“Unreal, I don’t have enough money as it is,” Facebook member Shari Saeler posted on the Office of Personnel Management’s page after a recent hack job, blamed on China of course. “Now I have to worry about someone stealing it!”
Saeler’s outrage and worry reflect hundreds of thousands of innocent Targeted Individuals’ (TIs’) experiences daily. The vast majority of these TIs land on the government hit-list through no fault of their own, for no reason except maybe to be used as target practice or due to a jilted lover with the right connections. Once on the list, there one remains. The system is broken, according to the FBI itself. The government’s aim in its Gestapo targeting is to ruin the TI in every way, including financially, to “disrupt” their lives forever, and it’s OK, even applauded, according to the USA PATRIOT ACT. It is called a “new Cointelpro’ because of the FBI’s leadership, now in partnership with the CIA, both part of the NSA hydra.
FBI License For Abuse
The FBI’s old Cointelpro has even greater leeway to stalk or spy on innocent targeted individuals in the U.S. continue making headlines. Ae there any guidelines for this abuse? One might answer, “No.” Or as Stephen Lendman says, the FBI’s “Illegal surveillance persists out-of-control. Section 215 is a license for abuse. Secrecy hides the worst of what goes on. Even when federal courts strike down abusive practices, they persist. Agencies like the FBI and NSA operate extrajudicially.”
FBI agents can “investigate” people and organizations “proactively”, with no firm evidence for suspecting criminal activity. Censored news is that such “investigating” is “spying” (or “gangstalking” as many Targeted TI call it today) and it goes hand-in-hand with covert harassment, torture and assassination — covert terrorism, according to self-identified targeted individuals and family members of TIs who did not survive. This is Cointelpro today. TIs today call it “Cointelpro on steroids.”
Newer FBI rules enable agents to “infiltrate organizations, search household trash, use surveillance teams [including local neighborhood contractors], search databases, conduct lie detector tests, even without suspicion of any wrongdoing,” reported Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!
The New York Times has reported a number of new revelations against targeted individuals who are activists. The activists themselves have been reporting experiences that resemble days of Nazi Germany. Agents watched from their cars for hours at a time recalls one man, activist 44-year old Scott Crow.
In a Truthout article, a Targeted Individual, Austin Texas resident Austin Crow recalled one regular spy on his case, what many Targeted Individuals call a “stalker.” His spy was “a fat guy in an S.U.V. with the engine running and the air-conditioning on.” According to Mr. Crow, the fat guy watched gatherings at a bookstore and cafe. “For round-the-clock coverage, they attached a video camera to the phone pole across from his house on New York Avenue.”
The FBI’s new Cointelpro targeted Crow from 2001 through at least 2008. Crow used the Freedom of Information Act to gain 440 pages of heavily redacted documents, as Democracy Now! reported. He held in hand hard evidence proving the same tactics thousands of other Americans are reporting they experience were used on him. Those thousands of TIs, however, are most often disbelieved, dismissed, falsely accused of being paranoid and having mental health issue.
Mr. Crow’s FOI documents proved the FBI had:
- Traced license plates of cars parked in front of his home,
- Recorded arrival and departure of his guests,
- Observed gatherings that he attended at bookstores and cafes,
- Tracked his emails,
- Tracked phone conversations,
- Picked through his trash to identify his bank and mortgage companies,
- Visited a gun store where he sought to purchase a rifle for self-defense,
- Asked the Internal Revenue Service to examine his tax returns,
- Infiltrated activist groups with which he associated.
One thing sets Mr. Crow apart from the average TI: He’d been arrested a dozen times in his years of activism. He never faced a charge, however, more serious than trespassing. Most TIs report having no idea why they are kept under surveillance, threatened, intimidated. Many are eventually physically injured.
Mr. Crow “is among a growing number of people and groups finding themselves on the receiving end of government spying,” Goodman said. Her story about Crow came closer to truth about spy abuse happening right now to thousands of innocent people than most other spy news reports.
Michael German is the National Security Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. From 1988 to 2004, he served as an FBI agent specializing in domestic counter terrorism. According to German, in 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey changed the attorney general guidelines governing FBI’s investigative authorities and created “assessment” investigations.
After an assessment or investigation, after “all significant intelligence has been collected, and/or the threat is otherwise resolved,” the FBI’s Baseline Collection Plan authorizes agents to implement a so-called “disruption strategy,” the ACLU explains. This permits FBI agents and their contracted neighborhood operatives to continue using investigative techniques, “including arrests, interviews, or source-directed operations to effectively disrupt [a] subject’s activities.” [Author's emphasis]
“This resurrection of reviled Hoover-era terminology is troubling particularly because FBI counter-terrorism training manuals recently obtained by the ACLU indicate the FBI is again improperly characterizing First Amendment-protected activities as indicators of dangerousness,” the ACLU reported.
German’s description of “assessments” are identical to what many TIs call gangstalking — an dwhat stalking experts call “multi-stalking”. These extremist acts include intrusive in-home and in-community acts, often frightful, sometimes terrorizing acts at night. This is what thousands of innocent TIs report that they are experiencing daily, 24/7. Disruption strategies are added, usually aimed to financially ruin the TI. With the FBI’s INFRAGRAD, the new neighborhood partners in crime, the task to ruin lives has become even more slick.
Like the old COINTELPRO, the new Cointelpro investigations and disruption strategies require “no factual predicate”. In other words, there is no need for any evidence that anybody did anything wrong, much less the person under investigation, according to German.
And there are a number of intrusive investigative techniques that were allowed to be used, including physical surveillance, including recruiting and tasking informants, including FBI agents acting in ruse trying to gather information from the subjects of the investigation, conducting interviews, even using grand jury subpoenas to get telephone records.
FBI changes allow agents even without opening an assessment, to search commercial databases that collect most information available on individuals including detailed private information — plus state and local law enforcement databases — without any suspicion of wrongdoing according to German.
As usual, by the time a practice has become formally official, it’s been in use a long time. Such is the case with the new FBI liberties over human rights.
Mr. German explained that agents are even officially picking up trash put on the curb for the garbage collection. He even spoke about people close to the target being recruited and paid to cooperate against their neighbors or co-workers, as Targeted Individuals (TIs) are well aware.
As TIs have been saying for over a decade, particularly since post 9/11 Draconian removal of rights, anyone can be targeted for revenge as long as the perpetrator has the “right connections.” The Government Accountability Office reported years ago that the problem of lack of accountability within the FBI and linked organizations is so rampant, names can be added to the list for surveillance (and harassment) without supervisory approval. Stephen Lendmen pulls no punches in describing this yesterday:
The FBI is the nation’s Gestapo. It’s abuse of power and misconduct are longstanding.
It’s an instrument for systematically violating civil liberties. It’s a rogue agency operating unconstitutionally.
Bureau secrecy and cover-up make it impossible to know the full extent of its lawlessness. It operates with minimal oversight and accountability.
A new Justice Department Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report titled “A Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders: Assessment of Progress in Implementing Recommendations and Examination of Use in 2007 – through 2009.”
Section 215 of the Patriot Act tramples on Bill of Rights protections. Its language is vague and deceptive. It’s used to permit unconstitutional meta-data mining. It allows police state investigatory practices. It authorizes government access to “any tangible item” – including personal financial records and transactions, medical records, phone conversations, emails, other Internet use and whatever else Washington wants to monitor.
FBI powers are sweeping. They’re greatly enhanced. They’re used extrajudicially. Anyone can be spied on for any reason or none at all.
No probable cause, reasonable grounds, or suspicions are needed. Exercising free expression makes you vulnerable.
Section 215 is unconstitutional. It permits warrantless searches without probable cause. It violates First Amendment rights by mandating secrecy. It prohibits targeted subjects from telling others what’s happening to them.
It compromises free expression, assembly and association by authorizing the FBI to investigate anyone based on what they say, write, or do with regard to groups they belong to or associate with.
It violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections by not telling targeted subjects their privacy was compromised. It subverts fundamental freedoms for contrived, exaggerated, or nonexistent security reasons.
Section 215 powers expire on June 1 if Congress fails to extend them. So far, enough votes are lacking to do so.
German stated that “agents would be able to start those investigations without even going through an administrative hurdle of opening an assessment.”
Although Goodman interviewed the noted Austin male activist Mr. Austin Crow, most TIs are low-profile folks, some activists, some not at all. A disproportionate number are women who escaped or otherwise ended a relationship with a male partner.
The solution? Lendman says, “Reform is only possible by shutting them down entirely – replacing them with heavily constrained new agencies operating under strict regulations and oversight.”
Related Articles Written by Deborah Dupré
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