Perpetual War Schemes: Incalculable Costs
More than 50 years ago President Eisenhower warned that if unchecked, military-industrial interests would have an adverse influence on government decisions.— Military-Industrial Complex Speech 1961
Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning have been cited as purveyors of national security secrets, violators of the 1917 Espionage Act. The question is, why would two citizens risk freedom to publicize classified government documents?
The answer may be that Edward Snowden (under Russian protection) and Bradley Manning (military incarceration) are students of American history.
U. S. War on Terror Announced September 20, 2001
The President's post September 11, 2001 promise: "Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."
Some War on Terror actions approved by President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld:
President Obama supports some of his predecessor's intelligence-gathering policies, one of which includes pervasive citizen electronic data capture by the National Security Agency.
It is now verified, "New Details Show Broader NSA Surveillance Reach," that government-sponsored Total Awareness surveillance programs were in place prior to September 11, 2001. According to the 9/11 Commission Report the Intelligence Community failed to respond to credible evidence that an al-Qaeda attack was likely.
The administration's reading of the National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2012) is that Americans can be imprisoned indefinitely if deemed security threats. Judge Forrest, reviewing a challenge to this interpretation, found against the government. Her ruling was overturned on the basis that the plaintiffs did not have standing.
These indefinite incarceration schemes are almost identical to the repudiated FBI's Security Index (Custodial Detention) Program by which suspect Americans lose the right of judicial review. The Supreme Court in the Hamdi matter stated: "We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the Rights of the Nation's citizens."
Primary principals advising President Obama on national security issues are: James Clapper, Director National Intelligence (a former lieutenant general and defense industry employee) John Brennan, Director CIA (long-term government employee with short-term defense industry employment) General Keith Alexander, Director National Security Agency (military career), Robert Mueller, FBI Director (legal career). The seventeen agencies known as the Intelligence Community were created by Executive Order in 1981.
Undue Military-Industrial Influence
In 1971 Daniel Ellsberg, a Rand military analyst, provided The New York Times and The Washington Post with copies of a classified Department of Defense study titled "United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967."
Upon the NYT's release of Pentagon Paper installments, the Nixon administration enjoined the paper from future publication.
Judge Gurfein, denying the government's petition, said:
A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, an ubiquitous press, must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom of expression and the right of the people to know. These are troubled times. There is no greater safety valve for discontent and cynicism about the affairs of government than freedom of expression in any form…. No cogent reasons were advanced as to why these documents except in the general framework of embarrassment… would vitally affect the security of the nation.Unclear —New York Times v. U.S—judicial decisions were evaluated by the Supreme Court in 1971. In its 6 to 3 ruling for First Amendment rights, Justices Black and Douglas were of the opinion that:
Far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly. In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam war, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do.In 1976 the Senate Church Committee in its— "Foreign and Military Intelligence to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities"— report confirmed Eisenhower's prescience.
The committee found that post WW II Presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon engaged in hidden CIA, FBI, NSA, INR, DIA and NSC national security agendas that "were inconsistent with declared policy and the law."—pp. 5 & 7
It is clear that "The Constitution has been violated in secret and the power of the executive has gone unchecked, unbalanced."— p. 16
Disclosure reiterations by the CIA Inspector General 1957:
Precautions must be taken not only to protect operations from exposure to enemy operations but also to conceal these activities from the American public in general. The knowledge that the Agency is engaging in unethical and illicit activities would have serious repercussions in political and diplomatic circles and would be detrimental to the accomplishment of its mission.— p. 395
The Senate has the right of full inquiry but the White House-directed intelligence agencies frequently destroyed and or favorably edited pertinent documents. To prove the extent of malfeasance, investigators had to rely on whistle blowers and subpoenas.—p. 8
Considering covert action:
the Committee was struck by the basic tension—incompatibility—of covert operations and the demands of a constitutional system. Secrecy is essential to covert operations; secrecy can, however, become a source of power, a barrier to serious policy debate within government, and a means of circumventing the established checks and procedures of government—p.156Neither Congress nor the courts have effectively weighed executive national security claims v. constitutional protections. The Supreme Court reflected in 1972 that warrantless electronic surveillance practices had been common White House pursuits for more than twenty-five years.— p. 11
The executive branch in concert with its military industrial partners engaged in regime change, "war of liberation," policies. The Vietnam conflict (1955-1975) is the most often cited example of U.S. intervention in another country. Other governments subjected to these CIA-contrived ploys included Mosaddegh (Iran '53), Árbenz (Guatemala '54), Sukarno (Indonesia '50s-'60s) and Allende (Chile '70) —p. 24
Former Secretary of State Rusk described these deadly adventures as nasty wars "in the back alleys of the world."— p. 9
CIA businesses— Proprietaries— were created to "offer cover, attribution for funding, administration assistance to agents and clandestine activities and provide services not available through normal commercial facilities." Examples: Air America, Southern Air Transport, Intermountain Aviation, Insurance Complex, The Security Project— pp. 205-257
Re Intelligence Analysts:
In the world of bureaucracy, budgets, programs, procurement and managers, the needs of the analyst can be lost in the shuffle. There has been an explosion in the volume and quality of raw intelligence but no increase in the capacity of analytical capabilities. As a result, "raw" intelligence increasingly dominates "finished" intelligence; analysts find themselves on a treadmill where it is difficult to do more than summarize and put in context the intelligence flowing in. — p. 18The CIA's use of academia, the media and religious institutions should be halted.— pp. 180-203
The clandestine ARMY, NSA, CIA, and FBI intelligence/research operations made public by the Church Committee are sobering in light of the Edward Snowden/Bradley Manning revelations.
The following programs had the imprimatur of the Executive Office:
was only an episode in the lawlessness which preceded and followed its brief existence. As these hearings will reveal the leaders of the CIA and individuals within the FBI continued to seek official blessings for the very wrongs envisaged in the Huston Plan. p.2
CIA Director Helms ordered the human experimentation records destroyed but it was later learned that over thirty universities and institutions had participated in the twenty-year MKUltra project. The CIA's known drugs of choice were LSD, synthetic mescaline and scopolamine. Behavior-altering techniques, outside pharmaceuticals, included radiation, electroshock, harassment substances, paramilitary devices and materials.— pp. 391-392. The CIA also utilized American volunteers for drug research. A sample consent form may be viewed on p. 417. Participants were subject to confidentiality agreements—disclosure would lead to Uniform Code of Military Justice prosecution.
The Church Committee found it disturbing that confined/incarcerated individuals were CIA experimentation subjects.
Intelligence Community Immunity
History repeats. Past (Church Committee) and present (Manning/Snowden) documents prove that directors of U. S. intelligence agencies have violated statutes and acted outside constitutional boundaries. Since no charges have been levied, it would appear that officials acting under National Security authorization are immune from prosecution.