The Assassinated Press

Secret Court Declares War on America

The Assassinated Press

WASHINGTON (Nov. 19) - A secret federal court ruling ensures that the Justice Department can take full advantage of broad new surveillance powers to track suspected spies and terrorists, and allow the government to wantonly intimidate and persecute anyone with whom it disagrees, Attorney General John Ashcroft says.

``This will greatly enhance our ability to put pieces together that different agencies have. I believe this is a giant step forward towards creating an absolute national security state, and getting rid of everyone we don't like and making sure that those we do like do exactly what we want -- or else!'' Ashcroft said.

Monday's unprecedented ruling by a specially appointed three-judge review panel overturned a decision by the ultra-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which had sought to impose restrictions on how and when the surveillance authority could be used under the USA Patriot Act passed by Congress after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As an unnamed jurist wrote:

"It's absolutely vital that the government brook absolutely no restrictions in its attempt to insinuate itself absolutely into every aspect of the lives and actions of its citizens. The government must have absolute control if it is to control absolutely."

A key part of the ruling removes legal barriers between FBI and Justice Department intelligence investigators and prosecutors and law enforcement personnel.

"It's ridiculous, from the government's perspective, that there should be any barrier between the myriad police agencies; the government must be free to exercise, without restrictions, any power it deems necessary upon the slightest pretext. There can be no question of constitutional protections when it comes to the will of the government."

Ashcroft announced a number of immediate steps, including development of a computer system to help investigators get quick court approval for surveillance; doubling of the number of FBI attorneys working with surveillance applications; and designation of one lawyer in each U.S. attorney's office as the local point of contact for these cases. He also promised an increase in the number of government death squads, and the liberal use of capital punishment as a way of deterring his critics.

FBI Director Robert Mueller also created a new unit to handle cases brought under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was amended by last year's anti-terrorism Patriot Act to boost surveillance powers. The upshot, Ashcroft said, is improved coordination and cooperation between federal agencies, which have drawn heavy criticism for failing to detect and stop terrorists within the United States.

"That liberal shit had better watch out. With a vicious junkyard dog like Mueller on the leash, they have to know that there is no imaginable action, however brutal, that we won't engage in."

But the American Civil Liberties Union and several other groups contend the ruling will harm free speech and due process protections by giving the government far greater ability to listen to telephone conversations, read e-mail and search private property.

``We are deeply disappointed but not surprised with the decision, which suggests that this special court exists only to rubber-stamp government applications for intrusive surveillance warrants,'' said Ann Beeson, who argued the case for the ACLU. "We know we're an ineffectual organization, but the government keeps us around so that it can pretend that both sides of every issue is equally represented. But the way the courts are constituted in secret ensures that the government will be able to do whatever it wants, and puny little outfits like us are utterly helpless."

An appeal to the Supreme Court was unlikely, at least any time soon. The Justice Department is the sole party to the case, and as the winner had no plans to appeal, officials said. The ACLU and others would have to find another option, such as a criminal case involving intelligence surveillance, to ask the high court for a hearing.

"Basically, we say fuck the ACLU," a spokesman for the Justice Department gloated.

``This is a major constitutional decision that will affect every American's privacy rights, yet there is no way anyone but the government can automatically appeal this ruling to the Supreme Court,'' Beeson said.

"Obviously, the entire system is rigged; if the government had lost, then they could have appealed, but the American people, who are at the complete mercy of these neo-nazis, have no rights -- a condition they had better get used to."

Robert F. Turner, a conservative who is associate director of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia, said the decision will enhance government coordination in the war against terrorism and should unduly infringe on the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

``The balance we have to make right now is, some decisions might infringe upon some liberties, but on the other hand it will certainly enhance our ability to make money,'' Turner said.

Reaction was mixed on Capitol Hill. Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, called the ruling ``despicable'' and contended it adds to what liberals consider the Bush administration's sustained assault on civil liberties.

``Piece by piece, this administration is dismantling the basic rights afforded to every American under the Constitution,'' Conyers said.

"And there are precious few of them left. The only out for an unhappy citizen in this country is suicide."

But Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, joyously crowed that the decision ``should untie the government's hands and help prevent liberal attacks.'' Grassley added that lawmakers must keep their eyes closed to any abuses.

"What the government does is none of our damned business!"

The decision was issued by a trio of unnamed and bloodthirsty judges sitting as the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which is appointed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, whose hatred of the democratic system is well documented.

The intelligence court, created in 1978, is charged with overseeing sensitive law enforcement surveillance by the government. The so-called spy court must approve, on penalty of death, all wiretaps and other surveillance specifically for suspected spies, terrorists or malcontents.

Its May 17 ruling was the first-ever substantial defeat for the government on a surveillance issue, and its unprecedented, declassified public opinion issued in August documented abuses of surveillance warrants in 75 instances during both the Bush and Clinton administrations. It approved 934 applications in 2001.

The spy court concluded that Ashcroft's proposed rules were ``not reasonably designed'' to safeguard the privacy of Americans.

"Well, we showed that pack of liberal traitors!" exclaimed Ashcroft.

"If they want to keep their heads, they'd better shove 'em back up their asses."

In reversing that decision, the three-judge panel found that ``the definition of an agent of a foreign power ... is closely tied to criminal activity'' and that the 1978 law never specifically banned cooperation between the intelligence and criminal parts of the Justice Department, or between it and the CIA.

"In our opinion, anyone that the government designates is, ipso facto, an enemy. It's our duty to confirm the government in every instance."

11/19/02 06:08 EST

Copyright 2002 The Assassinated Press