Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"No one can be at peace unless he [or she] has his freedom"

Do you scream or dig in? That may be the question right now as the revelations about Bully Boy and his administration spying continue to pour out. I think we stand tall and hope you do as well.

I'm focusing on this issue because I think it's important. Rebecca's covering it and C.I. is as well. Of course, my blog twin continues to cover it so remember to check out Mike's site (Mikey Likes It!) for his commentary. Also, please make time for Wally's site, The Daily Jot. He has a nice roundup on the topic of spying on American citizens: "Electronic Peeping Tom Bully Boy."
That's what Bully Boy is, an electronic peeping tom.

FBI Spied on Greenpeace, PETA, Catholic Worker (Democracy Now!):
In Washington, newly released documents show counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been monitoring domestic activist groups including Greenpeace, Catholic Worker, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and PETA, the People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The documents indicate the F.B.I. monitored protests organized by the groups and used confidential informants inside the organizations to gain intelligence. In one case, government records show the FBI launched a terrorism investigation of PETA in Norfolk, Virginia.

As C.I. noted, building on The Third Estate Sunday Review's editorial, "We are all the outlaws in the eyes of the Bully Boy." Who's the "uniter"? Not the Bully Boy who feels you're with him or against him and, if you're against him, it's okay to spy on you.

I was unaware that the presidential election every four years came with a loyalty oath but apparently Bully Boy thinks it does. He's made it a point to govern only for those who voted for him while going out of his way to penalize those who opposed him. Sich the IRS on the NAACP? No problem for the Bully Boy. Eject people from gatherings based upon bumper stickers and t-shirts? No problem for the Bully Boy. The documentation that recently came out is something the ACLU has been seeking for some time. This is just the beginning.

Documents Show FBI Agents Tracked PETA For Years (Democracy Now!):
According to the Washington Post, the documents offer no proof of PETA's involvement in illegal activity. But more than 100 pages of heavily censored FBI files show the agency used secret informants and tracked the group's events for years. The FBI also monitored political activities on college campuses. One FBI file included a contact list for students and peace activists who attended a 2002 conference at Stanford University aimed at ending sanctions then in place in Iraq.

Well maybe that's why the FBI hasn't been able to find Osama bin Laden? They've been too busy trailing and spying on PETA? It's as though Bully Boy's accepted Pat Robertson and Billy Graham's son's "logic" re: 9/11. It's certainly not about terrorism, their actions, unless it's to demonstrate that a homegrown terrorist can occupy the White House for five years now.

Reports Expose Growing Domestic Surveillance (Democracy Now!):
This is the third major recent revelation about domestic spying. Last week NBC News revealed the Pentagon has been monitoring peaceful anti-war protesters and the New York Times exposed how President Bush ordered the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without court-approved warrants. Ann Beeson, of the American Civil Liberties Union said "It's clear that this administration has engaged every possible agency, from the Pentagon to N.S.A. to the F.B.I., to engage in spying on Americans."

Again, this is just a small portion, the documents. There's much more to come.

For the ACLU files on some of the FBI spying click here.

Let's note the following for an important point made.

"NYT: 'F.B.I. Watched Activist Groups, New Files Show'" (The Common Ills):
Lichtblau's article:
F.B.I. officials said Monday that their investigators had no interest in monitoring political or social activities and that any investigations that touched on advocacy groups were driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings.
"Driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings"? Where are the charges for this evidence? Is the Justice Dept. suggesting that they have evidence and aren't prosecuting people?

Good point. Where are the charges, if they have evidence? Or maybe, as with Jose Padilla, they'd prefer to smear for now and admit they have nothing later?

C.I. mentioned an article to me on the phone today.

"Nothing New About NSA Spying on Americans" (Earl Ofari Hutchinson, CounterPunch):
The September 11 terror attacks, and the heat Bush administration took for its towering intelligence lapses, gave Bush the excuse to plunge even deeper into domestic spying. But Bush also recognized that if word got out about NSA domestic spying, it would ignite a firestorm of protest. Fortunately it did. Despite Bush's weak, and self-serving national security excuse that it thwarted potential terrorist attacks, none of which is verifiable, the Supreme Court, the NSA's own mandate, and past executive orders explicitly bar domestic spying without court authorization. The exception is if there is a grave and imminent terror threat. That's the shaky legal dodge that Bush used to justify domestic spying.
Bush, and his defenders, discount the monumental threat and damage that spying on Americans poses to civil liberties. But it can't and shouldn't be shrugged off. During the debate over the creation of a domestic spy agency in 2002, even proponents recognized the potential threat of such an agency to civil liberties. As a safeguard they recommended that the agency not have expanded wiretap and surveillance powers or law enforcement authority, and that the Senate and House intelligence committees have strict oversight over its activities.
These supposed fail-safe measures were hardly ironclad safeguards against abuses, but they understood that domestic spying is a civil liberties nightmare minefield that has blown up and wreaked havoc on American's lives in the past. The FBI is the prime example. During the 1950s and 1960s, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover kicked FBI domestic spying into high gear. FBI agents compiled secret dossiers, illegally wiretapped, used undercover plants, and agent provocateurs, sent poison pen letters, and staged black bag jobs against black activists and anti-war groups.
Bush's claim that domestic spying poses no risk to civil liberties is laughable. Congress should demand that Bush and the NSA come clean on domestic spying, and then promptly end it.

How's this playing out in your area? My hope would be that people are already talking about it but, if not, I hope you're bringing it up.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.
Malcolm X