Everybody's Got Their Own Terrorist
According to the Friendly Colonel, one of his friends who retired from the FBI and became a local police chief has told him that even in the small city jail he runs they're holding eight suspects under the terrorism act. They're being kept in a separate wing. It's interesting the way it works. The federal government picks up the tab. The sheriff told him that the detainees are not allowed to have any visitors, not even family. They're not even allowed to call a lawyer or have any contact with a lawyer. They can't send out mail or receive mail. As a matter of fact, they're not even allowed to put these guys' names in the computer to say they're holding them. Their names are kept on a separate hand written piece of paper that the sheriff has to keep locked up in his safe. These people are being kept "at the special request" of the Office of Homeland Security.
Some of the "detainees" have been arrested locally by the local nickel and dime police guys. They keep getting lists of names of people that are "wanted." The county sheriff's office is large enough so they have the ability to get "pink" cables from the Department of Justice. In other words, they keep getting classified cables with seemingly endless lists of names. He said there are thousands of names.
The sheriff's department isn't obligated to go out and grab them - only if they notice them in their jurisdiction. Thus far, the only thing that's paid for is a per diem for keeping these guys -- and that only circuitously because Washington has to jump through hoops to get them the money and it has to come under the guise of some sort of special funding program that doesn't really exist. They're not getting paid anything extra to go out and look for them, but he has said they have received notification as late as last week that indicated that as soon as "things settle down" and certain remaining pieces of legislation are passed and incorporated into the USA Patriot Act that the locals will be paid to go out and get the people.
And what nationality are these "detainees"? Perhaps aliens with green cards, or maybe people who wear turbans? Not at all, the former FBI agent admitted that where the nervousness is coming from at senior levels in federal law enforcement is that there are thousands and thousands of people who are being secretly detained in the United States. There are an awful lot of names on this list that are not Arabs. There are an awful lot of names on the list like "Smith" and "Jones" and "Johnson" and "Nelson." And there's no paper trail. Their names are being kept off computers. Even their families don't know where they are.
The Bush Administration is jumping the gun because even with the authority already given them and with the bills already passed to date to augment that authority, they don't have all the authority necessary to detain people and to do what they're doing, that is, detaining so many people and keeping them incommunicado. They're supposed to wait for the remaining pieces of legislation that are still outstanding to be passed. Then they'll have the authority to do what they're doing - but for right now, they don't. And what the FBI is nervous about is that if this gets dribbled out into the media or gets exposed in a big way, somebody in Washington is going to duck for cover and it's going to leave a lot of local guys with a lot of explaining to do. And they're not going to have any paperwork in their hands to say, "This is what I was told to do."
Other sheriffs have done the same thing. They're getting these confidential lists of names of people they're supposed to place under detention. They've been ordered to shred them right after. He knows that he (and a hell of a lot of other sheriffs in this nation, are beginning to keep these lists because people are getting concerned about covering their own ass.
There's a lot of nervousness about who's covering whose ass. As of now, the Department of Justice is not giving out bounties, just a per diem comp, just the standard fee which isn't much. They're not paying them anything extra yet, but they've been told that that's coming, that supposedly they will be getting paid extra for doing this. One thing that the feds have to be careful about is that most of the local jails and the county sheriffs are on a very tight budget.
They have a special wing of the jail they're using at Huntsville. It's a special wing devoted to this that used to be their "dry-out tank."
The media has circulated rumors before that there are far more people being detained both domestically and overseas than what the US Government has admitted, but the information in this column is an exclusive report on the details.
Like the sheriff said, "How many guys with the last name of Smith and Jones can have immigration or green card problems?"
Of course, even though he's a former FBI agent, he doesn't exactly know the intent of holding all these people who most likely don't have anything to do with terrorism or most likely aren't even connected to it. In other words, people are being held who couldn't possibly have any connection with terrorism. He thinks that a lot of the people they're holding are "potentially vocal people." He didn't go on to explain that. Then he said, "How do you think the government has gotten away with holding so many people for so long with names like Smith or Jones, completely incommunicado, yet nobody is running to the media. Why isn't there pressure building? Why aren't family members running to the local newspapers saying what's happened?"
The answer is that the people being held are, in some cases, people who have worked in very sensitive capacities for the US Government before and perhaps they know enough that they could be a problem down the line if they started to talk. By and large, these are people who don't have much family or may be very disconnected from family life. In other words, they come from family circumstances where they are used to being missed for months and sometimes years. That would be a normal course of events for them.
The FBI is generally familiar with Arabs that the CIA has associated with, including Arabs in the United States who are considered to be friendly. What it looks is a massive operation by the CIA to cover its ass, to distance itself from its own Arab connections. If they're in prison, they can't talk and say anything if they're held incommunicado.
It's like the sheriff said - if somebody from the Department of Justice or even the Department of Defense showed up tomorrow with DoD or DoJ credentials with a writ signed from the judge for the production of these eight people, I'd have to release them. I'd have no idea where they would go after that. All I need to see is the little stamp of Office of Homeland Security and that's it.
The sheriffs, when asked to release the detainees, would not even have the right to be informed as to the ultimate destination where the people are going.
The speculation from the FBI old-timers is that there are probably a variety of reasons why there are so many people being detained, the least of which is "terrorism." What they suspect is that by the number of Arab nationals being detained (knowing who these guys are and knowing their involvement with US intelligence in the past) that the CIA is doing a lot of housecleaning and covering its own ass.
He said, "How do you define terrorism?" You need new definitions - when everything is so interconnected.
Terrorists, for example, who went out and killed people or blew up buses full of kids, and who also had relationships with the CIA - are they then strictly "terrorists"?
The ambiguity of state-sponsored terrorism, or domestic terrorism, or international terrorism, then becomes one big muddle.
The FBI is arresting all these Arabs; then the CIA comes and grabs them and either lets them go or gets them out of the country and the FBI isn't even told where they've gone. This is why the FBI is nervous -because of the chaos of the situation. The FBI old timer says, "The CIA grabs people from us. The Department of Defense grabs guys from us that we're arresting. The British show up and we find out that this terrorist had actually been working with MI6. The French DST shows up and says, 'hey this of one of our terrorists.'"
They're not only protecting their own assets, but they're covering their own asses. Regarding the processing office at the National Intelligence Division of the FBI, they had a luncheon for some of the retired guys who were talking with some of the active duty guys getting close to retirement and they were laughing at how it looks like a mini-U.N. The British show up to claim their terrorists. The French show up to claim their terrorists. And then the CIA comes in to get their terrorists. He says, pretty soon we got nobody left, who actually is supposed to be a terrorist. He says I thought we had a war on terrorism and we were supposed to be declaring war on terrorism. But what a selective war it seems to be when all the supposed enemy targets and would be terrorists get whisked away by various intelligence agencies of different countries trying to cover their political liabilities. Everybody in the world shows up to claim them. He laughs and says that even the Russians have been there.
It really makes you wonder, though, how all this is getting financed --holding all these people in detention. Millions are being spent looking for all these people that represent a liability to the United States or one of our allies. Then you look at these appropriation bills getting jammed through Congress, and Congress is in complete chaos. They're getting bills passed just about every day. A former Washington insider says that he doesn't know any member of the House or Senate that has actually read them.
What is happening apparently is the old Bushonian trick of appropriating $20 million, $15 million, or $50 million here and there for, in some cases, little esoteric subdivisions of divisions of departments, some of which haven't even been in operation in 40 years. That's the best scam -appropriating money for defunct agencies. There are legions of little office buildings outside of the crescent of Washington from Silver Springs over to Fort Mead and down into McLean, Virginia and Reston. There are row after row of little office buildings, and they're all leased by different agencies of the government.
There was one that was called something like the Appalachian Relief and Corn Investigation Bureau that was phased out in 1947 and they still have an office with a sign on the door. There's nothing in it. It's completely vacant and there's no furniture in it anymore, but they still rent the office for like $150 per month.
It reminds me of another story about the way government accounting works. If the media ever asked any questions, they can always say, "Oh yes we're aware that that bureau got closed down in 1947, but its functions were then assumed by Bureau 317-A of the Department of Agriculture." The when the media goes there and finds out that that was shut down in 1963. Then they say, "Oh yes, but then their functions were assumed by this other bureau." And the government can get away with it because a lot of the appropriations, if they're under $10 million per year for these esoteric little offices, they just come out as block spending authority, which isn't specifically listed by bureau because the government claims that the cost of the paperwork is too high. So the way it works is there are slush funds within slush funds. But it's a neat trick the way it's done.
Only God knows how much money is sucked out of the federal budget.
Here's another way money is sucked out for purposes other than what the appropriations have been designated - by using little arcane one man or two man bureaus, a subdivision of a subdivision of an agency that has long since been shut down - but continue to get funded.
Congressman Bill Alexander actually stumbled into this little bureau that was supposed to be part of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) that was actually shut down in the 1940s. It supposedly had to do with the restocking of wildlife and reforestation planning, but it didn't do anything. It was what they called a "field planning office." He tracked it down and it ended up that $1.9 million annually still gets appropriated for it, but it's actually being used to subsidize a variety of exclusive congressional luxury golf course retreats. Of course, they're not called that. They're called "congressional study and research retreats."
In other news, it is interesting to report that when the final 50 odd pieces of legislation related to the USA PATRIOT bill are passed by Congress, more than likely under administration pressure before the need of this congressional term, the United States of America will no longer meet the legal definition of being a "free democratic state" in accordance with the definition, as put forth by our own Supreme Court.
The old American Republic now falls as Benjamin Franklin predicted it might -- not with a bang but with a whimper -- of naivete, apathy and blind "patriotism."
Hail the New Imperial Republic. . .