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CIFA: Pentagon’s COINTELPRO

Kurt Nimmo | November 27 2005

The Washington Post reports today:

The White House is considering expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three years ago. The proposal, made by a presidential commission, would transform CIFA from an office that coordinates Pentagon security efforts—including protecting military facilities from attack—to one that also has authority to investigate crimes within the United States such as treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, defines treason as follows:

Violation of allegiance toward one’s country or sovereign, especially the betrayal of one’s country by waging war against it or by consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies.

If we are to believe this news item, the freshly minted and tasked CIFA will investigate people with questionable “allegiance” to the Bush administration. Princeton University’s WordNet defines allegiance as “the loyalty that citizens owe to their country (or subjects to their sovereign)” and a synonym is fealty, defined as fidelity owed by a vassal to a feudal lord.

Of course, we long ago issued a Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights precisely to throw off a tyrannical monarch. Now we have another one.

CIFA’s abilities would increase considerably under the proposal being reviewed by the White House, which was made by a presidential commission on intelligence chaired by retired appellate court judge Laurence H. Silberman and former senator Charles S. Robb (D-Va.). The commission urged that CIFA be given authority to carry out domestic criminal investigations and clandestine operations against potential threats inside the United States.

Be afraid. Laurence H. Silberman “is a long-time, right wing political activist closely tied to the neo-conservative network that led the pro-war propaganda campaign,” according to Jim Lobe. “In 1980, when he served as part of former Republican president Ronald Reagan’s senior campaign staff, he played a key role in setting up secret contacts between the Reagan-Bush campaign and the Islamic government in Tehran, in what became known as the ‘October Surprise’ controversy.” In other words, Silberman is a criminal co-conspirator who helped Reagan fix the 1980 election by entering in an agreement with the Iranians (who were supposedly enemies of the United States) to not release the hostages (mostly CIA agents) until after the election. Silberman also served as deputy attorney general under Nixon. It should be remembered the Nixon White House targeted the civil rights and antiwar movements for disruption, using on-campus informants to infiltrate and in many cases to disrupt legal protests and activism (under the FBI’s COINTELRPO, members of the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement were victims of targeted assassination; see COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story).

CIFA is little more than an excuse to get the military back in the business of “investigating” (subverting the Constitutional rights) of Americans. “The [Bush stacked] commission urged that CIFA be given authority to carry out domestic criminal investigations and clandestine operations against potential threats inside the United States,” including the threat of “treason” (not paying fealty to our feudal lord, George Bush, and criticizing his policies—note the accusation Dubya wanted to bomb Doha-based al-Jazeera for not censoring news and you get a pretty good idea what our ill-tempered monarch thinks of people who disagree with him).

Our new COINTELPRO, run by military intelligence and probably the CIA, will make the old COINTELPRO pale in comparison.

Addendum

It should be noted that the U.S. military is no stranger to domestic snooping and subversion of constitutional rights. “By the late 1960s, the direct political nature of military intelligence operations was quite explicit,” write Morton Halperin, Jerry Berman, Robert Borosage, and Christine Marwick (The Lawless State: The crimes of the U.S. Inteligence Agencies, Penguin Books, 1976).

A telling indication of this was the February 1968 annex to the army’s Civil Disturbance Plan, where “dissident elements” and “subversives” were clearly identified as primary targets of surveillance. The activities of the peace movement were judged “detrimental” to the United States, and American antiwar activists were viewed as possible conspirators manipulated by foreign agents.

The Army created “master plan” operations code-named Cable Splicer and Operation Garden Plot. As for the latter, Harry Helms (Inside the Shadow Government: National Emergencies and the Cult of Secrecy, Feral House, 2003) writes

plans produced by the [Directorate of Military Support, established at the Pentagon under the Department of the Army] acquired the name “Operation Garden Plot,” first publicly uttered in 1971 when Senator Sam Ervin (D-North Carolina), chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, held hearings about allegations of Army spying on U.S. civilians. The hearings revealed that the Army had indeed been keeping records on hundreds of thousands of American citizens connected with antiwar and radical politics, and that such activities were part of Operation Garden Plot. The Subcommittee also found that the Army had trained civilian law enforcement workers with simulated battles against rioters and large groups of protesters. It also found that Army units went on alert in May 1970 for possible response to campus demonstrations in the wake of the Kent State shootings.

Cable Splicer “was developed in a series of California meetings from 1968 to 1972, involving Sixth Army, Pentagon, and National Guard generals, police chiefs and sheriffs, military intelligence officers, defense contractors, and executives from the telephone company and utility companies. One meeting was kicked off by Governor Ronald Reagan,” writes Ron Ridenhour.

The participants played war games using scenarios that began with racial, student, or labor unrest, and ended with the Army being called in to bail out the National Guard, usually by sweeping the area to confiscate private weapons and round up likely troublemakers. These games were conducted in secrecy, with military personnel dressed in civvies, and using non-military transportation. Although the documents on Cable Splicer covered only four Western states, Brig. Gen. J. L. Jelinek, senior Army officer in the Pentagon’s National Guard Bureau, knew of “no state that didn’t have some form of this [civil disturbance control] exercise within the last year” under different code names.

It appears the military never actually stopped spying on Americans. “Several months ago the Army’s inspector general and the California State Senate launched investigations of a California National Guard intelligence unit that had ‘monitored’ an antiwar demonstration at the state capitol this past Mother’s Day, partly organized by Cindy Sheehan’s Gold Star Families for Peace,” John S. Friedman reported in September. “A report not yet publicly released by the inspector general found that there were other cases of domestic intelligence activity by the California Guard. Democratic State Senator Joseph Dunn, whose budget subcommittee oversees funding for the California Guard and who is conducting the state investigation, said financial improprieties may have occurred, as state and federal laws forbid such activities. Dunn told The Nation that he is looking into reports that the Guard in some ten other states, including New York, Colorado, Arizona and Pennsylvania, may have set up its own intelligence units and conducted similar monitoring of antiwar groups. Such controversial directives could be coming from the Pentagon, he speculated.”

Last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved a request from the Pentagon to snoop on Americans (and of course subvert and possibly assassinate—as COINTELPRO did previously—those deemed a threat to the neocon master plan for world domination). According to the Christian Science Monitor, “the committee included two … controversial amendments in the [2006 intelligence spending authorization bill]: one that would allow intelligence agencies greater access to databases on US citizens, and one that would grant the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency the right not to disclose ‘operational files’ under the Freedom of Information Act.” In other words, the DIA does not want to be answerable to the American people, the same way Stalin or Stasi were not answerable to the people.

According to the Pentagon, it does not want to spy on “innocent” Americans, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Of course, this depends on the Pentagon’s definition of “innocent.” If the Pentagon’s past (and recent, in relation to Cindy Sheehan) activities are any indication, “innocent” Americans are those who do not criticize the government, who dutifully wave little plastic American flags made in China, and encourage their kids to become cannon fodder for the neocons.

 

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