The Latest on the Police State Front

Pilots vs. Indignities at the Airports, Midland FBI Spying, Snitching on Your ‘Terrorist Neighbor,’ & More

Here are a few updates for those of you who may have been wondering about the continuity of my interest in our nation’s police state status. I may be too busy to write my usual ten-page plus editorials on this topic, but never too busy to monitor the issue; never! It is about me, my daughter, you, your friends, basically, this is about all of us.

ProtestI am going to start this update with something positive. The following ‘something’ shows that we indeed can take a stand, however little, and challenge what’s being forced upon us in the game of fear-mongering and in the name of security. Here is a group of ‘true’ Americans who have enough patriotism and real backbone to stand up for our liberties and dignities. I am going to post their entire letter instead of a couple of paragraphs. It deserves to be published and shown in its entirety, so I hope I won’t be frowned upon or penalized for violating the quote limitation…

Letter: Indignities at the Airports

As professional pilots, some colleagues and I recently issued a statement to our airline. We voiced our rejection of the policy changes being enacted by the Transportation Security Administration at airport security checkpoints across the country, including Memphis International (Sept. 18 article, "Virtual strip search / Random full-body scans launched at Memphis airport").

We do not consent to the indignity of virtual strip searches as a matter of course in performing the duties of our profession. Neither can we conscientiously accept being physically frisked by federal agents every day as a reasonable alternative.

Obviously, our work places us inside the flight deck door by necessity. We wouldn't have to smuggle a weapon into the airport to take control of an aircraft. After running the gantlet of required background checks, security training and screening procedures, it's just plain silly to confiscate pilots' pocket knives and corkscrews before we enter the cockpit. In short, here's hoping the crew for your next flight is on the home team.

But that's not even the point.

We are appalled that any citizen who is not under arrest, has made no threats, nor raised any suspicion of terrorism or other malice should be made to submit to either of these "options" in order to move about within his or her own national borders.

Federal airport security guards are often unskilled, entry-level responders to help-wanted ads affixed to pizza boxes. Perhaps novice agents lack the perspective to grasp the full implications of their work. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. But please don't show them your naked body. Don't let these strangers put their hands on you or your children. Their abuse protects no one. No, the good citizens of a free society must resist such authoritarian overtures at least as much as any foreign threat.

I offer my condolences if your flight should be delayed or canceled because the TSA won't let us in the door. But I suggest that your freedom is more important. At any rate, ours certainly is.

Michael Roberts

Memphis

Mr. Roberts, kudos to you and your colleagues. You have my respect and support.

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HooverNow here are three related articles showing how our guys at the bureau aren’t able to find real criminal or terrorism related cases to chase and investigate. They are bored, and as we all know boredom can lead to all sorts of nefarious deeds and activities. On one hand we are constantly reminded of Al-Qaeda and related boogieman’s plans to destroy us here in the States, thus the urgency to give up all our rights, liberties and dignities. Yet, on the other hand, here is our nation’s federal police agency bored out of its mind going around and harassing American citizens for exercising their rights guaranteed under the Constitution. I guess they are contradicting their bosses! Hmmm…or maybe they are keeping J. Edgar Hoover’s spirit alive?!

FBI Files on Investigations of Iowa City Peace Activists Made Public

David Goodner, a former member of the University of Iowa’s Antiwar Committee, submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for files associated with an FBI surveillance of groups in Iowa City prior to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. What he discovered was the investigation was far more extensive than previously known. Now, Goodner has turned over the files he received from the FBI exclusively to The Iowa Independent for publication.

As the documents show, the investigation into activities of peace groups in Iowa City involved staking out homes, secretly photographing and video taping members, digging through garbage and even planting a mole to spy on the peace activists up close.  Known as the Wild Rose Rebellion, the protesters were described by the FBI as an “anarchist collective.” In an interview with The Des Moines Register, the FBI defended its actions.

Weysan Dun, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Omaha field office, which oversees Iowa and Nebraska, said in a statement that every investigative technique that was employed was authorized under guidelines established by the U.S. attorney general “and was deemed necessary to resolve the allegations.” …

Dun said the Iowa City investigation was warranted because of allegations that certain people were possibly going to engage in criminal activities to disrupt the national conventions of one or both major political parties.

The group’s plans were to help organize nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, such as street blockades, at the 2008 RNC convention. In an interview Monday with progressive radio host Ed Fallon, Goodner said the FBI investigation didn’t make sense.

And here is the second related article:

Midlands FBI spying under scrutiny

In August 2003, two FBI agents watched over an Omaha rally organized by peace activist Frank Cordaro, a former Catholic priest.The agents observed no criminal activity at the rally but still sent notes on those in attendance to local military and law enforcement officials so they could plan security measures for a conference on U.S. nuclear policy at Offutt Air Force Base, according to a Justice Department report.

Also, FBI files reveal that agents, working under the direction of the bureau's Omaha field office, secretly monitored the activities of Iowa City protest groups before the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

“I learned early in my peace and justice career to assume the government knows what's going on,” said Cordaro, who has spent a total of about five years in jail for trespassing on Offutt property. When the FBI was monitoring him, Cordaro was planning a protest against nuclear weapons at the Offutt conference.

Now the FBI, including its Omaha office, is under intense scrutiny for investigations that revive memories of the bureau's Vietnam-era intrigue.

Unsealed agency documents and a report from the Justice Department detail the FBI's broad investigations of protest groups in Nebraska, Iowa and other parts of the country based on its authority to look into allegations and threats of domestic and international terrorism.

“In several cases there was little indication of any possible federal crimes,” Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said in his report, which detailed similar investigations the agency conducted around the country. “In some cases, the FBI classified some investigations relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its ‘Acts of Terrorism' classification.”

A domestic terrorism designation can have a large impact, the inspector general said, because people who are subjects of such probes are normally placed on watch lists and their travels and interactions with law enforcement may be tracked.

The FBI investigated whether the Iowa activists were part of a national network of radicals who wanted to disrupt the GOP convention in Minnesota and the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. The records show that the investigation lasted from roughly March to December in 2008.

During that time, authorities went through activists' garbage and their cell phone and motor vehicle records.

Okay, you can read the rest here.

And finally, here is a hard-hitting recent news article for those who don’t consider the two above alarm-worthy:

FBI Raids: An End to ‘Covert’ Spying on Antiwar Groups?

Earlier this week the Justice Department revealed that the FBI had been using false claims of “counter-terror” operations to justify covert spying operations against antiwar groups in Pittsburgh and elsewhere across the country. As officials downplayed the report the matter seemed to be just another in a growing list of Bush era abuses of power, about which little is ever said.

PittProtestThen this morning FBI agents and SWAT teams started kicking doors in across Minneapolis, across Chicago, across the rest of America. The target: antiwar activists of various stripes, but particularly those likely to be involved in antiwar protests at the next Democratic National Convention.

It seems the era of “covert” FBI spying has come to an end, and not in the good way like you’d hope. Rather it seems to have moved with surprising alacrity from behind the shadows and become an overt program of intimidation and surveillance of what is left of America’s antiwar movement.

Though the Justice Department seemed quite fine with shrugging off photographing protesters and infiltrating organizations, it seems that kicking doors in nationwide is something else entirely, and with the same tired “counter-terror” excuse being used the questions about the increasingly shameless tactics will only grow.

As always many thanks to AntiWar.Com for keeping track of all this; not on page B27, but on its front page and center!

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Let’s look at our government’s progress in recreating 1984 and putting in real life context:

Doc of the Day: Feds’ Guide To Snitching on Your Terrorist Neighbor

That dude next door, man — I used to think he was an OK guy, but now all the bags of fertilizer from Home Depot piled up in his garage are starting to worry me. And what’s with that beard? He’s not a — you don’t think –

For today’s Doc of the Day, here’s a handy pamphlet prepared by federal law enforcement to help you navigate the uncertainties of an age of homegrown terrorism, helpfully illustrated with pictures of New Mexico-born extremist preacher Anwar al-Awlaki and New York food-cart guy/sleeper agent Najibullah Zazi.

Be on the lookout, warn the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center, for such “indicators of possible terrorist activity” as “behavior that could indicate participation in surveillance of potential targets,” “travel or interest in traveling overseas to attend violent extremist institutions or paramilitary camps,” or checking out “websites and reading materials that advocate violence and then initiating action in support of this activity.” See something? Say something!

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The following related piece was put together nicely by Jason Ditz at AntiWar.

US Officials Renew Focus on ‘Homegrown Terrorists’

A number of top officials in the Obama Administration testified before Congress today to warn of the growing risk of “homegrown terrorists,” suggesting that al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda styled groups are being increasingly successful in recruiting Americans. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I – CT) termed the number of Americans turned militants “astoundingly high” while FBI Director Robert Mueller warned of “domestic radicalization” become more and more pronounced.

The value of Americans being able to circumvent security measures is clear for the militant groups, and the value of scaring people about them is clear as officials try to enact ever more draconian measures.

But one thing is always left unspoken in this testimony, and that is the fact that the vast majority of Americans ten years ago hadn’t even heard of al-Qaeda, let alone considered joining them. After nine years of war and no end in sight, harsh security measures and an increasingly militarized society, Americans are increasingly discontented, and the ability to recruit them has risen as a result. In this regard the “homegrown terrorists” are one of the most pure forms of blowback in the war, yet one of the least considered.

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You know how they started those airport screeners, the infamous TSA abusers, with uniforms, then, took them one level higher by giving them police-like badges, and then after that how they handed them weapons to make these low-level, mostly uneducated and untrained, and extremely rude and unprofessional guys more powerful and ferocious, thus far more abusive? Right, so you know what I’m talking about 😉  Well, here is the recent promotion, increased power status, granted to this fumbling mumbling abusive illiterate bunch:

 

10,000 TSA employees get secret clearances

Transportation security chief gives 10,000 employees access to secret intelligence information

The new head of the Transportation Security Administration say he's giving 10,000 of the agency's employees access to secret intelligence information to better enable them to detect threats and stop terrorists.

John Pistole (PIH'-stohl) told an aviation luncheon that he views TSA as a counterterrorism agency. He said his goal is to get the latest intelligence to all employees who have what he called an "action need" to "inform their judgment and decision-making." Pistole is a former deputy FBI director who was confirmed by the Senate as TSA administrator in June. He said he begins each day with an intelligence briefing.

So now you know. I’m reading, listening, and watching the latest and not the greatest developments on the police state front. And, once in a while I even sit down in front of my PC in the wee hours at night and share some of these with my irate minority friends. Now its your turn. Please bring in and share with us your latest on the police state front.

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Comments

  1. Sibel – thanks.

    Oh by the way, I hope you liked that mailer I sent you last summer.

  2. Thanks for this post Sibel. It affirms to naysayers that my experience as a peace activist and former teacher is not an isolated case. It would take too long to go into, but these nasty unknown people have bothered me for most of my professional career, and tried several times unsuccessfully to compromise my teaching credentials.

    What do 9-11, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have in common? Shaffer was a DIA officer based in Kabul, and one of his covert assignments uncovered information revealing one of the 9/11 hijackers had been a known terrorist threat before the attack. In 2005, Shaffer was censured by the DIA and prohibited from giving testimony before Congress on matters relating to the 9/11 hijackers. http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/28753/what-do-the-pentagon-and-nazis-have-in-common/

    Peter Lance agrees with Shaffer who says, “…a covert Pentagon task force called “Able Danger” had identified Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks, before the assaults on New York and the Pentagon. Shaffer’s claim was later rejected by congressional investigators, among others. But he repeats the assertion in the book.”

  3. There was protest in front of the Federal Building here in Tucson today that was about the recent FBI raids. Err, a couple weeks ago I noticed 2 or 3 khaki/bulletproof vest police with sidearms at my local bus center, not like the city cops. Then later in the evening going home I saw 6 or 8 of them, lo and behold they are Homeland Security. I asked them what they were doing there and they said that part of their mission is transit and this is to help out local law enforcement. I asked a Tucson PD cop who I’ve seen at that bus station many times why they need federal police and how disconcerting it is, he said Homeland Security is going across the country and visiting bus stations and such. He seemed to think it was mostly a political thing. I left it at that and then on the way home tonight I see two homeland security police at the same bus station just hovering around…

  4. Mike: Very interesting. I’m trying to find out more on upcoming protests…those in Washington DC, where I live; Anyone?

  5. I won’t subject myself to the TSA and therefore only travel by my own car or my own boat. I feel bad for those who must subject themselves to the TSA and those who submit to it without protest.

    This national security state has gone way way way too far and all made possible by our neighbors who are willing to do this to us for some inexplicable reason.

  6. theepitbull says:

    E.X.C.E.L.L.E.N.T. Posting!

    (((3)))

  7. @theepitbull: Thanks. Are we going see nationwide nonpartisan outrage/response? I’m waiting…

  8. theepitbull says:

    Sibel

    I certainly hope so! ‘WE’ must keep up our efforts and hope for the best.

    Stay good and kind to yourself.

    (((3)))

    PS: (Quote of the week:)

    “The pen is mightier than the sword” is a metonymic adage coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy.[1][2] The play was about Cardinal Richelieu, though in the author’s words “license with dates and details… has been, though not unsparingly, indulged.”[1] The Cardinal’s line in Act II, scene II, was more fully:[3]

    True, This! —
    Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
    The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
    The arch-enchanters wand! — itself a nothing! —
    But taking sorcery from the master-hand
    To paralyse the Cæsars, and to strike
    The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword —
    States can be saved without it!

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