Dear Colleagues and Friends,
This week Standhal University is staging "teach-ins" at the Tent City, located below the steps of the campus library, where I am scheduled tomorrow to address a crowd of students and faculty on the new repressive wartime legislation in the United States. Much of the material for my talk comes from the below documents, provided by Professor John Gerassi, Queens College, in New York City.
French students are increasingly taking on the responsibilities of an informed Intelligencia, discussing publically the critical knowledge that is not generally made available in the media and insisting on relationships between individual facts and the whole gestalt.
We can only hope American students are also organizing against the "battle" in Iraq and preparing for the much larger war that is being waged against all of us --an economic as well as military/police struggle.
A General Strike in France on Thursday, April 3, addresses the economic
war now threatening French public services and unemployment pensions. If
the rulers have there way, it appears that neo-liberal policies will reduce
most of us to temorary, part-time employment. And as one student remarked:
"How can we be free if we are deprived of job security?"
We invite readers to look at the three items below, sent to us by John
Gerassi, and to join French students in their demand for universal guaranteed
employment, in permanent, full-time jobs commenserate with their education.
There seem to be few ideologues --neither left nor right-- who oppose this
Join us to make war unaffordable.
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
by Charles Lewis & Adam Mayle
Justice Dept. Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Act
(WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2003) -- The Bush Administration is preparing a
comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot
Act passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the
government broad, sweeping new powers to increase
domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement
prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and
public access to information.
The Center for Public Integrity has obtained a draft, dated January
2003, of this
previously undisclosed legislation and is making it available in full text (12
MB). The bill, drafted by the staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and
the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, has not been officially released
by the Department of Justice, although rumors of its development have
around the Capitol for the last few months under the name of “the Patriot
Act II” in
“We haven’t heard anything from the Justice Department on updating the
Act,” House Judiciary Committee spokesman Jeff Lungren told the Center.
“They haven’t shared their thoughts on that.
Obviously, we'd be interested, but we haven’t heard anything at this point.”
Senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee minority staff have
inquired about Patriot II for months and have been told
as recently as this week that there is no such legislation being planned.
Mark Corallo, deputy director of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs,
told the Center his office was unaware of the draft. “I have heard
people talking about revising the Patriot Act, we are looking to
work on things the way we would do with any law,” he said. “We
may work to make modifications to protect Americans,” he added.
When told that the Center had a copy of the draft legislation, he
said, “This is all news to me. I have never heard of this.”
After the Center posted this story, Barbara Comstock, director of
public affairs for the Justice Dept., released a statement
saying that, "Department staff have not presented any final
proposals to either the Attorney General or the White House. It
would be premature to speculate on any future decisions,
particularly ideas or proposals that are still being discussed at staff
An Office of Legislative Affairs “control sheet” that was
obtained by the PBS program "Now With Bill Moyers" seems to
indicate that a copy of the bill was sent to Speaker of the House
Dennis Hastert and Vice President Richard Cheney on Jan. 10,
2003. “Attached for your review and comment is a draft legislative
proposal entitled the ‘Domestice Security Enhancement Act of
2003,’” the memo, sent from “OLP” or Office of Legal Policy,
Comstock later told the Center
that the draft "is an early
discussion draft and it has not
been sent to either the Vice
President or the Speaker of the
Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of Terrorism
and the Constitution, reviewed the draft
legislation at the request of the Center, and said that the legislation
“raises a lot of serious concerns. It’s troubling that they have
gotten this far along and they’ve been telling people there is nothing in
the works.” This proposed law, he added, “would
radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities,
reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance,
authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked
executive ‘suspicion,’ create new death penalties, and
even seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or
support disfavored political groups.”
Some of the key provision of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of
Section 201, “Prohibition of Disclosure of Terrorism Investigation Detainee
Information”: Safeguarding the
dissemination of information related to national security has been a
hallmark of Ashcroft’s first two years in office, and the
Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 follows in the footsteps of his
October 2001 directive to carefully consider such
interest when granting Freedom of Information Act requests. While the
October memo simply encouraged FOIA officers to
take national security, “protecting sensitive business information and, not
least, preserving personal privacy” into account while
deciding on requests, the proposed legislation would enhance the
department’s ability to deny releasing material on suspected
terrorists in government custody through FOIA.
Section 202, “Distribution of ‘Worst Case Scenario’ Information”: This
would introduce new FOIA restrictions with
regard to the Environmental Protection Agency. As provided for in the Clean
Air Act, the EPA requires private companies that
use potentially dangerous chemicals must produce a “worst case scenario”
report detailing the effect that the release of these
controlled substances would have on the surrounding community. Section 202
of this Act would, however, restrict FOIA
requests to these reports, which the bill’s drafters refer to as “a roadmap
for terrorists.” By reducing public access to
“read-only” methods for only those persons “who live and work in the
geographical area likely to be affected by a worst-case
scenario,” this subtitle would obfuscate an established level of
transparency between private industry and the public.
Section 301-306, “Terrorist Identification Database”: These sections
authorize creation of a DNA database on
“suspected terrorists,” expansively defined to include association with
suspected terrorist groups, and noncitizens suspected of
certain crimes or of having supported any group designated as terrorist.
Section 312, “Appropriate Remedies with Respect to Law Enforcement
Surveillance Activities”: This section would
terminate all state law enforcement consent decrees before Sept. 11, 2001,
not related to racial profiling or other civil rights
violations, that limit such agencies from gathering information about
individuals and organizations. The authors of this statute
claim that these consent orders, which were passed as a result of police
spying abuses, could impede current terrorism
investigations. It would also place substantial restrictions on future
Section 405, “Presumption for Pretrial Detention in Cases Involving
Terrorism”: While many people charged with
drug offenses punishable by prison terms of 10 years or more are held
before their trial without bail, this provision would create
a comparable statute for those suspected of terrorist activity. The reasons
for presumptively holding suspected terrorists before
trial, the Justice Department summary memo states, are clear. “This
presumption is warranted because of the unparalleled
magnitude of the danger to the United States and its people posed by acts
of terrorism, and because terrorism is typically
engaged in by groups – many with international connections – that are often
in a position to help their members flee or go into
Section 501, “Expatriation of Terrorists”: This provision, the drafters
say, would establish that an American citizen could
be expatriated “if, with the intent to relinquish his nationality, he
becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group
that the United Stated has designated as a ‘terrorist organization’.” But
whereas a citizen formerly had to state his intent to
relinquish his citizenship, the new law affirms that his intent can be
“inferred from conduct.” Thus, engaging in the lawful
activities of a group designated as a “terrorist organization” by the
Attorney General could be presumptive grounds for
The Domestic Security Enhancement Act is the latest development in an
18-month trend in which the Bush Administration has
sought expanded powers and responsibilities for law enforcement bodies to
help counter the threat of terrorism.
The USA Patriot Act, signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 26, 2001,
gave law enforcement officials broader authority to
conduct electronic surveillance and wiretaps, and gives the president the
authority, when the nation is under attack, to
confiscate any property within U.S. jurisdiction of anyone believed to be
engaging in such attacks. The measure also tightened
oversight of financial activities to prevent money laundering and diminish
bank secrecy in an effort to disrupt terrorist finances.
It also changed provisions of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,
was passed in 1978 during the Cold War. FISA
established a different standard of government oversight and judicial
review for “foreign intelligence” surveillance than that
applied to traditional domestic law enforcement surveillance.
The USA Patriot Act allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share
information gathered in terrorism investigations
under the “foreign intelligence” standard with local law enforcement
agencies, in essence nullifying the higher standard of
oversight that applied to domestic investigations. The USA Patriot Act also
amended FISA to permit surveillance under the less
rigorous standard whenever “foreign intelligence” was a “significant
purpose” rather than the “primary purpose” of an
The draft legislation goes further in that direction. “In the [USA Patriot
Act] we have to break down the wall of foreign
intelligence and law enforcement,” Cole said. “Now they want to break down
the wall between international terrorism and
In an Oct. 9, 2002, hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on
Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information,
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher testified that Justice had
been, “looking at potential proposals on following up
on the PATRIOT Act for new tools and we have also been working with
different agencies within the government and they are
still studying that and hopefully we will continue to work with this
committee in the future on new tools that we believe are
necessary in the war on terrorism.”
Asked by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) whether she could inform the committee
of what specific areas Justice was looking at,
Fisher replied, “At this point I can’t, I’m sorry. They're studying a lot
of different ideas and a lot of different tools that follow up
on information sharing and other aspects.”
Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy Viet Dinh, who was the
principal author of the first Patriot Act, told Legal Times
last October that there was “an ongoing process to continue evaluating and
re-evaluating authorities we have with respect to
counterterrorism,” but declined to say whether a new bill was forthcoming.
Former FBI Director William Sessions, who urged caution while Congress
considered the USA Patriot Act, did not want to
enter the fray concerning a possible successor bill.
"I hate to jump into it, because it's a very delicate thing," Sessions
the Center, without acknowledging whether he knew of
any proposed additions or revisions to the additional Patriot bill.
When the first bill was nearing passage in the Congress in late 2001,
however, Sessions told Internet site NewsMax.Com that
the balance between civil liberties and sufficient intelligence gathering
was a difficult one. “First of all, the Attorney General has
to justify fully what he’s asking for,” Sessions, who served presidents
Reagan and George H.W. Bush as FBI Director from
1987 until 1993, said at the time. “We need to be sure that we provide an
effective means to deal with criminality.” At the same
time, he said, “we need to be sure that we are mindful of the Constitution,
mindful of privacy considerations, but also meet the
technological needs we have” to gather intelligence.
Cole found it disturbing that there have been no consultations with
Congress on the draft legislation. “It raises a lot of serious
concerns and is troubling as a generic matter that they have gotten this
far along and tell people that there is nothing in the
works. What that suggests is that they’re waiting for a propitious time to
introduce it, which might well be when a war is begun.
At that time there would be less opportunity for discussion and they’ll
have a much stronger hand in saying that they need these
To write a letter to the editor for publication, e-mail
email@example.com. Please include a daytime phone number.
Copyright 2001, The Center for Public Integrity. All rights reserved
by Greg Palast
On my BBC television show, Newsnight, an American journalist confessed
that, since the 9/11 attacks, U.S. reporters are simply too afraid to ask
the uncomfortable questions that could kill careers: "It's an obscene
comparison, but there was a time in South Africa when people would put
flaming tires around people's necks if they dissented. In some ways, the
fear is that you will be neck-laced here, you will have a flaming tire of
lack of patriotism put around your neck," Dan Rather said. Without his
makeup, Rather looked drawn, old and defeated in confessing that he too had
given in. "It's that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest
of the tough questions and to continue to bore in on the tough questions so
Investigators were ordered to "back off" from any inquiries into Saudi
Arabian financing of terror networks....
The reports I did based on this information won the California State
University School of Journalism's Project Censored Award in 2002. It's not
the kind of prize you want to win -- it's given to crucial stories that
were effectively banned from U.S. airwaves and papers.3 I don't want any
misunderstanding here, so I must emphasize what we did not find: We
uncovered no information, none whatsoever, that George W. Bush had any
advance knowledge of the plan to attack the World Trade Center on 9/11,
nor, heaven forbid, any involvement in the attack.
FBI Document 199I
What we did discover was serious enough. To begin with, from
less-than-happy FBI agents we obtained an interesting document, some 30
pages long, marked "SECRET." I've reproduced a couple of pages here (figure
2.1). Note the designation "199I" -- that's FBI-speak for "national
security matter." According to insiders, FBI agents had wanted to check
into two members of the bin Laden family, Abdullah and Omar, but were told
to stay away by superiors -- until September 13, 2001. By then, Abdullah
and Omar were long gone from the United States.
Why no investigation of the brothers bin Laden? The Bush administration's
line is the Binladdins (a more common spelling of the Arabic name) are good
folk. Osama's the Black Sheep, supposedly cut off from his Saudi kin. But
the official line notwithstanding, some FBI agents believed the family had
some gray sheep worth questioning -- especially these two working with the
World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), which the file labels "a suspected
terrorist organization." ....
No matter how vile WAMY's indoctrination chats, they are none of the
business. Recruitment for terror, however, is. Before 9/11, the governments
of India and the Philippines tied WAMY to groups staging murderous attacks
on civilians. Following our broadcast on BBC, the Dutch secret service
stated that WAMY, "support(ed) violent activity." In 2002, The Wall Street
Journal's Glenn Simpson made public a report by Bosnia's government that a
charity with Abdullah bin Laden on its board had channeled money to Chechen
guerrillas. Two of the 9/11 hijackers used an address on the same street as
WAMY's office in Falls Church, Virginia.
The "Back-Off" Directive and the Islamic Bomb
Despite these tantalizing facts, Abdullah and his operations were A-OK
the FBI chiefs, if not their working agents. Just a dumb SNAFU? Not
according to a top-level CIA operative who spoke with us on condition of
strictest anonymity. After Bush took office, he said, "there was a major
policy shift" at the National Security Agency. Investigators were ordered
to "back off" from any inquiries into Saudi Arabian financing of terror
networks, especially if they touched on Saudi royals and their retainers.
That put the bin Ladens, a family worth a reported $12 billion and a
virtual arm of the Saudi royal household, off-limits for investigation.
Osama was the exception; he remained a wanted man, but agents could not
look too closely at how he filled his piggy bank. The key rule of any
investigation, "follow the money," was now violated, and investigations --
at least before 9/11 -- began to die.
And there was a lot to investigate -- or in the case of the CIA and
under Bush -- a lot to ignore. Through well-known international arms
dealers (I'm sorry, but in this business, sinners are better sources than
saints) our team was tipped off to a meeting of Saudi billionaires at the
Hotel Royale Monceau in Paris in May 1996 with the financial representative
of Osama bin Laden's network. The Saudis, including a key Saudi prince
joined by Muslim and non-Muslim gun traffickers, met to determine who would
pay how much to Osama. This was not so much an act of support but of
protection -- a payoff to keep the mad bomber away from Saudi Arabia....
Clinton Closed an Eye
True-blue Democrats may want to skip the next paragraphs. If President
put the kibosh on investigations of Saudi funding of terror and nuclear
bomb programs, this was merely taking a policy of Bill Clinton one step
Following the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, Clinton hunted
Osama with a passion -- but a passion circumscribed by the desire to
protect the sheikdom sitting atop our oil lifeline. In 1994, a Saudi
diplomat defected to the United States with 14,000 pages of documents from
the kingdom's sealed file cabinets. This mother lode of intelligence
included evidence of plans for the assassination of Saudi opponents living
in the West and, tantalizingly, details of the $7 billion the Saudis gave
to Saddam Hussein for his nuclear program -- the first attempt to build an
Islamic Bomb. The Saudi government, according to the defector, Mohammed Al
Khilewi, slipped Saddam the nuclear loot during the Reagan and Bush Sr.
years when our own government still thought Saddam too marvelous for words.
The thought was that he would only use the bomb to vaporize Iranians....
In 1997, the Canadians caught and extradited to America one of the Khobar
Towers attackers. In 1999, Vernon Jordan's law firm stepped in and -- poof!
-- the killer was shipped back to Saudi Arabia before he could reveal all
he knew about Al Qaeda (valuable) and the Saudis (embarrassing). I
reviewed, but was not permitted to take notes on, the alleged terrorist's
debriefing by the FBI. To my admittedly inexpert eyes, there was enough on
Al Qaeda to make him a source on terrorists worth holding on to. Not that
he was set free -- he's in one of the kingdom's dungeons -- but his info is
sealed up with him. The terrorist's extradition was "Clinton's." "Clinton's
parting kiss to the Saudis," as one insider put it.
This make-a-sheik-happy policy of Clinton's may seem similar to Bush's,
the difference is significant. Where Clinton said, "Go slow," Bush
policymakers said, "No go." The difference is between closing one eye and
closing them both.
Blowback and Bush Sr.
Still, we are left with the question of why both Bush Jr. and Clinton
hold back disclosure of Saudi funding of terror. I got the first glimpse of
an answer from Michael Springmann, who headed up the U.S. State
Department's visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during the Reagan-Bush
Sr. years. "In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high-level State
Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. These were,
essentially, people who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own
country. I complained bitterly at the time there." That was Springmann's
mistake. He was one of those conscientious midlevel bureaucrats who did not
realize that when he filed reports about rules violations he was
jeopardizing the cover for a huge multicontinental intelligence operation
aimed at the Soviets. Springmann assumed petty thievery: someone was taking
bribes, selling visas; so he couldn't understand why his complaints about
rule-breakers were "met with silence" at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Springmann complained himself right out of a job. Now a lawyer, he has
obtained more information on the questionable "engineers" with no
engineering knowledge whom he was ordered to permit into the United States.
"What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits,
rounded up by Osama bin Laden, to the United States for terrorist training
by the CIA. They would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight against the
Clinton hunted Osama with a passion ... circumscribed by the desire
protect the sheikdom sitting atop our oil lifeline.
But then they turned their talents against the post-Soviet power: us.
the parlance of spook-world, this is called "blowback." Bin Laden and his
bloody brethren were created in America's own Frankenstein factory. It
would not do for the current president nor agency officials to dig back to
find that some of the terrorists we are hunting today were trained and
armed by the Reagan-Bush administration. And that's one of the problems for
agents seeking to investigate groups like WAMY, or Abdullah bin Laden. WAMY
literature that talks about that "compassionate young man Osama bin Laden"
is likely to have been disseminated, if not written, by our very own
government. If Abdullah's Bosnian-operated "charity" was funding Chechnyan
guerrillas, it is only possible because the Clinton CIA gave the wink and
nod to WAMY and other groups who were aiding Bosnian guerrillas when they
were fighting Serbia, a U.S.-approved enemy. "What we're talking about,"
says national security expert Joe!
Trento, "is embarrassing, career-destroying blowback for intelligence
officials." And, he could add, for the presidential father.
The Family Business
I still didn't have an answer to all my questions. We knew that Clinton
the Bushes were reluctant to discomfort the Saudis by unearthing their
connections to terrorists -- but what made this new president take
particular care to protect the Saudis, even to the point of stymying his
own intelligence agencies?
The answers kept coming back: "Carlyle" and "Arbusto."
While some people have guardian angels, our president seems to have
Behind Carlyle is a private, invitation-only investment group whose
holdings in the war industry make it effectively one of America's biggest
defense contractors. For example, Carlyle owned United Technologies, the
maker of our fighter jets. Carlyle has the distinction of claiming both of
the presidents Bush as paid retainers. Dubya served on the board of
Carlyle's Caterair airplane food company until it went bust. The senior
Bush traveled to Saudi Arabia for Carlyle in 1999. The bin Ladens were
among Carlyle's select backers until just after the 9/11 attacks, when the
connection became impolitic. The company's chairman is Frank Carlucci, Bush
Sr.'s former defense secretary. The average Carlyle partner has gained
about $25 million in equity. Notably, Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal bin
Abdul Aziz employed Carlyle as his advisor in buying up 10 percent of
Citicorp's preferred stock. The choice of Carlyle for the high-fee work was
odd, as the group is not an investment bank. !
One would almost think the Saudi potentate wanted to enrich Carlyle's
Who Lost the War on Terror?
So who lost the War on Terror? Osama? From his point of view, he's made
celebrity cutthroats' Hall of Fame. Where is he? Don't ask Bush; our leader
just changes the subject to Iraq. So we have the 82nd Airborne looking for
Osama bin Laden among the camels in Afghanistan when, in all likelihood,
the billionaire butcher -- now likely beardless -- is chillin' by the pool
at the Ritz Carlton, knocking back a brewsky and laughing at us while two
blonde Barbies massage his feet.
Bush failed to get Osama. But we did successfully eliminate the threat
Congresswoman McKinney -- you remember, the one who dared question
ChoicePoint, the company that helped Katherine Harris eliminate Black voters.
Following our BBC broadcast and Guardian report in November 2001, McKinney
cited our stories on the floor of Congress, calling for an investigation of
the intelligence failures and policy prejudices you've just read here. She
was labeled a traitor, a freak, a conspiracy nut and "a looney" -- the
latter by her state's Democratic Senator, who led the mob in the political
lynching of the uppity Black woman. The New York Times wrote, "She angered
some Black voters by suggesting that President Bush might have known in
advance about the September 11 attacks but had done nothing so his
supporters could make money in war." The fact that she said no such thing
doesn't matter; the Times is always more influential than the truth. Dan
Rather had warned her, shut up, don't ask questions, and you can avoid the
neck-lacing. She didn't and it cost her her seat in Congress.
McKinney's electoral corpse in the road silenced politicians, the media
mum, but some Americans still would not get in line. For them we have new
laws to permit investigating citizens without warrants, and the label of
terrorist fellow-traveler attached to groups from civil rights
organizations to trade treaty protestors. Yet not one FBI or CIA agent told
us, "If only we didn't have that pesky Bill of Rights, we would have nailed
bin Laden." Not one said, "What we need is a new bureaucracy for Fatherland
Security." Not one said we needed to jail everyone in the Midwest named
"Ahmed." They had a single request: for George W. Bush's security henchmen
to get their boot heels off agents' necks and remove the shield of immunity
from the Saudis.
[Cynthia] McKinney's electoral corpse in the road silenced politicians,
media was mum, but some Americans still would not get in line.
That leaves one final, impertinent question. Who won?
(See http://tompaine.com/feature.cfm/ID/7310 for the entire article
On February 25, Plume/Penguin USA released the new, expanded American
edition of Greg Palast's New York Times bestseller The Best Democracy Money
Can Buy: An Investigative Reporter Exposes the Truth About Globalization,
Corporate Cons and High Finance Fraudsters. You can view Palast's reports
for BBC Television's Newsnight and his columns for the Guardian papers of
London at http://www.gregpalast.com.
The column directs readers to the site of the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace (www.ceip.org), where you can find links to excerpts
from the documents that show the genesis of our current Imperial policy.
The first document is one supervised by Paul Wolfowitz. It calls for
preventing the re-emergence of any regional power who might become a global
power. The primary case studies in this document concern Iraq and North Korea.
The second document is a polcy paper submitted to the Israeli government
by, among others, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser---all now
members of the Bush administration. This document calls for a cessation of
trading land for peace, weakening Syria, and removing Saddam Hussein from
There is also a link to a letter urging President Clinton to unilaterally
remove Saddam Hussein, because not enough members of the Gulf War coalition
are sufficiently concerned about upholding sanctions.
Signatories include Wolfowitz, Perle, and Dah-dah-dah-dum-dah-dum, Donald