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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Privacy Lost: Declassifed FBI Manual Shows Crime-Fighting Comes Second To Being Big Brother

George Orwell's Big Brother is not just real, but has been acknowledged by the federal government.   Our rights under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments have been under attack and broadly violated by the Executive Branch of our Federal Government, as shown by a declassified December 2008 Federal Bureau of Investigations manual (PDF format), accompanying this New York Times article.

Elements of the manual read as if they could come from a manual of KGB or Stasi.   The manual allows for the investigation of individuals or organizations without a reasonable suspicioin of wrongdoing; the infiltration of domestic organizations, all manner of ethnic or racial profiling, following people "in public," and the retention of all information gathered on a "subject" (i.e., you and me) indefinitely without the need to find wrongdoing or any cause to have investigated in the first place.  

These policies allow for the federal government, while invoking the cause of protecting the public, to eviscerate any "right to privacy" you may have thought you had, follow you ad infinitum once you are outside the confines of your home, spy on you inside your home, monitor any outside activities you engage in (bye-bye, right of assembly) and keep all records it creates or acquires about you indefinitely.  

The federal government can "investigate" you, for good cause, bad cause, or no cause.   In essence, you can be investigated, just for showing up and being you.

Just consider the following:." (Manual, p. 32) (Comment: Just get a pretext to monitor.)
"No investigative activity may be conducted for the sole purpose of monitoring the exercise of these [constitutional] rights
"It is critical that the authorized purpose [justifying an investigation] not be, or appear to be, arbitrary or contrived." (Manual, p. 32) (Comment: Is this Orwelllian doublespeak?)
An authorized purpose is defined as:
"an authorized national security, criminal or foreign intelligence collection purpose." (Manual, p. 32)
Wait, it gets better...

An investigation should be conducted in a manner "that does not materially interfere with the ability of the individuals or groups to engage in the exercise of Constitutionally-protected rights."  (Manual p.32)(Emphasis added.)

And...

"Individuals who gather with others to protest government action, or to rally or demonstrate in favor of, or in opposition to, a social cause sometimes present a threat to public safety either by their numbers, by their actions, by the anticipated response to their message, or by creating an opportunity for individuals or other groups with an unlawful purpose to infiltrate and compromise the legitimacy of the group for their own ends."
These passages make clear that our FBI feels free to blame political and social organizations, and their members, for the actions (or crimes) of others.   This comes dangerously close to criminalizing thought crime, as well as altogether shifting the criminal liability from the actor to the innocent "agent provocateur."  

Once our law enforcement starts codifying this philosophy of blame-shifting in its policy, we are all in danger.   When actually being innocent is no protection against being investigated (or prosecuted, or incarcerated), we've crossed the line from a society of laws to the atavistic jungle where might makes right. 

Nice job fellas. 

As always, the original source document is provided.   I report - you decide.
 (Manual, page 40)(Emphasis added.)

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