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KN4M 01-02-06

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com NSA just one of many federal agencies spying
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2006
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Thanks,
      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist
      http://www.konformist.com


      NSA just one of many federal agencies spying on Americans
      By DOUG THOMPSON
      Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
      Dec 27, 2005

      Spying on Americans by the super-secret National Security Agency is
      not only more widespread than President George W. Bush admits but is
      part of a concentrated, government-wide effort to gather and catalog
      information on U.S. citizens, sources close to the administration
      say.

      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.

      "It's a total effort to build dossiers on as many Americans as
      possible," says a former NSA agent who quit in disgust over use of
      the agency to spy on Americans. "We're no longer in the business of
      tracking our enemies. We're spying on everyday Americans."

      "It's really obvious to me that it's a look-at-everything type
      program," says cryptology expert Bruce Schneier.

      Schneier says he suspects that the NSA is turning its massive spy
      satellites inward on the United States and intentionally gathering
      vast streams of raw data from many more people than disclosed to
      date — potentially including all e-mails and phone calls within the
      United States.
      But the NSA spying is just the tip of the iceberg.

      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.

      "TIA builds a profile of every American who travels, has a bank
      account, uses credit cards and has a credit record," says security
      expert Allen Banks. "The profile establishes norms based on the
      person's spending and travel habits. Then the system looks for
      patterns that break from the norms, such of purchases of materials
      that are considered likely for terrorist activity, travel to
      specific areas or a change in spending habits."

      Patterns that fit pre-defined criteria result in an investigative
      alert and the individual becomes a "person of interest" who is
      referred to the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland
      Security, Banks says.

      Intelligence pros call the process "data mining" and that is
      something the NSA excels at as well says former NSA signals
      intelligence analyst Russell Tice.

      "The technology exists," says Tice, who left the NSA earlier this
      year.

      "Say Aunt Molly in Oklahoma calls her niece at an Army base in
      Germany and says, 'Isn't it horrible about those terrorists and
      September 11th,'" Tice told the Atlanta Constitution recently. "That
      conversation would not only be captured by NSA satellites listening
      in on Germany — which is legal — but flagged and listened to by NSA
      analysts and possibly transcribed for further investigation. All you
      would have to do is move the vacuum cleaner a little to the left and
      begin sucking up the other end of that conversation. You move it a
      little more and you could be picking up everything people are saying
      from California to New York."

      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."

      "Given the military's legacy of privacy abuses, such vague
      assurances are cold comfort," says Gene Healy, senior editor of the
      CATO Institute in Washington.

      "During World War I, concerns about German saboteurs led to
      unrestrained domestic spying by U.S. Army intelligence operatives,"
      says Healy. "Army spies were given free reign to gather information
      on potential subversives, and were often empowered to make arrests
      as special police officers. Occasionally, they carried false
      identification as employees of public utilities to allow them, as
      the chief intelligence officer for the Western Department put
      it, `to enter offices or residences of suspects gracefully, and
      thereby obtain data.'"

      "There's a long and troubling history of military surveillance in
      this country," Healy adds. "That history suggests that we should
      loathe allowing the Pentagon access to our personal information."

      In her book Army Surveillance in America, historian Joan M. Jensen
      noted, "What began as a system to protect the government from enemy
      agents became a vast surveillance system to watch civilians who
      violated no law but who objected to wartime policies or to the war
      itself."

      "It's a fucking nightmare," says a Congressional aide who recently
      obtained information on the program for his boss but asked not to be
      identified because he fears retaliation from the Bush
      administration. "We're collecting more information on Americans than
      on real enemies of our country."

      Sen. John Rockefeller says he raised concerns more than two years
      ago about increased spying on Americans but – as a member of the
      Senate Intelligence Committee – could not share that concern with
      colleagues.

      "For the last few days, I have witnessed the President, the Vice-
      President, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney-General
      repeatedly misrepresent the facts," Rockefeller said last week. When
      he was first briefed about the activity in 2003, we sent a
      handwritten note to Vice President Dick Cheney outlining his
      concerns.

      "I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the
      secure spaces of the Senate intelligence committee to ensure that I
      have a record of this communication," Rockefeller told Cheney.
      However, Rockefeller says now, "my concerns were never addressed,
      and I was prohibited from sharing my views with my colleagues."

      Missouri Congressman William Clay worries that the Bush
      Adminstration is skirting the law by letting private contractors
      handle the data mining.

      "The agencies involved in data mining are trying to skirt the
      Privacy Act by claiming that they hold no data," said Clay. Instead,
      they use private companies to maintain and sift through the data, he
      said.

      "Technically, that gets them out from under the Privacy Act," he
      said. "Ethically, it does not."

      *****

      Elections & Voting
      Fake voting rights activists and groups linked to White House
      By Bob Fitrakis
      Online Journal Guest Writer
      Dec 31, 2005

      Top level Republican operatives with ties to the White House, Senate
      Majority Leader William Frist and the Republican National Committee
      (RNC) not only engaged in the suppression of poor and minority
      voters in the 2004 Ohio presidential election, but they spun the
      election irregularities into a story linking blacks to cocaine and
      voter fraud. Bush allies in Ohio are now using this myth of voter
      fraud to pass a repressive "election reform" bill.

      In the month prior to and immediately after the 2004 presidential
      election, the Republican Party engaged in an orchestrated campaign
      to divert the mainstream media focus away from election fraud and
      irregularities in Ohio and manufactured the myth of "voter fraud."

      According to a former Columbus Dispatch reporter, Ohio Senator Mike
      DeWine sent his spokesperson, Mike Dawson, to meet with the
      editorial board of the Dispatch and other Ohio newspapers. The
      primary talking point for the GOP was that there was no evidence of
      irregularities in Ohio.

      The Republican state legislature used the "voter fraud" spin to
      introduce the draconian Ohio House Bill 3. The "election reform"
      bill has passed both Republican-dominated houses and is awaiting a
      conference committee at the start of the new year.

      HB 3's most publicized provision will require voters to show their
      ID before casting a ballot. But it also opens voter registration
      activists to criminal prosecution, exempts electronic voting
      machines from public scrutiny, quintuples the cost of citizen-
      requested statewide recounts and makes it illegal to challenge a
      presidential vote count or, indeed, any federal election result in
      Ohio. HB 3 will also reduce voter rolls by ordering county boards of
      elections to send cards to registered voters every two years. If a
      card comes back as undelivered, the voter must rely on a provisional
      ballot.

      As the League of Women Voters put it in a letter to Republican
      legislative leaders, "Its [HB 3's] purported purpose of preventing
      voting fraud is based on the fallacy that there was widespread fraud
      perpetrated by voters in Ohio. In fact, the fraud was committed
      against Ohio voters by inadequate preparation that suppressed the
      votes of those whose registrations were not recorded correctly,
      those who could not wait for hours to vote, or those whose votes
      were not counted because of misdirection or mishandling."

      The Senate sponsor of HB 3, Kevin Coughlin, could only cite the
      names of a few cartoon characters and celebrities on voting
      registration forms, which were easily weeded out by county election
      boards, as the reason for his repressive legislation.

      Fake Voting Rights Groups Tied to the White House

      In March 2005, Congressman Bob Ney held a U.S. House Administrative
      hearing at the Ohio Statehouse where a general counsel for the brand
      new voting rights group, the American Center for Voting Rights
      (ACVR), told the congressional committee that the voting problems in
      Ohio were the result of the NAACP paying people with crack in order
      to entice them to register to vote. ACVR's general counsel, Mark
      F. "Thor" Hearne, turned out to be the former national general
      counsel for Bush-Cheney '04, Inc., with no history of working in a
      voting rights organization. Hearne relied on a lawsuit filed against
      the NAACP in Wood County, Ohio, "alleging fraudulent voter
      registration under the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act."

      Hearne wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice in March
      2005 claiming there was "substantial evidence to suggest potential
      criminal wrongdoing by organizations such as Americans Coming
      Together ("ACT"), ACORN and the NAACP -- Project Vote."

      "We understand that local Ohio law enforcement authorities are
      pursuing criminal prosecution against some of the individuals
      involved in this activity, which activities include paying crack
      cocaine for fraudulent voter registration forms," Hearne wrote.

      Cliff Arnebeck, the attorney representing the NAACP, denounces this
      as a deliberate racist disinformation campaign to divert attention
      from Ohio's election theft. "Crack cocaine, the NAACP -- Hearne and
      the Republicans are using racist code words," Arnebeck said. The
      Wood County case was withdrawn in June 2005, but not before it was
      revealed that the plaintiff, Mark Rubick, had been "indemnified" and
      held "harmless" by an obscure group, the Free Enterprise Coalition,
      with ties to the Republican Party. Signing as the "Authorized
      representative" for the coalition was one Alex Vogel.

      Who Is Alex Vogel?

      This is the same Alex Vogel who is now identified as Senate Majority
      Leader Bill Frist's attorney. Vogel was busy in December explaining
      why Frist's so-called AIDS charity, World of Hope, Inc., paid nearly
      a half million dollars in consulting fees to his "political inner
      circle," according to the Washington Times.

      While Vogel fights to keep secret the amount of money that Frist's
      96 World of Hope donors gave to the "charity," his top-level
      political connections are emerging in the media. Vogel co-founded a
      lobbying firm with Bruce Mehlman, the brother of Republican National
      Committee Chair Ken Mehlman. Vogel and Mehlman's lobbying firm has
      close ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

      Arnebeck recently won a ruling against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
      which he claims gave $14 million secretly to Ohio Republican
      candidates in the 2002 and 2004 election cycle, allowing the GOP to
      dominate Ohio's Supreme Court.

      Vogel also served as a member of the National Republican Senatorial
      Committee and as parliamentarian at the 2004 Republican Party
      platform hearings.

      Other Players Tied to Bush-Cheney

      While Vogel helped create the voter fraud myth and Hearne acted as
      the group's general counsel, a man named Jim Dyke acted as
      spokesperson for the dubious ACVR. Dyke served for many years as
      Republican National Committee Communications Director. In October,
      Dyke emerged as a White House spokesperson on National Public Radio
      pushing the ill-fated nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme
      Court.

      Dyke and Hearne incorporated their "nonpartisan" tax-exempt voting
      rights organization in Dallas, Texas, only three business days prior
      to the Ney hearings in Ohio's capital. Despite its lack of history,
      the ACVR was the only "voting rights group" called to testify on
      election irregularities in Ohio. With a few exceptions, like Raw
      Story and Bradblog, news organizations have ignored these obvious
      political connections.

      Other interesting individuals involved in so-called "election
      reform" activities in Ohio are William E. Franke of Gannon
      Technologies Group and Steve Hertzberg of the Election Science
      Institute.

      Franke, a close friend of former Attorney General John Ashcroft,
      installed a computer operating system for Ohio Secretary of State J.
      Kenneth Blackwell. The Gannon Technologies website bragged that the
      Ohio Secretary of State joins the FBI and a host of other government
      agencies as clients of "an innovative system that compiles records
      in different formats via an imaging program with 100 percent
      accuracy." One worker who helped install the technology warned the
      Free Press that there were possible back doors into the system and
      it may have "points of vulnerability."

      Franke came to national attention during the 2004 election as the
      man heading the operations of the Swift Boat Veterans and Vietnam
      POWs for Truth. Their nasty attack ads against John Kerry became
      legendary.

      Hertzberg, the project director of Election Science Institute (ESI),
      received a contract in 2005 from the Franklin County commissioners
      to monitor and certify new voting machines. Hertzberg's website is
      dedicated to disputing any scientific claims of election fraud in
      Ohio. Oddly, Hertzberg's biography posted at the ESI website shows
      he has no advanced degrees in political science, only a bachelor of
      science in aerospace engineering from Purdue University. As
      Hertzberg explains it, he "spent the first several years of his
      career as a civilian within the U.S. Department of Defense"
      also " . . . serving as a Project Manager and Test Director for
      highly visible military development programs. . . ."

      Hertzberg launched an organization called Vote Watch in 2002 before
      renaming it Election Science Institute in 2005. Recent ESI
      publications seek to discredit real social scientists with Ph.D.s
      who claim there was election fraud.

      The ability of the Bush-Cheney White House to both blatantly repress
      poor and minority voters in the 2004 election and divert attention
      from these activities to spin this political operation into a bogus
      election reform bill bodes well for their ability to win the 2006
      mid-term elections, despite a majority of the voters disapproving of
      the president's performance.

      Bob Fitrakis is the co-editor of "Did George W. Bush Steal America's
      2004 Election?" with Harvey Wasserman (www.freepress.org) and co-
      counsel with Cliff Arnebeck in the Alliance for Democracy suit
      against the Hocking County Board of Elections.

      *****

      Most outrageous statements of 2005
      MediaMatters.org
      Fri, Dec 23, 2005

      Here are the most outrageous statements Media Matters for America
      has documented this year. From attacks on women, Muslims, and
      African-Americans to a call for the assassination of a foreign
      leader to an open invitation for Al Qaeda to "blow up" San Francisco
      to a claim that gay marriage would lead to unions between "a man and
      his donkey," these statements acutely represent the extreme
      conservative speech we found in the news media in 2005. (We tried to
      limit the comments to a Top 10 list, but it was simply impossible.)

      Former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill
      Bennett: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and
      your crime rate would go down." [Salem Radio Network's Bill
      Bennett's Morning in America, 9/28/05]

      Pat Robertson: "If [Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez] thinks we're
      trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead
      and do it." [Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club, 8/22/05]

      Bill O'Reilly to San Francisco: "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here and
      blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. ... You want
      to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead." [Westwood One's The Radio
      Factor with Bill O'Reilly, 12/8/05]

      Bill O'Reilly, agreeing with caller that illegal immigrants
      are "biological weapon[s]": "I think you could probably make an
      absolutely airtight case that more than 3,000 Americans have been
      either killed or injured, based upon the 11 million illegals who are
      here." [Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly, 4/15/05]

      Rush Limbaugh: "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive
      women easier access to the mainstream of society." [The Rush
      Limbaugh Show, 8/12/05]

      Rush Limbaugh on the kidnapping of peace activists in Iraq: "I'm
      telling you, folks, there's a part of me that likes this." [The Rush
      Limbaugh Show, 11/29/05]

      Ann Coulter: Bill Clinton "was a very good rapist"; "I'm getting a
      little fed up with hearing about, oh, civilian casualties"; "I think
      we ought to nuke North Korea right now just to give the rest of the
      world a warning." [New York Observer, 1/10/05]

      Ann Coulter: "Isn't it great to see Muslims celebrating something
      other than the slaughter of Americans?" [Syndicated column, 2/3/05]

      Radio host Glenn Beck: "[Y]ou know it took me about a year to start
      hating the 9-11 victims' families? Took me about a year." [Premiere
      Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 9/9/05]

      Tucker Carlson: "Canada is a sweet country. It is like your retarded
      cousin you see at Thanksgiving and sort of pat him on the head. You
      know, he's nice, but you don't take him seriously. That's Canada."
      [MSNBC's The Situation with Tucker Carlson, 12/15/05]

      American Family Association president Tim Wildmon: Liberals "don't
      have the kind of family responsibilities most people have, and
      certainly not church responsibilities." [American Family Radio's
      Today's Issues, 5/11/05]

      David Horowitz on Cindy Sheehan: "It's very hard to have respect for
      a woman who exploits the death of her own son and doesn't respect
      her own son's life. ... She portrays him as an idiot." [MSNBC's
      Connected: Coast to Coast, 8/16/05]

      Radio host Neal Boortz on the execution of Stanley "Tookie"
      Williams: "[T]here will be riots in South Central Los Angeles and
      elsewhere. ... The rioting, of course, will lead to wide scale
      looting. There are a lot of aspiring rappers and NBA superstars who
      could really use a nice flat-screen television right now."
      [Boortz.com, 12/12/05]

      Pat Buchanan: "Our guys" in Iraq "have got every right to have good
      news put into the media and get to the people of Iraq, even if it's
      got to be planted or bought." [MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews,
      12/1/05]

      National Review editor Rich Lowry: Given EPA-mandated "small-flush"
      toilets, "[h]ow is it possible to flush a Quran down the toilet?"
      [Young America's Foundation speech, 8/5/05]

      Neal Boortz, suggesting that a victim of Hurricane Katrina housed in
      an Atlanta hotel consider prostitution: "I dare say she could walk
      out of that hotel and walk 100 yards in either direction on Fulton
      Industrial Boulevard here in Atlanta and have a job. What's that?
      Well, no, no, no. ... Well, you know what? [laughing] Now that you
      mention it ... [i]f that's the only way she can take care of
      herself, it sure beats the hell out of sucking off the taxpayers."
      [Cox Radio Syndication's The Neal Boortz Show, 10/24/05]

      Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson: Same-sex
      marriage would lead to "marriage between daddies and little
      girls ... between a man and his donkey." [Focus on the Family radio
      program, 10/6/05]

      Accuracy in Media editor Cliff Kincaid: "Have you noticed that many
      news organizations, in honor of former ABC News anchorman Peter
      Jennings, have embarked on a quit smoking campaign? So why don't our
      media launch a campaign advising people to quit engaging in the
      dangerous and addictive homosexual lifestyle? ... It appears that
      the homosexual lifestyle is as addictive as smoking." [Accuracy in
      Media column, 12/14/05]

      ***

      Couric pitted constitutional scholars versus "Americans" who "don't
      want another September 11"
      MediaMatters.org
      Mon, Dec 19, 2005

      Summary: NBC Today host Katie Couric, in an interview with Tim
      Russert, characterized the debate about the Bush administration's
      domestic spying as a controversy between "legal analysts and
      constitutional scholars" on the one hand and "Americans" who "don't
      want another September 11" on the other.

      On the December 19 broadcast of NBC's Today, host Katie Couric asked
      NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert whether the debate over
      the Bush administration's secret use of domestic surveillance
      without a warrant amounted to "legal analysts and constitutional
      scholars versus Americans, who say civil liberties are important,
      but we don't want another September 11." Russert responded, "Exactly
      right."

      Couric's assertion, with which Russert agreed, is problematic for
      numerous reasons. First, Couric's question suggested that the very
      act of questioning President Bush's legal authority to undertake
      domestic surveillance is inconsistent with wanting to
      prevent "another September 11." Second, Couric's statement suggested
      that the view of "constitutional scholars" that Bush should obey the
      law is at odds with the views of most Americans. Third, the
      statement suggested that Americans support the Bush administration's
      apparent position that it has unlimited authority to do whatever it
      deems necessary -- regardless of the law -- to prevent another
      terrorist attack. Finally, the statement sets up exactly the false
      debate that the administration is advocating in its defense of its
      practice of engaging in domestic surveillance. For example, Vice
      President Dick Cheney defended the practice as necessary to protect
      national security. He said, "It's the kind of capability -- if we'd
      had before 9-11 -- might have led us to be able to prevent 9-11."
      And Bush himself, in a December 17 radio address, argued that the
      secret eavesdropping program was necessary to "detect and prevent
      possible terrorist attacks in the United States."

      From the December 19 broadcast of NBC's Today:

      COURIC: At the same time, Tim, you know, considering the
      Constitution, the rule of law, is this going to be a case of a
      debate by legal analysts and constitutional scholars versus
      Americans, who say civil liberties are important, but we don't want
      another September 11?

      RUSSERT: Exactly right. The court of public opinion and what's going
      on in Congress.

      —J.K.

      Contact information:

      NBC
      NBC News
      30 Rockefeller Plaza
      New York, N.Y. 10112

      When contacting the media, please be polite and professional.
      Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report
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