to turn attention on Alex Jones and make him a scapegoat for the isolated actions of a few people who have threatened government officials.
Fox’s own polling reveals a majority of Americans oppose Obama’s authoritarian health care. “The latest Fox News poll finds that 55 percent oppose the healthcare reforms being deliberated on Capitol Hill,” Newsmax reported on March 19. “The 55 percent opposing reform is up from 51 percent in January, and from 47 percent in July. Opposition peaked at 57 percent in December.”
In addition, the poll reported that 75 percent of voters overall believe that the federal government does not represent their views.
Philly to teen ‘flash mobs’: The behavior ends now
By JOANN LOVIGLIO, Associated Press Writer Joann Loviglio, Associated Press Writer
– Thu Mar 25, 3:43 am ET
PHILADELPHIA – The term “flash mob” used to mean online-organized groups having street-corner pillow fights or sidewalk dance-offs, but in Philadelphia they’ve turned violent, and the reasons are as tough to pin down as where the next one will be.
At least five such mobs have gathered in the City of Brotherly Love in the past year, all leaving property damage or injuries in their wake, after hundreds of teenagers communicating by text message, Twitter, Facebook and other social media spread the word for everyone to show up at a designated spot.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said Wednesday that he has been talking to law enforcement officials in other cities to see whether any have encountered similar problems. He doesn’t think Philadelphia is unique, but was unaware of another municipality that has seen teen mobs of the same size and frequency.
The local mobs involve mainly middle- and high-schoolers — not the college-and-older crowd that typically take part in nonviolent flash mobs. And the younger kids don’t gather with the intention of performing something silly en masse; generally the only goal is to gather at a specific location, though one was sparked as rumors spread of a brawl at a downtown mall.
“Social phenomena have to start somewhere,” said Frank Farley, a psychologist and professor at Temple University. “It could be some kind of coincidence of fate that will get picked up later on elsewhere.”
In the most recent mob, on Saturday night, witnesses estimated as many as 2,000 teenagers thronged the narrow sidewalks, blocked traffic, jumped on cars and roughed up bystanders around South Street, a 10-block strip of bars, clothing stores, pizzerias and cheesesteak joints that has long been a hangout for teens and 20-somethings.
There were three arrests and multiple assaults, and many stores and restaurants closed early amid fears of trouble brewing.
Farley, an expert in risk-taking and thrill-seeking personalities, said the flash mobs have attributes that many teens would find attractive.
“This kind of thing I could see catching on across the country the more it’s publicized,” he said. “It’s easy to do; it’s thrilling, it’s fun, and they can turn on the TV the next day and say, ‘I was there.'”
Philadelphia is stepping up enforcement and ratcheting up penalties against juveniles in an effort to put an end to the roving groups wreaking havoc in downtown business and tourist districts.
“The lion’s share of these kids don’t have any nefarious intent,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross, “but if you have a group of 1,000, 2,000 kids and only 25 are disruptive, that’s still unacceptable.”
Mayor Michael Nutter said Wednesday that if the “stupidity” continues, he will permanently move up the city’s curfew for minors, currently 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends, as police and businesses have suggested. The mayor didn’t say what those earlier curfews might be.
Police are also monitoring social networking sites and message boards for early warning of potential disturbances, and the city transit authority is monitoring subways for any unusual spikes in riders all headed to one area.
The message repeated by Nutter, Ramsey, District Attorney Seth Williams and every speaker at a news conference Wednesday near the site of Saturday’s mob: Parents must take responsibility for their children or face criminal charges themselves. They also sought to reassure residents, businesses and tourists that the city is safe.
Ramsey urged parents to monitor their children’s computer activity and check their cell phones for text messages, and to contact police with any pertinent information.
While not revealing tactics, police said they have “rapid response” plans in place to track down flash mobs before mayhem ensues. The FBI, undercover police and school district also will pitch in if necessary, Nutter said.
Those arrested in the three mobs that gathered since February face felony charges — a departure from previous clashes in May 2009 and December 2009, when misdemeanor counts were filed.
Family Court Judge Kevin Dougherty this week found 28 teenagers guilty of felony rioting for incidents on Feb. 16, when 150 teens stormed through a downtown department store, fighting and breaking items, and on March 3.
Dougherty’s questions to the teens about what motivated them to join the crowd were largely answered with shrugs or one-word answers, and some of the kids denied being part of the mob.
Several of the juveniles, whose names were not released because of their age, acknowledged they learned through text messages, MySpace and Facebook that a gathering — and possibly a fight — would occur at the announced location.