By Chris Floyd
December 11, 2003
Don’t kid yourself and don’t let them kid you. When they come at you with that pious sugar, telling you how they’re going to protect you, secure you, keep you free, you better run and check the back door – because that’s where their goons will be breaking in.
Last week, the U.S. Congress approved an expansion of FBI powers that will allow Attorney General John Ashcroft’s federal police to arbitrarily seize records from a range of private businesses without bothering a judge or grand jury with any silly-billy nonsense about evidence or even suspicion of criminal intent. All Ashcroft’s boys have to do is say, “Boo! Terrorism!” and they can take whatever they want.
This expansion of Patriot (sic) Act powers was smuggled into the funding bill for the Bush Regime’s security organs. Although the FBI is technically under the supervision of the Judiciary committees, Bushist bagmen in Congress routed the measure through the secret sessions of the intelligence committees to avoid any public debate, Wired Magazine reports.
As usual, the power grab was accompanied by earnest pledges that it would only be used in the most extreme cases of genuine terrorist danger. This was also the line given out when the Patriot (sic) Act was first passed in 2001. Ashcroft ” who is so holy that he had his daddy pour cooking oil over his head after his 1994 election to the Senate to signify that he, like King David, had been anointed with the Lord’s “dominion over men” solemnly swore that the draconian measures would never be applied to anything but dire threats to the national security.
This was, of course, the usual load of mule manure we’ve come to expect from the incontinently mendacious Regime. Witness the scene in Las Vegas this month, where Ashcroft’s agents invoked the Patriot (sic) Act’s anti-terrorism powers to run roughshod over due process in a local probe of a lap-dancing joint. The club owner was suspected of offering bribes to Vegas officials to win approval of a law allowing a more hands-on approach between dancers and customers, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. While the case had nothing to do with terrorism, obviously the very thought of naked flesh being fondled constituted a dire threat to the national security in Ashcroft’s oily mind. And obviously, nothing will prevent Ashcroft and his minions from using the Act to pursue any other personal bee that’s buzzing in their fully armed federal bonnets.
While Ashcroft’s sexual anxieties are mildly amusing (last year he installed an $8,000 curtain to hide the wantonly bare breast of a statue at his Washington headquarters), there’s a far more sinister side to this corrosion of America’s few remaining liberties. For the very day after the Congressional rubberstamps gave their Viagra-like boost to the FBI’s reach, another legislative committee released its report on “one of the greatest failures in the history of federal law enforcement” the FBI’s eager participation in Mob murders, carried out with the full knowledge and approval of the highest levels of government, The New York Times reports
It began in the heyday of J. Edgar Hoover, the cross-dressing martinet who reigned supreme in Washington for decades, blackmailing presidents, wiretapping dissidents (his sex tapes of Martin Luther King Jr. were said to be a particular favorite) and generally playing merry hell with American liberties all across the board. In the 1960s, the FBI formed a partnership with a Boston gangland outfit, using its hitmen as informants to finger other gangs. It was a sweet deal for both parties: the Bureau got high-profile collars for its PR mill, and the gangsters got to knock off their enemies with the blessing and cover of the biggest “roof” around: the U.S. government.
Not only did the FBI cover for its pet killers; agents actually allowed four men to be convicted (two of them sentenced to execution) for a murder that Hoover knew had been committed by one of his “informants.” Two of the innocent men died in prison; the others were freed after serving 30 years of hard time. In all, the FBI’s informants murdered more than 20 people in Boston “often with the help of FBI agents,” noted the Congressional report. And lest you think this blood work was just something from the “bad old days,” consider this: the FBI-Mob death squad was still operative at least as late as 1995, when a helpful fed tipped off Boston’s top mobster, Whitey Bulger, before he could be arrested by some nonmobbed cops. Whitey is still at large and presumably still enjoying the shelter of his trusty “roof.”
And by the way, not a single FBI agent has ever been arrested or even disciplined for their part in this murderous enterprise.
So don’t kid yourself that these new powers won’t be abused. They will. Power the armed power of the state, the power over life, death and the liberty of the individual will always go just as far as you let it. It will trample every ethical and moral boundary, pour itself into every nook and cranny of life, public and private, seeking dominance at every level unless you maintain a rigorous system of checks and balances to balk the flow of power, frustrate it, channel it, disperse it, subject it to reason, humanize it.
But in the militarized, one-party state of Bushist America, where law is scorned and reason has fled, those restraints are being swept aside. The back door is wide open.
FBI Let Innocents Get Death Sentences
New York Times, Nov. 22, 2003
Congress Expands FBI Spying Power
Wired, Nov. 24, 2003
Corruption Investigation: FBI Used Anti-Terrorism Law
Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nov. 4, 2003
FBI Hoover’s Long Shadow Looms
Pacific News Service, Nov. 25, 2003
Mission Creep Hits Home
Los Angeles Times, Nov. 23, 2003
Lawmakers Approve Extension of FBI Powers
New York Times, Nov. 19, 2003
Patriot Act Said Misued in Vegas
Washington Times, Nov. 11, 2003
Terrorism Law Used on Vegas Vice Lord
The Guardian, Nov. 7, 2003
Patriot Act Expansion Moves Through Congress
Common Dreams, Nov. 21, 2003
FBI Eye on the Antiwar Guy
Antiwar.com, Nov. 24, 2003
The Miami Model: Paramilitaries, Embedded Journalists and Illegal Protests
Democracy Now, Nov. 24, 2003
The War on Dissent
Common Dreams, Nov. 25, 2003
Unraveling the Constitution
TomDispatch, Nov. 25, 2003
CounterPunch, Nov. 24, 2003
Gen. Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack
Newsmax, Nov. 20, 2003
The Coalition of the Shilling
Progressive Review, November 2003
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