Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No wonder we can't find bin Laden-- the Pentagon's surveillance team is stateside

It seems that the Pentagon is collecting intelligence. Not about terrorists, not about anyone who we are actually supposed to be at war against, but about domestic peace activists, who are engaged in exercising their constitutional rights.

WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period....

“It means that they’re actually collecting information about who’s at those protests, the descriptions of vehicles at those protests,” says [military analyst Bill ]Arkin. “On the domestic level, this is unprecedented,” he says. “I think it's the beginning of enormous problems and enormous mischief for the military.”...

The military’s penchant for collecting domestic intelligence is disturbing — but familiar — to Christopher Pyle, a former Army intelligence officer.

“Some people never learn,” he says. During the Vietnam War, Pyle blew the whistle on the Defense Department for monitoring and infiltrating anti-war and civil rights protests when he published an article in the Washington Monthly in January 1970.

The public was outraged and a lengthy congressional investigation followed that revealed that the military had conducted investigations on at least 100,000 American citizens. Pyle got more than 100 military agents to testify that they had been ordered to spy on U.S. citizens — many of them anti-war protestors and civil rights advocates. In the wake of the investigations, Pyle helped Congress write a law placing new limits on military spying inside the U.S. ...

“The documents tell me that military intelligence is back conducting investigations and maintaining records on civilian political activity. The military made promises that it would not do this again,” he says....

One of the CIFA-funded database projects being developed by Northrop Grumman and dubbed “Person Search,” is designed “to provide comprehensive information about people of interest.” It will include the ability to search government as well as commercial databases. Another project, “The Insider Threat Initiative,” intends to “develop systems able to detect, mitigate and investigate insider threats,” as well as the ability to “identify and document normal and abnormal activities and ‘behaviors,’” according to the Computer Sciences Corp. contract. A separate CIFA contract with a small Virginia-based defense contractor seeks to develop methods “to track and monitor activities of suspect individuals.”

“The military has the right to protect its installations, and to protect its recruiting services,” says Pyle. “It does not have the right to maintain extensive files on lawful protests of their recruiting activities, or of their base activities,” he argues....

Bert Tussing, director of Homeland Defense and Security Issues at the U.S. Army War College and a former Marine, says “there is very little that could justify the collection of domestic intelligence by the Unites States military. If we start going down this slippery slope it would be too easy to go back to a place we never want to see again,” he says.

Some of the targets of the U.S. military’s recent collection efforts say they have already gone too far.

“It's absolute paranoia — at the highest levels of our government,” says Hersh of The Truth Project.

“I mean, we're based here at the Quaker Meeting House,” says Truth Project member Marie Zwicker, “and several of us are Quakers.”

The Defense Department refused to comment on how it obtained information on the Lake Worth meeting or why it considers a dozen or so anti-war activists a “threat.”


Now there is a reason why there was public outrage (even from conservatives) back when this happened during the Vietnam era. It is because the military is tasked with defending our country from enemies, not from Americans who don't agree. Further, the Posse Comitatus Act makes it illegal for the military to conduct operations against Americans in America. Just that simple. Further, if someone really is a threat, don't we have the FBI, which has the legal right to monitor that person?

The concern here is that we may be headed back to the bad old days when peaceful protest was seen as grounds for military surveillance (and what would that lead to? You don't collect intelligence unless you at least consider that there is a possibility that you will use it.

7 comments:

Rhino-itall said...

seems like a little hair splitting to me. what difference does it make if it's the military or the FBI. If these people are threats or potential threats they should be watched. My only criticism is why weren't they watching timothy mcvey? And by the way, what are the "bad old days"? Did the military take political prisoners or something? I haven't ever heard of any abuses. Also, do you know if the military surveillance prevented any domestic terrorism?

Eli Blake said...

The question is why the FBI didn't do a better job of watching Timothy McVeigh (sp).

Research the Posse Comitatus Act. It makes it very clear that the United States military is not to conduct any operations inside the United States against U.S. Citizens without a declaration of martial law. The reason it was passed was because the use of the military internally is one of the hallmarks of military dictatorship.

But I guess we now live in an age where the Pentagon, the White House and the President of the United States consider the law, and even the Constitution itself, just (to quote the President himself)"a goddamned piece of paper".

BTW, I left you a couple of links on sea levels. Your ignorance also served as an inspiration for a post I made last night. Keep it up.

Rhino-itall said...

Eli, i find it funny that the libs are worried about a military dictatorship, but they battle to keep me from owning a gun, which is a constitutional right, and would pretty much guarantee that we would never have to worry about it. You also show YOUR ignorance by putting that post in your comments, i haven't looked at the link, but i don't need to because if it was even remotely true it would have been picked up by every wire service and news organization in the country. As for the sea levels, i will look at the links and if it's worth my time i will address it...... oh who am i kidding, i can't resist an argument. besides, you guys really need my help.

Rhino-itall said...

hey eli, i couldn't find those links, but heres one for you. and it's kind of funny.

http://calsun.canoe.ca/News/Columnists/Corbella_Licia/2005/12/10/1347495.html

oh and i also found multiple scientific studies from reputable sources that refute global warming. let me know if you want those links too. i'm happy to help.

Eli Blake said...

rhinoculous:

First, everyone in my little town here owns a gun. Since when has it been a Democratic priority to ban guns? Heck, I even watched Jimmy Carter about a week ago on the Leno show and he talked about still going turkey hunting.

It is true that some Democrats have voted to ban assault weapons (which I don't myself agree with them on, coming from a very pro-gun area) and they have supported things like background checks at gun shows (so that, for example, certiably crazy people or felons who have not had their Constitutional rights restored can't walk into a gun show and buy one)-- and I do support that, but the idea that Democrats would support a blanket ban on guns is ridiculous and you know it.

The source of the link is Capitol Hill Blue-- and they specialize in exposing information that the national media chooses to ignore (such as when they were the first ones to mention Juanita Broaderick-- which the national media chose to ignore because they were hung over from the Monica scandal). Incidentally, if you do go over there, you will find that they are about as non-partisan as anyone in Washington, they report garbage equally well.

You obviously found the links, I responded earlier today to your response.

Oh, so you are back to refuting global warming? Other than people who have a demonstrable link (such as a grant) to industries that profit from continued use of fossil fuel or other ideological groups, I'm not aware of any who do. And like I said in one of the many times this has come up, when NASA under the Bush administration confirms that sea levels are rising, that pretty much nails it for me-- such a bunch of liberals they are down there, you know.

Rhino-itall said...

ok, lets finish this now, because i'm getting tired of it. The liberals believe that guns kill people. I'm glad to hear that you own a gun, but "gun control" is and has always been on the democrats agenda. I too beleive in a background check before you can buy a gun, so we're together on that one. Jimmy Carter is a loser.

I am relatively new to the blog world, and have never heard of capitol hill blue, but you're wrong about juanita broderick. the national media didn't run with the story because they loved Clinton, and they are overwhelmingly liberal. the press doesn't get a "hangover". if that was the case, they would have stopped all the negative stories about Bush 3 years ago. That would be the most massive hangover in history. So that's just bullshit.

Finally, as to global warming, or rising seas, i don't know if the earth is warming, cooling, or whatever. But what i do know is that even if the seas will rise 4 feet in the next 100 years, and we will lose a lot of waterfront property over the next century, it's not worth crushing our economy or our way of life to make drastic moves to try to fix it. I also don't think this could all be the fault of the conservatives who have only been in the whitehouse for 5 years. Everything that goes wrong in the world can't be the fault of the Bush administration now matter how much you want to believe it.
Please think about this for a minute, i'm not being a wise ass, everyone on both sides of this debate has something to gain or protect. Whether it be their jobs, thier reputation, or their grant money.

Kelli said...

There seems to be A LOT you don't know.