Total Information Awareness and the Neocon Stasi State
I recall laughing sardonically back in September 2003 when our bought and paid for Congress expected us to believe it had eliminated the so-called Total Information Awareness program run by Iran-Contra convicted criminal John Poindexter, then-director of DARPA’s Information Awareness Office (see this useless bill). I said at the time this was nothing more than smoke and mirrors because spooks are rarely if ever dissuaded from their criminal efforts, least of all at the behest of Congress, populated as it is by scoundrels who are supposedly the representatives of the people.
As noted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, this all but meaningless decree issued by Congress did not “necessarily signal the end of other government data-mining initiatives that are similar to TIA. Projects such as the Novel Intelligence from Massive Data within the Intelligence Community Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA) will apparently move forward. The FBI and the Transportation Security Administration are also working on data-mining projects that will fuse commercial databases, public databases, and intelligence data and had meetings with TIA developers.”
And move forward in a big way, as we now understand (and considering the sordid history of the Pentagon, CIA, FBI, NSA, and sundry other spook agencies, we should have understood well before the current scandal). “Besides the NSA, the Pentagon, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and dozens of private contractors are spying on millions of Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” writes Doug Thompson for Capitol Hill Blue. “It’s a total effort to build dossiers on as many Americans as possible,” a former NSA agent “who quit in disgust over use of the agency to spy on Americans” told Thompson. “We’re no longer in the business of tracking our enemies. We’re spying on everyday Americans.” In short, a massive and all-encompassing spook apparatus—the distinction of all totalitarian states (think East Germany’s Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, or Stasi)—has taken root here in America, a country that once prided itself on a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, now doormats for the Straussian neocons and their slimebucket neolib confederates to wipe their blood-stained shoes on as they enter the “the People’s House,” now little more than a brothel and a rogue’s gallery.
As for Poindexter’s TIA:
Although supposedly killed by Congress more than 18 months ago, the Defense Advance Project Research Agency’s Terrorist Information Awareness (TIA) system, formerly called the “Total Information Awareness” program, is alive and well and collecting data in real time on Americans at a computer center located at 3801 Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia.
The system, set up by retired admiral John Poindexter, once convicted of lying to Congress in the Iran-Contra scandal, compiles financial, travel and other data on the day-to-day activities of Americans and then runs that data through a computer model to look for patterns that the agency deems “terrorist-related behavior.”
Poindexter admits the program was quietly moved into the Pentagon’s “black bag” program where it does escapes Congressional oversight.
Of course, the Pentagon and the spook monolith are not interested in the “day-to-day activities” of the vast majority of most Americans, most who have “nothing to hide” (as more than a few witless Americans have told me over the years; for background on this attitude, see Americans split on feds listening in), but rather political enemies of the neocons and their fellow travelers ensconced in the White House and the Department of Forever War. “The Pentagon has built a massive database of Americans it considers threats, including members of antiwar groups, peace activists and writers opposed to the war in Iraq. Pentagon officials now claim they are ‘reviewing the files’ to see if the information is necessary to the ‘war on terrorism,’” Thompson writes. In other words, the war on our civil liberties—especially the civil liberties of those of us considered a “threat” to the Bushcons and Company (and in Bushzarro world, it is a threat to practice the First Amendment and hold up an anti-Bush sign in public).
“Given the power granted to the office of the presidency and the unaccountability of the intelligence agencies, widespread illegal domestic operations are certain,” warns Verne Lyon, a former CIA undercover operative. In fact, the snoops were unleashed a long time ago, explains Richard Polenberg, professor of history at Cornell University. “The era of the First World War witnessed several fundamental changes in the role of the American federal government. Not the least of these was the use of military services as a counter-force against disaffected elements of the civilian population—particularly against radical labor organizers and leftist intellectuals. This development had long-lasting consequences, beginning a tradition that continued, with few lapses, through the Second World War and beyond.”
“The public exposure of COINTELPRO and other government abuses resulted in a flurry of apparent reform in the 1970s, but domestic covert action did not end. It has persisted, and seems a permanent feature of our government. Much of today’s domestic covert action can also be kept concealed because of government secrecy that has been restored,” note Mike Cassidy and Will Miller.
Much of what was done outside the law under COINTELPRO was later legalized by Executive Order 12333 (12/4/81). There is every reason to believe that even what was not legalized is still going on as well. Lest we forget, Lt. Col. Oliver North funded and orchestrated from the White House basement break-ins and other “dirty tricks” to defeat congressional critics of U.S. policy in Central America and to neutralize grassroots protest. Special Prosecutor Walsh found evidence that North and Richard Secord (architect of the 1960s covert actions in Cambodia) used Iran-Contra funds to harass the Christic Institute, a church-funded public interest group specializing in exposing government misconduct.
North also helped other administration officials at the Federal Emergency Management Administration develop contingency plans for suspending the Constitution, establishing martial law, and holding political dissidents in concentration camps in the event of “national opposition against a U.S. military invasion abroad.” There were reports of similar activities and preparations in response to the opposition to the Gulf War in 1991. Even today, there is pending litigation against the FBI involving alleged misconduct in connection with the near-fatal bombing of Judi Bari.
Bush—or rather, since Bush is an enfeebled cardboard cut-out of a president, the Straussian-Machiavellian neocons—are simply using well-established tools in an all-out effort to destroy what remains of the Constitution, a prerequisite for the sort of total war they envision first against Islam (in the name of the Jabotinsky Zionists in Israel) and then against all comers who would question or challenge U.S.-corporate hegemony. It is certainly no mistake the shakers and movers of the Bushcon administration are former Iran-Contra alumni, well-versed in the methods and means of totalitarianism.