“Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them.”
“A dictatorship would be a heck-of a lot easier; as long as I’m dictator.”
-- President George W. Bush
On June 29 President Bush took the great leap forward in transforming the nation’s intelligence services by ordering a restructuring of the FBI and putting “a broad swath of the agency” under the direct control of the executive.
Bingo -- Bush’s personal secret police: an American Gestapo.
The formation of the new agency was presented as part of 74 recommendations made by the 9-11 Commission on Intelligence. Every member of the so-called “independent” panel was handpicked by the Bush team, and their proposals reflect the narrow interests of American elites. Bush loyalists and Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) members Lawrence Silberman and Charles Robb, (both of whom were directly involved in the 9-11 whitewash) chaired the committee, and provided the rationale for the dramatic changes to the existing system. Astonishingly, Bush was able to unilaterally create the National Security Service without congressional approval as part of his sweeping powers under the new anti-terror legislation.
The freshly minted National Security Service, which has been dubbed the New SS, will operate under the authority of former ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, whose involvement in overseeing the terrorist activities of death squads in Nicaragua will provide him with the necessary experience for his new task. Negroponte, the new Intelligence czar, will report directly to the President, who in turn will carefully monitor the violations of civil liberties that will naturally evolve from unsupervised investigations.
The formation of the Bush Gestapo overturns long held precedents for maintaining the independence of law enforcement agencies. Those guidelines have been summarily discarded by the administration, just as they have been ignored by the collaborative media. The nation’s steep descent into despotism was barely greeted with a whimper of protest from the mainstream press. The editors of The New York Times applauded the changes as a sign of progress, a step forward in making America safer and “breaking down walls” between foreign and domestic agencies. This is true; there are many cumbersome “barriers” between the President and absolute power but, for all practical purposes, those have now been effectively removed. Notwithstanding the NY Times’ perky assessment, the deleterious effects on the American people will be felt for decades to come.
In a Washington Post article innocuously titled “Bush Approves Spy Agency Changes,” veteran journalist Walter Pincus makes scant reference to the many civil liberties groups that fought the creation of the National SS. Timothy Edgar, from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), criticized the president’s action saying, “The FBI is effectively being taken over by a spymaster who reports directly to the White House. . . . It's alarming that the same person who oversees foreign spying will now oversee domestic spying, too.”
“Alarming” to whom? It’s not alarming to the president or his cadre of corporate benefactors who would rather eschew the nettlesome requirements of the Bill of Rights to eliminate potential dangers to the state. To them, the emergence of the secret police augers stability in the markets, eliminating disruptive elements without recourse to the law. Personal freedom is the sworn enemy of “top-down”, orderly societies. The Bush Gestapo will ensure that the decision-making power continues to be entrusted by those who’ve demonstrated their natural right to lead.
The National Security Service will have unlimited power to conduct the apocryphal war on terror anyway it sees fit. The agency will operate independent of congressional oversight and beyond the bothersome glare of America’s permanently embedded media. It will provide the requisite muscle for maintaining America’s one-party system; spying, harassing and intimidating those dissident elements that dare to challenge the status quo. We should expect to see an up tick in dirty tricks, coerced censorship and “disappeared” persons in the wake of the new changes.
General Michael Hayden, deputy director of National Intelligence, attempted to assuage fears that civil liberties would be savaged by the Bush brown shirts. Hayden stated unequivocally that the US no longer had the “luxury” of maintaining the divisions between foreign and domestic intelligence structures because, “Our enemy does not recognize that distinction.” In other words, it’s too dangerous to be free any longer.
Isn’t this the unavoidable logic of Fascism?
The creation of the National Security Service comes on the heels of other developments that are equally ominous. Homeland Security’s Michael Chertoff announced this week that the 180,000 public employees in the government’s largest agency would be further corralled under the central authority of the president. Invoking the pretext of “national security,” Chertoff plans to appoint a few new agency chieftains (Bush loyalists) who will be tasked at consolidating the disparate groups under a model of corporate rule. The changes represent even more power for the president.
Similarly, the release of a 40-page document from the Defense Department states the intention of the Pentagon to “expand military activity” within the United States, a practice that has been banned since 1878 under the provisions of the Posse Comitatus Act. Americans would be surprised to know that the administration is maneuvering to sidestep the existing law and deploy troops inside the country on the president’s orders. Consider, for a moment, the potential for disaster if Bush is allowed to use the military as his own private resource: dispatching protestors, patrolling cities and supervising elections as happens in third world nations. The Pentagon document clearly “asserts the president’s authority to deploy combat forces on US territory to intercept and defeat threats.” (Washington Post)
Sounds like a military dictatorship to me.
Is there any doubt where all of this is heading?
The National Security Service, which is an autonomous, domestic spy-agency, signals a tectonic shift in the political landscape. The genesis of the Police State marks the end of American democracy, the final wooden stake to the heart of privacy, security and personal liberty. Bush’s meteoric rise to power has been accompanied by a breakdown of traditional safeguards at every juncture, leaving the system vulnerable to incalculable damage. The message to citizens is clear: all of the institutions upon which democratic societies depend (the executive, the Congress, the Judiciary, the media, the military, and law enforcement) have withered beneath the Bush onslaught and been reduced to rubble. The entire system has been corrupted from top to bottom. America is a gaunt, skeletal figure, rattling around in its cage, ready to be blown over by the first brisk wind. Democracy is dead.
Now, will someone please tell the American people?
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at: email@example.com.
Other Articles by Mike Whitney