Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Greenwald Story: NSA and FBI Targeting American Muslims

I must admit that I am more than a little bit underwhelmed by the latest Glenn Greenwald story based on the NSA documents from former government contractor and patriotic whistleblower Edward Snowden. The big story, the one that Greenwald and the new Pierre Omidyar media venture The Intercept had pulled hours prior to publication last week at the behest of the government is that the NSA is targeting Muslims as if that is any surprise given the broiling hatred that has existed in this country since September 11, 2001 - the day that changed everything. The story was published on The Intercept at 12:01 this morning and is entitled "Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On" and it is surely going to resonate with the American Muslim demographic who have faced state sanctioned harassment, entrapment, public denigration and increased surveillance since the towers fell. While not a bombshell (let's hope that Greenwald is still saving that big "fireworks" show) it is a damned well written story and if nothing else will hopefully induce at least one of the victims to sue the shit out of Uncle Scam.
The five victims of NSA/FBI surveillance are prominent, law-abiding members of the American Muslim community including a former member of the George W. Bush administration's Department of Homeland Security (he held a top secret clearance), a Rutgers University professor an attorney and two civil rights activists including the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). None of the five are guilty of any terrorist related activity and likely only ended up on the target list due to their being Muslims. As a believer in the Constitution as well as what this once great country at one time at least theoretically stood for it is an abomination for the powers of the state and its surveillance and law enforcement machine to be unleashed on any American who is brought under scrutiny for reasons of race, religion and political positions for once that begins there is no end and we are getting there rapidly. As the words of warning from Pastor Martin Niemöller so accurately put it:
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Therefore it is incumbent upon all Americans to see the inherent danger in the official persecution of any one particular group because it won't stop with the Muslims. This is already understood by those who are paying serious attention to the NSA stories and not only the ones from Snowden this is all heading towards going after political dissent and those who may one day pose a challenge to the criminal system.
The Greenwald piece also provides a glimpse into the paranoia and institutionalized anti-Muslim bigotry within the American Stasi (NSA) and Gestapo (FBI) and I excerpt the following:
The FBI—which is listed as the “responsible agency” for surveillance on the five men—has a controversial record when it comes to the ethnic profiling of Muslim-Americans. According to FBI training materials uncovered by Wired in 2011, the bureau taught agents to treat “mainstream” Muslims as supporters of terrorism, to view charitable donations by Muslims as “a funding mechanism for combat,” and to view Islam itself as a “Death Star” that must be destroyed if terrorism is to be contained.
John Guandolo, a former FBI counterterrorism official who takes credit for developing a training program for agents on the “Muslim Brotherhood and their subversive movement in the United States,” told The Intercept that he participated in investigations of some of the individuals whose email accounts were monitored. Echoing the “red under every bed” hysteria of the McCarthy era, Guandolo believes that “hundreds” of covert members of the Muslim Brotherhood are active in the United States, that some of them have succeeded in infiltrating the Pentagon, and that CIA director John Brennan is a secret Muslim.
Other former and current federal officials say such beliefs are not representative of the FBI or Justice Department. But blatant prejudice against Muslim-Americans is also documented in the Snowden archive.
In one 2005 document, intelligence community personnel are instructed how to properly format internal memos to justify FISA surveillance. In the place where the target’s real name would go, the memo offers a fake name as a placeholder: “Mohammed Raghead.”
I am sure that the former counterterrorism official Mr. Guandolo's  seriously paranoid, delusional mindset is fairly commonplace at FBI which as most fascist agencies tend to draw from the worst elements of society - Congressman Mike Rogers is a former FBI agent - and given the disproportional targeting of African Americans by the militarized police in the USA!, USA!, USA! it wouldn't be much of a reach to believe that such racist nonsense also permeates local law enforcement. What really is great though is the idea that CIA Director John Brennan of all people is a secret Muslim and one of the conspirators who are involved in that great infiltration of the US government to establish the heart of the caliphate right here in The Homeland, impose Sharia law upon America and start sawing the heads off of God fearing Christians in the parking lots of the nearest Wal-Mart.
That is more than a bit delusional and brings to mind the vintage John Birch Society anti-communist propaganda that was used to crack down on dissent during the Cold War era. JBS founder Robert Welch believed that President Eisenhower was actually a communist and that the commies were also infiltrating the government. The entire phony war on terror as it exists seems to just substitute out the Muslims for the communists as the excuse to crush civil liberties and loot the treasury as well as conduct endless wars that only profit the blood barters and speculators in the death business.
The Greenwald story predictably hasn't gotten much play in the corrupt US state-corporate media, at least from the big sites such as the Washington Post, CNN and the New York Times but it is getting lots of exposure outside the borders of our great star-spangled bubble world. The Guardian, in a story entitled "White House: racial slurs in NSA intelligence material 'unacceptable'" exhibits exactly the counter-spin that the Obama regime is going to use in going after the reference to “Mohammed Raghead” rather than the outrageous surveillance itself. I except the following from The Guardian story:
The White House has instructed US security agencies to review their training and policy materials for racial or religious bias after documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed training material for the intelligence agencies referring to "Mohammed Raghead".
After an extensive investigation by the Intercept on Wednesday reported that the NSA and the FBI spied on the emails of five prominent US activists and attorneys with Muslim backgrounds, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that the administration took accusations of the slurs "extremely seriously."
"Upon learning of this matter, the White House immediately requested that the director of national intelligence undertake an assessment of intelligence community policies, training standards or directives that promote diversity and tolerance, and as necessary, make any recommendations changes or additional reforms," Hayden said.
It is at least the second time the White House has ordered a review of agency training materials said to include offensive language.
The Intercept cited the "Mohammed Raghead" epithet as a placeholder for a target in a surveillance training document from 2005.
One thing that Obama and the Democrats absolutely kick-ass in is the using of identity based politics to rouse their liberal base - the same liberals who have learned to love the surveillance state now that Bush isn't running it as well as the wars and drone murders - to cover up the high crimes of the administration. With Obama being black it is easy to denounce critics as racists (this is where the so-called Tea Party played to perfection the role of useful idiots) or when cynically using gay rights to promote aggression against Russia to smear those who ask serious questions as homophobes or when ensuring that rapacious corporate looters have an endless supply of cheap labor to drive down wages as anti-immigrant bigots. The second prong will be of course that the Greenwald story is putting Americans and the hallowed troops in danger from "the terrorists" which is a whopper of Hitlerain proportions and always works on the low-information types.
The Intercept story provides more glaring evidence that the Muslims are being used as that necessary demonized minority that is essential for any totalitarian state, Hitler had the Jews and fiends like Peter King, the porcine IRA terrorist supporting fiend from Long Island has the Muslim menace that allows him to conduct his heinous and ridiculous McCarthyist tribunals. It is nice getting this out in the open in the hope that maybe there can be some legitimate debate over not only these oppressive systems of surveillance that operate with complete impunity and are only accountable to a top secret court where the people have no representation but the demonization of respectable, law-abiding citizens who happen to not be pasty white Christians.