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Why Are the FBI and Attorney General Mukasey in Cahoots with Barney Fife?

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Earlier this week, while America’s attention was fixated on the Olympics, John Edwards’ love child, and the Georgia-Russia war (necessarily in that order) this tidbit quietly slipped into the headlines: FBI to get freer rein to look for terrorism suspects. Herein, Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that the FBI and the Department of Justice have formed a brand new front in the war on homegrown terror. Working with the existing Joint Terrorism Task Force, this new effort will borrow what little is left of our constitutional rights, and hand them to the care of, say, your local Barney Fife.

Reading the above-mentioned article, it takes a little doing to get to the facts, because — if there’s one thing this administration does well, it’s cloaking outrageous truths in the most innocuous language possible. It takes either a skilled translator or a patient researcher to glean facts from the language of this administration — seeded as it is with vague euphemisms and benign jargon.

Here is one example, pertinent to the article. The word ‘agent’ was repeatedly used, in reference to those specific individuals, who will be empowered with violating our constitutional rights, while tracking terrorists. While the term ‘agent’ is nothing new, the word drew our attention after its ninth mention in the article. Just to be sure, we decided to check on the official meaning of the word, ‘agent’ with specific regard to our government’s work in tracking terrorists.

The answers can be found in White House press releases from 2001-2008, along with various documents from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Department of Justice. As it turns out, until 2005, the word ‘agent’ referred to only federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials. Beginning in 2005, however, the language morphed to federal, state, local, tribal and private sector officials. Just to be sure, we decided to check on the official meaning of the term, ‘private sector.’

Are You a Terrorist? Only Your Hairdresser Knows for Sure

Turns out, a ‘private sector’ agent can be most anyone. All that’s needed is a keen eye for spotting terrorists and the opportunity to spot them. Is your neighbor a computer specialist? A department store security guard? A meter maid? A city sanitation worker? A private eye? A sheriff’s deputy? A dog catcher? A beautician? An unemployed mama’s boy? An ex-con? A murderer? He or she may have a keen eye for spotting terrorists.

Or maybe you, yourself, have a keen eye for spotting terrorists. If so, the FBI will pay you royally to work as an informant. How about your co-worker? Your ex-spouse? Your ex-spouse’s lover? Any of these people have a grudge against you? They could become a paid informant. What about your meter reader, the cable guy, the garbage man, the clerk at city hall? Have any neo-Nazi friends? Know anyone who needs a few extra bucks? If so, they can become a paid informant and finger you to a keen-eyed official, who has the authority to deem you a terrorist suspect, then launch an investigation — tapping your phone, monitoring your computer and cable TV habits, and physically spying on you. You may even get to be the focus of a real live sting operation! Naturally, there are many in this country who wouldn’t feel the least bit threatened to investigated as a terrorist suspect, because they know they’re not terrorists and, besides, as President Bush often reminds us, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Are You Sure You’re Not a Terrorist?

So you think the FBI could never accuse you of being a terrorist? Before taking that leap of faith, it’d be good — just to be sure — to make sure you know the offical definition of a ‘terrorist suspect.’ (<—- our apologies for the source, but this was the clearest copy we could find on the fly).

You May Be A Terrorist, and Not Even Know It

The reality is, just because *you* know that you’re not a terrorist suspect, doesn’t mean that *they* will also know. For instance, if you write a letter-to-the-editor speaking out against cruelty to animals, or in defense of free speech or environmental issues, or if you are a vegan, or a peace activist, or a protester, or have a bumper sticker related to any of these issues, the FBI (via local law enforcement or a tip from a keen informant) may deem you a domestic or homegrown terrorist. Alternately, your name (and the names of your friends & associates) may be entered into the FBI’s terrorist database. Do you wear certain ethnic clothing, or associate with certain ethnicities, or are you a black activist, or do you resemble one, or are you a Muslim, or do you resemble a Muslim? You may be a terrorist suspect.

 

 

Do you have fingerprints? You may be a terrorist suspect.

And what if you’re some (or none) of the above, yet get stopped for a speeding ticket by the local Barney Fife….? Are you wearing bulky clothing? Did you forget your driver’s license? Are you alone and nervous? You may be a terrorist suspect.


Of course, the Bush Administration has been using these tactics for years now. But as the FBI, the CIA and Department of Justice reach further into our lives, who’s to say any one of us couldn’t be shoe-horned into their profile? We, here at the canarypapers, are free-thinkers. We disagree with nearly everything. We especially disagree with everything the Bush Administration has ever done. So I guess you could say we’re defenders of the Constitution. We certainly make enough references to it in our rantings on the Bush-Cheney regime. We’re vegans too, which is another strike against us but, fortunately, we’re too anti-social (woops) to attend vegan potluck dinners. Of course Zeus — darn him to heck — insists on using his nickname, which is another strike against him and, by association, me.

We’d like to think that justice would prevail if our viewpoints were ever used as evidence to accuse us of heinous crimes we didn’t commit. Better still, we’d like to think we live in a country where something like this could never happen. But the truth is, justice doesn’t always prevail.

“If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower
 
 
 
 

 

The power to arbitrarily brand people as terrorist suspects is serious business. It becomes dangerous business when placed in the hands of the wrong person, even if that person happens to be the Attorney General of the United States. This sort of power belongs in corrupt dictatorships, not democratic societies.

This would be a good time to call and/or write your state representatives and any other member of Congress inclined to respond to such issues. Protest this dangerous intrusion into our constitutional rights. Tell your representative you are AGAINST implementing Attorney General Mukasey’s 5 new guidlines to transform the FBI/Department of Justice anti-terrorism unit into an elite national security organization, as announced on August 13th.

Tell ’em Checkpoint Chickie sent you.

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The White House Propaganda Machine: When the Truth Just Won’t Do

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A well-oiled contrivance, the White House propaganda machine is running at full pitch these days. And, although the evidence is right under our noses, much like a gas leak, most of us don’t smell it. Here, we will describe the key notes to that smell, so that you will learn to detect — from a 10-foot pace — the distinct odor of fat, stinking elephants in the middle of the room.

In Jeff Huber’s excellent April 2008 post, titled, “When Did Iran Start Beating Its Wife Again?” he describes the White House propaganda machine’s ongoing work to prime the U.S. and the international community for war in Iran. As evidence, he cites an April 2008 article in the New York Times, titled, “Questions Linger Over Scope Of Iran’s Role in Iraq Fighting,” which turns out to be a virtual schoolroom for those interested in seeing how the propaganda machine works.

As any good propagandist could tell you, there are three steps to effective propaganda. The 1st step is the easiest: make the stuff up. The 2nd step is to officiate the lies, which goes hand-in-hand with the 3rd step: disseminating the lies. In Huber’s post, he shows us how the above-mentioned NYT article neatly accomplished the 2nd and 3rd steps, as Huber counts no less than 30 references to phantom “official” sources, whose quotes serve to officiate the Bush-Cheney propaganda line on Iran. Most readers of the NYT article would simply skim past the following words, unawares that they’d just been fed a cookie:

Officials say…intelligence and administration officials said…American officials have publicly portrayed…military, intelligence and administration officials showed…officials said…some officials said…a senior official familiar with the intelligence about Iran said in an interview…officials said…top American officials in Iraq have portrayed…none of the officials interviewed disputed…officials said…the officials offered an assessment…statements by Mr. Bush and other officials…officials declined to detail publicly…one of the officials said…according to two senior administration officials…those and other officials said…A senior administration official described…the officials said…the officials said…the officials said…a senior official said…the officials said…the official said…the officials said…a senior official familiar with the intelligence reports on Iran said in an interview…according to other officials…the officials said…officials said…according to a senior American official…

As you read the “facts,” as quoted by these phantom, un-named sources, you may notice that these “facts” bear an eerily resemblance to the “facts” reported by the media during the 2001-2003 lead-up to the war in Iraq. As we learned with Iraq, swaying world opinion is an easy job: just take a handful of lies and repeatedly throw them into the news until the lies become accepted fact. With respect to Iran, just as in Iraq, our government wants us to perceive Iran as an evil, freedom-hating, terrorist empire, actively manufacturing WMDs, specifically nuclear bombs to kill Americans and Israelis, and also working hand-in-hand with Al Queda terrorist cells, crossing the border into Iraq to train and arm Iraqis to kill Americans.

Ideally, by the time the U.S. bombs Iran (in case you haven’t been paying attention, the U.S. is already perched to go to war with Iran — another war for oil, being waged under the false flags of WMDs/terrorism) Bush-Cheney would like the world community — the U.S. citizenry and Congress in particular — to resemble, in spirit, the angry, rampaging villagers in Frankenstein, wielding torches and pitchforks, demanding death to the monster. To that end, our government hires professionals to disseminate propaganda to the American citizens. Your tax dollars pay for our government to, “manufacture and disseminate intelligence leaks to influence the media and the public to support the administration’s policies.”
This is nothing new. What is new, however, is the extent to which the U.S. corporate media uses government propaganda as their primary news source. This has been a growing influence over the past 25 years, as one corporate arm has grown to encompass another and another — the lines becoming increasingly blurred as the media is owned by corporate conglomerates — most of them with ties to military and defense — who almost entirely fund the campaigns of our lawmakers, and whose lobbyists are appointed to government positions and vice-versa — bringing us to our current state, where the distinctions between the independent media, corporate PR and government propaganda no longer exists.

Few in the U.S. realize just how well-organized the White House/Pentagon propaganda machine has become. Here, we offer a quick-sketch chronology of the propaganda agencies utilized by our government over the past 25 years:

  • OPD (National Security Council’s Office of Public Diplomacy) 1983-1986 Started under Ronald Reagan in 1983 and headed by Otto Reich ,whose job was to covertly disseminate intelligence leaks to journalists, to trump up a Nicaraguan “threat,” and to sanctify the U.S.-backed Contra guerrillas fighting Nicaragua’s government as “freedom fighters.” The propaganda was aimed at influencing Congress to continue to fund the Contras. A few of Otto Reich’s planted “leaks” that were later revealed as lies: (1) Nicaragua had acquired chemical weapons from the Soviets, (2) high-level Sandinistas were involved in drug trafficking, (3) the leak that served to discredit and intimidate those in the U.S. media who weren’t following the Reagan war script, that U.S. reporters were receiving sexual favors from Sandinista-provided prostitutes in return for favorable coverage, and (4) the timely leak, on the eve of Reagan’s re-election, that Soviet MiG fighter jets were arriving in Nicaragua. The OPD was declared illegal on September 30, 1987, after an investigation by the Comptroller General, who found that the OPD engaged in “prohibited, covert propaganda activities, beyond the range of acceptable agency public information activities,” and that the OPD also violated “a restriction on the State Department’s annual appropriations prohibiting the use of federal funds for publicity or propaganda purposes not authorized by Congress.” The declassified records of the OPD and Otto Reich are available here, at the National Security Archives website.
  • U.S. Army’s 4th PSYOPS Group at CNN (The U.S. Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg) 1999. Ordinarily, our government only conducts psychological operations in foreign countries, and not in the U.S., where — in theory, anyway — we turn to the media for an independent voice of truth. So you can imagine the surprise of some when, beginning during the last days of the Kosovo War in 1999, the Army’s 4th PSYOPS began working within the news division at CNN, as part of CNN’s ‘Training With Industry’ program. The details on this are sketchy, but it appears that public scrutiny and controversy put an end to the PSYOPS work at CNN several weeks after it started. (As an aside: The 1300-member 4th PSYOPS Group is one of many government PSYOPS groups that works to disseminate U.S. government propaganda. Integral to the U.S. war machine, their work is ongoing. Composed of soldiers and officers, the PSYOPS‘ duties include disseminating “selected information” to “influence media and public opinion in armed conflicts in which American state interests are said to be at stake.” The 4th PSYOPS served various purposes in the 1980s-90s. In the 1980s, they broadcast radio and television programs into Nicaragua, which were intended to undermine the Sandinista government. They were also variously used in the 1980s-90s in the first Gulf War, the Bosnian War and Kosovo War and in efforts to encourage public support for American “peacekeeping missions in the Balkans.)
  • OSI (Office of Strategic Influence) 2001-2002. Started after September 11th, 2001 and headed by Air Force Brig. Gen Robert Worden to “to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries.” Due to public criticism, the Pentagon was forced to officially “close” the OSI in February 2002, although the closing was in name only. The program, itself, lived on, as Donald Rumsfeld announced in a November 2002 media briefing: “And then there was the Office of Strategic Influence. You may recall that. And ‘oh my goodness gracious isn’t that terrible, Henny Penny the sky is going to fall.’ I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I’ll give you the corpse. There’s the name. You can have the name, but I’m gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have.”
  • IAO (Information Awareness Office). Started in 2002 and assumed to be ongoing. Working under the auspices of DARPA (and perhaps as an umbrella to the White House Iraq Group, AKA the White House Information Group or WHIG and the Iranian Directorate, AKA the Directorate for Iran and the Office of Special Plans — and gawdknowswhatotheroffices of propaganda) the IAO may or may not be the successor to the OSI. The Information Awareness Office works to: “imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate, and transition information technologies, components, and prototype closed-loop information systems that will counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness that is useful for preemption, national security warning, and national security decision making.” Reading this job description, it’s difficult to comprehend just what they do. I don’t imagine they’d have it any other way.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain in Emerald City (Dick Cheney) Somewhere along the way, our administration figured out a more efficient way to disseminate propaganda: straight from the elephant’s mouth. Here’s how it works: Cheney delivers his talking points to an assembly of Pentagon allegiates and corporate heads, who are given officious-sounding titles for the occasion, such as “military expert,” and “military analyst” and “White House Official.” These corporate heads are primarily defense & military contractors, lobbyists, senior corporate executives and board members — many of whom are former military officers, all of whom are already being paid obscene salaries by our government to staff our mercenary armies throughout the world. Once Cheney has delivered his talking points, these “experts,” “analysts” and “officials” they then either report straight to the media, or they conduct whatever “investigations” are necessary to support the talking points. Then they commence to disseminating.

With all of the above in mind, here are a few rules of thumb to follow when trying to discern propaganda from fact:

  1. Credibility. As a rule, when our government wages serious accusations against other countries and individuals (e.g. “They’re making weapons of mass destruction to kill Americans” or “They are freedom-hating terrorists” or “They are a safe-haven for al Queda”) the sources for these quotes should be accountable for what they’re accusing. It is realistic for American citizens to expect legitimate sources for these accusations. It’s called transparency, and allows the rest of us in the world to decide whether the quoted military and White House officials are speaking from a true place of authority, or if we are simply being fed cookies by phantom corporate heads, with conflicts of interest, who are merely echoing our government’s talking points. By the same token, when you hear that evidence exists to support these accusations, you should expect tangible proof of this evidence. While there are exceptions to this rule, these should be rare and only rarely accepted and, even then, only from governments who have proven they own the integrity to be entrusted with such a rare exception.
  2. Gag Orders. Anytime you see a government silencing its citizens, whether through censorship or intimidation, it’s a red flag. This administration has not been favorable to those who dissent their policies, or ask questions, or speak outside of the Bush-Cheney script. To this end, they paint those who protest their policies with the same paint brush they use on rogue terrorists (AKA: peace activist = terrorist appeaser; skeptic citizen who doesn’t believe the Bush-Cheney talking points = conspiracy theorist; Congressman voting against Bush-Cheney agenda = weak on terrorism). When you see this happening, take a whiff. Somewhere in the room is a big, fat stinking elephant.
  3. History. With specific regard to the Bush-Cheney Administration, whenever you hear them accusing citizens or politicians in any country (including our own country) as being terrorists, terrorists-appeasers, or safe-havens for terrorist, check the facts. You are guaranteed to find oil in the equation. The country in question will either have vast oil reserves, or will be strategic to transporting the oil. Anyone who impedes the Bush-Cheney mandate for controlling the oil in that region — be that obstacle a member of the U.S. Congress, or one of our allies, or an international humanitarian group, or the media, or an ordinary citizen — that obstacle will be painted, alike, with the same terrorist paint brush. Check your facts. Look for oil. Don’t believe everything you read.

Bush-Cheney would like us to believe that all versions of the news, except theirs, are the ramblings of left-wing conspiracy nuts. While it’s true that some of the alternative news sites propose far-out theories, none are so outrageous or dangerous as the lies being fed to us by the Bush-Cheney Administration. And I can hardly fault those individuals who have wandered too far, when exploring the myriad webs of deceit spun by Bush-Cheney. These instances are the exception. Most versions of the news that are painted as “conspiracy theories” by Bush-Cheney are actually factual.

Here at the Canary Papers, we are careful to research all of our facts, and aspire to offer credible references, via links within our posts, for nearly everything we write. This site also offers a variety of links to international, alternative and independent media sources, where you can often find more factual accounts of the news. Feel free to send us other links. We’ll post them. And if you have a question, feel free to ask. We promise not to call you a terrorist and will do our level best to point you toward some answers.

p.s. Be sure to check out the 2 videos at the bottom of this page, from the 2006 film, “American Blackout.” The first video, below, is a 6-minute clip. The second video is the full-length, 89-minute version. An artfully produced film, “American Blackout” is primarily a challenge to Americans to refuse allowing the 2008 election be a repeat of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. The star in this effort is former U.S. Rep., Cynthia McKinney — a rare politician who doesn’t follow the standard script for Washington politicians. An outspoken, straightforward and passionate leader, McKinney is devoted to fighting the corruption and propaganda that both influence and define American politics today. The film documents some of her work to restore truth to the American political process — from her demands for an independent investigation of 9-11, through her battles against voter fraud and voter disenfranchisement in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. She has paid dearly for her efforts. Yet, like David to Goliath, she fights on. America could use more politicians like Cynthia McKinney.