L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 77, June 19, 2000
Letters To The Editor
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Dear Mr. Smith:
I have been reading your fiction, and your Lever Action essays and articles in The Libertarian Enterprise for some time now, and I have found them to be both entertaining and informative. I recently had chance to read The Probability Broach, and it was excellent. I haven't had a chance yet to read The Mitzvah, but it's something I'm looking forward to doing. Keep up the good work.
Aside from your staunch and much appreciated support for the Second Amendment, I have been particularly interested in your concept of Bill of Rights enforcement, and have devoted much thought as to how it could be put into effect. Considering the apparent lack of interest and occasional (and appalling) resistance the idea has met with in some circles, I believe I have an idea to get things started in a big way, and get the public used to the idea of locking up corrupt politicians through their own efforts. It also should have a noticeable impact on the problem of police and political corruption in general. It is something which I feel will delight lovers of freedom everywhere and leave tyrants and their lackeys beeping and squeaking with outrage and horror.
I had the idea about a year ago, from bits and pieces which came together from various sources and observations. I wanted to do something that would be effective in having a chilling effect on the over reaching of power and corruption in public office, but that would be a positive, do it yourself method, much as John Walsh, the head of America's Most Wanted, did after his son Adam was murdered. Another source was when I heard about the civil suit Randy Weaver won in the Ruby Ridge case, and the third was from a psychological warfare operation conducted during the Korean War.
When I heard about the $3 million dollar settlement Randy Weaver and his three daughters received when the Feds "paid the vergeld" in that case, the thought occurred to me that if they had killed one of my relatives and then tried to, in essence, buy their way out of punishment, I would have taken the money and turned in against them, by offering much if not all of it as a standing cash reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
The third part was from a psyop conducted during the Korean War known as Operation Moolah. This was a program offering political asylum and $150,000 cash to any MiG-15 pilot who defected and brought his fighter with him. This highly successful program not only let us get a close up look at Russia's newest jet fighter, it had the effect of making the commissars very nervous about whom they handed the keys to a shiny new MiG to, from fear that even the most trusted cadre might "vote with his throttle" for a new life in the decadent west. (For an overview of this program, you can read Chuck Yeager's autobiography, as he was the test pilot who flew the newly acquired MiG.) I recall Soldier Of Fortune magazine doing the same thing during the Nicaraguan war with a similar offer of a million in gold for any Sandinista Hind helicopter pilot who defected. Even though no one took the offer, it had a chilling effect on the Sandinista's use of their Hinds near border areas.
Therefore, I hit upon the idea of setting up a tax free foundation, perhaps even a number of them, which we can call it the "Just Rewards Foundation" for now, which would take public donations and offer it up as standing cash rewards for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of any elected or appointed official on any felony.
This idea takes advantage of the most prominent fact about corrupt cops and politicians, which is that they are corrupt. Based on the notion there's no honor among thieves, it strikes at the main thing that holds the "Blue Wall of Silence" and its political counterpart together by making them afraid to trust one another. The idea is to create a major chilling effect on the activities of corrupt officials by creating a situation where they cannot trust anyone around them to enlist them in any kind of criminal scheme for fear their partner, or one of their aides, or staffers, or secretaries, or even their wife or kids, are spying on them to turn them in, or that maybe the person approaching them is merely setting them up for the reward.
The trick to making this work is two-pronged: first, to ensure the total anonymity of the informants, so they will feel safe from reprisal; and second, to place such huge rewards on their heads they will be tempted to turn themselves in for the reward. In fact,we could offer a 20% bonus if they do. The rewards will also serve to give financial support to genuine whistle blowers, who are often subject to considerable financial hardships by the system for their actions, and who often never regain what they had prior to standing up for what's right.
On the first point, it would be necessary to work out a system using attorneys as intermediaries (where one attorney is hired to hire another attorney, and that one perhaps another one, so their client's identity would be privileged information), and to set up a website where tipsters could get the information on how to do this anonymously, for example by logging on from the public library. (We can also include on the website a list of things it's illegal for government officials to do; I recall reading a piece by Charles Curley on joke laws that were never enforced that listed such very interesting things it's unlawful for Congressmen to do, things they probably do every day. We can call it "Things You Never Knew It Was Illegal For Your Congressman To Do But No One Ever Told About Before" or some such; it'll give people an idea of things to watch out for, and into this we can work a listing of things that will provide for Bill of Rights enforcement.) The payment of rewards should probably be done through offshore numbered accounts; in fact, I would suggest that all funds be handled by a legally separate foundation overseas, with the domestic foundation acting merely as an information clearing house which collects the information and passes it on to the authorities, and gives the okay for payments of rewards.
Now, since the public officials most likely to object to this are, by definition, criminals, and ones with access to all the methods and resources of police espionage at their disposal and a cloak of law at that (as once it begins to be effective, they will go after the group well before they themselves have been fingered by it), it will be necessary for the foundation to take stringent security measures. Given that the IRS and other agencies will be used to target the foundation for "investigation" so they can snoop through all its records, placing the money part of the operation overseas will help shield it from their reach. The most obvious counter-intelligence methods that come to mind is that they will attempt to place confidential informants and agents provocateur among the foundation's staff, both for gathering information and to attempt to discredit the foundation by causing someone to be falsely convicted or by causing the mishandling of donations.
This can be minimized by, first, careful selection of the persons who will initially head the operation. After the first chosen few are recruited to start the ball rolling, all further personnel who will be in any position of authority and responsibility must be brought in by invitation only; no one who volunteers to join must be accepted.
Second, all such persons who are invited must have had a close relative who was murdered by the police (not merely "killed by an officer in the line of duty", but murdered). This will severely hinder such placement of CI's, but won't guarantee it, as some of them would not blink at killing someone, even one of their own relatives, to remove the thorn in their side I hope the foundation will become.
Third, all such invitees will have to pass a rigorous background investigation. I know that checking into public records will avail little in this regard, as those criminals attempting to shut down the foundation will have access to those records, so that any such check will be merely pro forma, but it will be more difficult for them to fake extensive interviews with a large number of persons who are reputed to have known the prospect in their past.
Fourth, each invitee will have to undergo a detailed orientation course to instill in them an awareness of the police espionage threat the foundation will face once it begins to send notable public figures to prison. This will include instructions on the necessity of changing their lifestyle to eliminate anything which could give any criminals invested with police powers a pretext for arrest, and the leverage of prosecution as a tool to compel betrayal. As Sun Tzu said, "A wise general places himself beyond the possibility of defeat, and does not miss the opportunity to defeat the enemy." This will mean they and their families will have to give up any bad habits, such as drug usage, etc., that could be used to compromise them. This will not prevent them from being framed, but it will ensure that any such attempt will be bogus, and there will be things they can do to minimize the chances of success of such an attempt.
Also, the foundation must be prepared to give full legal aid in such a case, as this will help them to resist the extreme pressure to cut a deal. The key to making the organization secure against such human intelligence efforts is: no exceptions. Even the janitors who will clean the part of the building used for all decision making and money handling matters will have to meet these standards. I envision the foundation will have four levels of membership: a general membership open to anyone for contributors who will receive a newsletter or magazine, etc.; a reserved membership for celebrities, etc., who will support the cause; a operational level membership for persons involved in the day-to-day running of the operational, but who will have no access to reward funding, incoming tips, or decision-making procedures, not even to access to those parts of the building; and the controlling members who are carefully chosen and groomed to run the organization.
There will then be a legally separate foundation overseas which will be run along similar lines, which will actually handle the reward funding involved, in such a way that the U.S. government can't get its sticky, clammy fingers of the money or trace it to the person who ratted out some crooked wardheeler or bent flatfoot. There are numerous other questions to resolve in effecting this idea, but I think you have the general idea.
I have drawn up a tentative reward scale with the amount based on the size of the fish:
Official Amount of Reward Any beat cop, deputy, or state trooper $50,000 Any administrative level cop $75,000 Police chiefs, commissioners, or sheriffs $80,000 Any elected/appointed city/count official $100,000 Mayors/judges/DA's (<100,000 pop. cities) $150,000 Mayors/judges/DA's (>100,000 pop. cities) $200,000 Elected/appointed state officials $250,000 State legislators/judges $500,000 Cabinet level state officials/lt. governors $750,000 Governors/state supreme court justices $1,000,000 Any armed federal law enforcement officer $1,000,000 Any federal agency bureaucrat $1,500,000 Federal judges $2,000,000 Federal appellate court judges $5,000,000 Congressmen of either house $10,000,000 Cabinet level bureaucrats/V.P.'s $20,000,000 Supreme court justices $50,000,000 Any living president $100,000,000
Once we're established, we can also, when it would be appropriate, offer special rewards for information leading to the solving of particular crimes, such as Waco, for instance, just to see what we can shake loose. If the ATF agents there were willing to let other agents walk into an "ambush" over a $200 tax matter, it would be interesting to see what might happen if someone offered up, say, $10 million to encourage someone to rat out the others. If what I just read in The Libertarian Enterprise's special May 1, 2000, issue about the death of the FLIR expert is true, and someone is attempting to silence those who could spill the beans, it might lead to some very interesting disclosures by someone fearing they might be "sanitized" over what they know. (In fact, this angle could be playing up very effectively.) At very the least, the stress of having such a price on their head might give them ulcers.
Of course, these rewards are only for a conviction on any old felony; if there are "Special Circumstances", the rewards will go up accordingly. If it involves a property forfeiture crime for which their assets are seized, the rewards will double; if there's a mandatory minimum sentence for which they will not have the possibility of parole, the rewards will triple; if they receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole, the rewards will quintuple; and if they are executed, we'll pay out ten times as much. This would mean paying out as much as a billion dollars for information that sends a president to the gas chamber, but frankly, I think it would be worth it.
Now, the problem of where to get this much money has probably occurred to you, and to me as well, as I figure it will take perhaps one to two billion dollars to do this right, but I think there are some likely sources of funding available. First of all, to get the initial seed money required, there are a large number of persons who win multimillion dollars civil suits against government agencies every year, many of them for serious civil rights violations for which the criminally culpable perpetrators walk free. These persons might be very willing to make substantial donations to an effort to bring their victimizers to justice. Likewise, there are a number of civil rights groups, and other organizations such as Rolling Thunder, with large memberships who might be interested in supporting such a cause. Then there are firms that have been screwed over by the government in one way or another: I suspect the tobacco companies alone might be willing to toss in a billion or two just for sentimental reasons.
Nor need our fund raising efforts be limited to the United States alone, either. There enough people overseas who have been bombed by the U.S. recently that they might be eager to contribute to such a noble cause, especially if their cousin Jamal was one of the ones who, due to our Fearless Leader's chronic inability to tell the difference between a postcard and a cruise missile when he wants to "send a message", got a Tomahawk fired up his ass after he "volunteered" for service in some raghead army to keep from getting shot for draft dodging (you'd be amazed how much having a relative blown to smithereens can piss some people off). Taking contributions from overseas can even be presented in a very good light, as it gives such victims a productive, positive, non-violent way to vent their frustrations and effect political reform in America without resorting to terrorism.
Also, adding an international dimension to the program has another added benefit, as well. Most of the intelligence agencies of the former eastern bloc countries, such as the former Soviet Union, probably have files on most of our political leaders at least an inch or two thick: the Just Rewards Foundation will give all those starving former KGB agents a chance to turn those dusty old files into cold, hard cash if they contain information on any indictable offenses on the part of U.S. officials. Just imagine some of the things the Chinese might have on the current administration!
I would be happy to hear your comments on this idea, and if you have any ideas of your own, feel free to share them. While I don't have any good idea at present as to who should be chosen to start such a foundation, I feel it is something well worth looking into. The powers that be are fond of setting up snitch programs to encourage people to spy on each other and turn each other in for things no sane or moral person would consider to be a crime, so it will be fitting to turn the tables on them for a change. Setting up a system to feed them into the maw of their own beast may prove to be one of the most effective ways of forcing change in the system.
And it will be a lot of fun, anyway.
I have had a hunch for some time that the Republican Party has been working to get rid of some of its traditional constituencies, that are troublesome to the party by being ideological, or at least, committed. This transcends the familiar "moderates versus right-wing" battle made familiar by pundits. The true power-center of either party recognizes that state power is the ultimate goal, and an end unto itself.
Ideology, whether of left or right, is the only thing other than economics that breeds challenges to state power, and economics can be bought off or easily discredited as "greed," when necessary. Established political parties tolerate ideological rhetoric to the extent that it is necessary to keep self-important local committee-people stuffing envelopes, but it must be kept in check if the goals of the power-elite are to be obtained.
Certainly gun rights advocates are a constituency that has slowly been eased toward the door. I had my first suspicion of that in 1989, when Lee Atwater made his famous "We don't NEED to talk to gun owners -- the election's over" statement. That suspicion was further confirmed when the federal assault rifle ban passed by a hair -- and then, when the Republicans gained a solid majority in the congress, they somehow could not muster enough interest to repeal it -- or even promise to and then fail, as they did with the rest of their non-revolution.
Ideological rhetoric had run up against the reality of maintaining the tools of power, and, surprise, surprise, power won. It was clear that the anti-gun votes on the Republican side of the aisle had been carefully choreographed to allow a gradual withdrawal from pro-gun rhetoric, while still garnering gun owner votes, until the day came when that constituency has either been completely marginalized by propaganda, or shifted in its focus. Here in the year 2000 we find the propaganda war making extraordinary strides, while much of the pro-gun constituency is being neatly transferred from interest in their rights, to interest in advancing the Republicans' long established anti-civil-liberties agenda -- in the name of "getting tough on crime."
There certainly are other constituencies -- without debating the issue, per se, certainly the pro-life camp is one. Until power itself is absolute, the striving for power cannot tolerate the existence of any other absolutes, and absolutists become a greater threat as the true goal of the power-elite is approached. They must be marginalized and taken out of the political picture.
I think the past two weeks have shown a very neat demonstration of the disposal of a minor and until now mostly ignored political constituency -- the Cuban-American community. Certainly they have that characteristic most troublesome to the power-elite -- solidarity and singleness of purpose that is almost immune to penetration. This has manifested itself as "disproportionate political power," we are told by pundits, who find unacceptable any belief system that cannot be shaken in less than ten minutes by Peter Jennings.
Please understand that this is not a debate of the issues of the Elian affair, in any way. It is an observation that a constituency that did exercise political influence via unswerving solidarity, has curiously become an object of nationwide excoriation, with none of their past political support coming to their public defense. Within the past week a local vanity Op/Ed writer was motivated to write a long column on "They come to this country you'd at least think they would respect our Authority." I wondered first whether the author considered that some of "They" may have been American citizens longer than he had been alive; but next I wondered, why is this fellow who is normally more concerned with moralizing over topless bars and school boards suddenly motivated to compose an attack on the Cuban-American community? Could it be that he is responding to the Three-Minutes-Hate that has been subliminally issuing from our mainstream media for over a week now?
The Cuban-Americans' "crime" was not just their intransigence on the Elian issue. It was their intransigence in HAVING issues from which they could not be deflected -- of making demands of congressmen and other legislators, not forgetting when promises weren't kept and goals weren't achieved, and not allowing themselves to be deflected to alternative issues. The Elian issue offered an opportunity for the power-elite of both political parties to put their propaganda machines in gear to marginalize and hopefully eliminate from the political scene a troublesome constituency they all wish they had never inherited.
All ideological constituencies should watch and learn. You all will get your turn.
Andy Barniskis firstname.lastname@example.org
To whoever may be interested:
While I cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the issues raised by Jacob Hornberger in his recent postings (regarding the LPUS, the Browne campaign, and certain individuals) are completely true in every instance and in every detail, I can state the following:
1. A number of the things he has said are, to my personal knowledge, quite true. I had been prepared to bring some of it out on the C-SPAN telecast of the "presidential debate" at the 1996 convention, but decided to hold back. In reflective moments, I have at times regretted that decision.
2. I think it is time, and past time, that these issues were brought to light in a more effective way than has been attempted before. When people have tried to get some of these issues discussed and resolved in the past, they've been dismissed, ignored and/or suppressed, and in some cases attacked personally and viciously. It's a pattern that has gone on for too long, and it is an unhealthy emulation of the very institutions that libertarians claim to abhor.
3. A number of additonal things Mr. Hornberger (or others) might have said, have so far been left unsaid. In addition to that, according to people with whom I have corresponded, Hornberger has understated some of it. Whether that is because he feels he has insufficient documentation of the evidence, I don't know.
4. A key point is that I can prove nothing he has said to be false -- and neither, apparently, can those who have been the objects of his exercise. They have made no substantive reply to the specific issues, but have instead resorted to their standard formulae of denial, misdirection and casting aspersions on the messenger without really addressing the message in an honest way.
What has been brought home to me most clearly over the past several years, and what is most disheartening, is the fundamental dishonesty which is accepted, condoned, and even directly participated in by some people who hold themselves out as Libertarians, and even as Libertarian "leaders."
The LPUS has shown us all that "Steiger's Law" holds true for them as much as for anyone else. The structure has indeed become more important than the mission (to those who run the structure).