The Spies Who Thought We Were Messy


With illegal government break-ins and wire tapping back in the news, (it seems even the Patriot Act is too contaminated by concessions to ACLU-card carrying liberals for Bush) I can’t resist reminiscing about my documented adventure in the land of super surveillance. The time period ranged from 1973-75 and Judy and I were living in an isolated Catskill cabin, way off the main road. Our only neighbor’s were a brisk hike away.

Naturally the Feds assumed that we had moved to such an isolated turf because we wanted to set up a terrorist training camp. We actually decided to to live there because we fell in love with the blazing beautiful lasting forever fall of 1973. And so a period of break-ins and monitoring ensued which had the Feds practically sharing our cabin, reading our mail, installing listening devices, following our friends, tapping our phone calls, and checking on our bank account. All this chicanery was executed without any Judge’s permission.

Everything fell apart for the Feds when Judy discovered a homing device on our car. We took civil action. They admitted some crimes and turned over a massive literary account of their adventure in our home. True the FBI files were quite blacked out but enough remained to give the reader an interesting account of what could easily be called a Clash of Cultures, if not Civilizations.

Boy, did the Feds hate our messy house. There are pages of complaints about our sloppiness. How are they supposed to find that secret document from Fidel Castro instructing us in the use of exploding cigars? And they really hated our irregular life style. They would get a solid piece of information that we were planing to leave town and so they would show up at our cabin all bright and ready to break in only to discover we had changed our plans. That left them nothing much to do but bag a few deers and get drunk.

Our reading habits drove them crazy. What the hell was False Promises by Stan Aronowitz anyway? We referred to it in a letter. Is it real book? A secret code? How come no other terrorist suspect had that "book?" A national question was asked of all the major Field offices but nobody had ever heard of False Promises.

The Feds also hated that –being Yippies –we weren’t in a disciplined organization. And so we required much more personal attention and expense. For us, it wasn’t enough to put one agent in some movement bureaucracy. They had to live next door.

Of course we learned some personal stuff about the Feds. Like they weren’t the heartiest warriors. As the Catskill weather grew colder, icier and snowier, they tended to reduce and then halt their monitoring. One agent slipped on the ice and broke his arm, another was scratched by our cat. The results they were getting about our "terrorist training camp" weren’t worth freezing their ass off.

The field agents actually wanted to call the whole thing off but the high command replied that the less it appeared that we were engaged in terrorist activity the more likely it was that we were engaged in terrorist activity. J.E. Hoover described us as recidivist New Leftists.

The monitoring continued till Judy found their device. We sued. There was an out of court settlement and we used the money to buy a new car. Those were the good old days when there still was a Constitution and Dubya only dreamed of owning a baseball team.

STEW ALBERT runs the Yippie Reading Room. His memoir, Who the Hell is STEW ALBERT?, is just out from Red Hen Press. He can be reached at: stewa@aol.com


December 01, 2015
John Wight
From Iraq to Syria: Repeating a Debacle
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: the Left Takes Charge
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Revenge? The Fight for the Border
Sami Al-Arian
My Ordeal: One of America’s Many Political Trials Since 9/11
Steffen Böhm
Why the Paris Climate Talks Will Fail, Just Like All the Others
Gilbert Mercier
Will Turkey Be Kicked Out of NATO?
Bilal El-Amine
The Hard Truth About Daesh and How to Fight It
Pete Dolack
Solidarity Instead of Hierarchy as “Common Sense”
Dan Glazebrook
Rhodes Must Fall: Decolonizing Education
Colin Todhunter
Big Oil, TTIP and the Scramble for Europe
Eric Draitser
Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia?
Linn Washington Jr.
Torture and Other Abuses Make Turkey as American as Apple Pie
Randy Shaw
Krugman is Wrong on Gentrification
Raouf Halaby
Time to Speak Out Against Censorship
Jesse Jackson
It’s Time for Answers in Laquan McDonald Case
Patrick Walker
Wake Up Zombie, Kick Up a Big Stink!
November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism