Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Government harassing and intimidating Bradley Manning supporters"

You must catch this Glenn Greenwald article, as the possibility of the U.S. devolving into a totally fascistic state becomes actualized before our eyes. This is the kind of thing that must not stand. Political change is not only becoming an impossibility, making it so is the primary policy of the Barack Obama administration. Sure, the GOP may be worse, but that thin line of difference is becoming as transparent as fine gossamer. For all practical reasons, there's been no difference, and hasn't for a long time.

Here's a piece from the article, which I think readers should click through to and read the whole thing.
In July of this year, U.S. citizen Jacob Appelbaum, a researcher and spokesman for WikiLeaks, was detained for several hours at the Newark airport after returning from a trip to Holland, and had his laptop, cellphones and other electronic products seized -- all without a search warrant, without being charged with a crime, and without even being under investigation, at least to his knowledge.  He was interrogated at length about WikiLeaks, and was told by the detaining agents that he could expect to be subjected to the same treatment every time he left the country and attempted to return to the U.S. Days later, two FBI agents approached him at a computer conference he was attending in New York and asked to speak with him again.  To date, he has never been charged with any crime or even told he's under investigation for anything; this was clearly a thuggish attempt by federal officials to intimidate any American citizen involved with or supporting WikiLeaks.
That campaign of intimidation is now clearly spreading to supporters of Bradley Manning.  Last Wednesday, November 3, David House, a 23-year-old researcher who works at MIT, was returning to the U.S. from a short vacation with his girlfriend in Mexico, and was subjected to similar and even worse treatment.  House's crime:  he did work in helping set up the Bradley Manning Support Network, an organization created to raise money for Manning's legal defense fund, and he has now visited Manning three times in Quantico, Virginia, where the accused WikiLeaks leaker is currently being detained (all those visits are fully monitored by government agents).  Like Appelbaum, House has never been accused of any crime, never been advised that he's under investigation, and was never told by any federal agents that he's suspected of any wrongdoing at all.

Last Wednesday, House arrived at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, and his flight was met in the concourse by customs agents, who examined the passports of all deplaning passengers until they saw House's, at which point they stopped.  He was then directed to Customs, where his and his girlfriend's bags were extensively searched.  After the search was complete, two men identifying themselves as Homeland Security officials told House and his girlfriend they were being detained for questioning and would miss their connecting flight.  House was told that he was required to relinquish all of his electronic products, and thus gave them his laptop, cellphone, digital camera and UBS flash drive.  The document he received itemizing his seized property is here.  He was also told to give the agents all of his passwords and encryption keys, which he refused to do.

House was then taken to a detention room by two armed agents and on his way there, he passed by a room in which several individuals were plugging various instruments into his laptop and cellphone.  The two agents, Marcial Santiago and Darin Louck, proceeded to question him for 90 minutes about why he was visiting Manning in prison, what work he did to support the Manning campaign, who else was involved in the Manning support group, and what his views were on WikiLeaks.  He was told that he would not receive his laptop or camera back, and the agents kept it.  To date, he has not received them back and very well may never.... He subsequently learned from Agent Santiago that although Agent Louck identified himself as a Homeland Security agent, he is, in fact, with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
A commenter at Salon inquires, wisely: "Why were they so quick on these guys tails, when the Mumbai guy gets off scott free, hired by the government and sent to Pakistan over his ex-wives attempts to alert 'authorities' of the craziness of their husband?"

Why, indeed?

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