The Michigan Militia Corps'

Weekly Update
Internet Edition

Volume 5, Issue 16

Week of May 1, 1998

Treat rogue IRS agents like other criminals:
Charge them with assault, theft, and extortion

WASHINGTON, DC -- Gestapo-like IRS agents who storm the homes of innocent Americans, destroy property, and terrorize children at gunpoint should be prosecuted for felony assault, grand larceny, and extortion, demanded the Libertarian Party today.

"Forget about more Congressional hearings: People who behave like street thugs ought to be prosecuted like street thugs," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national chairman. "Congress shouldn't be scheduling hearings -- it should be scheduling criminal trials for IRS agents who terrorize innocent Americans."

Dasbach's comments came in response to Wednesday's Senate Finance Committee hearings, where a parade of frightened witnesses shared shocking tales of abuse at the hands of gangs of paramilitary" IRS agents.

The stories were so outrageous that even Senator Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) described the actions of the IRS Criminal investigation Division as "government violence directed against citizens."

One witness, whose house was ransacked by armed IRS agents, said, "I used to believe that such things could only happen in a Communist-bloc country, or a police state."

But Dasbach said Libertarians weren't even mildly surprised at the testimony.

"What do you expect when you grant vast powers to heavily armed government agents, and then instruct them to seize more than $700 billion annually from American citizens? Of course these kinds of abuses are going to happen," he said.

But the bipartisan Senate response -- to what they admitted were "fascist" and "Gestapo" IRS tactics -- was to meekly call for vague IRS reforms, noted Dasbach.

"It's hard to decide what's more outrageous: The crimes committed by government employees or the cavalier way this criminal-coddling Congress responds to them," he said. "You have to wonder if these Senators are really seeking justice -- or just seeking publicity."

Libertarians have a better solution, said Dasbach: Charge the IRS agents with the same crimes they would be charged with if they were "ordinary" criminals, instead of criminals in government uniforms.

For example, here are some criminal charges that could be filed immediately, based just on the testimony from this one hearing, he said:

* Extortion: A team of 64 armed IRS agents swarmed into the business of oil executive W.A. Moncrief of Fort Worth, Texas, in September 1994, seized documents, and ripped out walls. Even though they found no wrongdoing, they wouldn't quit harassing him until he agreed to pay them $63 million.

* Criminal property destruction: After storming the restaurant owned by John Colaprete in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 1994, IRS agents raided his home, ripped off the door, and carted away his property.

* Sexual assault: Male IRS agents stormed into the home of a Virginia man who worked at a restaurant that was being audited -- and forced three teenage girls to remove their clothes at gunpoint.

* Grand larceny: 15 IRS agents seized computers and other property from Oklahoma tax preparer Richard Gardner in 1995 and kept it for two years.

"In all of these cases, no charges were ever filed against taxpayers, which means the IRS knows they were innocent," Dasbach said. "And in most cases, the statute of limitations hasn't expired, which means the agents responsible for these crimes can still be tracked down, arrested, and prosecuted -- and they should be."

But don't stop there, said Dasbach: "Libertarians have another suggestion. Abolish the IRS, so Americans will have one less reason to be terrified of their own government. After all, we want to live in a country where the government doesn't pay the salaries of gun-toting criminal thugs -- but protects us against gun-toting criminal thugs."

Religion guides U.S. presidential aspirant

WASHINGTON - Potential Republican presidential candidate Sen. John Ashcroft, who has built an early base of support among Christian conservatives, is likely to solidify that position with a memoir published this week. Ashcroft may be little known outside his home state of Missouri and Christian conservative circles and his likely presidential bid remains a long shot.

But he has rapidly established himself as a favorite of that powerful constituency and recently received an important vote of confidence in the form of a $10,000 contribution from Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Coalition.

In the book entitled "Lessons from a Father to His Son", Ashcroft writes about his late father, J. Robert Ashcroft, a pastor and president of several colleges, from whom he inherited his deep religious faith.

"It's not a book about government. It's not even a book about me. It's a book about my father and the things he was seeking to teach me, not necessarily things I have learned," Ashcroft said in an interview with Reuters.

The most important lesson, Ashcroft said, was imparted the day before he was sworn in as a U.S. senator in 1995, just hours before his father died.

"'The spirit of Washington is arrogance,' my dad said, 'and the spirit of Christ is humility. Put on the spirit of Christ. Nothing of lasting value has been accomplished in arrogance,"' Ashcroft wrote in his book.

There is a long tradition in the United States of presidential candidates writing books to introduce themselves to voters the year before formally launching their White House campaigns. At least five possible Republican hopefuls for 2000 are following that route this year, including House Speaker Newt Gingrich with his memoir "Lessons Learned the Hard Way."

With a dozen or more Republicans weighing a White House run in 2000, any candidate who can command the allegiance of the evangelical Christian community has a chance of emerging from the pack.

Several potential candidates are vying with Ashcroft for the support of this key constituency, including publisher Steve Forbes and former vice president Dan Quayle.

If "Lessons from a Father" shows anything, it demonstrates that no one is likely to match Ashcroft in sincere and unselfconscious religious fervor. His faith truly informs every aspect of his life and he demonstrated in the Reuters interview an impressive ability to quote long sections of scripture to back up his views.

While that endears him to some, it may distance him from other voters for whom religion plays a lesser role in their political decisions.

"Despite Ashcroft's periodic bursts of candor and genuine pain over his parents' and his brother's death, he remains at the end of his book the same distant figure he was at the beginning -- an archetype of goodness," said one review by David Grann in the New Republic.

Portraying himself as an antithesis of President Clinton, Ashcroft reveals that he was a virgin until his wedding night.

"I really can't confess to being a drug addict, I can't confess to having been unfaithful to my spouse because that's not accurate," he said. "There were reporters when I was governor who used to make fun of the fact that I was, quote unquote, boring because I was not seen drunk or anything like that. I don't think that's what makes a person boring or exciting."

In the book, Ashcroft repeatedly refers to his personal and political setbacks as "crucifixions" while his successes are "resurrections."

At one point he compares the emotional strain he felt as a child, when his father used to leave home for two months at a time on preaching trips, to Jesus' suffering on the cross.

"Here is what I learned from my dad: through the ups and downs of failure and success, we become better people and as better people, God can call us to bigger jobs," he writes.

Ashcroft now clearly hears the call for a very big job indeed.

CIA: China Missiles Aimed at U.S.

WASHINGTON (May 1) - China keeps some of its nuclear missiles aimed at American cities, U.S. intelligence has concluded, contradicting assertions by President Clinton that nuclear weapons are no longer targeted at the United States.

Government officials confirmed a published report today that 13 Chinese missiles, each with a range of more than 8,000 miles, are targeted at the United States. The Washington Times cited a top-secret CIA report as reaching that conclusion.

A senior administration official said, however, that China keeps its nuclear warheads in storage, not mounted atop the missiles. That policy eliminates the risk that an accidental missile launch would imperil U.S. cities.

Two government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the finding of the CIA report.

Clinton has asserted in scores of speeches, including several State-of-the-Union addresses, that no nuclear weapons are pointed at the United States.

"There is not a single solitary nuclear missile pointed at an American child tonight," Clinton said in October 1996. "Not one. Not a single one."

One thrust of these repeated remarks has been to boost the success of the administration's arms control policies and to dampen enthusiasm for a costly national missile defense system advocated by many Republicans.

"That report is nothing new to me," Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., said of the CIA report. Weldon, one of the most vocal advocates for a national missile defense system, said today "It further undermines the credibility of this president. ... He has used the bully pulpit to lull the Congress and the American people into a false sense of security."

The senior administration official said Clinton's comments have referred only to U.S.-Russian missile detargeting agreements, not to the posture of other countries that possess nuclear weapons.

In April 1995, Clinton said, "For the first time, there are no Russian nuclear weapons pointed at the United States. So we are moving ahead on our nonproliferation agenda."

But not all the president's remarks have been so qualified.

China's missile targeting is not a holdover from the Cold War. Its acquisition of long-range missiles capable of reaching most of the United States is relatively new, officials said, and China's targeting policy suggests that Beijing's attitude toward the United States may be more hostile than public pronouncements reflect.

The United States has been negotiating with China to achieve a detargeting agreement similar to its agreement with Russia. In addition, the administration has been pressing Beijing to refrain from buying or selling improved nuclear and missile technology.

Word of the CIA report comes a month before Clinton is to travel to Beijing for talks on a wide range of issues including human rights, weapons exports and trade.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright just completed a trip to China, where she was unable to persuade the Chinese government to sign an international accord to curb the export of missile technology.

Clinton already has decided to sell U.S. nuclear equipment to China and to permit China limited use of its rockets to launch American satellites.


By Lt. Col (Ret.) Ralph Peters, Army Times, Published: 05-11-98

The bloody 20th century began in a different world. Most of humanity lived in villages or small towns. While cities had begun to grow exponentially in the 19th century, our rural histories continued to shape our lives and beliefs. When war came, the fields of battle truly were fields. Cities were prizes to be captured, but mankind fought in city streets only to put down revolutions or colonial uprisings. Our century changed everything.

Certainly, battles for cities and their consequent destruction occurred throughout history, from Babylon and Carthage to the sieges of Petersburg and Paris. Cities always focused military operations.

But, sometimes for practical reasons and otherwise by cultural agreement, the great battles we study in our military colleges usually took place in rural landscapes, from Cannae to Gettysburg.

Although siege operations formed a sophisticated military discipline in our own culture, that science peaked in the 17th century.

Thereafter, we regarded urban combat as something of a shameful nuisance, to be avoided by sensible soldiers.

Then came our century. Battle and atrocity were linked in urban battles, from Nanking and Manila to Stalingrad, to say nothing of the terror-bombings of London, Coventry, Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and a host of other cities.

The cities that had long been prizes of war became its landscapes, just as they had been when the armies of Charles V sacked Rome in 1527 or Tilly's men ravaged Magdeburg during the Thirty Years' War.

However bloody the period may have been, the West had enjoyed two centuries of wars with good manners. Despite the horrors, we might term the 18th and 19th centuries the heroic age of warfare. The 20th century destroyed that age forever.

We end this century in a world populated by a majority of urban dwellers, with the grimmest cities growing larger and sicker every day. When asked why he robbed banks, a famous thief answered, "That's where the money is." We will fight in and around cities because that's where the people are, for today's conflicts are ever less about reasons of state and increasingly about the fundamental problems of humanity.

Cities are also where the wealth, communications, infrastructure, governments, religious seats and national symbols are. They are the ultimate killing fields. The age of grand maneuvers on green fields is over.

The new century will be one of street fighting, uncontrollable masses, shortage, disease and immeasurable hatreds -- all concentrated in the decaying urban landscapes in the world's least-successful states and regions.

It is a kind of warfare for which our Army is unprepared. Worse, it is the type of warfare for which our Army refuses to prepare.

The Marines have moved out on the development of concepts, doctrine, training and weapons for the urban fight. The Army has left them to it. I admire the Marines as the most forward-looking and honest of the services today. But there are not enough of them to address the massive challenges the coming decades will bring.

The Army must stop preparing for a replay of the Normandy breakout at the expense of everything else. We will fight in cities; the problem will not go away just because we have chosen to ignore it.

If we do not prepare, we will kill soldiers and embarrass our country. The Army's neglect of urban combat issues -- even after Mogadishu -- is a disgrace.

Now there has been a certain amount of "Russian progress" in our Army -- a growing amount of chatter about urban operations with no meaningful follow- up action. Future concepts briefings have begun to throw in a few lines about urban warfare, but then the briefer proceeds to describe systems, organizations and doctrine for Desert Storm VI.

We need to face this issue head-on, no matter how many rice bowls shake and shatter. There is no single branch -- certainly not Armor, Infantry, Field Artillery, Military Intelligence or even the Medical Corps -- that is prepared for an urban fight. As we dither and dally, our general officers and their shiny little yes men hide behind a series of myths.

Let's explode a few of them.

We're too smart to get into an urban conflict.

First of all, the Army does not get to pick its fights. We go where the president tells us to go. Increasingly, that will be to urban areas where masses of humanity are suffering and/or our business interests are threatened.

Our recent military disasters have occurred in urban settings in which we proved naive, inattentive and unprepared.

Our open-ended commitment in Bosnia stems from a war in which cities and towns were the objects of military operations and the scenes of the worst atrocities. Even our National Guard's most demanding operations over the last 30 years have been in city streets -- our own.

Terrorists wielding weapons of mass destruction or plain old bombs don't go for the tractor repair shop in a farming village. They go for cities.

Cities are the world's dilemma in multiple respects, and they will be our great military dilemma in the future.

We must prepare. We don't get to choose our battles. Today, more than ever before, the battles choose us.

We won't go into the cities. We'll just conduct sieges.

This would-be solution, which made the rounds over the past six months, wins the Dumb and Dumber Military Sweepstakes. It makes buying the F-22 look smart.

Whoever came up with the idea of the Army conducting sieges does not understand our Army, our national values, cities, or the nature of contemporary conflict, to say nothing of the history of siege warfare.

Sieges are horrible. At best, you shell people and slaughter them into surrender. At worst, you starve them out while they die of disease.

Even if we were cruel enough to conduct a real siege, what would it accomplish if the problem was genocide in the streets? Or a dictatorship perfectly willing to let the masses starve? Or if there were thousands of international residents? Read hostages. Or if the Europeans had business interests in the city?

Sieges are horrible, lengthy and wasteful of human life. We cannot even enforce trade sanctions, let alone airtight sieges. It is exactly the wrong sort of operation for the Army. We would not even be able to cut off international satellite communications without global cooperation, and any cooperation we might muster would evaporate with the first footage of besieged infants dead of hunger or cholera.

Before any officer says one more word about sieges, he or she should study a few. I suggest Berlin or Leningrad, although the squeamish can settle for Vicksburg.

Technology will take care of the problem.

This is the great American answer, and it may prove true in 50 or 60 years with the advent of behavior control weapons.

At present, our combat systems, our communications gear, our intelligence collectors and even our medical kits are so inappropriate to urban operations it would be hard to design worse.

Our doctrine barely accommodates village fighting. Our force structure is for future Desert Storms -- and it is rapidly becoming too hollow even for that. Technology could certainly aid us in urban operations, but we need to seek out incisive technologies, such as survivable armor for protected fire and movement, three-dimensional mapping, smart weapons for individual soldiers, penetrant communications (and knee and elbow pads, please).

In an urban setting, our present military technology is as apt to hinder us, to slow us and confuse us, as it is to aid us.

It is a combat environment in which we cannot even identify our enemies.

Our forces can operate in urban areas, but those forces are extremely inefficient, cumbersome and relatively ineffective. The city fight is fundamentally different. It is up close and dirty, and vastly more complex than maneuver operations in Mesopotamia.

Soldiers need fundamentally different training, and they undergo intense psychological pressure.

They need more upper body strength, and they need more leadership at the lowest levels. Cities consume manpower, even when the combat is low-level and intermittent.

The local population is a third force that can paralyze our operations. Military forces assume different and much broader responsibilities. The fight is truly three-dimensional.

Traditional fire support is useless, unless you want to go for a Russian solution and flatten the city. Lines and boundaries are fantasies scribbled on a map. Unless you hide in a fortress, the enemy is always behind you. And soldiers die just because they are looking the wrong way in that most distracting of combat environments.

Talking about the problem is useful, if talk leads to serious thought and eventually to action. But sloganeering about sieges and technology and nonsense about being too wise to enter an urban fight reduces our Army to satire.

We do not have to like it --and we won't -- but urban warfare is today's problem, and the problem will only intensify tomorrow. We cannot delay intelligent preparations. If I am wrong, and we prepare for urban operations that never take place, we will have lost money and effort. If I am right, and urban combat is the warfare mode of the future but we fail to prepare for it, the cost will be in lives and damage to our national interests. Our nation will remember the men who made the fateful choices.

CIA says many unprepared for millennium glitch

WASHINGTON - Many countries appear ill prepared for the disruption to basic services that the Year 2000 computer glitch may cause, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency office studying the issue said Tuesday.

"We're concerned about the potential disruption of power grids, telecommunications and banking services" among other possible fallout, especially in countries already torn by political tensions, Sherry Burns said. In an interview with Reuters, she said CIA systems engineers and intelligence analysts were focusing beyond the technical problem of reprogramming computers to recognize dates when the Millennium dawns on Jan. 1, 2000.

Instead, the spy agency has begun to collect and analyze information on preparations for the "social, political and economic tumult" that could flow from interruptions of essential services in some fragile societies.

Millions of computers and embedded chips -- some central to financial markets, air traffic control systems and even running elevators and heating systems in office buildings -- cannot distinguish between 1900 and 2000 because years have been expressed in two-digit shorthand in old programming.

The glitch, known as the Y2K problem, may trigger widespread disruptions because not all computers will be fixed by Dec. 31, 1999. With the world's computer networks largely linked, the use of data that has been converted to the new millennium standard improperly -- or not converted at all -- could infect newly reprogrammed systems, Burns said.

According to the CIA assessment, the threat of turmoil is greatest among those unaware of the key role that bits and bytes play in providing essential services and bringing goods to markets, even in less developed countries.

"There is very little realization that there will be disruption" of basic services as some computers shut down or go haywire, even among business leaders, Burns said.

"As you start getting out into the population, I think most people are again assuming that things are going to operate the way they always have," she said. "That is not going to be the case." Many governments are "unprepared for what could potentially be some fairly tough circumstances," she added.

In an initial effort to gauge preparations, the CIA received a wide range of feedback last year, not all of it very encouraging, Burns said.

One overseas contact said his country would be safe because it used a "different calendar." Others acknowledged the issue was not on their radar scope. Someone from a Middle Eastern country told the CIA not to worry about the millennium "bug."

"When we see it, we'll spray for it," Burns paraphrased that source as saying. She said Canada, Britain and Australia were about six months behind the United States in preparing their systems for the switch, and this was the group in the best shape.

The rest of Western Europe, led by the Scandinavians, came next, six to nine months behind the United States. Europe's job is compounded by the need to reprogram millions of computers for next January's introduction in 11 countries of the euro, the new unified currency.

The CIA felt Europe probably would be unable to complete both reprogramming jobs "effectively" in time, Burns said.

Japan, China, Hong Kong and most other Pacific Rim countries were "maybe nine months to a year behind in terms of where the work should be," Burns said. She put Russia in the same category.

Latin America was "way behind the power curve," added Burns, who reports to CIA Chief Information Officer John Dahms, the person responsible for maintenance of information systems.

As part of the agency's increased interest in the Y2K program, some CIA employees have been briefed on preparing themselves individually for potential fallout.

They were being advised to pay their bills early in December 1999 to avoid possible processing problems, keep cash on hand in case automatic teller machines failed and lay in extra blankets in case of a blackout on a cold New Year's Eve night, Burns said.

How the Internet is destroying Socialism


Last year, the tariff on tobacco was dramatically raised within the Swedish market, effecting a dramatic increase in both smuggling and online tobacco purchases. Since the price for tobacco offline is about 100 percent higher than from Internet sources, the total government revenues from the tax on tobacco dipped drastically. This is the first sign of the direct correlation between Internet trade and Swedish political decisions, and should be alarming news to Swedish policy makers, who must now readapt their legal measures to coincide with the Internet's social and commerce-related powers.

This turn of events has forced the Swedish Government to make the decision to cut the tax on tobacco, to capture the tax-based revenue associated with offline tobacco sales. The larger question beckons. How long can Sweden, a relatively small market with a twenty-five percent value added tax (VAT), continue to associate these tariffs to retail sales, when the Swedish consumer is now dialing up the electronic marketplace for lower, more competitive pricing for music, clothing, groceries, and more?

Today, it is common practice for the Swedish consumer to make cheaper online purchases from non-Swedish markets, then to visit the Swedish Internetshop. This is attributable mainly to the free-flow of information between vendors and consumers on the Internet, which drives competitive pricing. This higher degree of competition and "private import," alleviate the restrictive cost barriers of VAT, helping the Swedish consumer to make more effective use of their crown.

The result of this electronic economic revolution is that Scandinavia has become a hot Internet market for both local, regional and international companies. Comprised of three countries, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, Scandinavia has about eighteen million people And if the Swedish population, who are making nearly forty percent of their purchases from outside that country, is any measure of the economic strength of the Internet, then Scandinavia is an Internet merchant's ideal market. IDCResearch places the number of Scandinavians connected to the Internet at over 2.6 million and growing fast.

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