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Where’s the FLASH and CRITICAL Message Traffic From Benghazi?

Note: Since this article’s first publication a year ago, no electronic or personal inquiry from the author has been answered by several US Senators or Representatives. However, the most recent releases of information from DoD and State Department have made it emphatically clear that a criminal cover-up has taken place within the Presidential Administration. It is also clear that what has been released remains a tiny fraction of the actual information available from all sources as discussed in this original article.

The following is updated to reflect that new information and again ask the questions of all sitting US Senators and Congressman: When will the full archive-logs specified below be released by the Obama administration? When will the Congress compel former Sec. Clinton’s disclosure and associated emails and other communications from all State Department personnel?

When will the elected officials supposedly responsible for US national security in the White House, Executive branch and DoJ do their job in bringing to justice the officials directly responsible for the failures and secret programs that saw Embassy personnel killed in Benghazi and resulted in the rise of ISIS/ISIL and the fall of cities and the northern Iraqi landmass? When will any of those responsible in the Administration and Congress be brought to Justice?

This writer has been highly confused (well, not really….) since the whole mess over Benghazi broke Sept. 12, 2012, as to why finding out who said what to who and when has seemingly been so hard for official Washington and the media. That part should be very easy. Yet, it appears it’s being confused and misdirected by both sides for reasons still undisclosed.  Without disclosure it’s hard to figure out why the Republicans are going along, unless there’s been a certain level of complicity by key Republicans in the house and senate?

The Democrats are easy to figure out. They don’t want any of it actually public.  The truth is death to Obama administration legacy and Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.   The Republicans must have some other motive not yet apparent. It’s been GOING ON 3 YEARS SINCE Amb. Stevens and the other brave men died in the attack.  Congress and the public should be screaming at the top of their lungs for the documents to be produced.   There IS one way to find out that no one seems to be pursuing, at least not in any way that reflects the gravity of the situation.

You see, between every embassy and military command of any significance, the State Department, Pentagon and White House, there’s a top-level communication system that keeps all listed distribution members informed in real time and 7 x 24. If you think the NSA’s got the rest of America covered, the federal government’s DNI and DoD resources have all kinds of messaging, capture, archival and retrieval systems available to it. If you want to find out what happened just go to the CRITIC- and FLASH-type traffic, associated email and comm systems that’s time-stamped down to the millisecond and denotes who sent it, where from and the exact time.

Along with that, all issued Satphones, Secure Terminal Equipment (STE)  (and later upgrades) secure phones have the same archiving capability. They were designed by NSA.  IN addition to all regular email and regular staff communications, those conversations between station personnel, the Embassy, and all the listed users in the distribution (also known as a “drop list”), were seeing some or all parts of the conversations, directives and orders going out that night between all the personnel involved. It’s all archived and just waiting to be read.

THERE’S LITERALLY NO CHANCE that the entire sequence of events in Benghazi before, on and after that night in September of 2012 is/was NOT KNOWN and archived.  NONE.

So who ordered the rescue team(s) to stand-down? Why did they? Why hasn’t the DoD conducted their own investigation regardless of the failures of the DoJ and Congress?   This involves embassy security failures provided by DoD personnel.   The military’s investigative services and JAG corps should be all over this even if Congress and the Executive are falling down on the job.  The question is; why isn’t it being demanded by anyone involved?  If it has and hasn’t been supplied why isn’t Congress pursuing contempt of Congress charges or articles of impeachment against the principals?

Those questions have been asked on multiple occasions of staff and personnel with the Office of US Senator Jim Risch and Representative Raul Labrador and sent via email to Senator Mike Crapo, all of Idaho. No answers have been received or forthcoming. These are not mere misplaced documents, it would be a criminal conspiracy not to supply or to cover up the available documents.

The only thing not recorded and archived within the military or state branches would be completely private cell phone conversations on commercial networks. Of course, those are most likely held by the NSA anyway (especially those from foreign sources) and should also be retrievable (remember, they designed the keys to the systems). At least the metadata and likely the content. I wouldn’t be surprised if they “had” the conversations, too.

Does anybody else think it’s odd that these issues haven’t been raised? Gee, it seems obvious when the Feds have everybody else blanketed that it would be pretty hard to say they have none of their own internal communications, wouldn’t it?

How is this knowable? Because I both installed and maintained the systems that carried FLASH- and CRITIC-type traffic. The networks and topology have been greatly expanded and are vastly more powerful since I last worked on it but I guarantee the capabilities and comprehensive nature of the system have only become even that much more sophisticated. A smartphone of today had more processing power than all of NASA had to put a man on the moon. (Makes one wonder about what it is that they’ve built out there in Bluffdale, Utah?)

Within 5 minutes of any FLASH- or special CRITIC-type communication going back and forth from an Embassy, ship, installation, military phone, system or connected device or drop off those systems, all “need-to-know” generals, admirals, executive and state personnel, etc., would have seen it or been told by an aide. Even a few Congressmen who sit on the right committees or in the Speaker’s Office, would be in the loop.

This all reminds me of the response I’ve received from every Congresscritter that I’ve given the 22 Questions for the NSA/DNI list to. They don’t want to touch it for fear of getting burned. So what gives here? Who’s yanking who’s chain and why? Why are all sides staying mum and coy about what happened that awful night? Why are certain hawks of the Left and THE RIGHT so intent on re-authorization of the worst sections concerning domestic monitoring and surveillance of US citizens through the PATRIOT Act?  Yet they seemed not really concerned at all as to what the government’s internal communications reveals about its own behavior?

Simply put, this is a significant national security failure that is growing larger and out-of-control by the day. The revelations of US direct development and involvement in the advent of ISIS/ISIL is no longer debatable. It is more than likely your Senator and Representative (especially Sen. Risch, who sits on the Intel Committee) knows how to get the information and the answers to many of these questions, but refuses to to maintain “plausible deniability.”

The connection to Libya and Syria and the essential events of Sept. 11, 2012 are no longer debatable. The obvious cover-up and treasonous nature of the actions on and subsequent to that night in Benghazi, are becoming irrefutable. Yet , the wall of silence remains from nearly everyone in Congress except for a very few, including Rep. Trey Gowdy, and Senator Ran Paul, who’s actions are regularly reported as “extremist” and “crazy.”

Do you really want to know? Do you really care?  If so, then demand your Congressperson also DEMAND the FLASH- and CRITIC-type, Satphone, Secure Terminal Equipment (STE)/cell, email and all message communication archives immediately!  We’ll know the next day after its disclosed what actually happened and can end this national clown and criminal circus.

Another US Senator from Idaho, Frank Church, very clearly warned in August, 1975 of the tyranny that would be imposed on US citizens by a failure to gain and keep tight control over the technological capabilities of the Intel agencies, both foreign and domestic. He also warned of the ‘adventurism’ that such capabilities would allow successive administrations. Those same capabilities have been turned against us and are actually being used to degrade our own defense and security capability through intent, incompetence, mismanagement and misdirection.  Those human failings are the very reason those capabilities of the government were to be so tightly constrained by the Constitution.

Capabilities this writer knew then and knows now from having just entered Army Security Agency (ASA) Intel and Cryptologic systems training school in August, 1975 at Ft. Gordon, GA. I was in the middle of completing almost two years of Navy Cryptologic Tech-Analyst training for the Naval Security Group (NSG) working for the Service Cryptologic Agencies (SCA) of the NSA.

Since Frank Church was my US Senator at the time I found the notoriety interesting and watched the outcome of the ‘Church committee’ with great interest. I also observed the very problems he spoke of then and which have resonated throughout my subsequent military intel and technical career.

Yet, here we are 40 years hence of Senator Church’s warning having never had the real debate. The Congress and White House are hushing- and covering-up successive intel failures and intel invasions of privacy and liberty, scandals, blown missions and adventures. Adventures such as the arms transfer to Syrian rebels through Libya. The stream of murders, collateral damage and blowback of myriad forms and from every direction. The enormity of these failures is becoming THE national security threat of our time and country.

This is a debate over our rights, of our defense and security, of our freedom and liberty from the constant encroachment and failures of a growing obvious tyranny of a gigantic federal government leviathan. That leviathan, while operating far outside its constrained bounds even given the most liberal interpretation, fails to actually protect our citizens strategically, tactically and practically.

Are YOU Ready to protect this Republic?

WE are dangerously close to the fail-over point of our current system because of the many failures of our government, particularly the Congress (with approval ratings of 9%), and the “Imperial Presidency,” aided and abetted by the courts.  Are you going to continue to stand aside, while it goes down, or do something? Are you going to start putting the heat on every Congressperson in every state or let this continue to degrade? What are YOU going to do, and WHEN? This is NOT a political or ideological issue. It is a defense and national security issue of immense importance for every American that so few seem to be paying attention to.

Article V Convention Hullabaloo

I’m dismayed by the dissension and acrimony the idea of an Article V Convention of the States is causing within the Freedom, Liberty and TEA Party factions.  The philosophical and analytical debates I have no problem with.  What bothers me is the ad hominem and personal attacks.  I find those to be totally unnecessary and extremely distracting.

I also believe the mis-characterization and ‘strawman’ approach to much of the debate is equally disheartening. The opponents of the Article V Convention seem to take most of their cues from the John Birch Society’s position and one of their lead columnists, Joe Wolverton.  I have much respect for Mr. Wolverton and many of the positions he has exposited on over the last decade.  However, for some reason, in this debate he and others seem to have lost much of their analytical ability and replaced it with scathing character assassination and condemnation by supposed association.

First off, to re-iterate for perhaps the 1000th time, an Article V Convention IS NOT a constitutional convention or “Con-con.”  The last “Con-con” held produced the organic constitution we use today and the first Article V convention two years later produced the “Bill of Rights.”  That gross misrepresentation (that a CoS is a “Con-con”) is where the opponents always seem to start.

Next, Mr. Wolverton has written extensively on how the proponent’s camp is infiltrated everywhere with George Soros operatives and his money along with a sordid list of leftists and leftist groups.  In no meeting, contact, representative, group or presentation that I have attended, met with or heard from, in any of the five states I have regularly visited, is there seen one shred of evidence of Soros or his money or any of those leftist groups or their funding.  Those groups were also nowhere in evidence at the last large planning session held at Mt Vernon last December by representatives from 32 states.

To the contrary, all of the state representatives of the Article V Convention, legislators and proponents I’ve met have  been of the same class of freedom- and liberty-minded or TEA Party types encountered in meetings everyday.  In the main they are true conservatives (in my book they’re called the “Remnant) and the type of Americans we need in all of our battles.  The idea that some mysterious Soros or Progressive operatives are going to swoop-in and take over out-of-the-blue is just short of silly, when examined.

That is not to say that there are no insurgents involved anywhere in the other 45 states I haven’t visited.  I would be more surprised if there weren’t any at all.  Every movement has its insurgents and agent provocateurs.  Does anyone out there think there were no British agents or Tories infiltrated all through the Revolution, the development of the Articles of Confederation or the new Constitution to follow?   Or during the Civil War or since?

However, I think it’s fair to say that the Article V movement is, by far, obviously not a Progressive or Liberal movement by any stretch made.   Or,  one that could be hijacked anymore than the JBS is likely to be hijacked by liberals.  Progressives and Liberals just aren’t that comfortable talking about the central principles ideas of the Constitution and their implications.  They’d rather try to ignore it.

Which is another reason I don’t put a lot of stock into the idea that an Article V convention could be “hijacked” by the Progressives.  They demonstrably don’t like to touch or be in any way associated with anything “Constitutional.”   However, even if they do, given their lack of dealing at the straight constitutional level, I seriously doubt they would be effective or be able to overcome the super-majority of the truly Constitutional delegates (look at the make up of states legislatures across all 50 states and territories) that would come from the states.   Which brings us to the next point.

The opponents of Article V CoS keep making the claim that we can’t mess with any amendments to the Constitution because “there’s nothing wrong with it.”  Well, please forgive me, but there is.  Even the opponents have acknowledged those problems for years and years but seem to wish to ignore them now.  Shall we start with the 14th Amendment which opened the door to begin the nationalization process by declaring “equal protection thereby nationalizing the states?  Or the fact that the new 13th Amendment at the end of the Civil War somehow displaced the original 13th Amendment which put the kibosh on Titles of Nobility and that somehow was conveniently “disappeared?”  Or the next 13th amendment that was introduced on behalf of Lincoln at the outset of the Civil War saying the slavery WOULD NOT be abolished in the United States?

Or maybe we should talk about the enormous problems generated by the 15th, 16th, 17 th and 18th, only one of which was formally repealed.  Two of them, the 16th and 17th were either never ratified or fraudulently so.   So the idea there’s no problems in the Constitution that need fixing doesn’t stand much scrutiny.

On top of that there’s the abuses of the Congress and the  Supreme and inferior courts.   Congress has passed many abuses or outright usurpations of whole sections and clauses.  They have passed laws that find no authorization source whatsoever in the document.  Worse, when contested, the Supreme Court has upheld those abuses and usurpations against the American people.  The Courts have developed methods and “construction” that contrive to find those abuses and usurpations constitutional.  These “pretended Acts of legislation” and the bad decisions that follow then further extend the abuse.

Opponents of an Article V convention say, “Precisely.   That’s exactly why we can’t have a Convention of the States (CoS)!  If they won’t follow the existing Constitution, they won’t follow any further Amendments.”  Forgive me, if that’s the reason we can’t have a CoS, then we’re already finished as a Republic.  Congress will never pass the amendments needed even if we got a 50+% turnover of incumbents.  We have a bypass process in Article V that was placed there for a reason, to be used when all the others methods failed.  So, let’s use it and every other tool in the arsenal.

The purpose of amending any contract is to close “loopholes” that have sprung over time to be exploited by one party or the other.   Or, to cover unforeseen circumstances or new events in the previous amendments and/or organic contract.  The last century the conservatives, NeoCons,  Progressives and liberals have each shown us where the “loopholes” and problems are in the Constitution.  In some cases they’ve blown big holes right through it.  Time to fix that.

Whether in exploiting the Preamble phrase “promote the General Welfare,” the limits of  ” to regulate commerce with….and among the several states” in Article I, or in the Supreme Court’s hypocritical introduction of the “one man, one vote” concept into the states in Reynolds v Sims, or various Presidents’ exploitation of the Antiquities Act and Executive Orders, there are many compounded lines of Congressional, Judicial and Executive error/usurpation that can be corrected and adopted, at once, in a Convention of States.  No language is bullet-proof, that’s clear.  However, it’s also clear that some simple, direct and near-bullet proof language can fix a lot of bad situations through amendments.

There are no panaceas.  Not in Nullification, Article V, Elections, Legislation, Executive  and Judicial fiat, Revolution or Civil War; none.  Every process has its flaws because humans have their flaws.  That’s why people use all possible solution processes and structures to effect a solution until all options are exhausted and War and destruction is the last option on the table and highly likely to fail as well as we’ve seen more times than not.

I have just under 25 years of experience in the citizen-initiated Amendment process at the state constitutional level in Colorado.  No would could conclude that the Amendment process is perfect but neither are humans.  The legislature in Colorado has attempted to befoul the state Constitution many times with bad referenda that the people have turned down.  The Citizens have attempted several initiated Amendments, some good some bad.  In the main, the Citizens have been more successful with Amendments that hold government in check and expand freedom.

The opponents spend (way too) much of their time on the “fear factor” in trying to effectively “shout down” an Article V convention.  The assertion is made that Congress would “control the process and make the rules, thereby controlling the convention,” when that is in direct contradiction to the process that is already underway via the application and approval Resolutions passed in various states legislatures thus far.   Next they say, the CoS will simply ignore those Resolutions and all the rules and simply do what they want.  Sorry, but if that happens the entire convention is automatically shut down and the delegates ordered to go home (and punished for their misbehavior with civil penalties) by each of their states as already defined in the Resolutions.

The opponents also confuse the “Balanced Budget Amending” applications and the “Convention of the States” applications.  Those are two entirely different efforts.  There is so much misinformation and misconstrued history that the opponents campaign has come to reflect a propaganda campaign, reminiscent of those they pretend to hate, when accomplished by state actors.

It’s time to back-off all the hyperbole, polemics and vitriol. The fear-mongering and paranoia seems to be most pervasive and reflects, I believe, a risk aversion far out-of-proportion to the task and means at hand.  America is coming to an important crossroads, as it has only a few times in its history thus far, and the appropriate solution is necessary for the real risk of the times.  A CoS application, call, conduct and conclusion would measure whether or not America does live up to the legacy handed to it by the Founders.  Otherwise, it continues down the current path and simply slinks off, to continue degrading into the sunset, until the Republic completely implodes into a black hole similar to a dying star.

With 37 states as effectively “Red” states, in their legislatures and executive branches, strategically we have the best possible conditions in the last 50 years to call the CoS and get the best possible outcome of amendments.  Each state gets 1 vote on each amendment for passage in the Convention.  Then the package of amendments actually passed in Convention go back to the state legislatures for ratification.  Only 13 “no” votes by those legislatures will then kill any amendment.  Each amendment must be voted on separately.

It is highly unlikely that ANY CoS would be held prior to 2017 given the logistics and planning involved.  There’s a lot of bad water to flow under the bridge before then in the further decay of the fiscal situation of the federal governments and the economic condition of the U.S.  Those events and the next two election cycles, I believe, will accelerate both the favorable conditions and the necessity of the call for a CoS.

That analysis recommends that the two sides get together and agree on the best strategy for both Nullification and Interposition to succeed within the states.  Then, use the best conservative minds (and even a few liberals–if they step up–after all they can’t be excluded even if they don’t have a controlling minority of the states) we have to also plan the CoS and the possible amendments and rules of conduct to succeed strategically across the states.

Prove that in the 21st century we have a new Remnant that is every bit up to the task as our Forebears in the 18th and 19th centuries (they had to deal with factions , too).  Otherwise, I’d suggest the only other alternative is to prepare for the next Revolution or, at worst, the next Civil War.  That is a much less desirable outcome, I would think, that all players do want to avoid.

Strategic Metals, Rare Earth Elements and the Gravity Well

In all the hub-bub that is our daily human existence on this planet, a little known crisis is building in an area that may have more importance to mankind’s long term survival than anything else:  The growing shortage of Strategic Metals (SM) and Rare Earth Elements (REE).  Most people know little about the vital importance SMs and REEs play in developing and maintaining modern technologic infrastructure.  Compared to SM and REE, it is much easier to solve energy and water shortages.  Most Environmentalists seem to have little idea that most of their dreams for renewable energy lie with metals and elements that are some of the hardest to find and toughest to mine and refine.

About 5 billion of the 7 billion inhabitants of this planet are only alive today because of the availability of cheap petroleum energy.  Without that energy it would be impossible to feed, house and support, logistically and productively, most of the humans on the planet in any fashion.  Today the average middle-class person anywhere in the world consumes the equivalent energy it would take more than 400 persons to otherwise provide for that one individual.

Think about that for a moment.  The energy you and I pay a few dollars a day to do all the things it does for us replaces the labor of more than 400 people who would otherwise have to work for us to live as we do now.  Four-Hundred!  If all 7 billion currently living people of the world all lived at a basic middle-class lever, without having the energy, it would take the efforts of another 2.8 trillion people to allow us to live as we do individually now!  But then we’d have find a way to feed and house all those additional people who are here to labor for us.  As one can quickly see; ain’t gonna happen.

However, even more critical to those 5 billion people being alive is because of the SM and REE that allow the building of an infrastructure that cheap energy supply feeds and keeps running every day.   Deplete or make cost-prohibitive just a few of those metals and elements in that category and that 5 billion people (plus any new ones added) can’t be supported any longer.  We need all the associated technology, also run on cheap energy, that makes it all work.  Those technologies, in turn, are built out of SM and REE.

For most of the SMs and REEs, scattered sparingly around the planet, 80-90% of global production for each comes from just a couple sources.  Those sources are rapidly being depleted or their mining costs are becoming so high as to be unusable at some point.  Not only does the mining become cost prohibitive but so does the harm to the land as mines must be bigger, deeper and more destructive to recover the metals and elements needed.

Interestingly though, we live in a solar system that is literally swimming in SM and REE (energy, too!  A bonus!).  As Carl Sagan, the well-known astronomer, was quoted saying, “It’s raining soup across the solar system, all we need is soup bowls.”  The problem, however, is two-fold in getting to the soup kitchen.  Firstly, we have to contend with earth’s gravity well.  Second, we have to fix the global political system.  However, if we fix the second, the first becomes less problematic.

The amount of waste of resources that goes into the various wars and conflicts is almost half of all military expenditures worldwide for both offensive and defensive spending.  Behind that is the embedded cost and use of resources to maintain military capability in preparation of offensive or defensive conflicts.  Military and defense maintenance are the most expensive things we do as countries with no productive output.  The whole point, as John Carl Roat said: “War is about killing people and breaking things.”  If not engaged in actual war the military is simply a consumer of goods and resources.

Think about the SM and REE expended on the Military, Industrial, Intelligence, Security and State Complex.  It is enormous and, wasteful beyond measure.  There’s very little recycling of SM and REE from military equipment and technology.  For all its rules on us governments are the most wasteful of all.  The first practical measure to insuring our long term survival is to redeploy the SM and REE used in militaristic infrastructure to much more useful and productive enterprise.

Consider the waste present in just one aspect of the militaristic infrastructure.  The NSA alone employs the largest number of Mathematicians and Computer Scientists of any organization in the world.  It has enormous data centers and server complexes, satellite, radio, fiber and switching collection infrastructure entails tens of millions of square feet.  Their computing and storage power is measured in tens of PetaFLOPS and hundreds of PetaBytes.  That technology consumes vast quantities of SM and REE.  For what, exactly?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we at least got to use all those brains and technology solving the problems of developing near-space resource extraction?  Wouldn’t it be so much more beneficial if the private sector had access to those $100s of billion now spent on militaristic and intelligence technology to monitor and track us?

Instead, we get NASA and a decades-long moribund or barely nascent space capability.  The Shuttle and International Space Station look like great achievements, until one weighs the cost and the lack of productive output to be put to use.   We’re now more than two generations and 35 years behind (and falling fast) where we should be in near-space development and launch capability due to NASA control.  If NASA had been fully commercialized, as the Internet was 30 years ago, think where we’d be today!

We must begin to solve the enormous political disadvantages we, and nearly all large nations, suffer under through keeping the world in turmoil through their power-mad nightmare.  If not, it is becoming more and more likely we will consume so much of our strategic resources that not enough will be left over to climb out of the “gravity well” here on earth to obtain more.  Once we pass that point of no return, we are trapped here on the planet with no way off and no way to supplement our resource needs.  There won’t be enough strategic resources left to build the infrastructure off-planet to replace them.  It will be a technologic dead-end.

As people obviously won’t stop having sex, so population control and devolving civilization will become the norm and in much uglier ways than anything seen thus far.  All that will do is likely prolong the time until we completely wink-out as a species and the universe moves on.  Nice try mankind but we failed to make it any better than the Dinosaurs, who were killed off by an incoming asteroid.  Yet, another fate we can avoid by building a large-scale space presence.

The effort to commercialize and develop near-space resources has to be large-scale, productive, profitable and ongoing.  The only way to make it sustainable is to make it profitable.  Some small efforts like Space X,  Xcor, Orbital Sciences and others are trying and re-inventing space tech as they go.  We just have to hope it’s not too little, too late to save our kids and grandkids from a devolving and deteriorating world run by governments and leaders who can’t think past next week or past their own blindingly self-serving agendas, much less 10, 20 or a 100 years into the future.

We may also find along the way we can preserve and conserve this planet in ways much better and long-lasting than any radical environmentalist ever dreamed.


Eenie, Meenie, Miney Mo…Catch Our Monitors By The Toe.

Recently, two seemingly opposite and “counter-balanced” decisions by US District Court Judges William Pauley III (New York) and Richard Leon (Washington, D.C.), on National Security Agency collection and archiving of mass private communications, were released  The two opposing decisions likely leave most of the public highly confused.   Is NSA collection and archiving of domestic citizen’s digital and communication data Constitutional or un-Constitutional?  The answer is a whole lot less complex than most people think or that those in positions to know better wish to let on about.

Having a 25 year background in this specific technology arena, along with more than two decades of law and constitutional study of the issue, outside the obvious, it’s fairly easy to say that one judge has it wrong and the other right but for the wrong reasons.  However, Judge Leon was a whole lot closer than Pauley.  The activities of the NSA/DNI are not only un-constitutional but blatantly  so.

The arguments made by most of the press, media and elected officials on both sides, usually side-step the simple and specific question.  Instead, they get all axle-wrapped in the technology and the jargon of the agency, like “metadata” or “digital profile,” and in justifications that misdirect the key and obvious issue.

I found over my career that even the most complex technical and policy questions were either not understood, or purposefully misdirected, by those with an agenda.  That seemed especially true if a clear, simple and understandable explanation could not be given for the problem.   Such is the case with NSA domestic surveillance, politicians and the courts.

Throw out the technology involved, completely, as it’s irrelevant.  The issue is one of functional equivalency.  When the 4th Amendment was written the only thing the Founders knew was the Post Office, private foot and horse couriers for handling letter/parcel and dispatch communications.  The purpose was to transport written or illustrated communications, other information and parcels between a sender(s) and a receiver(s).  So let’s review the text of the 4th amendment to see how that works:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The part we care about here is the “…to be secure in their persons,….papers and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause…” (emphasis added)

Regardless of the technological sophistication we’ve obtained of late the functional purpose of all common carrier and Internet Service and Application Providers is the same now as it was 200+ years ago:  To contractually and securely transport the information, letters, “effects” and/or parcels I provide to a service from senders to receivers and back.  Digital devices and associated methods of communication of any kind fit well within the use of the term “papers and effects.”

When I hit that “send” key on any digital device to communicate information I should fully expect the same level of being “secure in (my) persons,….papers and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures…” as they would expect 225 years ago.  Why do you think they sealed all such communication and parcels with WAX SEALS?  Hitting the send button, enter or return key for an email, internet search or download carries EXACTLY  the same level of being secure in my papers and effects as the Founders expected with their wax seals.  No less.

So you say, “How do we possibly defend against our enemies and the bad people, then?”  The same way we did way back then, through legitimate probable cause warrant and reasonable search and seizure based on that probable cause and a specific, not blanket, warrant.

Except for certain presidents and politicians who came along, and for expedience sake, that standard was maintained more than violated.   When it was violated it was seen and understood as a violation.  Even during the great Wars no such blanket surveillance would have ever been tolerated, particularly once the general population found out.

“But that’s harder to do!” you say.  Tough nuggies, baby!  It requires discipline and hard work to do what’s necessary to maintain rule of law rather than of men.   The Constitution and its stringent articles and clauses, as they knew then, was not written for convenience, expedience and efficiency of government.  It was written to provide limited government under rule of law. STOP.

I can justify eliminating virtually every protection of listed rights, freedom and liberty in the constitution or human existence if convenience, expedience and efficiency are desired.

Two-hundred years ago I, or any of the Founders, could have made endless justifications to usurp the intent or nature of the Constitution and the 4th amendment just as is done today for expedience and “National Security” sake on so many fronts.

Suppose a engineering genius like Charles Babbage had invented a magical machine in the 1820s that enabled the Post Office to open and copy every letter and the names and addresses and dates of mailing for of every sender/receiver (gee, metadata?) while some war/conflict, social unrest or terrorist activity was underway?  Do you think the population would have tolerated such a thing?  Not on your life!  So, don’t try to pretend to me that its constitutional today!

Let’s not beat around the bush any longer.  There is no justification for not maintaining stringent 4th Amendment protections for every American citizen using any communication technology whatsoever, now or in the future, for as far as the eye and mind can see.  None.  There is no blanket warrant power and no level of national emergency that demands or requires it.  Only the failure of judges, law enforcement and elected officials to do the job with the Oath and discipline they were appointed/hired/elected to perform.  If they don’t they must be removed until those that will exercise the discipline do the job correctly.

It’s wrong when the Left does it and it’s  wrong when the Right does it.  Passage of time and technology has no meaning here to the principles involved.  Whatever any judge, officer, President or other politician says to the contrary they are most certainly wrong now and will be then as they have been every time in the past.

You want the info?  Be prepared to justify the SPECIFIC probable cause and the Warrant.  Otherwise, “DON’T TOUCH MY INFO, BRO!”


Jeff Wright is a former Cryptologic Tech with the Naval Security Group and Technical Liaison to the National Security Agency, a defense systems Engineering Manager and Consulting Chief Systems Engineer to Bell Laboratories, with more than 25 years in Defense, Intelligence, Commercial and Industrial Network systems engineering experience.  He is also author of “The Citizen’s Last Stand:  Are YOU Ready?” (published Dec., 2012) that discusses this question in substantial detail and others related to the Security and Surveillance State. 

The Lies Told By Opponents of the Federal Lands Transfer Movement

Let’s take the basic misinformation that we’ve heard handed out by opponents of the Federal Lands Transfer movement, one at a time:

1. “The federal government spends $billions annually to ‘manage’ our public lands, no western state can afford what it costs the Feds in any state.”

The opponents fail to see the fundamental flaw in this argument: The American People, as a whole, can’t afford the cost of what the Feds are spending (and wasting) in managing the federal lands.  It is purely a loss proposition at this point which, by definition is unsustainable.  If any enterprise, local or state government in America accepted the federal cost structure for doing anything, every one of them would go bankrupt tomorrow. The current ObamaCare fiasco should make that plain.  

In the State of Idaho, for example, the millions of acres already managed by the Idaho Dept. of Lands actually returns net revenue to the state Treasury.  Applying the same IDL model to the rest of the state will simply result in more net revenue.  Returning the management of the former federal lands to true multiple-use will increase that net revenue stream even more.

2. “Various Supreme Court decisions state that the “equal footing doctrine” doesn’t apply to economics”

Firstly, actually applying the “equal footing doctrine” to the economic sphere was directed by the Supreme Court of the United State (SCOTUS) since the Coyle v. Smith Decision of 1911.   To say that the economic freedom and self-determination of being a “free and independent state” doesn’t apply to legacy federal control of the land is probably one of the worst and most ludicrous doctrines, ever. It’s are right up there with Dred Scott, Wickard vs Filburn, Kelo, Citizens United and, most recently, the Roberts decision in NFIB V Sebelius (ObamaCare decision) among many, many others.

Coyle v. Smith basically said, “No state can have the Sovereignty of a newly admitted state and its people held hostage by either Congress or the black-robed oligarchy.”   It cannot be denied by the Enabling and Admission Acts or, by direction of Congress.  Nor can SCOTUS direct  the organization of a state Constitution where no powers of the US Constitution are present and is also disallowed by the 9th and 10th amendments to the US Constitution.

3.  “The western state’s Founders never intended to keep any of those lands and ‘forever disclaimed’ them.”

First of all, does anyone reading this article or in the opposition actually believe that Idaho’s Founders thought they and all the future citizens of western states were giving up more than 50% of the land to perpetual federal control when 37 existing states didn’t even give up 5%? Of course, not. Did they have the authority (See Coyle again) even if they did? No. Why did no state east of the Rockies do the same?  They knew they could not give-up things that did not belong to them alone but forever belong to the citizens of any state and their posterity to follow.  When they die People instantly lose their property (and all other) rights and delegated powers to those that succeed them.  The “disclaimed” language is exactly the same as all the other states east of the Rockies.  Why was 95-97% of their land disposed of properly yet not in the western states?

4.  “According to the Treaty of Guadalupe and Louisiana Purchase set different legal criteria in disposal of the lands because the federal government paid for the land.”

This ridiculous view stands at complete odds with the language of the Enabling Acts, Admission Act, Federal and State Constitutions. Or, the fact that the lands of the Northwest, in particular, cost the federal government nothing under the Treaty of Oregon but cost the people plenty of blood, sweat and tears to pioneer and develop those states.  

However, whether the federal government paid for or were ceded the lands under treaty and had jurisdiction over the lands as a territory,it was made immediately irrelevant and moot when a state completed the process of state admission.  At that moment all previous claims were extinguished and free title was to pass to the new state, except for Indian Lands and such property and fortifications as applied to Article IV of the US Constitution.  Every thing else was to be disposed of and have previous title extinguished in favor of the new state.  

Gee, sounds just like any other property transaction between two parties when a sale is completed, doesn’t it?  Clear title must be passed for everything that comes under the sale contract.  And no future fundamental rights on the land so designated can be removed in such “law.”  If it could then eventually all rights could be removed and future generations would have none, a completely absurd proposition.  See these analyses of Utah’s HB-148 here and here.

5.  “The state cannot possibly manage those lands.”

The Idaho Department of Lands, for one example, has put forward a pretty convincing case that they’re doing much better with the 6 million total (2.5 million forested) acres they now manage and protect than the federal government does with the 34 million they currently control in Idaho.  Most western states could likely do the same,  I wish someone in the opponents camp would put forth a credible case of why the model that works on 6 million acres, returning net revenue to the state Treasury, can’t be scaled -up.  Is there some mystery “glass ceiling” we’re going to hit that no one else knows about?

6.  “There’ll be no more hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in Idaho.”

This one is probably the most ludicrous positions being espoused by the Outdoor (Outfitters, Hunting, Fishing, Recreationists, etc.) lobby and others in the “environmental” camp. If no state east of the Rockies has more than 5% of their state lands under federal control, how does that explain the tens of millions of hunters, fishermen and recreationists that hit the field in those states every year?

I did 2/3 of my hunting and a lot of fishing on private land in eastern Colorado when I lived there. It was not hard to gain permission and, in fact, most landowners were under the obligation to grant permission if they also accepted state Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) monies for managing their private lands.  Similar programs can be established anywhere.  The programs benefit outdoor enthusiasts and landowners.

Much of that hunting and fishing and outdoor recreating is better than on any of the federal land.  The argument is just misdirection by opponents and a lot of balderdash.  Plus, they always fail to mention that Wilderness, Primitive Areas, WSA, Monuments, Parks and any similar special designation lands and property will stay under federal management after the transfer.  Hopefully, the Feds will do a much better job maintaining those facilities when their role and control shrinks.

7.  “All the land will be sold off to private owners and western state folks will no longer have access to their public lands.”

This is a statement made by those who do not understand economics. As stated above, this proposal does not effect already designated wilderness, monuments, parks, certain reserves and installations. Much of the transfer land has no other commercial or private economic value other than the public ones it was supposed to be used for before closed off by the Feds. It will simply be held by the state for those same purposes.

Some percentage should be sold off to better economic use because western states should be able to develop their economies on lands they should control on equal footing with every other state. And that does not preclude, as terms of the sale, that traditional outdoor and other access issues be maintained, as well. Few, if any, of the Founders of the US or in the western states would have ever conceived of all land being closed off from all economic development forever. Never.  There’s way too much documentation to the contrary, even among the conservation-minded of the time.

8.  “Indian Tribes will lose their traditional rights and land under this transfer to the state and then come under state control.”

I’ve heard and read this bald assertion multiple times without one shred of supporting information and documentation.  It seems to only be one of many hyperbolic Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) factors thrown into the opponents argument to gain public sympathy and misdirect the issue.  There is nothing in the proposal that abrogates any Treaty with any Tribes, nor could it, as that clearly still falls under federal jurisdiction.  For those Tribes with rights and claims that have otherwise been negotiated without Treaty, during the period of federal control, obviously they would be grandfathered-in to the final terms of the transfer of control.  I have heard no talk among the supporters of state and private control, through the federal lands transfer, of removing any Tribal rights or claims whether they be under Treaty or not.  Most of the opponents argument is sheer hyperbole and polemical ranting.

The bottom line is that the federal lands transfer has Law, history, tradition, economic rationale and common sense behind it.  The opponents have, to the contrary, emotion, hyperbole, misdirection, conscious and specious mis-construction, defamatory and inflammatory rhetoric on their side.  They remain factually-challenged and appear desperate in their ad-hominem attacks on the supporters of the transfer.  That’s just one measure of the weakness in their position.  The idea they’re trying to pose that; states in the west cannot manage their own land as well or better than the majority of the rest of the states is baseless, just flat ridiculous and a non-starter.

States need to act with a strong report to recommend the transfer legislation in the strongest possible terms and enact legislation demanding the transfer be completed. Over one hundred years have past for most of these states with a lawful and binding obligation, of their supposedly “co-equal” states and federal government, wholly unmet.  The federal government has ignored their duty to dispose of the land in favor of the people and the state.   It’s time to close that period and open the next chapter with states that are whole, equal, free and independent in their ability to determine their own destiny through the actions of their own people as the contracted guarantee of a Republic demands.

Get onboard and let’s get busy!