HOW THE FBI INVADED MY PRIVACY WHEN I WAS ONLY 10 YEARS OLD

A survivor of the Cold War

"Are you now, have you ever been .." Image by Richard Correll

“Are you now, have you ever been ..”
Image by Richard Correll

As I get older I find my mind wandering back to events of the past. I look at this as my brain finding ways to keep me young, at least that’s what I tell myself.

Looking back to 1954 has reminded me of my very first personal encounter with the FBI .First, a bit of a background …… to this day I find the incident rather amusing.

First, a bit of a background

I grew up in a Working Class Jewish community in Brooklyn called Brighton Beach. It was known as a ‘hotbed of Communism’ in those days and was often referred to as “Moscow By The Sea” (strangely enough it is referred to today as “Odessa By The Sea” because of the multitude of immigrants living there from the Former Soviet Union. It is now ‘the hotbed of the Russian Mafia’)

But, back to 1954 …

Those were the  days when the Social Networks had it’s emphasis on “Social”. People actually inter reacted with people, not via electronic devices but face to face. We knew who our neighbours were and we knew almost everything about them without having to rely on FaceBook or Twitter.

After school activities did not involve sitting home and watching TV or texting our friends on mobile phones, they involved continuing our education after school hours. Many of my contemporaries went to Hebrew lessons at the local temples or synagogues. As zionism was completely alien to my family I was sent to a Yiddish language school.

And that’s where it happened ….

On the wall of our classroom, two framed photos were hanging ….

One was of the Yiddish writer Shalom Aleichem

shalom-aleichem

The other was yet another Yiddish writer I.L. Peretz

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One afternoon two FBI agents entered our classroom and arrested the teacher. Someone had apparently ‘reported us’ for teaching Communism, proof being that one of the photos resembled Lenin, and the other Stalin.

In those days, just pointing your finger in accusation was enough ….

Just a year earlier the switch was pulled executing Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Communism was something to fear, and Jews were to be watched carefully to prevent its spread.

Much like Muslims are treated today in the USA …. strange, eh?

Just another example of not learning the lessons of history and repeating it.

But, just as I ‘Survived’ those ugly, dark days of the Cold War, so will the victims of today.

FBI EXPANDS ITS SCOPE TO ISRAEL

Finally!! Even the FBI woke up to the fact that Israel is a criminal state!

fbi in israel

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In the last 24 hours, an FBI representative landed in Israel together with recordings, documents, copies of emails, and other materials that allegedly confirm the claims of Rabbi Pinto in regards to his link to the senior police officers.

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FBI probe uncovers suspected graft at Israel’s top levels

Gag order lifted: FBI wiretap exposed suspected misconduct by senior policemen, politicians; FBI had bugged Rabbi Pinto as part of investigation into GOP congressman.

Aviel Magnezi

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Israel Police is investigating senior officers on suspicion of accepting bribes from an influential Israeli rabbi, in a scandal involving the police, a former cabinet minister and even the FBI. The details of the investigation were released Thursday, after a sweeping gag order on the affair was lifted.

The case includes claims that the wife of Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto handed a suitcase containing hundreds of thousands of shekels to the wife of senior Israel Police Brigadier General Ephraim Bracha, in return for information regarding an investigation into an association with which Pinto was involved.

Pinto is one of Israel’s most influential rabbis, acting as a spiritual adviser to numerous politicians and tycoons, and heads many education and welfare organizations.

Bracha, then head of investigations and currently the head of the national unit for fraud investigation, informed his superiors of the delivery over of the suitcase, noting that it was a bribe. The rabbi, however, insisted that he was only supporting Bracha, who had been in need of help.

Bracha’s complaint prompted police to summon Pinto and draft an indictment, but proceedings were suspended due to new information.

In Wednesday’s issue of a newsletter the rabbi releases periodically to his supporters, he wrote: “I will reveal my emotions before you. Dear brothers, this dark time forced upon us haunts us without us having committed any crime, and only due to narrow-minded and cruel considerations of those who use scare tactics.”

The only senior police officer whose name is actually mentioned in a statement issued by the Justice Ministry regarding the investigation is Commander Menashe Arviv.

The Israel Police department of internal affairs stated that, “a probe was recently launched regarding officer Menashe Arviv, following information handed several weeks ago to the attorney general and the state prosecutor, attributing bribery felonies to sources affiliated with Rabbi Pinto. At this stage, Arviv has yet to be questioned.”

The Justice Ministry also stressed that, “in investigating Rabbi Pinto, there is no basis for suspicion of criminal misconduct by Ephraim Bracha, and that remains to be true.”

After meeting with Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, Arviv also denied any wrongdoing, claiming that he is being unjustly accused.

“This is a false accusation and damaging to my reputation,” Arviv said. “I believe that the investigation will be carried out quickly and effectively, and that at its conclusion my good name will be restored.”

Following the publication of the investigation, Arviv decided to suspend himself until conclusion of legal proceedings. Danino himself has called for caution in condemning Arviv.

“It would be wise to let the authorities do their utmost before sentencing a man,” the police chief said. “As we have proven in the past, the police do not compromise on values and principles, but we must keep in mind that this is an early stage of the investigation, and the police officer is entitled to the presumption of innocence.”

Some of the new information that changed the nature of the probe suggested that Arviv had received bribes from Pinto when the former was working in the US. Arviv denied the allegations, insisting that none of the actions attributed to him had taken place, and that it was “the gossip of narrow-minded individuals.”

FBI investigation

The affair came to light due to an FBI wiretap agreed to by Pinto as part of a settlement with the bureau, after a blackmail complaint filed by Pinto forced the rabbi to testify against Michael Grimm, a New York Republican Congressman and a former FBI agent.

Grimm was under investigation by the FBI for illegal donations to his 2010 election campaign. Some of the donations reportedly came from sources affiliated with Rabbi Pinto.

Pinto’s agreement with the FBI required the rabbi’s phone to be wiretapped, and for him to divulge any information regarding financial transactions associated with his Hazon Yeshaya non-profit organization.

Pinto says the FBI was informed of the suitcase with money that was given to Bracha, as part of the bureau’s surveillance. Further investigation apparently yielded information regarding other senior Israeli police officers who had visited the rabbi and received benefits from him.

According to Pinto’s associates, one of the FBI’s recordings has led to a religious figure closely affiliated to several police officials, who had approached Pinto himself, offering to “dissolve” the investigation against him in exchange for money.

In the last 24 hours, an FBI representative landed in Israel together with recordings, documents, copies of emails, and other materials that allegedly confirm the claims of Rabbi Pinto in regards to his link to the senior police officers.

However, it appears that the FBI is furious with the Israeli police, insisting there are officers who compromised the investigation against Grimm by tarnishing Pinto. It is at this stage that a former senior Israeli cabinet minister becomes involved, who Pinto claims was one of those who asked the rabbi to “lay off” his testimony against Grimm. It is unclear to what extent the investigators will focus on this claim, but sources familiar with Pinto’s businesses dealings have stated in the past that, “If this can of worms is opened, many Israeli officials will be embarrassed by the results.”

The entire sequence of events has been under a gag order in recent weeks, which was lifted by Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning upon the request of Ynet and other media outlets. On Wednesday, it was announced that the case is to be discussed by a Knesset subcommittee that oversees the Israel Police. Senior police officers are expected to be summoned, including, according to reports, Danino himself.

The Israel Police issued a statement Wednesday urging media to avoid from insinuating that police officials had been involved any criminal misconduct, warning “vague publications maneuvering the limitation of gag orders produce unrealistic generalizations.” 

“The Israeli police comprises some 30,000 policemen and women who are devoted, determined and loyal in serving the public.

“Israel Police would like to clarify to the public that no specific incident, as we have proven in the past, can tarnish an entire organization… It would be best if authorities could issue statements when the time comes, and avoid unnecessary rumor-mongering.”

Source

OBAMA PICKS A COMMIE TO HEAD THE FBI

It’s finally happened, we have come full circle, after chasing commies for so many years they finally found one and appointed him to head the agency. 😉
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Former Bush Official Said to Be Obama Pick to Lead F.B.I.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

James B. Comey, who was deputy attorney general at the time, testifying in 2005 on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
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WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to nominate James B. Comey, a former hedge fund executive who served as a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to replace Robert S. Mueller III as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to two people with knowledge of the selection.

By choosing Mr. Comey, a Republican, Mr. Obama made a strong statement about bipartisanship at a time when he faces renewed criticism from Republicans in Congress and has had difficulty winning confirmation of some important nominees. At the same time, Mr. Comey’s role in one of the most dramatic episodes of the Bush administration — in which he refused to acquiesce to White House aides and reauthorize a program for eavesdropping without warrants when he was serving as acting attorney general — should make him an acceptable choice to Democrats.

It is not clear when Mr. Obama will announce the nomination. Senior F.B.I. officials have been concerned that if the president does not name a new director by the beginning of June, it will be difficult to get the nominee confirmed by the beginning of September, when Mr. Mueller by law must leave his post.

The White House declined to discuss Mr. Comey on Wednesday. But according to the two people briefed on the selection, Mr. Comey traveled from his home in Connecticut in early May to meet with the president at the White House to discuss the job. Shortly afterward, he was told that he was Mr. Obama’s choice, and they met again for a further discussion.

Mr. Comey, 52, was chosen for the position over the other finalist, Lisa O. Monaco, who has served as the White House’s top counterterrorism adviser since January. Some Democrats had feared that if the president nominated Ms. Monaco — who oversaw national security issues at the Justice Department during the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, last September — Republicans would use the confirmation process as a forum for criticism of the administration’s handling of the attack.

In the 2004 episode that defined Mr. Comey’s time in the Bush administration, the White House counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, and Mr. Bush’s chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., sought to persuade Attorney General John Ashcroft — who was hospitalized and disoriented — to reauthorize the administration’s controversial eavesdropping program.

Mr. Comey, who was serving as the acting attorney general and had been tipped off that Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card were trying to go around him, rushed to Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital room to thwart them. With Mr. Comey as well as Mr. Mueller in the room, Mr. Ashcroft refused to reauthorize the program. Mr. Bush later agreed to make changes in the program, and Mr. Comey was widely praised for putting the law over politics.

According to testimony Mr. Comey provided to Congress in 2007, Mr. Ashcroft rose weakly from his hospital bed when Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card approached and refused to approve the program.

“I was angry,” Mr. Comey said in his testimony. “I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me. I thought he had conducted himself in a way that demonstrated a strength I had never seen before, but still I thought it was improper.”

Mr. Comey, whose nomination was first reported by NPR, will inherit a bureau that is far different from the one Mr. Mueller took over a week before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In the aftermath of those attacks, Mr. Mueller undertook the task of remaking the bureau into an intelligence and counterterrorism agency from one that had concentrated on white-collar crime and drugs. The number of agents has grown to roughly 14,000 from 11,500 under Mr. Mueller, and the bureau has heavily invested in its facilities and capabilities, improving its computer systems, forensics analysis and intelligence sharing.

But the bombings at the Boston Marathon have raised questions about Mr. Mueller’s legacy, as well as the effectiveness of the bureau’s counterterrorism efforts. While the F.B.I. has been praised for helping to catch one of the bombing suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Congressional Republicans have raised questions about whether the bureau missed a chance to avert the attack. In 2011, it closed a file it had opened on the other suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shootout with the police.

In the year to come, Mr. Comey, who teaches at Columbia Law School after having served as general counsel for the large Connecticut hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, will be confronted by the bureau’s budgetary shortfalls, created by across-the-board cuts. He will also be forced to expand his knowledge of cybersecurity, which Mr. Mueller made one of the bureau’s chief priorities after counterterrorism.

Mr. Comey, who at 6-foot-8 usually towers over anyone in his presence, graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985, and then had a meteoric rise at the Justice Department, culminating in his service as deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005.

His first job was as an assistant United States attorney in Manhattan trying criminal cases. He worked briefly in private practice and went on to oversee the United States attorney’s office in Richmond, Va., where he made a name for himself as he pioneered Project Exile, a program that helped cut the high homicide rate in the city by shifting firearm prosecutions from state court to federal court, where there were stiffer sentences.

While Mr. Comey was working in Richmond, Mr. Ashcroft asked him in 2001 to take over the government’s foundering investigation of the 1996 terrorist bombing at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 American service members.

The F.B.I. director at the time, Louis J. Freeh, had urged Mr. Ashcroft to take the case away from federal prosecutors in Washington who had been investigating for five years but had not brought charges.

With a legal deadline looming, Mr. Comey and a colleague feverishly moved forward with the case and within three months indicted 14 men.

Mr. Comey’s work on that case caught the attention of the White House, which two months after the Sept. 11 attacks nominated him to become the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, one of the highest-profile jobs in the department. In that position, Mr. Comey oversaw the prosecutions of Martha Stewart, WorldCom executives and international drug dealers.

Mr. Mueller had been required to leave his job in 2011 because of a 10-year term limit that was imposed by Congress in 1976. That measure had been put in place in an effort to prevent directors from amassing the power that J. Edgar Hoover had during his 48-year tenure leading the bureau.

But in 2011, Mr. Obama asked Mr. Mueller to remain in his post. His administration had considered candidates like Raymond W. Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner; Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney in Chicago; Kenneth L. Wainstein, a former assistant attorney general for national security; and Mr. Comey. But administration officials did not think they were good fits, and they wanted to keep Mr. Mueller on because the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency were getting new leaders.

The president asked the Senate to extend Mr. Mueller’s tenure by two years, and the measure was unanimously approved in July 2011.

FROM

FBI CRACKDOWN ON OCCUPY MOVEMENT

“FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.”
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How the FBI Coordinated the Crackdown on Occupy

By Naomi Wolf

 

 

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent

t was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves -was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).

As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”:

“FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.”

Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it “police-statism”:

“This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a “Bank Fraud Working Group” met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its “domestic terrorism” unit. The Anchorage, Alaska “terrorism task force” was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Michigan “joint terrorism task force” was issuing a “counterterrorism preparedness alert” about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Michigan, the FBI and the “Bank Security Group” – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to “National Bad Bank Sit-in Day” (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state’s Occupy members’ details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its “joint terrorism task force” aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.

Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the “longterm plans” of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.

There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people’s income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.

Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one’s personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a “terrorist organization” and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.

Why the huge push for counterterrorism “fusion centers”, the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about “the terrorists”. It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.

 

Source

 

FBI ‘OUTREACH PROGRAMMES’ TARGETING ISLAM

Recently publicized documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suggest that the FBI targeted American Muslims for intelligence gathering under the guise of community or mosque outreach programs from at least 2004 through 2010. Many of the community organizations, mosques, and college campuses identified in the FBI documents are located throughout Northern California, but it is unclear whether similar activities are occurring in other FBI divisions.
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(Photo: Politico)
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22 congressional reps seek investigation into FBI ‘outreach’ that collected data on Muslims

by Alex Kane

Efforts to remedy law enforcement abuses against Muslim-Americans have made headlines in recent days. A federal lawsuit filed early this week in New Jersey seeks to put an end to the New York Police Department’s surveillance program targeting Muslims in the Northeast.

And yesterday, 22 members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Justice urging an investigation into the FBI “outreach” program in California that turned into a potentially illegal operation in which FBI agents collected and stored data on innocent Muslims. That data was also marked as being available for distribution to other government agencies.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) got the ball rolling on the FBI abuses. The organization released documents in March that exposed the FBI’s practices, which the ACLU says could violate the Privacy Act of 1974.

“I’m very concerned that Muslim Americans in Northern California and elsewhere may have been targeted by the FBI because of their religious practices — possibly in violation of their First Amendment and privacy rights,” Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) said in a press statement.

The Congressional letter, signed by a number of progressive Democrats and Ron Paul (R-TX), echoes the ACLU’s concerns. An excerpt from the letter to the Justice Department’s Inspector General:

We write to express our concern with recently released documentary evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) improperly targeted communities based on their religion, race and national origin of community members. Specifically, the evidence shows that the FBI recorded and disseminated information about community members’ First Amendment-protected activities, including religious practices. We request that you initiate an investigation into these allegations, including into possible Privacy Act violations within the FBI’s San Francisco and Sacramento divisions.

Recently publicized documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suggest that the FBI targeted American Muslims for intelligence gathering under the guise of community or mosque outreach programs from at least 2004 through 2010. Many of the community organizations, mosques, and college campuses identified in the FBI documents are located throughout Northern California, but it is unclear whether similar activities are occurring in other FBI divisions.

This letter follows up on a letter sent to the Inspector General by the ACLU in April. The ACLU likewise called for an investigation into the FBI practices.

For more information on the FBI’s “outreach” program to Muslims, read this Alex Kane post

Written FOR


HAS AIPAC GONE TOO FAR THIS TIME AROUND?

Not that I ever endorsed ‘redbaiting’ or government intimidation due to Communist involvement….
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BUT… it seems so justifiable in this case
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This time the FBI might be doing us a favour 😉 …. ironic as it may seem … Could this be the beginning of the end for AIPAC?
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AIPAC FOUNDER IDENTIFIED BY FBI AS COMMUNIST PARTY MEMBER

 AIPAC Founder I.L. Kenen identified in FBI documents as Cleveland member of the Communist Party (CPUSA) in 1939

These recently released FBI source documents have appeared on the web site of IRmep and available hereWe are urging all of you to save this PDF file on your hard drive. It is 198 pages loaded with additional subversives – even contemporaries – still in government, tax-free foundation service! A wealth resource beyond belief.
Our just now earlier post provides additional information – and names – on espionage cell activities in the US in the 1940s. 
This is not surprising to Americans that have informed themselves about the Neoconservatives.  The ‘neocons’ have always been recognized as cadre of the Far Left of American politics.   
The subversion of America’s heritage whether it be pro-war, subversion from our pulpits, unlimited debt and spending, or other treacheries, destroying America’s independence has always been the long term agenda.

It is suicidal that we as Americans subsidize traitors with our own money by awarding them IRS subsidized tax-free exemptions.
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Meanwhile the reality of the present day as far as activists go… the FBI won’t do a thing to stop AIPAC’s destruction of the United States, but be assured they will be focussing on the following…
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US Congress expands authoritarian anti-protest law

A bill passed Monday in the US House of Representatives and Thursday in the Senate would expand existing anti-protest laws that make it a felony—a serious criminal offense punishable by a lengthy prison term—to “enter or remain in” an area designated as “restricted.”

The bill—H.R. 347, or the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011”—was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, while only Ron Paul and two other Republicans voted against the bill in the House of Representatives (the bill passed 388-3). Not a single Democratic politician voted against the bill.

The virtually unanimous passage of H.R. 347 starkly exposes the fact that, despite all the posturing, the Democrats and the Republicans stand shoulder to shoulder with the corporate and financial oligarchy, which regarded last year’s popular protests against social inequality with a mixture of fear and hostility.

H.R. 347 expands an existing federal criminal statute – Title 18, Section 1752 of the United States Code, or the “restricted buildings or grounds” law. The law was originally passed in 1971 and was last amended in 2006.

Under existing law, the areas that qualify as “restricted” are defined in extremely vague and broad terms. Restricted areas can include “a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting” and “a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance.”

The Secret Service provides bodyguards not just to the US president, but to a broad layer of top figures in the political establishment, including presidential candidates and foreign dignitaries. What constitutes an event of “national significance” is left to the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security. The occasion for virtually any large protest could be designated by the Department of Homeland Security as an event of “national significance,” making any demonstrations in the vicinity illegal.

For certain, included among such events would be the Democratic and Republican National conventions, which have been classified as National Special Security Events (NSSE), a category created under the Clinton administration. These conventions have been the occasion for protests that have been subjected to ever increasing police restrictions and repression. H.R. 347 signifies that federal law will now more likely be used to criminalize future protests at such events.

The standard punishment under the “restricted buildings and grounds” law is a fine and up to one year in prison. If a weapon or serious physical injury is involved, the penalty may be increased to up to ten years.

Also criminalized is conduct “that impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” and “obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds.” These provisions, even more so than the provisions creating “restricted areas,” threaten to criminalize a broad range of protest activities.

In order to appreciate the broad sweep of the “restricted buildings or grounds” law, it is necessary to consider a few possibilities:

  • A wide area around the next G-8 meeting or other global summit could be designated “restricted” by the Secret Service, such that any person who “enters” that area can be subject to a fine and a year in jail under Section 1752(a)(1) (making it a felony to enter any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so).
  • Senator Rick Santorum, the ultra-right Republican presidential candidate, enjoys the protection of the Secret Service. Accordingly, a person who shouts “boo!” during a speech by Santorum could be subject to arrest and a year of imprisonment under Section 1752(a)(2) (making it a felony to “engag[e] in disorderly or disruptive conduct in” a restricted area).
  • Striking government workers who form a picket line near any event of “national significance” can be locked up under Section 1752(a)(3) (making it a crime to “imped[e] ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds”).

Under the ancien regime in France, steps were taken to ensure that the “unwashed masses” were kept out of sight whenever a carriage containing an important aristocrat or church official was passing through. Similarly, the laws expanded by H.R. 347 help create for the US president and other top officials a protest-free bubble or “no-free-speech zone” that follows them wherever they go, making sure the discontented multitude is kept out of the picture.

The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act is plainly in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which was passed in 1791 in the aftermath of the American Revolution. The First Amendment provides: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech… or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (The arrogance of the Democratic and Republican politicians is staggering—what part of “Congress shall make no law” do they not understand?)

H.R. 347 comes on the heels of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed into law by President Obama on December 31, 2011. The NDAA gives the president the power to order the incarceration of any person—including a US citizen—anywhere in the world without charge or trial.

The passage of H.R. 347 has been the subject of a virtual blackout in the media. In light of the nature of the bill, which constitutes a significant attack on the First Amendment, this blackout cannot be innocent. The media silence represents a conscious effort to keep the American population in the dark as to the government’s efforts to eviscerate the Bill of Rights.

The timing of the bill is significant. H.R. 347 was reported to the Senate floor by the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 17, 2011, amidst a massive nationwide crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street protests – and just two days after hundreds of New York City police conducted the infamous military-style raid on the demonstrators’ encampment in Zucotti Park, driving out the protesters and erecting barricades.

A Congressional Budget Office Cost Report accompanying H.R. 347 explains that the bill “would modify and expand the current laws that prohibit access to certain federal property” such that the government could “pursue cases against violators that it otherwise would not be able to prosecute.”

The CBO report claims that “H.R. 347 would apply to a relatively small number of offenders,” but the dramatic sweep of existing law combined with the changes made by H.R. 347 suggest otherwise.

H.R. 347 expands the existing law (according to congressional records, it “clarifies” existing law) by replacing language prohibiting “willfully and knowingly” entering a “restricted area” with language prohibiting merely “knowingly” entering a “restricted area.” This seemingly minor change in fact dramatically increases the reach of the law and makes the prosecution of demonstrators easier. Under H.R. 347, individuals could be charged for violating the statute even if they did not intend to do so. The bill also extends the reach of the law to include Washington, DC, which previously was covered in regard to “restricted” areas only by local laws. This change, reportedly requested by the Secret Service, enables the accused to be prosecuted in federal court.

The bill now awaits President Obama’s signature before it becomes the law of the land.

What lies behind the ongoing attack on the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is a growing understanding in the ruling class that the protests that took place around the world against social inequality in 2011 will inevitably re-emerge in more powerful forms in 2012 and beyond, as austerity measures and the crashing economy make the conditions of life more and more intolerable for the working class. The virtually unanimous support in Congress for H.R. 347, among Democrats as well as Republicans, reflects an overriding sentiment within the ruling establishment for curtailing existing democratic rights and moving toward dictatorial methods of rule.

This sentiment was most directly expressed this week by Wyoming Republican legislator David Miller, who introduced a bill in the state legislature that would give the state the power, in an “emergency,” to create its own standing army through conscription, print its own currency, acquire military aircraft, suspend the legislature, and establish martial law. “Things happen quickly sometimes—look at Libya, look at Egypt, look at those situations,” Miller told the Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyoming. Repeating arguments employed by every military dictatorship over the past century, Miller declared, “We wouldn’t have time to meet as a Legislature or even in special session to do anything to respond.” Miller’s so-called “doomsday law” was defeated in the Wyoming legislature Tuesday by the narrow margin of 30-27.

This article, originally posted March 3, has been edited to clarify the extent of existing law.

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BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON A ‘WHISTLE BLOWER’

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I was shocked beyond belief yesterday when I read in the New York Times that a so-called ‘progressive’ blogger is the one apparently responsible for blowing the whistle on a so called whistle blower.
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Adding to my shock was the fact that Shamai Leibowitz was ever employed by the FBI in any position. He has been an activist for many years in Israel, has been outspoken for Palestinian rights and is one of the most respected lawyers here. He is the grandson of a known leftist, Yeshayahu Leibowitz. Surely the FBI was aware of his background before they hired him as a translator.
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Leibowitz’s ‘involvement’ in any wrongdoings was brought to light just over a year ago when he was arrested…
A former contract linguist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation was sentenced to 20 months in prison Monday for leaking classified documents to an internet blogger, the US Justice Department said.
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Leibowitz acknowledged handing over five FBI documents concerning US communication intelligence activities to the blogger, who was not identified. The blogger then published information from the documents.
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The above is taken from THIS Ynet report.
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I have said dozens of times on this site NOT TO TRUST ANYONE YOU MEET ON THE INTERNET. There are many out there who are not who you might think they are. Leibowitz, himself said at his sentencing  that it was “a one-time mistake that happened to me when I worked at the F.B.I. and saw things which I considered were violation of the law, and I should not have told a reporter about it.”
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He definitely should not have told this particular ‘reporter’ about it. Richard Silverstein seems to have a tendency to talk (type) before he thinks. When he published the information on his blog that Leibowitz handed over to him was he aware of the fact that this could lead to a prison term for Leibowitz?
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Mr. Silverstein took the blog posts he had written based on Mr. Leibowitz’s material off his site after the criminal investigation two years ago. But he was able to retrieve three posts from April 2009 from his computer and provided them to The New York Times.
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Why would Silverstein retrieve those deleted posts and hand them over to the Times? The only answer I can come up with is that he enjoys being in the limelight, even if it might mean a prison term for a so-called ‘friend’. I occasionally glance at Silverstein’s Blog, he is an ‘Internet Opportunist’ in the true sense of the word. In Yiddish terminology, he is nothing more than a Yenta, far from actually being a ‘reporter’ as he claims to be. In his own words FROM: I am a progressive (critical) Zionist. I support a two state solution to the conflict involving Israeli withdrawal roughly to pre-67 borders (with some adjustments) and an internationally guaranteed peace agreement with the Palestinians.  Progressive zionist??? That’s a new one to me…
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Bottom line in this is what I have maintained for years … DO NOT TRUST ANYONE YOU MEET ON THE INTERNET.
Richard Silverstein, for one, has proven that he himself is not to be trusted.
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Kudos to Shamai Leibowitz for his years of dedication to Peace and Justice!

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And a BIG SHAME ON YOU RICHARD SILVERSTEIN for trying to ‘cash in’ on his good work!
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Needless to say, the zioright is also ‘cashing in’ on this situation as can be seen HERE.

BLOGOLEAKS ~~ WIKI’S COMPETITION?

The Blogesphere is making headlines in the Western Media these days… in connection with the following ….
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Peter Dejong/Associated Press Shamai K. Leibowitz in 2002. He leaked secret transcripts.
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Leak Offers Look at Efforts by U.S. to Spy on Israel

WASHINGTON — When Shamai K. Leibowitz, an F.B.I. translator, was sentenced to 20 months in prison last year for leaking classified information to a blogger, prosecutors revealed little about the case. They identified the blogger in court papers only as “Recipient A.” After Mr. Leibowitz pleaded guilty, even the judge said he did not know exactly what Mr. Leibowitz had disclosed.

“All I know is that it’s a serious case,” Judge Alexander Williams Jr., of United States District Court in Maryland, said at the sentencing in May 2010. “I don’t know what was divulged other than some documents, and how it compromised things, I have no idea.”

Now the reason for the extraordinary secrecy surrounding the Obama administration’s first prosecution for leaking information to the news media seems clear: Mr. Leibowitz, a contract Hebrew translator, passed on secret transcripts of conversations caught on F.B.I. wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Those overheard by the eavesdroppers included American supporters of Israel and at least one member of Congress, according to the blogger, Richard Silverstein.

In his first interview about the case, Mr. Silverstein offered a rare glimpse of American spying on a close ally.

He said he had burned the secret documents in his Seattle backyard after Mr. Leibowitz came under investigation in mid-2009, but he recalled that there were about 200 pages of verbatim records of telephone calls and what seemed to be embassy conversations. He said that in one transcript, Israeli officials discussed their worry that their exchanges might be monitored.

Mr. Leibowitz, who declined to comment for this article, released the documents because of concerns about Israel’s aggressive efforts to influence Congress and public opinion, and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran, a move he saw as potentially disastrous, according to Mr. Silverstein.

While the American government routinely eavesdrops on some embassies inside the United States, intelligence collection against allies is always politically delicate, especially one as close as Israel.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation listens in on foreign embassies and officials in the United States chiefly to track foreign spies, though any intelligence it obtains on other matters is passed on to the C.I.A. and other agencies. The intercepts are carried out by the F.B.I.’s Operational Technology Division, based in Quantico, Va., according to Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence writer who describes the bureau’s monitoring in a book, “Intel Wars,” scheduled for publication in January. Translators like Mr. Leibowitz work at an F.B.I. office in Calverton, Md.

Former counterintelligence officials describe Israeli intelligence operations in the United States as quite extensive, ranking just below those of China and Russia, and F.B.I. counterintelligence agents have long kept an eye on Israeli spying.

For most eavesdropping on embassies, federal law requires the F.B.I. to obtain an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret at a federal courthouse in Washington. If an American visiting or calling an embassy turns up on a recording, the F.B.I. is required by law to remove the American’s name from intelligence reports, substituting the words “U.S. person.” But raw transcripts would not necessarily have undergone such editing, called “minimization.”

Mr. Silverstein’s account could not be fully corroborated, but it fits the publicly known facts about the case. Spokesmen for the F.B.I., the Justice Department and the Israeli Embassy declined to comment on either eavesdropping on the embassy or Mr. Leibowitz’s crime. He admitted disclosing “classified information concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States,” standard language for the interception of phone calls, e-mails and other messages by the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency, which generally focuses on international communications.

Mr. Leibowitz, now in a Federal Bureau of Prisons halfway house in Maryland, is prohibited by his plea agreement from discussing anything he learned at the F.B.I. Two lawyers who represented Mr. Leibowitz, Cary M. Feldman and Robert C. Bonsib, also would not comment.

Mr. Silverstein, 59, writes a blog called Tikun Olam, named after a Hebrew phrase that he said means “repairing the world.” The blog gives a liberal perspective on Israel and Israeli-American relations. He said he had decided to speak out to make clear that Mr. Leibowitz, though charged under the Espionage Act, was acting out of noble motives. The Espionage Act has been used by the Justice Department in nearly all prosecutions of government employees for disclosing classified information to the news media, including the record-setting five such cases under President Obama.

Mr. Silverstein said he got to know Mr. Leibowitz, a lawyer with a history of political activism, after noticing that he, too, had a liberal-minded blog, called Pursuing Justice. The men shared a concern about repercussions from a possible Israeli airstrike on nuclear facilities in Iran. From his F.B.I. work from January to August of 2009, Mr. Leibowitz also believed that Israeli diplomats’ efforts to influence Congress and shape American public opinion were excessive and improper, Mr. Silverstein said.

“I see him as an American patriot and a whistle-blower, and I’d like his actions to be seen in that context,” Mr. Silverstein said. “What really concerned Shamai at the time was the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran, which he thought would be damaging to both Israel and the United States.”

Mr. Silverstein took the blog posts he had written based on Mr. Leibowitz’s material off his site after the criminal investigation two years ago. But he was able to retrieve three posts from April 2009 from his computer and provided them to The New York Times.

The blog posts make no reference to eavesdropping, but describe information from “a confidential source,” wording Mr. Silverstein said was his attempt to disguise the material’s origin.

One post reports that the Israeli Embassy provided “regular written briefings” on Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza to President Obama in the weeks between his election and inauguration. Another describes calls involving Israeli officials in Jerusalem, Chicago and Washington to discuss the views of members of Congress on Israel. A third describes a call between an unnamed Jewish activist in Minnesota and the Israeli Embassy about an embassy official’s meeting with Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota, who was planning an official trip to Gaza.

Mr. Silverstein said he remembered that embassy officials talked about drafting opinion articles to be published under the names of American supporters. He said the transcripts also included a three-way conversation between a congressman from Texas, an American supporter of the congressman and an embassy official; Mr. Silverstein said he could not recall any of the names.

At his sentencing, Mr. Leibowitz described what he had done as “a one-time mistake that happened to me when I worked at the F.B.I. and saw things which I considered were violation of the law, and I should not have told a reporter about it.”

That was a reference to Israeli diplomats’ attempts to influence Congress, Mr. Silverstein said, though nothing Mr. Leibowitz described to him appeared to be beyond the bounds of ordinary lobbying.

Mr. Leibowitz, 40, the father of 6-year-old twins at the time of sentencing, seems an unlikely choice for an F.B.I. translation job. He was born in Israel to a family prominent in academic circles. He practiced law in Israel for several years, representing several controversial clients, including Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader convicted of directing terrorist attacks on Israelis, who Mr. Leibowitz once said reminded him of Moses.

In 2004, Mr. Leibowitz moved to Silver Spring, Md., outside Washington, where he was a leader in his synagogue. Mr. Silverstein said Mr. Leibowitz holds dual American and Israeli citizenship.

In court, Mr. Leibowitz expressed anguish about the impact of the case on his marriage and family, which he said was “destitute.” He expressed particular sorrow about leaving his children. “At the formative time of their life, when they’re 6 years old and they’re just finishing first grade, I’ll be absent from their life, and that is the most terrible thing about this case,” he said.

While treated as highly classified by the F.B.I., the fact that the United States spies on Israel is taken for granted by experts on intelligence. “We started spying on Israel even before the state of Israel was formally founded in 1948, and Israel has always spied on us,” said Mr. Aid, the author. “Israeli intercepts have always been one of the most sensitive categories,” designated with the code word Gamma to indicate their protected status, he said.

Douglas M. Bloomfield, an American columnist for several Jewish publications, said that when he worked in the 1980s for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, he assumed that communications with the embassy were not private.

“I am not surprised at all to learn that the F.B.I. was listening to the Israelis,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s a wise use of resources because I don’t see Israel as a threat to American security.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 7, 2011

An article on Tuesday about a leak prosecution involving the disclosure of transcripts of F.B.I. eavesdropping on the Israeli Embassy in Washington gave an outdated location for the secret court that approves such wiretaps. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court moved to the federal courthouse in Washington in 2009; it is no longer at the Justice Department.

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