Friday, February 17, 2006

Terrorist Surveillance Program

A recent poll in USA Today, intrepidly trying to get the pulse of the American people, found that "By 50%-47%, Americans say the administration was wrong to allow wiretapping of international communications involving terrorism suspects without obtaining court warrants." As is often the case, the phrasing of the question disguises the real issue.

Some of the “terrorist surveillance” done by the FBI and DoD has been reported in the mainstream media, thanks to lawsuits brought by the ACLU. Usually those infiltrated are such Al-Qaeda affiliated groups as “Quakers for Peace”, “Moms against Military Recruiting”, and “Vegans opposing Chinchilla Abuse”. But while this gets a lot closer to the real need for warrantless spying, we’re not quite there yet. Exactly what is Grover Norquist worried about when, in speaking out against NSA spying, he warns that “at some point Hillary Clinton might be making these decisions”?

Paul Craig Roberts cuts to the chase in an article that has many excellent points:

We have reached a point where the Bush administration is determined to totally eclipse the people. Bewitched by neoconservatives and lustful for power, the Bush administration and the Republican Party are aligning themselves firmly against the American people. Their first victims, of course, were the true conservatives. Having eliminated internal opposition, the Bush administration is now using blackmail obtained through illegal spying on American citizens to silence the media and the opposition party.

Before flinching at my assertion of blackmail, ask yourself why President Bush refuses to obey the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The purpose of the FISA court is to ensure that administrations do not spy for partisan political reasons. The warrant requirement is to ensure that a panel of independent federal judges hears a legitimate reason for the spying, thus protecting a president from the temptation to abuse the powers of government. The only reason for the Bush administration to evade the court is that the Bush administration had no legitimate reasons for its spying. This should be obvious even to a naif.

Ahh, now we get to the core of the matter. Political control through blackmail – a time honored tradition. It now becomes much clearer why somebody like Grover Norquist, who has quite a few skeletons in his closet, understands that unlimited spying can be a bad thing: it has nothing to do with terrorism, and everything to do with control of both allies and enemies – political enemies, the real threat to the administration, not someone with a turban in a cave.

Additional insight can be gained by peeking into the White House’s enemies list, as described by Doug Thompson in a Capitol Hill Blue article:

Spurred by paranoia and aided by the USA Patriot Act, the Bush Administration has compiled dossiers on more than 10,000 Americans it considers political enemies and uses those files to wage war on those who disagree with its policies. ...

The computerized files include intimate personal details on members of Congress; high-ranking local, state and federal officials; prominent media figures and ordinary citizens who may, at one time or another, have spoken out against the President or Administration.

Capitol Hill Blue has spoken with a number of current and former administration officials who acknowledge existence of the enemies list only under a guarantee of confidentiality. Those who have seen the list say it is far more extensive than Richard Nixon’s famous “enemies list” of Watergate fame or Bill Clinton’s dossiers on political enemies. …

“If you want to know who’s sleeping with whom, who drinks too much or has a fondness for nose candy, this is the place to find it,” says another White House aide. Karl (Rove) operates under the rule that if you fuck with us, we’ll fuck you over.”

The snooping is so pervasive that aides in the White House have taking to using disposable phones, for fear that they will become victems of their own administration’s eavesdropping. From another Doug Thompson article:

Wary White House aides, under constant scrutiny from a paranoid Bush administration hell bent on stopping leaks, have turned to a technique used by drug dealers and criminals to avoid detection – prepaid, disposable cell phones. …

“Every time a new story emerges in the press, everyone here comes under suspicion,” says one aide. “We spend most of our time covering our asses instead of tending to the nation’s business.”

White House sources tell us that even senior aides like embattled Presidential advisor Karl Rove uses the prepaid phones to avoid having certain calls show up on call logs or other records that might be subpoenaed.

If it’s beginning to sound like Stalinist Russia, where one never knew who would be purged next, you’re beginning to get the idea. The program never had much to do with terrorists.


Blogger ludflu said...

It really rings true that the Bush administration has been using illegal wiretaps to compile information on their enemies. Why else would they avoid FISA court? FISA almost never turns down a request, and such requests can even be made retroactively. The only reason they risk an illegal end run around FISA is if the surveillance was so unjustified that wouldn't pass the laugh test.

5:51 PM  
Blogger ludflu said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:51 PM  
Blogger batcave911 said...

what bothers me, is that you cant sue them even if you were wiretapped illegally...
because you will never know it.
we have no idea of how many thousands of people have been tapped,
for no reason related to terrorism.

i have an idea though.
if a LOT of people do google searches that say "F** the NSA"
maybe that will get their attention.
google (and other search engines) will send that info to the NSA/FBI etc...

and they will read this google search string....
NSA SPY text document

copy THAT and paste into your "goolge box" everyday.

The whole thing stinks.
the neo-cons want to get their agenda through, and 9/11 gave them the go-ahead to do anything they wanted.
JUST after Sept 11 the US had sympathy from all countries, and we abused the heck out of it.

Fake Terror
they used 911 as a pretext to war.
maybe they knew, and didnt stop it, maybe a few in the admin, even helped ?
Cheney and his goons planned to invade Iraq well before 9/11
Bogus War On Terrorism

The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power.

It says:

"while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

or google PNAC

PNAC (Project for the New American Century) is a neoCon thinktank, who scripted a regime change of Saddam Hussein already in 2000 and before George Bush was elected as president of the United States. The same "crew" wrote a "letter of 41" on Sep20th, 2001 to George Bush, urging him to start a war against Saddam Hussein. Among them Pentagon advisor Richard Perle, one of the strongest supporter of the war against Iraq.

Here is some info on wiretapping etc...


The blacklisting of "terrorists" began with the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) of 1996, the American legislation that was introduced in the wake of the First WTC Bombing of 1993, and finally passed in the wake of the OkcBombing of 1995.

The Center For National Security Studies has done an Analysis of Clinton Administration Counter-Terrorism Proposal:

1. authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations;
2. repeal the ancient provision barring the U.S. military from civilian law enforcement;
3. expand a pre-trial detention scheme that puts the burden of proof on the accused;
4. loosen the carefully-crafted rules governing federal wiretaps, in violation of the Fourth Amendment;
5. establish special courts that would use secret evidence to order the deportation of persons convicted of no crimes, in violation of basic principles of due process;
6. permit permanent detention by the Attorney General of aliens convicted of no crimes, with no judicial review;
7. give the President unreviewable power to criminalize fund-raising for lawful activities associated with unpopular causes;
8. renege on the Administration's approval in the last Congress of a provision to insure that the FBI would not investigate based on First Amendment activities; and
9. resurrect the discredited ideological visa denial provisions of the Mc Carran Walter Act to bar foreign speakers.

Once again, the impatience of those charged with upholding the Constitution has led them to seek authority to circumvent it.


4:12 PM  

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