|Progressive Calendar 02.08.11||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2011 15:03:29 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 02.08.11 1. Revolutions 2.08 5pm 2. Movement 2.08 5:30pm 3. 9/11 truth 2.08 6:30pm 4. PRT transit 2.08 6:30pm 5. Hajo Meyer 2.08 7pm 6. Alliant vigil 2.09 7am 7. State of State 2.09 11:15am 8. Race/MFIP 2.09 12noon 9. Ralph Nader - Mubarak and the hollow rhetoric of reform 10. Chris Hedges - Recognizing the language of tyranny 11. Tom Burghardt - American FBI/police state 12. ed - Who's who? --------1 of 12-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Revolutions 2.08 5pm "Muslim World Intifadas" The winds of democratic change have been blowing through the Arab world. The spark of change was ignited in an unlikely place by an unlikely person: a vegetable vendor in Tunisia. Tunisian-Minnesotan Ouahib Chalbi and St. Cloud State Professor Fouzi Slisli give deep perspective to the uprisings, including an analysis of the role of political Islam in the countries experiencing revolutions. SPNN 15 viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) Channel 15 on Tuesdays at 5pm, midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am, after DemocracyNow! Households with basic cable may watch. Tues, 2/8 @ 5pm & midnight + Wed, 2/9, 10am "Muslim World Intifadas" --------2 of 12-------- From: Jodi Williams <jodi [at] headwatersfoundation.org> Subject: Movement 2.08 5:30pm Movement Building Tuesday, February 8th! 5:30-7:00 pm Riverview Cafe and Wine Bar 3747 42nd Avenue S / Mpls Harness the Power of Us Our Voices. Our Future. As a community, struggles and successes in the Twin Cities are shared. Learn about a cross-sector movement of African Americans in the Twin Cities who are committed to positive education, health, and economic outcomes in the black community and are willing to invest time, talent and treasure to catalyze change. Trista Harris, Executive Director of Headwaters Foundation for Justice and co-chair of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), will lead this movement building exercise where you will learn about their policy agenda, share your ideas, and help build a Minnesota where all can benefit from our state's civic and economic resources. Free and open to the public. Food and drink are available for purchase on site. Reserve your seat by contacting Jodi [at] HeadwatersFoundation.org [mailto:Jodi [at] HeadwatersFoundation.org] or Find us on Facebook [http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=lsoldzn6&et=1104269864413&s=3851&e=001IRr8x8f7ZuE6JbIAEMa6bkL0w2sQul3gyF0xEGlBzTAP0vLUlMj94l0TjHdP_R8CgfY09TYQph-Snsr0vqNhHV1DRERu305DaCeT2MbdAUzdbqv70rnVTOvVOkAunQiz1NjoqXQc7SVyBqdZBTHtpM6Se3i-9YCMtI3l8mJ7GIo=] --------3 of 12-------- From: shirley johnson <skjohnsn [at] comcast.net> Subject: 9/11 truth 2.08 6:30pm Greetings fellow 9/11 Truthers, Our next meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 8th, 6:30 pm Rondo Community Library Southwest corner of University Avenue and Dale Street St. Paul, MN Parking underground the library is available TOPIC: What Works and What Distracts Regarding 9/11 Truth From the Australia 2009 9/11 Tour This is a video of about 30-40 minutes in length and we will have a discussion after. Have you ever been frustrated getting someone to hear about this issue? Come and hear a panel of experts on this very topic. Also at the meeting we will have updates on the Richard Gage Midwest spring speaking tour. He will be in town on April 13 - 14th. We will also hear of any developments on the other events we have planned. Please give some thought to our meeting location, time, and place. We started using the Rondo site when our numbers grew too large to accomodate our meeting at Mims. At this time it is difficult to justify using the big room at Rondo so we are contemplating a change in location, possibly a different day or time. What works for you? Be prepared to leave the library in a timely manner. I suggest you move continuing converations about a mile west of Rondo to the Perkin's restaurant near Snelling Avenue, on University Avenue shirley 651-291-7053 --------4 of 12-------- From: Drea Walker <walk828 [at] gmail.com> Subject: PRT transit 2.08 6:30pm [PRT way better than LRT -ed] CPRT has our monthly meeting this *Tuesday, February 8th at 6:30 pm* near the University of Minnesota campus. Meeting location is *Van Cleve Park Recreation Center*, 901 15th Ave. SE, just north of Dinkytown. Any of the #3 bus routes stop across the street. There are transportation enthusiasts who will be happy to share experiences and insights about Personal Rapid Transit. In addition, there are many opportunities to get involved. Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is the new solution to the public's transit hassles. Here's how it works: Generally elevated or underground tracks (aka guideways) direct small vehicles (think cabin of a family sedan) to a destination chosen by the user (knowledge of system not required) automatically (it's computer controlled) safely (no crossings with other modes or pedestrians) without stopping (no waiting at the red light) and using emission-free vehicles. Hop on board today! Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit CPRT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, education-based group. We inform the public of advancements in the transportation industry. We do not oppose other forms of mass transportation. Transportation and access to transportation should be a right - not a privilege. We work toward the goal that everyone will have equal and affordable access to quality choices in transportation. Personal Rapid Transit is the best transportation mode choice to achieve our goals, while preserving our environment and urban spaces for generations to come. www.cprt.org Andrea "Drea" Walker UMN Urban Studies Senior Chair, Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit cell: 952.215.5451 e-mail: walk828 [at] gmail.com Call, text, or e-mail me anytime! --------5 of 12-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Hajo Meyer 2.08 7pm The Never Again for Anyone Speaking Tour: An Evening with Hajo Meyer Tuesday, February 8, 7:00 p.m. Macalaster College, John B. Davis Lecture Hall, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul. This year international Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27th. A time for reflection and commitment, please join Dr. Hajo Meyer in hearing about his experience in Auschwitz and the lessons he has learned: Never Again for Anyone. Dr. Meyer will be joined by Palestinian activist, Osama Abu Irshaid, founder and editor of the newspaper Al Mezan, and Coya White Hat- Artichoker, a Lakota activist for indigenous rights. Dr. Hajo G. Meyer was born in Bielefeld, Germany, in 1924. In 1939, at the age of 14, he fled alone to Holland to escape the Nazi regime. After the Germans occupied that country, he was captured by the Gestapo in 1944, and survived ten months in Auschwitz. After the war, he studied theoretical physics and became a researcher at Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven. He received his Ph.D. in 1956, and in 1974 became managing director of the lab. Retiring in 1984, he became a maker of violins, selling his instruments to professional musicians. He has devoted himself full-time to his work as an activist and essayist. Suggested Donation: $5.00 to $20.00. Sponsored by: American Muslims for Palestine, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and the Middle East Children's Alliance. --------6 of 12-------- From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at] circlevision.org> Subject: Alliant vigil 2.09 7am Join us Wednesday morning, 7-8 am Now in our 14th year of consecutive Wednesday morning vigils outside Alliant Techsystems, 7480 Flying Cloud Drive Eden Prairie. We ask Who Profit$? Who Dies? directions and lots of info: alliantACTION.org --------7 of 12-------- From: Welfare Rights Committee <welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com> Subject: State of State 2.09 11:15am Come to the capitol and tell Governor Dayton and legislature that State of the State is a disaster. We are in the worst economic crisis in decades, yet Dayton and others are saying they will make more cuts to the poorest of the poor. It's time to make our message clear: Tax the Rich and Use the Money to Help Poor and Working People! State of the State Wednesday, February 9 11:15 a.m. State Capitol Building, 2nd floor (outside the House Chambers) 75 MLK Blvd Saint Paul, MN 55155 The State of the State speech starts at noon - we want all the politicians to see our message as they go into the chamber. For more info, email welfarerightsmn [at] yahoo.com. We especially need help from people who can drive people there and/or back! Welfare Rights Committee PO Box 7266, Mpls MN 55407 pho: 612-822-8020 WelfareRightsMN [at] yahoo.com --------8 of 12-------- From: Douglas Petty <lsmaller [at] ties2.net> Subject: Race/MFIP 2.09 12noon TCRG Brown Bag Speaker Series: Wednesday, February 9, Noon to 1:00 p.m. Topic: Comparing Racial/Ethnic and Immigrant Group Characteristics of Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) Participants Highlights from the DHS Racial/Ethnic and Immigrant Groups Participating in the Minnesota Family Investment Program and the Diversionary Work Program report will be presented with a discussion of methodology for identifying Black and Asian immigrant groups, using DHS data from multiple sources to compare participant characteristics by racial and ethnic groups. Featured Speaker: Dana DeMaster, Senior Research Analysis Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Wilder Foundation, Room 2610 451 Lexington Parkway (at University Ave) Saint Paul, MN 55114 Map with the meeting's location Event is FREE---Wilder's parking ramp is FREE (bring your own brown-bag lunch) As always, we will have a free-flowing question and answer period after the presentation. Join us to participate with your ideas, questions, and suggestions. You can join the TCRG Researchers Directory, a self-maintained collection (LinkedIn group) of member profiles, opt into the Directory Here. --------9 of 12-------- Mubarak and the Hollow Rhetoric of Reform Time for Democracy in Egypt By RALPH NADER February 8, 2011 CounterPunch Those politically savvy people who thought strongman, Hosni Mubarak would be out before the end of the first week of the Egyptian uprising better rethink the odds. For thirty years Mubarak has developed what can be called a deeply rooted dictatorial regime with regular White House access and annual largesse of some $1.3 billion in military equipment and payroll. A former military man, he has been very alert to what is needed to maintain the loyalties of the police, the intelligence security forces and the army. If he goes, tens of thousands of those on his payroll could lose their patronage and be on the outs if his government is really replaced. Moreover, he enjoys the support of both the United States and Israel for whom he has been a "stable" force against the pressures coming from Iran and its allies in the Middle East. Arrayed against him are a variety of protestors, best known for their occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo and whose grievances are being reported hour-by-hour by the harassed international media, including the much attacked Al-Jazeera. Widely noted are the solidarity, self-help, stamina and democratic nature of the rebellion. The state-controlled media, however, remains in Mubarak's hands. He has shown he can cut off the entire Internet and mobile phone systems with what one commentator called "the active complicity of the major corporate servers." Going into the third week of the uprising, the regime has reopened the banks, and is urging businesses to open their doors. The government is striving to wait out the protestors, whose daily supplies and energies are being sapped by the overwhelming force arrayed against them to intimidate, weaken and keep their numbers down not just in the Square but also in other cities like Alexandria and Suez. So far the army is remaining largely neutral. The regimes' paramilitary gangs, in plain clothes, attacked the protestors inflicting fatalities and injuries to see if they will cut and run. So far, the demonstrators are well-organized in the Square and in other Cairo neighborhoods and are holding their ground. But roundups of some of the leading dissidents for brief imprisonments or worse and detaining or beating journalists continue. What these developments reflect is that the Mubarak regime is still in charge, with just enough rhetoric of reform, while replacing some top leaders and dismissing the board of Mubarak's political party, to show some slack. Mubarak's tactic is to bend a little so as not to break. But unless the largely urban, tech-savvy protestors can keep replenishing their ranks and bringing more of the frightened rural poor to their rallies, they risk being perceived as running out of steam. After all, they cannot be seen as receiving aid from abroad as the Mubarak government receives regularly from U.S. taxpayers. They cannot be seen as espousing "radical ideologies" as the Mubarak government espouses radical use of dictatorial violence and torture in the past and present. In a way, the weaknesses of the protestors - no centralized leadership, no resources - are also their moral strengths. That is why their great fear is being infiltrated by organized provocateurs to creative "incidents" and smears. So they have their own checkpoints leading to the Square and are trying to keep good relations with the soldiers surrounding their encampment. The Army is central to the perpetuation of the Mubarak forces and their oligarchies. Under orders to appear neutral and maintain order, the Army, like most Egyptians, is waiting for the next move of the two sides, though alert to its own interests which include business investments. Rumors are rife. But it seems that some people designated by the protestors and representatives of the long politically suppressed Muslim Brotherhood have met with Mubarak's people. Mubarak's newly appointed vice-president, longtime intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, with close operational contacts in Washington, appears to be making the decisions, if only to give the impression that Mubarak is relenting and may be willing to remain as a figurehead president until his term is up later this year. All this disingenuous image of moderation may be the regime's way of biding for time so as to more fully prepare to depress or destroy this popular uprising in various ways short of massive violence watched by the whole world in real time. Choosing the latter course could unleash forces in this impoverished and brutalized country of 80 million people that both the army could not contain and the already fragile economy could not endure. If, as rumored, the trade unions exert their independence and form worker committees that could organize a general strike, then an alternative support structure could join the protestors to call for some economic relief, such as increasing wages and consumer subsidies. However, the Mubarak government has an inside watch on anything like such an initiative materializing as well. The regime is propagandizing that there is no alternative to itself being the transition, whatever that may be, other than chaos and radical revolution against the West. What is the Obama Administration doing behind the scenes, beyond its statement in favor of a transition government planning "open and fair elections"? Will it stand with the people of Egypt and human rights if it has to stand against what analyst Samah Selim described as the "terrifying naked silence of multinational corporations and the national security state against civil society?" Time will surely tell. Ralph Nader is the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, a novel. --------10 of 12-------- Published on Monday, February 7, 2011 by TruthDig.com Recognizing the Language of Tyranny by Chris Hedges Common Dreams Empires communicate in two languages. One language is expressed in imperatives. It is the language of command and force. This militarized language disdains human life and celebrates hypermasculinity. It demands. It makes no attempt to justify the flagrant theft of natural resources and wealth or the use of indiscriminate violence. When families are gunned down at a checkpoint in Iraq they are referred to as having been "lit up". So it goes. The other language of empire is softer. It employs the vocabulary of ideals and lofty goals and insists that the power of empire is noble and benevolent. The language of beneficence is used to speak to those outside the centers of death and pillage, those who have not yet been totally broken, those who still must be seduced to hand over power to predators. The road traveled to total disempowerment, however, ends at the same place. It is the language used to get there that is different. This language of blind obedience and retribution is used by authority in our inner cities, from Detroit to Oakland, as well as our prison systems. It is a language Iraqis and Afghans know intimately. But to the members of our dwindling middle class - as well as those in the working class who have yet to confront our new political and economic configuration - the powerful use phrases like the consent of the governed and democracy that help lull us into complacency. The longer we believe in the fiction that we are included in the corporate power structure, the more easily corporations pillage the country without the threat of rebellion. Those who know the truth are crushed. Those who do not are lied to. Those who consume and perpetuate the lies - including the liberal institutions of the press, the church, education, culture, labor and the Democratic Party - abet our disempowerment. No system of total control, including corporate control, exhibits its extreme forms at the beginning. These forms expand as they fail to encounter resistance. The tactic of speaking in two languages is as old as empire itself. The ancient Greeks and the Romans did it. So did the Spanish conquistadors, the Ottomans, the French and later the British. Those who inhabit exploited zones on the peripheries of empire see and hear the truth. But the cries of those who are exploited are ignored or demonized. The rage they express does not resonate with those trapped in self-delusion, those who continue to trust in the ultimate goodness of empire. This is the truth articulated in Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" and E.M. Forster's "A Passage to India". These writers understood that empire is about violence and theft. And the longer the theft continues, the more brutal empire becomes. The tyranny empire imposes on others it finally imposes on itself. The predatory forces unleashed by empire consume the host. Look around you. The narratives we hear are those fabricated for us by the state, Hollywood and the press. These narratives are taught in our schools, preached in our pulpits and celebrated in war documentaries such as "Restrepo". These narratives humanize and ennoble the enforcers of empire. The government, the military, the police and our intelligence agents are lionized. These control groups, we are assured, are the guardians of our virtues and our protectors. They produce our heroes. And those who challenge this narrative - who denounce the lies - become the enemy. Those who administer empire - elected officials, corporate managers, generals and the celebrity courtiers who disseminate the propaganda - become very wealthy. They make immense fortunes whether they deliver the nightly news, sit on the boards of corporations, or rise, lavished with corporate endorsements, within the vast industry of spectacle and entertainment. They all pay homage, even in moments defined as criticism, to the essential goodness of corporate power. They shut out all real debate. They ignore flagrant injustices and abuse. They peddle the illusions that keep us passive and amused. But as our society is reconfigured into an oligarchic system, with a permanent and vast underclass, along with a shrinking and unstable middle class, these illusions lose their power. The language of pleasant deception must be replaced with the overt language of force. It is hard to continue to live in a state of self-delusion once unemployment benefits run out, once the only job available comes without benefits or a living wage, once the future no longer conforms to the happy talk that saturates our airwaves. At this point rage becomes the engine of response, and whoever can channel that rage inherits power. The manipulation of that rage has become the newest task of the corporate propagandists, and the failure of the liberal class to defend core liberal values has left its members with nothing to contribute to the debate. The Belgian King Leopold, promising to abolish slavery and usher the Congolese into the "modern" era, was permitted by his European allies to form the Congo Free State in 1885. It was touted as a humanitarian gesture, as was the Spanish conquest of the Americas, as was our own occupation of Iraq. Leopold organized a ruthless force of native and foreign overseers - not unlike our own mercenary armies - to loot the Congo of ivory and rubber. By the time the Belgian monarch was done, some 5 million to 8 million Congolese had been slaughtered. It was the largest act of genocide in the modern era until the Nazi Holocaust. Leopold, even in the midst of his rampage, was lionized in Europe for his virtue. He was loathed in the periphery - as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan - where the Congolese and others understood what he was about. But these voices, like the voices of those we oppress, were almost never heard. The Nazis, for whom the Holocaust was as much a campaign of plunder as it was a campaign to rid Europe of Jews, had two methods for greeting arrivals at their four extermination camps. If the transports came from Western Europe, the savage Ukrainian and Lithuanian guards, with their whips, dogs and clubs, were kept out of sight. The wealthier European Jews were politely ushered into an elaborate ruse, including fake railway stations complete with flower beds, until once stripped naked they became incapable of resistance and could be herded in rows of five under whips into the gas chambers. The Nazis knew that those who had not been broken, those who possessed a belief in their own personal empowerment, would fight back. When the transports came from the east, where Jews had long lived in fear, tremendous poverty and terror, there was no need for such theatrics. Mothers, fathers, the elderly and children, accustomed to overt repression and the language of command and retribution, were brutally driven from the transports by sadistic guards. The object was to create mass hysteria. The fate of the two groups was the same. It was the tactic that differed. All centralized power, once restraints and regulations are abolished, once it is no longer accountable to citizens, knows no limit to internal and external plunder. The corporate state, which has emasculated our government, is creating a new form of feudalism, a world of masters and serfs. It speaks to those who remain in a state of self-delusion in the comforting and familiar language of liberty, freedom, prosperity and electoral democracy. It speaks to the poor and the oppressed in the language of naked coercion. But, here too, all will end up in the same place. Those trapped in the blighted inner cities that are our internal colonies or brutalized in our prison system, especially African-Americans, see what awaits us all. So do the inhabitants in southern West Virginia, where coal companies have turned hundreds of thousands of acres into uninhabitable and poisoned wastelands. Poverty, repression and despair in these peripheral parts of empire are as common as drug addiction and cancer. Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Palestinians can also tell us who we are. They know that once self-delusion no longer works it is the iron fist that speaks. The solitary and courageous voices that rise up from these internal and external colonies of devastation are silenced or discredited by the courtiers who serve corporate power. And even those who do hear these voices of dissent often cannot handle the truth. They prefer the Potemkin facade. They recoil at the "negativity". Reality, especially when you grasp what corporations are doing in the name of profit to the planet's ecosystem, is terrifying. All tyrannies come endowed with their own peculiarities. This makes it hard to say one form of totalitarianism is like another. There are always enough differences to make us unsure that history is repeating itself. The corporate state does not have a Politburo. It does not dress its Homeland Security agents in jackboots. There is no raving dictator. American democracy - like the garishly painted train station at the Nazi extermination camp Treblinka - looks real even as the levers of power are in the hands of corporations. But there is one aspect the corporate state shares with despotic regimes and the collapsed empires that have plagued human history. It too communicates in two distinct languages, that is until it does not have to, at which point it will be too late. Copyright 2011 Truthdig, L.L.C. Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. --------11 of 12-------- American Police State: FBI Abuses Reveals Contempt for Political Rights, Civil Liberties by Tom Burghardt / February 7th, 2011 Dissident Voice As mass revolt spreads across Egypt and the Middle East and citizens there demand jobs, civil liberties and an end to police state abuses from repressive, U.S.-backed torture regimes, the Obama administration and their congressional allies aim to expand one right here at home. Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released an explosive new report documenting the lawless, constitutional-free zone under construction in America for nearly a decade. That report, "Patterns of Misconduct: FBI Intelligence Violations from 2001-2008," reveals that the domestic political intelligence apparat spearheaded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, continues to systematically violate the rights of American citizens and legal residents. A rather ironic state of affairs considering the free passes handed out by U.S. securocrats to actual terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11, as both WikiLeaks and FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds disclosed last week. Although illegal practices and violations were reported by the FBI to the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) after an unexplained two-and-a-half-year delay, a further violation of lawful guidelines, lawbreaking continued unabated; in fact, it accelerated as the Bureau was given a green light to do so by successive U.S. administrations. The IOB is a largely toothless body created in 1976 by the Ford administration in the wake of disclosures of widespread spying and infiltration of political groups by America's secret state agencies during the sixties and seventies. Reeling from revelations uncovered by Congress, investigative journalists and citizen activists in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Ford's caretaker government was forced to call a halt to the more egregious practices employed by the FBI to keep the lid on and crafted guidelines governing intelligence and surveillance operations. In fact, the Attorney General's Guidelines regulating both FBI National Security Investigations and Foreign Intelligence Collection (NSIG) stipulate that "all government intelligence operations occur with sufficient oversight and within the bounds of the Constitution and other federal laws". While it can rightly be argued these protocols were largely ineffective, and had been breeched more often than not by the 1980s under President Reagan, as revealed during the Iran-Contra scandal, and that antiwar, environmental and solidarity groups continue to be spied upon and destabilized by agents provocateurs and right-wing corporate scum, they were thrown overboard entirely by the Bush regime in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Today the "looking forward, not backward" Obama administration has whole-heartedly embraced Bushist lawlessness while charting an even more sinister course of their own, now asserting they have the authority to assassinate American citizens the Executive Branch designate as "terrorists" anywhere on earth without benefit of due process or court review. According to EFF, more than 2,500 documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that: * From 2001 to 2008, the FBI reported to the IOB approximately 800 violations of laws, Executive Orders, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations, although this number likely significantly under-represents the number of violations that actually occurred. * From 2001 to 2008, the FBI investigated, at minimum, 7000 potential violations of laws, Executive Orders, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations. * Based on the proportion of violations reported to the IOB and the FBI's own statements regarding the number of NSL [National Security Letter] violations that occurred, the actual number of violations that may have occurred from 2001 to 2008 could approach 40,000 possible violations of law, Executive Order, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, Patterns of Misconduct: FBI Intelligence Violations from 2001-2008, January 30, 2011) But FBI lawbreaking didn't stop there. Citing internal documents, EFF revealed that the Bureau also "engaged in a number of flagrant legal violations" that included, "submitting false or inaccurate declarations to courts," "using improper evidence to obtain federal grand jury subpoenas" and "accessing password protected documents without a warrant". In other words, in order to illegally spy on Americans and haul political dissidents before Star Chamber-style grand juries, the FBI routinely committed perjury and did so with absolute impunity. Reviewing the more than 2,500 documents EFF analysts averred that they had "uncovered alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices" and that the "documents suggest the FBI's intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed". According to EFF, the "documents show that the FBI most frequently committed three types of intelligence violations - violations of internal oversight guidelines for conducting investigations; violations stemming from the abuse of National Security Letters; and violations of the Fourth Amendment, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and other laws governing intelligence investigations". "Based on statements made by government officials and the proportion of violations occurring in the released reports," EFF estimates that "the FBI may have committed as many as 40,000 intelligence investigation violations over the past ten years". The civil liberties' watchdogs revealed that the type of violation occurring most frequently involved the Bureau's abuse of National Security Letters (NSLs), onerous lettres de cachet, secretive administrative subpoenas with built-in gag orders used by the FBI to seize records from third-parties without any judicial review whatsoever. Although National Security Letters have been employed by investigators since the 1970s, after 9/11 Congress passed the repressive USA PATRIOT Act which "greatly expanded the intelligence community's authority to issue NSLs". "During the course of a terrorism or counterintelligence investigation," EFF writes, "NSLs can be used to obtain just three types of records: (1) subscriber and 'toll billing information' from telephone companies and 'electronic communications services;' (2) financial records from banks and other financial institutions; and (3) consumer identifying information and the identity of financial institutions from credit bureaus". Abuses have been well-documented by the Justice Department's own Office of the Inspector General. In their 2008 report, the OIG disclosed that the FBI issued some 200,000 requests and that almost 60% were for investigations of U.S. citizens and legal residents. Given the symbiosis amongst American secret state agencies and grifting corporations, EFF discovered that "the frequency with which companies [received] NSLs - phone companies, internet providers, banks, or credit bureaus - contributed to the FBI's NSL abuse". "In over half of all NSL violations reviewed by EFF, the private entity receiving the NSL either provided more information than requested or turned over information without receiving a valid legal justification from the FBI". In fact, "companies were all too willing to comply with the FBI's requests, and - in many cases - the Bureau readily incorporated the over-produced information into its investigatory databases". This too is hardly surprising, given the enormous profits generated by the surveillance state for their corporate beneficiaries. As The Washington Post revealed in their investigative series, Top Secret America, more than 800,000 corporate employees have been issued top secret and above security clearances. Beholden to their employers and not the public who foots the bill and is the victim of their excesses, accountability is a fiction and oversight a contemptible fraud. In a follow-up piece, Monitoring America, investigative journalists Dana Priest and William M. Arkin revealed that the FBI "is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously". In other words, in order to "keep us safe" unaccountable securocrats are constructing a Stasi-like political intelligence system that has overthrown the traditional legal concept of probable cause in favor of a regime rooted in fear and suspicion; one where innocent activities such as taking a photograph or attending an antiwar rally now serves as a pretext for opening a national security investigation. According to Priest and Arkin, the Bureau database "is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain," and used by employers to terminate political dissidents or other "undesirable" citizens merely on the basis of allegations emanating from who knows where. As Antifascist Calling reported in October, "predictive behavior" security firms, generously funded by the CIA's venture capitalist arm, In-Q-Tel, have increasingly turned to monitoring social media sites such as Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube and are exploiting powerful computer algorithms for their clients - your boss - thereby transforming private communications into "actionable intelligence" that just might get you fired. In one case, EFF discovered that the FBI "requested email header information for two email addresses used by a U.S. person". In response, researchers averred "the email service provider returned two CDs containing the full content of all emails in the accounts. The FBI eventually (and properly) sequestered the CDs, notified the email provider of the overproduction, and re-issued an NSL for the originally requested header information; but, in response to the second NSL, the email provider again provided the FBI with the full content of all emails in the accounts". To make matters worse, "third-parties not only willingly cooperated with FBI NSLs when the legal justification was unclear, however: they responded to NSLs without any legal justification at all". In conclusion, EFF wrote that "while the reports documenting the FBI's abuse of the Constitution, FISA, and other intelligence laws are troubling, EFF's analysis is necessarily incomplete: it is impossible to know the severity of the FBI's legal violations until the Bureau stops concealing its most serious violations behind a wall of arbitrary secrecy". This sordid state of affairs is likely to continue given Congress's utter lack of interest in protecting Americans' constitutionally-protected right to privacy, free speech and assembly. With new moves afoot in Congress to pass a data retention law that requires internet service providers to retain records of users' online activity or, as in the repressive Egyptian U.S. client state, handing the Executive Branch a "kill-switch" that would disconnect the American people from the internet in the event of a "national emergency," the U.S. oligarchy is planning for the future. As the World Socialist Web Site points out, "The US government is well aware that the Internet provides a forum for rapid communication and organization, as demonstrated by the events in Egypt this week. In an attempt to block communication within Egypt and with the external world, US-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak cut off the country's access to the Internet altogether". "Similarly," left-wing journalist Patrick Zimmerman writes, "the fundamental goal of the US government in its attempts to gain control of the Internet and monitor user activity has nothing to do with the 'war on terror' or prosecuting criminals. Under conditions of growing social inequality, government austerity, and expanding war abroad, the government anticipates the growth of social opposition in the United States". The Bush regime's "preemptive war" doctrine has been fully incorporated into the Obama administration's "homeland security" paradigm. The formidable police state apparatus that accompanies America's imperial adventures abroad are now deployed at home where they have devastating effects on an already dysfunctional democracy sliding ever-closer towards an authoritarian abyss. Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His articles are published in many venues. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press. --------12 of 12-------- Who's Who? Hosni Mubarek Barack Obama Hosack Mubama Barni Obarek Bosack Oukeba Nihos Mababa Ackbar Rekmubar Hosni Obama Barack Mubarek ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress for governor now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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