The Federal government, under the ‘leadership’ of the Bush administration has turned intelligence into an oxymoron. Information on why president Bush wants to cover-up intelligence, the dangers of wiretapping and how it’s been used and abused for years, more innocent people showing up on government watch lists and one example of how corporate media purposely spreads misinformation can be found below.
The New York Times recently reported that for more than two years now, Congress, the news media and a few other outlets have been engaged in the debate over how to modernize the law governing electronic spying to keep pace with technology — hoping that President Bush will join in.
Instead of joining in though, president Bush continues offering propaganda intended to scare Americans, expand his powers, erode civil liberties, and most importantly of all, to ensure that no one is held accountable for the illegal wiretapping he ordered before, during and after 9/11.
After holding the first closed door session in over twenty years last week, Congress passed an amendment giving government agencies more flexibility to eavesdrop while preserving Constitutional protections against unreasonable searches. As usual, president Bush resorted to his usual terror tactics while twisting the contents of the bill around and threatened to veto it.
Keeping Illegal Activities Hidden
What president Bush actually objects to is the fact that Congress will not give him retroactive immunity to keep his illegal actions covered up. He wants to be able to listen to your phone conversations and read your e-mails whenever he wants with no judicial oversight and no questioning of the legality of his actions.
President Bush keeps claiming that it’s imperative to national security to give amnesty to all those who turned information over to the government without a court order — to protect national secrets, which is b.s. since national secrets would be protected by the court during a trial. The purpose of granting retroactive immunity is to make sure the full damage of Americans’ civil liberties is never revealed.
“Mr. Bush wanted the House to approve the Senate’s version of the bill, which includes Mr. Bush’s amnesty and does not do nearly as good a job of preserving Americans’ rights. We were glad the House ignored his bluster. If the Senate cannot summon the courage and good sense to follow suit, there is no rush to pass a law.
The president will continue to claim the country is in grave danger over this issue, but it is not. The real danger is for Mr. Bush. A good law – like the House bill – would allow Americans to finally see the breathtaking extent of his lawless behavior.”
Think about it. If the telecoms have done nothing wrong as president Bush continues alleging, there would be no need for retroactive immunity. Congress deserves kudos for passing legislation regardless of Bush’s demands and standing up to the terror tactics he constantly employs.
The True Danger of Wiretapping
A recent article by Julian Sanchez in the Los Angeles Times titled ‘Wiretapping’s true danger’ does an excellent job of explaining that “history says we should worry less about privacy and more about political spying.”
Mr. Sanchez explains how focusing on the privacy issues of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendment reform obscures the deeper threat that warrantless wiretaps pose to a democratic society. Without meaningful oversight, presidents and intelligence agencies can — and repeatedly have — abused their surveillance authority to spy on political enemies and dissenters.
The original FISA law was passed in 1978 when a thorough Congressional investigation — recommended by Congress in their most recent amendment and also objected to by president Bush — revealed that for decades, intelligence analysts and the presidents they served, spied on the letters and phone conversations of union chiefs, civil rights leaders, journalists, antiwar activists, lobbyists, members of Congress and Supreme Court Justices. They also spied on Eleanor Roosevelt and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
The Congressional committee documented how information obtained was often “collected and disseminated in order to serve the purely political interests of an intelligence agency or the administration, and to influence social policy and political action.” Obviously, some things still haven’t changed.
The article by Mr. Sanchez does an excellent job detailing the beginning of political abuse and how the FBI has become more adept at exploiting private information to blackmail or ruin troublesome public figures — such as former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer was caught doing what a lot of big name stars, celebrities and high-profile politicians do, but corporate media has done a great job of blowing the Spitzer story out of proportion.
Also noted by Mr. Sanchez: “if you think an executive branch unchecked by courts won’t turn its “national security” surveillance powers to political ends — well, it would be a first.” I’ve wondered a few times in the past if blackmail had anything to do with all the capitulation from Congress when it comes to giving president Bush free reign, though there really is very little doubt.
The FBI has also come under fire (again) for misusing National Security Letters and for overruling the FISA court because the agent didn’t agree with them. This abuse has gone on unchecked for years, and it too would be no surprise if it was still going on.
Feds Monitoring Financial Transactions
USA Today recently reported how every year federal agents are peeking at the financial transactions of millions of Americans without their knowledge — the same type of information that ended up costing former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer his job is reviewed daily by authorities from the FBI, IRS, Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies to find traces of money laundering, check fraud, identity theft or any crime that may involve a financial institution.
Banks, credit unions, currency dealers, stores that cash checks and other financial institutions reported 17.6 million ‘suspicious’ transactions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department, in 2006 amid growing concerns about fraud and terrorist financing, reporting on suspicious withdrawals and money transfers according to the article.
The number of suspicious activity reports, which are more controversial and secret, soared from 413,000 in 2003 to 1 million in 2006. More information can be found in the USA Today article.
More Misidentified Victims of Watch Lists
More news about Homeland Security stupidity was reported by the Washington Post recently. As the terrorist watch list(s) continue to errantly grow, more mistakes are being found.
A few of the most recent misidentified victims — more than 30 cases were uncovered most recently by the Washington Post, though there are undoubtedly many more — include a man trying to buy a car who had to be checked for tattoos to make sure he wasn’t the ‘suspect,’ an 18-year-old whose name was similar to that of a Libyan official and another former U.S. Navy officer.
The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) compiles the list of “specially designated nationals.” By law, businesses are barred from conducting transactions with anyone on the list. Being incorrectly identified during credit checks leads to all kinds of disruptions and difficulty in clearing their names.
The Treasury department says the OFAC’s list of designated individuals and entities is a powerful tool that disrupts financial flows to terrorists, narcotics traffickers and proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, and that the vigilance has an important deterrent effect that shines a light on illicit conduct.
While there really is no redress or procedures to help consumers clear their names, the OFAC has a hot line at 800-540-6322 to call which may help resolve some issues. More information can be found in the Washington Post article.
More Propaganda from Time Magazine
An article by Glenn Greenwald of Salon News points out how corrupt and sloppy the establishment press has become, and how they always seem to find ways to slither even lower. Time magazine has been caught — again — publishing false information and lies.
Time Magazine, in partnership with CNN, recently published an article claiming that nobody cares about countless abuses of spying powers by the Bush administration, that Americans are ready to trade diminished privacy and protection from search and seizure in exchange for increased protection — claiming the motivating factor for secret, illegal spying was nothing ‘other than law and order or national security’ — that the case against unchecked government surveillance powers hasn’t convinced the people — without citing one single fact to support those falsehoods.
Worse still, in typical fashion of corporate news outlets, Time tries to convince you that the Bush administration is completely innocent despite the fact that numerous instances of lawbreaking have been found.
As pointed out by Mr. Greenwald, no one has the slightest idea how secret, illegal spying powers have been used or what else has resulted because of the illegal abuse. Not even Congress is aware of it since the Bush administration has made every effort to keep that information concealed — which has also been entirely too typical of the Bush administration — so Time just makes up facts to defend the Bush administration.
Mr. Greenwald goes on to count the ways the Time article includes demonstrably false assertions, purely based on facts — aside from having more factual errors than it has paragraphs.
Selective Journalism & Propaganda
Sadly, not covering the news people need to know to make informed decisions, or spreading falsified propaganda for the Bush administration, as in this case, has been the norm for the vast majority of corporately owned media — some purposely for financial gain, and some based on fear such as in Iraq where it’s alleged that the Bush administration is arresting journalists to ‘control’ information.
For example, I’ve quoted an article from the New York Times earlier in this post, but the New York Times has made no mention, as of yet, regarding the Winter Soldier testimonies and events that took place between March 13 and March 16, 2008 in Maryland describing all the atrocities and war crimes committed by some of our soldiers and the Bush administration — like the ones Bush lied about and tried to justify.
Why? Is it because it’s the truth and it makes the Bush administration look even worse? Is it because corporate media has been complicit in furthering the illicit activities of the Bush administration? How much money and business would News corp., GE, AOL, Disney or any of the others controlling the presidential puppet lose if and when people learn the truth? Too much of our Federal Government has been sold out to corporate greed for too long.
Personally, I think the Time Magazine article couldn’t be further from the truth. Reporters and journalists that work for these corporations need to quit giving their profession a bad name and find their ethics and do their jobs — investigating, reporting the truth and keeping the people informed. Going down with the pathetic pile of poo that has run this country for the past 7 plus years will probably come with a hefty price tag.
More than once I’ve said it’s time to make the Bush administration and all who have helped him accountable for their actions — beginning with the five Supreme Court ‘Justices’ who illegally appointed him in 2000, although one is dead and one has retired — other federal judges, the ‘justice department,’ all the complicit Democratic and Republican Senators and everyone else who has helped him along the way. It’s long past time for the lying and atrocious illegalities to stop.
Links to the information above can be found below:
The Intelligence Cover-Up article from The New York Times
Wiretapping’s true danger article from The Los Angeles Times
FBI Found to Misuse Security Letters article from The Washington Post
F.B.I. Made ‘Blanket’ Demands for Phone Records article from The New York Times:
“WASHINGTON – Senior officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation repeatedly approved the use of “blanket” records demands to justify the improper collection of thousands of phone records, according to officials briefed on the practice.
The bureau appears to have used the blanket records demands at least 11 times in 2006 alone as a quick way to clean up mistakes made over several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a letter provided to Congress by a lawyer for an F.B.I. agent who witnessed the missteps.
The F.B.I. has come under fire for its use of so-called national security letters to inappropriately gather records on Americans in terrorism investigations, but details have not previously been disclosed about its use of “blanket” warrants, a one-step operation used to justify the collection of hundreds of phone and e-mail records at a time.”
FBI Overrules FISA Court: Abolishes First Amendment article from Daily Kos
Right now, feds might be looking into your finances article from USA Today
A Good Name Dragged Down article from The Washington Post
Time magazine invents facts to claim that Americans support Bush’s domestic spying abuses article by Glenn Greenwald from Salon News
‘Stop the Fox News Virus’ says filmmaker in new vid article and video from The Raw Story
AP president: US arrests journalist in Iraq to ‘control’ information article from The Raw Story
Bush: Iraq War Worth It article from The Huffington Post:
This man is either one extremely moronic idiot or he’s out of his mind.
“In his remarks, Bush repeated his oft-stated determination to prosecute the war into the unforeseen future.
“The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable, yet some in Washington still call for retreat,” the president said. “War critics can no longer credibly argue that we are losing in Iraq, so now they argue the war costs too much. In recent months, we have heard exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war.
“No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure, but those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq,” Bush said.”
Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan information from Iraq Veterans Against the War
WinterSoldier.com home page
Why George W. Bush Should Stand Trial for Capital Crimes article and video from The Existentialist Cowboy
U.S. Supreme Court stops recount in 2000; biggest fraud ever video from YouTube (4 min: 21 sec):
“5 members of the U.S. Supreme Court committed the biggest and most serious crime in the American history by stopping the recount in 2000.
Judges that decided the vote for the nation by ceasing all recounts and are criminals and treasonous against the American democratic process:
Sandra Day O’Connor,
Judges that wanted a recount:
John Paul Stevens,
Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
The President’s Lawyers article by Scott Horton from Harper’s Magazine
The Case of the Amazing Vanishing Corruption Investigation article by Scott Horton from Harper’s Magazine
President Bush Is A Liar And A Coward article from The Liberty Papers
The Origin and Myth of ‘Al Qaeda’ video from YouTube:
“This is a clip from the 3-part BBC series “The Power of Nightmares.” Here, the origins of the name “al Qaeda” are explained, as is the myth of the power and reach of Osama bin Laden and the so-called “al Qaeda network.”
This excellent 3-hour documentary is a must-see for all people concerned with their liberty and freedom. Watch the full documentary THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES right now on Google Video.”
What is the real death toll in Iraq? article from The Guardian UK