CORPORATE TERRORISTS

10 04 2008

one on one….

That’s when everything changed. Charging around the further curve came a couple of four-wheelers, roaring up the road past our group. Immediately following them were all manner of vehicles (mostly pick-up trucks). Out of the vehicles poured what looked like the majority of the coal company’s demolition crew, along with their wives and even some of their children. They were all clad in identical sky-blue t-shirts with a logo on the back and the slogan “Protect An Endangered Species — Save a Coal Miner” or some such corporate drivel. They deliberately blocked our little group in between the mouth of the road and the No Trespassing barrier, like some group of penned animals they planned to slaughter just like the animals that die when they push the detritus of their “mining” into the valley below.

Since we’re fairly new to having our homes attacked by Mountain Top Removal here in my neck of Fayette County, some of us were surprised at the show of force. I checked with my friends down in the coal fields of southern West Virginia, however, and they said it’s a typical company tactic. Here’s what happens: the coal company tells its people (the people who are owned by the company) that the Evil Environmentalists (who, they’re told, love trees, fish and numerous species of snails more than people) are trying to take away their jobs. The bosses tell their wage slaves that America can’t have electricity without blowing the hell out of the oldest mountains on the planet. The slaves are told that they’re actually even “patriots.” They get some spiffy new T-shirts and are told, not asked, to take the wife and kids to help intimidate the “Environmental Wackos.” Failure to do so, can mean one of these peoples’ jobs.

Of course, the bosses DON’T tell their demolition crews that as quick as the last seam has been scraped from the earth, as soon as they’ve pushed the last bit of mountaintop over into the valley that is my home and killed every living thing that walks, creeps, swims or crawls, they’ll be gone like an itching john from a low-rent bordello. They don’t tell their “associates” that two or three spins of the Wall Street roulette wheel will reduce those much-vaunted “profit sharing plans” to the value of your great-granny’s cache of Civil War Bank of Montgomery Confederate notes. Nope. All those pathetic people hear is that “Coal Keeps The Lights On.” All they know is that as long as they keep up the bombing, the paychecks keep coming.

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working through the legal system….

In the majority of cases where Monsanto sues, or threatens to sue, farmers settle before going to trial. The cost and stress of litigating against a global corporation are just too great. But Pilot Grove wouldn’t cave—and ever since, Monsanto has been turning up the heat. The more the co-op has resisted, the more legal firepower Monsanto has aimed at it. Pilot Grove’s lawyer, Steven H. Schwartz, described Monsanto in a court filing as pursuing a “scorched earth tactic,” intent on “trying to drive the co-op into the ground.”

Even after Pilot Grove turned over thousands more pages of sales records going back five years, and covering virtually every one of its farmer customers, Monsanto wanted more—the right to inspect the co-op’s hard drives. When the co-op offered to provide an electronic version of any record, Monsanto demanded hands-on access to Pilot Grove’s in-house computers.

Monsanto next petitioned to make potential damages punitive—tripling the amount that Pilot Grove might have to pay if found guilty. After a judge denied that request, Monsanto expanded the scope of the pre-trial investigation by seeking to quadruple the number of depositions. “Monsanto is doing its best to make this case so expensive to defend that the Co-op will have no choice but to relent,” Pilot Grove’s lawyer said in a court filing.

With Pilot Grove still holding out for a trial, Monsanto now subpoenaed the records of more than 100 of the co-op’s customers. In a “You are Commanded … ” notice, the farmers were ordered to gather up five years of invoices, receipts, and all other papers relating to their soybean and herbicide purchases, and to have the documents delivered to a law office in St. Louis. Monsanto gave them two weeks to comply.

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taking over the legal system!

News last week of former White House lawyer John Yoo’s recently disclosed 2003 memo positing, among other things, that the president’s authority as commander in chief allows him to override federal laws prohibiting “assault, maiming and other crimes” against suspects in the “war on terror” was followed by a second revelation: an alarming footnote on page 8 referring to another secret memo, written shortly after 9/11, and, in the name of national security, dispensing with the Fourth Amendment.

In the age of the “war on terror,” according to the footnote, the Department of Justice “recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.” (Emphasis in the original.)

The Fourth Amendment, of course, lays out “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Critics of the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program — which was started in the same weeks the memo was written — have staked their claims in part on its violation of this right. Proof that the program originated at the same time that the White House officially jettisoned the Fourth Amendment in the name of national security is a damning — if not surprising — revelation.

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ignoring the legal system!

Babak Pasdar is a computer security expert who was hired in 2003 to help restructure the tech infrastructure at a major wireless telecommunications company. What he found shocked him.

The company had set up a system that gave a third party, presumably a governmental entity, access to every communication coming through that company’s infrastructure. This means every email, internet use, document transmission, video, text message, as well as the ability to listen to and record any phone call.

It is also believed the system would allow the government to be able to trace the physical location of cell phone users. The secret system is known as the Quantico Circuit, named after the city in Virginia home to the FBI Academy.

AMY GOODMAN: Babak Pasdar has not named the company where he worked, but the publication Wired reports his claims are nearly identical to allegations made in a federal lawsuit filed against Verizon Wireless. Verizon Wireless is one of several major telecoms facing lawsuits over its role in the government’s spying program. Congress is still debating on whether to give Verizon and other telecoms immunity, even though their actions broke the law.

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