Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Watch Lists, Black Lists, Enemies Lists... Hit Lists

US Government Spy Program - Main Core, PROMIS and The Shadow Government

by Ed Encho, bibliotecapleyades.net
January 31st 2009




by
2009

from OpEdNews Website

Editor’s Note: On Monday, 2 February 2009, OEN premieres Ed Encho’s newest update of his investigative series, “Main Core, PROMIS and the Shadow Government (Pt. 3) far below, which brings to the forefront recent revelations on the expansion of the US government’s surveillance apparatus and the stolen technology that makes it all possible.

On the heels of NSA whistleblower Russell Tice allegations of a government intelligence community that has crossed the line and trashed the Constitution, Ed Encho covers a span of investigations throughout the years that reads like a Tom Clancy suspense thriller. OEN is republishing Part I and Part II. You will want to catch up.

Part 1

January 31, 2009

“Over the last two weeks I have encountered just such an apocalyptic situation, where I and the Department of Justice have been asked to be part of something that is fundamentally wrong.”

(Excerpt from Deputy Attorney General James Comey’s draft letter of resignation to President Bush, dated March 16, 2004, which Comey did not in the end send.)

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull"

(George Orwell: 1984)


I: Main Core and PROMIS

Suppose that the United States Government, or more likely an unaccountable privatized intelligence colossus empowered by the reaction to the 9/11 attacks and fueled by the rampant cronyism of a system long ago gone rotten had a surveillance tool capable of peering into the most private aspects of American lives on a whim.

Now suppose that the new growth industry of a previously unthinkable futuristic police state was already in place, fully operational and has been online and has actively been being utilized for domestic spying for years before those two airplanes slammed into the World Trade Center.

The 'terrorist' attacks were used as the justification for every unconstitutional reigning in of civil liberties ever since that heinous September morning seven years ago when the reset button was hit on two and a quarter centuries of American history and we all stepped forth into the brave new world of perpetual war, fear, suspicion and vengeance into a parallel reality in a place that would come to be known as The Homeland.

What if this surveillance industrial complex was in possession of a database that was so large and so powerful that not only could it instantly process and retrieve the most minute or intimate aspects of a citizen’s lives but was also able to utilize extremely sophisticated artificial intelligence capabilities to actually predict likely patterns of future behavior.

Such a huge database would be able to use cutting edge technology funded with taxpayer dollars and awarded to unaccountable private corporations largely through ‘business as usual’ no bid contracts to create the most invasive tool of oppression this country has ever seen. This database would rely on software that was capable of performing social network analysis based on block modeling technology to monitor all forms of electronic communications, all internet searches, all debit and credit card transactions, all travel arrangements, all library records, all bank activity and all telephone records.

It would then be able to use the data to not only find links between persons who already know and interact with each other but to categorize each individual into a particular group that possess similar behavioral and purchasing habits. These groups could then be further divided into subgroups and further analyzed in order to determine under some loosely defined and largely unknown guidelines whether they could potentially represent a threat.

While all of this may sound like some sort of futuristic dystopian nightmare straight out of Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report and "Precrime" it is very real and it goes by the name of Main Core.

For example, if you are selling a bicycle and run an advertisement in your local newspaper and you happen to receive a call from a Muhammad who is interested in your bicycle and Muhammad happens to have certain friends who have relationships with an organization that is determined by some unknown criteria to be a potential terrorist organization then the call that you received from Muhammad would then in all likelihood place you in the database and subject to an increased level of scrutiny at best and at worst in jeopardy of being picked up and held indefinitely without any sort of judicial review.

This technology is being used today absent any form of legitimate oversight, with a Constitution that has been eviscerated by the Bush-Cheney-Rove Axis of Evil, a vast gulag network of top secret prisons and 'detention facilities' and the decidedly anti-American new phenomenon of state sanctioned torture.

Throw in an overworked, systematically dumbed-down populace that has been propagandized by the corrupt institution that is the corporate media machine with it's clever use of fear and loathing and scientific development of advanced mind control techniques who despite the infinite wisdom of our forefathers would gladly sacrifice their liberty for the any sort of temporary safety (no matter that it is fleeting) and there exists today in 'The Homeland' a perfect Petri-dish for an authoritarian fascist society.

It is though a very sophisticated form of fascism unlike more outwardly obvious regimes that we have known in the past.

Author Bertram Gross published a book back in 1980 that was entitled Friendly Fascism, Jim Garrison once said that "fascism would come to America in the name of national security", and author Kevin Phillips in his 1983 book Post-Conservative America warned of the potential of an "apple pie authoritarianism" and a coming society in which:

"the Star Spangled Benner would wave with greater frequency and over many more parades; increased surveillance would crack down on urban outbreaks and extreme political dissidents".

This very accurately describes post 9/11 America where any semblance of reason has been abandoned for cheap flag-waving pimped off as patriotism, criticism of authority has made into potential treason by the highly paid shills for neoconservative doctrine, sloganeering and demagoguery have replaced discourse, critical thinking is becoming extinct and just as George Orwell so accurately predicted Big Brother is now watching over us, protecting us and ensuring that we understand that war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.

But I digress...

Main Core has received attention in two 2008 articles, one a piece by investigative journalist Christopher Ketcham entitled The Last Roundup (which also looks at Continuity of Government programs but more on that in a little while) and Tim Shorrock entitled Exposing Bush’s Historic Abuse of Power. Both articles tie Main Core to the now legendary PROMIS software, an extremely advanced program designed to aid federal prosecutors in case management tracking. PROMIS could pull and put together a wide range of data from disparate sources into a single record.

The PROMIS software was created by INSLAW Inc., a company owned by a former NSA intelligence officer named William Hamilton. PROMIS was to have been licensed to the U.S. government in the early 1980’s before the technology boom became widespread but was then stolen by the seamy officials in Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department.

The software was modified for espionage purposes to include a ‘back door’ that could be used for spying on those that it was sold to and in a detail that should be especially relevant with the economic crisis that threatens to crash the global financial system, the software could also be used to track in real time (in order to manipulate?) stock market transactions, once can certainly speculate as to how such a tool could have contributed to an economic catastrophe as we are now facing if it were used for such a thing.

It is important to keep in mind the period when PROMIS was stolen in the early 1980's and the fact that the technology boom was still years in the future which should give one an idea to just how far advanced and therefore how important that it was to those who would use it in order to promote a sinister agenda.

Mr. Shorock's piece goes into the relationship between PROMIS and Main Core in some detail:

According to William Hamilton, a former NSA intelligence officer who left the agency in the 1970s, that description sounded a lot like Main Core, which he first heard about in detail in 1992.

Hamilton, who is the president of Inslaw Inc., a computer services firm with many clients in government and the private sector, says there are strong indications that the Bush administration's domestic surveillance operations use Main Core.

Hamilton's company Inslaw is widely respected in the law enforcement community for creating a program called the Prosecutors' Management Information System, or PROMIS. It keeps track of criminal investigations through a powerful search engine that can quickly access all stored data components of a case, from the name of the initial investigators to the telephone numbers of key suspects.

PROMIS, also widely used in the insurance industry, can also sort through other databases fast, with results showing up almost instantly.

"It operates just like Google," Hamilton told me in an interview in his Washington office in May.

Since the late 1980s, Inslaw has been involved in a legal dispute over its claim that Justice Department officials in the Reagan administration appropriated the PROMIS software. Hamilton claims that Reagan officials gave PROMIS to the NSA and the CIA, which then adapted the software - and its outstanding ability to search other databases - to manage intelligence operations and track financial transactions.

Over the years, Hamilton has employed prominent lawyers to pursue the case, including Elliot Richardson, the former attorney general and secretary of defense who died in 1999, and C. Boyden Gray, the former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush. The dispute has never been settled. But based on the long-running case, Hamilton says he believes U.S. intelligence uses PROMIS as the primary software for searching the Main Core database.

Hamilton was first told about the connection between PROMIS and Main Core in the spring of 1992 by a U.S. intelligence official, and again in 1995 by a former NSA official.

In July 2001, Hamilton says, he discussed his case with retired Adm. Dan Murphy, a former military advisor to Elliot Richardson who later served under President George H.W. Bush as deputy director of the CIA. Murphy, who died shortly after his meeting with Hamilton, did not specifically mention Main Core.

But he informed Hamilton that the NSA's use of PROMIS involved something,

"so seriously wrong that money alone cannot cure the problem," Hamilton told me. He added, "I believe in retrospect that Murphy was alluding to Main Core."

Hamilton also provided copies of letters that Richardson and Gray sent to U.S. intelligence officials and the Justice Department on Inslaw's behalf alleging that the NSA and the CIA had appropriated PROMIS for intelligence use.

Hamilton says James B. Comey's congressional testimony in May 2007, in which he described a hospitalized John Ashcroft's dramatic standoff with senior Bush officials Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card, was another illuminating moment.

"It was then that we [at Inslaw] started hearing again about the Main Core derivative of PROMIS for spying on Americans," he told me.

Through a former senior Justice Department official with more than 25 years of government experience, Salon has learned of a high-level former national security official who reportedly has firsthand knowledge of the U.S. government's use of Main Core. The official worked as a senior intelligence analyst for a large domestic law enforcement agency inside the Bush White House. He would not agree to an interview.

But according to the former Justice Department official, the former intelligence analyst told her that while stationed at the White House after the 9/11 attacks, one day he accidentally walked into a restricted room and came across a computer system that was logged on to what he recognized to be the Main Core database.

When she mentioned the specific name of the top-secret system during their conversation, she recalled,

"He turned white as a sheet."

An article in Radar magazine in May, citing three unnamed former government officials, reported that,

"8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect" and, in the event of a national emergency, "could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and even detention."

The INSLAW/PROMIS story reached deep into the darkest bowels of an increasingly secretive and malevolent National Security State that had manifested itself in,

  • the Reagan administration

  • the arms for hostages ‘October Surprise’ deal that sank Jimmy Carter's bid for re-election leading to the Reagan-Bush hostile takeover of America

  • Iran-Contra, BCCI, media manipulation (see Robert Parry’s excellent special report for Consortium News entitled Iran Contra’s 'lost chapter')

  • Oliver North’s swashbuckling adventures with C.O.G., drugs for guns and subversion of Congress all were components of Reagan’s government, a government that he hypocritically railed against for its intrusiveness and yet presided over while the shadow government that would rise again with the Supreme Court installation of George W. Bush as president with many of the key operatives of Reagan and George H.W.

Bush’s dark shops of oppression being given key positions in this brazenly lawless administration that has brought America to the brink of fascism. Many of these hard-liners remain in place throughout the bureaucracy in order to do whatever is necessary to preserve the power of the shadow government.

Ketcham's The Last Roundup is particularly of interest in that he examines the now infamous 2004 visit of Bush administration officials Alberto Gonzalez and Andrew Card to the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft who had been stricken with pancreatitis after acting A.G. James Comey refused to sign off on the reauthorization of what was an illegal surveillance program related to Continuity of Government.

The story is fascinating in that it not only illustrated the length to which the Bush-Cheney junta would go to in order to keep their dirty little programs in place but also for the high speed chase through the streets of Washington and the race up the hospital stairs that Comey engaged in to beat Gonzalez and Card to the sedated Ashcroft to take advantage of a sick man, when John Ashcroft actually comes out looking like a heroic figure it becomes very apparent of just how grossly un-American that this flagrantly criminal administration truly is.

James Comey went on to give testimony to Congress over the hospital room showdown and more details are available from blogger Glenn Greenwald in his piece entitled What illegal "things" was the government doing in 2001-2004? and in Barton Gellman's book Angler and excerpts were published in the Washington Post which part one and part two can be read for more information on the back story behind the surveillance reauthorization.

Murray Waas also has done a story on whether former Attorney General Gonzalez created a set of falsified notes to provide a cover story for what occurred while trying to bully Comey and Ashcroft into signing off on the obviously illegal surveillance program.

Excerpts from Ketcham's story are chilling:

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations,

"There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived 'enemies of the state' almost instantaneously."

He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a "national emergency."

Executive orders issued over the past three decades define it as a,

"natural disaster, military attack, [or] technological or other emergency," while Department of Defense documents include eventualities like "riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, [and] disorder prejudicial to public law and order."

According to one news report, even "national opposition to U.S. military invasion abroad" could be a trigger.

Let's imagine a harrowing scenario: coordinated bombings in several American cities culminating in a major blast—say, a suitcase nuke—in New York City. Thousands of civilians are dead. Commerce is paralyzed. A state of emergency is declared by the president. Continuity of Governance plans that were developed during the Cold War and aggressively revised since 9/11 go into effect.

Surviving government officials are shuttled to protected underground complexes carved into the hills of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Power shifts to a "parallel government" that consists of scores of secretly pre-selected officials. (As far back as the 1980s, Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and Dick Cheney, then a congressman from Wyoming, were slated to step into key positions during a declared emergency.)

The executive branch is the sole and absolute seat of authority, with Congress and the judiciary relegated to advisory roles at best. The country becomes, within a matter of hours, a police state.

And –

Under law, during a national emergency, FEMA and its parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security, would be empowered to seize private and public property, all forms of transport, and all food supplies. The agency could dispatch military commanders to run state and local governments, and it could order the arrest of citizens without a warrant, holding them without trial for as long as the acting government deems necessary.

From the comfortable perspective of peaceful times, such behavior by the government may seem far-fetched. But it was not so very long ago that FDR ordered 120,000 Japanese Americans—everyone from infants to the elderly—be held in detention camps for the duration of World War II. This is widely regarded as a shameful moment in U.S. history, a lesson learned.

But a long trail of federal documents indicates that the possibility of large-scale detention has never quite been abandoned by federal authorities. Around the time of the 1968 race riots, for instance, a paper drawn up at the U.S. Army War College detailed plans for rounding up millions of "militants" and "American negroes," who were to be held at "assembly centers or relocation camps."

In the late 1980s, the Austin American-Statesman and other publications reported the existence of 10 detention camp sites on military facilities nationwide, where hundreds of thousands of people could be held in the event of domestic political upheaval. More such facilities were commissioned in 2006, when Kellogg Brown & Root—then a subsidiary of Halliburton—was handed a $385 million contract to establish "temporary detention and processing capabilities" for the Department of Homeland Security.

The contract is short on details, stating only that the facilities would be used for,

"an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs."

Just what those "new programs" might be is not specified.

In the days after our hypothetical terror attack, events might play out like this: With the population gripped by fear and anger, authorities undertake unprecedented actions in the name of public safety. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security begin actively scrutinizing people who—for a tremendously broad set of reasons—have been flagged in Main Core as potential domestic threats.

Some of these individuals might receive a letter or a phone call, others a request to register with local authorities. Still others might hear a knock on the door and find police or armed soldiers outside. In some instances, the authorities might just ask a few questions. Other suspects might be arrested and escorted to federal holding facilities, where they could be detained without counsel until the state of emergency is no longer in effect.

Despite the departure of the Bush regime, martial law is a very serious possibility with it having now been established that the executive branch can exercise dictatorial powers during a "catastrophic emergency" (as put forth in the Bush administration's NSPD-51) which is defined as,

"any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy or government functions".

With events unfolding as they currently are it is especially troubling to note that the "economy" is one of the criteria that would trigger the declaration of martial law, the current economic crisis along with the lack of will to do what it takes to make corrections rather than bailing out and essentially giving amnesty to the Wall Street looters who are responsible for it only guarantees that the collapse when it does come will be much more devastating.

An article in The Army Times that was published last fall reveals that as of October troop deployments will include 'Homeland' duty under the command of NORTHCOM. Assignments will allow for an increased public visibility (translation: getting Americans used to seeing troops on the streets) and will have a stated purpose as follows:

"They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack."

If action by the military (and the unaccountable mercenaries from privatized 'security' firms like Blackwater) is decided to be merited by the unitary executive and a state of martial law declared then what exactly is going to happen to those "8 million" names that Ketcham writes of as "potentially suspect" who are in the Main Core database?

That Main Core and PROMIS are linked raises some extremely provocative questions in regards to intent on the subversion of the Constitution and the overthrow of the legitimate government by a shadow government using the Continuity of Government infrastructure.

Ketcham also references a massive 1993 piece for Wired Magazine entitled The INSLAW Octopus that none other than the infamous rogue operative Lt. Col. Oliver North was using PROMIS for illegal surveillance purposes:

Lt. Col. Oliver North also may have been using the program. According to several intelligence community sources, PROMIS was in use at a 6,100-square-foot command center built on the sixth floor of the Justice Department. According to both a contractor who helped design the center and information disclosed during the Iran-Contra hearings, Oliver North had a similar, but smaller, White House operations room that was connected by computer link to the DOJ's command center.

Using the computers in his command center, North tracked dissidents and potential troublemakers within the United States as part of a domestic emergency preparedness program, commissioned under Reagan's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to sources and published reports. Using PROMIS, sources point out, North could have drawn up lists of anyone ever arrested for a political protest, for example, or anyone who had ever refused to pay their taxes.

Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon's enemies list or Sen. Joe McCarthy's blacklist look downright crude. This operation was so sensitive that when Rep. Jack Brooks asked North about it during the Iran-Contra hearings, the hearing was immediately suspended pending an executive (secret) conference. When the hearings were reconvened, the issue of North's FEMA dealings was dropped.

North’s involvement with Continuity of Government programs including REX 84 has long been known and while Col. North no longer is active in such programs (at least not to the knowledge of anyone) a larger part of the C.O.G./shadow government infrastructure continued to breed in darkness and secrecy and on that most glorious day for American fascism, 9/11/2001 went live under the guidance of one of its most ardent and longtime architects, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney.

The secrets of Main Core, PROMIS and other variations of the monstrous tools of an out of control shadow government are the veritable crown jewels of the police state and every effort has and will continue to be vigorously employed to stifle any investigations through the official channels.

Is there really any doubt that these surveillance systems aren't being used for raw political purposes and for blackmail? How much serious opposition did the Bush-Cheney-Rove Axis of Evil meet in their systematic dismantling of the Constitution over the past eight years? How much of it will the Obama administration undo?

In the ongoing exploitation of the 'terrorist' attacks of 9/11 that have been used to justify each and every incursion on American civil liberties and thugs like Dick Cheney and David Addington acting as the muscle for the shadow government (as is evident in the stories linked to above) the footfalls of those little cat feet grow louder and louder.

Now if PROMIS was being used by Colonel North as a part of Rex 84 back in the 1980's when the Continuity of Government plans were being tweaked, FEMA being set up for the eventual incorporation into the Department of Homeland Security and financial transactions as well as communications already being monitored what does that say about the current state in which we all find ourselves in?

Every new police state measure has been implemented largely after being conceived in secrecy under the premise of 'national security' and NSPD-51 has allowed for the executive branch to issue a declaration of martial law under which the roundup of dissidents for detention (or worse) will be conducted. And this has all been non-reviewable by Congress, a supposedly (at least according to the Constitution) a co-equal branch of government.

When a Congressman named Peter DeFazio was last year denied access to the NSPD-51/C.O.G. plans by the Bush administration it was yet another example of what has been a disturbing pattern.

The Main Core list of potential 'enemies of the state', the assignment of troops to NORTHCOM, the ongoing frantic efforts of the neocons to launch a war with Iran, the threat of the Cheney cabal being further exposed, the deteriorating economy and the growing public anger at government along with a loss of faith in public institutions all add up to something very dark that is about to come to fruition after decades of planning.

None of this is about terrorism at all, it never has been. It is all about the implementation of a fascist style dictatorship in America.

It is imperative that it be brought to light now that there is a window of opportunity and a new administration, the police state and the illegal surveillance system must be dismantled and our intelligence system be put under honest and principled oversight.


Part 2
1 February 2009


Spy Satellite
Photo by Christian Meichtry

"In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can't spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can't look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won't be there.

We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line."
-Earling Carothers 'Jim' Garrison


I: The Shadow Government

To say that the 'terrorist' attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were an incredible boon to the shadow government and its long running agenda would be quite the understatement. Never before in American history has this particular element been so visible and brazen than in the aftermath of 9/11 which has since become the ultimate trump card to be played against the forces of reason, judiciousness and the rule of law.

The frenzied spree to dismantle the republic and reinterpret the Constitution to implement the fascist police state that would suppress the domestic populace while the business of expanding the empire abroad has gone on unabated for over seven years now.

The ascendance of the shadow government into the open began on that morning and the events have been instrumental in allowing for every outrageous violation of civil liberties, international law and the very bedrock principle upon which civilized societies are built being habeas corpus. America is now known worldwide as a torture state, a pariah and a rogue nation to be hated and feared and is ruled by an imperial presidency or as it is formerly known a Unitary Executive (translation: dictator).

The current state of affairs are primarily due to the policies of the cabal of one Richard B. Cheney, the most powerful Vice President in history as well as a longtime shadow government figure who activated Continuity of Government on the morning of 9/11.

Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who have been collaborators in a war against the basic tenets of American Constitutional democracy since their days together in the Ford administration were active participants in Continuity of Government throughout the Reagan years and afterwards. With C.O.G. being highly secretive it is not widely known due to a lack of official media coverage of the programs so few questions have been asked, no oversight exists and it has been a useful place for a renegade cabal with an acute distaste for democratic principles.

One of the most often referenced pieces on this was James Mann's 2004 piece for the Atlantic Magazine entitled The Armageddon Plan.

Another shadow government figure who would later become instrumental in the transformation of America into the fascistic Homeland is one David Addington, Cheney's crackerjack legal mind and longtime hatchetman who has along with others such as John Yoo (a man who once said that the president had the legal authority to crush a child's testicles were it deemed necessary) have toiled to change the law of the nation into something dark and foreign.

In Addington's world there is legitimacy to engage in illegal (at least until now) domestic spying, abduction and detention without trial, torture both physical and mental (a horrifying example is that of Jose Padilla, an American citizen who would be the precedent for future actions against other Americans) who was imprisoned and psychologically destroyed through the application of mind control techniques straight out of the infamous CIA program MKULTRA to the point where his mental capacities were that of "a piece of furniture".

Padilla was not only a precedent setter but also a warning of what the government could do to a person deemed to be a 'terrorist' or 'terrorist sympathizer', the definitions of which are intentionally vague for a very terrifying reason.

David Addington, more than once referred to as Cheney's Cheney was a key player in the implementation of the shadow government infrastructure now that it has come out from under the cover of darkness in the post-9/11 era.

Jane Meyer of the New Yorker speaks of their relationship in the following interview from which I excerpt a piece from here:

How did David Addington get to know Vice-President Cheney, and how long have they worked together? They met on Capitol Hill in the mid-eighties, when Cheney was a Republican congressman from Wyoming and Addington was a young staff lawyer working for the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees.

So they have worked together for about two decades. Their partnership was cemented when they worked together on the Minority Report on the Iran-Contra affair. Both Addington and Cheney took the idiosyncratic position that it was Congress, not President Reagan, that was in the wrong.

This view reflected the opinion, held by both men, that the executive branch should run foreign policy, to a great extent unimpeded by Congress. It's a recurring theme-pushing the limits of executive power and sidestepping Congress-in their partnership. One example is their position that the President, as Commander-in-Chief in times of war, had the inherent authority to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in an effort to make sure that Presidents don't violate citizens' right to privacy by spying on them without warrants.

After meeting and working together in Congress, Cheney and Addington continued their partnership at the Pentagon, where, during the Presidency of George H. W. Bush, Cheney was Secretary of Defense and Addington was his special assistant and, later, general counsel. There, Addington was known as a powerhouse, a stickler who controlled access to Cheney and marked up others' memos in red felt-tipped pen, returning the memos for rewrites that would make them sharper-and more protective of executive power.

At the Pentagon, the two exhibited a similar pessimism about world affairs, in particular about the possibility that Mikhail Gorbachev represented true change, and also an unusually deep interest in "continuity of government" planning-how the government survives in the event of a doomsday attack.

Addington kept the constitutional provisions for Presidential succession in his pocket at all times, a colleague told me.

Addington is still largely a mystery man but his connections to Continuity of Government during the Reagan era are documented as well as his ties to Cheney. Another common denominator is the Iran-Contra affair, Addington was a big player in it as well as most of the current crop of neocons who returned to power under Bush II.

Addington also is connected to spook master and former CIA head William 'Bill' Casey (a man whose history and past associations is a veritable almanac of American fascism dating from WWII through the Reagan years and who played a key role in the theft of the PROMIS software) through The Lawless Group (named for CIA operative Richard Lawless, a close associate of Casey).

Sidney Blumenthal's article for Salon entitled The Sad decline of Michael Mukasey provides some additional background on Mr. Addington:

Addington's dominion over the law - controlling the writing of the president's executive orders and the memos from OLC, the office of the White House counsel and the carefully placed network of general counsels throughout the federal government's departments and agencies - is a well-established and central aspect of Cheney's power.

Addington has been indispensable to the vice president since he served as his counsel on the joint congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, when Cheney was the ranking minority member. In that capacity, Addington wrote, under Cheney's signature, the notorious minority report that was an early clarion call for the imperial presidency.

Addington and Cheney's report decried Congress for its "hysteria" over the Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the selling of missiles to Iran to finance arms for the Nicaraguan Contras against explicit congressional legislation. The Constitution, they argued,

"leaves little, if any doubt that the president was expected to have the primary role of conducting the foreign policy of the United States."

They added:

"Congressional actions to limit the president in this area therefore should be reviewed with a considerable degree of skepticism. If they interfere with the core presidential foreign policy functions, they should be struck down."

The Cheney minority report was the doctrinal basis for the Bush presidency: the unitary executive, the commander in chief ruling in wartime by fiat and, ultimately, torture being defined as whatever the president, not the Geneva Conventions, said it was. Addington's authorship of the Cheney Iran-Contra report was largely overlooked until fairly recently, but his deeper connection to that scandal and its resonance have received little attention.

In the 1980s, Addington, then in his 20s, served as deputy counsel to CIA director William Casey, the moving force behind the Iran-Contra affair and the most powerful figure in the Reagan administration after the president. Along with other hotshots in the counsel's office, Addington was part of what became known within the agency as the "Lawless Group," named after Richard Lawless, a CIA operative who was a close assistant to Casey, according to a former senior CIA official.

After Casey's death, Rep. Dick Cheney co-opted the "Lawless Group," putting its members in key positions when he was secretary of defense during the first Bush administration and vice president in the second. (Lawless, for example, after working as Jeb Bush's business partner, served as deputy undersecretary of defense, retiring this past April.)

"A lot of the decisions on Iran-Contra were signed off by the counsel's office," a longtime senior CIA official told me. "It was not a renegade operation. It had lawyers, just like now. Everything they were doing was run by the general counsel's office and Addington was deputy. You may draw your own conclusions, as the Russians say."

In fact, the role of the counsel's office surfaced in the trial of Alan Fiers, the CIA agent in charge of the Central American Task Force, who pleaded guilty to misleading Congress.

But that role was never investigated or ever really reported.

"These guys don't like the mainstream CIA. In fact, they hate it," the CIA official explained.

"They don't like information unless it fits what they want to hear. They hate the CIA because the CIA tells them what they don't want to hear. They want assessments that prove ideological points. They are looking for simplistic answers to complicated issues. They inhabit a make-believe world of moving up into perceived areas of expertise. It's the same guys; they all resurface when Republicans are back in power. It's the same group. It's a system. The similarities are amazing in all these wars we've been dragged into."

That 9/11 enabled Cheney, Addington and the rest of the neocons to brutally enforce their long planned agenda and has served as the basis for all that has changed since that day there remains a truly legitimate question as to what their role or knowledge of those attacks may have been.

It has been a matter of intense debate in the alternative media as to what level of involvement that this cabal may have had in ensuring that the attacks took place (stay away from the Bush Did It canard which is only a straw man), they did after all write in a document for the Project For A New American Century (PNAC) entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses of the need for a "New Pearl Harbor" in order for the public to accept their radical doctrine and there never has been a legitimate investigation of 9/11 free of conflicts of interest and with full subpoena power so as to ask the serious questions in a public forum about the event that hit the reset button on over two and a quarter centuries of American history and the subsequent implementation of a fascist infrastructure.

In a fairly recent article that I wrote entitled 9/11: Cover for a Coup d'Etat?, I mused as to whether the 'terrorist' attacks merely provided cover for an Edward Luttwak style coup d'etat to be piggybacked on top of the incidents using the Continuity of Government infrastructure.

The massive USA PATRIOT Act was already awaiting a rollout and there is the still lingering question of who was really behind the Anthrax attacks that were directed at those who were in positions to stop its implementation. 9/11 would be consistent with historical black operations and false flag attacks and the festering disregard for American democracy by those who assumed control in the aftermath is widely known but I am not going to revisit that in this particular writing other than to ask the obvious question of Cui Bono?

Whether 9/11 was indeed a coup by an alliance between the shadow government along with rogue elements of foreign intelligence services is of less importance than the consistent pattern of below the surface influence and interactions of non-elected government officials and foreign and domestic criminal elements.

Author and researcher Professor Peter Dale Scott refers to a "Deep State" and I would refer readers of this article to one of his entitled 9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics in which Professor Scott provides an in depth look into not only the deep state but asks serious questions about whether Continuity of Government was implemented in the aftermath of 9/11.

I excerpt the following from this piece:

In my book The Road to 9/11, I have argued that there has existed, at least since World War Two if not earlier, an analogous American deep state, also combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld. I also pointed to recent decades of collaboration between the U.S. deep state and al-Qaeda, a terrorist underworld whose drug-trafficking activities have been played down in the 9/11 Commission Report and the mainstream U.S. media.

The book referenced by Professor Scott is The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America and it is an essential read for those seeking to understand America as it exists today.


II: Pictures of the Homeland


That the United States of America has nearly completed the tragic transition to a fascist form of government becomes more apparent with each passing day and each additional outrage and the cancer has so thoroughly metastasized there is little hope that a new regime in Washington is going to be able to bring it to a halt.

Whether it be the hijacking of the financial system by the Wall Street banking cartel that is abetted by yet another capitulation by a quisling Congress, more evidence of the desecration of privacy rights by a surveillance industrial complex run amok, the alarming and ongoing militarizing of the nation's police, the assignment of combat hardened troops to domestic duty (with a mandate to quell civil unrest despite the now for all intents and purposes rendered irrelevant the Posse Comitatus Act) or the constantly morphing and open ended definition of what exactly constitutes being a 'terrorist' to name only a few of the more alarming changes to the republic, those who are able to recognize such things as what they truly are should be increasingly aware that the dreaded and ubiquitous pejorative of conspiracy theorist is (as it always has been) one gigantic sick joke.

The pushback against President Obama for announcing the planned closure of the Gitmo torture gulag by the neocon embeds in the media has been significant.

As the saying goes, if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water it will react by jumping out immediately, but if you put that same frog into a pot of lukewarm water and then very slowly increase the temperature of the burner on the stove upon which it sits, that frog will stay in the pot until it becomes soup. My fellow Americans, that frog is us and the parallel reality that is so essential for the transformation of a state from one of benevolent democracy to one of totalitarianism as set forth by Hannah Arendt, is in the final stages of being swapped out.

The apple pie authoritarianism becomes more entrenched, political discourse has been reduced to nothing more than demagoguery, lies (either outright or more commonly, through omission) clever and highly sophisticated propaganda, race-baiting, fear-mongering and all delivered through a corrupted and complicit corporate media machine and the celebrity shills that it employs as barkers in the carnival of immorality and perversion that is the shell of American now known as the Homeland.

In the run-up to the election, millions of little plastic pieces of vile filth (that hew to the established storylines formerly established as an example in one Julius Streicher's publication Der Sturmer) in the form of a DVD version of a deceitful and meticulously designed and professionally produced (in order to evoke a proper emotional response from certain credulous or otherwise mentally unstable fringe elements) propaganda film Obsession - Radical Islam's War Against the West and sponsored by a well-funded, shadowy front group were mass distributed (28 million) in many of the nation's newspapers and specifically in swing states in advance of the coming election.

The obvious intent was to generate fear and hatred and to manufacture consent as well as swing the election to McCain. It worked to perfection as Muslim children were gassed in the nursery of a Dayton, Ohio mosque just after the Obsession DVD was distributed locally.

Of course in the land of Orwellian newspeak it wasn't ruled an act of domestic terrorism.

For that matter, neither was Kristallnacht in a certain European closing society that eerily parallels what has been going on in the post 9/11 'Homeland' although it is far more subtle for the original prototype was far too ostentatious to endure for very long.

The Republican presidential campaign of John McCain (once again reverting to true form in his opposition to the stimulus) and the shrill, strident kewpie doll Sarah Palin used political rallies to whip up fear and loathing among the worst fringe elements of society, inciting largely angry and easily duped supporters into shouting "terrorist", "off with his head" and even "kill him" in ref

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