Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Clapper as Court Appointed Critic or Jester?





Law and Disorder Radio  is a weekly, hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights).  It addresses civil liberties issues, government abuses and more.  Heidi is the Executive Director of The National Lawyers Guild (the link with her name goes to that site) and the author of a new book.  She's also Queen of the Zeitgeist.  Doubt it?  Dropping back to the September 24, 2010 snapshot:

Meanwhile Jason Ditz ( reports, "The FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of 'raids' against the homes of antiwar activists, claiming that they are 'seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism'."  Karmically, the news breaks on the same day that the National Lawyers Guild issues a new report, Heidi Boghosian's [PDF format warning] "The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the US." .In her intro, Boghosian notes, "To know that the United States is undergoing a highly orchestrated curtailment of personal and political liberties, one need not look further than police treatment of protesters in the streets. Those who speak out against government policies increasingly face many of the same types of weaponry used by the U.S. governmen tin its military operations."

In 2010, she was right there with a report on spying just as the news of government spying broke.  And in the midst of revelations about Barack's illegal spying on Americans, Heidi's book   Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance was released last week.   (And discussed on yesterday's Law and Disorder Radio  with plans for a longer discussion of the book to take place in three or so weeks -- yesterday's discussion is excerpted in yesterday's snapshot.)  From Heidi's new book:

The FBI's counterintelligence programs (COINTELPRO) brought shame to the reputation of the bureau, and for good reason.  The covert and manipulative programs sought to destroy influential and effective leaders of civil rights and other political movements, as well as other politically active individuals, through a series of insidious immoral, and frequently illegal actions. Operations aimed at "neutralizing" critics of government policies included defamation, libel, assault, poisoning, entrapment, and even assassination.  COINTELPRO illustrates the ease with which domestic intelligence initiatives can escalate to warlike counterintelligence maneuvers, employed unlawfully and with total impunity, accountable to no branch of  government.  
An FBI wiretap of the Black Panther Party headquarters in 1970 revealed that actress Jean Seberg was pregnant, and not by French writer Romain Gary, her estranged husband.  An FBI memo noted, "Jean Seberg has been a financial supporter of the BPP and should be neutralized.  Her current pregnancy by [name deleted] while still married affords an opportunity for such efforts."  In addition to giving money to the Panthers, Seberg had spoken out against U.S. war policies and racism.  The bureau's leaks that she was carrying the child of a Panther resulted in news headlines such as A BLACK PANTHER'S THE PAPPY OF A CERTAIN FILM QUEEN'S EXPECTED BABY.  On August 7, Seberg tried to kill herself by taking an overdose of sleeping pills; on August 20 her baby was born prematurely and died.  For the next several years, Seberg grew depressed, attempted suicide each year on the anniversary of her baby's death, and finally succeeded on August 20, 1979.

As I've noted before I knew Jean Seberg.  When I hear people today say, "I have nothing to hide," my honest thought is, "Oh, you poor, little idiot, you don't have a clue."

The government doesn't need to know your personal business at all.  But when it has known, it has generally abused that knowledge.  They learned of Jean's pregnancy via a phone call Jean made.  And they went after her.  And the reality of that is still not honestly told today.

That's not a slam at Heidi.  When I heard the book would mention Jean, I got an advanced copy because I wanted to see if Heidi bought into the revisionary lies -- lies only possible because Romain is dead.  No, Heidi doesn't.  She stays on the factual path and good for her.

But the reality no one wants to talk about -- the reason Joyce Haber, a gossip columnist, is trashed and falsely made into the bad guy -- is because Jean's pregnancy resulted in the full weight of the US government being brought down on her, an American citizen.

The FBI passed a tip to Haber's editor who passed it to Haber without telling her where it came from but while vouching for the source.  (The editor, Bill Thomas, may not like that reality being know but the tip is in Joyce's files and it includes his handwritten note vouching for the source.)  Haber ran a blind item.  In May of 1970.  Not a big thing, Haber ran blind items all the time.  The only one really 'harmed' by the item was possibly Jane Fonda since the item could have described her in the minds of most Americans who knew she had lived in France and married a French man.  Jean Seberg was in many big films and a celebrity but her personal life was not as widely known (and followed) to the degree that Jane's was.  Even now, the events of Jane's day to day life are more widely known than that of most other actresses.  Jane's personal life has always resulted in the public's interest and the press' coverage.  Those who followed coverage of actresses in 1970 might also have concluded the item was about Barbara Hershey, Mia Farrow or some other actress identified with social causes.  But, again, for most Americans who read the blind item, the obvious choice would have been Jane Fonda because she was the biggest name and the most widely covered (and publicly active in the Native American Movement as well as in the Black Panther Movement).

Jean tries to take her life in August.  That's a result of Edward Behr and Newsweek.  Behr is the one who writes a 'report' for Newsweek in August that states Jean Seberg is pregnant by a Black Panther.  It's not a blind item: "She and French author Romain Gary, 56, are reportedly about to remarry even though the baby Jean expects in October is by another man -- a black activist she met in California."

And unlike Joyce Haber's blind item, Newsweek is all over the country and in public and school libraries including Jean's home state of Iowa where her parents live and where she's now branded an "adulteress."  And the Des Moines Register reports on the Newsweek item (they didn't on the Haber item).   Jean was not embarrassed that the world would think she was having a child by an African-American male -- a point that is often missed.  (And the man was actually Latino -- and not a Black Panther or an American -- or in America.)  She was not even thinking, "This will destroy my career!"  She was appalled that her personal life was being exposed to the world and specifically to members of her hometown and to her parents.  Adulteress.  I've been called far worse but I don't give a s**t and never have.  Jean didn't splash her personal life in the papers.  And being called (the judgmental) term of "adulteress" in 1970 could bring shame to someone's family.

There was no reason for Edward Behr to print that.  First off, it wasn't true.  (The father was an activist in Mexico.) Second, true or not, Romain was publicly the child's father and Newsweek and Behr had no business stepping into that issue -- there is such a thing as right to privacy and there was no 'right to know' or 'need to know' with regards to who the father of her baby was.

And Romain Gary sued Newsweek and wrote "The Big Knife" for France-Soir blaming Newsweek for the death of the child.

How does this get missed?

Because Jean wasn't just targeted by the FBI.  That's the little secret that leads to the lies of "It's Joyce Harber!"  Behr and Newsweek were doing the bidding of the CIA.  Newsweek frequently did the bidding of the CIA -- a reason so many of us don't give a damn if that piece of trash publication goes down the toilet.  Behr was in France.  The CIA ran the smear operation against Jean overseas, not the FBI.

Jean was an American citizen.  Her life was in France.  She returned to the US only for a film role or to visit her family.  She was not Jane who was on college campuses, in GI coffee houses and all over the country.  Jane was targeted and she did not deserve to be, no American does for exercising their First Amendment rights.  But my point here is that Jean was very minor in the US -- both in terms of her actions and in terms of her films.  (Even now, she's most famous for the French new wave classic Breathless.)

Yet the US government used information on her, misinformation, to try to destroy her.  The FBI and the CIA, under Tricky Dick, went after her and tried to publicly humiliate her while she was in the advance stages of her pregnancy, fully aware that their actions might result in a miscarriage.

So when someone today insists, "I don't have anything to hide," they're being foolish.

Under both Barack and Bully Boy Bush, there have been attempts to spy on foreign diplomats.  Under Bully Boy Bush, it was an attempt at the United Nations.

From Friday's snapshot:

KPFA broadcast the (brief) press conference live during Living Room and guest host Kevin Pina and guests Shahid Buttar (Bill of Rights Defense Committee) and Marcia Mitchell (author of The Spy Who Tried To Stop a War: Katharine Gun and the Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq Invasion).  Buttar weighed in first on the press conference.

[. . .]
 Kevin Pina:  Now of course Katharine -- just to remind people, Marcia, Katharine was -- tell us who Katharine Gun was.

Marcia Mitchell:  Katharine Gun was a British secret service officer working for GCH2 which, as we know, is NSA's prime partner in the surveillance business.  And she was at her computer on the morning of January 31, 2003 during the debate about the legitimacy of invading Iraq.

Kevin Pina:  Now this is in the United Nations Security Council debate.

Marcia Mitchell:  Yes.  And she then saw on her computer from our NSA, from Frank Kosa, from the NSA inviting GCH2 to join in an illegal spy operation against members -- specific members of the UN Security Council -- those who had the swing vote as to whether or not we would have a new resolution to invade Iraq.  And those who were supporting the resolution, specifically Bush and Blair, were very passionate about getting this because they were concerned about Resolution 1441 which allowed inspections was not sufficient to allow invasion.

Kevin Pina:  So Katharine Gun basically blew the whistle on an NSA--

Marcia Mitchell:  Absolutely.

Kevin Pina (Con't): -- surveillance program on members of the United Nations Security Council who had the swing votes to approve  a US-sponsored resolution to invade Iraq.

Marcia Mitchell:  Right.  And the reason given in the message that Katharine read was to influence these voters to the US way of thinking.  And that message indicated that they would not only be doing not only the business offices of these UN security members but really their personal lives as well.  So what we were looking at really is high stakes blackmail.  This was a way to get information on these six men to get them to vote on behalf of the US-UK position.

In 2003, the US government was prepared to spy on and blackmail members of the UN Security Council to get them to vote for war on Iraq.  If they wanted to start a war on that scale again, and now having all this stored data on Americans phone calls and e-mails, what makes you think they wouldn't use it against American activists opposed to war in order to try to shut them up?

That's not possible?  The US government would only attempt to spy and blackmail foreign diplomats?  If you really believe that then Heidi Boghosian's Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power and Public Resistance is not only an excellent book, it's also a must read.

 And to those who say they have nothing to hide, uh, excuse me, who ever said the US government was an honest broker when it came to smear campaigns.  J. Edgar Hoover authorized the FBI to smear Jean.  He appears to have believed she was pregnant by a Black Panther.  But the CIA spied on Jean in Mexico.  They knew of that affair.  They also most likely knew the man was the father.  That didn't stop them from spreading what they hoped was the more damning rumor: Jean pregnant by a Black Panther!  (As opposed to Jean pregnant by a Mexican activist -- which wouldn't alarm as many Americans in 1970.  The Black Panthers was a domestic movement, so an activist working in another country would appear 'exotic' and Lucy and Ricky and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez had long ago made most Americans comfortable with White and Latino coupling.)

Yesterday on KPFA's Flashpoints, guest host Kevin Pina spoke with the ACLU's Kade Crockford about the ongoing spying.

Kade Crockford:   The notion that the government may in fact already be collecting all of this data about every single one of us and holding onto it just in case it wants to dip into someday.  And I would simply say to anybody who trusts Barack Obama to do the right thing, and thinks that this isn't such a big deal because they voted for the guy and they think he's pretty cool, what do you think about President Rick Santorum having access to information about when you got an abortion or about when you got, you know, you're getting gay married or any host of other, completely harmless activities which some future president might find a good reason to harass you or to send some G-men to your house spy on you or in fact, even worse.

RECOMMENDED:  "Iraq snapshot"
"Nouri's mass arrests accomplish nothing positive"
"Snowden speaks (and is spoken of)"
"Worthless Women's Media Center"
"Elysium: An even bigger bomb"
"Again on Russia"
"why the world's a little better"
"Where are Nuland's e-mails?"
"The illegal spying"
"Booker is a disaster"
"We're The Millers and more"
"Online therapy"
"Norman Pollack"
"Barry O hides out after blistering reviews"

No comments: