|Clinton’s Post-Impeachment Push for Power
|How Clinton Is Using Kosovo
Bill Clinton is riding high since his “not guilty” verdict and, unfortunately, the Republican Congress is letting him get away with his foreign and domestic grabs for power. Kosovo is much more important to Americans than just pictures on the evening television news about a faraway conflict.
First, it’s a “wag the dog” public relations ploy to involve us in a war in order to divert attention from his personal scandals (only a few of which were addressed in the Senate trial). He is again following the scenario of the “life is truer than fiction” movie Wag the Dog. The very day after his acquittal, Clinton moved quickly to “move on” from the subject of impeachment by announcing threats to bomb and to send U.S. ground troops into the civil war in Kosovo between Serbian authorities and ethnic Albanians fighting for independence. He scheduled Americans to be part of a NATO force under non-American command.
Clinton overrode major concerns of senior Pentagon officials that the Administration has no clear-cut military goals and that the fighting will get bloodier as the weather improves. They believe this will seriously overburden U.S. ground forces already committed to other missions in the Persian Gulf, Bosnia, and Korea.
The claim that our expedition into Kosovo is to guard a “peace settlement” is another Clinton lie because there is no peace to keep, there is no hope that our involvement can eliminate the causes of the conflict, and there are even questions about who is at fault in the civil war. Clinton’s Kosovo war will, like Bosnia (where we still have 6,900 U.S. troops), become a permanent, no-exit, costly U.S. project, and it could even degenerate into a Somalia-type fiasco. Clinton’s statements about Kosovo are no more to be trusted than anything else he says.
Second, by putting U.S. troops in Kosovo, Clinton is provoking terrorist attacks by Islamic radicals connected to Saudi renegade Osama bin Laden, who has declared a worldwide war on Americans. Fanatics bent on jihad against the “Great Satan” United States could hardly ask for a more tempting target than Americans deployed close to terrorist bases in northern Albania.
Even more dangerous, entering the Kosovo war may provoke terrorist retaliation within the United States. It’s not only our U.S. troops who will be put in mortal danger. Bin Laden has stated unequivocally that all Americans, including “those who pay taxes,” are targets. At a recent Senate hearing, CIA Director George Tenet warned against the danger of a stepped-up terrorist campaign, saying, “There is not the slightest doubt that Osama bin Laden, his worldwide allies, and his sympathizers are planning further attacks against us.”
Clinton’s reckless meddling in Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Sudan, and Iraq exposes Americans to retaliation from terrorists regardless of whether he achieves any phony “peace” or actually sends in troops.
Clinton predicted on January 22 that it is “highly likely” that a terrorist group will attack on American soil within the next few years. He is using this risk as the excuse to create a Domestic Terrorism Team headed by a military “commander in chief,” with a $2.8 billion budget. We should not underestimate the deceit and deviousness of Clinton’s plans to use aggressive presidential actions to wipe out public memory of his impeachment trial.
Clinton has already issued a Presidential Decision Directive to authorize military intervention against terrorism on our own soil. Secretary of Defense William Cohen said in an Army Times interview that “Terrorism is escalating to the point that Americans soon may have to choose between civil liberties and more intrusive means of protection.”
Deputy Secretary of Defense John Hamre has been floating the idea of designating a unit of U.S. troops as a Homelands Defense Command to take charge in case of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Hamre argues that the military’s role should be formalized under a four-star general, and he has even speculated about creating a bi-national command with Canada called the “Atlantic Command.”
The far-reaching nature of the plans being discussed within the Clinton Administration is indicated in the Autumn 1997 Parameters, the scholarly publication of the Army War College. The article predicts that “the growing prospect of terrorism in our own country . . . will almost inevitably trigger an intervention by the military.” The article casually adds, “legal niceties or strict construction of prohibited conduct will be a minor concern.”
The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is supposed to protect us against a President using the Army to enforce the law against civilians. The spectacle of the military patrolling the streets of U.S. cities is something that should happen only in totalitarian countries and in movies like The Siege.
Later laws, however, have carved out a number of exceptions. The 1984 Stafford Disaster Relief Act authorizes the President, after proclaiming a state of emergency, to send active-duty soldiers to respond to a crisis and serve under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On June 3, 1994, Clinton issued Executive Order 12919 entitled National Defense Industrial Resources Preparedness. It invests FEMA with plenary and dictatorial authority over communications, energy, food, transportation, health, housing, and other resources.
Our recent experiences with law enforcement by the U.S. military show the dangers. When U.S. Army tanks stormed the Branch Davidian compound in Waco in 1993, scores of innocent people were killed, and when the Marines patrolled the Texas border in 1997, an 18-year-old goat herder was shot and killed.
Third, Kosovo provides a wonderful excuse to demand more spending for the military and to con the Republican Congress into approving billions of new tax dollars for what is called “defense” spending but, under Clinton, is really war spending. The Kosovo expedition will be expensive like Bosnia, which has already cost the United States $8 billion, and current costs are running at another $2 billion a year.
Instead of giving the American people the tax cuts we deserve, Congress will piously claim they are increasing “defense” spending — but the money won’t go for defense or for the anti-missile system we need to protect our people against the 13 Communist Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles whose accuracy was enhanced by Clinton’s treacherous China policy. The “defense” spending will go for wars in Kosovo and Bosnia and any place else Clinton sends U.S. troops.
Fourth, Clinton’s Kosovo foray will take America another large step into what he called the “web of institutions and arrangements” for the “new global era.” Clinton and his chief foreign policy gurus, Strobe (“global nation”) Talbott and Madeleine (“why have a military if we can’t use it”) Albright are determined to use American troops as global policemen and global social workers all over the world.
As far back as Clinton’s issuance of Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD 25) in 1994, Clinton has been asserting his power to assign U.S. troops to serve under foreign command. The Washington Post reported on January 30 that “senior Pentagon officials [Clinton’s appointees, of course] for the first time said they would be willing to place U.S. troops under foreign command” in Kosovo.
Where is the outrage from Republican leaders? The 1996 Republican Platform promised that “Republicans will not subordinate United States sovereignty to any international authority. We oppose the commitment of American troops to U.N. ‘peacekeeping’ operations under foreign commanders.”
Even the overpublicized 1994 “Contract With America” promised that “We would prohibit the Defense Department from taking part in military operations that place U.S. troops under foreign command.” So, where are the words of protest we have a right to expect from the many Members of Congress who signed that Contract? Except from a few patriots such as Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), we hear a deafening silence.
Unfortunately, some establishment Republicans are compromised because they are making money from foreign governments through lobbying or speechmaking or financial deals. They are giving Clinton a veneer of “bipartisanship” for his expensive interventionist escapades.
Fifth, the Kosovo escapade is another Clinton test of Congress and the American people to see if they will let him get by with such a patently dictatorial, unconstitutional action. Events in Kosovo are absolutely no threat to U.S. national security. The Clinton Administration pretends to fear that the Kosovo conflict could spread if we don’t intervene. When asked on the Lehrer NewsHour on February 23 where he was afraid it would spread to, Clinton’s National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said Albania and Bosnia — which, of course, are just as remote as Kosovo. It is far more likely that U.S. intervention will cause any spread in the conflict, not prevent it.
Not only is there nothing in the U.S. Constitution to justify U.S. intervention in Kosovo, there is also nothing in the NATO Charter to justify it. NATO action in Kosovo is a radical departure from anything NATO has done in the past or has ever been authorized to do. Kosovo is outside of NATO’s own territorial domain, and by its threats of air strikes and ground troops, NATO is breaching the territory of a sovereign nation.
Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo validates the position of Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) and others who opposed the ratification of the NATO Expansion Treaty last year. That treaty purported to be merely a promise to go to war to defend the borders of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, but it was actually a mechanism to entrap the United States into sending our service personnel, under foreign commanders, to answer 911 calls to break up domestic brawls in any foreign country. Clinton is threatening to bomb the Serbs, not because they have invaded another country, but because they refuse to accept a U.S.-crafted agreement enforced by NATO troops.
Every now and then, some Americans voice the hope that, if these conflicts are a bother to Europe, European countries should take over the task of dealing with them. But Europeans, who are busy trying to make the euro replace the dollar as the world’s premier currency, continue to expect American mercenaries to do our duty as their policemen.
Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo cannot possibly solve the problem there any more than our years in Bosnia have solved that problem. Americans simply are not capable of erasing ethnic enmities that have festered for centuries. The Serbs consider Kosovo part of their country because it is the cradle of their culture and Orthodox Christian religion. The ethnic Albanians, who are mostly Muslims, want independence from Serb control, institutions and language.
If Republicans allow Clinton to go ahead with his unconstitutional, costly, foolish and dangerous expedition to Kosovo, where we have no national security interest, they are forfeiting any claim to lead America. This issue should be a litmus test for all candidates for President. The big issue that will divide them is, Do they stand for American national security interests, or do they stand with Clinton in his foolish interventionist policies?
Presidential candidates would do well to listen to the advice of President John Quincy Adams, who as Secretary of State in 1821 rejected the request for U.S. intervention in support of Greek independence. America, said Adams, “is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
Clinton’s Grab for our Bank Accounts
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton’s plan to use the Federal Government to encroach on our personal liberties and monitor our private actions has been steadily advancing on the home front. On December 7, 1998, the once-friendly Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) proposed a revolutionary regulation called “Know Your Customer” (KYC). This is Clinton’s stealth plan to monitor every American’s personal bank account.
Here is how Know Your Customer is projected to function. All banks will be required to determine each customer’s sources of funds; determine each customer’s normal and expected bank transactions; computerize a financial profile on every customer’s deposits and withdrawals; and report transactions “inconsistent” with the expected pattern to the federal gestapo.
KYC will require every bank to maintain a computer record of the amounts you normally deposit each month and the sources of the money (e.g., your weekly paycheck, your Social Security, your stock dividends) and the amounts you normally withdraw each month (e.g., rent or mortgage, automobile payment, food, utilities, credit card payment, cash for pocket money).
If you deviate significantly from this pattern (such as by earning some extra money or buying or selling a car), the KYC snoops in your local bank will forward your “suspicious” transactions to a huge database in Detroit called the Suspicious Activity Reporting System, which is administered by FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) and shared with a dozen other government agencies.
The Clinton Administration’s stealth plan to monitor everyone’s personal bank account, fortunately, has hit a bump in the road. As of this writing, the number of public comments received by the FDIC stands at 110,000 against the controversial Know Your Customer regulation and only 18 in favor. The KYC regulation was simultaneously announced by the Federal Reserve System, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the Comptroller of the Currency as well as the FDIC (which proves that KYC was a well-orchestrated Clinton Administration plan), but those other agencies have not revealed how many negative comments they have received.
About 93% of the critical comments received by the FDIC came from individuals, not banks. The large number from individuals proves the new power of the Internet (including Eagle Forum’s website and e-mail) to alert the grassroots to Clinton’s privacy-invading maneuvers. Some bankers have spoken out against KYC. John Stafford, a spokesman for the California Bankers Association, charged that KYC is both intrusive and cumbersome and really means “Invade your customers’ privacy.” John Ehrensperger of Atlanta’s Sun Trust Bank commented, “It turns us into surveillance agents for the government.”
The small number of complaints from bankers reflects the fact that the American Bankers Association originally endorsed KYC and may have helped to draft it. The biggest banks are happy to use a federal regulation as “cover” for computerizing nosy details about their customers because that information is so valuable for marketing purposes. Under current federal law, a bank may sell or transfer any information it acquires about its customers to a third party, such as a direct marketer or another financial institution, without notifying the customer. Your bank can disclose your account balances, certificate of deposit maturity dates and balances, and information about checks written or deposited into your account.
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) has introduced S.187, the Financial Information Privacy Act, to require banks to tell their customers what data it sells or shares, to whom and for what purposes, and to give its customers the right to “opt out.” That’s good as far as it goes, but we also need legislation to stop the banks from giving such information to the government.
Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) has introduced the American Financial Institutions Privacy Act to block implementation of the Know Your Customer regulations. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has introduced the Financial Privacy Protection Package to do likewise, and to sunset the Bank Secrecy Act that has encouraged such overreaching regulations, and to allow Americans to see their own FinCEN files (similar to laws that allow us to see our own FBI and credit bureau files).
Where is this leading us? The stakes for Americans are clearly defined in a timely new book called The End of Money and the Struggle for Financial Privacy by Richard W. Rahn, Ph.D., nationally known economist and now a senior fellow with the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. Describing how the new technologies are making rapid and dramatic changes in our lifestyle, he poses the question of whether this will bring us more freedom or less. The answer depends on whether or not we permit Big Government to conspire with Big Business to monitor not only all our financial transactions, but also our ordinary daily activities. The Big Government advocates are trying to claim that individual control over technological innovation is “suspect” and a threat to law enforcement.
The major excuse for Clinton’s assault on our financial privacy is “money laundering,” most of which comes from the illegal drug trade. But attempts to stop drug use by chasing money launderers have been a costly and spectacular failure; they catch only a few small dealers rather than drug kingpins, and they are a gross invasion of the privacy of law-abiding Americans. In fact, the government averages less than 100 money laundering convictions per year, few of which even involve drug kingpins.
The threat of terrorism is another Clinton excuse for anti-privacy regulations, but there is no evidence that any significant terrorist was ever deterred by the money-laundering cops. The billions of dollars wasted in pursuing money laundering has merely increased the power of the politicians to monitor our lives and increased the number of busybody bureaucrats with a vested interest in retaining useless jobs.
Hitler and Stalin gave us the model of how tyranny takes over and maintains itself. Pass so many laws that everyone is a potential criminal, and then law enforcement can be arbitrary, selective, and very political. That’s why the Clinton Administration has pushed the creation of hundreds of new federal crimes by legislation and thousands more by federal regulations. Any act of dishonesty in which a mailed item, a telephone call, or a bank deposit plays a role is now a federal crime.
We don’t trust the Clinton Administration to have the kind of information about our personal lives that the KYC regulation would provide. Even if the FDIC says that it is withdrawing KYC in the face of a mountain of adverse public comment, that’s not good enough because the Clinton Regulators will connive to achieve the same goal incrementally. Congress should pass a law specifically prohibiting Know Your Customer.
Power Grab through Executive Order
Bill Clinton has unleashed a blizzard of Executive Orders to grab new powers for the executive branch, make broad public policy changes, and even restructure our governmental system. Executive Orders have a proper place in federal rulemaking and in implementing the routine business of the executive departments. But Clinton has discovered that Presidential Executive Orders function in a Never Never Land of almost unlimited power, and he is pressing the envelope to move his agenda, both domestic and foreign.
Clinton advanced three of his favorite goals when he issued Executive Order (EO) 13107 on December 10. He increased executive branch authority, he moved America closer into the “web” of treaties, which he promised in his address to the United Nations on September 22, 1997, and he rewarded the feminists who are stood by him in his impeachment trial.
EO 13107, entitled Implementation of Human Rights Treaties, sets up an Interagency Working Group, with representatives from major federal departments, to implement our alleged “obligations” under the many United Nations treaties on human rights “to which the United States is now or may become a party in the future.”
Clinton’s impudence in presuming to implement treaties that the Senate has refused to ratify is characteristic. Congress had to pass legislation last year to forbid him from using funds to implement the Global Warming Treaty, which the Senate won’t ratify.
Bill Clinton has almost two more years as President. Congress and the American people must call a halt to his unprecedented and unconstitutional grab for new executive-branch powers through phony “peacekeeping” expeditions, using the Army for domestic law enforcement, monitoring our bank accounts and cell phone whereabouts, building databases of our medical records, and issuing power-grabbing Executive Orders. Our freedom and independence are at stake.