A lot of the horrific illegal mindset of modern times when it comes to dissent and contrary views to US government has its inglorious roots in the bowels of Dick Nixon.
FromÂ the New York Times in September 2006:
It (the documentary,”The US vs John Lennon“) focuses on the late 1960â€™s and early 1970â€™s, when the former Beatle used his considerable fame and charisma to oppose the Vietnam War.
Lennon attracted worldwide attention in 1969 when he and Yoko Ono married and held their much-publicized â€œbed-insâ€ in Amsterdam and Montreal, giving interviews about peace from under their honeymoon sheets.
Lennon put to music a simple catch phrase — â€œAll we are saying is give peace a chanceâ€ — and the antiwar movement had its anthem.
Two years later, he released â€œImagine.â€
The government responded with an extensive surveillance program.
Lennonâ€™s F.B.I. files — which are collected in the book â€œGimme Some Truthâ€ by Jon Wiener — reveal that the bureau was monitoring everything from his appearance on â€œThe Mike Douglas Showâ€ to far more personal matters, like the whereabouts of Onoâ€™s daughter from a previous marriage.
Why the shit were Nixon’s assholes so scared of a notorious peacenik from the UK?
Why? Because people listened to this peacenik, got pissed and took to the streets.
Fast forward more then three decades into a culture overwhelmed with shit like a weiner flashed on the InterWebs and a TV star’s meltdown while nearly ignoring something mega-catastrophic like climate change.
In a move straight out of Nixon’s playbook, George Jr. while president went after the unscrupulous-looking and obvious agitator pictured at left, Juan Cole, a professor at the University of Michigan and operator of the Middle East news blog, Informed Comment.
Writing truth to counter lies on George Jr.’s dumb-ass, dangerous and foolhardy forays in Iraq and elsewhere.
The Bush White House was scared: No happy, flower-waving crowds in Iraq, only ethnic cleansing.
(Illustration found here).
From the New York Times on Wednesday (h/t Raw Story):
Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war.
Since a series of Watergate-era abuses involving spying on White House political enemies, the C.I.A. and other spy agencies have been prohibited from collecting intelligence concerning the activities of American citizens inside the United States.
â€œThese allegations, if true, raise very troubling questions,â€ said Jeffrey H. Smith, a former C.I.A. general counsel.
â€œThe statute makes it very clear: you canâ€™t spy on Americans.â€
Mr. Smith added that a 1981 executive order that prohibits the C.I.A. from spying on Americans places tight legal restrictions not only on the agencyâ€™s ability to collect information on United States citizens, but also on its retention or dissemination of that data.
Mr. Carle said that sometime that year (2005), he was approached by his supervisor, David Low, about Professor Cole.
Mr. Low and Mr. Carle have starkly different recollections of what happened.
According to Mr. Carle, Mr. Low returned from a White House meeting one day and inquired who Juan Cole was, making clear that he wanted Mr. Carle to gather information on him.
Mr. Carle recalled his boss saying, â€œThe White House wants to get him.â€
â€œ â€˜What do you think we might know about him, or could find out that could discredit him?â€™ â€ Mr. Low continued, according to Mr. Carle.
Mr. Carle said that he warned that it would be illegal to spy on Americans and refused to get involved, but that Mr. Low seemed to ignore him.
â€œBut what might we know about him?â€ he said Mr. Low asked. â€œDoes he drink? What are his views? Is he married?â€
Mr. Carle said that he responded, â€œWe donâ€™t do those sorts of things,â€ but that Mr. Low appeared undeterred.
â€œI was intensely disturbed by this,â€ Mr. Carle said.
Several months after the initial incident, Mr. Carle said, a colleague on the National Intelligence Council asked him to look at an e-mail he had just received from a C.I.A. analyst.
The analyst was seeking advice about an assignment from the executive assistant to the spy agencyâ€™s deputy director for intelligence, John A. Kringen, directing the analyst to collect information on Professor Cole.
Mr. Carle said his colleague, whom he declined to identify, was puzzled by the e-mail.
Mr. Carle, though, said he tracked Mr. Kringenâ€™s assistant down in the C.I.A. cafeteria.
â€œHave you read his stuff?â€ Mr. Carle recalled the assistant saying about Professor Cole.
â€œHeâ€™s really hostile to the administration.â€
Meanwhile, Cole told the NYT: â€œThey must have been dismayed at what a boring life I lead,â€ he said.
Cole told the Detroit Free Press yesterday (Thursday) that he thought the whole enterprise illegal and called on the US Congress for an investigation into the whole thing.
“The Bush White House request that the CIA spy on me to discredit me clearly violated the American constitution, U.S. law, the CIA charter, and my civil and human rights,” U-M professor Juan Cole told the Free Press.
“It was criminal.”
In his blog on Thursday, Cole wrote:
Carleâ€™s revelations come as a visceral shock. You had thought that with all the shennanigans of the CIA against anti-Vietnam war protesters and then Nixonâ€™s use of the agency against critics like Daniel Ellsberg, that the Company and successive White Houses would have learned that the agency had no business spying on American citizens.
I should point out that my blog was begun in 2002 with an eye toward analyzing open source information on the struggle against al-Qaeda. In 2003 I also began reporting on the unfolding Iraq War. My goal was to help inform the public and to present sources and analysis on the basis of my expertise as a Middle East and South Asia expert.
What alarms me most of all in the nakedly illegal deployment of the CIA against an academic for the explicit purpose of destroying his reputation for political purposes is that I know I am a relatively small fish and it seems to me rather likely that I was not the only target of the baleful team at the White House. After the Valerie Plame affair, it seemed clear that there was nothing those people wouldnâ€™t stoop to. You wonder how many critics were effectively â€œdestroyed.â€ It is sad that a politics of personal destruction was the response by the Bush White House to an attempt of a citizen to reason in public about a matter of great public interest. They have brought great shame upon the traditions of the White House, which go back to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, who had hoped that checks and balances would forestall such abuses of power.
And this morning, Cole ties the whole sordid affair in with the newly-upgraded Patriot Act:
If the Bush White House blithely picked up the phone and asked the Central Intelligence Agency to gather information on my private life for the purpose of destroying me politically — a set of actions that was illegal every which way from Sunday — then imagine how powerful government officials are using the legal authorization they receive from the PATRIOT Act to spy on and marginalize perceived opponents.
Right on — be afraid and watch your back, your side and the nose on your face.
Just give peace a chance, assholes.