What’s Really Behind the Senate’s Override of Obama Veto of Saudi 9/11 Lawsuit Bill?

1-Obama-Saudi-Arabia-isis
21st Century Wire says…

While the US media follows the red herring of this legislative drama which is Saudi Arabia, the real point of this bill – and why President Obama is so vehemently opposing it – is going completely unnoticed. 

If any case was brought to court by 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia for ‘state-sponsored terror’ regarding the attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001, the court would find there is no real forensic case proving Saudi involvement in this event. Other problems will crop up too. For starters, at least 7 of alleged hijackers were actually found to be alive after their faces were plastered on US TV screens after 9/11. As it stands, the US government’s official story of 9/11 is so flimsy and full of holes, including the complete omission or mention of the collapse of WTC Building 7 (which was hit by nothing, and yet collapsed into its own footprint in 7 seconds) and the lack of any plane wreckage at the Pentagon (we’re meant to believe that the passenger airliner evaporated into thin air on impact, and no real CCTV footage has been provided to back the government’s own wild explanation). In actuality, the US government would love a dead-end lawsuit against Saudi Arabia which could only result in some out-of-court settlement anyway – because this would supply a nice diversion away from any further scrutiny of the US government’s bogus explanation of what really happened that day.

More to the point, however, is the real potential story here. If passed, this bill would allow a number people, particularly those in Syria, to sue the US, British, French, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Turkish and Saudi Arabia and Qatar too, all of who are actively involved in supplying money, equipment, arms and military training to a number of known Salafist Terrorists fighting groups in Syria.

KEY POINT: Why is Obama protecting Saudi Arabia? One of Obama’s top financial partners in the dirty war on Syria is Saudi Arabia, who has also paid for “off-the-books” CIA operations there. Unlike Saudi and 9/11, by definition, this is state-sponsored terrorism.

The House is expected to hold a vote later this week. It could be the first override of a Presidential veto during the Obama administration….

obama-shoosh2
Karoun Demirjian
Washington Post

The Senate on Wednesday voted to override President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudi Arabian government over its alleged support for the terrorists who carried out the attacks. The vote was 97 to 1.

The House is expected to vote later in the day and if successful, it will be the first time Congress has overridden a veto during the Obama administration.

“Overriding a presidential veto is something we don’t take lightly, but it was important in this case that the families of the victims of 9/11 be allowed to pursue justice, even if that pursuit causes some diplomatic discomforts,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who co-authored the bill with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cast the lone vote to sustain the veto after receiving a letter from Obama arguing the consequences could be “devastating,” and urging him “to vote to sustain the veto.” Reid voted against the override despite telling reporters earlier this month that “I support that legislation” and Schumer’s efforts.

“He’s always had the president’s back,” said Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson.

Both chambers passed the legislation without dissent earlier this year, but now several lawmakers are echoing the White House’s argument that the legislation could set a dangerous precedent, inviting other nations to respond by suing American diplomats, military personnel and other officials in foreign courts.

Critics of the bill are now focusing on how to scale back the measure once it becomes law. Approximately 20 senators have signed onto a letter expressing their intention to return to the issue during the lame duck if there are negative consequences once the 9/11 bill becomes law…

Continue this article at the Washington Post

READ MORE 911 NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire 9/11 Files

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The TPP: A Monster Too Big to Fail?

Obama was never about creating more jobs in America. He was and is about Globalism
The TPP: A Monster Too Big to Fail?

Image Credits: citizen.org.

by Jon Rappoport | Infowars.com | October 8, 2015


“For every President, there comes a moment when he does what he has been put into office to do. All prior bets and decisions are off the table. They carry no freight. He knows this. He knows he has no excuses. He has no one to blame. He must win. He must succeed. If he fails, he falls. He falls hard. The electorate? His colleagues, friends, and advisors? His flock of adoring supporters? All dust in the wind. He must do this one thing. He must go as deep and as dark and as crazy as he has to, in order to pull off the crime he was sent in to commit.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

I have written extensively about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Treaty and its destructive effects.(Full archive here.)

Now that all 12 nations have agreed to the text, the US Congress must vote on it. Since the Congress has already granted Obama fast-track authority, no committees will discuss it; no filibustering is permitted; no changes can be made to the text.

Again I stress: Obama was put in the White House to make TPP and similar treaties come to fruition. Failure is not an option.

Obama’s mentor on foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski, is David Rockefeller’s right-hand man. And David is Globalism personified.

The TPP elevates mega-corporations beyond even their present status: In a nutshell, any threats against international corporate piracy would be adjudicated in private corporate tribunals—so the outcome is completely predictable.

And as with all other Globalist trade treaties (NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT, etc.), more jobs in industrialized nations will move to countries where slave labor is standard operating procedure.

Obama was never about creating more jobs in America. He was and is about Globalism.

Otherwise, there was no way he could have advanced beyond the Illinois State Senate, in his artificial career.

The pressure on him now is enormous. With fiery bits of protest against the TPP springing up in the US Senate and House, with Trump and Bernie railing against the Treaty, Obama is counting his chickens (votes) every day.

His people are on the phones, holding private meetings with Representatives and Senators, coordinating their strategies with corporate lobbyists.

It’s all hands on deck. Deals are being struck. Promises are being made. Markers are being called in.

“You want a bridge? You want a tunnel? You want your boy to get into Harvard? You want a new hooker? You want these juicy photos of you to remain hidden? You want the cocaine thing to go away forever? You want that house in the Bahamas?”

Whatever it takes. The TPP must pass.

You can bet the NSA is in on this one. They’ve been spying on Congressional members for years. Because those members might be terrorists? Are you kidding? Whatever NSA has on recalcitrant Representatives and Senators can now be used to twist their arms.

And members of Congress know that, if by some chance the TPP fails to pass, and they helped to defeat it, they’ll be prime targets the next time Obama tries to ram it through. They’ll be naked in the rain, alone, at the mercy of greater forces.

For Obama, for David Rockefeller, for Brzezinski, for the Trilateral Commission, the CFR, Bilderberger, and the presidents and premiers and prime ministers of the 12 TPP countries, this is The Big One.

Then…there is this little thing called the Internet. New torpedoes from independent news sites are hitting the TPP every day. It turns out that the world is not entirely asleep. What a revelation. In the old days, the TPP would have passed without a whisper or a whimper. But now…

And as the unemployment situation-disaster grows worse in a number of industrial nations—in large part owing to past Globalist trade treaties—it’s become harder to sell the next great treaty that will further sink workers and economies. Unions are feeling the squeeze. How can they support the TPP when their millions of members see the looming horror show?

The primary lie about Globalism is obvious to anyone who has eyes. How can our august leaders pretend that shutting down domestic factories and businesses and sending all those jobs to distant nations is a good thing? How can these leaders tell us that the ability to buy cheap imports is a wonderful outcome, when millions of people here at home have been thrown out of work?

The Globalists are sitting at the table shoving in all their chips on a bet that is a transparent bluff—and the question is, who is going to call them on it?

Obama is aging rapidly in the Oval Office. He has been told many times, from above, that this, the TPP, is his moment. This is when he pays off his debt to those who put him in the Presidency. This is not a Ferguson moment or a Charleston moment or an immigration moment or a Common Core moment or a Syria moment or a gun-control moment. This is his moment to sell a supreme number-one lie. This is a test of his political skills and his allegiance to the forces of destruction.

This is it.

He is supposed to take off his mask behind the scenes and make his bones.

At that level, the TPP has nothing to do with he-said he-said or rational argument. It has to do with how far Obama will go to earn his position in the mob and avoid the consequences of failure.

The Globalist bosses intend to rule the planet. The TPP is their next big step. They’re not in the business of promoting losers.

Jon Rappoport – The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

Obama to Circumvent Congress With ‘Gag Order’ on Firearm Coverage

Obama administration is working behind the scenes to stifle reporting on firearms
Obama to Circumvent Congress With 'Gag Order' on Firearm Coverage

Image Credits: akrockefeller, Flickr.

by AWR Hawkins | Breitbart | June 8, 2015


On June 1 Breitbart News reported on Obama’s Spring 2015 “Unified Agenda.” The gun control measures contained therein which were to be passed by executive fiat.

Since that time Representatives like Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) have placed riders on a DOJ appropriations bill to stop portions of the executive gun control push in its tracks. Now the NRA-ILA is revealing that the Obama administration is working behind the scenes to stifle reporting on firearms.

From the NRA-ILA:

Even as news reports have been highlighting the gun control provisions of the Administration’s “Unified Agenda” of regulatory objectives, the Obama State Department has been quietly moving ahead with a proposal that could censor online speech related to firearms.

How can this happen?

Like this: The administration is reworking the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). One of the many things regulated by ITAR are “technical data” tied to “defense articles.” This includes, but is not limited to, “detailed design, development, production or manufacturing information” about ammunition and firearms.

Read more

Naked Body Scanner Lobbyist Now Has Control Over TSA’s Budget In Congress

Supervises everything he once lobbied government on
Naked Body Scanner Lobbyist Now Has Control Over TSA's Budget In Congress

Image Credits: Dan Paluska / Flickr.

by Steve Watson | InfoWars | May 29, 2015


A lobbyist who worked for the company that built TSA’s naked body scanners is now working in the government department responsible for TSA spending, it has been revealed.

Christopher Romig, who worked as a go between for Rapiscan, has secured a position within the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee.

Romig’s record indicates that he actively lobbied Congress on “aviation, port and border security,” in addition to “budget and appropriation.” Just by coincidence, these are the very areas he will now oversee on the Homeland Security Subcommittee.

‘Conflict of interest’ does not seems to be a phrase that Congress has much time for.

At the height of it’s push to win government business, Rapiscan Systems spent over a quarter of a million dollar per year lobbying for contracts just with the TSA.

Rapiscan’s X-ray body scanners were rolled out in airports across the country from 2007 onwards. However, the company lost the contract in 2013. The official reason was that Rapiscan was unable to develop the “stick man” software that masks naked images produced by the scanners.

After a widespread backlash against the machines, it was demanded that such software be developed. Rapiscan could not apply it to its existing technology, and TSA took its business elsewhere.

This led to the mothballing of $14 million worth of body scanners. All in all, the 250 backscatter scanners the TSA now has are worth a combined total of $40 million.

However, many believe that the real reason some of the machines were removed from airports is because of allegations that Rapiscan manipulated operational tests on the machines.

Bloomberg reported that Rapiscan “may have attempted to defraud the government by knowingly manipulating an operational test, Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Transportation Security Subcommittee, said in a letter to Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole Nov. 13. Rogers said his committee received a tip about the faked tests.”

Security experts also suggested that Rapiscan’s machines were wide open to hacking, to the point where “Someone could basically own this machine and modify the images that the operators see.”

Numerous prestigious health bodies have indicated that the backscatter x-ray devices will statistically cause an increase in cancer, including Johns HopkinsColumbia University, the University of California, and the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety. To put that in perspective, the probability of dying in a terrorist attack is the same as the probability of getting cancer when passing through the x-ray scanner just one time.

Johns Hopkins’ biophysics expert Dr Michael Love warned that, “statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays,” after conducting a study of the naked body scanners.

It has also been proven that the scanner can be fooled by sewing a metallic object into the side of one’s clothing, rendering the entire $1 billion dollar fleet of machines virtually useless.

With a man on the inside now, how long will it be before Rapiscan wins a new contract to work for the TSA once more?

—————————————————————-

Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

Congress Moves to Eliminate Labels Showing Consumers Where Meat Comes from Following WTO Ruling

A House committee has voted to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered
Congress Moves to Eliminate Labels Showing Consumers Where Meat Comes from Following WTO Ruling

Image Credits: stuart_spivack, Flickr.

by Michael Krieger | Liberty Blitzkrieg | May 22, 2015


A House committee has voted to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The House Agriculture Committee voted 38-6 to repeal a “country-of-origin” labeling law for beef, pork and poultry Wednesday — just two days after the World Trade Organization ruled against parts of the law. The labels tell consumers what countries the meat is from: for example, “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States” or “born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

From the Washington Post article: House Panel Votes to Repeal Country-Origin Meat Labeling Law

The following article should take on an increased significance given the Obama administration’s current desperate and aggressive push to receive “fast-track” authority to pass the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. If you aren’t up to speed on the topic, see:

Trade Expert and TPP Whistleblower – “We Should Be Very Concerned about What’s Hidden in This Trade Deal”

As the Senate Prepares to Vote on “Fast Track,” Here’s a Quick Primer on the Dangers of the TPP

Meanwhile, finding out where the meat you buy at the grocery store was born, raised and slaughtered might become a lot more difficult thanks to Congress. The Washington Post reports that:

WASHINGTON — A House committee has voted to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The House Agriculture Committee voted 38-6 to repeal a “country-of-origin” labeling law for beef, pork and poultry Wednesday — just two days after the World Trade Organization ruled against parts of the law.The labels tell consumers what countries the meat is from: for example, “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States” or “born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

The WTO ruled Monday that the U.S. labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage, rejecting a U.S. appeal after a similar WTO decision last year.

The law was initially written at the behest of northern U.S. ranchers who compete with the Canadian cattle industry. It also was backed by some consumer advocates who say it helps shoppers know where their food comes from. The supporters have called on the U.S. government to negotiate with Canada and Mexico to find labels acceptable to all countries.

But many in the U.S. meat industry — including meat processors who buy animals from abroad — have called for a repeal of the law, which they have fought for years, including unsuccessfully in federal court.

The bill would go beyond just the muscle cuts of red meat that were covered under the WTO case, also repealing country-of-origin labeling for poultry, ground beef and ground pork. Conaway said the poultry industry asked to be included after facing “high costs and little if any quantifiable benefits” from the labeling law.

Debbie Barker of the Center for Food Safety said the WTO’s ruling, and the House’s action, show no regard for shoppers who want to know where their meat comes from.

“It’s stunning that some members of Congress are so quick to respond to a closed-door, international trade body with no apparent regard for the wishes of American consumers,” Barker said.

On the Senate side, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas also has said he will move quickly to respond to the WTO ruling, but he has yet to introduce a bill.

Congress. It supposedly “can’t get anything done,” but when it comes to reducing choices for consumers, helping boost corporate profits and reducing citizens’ civil liberties, it has an uncanny ability to act with a remarkable quickness.

Just another day in the corporate-statist oligarchy.

You can look forward to a lot more headlines like these in the years ahead:

States Move to Criminalize Whistleblowing on Food Fraud and Animal Cruelty

How Undercover Animal Rights Activists are Winning the Ag-Gag War

This is What Happens to Walmart Pork Before it Reaches Your Plate

Hot Pockets Recalls 8 Million Pounds of Meat Due to “Diseased and Unsound Animals”

Forget Horse Meat or Fake Tuna, Rat Meat is Being Sold as Lamb in China

Food Fraud Hits a New Low with the Potential Emergence of Dog Meat in the UK

The Meat Industry Now Consumes 80% of All Antibiotics

OBAMATRADE SECRET AHEAD OF VOTE

Orrin Hatch on Trade Bill: ‘I Don’t Know Fully What’s in TPP Myself’

Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (MA) went to the Senate floor to push for immediate consideration of a bill that would make the Obamatrade text public — right now Congress has to go to a secured room to review the text and can’t take notes out or discuss what is in it with the public. That motion failed when Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) objected, since it required unanimous consent.

The two Democrats even praised President George W. Bush, who released his free trade text in 2001. Today, President Obama, who promised to have the most transparent administration in history, is not releasing his deal.

“We’re just asking for some transparency before we have this crucial vote,” said Warren.

She said people have heard a lot about the trade bill, but haven’t seen it. The press hasn’t seen it, neither have economists or legal experts because the Administration making it impossible any of those people to read it.

“We should keep the deal secret because if the details were made public now, the public would oppose it,” mocked Warren. “Well, that’s not how our democracy is supposed to work.

Warren went on to introduce her legislation with Manchin in order to make the bill public and transparent.

“This bill would require the president to publically release the scrubbed bracketed text of a trade deal at least 60 days before Congress votes on any fast-track for that deal. That would give the public, the experts, the press an opportunity to review the deal. It would allow for some honest pubic debate,” Warren said.

However, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) objected to Warren’s push to make the deal transparent.

“One concern I’ve heard from the opponents of trade promotion authority is the trade agreements currently under discussion have been negotiated behind closed doors. That would be renewing T.P.A. Congress would be enabling, even encouraging further secrecy,” Hatch argued.

Ironically, Hatch also admits he doesn’t know what is in the TPP deal, while at the same time he objects to the push for more transparency prior to any crucial votes.

“I don’t know fully what’s in T.P.P. myself, and I am going to be one of the most interested people on earth when that comes, if not the most interested, you know, when they finally agree. But there is — it’s still not a completed agreement, as far as I know,” admitted Hatch.

Say Goodbye To Homemade Guns If These New Bills Pass

Image source: weaponeer.net

Only law enforcement and the military would have access to body armor if a California Congressman gets his way.

Democratic Rep. Mike Honda (D-California) would also like to ban the sale of “lower receivers” that are used to make homemade AR-15s and require the regulation of other homemade firearms in some of the most restrictive gun control legislation ever introduced in Congress.

Honda introduced all three bills on the same day earlier this year.

“These bills are sensible, reasonable measures to limit the damage that can be inflicted by guns and those who mean harm with them,” Honda said. “We have seen too many people injured and killed by guns to just stand by and do nothing. These bills will modernize our gun laws to reflect how weapons are currently getting into the wrong hands.”

The Responsible Body Armor Possession Act, HR 378, would “amend the federal criminal code to prohibit the purchase, ownership, or possession of enhanced body armor,” according to a bill summary. The ban includes helmets and shields. Presumably, anyone who already has purchased such armor would be in violation of the law.

How To Hide Your Guns, And Other Off-Grid Caches…

“This bill allows law enforcement to respond to active shooting situations more effectively,” a press release said.

The Homemade Firearms Accountability Act, HR 377, would require that all homemade guns have serial numbers and be regulated in the same way as those that are purchased.

The Home-Assembled Firearms Restriction Act, HR 376, would ban the sale and purchase of “incomplete lower receivers,” which are often bought by gun enthusiasts to make, for instance, an AR-15.

Banning Guns AND Defense Against Guns

Not surprisingly, gun control groups endorsed the bills.

ar-15“Representative Honda’s bills would fill gaping holes in our nation’s gun laws that make it far too easy for mass shooters, gun traffickers, and common criminals to build homemade military-style firearms and acquire military-grade body armor,” said Kristen Rand, the legislative director of the Violence Policy Center.

But commenters on Honda’s own website wondered about the wisdom behind the bills.

“If body armor, which is entirely defensive in nature, is to be banned, how is that fundamentally different from banning locks on doors?” commenter Jay Silla asked. “After all, locks make it difficult for the police to conduct raids…”

Ryan S. wrote, “So, wait … you want to ban guns because they kill people. … But you also want to ban something that protects people from guns?!? Are you serious?!”

Another commenter was highly critical of the proposed ban on lower receivers.

My Personal Defender: Low Cost Way To Defend Yourself Against Lowlife Criminal Scum!

“Criminals don’t go online, buy an 80% AR lower, buy a jig and an end milling kit, and then spend 3+ hours milling out the AR lower with his drill press, then another hour with a fine file making all the internals fit. You know who does that? Lawful gun owners who will never use that gun that they just made to commit a crime and are more interested in saying ‘I made that.” Some, including me, would call it art,” the commenter, named Gunner, wrote.

Even some Democrats are skeptical of use of serial numbers to track weapons. Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a state bill similar to HR 377.

“I appreciate the author’s concerns about gun violence, but I can’t see how adding a serial number to a homemade gun would significantly advance public safety,” Brown wrote after vetoing a bill called SB808.

3D Guns Targeted

At least one gun control advocate thinks that Honda’s legislation also targets 3D- printed guns, although such weapons were not mentioned in the press release.

“3D printed guns remain unregulated and law enforcement deems them a threat,” said Brian Malte, the senior national policy director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We applaud Rep. Honda for introducing legislation to regulate 3D printed guns to protect our kids and communities.”

Congress Tells Court that Congress Can’t Be Investigated for Insider Trading

Lawmakers claimed they and their staff are constitutionally protected from such inquiries given the nature of their work
Congress Tells Court that Congress Can't Be Investigated for Insider Trading

Image Credits: BlankBlankBlank / Flickr.

by Lee Fang | The Intercept | May 7, 2015


In a little-noticed brief filed last summer, lawyers for the House of Representatives claimed that an SEC investigation of congressional insider trading should be blocked on principle, because lawmakers and their staff are constitutionally protected from such inquiries given the nature of their work.

The legal team led by Kerry W. Kircher, who was appointed House General Counsel by Speaker John Boehner in 2011, claimed that the insider trading probe violated the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branch.

In 2012, members of Congress patted themselves on the back for passing the STOCK Act, a bill meant to curb insider trading for lawmakers and their staff. “We all know that Washington is broken and today members of both parties took a big step forward to fix it,” said Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, upon passage of the law.

But as the Securities and Exchange Commission made news with the first major investigation of political insider trading, Congress moved to block the inquiry.

Read more

With deadline near, lawmakers introduce bill to end NSA program

Congress failed to advance similar legislation last year
With deadline near, lawmakers introduce bill to end NSA program

Image Credits: Public domain.

by Ellen Nakashima | The Washington Post | April 29, 2015


Almost two years after the disclosure of the government’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records, Congress is confronting a fast-approaching deadline to either continue the collection or end it.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill aimed at blocking the National Security Agency from collecting the phone records of millions of Americans. The effort was described by its sponsors as a balanced approach that would ensure the NSA maintains an ability to obtain the data it needs to detect terrorist plots without infringing on Americans’ right to privacy.

Congress failed to advance similar legislation last year, and some officials say the agency should not face new constraints at a time of deep concern over the threat from terrorist groups such as the Islamic State.

Read more

Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death!

Listen to/read this famous speech from Patrick Henry in 1775, it applies to the situation in our country today literally. The only difference is the oppressor is the U.S. government instead of the British government.

The History Place - Great Speeches Collection

Patrick Henry - Liberty or Death!

Following the Boston Tea Party, Dec. 16, 1773, in which American colonists dumped 342 containers of tea into the Boston harbor, the British Parliament enacted a series of Acts in response to the rebellion in Massachusetts.

In May of 1774, General Thomas Gage, commander of all British military forces in the colonies, arrived in Boston, followed by the arrival of four regiments of British troops.

The First Continental Congress met in the fall of 1774 in Philadelphia with 56 American delegates, representing every colony, except Georgia. On September 17th, the Congress declared its opposition to the repressive Acts of Parliament, saying they are “not to be obeyed,” and also promoted the formation of local militia units.

Thus economic and military tensions between the colonists and the British escalated. In February of 1775, a Provincial Congress was held in Massachusetts during which John Hancock and Joseph Warren began defensive preparations for a state of war. The British Parliament then declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion.

On March 23rd, in Virginia, the largest colony in America, a meeting of the colony’s delegates was held in St. John’s church in Richmond. Resolutions were presented by Patrick Henry putting the colony of Virginia “into a posture of defense…embodying, arming, and disciplining such a number of men as may be sufficient for that purpose.” Before the vote was taken on his resolutions, Henry delivered the speech below, imploring the delegates to vote in favor.

He spoke without any notes in a voice that became louder and louder, climaxing with the now famous ending. Following his speech, the vote was taken in which his resolutions passed by a narrow margin, and thus Virginia joined in the American Revolution.

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope that it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.

This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty towards the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth — to know the worst and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House?

Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with these warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation — the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motives for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies?

No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer on the subject? Nothing.

We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.

Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak — unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of the means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come!

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, “Peace! Peace!” — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!

Patrick Henry – March 23, 1775

The History Place – Great Speeches Collection
See also: The History Place – American Revolution