Monday, November 27, 2006

George Paine


George Paine is another internet writer who became widely known for his work on the "Information Awareness Office" of mass computerized data mining surveillance of the general public. I found this, dated February 2005 at
Warblogging [] was founded in July 2002 by George Paine. "The purpose of the site is to provide another voice in the chorus of Americans calling for a balanced and reasonable foreign policy and a domestic policy that respects the United States Constitution and the rule of law." While this site leans left on certain issues, it attempts to adhere to strict constitutionalism. The site is not dedicated exclusively to the Iraq War, but the war news section, Warstories:CC, is searchable by keyword and can be limited to "Iraq and Gulf War Redux." The site also offers date limiting. When I searched for articles using the above limiter, the search retrieved 9,778 articles. Each article is posted in abbreviated form, with a link to the original article, time, date, source, and a feedback-post option.
In 2006 he suspended his work on warblogging.

When I enter the warblogging url, I get nothing but a time out. When I go to his site at, I get an error message saying that the blog does not exist (even though it has labled archive links).

It appears that an entity or entities have harassed George Paine in retaliation for his writings via his financial records. He presents an account of how his bank cards mysteriously went dead. And his warblogging site's "donate" link to donate goes to a deactivated or blocked Paypal account that states that "this recipient is currently unable to receive money."

George Paine, Anger, Shame and Fascism

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    This re-posting is for those who missed it last November. And for those who miss George very much... --DN


    George Paine, patriot, wrote this back on May 4, 2003. Can you imagine how much angrier he must be by now? Assuming he's not in Gitmo, or worse. He appears to have "disappeared." It's from his website A blog he *stopped writing a while back. He said he was taking a break.

    We are all the poorer for his need for a break. We hope he's able to return sometime. Fortunately, we still have the archives.

    BTW, has anyone seen or heard from George since he suspended the blog? Anyone? How about you guys over at the FBI? CIA? Der Fatherland Security? Reichssicherheitshauptamt? Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti? ... –DN

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Anger, by George Paine

I said a few days ago that I'm ashamed of President Bush. I said that I'm ashamed that he feels that the Constitution is something that can be shredded in wartime. I said that I'm ashamed that he engages in aggressive war in my name. That isn't the half of it.

I'm angry at my President. I'm terribly, terribly angry. I'm angry that he sends out INS and Homeland Security Department thugs to harass diners in South Asian restaurants in Times Square. I'm angry that these thugs don't even allow those Americans that they harass and detain to contact a lawyer.

I'm angry that Mike Hawash was forced to languish in solitary confinement as a farcical "material witness". I'm angry that Jose Padilla still languishes in a US Navy brig and is still forbidden from seeing an attorney, more than a year after his detention. (And STILL there... --DN)

I'm angry that I know, personally, people who have been touched by the massive domestic "security" apparatus constructed after September 11. They say that in South America everyone knows someone who's been "disappeared". I feel like things are getting that way here, too, except that not quite that many people are being "disappeared" yet — they're just being harassed. I'm absolutely livid at the thought that a student at the State University of New York was interrogated by the Secret Service after he wrote an editorial in a school newspaper asking Jesus to smite President Bush.I'm furious, completely furious that a friend of mine was asked if he had a copy of Mein Kampf and the Unabomber's Manifesto as the Secret Service turned his apartment upside down. Do you realize that the Secret Service told him that his editorial was not "protected speech"?

I'm furious that a friend of a friend of mine was detained for almost a day in the bowels of the New York Federal Building after he was caught taking a picture of a surveillance camera. I'm furious that he, an American citizen, wasn't allowed to call an attorney, even as he was being interrogated by the FBI. I'm furious that it took a friendly FBI agent breaking the rules for him to contact the outside world and that the only reason he was released when he was released was because his boss happened to know the FBI agent who was interrogating him.

I'm absolutely livid that entire families have had their doors broken down and their homes searched and their patriarchs carted out in handcuffs on the word of some anonymous paid informant.

I can't believe that we live in a country where secret courts consider secret evidence when deciding whether or not to issue secret search warrants to secretly search people's homes and offices and plant listening and tracking devices. I'm livid that secret courts then rule that this behavior is perfectly acceptable because even though it "may violate" the Fourth Amendment, because it at least "comes close". I'm absolutely furious that Americans get detained for months on end in solitary confinement on the basis of secret evidence — without so much as the right to challenge their accuser in a court of law. Is this not the most basic, fundamental underpinning of Western jurisprudence?

I'm furious that our Attorney General would float legislation called the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003" that, as I said several months ago would:
allow the Justice Department to name Warblogging — or a group that I belong to — a terrorist organization. Once they've done that they're free to break into my apartment at three in the morning and wake me up at gunpoint. They can take me to a military facility in North Carolina (or, even better, take me to Gitmo ) and tell a secret court that I have lost my citizenship by being a member of a terrorist organization. They can then try me in a secret military tribunal and sentence me to life in prison. All secretly. You'll never know about it. All you'll know is that Warblogging is no longer being updated. That's all you'll know. Me? I'll rot in a Navy brig for the rest of my life, at least until democracy is restored in this country. I never had an opportunity to convince others to no longer consent to this government. They snatched me before I could write my next article about civil liberties.

I'm absolutely, positively livid that even as the United States allies itself with terrorist dictatorships like Uzbekistan while the United States, the country I love, criticizes Canada because it "cares too much about liberties".

I can't imagine a country where the Director of Homeland Security (I'm sorry, but what kind of countries call themselves a "Homeland"? I remember the "Fatherland" and "Motherland"...) says that "Liberty is the most precious gift we offer to our citizens". Come on, Mr. Ridge, the government does not "give" us Liberty! We give ourselves Liberty! We hold these rights to be "self evident", Mr. Ridge! To say that you "give" us the right implies that you can also take it away! You are doing so, but I am here to tell you that I will not stand idly by as you do so!

I'm positively boiling that the White House wants to give the CIA and Department of Defense the right to subpoena records about ordinary Americans here in America. They actually want to give the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense the right to spy on Americans in America! Have these people never heard of Posse Comitatus? Have they not read the executive orders forbidding CIA domestic operations against Americans?

I'm furious, completely furious, that the FBI can subpoena records of my interactions with various companies without so much as a court order. I'm livid, absolutely livid, that the White House still wants to develop the Total Information Awareness

I'm beside myself that the United States has become a nation where the news media censors itself to the point of deleting news!

I can't imagine that we live in a country — our United States! — where people routinely e-mail me asking me if I feel safe writing what I say. I'm absolutely ashamed that members of my family have to ask me if I'm worried that the Government will come after me. I'm furious that my relatives, friends and readers ask if I'm worried of tax audits — or worse — as retaliation for what I write here on Warblogging.

I'm absolutely, positively furious that my government wants the right to declare me a "foreign power" and "terrorist" and arrest me based on "secret evidence". I can't believe that they then want the right to hold me in solitary confinement in a military prison for the rest of my life as an enemy of the state! They want the right to strip me of my citizenship at their say-so to accomplish this neatly, without the interference of such pesky things as habeas corpus!

I'm furious that my country — even as it oppresses and strangles its citizens and allies itself with evil dictatorships that torture and execute people for exercising their religious beliefs — engages in aggressive "wars of liberation". I'm furious that my armed forces open fire on demonstrators in a foreign country that has been placed under our imperial thumb. I'm furious that the Department of Defense announces that we will be establishing massive military bases in Iraq before even a provisional Iraqi government can be established to so much as rubber stamp such an arrangement.

I'm furious that my President appears on the USS Abraham Lincoln in a military uniform to address the troops and announce combat in Iraq "over". I challenge him to tell that to the people of Fallujah, who have been massacred in the streets of their city! That aside, I'm trying to think of the last time I saw a "president" in military uniform. I can think of three in particular: Saddam Hussein, Pervez Musharraf and Manuel Noriega.

I'm furious that my President told me and the rest of the world that Iraq had WMD and that we knew that for a fact but that now his minions tell us that we're unlikely to find WMD at any site "suspected of having them before the war." I'm furious that they told us they had evidence and intelligence, and some of us trusted them, but that their evidence and intelligence repeatedly failed to pan out when given to UN weapons inspectors and even "exploitation teams" of the US Army currently operating in Iraq.

I've been ranting for quite a while now. I'm angry. I'm very angry. Perhaps most of all I'm angry that President Bush plans to exploit the memory of September 11 by spending the month of September traveling between campaign events and memorial services for people who died on that fateful day. He's been exploiting that tragedy for all it's worth since it happened, and it doesn't just make me angry — it makes me cry.

I was in New York City when the World Trade Center was hit. I woke up to a friend telling me that one tower had collapsed, that the Pentagon was on fire and that there was a car bomb at the State Department. I woke up and smelled the stench of death. I inhaled people's ashes. I inhaled the ground up concrete and steel for weeks. I hacked up phlegm impregnated with the cremated remains of people I would never know for weeks upon weeks. I watched the second tower fall from a New York CityUnion Square mourning with my fellow New Yorkers. I spent months upon months upon months walking by photographs of the missing.

President Bush is exploiting our national grief. He is using our grief to oppress Americans in the worst way since Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act. He is using our grief to convince us to become "conquer monkeys" as Garry Trudeau put it. Now he plans to exploit September 11 to get himself reelected. And I think it will work. (Anyone remember what happened? I was curled up in the fetal position at the time... --DN)

We live in a country that no longer respects civil liberties or the rule of law. We live in a country where police officers say "Yes, we have every right. You are being held under the Patriot Act following suspicion under an internal Homeland Security investigation." We live in a country where they react to a request for an attorney like such:

When I asked to speak to a lawyer, the INS official informed me that I do have the right to a lawyer but I would have to be brought down to the station and await security clearance before being granted one. When I asked how long that would take, he replied with a coy smile: "Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe a month."

We live in a country that celebrates Loyalty Day for God's sake!

We live in a country where the Internal Revenue Service announces a crackdown on poor families who may or may not be improperly claiming the benefit of the Earned Income Tax Credit even as they announce that they will be weakening investigations of corporate tax evaders due to budget issues.

I'm furious that the President that President Bush and his staff of neoconservatives most admire is Woodrow Wilson — the man who outlawed dissent with his Sedition Act of 1918 that outlawed:

Uttering, printing, writing, or publishing any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language intended to cause contempt, scorn, as regards the form of government of the United States or Constitution, or the flag or the uniform of the Army or Navy, urging any curtailment of the war with intent to hinder its prosecution; advocating, teaching, defending, or acts supporting or favoring the cause of any country at war with the United States, or opposing the cause of the United States. program — a program designed to spy on every aspect of every American's life. roof. I spent weeks in

What does this all add up to? I see only one pattern here: fascism.

Do you in the White House and in Congress hear me? How about you guys in the Department of Defense and the FBI? In the US Courts system? In the INS and in Homeland Security? I know you read Warblogging. I know you're reading this. What do you think of what I say here? Do you dare try to defend your policies, your lies and your oppression? I invite you to post comments! You've been lurkers for too long! Come forward, show yourselves, defend yourselves!

You should be ashamed of yourselves! Your actions cast a pall over this great nation. Your actions are forcing our founding fathers to turn over in the graves, over and over again. Your actions are a betrayal — a stab in the back. The great Americans who fought and died defending freedom in World War II — did they die in vain? Did they die on the beaches of Normandy and in the forests of the Bulge and in the streets of Nice only to see America turn against itself?

What can we do about it? I honestly don't know. I have three thoughts:

First, I think that it's possible that we can suddenly gain an awareness, as a country, as a nation, of what's happening and fight against it. We can fight against President Bush and his neoconservative cronies and throw him out of the White House in disgrace. This is, of course, my preferred scenario — but I don't think it's very realistic. (Oh, George, ye of little faith. Have you checked the polls lately? The Lilliputians seem to be waking up. Quick - bring the ropes! ... --DN)

Second, I think that we can continue on the road we're on until things get so bad that even the apolitical people living in Des Moines must wake up and take notice — that things will get so bad that, like in South America, everyone will know one of the "disappeared". Maybe at this point we will strike back as a nation and throw these crooks and oppressors out of the White House. (See comment above --DN)

The third possibility is that the productive, intelligent members of our society who recognize what's going on will pick up and move. I've already received e-mail from at least half a dozen Americans who have done just this — they're now living in various European countries, in Canada and in New Zealand.

I just can't imagine that this country that I love so much — precisely because I've always considered it free, because I've always thought it was "the worst country in the world except all the others" — is doing all of this. I feel like a German in 1934. What do I do? I don't know what to do, but I am determined not to stand idly by as the country I love is destroyed systematically by a power-mad pseudo-dictator.

I apologize that I haven't provided hypertext links throughout this rant — I wrote it relatively quickly and it would take me hours upon hours to go through and link everything that should be linked. Please make good use of Google, the Warblogging search engine and the comments feature of this site to share information about the subjects I've talked about.Thank you for understanding.

Posted by George Paine Comments (266) TrackBack (15) --Unfortunately, those links are dead... --DN

Warblogging is taking a break. Thanks to everyone who came, everyone who stayed, and everyone who cared.

The archives remain. When the energies return, maybe I will too. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Guest Op-ed: "Your Bank Account, Your Liberties"

By George Paine

(Note: this op-ed was previously published in a longer form on January 2 at

On New Year's Eve, my debit and ATM card stopped functioning. When I got in touch with my bank the following Saturday I was told that it was disabled due to "possible fraud" and that I would have to visit the bank personally to review my account history and certify that no fraud occurred before my card could be reactivated.

I went to the bank that day and met with my banker, who greeted me by name as I arrived. He pulled up my account on his computer and scrolled through my financial history for the past several months. Together we set out to find anything suspicious. As the pages - the days - rolled by on-screen, I realized that these transactions brought back memories.

I mentioned this to him and he gave me a knowing smile. He began to extrapolate details of my life from the transactions. "So, here, on December 13th, you got a cup of coffee with a friend. Then you guys got some sushi...Is that place good? You took in a show. Had a couple of drinks afterward..."

He was right. That was exactly what I'd done that day. Eventually we got to my Christmas purchases. He asked if someone had liked a particular gift. I said that she did. He gave me a friendly wink.

It struck me then that this man knows where I eat, where I get my coffee, when and where I drink, when and where I travel. He knows where I buy books. He knows what political campaigns I've contributed to, and how much.

After we ruled out fraud, he reactivated my ATM card and I thanked him for the service. It was then that I noticed a small sign on his desk, an advertisement from a banking services company. It was designed to appear as patriotic as possible, right down to the American flag in the background. It read "USA PATRIOT Act compliance by..."

While I don't remember the name of the company that provided the advertisement to my banker, a quick Google search reveals many such companies. One of them is Aquilan, which offers a product called Aquilan Patriot Manager (APM). The APM tagline: "Know Your Customers. 'Red Flag' Suspicious Activity. Prevent Money Laundering."

My time with the banker was innocuous. But the PATRIOT Act requires banks to report any "suspicious activity" to the government. According to the Aquilan website, the complexity of the banking business these days makes correctly identifying such activity "nearly impossible," so banks use software like APM to make the impossible possible. But is it?

APM probably works much the same way as the fraud detection software that prevented me from accessing my own bank account. This means that it's just as likely to be flawed, just as likely to yield false positives. And just as likely to bring the FBI to my door as the fraud detection software was to bring me to the bank.

On December 13th, President Bush signed into law the "Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2004." This bill contains a section that expands the FBI's power to access our bank records, and our interactions with most other businesses, without first obtaining permission from a judge.

No longer can a judge say, "You're on a fishing expedition. You can't see George Paine's banking information."

If this doesn't concern you, it should. Think back to the skeleton or two in your closet. Think about all the information that your bank records share about you.

The Fourth Amendment is written as it is for a reason - to prevent the abuse of power. The Constitution's framers understood that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

If you don't take the threat of abuse seriously, you need look no further than the FBI itself. Take, for example, COINTELPRO, a program conceived "to neutralize political dissidents" by "discrediting and publicly destroying" them.

Or consider the DEA's Kevin Tamez, Associate Special Agent in Charge of the New York office. On December 15th, Tamez was indicted for "illegally obtaining information from law enforcement [databases]" and using it to conduct his own private investigations.

It isn't wise to imagine that your status as a loyal and law-abiding citizen will protect you from having your personal records used against you. Dr. Martin Luther King was a loyal American citizen, yet was a target of COINTELPRO.

When the rubber hits the road things like loyalty and good citizenship don't matter. What matters is whether the people in power have been given the tools to abuse that power. Under PATRIOT and the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2004, they have them.

George Paine is the founder of, a website "providing another voice in the chorus of Americans calling for a balanced and reasonable foreign policy and a domestic policy that respects the United States Constitution and the rule of law." For further details, see

Who knew that this was the sort of nation that our soldiers had fought for?

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