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Know your BFEE: Spying on America Isn’t Just Business, It’s Tradition.

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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-20-10 10:54 PM
Original message
Know your BFEE: Spying on America Isn’t Just Business, It’s Tradition.
In the days after Watergate, the late Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) led an official investigation into illegal operations of the CIA and FBI. It was called The United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities – “The Church Committee,” for short.

Church and his colleagues unearthed all manner of lawbreaking, from widespread domestic spying on loyal, law-abiding Liberal Democrats who opposed the war in Vietnam to assassination programs that included hitmen recruited straight from the Mafia. There was nore, even more vile stuff.



As a result of the Church Committee and the Pike Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, thoroughly covered by DUer bobthedrummer, we learned that some of the most secret and powerful organizations of the United States had been used against the American people.

One of the things that really shocked Americans, including more than a few reporters, was the extent of illegal domestic spying, infiltration, eavesdropping and disruption. Not many people thought CIA and the FBI would run roughshod over the Constitution. Yet, they did.

And so -- 15 years before the Internet, email or cell phones -- Frank Church warned us:



America's Spy Technology Should Never Be Turned on America

From a Church Committee hearing...

"At the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such (is) the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

"If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology...

"I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

- During 1975 investigation of ECHELON / Project Shamrock, as Senate Intelligence Committee chairman

http://web.archive.org/web/20071016231034/http://fdrs.org/frank_church_quotes.html



As a result of these investigations back in '75 and '76, things started to come undone for the secret government. For instance, President Ford, in an "off-the-record" meeting with A.M. Rosenthal and other Corporate News big wigs, said the CIA was involved in assassinations. Daniel Schorr went after the story and got confirmation from Director of Central Intelligence, William Colby, who confirmed the story.

To quiet things down with Congress, Ford appointed George Herbert Walker Bush to head CIA. In that capacity, Poppy also turned on the charm and turned off the press, possibly starting with Abe Rosenthal and The New York Times. It might've also saved his own career.

Then came Junior.



He truly unleashed the hounds.


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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-20-10 11:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. "the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America
..That is the abyss from which there is no return."
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 08:05 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Frank Church and the Abyss of Warrantless Wiretapping


It wasn't Corporate McPravda or a non-Texas school book publisher, it was John Nichols who helped keep this history alive:



Frank Church and the Abyss of Warrantless Wiretapping

by John Nichols
Published on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 by The Nation

EXCERPT...

It was not for lack of trying by Senator Church, one of the most courageous legislators in American history, and his colleagues on the committee. As Senator Church said when the committee completed its work: "The United States must not adopt the tactics of the enemy. Means are important, as ends. Crisis makes it tempting to ignore the wise restraints that make men free. But each time we do so, each time the means we use are wrong, our inner strength, the strength which makes us free, is lessened."

SNIP...

It is notable that Senator Church was especially concerned about the threat posed by the National Security Agency if a future president were to abuse those powers.
    "I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss," explained Church. "That is the abyss from which there is no return."
Three decades after the Church Committee submitted its final report, President Bush admits to ordering the NSA to spy on the telephone conversations of Americans on American soil without obtaining warrants.

CONTINUED...

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0426-30.htm



Thanks, G_j. You know how I get to repeating myself when it comes to the abyss.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
12.  Sen.Church reported America's Spy Technology Should Never Be Turned on America
Otherwise, organized opposition to the government would be impossible.

"At the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such (is) the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

"If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology...

"I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

- During 1975 investigation of ECHELON / Project Shamrock, as Senate Intelligence Committee chairman

There were no Internet, email, cell phone and most other forms of communication we have today. These also can be, and are, monitored.

PS: Sorry to be repetetively redundant kick, but some things bear repeating.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. that is remarkable
god bless em
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 01:02 AM
Response to Original message
2. I love spy movies but I could never be a spy.
There's something about spy culture that fascinates me yet I cant put my finger on it.
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. New NSA Whistleblowers Say NSA Spied on US Service Members and Aid Workers
The spies' world is a place where no one trusts one another. Stanislaw Lem, the great science fiction writer who created Solaris, wrote "Memoirs Found in a Bathtub." It's set in a time of fifth-generation Pentagons, one in the Soviet Union and the other in the United States. The protagonist sets out to find a subject for an interview. He discovers that most everyone working in one building really works for the other. Thanks to electronic spying technology being applied, eh, uniformly, we don't have that problem (or the Soviets):



New NSA Whistleblowers Say NSA Spied on US Service Members and Aid Workers

Deeplink by Hugh D'Andrade
October 10th, 2008

This has been a bad week for President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program. First, a government study reported that data-mining is actually a hindrance in the fight against terrorism. And now, two new whistleblowers have come forward with firsthand accounts of how innocent Americans' communications have been swept up in the NSA's dragnet.

According to ABC News and a new book by James Bamford, David Murfee Faulk and Adrienne Kinne witnessed and participated in the interception of hundreds of personal, intimate calls from American service members and aid workers. They say NSA employees have been routinely intercepting the calls of individuals with no involvement in terrorism.

Faulk, a linguist working as an "intercept operator" at the NSA complex in Fort Gordon, Georgia, says that NSA employees often shared personal communications from Americans living oversees just for the fun of it:
    "Hey, check this out," Faulk says he would be told, "there's good phone sex or there's some pillow talk, pull up this call, it's really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, 'Wow, this was crazy'," Faulk told ABC News.
Faulk said he joined in to listen, and talk about it during breaks in Back Hall's "smoke pit," but ended up feeling badly about his actions.

"I feel that it was something that the people should not have done. Including me," he said.

Adrienne Kinne, another linguist and intercept operator at the Fort Gordon facility, says communications from aid organizations like Doctors Without Borders and the International Red Cross were intentionally targeted, a practice that she says hampered legitimate intelligence gathering:
    "By casting the net so wide and continuing to collect on Americans and aid organizations, it's almost like they're making the haystack bigger and it's harder to find that piece of information that might actually be useful to somebody," she said. "You're actually hurting our ability to effectively protect our national security."


CONTINUED...

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/10/new-nsa-whistleblowers



One of my family's best friends is a West Point grad recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan. The colonel used extreme caution in what was said in telephone conversations home. They knew they were being monitored.
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steve2470 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
3. k and r nt
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 08:40 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Where's The Outrage Over The Gov't Brushing Mass Privacy Violations Under The Rug?
The fact that there is so little outrage may be evidence that the American people know they're being monitored.



Where's The Outrage Over The Gov't Brushing Mass Privacy Violations Under The Rug?

from the what-a-joke dept
TechDirt.com

I have to admit that I've been a bit in shock over Congress's decision to simply renew the Patriot Act, recently, without a single safeguard to protect against abuse. That's because just before all this happened, we wrote about how a report from the government found (not for the first time) that the FBI regularly abused its authority to get phone records it had no right to. This went well beyond earlier reports of abusing National Security Letters. In this case, the FBI didn't even bother with NSLs. Instead, sometimes it would just use a post-it note. On top of that, reports came out noting that just weeks before this report was released, the Obama administration issued a ruling with a blanket absolution for the FBI's activities -- basically saying that if the President said it was okay, it was fine.

This is not how our government is supposed to work.

Julian Sanchez has a fantastic article that should be a must read, detailing how Obama went from being a candidate who insisted there would be "no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime" because "that is not who we are, and it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists," to one who appears to have no problem regularly spying on citizens and covering it up. President Bush was really bad with warrantless wiretapping and retroactive immunity for telcos -- and most people figured Obama would at least be marginally better on that issue. But it's really scary how the entirety of the federal government doesn't seem to care much about these blatant privacy abuses -- and the public and the press has shrugged them off as well.

Given all the reports of abuses, and Obama's campaign statements, you would think that at least the government would put in place some kind of oversight and safeguards when the Patriot Act came up for renewal. No such luck. In fact, the administration appears to have worked with Republican Senators to make this possible. I don't think this is what people meant when they expected to see more "reaching across the aisle" from the President:
    Indeed, by the time the House Judiciary Committee took up the question of reauthorization in early November, legislators of both parties were venting their frustration about the scant guidance they'd gotten from the administration.

    Behind closed doors, however, the administration was anything but silent. Instead of openly opposing civil-liberties reforms that had been under consideration in the Senate, The New York Times reported in October, the Obama administration opted for a kind of political ventriloquist's routine. The Justice Department wrote a series of amendments diluting or stripping away the new protections, then laundered them through Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, who offered them up verbatim.

    It's worth taking a closer look at one such reform proposal -- again, predating the latest and most damning OIG report -- to get a sense of the disconnect between the administration's public and private stances. Some legislators had wanted to require the FBI to develop "minimization procedures" for NSLs, as they do when full-blown wiretaps are employed, to ensure that information about innocents is not circulated indiscriminately and that irrelevant records are ultimately discarded. This would only bring NSLs in line with other Patriot provisions compelling production of business records, where minimization is already required, and in principle, the Justice Department is already on board with this plan: As Inspector General Glenn Fine noted in his testimony before the Senate in September, the department's NSL working group was already laboring to develop such procedures in response to the abuses documented in previous OIG reports -- but the working group had been dragging their heels for more than two years.

    The task of blocking any legal requirement that the Justice Department pick up the pace fell to Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican from California. At a House markup session in November, Lungren offered up an amendment that would strip away the minimization mandate and even argued, bizarrely, that the very concept of "minimization" was inapplicable in the NSL context. He was visibly confused when Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers, after making a point of praising Lungren's "scrupulous study" of the issue, pointed out that the Justice Department itself had publicly accepted the need for such procedures.

    "This is the first I had heard that the Justice Department was either considering it or had not raised any objections to this," a visibly perplexed Lungren stammered, "because it was my understanding they felt this was an inappropriate transfer of a process that is used in the electronic surveillance arena." The talking points with which Lundgren had been supplied, it seems, had not been checked against the official assurances the department had been providing.
Sanchez's writeup goes into a lot more detail, but it's a depressing look at today's politics, media and the public as well. Politicians from both parties first belatedly tried to "legalize" blatantly illegal spying on Americans, and then, when they had an immediate opportunity to put in place the most basic safeguards because "that is not who we are," instead conspired with each other to renew the law and completely ignore the vast and blatant abuses of it. When you wonder why so few people trust politicians, this is why.

CONTINUED w/links...

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100309/0012138472.shtml



The implications should be clear for all: Without freedom of expression, democracy is no longer possible.

Thanks for sticking up to "Them," steve2470.
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steve2470 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. my pleasure and keep up the great work on DU nt
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 08:08 AM
Response to Original message
5. Those were the days
Someone like Frank Church being elected from frickin IDAHO???
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Church should have become President of the United States.
Brilliant, brave (a hero of World War II) and driven to make positive change, Frank Church was a threat to the powers-that-be, so they used all they could find to defeat him in 1980. There are allegations of CIA involvement in domestic politics, perhaps the only thing that can reverse the historic 98-percent incumbent reelection advantage.

... After a contentious year-long investigation marred by inflammatory accusations and charges from both sides, Pike refuses demands from the CIA to redact huge portions of the report, resulting in an accusation from CIA legal counsel Mitchell Rogovin that the report is an “unrelenting indictment couched in biased, pejorative and factually erroneous terms.” Rogovin also tells the committee’s staff director, Searle Field, “Pike will pay for this, you wait and see…. There will be a political retaliation…. We will destroy him for this.” (It is hard to know exactly what retaliation will be carried out against Pike, who will resign from Congress in 1978.) ...
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
9. Teach your children well...
:loveya:
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. DCI Porter Goss initiated a program to spy on journalists and government types. Who else?
Secret government is un-American and un-Democratic. Without public oversight, the people who most benefit from the domestic spying "take" might not use it to strengthen national security. They more likely would use it for political advantage.



Project FIRSTFRUITS

From SourceWatch

"Firstfruits" was "part of a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) program that was maintained at least until October 2004 and was authorized by then-DCI Porter Goss. Firstfruits was authorized as part of a DCI "Countering Denial and Deception" program responsible to an entity known as the Foreign Denial and Deception Committee (FDDC). Since the intelligence community's reorganization, the DCI has been replaced by the Director of National Intelligence headed by John Negroponte and his deputy, former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden," Wayne Madsen wrote in the December 29, 2005, Alternative Press Review.

"Firstfruits was a database that contained both the articles and the transcripts of telephone and other communications of particular Washington journalists known to report on sensitive U.S. intelligence activities, particularly those involving NSA. According to NSA sources, the targeted journalists included author James Bamford, the New York Times' James Risen, the Washington Post's Vernon Loeb, the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, the Washington Times' Bill Gertz, UPI's John C. K. Daly, and this editor , who has written about NSA for The Village Voice, CAQ, Intelligence Online, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)."

SOURCE: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Firstfruits



Vielen dank, meine schönste Schwester. Wie geht es Ihnen? Wir leben in interessanten Zeiten.
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LongTomH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
14. K&R
:kick:
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Qwest CEO Not Alone in Alleging NSA Started Domestic Phone Record Program 7 Months Before 9-11
For Nacchio being honest about business, were QWEST's "lucrative backbone wiretap" contracts taken off the table?



Qwest CEO Not Alone in Alleging NSA Started Domestic Phone Record Program 7 Months Before 9/11

By Ryan Singel October 12, 2007
Wired.com

Startling statements from former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio’s defense documents alleging the National Security Agency began building a massive call records database seven months before 9/11 aren’t the only accusations that the controversial program predated the attacks of 9/11.

According to court documents unveiled this week, former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio clearly wanted to argue in court that the NSA retaliated against his company after he turned down a NSA request on February 27, 2001 that he thought was illegal. Nacchio’s attorney issued a carefully worded statement in 2006, saying that Nacchio had turned down the NSA’s repeated requests for customer call records. The statement says that Nacchio was asked for the records in the fall of 2001, but doesn’t say he was “first asked” then.

And in May 2006, a lawsuit filed against Verizon for allegedly turning over call records to the NSA alleged that AT&T began building a spying facility for the NSA just days after President Bush was inaugurated. That lawsuit is one of 50 that were consolidated and moved to a San Francisco federal district court, where the suits sit in limbo waiting for the 9th Circuit Appeals court to decide whether the suits can proceed without endangering national security.

According the allegations in the suit (.pdf):
    The project was described in the ATT sales division documents as calling for the construction of a facility to store and retain data gathered by the NSA from its domestic and foreign intelligence operations but was to be in actuality a duplicate ATT Network Operations Center for the use and possession of the NSA that would give the NSA direct, unlimited, unrestricted and unfettered access to all call information and internet and digital traffic on ATTÌs long distance network. <...>
The NSA program was initially conceived at least one year prior to 2001 but had been called off; it was reinstated within 11 days of the entry into office of defendant George W. Bush.

An ATT Solutions logbook reviewed by counsel confirms the Pioneer-Groundbreaker project start date of February 1, 2001.

The allegations in that case come from unnamed AT&T insiders, who have never stepped forward or provided any documentation to the courts. But Carl Mayer, one of the attorneys in the case, stands by the allegations in the lawsuit.

CONTINUED w/links for background...

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2007/10/qwest-ceo-not-a/



Even though he was convicted, cough, Siegelman, I believe Nacchio on this one. He believed the Constitution trumped the right of a Bush cronie to make money.

Thanks, LongTomH, for giving a damn. Truly appreciate it.
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AzDar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
16. K&R
:kick:
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Wonder what WOULD make a DEM help the GOP in a presidential election year?
Edited on Sat Aug-21-10 06:39 PM by Octafish
Must have been some kind of wild :kick: pictures or highly incriminating conversation. I wonder who ended up with all that Intel?

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-21-10 04:39 PM
Response to Original message
17. K & R
Great post
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-22-10 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Pentagon revives Rumsfeld-era domestic spying unit
Unwelcome news from those interested in open government:



Pentagon revives Rumsfeld-era domestic spying unit

By Daniel Tencer
RawStory.com
Saturday, June 19th, 2010

The Pentagon's spy unit has quietly begun to rebuild a database for tracking potential terrorist threats that was shut down after it emerged that it had been collecting information on American anti-war activists.

The Defense Intelligence Agency filed notice this week that it plans to create a new section called Foreign Intelligence and Counterintelligence Operation Records, whose purpose will be to "document intelligence, counterintelligence, counterterrorism and counternarcotic operations relating to the protection of national security."

But while the unit's name refers to "foreign intelligence," civil liberties advocates and the Pentagon's own description of the program suggest that Americans will likely be included in the new database.

FICOR replaces a program called Talon, which the DIA created in 2002 under then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as part of the counterterrorism efforts following the 9/11 attacks. It was disbanded in 2007 after it emerged that Talon had retained information on anti-war protesters, including Quakers, even after it was determined they posed no threat to national security.

DIA spokesman Donald Black told Newsweek that the new database would not include the more controversial elements of the old Talon program. But Jeff Stein at the Washington Post reports that the new program will evidently inherit the old Talon database.

CONTINUED...

http://rawstory.com/rs/2010/0619/pentagon-revives-domestic-spying-unit/



Thank you, malaise, for giving a damn. Did I ever tell you I used to look like the Spanish ambassador? Ah, but that was a long time ago...carajo.
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