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<nettime> Ashcroft Remix, Or, Why The Attorney General Lost His Senate R
Abe Golam (by way of US Department of Art & Technology) on Tue, 16 Jul 2002 06:09:51 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Ashcroft Remix, Or, Why The Attorney General Lost His Senate Race To A Dead Man



MEMORANDUM

To: Randall M. Packer, Secretary

From: Abe Golam, Director of the Office of Political and Economic Insecurity

Re: Ashcroft Remix, Or, Why The Attorney General Lost His Senate Race 
To A Dead Man


Mr. Secretary:

In its 94-year history, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been 
many things -- the defender of its exorbitant budget, the guardian of 
governmental secrets, and the tireless debaser of civil rights and 
civil liberties for all Americans.

On September 11, a stunned nation turned once again to the trained 
men and women of the FBI, and asked: "how could you miss this too?" 
Americans everywhere spent the hours, days, and most of the first 
weeks after the attack wondering what the FBI's Strategic Information 
and Operations Center with Director Mueller could have been thinking. 
Even today, nine months later, it is difficult to convey the degree 
of unprofessionalism, finger-pointing, and circus-like atmosphere we 
witnessed in those first, 24-hour days of non-stop CNN propaganda. We 
saw central figures in the US administration coil in uncertainty as 
they tried to make heads or tails of the horrible terrorist attacks. 
We saw them HIDE their tails between their legs as their heads could 
only stop and wonder what went wrong and who was asleep at the wheel. 
Consequently, there was only one action taken by our leaders, and 
that was to save their asses, to intensely focus on their own 
personal agendas and personal safety so as to assure the survival of 
the Christian race.

 From the first moments our "justice" department spent together, 
plotting the largest deconstruction of civil liberties in our 
nation's history, they understood that the mission of American 
justice and law enforcement had changed, that they would now be able 
to use the logic of nothing to fear but death itself, to strip 
citizens of their unalienated rights as alien beings in an alienated 
country. In a few short days, and with the help of our Congress, we 
all became disenfranchised artists. We became victims of the USA 
Patriot Act.

That day, in those early hours, the protection of the Christian elite 
and their oil-garchy brothers the world over, became the central goal 
of the law enforcement agencies and national security mission of the 
FBI. And from that time forward, the leadership of the FBI and the 
Department of Justice began a concerted effort to free the field 
agents so that they could pry into the personal lives of 
non-Christian-believing liberals and Al-Qaeda terrorists who threaten 
the integrity of what they refer to as "our God-fearing United States 
of America."  The US Attorney General himself, who less than a year 
before September 11 had lost his incumbent Senate seat to a dead man, 
has been quoted as saying that he believes "the brave men and women 
on the front lines" need to be able to follow through on their 
mission to rid the world of pleasure-seeking, libertine artists, and 
that under the guise of the much-ballyhooed "war on terrorism," soon 
the FBI agents charged with this very serious mission, would be freed 
"from the bureaucratic, organizational, and operational restrictions 
and structures that hindered them from doing their jobs effectively."

As we have heard recently, FBI men and women in the field are 
frustrated because many of their internal restrictions have hampered 
their ability to fight terrorism. The adminstration claims that the 
current investigative guidelines have contributed to that 
frustration. In many instances, they insist, the guidelines bar FBI 
field agents from taking the initiative to detect and prevent future 
terrorist acts unless the FBI learns of possible criminal activity 
from external sources. Now that the Attorney General has essentially 
cleared the way for FBI agents to pry in the personal lives of anyone 
suspected of being a terrorist, what does this say about our top law 
enforcement agency's ability to begin suspending the civil rights of 
those citizens who publicly identify themselves as vocally disruptive 
and antagonistic artist-organizers? Who will defend the first 
amendment rights of these artist-organizers whose own steadfast 
mission is to use the global computer networks to democratically 
build an opposition to the administration's homophobic, Christian 
elitist, oil-garchy agenda?

The Attorney General insists that under the current guidelines, FBI 
investigators cannot surf the web the way average citizens can.  He 
also insists that agents cannot simply walk into a public event or a 
public place to observe ongoing activities. It's true that they 
cannot plant themselves in progressive political organizations so as 
to cause internal strife and thus undermine the attempts of these 
liberal thinking citizens to create viable alternatives to the 
Christian elite way of life. He is frustrated by this - even though 
these citizens are clearly practicing their first amendment rights.

Using the "war on terrorism" as a metaphor for war on everything 
un-Christian and liberal minded, the Attorney General's guidelines 
and procedures relating to criminal investigations and national 
security have been high on the list of action items for reform. 
Beginning in the 1970s, guidelines have been developed to inform 
agents of the circumstances under which investigations may be opened, 
the permissible scope of these investigations, the techniques that 
may be used, and the objectives that
should be pursued. These guidelines provide limitations and guidance 
in conjunction with requirements and safeguards imposed by the 
Constitution and help solidify the legal framework established by 
federal statutes enacted by Congress. Promulgated for different 
purposes and revised at various times, the guidelines currently cover 
FBI investigations, undercover operations, the use of confidential 
informants, and consensual monitoring of verbal communications.

The guidelines defining the general rules for FBI investigations, for 
example, were first issued over 20 years ago. They are there for a 
reason and need to stay in place lest we begin sliding down that 
slippery slope toward total Christian fundamentalist oil-garchy. Do 
we want a nation run by faux-CEOs of corrrupt companies like Enron, 
Harken and Halliburton? For as we know, beyond the axis of evil is 
the evil of access. Mr. Secretary, there is a cancer on the soul of 
America and something must be done about it.

The assault on civil liberties has already begun in full force. 
First, the Attorney General authorized the FBI to waive the 
guidelines, with headquarters approval, in whatever cases they see 
fit to prevent and investigate terrorism. That authority has been 
used, but the AG says he is disappointed that it was not used more 
widely. He says his experience over the past few months reinforces 
his belief that greater authority to investigate more vigorously 
needs to be given directly to FBI field agents. But what fields are 
these agents covering and how does this relate to the open source art 
hack mentality of many a net artist? Artist-(h)activists beware!

Second, the AG directed a top-to-bottom review of the guidelines to 
ensure that they provide front-line field agents with the legal 
authority they need to protect the Christian elite and their 
oil-garchy brethren who have since mutilated the US economy, from 
future terrorist attacks. He insists that that comprehensive review, 
devised in secret meetings with the reigning oil-garchy, showed that 
the guidelines mistakenly combined "timeless objectives" - what we 
essentially know to be the enforcement of the law and respect for 
civil rights and liberties - with "outdated means."

What does the Attorney General mean by the term "timeless 
objectives"? Are the "timeless objectives" of the dead man he lost 
his Senate race to still impeding his ability to rid the world of 
un-Christian artists and their libertine lovers?

Just this past month, Attorney General Ashcroft announced 
comprehensive revisions to the Department's investigative guidelines. 
As revised, the guidelines reflect four overriding principles, three 
of which I'll highlight here.

First, the "war against terrorism" - whether foreign or domestic - is 
the central mission and highest priority of the FBI. This principle 
is stated explicitly in the revised guidelines, and it is facilitated 
and reinforced through many specific reforms. The guidelines 
emphasize that the FBI must
not be deprived of using all lawful authorized methods in 
investigations, consistent with the Constitution and statutory 
authority, to pursue and prevent terrorist actions. But what 
constitutes domestic terrorism? At what point, Mr. Secretary, does 
the vocal dissent filling up this
memorandum, mean we are no longer "with" the Christian oil-garchy but 
are now "with" the terrorists?

Second, terrorism prevention is the key objective under the revised 
guidelines. The AG states that it is the Justice department's 
philosophy not to wait and sift through the rubble following a 
terrorist attack but to intervene early and investigate aggressively 
where information exists suggesting the possibility of terrorism, so 
as to prevent acts of terrorism.

Is this memorandum's verbal assault on the Christian elite, including 
those Supreme Court Justices who gave the election to George Bush, 
suggesting something along the lines of art-terrorism? Can terrorism 
be used as an aesthetic concept within a rhetorically-charged 
narrative to "bring down a government" while celebrating the 
non-violence of past leaders such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King? 
And can this desire to "bring down a government" be absolutely 
equated with the extremist
Christian right wing agenda to "bring down the government" of William 
Jefferson Clinton, the most "covered" libertine lover in all of US 
political history?

The new guidelines advance this "strategy of prevention" by 
strengthening investigative authority at the early stage of 
preliminary inquiries. Also, even absent specific investigative 
predicates, FBI agents under the new guidelines are empowered to 
scour public sources for information on future terrorist threats.

Public sources where you, Mr. Secretary, as a private citizen, are 
free to speak, believe, and assemble, in any way you damn well please.

Third, the AG insists that unnecessary procedural red tape must not 
interfere with the effective detection, investigation, and prevention 
of terrorist activities. To this end, the revised guidelines allow 
Special Agents in Charge of FBI field offices to approve and renew 
terrorism enterprise investigations, rather than having to seek and 
wait for approval from headquarters. The guidelines expand the scope 
of those investigations to the full range of terrorist activities 
under the USA Patriot Act. These major changes will free field agents 
to counter potential terrorist threats swiftly and vigorously without 
waiting for headquarters to act.

The new guideline reads, "For the purpose of detecting or preventing 
terrorist activities, the FBI is authorized to visit any place and 
attend any event that is open to the public, on the same terms and 
conditions as members of the public generally."

This, of course, includes the Internet. Your Big Christian Brother is 
watching you.

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