Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
HOW DID ABORTION RIGHTS COME TO THIS?  — Carol Hanisch charts how the right to an abortion began to erode shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision; Uber vs. the Cabbies: Ben Terrall reports on the threats posed by private car services; Remembering August 1914: Binoy Kampmark on the enduring legacy of World War I; Medical Marijuana: a Personal Odyssey: Doug Valentine goes in search of medicinal pot and a good vaporizer; Nostalgia for Socialism: Lee Ballinger surveys the longing in eastern Europe for the material guarantees of socialism. PLUS: Paul Krassner on his Six Dumbest Decisions; Kristin Kolb on the Cancer Ward; Jeffrey St. Clair on the Making of the First Un-War; Chris Floyd on the Children of Lies and Mike Whitney on why the war on ISIS is really a war on Syria.
Ever-Expanding Powers

The Pentagon’s Domestic Spying Operation

by MIKE WHITNEY

The strategy to militarize the country is moving forward as planned despite apparent setbacks in Iraq. As the Washington Post reported on Nov. 27 the Dept of Defense is expanding its domestic surveillance activity to allow Pentagon spies to track down and "investigate crimes within the United States".

An alarmed Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) said, "We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America. This is a huge leap without a congressional hearing".

Is this the first time that the naïve Wyden realized that the war on terror is actually directed at the American people?

The expanded powers of the Pentagon were presented in a proposal by a presidential commission headed by Lawrence Silberman and former Senator Charles Robb, two members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the 9-11 "whitewash" commission. The CFR, a 4,000 member amalgam of elites from the military, industry and media, was the driving force behind the Iraq war, as well as, enthusiastic advocates of the national security state. Their recommendations will allow the military to assume the traditional role of law enforcement and by giving it the authority to "carry out domestic criminal investigations and clandestine operations against potential threats inside the United States".

Oh, yeah; and the Pentagon will be involved in the "apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected" of criminal offenses.

This is a giant step for removing dissidents and political enemies while further militarizing the country.

The Patriot Act is also up for renewal and will remove the last nettlesome parts of the 4th amendment and any conceivable notion of personal privacy. "Lone wolf" provisions in the new bill allow law enforcement to investigate any American citizen, whether he is connected to an "alleged" terrorist organization or not, seizing whatever records they want, without having to show "probable cause". The same is true of the Act’s NSS (National Security Letters) which permits government agents to sort through all of one’s private records without judicial oversight.

The "due process" provisions of the Bill of Rights has been summarily removed by the 4th Circuit Court in its recent Jose Padilla ruling which allows the president to arbitrarily imprison an American citizen "indefinitely" without charging him with a crime. The long-standing "presumption of innocence", habeas corpus, and inalienable rights were quietly rescinded without as much as a whimper from the American people.

At the same time Bush has put "a broad swath of the FBI" under his direct control by creating the National Security Service (aka; the "New SS")? This is the first time we’ve had a "secret police" in our 200 year history. It will be run exclusively by the president and beyond the range of congressional oversight.

On October 27, 2005 Bush created the National Clandestine Service, which will be headed by CIA Director Porter Goss and will "expand reporting of information and intelligence value from state, local and tribal law enforcement entities and private sector stakeholders"? This executive order gives the CIA the power to carry out covert operations, spying, propaganda, and "dirty tricks" within the United States and on the American public. ("The New National Intelligence Strategy of the US" by Larry Chin, Global Research)

Also, within 2 years every American license and passport will be made according to federal uniform standards including microchips (with biometric information) that will allow the government to trace every movement of its citizens?

All of these changes in the law have taken place below the radar of public attention and all of them correspond to a "nutcase" conspiracy by the CFR to transform Canada, Mexico and the US into one, integrated "free trade" nation in 5 years time. (I’m not making this up) See: Trilateral Task Force Recommendations,

The only thing that makes this bizarre specter of a "capitalist police state" seem believable is that Bush has already carried out most of the basic recommendations of that other wacky conspiracy theory; The Project for the New American Century. The US has extended its military presence throughout Central Asia and the Middle East, curtailed civil liberties at home, greatly enhanced the power of the president, militarized space, passed legislation for Missile Defense "Star Wars", and reinvigorated the bio-chemical weapons industry. All of these were outlined in the PNAC.

Sometimes "conspiracy theories" come to fruition despite our unwillingness to give them credence.

So, let me make a prediction, however groundless and far-fetched as it may seem.

The 5 years of work that went into creating the Bush National Security State will not be passed on to some anemic Democrat, like Hillary Clinton, according to the normal protocols. The "capitalist police state" represents the concerted efforts of myriad elites from all walks of life; particularly banking, big energy, military and media. The last obstacle to realizing their macabre vision is Congress; the final hurdle to absolute power.

If some unforeseen tragedy befalls congress, like another anthrax attack, what should we expect from the Bush administration?

Well, we have a pretty good idea, since the American Enterprise Institute, to which the Bush team is closely aligned, has already "issued proposals for the operation of Congress following a catastrophic terrorist attack". They advocate the "APPOINTING" of individuals to the House of Representatives "to fill the seats of dead or incapacitated members, a first in American history" "The Continuity of Government Commission is self-commissioned’, its members being neither elected nor appointed by any government bodyand mostly made up of professional lobbyists". (Read the whole article.)

So, lobbyists and industry representatives will replace duly-elected congressman?

This gives us some idea of the seething contempt that right-wing elites have for democracy and how they plan to dismantle Congress when given half a chance.

Presently, Bush’s fortunes are inextricably tied to an "unwinnable" war in Iraq. As his popularity has dwindled, Congress has become more reluctant to promote his far-right agenda and make further cuts to popular social programs. This situation will only get worse as we approach the 2006 mid-term elections.

Could it be time to "look the other way" while terrorists enter the country?

According to Sean Hannity, right-wing shiatsu for the FOX News channel, terrorists have already snuck in through our "porous borders".

A preemptive strike on congress would lift the battered Bush from the political ash-heap and put the finishing touches on the imperial presidency.

It may be time for another galvanizing "Pearl Harbor-type event"; one that will strike at the legislative nerve-center of American democracy. With Congress out of the picture, the path is clear for one man rule and Bush’s fascist Valhalla.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com