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rejecting an adult as a troop leader because the person is homosexual.

• Some of the more than 10,000 FBI agents are spending their time enticing people on the
internet to purchase child porno, or the G-men are pretending online to be a 13-year-old
girl in order to lure a man to a meeting. When the man shows up, he's arrested.

• Many foreigners, in the US legally, are sitting in prisons, charged with a crime, without
their country's consulate having been informed, without the prisoner being told that he
has the right to contact his consulate. Some of them are sitting on death row.

• The IRS, acting as judge, jury and executioner, is subjecting taxpayers to nightmarish
collection processes, ordering them to pay taxes they don't owe, failing to credit them for
payments made, seizing their cars and bank accounts, boosting tax penalties to meet
office quotas and generally wreaking havoc in peoples' lives; an audit is being carried out
upon an individual because he or she has upset someone in a very high position in the

• Monetary rewards are being paid out to students who report other students for smoking,
drinking alcohol, using drugs or violating other school rules.

DARE and other school-based drug programs are teaching chil-dren to turn in their
parents for marijuana or other drug viola-tions.

The mayor of New York has urged citizens to take pictures of people going into sex-
video stores and topless bars. Other informant schemes call for people to turn in others
for not wearing seatbelts, for telling ethnic or racist jokes and for failing to recycle their
garbage properly.

• First-time drug offenders, carrying no weapons, including many who were simply
couriers or played peripheral roles in drug trafficking, and others with no record of
violence or involvement in sophisticated criminal activity, are being sentenced to very
long prison terms, with no chance of parole.

• Under "three-strikes" laws, people are being sentenced to 25-to-life terms for petty
theft, despite that fact that the three-strikes laws were designed for violent crimes.

• The grand jury system is running amok. Virtually all federal cases use it to obtain
indictments. Neither the accused nor his or her lawyer is there, so they can't confront
accusers. The system is used as an instrument of terror”relatives testifying against one
another with no confidentiality privilege with respect to family members other than
husbands and wives: parents called to testify against their children, children against their
parents, brother against sister. It lacks due process. It's another secret tool of an
expanding executive branch.
• Those wishing to experiment with their mind in the privacy of their home, those seeking
transcendence and nirvana, are being punished by the state for their sin. Young men are
being sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for possession of less than a gram of LSD,
with no evidence presented of them having done any harm to any other person.

• Human Rights Watch is charging state governments, as it did in New York, of violating
international law by sentencing drug dealers to prison terms similar to those given to
violent offenders. A person convicted in New York of selling two ounces of cocaine
receives a mandatory sentence of 15 years to life, the same penalty meted out to a

• More states are joining the frenzy to make publicly available the names, addresses,
biographies (often with detrimental erroneous information) and photos of convicted sex
offenders for the rest of their lives, driving these people from their neighborhoods and
jobs; this is being done regardless of whether the popular a priori view of sex offenders
being unbeatable is true or not, or whether they're undergoing therapy or not.

• Many hundreds of school books are being dropped from curriculums because of
complaints by parents, religious groups and others. Books in public libraries are under
attack as well, books which no one is obliged to read”Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry
Finn, Oliver Twist, The Grapes of Wrath, The Diary of Anne Frank, I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings and numerous other lesser-known novels, as well as countless books of
history, social studies, geography, even home economics. School newspapers, other
curriculum materials, music and art, are also being targeted.

• Individuals who wish to end their lives with dignity and with a minimum of suffering
are being denied the assistance of a doctor by state legislatures, the Catholic Church and
citizens' groups. In Oregon, after passage by 60 percent of a referendum allowing
doctor-assisted suicide, the DEA warned that physicians who help someone commit
suicide will risk their licenses to write prescriptions; whether this is ever enforced or not,
the threat will have its effect.

• Numerous people who could get exceedingly welcome relief from dreadful symptoms
by the use of marijuana are denied the legal right to do so. In states where voters have
passed initiatives legalizing the medical use of marijuana, the authorities are throwing
up obstacles to make its practice as difficult as they can make it. In Washington, DC,
Congress has in effect nullified the passage of such a referendum.

Cancer patients in great pain are being denied sufficient morphine to relieve their
suffering because the War on Drugs has inhibited doctors from prescribing as much as is

• Many people are being placed on death row. Some of them, if they're lucky, will join
the 75 men and women released from death row between 1976 and 1998, their cases
reversed because they had been found to be innocent after all.
• Hundreds of cities are employing highly armed and trained Special Weapons and
Tactics Teams (SWAT), based on military special operations models, and told they're
part of a "war" on crime. Ready to terrorize the enemy (the citizens) with automatic
assault rifles, tanks and grenade launchers, they are called out even in non-crisis
situations, choosing a neighborhood and swooping onto street corners, forcing
pedestrians to the ground, searching them, running warrant checks, taking photos and
entering all the new "intelligence" into a state database from computer terminals in each
patrol car. As they carry out this exercise, they do not trip over many members of the
Fortune 500.

• A known militant, but non-violent, opponent of the president is being removed by the
Secret Service from a site where the president is going to speak, then released after the

• Defendants and prisoners appearing in court, who don't know their place, are being
given 50,000 volt shocks with a torture device known as an electronic security belt.

• Young men are registering with Selective Service, making themselves subject to be
drafted for a future war of "national security"” as defined solely by the government, no
opposing arguments accepted. Failure to register is punishable by a large fine, imprison-
ment and/or permanent loss of all federal financial aid and employment.

Those already in the service are being subjected by the military to a process aimed at
breaking down their deep-seated reluctance to kill people they don't know and don't hate,
so as to make them willing to risk their lives fighting in one of these "national security"
wars, the purpose of which they don't understand at all (or, perhaps, they understand it
only too well). They are being forced, under threat of court martial, discharge,
deportation if not a citizen and in violation of international human rights standards, to
take experimental drugs and vaccines, whose effects on health are unknown.

• Aliens are being denied citizenship for refusing to agree to bear arms in defense of the
United States because of their pacifist beliefs, a reason not acceptable to the INS, which
insists on a religious basis.

For a citizen to qualify as a conscientious objector, it means being opposed to
participation in all wars, not a selective objection to a particular war, no matter how
repulsive it may appear to the individual. (A female Kansas doctor, who was an Army
Reserve captain and refused to serve in the Gulf War, insisting that it was a "public health
catastrophe", was kept in military prison for eight months, and Kansas medical
authorities moved to revoke her medical license.)

• DEA, ATF, INS, FBI, DIA, Secret Service, US Forest Service, National Park Service,
Sheriff's Departments, National Guard and/or other official cowboys, wearing black suits,
ski masks and the like, forming massively armed mobs of screaming, swearing agents,
while helicopters chop above, are battering down doors, raiding people's homes,
smashing up furniture, beating up residents, handcuffing them, manhandling pregnant
women, terrifying children, separating them from their parents, shooting people dead,
looking for drugs or individuals which often are not there”this jihad being the outcome
of no more than a tip from an informant.

Heavily-armed bounty hunters, with the force of law behind them, are carrying on in a
similar manner to kidnap a person, sometimes killing someone, sometimes the "wrong"
person. Operators of "pirate" radio stations are also being invaded, with FCC agents,
federal marshals, a SWAT team, customs agents and local police comprising the
attacking force.

• Forced labor is thriving: people compelled to work off their welfare grants, with no
prospect of real employment, sometimes at sub-minimum wages, or no wages at all;
convicted defendants sentenced to "community service"; conscientious objectors obliged
to do alternative service, for a period longer than military service, thus being punished for
exercising their conscience; inmates denied vital privileges if they refuse to work in
prison, many producing for private companies, who get away with paltry wages, no
benefits, no unions. (Some prison-made products are being exported, exactly what the US
has condemned China for.)

• US embassies abroad are surveilling selected American travelers, fingered by a joint
effort of the FBI and the State Department Passport Office.

• The INS and the US Border Patrol at the Mexican border are killing or physically
mistreating large numbers of would'be immigrants* In INS centers around the country,
thousands of immigrants are being held under inhumane conditions, including heads
pushed into toilets, forced drugging and being made to kneel naked and chant "America
is Number One." Immigrants in prison are also being forced to recite "America is
Number One" as they walk by guards who punch and kick them.

• The INS is illegally seizing files of social agency employees working with
undocumented immigrants. Lawyers and others working on behalf of victims of abuse are
finding it almost impossible to file a complaint and receive a response from the INS or
the Border Patrol. Media and human rights groups are virtually excluded.

• Demonstrations against detention centers and other INS practices are being brutally
quashed in Los Angeles by a phalanx of local and federal armed forces”riot squads,
mounted units, ATF agents, INS commando units, water cannons, tear gas...many
protestors are being injured and arrested; some of those not carrying proper documents
are being deported directly from a police station.

• Indigent defendants are waiting in jail for many months before the court appoints a
lawyer, and then experience a further wait before they have a chance to speak with the

• The notion of bail is rapidly eroding. We're raised to believe that for other than a capital
offense, reasonable bail must be offered.
We have a long history of not holding people in custody until their guilt has been
determined. That's not true anymore. We call the new concept "preventive detention".

• Citizens are being sentenced to inordinately long prison terms, often for life, for
providing information, or merely attempting to do so, to a country not named the United
States of America. The disclosure of the information”in some cases already publicly
available, or declassified before the arrest”would typically cause no actual harm at all to
the United States, nor to anyone else on earth, except that the act of passing it to an alien
nation grates on the sensibilities of those who professionally play the secrets game, the
patriots game and the enemies game. These professional players are fond of announcing
that the "betrayal" has caused "irreparable harm" or "incalculable damage" to US national
security. In some cases, the information has been passed only to the FBI, in a sting
operation, yet the duped person is put away for decades.

• The federal government is busily creating new documents, at the rate of some five
million a year, which are unavailable to the ordinary citizens of the republic because they
are stamped with words like "Secret", "Top Secret", or "Eyes Only".

• Workers in the Defense Department's "Area 51", in the Nevada desert, are suffering and
dying from inhaling toxic chemicals that spew from the burning of hazardous wastes in
huge open pits. They suffer severe, persistent respiratory distress, cancers, aching guts,
ugly crusty scales, cracked and bleeding skin, "tissues filled with industrial toxins rarely
seen in humans"...But because of the ultra secrecy surrounding Area 51, they can't obtain
information about what chemicals they've been exposed to in order to get appropriate
medical treatment, and they can't claim worker's compensation because Area 51 can't be
investigated. The place is subject to no law of the land save national security.

• Black-uniformed officers in laced-up black boots, wearing black berets, with name tags
missing, are descending without warning on a prison, hauling prisoners, some without
clothes, from their beds, shackling them and beating them, jumping on their backs;
an inmate's head is driven into a wall, a sickening cracking sound, the prisoner screams,
blood splatters the wall and the ground. All to demonstrate that the Correction
Commissioner doesn't "coddle" prisoners.

• Human Rights Watch and the ACLU are finding once again that the United States is
violating Article 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified
by the US in 1992, which requires that all prisoners and detainees "be treated with
humanity and with respect to the inherent dignity of the human person". (In fiscal year
1999, there were 2,324 brutality claims against the NYPD, which kills someone every ten
days on average, often unarmed, at times in handcuffs, or in jail; police officers guilty of
such actions are not being disciplined; some are later promoted.)

• You're exercising your precious freedom to vote and the only candidates presented to
you with more than a snowball-in-hell's chance of winning are those whose ideologies
enable them to raise about a half million dollars to contest a seat in the House,
about five million for the Senate, and about a hundred million for the White House. Or,
increasingly, the candidates themselves are multi-millionaires.

• In California, teenagers are being stopped, harassed, photographed and questioned by
police purely because their clothing is thought to be gang attire, or of gang colors.

In the early morn, sheriff's deputies are descending upon the homes of parents of
suspected gang members, warning them that if they don't take responsibility for their
children, they could face criminal charges, even jail.

• As in Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Indianapolis in recent years,
police in large cities are exhibiting a remarkable level of disdain for the laws of the land:
giving false information to courts to secure search warrants, or acting without warrants,
committing perjury on the stand, allowing the results of botched tests of drugs to be used
in criminal cases, staging drug raids in order to steal drugs, money, guns and other
valuables, taking money and drugs from dealers in exchange for immunity, robbing and
beating people on the streets of their precinct.

And they are exhibiting the same disdain for individual rights in numerous search-and-
destroy missions against private homes: using special "shock-lock" shotgun rounds to
blow apartment doors off their hinges, or shooting off the door locks, tossing in "flash-
bang grenades," which produce explosions that terrify and disorient people, illegally
searching the inhabitants, menacing them with their guns, firing shots at people without
cause, killing people, planting drugs or other false evidence on innocent people and
arresting them, tampering with evidence, forcing people outside almost naked, filing false
arrest reports, or sometimes filing no charges at all after all this, assaulting or threatening
people who make charges against them.

• New cases are being added to the more than 60,000 people suing the city of New York
for being illegally strip-searched after being arrested for minor offenses.

• Public relations firms, hired by large corporations and business associations, are
utilizing hefty fees, lawyers, detectives, spies and phony "grassroots" campaigns to
influence the media and public opinion against food, environmental and other activists
and authors who pose a threat to one of their special-interest clients, trying to make the
activists look foolish, if not criminal, as they exercise their political rights.

• NBC is canceling an appearance by a nuclear activist because she has criticized General
Electric, which owns the network. Another nuclear activist or author, or opponent of
military spending, is unwelcome at CBS because it belongs to Westinghouse; while
yet another finds doors closed at ABC because of having treated the Disney conglomerate
with less than reverence; ditto at CNN, owned by the AOL-Time-Warner octopus; while
the advertisers are increasingly influencing the content of the news stories.

(As A. J. Liebling famously wrote: "If you want freedom of the


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