Category Archives: Domestic Spying
In this revised and updated version of my four-part series entitled Main Core, PROMIS and the Shadow Government I am going to both clarify and build upon concepts of what was originally written over a period of nearly a year beginning in late 2008. It is essential to now place the surveillance state in a context that takes into account the administration of Democratic president Barack Obama. For those who believed that the George W. Bush presidency was a horrific aberration in all of its constitution desecrating glory and that a changing of the guard to more responsible leadership would lead to a rollback of the creeping fascism that emerged from the ashes of World War II, assumed control by coup d’etat with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and then became dominant in the aftermath of the ‘terrorist’ attacks of September 11, 2001 the initial fourteen months of the Obama administration should be a wake up call. As writer Naomi Wolf summed it up during a controversial recent interview piece:
“Bush legalized torture, but Obama is legalizing impunity. He promised to roll stuff back, but he is institutionalizing these things forever.”
Of course those who are familiar with the concepts of the deep state or the permanent government it is unsurprising that any president, despite the figurehead status is ultimately subservient to the monstrous powers of the state, at times groups that are fully aligned with the shadow government such as former “Vice-President” Richard B. Cheney and his warmongering neoconservative cabal are better able to enforce their agendas as they mesh with the radical, militarist imperialism that is at the core of the American state and that primarily serves the interests of a multi-generational oligarchy, the financial cartels, the big energy conglomerates and most importantly the military industrial complex.
The real business of America is imperialism and preservation of the empire at all costs, today, in this darkest of historical periods that militarism and institutionalized need for conquest has come home to roost and to wreak economic devastation on the populace. The loss of economic opportunity along with the need to preserve corrupt institutions and the failed political system that serve them will soon lead to massive civil unrest, this much is certain and there are signs of it now, largely confined to the extreme right that serve as shocktroops to the criminal Republican party to ensure that the criminal Democratic party will be forced from control of the spoils system and their servitude to the oligarchy. This will ultimately not remain confined to the extreme right and the co-opted Republican -FOX News led Tea Party movement that is already undergoing fragmentation as the undercurrent of political violence percolates, driving off many angry and desperate Americans who sought refuge in it’s ranks.
Thus the necessity for the police state and the high-tech totalitarian systems of control that will continue to be implemented under the premise of the phony war on terror but have always been intended to serve as a firewall between the elite and the rabble. There is no longer the ability to beat the swords back into ploughshares and the oligarchy will preserve itself and the war machine at the expense of the citizenry. As Randolph Bourne once wrote “war is the health of the state”, and as we enter the second decade of the new American century it will become increasingly necessary to use a militarized police machine and an advanced technological surveillance colossus to maintain order, suppress dissent and continue to provide grist for the highly lucrative, for-profit prison industrial complex that will ensure that Oceania will always be at war.
Part One: Main Core and PROMIS
“Over the last two weeks I have encountered just such an apocalyptic situation, where I and the Department of Justice have been asked to be part of something that is fundamentally wrong.”
(Excerpt from Deputy Attorney General James Comey’s draft letter of resignation to President Bush, dated March 16, 2004, which Comey did not in the end send.)
“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull”
– George Orwell: 1984
Suppose that the United States government, or more likely an unaccountable privatized intelligence colossus empowered by the reaction to the 9/11 attacks and fueled by the rampant cronyism of a system long ago gone rotten had a surveillance tool capable of peering into the most private aspects of American lives on a whim.
Now suppose that the new growth industry of a previously unthinkable futuristic police state was already in place, fully operational and has been actively been being utilized for domestic spying for years even before the World Trade Center and Pentagon were struck on that pristine Tuesday September morning that irreversibly ensured that our rendezvous with a destiny of becoming a full blown fascist society would be fulfilled. What if this surveillance industrial complex was in possession of a database that was so large and so powerful that not only could it instantly process and retrieve the most minute or intimate aspects and details of the lives of American citizens but was also able to utilize extremely sophisticated artificial intelligence capabilities to actually predict likely patterns of future behavior.
Such a huge database would be able to use cutting edge technology that is largely funded by taxpayer dollars and awarded to unaccountable private corporations through the typical business as usual, crony capitalist no bid contracts to create the most invasive tool of oppression this country has ever seen. This database would rely on software that was capable of performing highly sophisticated forms of social network analysis based on block modeling technology in order to monitor all forms of electronic communications including telephone, email, chat, Twitter and cell phones and personal digital assistants, satellite navigation systems, all internet searches, all credit card transactions, all book purchases, all grocery or other store purchases, all travel arrangements, all library records, utility usage, all bank activity and down to what is watched or listened to as entertainment in all American homes.
It would then be able to use the data to not only find links between persons who already know and interact with each other but to categorize each individual into a particular group that possess similar behavioral and purchasing habits. These groups could then be further divided into subgroups and further analyzed in order to determine under some loosely defined and largely unknown guidelines whether they could potentially represent a threat. While all of this may sound like some sort of futuristic dystopian nightmare straight out of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report and Precrime, it is very real and it goes by the name of Main Core.
For example, if you are selling say a bicycle and you run an advertisement in your local newspaper or on Craig’s List or some other internet board and you just happen to receive a call from a Muhammad who is interested in buying your bicycle and this Muhammad happens to have certain friends who may have relationships with an organization that is determined by some unknown criteria to be a potential terrorist organization. With the surveillance capability of Main Core and with the resources of massive bureaucracies at the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security such an innocent contact would set off a series of flags that would categorize the conversation as sufficiently suspicious to merit further examination.
Once that has been analyzed (likely in real time) the call that you received from Muhammad would then in all likelihood place you in the requisite database and at the very best would subject to an increased level of scrutiny by government and any number of unaccountable private intelligence firms. These are institutions with the power to then take control of your banking account (in an action that could be justified as prevention of the flow of funds to ‘terrorists’) and further monitor your own network of family, friends, acquaintances and co-workers who also could be suspect to being defined loosely as potential ‘terrorism’ sympathizers. At worst your life could become a nightmare of abduction, indefinite detention without access to the U.S. legal system, mental abuse, torture and perhaps eventually murder. The system is in place, 9/11 has been used as the excuse for expansion of police state powers and our government over the past two administrations has rendered habeas corpus irrelevant, codified torture and warrantless wiretapping and created a network of secret prisons. The underlying concept that is behind Guantanamo Bay prison is to create a legal black hole into which even American citizens can be thrust into under the guise of being “enemy combatants” or the even more sinister “enemy belligerents” as proposed in the new John McCain-Joseph Lieberman civil liberty destroying Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010.
This technology is being used today absent any form of legitimate oversight or controls, in fact it is expanding exponentially and will continue to do so absent any sudden mass injection of honor and morality to a congress that depends on the entire war on terror paradigm to retain political power. This despite the considerable damage that has already been done to the constitution which was for all intents and purposes eviscerated with the privacy and judicial protections effectively nullified by Bush, Cheney and there army of legal experts such as David Addington and John Yoo who specialized in circumventing the laws of the land. Despite the fallacious campaign rhetoric of President Obama that promised change nothing has to this point in time been done to reign in the massive police state powers that were largely installed by his predecessor. If anything, Obama has institutionalized the surveillance state and escalated the wars of imperialism. His failure to hold accountable any member of the Bush administration for myriad crimes against the republic has rendered any concept of a criminal elite dug into our political establishment being subject to the law into a mockery. Much like President Bill Clinton did when he failed to investigate and prosecute the criminals of Iran-Contra the rogue elements have been effectively been given a pass from our constitutional law professor in chief. As with Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama is simply a product, a smiling new face as the putative head of the empire while the real business of warfare, profiteering and immense transfers of wealth to the oligarchy continue.
It is though a very sophisticated form of fascism that we are living under in America today, unlike the more outwardly obvious regimes from the past. Author Bertram Gross published a book back in 1980 that was entitled Friendly Fascism, Jim Garrison once said that “fascism would come to America in the name of national security”, and author Kevin Phillips in his 1983 book Post-Conservative America warned of the potential of an “apple pie authoritarianism” and a coming society in which: “the Star Spangled Benner would wave with greater frequency and over many more parades; increased surveillance would crack down on urban outbreaks and extreme political dissidents”. This very accurately describes post 9/11 America where any semblance of reason has been abandoned for cheap jingoism and flag-waving pimped off as patriotism. Criticism of authority has made into potential treason by the highly paid shills for neoconservative doctrine and corporate looters, sloganeering and demagoguery have replaced discourse, critical thinking is becoming extinct and just as George Orwell so accurately predicted Big Brother is now watching over us, protecting us and ensuring that we understand that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.
There still exists not only a militarized police force but a vast gulag network of top secret prisons and ‘detention facilities’, not to mention the for-profit prison system that should be the shame of the nation. Add in the now quaint and antiquated pretense of being innocent until proven guilty, the increasingly brazen attempts by those in charge of Homeland Security such as Senator Joseph Lieberman with his kangaroo court Senate committee, the revelations that Obama advisor Cass Sunstein (a horrifying possibility to one day end up on the Supreme Court) favors the most draconian style of crackdowns against free speech and inquiry as was promulgated in a 2008 article entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures”. According to Sunstein, groups that dare to research the all too common blanket pejorative “conspiracy theories”, a longtime defense of the ruling elite to discredit the official conspiracy theories were a threat to the credibility of the government and should be stamped out. Sunstein advocates a COINTELPRO style infiltration of such groups using government agents and paid operatives to undermine the efforts of any attempt to debunk the official conspiracy theory. Sunstein specifically singles out those believe that “the attacks of 9/11 were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by Israel or the United States. Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law.” I am reasonably certain that if finding out the truth behind the American Reichstag Fire is something that should be verboten then I can only imagine what he and his ilk would think about what I am discussing here. Now there is change that you can believe in.
But I digress
Main Core has received some attention in two 2008 articles, one a piece by investigative journalist Christopher Ketcham entitled The Last Roundup (which also looks at Continuity of Government programs but more on that in a little while) and Tim Shorrock that is entitled Exposing Bush’s Historic Abuse of Power. Both articles tie Main Core to the now legendary PROMIS software, an extremely advanced program designed to aid federal prosecutors in case management tracking. PROMIS could pull and put together a wide range of data from disparate sources into a single record. The PROMIS software was created by INSLAW Inc., a company owned by a former NSA intelligence officer named William Hamilton. PROMIS was to have been licensed to the U.S. government in the early 1980’s before the technology boom became widespread but was then stolen by the seamy officials in Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department. The software was modified for espionage purposes to include a ‘back door’ that could be used for spying on those that it was sold to and in a detail that should be especially relevant with the economic crisis that threatens to crash the global financial system, the software could also be used to track in real time (in order to manipulate?) stock market transactions, once can certainly speculate as to how such a tool could have contributed to an economic catastrophe as we are now facing if it were used for such a thing. It is important to keep in mind the period when PROMIS was stolen in the early 1980’s and the fact that the techology boom was still years in the future which should give one an idea to just how far advanced and therefore how important that it was to those who would use it in order to promote a sinister agenda.
Shorock’s piece goes into the relationship between PROMIS and Main Core in some detail:
According to William Hamilton, a former NSA intelligence officer who left the agency in the 1970s, that description sounded a lot like Main Core, which he first heard about in detail in 1992. Hamilton, who is the president of Inslaw Inc., a computer services firm with many clients in government and the private sector, says there are strong indications that the Bush administration’s domestic surveillance operations use Main Core.
Hamilton’s company Inslaw is widely respected in the law enforcement community for creating a program called the Prosecutors’ Management Information System, or PROMIS. It keeps track of criminal investigations through a powerful search engine that can quickly access all stored data components of a case, from the name of the initial investigators to the telephone numbers of key suspects. PROMIS, also widely used in the insurance industry, can also sort through other databases fast, with results showing up almost instantly. “It operates just like Google,” Hamilton told me in an interview in his Washington office in May.
Since the late 1980s, Inslaw has been involved in a legal dispute over its claim that Justice Department officials in the Reagan administration appropriated the PROMIS software. Hamilton claims that Reagan officials gave PROMIS to the NSA and the CIA, which then adapted the software — and its outstanding ability to search other databases — to manage intelligence operations and track financial transactions. Over the years, Hamilton has employed prominent lawyers to pursue the case, including Elliot Richardson, the former attorney general and secretary of defense who died in 1999, and C. Boyden Gray, the former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush. The dispute has never been settled. But based on the long-running case, Hamilton says he believes U.S. intelligence uses PROMIS as the primary software for searching the Main Core database.
Hamilton was first told about the connection between PROMIS and Main Core in the spring of 1992 by a U.S. intelligence official, and again in 1995 by a former NSA official. In July 2001, Hamilton says, he discussed his case with retired Adm. Dan Murphy, a former military advisor to Elliot Richardson who later served under President George H.W. Bush as deputy director of the CIA. Murphy, who died shortly after his meeting with Hamilton, did not specifically mention Main Core. But he informed Hamilton that the NSA’s use of PROMIS involved something “so seriously wrong that money alone cannot cure the problem,” Hamilton told me. He added, “I believe in retrospect that Murphy was alluding to Main Core.” Hamilton also provided copies of letters that Richardson and Gray sent to U.S. intelligence officials and the Justice Department on Inslaw’s behalf alleging that the NSA and the CIA had appropriated PROMIS for intelligence use.
Hamilton says James B. Comey’s congressional testimony in May 2007, in which he described a hospitalized John Ashcroft’s dramatic standoff with senior Bush officials Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card, was another illuminating moment. “It was then that we [at Inslaw] started hearing again about the Main Core derivative of PROMIS for spying on Americans,” he told me.
Through a former senior Justice Department official with more than 25 years of government experience, Salon has learned of a high-level former national security official who reportedly has firsthand knowledge of the U.S. government’s use of Main Core. The official worked as a senior intelligence analyst for a large domestic law enforcement agency inside the Bush White House. He would not agree to an interview. But according to the former Justice Department official, the former intelligence analyst told her that while stationed at the White House after the 9/11 attacks, one day he accidentally walked into a restricted room and came across a computer system that was logged on to what he recognized to be the Main Core database. When she mentioned the specific name of the top-secret system during their conversation, she recalled, “he turned white as a sheet.”
An article in Radar magazine in May, citing three unnamed former government officials, reported that “8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect” and, in the event of a national emergency, “could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and even detention.”
The INSLAW/PROMIS story reached deep into the darkest bowels of an increasingly secretive and malevolent National Security State that had manifested itself in the Reagan administration. The arms for hostages “October Surprise” deal that helped to sink Jimmy Carter’s bid for re-election leading to the Reagan-Bush hostile takeover of America, Iran-Contra, BCCI, media manipulation (see Robert Parry’s excellent special report for Consortium News that is entitled Iran-Contra’s ‘lost chapter’), Oliver North’s swashbuckling adventures involving weaponry and drugs, a shadow government and subversion of Congress were all were components of Reagan’s administration. Reagan, a career corporate shill presided over a government that he hypocritically railed against for its intrusiveness and yet his regime would serve as an incubator for the very shadow government that would one day rise again with the Supreme Court’s 2000 installation of George W. Bush as president despite evidence of a stolen election. Bush II’s administration was stocked with many of the key operatives of Reagan and his father’s regime being given key positions in the most brazenly lawless administration in history that brought America to the brink of fascism.
Ketcham’s The Last Roundup is particularly of interest in that he examined the now infamous 2004 visit of Bush administration officials Alberto Gonzalez and Andrew Card to the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft who had been stricken with pancreaitis after acting A.G. James Comey refused to sign off on the reauthorization of what was an illegal surveillance program related to Continuity of Government. The story is fascinating in that it not only illustrated the length to which the Bush-Cheney junta would go to in order to keep their illegal programs in place but also for the high speed chase through the streets of Washington and the race up the hospital stairs that Comey engaged in to beat Gonzalez and Card to the sedated Ashcroft to take advantage of a sick man. When John Ashcroft actually comes out looking like a heroic figure it becomes very apparent of just how grossly un-American that this flagrantly criminal administration truly was. James Comey went on to give testimony to Congress over the hospital room showdown and more details are available from blogger Glenn Greenwald in his piece entitled What illegal “things” was the government doing in 2001-2004? and in Barton Gellman’s book Angler with excerpts published in the Washington Post. Journalist Murray Waas also has done a story on whether then A.G. Alberto Gonzalez created a set of falsified notes in order to provide a cover story for what occurred while trying to bully Comey and Ashcroft into signing off on the obviously illegal surveillance program.
Excerpts from The Last Roundup are bone chilling:
According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.
Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a “national emergency.” Executive orders issued over the past three decades define it as a “natural disaster, military attack, [or] technological or other emergency,” while Department of Defense documents include eventualities like “riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, [and] disorder prejudicial to public law and order.” According to one news report, even “national opposition to U.S. military invasion abroad” could be a trigger.
Let’s imagine a harrowing scenario: coordinated bombings in several American cities culminating in a major blast—say, a suitcase nuke—in New York City. Thousands of civilians are dead. Commerce is paralyzed. A state of emergency is declared by the president. Continuity of Governance plans that were developed during the Cold War and aggressively revised since 9/11 go into effect. Surviving government officials are shuttled to protected underground complexes carved into the hills of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Power shifts to a “parallel government” that consists of scores of secretly preselected officials. (As far back as the 1980s, Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and Dick Cheney, then a congressman from Wyoming, were slated to step into key positions during a declared emergency.) The executive branch is the sole and absolute seat of authority, with Congress and the judiciary relegated to advisory roles at best. The country becomes, within a matter of hours, a police state.
Under law, during a national emergency, FEMA and its parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security, would be empowered to seize private and public property, all forms of transport, and all food supplies. The agency could dispatch military commanders to run state and local governments, and it could order the arrest of citizens without a warrant, holding them without trial for as long as the acting government deems necessary. From the comfortable perspective of peaceful times, such behavior by the government may seem far-fetched. But it was not so very long ago that FDR ordered 120,000 Japanese Americans—everyone from infants to the elderly—be held in detention camps for the duration of World War II. This is widely regarded as a shameful moment in U.S. history, a lesson learned. But a long trail of federal documents indicates that the possibility of large-scale detention has never quite been abandoned by federal authorities. Around the time of the 1968 race riots, for instance, a paper drawn up at the U.S. Army War College detailed plans for rounding up millions of “militants” and “American negroes,” who were to be held at “assembly centers or relocation camps.” In the late 1980s, the Austin American-Statesman and other publications reported the existence of 10 detention camp sites on military facilities nationwide, where hundreds of thousands of people could be held in the event of domestic political upheaval. More such facilities were commissioned in 2006, when Kellogg Brown & Root—then a subsidiary of Halliburton—was handed a $385 million contract to establish “temporary detention and processing capabilities” for the Department of Homeland Security. The contract is short on details, stating only that the facilities would be used for “an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs.” Just what those “new programs” might be is not specified.
In the days after our hypothetical terror attack, events might play out like this: With the population gripped by fear and anger, authorities undertake unprecedented actions in the name of public safety. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security begin actively scrutinizing people who—for a tremendously broad set of reasons—have been flagged in Main Core as potential domestic threats. Some of these individuals might receive a letter or a phone call, others a request to register with local authorities. Still others might hear a knock on the door and find police or armed soldiers outside. In some instances, the authorities might just ask a few questions. Other suspects might be arrested and escorted to federal holding facilities, where they could be detained without counsel until the state of emergency is no longer in effect.
Martial law is a very serious possibility with it having now been established that the executive branch can exercise dictatorial powers during a “catastrophic emergency” (as put forth in the Bush administration’s NSPD-51) which is defined as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government functions”. President Obama has done absolutely nothing to roll back any of this and as the axiom goes about absolute power corrupting absolutely this new administration is a prime example. There is little to no resistance to these sweeping accumulations of dictatorial powers either on the pathetic excuse for the American left (which is more interested in exploiting socially divisive wedge issues like immigration and same sex marriage) or in the ridiculous, co-opted Tea Party Movement that has no problem with either a police state run amok or the ongoing militarism that feeds the war machine. Both are morally bankrupt and willfully allow themselves to be used as pawns by a two-headed monster of a one party fully cancerous capitalist dictator ship that supports an immoral and thoroughly corrupt plutocracy. They may one day get a clue and recognize the real enemy but it likely won’t be until they are being transported to debtor prisons, forced labor camps or detention facilities. For those skeptical about martial law in the U.S. I would suggest that they simply look at the city of Pittsburgh lockdown during last year’s G20 conference.
With events unfolding as they currently are it is especially troubling to note that the “economy” is one of the criteria that would trigger the declaration of martial law, the current economic crisis along with the lack of will to do what it takes to make corrections rather than bailing out and essentially giving amnesty to the Wall Street looters who are responsible for it only guarantees that the collapse when it does come will be much more devastating. A 2008 article in The Army Times revealed that troop deployments would now include ‘Homeland’ duty under the command of NORTHCOM. Assignments will allow for an increased public visibility (translation: getting Americans used to seeing troops on the streets) and will have a stated purpose as follows: “They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.” If action by the military (and the unaccountable mercenaries from privatized ‘security’ firms like Blackwater now Xe) is decided to be merited by the unitary executive and a state of martial law declared, then what exactly is going to happen to those “8 million” names that are classified as “potentially suspect” that are in the Main Core database? For any skeptics on martial law I would ask that they just do a quick bit of research on the lockdown of the city of Pittsburgh for the G20 meetings in 2009 as well as contingency plans for large scale quarantines during the H1N1 swine flu panic of that same year.
That Main Core and PROMIS are linked raises some provocative questions in regard to intent of elements of the government to subvert the constitution as a matter of national security policy as well as the ability of the shadow government to usurp the legitimate leadership. When referencing the shadow government it is imperative to realize that the term is used loosely as if by some crazed conspiracy theorist but refers to the actual parallel infrastructure that exists and has existed for years that is the Continuity Of Government (C.O.G.) program. The rogue elements have been using PROMIS for illegal surveillance (likely also for money laundering to fund off the books operations) purposes at least since the 1980s. In The Last Roundup, Ketcham also references a 1993 piece from Wired Magazine entitled The INSLAW Octopus that examines the use of PROMIS for extra-constitutional activities by none other than Lt. Colonel Oliver North:
Lt. Col. Oliver North also may have been using the program. According to several intelligence community sources, PROMIS was in use at a 6,100-square-foot command center built on the sixth floor of the Justice Department. According to both a contractor who helped design the center and information disclosed during the Iran-Contra hearings, Oliver North had a similar, but smaller, White House operations room that was connected by computer link to the DOJ’s command center.
Using the computers in his command center, North tracked dissidents and potential troublemakers within the United States as part of a domestic emergency preparedness program, commissioned under Reagan’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to sources and published reports. Using PROMIS, sources point out, North could have drawn up lists of anyone ever arrested for a political protest, for example, or anyone who had ever refused to pay their taxes. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon’s enemies list or Sen. Joe McCarthy’s blacklist look downright crude. This operation was so sensitive that when Rep. Jack Brooks asked North about it during the Iran-Contra hearings, the hearing was immediately suspended pending an executive (secret) conference. When the hearings were reconvened, the issue of North’s FEMA dealings was dropped.
North’s involvement with Continuity of Government programs including REX 84 has long been known and while Lt. Colonel North likely is no longer is active in such programs (at least not to the knowledge of anyone) a larger part of the C.O.G./shadow government infrastructure continued to breed in darkness and secrecy and on that most glorious day for American fascism, 9/11/2001 went live under the guidance of one of its most ardent and longtime architects, Vice President Richard B. Cheney. Continuity Of Government will be discussed later in this essay.
The secrets of Main Core, PROMIS and other variations and evolutions of the oppressive tools of an out of control power structure are the crown jewels of the rising fascist police state and and every effort has and will continue to be vigorously employed to stifle any investigations through the official channels. The means to prevent disclosure will not stop with official government actions, lawsuits and classifications of national security, as we will see, there is a trail of dead bodies of those who have gotten too close for comfort to these programs and their offshoots. An important thing to understand is that the spying is not only being conducted by domestic forces (there are many connections to our “ally” Israel as well) and likely includes political dirty tricks and blackmail as well as the monitoring of the work of reporters and potential whistleblowers so as to bring to a halt any opposition to the ongoing illegal warrantless surveillance.
Now if PROMIS was being used by Lt. Colonel North as a part of REX 84 back in the 1980’s when the Continuity of Government plans were being tweaked, FEMA was being set up for the eventual incorporation into the massive Department of Homeland Security and financial transactions as well as communications already being monitored what does that say about the current state in which we all find ourselves in? The ability to monitor dissent is the key element of any tyrannical regime for it facilitates control, allows for the identification of associates of threats to the system, intimidation, forced confessions and show trials. We are well on the way towards all of this is America, note the new focus on using the police state to monitor the more independent elements of the Tea Parties, the ones that can’t be assimilated into the Republican Borg but with the acts of political intimidation and threats of violence make for a convenient excuse to expand the spying powers. In a sardonic way it is easy to find some humor into this recent monitoring of some of these people for they were for the most part silent and largely supportive of the Bush-Cheney administration’s USAPATRIOT Act (which our new president recently extended) so it is somewhat amusing to see them about to be hoisted on their own petard but any sense of schadenfreude is short-lived because this is gravely serious.
The list of potential enemies of the state will change with administrations but the one thing that will remain consistent is that the use of unconstitutional spying will only continue to evolve along with technology and the always necessary fearmongering to keep the sheeple in line. None of this expanded power is about protecting us from those who hate us for our way of life and can easily be turned into ‘terrorist’ bogeymen by a media propaganda machine that Joseph Goebbels would be proud of; it never has been.
The real purpose is to facilitate the implementation of a fascist dictatorship in America.
To be continued…
With the long overdue departure of the Bush administration from the White House it is the hope many that the myriad of transgressions against the Constitution and the people of America will begin to seep out into the public domain. It took a remarkably short time. The day after the helicopter hauled ole George away like so much rubbish a major story broke. In an astonishing shot across the bow directed at the shadow government the first significant whistleblower has already come out with a story (once again ignored by the corporate media) and delivered a devastating blow to the premise that the massive illegal domestic spying programs of the Bush administration were undertaken in order to protect America from terrorism in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001.
Former NSA analyst Russell Tice during two recent interviews on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann (pt1,pt2)confirmed that the Bush-Cheney-Rove phony war on terror was as people like myself have always strongly suspected in actuality a war on America itself. According to the patriotic Mr. Tice the targets of the domestic spying included news organizations and journalists and that the surveillance for specific targets was not limited to professional matters alone, they were spied on 24/7.
“The National Security Agency had access to all Americans’ communications,” he said. “Faxes, phone calls and their computer communications. … They monitored all communications.”
Tice said the NSA analyzed metadata to determine which communication would be collected. Offering a hypothetical example, he said if the agency determined that terrorists communicate in brief, two-minute phone calls, the NSA might program its systems to record all such calls, invading the privacy of anyone prone to telephonic succinctness.
Tice was involved in only a small part of the project, that involved trying to “harpoon fish from an airplane.”
He said he was told to monitor certain groups in order to eliminate them as suspects for more intense targeting. Those groups, he said, were U.S. journalists and news agencies. But rather than excluding the news organizations from monitoring, he discovered that the NSA was collecting the organizations’ communications 24 hours a day year round.
“It made no sense,” he said.
Tice did not identify the reporters or organizations allegedly targeted.
Olbermann asked if this means there’s a file somewhere containing every e-mail and phone conversation these reporters ever had with sources, editors and family members.
“If it was involved in this specific avenue of collection, it would be everything, yes.” Tice answered.
(Exerpted from Wired’s Kim Zetter’s blog)
The Tice interviews followed another former insider speaking out on the gross illegality of the Bush administration programs, a former DOJ employee named Thomas Tamm was featured in a Newsweek magazine cover story by Michael Isikoff entitled The Fed Who Blew the Whistle from which I excerpt the following:
In the spring of 2004, Tamm had just finished a yearlong stint at a Justice Department unit handling wiretaps of suspected terrorists and spies—a unit so sensitive that employees are required to put their hands through a biometric scanner to check their fingerprints upon entering. While there, Tamm stumbled upon the existence of a highly classified National Security Agency program that seemed to be eavesdropping on U.S. citizens. The unit had special rules that appeared to be hiding the NSA activities from a panel of federal judges who are required to approve such surveillance. When Tamm started asking questions, his supervisors told him to drop the subject. He says one volunteered that “the program” (as it was commonly called within the office) was “probably illegal.”
The name of the program was Stellar Wind and please pay particular attention to this next excerpted piece from Isikoff’s story:
The NSA, with the secret cooperation of U.S. telecommunications companies, had begun collecting vast amounts of information about the phone and e-mail records of American citizens. Separately, the NSA was also able to access, for the first time, massive volumes of personal financial records—such as credit-card transactions, wire transfers and bank withdrawals—that were being reported to the Treasury Department by financial institutions. These included millions of “suspicious-activity reports,” or SARS, according to two former Treasury officials who declined to be identified talking about sensitive programs. (It was one such report that tipped FBI agents to former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes.) These records were fed into NSA supercomputers for the purpose of “data mining”—looking for links or patterns that might (or might not) suggest terrorist activity.
This latest glimpse beneath the facade at the massive, secretive and highly illegal surveillance campaign against the American people is an outrage. Given the proclivity of those who run the system in this country to exert raw power to advance their own agendas it is no leap in logic that journalists alone were the only group targeted. There remains the question of whether blackmail, especially sexual blackmail is routinely used as a tool to keep government and media officials from not straying too far from the dirty business of imperialism and financial chicanery of the sort that has brought the economy to its knees. I personally found the media spectacle of the fortuitously timed prostitution bust of former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer who incidentally had just announced his intention to declare war on the banksters and their accomplices in the Bush White House in a February 14, 2008 Washington Post piece entitled Predatory Lenders Partner in Crime to be extremely suspicious. The rogue Bush regime and the NSA have been using their big lie of the war on terror as an excuse to scrutinize credit card use and Spitzer would have been an obvious target as is indicated by the above excerpt from the Newsweek story. It also makes skeptics such as myself wonder whether the witch hunt to impeach former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich may at least in part be attibuted to his threat to suspend state business with Bank of America, ‘Blago’ was arrested the day afterwards.
In light of the Tice revelations as well as an already long and extremely sordid history of U.S. government surveillance into the activities of dissidents and reporters that predated the Bush regime, we also need to ask some very serious questions of a much more troubling and nefarious nature. For example, how does such spying tie into not only the manipulation of the news but the now standard lack of spine from the Democratic congress when it comes to prosecuting the Bush administration criminals? Notorious fixer Karl Rove has already announced his intent to defy yet another subpoena for his testimony that was to have been delivered on Monday in front of the House Judiciary Committee. As of this writing, John Conyers has once again caved and the date has now been pushed into February and likely will soon disappear down the same memory hole where similar attempts to enforce the law have been flushed.
Intense political pressure, threats of unemployment in a time of economic crisis and potentially embarassing sexual acts subject to blackmail are all entirely made possible by the rampant unaccountability of the domestic spying programs, but are there measures that go far beyond just the spiking of stories, the discrediting or the ruining of careers alone? Think back to the vicious institutionalized slander directed former San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb for example for his Dark Alliance series. The savagery with which Webb was taken down by the establishment was stunning and it ultimately resulted in his suicide, a broken and haunted man who only dared to try to tell the truth.
There is a long trail of untimely demises of investigative journalists and other insiders whose knowledge represents a threat to very existence of the shadow government and those who it as a matter of routine does business with in order to avoid legitimate channels. Perhaps the most terrifying of all question is exactly what actions do end up being taken in order to prevent the exposure of widespread criminal activity, systemic grand scale fraud and extra-constitutional black operations that have been conducted for decades.
Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen wrote of an NSA database that was at one time named FIRSTFRUITS that was maintained to engage in surveillance against journalists and that was renamed after its discovery. Some of the names in this database allegedly included Christiane Amanpour, Seymour Hersh, James Bamford, James Risen and Madsen himself. According to chatter in the blogosphere that were it not consistent with the historical trail of dead bodies could easily be dismissed as paranoia and disinformation. One story floating around the internet mentioned an unnamed NSA security officer allegedly mused about ‘just killing’ troublesome bloggers. This may be a product of paranoia (one would think paranoia would be a natural state in a land of fear and loathing such as that which the United States has become post 9/11) but there is great progress currently being made by internet researchers and such reputed threats should not simply be waved off as the rantings of tin foil hatters or the favorite of all pejoratives directed at those who dare to ask inconvenient questions, conspiracy theorists. The fact that the alternative media and many bloggers are slowly starting to put the pieces together one can only reasonably suspect that such behavior scares the living hell out of the establishment, and after all, there is a history of that sort of thing. While this is not a comprehensive list the Committee to Protect Journalists keeps a database to track the prematurely deceased in a most dangerous profession.
The bizarre absence of any reporting of this very serious violation of civil liberties has received absolutely no coverage in the corporatized, mainstream pocket media. This is unconscionable that there is apparently no interest in exposing these crimes, especially considering that those targeted could actually save their own hides (and perhaps instill some dignity) by outing this program. It’s a sad testament to the state of today’s ‘journalism’ that is shameful by comparison to that of days of yore when reporters were intrepid souls determined to speak the truth to power.
Writer Eric Alterman puts it spot on in his recent Center for American Progress piece entitled Think Again: Spying on Journalists? Why the Silence? when he notes the lack of intestinal fortitude in the mainstream media:
Clearly something deeply disturbing lurks beneath these revelations, and with Bush gone from office, it’s hard to understand just what is preventing journalists from seeking the truth about this program more energetically. The only thing they have to fear is fear itself.
This sad state of affairs brings to mind the following:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
– Pastor Martin Niemöller
And the silence by those tasked by the First Amendment’s now quaint and antiquated imbuing upon them a responsibility for a free press as an essential check on authoritarianism is deafening in its absence. Quislings, cowards and public relations flacks seem to be the one thing that our journalism schools never failed to produce over the past several decades, feckless and spineless careerists with neither a sense of honor nor of their place as defenders of precious liberty. There shall be no refuge for the weasels nor the rats in the end therefore their mass abrogation of their chosen profession along with their acute absence of courage is even more damnable for when the time comes they will perhaps live to lament that they did not speak out when they had the chance.
II: NIGHT AND FOG
“Death Solves All Problems, No Man, No Problem”
The National Security State has a history of silencing those who would speak out and especially reporters deemed to have become a nuisance. This is done either through intense pressure brought down on media corporations through organized harassment of sponsors, brutal coordinated smear campaigns much like the one that took down the aforementioned Gary Webb or when all else fails, the reporters often just happen to turn up mysteriously dead. The list of ‘suicides’ and accidents is a long one and in the view of the ruthless psychopaths who both run and profit from a high-tech snooping network seems to be that any means are to be undertaken to keep their games going even if it ultimately results in termination with extreme prejudice. I believe that I will have to put together a list myself but when I just started writing down names off the top of my head of strange deaths I came up with over thirty right off the bat.
The ugly truth is that none of these police state powers are being used to protect the United States from foreign enemies, terrorism or any other excuse that is being made in order to get Americans to submit their rights. It is all in the name of power, money and to protect the interests of the oligarchy and the power elite who run the establishment and it needs to be stopped because it is out of control.
Take the strange case of Danny Casolaro for example…
Perhaps the closest to get at the truth about PROMIS and how it was an integral piece of the shadow government was investigative journalist Danny Casolaro. Casolaro had been working on research for a book on a shadowy transnational power group that seemed to run through the postwar era and had connections to many of the major scandals including Iran-Contra, BCCI, the Nugan Hand Bank, international drug cartels, weapons dealers and intelligence operatives in not only the U.S. government but internationally as well. Casolaro dubbed this group, one that largely rose out of a ‘dirty old boy network’ of the OSS/CIA out of the ashes of World War II as The Octopus. Casolaro began to become aware of the more sinister aspects of what Professor Peter Dale Scott refers to as the deep state but is more commonly known as either the shadow government, the parallel government and even arguably the permanent government while investigating the theft of the PROMIS software from the Inslaw corporation.
On Saturday, August 10, 1991 a maid at a Martinsburg, West Virginia Sheraton Inn was horrified to find the nude body of Joseph Daniel Casolaro in the bathtub, the victim of an apparent ‘suicide’. It was by accounts a particularly grisly scene and a strangely violent ‘suicide’ with both of his wrists slashed deeply multiple times with a razor blade. There was a very short and impersonal note, blood splattered on the tile walls and a pair of bloody towels under the sink away from the bathtub.
Strange circumstances followed in the aftermath of the discovery of Danny Casolaro’s corpse in a blood filled bathtub. His body was hastily taken away and embalmed (making any subsequent autopsy much more difficult) before family members were officially notified (a violation of state law by accounts) and room 517 had been professionally cleaned thereby removing critical evidence prior to any sort of thorough forensic investigation could be performed. Compounding doubts about the official ‘suicide’ story are contradictory statements made by friends and family that Casolaro was NOT suicidal at all but was actually quite exited over the prospect of publishing his book on the findings of his investigative work, even to the extent that he had scheduled a party to celebrate. He was in the final stages of nailing down the story of the century and had gone to West Virginia in search of the evidence that would prove his theory, make the connection to PROMIS and ‘bring back the head of the octopus’. The sudden ending (yet another hotel room ‘suicide’) was especially suspicious because when the body was discovered, his files were missing.
In addition to the shadowy players in the global arms and narcotics trades the Octopus also appeared to have had as tentacles rogue elements of U.S. intelligence Casolaro found connections to not only Iran-Contra but also BCCI, the Nugan Hand bank, the October Surprise, money launderers and organized crime as well as a continuous thread of involvement in dirty dealings both domestically and abroad. The roots of this milieu of malevolence stretched back to the post World War II era when a collection of spooks, corrupt bureaucrats and extremist right wing ideologues began to operate as a faction within the intelligence apparatus, a state upon themselves to profit financially while engaging in the darks forms of clandestine activities and black operations.
Author Joel Bainerman in his 1992 book entitled The Crimes of a President wrote the following (some of this ostensibly quoting William Hamilton of Inslaw as well as a 1991 story from the St. Louis Dispatch) that has a very good description on Casolaro’s theory:
“Casolaro had discovered a common denominator to the theft of Inslaw’s software and other recent scandals” says Hamilton who worked very closely with Casolaro right up to his death in helping him to uncover the dirty dealing behind the theft of Inslaw’s software. A group of individuals trained in covert intelligence operations and aligned with the U.S. political leadership who were allegedly profiting from each of these scandals. These veterans of U.S. covert intelligence operations had also allegedly been selling pirated copies of Inslaw’s software to foreign intelligence and law enforcement agencies and funneling the funds through BCCI. Casolaro believed that some of the profits from these illegal sales made their way into a slush fund used for political payoffs and covert intelligence operations not authorized by congress.
Danny Casolaro is far from the only one to whom mysterious death had befallen after their investigative work got them too close to the real power structure or presented an obstacle to its need for the cloak of secrecy. Too many rising politicians, uncooperative politicians and judges, hostile witnesses, whistle blowers and reporters have met with no small number of strange and untimely deaths often attributed to accidents (small plane crashes in particular), ‘suicides’( a good deal of them in hotel rooms), sudden heart attacks or seizures (many in people with no history of such problems) and random acts of extreme violence that go unsolved by authorities.
In addition to Casolaro, other suspicious deaths of investigators of this particular nexus of evil include Financial Times reporter Anson Ng, reportedly a friend of Casolaro who was found dead from a gunshot wound in his Guatemala City apartment where he was reportedly working on a story related to BCCI as well as Jonathan Moyle whose body was found hanging in a closet in a Santiago hotel room.
Joel Bainerman also noted in his book that the Cabazon Indian Reservation where the PROMIS software was allegedly modified for espionage purposes by a very interesting character, a technical genius named Michael Riconosciuto to include the ‘back door’ feature (to allow for secret access) was in fact a “CIA cutout”. The government contracting firm Wackenhut, a Florida based security corporation was involved at the time in a joint venture with the Cabazon tribe to use the sovereign land status of the reservation to work on a variety of endeavors including the development and testing of arms including a fuel air explosive, biochemical warfare agents and other armaments that could be provided to third world regimes, primarily to right wing governments in Latin America. The Cabazon Indian Reservation was allegedly transformed into veritable spook nest as well as a staging ground for covert military industrial complex purposes. Wackenhut incidentally is back in the news (or at least the alternative media) with Ellen Brown’s recent story about the mysterious prison buses spotted in Arizona so they are still a player and a big one at that. I would venture to speculate that the truth about Wackenhut Corporation and its longtime involvement in the prison industrial complex that has become so very, very lucrative to this fascist society is something that deserves one hell of a good deal of scrutiny.
III: INDIO 2008
Interestingly enough there was a local news investigation in the Palm Springs area in 2008 that had focused on the 2005 multiple murder-suicide of Riverside County District Attorney Investigator David McGowan and five members of his family. As the series continued questions began to arise on whether McGowan had been digging a bit too deeply into a cold case file regarding a 1981 triple murder on the Cabazon Reservation that had ties to the covert activities that Danny Casolaro was investigating. Subsequent installments in the KESQ series by news reporter Nathan Baca began to ask questions about PROMIS as well as the other mysterious activities at the reservation and began to delve into the 1981 murders of tribal leader Fred Alvarez who resisted those behind the Cabazon-Wackenhut joint venture as well as two friends. An interview was conducted with the daughter of one of the victims who is to this day seeking justice for the murder of her father Ralph Boger. Rachel Begley (her website is called desertfae) very accurately described what has been going on at Cabazon as follows:
“I’m more shocked than anything. I had no idea these things were going on. Most of America doesn’t know these things are going on,” said Begley. “It’s still going on to this day. It’s a big web of corruption.”
The series ended abruptly in October after an installment that began to delve into whether other local Indian tribes may have been involved in dealings with Wackenhut and mentioned “an experimental electromagnetic weapon called a “railgun” as being one of the projects. That the KESQ story has not continued is disappointing but certainly not surprising given the history of what has happened to those digging too deeply into affairs involving the PROMIS software. I would strongly suspect that fear is a motivating factor in the termination of this series, especially after the detective who had been investigating the case stated that he: “doesn’t want to continue on the case based on the number of people who have met an untimely demise while doing so”. Because I feel that it is particularly relevant I am posting an email from said detective to a third party who has knowledge of the bigger picture and specifically for the comments of said detective that I have highlighted that should send a chill up the spine of all:
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 1:44 PM
Subject: Alvarez Triple Homicide
My name is X and I’m with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. I’m a homicide detective assigned to the cold case division. The Alvarez triple homicide was assigned to me a couple of months ago.
For the past two months I have reviewed nearly a thousand documents of police reports, and spent many hours browsing the Internet for additional sources of information. As I am sure you can imagine, I feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland after falling down the rabbit hole. I no longer have a complete grasp on the real world.
You should know first off, that I am an experienced investigator with 18 years on the Sheriff’s Dept. and I consider myself pretty intuitive when it comes to filtering out the BS. After my first review of the police reports in this case, I wasn’t sure why it remained unsolved for over 26 years. All of the players were identified and the Modus Operandi seemed to be well established. I couldn’t understand why every few years the case was suddenly dropped and put back on the shelf.
That’s when Rachel Begley introduced me to the rabbit hole. After the countless hours I have now spent on her website and the numerous other conspiracy theorists websites, I’m having a very difficult time sifting through the BS.
I have also spent much time on your website and I have found your investigations impressive and your opinions refreshing. That is why I am writing to you now. I do not make it a habit of talking to journalists about open homicide investigations, however, it appears you are much more educated about this particular case than I am.
I know you are very busy and I understand the Alvarez triple homicide is a very small part of the Octopus, but I would be very interested in spending any time with you that you have available, in order to get some perspective on what I’ve read.
Just so you understand where I am in this case. I am currently preparing a review and summary for my Sergeant. My conclusion will be that I do not wish to continue investigating this case, based on the number of people who have met an untimely demise while doing so.
My actions in this matter go against everything I believe in, and this case is very difficult for me to walk away from, especially with the allegations that involve the deaths of Investigator Dave McGowan and his family. But I am conceding to a higher power (my wife) and trying to give her some peace of mind. I cannot look her in the eyes and tell her that I am willing to risk the life of my family by pursuing this.
I am interested in your opinion. Am I just another lamb to the slaughter? Is the Puppet Master pulling my strings via Rachel Begley? Is this just a simple case of murder by Jimmy Hughes at the direction of John P. Nichols, or is it really much more than that?
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you,
RSO – Central Homicide
(951) X desk
(951) X cell
It is with the hope of this humble blogger that this series as well as other damning information such as that put forth by Mr. Tice, Mr. Tamm and other patriotic Americans who have risked all (and at times paid with their careers and lives) all in order to get the truth out will encourage others to do the same. It is long past time to bring attention to the history of grossly immoral and criminal acts that have been perpetrated against the people of the United States by the very institutions that are supposed to be protecting us. It is imperative that others begin to work independently (and together whenever possible) to mount their own investigations into how the government has been weaponized by a pack of fascist thugs so that they may reap the benefits at the expense of those who are not connected to an elitist ruling class that is hell bent on maintaining the status quo.
Danny Casolaro did not have the most powerful tool against injustice and corruption available while he was alive, the internet was only in its nascent stages and had he the ability that we enjoy due to advances in technology he may very well still be alive and the criminal usurpers of our democracy and violators of our constitution could be where they belong – in prison. It is my hope that one with more influence, internal knowledge and resources than I have at my disposal begin to not only do very serious investigative work but to also petition the new administration of President Barack Obama for the following:
1: An immediate cessation of all illegal, unconstitutional surveillance and data-mining that has been ongoing against law abiding American citizens.
2: The creation of an independent investigative body along the lines of the Church Committee imbued with sweeping powers to investigate abuses of intelligence both within the government as well as with private contractors who have collaborated in crimes against the republic and its citizens.
3: A case by case federal investigation into ALL suspicious deaths of reporters and other individuals either directly or indirectly involved in the investigation of what has been done with the PROMIS software, NSA spying and Continuity of Government programs. Especially now that it has been revealed that the NSA has been actively spying on journalists and news organizations.
4: A restoration of the rule of law as a bulwark against tyranny as was intended by our founding fathers who having full knowledge of how unaccountable despots behave risked all to lay the foundation of a free society where the highest ideals of liberty can be enjoyed by all.
5: In iron tight regulatory system to ensure that such flagrant abuses of power never be allowed to occur again in the future. The cloak of secrecy needs to be removed and all government must be open to the scrutiny of those who it is supposed to serve.
6: The prosecution to the full extent of the law of those who are currently or who have in the past been involved in any criminal activity in relation to the aforementioned.
Truly, nothing else will suffice if we are to have any credibility as a nation based on laws.
To Be Continued….
Next: Part Four – The Octopus
-Earling Carothers ‘Jim’ Garrison
II: The Shadow Government
To say that the ‘terrorist’ attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were an incredible boon to the shadow government and its long running agenda would be quite the understatement. Never before in American history has this particular element been so visible and brazen than in the aftermath of 9/11 which has since become the ultimate trump card to be played against the forces of reason, judiciousness and the rule of law. The frenzied spree to dismantle the republic and reinterpret the Constitution to implement the fascist police state that would suppress the domestic populace while the business of expanding the empire abroad has gone on unabated for over seven years now. The ascendance of the shadow government into the open began on that morning and the events have been instrumental in allowing for every outrageous violation of civil liberties, international law and the very bedrock principle upon which civilized societies are built being habeas corpus. America is now known worldwide as a torture state, a pariah and a rogue nation to be hated and feared and is ruled by an imperial presidency or as it is formerly known a Unitary Executive (translation: dictator). The current state of affairs are primarily due to the policies of the cabal of one Richard B. Cheney, the most powerful Vice President in history as well as a longtime shadow government figure who activated Continuity of Government on the morning of 9/11.
Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who have been collaborators against the basic tenets of American Constitutional democracy since their days together in the Ford administration were active participants in Continuity of Government throughout the Reagan years and afterwards. With C.O.G. being highly secretive it is not widely known due to a lack of official media coverage of the programs so few questions have been asked, no oversight exists and it has been a useful place for a renegade cabal with an acute distaste for democratic principles. One of the most often referenced pieces on this was James Mann’s 2004 piece for the Atlantic Magazine entitled The Armageddon Plan. Another shadow government figure who would later become instrumental in the transformation of America into the fascistic Homeland is one David Addington, Cheney’s crackerjack legal mind and longtime hatchetman who has along with others such as John Yoo (a man who once said that the president had the legal authority to crush a child’s testicles were it deemed necessary) have toiled to change the law of the nation into something dark and foreign. In Addington’s world there is legitimacy to engage in illegal (at least until now) domestic spying, abduction and detention without trial, torture both physical and mental (a horrifying example is that of Jose Padilla (an American citizen who would be the precedent for future actions against other Americans) who was imprisoned and psychologically destroyed through the application of mind control techniques straight out of the infamous CIA program MKULTRA to the point where his mental capacities were that of “a piece of furniture”. Padilla was not only a precedent setter but also a warning of what the government could do to a person deemed to be a ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorist sympathizer’, the definitions of which are intentionally vague for a very terrifying reason.
Addington, refered to Cheney’s Cheney is now and has been for quite some time a key in the implementation of the shadow government infrastructure now that it has come out from under the cover of darkness in the post-9/11 era. Jane Meyer of the New Yorker speaks of their relationship in the following interview from which I excerpt a piece from here:
How did David Addington get to know Vice-President Cheney, and how long have they worked together?
They met on Capitol Hill in the mid-eighties, when Cheney was a Republican congressman from Wyoming and Addington was a young staff lawyer working for the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees. So they have worked together for about two decades. Their partnership was cemented when they worked together on the Minority Report on the Iran-Contra affair. Both Addington and Cheney took the idiosyncratic position that it was Congress, not President Reagan, that was in the wrong. This view reflected the opinion, held by both men, that the executive branch should run foreign policy, to a great extent unimpeded by Congress. It’s a recurring theme—pushing the limits of executive power and sidestepping Congress—in their partnership. One example is their position that the President, as Commander-in-Chief in times of war, had the inherent authority to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in an effort to make sure that Presidents don’t violate citizens’ right to privacy by spying on them without warrants.
After meeting and working together in Congress, Cheney and Addington continued their partnership at the Pentagon, where, during the Presidency of George H. W. Bush, Cheney was Secretary of Defense and Addington was his special assistant and, later, general counsel. There, Addington was known as a powerhouse, a stickler who controlled access to Cheney and marked up others’ memos in red felt-tipped pen, returning the memos for rewrites that would make them sharper—and more protective of executive power.
At the Pentagon, the two exhibited a similar pessimism about world affairs, in particular about the possibility that Mikhail Gorbachev represented true change, and also an unusually deep interest in “continuity of government” planning—how the government survives in the event of a doomsday attack. Addington kept the constitutional provisions for Presidential succession in his pocket at all times, a colleague told me.
Addington is still largely a mystery man but his connections to Continuity of Government during the Reagan era are documented as well as his ties to Cheney. Another common denominator is the Iran-Contra affair, Addington was a big player in it as well as most of the current crop of neocons who returned to power under Bush II. Addington also is connected to spook master and former CIA head William ‘Bill’ Casey (a man whose history and past associations is a veritable almanac of American fascism dating from WWII through the Reagan years and who played a key role in the theft of the PROMIS software) through The Lawless Group (named for CIA operative Richard Lawless, a close associate of Casey). Sidney Blumenthal’s article for Salon entitled The Sad decline of Michael Mukasey provides some additional background on Mr. Addington:
Addington’s dominion over the law — controlling the writing of the president’s executive orders and the memos from OLC, the office of the White House counsel and the carefully placed network of general counsels throughout the federal government’s departments and agencies — is a well-established and central aspect of Cheney’s power. Addington has been indispensable to the vice president since he served as his counsel on the joint congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, when Cheney was the ranking minority member. In that capacity, Addington wrote, under Cheney’s signature, the notorious minority report that was an early clarion call for the imperial presidency.
Addington and Cheney’s report decried Congress for its “hysteria” over the Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the selling of missiles to Iran to finance arms for the Nicaraguan Contras against explicit congressional legislation. The Constitution, they argued, “leaves little, if any doubt that the president was expected to have the primary role of conducting the foreign policy of the United States.” They added: “Congressional actions to limit the president in this area therefore should be reviewed with a considerable degree of skepticism. If they interfere with the core presidential foreign policy functions, they should be struck down.”
The Cheney minority report was the doctrinal basis for the Bush presidency: the unitary executive, the commander in chief ruling in wartime by fiat and, ultimately, torture being defined as whatever the president, not the Geneva Conventions, said it was. Addington’s authorship of the Cheney Iran-Contra report was largely overlooked until fairly recently, but his deeper connection to that scandal and its resonance have received little attention.
In the 1980s, Addington, then in his 20s, served as deputy counsel to CIA director William Casey, the moving force behind the Iran-Contra affair and the most powerful figure in the Reagan administration after the president. Along with other hotshots in the counsel’s office, Addington was part of what became known within the agency as the “Lawless Group,” named after Richard Lawless, a CIA operative who was a close assistant to Casey, according to a former senior CIA official. After Casey’s death, Rep. Dick Cheney co-opted the “Lawless Group,” putting its members in key positions when he was secretary of defense during the first Bush administration and vice president in the second. (Lawless, for example, after working as Jeb Bush’s business partner, served as deputy undersecretary of defense, retiring this past April.)
“A lot of the decisions on Iran-Contra were signed off by the counsel’s office,” a longtime senior CIA official told me. “It was not a renegade operation. It had lawyers, just like now. Everything they were doing was run by the general counsel’s office and Addington was deputy. You may draw your own conclusions, as the Russians say.” In fact, the role of the counsel’s office surfaced in the trial of Alan Fiers, the CIA agent in charge of the Central American Task Force, who pleaded guilty to misleading Congress. But that role was never investigated or ever really reported.
“These guys don’t like the mainstream CIA. In fact, they hate it,” the CIA official explained. “They don’t like information unless it fits what they want to hear. They hate the CIA because the CIA tells them what they don’t want to hear. They want assessments that prove ideological points. They are looking for simplistic answers to complicated issues. They inhabit a make-believe world of moving up into perceived areas of expertise. It’s the same guys; they all resurface when Republicans are back in power. It’s the same group. It’s a system. The similarities are amazing in all these wars we’ve been dragged into.”
That 9/11 enabled Cheney, Addington and the rest of the neocons to brutally enforce their long planned agenda and has served as the basis for all that has changed since that day there remains a truly legitimate question as to what their role or knowledge of those attacks may have been. It has been a matter of intense debate in the alternative media as to what level of involvement that this cabal may have had in ensuring that the attacks took place (stay away from the Bush Did It canard which is only a straw man), they did after all write in a document for the Project For A New American Century (PNAC) entitled Rebuilding America’s Defenses of the need for a “New Pearl Harbor” in order for the public to accept their radical doctrine and there never has been a legitimate investigation of 9/11 free of conflicts of interest and with full subpoena power so as to ask the serious questions in a public forum about the event that hit the reset button on over two and a quarter centuries of American history and the subsequent implementation of a fascist infrastructure.
In a fairly recent article that I wrote entitled 9/11: Cover for a Coup d’Etat?, I mused as to whether the ‘terrorist’ attacks merely provided cover for an Edward Luttwak style coup d’etat to be piggybacked on top of the incidents using the Continuity of Government infrastructure. The massive USAPATRIOT Act was already awaiting a rollout and there is the still lingering question of who was really behind the Anthrax attacks that were directed at those who were in positions to stop its implementation. 9/11 would be consistent with historical black operations and false flag attacks and the festering disregard for American democracy by those who assumed control in the aftermath is widely known but I am not going to revisit that in this particular writing other than to ask the obvious question of Cui Bono? Whether 9/11 was indeed a coup by an alliance between the shadow government along with rogue elements of foreign intelligence services is of less importance than the consistent pattern of below the surface influence and interactions of non-elected government officials and foreign and domestic criminal elements. Author and researcher Professor Peter Dale Scott refers to a “Deep State” and I would refer readers of this article to one of his entitled 9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics in which Professor Scott provides an in depth look into not only the deep state but asks serious questions about whether Continuity of Government was implemented in the aftermath of 9/11. I excerpt the following from this piece:
In my book The Road to 9/11, I have argued that there has existed, at least since World War Two if not earlier, an analogous American deep state, also combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld. I also pointed to recent decades of collaboration between the U.S. deep state and al-Qaeda, a terrorist underworld whose drug-trafficking activities have been played down in the 9/11 Commission Report and the mainstream U.S. media.
The book referenced by Professor Scott is The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America and it is an essential read for those seeking to understand America as it exists today.
Pictures of the Homeland: 2008
That the United States of America has nearly completed the tragic transition to a fascist form of government becomes more apparent with each passing day and each additional outrage. Whether it be the hijacking of the financial system by the Wall Street banking cartel that is abetted by yet another capitulation by a quisling Congress, more evidence of the desecration of privacy rights by a surveillance industrial complex run amok, the alarming and ongoing militarizing of the nation’s police, the assignment of combat hardened troops to domestic duty (with a mandate to quell civil unrest despite the now for all intents and purposes rendered irrelevant Posse Comitatus Act) or the constantly morphing and open ended definition of what exactly constitutes being a ‘terrorist’ to name only a few of the more alarming changes to the republic, those who are able to recognize such things as what they truly are should be increasingly aware that the dreaded and ubiquitous pejorative of conspiracy theorist is (as it always has been) one gigantic sick joke.
As the saying goes, if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water it will react by jumping out immediately, but if you put that same frog into a pot of lukewarm water and then very slowly increase the temperature of the burner on the stove upon which it sits, that frog will stay in the pot until it becomes soup. My fellow Americans, that frog is us and the parallel reality that is so essential for the transformation of a state from one of benevolent democracy to one of totalitarianism as set forth by Hannah Arendt is in the final stages of being swapped out. The apple pie authoritarianism becomes more entrenched, political discourse has been reduced to nothing more than demagoguery, lies (either outright or more commonly, through omission) clever and highly sophisticated propaganda, race-baiting, fear-mongering and all delivered through a corrupted and complicit corporate media machine and the celebrity shills that it employs as barkers in the carnival of immorality and perversion that is the shell of American now known as the Homeland.
Millions of little plastic pieces of vile filth (that hew to the established storylines formerly established as an example in one Julius Streicher’s publication Der Sturmer) in the form of a DVD version of a deceitful and meticulously designed and professionally produced (in order to evoke a proper emotional response from certain credulous or otherwise mentally unstable fringe elements) propaganda film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West and sponsored by a well-funded, shadowy front group has been mass distributed (28 million) in many of the nation’s newspapers and specifically in swing states in advance of the coming election. The obvious intent is to generate fear and hatred and to manufacture consent, it has worked to perfection as Muslim children were gassed in the nursery of a Dayton, Ohio mosque just after the Obsession DVD was distributed locally. Of course in the land of Orwellian newspeak it wasn’t ruled an act of domestic terrorism. For that matter, neither was Kristallnacht in a certain European closing society that eerily parallels what has been going on in the post 9/11 ‘Homeland’ although it is far more subtle for the original prototype was far too ostentatious to endure for very long. The Republican presidential campaign of Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has used rallies to whip up fear and loathing among the worst fringe elements of society, inciting largely angry and easily duped supporters into shouting “terrorist”, “off with his head” and even “kill him” in reference to Democratic nominee Barack Obama who has been the victim of a long-running, highly coordinated, well financed campaign to paint him as a Manchurian Candidate, a secret Muslim, a terrorist collaborator and a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Such vitriolic rallies have become veritable lynch mobs and in a time of an unprecedented domestic economic crisis that already has Americans on the edge are extremely dangerous and will inevitably lead to violence – of course this may be the intent as it is consistent with more traditional versions of fascism. In his study The Authoritarians, Bob Altemeyer identified a certain demographic segment of any society that are hard-wired for serving authoritarians, susceptible to demagogy and subservient to perceived authority figures. This particular part of a population is essential to supporting totalitarian figures who rise to power during troubled times and offer simple answers to complex problems, they are essential components of any fascist regime and their near psychotic fervor can be channeled to the point where they are nothing more than automatons or tools to the dangerous leaders of mass movements. Such behavior is on full display at recent Sarah Palin rallies and it wouldn’t take much to turn such gatherings into staging grounds for organized pogroms that could then be unleashed when the time is right.
It certainly brings to mind George Orwell’s 1984, but then these are truly the times which Orwell so brilliantly prophesied, Oceania has always been at war and always will be at war, for that is what we are and all that we shall ever be in the land of the shadow government. No fascist system can for long exist without a certain die-hard percentage of the population who can be mobilized as shock troops, don’t ask questions and are full of resentment and hatred, only seeking a strong leader on a white horse with simple answers to complex problems and who will point them in the direction of those who can be easily scapegoated. History always repeats but it never repeats exactly. Yesteryear’s Juden are todays Liberals.
“The preparations for Hate Week were in full swing, and the staffs of all the Ministries were working overtime. Processions, meetings, military parades, lectures, waxworks, displays, film shows, telescreen programmes all had to be organized; stands had to be erected, effigies built, slogans coined, songs written, rumours circulated, photographs faked..”.
The ramming through of the Wall Street bailout, the financial equivalent of the USA Patriot Act in that it placed unaccountable power in a Treasury Department that has become an occupied colony of Goldman Sachs despite a huge public outcry is another indication of just how much power has been transferred into the executive branch. The usual rubber-stamping by a corrupt and (very likely threatened and blackmailed) Congress was a foregone conclusion in the land of sham elections and an increasingly tyrannical government. The passage of this monstrosity was allegedly aided by a threat of martial law, this according to Representative Brad Sherman of California. President George W. Bush took to the television airwaves to once again sow fear over an economic Armageddon and also what could be perceived as an implied threat of martial law in the language “America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold.” One could speculate that the “distressing scenario” which Bush mentioned could activate conditions as set forth in NSPD-51 in order to deal with domestic unrest due to bank holidays, food shortages and any sort of uprising as a result of the financial collapse. Main Core would be utilized to produce the lists of those among the millions already deemed to be suspect and prone to ‘subversive’ behavior, the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team already in place stateside would be required to ‘maintain the necessary order’ (augmented by Blackwater and other private mercenaries of course) and the roundups and internments would begin. It was an eerie déjà vu moment in which America was transported back to 2002 and 2003 with the apocalyptic conjecture of smoking guns as mushroom clouds, phantom weapons of mass destruction, sleeper cells, biological weapon spewing gliders that could transverse the ocean and an evil dictator who was a “new Hitler”.
Some Historical Context
The United States has had a history of influential groups and individuals that have a serious fascist bent. Some of the most powerful bankers and industrialists of the Great Depression era did plot a coup d’etat (The Business Plot) in order to topple the hated Franklin D. Roosevelt, but were thwarted when the man who they attempted to recruit to lead it, former Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler instead exposed them to Congress. So shocking was this that the media of that era closed ranks to protect the traitors and erase the ugly blight from our sanitized version of history. It was no secret that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (once featured in a fawning puff piece in Fortune Magazine) and even Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had ardent American admirers and influential supporters who were enthralled with their highly efficient, corporate friendly authoritarian states and their ability to propagandize the masses and crush labor unions.
Klaus Barbie aka the Butcher of Lyons was one of the more notable names and is a perfect example of an asset being used to further American interests in the southern cone, Barbie was a key part of the ‘Cocaine Coup’. The corrupting influence that was asserted on intelligence, the military and deep state movers and shakers by such a close affiliation with Nazi war criminals and the inevitable damage done in terms of moral authority is as difficult to fathom as it is extremely disturbing but that is a story for another time. So as not to overly dwell on the Nazi connection (the amount of material on it is voluminous) I do want to comment that it shows the depths to which the National Security State will go in order to ensure its own perpetuation and ability to lay down with wolves so that the real power structure in this country is allowed to function with ruthless, Machiavellian precision in the darkness that exists just below the façade of legitimate public and private institutions in the United States.
The Cold War gave the intelligence apparatus and the military industrial complex the cover that was needed in order to build the infrastructure of an extra-Constitutional government. Almost from the very inception of the CIA the United States became involved in the assassinations and overthrow of legitimate democratically supported governments all untertaken for big business and to crush resistance to western capitalism. The obvious Nazi influence manifested itself in the extreme cruelty of the methods used to expand the empire and death squads were sanctioned, torture was widespread to the extent that it was even taught at the far-right School of the Americas and the agency participated in sadistic and immoral mind control experimentation programs such as the notorious MKULTRA. It is of the utmost importance to understand the root of evil that is the Central Intelligence Agency that was put together by the American capitalist elite in the aftermath of World War II to act as a Gestapo for Wall Street and business interests not confined to the spheres of legality. I would like to make reference to a that summarizes this much better than I could ever hope to do in a well documented story How the CIA Created a Ruling, Corporate Overclass in America that is a must read for everyone who really is serious about going at the existing order.
“…a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence–on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.”
Recent history has seen a number of such events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that are so inexplicable by the public notions of American politics that most Americans tend not even to think of them. Instead most accept the official surface explanations for them, even if they suspect these are not true. Or if others say they believe that “Oswald acted alone,” they may do so in the same comforting but irrational state of mind that believes God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.
The Reagan Years
As I wrote in Part One of this ongoing series, the recent articles Christopher Ketcham entitled The Last Roundup and Tim Shorrock’s Exposing Bush’s Historic Abuse of Power are both about the massive database Main Core and how it relates to Continuity of Government programs. It is encouraging to see that there is now more being written about this subject by more well known and influential figures than this humble blogger. Author James Bamford’s new book on the NSA entitled The Shadow Factory is drawing a good deal of attention already on just how much that Americans have been spied on by our own government, the rogue neocon occupying faction as well as Israeli elements working alone and in conjunction with domestic interests (but much more on that in part four of this series). Arch-conservative John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute (instrumental in funding Paula Jones’ lawsuit against President Clinton) has recently written two articles on the shadow government which shows that the immense danger of this transcends the trivialities of partisan politics. The Whitehead pieces can be found at the Huffington post and are entitled America’s Shadow Government: Part One and America’s Shadow Government: Part Two. I excerpt a small piece from Mr. Whitehead below:
What is the bottom line here? We are, for all intents and purposes, one terrorist attack away from having a full-fledged authoritarian state emerge from the shadows, at which time democratic government will be dissolved and the country will be ruled by an unelected bureaucracy. And because so much of this shadow government remains under wraps, there is much we don’t know about it. Yet that does not diminish the threat it poses to democratic government.
In his 1961 Farewell Address to the Nation, Dwight D. Eisenhower tried to warn us that a nefarious military-industrial complex had emerged in America. “The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist,” he said. Eisenhower realized that after World War II, America had become a national security state that operated largely in secret and answered to practically no one.
And corruption is stranglin’ the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can’t understand
We don’t know how to mind our own business
‘Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who’s the winner
We can’t pay the cost
‘Cause there’s a monster on the loose
It’s got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watching
America post-9/11 has been a period of triumph for the shadow government. The ascendance has now been nearly completed, the transformation for all intents and purposes is likely now irreversible. The surveillance grids have been locked into place, the Constitution altered forever, the opposition cowed and nullified, the media matrix impenetrable, the Congress rendered irrelevant, the public brainwashed and the military on alert to move against the citizenry domestically (when the order is given. As they say in the financial world, the gains have been locked in.
No matter who ends up occupying the White House in the aftermath of Bush-Cheney there will be no real restoration of what has been lost nor will there be any serious type of accountability, fascism and militarism are now as American as apple pie. Certainly there will be cosmetic changes, I am reasonably certain that the prison at Guantanamo Bay will be closed, it’s just become too much of a symbol of all that has gone wrong. Torture will also be downplayed by the next administration although the ghost planes will continue their rendition routes to black sites abroad but private surveillance and intelligence outfits will continue to receive government funding and mercenary armies like those of the infamous Blackwater will continue to grow stronger.
While Tim Shorrock in his Salon piece “Exposing Bush’s Historic Abuse of Power” writes of rumors of a potential series of Congressional investigations:
The proposal for a Church Committee-style investigation emerged from talks between civil liberties advocates and aides to Democratic leaders in Congress, according to sources involved. (Pelosi’s and Conyers’ offices both declined to comment.) Looking forward to 2009, when both Congress and the White House may well be controlled by Democrats, the idea is to have Congress appoint an investigative body to discover the full extent of what the Bush White House did in the war on terror to undermine the Constitution and U.S. and international laws. The goal would be to implement government reforms aimed at preventing future abuses — and perhaps to bring accountability for wrongdoing by Bush officials.
“If we know this much about torture, rendition, secret prisons and warrantless wiretapping despite the administration’s attempts to stonewall, then imagine what we don’t know,” says a senior Democratic congressional aide who is familiar with the proposal and has been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations.
“You have to go back to the McCarthy era to find this level of abuse,” says Barry Steinhardt, the director of the Program on Technology and Liberty for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Because the Bush administration has been so opaque, we don’t know [the extent of] what laws have been violated.”
The parameters for an investigation were outlined in a seven-page memo, written after the former member of the Church Committee met for discussions with the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Common Cause and other watchdog groups. Key issues to investigate, those involved say, would include the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance activities; the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of extraordinary rendition and torture against terrorist suspects; and the U.S. government’s extensive use of military assets — including satellites, Pentagon intelligence agencies and U2 surveillance planes — for a vast spying apparatus that could be used against the American people.
Specifically, the ACLU and other groups want to know how the NSA’s use of databases and data mining may have meshed with other domestic intelligence activities, such as the U.S. government’s extensive use of no-fly lists and the Treasury Department’s list of “specially designated global terrorists” to identify potential suspects. As of mid-July, says Steinhardt, the no-fly list includes more than 1 million records corresponding to more than 400,000 names. If those people really represent terrorist threats, he says, “our cities would be ablaze.” A deeper investigation into intelligence abuses should focus on how these lists feed on each other, Steinhardt says, as well as the government’s “inexorable trend towards treating everyone as a suspect.”
“It’s not just the ‘Terrorist Surveillance Program,'” agrees Gregory T. Nojeim from the Center for Democracy and Technology, referring to the Bush administration’s misleading name for the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. “We need a broad investigation on the way all the moving parts fit together. It seems like we’re always looking at little chunks and missing the big picture.”
A prime area of inquiry for a sweeping new investigation would be the Bush administration’s alleged use of a top-secret database to guide its domestic surveillance. Dating back to the 1980s and known to government insiders as “Main Core,” the database reportedly collects and stores — without warrants or court orders — the names and detailed data of Americans considered to be threats to national security.
Getting a full picture on Bush’s intelligence programs, however, will almost certainly require any sweeping new investigation to have a scope that would inoculate it against charges of partisanship. During one recent discussion on Capitol Hill, according to a participant, a senior aide to Speaker Pelosi was asked for Pelosi’s views on a proposal to expand the investigation to past administrations, including those of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. “The question was, how far back in time would we have to go to make this credible?” the participant in the meeting recalled.
However given the inability of the Congress to do anything to provide a check on the monstrous abuses of the Bush-Cheney regime (and those shadow government activities that preceded it) it is highly unlikely that any legitimate, official review along the lines of the Church Committee will ever occur. If there is any sort of an investigation I would think that it would be a dog and pony show whitewash along the lines of the Warren Commission or the Kean-Hamilton 9/11 Commission, both of which served to do nothing other than provide the façade of an investigation while protecting those implicated from having their criminality exposed in the interests of national security and to continue to provide cover for the existing established order.
Too much damage has already been done and too many stand to face not only criminal charges but also charges of outright treason if the sort of sweeping investigation that is required to get into the real systemic rot is undertaken.
Next – Part Three: Casolaro’s Octopus