The Chickens Are Coming Home to Roost

(Also posted on Daily Kos.)

Friday brought another pre-trial hearing in the military commission case against Canadian Omar Khadr, the last Western national still being held at Guantánamo Bay. Now 22, Khadr was 15 when he was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. medic, Sgt. Christopher Speer. While the media coverage of Friday's hearing focused on potential witness testimony that Khadr could not have thrown the grenade, there has been little coverage of a legal debate that threw into question the authority of the military commission here to try Khadr for Sgt. Speer's murder.

Omar Khadr's defense team argued Friday that the most serious crime Khadr is charged with—murder of Sgt. Speer—is not a war crime. The defense argued that Khadr cannot be tried for "murder in violation of the rules of war" in a military commission because he is accused of a homicide, not a war crime.

The laws of war are clear: Murder can be a war crime only if the victim belongs to a category of protected people during a battle, such as civilians or wounded soldiers, or if the perpetrator uses a prohibited method of warfare, such as feigning surrender or using a human shield. Khadr is charged with killing a soldier who was engaged in a firefight—not a protected person under the laws of war—and the prosecution never has claimed that he used a prohibited method of battle.

The prosecutors predictably tried to argue Friday that the usual rules don't apply here. The prosecution based its argument almost entirely on legal texts that pre-date the Geneva Conventions (the core treaties that lay out the laws of war), displaying a breathtaking and deliberate ignorance of those laws. The prosecution's redefinition of war crimes requires a break from the laws applied in all other post-Nuremberg war crimes tribunals.

Friday's hearing revealed that this case should never have been brought before a military commission in the first place. The government could have properly charged Khadr in a U.S. federal court, but instead the current administration intentionally bypassed the U.S. legal system to create commissions outside the bounds of law. Now the chickens are coming home to roost: the government faces the possibility that the murder charges against Khadr will have to be thrown out as a result.

While the debate at Friday's hearing was legalistic and technical, it is profoundly relevant to the current debate about what to do with Guantánamo's detainees. In recent weeks, even as president-elect Obama has repeated his promise to close Guantánamo, some have used fear-mongering to argue we should open a new Gitmo at home by creating national security courts.

That the most serious charges against Omar Khadr may not even be tried by a war crimes court illustrates why it would be disastrous to import Guantánamo's military commissions to U.S. shores. It also makes clear that it is time to transfer detainees accused of wrongdoing to U.S. criminal courts to face the American criminal justice system, rather than to perpetuate the Bush administration's failed military commissions experiment.

President-elect Barack Obama will have to act quickly. Khadr's trial is scheduled to start on January 26, six days after Obama takes office. And in what defense lawyer Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler labeled "a last-ditch effort to salvage this broken process," a final pre-trial hearing has been squeezed in the day before Obama's inauguration. On day one in office, Obama must shutter the military commissions, not tinker with the Bush administration's broken system.

Update In an earlier version of this post, the fifth paragraph stated that the government could have properly charged Khadr in a U.S. federal court. This paragraph has been amended to clarify the fact that Friday's hearing revealed that this case should never have been brought before a military commission in the first place.

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Please read this article by a mainstream journalist who has been a victim of this abuse for the past five years:

AMERICAN GESTAPO: 'State-Supported Terrorism' Targets U.S. Citizens

By VIC LIVINGSTON, former business reporter, Fox TV Phila., NY Daily News, Phila. Bulletin, St. Petersburg Times; former editor, CableVision, TV/Radio Age magazines

• Congress: probe "targeting" of American citizens by vigilantes hiding behind government-funded programs

• Due process denied, the Constitution violated by "extrajudicial" vigilante groups said to resemble KKK, Stasi and Nazi Gestapo

• A cause of the crisis in the mortgage and credit markets?

A virulent form of domestic terrorism is destroying the lives of citizens across America.

Victims of so-called organized "gang stalking" or "community stalking" charge that the rule of law has broken down nationwide at the hands of state-supported vigilantes -- operating under the cover of citizen community policing and neighborhood watch corps and business-related anti-terrorism programs, supplemented by municipal workers and members of private and fraternal organizations.

A nationwide network comprised of these citizen groups, funded by elements of government at multiple levels, is the "extrajudicial" control mechanism that victims say is dispensing officially tolerated "vigilante justice."

Many web sites in the U.S., Canada and other industrialized nations chronicle this horror. But victims say the tentacles of this domestic terrorism extend well beyond the so-called "street muscle" comprised of gang-stalking local vigilantes and self-styled soldiers of fortune.

Victims of this extrajudicial targeting and control network maintain that these vigilantes are operating as judge, jury and executioner -- meting out various forms of harassment and abuse that they say amounts to physical torture and psychological harassment. Some victims have moved to other cities and towns to escape the persecution -- but they say the vigilantism recurs in their new locale.

"It appears to be a nationwide network that attracts extremists as well as law and order types and people connected to public safety such as firefighters, utility workers, police auxiliaries, retired police and military officers, and even their family members, including children and teenagers," says one victim, who says he has been "gang-stalked" for several years. "I doubt it could exist without some people in positions of power looking the other way."

Even some regular, uniformed police are reported to have been intimidated by this network of extrajudicial control.

Victims say that they are physically harassed and relentlessly stalked, whether in vehicles or on foot; property is vandalized; privacy is invaded by way of pervasive surveillance; mail is intercepted, financial accounts and billing statements are altered and family finances decimated; and their physical well-being is compromised by hi-tech equipment such as "directed energy weapons" (D.E.W.) emitting silent bursts of radiation -- lasers, microwaves, x-rays, sonic frequencies -- that can stun, maim, induce illness or even kill.

A recent article on the magazine "Danger Room" blog site discusses a court document said to indicate that the U.S. Secret Service is involved in the development of directed energy weapons technology. The article speculates that the agency may have deployed such devices in the course of its official duties.

"This is torture that's happening right here, in American cities and towns," says an alleged victim. "But it's like pre- World War II Germany; people refuse to believe that such abuses could happen in a civilized society. But it is happening. And I'm convinced that some local and federal authorities not only have knowledge of this extra-legal targeting, but are providing funding and direction.

"I know the FBI knows about it, because I've been down there several times over the past two years to report it." He says he knows of no formal investigation, despite his offers to cooperate.

"I'm not saying they know of the worst abuses, such as using microwaves on targeted persons to degrade their health and make it impossible for them to earn a living. But they must know that these citizen patrols are doing a lot more than just cruising around the neighborhood. "

Citizens who have reported abuses say their complaints are typically ignored -- or that authorities insinuate that their claims are figments of their imagination, or are a manifestation of a mental illness such as paranoia.

"That appears to be part of the M-O," says one victim. "You haven't done anything wrong, so they can't charge you with a crime. So they attempt to make it look like you're crazy. That's how they marginalize people who don't fit in with their world view." The victim says it's possible that local law enforcement has been "co-opted" by a variation of "the big lie."

"Higher-ups come in and say, 'We've identified this person as a threat.' What are they going to do? They're going to go with the program, especially since a lot of their funding comes from outside the community."

This victim believes the vigilante network is a convenient way for those in power to dispense with persons or groups of people they simply don't like or regard as undesirables, or whose political or social views do not hew to what they regard as the established order.

Victims also believe that a network of government programs and agencies works in tandem with the extra-legal vigilante system to destroy their financial security. They allege that the crisis in the mortgage and credit markets may have been worsened by these programs, which they say are sapping the financial well-being of individuals and families without benefit of the right of due process. Making available "easy credit" is a primary tool that puts "targeted individuals" on the road to financial ruin, victims maintain.

Some victims wonder whether these extrajudicial programs didn't help spawn financial crises in the first place. "We haven't had these kind of widespread financial woes for generations," a gang-stalking victim said. "You have to wonder if these programs weren't a blueprint for an ideologically-motivated purge."

Some of the agencies looking into the mortgage and credit market problems may have had long-standing knowledge of these programs, according to victims, who are calling on Congress to investigate.

"The issue of state-supported vigilantism and extrajudicial control and punishment represents an assault on our judicial system that makes Watergate look like the third-rate burglary that it started out to be," says the gang-stalking victim. "Since government agencies appear to be involved in funding these programs, it's up to Congress to investigate, to use its powers of oversight to ensure that democracy and the rule of law prevails, and not the law of the jungle."

The network of programs and policies that are allegedly circumventing the judicial system, violating constitutional rights and meting out vigilante justice, might collectively be termed the mechanics of personal destruction -- a blueprint for political and social dominance crafted by those who would use the institutions of government as a tool of ideologically-driven social engineering.

This powerful apparatus appears to exist under the radar of most elected members of Congress and officers of the judicial system. They refuse to consider that these programs, over time, have adopted the of methodology the East German Stasi, the KKK of the old South, and the Gestapo of the Nazi Third Reich -- and that the "targets" include American citizens tagged as political "dissidents."

Victims say the rise of this "American Gestapo" represents the victory of neo-fascism over democracy -- achieved under the guise of "national security" and "keeping America safe." They say that in the face of mounting evidence of widespread abuses, those who identify themselves as liberals and progressives naively insist that "it can't happen here."

Victims charge that extrajudicial targeting of American citizens is destroying our democracy; much damage already has been done. They maintain that individuals and families are being irreparably harmed by what could they describe as "social genocide." Some call it a "silent holocaust" due to its clandestine nature and the use of silent, invisible "directed energy" technology to achieve its horrific goals.

Below are links to the articles about this clear and present danger to our constitutional democracy and to the lives and livelihoods of its citizens. Victims urge lawmakers and congressional committees to start asking some tough questions, starting with the Department of Homeland Security:

"Mr. Chertoff, are you aware that many Americans believe they have been the victims of so-called community or gang stalking, possibly perpetrated by persons equipped and trained by federally funded volunteer programs under your charge? Have you heard of such reports, and are you investigating to ensure that these programs and their resources are not being misused?"

Victims believe this cancer on American society extends beyond a single cabinet department. But the curative process must begin with forces entrusted with the nation's security before more Americans are damaged by this descent from the rule of law into home-grown fascism.

A FINAL NOTE: The author's communications and blog page are subject to persistent disruption and tampering by unknown hackers. He would appreciate it if readers would forward the links below to members of Congress and officials at,, or any other organization that can help restore American values to American governance and law enforcement.


OR -- re: "Targeting of U.S. Citizens"/ "State-Supported Terrorism"/ "Directed Energy Weapons"

This unaffiliated web site describes an alleged victim's account:

Vic Livingston ...

It appears that the government has used the Patriot Act and other provisions of the “war on terror” to conduct extensive “extrajudicial targeting” of U.S. citizens — perhaps for reasons of politics as opposed to national security — resulting in the denial of due process and unremitting harassment that some victims describe as “torture.”

Persons subjected to these abuses often describe themselves as victims of so-called organized community or gang stalking. I have tried to post two articles that describe this mainstream journalist’s experiences as victim of such extrajudicial targeting and severe harassment that could be described as a form of torture. My posts keep getting taken down. I don’t know if ACLU is doing this, or if its site is being hacked by a third party entity.

I once again will attempt to post links to my articles, and renew my plea to the ACLU to provide legal assistance to me and to the untold thousands of other Americans who have been subject to extrajudicial targeting and organized community/gang stalking at the apparent direction of government agencies.

OR IF LINKS ARE DISABLED: RE: “American Gestapo,” “Targeting of U.S. Citizens,” “Directed Energy Weapons”

Since my communications are subject to interception and tampering (surveillance is only the beginning, ACLU), I would appreciate hearing from ACLU blog readers; please post messages to the “comments” section of my articles. Thank you.


Civil rights legislation is certianly bringing home some chickens huh? I mean, what good can come from forcing people to live in a manner that is against their beliefs? The ACLU sucks and is just a bunch of Communists.


The ACLU is worried about the treatment of alleged terrorists, but allow the killing of an unborn child? Help me to understand, please.

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