Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Charlie Brown

What Warrantless Wiretapping Means to Me
For a good chunk of my 26 year Air Force career, I was directly involved in surveillance programs for the National Security Agency (NSA).
For decades, these programs have played a crucial role in protecting our country from its enemies and all who seek to undermine the constitutionally protected freedoms that so many brave service members have died defending--including several of my Air Force Academy classmates.
I flew missions that monitored electronic communications around the world--often with Soviet MIGs flying off my wing and hoping I'd make a wrong turn. Our standing order was "if you even suspect you are collecting data on an American citizen, you are to cease immediately, flag the tape, and bring it to a supervisor." We knew failure to comply would yield serious consequences--the kind that can end your career, or worse, land you in jail.
In short, professional, accurate intelligence collection guidelines were used to protect America "from all enemies, foreign and domestic," without also undermining the very freedoms we were protecting.
So I've watched the debate in Congress over warrantless wiretapping and the manner in which private companies have been encouraged to violate the laws that so many of us dedicated our careers to upholding with great interest---or, more appropriately, with shock and awe.
Let me be clear---I strongly believe intelligence agencies need the power to conduct electronic surveillance of anyone who would mean our nation harm---particularly in a post 9/11 World. And if there are loopholes that prevent appropriate agencies from doing this work within the bounds of the Constitution, those holes can and must be closed.
But this debate isn't just about security; it's about accountability. As an officer who was both involved in these programs and held personally accountable for my actions in the name of defending America, I have a problem with giving a few well-connected, well-healed companies who knowingly usurp the law a free pass.
Every day, less than 1% of our country puts on the uniform and dedicates themselves to the security and the freedom of every single American. They do so knowing that breaking the chain of command, or ignoring orders, comes with consequences---no matter how "patriotic" your intentions.
When I see low ranking officers tossed in jail for carrying out the explicit directives of civilian leadership (I.E. Abu Gharib) that is not held accountable, silence is not an option.
When I see our national security institutions compromised by the mistakes of Washington politicians, silence is not an option.
When I see our intelligence community being used for partisan political gain instead of for defending our nation, silence is not an option.
And when I see companies acting "in the interest of national security" held to a lower standard of accountability than the dedicated professionals charged with our nation's defense, silence is not an option.
And to those few companies seeking immunity for breaking the law despite the best of intentions---might I offer a few comforting words on behalf of all who serve, and all who have borne the responsibilities of safeguarding our great nation...freedom isn't free.
Charlie Brown, Lt. Col. USAF Ret.


Don't let his name fool you, he is not a cartoon, he is the real deal, a real spy.

Going after Doonothings' Congressional seat against a carpetbagger, Tom McClintock.

Tom has been in politics in CA for a long time and this would be his springboard to the 'BIG time', so he moved up from LA to make District 4 his home. Charlie has been around the area for 16 years.

Nasty nest of crabby old repug geezers here and the current rate of expiration should be down to the nubs in about 15 years. Better hope the hometown boy can pull it off.

I saw two Bush/Cheney stickers on vehicles coming to work this AM proving people are stubbornly clinging to the sinking life raft that was the repug party.

Hey people! Get out your little scrapers and get busy or be forever relegated to the idiot bin.



DEN said...

Google idiots would not let me make my comment on the main post NON- ITALIC.

I swear I hate Google, they are a bunch of dweebs hiding from all that would require them to communicate with the outside world.

Just try to get help from them, you will never be able to reach a REAL person.

Saladin said...

DEN, the people with the bush-cheney stickers may be the ones operating on nothing but a brain stem, like in THIS article. Warning, graphic photo.

Stemmers, Part I

Bodies of evidence by the millions make the dumbing-down of Americans the most successful federal program of all time....

Saladin said...

Apparently this group is less than convinced about what actually happened on 9/11

A member of the inquiry team, a US Air Force officer who flew over 100 sorties during the Vietnam war, told the press conference: "Those birds (commercial airliners) either had a crack fighter pilot in the left seat, or they were being manoeuvred by remote control."

FRONT PAGE STORY - 03/08/2002

September 11 - US Government accused

A Portugal-based investigative journalist has presented THE NEWS with version of the September 11th attacks that has to date failed to attract the attention of the international press. The report, compiled by an independent inquiry into the September 11th, World Trade Centre attack, warns the American public that the government’s official version of events does not stand up to scrutiny.

A group of military and civilian US pilots, under the chairmanship of Colonel Donn de Grand, after deliberating non-stop for 72 hours, has concluded that the flight crews of the four passenger airliners, involved in the September 11th tragedy, had no control over their aircraft.

In a detailed press communiqué the inquiry stated: "The so-called terrorist attack was in fact a superbly executed military operation carried out against the USA, requiring the utmost professional military skill in command, communications and control. It was flawless in timing, in the choice of selected aircraft to be used as guided missiles and in the coordinated delivery of those missiles to their pre-selected targets."

The report seriously questions whether or not the suspect hijackers, supposedly trained on Cessna light aircraft, could have located a target dead-on 200 miles from take off point. It further throws into doubt their ability to master the intricacies of the instrument flight rules (IFR) in the 45 minutes from take off to the point of impact. Colonel de Grand said that it would be impossible for novices to have taken control of the four aircraft and orchestrated such a terrible act requiring military precision of the highest order.

A member of the inquiry team, a US Air Force officer who flew over 100 sorties during the Vietnam war, told the press conference: "Those birds (commercial airliners) either had a crack fighter pilot in the left seat, or they were being manoeuvred by remote control."

In evidence given to the enquiry, Captain Kent Hill (retd.) of the US Air Force, and friend of Chic Burlingame, the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, stated that the US had on several occasions flown an unmanned aircraft, similar in size to a Boeing 737, across the Pacific from Edwards Air Force base in California to South Australia. According to Hill it had flown on a pre programmed flight path under the control of a pilot in an outside station.

Hill also quoted Bob Ayling, former British Airways boss, in an interview given to the London Economist on September 20th, 2001. Ayling admitted that it was now possible to control an aircraft in flight from either the ground or in the air. This was confirmed by expert witnesses at the inquiry who testified that airliners could be controlled by electro-magnetic pulse or radio frequency instrumentation from command and control platforms based either in the air or at ground level.

All members of the inquiry team agreed that even if guns were held to their heads none of them would fly a plane into a building. Their reaction would be to ditch the plane into a river or a field, thereby safeguarding the lives of those on the ground.

A further question raised by the inquiry was why none of the pilots concerned had alerted ground control. It stated that all pilots are trained to punch a four-digit code into the flight control’s transponder to warn ground control crews of a hijacking - but this did not happen.

During the press conference Captain Hill maintained that the four airliners must have been choreographed by an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). This system can engage several aircraft simultaneously by knocking out their on-board flight controls. He said that all the evidence points to the fact that the pilots and their crews had not taken any evasive action to resist the supposed hijackers. They had not attempted any sudden changes in flight path or nose-dive procedures - which led him to believe that they had no control over their aircraft.

THE NEWS, in an attempt to further substantiate the potential veracity of these findings, spoke to an Algarve-based airline pilot, who has more than 20 years of experience in flying passenger planes, to seek his views. Captain Colin McHattie, currently flying with Cathay Pacific, agreed with the independent commission’s findings. However, he explained that while it is possible to fly a plane from the ground, the installation of the necessary equipment is a time-consuming process, and needs extensive planning. THE NEWS will publish a full interview with Captain McHattie in next week’s edition.

The FBI also came in for criticism for the various pieces of contradictory evidence it has published regarding the suspects. Questions are now being asked as to how incorrect information was given out regarding the ID cards of the suspects, and the seat numbers they supposedly occupied after boarding the flights.

None of the suspects named by the FBI appeared on any of the official passenger lists. A further point was how the FBI had managed to retrieve the passport of one of the suspects amid the molten and twisted remains of thousands of tons of steel and rubble brought about by the Twin Towers collapse.

Dr. Paul Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, and presently Senior Research Fellow at Stamford University, has lent his support to the independent inquiry findings. He also claims that Osama Bin Laden was not responsible for September 11th. The doctor has challenged President Bush to make public the so-called "irrefutable evidence" incriminating Bin Laden.

Colonel Donn de Grand said that if President Bush is lying it would not be the first time that the American people had been mislead by its government. He cited the recently published official government archives describing President Roosevelt’s duplicity in deceiving Americans about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, which triggered the US entry into WWll.

He also highlighted the role of the country’s government in misleading its citizens in respect of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, and the events that brought about the Spanish American war in the late 19th, century. "Whilst considering who committed this act of war on September 11th," he said, "albeit Russia, China, an Islamic country or NATO, we must also consider that the enemy may well be within the gates.

"Not for the first time the American public might be being mislead, by those with ulterior motives, into lending its support to a war, this time against Iraq, that has no bearing whatsoever on the interests of the people of the USA."

So far the mainstream American news media has failed to publish or broadcast any details regarding the independent inquiry. Similarly, the White House, whilst having received a copy of the report, has remained silent on its findings.
Whatever you say Georgie Boy.

micki said...

Keep your eye on the bouncing talking head...

In January, Keith Olbermann denounced telecom immunity as "textbook fascism" designed to "immunize corporate criminals." Now he's praising Obama for supporting it.

Here's a great big FU to KO and BO and their horses!!!

DEN said...

I am having serious doubts as to KO's validity as a journalist. His 'special comments' rant but have no teeth. All bark and no bite.

Providing question and the answer as you should hear it according to the MSM powers that be is not the way to do news but seems to be ever increasingly the norm.

I know the questions, how do YOU know the answers.

Eager to project to the anti-chimp nation demographic pays in big numbers for advertisers which are usually BIG pharma and BIG oil, both enemies of the state.

Right leaning pundits being passed off as liberal or progressive is the modus-operendi[sic} of the mind control masters.

Making one believe that atrocities committed in our name and the people responsible will be punished is a fictitious as Peter Pan. Bitch all you want and we will repeat your bitching just to make you think there is hope where none exists is mind control on an enormous but logical scale.

Just as seizing the nomination of ones party then turning the Reich into reality this time in the Democrap party is as sinister as it gets.

Better either leave the country or submit your life to fascism.

We have been conned.


Pandemoniac said...

Ladies & Dudes,
I noticed that basically the entire Cornblog Crew posts here. There's a fella that posts 'round these parts that goes by the name of "Hajji." I believe he turns 44 today. Not bad for one who traffics in genetically engineered and surgically enhanced horsies.

Just wanted to stop by and congratulate him (and Ms. Saladin, if I'm not mistaken) on this achievement. I'll be joining them soon. The unholy trinity turning 44 the same year that we elect CIC #44. If that isn't a sign of the impending apocalypse, I don't know what is.

Howzabout we all raise a glass to the forty-threesome that turn forty-formidable this year? And let's pray that our corporate muppets in congress leave a little Democracy on the table for our children.

We now return you to your regular programming.

Alan said...

hey hey, whassup Pande?

Congrats on the double-fours... you too Hajji.
That other person you mentioned must still be in her thirties tho. I mean, she posted a b/s article that's six years old. lol

Noticed she quit using the picture of her holding a weapon incorrectly, but she wasn't shooting straight long before then.

DEN said...

Big doins on Wall Street today.

Oil over $140, stocks crashed 358 points.

micki said...

Den, I suppose by some definitions KO is a "journalist" but he sure as heck ain't a newsperson.

I don't watch his show, but I do read about various rants he spews forth, so I'm vaguely aware of what the former radio sportscaster does.

Olbermann long ago adopted an opinion-oriented format for his alleged "news" show.

Cum grano salis on KO's credibility. One more blowhard.

David B. Benson said...

Saladin --- What happened in 1871 CE? About the constitution, I mean.

David B. Benson said...

Must read CIBC report: $7 gas by 2010, 10 million cars off the road, 1970s style GDP growth

Is your car off-the-road?

DEN said...

Doc, I don't think the price will go up that much because of a cutback in consumption brought on by the high prices themselves.

Prices will drop from lack of demand if nothing else.

David B. Benson said...

Den --- Ah, but you forget that the dollar is declining rapidly.

Called inflation.

Maybe stagflation is better. :-(

carol said...

I thought Hajji's birthday was June 27. Either way.......


Saladin said...

Alan, your arrogance and ignorance are simply stunning! It's really amazing how you know every single fact about that avatar and why I changed it, since I tend to change my avatars frequently. You obviously never went through a learning period with weapons, you were BORN knowing all the facts and details as well as being a perfect shot no doubt, lucky you! Lucky me, due to diligence and practice, am much better now and can both "hold my weapon correctly" and hit a pop can at 100 yards! I am not embarrassed to display a photo of me learning and trying. Have you evolved past the brain stem stage yet?

PAN!! My God, it's been AGES! I actually turned 45 this past Dec. so I am the senior citizen among us! Hajji, if you're out there, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I sure miss ya!

DEN, my thanks to you for keeping the "Corn" crew somewhat intact. If Capt. would come down to earth I would post there again, and I saw our old friend Ivory Bill on the Corn blog. Too bad it has been usurped by only 2 or 3 posters.

tytandanmar said...

I am actually quite embarrased to admit this but I didn't know Hajji's birthday and we are first cousins. Thanks for the tip Pande and all belated to the three of you. Remember, you are only as old as you feel. Me, 47 going on 70.
That is what happens when your oldest son is soon to be 21 and your youngest son just turned 3.

carey said...

I would make a tiny correction on the analysis on Olbermann. He didn't decide to opt for opinion television masquerading as news. That was the corporation buttheads at work. The corp board is playing the ratings game with Fox--so is Olbermann (with O'Reilly as his head target.

Olbermann has definite problems. That and the fact that MSNBC is now the "Dems" network is all hard to take. Heck, everyone has problems working within the confines of corps' constrictions.

I will say this. Olbermann does his history homework. Thank God.


Hello Pande! Wonderful to hear from you. Yes, I just noticed Corn is on a vacation.

We're giving a play tomorrow that is so hastily put together, fingers crossed won't do the trick. It's all fun and full of laughs. We lost a cast member to illness and the kids just cannot adjust to skipping the lines and his part. It's a riot and will be so much fun tomorrow.

My son Brandon is a trip. He is like his father in some ways, though. The stubborn, stupid parts.

carey said...

I forgot to mention--here in San Diego we've had an orange smoke haze for several days now.

More dry lightning strikes up there today--yeeks!

Yes, the Olbermann thing and the way the campaigns are being covered like soap operas bothers the crap out of me. They haven't figured out what the hell to do with a 24-hour news cycle while covering campaigns. We hear and read the stupidest, mundane details. It's enough to turn the newcomers and the young completely off, I fear.

carey said...

You knew it was coming. I hurt my back from the "moving/cleaning" activities. The mood levels have somewhat destabilized at the moment.

But then I remember Micki's lavender garden...its serentiy works miracles even from a distance.

carey said...

I leave for two minutes and my "star" freaks out. Brandon wants me to reassure you all that he was not phased by a castmember dropping out.

And he wasn't. Brandon's sooooo motivated by his love of the stage.

DEN said...

You get old if you live long enough.

B-Day greetings Hajji!

Due a brew too, maybe two.

carey said...

The reason for all the typos--the "preview" is not working for me right now. So we wind up today's blog where it started....

Screw Google.

DEN said...

So glad you are having fun Carey, your budding actor could hit the big time, with careful coaching from Mom.

Brandon- Break a leg!

DEN said...


PANDE! Good to hear from you old man, stop by and throw a rant now and then, you are dancing with fellow fools you know.

Coffee in the corner, fresh biscuits on the side, the dance hall is open till midnite so dig in!


micki said...

Carey, how terrific is that that Brandon has a love for performing?

Kudos to him and the entire cast.

I love it when fun takes center stage!

micki said...

I'm really confused.


Alan said...

LMAO @ "learning period"

That's your excuse? So you're not the big time survivalist after all, are you? lol You got busted, AGAIN. You are so full of b/s. In prison they call that "selling pork", but none of us here are buying it.

Lemme try this...
Soda cans at a hundred yards? That's nothing. I shoot flies off of popsicle sticks at a 100 yards. My brother is even better. I just gotta hit the flies, he's gotta shoot their wings off. Wanna see the picture? hahahahahaha