Perilous Pitfalls of Secret Government

An article by Christopher Ketcham, originally published in Radar Magazine, details information about a database of 8 million Americans targeted for detention in case of a declared national emergency. Dubbed “Main Core,” the database began in the 1980s when the Reagan administration began its “Continuity of Government” planning — which was unconstitutionally perfected to suit the needs of the Bush administration by illicitly removing the system of checks and balances of the legislative and judicial branches of the U.S. government — conveniently implemented after the attacks of 9/11 and remaining in effect today. Several examples of the damage caused by the illicit shadow government of the Bush administration can be found below.

‘MAIN CORE’ caused mutiny in the Bush administration when then Attorney General John Ashcroft and his deputy James Comey objected to the program on Constitutional grounds which led to a dramatic confrontation between Ashcroft and Comey on one side and Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card on the other while Ashcroft laid ill in an intensive care unit.

A senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations says a database (Main Core) exists of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of an emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and detention.

The government uses software that makes predictive judgments of targets’ behavior and tracks their circle of associations with “social network analysis” and artificial intelligence modeling tools. Data used to make these ‘predictions’ include financial information from banks, credit card companies and credit agencies, illegal wiretapping and e-mail surveillance, and data gathered from ISPs and cell phone companies.

Information includes: e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, the subject lines of those messages, phone numbers you dial, numbers of those who call you as well as the duration of the calls, internet sites you visit, key words in your web searches, destination of airline tickets you buy, amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals and goods and services you purhcase on credit cards. All this information is tracked and archived by the government supercomputers and fed into the Main Core database.

Readiness Exercise 1984 (REX-84)

Dissidents and activists of various stripes, political and tax protestors, lawyers and professors, publishers and journalists, gun owners, illegal aliens, foreign nationals and an incredible number of other average, harmless people comprise this list.

Main Core programs go back to the Reagan administration, more specifically to Oliver North, who was involved in the creation of REX-84, a martial law plan designed to suspend the Constitution, round up 400,000 illegal aliens and an unknown number of American citizens and place them in detention camps set up at military bases.

REX-84 tools included PROMIS, a database program used by North to track dissidents’ movements in the 80s. That program was never halted, instead it was illicitly thrust into overdrive after 9/11.

Congress has been complicit too, enacting several laws that have made the data gathering, targeting and detention easier. Sources familiar with the program say the government’s data gathering has been overzealous and probably conducted in violation of federal law and the protection from unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth amendment.

To fully grasp the concept of bureaucracy gone wild, and the outrage, you need to read the complete article from Radar Magazine. It’s long, but informative and well worth the read. The complete article can also be found at Information Clearing House, and Think Progress. More information can also be found from

Controlled Unclassified Information

The Washington Post reported on a memorandum signed by President Bush on the eve of his daughter Jenna’s wedding,  that introduced “Controlled Unclassified Information” as a new category that will replace “Sensitive but Unclassified” — meaning that the information requires safeguarding because “the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure would create risk of substantial harm.”

Such information — while not meriting “confidential,” “secret” or “top secret” classifications — is “pertinent” to U.S. “national interests” or to “important interests of entities outside the federal government,” the memo says. For example, the information could be the steps taken to protect power plants from terrorists, or which pipelines are most vulnerable to attack.

Laws or policies that generated the requirement for protecting such information and which interests are pertinent are left undefined. Bush’s memo does refer to the “global nature of the threats facing the United States” and to the need to ensure that the “entire network of defenders be able to share information more rapidly” while protecting “sensitive information, information privacy, and other legal rights of Americans.”

Bush claims the purpose of the new classification is to standardize practices and thereby improve the sharing of information, not to classify or declassify new or additional information, but some critics have described it as continuing an expansion of secrecy in government and a potential bureaucratic nightmare.

Mistreatment and Poisoning of Our Military

Involuntary extensions of tours of duty for soldiers forced to remain in the army involuntarily under the military’s ‘stop-loss’ program have reportedly risen sharply since the Pentagon extended combat tours last year from 12 months to 15 months. Thousands of new stop-loss orders were issued to keep soldiers from leaving the service.

About 40,000 active-duty and National Guard soldiers were reportedly alerted that they’ll be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the fall. The deployment plans will involve units and soldiers who have served two or three tours lasting as long as 15 months. Several of the units have been home less than 12 months. 15 month tours are a major reason many senior enlisted soldiers are leaving the service.

On top of extended tours of duty and the inability to leave the service, troops are also having to deal with — and being denied treatment of — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while being used as pawns in the illegal occupation of Iraq.

The use of radioactive Depleted Uranium (DU) weapons in the current Iraq war has increased from 375 tons used in 1991 to 2200 tons. The Pentagon has bombed, occupied, tortured and contaminated Iraq. Half of the 697,000 U.S. Gulf War troops from the 1991 war have reported serious medical problems and a significant increase in birth defects among their newborn children. DU stays in the body, unlike natural Uranium. Prolonged exposure has been found to cause cancer and skin ailments. A video regarding poison DUst can be found on Google. With this kind of support from the Bush administration, our troops don’t need to fight any enemies.

Approximately $8 billion paid to U.S. and Iraqi contractors between 2001 and 2006 is reportedly unaccounted for — an audit revealed that nearly every transaction failed to comply with federal laws or regulations aimed at preventing fraud, in some cases lacking basic invoices explaining how the money was spent.

As noted by Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, there is something very wrong when our wounded troops have to fill out forms in triplicate for meal money while billions of dollars in cash are handed out in Iraq with no accountability. Taxpayers are being stuck with a massive bill to fund the illegal occupation of Iraq.

Bush’s Endless Hypocrisy on Terror

Noted by Consortium News:

“Is a government guilty of terrorism if it harbors known terrorists? What should one say about a country that permits open fund-raising on behalf of a terrorist implicated in the mass killing of civilians?

What about a government that secretly arms a guerrilla army that wantonly kills and abuses civilians while seeking to overthrow an elected government?

If your answer to those questions is to recite George W. Bush’s dictum that a government that harbors or helps terrorists should be punished just like the terrorists, then you must turn your wrath on the U.S. government and the Bush family — guilty on all the above points.

But the U.S. political/media system continues to view the world through a cracked lens that focuses outrage on “enemy” regimes while refracting away a comparable fury from similar actions by U.S. officials.”

A lot of people don’t know — corporate media doesn’t report — that the Bush family has a long history of ties to terrorists and the United States has a long history of creating and supporting terrorists and terrorism.

The FBI War Crimes File

As evidence of prisoner mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay began to mount in 2002, FBI agents at the base reportedly created a “war crimes file” to document accusations against American military personnel. In typical Bush administration fashion, the FBI was ordered to close the file down.

A report by the Justice Department provides a full account of internal dissent and confusion within the Bush administration over the use of ‘harsh interrogation tactics’ by the military and the CIA.

The Justice Department report also reveals that U.S. military interrogators appeared to have collaborated with visiting Chinese officials to disrupt the sleep of and to ‘soften up’ Chinese Muslims held there.

Hundreds of FBI agents saw American interrogators repeatedly mistreat prisoners is ways that the agents considered violations of American law and the Geneva Conventions. Officials at senior levels of the FBI, the Justice Department, the Defense Department and the National Security Council were all made aware of the complaints, but little if anything was done about it. Congress and the American public were never told about it.

Illegal Spying and its Rewards

An experimental Pentagon anti-terrorism program designed to vacuum up electronic data on people in the U.S. was killed by Congress five years ago due to privacy concerns. The National Security Agency (NSA), which at one time was only involved in foreign surveillance, has reportedly been building what is essentially the same system.

The role the NSA plays in domestic intelligence gathering has yet to be revealed, but an inquiry shows that its efforts have evolved to reach further into data about people’s communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs revealed since 9/11.

Very little is known about the role the highly secretive NSA plays in analyzing that data and how it’s collected. The NSA claims to follow all applicable laws and fully notifies Congress about their activities. As I’ve said before, if the past history of the Bush administration is any indication, doing things legally and notifying Congress is highly unlikely. All the intelligence-gathering programs used to collect and analyze the various data streams sparked civil-liberty complaints when they were revealed.

The NSA reportedly destroyed the names of thousands of Americans and U.S. companies it collected following 9/11 because the agency knew it was illegal. Its own lawyers told the agency that the surveillance was illegal and that it could not share the data it collected with the CIA or any other intelligence agencies. A classic example of what happens when innocent victims get caught up in the illegal wiretapping conducted against Americans can be found from Salon News.

After being identified by whistleblowers for their role in illegally spying on Americans, AT&T and Verizon were rewarded a major contract by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS needed a partner to help build, manage and secure their global network for 22 agencies.

Secret Cybersecurity Agency and Real ID

The DHS wants money to create yet another federal agency to maintain cybersecurity. Exactly what that agency will do is a secretDHS won’t tell Congress any details about it.

The Real ID Act was passed by Congress after the usual use of fear-mongering by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. EVERY State has rejected it. The Real ID Act would turn state issued driver’s licenses into a national identity card. In the usual moronic way of the Bush administration, U.S. citizens would have to get these cards, but foreigners can use their foreign issued passports instead.

A report (PDF) from The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) details the dangers posed by The Real ID Act:

“Real ID Implementation Review: Few Benefits, Staggering Costs

Throughout its history, the United States has rejected the idea of a national identification system. Yet, the Department of Homeland Security continues to push forward a system of identification that has been widely opposed. The REAL ID Act mandates that State driver’s licenses and ID cards follow federal technical standards and verification procedures issued by Homeland Security. REAL ID also enables tracking, surveillance, and profiling of the American public.”

In reality, the Real ID Act is another ploy by the Bush administration to gain totalarian control over Americans, dreamed up by the corrupt leadership of the Bush administration.

Propaganda and Fear Tactics

While Congress continues debating illegal legislation that would grant retroactive immunity to telecoms who aided with Bush’s illegal spying, AT&T has reportedly “spent $5.2 million in the first quarter to lobby on domestic spying legislation and other issues.”

Secrecy by the Bush administration is a growing problem. Political fear tactics and the use of propaganda by the Bush administration continues destroying human rights and lives. Using a terrorist leader who reportedly died in 2001 has continued to prove advantageous for the Bush administration. Of course, the federal government has a history of using lies and deceptions.

Since the attacks of 9/11, which the Bush administration fought hard for over a year to keep from being investigated, President Bush has done everything in and out of his power to turn America into a dictatorship at the cost of millions of lives. Now it’s being reported that documents exist — documents signed by President Bush — authorizing the attacks of 9/11. Whether or not there is any truth to it remains to be seen.

More and more people are questioning 9/11. Families of the victims of 9/11 are coming forward with new information the corporate media won’t report on. Obviously, a major cover up of epic proportions would require the participation of a lot of people. There are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding that fateful day the changed the world and began the slow and steady destruction of America and those who live here. Every American should demand the truth and the answers to those unanswered questions. Enough damage has already been caused by illicit secret government. It’s time for accountability.

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