Rep. Harman Introduces Bill To Restrain Domestic Deployment Of Spy Satellites

Dandelion Salad

Bookmark and Share

American Civil Liberties Union
6/5/2009

Legislation Closes Troubled DHS National Applications Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 202 675-2312 or media@dcaclu.org

WASHINGTON – Representative Jane Harman D-CA introduced two bills last night to stop the Department of Homeland Security’s DHS use of satellite imagery from intelligence agencies for homeland security and law enforcement purposes. The legislation, H.R. 2703 and 2704, will prohibit funding for and close the DHS’ National Application Office NAO. This troubled office is responsible for a domestic surveillance program that the American Civil Liberties Union had long opposed in testimony and letters to Congress over the past two years.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“Today, Representative Harman put the brakes on the drift towards the surveillance society. Thanks to Representative Harman’s leadership, Congress will take the first step toward shutting down the National Application Office and its ill-conceived domestic surveillance program. This legislation would restrain domestic use of spy satellites while allowing the Department of Interior’s program to continue using its imagery in a responsible way. With billions of dollars going to build satellites that see more than the human eye, the idea of turning these lenses on Americans should raise alarm bells for everyone.”

see

Red Herrings and The “War on Terrorism” by Larry Chin

Domestic Spying on Dandelion Salad

Advertisements

Red Herrings and The “War on Terrorism” by Larry Chin

Dandelion Salad

by Larry Chin
Global Research, May 20, 2009

A red herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is used to divert attention from the original issue. The furor over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s knowledge of the Bush/Cheney administration’s use of torture is the latest Washington noise that conveniently diverts attention from the illegitimate “war on terrorism” that continues to serve as the justification for torture, murder and war.

Nancy’s clumsy tap dance

In a series of bumbling statements, Pelosi has denied her knowledge of the extent of the Bush/Cheney administration’s use of torture and other “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

Pelosi admits that she was aware, as early as September 2002, that “enhanced interrogation” techniques were being explored by the Bush/Cheney’s Office of Legal Counsel as legal options, but that she was not told that they were being used. A timeline from the CIA and statements from well-placed (but unnamed) Democratic Party sources refute Pelosi’s claim.

Continue reading

AIPAC, NSA Spying and the Corruption of Congress by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Antifascist Calling…
April 22, 2009

A major scandal involving a top Democrat, the Israeli lobby-shop AIPAC and charges that former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sought congressional help to suppress media reports of systematic, illegal warrantless surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) broke on Sunday.

Congressional Quarterly revealed that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) “was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department [to] reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.”

The former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Harman is the co-sponsor of the shameful “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” (H.R.1955) and its mutant relative in the Senate (S.1959). In other words, Harman’s “liberal” veneer is the perfect cover for currying favor with politically well-connected corporate grifters, major beneficiaries of the national security state’s largesse.

Harman was among the most vociferous defenders of the Bush regime’s warrantless wiretapping program. As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald reminds us, during an appearance on “Meet the Press” with Republicans Pat Roberts and Peter Hoekstra, Harman said that “the whistleblowers who exposed the lawbreaking and perhaps even the New York Times (but not Bush officials) should be criminally investigated, saying she ‘deplored the leak,’ that ‘it is tragic that a lot of our capability is now across the pages of the newspapers,’ and that the whistleblowers were ‘despicable’.”

[…]

via Antifascist Calling…: AIPAC, NSA Spying and the Corruption of Congress.

see

Scott Horton Interviews Jeff Stein on Jane Harman-AIPAC story

Countdown: Jeff Stein on Jane Harman-AIPAC story

Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC By Jeff Stein

Senate Moves Forward on Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act”

Scott Horton Interviews Jeff Stein on Jane Harman-AIPAC story

Dandelion Salad

AntiwarRadio

Jeff Stein, Spy Talk columnist for Congressional Quarterly, discusses his breaking news story about the alleged NSA wiretap recording of Rep. Jane Harmon agreeing to intervene on behalf of two AIPAC employees accused of espionage in exchange for help getting appointed chair of the House Intelligence Committee and why then-Attorney General Gonzales intervened to close the case before it could really begin.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Scott Horton Interviews Jeff Stein 1 …“, posted with vodpod

Pt 2 Continue reading

Countdown: Jeff Stein on Jane Harman-AIPAC story

Dandelion Salad

firedoglake

Countdown-CQPolitics’ Jeff Stein – broke Jane Harman-AIPAC story 04_20_09
visit: http://firedoglake.com

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Countdown: Jeff Stein on Jane Harman…“, posted with vodpod

see

Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC By Jeff Stein

NSA Spies On Americans Outside The Law

Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC By Jeff Stein

Dandelion Salad

By Jeff Stein, CQ SpyTalk Columnist
http://www.cqpolitics.com
April 20, 2009

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

[…]

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

via CQ Politics | Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC.

h/t: ICH

see also:

Major scandal erupts involving Rep. Jane Harman, Alberto Gonzales and AIPAC – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

NSA Spies On Americans Outside The Law

Domestic Spying

from the archives

Pres-Elect Obama, No To Anti-Freedom War-Hawk Jane Harman!! + ‘Thought crime bill’ writer on short list

Declassified letter exposes Democratic Party complicity in CIA torture By Joe Kay

US Senate Endorses Israel’s War on Gaza By Jeremy R. Hammond

By Jeremy R. Hammond
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Foreign Policy Journal
January 9, 2009

Crossposted on Foreign Policy Journal

The US Senate on Thursday passed a non-binding resolution promoted by the influential Israeli lobby AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee), effectively endorsing Israel’s war on Gaza. The resolution, entitled “A resolution expressing solidarity with Israel in Israel’s defense against terrorism in the Gaza Strip” recognizes “the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza” and reaffirms “the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas”.

The resolution does not recognize the right to self-defense of the Palestinian people.

The resolution criticizes Hamas for refusing “to comply with the requirements of the Quartet”, which include to “recognize Israel’s right to exist” and to “renounce violence”.

Continue reading

Pres-Elect Obama, No To Anti-Freedom War-Hawk Jane Harman!! + ‘Thought crime bill’ writer on short list

Dandelion Salad

by Linda Milazzo
http://www.opednews.com
Nov. 10, 2008

According to the local Los Angeles newspaper, The Daily Breeze, California Congresswoman, Jane Harman, a blue dog conservative democrat, is up for a high level intelligence position in the Obama administration. The positions being considered are CIA Director, Director of National Intelligence, and Secretary of Homeland Security. If this speculation becomes fact, and Harman is appointed overseer of the freedoms of the American people, the people’s freedoms are toast. Conservative Democrat Harman consistently legislates AGAINST participatory democracy and against personal freedom.

The most egregious example of Harman’s disregard for participatory democracy is HR 1955 – the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” – a frightening bill she slipped in the House for passage just over a year ago. HR 1955 is so anti-dissent, so anti-freedom and so McCarthy-like in its establishment of citizen review Commissions that I’ve written on it twice – both times appealing to the public to stop passage of its Senate clone, S 1959, which luckily has not yet come up for vote. Unfortunately, Mrs. Harman was so covert when sneaking in “1955” that no citizens could lobby to stop it.

[…]

via OpEdNews » Pres-Elect Obama, NO TO ANTI-FREEDOM WAR-HAWK JANE HARMAN!!

h/t: Under the Rader

***

‘Thought crime bill’ writer on Obama administration’s short list

by Maasanova
Under the Rader
Monday, November 10, 2008

Jane Harman (D – CA) is reportedly on President-Elect Barack Obama’s shortlist for a variety of positions in his upcoming administration including CIA director, Director of National Intelligence, and Secretary of Homeland Security.
The fact that Harman is begin considered is probably due to the fact that she joined a host of prominet Jews, including Middle East “negotiator” Dennis Ross, to assure Ohio’s Jewish voters that Obama would be a strong ally of Israel.  Harman is the hawkish “blue dog” Democrat who slipped the dreaded Violent Radicalisation and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act (HR 1955) on a “suspension calendar for non-controversial bills,” making the innocuous bill pass effortlessly though the House.

[…]

via Under The Radar Media: ‘Thought crime bill’ writer on Obama adminitration’s short list

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Pointing the US Surveillance Apparatus at the American People by Tom Burghardt

Senate Moves Forward on Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act”

Freedom of Speech and H.R. 1955 (videos)

Maxine & Ted – Don’t Call Us If You Call Us Terrorists! by Linda Milazzo

Video Discussion of H.R. 1955 Homegrown Terrorist Prevention Act (link)

Kucinich on HR 1955 Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

US House passes Democrat-crafted “homegrown terrorism prevention” legislation by Naomi Spencer

The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act: A Tutorial in Orwellian Newspeak By Robert Weitzel

Homegrown Terrorism

Obama-Barack

Mondale and Me (More FISA Revelations) by Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Sept 16, 2008

I was flying back to the states from Kristiansand, Norway, after receiving an award and was flying on the leg from Oslo to London. The flight’s purser pointed out one of my “countrymen” sitting in 2D. I had already been recognized on the flight by the crew because I had won the award and been on Norwegian TV. The purser pointed to seat 2D and told me that it was Walter Mondale.

I looked and did a double take, because he did not look so much like Mondale from about 10 feet away. I was eventually convinced that it was Walter Mondale (Former Senator from Minnesota; Jimmy Carter’s VP, Democratic presidential Candidate in 1984 and Ambassador to Japan during the Clinton administration). So being the shrinking violet that I am, I immediately went to introduce myself.

After we established who I was and that he supported “Nancy” even though I was a “wonderful person,” he looked at me and said: “Boy wasn’t the FISA thing awful?” I said, “Yes, it’s awful and my opponent supported it.” He returned with: “Oh, I don’t think she was really for it.” My last question went unanswered: “Well if she was against it, why would she allow it to go to a vote, as Speaker, and then vote for it, as a member?” Note: On many controversial votes, Pelosi often does not vote, on the FISA Act she voted the wrong way.

Our chat was then over because he said: “Nice to meet you, good luck with everything,” and looked back down at the paperwork he was reading. I had been dismissed for asking a question that has no reasonable answer. Nancy allowed the Act to come to a vote and voted for it, against the wishes of our liberal district, because SHE WAS FOR RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY. Not only are telecoms some of Pelosi’s biggest donors, she has been in on the illegal wiretapping crimes from the beginning. As a member of the Democratic minority leaderhip’s “Gang of Four” with Jane Harman (D-CA), Steny Hoyer, (D-MD), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), not only was the gang briefed on Bush’s FISA felonies, they were also briefed on torture. There was and is a rightful outcry on the FISA abuses (if the crimes weren’t retroactively legalized, the penalties for breaking FISA laws are steep), but to me,  torture is a crime against humanity and, in my opinion, that issue, and lying to a nation about going to war and funding war, are the ones on which the Gang of Four and the Bush Crime Mob should be held accountable.

Ever wonder why “impeachment” has always been inexplicably “off” of Pelosi’s table?” Ever wonder why the most criminal and corrupt administration, in this country’s long and checkered history that is liberally peppered with corruption and violence, is going to walk away and be allowed to live the rest of their lives in relative comfort and ease? Ever wonder why Pelosi’s Congress has an approval rating under double digits? It’s because the twin parties of corruption are the “Lawmakers” and the “Lawbreakers.” How can Mondale credibly say that Pelosi did not “support” the legislation when she voted “Yea?” Did he mean that it is common for one to sell out his/her constituents and his/her principles when money and crime and punishment are involved?

Walter Mondale (a man whom I voted for three times) has been a political insider for generations and would not even broach the subject of accountability with me. Ever wonder why the system was allowed to decay so far that it appears that only a miracle can save it now from total socio-economic destruction?

This nation is in dire straits partially because of blind allegiance to a two-party monopoly (I used to say “duopoly,” but what’s the use?) that only exists to perpetuate itself and the unscrupulous system that supports it. That system built of popsicle sticks and set on a shaky foundation will soon go the way of all Empires unless our “leadership” becomes more responsive to the people’s needs and less concerned with their bank accounts and personal power trips.

“Change” will not come from inside the monopoly. How much more proof do we need?

Vote for true change.

Vote for Cindy.

see

FISA

Domestic Spying

Homeland Security’s Space-Based Spies by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, June 5, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

When The Wall Street Journal broke a story last August on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to provide state and local authorities access to information gathered by the U.S. military’s fleet of spy satellites, it ignited a minor firestorm in Congress.

The National Applications Office (NAO) according to published reports, would coordinate how domestic law enforcement and “disaster relief” agencies such as FEMA utilize imagery intelligence (IMINT) generated by U.S. spy satellites. But as with other Bushist “security” schemes there’s little in the way of “oversight” and zero concern for the rights of the American people.

Indeed, in a scathing letter from House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, Thompson wrote,

Unfortunately, I have had to rely on media reports to gain information about this endeavor because neither I nor my staff was briefed on the decision to create this new office prior to the public disclosure of this effort. …

I am also concerned about the Department’s failure to vet this program with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which was specifically created to ensure that concerns with respect to privacy and civil liberties are appropriately considered in the implementation of executive branch policies related to protecting the Nation against terrorism. The failure to consult the Board on a matter as controversial as using spy satellites for domestic homeland security and law enforcement purposes is particularly worrisome.

Worrisome perhaps, but standard operating procedure for the corporatist gang setting “homeland” security policy in Washington: “You don’t ask, we don’t tell, comprende?”

The ACLU weighed in last September when Barry Steinhardt, Director of the Technology and Liberty Project in testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee stated:

“Congress needs to act before this potentially powerful surveillance tool is turned inward upon the American people. The domestic use of spy satellites represents a potential monster in the making, and we need to put some restraints in place before it grows into something that will trample Americans’ privacy rights.”

The program, originally slated to “go live” October 1, 2007, had been delayed by DHS’s refusal to address concerns raised by congressional and civil liberties critics over the NAO’s legal basis, not to mention its potential for abuse. But those misgivings have apparently been jettisoned out of the proverbial airlock.

The Washington Post reported April 12, “The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation’s most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea’s legal authority.”

But during the September hearing cited above, Jane Harman (D-CA), the architect of the Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” (H.R. 1955), certainly no slouch when it comes to expanding repressive state power said: “It will terrify you if you really understand the capabilities of [military] satellites.”

Citing criticism raised by Thompson and Harman, Chertoff claimed,

“There is no basis to suggest that this process is in any way insufficient to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans,” Chertoff wrote to Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.), chairmen of the House Homeland Security Committee and its intelligence subcommittee, respectively, in letters released yesterday.

“I think we’ve fully addressed anybody’s concerns,” Chertoff added in remarks last week to bloggers. “I think the way is now clear to stand it up and go warm on it.” (Spencer S. Hsu, “Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S.,” The Washington Post, April 12, 2008)

Why are these “assets” so terrifying?

Unlike commercial satellites that beam TV programs, forecast the weather or provide global positioning services, their military cousins are far more flexible, have greater resolution and therefore, more power to monitor human activity. By utilizing different parts of the light- and infrared spectrum, spy satellites, in addition to taking ultra high-resolution photographs to within a meter of their “target,” can also track the heat signatures generated by people inside a building.

Perfectly suited for handing local SWAT teams “actionable intelligence” to bust up a meeting by antiwar, union or environmental activists, we have no criteria for assessing how the use of IMINT by “law enforcement” will impact our lives since DHS won’t say. Considering that the full-capabilities of these systems are unknown outside the intelligence “community” and are among the most closely-guarded state secrets, only those inside NAO will actually know who is being monitored from space.

Simply put, if Chertoff’s plan passes congressional muster NAO will greatly enhance the formidable technological police state architecture already in place through current “warrantless wiretapping” and data mining programs. As it stands, use of imagery and geospatial intelligence is limited to scientific agencies with zero responsibility for “homeland” security or law enforcement. Why these capabilities couldn’t continue to be used for legitimate scientific purposes–or disaster assessment, for that matter–have not been addressed by Chertoff and his minions.

But perhaps, other, more pressing “commercial concerns” are being catered to here. As investigative journalist Tim Shorrock wrote,

The NAO was created under a plan tentatively approved in May 2007 by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell. Specifically, the NAO will oversee how classified information collected by the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and other key agencies is used within the U.S. during natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other events affecting national security. The most critical intelligence will be supplied by the NSA and the NGA, which are often referred to by U.S. officials as the “eyes” and “ears” of the intelligence community. …

The study group that established policies for the NAO was jointly funded by the ODNI and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), one of only two domestic U.S. agencies that is currently allowed, under rules set in the 1970s, to use classified intelligence from spy satellites. (The other is NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.) The group was chaired by Keith Hall, a Booz Allen vice president who manages his firm’s extensive contracts with the NGA and previously served as the director of the NRO.

Other members of the group included seven other former intelligence officers working for Booz Allen, as well as retired Army Lieutenant General Patrick M. Hughes, the former director of the DIA and vice president of homeland security for L-3 Communications, a key NSA contractor; and Thomas W. Conroy, the vice president of national security programs for Northrop Grumman, which has extensive contracts with the NSA and the NGA and throughout the intelligence community.

From the start, the study group was heavily weighted toward companies with a stake in both foreign and domestic intelligence. Not surprisingly, its contractor-advisers called for a major expansion in the domestic use of the spy satellites that they sell to the government. Since the end of the Cold War and particularly since the September 11, 2001 attacks, they said, the “threats to the nation have changed and there is a growing interest in making available the special capabilities of the intelligence community to all parts of the government, to include homeland security and law enforcement entities and on a higher priority basis.” (“Domestic Spying, Inc.,” CorpWatch, November 27, 2007)

As is readily apparent the problem here, as with nearly all of the Bush administration’s “counterterrorist” schemes since 9/11, is that NAO will largely be a creature operated and managed–at a steep price–by defense, intelligence and security privateers.

According to Washington Technology’s “2008 Top Government IT Contractors,” The Boeing Company clocks in at No. 2, with $9,706,621,413; No. 3, Northrop Grumman Corporation at $7,914,924,473: No. 5, SAIC, at $4,919,829,998; No. 8, L-3 Communications Corporation at $3,944,840,524; No. 12, BAE Systems, the third largest military contractor in the world, at $2,019,931,520.

However you spread the taxpayer-generated grease around, it adds up to one giant incentive to see NAO “go warm,” as Chertoff colorfully explained in April. But as Alice Lipowicz wrote,


Satellite communications and intelligence activities are a major source of federal contracting activity, and expansion of those programs into homeland security and law enforcement is likely to lead to greater contracting support. Information was not immediately available on the proposed budget for the National Applications Office for fiscal 2009 and beyond.
(“CRS: Satellite surveillance raises privacy questions,” Washington Technology, April 1, 2008)

We can only imagine how, under the stewardship of opaque corporations answerable to no one but their boards of directors, NAO would greatly enhance the corporatist “growth potential” into the ever-more lucrative “homeland security” market!

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9195

see

Freedom of Speech and H.R. 1955 (videos)

Homegrown Terrorism

Senate Moves Forward on Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act”

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, May 14, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

In the wake of Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins’ (R-ME) alarmist report, “Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorism Threat,” the Senate may be moving towards passage of the Orwellian “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” (S. 1959).

A companion piece of legislative flotsam to the House bill, “The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007” (H.R. 1955), the Democrat-controlled Congress seems ready to jettison Constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly. The bill passed the House by a 404-6 vote in October. Twenty-three congress members abstained, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers.

Under cover of studying “violent radicalization,” both bills would broaden the already-fluid definition of “terrorism” to encompass political activity and protest by dissident groups, effectively criminalizing civil disobedience and non-violent direct action by developing policies for “prevention, disruption and mitigation.”

Call it COINTELPRO 2.0.

Crafted by former House Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Jane Harman (D-CA), the legislation would create a domestic commission, a university-based “Center of Excellence” that would study and then, target domestic “radicalization” as a “threat” to the “homeland.”

David Price, a professor of anthropology at St. Martin’s University who studies state surveillance and the harassment of dissident scholars, told Jessica Lee of New York’s Indypendent newspaper last year that Harman’s bill “is a shot over the bow of environmental activists, animal-rights activists, anti-globalization activists and scholars who are working in the Middle East who have views that go against the administration.”

Evoking disquieting memories of political witchhunters ensconced in the House Committee on Un-American Activities and Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, the anti-radicalization commission would be empowered to “hold hearings and sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, receive such evidence, and administer such oaths as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its duties.”

With the power to subpoena and compel testimony from anyone, the commission would create the (intended) impression that a person forced to publicly testify before a congressionally mandated star chamber must be involved in “subversive” or illegal activities.

According to Naomi Spencer,

The commission would be composed of appointees, one chosen each respectively by Bush, Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, the Senate and House majority and minority leaders, and by the ranking majority and minority members of the two congressional homeland security committees. Such a selection process would certainly result in an extremely right-wing panel. (“US House passes Democrat-crafted ‘homegrown terrorism prevention’ legislation,” World Socialist Web Site, 1 December 2007)

When one considers that elite consensus favoring “muscular” strategies for fighting “terror”–homegrown or otherwise–emerge during a period when the Bush regime has illegally wiretapped phone calls, sifted e-mails, spied on political and religious organizations, and conducted extensive data mining of financial and other personal records, it becomes clear that the corporate police state is shifting into high-gear in a desperate move to criminalize ideological “thought crimes.”

The intent of the proposed legislation, however, goes far beyond an academic exercise. According to Jessica Lee, Harman stated that “the National Commission [will] propose to both Congress and [Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael] Chertoff initiatives to intercede before radicalized individuals turn violent.”

In the context of the post-Constitutional “New Normal” paradigm, Harman and her acolytes evoke images of Philip K. Dick’s Department of Precrime in his dystopian novella, The Minority Report. Only here, in the bizarro world of outsourced “homeland security,” mutant precogs are replaced by high-end–and taxpayer funded–data-miners, psychological profilers and social network analysts in the employ of dodgy security firms linked to America’s military-intelligence complex.

The legislation specifically singles out the Internet as a “weapon” for domestic radicalization. When she introduced her bill to the Senate last November, Harman remarked, “There can be no doubt: the Internet is increasingly being used as a tool to reach and radicalize Americans and legal residents.”

Equating America’s web-surfacing habits with the threat of ideological infection by Islamist pod-people, Harman avers that the Internet allows Americans “to become indoctrinated by extremists and to learn how to kill their neighbors … from the comfort of their own living rooms.”

(Britney, Paris, better move over… there’s a new truck-bombing instructional posted over on YouTube! OMG!)

Harman’s ludicrous pronouncement is considerably ramped-up by the Lieberman and Collins report, based on–what else– “expert testimony” during hearings held by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Lieberman and Collins claim that,

…the report assesses the federal government’s response to the spread of the violent Islamist message on the Internet and concludes that there is no cohesive and comprehensive outreach and communications strategy in place to confront this threat. The report does not discuss relevant classified tools and tactics employed by the law enforcement and intelligence communities, but does recognize that there is no plan to harness all possible resources including adopting new laws, encouraging and supporting law enforcement and the intelligence community at the local, state, and federal levels, and more aggressively implementing an outreach and counter-messaging campaign on the Internet and elsewhere.

In other words, “independent” Democrat Lieberman and “maverick Republican” Collins are proposing new “tools” for regulating the Internet through a counter-propaganda campaign that would create “message force multipliers” that “support law enforcement” initiatives to crush the radical “threat.”

By targeting the Internet, House and Senate thought police claim that “the Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.”

But as the American Civil Liberties Union wrote last week,

Experience has demonstrated that in the event of a terrorist attack, the results of this report will likely be used to recommend the use of racial, ethnic and religious profiling. This will only heighten, rather than decrease, the spread of extremist violence. As an organization dedicated to the principles of freedom of speech, we cannot in good conscience support this report or any measure that might lead to censorship and persecution based solely on one’s personal beliefs.

The ACLU is concerned that identifying the Internet as a tool for terrorists will lead to censorship and regulated speech — especially since the Internet has become an essential communications and research tool for everyone. Indeed, some policy makers have advocated shutting down objectionable websites in violation of the First Amendment. It is an unworkable solution. (American Civil Liberties Union, “ACLU Skeptical of Senate Report on “Homegrown” Terrorism,” Press Release, May 8, 2008)

Precisely. But wait, there’s more! Citing the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as “experts” in the area of “homegrown radicalism,” the report avers:

After more than two years of research into homegrown terrorism cases in the United States and around the world, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) developed a model to explain how this core enlistment message, and the “jihadi-Salafi” ideology that provides the foundation for that message, drive the domestic radicalization process — transforming “unremarkable people” into terrorists.

Perhaps Lieberman and Collins should have consulted the family of Sean Bell as to the NYPD’s “expertise” on analogous crime “modeling.” Murdered by trigger-happy cops after a bachelor party the morning of his wedding, Bell’s life was snuffed-out after he and his friends were shot some 50 times. The cops–surprise!–were recently found “not guilty” on all counts by a New York judge.

We can dismiss senatorial allusions to NYPD’s acumen in the area of “counterterrorist analysis” with the contempt it deserves. But let’s be clear on one thing: the sole purpose of the “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” is to target the American people’s constitutionally-protected right to say No.

If the U.S. House and Senate care to examine the “root causes” of terrorism today, they need look no further than the on-going U.S. slaughter in Iraq–a “preemptive” war of choice to which they infamously gave their consent with eyes wide open.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8978

see

Freedom of Speech and H.R. 1955 (videos)

Video Discussion of H.R. 1955 Homegrown Terrorist Prevention Act (link)

Kucinich on HR 1955 Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

US House passes Democrat-crafted “homegrown terrorism prevention” legislation by Naomi Spencer

The Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act: A Tutorial in Orwellian Newspeak By Robert Weitzel

The Violent Radicalization Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 by Matt Renner

The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act by Philip Giraldi

‘Homegrown Terror’ Act an Attack on Internet Freedom? by Rep. Ron Paul

Homegrown Terrorism

Mukasey Defends Bush Regime Spying, Domestic Military Operations by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 13, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

During an emotional speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on March 27, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey asserted that the September 11 attacks could have been prevented “if the government had been able to wiretap a phone call from Afghanistan,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

As I wrote March 30, we know that Mukasey’s declaration was factually false, yet the USAG continues to claim that the government should be able to monitor communications from “terrorists,” without seeking permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) whose brief from Congress, under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), does precisely that.

In other words, Mukasey is either substantially ignorant of the law or is playing a mendacious game at the behest of his political masters, one that strips Americans of their constitutionally-guaranteed Fourth Amendment rights.

During a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday, Mukasey told sceptical senators “the one thing I got wrong was the geography, but other than that, it was spot on.”

The Bush administration continues to press Congress to expand the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program by passing a new “Protect America Act” which expired February 16.

The administration would grant various arms of the intelligence bureaucracy carte blanche to spy on Americans while limiting court review of the process. The proposed new law, overwhelmingly supported by Senate Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress, would bar pending lawsuits against giant telecommunications companies accused of providing access to their networks and company records to Bushist spymasters.

Challenging the veracity of Mukasey’s assertions at the Commonwealth Club, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), pointedly inquired:

This statement is very disturbing for several reasons. Initially, despite extensive inquiries after 9/11, I am aware of no previous reference, in the 9/11 Commission report or elsewhere, to a call from a know terrorist safehouse in Afghanistan to the United States which, if it had been intercepted, could have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks. In addition, if the Administration had know of such communications from suspected terrorists, they could and should have been intercepted based on existing FISA law. For example, even assuming that a FISA warrant was required to intercept such calls, as of 9/11 FISA specifically authorized such surveillance on an emergency basis without a warrant for a 48 hour period. If such calls were known about and not intercepted, serious additional concerns would be raised about the government’s failure to take appropriate action before 9/11. (Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, “The Honorable Michael Mukasey, Attorney General of the United States,” April 3, 2008)

Claiming that many threats “do not appear to be emergencies until it is too late,” Justice Department official Brian Benczkowski, challenged Conyers’ assertion and said that it’s “easy to say, after the fact,” a particular call could have been intercepted under the law. Chronicle reporter Bob Egelko writes that Benczkowski said “it makes more sense to eliminate legal obstacles to effective intelligence-gathering overseas.” In other words, give the administration what it wants: unlimited power to spy on Americans.

Despite Conyers’ correctly calling out Mukasey on his unequivocal falsehoods on the issue of monitoring al-Qaeda prior to the 9/11 attacks, Conyers too, substantially misrepresents the facts. To wit, the National Security Agency (NSA) maintained close electronic surveillance of al-Qaeda’s communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen for years before 9/11. Such monitoring included not one call, but probably dozens of communications amongst operatives of Osama bin Laden’s “Martyrdom Battalion.”

According to Paul Thompson at the History Commons, NSA, CIA and FBI monitoring included the interception of communications among al-Qaeda assets prior to the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000:

Mid-August 1998-October 2000: Al-Qaeda Operatives Use Monitored Yemen Communications Hub to Coordinate Cole Bombing

Al-Qaeda operatives use a communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen, to “put everything together” before the bombing of the USS Cole. The communications hub is run by Ahmed al-Hada, who US officials will later describe as “a prominent al-Qaeda member who is believed to have been involved in the Cole bombing.” The hub is monitored by US intelligence from 1998, at least, (see Late August 1998) and information gleaned from it is used to thwart a number of plots (see Late 1998-Early 2002). The US monitors the house through bugs planted inside and through spy satellites to monitor people leaving and entering it. The hub was also used before the 1998 embassy bombings and will be used to communicate with the 9/11 hijackers before 9/11 (see Early 2000-Summer 2001). [MSNBC, 2/14/2002; MIRROR, 6/9/2002; MSNBC, 5/2005] When the FBI arrives in Yemen to investigate the bombing, it finds that “telephone records show[…] that suspects in the Cole bombing had been in touch with suspects from the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya.” [MILLER, STONE, AND MITCHELL, 2002, PP. 238] Calls between the hub and an al-Qaeda cell in Ireland that seems to have a connection to the Cole bombing are also intercepted during part of this period (see Late December 1999-October 12, 2000). It is unclear why the information does not allow the NSA to thwart the plot. Despite the scope of the monitoring, NSA Director Michael Hayden will later say there were no intercepts the NSA could have exploited to stop the bombing: “When the Cole disaster took place I had brought to my desk in, in this office, every stitch of NSA reporting on the–that could in any way be related to this. And I went thought it report by report and I sent a letter out to our entire work force, which was essentially, you performed well. Keep up the good work.” [CBS NEWS, 6/19/2002]

As I have written before, the 9/11 attacks, were neither a “failure of the imagination” as the 9/11 Commission asserted, nor the result of “flawed communications” between various security arms of the state to “connect the dots.” The murder of some 3,000 individuals on U.S. soil were the result of actions undertaken by successive U.S. administrations’ to protect on-going intelligence operations by the United States in the Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East.

While al-Qaeda is certainly a far-right terrorist organization responsible for politically-motivated acts of murder, and have sought to obtain and deploy chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, this did not preclude their utilization as intelligence assets by the Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II administrations. The United States and their NATO allies, freely employed al-Qaeda and other Islamist forces as a cats-paw as they conducted multiple destabilization campaigns in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as well as within the former Soviet Union itself, notably in Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Russian province of Chechnya, as Michel Chossudovsky has documented. Nor has it prevented the Bush administration from using such reactionary forces as disposable assets as it currently wages a covert war against Iran, as Seymour Hersh reported last year in The New Yorker.

As with his fictitious claims regarding the 9/11 attacks, Mukasey has essentially condoned moves by the administration to deploy the U.S. military domestically for “counterterrorist” operations.

Despite Bush administration assertions to the contrary, there is no evidence that domestic operations by the U.S. military are legal under the U.S. Constitution, despite Mukasey’s testimony Thursday, when he attempted to distance himself from a classified October 2001 Department of Justice memorandum.

Responding to a question put to him by the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mukasey said that “the Fourth Amendment applies across the board, whether we’re in wartime or peacetime,” according to The New York Times.

Times’ reporter Philip Shenon wrote,

Still, the attorney general did not repudiate the entire document. He also did not say if its findings had been formally withdrawn or when it might be turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has requested a copy.

The memorandum’s existence was revealed last week when the Bush administration released a copy of a separate Justice Department document from 2003 that referred to the October 2001 memorandum in a footnote.

The footnote said the 2001 memorandum, which has not been shared outside the administration, concluded that the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures, did not apply to “domestic military operations” against terrorist threats. (“Mukasey Distances Himself from a Memo on Searches,” The New York Times, April 11, 2008)

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported Saturday that the Department of Homeland Security “plans to start using the nation’s most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea’s legal authority.”

DHS will “activate” the National Applications Office’s satellite surveillance program for (unspecified) domestic purposes. First proposed last August by DHS, the NAO’s overhead sensor data will be used by law enforcement “once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved.” DHS has previously averred that the program “will not intercept communications.”

This however, is a meaningless parsing of intelligence terminology by DHS, more reflective of its desire to conceal than to reveal the nature of NAO’s domestic “mission.” Data “captured” by satellites are referred to in the “trade” as GEOINT or Geospatial Intelligence, gathered by satellite, aerial photography, mapping/terrain data, or IMINT, imagery intelligence, gathered from satellite or aerial photography. Strictly speaking, communications monitoring such as that conducted by NSA is referred to as SIGINT, or signals intelligence. The question is: what or whom will be “mapped” by space-based satellites and/or high-altitude spy planes such as Lockheed’s U2 or its SR-71 Blackbird? DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff claimed,

“There is no basis to suggest that this process is in any way insufficient to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans,” Chertoff wrote to Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.), chairmen of the House Homeland Security Committee and its intelligence subcommittee, respectively, in letters released yesterday.

“I think we’ve fully addressed anybody’s concerns,” Chertoff added in remarks last week to bloggers. “I think the way is now clear to stand it up and go warm on it.”

His statements marked a fresh determination to operate the department’s new National Applications Office as part of its counterterrorism efforts. The administration in May 2007 gave DHS authority to coordinate requests for satellite imagery, radar, electronic-signal information, chemical detection and other monitoring capabilities that have been used for decades within U.S. borders for mapping and disaster response.

But Congress delayed launch of the new office last October. Critics cited its potential to expand the role of military assets in domestic law enforcement, to turn new or as-yet-undeveloped technologies against Americans without adequate public debate, and to divert the existing civilian and scientific focus of some satellite work to security uses. (Spencer S. Hsu, “Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S..” The Washington Post, April 12, 2008, Page A3)

We should not be deceived either by Mukasey, Chertoff or by half-hearted gestures from Congress to reign in the “post-Constitutional” Bush regime. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Democratic Party has been complicit with Bush administration claims of unlimited executive power to fight its alleged “war against terror.”

From the torture of detainees, the launching of “preemptive” wars of conquest, the circumvention of binding international treaties, to the subversion of Americans’ democratic rights under the U.S. Constitution, the Democrats have rubber-stamped and provided Bush and his minions a rationale–“protecting the Homeland”–for overturning all Constitutional restrictions on presidential and military power.

Illegal domestic spying by the FBI, NSA and “security” corporations operating beyond the reach of any meaningful oversight by elected, democratic institutions will continue long after the Bush administration ignobly sails off into the proverbial sunset.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8667
see

Mukasey testifies before the Senate Appropriations Ctte on FISA & 9/11

Mukasey Refuses to Say Yoo 4th Amendment Memo Withdrawn

Why doesn’t the 9/11 Commission know about Mukasey’s 9/11 story? By Glenn Greenwald

Attorney General Mukasey lies about 9/11 & international spying

Telecom Immunity: Playing the “9/11 Card” … Again

Spying on Americans: The FBI’s “Quantico Circuit” – Still Spying, Still Lying

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 9, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Tuesday’s Washington Post reports that FBI investigators “with the click of a mouse, [can] instantly transfer key data along a computer circuit to an FBI technology office in Quantico.”

Last month I wrote that evidence of the Bureau’s massive spying operations on Americans had been uncovered and “that a new FISA whistleblower has stepped forward with information about a major wireless provider apparently granting the state unrestricted access to all of their customers’ voice communications and electronic data via a so-called ‘Quantico Circuit’.”

According to whistleblower Babak Pasdar, a telecom carrier he worked for as a security consultant, subsequently named as Verizon by the Post, said the company maintained a high-speed DS-3 digital line that allowed the Bureau and other security agencies “unfettered” access to the carrier’s wireless network, including billing records and customer data “transmitted wirelessly.”

Verizon denied the report that the FBI has open access to its network; a denial belied by documents obtained by the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation describing the Bureau’s Digital Collection System.

When these allegations first surfaced they were stonewalled by major media. Nevertheless, the reports continued and we now have learned that electronic connections between major telecom firms and FBI personnel scattered across the country provide the Bureau with real-time access to who is speaking to whom, the time and duration of each call as well as the locations of those so targeted.

Despite half-hearted protests by Congress, the FBI’s budget for these operations have increased significantly. According to Post reporter Ellen Nakashima,

“The bureau says its budget for the collection system increased from $30 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2008. Information lawfully collected by the FBI from telecom firms can be shared with law enforcement and intelligence-gathering partners, including the National Security Agency and the CIA. Likewise, under guidelines approved by the attorney general or a court, some intercept data gathered by intelligence agencies can be shared with law enforcement agencies.” (Ellen Nakashima, “FBI Transfers via Telecoms Questioned,” The Washington Post, Tuesday, April 8, 2008; A03)

But who’s “watching the watchers,” or in this case, the listeners?

Since 1994, under rules mandated by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), passed by the “liberal” Clinton administration, federal rules are in place “to make clear a telecommunications carrier’s duty to cooperate in the interception of communications for Law Enforcement purposes, and for other purposes.” [emphasis added]

These rules specify that telecom carriers and manufacturers design their equipment, facilities and services so as to guarantee they have the necessary surveillance capabilities. This onerous piece of legislative flotsam specifies that common carriers, broadband internet access providers and providers of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service are designated “telecommunications carriers” under federal law and thus, are capable of interception by the state’s “security” bureaucracies. (For an historical analysis of CALEA’s civil liberties implications see: “Big Brother in the Wires: Wiretapping in the Digital Age,” ACLU, March 1, 1998)

The FBI has since created a network of links and electronic hubs for collection purposes amongst the nation’s largest telecom carriers and internet providers “and about 40 FBI offices and Quantico, according to interviews and documents describing the agency’s Digital Collection System,” according to the Washington Post.

These revelations mirror those of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, who revealed that the super secretive National Security Agency had been given access by AT&T management to install “splitters” for the Agency hard-wired to an NSA “secure” room in the company’s central office in San Francisco. According to Klein,

“In short, an exact copy of all internet traffic that flowed through critical AT&T cables–emails, documents, pictures, web browsing, Voice over-internet phone conservations, everything–was being diverted to equipment inside the secret room. In addition the documents reveal the technological gear used in their secret project, including a highly sophisticated search component capable of quickly sifting through huge amounts of digital data (including text, voice and images) in real time according to pre-programmed criteria.

It’s important to understand that the internet links which were connected to the splitter contained not just foreign communications but vast amounts of domestic traffic, all mixed together. Furthermore, the splitter has no selective abilities–it’s just a dumb device which copies everything to the secret room. And the links going through the splitter are AT&T’s physical connections to many other internet providers (e.g., Sprint, Qwest, Global Crossing, Cable & Wireless, and the critical West Coast Internet Exchange Point known as Mae West). Since these networks are interconnected, the government surveillance affects not only AT&T customers but everyone else–millions of Americans.

I also discovered in my conversations with other technicians that other “secret rooms” were established in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. One of the documents I obtained also mentions Atlanta, and the clear inference in the logic of this setup, and the language of the documents, is that there are other such rooms across the country to complete the coverage–possibly 15 to 20 or more.” (Mark Klein, “Reject Amnesty for Telecoms,” Electronic Frontier Foundation)

As a key networking hub of the national security state’s electronic driftnet, the “Quantico circuit” enables the FBI and their CIA and NSA partners in crime to literally target any one or any group with highly-intrusive and silent monitoring of all electronic communications. Under the Bush administration’s repressive “public-private” police state architecture, privacy rights join Geneva Convention prohibitions against torture as yet another “quaint” notion, a “phantom of lost liberty,” in the memorable phrase uttered by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2001.

While the Bureau claims that the content of a phone call or e-mail must be authorized by a court order showing “probable cause,” as with other abusive FBI practices such as the issuance of so-called “national security letters” to obtain financial or other private records, the legal bar undoubtedly is set very low.

These latest revelations of FBI abuse of Fourth Amendment protections, follow on the heels of new initiatives undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security to utilize U.S. spy satellites for domestic “law enforcement and counterterrorism” investigations.

According to Nick Juliano,

“DHS plans to create a new office that would expand law enforcement and other civilian agencies’ access to data gathered by powerful intelligence and military satellites orbiting the earth. The National Applications Office [NAO] will oversee who can access such satellite data, which is typically used to monitor climate change and track hurricane damage, among other uses.

DHS still has not laid out legal frameworks or standard operating procedures for the office, according to a letter from three members of the House Homeland Security Committee.” (Nick Juliano, “DHS Ignores Civil Liberties in Domestic Spy Satellite Plan, Lawmakers Say,” The Raw Story, Monday, April 7, 2008)

First floated last August, then delayed over civil liberties concerns, DHS is now moving full speed ahead with the project. In a letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, Reps. Bennie G. Thompson, Jane Harman and Christopher P. Carney wrote, “merely mentioning Posse Comitatus and other laws in the NAO Charter does not provide needed assurances that the Department will not transform NAO into a domestic spying platform.”

Tepid protests by congressional Democrats who have systematically enabled these repressive measures by granting unlimited budgetary increases to Bushist spymasters, will have virtually no effect on an administration hell-bent on turning the entire country into a “free spy zone.”


Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by
AK Press.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8622

Rule by fear or rule by law? By Lewis Seiler & Dan Hamburg

Dandelion Salad

By Lewis Seiler, Dan Hamburg
ICH
02/12/08
San Francisco Chronicle02/04/08

“The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist.” – Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of “an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.”

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of “all removable aliens” and “potential terrorists.”

Fraud-busters such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, have complained about these contracts, saying that more taxpayer dollars should not go to taxpayer-gouging Halliburton. But the real question is: What kind of “new programs” require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people?

Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies,” gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the president is now authorized to use the military in response to “a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order.”

The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of “terrorist” organizations, or who speaks out against the government’s policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike.

Also in 2007, the White House quietly issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51), to ensure “continuity of government” in the event of what the document vaguely calls a “catastrophic emergency.” Should the president determine that such an emergency has occurred, he and he alone is empowered to do whatever he deems necessary to ensure “continuity of government.” This could include everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Congress has yet to hold a single hearing on NSPD-51.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice (Los Angeles County) has come up with a new way to expand the domestic “war on terror.” Her Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (HR1955), which passed the House by the lopsided vote of 404-6, would set up a commission to “examine and report upon the facts and causes” of so-called violent radicalism and extremist ideology, then make legislative recommendations on combatting it.

According to commentary in the Baltimore Sun, Rep. Harman and her colleagues from both sides of the aisle believe the country faces a native brand of terrorism, and needs a commission with sweeping investigative power to combat it.

A clue as to where Harman’s commission might be aiming is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law that labels those who “engage in sit-ins, civil disobedience, trespass, or any other crime in the name of animal rights” as terrorists. Other groups in the crosshairs could be anti-abortion protesters, anti-tax agitators, immigration activists, environmentalists, peace demonstrators, Second Amendment rights supporters … the list goes on and on. According to author Naomi Wolf, the National Counterterrorism Center holds the names of roughly 775,000 “terror suspects” with the number increasing by 20,000 per month.

What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?

The Constitution does not allow the executive to have unchecked power under any circumstances. The people must not allow the president to use the war on terrorism to rule by fear instead of by law.

Lewis Seiler is the president of Voice of the Environment, Inc. Dan Hamburg, a former congressman, is executive director.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Naomi Wolf Celebrated Author of “The End of America” (must-see video)

Ralph Nader: The Road to Corporate Fascism (must-see video)

National Security & Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51 (2007)

Habeas Corpus/HR 6166/Military Commissions Act/MCA

Detention Centers/Concentration Camps in the US

Detention Camps

Fascism

Declassified letter exposes Democratic Party complicity in CIA torture By Joe Kay

Dandelion Salad

By Joe Kay
WSWS
8 January 2008

Last week, the CIA declassified a February 2003 letter from Democratic Representative Jane Harman of California discussing the planned destruction of videotapes depicting the interrogation and torture of prisoners held by the CIA.

Harman requested that the CIA release the letter in order to show her supposed criticism of the agency’s plans to destroy the evidence. In a statement on the letter, Harman said that it “makes clear my concern about possible destruction of any tapes.” In fact, the letter only underscores the fact that the Democratic Party was aware of and supported the CIA’s secret policy of torture.

Democrats knew of plans to destroy evidence of interrogations, but made no serious attempt to stop it or inform the American people. Indeed, Harman’s “concern” was in effect an indication to the CIA that the Democrats would not challenge a decision to destroy the tapes and would not expose the agency if it did so.

The videotapes, involving hundreds of hours of interrogation of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were secretly destroyed in November 2005. Their destruction was only publicly disclosed last month, though several Democrats had been made aware of the action at least a year ago.

continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.