Thursday, December 22, 2005

Precedents For Domestic Spy Abuse

Precedents of Domestic Spy Abuses

“The FBI has also conduced hundreds of warrantless surreptitious entries -- break-ins -- during the past twenty-five years. Often these entries were conducted to install electronic listening devices, at other times they involved physical searches for information. The widespread use of warrantless surreptitious entries against both foreign and domestic targets was terminated by the Bureau in 1966 but the FBI has occasionally made such entries against foreign targets in more recent years. All of these techniques have been turned against American citizens its well as against certain foreign targets. On the theory that the executive's responsibility in the area of 'national security' and 'foreign intelligence' justified their use without the need of judicial supervision, the intelligence community believed it was free to direct these techniques against individuals and organizations whom it believed threatened the country's security. The standards governing the use of these techniques have been imprecise and susceptible to expansive interpretation and in the absence of any judicial check on the application of these vague standards to particular cases. it was relatively easy for intelligence agencies and their superiors to extend them to many cases where they were clearly inappropriate. Lax internal controls on the use of some of these techniques compounded the problem. These intrusive techniques by their very nature invaded the private communications and activities both of the individuals they were directed against and of the persons, with whom the targets communicated or associated. Consequently. they provided the means by which all types of information -- including personal and political information totally unrelated to any legitimate governmental objective -- were collected and in some cases disseminated to the highest levels of the government.” Intelligence Activities and The Rights of America Book II page 6 (Select Committee to Study Government Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities)

George W Bu$h ordering the National Security Agency to spy on AmeriKKKan citizens without court oversight or warrants is nothing new. The history of AmeriKKKa the myths, lies and propaganda not withstanding, is replete with examples of crass oppression and invasion of privacy. In 1976 the US Senate finalized its report on the abuses of intelligence agencies against US citizens. Do a search on the Internet on the Church and Rockefeller Reports and read the straightforward findings and conclusions. The Church report was released twenty-nine years ago following the blatant abuses of the Military, FBI and CIA during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. As a result of these reports, the Congress nominally reigned in and put “limits” on the FBI and CIA to curb the domestic and the operative word here is domestic abuses they found. However the reality is the FBI and CIA were spanked with a cotton ball and sent on their merry way to conduct business as usual. The Congress did not cut the budgets of the FBI or CIA nor any of the other alphabet intelligence organizations like the NSA National Security Council (NSC) National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) the satellite and aerial overhead intelligence gathering agency or any of the others. The FBI and CIA merely transformed and reinvented themselves to meet the minimal standards laid out by Congress. Keep in mind the only reason the Congress investigated the FBI and CIA at all was because of the tumultuous times, the virulent anti-draft and anti-war movements and the unrest due to the Black Power, Indian Rights, Welfare Rights, Migrant Worker and militant organized labor movements. Once the war ended, the system resiliently moved to co-opt the opposition and restore the status quo. While they were doing that, they were simultaneously moving to undermine the notion of democracy and civil liberties and move the nation to a more fascist footing. The Reagan-Bu$h years ushered in hard core right wing domestic and international imperialist agendas. It was these administrations who preemptively invaded Grenada and Panama , who were the culprits behind the Iran-Contra scandal, who created Islamic Jihadists like Osama bin-Laden, who were behind the massive drug trafficking and money laundering enterprises that accompanied Iran-Contra who set the stage for much of what we see going on in the current Bu$h administration today. Dubeyah is not the first, he is the latest and worse abuser thus far. The Church Committee revealed widespread abuses going back several decades, “Too many people have been spied upon by too many Government agencies and too much information has been collected. The Government has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power. The Government, operating primarily through secret informants, but also using other intrusive techniques such as wiretaps, microphone "bugs" surreptitious mail opening, and break-ins, has swept in vast amounts of information about the personal lives, views, and associations of American citizens. Investigations of groups deemed potentially dangerous -- and even of groups suspected of associating with potentially dangerous organizations -- have continued for decades, despite the fact that those groups did not engage in unlawful activity. Groups and individuals have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views and their lifestyles. Investigations have been based upon vague standards whose breadth made excessive collection inevitable. Unsavory and vicious tactics have been employed -- including anonymous attempts to break up marriages, disrupt meetings, ostracize persons from their professions, and provoke target groups into rivalries that might result in deaths. Intelligence agencies have served the political and personal objectives of presidents and other high officials. While the agencies often committed excesses in response to pressure from high officials in the Executive branch and Congress, they also occasionally initiated improper activities and then concealed them from officials whom they had a duty to inform. Governmental officials -- including those whose principal duty is to enforce the law --have violated or ignored the law over long periods of time and have advocated and defended their right to break the law. The Constitutional system of checks and balances has not adequately controlled intelligence activities. Until recently the Executive branch has neither delineated the scope of permissible activities nor established procedures for supervising intelligence agencies. Congress has failed to exercise sufficient oversight, seldom questioning the use to which its appropriations were being put. Most domestic intelligence issues have not reached the courts, and in those cases when they have reached the courts, the judiciary has been reluctant to grapple with them.” Looking at the scope of abuses the report found, “United States intelligence agencies have investigated a vast number of American citizens and domestic organizations. FBI headquarters alone has developed over 500,000 domestic intelligence files, 11 and these have been augmented by additional files at FBI Field Offices. The FBI opened 65,000 of these domestic intelligence files in 1972 alone. 12 In fact, substantially more individuals and groups are subject to intelligence scrutiny than the number of files would appear to indicate, since typically, each domestic intelligence file contains information on more than one individual or group, and this information is readily retrievable through the FBI General Name Index. The number of Americans and domestic groups caught in the domestic intelligence net is further illustrated by the following statistics:

-- Nearly a quarter of a million first class letters were opened and photographed in the United States by the CIA between 1953-1973, producing a CIA computerized index of nearly one and one-half million names. 13

-- At least 130,000 first class letters were opened and photographed by the FBI between 1940-1966 in eight U.S. cities. 14

-- Some 300,000 individuals were indexed in a CIA computer system and separate files were created on approximately 7,200 Americans and over 100 domestic groups during the course of CIA's Operation CHAOS (1967-1973). 15

-- Millions of private telegrams sent from, to, or through the United States were obtained by the National Security Agency from 1947 to 1975 under a secret arrangement with three United States telegraph companies. 16

-- An estimated 100,000 Americans were the subjects of United States Army intelligence files created between the mid 1960's and 1971. 17

-- Intelligence files on more than 11,000 individuals and groups were created by the Internal Revenue Service between 1969 and 1973 and tax investigations were started on the basis of political rather than tax criteria. 18

-- At least 26,000 individuals were at one point catalogued on an FBI list of persons to be rounded up in the event of a "national emergency ” So you see AmeriKKKa has along pattern and history of “intelligence” abuses. And that was written in 1976!
From 2001 to 2005 Bu$h has taken it further by using the NSA a highly sophisticated technological agency to spy on AmeriKKKans without a prior warrant or FISA court oversight. What is even more alarming is the Bu$h administration is packed with retreads from the Reagan-Bu$h Iran-Contra era as well as a new jack bred of fascists hellbent on turning AmeriKKKa into a modern version of Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. They have no reservations about shredding the US Constitution or Bill of Rights. In addition to rigged elections, the lies to start wars, corporatist cronyism and corruption now Joe and Jane Sixpack are being subjected to warrantless surveillance and massive abridgement of their civil rights and privacy. The key question now is, what are the people going to do about it? What action are the people going to demand their elected representatives take? Only one of two things will happen, Congress will finally find the backbone to assert itself and Bu$h and Co. will be investigated and punished or the Nazification of AmeriKKKa will accelerate unabated.

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