Good morning. Here’s your paranoid thought of the day.

We have a quasilegal military prison in Guantanamo Bay. The status of the prisoners there is precarious. Military justice applies, and events are recorded and public records made.

We also have a murky gulag of international detention centers, to which various foreign terrorism suspects are flown in unmarked planes. It is not known how many prisoners there have been or what their fates have been. Nothing is publicly recorded.

At least one U.S. citizen has been detained in an irregular manner in a military prison, and his case has been well-reported and debated.

How do we know that U.S. citizens and others are not being simply picked up off the streets and disappeared? Any witnesses could be threatened into silence with the Patriot Act.

And if it isn’t already happening, how will we know? People go missing all the time. It’s a big country. They could try it out with some random people who don’t seem to matter before they went after someone who might be noticed.

Please panic now about everything and do as we say

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/05/terror/main1683852.shtml

It starts:

U.S. officials believe Canadian arrests over the weekend and three recent domestic incidents in the United States are evidence the U.S. will soon be hit again by a terrorist attack. Privately, they say, they’d be surprised if it didn’t come by the end of the year, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Stewart in a CBS News exclusive.

Then they go on to say that terrorists are committing robberies in order to finance terror attacks, and list a couple of incidents in which various bad guys had what seemed to be political terrorism objectives.

The fun is all in the last sentence, though:

The next attack here, officials predict, will bear no resemblance to Sept. 11. The casualty toll will not be that high, the target probably not that big. We may not even recognize it for what it is at first, they say. But it’s coming — of that they seem certain.

Okay. So, they’re now reserving the option of pulling out any Very Bad Day that might have some tenuous connection to Islamic extremists and calling it a terrorist incident. If some career criminals who got Muslim names in prison rob a store in a mall and there’s a big ugly shootout, or if some mentally unstable loser with a connection to Islam runs over a lot of people on a sidewalk, or if any number of medium-spectacular crimes occur that they can tie to “terror” in any way, it will be more evidence that we should be afraid and that we should give up yet more liberty.

And the news calls this an “exclusive” and runs it unchallenged. Bleah!

We had the flag with us

One of the best things about an oppressive, unaccountable government is the humorous situations. Inevitably, one part of the mechanism will crash into another, resulting in a laff riot. In this case, the evil, stupid robots in charge of the TSA and the No Fly List encountered a condensed symbol of American patriotism and defiled it really, really hard. In the butt. This article is from the Marine Times. It could only be better if each Marine had been holding a crying eagle and a model of the WTC.

TSA detains Marine escorts
Trio escorting body of fallen comrade are stripped of dress blue coats, searched at airport

By Gidget Fuentes
Times staff writer

It wasn’t the city of “brotherly love” for a trio of Marine noncommissioned officers escorting the body of a fallen Marine through the Philadelphia airport.

Each decked in their blue dress uniforms, the three enlisted Marines made their way through a security checkpoint at the Philadelphia International Airport about noon on May 3 when they were pulled aside by security workers with the federal Transportation Safety Administration.

The Marines — a sergeant and two corporals — were escorting the body of Sgt. Lea R. Mills from Dover Air Force Base, Del., to his family in Gulfport, Miss. Mills, who was married and lived in Oceanside with his wife, was killed in Iraq on April 28 by a roadside bomb. He was one of three leathernecks killed that day in Iraq’s Anbar province.

They were brothers-in-arms. Like Mills, the Marine escorts are members of the Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion.

The trio had to go through the terminal’s security in order to reach their flight that would take them to Houston and make sure that Mills’ body was properly placed on the airplane. While their uniforms likely would trigger the metal detector, they had figured they would be able to zip through the screening process and get on with their business.

“Wearing the blues, the metal detector is going to go off,” said Sgt. John Stock, a mechanic, who was accompanied by Cpls. Aaron Bigalk and Jason Schadeburg.

But as the Marines went through the initial screener in their dress blues, they were stopped by several TSA agents. Each was told to remove their dress uniform blouse, belt and black dress shoes, which were scanned by the detector, as the agents scanned them with hand-held detecting wands.

“They had me take off my shoes and ran them through the screening,” Stock said, speaking by phone May 5 from Gulfport, where the men are helping with Mills’ family and funeral support. “We all got searched.”

Then they were taken to a nearby room, where TSA workers patted them down.

At one point, Stock’s shoes disappeared, leaving him to frantically search for them and retrieve them from a TSA agent. Separated from their belongings, which included the flag that they bore that would drape Mills’ casket for the rest of the journey home, they worried about getting to the gate in time to ensure his safe placement in the airplane.

Time, it seemed like a half-hour, clicked by. “I was like, hey, we need to be on the tarmac,” Stock recalled. “It just took longer than it should have had to take.”

The agents said nothing to explain why all three were singled out for additional search and the Marines didn’t protest. “We were just trying to get there as quick as we could,” he added.

In all, it was a humiliating experience that left them angry.

“They could probably tell that I was pissed off,” said Stock, who noted that he’s never encountered that kind of search when going through airport security in uniform.

“I understand if I was in civilian clothes. But with what we were wearing and what we were doing … ,” he said, noting that “we had the flag with us.”

A call into TSA’s public affairs office in the D.C. area was not returned as of press time.

“The Marine Corps is currently cooperating with (TSA) to resolve this matter,” the command said in statement issued May 5 and provided by 2nd Lt. Lawton King, a 1st Marine Division spokesman at Camp Pendleton.

My Orwellian Day

Nick and I talked for about an hour about Orwell and specifically 1984. People use the word “Orwellian” a lot or say “That’s so 1984“, but it’s a lot more than just totalitarianism and the abuse of language. 1984 is rich in detail and just about every single little detail is accurate almost to the degree of prophecy. If you haven’t read it, or haven’t read it in the last decade, go read.

Later I saw a regular whose name I didn’t know reading Orwell from a magazine reprint. I buttonholed him and said “Orwell! Good stuff!” and we had a big talk. He’s a high school teacher and was preparing lessons. I told him about the big fat cheap Orwell essays book. He said “Animal Farm is the book I recommend for my friends who don’t read, because it’s so easy and short and so full of huge ideas.” I really liked him. I also pointed him towards Politics and the English Language, about which he had forgotten.

Then I went to Mother’s and bought groceries and the cost was $19.84. At one point I was on a screen at the checkout that said “19.84: YES OR NO?” and to get my food I had to click YES. I clicked it. They fed me. I loved Big Mother.

In unrelated news I found out that the-silent-one has a GUN hanging in her DOGHOUSE. You’ve been warned.