Wednesday, November 6, 2013

FBI Goons Spied on Libertarian Website for Years


Today’s example of the fascist powers of a rogue government harassing American citizens, particularly journalists is that story that broke in The Guardian about the bureau’s years of monitoring libertarian website Antiwar.com. As a regular reader of the site over the years I have found it to be a consistent and principled critic of the decidedly anti-American domestic and foreign policy strain that has contaminated this once great country over the past twelve years. It is no wonder that Antiwar.com is on the enemies list of the warfare/security industrial complex, the site has never sold out in the manner that so many of the other early blogs did to curry favor with the establishment. The Guardian piece which is entitled “FBI monitored anti-war website in error for six years, documents show” goes on to provide the official cover story that it was all a big mistake – bullshit! The government hates the site as it does any that offer up an uncompromising critique of the evils of Empire.

The Guardian story references an ACLU lawsuit and documents related to the government attack on a legitimate forum for news and opinion that have been obtained through the Freedom of Information Act - heavily redacted of course. The COINTELPRO style operation has been tabbed as "sloppy" rather than sinister which is what it truly is. The background is that in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks that the site received a threat “Be warned assholes, ill be posting your site address to all the hack boards tonight, telling them about the little article at the moscowtimes and all. YOUR SITE IS HISTORY”.  Eric Garris, the site's managing editor passed the threat along to the local FBI office which then used the opportunity to make "a mistake" that could be played off that Antiwar.com and Garris had been the ones making the threat against the FBI. Subsequently the site, Garris, top writer Justin Raimondo have been on the proverbial double secret probation and if you have been paying any attention at all to the NSA spying, data-mining and storage of information for future investigations I would imagine any and all visitors to the site are also on a watchlist. Per the story "FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the bureau could not comment, as the ACLU’s litigation of the antiwar.com case is ongoing." More bullshit.
I excerpt the following from the Guardian piece, written by Spencer Ackerman:

According to unredacted portions of the documents, that apparent mix-up was the first time antiwar.com came onto the FBI’s radar – a purview that would last at least six years.

Garris said he never heard back from the FBI, and had no reason to believe that the incident had any broader impact, until he saw what was in his FBI file. “It was pretty scary to think that in my FBI file, and perhaps other government agency files, there was a report that I was considered a threat based on that,” Garris said.

“That may follow me for the rest of my life. Any time I interact with any law enforcement or government agencies, they’re going to be able to see that, and make evaluations of me based on it. It’s very scary.”
The mix-up did not stay limited to the San Francisco field office. In 2004, FBI officials in Newark, New Jersey, compiled a “threat assessment” of Garris and his colleague Justin Raimondo.

The 2004 “threat assessment” took note of Raimondo and Garris’ anti-war views, listed articles and media appearances in which they made their arguments, and reported that “peaceful” anti-war protesters in the UK passed out literature referencing antiwar.com that suggested the US government was holding Israeli spies in connection to the September 11 attacks.

Contained within the file are copies of articles penned by Raimondo advancing the conspiracy theory that Israel had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks.

The FBI created profiles of both Raimondo and Garris using public records, such as those held by the Department of Motor Vehicles, to include their physical descriptions. “The rights of individuals to post information and to express personal views on the Internet should be honored and protected; however, some material that is circulated on the internet can compromise current active FBI investigations,” reads an unsigned “analyst comment” on the 2004 threat assessment.

The unnamed analyst said there were “several unanswered questions regarding www.antiwar.com,” such as the source of its funding, the presence of material on the site that is “not suitable for public release” and whether Raimondo was using “a pseudonym.”

Note that the piece does state that  "Contained within the file are copies of articles penned by Raimondo advancing the conspiracy theory that Israel had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks. " This is textbook establishment character assassination to slyly insinuate that Raimondo is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist or in the favorite pejorative term "a truther". Antiwar.com has been a vocal critic of both the influence of right-wing Israeli backed lobbies in America on politicians and policy as well as the current right-wing government's warmongering fanaticism. I would strongly recommend reading Haaretz on a regular basis which is often as critical of Israeli militarism and increasing internal intolerance as anything seen on Antiwar.com. But it sells well to the schmucks who don't bother to do their homework or otherwise accept anything that government agencies proven to be historically contemptuous of the law happens to spew out as justification for their fascist "mistakes".

Don’t expect to see this covered in the state-corporate media, they also hate sites such as Antiwar.com because it exposes the corruption of the journalistic profession in America. There are very few writers who wouldn’t risk their careers to take principled stands against the heinous acts of this torture state and its allies. Chris Hedges, formerly of the New York Times comes to mind as one and after his now infamous commencement speech at Rockford College back in 2003 when the Bushreich was arming for wars and idiotic yellow ribbon magnets adorned fleets of SUV’s. Hedges immediately fell into disfavor with the establishment NYT and has since spent his career outside of the corrupt propaganda apparatus writing several books on the deterioration of The Homeland, both moral and economically. While Hedges is not for everyone, his views are probably a bit leftist for a good many libertarians and paleo conservatives he is consistent in his denouncement of the corporate fascist warfare state. Hedges notably was a party of a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the National Defense Authorization Act. Justin Raimondo is another relentless critic and truth teller and one hell of a patriotic American. We need far more like him and hopefully the exposure of the FBI harassment of Antiwar.com will attract much more traffic to the site as well as some embarrassment to yet another government Gestapo operation.

As the great crusading journalist I.F. Stone once famously wrote - "All governments are run by liars and nothing they say should be believed". Antiwar.com does a damned good job in following the tradition of the men who used to be real journalists who in their constitutional duties held the liars in high places accountable for their crimes.  In the age of the parasites and presstitutes who routinely carry water for the corrupt state and pimp for its wars and policies of domestic repression it should surprise nobody when they are harassed by rogue agencies such as the FBI.