Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

FBI abusing Patriot Act; Gonzo knew, lied AGAIN

First... you, in the FBI. Come on guys. Surely patriotism - and I mean real patriotism, not this bullshit 'Patriot Act' that only exists to terrorize the American populace - surely patriotism and the most basic ethics would have caused some of you to pause and think. Surely some of you in the FBI knew what you were doing was flat out wrong.

According to a recent AP article, you were/are mining our personal data right and left; for all sorts of investigations that were never authorized under the Patriot Act:

The FBI is gathering and sorting information about Americans to help search for potential terrorists, insurance cheats and crooked pharmacists, according to a government report obtained Tuesday. (excuse me... crooked pharmacists? Boy you must be desperate, because last I heard, pharmacists were the most respected professionals in health care. Oh wait... Big Pharma sent ya?)

Records about identity thefts, real estate transactions, motor vehicle accidents and complaints about Internet drug companies are being searched for common threads to aid law enforcement officials, the Justice Department said in a report to Congress on the agency's data-mining practices. (Anything on indignant bloggers yet?)

In addition, the report disclosed government plans to build a new database to assess the risk posed by people identified as potential or suspected terrorists. (I saw a science fiction movie about this once: identifying criminals before they actually commit any crimes. It was a movie! Fiction! I thought in this country we were innocent, at least until we did something. Originally there was something about actually being proven guilty...)

The chairman of the Senate committee that oversees the Justice Department said the database was "ripe for abuse." (Gee - ya think?) The American Civil Liberties Union immediately derided the quality of the information that could be used to score someone as a terror threat.

It appears the Electronic Frontier Foundation 'acquired' quite a few of your files, showing that you have been abusing your new Patriot Act powers to spy on us at will; for any and every reason imaginable. Crooked pharmacists? What on earth is a crooked pharmacist? Find any crooked insurance companies out there too? Didn't think so. Bet you weren't looking, were you? Thank God for Michael Moore: at least someone cares about us, and not just the corporate masters.

That Patriot Act abomination was supposed to have been about terrorists. It sure didn't take you long to find the loopholes, did it? But then perhaps it was about those loopholes all along. Suddenly you have the power to dig for anything you want; and these secret corporations can amass enormous databases on us - every one of us - keeping all sorts of private details that have nothing at all to do with terrorists, terrorist threats, or even danger.

This is illegal as all hell, patently un-American and outrageously unconstitutional. I don't need a law degree to see that, just an education.

These findings were, unfortunately, not surprising to critics of the Bureau's NSL power. Before the USA PATRIOT Act was passed in 2001, the FBI could unilaterally issue these demands only to obtain the records of suspected terrorists or spies. Under the changes made by the controversial anti-terrorism law, however, the FBI can now use NSLs to get telephone, Internet, financial, credit, and other personal records about anybody -- without any court approval -- as long as it believes the information could be “relevant” to an authorized terrorism or espionage investigation. (The House of Representatives is considering a bill that would add independent oversight to the NSL process, but the legislation hasn't moved since March.)

Here is my question, and I'd really like to know: aren't you guys Americans too? Didn't you go into the spying business with some sense of duty to country -- what the hell motivates you people?

I used to think you were working for us - the people. Now I see you are 'for sale' to whoever runs the partisan, power gig in Washington.

And I have to wonder... with all of this nosing around you have been doing, are you actually watching out for terrorists at all? Or was that all some bullshit line to get everyone to fall into an Orwellian lock-step?

Why would I trust you now? Why would I trust ANY of you, ever again? And have you no shame at all?

From the EFF Website:

On Friday, July 6, the FBI made its first disclosure of 1,138 pages of documents, all of which you can view here. (Please keep in mind that this is the first of many sets of documents we'll be receiving, so this material does not present a complete picture.) Here's what we've spotted that we think is most interesting so far.

  • More than 350 pages describing investigative missteps that the FBI considered disclosing to the Intelligence Oversight Board, which receives reports on intelligence gathering activities that violate guidelines, laws, or presidential orders. (See Parts 4, 5, and 6 of the FOIA documents, all PDFs.) These pages detail numerous NSL-related blunders -- most often agents making typographical errors that resulted in receipt of information about the wrong people, and ISPs handing over too much (or wrong) data to the FBI. The Bureau usually did not refer these matters to the Intelligence Oversight Board, often chalking them up to administrative errors or third-party mistakes. The FBI also decided against opening internal investigations into many of the incidents.

    The FOIA documents show, however, that several cases were forwarded to the Board between April 2005 and February 2007. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was copied on these referrals, despite congressional testimony in April 2005 that he was unaware of any civil liberties violations arising from the PATRIOT Act, and a March 2007 speech in which he claimed to be “upset” and "concerned" by the inspector general's findings.

  • Copies of more than 60 "exigent letters" [PDF] sent by FBI headquarters to three telecomunications companies. The inspector general determined that the FBI's use of these short form letters, which cryptically asked for telephone records because of unspecified "exigent circumstances," circumvented the law and violated FBI guidelines and policies.

  • A government proposal [PDF] to expand the NSL provision of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act written after the inspector general's report was released.

  • Various model NSLs, which give us a good sense of what the demands look like, and memos providing guidance on proper use of NSL authority. (See Parts 1 and 2 of the FOIA documents, both PDFs.)

  • First the CIA and their 'Family Jewels' and now you. Am I to completely distrust my government and every single agency's motives? Are you all completely compromised?

    COME ON.

    This is bullshit and you know it. At least make a pretense of looking for actual terrorists and leave the pharmacists alone. You might start by finding whoever it was that planted that military-grade anthrax in the mail sent to Senator Leahy. Yeah. That high grade anthrax that could only have been made... here, in the good ol USA.

    Francis A. Boyle, an international law expert who worked under the first Bush Administration as a bioweapons advisor in the 1980s, has said that he is convinced the October 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people were perpetrated from within the U.S. in order to push through the Patriot Act Bill:

    "Senators Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) were holding it up because they realized what this would lead to. The first draft of the PATRIOT Act would have suspended the writ of habeas corpus [which protects citizens from unlawful imprisonment and guarantees due process of law]. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, come these anthrax attacks."

    "At the time I myself did not know precisely what was going on, either with respect to September 11 or the anthrax attacks, but then the New York Times revealed the technology behind the letter to Senator Daschle. [The anthrax used was] a trillion spores per gram, [refined with] special electro-static treatment. This is superweapons-grade anthrax that even the United States government, in its openly proclaimed programs, had never developed before. So it was obvious to me that this was from a U.S. government lab. There is nowhere else you could have gotten that."

    Is this totally crazy? Maybe. Maybe not. The guy seems to know his stuff. Who the hell knows - because no one ever found out who did it, and the outcome was awfully convenient. Are you investigating that? You might find out who the real terrorists are - that would be a terrific service to your country. We could use a few more heroes and a few less domestic attackers. 'We the people' are having a tough enough time these days without our government kicking us around the room.

    And as for Gonzo... Congress, how long are you going to let this guy LIE IN YOUR FACE?

    He knew about these FBI abuses all along, and once again, he lied to you! Get rid of him! He's a disgrace to the rule of law! This isn't partisan... this is obstruction of justice and lying under oath.

    From the Washington Post:

    As he sought to renew the USA Patriot Act two years ago, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales assured lawmakers that the FBI had not abused its potent new terrorism-fighting powers. "There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse," Gonzales told senators on April 27, 2005.

    Six days earlier, the FBI sent Gonzales a copy of a report that said its agents had obtained personal information that they were not entitled to have. It was one of at least half a dozen reports of legal or procedural violations that Gonzales received in the three months before he made his statement to the Senate intelligence committee, according to internal FBI documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.

    How many lies does this make - and under oath? Congress: are you going to do anything about this - ever? For Christ's sake - the entire DoJ is falling apart!

    I now have zero confidence in the Executive, in Congress, in the DoJ, in the CIA or FBI, and I'm suspicious even of the Supreme Court (the justices seem suspicious of each other.)

    BROKEN. The entire mess is broken. Will no one - will anyone - lift a finger to save our government from itself?

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