tatjna (tatjna) wrote,
tatjna
tatjna

Anyone remember the Time Bandits?

Most of you will have heard of John Titor. For those of you that haven't, read this. In a nutshell, John Titor claimed to be a time traveller from 2036, was very convincing and made lots of predictions about how the next few years will go in the United States.

One of the things he predicted was a civil war, starting in 2005 with a Waco-type event happening roughly monthly throughout 2004, starting the civil unrest, which flares in November 2004 and leads to the war in 2005.

There is much debate about his predictions, whether he's a hoax or not. There is heated opinion both ways, if you care to look. I decided to take the 'Waco' prediction and have a look back through the year. Now, it's fairly obvious that there haven't been religious groups being blown up by the FBI every month. But, I thought, what about cases of the authorities using unnecessary violence against people for no good reason? Or unconstitutional behaviour by the government? Or violations of human rights such as the right to privacy or free speech? Mainly I have looked at Harpers Weekly, and granted they don't cover absolutely everything. Anyway,



January

Jan 4 - A new program (called the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology system, or US-VISIT) was launched to photograph and fingerprint every foreigner who needs a visa to enter the United States. "The system," said one expert, "seems to presume that most terrorists are fools."

Jan 7 - The United States Transportation Security Administration decreed that passengers may no longer line up to use the toilet on airplanes

Jan 16 - Five military lawyers who represent detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing that President Bush has exceeded his constitutional authority in setting up military tribunals for their clients and the other detainees. "Under this monarchical regime," they wrote, "those who fall into the black hole may not contest the jurisdiction, competency or even the constitutionality of the military tribunals. One hundred seventy-five members of the British parliament, including five former law lords, also filed a brief attacking the administration's detainment policy. "The exercise of executive power without the possibility of judicial review," they wrote, "jeopardizes the keystone of our existence as nations, namely the rule of law. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal challenging the government's post-September 11 policy of secretly seizing and imprisoning Muslim men."

Jan 19 - Newly released documents revealed that the U.S. Census Bureau gave information on millions of Americans to NASA for a study on the feasibility of mining such data to look for potential terrorists.

Jan 27 - It was reported that the U.S. government plans to order airlines to provide background information on all passengers for a new screening system.


February

Feb 8 - President Bush quoted as saying "Saddam Hussein was dangerous with weapons. Saddam Hussein was dangerous with the ability to make weapons," Bush said. "I believe it is essential that when we see a threat, we deal with those threats before they become imminent. It's too late if they become imminent."

Feb 6 - The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force subpoenaed Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, to hand over records concerning an antiwar conference sponsored by the university and the National Lawyers Guild.

Feb 13 - A new poll found that most Americans believe that President Bush lied or knowingly exaggerated evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Feb 13 - Attorney General John Ashcroft defended issuing subpoenas for abortion records and said that the records were necessary to find out whether doctors who have sued to overturn the ban on so-called partial-birth abortions are telling the truth when they say they have performed the procedure out of medical necessity.

Feb 25 - President Bush came out in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.


March

Mar 2 - China issued a report condemning the United States for its human-rights violations and its "military aggression around the world".

Mar 11 - The United States released five British citizens from the camps in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Britain held the men for less than a day before releasing them.

Mar 12 - One of the Britons released from Guantánamo Bay charged that he was tortured physically and psychologically. "After a while, we stopped asking for human rights," he said. "We wanted animal rights".

March 28 - The Supreme Court allowed Louisiana police to search homes without warrants.


April

Apr 1 - The International Court of Justice ruled that U.S. courts must review the death sentences of 51 Mexican citizens whose rights under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations were violated; although international treaties are "the supreme law of the land," according to the U.S. Constitution, Governor Rick Perry declared that "the International Court of Justice does not have jurisdiction in Texas."

Apr 3 - The Department of Homeland Security announced that visitors from Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia, and 21 other countries will be photographed and fingerprinted when they enter the United States.

Apr 16 - The Federal Election Commission was debating whether to regulate the political speech of many nonprofit organizations.

Apr 23 - Diebold Election Systems was in trouble again for using insecure software in its voting machines in California.

Apr 25 - Scientists at NASA were ordered not to speak to reporters about The Day After Tomorrow, a disaster movie in which global warming triggers an ice age, because officials were worried about political damage to the president, who has refused to take the threat of climate change seriously.


May

May 1 - Selective Service System proposed requiring women to register for the draft

May 8 - President Bush continued to maintain that the Abu Ghraib torturers were un-American, but human-rights advocates pointed out that similar abuse takes place in U.S. prisons all the time, especially in Texas.

May 15 - It was reported that the Abu Ghraib torture fiasco was a product of a covert Pentagon operation — a so-called special-access program, authorized by Donald Rumsfeld and run by his undersecretary Stephen Cambone — that applied unconventional interrogation techniques developed for use in Afghanistan to the situation in Iraq.

May 17 - And it was revealed that in 2002 White House council Alberto Gonzalez wrote a memo arguing that the war on terror "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions".

May 17 - Homosexuals were lining up to get married in Massachusetts, and President Bush again called for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

May 21 - The General Accounting Office concluded in a report that the Bush Administration violated federal law when it produced simulated news spots for local news stations on the new Medicare law; the GAO said that the spots were "covert propaganda".

May 22 - Transit police in Boston confirmed that they will begin stopping passengers on the Boston T for identity checks as part of a new national rail security plan.

May 23 - Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld banned digital cameras and camera phones from U.S. military bases in Iraq.

May 24 - The U.S. Homeland Security department was preparing to award a $15 billion contract for a massive electronic-surveillance and data-mining system to track foreign visitors to the United States.

May 26 - The New York Times published an extraordinary editors' note admitting that the newspaper had been manipulated by members of the Bush Administration and by Iraqi exiles such as Ahmad Chalabi into running false stories (especially on the subject of Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction) that advanced the administration's war agenda and had failed to follow up aggressively on many of those stories, and had failed, in those instances when it did follow up, to make prominent note of the fact that the stories were false. The retraction was published on page A10, where many readers would fail to notice it.

May 27 - A report by the General Accounting Office found that government agencies are engaged in at least 199 data-mining projects, 36 of which involve personal information taken from private sources.

May 28 - The Bureau of Justice Statistics announced that 1 in 75 American men were in prison or jail last year.

May 29 - The FBI sent out a warning of an "imminent" terrorist attack but then retracted the warning within a few hours.


June

Jun 1 - A judge in California ruled that the Partial-Birth Abortion Act is unconstitutional.

Jun 4 - The Senate voted to permit the reclassification of some high-level nuclear waste so that the Energy Department can leave the waste in leaky shallow tanks.

Jun 5 - The acting U.N. high commissioner for human rights said that the American abuses of Iraqi prisoners might qualify as war crimes.

Jun 7 - Administration lawyers argued last year in a classified report that President Bush is not bound by laws and treaties that ban torture; the report concluded that "in order to respect the president's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign ... (the prohibition against torture) must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his commander-in-chief authority." The report further argued that the president has the "inherent" authority to set aside laws and that consequently his subordinates could not be prosecuted for violating anti-torture laws.

Jun 9 - Attorney General John Ashcroft denied that the president authorized the use of torture on suspected terrorists, he refused to give Congress several memorandums by Justice Department lawyers laying out ways that interrogators could evade anti-torture laws.

Jun 15 - The USDA reclassified frozen French fries as "fresh vegetables".

Jun 17 - President Bush said that "life is better" in Iraq.

Jun 25 - A poll showed that most Americans now think the invasion of Iraq was a mistake that has made the country more vulnerable to terrorism.

Jun 25 - President George W. Bush was questioned by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald as part of the investigation into who in the White House exposed the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA operative, as part of a campaign to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who criticized the decision to conquer Iraq.

Jun 25 - Los Angeles police officers were videotaped beating a black man after he surrendered peacefully.


July

Jul 15 - Three Missouri men followed and questioned by FBI prior to convention.

Jul 2 - More than 2,100 Florida residents were found to be wrongly included on a list of ineligible voters.

Jul 3 - The Bush-Cheney campaign asked church-going volunteers to provide church membership directories to state campaign committees, raising questions about whether the directive violates the separation between church and state.

Jul 9 - The Pentagon revealed that pay records of George W. Bush's National Guard service during the Vietnam War, records that might be able to establish whether he met his military obligations, were accidentally destroyed.

Jul 10 - The Senate Intelligence Committee released a scathing report on the CIA's unfounded, unjustified, and unreasonable claims about Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction; the report was oddly silent, however, about the Bush Administration's well-documented and apparently successful campaign to intimidate the CIA into coming up with justifications for the President's fraudulent case for the invasion.

Jul 23 - A homeland-security officer was in big trouble for beating up a Chinese tourist.

July 25 - Protestors caged during Democrat National Convention.

Jul 25 - The Bush Administration has decided that consumers should not be able to sue manufacturers of drugs that have been approved by the FDA.

Jul 30 - It was revealed that the Census Bureau has been giving population statistics on Arab-Americans, broken down by zip code, to the Department of Homeland Security.

Jul 30 - The Bush Administration issued a new rule that will permit the EPA to approve pesticides without finding out from wildlife agencies whether the chemicals will harm plants and animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.


August

Aug 2 - The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the layoff rate during the first three years of the Bush Administration was 8.7 percent (11.4 million people lost their jobs), the worst layoff rate since the early 1980s.

Aug 6 - The United States announced that it will insist that the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which would ban countries from making enriched uranium and plutonium for nuclear bombs, be stripped of any mechanism for enforcement, such as inspections. This position, which would render the treaty useless, apparently was reached because the Bush Administration does not wish to submit to inspections.

Aug 9 - The American Civil Liberties Union warned that the federal government has been using corporations to carry out surveillance of citizens because private firms are not subject to many privacy and civil-liberties laws.

Aug 15 - Three British men who have been held in Guantánamo Bay for two years were preparing to meet their lawyers for the first time.

Aug 16 - A 57-year-old partially deaf Texan veteran with skin cancer was called up to report for active duty.

Aug 27 - Police break up an anti-Bush rally with tear gas and pepper spray.

Aug 29 - Hundreds of thousands of people marched in New York City to denounce George W. Bush and his policies, particularly the war in Iraq.


September

Sep 3 - About half a million people protested the Republican National Convention in New York City; the protests were said to be the largest ever at a U.S. political convention.

Sep 3 - President Bush again called for the privatization of Social Security.

Sep 8 - 1800 people arrested at a peaceful demonstration during the Republican convention in New York.

Sep 10 - Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced a new municipal surveillance system that will use 2,000 remote-controlled cameras that "are the equivalent of hundreds of sets of eyes".

Sep 16 - A Texas judge found that the state's system of educational funding is unconstitutional.

Sep 17 - A schoolteacher was arrested for carrying a weighted bookmark in her purse as she attempted to board an airplane in Tampa, Florida.

Sep 19 - The mother of a dead American soldier was taken away in handcuffs after she challenged Laura Bush at a campaign rally.

Sep 21 - The Transportation Security Administration announced that it plans to force airlines to provide personal information about passengers so that it can test a new system for identifying potential terrorists; in some cases the airline records will be compared with private databases.

Sep 21 - The federal government refused to admit that a regulation exists requiring airline passengers to show a form of picture ID before they board planes.

Sep 22 - More flaws were found in Diebold Election Systems' electronic voting machines.

Sep 23 - After maintaining for three years that Yaser Esam Hamdi, an American citizen captured in Afghanistan, was so grave a threat to the United States that merely permitting him to meet with his lawyer would fatally compromise national security, the Bush Administration (having been told by Justice Antonin Scalia that "the very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive") declined to defend its case against Hamdi in open court and announced that he will be stripped of his citizenship and released in Saudi Arabia.

Sep 30 - A federal judge struck down a provision of the USA Patriot Act that permitted the FBI to carry out secret searches of Internet and telephone records but prevented companies from revealing that the searches had taken place. John Ashcroft said that the act is "completely consistent with the United States Constitution."


October

Oct 4 - Election officials across the country were reporting record numbers of new registrations, and Republican state officials in Ohio and Florida were doing their best to invalidate them on technicalities.

6 Oct - Amnesty International releases a damning report on human rights violations in the US.

Oct 8 - Republicans in Michigan were calling on authorities to prosecute Michael Moore for offering to give clean underwear to college students if they would promise to vote.

Oct 11 - The Labor Department reported that the economy created a mere 96,000 jobs last month, thus failing to keep pace with the expansion of the nation's work force and confirming that George W. Bush has the worst job creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover. The White House reacted to the bad news by declaring that the poor job numbers prove that the president's tax cuts have been working.

Oct 13 - FBI shuts down 20 antiwar websites.

Oct 13 - The FCC fined Fox television $1.2 million for a broadcast of "Married by America" in April 2003 that featured strippers covered in whipped cream.

Oct 18 - Absentee ballots missing the names of John Kerry and John Edwards were mailed to Ohio voters.

Oct 26 - A newly released document revealed that F.B.I. agents witnessed Iraqi prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib but failed to report it because they saw nothing unusual about the abuse. One agent said that what he saw at Abu Ghraib was similar to what goes on in prisons in the United States.

Oct 28 - Four British citizens who were held without charges in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, filed suit against Donald Rumsfeld and other senior administration officials, and claimed that they were tortured while in custody. The Pentagon responded that the men were "enemy combatants" and thus had no right to sue.

Oct 29 - In South Carolina a letter purporting to be from the NAACP claimed that voters will be arrested at the polls if they have outstanding parking tickets or child support payments and said that voters must provide a credit report, two forms of photo ID, a Social Security card, a voter registration card, and a handwriting sample.

Oct 29 - Broward County's election supervisor said that up to 15,000 absentee ballots would be resent to voters whose ballots mysteriously disappeared.

Oct 30 - Bush-Cheney campaign officials were happy to hear from Osama: "We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said one. Another said that "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush.


November

Nov 3 - Police shoot pepper pellets into crowd of protestors, arrest 6.

Nov 3 - Senator John Kerry was narrowly defeated by President George W. Bush in an election that was marred by irregularities and unanswered questions about the integrity of electronic voting machines.

Nov 6 - An electronic voting machine in Ohio added 3,893 votes to President Bush's tally in a district that had only 800 voters.

Nov 6 - Police in Las Vegas were told to stop using Tasers on handcuffed prisoners.


Kinda depressing reading. A litany of abuses, misuses, lies and underhanded behaviour. But, a shortage of Waco-type incidents. My conclusion? There may very well be some kind of civil 'war', there is definitely civil unrest. I think that John Titor is no more a time traveller than I am, merely an astute and observant social commentator who can't resist trying to be Orson Welles.

My 2c, for what it's worth, less tax.
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