i had often wondered if professor cole hadn't attracted the interest of our propaganda and domestic surveillance-meisters... guess so...
from juan cole's weblog...
without meaning to discount professor cole, i am nonetheless somewhat amused at his shock and outrage at being targeted... given his clear level of expertise in the middle east, his ability to clearly and reasonably articulate his views, AND his visibility, i would have expected him to be a target... after all, he does everything but wear a neon sign saying, "here i am, i dare you to try to shut me up," which, in this day and age, is like waving a red flag in front of a bull... our fearless leaders, backed by our super-rich elites, don't want anybody out there upsetting their apple cart and certainly not doing so by telling the truth...
Eminent National Security correspondent at the New York Times James Risen has been told by a retired former official of the Central Intelligence Agency that the Bush White House repeatedly asked the CIA to spy on me with a view to discovering “damaging” information with which to discredit my reputation. Glenn Carle says he was called into the office of his superior, David Low, in 2005 and was asked of me, “ ‘What do you think we might know about him, or could find out that could discredit him?’ ”
Low actually wrote up a brief attempt in this direction and submitted it to the White House but Carle says he intercepted it. Carle later discovered that yet another young analyst had been tasked with looking into me.
It seems to me clear that the Bush White House was upset by my blogging of the Iraq War, in which I was using Arabic and other primary sources, and which contradicted the propaganda efforts of the administration attempting to make the enterprise look like a wild shining success.
Carle’s revelations come as a visceral shock. You had thought that with all the shennanigans of the CIA against anti-Vietnam war protesters and then Nixon’s use of the agency against critics like Daniel Ellsberg, that the Company and successive White Houses would have learned that the agency had no business spying on American citizens.
I believe Carle’s insider account and discount the glib denials of people like Low. Carle is taking a substantial risk in making all this public. I hope that the Senate and House Intelligence Committees will immediately launch an investigation of this clear violation of the law by the Bush White House and by the CIA officials concerned. Like Mr. Carle, I am dismayed at how easy it seems to have been for corrupt WH officials to suborn CIA personnel into activities that had nothing to do with national security abroad and everything to do with silencing domestic critics. This effort was yet another attempt to gut the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, in this case as part of an effort to gut the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
flash forward to yesterday...
again, i have to confess a degree of amusement... it was the first of june 2006 that i had my laptop, external hard drive, digital camera, memory cards, flash drive, cd's and dvd's seized at customs in the san francisco airport and kept for three weeks before being returned... i have no doubt that my computer hard drive was copied in full and fully suspect that tracking codes were inserted in my computer to enable remote monitoring... it was then that the full realization of what kind of a police state we were living in finally hit home... sure, i had suspected all along but, like professor cole and david house, the reality of the shredding of our 4th amendment rights is never so real as when it affects you personally...
A federal grand jury empaneled to investigate WikiLeaks meets again in Alexandria, Virginia today. David House, co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network, is expected to appear before the grand jury. He and others in the Greater Boston area have been subjected to this process, which seeks to embroil them in espionage charges for being linked to WikiLeaks.
It is a tired cliché, perhaps, but, with each new development in the investigation of WikiLeaks—in a process that might be considered a part of a larger war on WikiLeaks—more and more individuals are being made to answer the question, “Do you or have you ever worked for WikiLeaks?” (Soon they will be asked, “Are you or have you ever been supportive or sympathetic toward WikiLeaks?”)
House has been targeted consistently by the government for the past months. His lawful association with the Bradley Manning Support Network, which was created to raise funds for the legal defense of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower to WikiLeaks now being held at Ft. Leavenworth, has transformed him into a marked man. In November 2010, Department of Homeland Security agents stopped House at O’Hare International airport as he was returning from Mexico.
The agents asked House about his political activities and beliefs. His laptop computer, camera, and a USB drive were all seized. The questioning and seizure of personal property does not appear to have been carried out because House posed a threat to border security. But, House was made to face intrusive and intimidating tactics because he joined a lawful group.
“The search and seizure of my laptop has had a chilling effect on the activities of the Bradley Manning Support Network, by silencing once-outspoken supporters and causing donors to retreat. Our government should not be treating lawful activists like suspects,” explains House.
The ACLU has come to his defense and filed a lawsuit against the DHS. The ACLU has called for the “return or destruction of any of House’s personal data still in the custody of the government and disclosure of whether and to whom the data has been disseminated.” And, if not for the ACLU sending a letter to DHS, House would likely have not been able to get his seized laptop, camera and USB drive back after seven weeks.
Targeting of House is not an anomaly. This practice of searching, copying and detaining travelers’ laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices in airports or at land crossings has been used on a number of people when DHS knows there is no probable cause to support such harassment.
Labels: 1st Amendment, 4th Amendment, ACLU, Bradley Manning Support Network, David House, DHS, domestic spying, James Risen, Juan Cole, NYT, whistleblowers, Wikileaks
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