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Domestic Pentagon Spying?
December 13, 2005 7:42 PM   Subscribe

Is the Pentagon spying on non-violent American protesters?
posted by loquacious (39 comments total)

 
OUTRAGE FATIGUE!
posted by delmoi at 7:43 PM on December 13, 2005


Sounds like the CIA and John Lennon in the 60s.
posted by Kickstart70 at 7:43 PM on December 13, 2005


Of course it is, are you joking?
posted by freebird at 7:44 PM on December 13, 2005


Is the Pentagon spying on non-violent American protesters?

Yes. Next question.
posted by rkent at 7:44 PM on December 13, 2005


Is the pope catholic?
posted by lalochezia at 7:51 PM on December 13, 2005


Did they ever stop?
posted by solipse at 7:52 PM on December 13, 2005


Yes. Next question.

i stopped by to post exactly those words, rkent. your mind works exactly like quonsar's. how's that make you feel?
posted by quonsar at 7:53 PM on December 13, 2005


A faked "domestic terrorist attack" would allow Bush to suspend posse comitatus and round up dissidents into existing civilian concentration camps. This intelligence just lets the folks in charge know who first to make "disappear". The only hope the rebellion will have is that FEMA will be running the internment camps.
posted by Rothko at 7:53 PM on December 13, 2005


Don't answer that, rkent. he's wired!
posted by jonmc at 7:54 PM on December 13, 2005


It's happening in my home town, too
posted by Balisong at 7:58 PM on December 13, 2005


i stopped by to post exactly those words, rkent. your mind works exactly like quonsar's. how's that make you feel?

When you put it that way, I'm not sure exactly. All I know is, that's the first thing I thought when I read the FPP, and when I got here and it wasn't posted... well, it just felt right. I'd like to thank the Academy for this opportunity, and everyone else who made this possible: you know who you are. Thank you again and good night!
posted by rkent at 7:59 PM on December 13, 2005


A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News...

Pffft!! Yeah, right. Look at the kerning on those pages. Come on, now.
posted by soyjoy at 8:02 PM on December 13, 2005


"...to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools."

They do know that, in wartime, interference with military recruiting is technically a violation of the law? Two very strong precedents establish it as such, Schenck v. US and (Eugene V.) Debs v. US.

In the former case, the individual was handing out flyers, and in the second case, he had given a speech. Both of these are clearly indirect efforts, not actual physical interference, which means the standard is set pretty low for conviction.

Were this before the Patriot Act, the debate would have been the Pentagon spying instead of the FBI, but now, I've really no idea what government agency is precluded from spying. Literally, there are circumstances where the USDA, HHS, the Forest Service and many others may be inclined to engage in surveillance of this kind.
posted by kablam at 8:14 PM on December 13, 2005


"Outrage Fatigue" Amen. My two daughters attended a rally so am figuring the 11yr old is on the radical watch list. "4' 10" Caucasian female impersonating a child, last seen entering mall and conspiring with similar anarchists while sharing code through a "DDR" machine..watch closely"

The real breaking news...NBC grows nads!
posted by Mr Bluesky at 8:15 PM on December 13, 2005


Actually, I do think this is a serious development. We didn't have Guantanamo Bay as a holding tank in the 1960s.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:18 PM on December 13, 2005


Does a bear shit in the woods ?
posted by troutfishing at 8:20 PM on December 13, 2005


hummm wonder if this leak was timed to have anything to do with the Patriot Act being up for renewal?

More power to it if that is the case.
posted by edgeways at 8:22 PM on December 13, 2005


Do Mefiers snark?
posted by edgeways at 8:22 PM on December 13, 2005


Completely unrelated:
Teams of undercover air marshals and uniformed law enforcement officers will fan out to bus and train stations, ferries, and mass transit facilities across the country this week in a new test program to conduct surveillance and "counter potential criminal terrorist activity in all modes of transportation," according to internal federal documents.

. . . .

Federal officials said there is no new intelligence indicating that terrorists are interested in targeting transportation modes. Rather, the Transportation Security Administration is trying to expand the role of air marshals, who have been eager to conduct surveillance activities beyond the aircraft, and provide a beefed-up law enforcement presence at bus, train and public transit stations over the busy holiday period.
At best, mission creep and bureaucratic empire building.

At worst, getting America used to the constant surveillance of what are literally secret policemen.


In completely unrelated news,
Section 602 of the [newly revised Patriot Act] conference report is a new section. 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1752 authorizes the Secret Service to charge individuals who breach established security perimeters or engage in other disruptive or potentially dangerous conduct at National Special Security Events (NSSEs) if a Secret Service protectee is attending the designated event. Section 602 of the conference report expands 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1752 to criminalize such security breaches at NSSEs that occur when the Secret Service protectee is not in attendance.
Up to a year in jail if you're "disruptive" at a designated event, even if the Secret Service isn't protecting anyone there.
posted by orthogonality at 8:26 PM on December 13, 2005


Speaking of the Patriot Act, Russ Feingold is guest-blogging at Josh Marshall's TPM Cafe about his efforts (and yours? but please, you didn't hear it from me) to derail it.
posted by soyjoy at 8:35 PM on December 13, 2005


man, regardless of intent, the feds sure do choose the most SINISTER sounding names for these "special squads", shit that's straight out of G.I. Joe. In the link orthogonality provided, they're calling these federal marshal groups VIPER ("Visible Intermodal Protection and Response"), and in the FPP, "Then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz also established a new reporting mechanism known as a TALON or Threat and Local Observation Notice report".

Maybe Bush will just drop the charade and reveal himself to be Cobra Commander. Hell, somebody already made a political ad for the guy.
posted by Lee Marvin at 8:38 PM on December 13, 2005


It seems to me that they choose puerile, macho names that would sound "tough" to overgrown little-boys-with-toy-guns. It's just so...simpleminded.

And I don't get it, do they really think that a terrorist would be going to a PEACE rally? I believe they tend to avoid highly-publicized political events and social functions.
posted by sacrilicious at 9:34 PM on December 13, 2005


You guys are nuts. This doesn't happen. No way. The establishment isn't smart enough. But if it was, you guys would be too chicken to do something about it, man. Listen dudes, if you were really hip to this and had any real guts you would set a government building on fire. Yeah, that's right. It's so right it's right on! But you, dudes, just aren't with it. Dig: you're all cop outs, man. If you want to be cool, then let's go punch out some pigs and fight the man by bombing a post office! C'mon, who's with me? Or are you too chicken!?
*sweats too much*
posted by Smedleyman at 9:40 PM on December 13, 2005


xmas gift for smedleyman
posted by Peter H at 9:43 PM on December 13, 2005


Secret laws

Mercenaries in American cities

PsyOps conducted on American citizens

Americans barred and arrested at Presidential townhalls

Secret prisons

American citizens held without charges

Torture as policy

Red Cross denied access to detainees

And now: spying on dissenters.

God only knows what abominations we don't know yet.

America isn't America anymore. It's something else now.
posted by edverb at 10:10 PM on December 13, 2005


sacrilcious – And I don't get it, do they really think that a terrorist would be going to a PEACE rally? I believe they tend to avoid highly-publicized political events and social functions.


FWIW, the final target in the The Siege was a peace rally.
posted by pruner at 12:01 AM on December 14, 2005


FWIW, the final target in the The Siege was a peace rally.

And do we really want to take the chance that fictional terrorists won't strike again?
posted by EarBucket at 2:39 AM on December 14, 2005


EarBucket, it's not a question of if, but when.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:51 AM on December 14, 2005


They do know that, in wartime...

You do know that the United States is not currently at war?

The power to declare such rests solely with Congress. The last bill declaring such was passed on June 5th, 1942, against the states of Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. This state ended with the ratification of the Paris Peace Treaty, signed February 10th, 1947.

Thus, no laws operating under wartime are in effect. Note that citing military law is irrelevant, the military operates under the UCMJ, and most of the rights that citizens have do not apply to servicemen.

We are not at war.
posted by eriko at 4:28 AM on December 14, 2005


Does the pope shit in the woods?
posted by Tarn at 4:47 AM on December 14, 2005


> We are not at war.

We are at war with Eastasia.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.
posted by telstar at 5:45 AM on December 14, 2005


eriko: congressional declarations of war are a thing of the past, thanks to international treaties that basically outlaw the declaration of war. It is a game of cynical semantics, where idealistic people naively thought that they could constrain realpolitik through the use of paper. The way around this problem was to call a war something other than a war, thus evading the treaties. This is a nose-holdingly cynical attitude. And the US is not unique in doing this.

The US courts have long taken this into account, and so have downgraded the *definition* of war to any armed conflict, with or without (the great majority) the express approval of congress, simply initiated at the direction of the President.

That is, there is no legal cover from prosecution for almost anything by claiming that the US is not in a "declared war".

Note, this is seen by the courts as *relative* to a given armed conflict. That is, the courts would be more lenient to you *in general*, if you had a continual opposition to military recruiting year-round for many years than if you opposed military recruiting with the express purpose of stopping recruitment for a particular conflict.

In that the US has had an almost continual committment in as many as a dozen changing conflict zones around the world, simultaneously, for at least the past 40 years, this makes a little more sense.

For example, the courts would look less favorably if you objected to military recruiting solely because US soldiers were being sent to South America to intervene in some civil war. This shows that you "specifically" wanted to "interfere in US foreign policy" (which is a crime in itself), *not* that you were interested in "peace". At least as far as the court was concerned.

And if you had a direct connection with that given situation, they might even consider that you were acting as an agent on behalf of a foreign power.

However, the courts are far more generous with many of the law schools around the country that have long opposed any military recruitment on their campuses. Right now, they are fighting a US law that would withhold funding for them unless they allow recruiters. The courts hold this to be a legitimate *civil*, not criminal dispute.

This also means that the courts would most likely be very opposed to any Pentagon spying on law schools.
posted by kablam at 6:12 AM on December 14, 2005


congressional declarations of war are a thing of the past, thanks to international treaties that basically outlaw the declaration of war. It is a game of cynical semantics, where idealistic people naively thought that they could constrain realpolitik through the use of paper. The way around this problem was to call a war something other than a war, thus evading the treaties. This is a nose-holdingly cynical attitude. And the US is not unique in doing this.

Hey, I just checked my copy of the Constitution and the relevant article and section haven't been amended. So fuck that. I don't care what the rest of the world is doing.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:39 AM on December 14, 2005


telstar was and has always been a member of the Brotherhood. A traitor to Oceania. His claims are all false. Oceania is and always has been at war with Eurasia. All hail Big Brother! The Five Minutes Hate will begin shortly.

doubleplusungood refer nonpersons 12-14-05 telstarreferral http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/47582 end message
posted by malusmoriendumest at 7:52 AM on December 14, 2005


Maybe Bush has his own Enemies List too?

And the internal spying is so much like Nixon too. The neo-cons just got a little law passed as a cover.

"The investigations have shown that every intelligence agency had one or more surveillance programs that spied on law-abiding American citizens, in violation of the laws, the Constitution, and the traditions of the country."

"All the techniques associated with secret police bureaus throughout history were used to gather information: black-bag break-ins, wiretaps and bugs, mail openings, cable and telegram interceptions, garbage covers, and informers."

Feels like the 70s again.
posted by Red58 at 8:28 AM on December 14, 2005


Freedom isn't free.
posted by hatchetjack at 9:49 AM on December 14, 2005


Schenck v. US and (Eugene V.) Debs v. US

two of my favorite cases.
posted by 3.2.3 at 9:51 AM on December 14, 2005


not surprised. i know they put your names on watch lists if you are a protester. the've done that for a while. i definitely have my name on a list out there somewhere...
posted by Doorstop at 4:28 PM on December 14, 2005


If I were assigned to watch/spy on/keep tabs on protestors, I'd be pissed as hell. What a bullshit job. I bet anything the low-level flunkies given the assignment grok that.
posted by donpedro at 6:30 PM on December 14, 2005


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