The Last Surviving Cold War Hero…

Photo credit: Mpls55408 (Creative Commons)

GLEN COVE, NY – With the death last April of Lady Margaret Thatcher, only one of the five great heroes of the Cold War — Pope John Paul II, President Reagan, Baroness Thatcher, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Lech Walesa — is still alive. We hear very little in the American media these days from Lech Walesa; this is a loss, because he has a gift for expressing great wisdom in short sentences.

Before he courageously led the liberation of Poland from communism, he predicted that the Cold War could be won without fighting World War III. Reagan, Thatcher, and John Paul II apparently agreed and acted accordingly.

There can be no doubt that Walesa regards President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron as unworthy successors to Reagan and Thatcher. In 2010, Walesa warned that the United States was slipping toward socialism.

On April 10, 2010, a Polish airliner crashed in Russia. The President of Poland and his wife were killed in the crash. Others who died included 15 members of the Polish parliament, a former President of Poland, the Chief of the Polish General Staff, the Catholic and Orthodox Chiefs of Chaplains, and the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister. The fact that Obama played golf during the funerals has widely been viewed as an insult to Poland.

In his negotiations with Russia, Obama has repeatedly shown a lack of respect for Poland and the other former captive nations, especially in his decision to cancel the missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Walesa declined to join a group of prominent Poles invited to greet Obama as a group on May 28, 2011. It seems that he felt the occasion was not one in which he could tell the President what he really thought.

In 2012, the United States Medal of Freedom was awarded posthumously to a Polish World War II hero. The Polish government suggested that Walesa represent Poland at the White House ceremony, but Obama vetoed the idea. According to administration officials, Walesa was too political. To make matters worse, Obama, in prepared remarks at the ceremony, referred to “a Polish death camp,” instead of more accurately describing it as a Nazi death camp in Poland. This was a stinging insult to Poland, which lost so many of its people to the Nazis.

The next time Walesa was in Washington, D.C., he did not have time to meet with Obama.

Walesa’s relations with British Prime Minister David Cameron are also frosty due to Cameron’s attempts to curb migration from the former captive nations to the United Kingdom.

Walesa’s politics are a blend of Christian traditional social teaching, individual freedom, and patriotism. He believes all people are important, and he supports the right of privacy. He has become disillusioned with Polish intellectuals. He believes that the West underestimates the contribution of the people of the captive nations to the defeat of Soviet communism.

His beliefs are not very different from those of American conservatives. These beliefs are seldom heard in America because most journalists do not want a fearless and frank voice reminding us that Obama is no Reagan and Cameron is no Thatcher.


The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2014 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, All rights reserved.

Charles Mills, Esq. has a B.A. from Yale in Latin and Greek; a law degree from Boston College; and an LI.M degree from Touro College in which he focused on veterans’ benefits and Constitutional law.


Photo credit: Mpls55408 (Creative Commons)

Government Spying

NSA aerial 1024x819 Government Spying

GLEN COVE, NY – The recently disclosed spying on Americans by our government violates the principles for which we fought in our War of Independence.

From about 1765 to 1775, much of New England fought a sort of cold war with the British until it erupted into a hot war in 1775 at Lexington and Concord. One of the tactics of the British during the cold war was the use of a writ of assistance that functioned as a kind of unlimited search warrant. As a result, a provision was put in our Bill of Rights: all search warrants had to be based on “probable” cause and specify the thing being searched for.

The right to search an American’s electronic communications should comply with the stipulations of the Bill of Rights. Originally, when telephone calls were operator-assisted, asking the operator whom a person had called was not a search; however, attaching extra wires to his telephone wires to listen to his conversations required a proper warrant. Counting the number of clicks made by a rotary dial telephone did not require a warrant. A rule developed that finding out whom a person called did not require a warrant. But finding out what was said did.

The law is in need of further sensible development. There is nothing wrong with finding out whom a suspect is calling, or even finding out whom some of the people called, if they are suspicious. Today, however, it is possible to examine patterns of telephone calls from and to hundreds of millions of telephones. We have recently learned that the government has obtained the complete telephone logs for months for over 100 million telephones with a single subpoena. This amounts to a subpoena that does not specify the particular thing being sought. It is very much like the writs used by the British in colonial Massachusetts to search a house for anything they could find.

One could object that data in one of these searches of hundreds of millions of telephone records are ignored, but that is irrelevant. The government now has the data from which, without returning to court, it can find the names of everyone repeatedly called by the membership division of the National Rifle Association. The fact that the government is only using these data to fight terrorists does not justify giving to the government the tools for more tyrannical and unsupervised activities.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the government now apparently has everybody’s Internet records. The truly guilty may erase and hide their trails, but most of us leave detailed trails. We leave records of books we have ordered. We leave records of organizations whose dues we have paid. We might leave records of what kind of clothes we buy for ourselves and for members of the opposite sex. It may well be that such information is harmless in 99 percent of all cases, but that is not enough.

Some people may leave traces of their vices, and some of them may not realize it. More ominously, some may leave just enough clues for clever psychologists to figure out how to tempt them into compromising situations. Even if they leave nothing more than something mildly embarrassing, it is not the role of government to hold all such data on most of the population.

Our government may intend to do nothing with hundreds of millions of electronic telephone logs and Internet records other than to fight terrorism. We must remember, however, that the same people will not always run the government; if our future leaders decide to misuse this information, they will already have it and will not have to go before a judge again.

We need to strip the government of these monster databases and limit such databases to those having a rational relation to legitimate suspects. Perhaps we could allow the government to have a basic database of computer identifications to make it easier to construct the data obtained with court orders regarding real suspects and their correspondents. But we surely do not want the government to have data regarding all the personal preferences of 200 or 300 million Americans.


The Confederate Lawyer column is copyright © 2013 by Charles G. Mills and the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, All rights reserved.

Charles G. Mills is the Judge Advocate or general counsel for the New York State American Legion. He has forty years of experience in many trial and appellate courts and has published several articles about the law.

See his biographical sketch and additional columns here.