Wednesday, January 11, 2006

"A Dream Under Scrutiny: Patriot Act snafu revists FBI's MLK vendetta" (Bud Johnson)

"The extent to which Government officials outside of the FBI must bear responsibility for the FBI's campaign to discredit Dr. King is not clear. Government officials outside of the FBI were not aware of most of the specific FBI actions to discredit Dr. King. Officials in the Justice Department and White House were aware, however, that the FBI was conducting an intelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation, of Dr. King; that the FBI had written authorization from the Attorney General to wiretap Dr. King and the SCLC offices in New York and Washington; and that the FBI reports on Dr. King contained considerable information of a political and personal nature which was 'irrelevant and spurious' to the stated reasons for the investigation."
The foregoing excerpt from the April 23, 1976 Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans is a grim reminder that the 18th century philosopher George Santayana was prophetic when he surmised in his Life of Reason, "Those who cannot remember their history is condemned to repeat mistakes they made." Even so, it's ironic that America is embroiled in a constitutional rights controversy as we prepare to celebrate the birthday of the man that exposed the underbelly of the nation's covert operations. Surely, J. Edgar Hoover, the despicable czar of the FBI, who certainly wasn't without sin himself, epitomizes everything that is wrong with the Patriot Act. Ergo, African-American News & Issues has cause to pause and ponder whether, or not, Pres. George W. Bush reads Black History.

The above is Bud Johnson's "A Dream Under Scrutiny: Patriot Act snafu revists FBI's MLK vendetta" (from African-American News & Issues). This community has the best (and most modest) members. Billie found the above and wondered if it was a good way to continue noting MLK in the lead up to the 16th?

I think it's a wonderful way. MLK lessons and life have many applications for today and Johnson found a way to put the NSA into perspective -- a way that many in the mainstream media want to avoid. Which is why they toss out "Church Committee" and move quickly on.

People need the details. They need to know what happened before. (Check out the quote Johnson utilizes which makes the argument as well. Great commentary by Johnson.)

Billie reports that African-American News & Issues (and that's how she says the title should read) is a weekly newspaper in Texas that proclaims on the front page "TEXAS' Widest Circulated and Read Newspaper with a Black Perspective." Did you know about it? Members outside of Texas, did you know about it?

If not, Billie found a strong highlight and added to our knowledge of what's out there.

The roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin just wrapped up and I'm honestly sapped for the night. A number of you have noted in e-mails that the Senate Democrats finally came to life today. Let's hope it wasn't a one day thing.

On the topic of government spying, Trevor noted Kevin Zeese's "NSA Spied on Baltimore Peace Group" (CounterPunch):

KZ: Do you have any indications that the federal government has been monitoring the meetings and other activities of the Pledge?
MA: During a trial for arrests at NSA on October 4, 2003, an internal NSA email was given to the defendants from the Pledge by an NSA witness. The email showed that the NSA had been physically spying on the Pledge as it prepared to depart on July 3, 2004 (the trial for the 10/04/03 arrest was in 8/04) from the American Friends Service Committee on York Rd. in Baltimore to the NSA. The email is time chronological and details the Pledge's activities as it assembled in the parking lot of the AFSC, number of people, who is going in which vehicles, what vehicles were being used, their make and license plate numbers, what signs we were carrying, the helium tanks (for balloons) we were bringing and also recognizes and names Max Obuszewski as one of the protesters. The email then details, with specific times, our progress on the road from Baltimore to the NSA. It goes on to describe our demonstration and subsequent arrests. The email begins at 9:40am, prior to our arrival at the NSA at around 12 noon, and proceeds through the day.
We were also given during the same trial, an "NSA Police Action Plan" to "effectively respond to the threat of a demonstration hosted by a group known as Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore on October 4, 2003. It goes on in GREAT detail to outline the NSA response to the protest. It mentions counter-surveillance by the NSA during the demo, obviously different from being spying upon at the AFSC in Baltimore.
The Pledge believes the NSA must be spying on us from the federal post office right across a small street from the AFSC. It's the only place that gives them enough of a view to see our cars/license plate numbers. They are, no doubt, using sophisticated equipment to do so. It's entirely possible this spying occurs via satellite or some other such instrument. But spying on us they are.
Also--during the March 20, 2003 demonstration in downtown Baltimore, a provocateur (whom we had identified at our planning meeting the previous night) joined us. We'd never seen him before. He was obviously talking, meeting really, with the police across the street and then later during the die-in at the federal courthouse, taunting the police in a violent manner. We had to quiet him down, he then disappeared and we never saw him again--and, of course, he wasn't arrested with the other 49 of us.

[More information about the Iraq Pledge of Resistance can be found at]

Also check Betty's site tonight or tomorrow. She's got a new chapter ready to go.

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