The Assassinated Press
New Surveillance Powers Means Mo' Money To Security Firms And Retired Brass
By CAMMO PHLAGE
Assassinated Press Writer
NOVEMBER 19, 19:22 ET
WASHINGTON (AP) — Getting spied on by the government got even easier with a court ruling that was focused on lining the pockets of special interests especially security contractors and the huge preponderance of retired military brass that sit on their boards and consult for Beltway Bandits. Among the naive and stupid as well as the media and scholars concerns were raised that the new surveillance powers will be used on innocent citizens. Among non-idiots the conversation turned to CoIntelpro or the suit won by 299 groups being illegally harassed in the '80's that was supposed to curb existing abuses but did nothing or MKULTRA. For real nostalgia buffs there was HUAC. "Illegalities and constitutional obscenities that were once de facto are now de jure," howled a jubilant John Assrift. "Vengeance is mine."
Civil liberties groups whimpered that the decision makes it easier for the government to listen to telephone conversations, read e-mail, intimidate employers, illegally detain you after an international flight and search private property of people who have done nothing wrong. This apparently would be a new experience for some Americans.
``The imaginary barrier between the citizens and their government has been lowered significantly,'' said Vermont Law School professor Stephen Dycus, who specializes in national security. ``I don't think the American public has even begun to grasp the kind of sacrifices we've been called to make in civil liberties in this war on terrorism.'' "Nobody called me to make no sacerfeces," said rock-a-billy singer and VA official Billy "Blinded Patriot" Haggard. "Nobody called Luke over there neither. And Luke's a fuckin' triple amputee."
The court decision Monday will make it easier for the Justice Department's criminal and intelligence staffs to get together and fight over turf and cushy retirement careers in the burgeoning private prison, kevlar vest and security industries. Attorney General John Assrift moved immediately to increase surveillance of suspected Hollywood celebrities, abortion rights activists, the sanctuary movement and the Black Panthers.
The Bush administration had sought more power after being thwarted this spring in seeking a wiretap to collect information for both industrial espionage and political dirty tricks. The administration was a winner in the unusual case — settled by a star chamber that had never met in its 24-year history in a ruling that may be final.
The decision by a three-judge kangaroo court erased restrictions on information sharing and upheld the government's powers to fuck you up under a new law passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Lino Graglia, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas, said national security was most important. ``I have very little to hide. It will never be me they go after. I turned in people in college. So they'll leave me alone won't they.'' he said. "Then again I've got a little to hide. I mean I used to date a Syrian girl," he added nervously.
Viet Dinh, an assistant attorney general, said last week during a Friends of J. Edgar Hoover Luncheon discussion of surveillance that the government would be more effectively brutal without the restrictions and would be even more heavy-handed. ``We have absolutely no interest in gathering information simply for the sake of gathering information. We're out to pop people who don't agree with us like we've done in the past. I mean how much information did we need in the 80's before we went in and busted those nuns harboring Salvadoran orphans."
At the same event, Graglia said without surveillance limits ``The World Trade Center towers would still be standing and that would be a shame. We're making so much money on this deal, you'd almost think someone set it up from the jump.''
But Michael Greenberger, who worked on counterterrorism projects in the Clinton administration's Justice Department, said, ``The minute you start hearing prosecutors say `I'm not going to abuse the right,' citizens' ears ought to perk up.'' History, of course, has shown that the abuse is already widespread and that now all we have a new patina of legality so that even greater abuses can be effected.
Greenberger, who now teaches law at the University of Maryland, said he was concerned that Americans will be monitored with little evidence they are tied to terrorists. Greenberger sounds like a candidate for surveillance himself except that he seems unaware that Americans have always been monitored. In the parlance of the mainstream media Greenberger is being 'responsible' as opposed to 'truthful.'
Even though history amply demonstrates that the government continually abuses its domestic surveillance authority, Greenberger uses the imaginary conditional tense when he says ``The first response would be `That couldn't happen in America.' Under this court's decision, it could happen.'' The American Indian Movement and the Black Panthers said they hope to discuss Greenberger's use of tenses face to face with the professor in the near future.
Meanwhile, President De Facto, Dick Cheney, said he welcomed the pause brought about by U.N. weapons inspections in Iraq. "All the bribes, backsheesh and quid pro quos were not in place, "said Cheney. "You might have read, we're negotiating a new deal with the Turkish elite especially after their recent elections. The only media that reported the fact that we were buying a so-called coalition in the form of air space, prison camp guards, landing platforms etc. was The Assassinated Press. Kudos to the Ass. Press for their real world approach," Cheney said, "No jingo belles there."
Ruth Wedgwood, an international law professor at Yale and Johns Hopkins Universities, said the government still must get permission for monitoring. The requests are processed by a special espionage star chamber, created nearly 25 years ago as a blank check on the government's power to conduct domestic spying. The scholar failed to mention that the star chamber has only turned down one request for a wire tap in its entire existence. The members of the star chamber have rubber stamps surgically implanted in their asses so that they whenever they sit in session they automatically perform the task they were designed for.
The so-called spy court must rubber stamp wiretaps and other surveillance specifically for suspected spies, terrorists or foreign agents in the United States. It approved 934 applications in 2001.
That panel turned down one wiretap request this spring, a situation so rare it prompted the FIRST known appeal to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which issued Monday's decision. It turned out that everyone on the panel forgot their stamp that day.
Even though hundreds of wire tap requests were made and only one turned down, the review star chamber questioned whether the Justice Department was too cautious over the past 20 years for separating the surveillance operations of the criminal and intelligence divisions of the department. "Review is not exactly the word I'd use for the decisions of such an obvious tool of the commissars," said former star chamber judge, Hal I. Fax. "I stooged for 3 years and got a university chancellor ship and a Cadillac El Dorado." The two were said to be treated differently because the standard for criminal wiretaps is considered more difficult because of the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. But in reality nothing was denied the justice department. And now with every mode of dissent looked upon as terrorism everybody's ass is up for grabs.
An appeal to the Supreme Court was unlikely and laughable anyway given its authoritarian makeup because the Justice Department is the sole party to the case. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups unhappy with the outcome may have to find another option, such as a criminal case involving intelligence surveillance like a CIA mule caught flying into Miami International with 10 kilos of coke, to get a challenge to the high court.
my copyright or wrong 2002 The Ass. Press