have begun pulling mildly leftist white people off of airplanes.
It's time for the rest of us to get very worried.
evidence is rolling in, and it is unmistakable: the Bush people
are assembling purely political lists of individuals and groups
to be targeted during some future crisis, real or manufactured.
The list makers probably do not yet know what they plan to do to
the people on their enemies lists, which are still fragmented among
various agencies. However, once such lists are compiled, eventual
government action becomes all but inevitable. It is already clear
that the list will be a very long one, reaching into broad categories
of what the current rulers consider to be dangerous dissenters.
rights lawyers, Green Party activists and even the Catholic advocacy
group Peace Action are on the lists, as are, it appears, Amnesty
International and various environmental activist organizations.
an article titled "Grounded," the mainstream Salon.com
related the experience of Center for Constitutional Rights assistant
legal director Barbara Olshansky, who was forced to pull down her
pants in view of other travelers at Newark International Airport.
When the lawyer protested the indignity, a security agent replied,
"The computer spit you out. I don't know why, and I don't have
time to talk to you about it."
other employees of the center had been pulled out of an airport
boarding line a month earlier. Since all had purchased their tickets
separately under their own names, it was plain that the Center for
Constitutional Rights staff were on some kind of list. Readers familiar
with the workings of bureaucracies will immediately recognize the
clanks, squeaks and grinds of cumbersome government machinery getting
and her colleagues are, apparently, not alone. For months, rumors
and anecdotes have circulated among leftwing and other activist
groups about people who have been barred from flying or delayed
at security gates because they are "on a list."
now, a spokesman for the new Transportation Security Administration
has acknowledged for the first time that the government has a
list of about 1,000 people who are deemed "threats to aviation"
and not allowed on airplanes under any circumstances. And in an
interview with Salon, the official suggested that Olshansky and
other political activists may be on a separate list that subjects
them to strict scrutiny but allows them to fly.
have a list of about 1,000 people," said David Steigman,
the TSA spokesman. The agency was created a year ago by Congress
to handle transportation safety during the war on terror. "This
list is composed of names that are provided to us by various government
organizations like the FBI, CIA and INS.... We don't ask how they
decide who to list. Each agency decides on its own who is a 'threat
agency has no guidelines to determine who gets on the list, Steigman
says, and no procedures for getting off the list if someone is
wrongfully on it.
Salon.com article details the harrassment of other political travelers,
including people from conservative organizations that apparently
wound up in the computer by mistake or through haste. Writer Dave
Lindorff notes that the federal Transportation Security Agency's
unpredictable actions "seem to be netting mostly priests, elderly
nuns, Green Party campaign operatives, left-wing journalists, right-wing
activists and people affiliated with Arab or Arab-American groups."
1,000-name "no fly" list referred to by the TSA spokesman
is certainly not the larger, political list. If that were
the case, none of the individuals interviewed by Salon.com would
have ever left the ground. The article's subjects are on a different
set of lists. It is clear that the airport agents became confused
because of a proliferation of lists - data in temporary disarray.
me more names!
is obvious is that names are being generated and dumped into an
embryonic but evolving apparatus of wide-ranging political scope.
The Bush men simply haven't fine-tuned the procedure. They have
not yet differentiated between the "somewhat dangerous,"
the "immediately dangerous" or the "might become
dangerous" - or whatever color-coded formulas ultimately emerge.
want names, lots of them. The scatter-shot, eclectic character of
the listings indicates that a furious demand is emanating from the
highest levels of the bureaucracy for as many names as possible,
as soon as possible. Collation and categorization will come later.
exhortations from on-high were especially shrill in the corridors
and field offices of the FBI. The New York Times headlined their
November 21 article, "F.B.I. Officials Say Some Agents Lack
a Focus on Terror," but any low-GS clerk could understand what
the bureau's number two official, Bruce J. Gebhardt, was actually
demanding when he sent out a memo to 56 field office agents-in-charge:
names, names and more names.
need to instill a sense of urgency" in field agents, Mr.
Gebhardt wrote. "They need to get out on the street and develop
need to demand that information is being sent" to the bureau's
headquarters in Washington, he continued, adding: "You are
the leaders of the F.B.I. You cannot fail at this mission. Too
many people are depending on us...."
their complaints, senior bureau officials have said they are unhappy
that some field offices are not moving aggressively enough to
use secret terrorism warrants, are not developing enough intelligence
sources to penetrate possible terrorist cells and are not loading
all the terrorism-related information they receive into the F.B.I.'s
central computer system.
said that senior bureau leaders in recent weeks have directed
field supervisors to demand weekly written briefings from their
counter-terrorism squads, ask more questions about investigations
and push for greater use of warrants and surveillance against
New York Times is unwilling or incapable of interpreting Gebhardt's
memo, but every agent in the field understands perfectly what is
demanded: names for the computers. Not the names of "sleeper"
terrorists, who by definition cannot be identified. Not the names
of criminals and fugitives, the people the existing system is designed
to track. And only a fool could believe that, with all the flack
the FBI has gotten over its pre-September 11 failures, field agents
are slacking in their pursuit of persons who have even the remotest
reason for being on watch lists for actual bombers, skyjackers and
poisoners of water. That's not what the computers in Washington
FBI is focused on "preventing attacks," says the NYT article.
In the bureau's lexicon, "preventative measures" is a
euphemism for surveillance of persons and infiltration of groups
that have committed no crime for which they can be arrested. There
can be but one result that satisfies headquarters' demand: more
names and thicker dossiers. And there is only one way for the agents
in the field to produce these items in sufficient quantity; the
"anti-terror squads" must revert to their roles as Red
Squads, Black Militant Squads and Agitator Squads - under new nomenclature,
should have been expected since the morning the Twin Towers fell,
a reflexive reaction by an agency molded from its beginnings as
a political police force. However, the sheer size of the net being
cast - to include blond, Catholic, Wisconsin schoolgirls attempting
to board a flight to Washington to lobby their congressman against
the U.S. war in Colombia - indicates that the "usual suspects,"
the historical targets of repression, will have unaccustomed, white
middle class company.
Bush regime, it is becoming apparent, is as serious about smashing
domestic opposition to its agenda as it is about Saddam Hussein.
As Bush told Bob Woodward, "I will seize the opportunity to
achieve big goals."
is the FBI's open portal to the African American community at large.
The Nation of Islam has a long history of relationships with Middle
Eastern and Arab nations, and non-NOI African American Muslims often
worship with foreign co-religionists. FBI mumbo-jumbo can fill in
the rest of the justifications for the most intensive, general surveillance
of Black American Muslims and their associates. Since these Muslims
are indigenous, comprising probably 5 percent of African American
citizens, their relatives and "associates" include virtually
the entire Black population.
criminal John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness project,
under construction in the bowels of the Pentagon with the capability
to keep track of an individual's every electronic move, is not designed
to screen the behavior of 285 million Americans. Too much data,
few practical uses. But tens or a few hundreds of thousands of politically
marked targets - that's a potentially doable mission. The logic
of world events and the zeal of the Bush men will create the domestic
emergency long before Poindexter's machine is ready but, by its
very existence, the project telegraphs the regime's intentions.
how Poindexter's Information Awareness Office describes his project:
TIA program objective is to create a counter-terrorism information
system that: (1) increases information coverage by an order of
magnitude, and affords easy future scaling; (2) provides focused
warnings within an hour after a triggering event occurs or an
evidence threshold is passed; (3) can automatically queue analysts
based on partial pattern matches and has patterns that cover 90%
of all previously known foreign terrorist attacks; and, (4) supports
collaboration, analytical reasoning and information sharing so
that analysts can hypothesize, test and propose theories and mitigating
strategies about possible futures, so decision-makers can effectively
evaluate the impact of current or future policies and prospective
courses of action.
translation: Round up the people in categories X and Y.
it appears that we are painting a picture of inevitable, massive
detentions and restrictions of American citizens, it is because
the daily sweep of administration activity points in that direction.
There will be serious if not catastrophic terror attacks
on U.S. soil - Bush's foreign policy guarantees it. When the attacks
come, the regime in Washington will declare some kind of
state of emergency; only the particulars are unknown, probably to
the Bush men, themselves. And they are not compiling lists
of public activists and left-leaners, in urgent and sloppy haste,
just for the fun of it.
will be taken against the names on the lists of those designated
as domestic threats. An action plan will inexorably shape itself
around the database. That's how bureaucracies of repression work.
Discreet categories of threat require specific measures of response.
It will take a while for the various agencies to work out the details.
There can be no doubt, however, that the people closest to George
Bush are impatient to move the task along.
is no precedent for the things in store in the days ahead: not McCarthyism,
notCointelpro, not a combination of the two. Technology plus the
new, corporate-style methods of a ruthless, social monopoly-minded,
mass media manipulating, coldly corrupt and absolutely cynical politic
class has created and is feeding upon an environment of permanent
crisis. These men have plans to reorganize American society and
the world, they know they will be opposed by larger and deeper sectors
of the population over time, and they are preparing to act decisively
against the opposition. First, they take names.
but a mass movement, comprised of many "targets," can
stop the machine that is clanking rather noisily into place. However,
the machinery, itself, may become the engine of mass mobilization.
The Bush men, supremely arrogant and flush with power, are making
a mistake in advertising their intentions against the persons of
white lawyers and other left-liberals. Bush and Cheney forget the
duality of American society; some people can be abused with impunity;
others, connected to significant sectors of opinion and resources
by profession, family wealth and background and, most importantly,
by race - cannot be so cavalierly stripped of their citizenship
duality of American life and death
4 marks the 33rd anniversary of the assassination of Black Panthers
Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, set up for execution in Chicago by
an FBI contract agent. Hampton was barely 21 years old, a brilliant,
one-time pre-law student and Youth Leader of the West Suburban (Chicago)
branch of the NAACP, where he organized 500 members. Hampton then
founded the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party and rose
swiftly to national prominence. Police riddled Hampton's body with
bullets while he lay helpless, drugged by the FBI's employee.
people who haul white lawyers and Catholic nuns off of airplanes
will kill a Black activist in his bed the very same night. This
is what passes for equivalence in a racist society.
folks are being put on some serious lists. Under the perverse duality
of America, that means the canaries are already dying.
"Grounded" article (premium)
ACLU No Fly List Complaint Form.
Information Awareness site
Hampton, The Talking Drum site
Hampton, Biography Resource Center site