Earlier today, I called Jack Blood’s radio show on GCN and complained loudly
and mightily about how the PATRIOT Act was rubber stamped by the Senate yesterday,
paving the way for all manner of continued and increasing malfeasance against
the people and the now jackboot trampled and seriously bruised (if not comatose)
Bill of Rights.
“The Senate voted 96-3 to move toward final passage of new civil
liberties protections to the Patriot Act, which the White House negotiated with
a handful of Republicans,” reports Knight
Ridder. “Some Democrats remain convinced that the post-Sept.
11, 2001, anti-terrorism law gives the federal government too much power to
intrude into the lives of innocent Americans. It is set to expire next month
unless it is renewed.”
Of course, these are the same Democrats who apparently don’t
have a problem with the NSA snooping in on your phone calls and email, almost
effortlessly crumbling under “heavy pressure” from the Straussian
neocons, according to ranking Senate Intelligence Committee Democrat
(the name alone should provide a clue why he has acquiesced).
Instead of protecting the people of the United States from the heavy-handed
and authoritarian tactics of the neocons, Pat Roberts has suggested the 1978
FISA law governing electronic “eavesdropping” (basically underwear
drawer snooping) be modified to allow “extensive briefings on the closely
guarded National Security Agency program,” in other words a select few
enemies of the people will be included in the loop.
NSA snooping is nothing new—it has simply taken on a new urgency
under the Bushian neocons as they inexorably wend their demented way toward
total war and, in the process, strive to silence (if not eliminate) their growing
number of critics. General Michael Hayden—the
guy who believes the Fourth Amendment contains no requirement for probable cause—made
sure to tell us the NSA is operating under Executive Order 12333, signed by
Reagan in 1981.
EO 12333 was created to allow the FBI to use intrusive “investigatory”
techniques, such as mail openings, wiretaps and burglaries, when there was supposedly
probable cause to suspect a “terrorist” threat. “Executive
Order 12333, permits the FBI and CIA to surveil individuals even if they are
not breaking the law or acting on behalf of a foreign power,” explains
Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Searches need not
be limited to offices, or to premises under the control of a suspected agent,
nor need they be linked to the alleged commission of an unlawful act.”
In short, so-called searches can be conducted in massive, sweeping, and indiscriminate
fashion. “Ratner noted with irony that the FBI’s remarkable claim
of this unconstitutional inherent authority came after the secret Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court ‘turned down an FBI request for a warrant to conduct
a black bag job, holding that Congress had given it jurisdiction only over electronic
surveillance,’” according to PublicEye (see previous link). FISA
was chucked as useless more than two decades ago.
In other words, we have lived under the eye of a fascist and technocratic
Panopticon for some time now and the NSA “scandal” is nothing new—instead,
under the direction of the Machiavellian neocons, untethered and muscular surveillance
has reached a quite natural and logical (under the authoritarian rubric) height.
If the technology now currently employed existed in the 1930s, no doubt the
Nazis (and Stalin) would have used it in similar fashion.
As the history of COINTELPRO reveals, the idea here is not to monitor
Osama’s phone calls placed from an Afghan cave, but instead investigating
and disrupting dissident political organizations and individuals (and thus violating
the Constitution and the Bill of Rights). First and foremost, the NSA
snoop program (and parallel efforts such as CIFA
at the Pentagon) is all about psychological warfare, harassment, intimidation,
infiltration, black bag jobs, and even so-called extralegal force and violence.
COINTELPRO, however, was illegal—but under the newly enshrined PATRIOT,
the COINTELPROesque efforts of the Straussian neocons are entirely legal—and
will be put to good use.
In the months ahead—as the Straussian neocons shock and awe Iran
and other selected enemies—no doubt we will find out how effective massive
snooping (and psywar unbound) is against those of us who speak and act out.