Homeland Theater

Washington Post: Northern Command to lead domestic terror response

The Washington Post reports Aug. 8 that the Pentagon "has devised its first-ever war plans for guarding against and responding to terrorist attacks in the United States, envisioning 15 potential crisis scenarios and anticipating several simultaneous strikes around the country, according to officers who drafted the plans."

Judge: Patriot Act provisions unconstitutional

Both houses of Congress have now voted to extend the most onerous measures of the PATRIOT Act, which is due to expire in December. (IHT, Aug. 1) But these measures still may not survive judicial review. From Immigration News Briefs, Aug. 6:

Patriot Act Statutes Deemed "Vague"
In a July 28 decision, US District Judge Audrey Collins in Los Angeles ruled that several Patriot Act provisions on material support for terrorist organizations remain unconstitutional. Collins said Congress had failed to remedy all the problems she defined in a Jan. 23, 2004 ruling striking down the statute. "Even as amended, the statute fails to identify the prohibited conduct in a manner that persons of ordinary intelligence can reasonably understand," Collins ruled.

Wal-Mart good for workers, NY Times says

The New York Times, as usual, gives op-ed space to right wing "free market" fundamentalists.

In The Price Is Right, August 3, 2005 Pankaj Ghemawat, a professor of business administration at Harvard and Ken A. Mark, a business consultant in Toronto, argue that Wal-Mart is good for workers.

"American terrorist" sentenced

A little deja vu hearkening back to the '90s, when the stereotypical terrorist was a redneck—Angry White Male, to use the argot of the day. What's interesting is how much Eric Rudolph's rhetoric mirrors that of the jihadis. From the AP, July 19:

Clinic bomber draws life sentences
Rudolph meets his punishment with defiance

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- By the time he was sent off to prison for life yesterday, serial bomber Eric Rudolph had been compared to Ku Klux Klan killers, murderous Nazis, and the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Homeland Security weighs privacy rights

Perhaps embarrassed by outgoing chief Tom Ridge's admission that the color coded terror alert was raised for political reasons (USA Today, May 10), the Homeland Security Department appears to be slowing in some of its most egregious (or ambitious) new programs. Plans to require 27 allied countries to issue new passports with chips encoded with biometric data have been put off for a year, although by this October they will have to start issuing passports with tamperproof digitized photos. Allied governments had protested the chip-embedded passports, and Homeland Security may be rethinking the idea. (AP, June 16)

JTTF targets protesters

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado released documents May 18 confirming that the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Denver is targeting peaceful political activists for harassment and building files on constitutionally-protected political activities that have nothing to do with terrorism or other criminal activity.

Peaceniks protest TOPOFF 3

From Connecticut's Shore Publishing group of community newspapers:

New London -- Drawing parallels to Cold War-era paranoia and fear mongering, a regional group is organizing protests of next month's TOPOFF3 drill, which will simulate a chemical attack on New London. Department of Homeland security officials have said the drill, beginning on April 4, will take place mostly at Fort Trumbull State Park, and will not interfere with daily activities in the city. Culled from the memberships of the Southeastern Connecticut Peace and Justice Network and the War Resisters League, the Mock Terror Task Force has been holding informational forums with promises of future protests in front of City Hall during the exercise.

Bond market prepares for terror

From the Bond Buyer, April 1:

The Bond Market Association will participate in next week's U.S. TOPOFF 3 test, an exercise in which municipal market participants, government agencies, and trade groups will explore how a simulated terror scenario might affect market operations, the association said yesterday.

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