This book “subversives” has a great story behind it. The author had to fight the FBI for 30 years, for them to release the documents he uses as primary sources, costing the bureau over one million dollars in the process. I recommend this as a read for anyone (as soon as it’s not $40), I know I will, and no I’m not getting anything for it.
I know this book would tickle my fancy, especially since much of it focuses on the Free Speech Movement, which happened right in my backyard & Alma Mater, UC Berkeley. It also documents the effort put forth by the FBI in undermining members of its leadership like Mario Savio and other leaders of activist organizations. By using these struggles, the conservative movement was able to rise to power through Ronald Reagan; first as Governor of California (running on an anti UCB platform), and then as President of the United States.
If you would like a more detailed review, Matt Taibbi wrote a great review of “Subversives” in the New York Times Sunday Book Review I highly recommend you check out.
Forget the Soundbite, Its Time For A Reality Check
I think this book holds even more relevance than it normally would because of the recent push by Congress for us to surrender our online privacy rights via CISPA. Through what I know and have learned, I feel that allowing CISPA to happen is a terrible idea and must be avoided at all costs. The only thing this “cyber-security” measure allows the government to bypass the process of showing a judge enough probable cause for theme to get a warrant for our information; which they’ll then use to prosecute us with.
Without needing a judge to sign off on the legal reasoning of for their investigation, the FBI will be given free rein to decide as they will the merits of their case……yeah cause that worked out GREAT during the 1960s especially with COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program they used against political dissidents.
Eventually, we must draw that line in the sand somewhere or another, so where will it be? Regardless of our personal political beliefs, if we’re skeptical of Obama or not, or what our general feeling about our government in general is.; it doesn’t matter. When it comes to increased governmental powers at the expense of our eroding ones; we must ask ourselves, “when is enough, enough? and “where do we draw the line at?”
History Repeats Itself
The one thing sure to stay the same, regardless of party, or administration is the natural inclination for power to seek more power. Look at investment bankers, elected officials, and police officers; for the most part, each profession is plagued by scandal, irrespective of their location.
For those law-abiding citizens inclined to believe this isn’t their problem because they aren’t doing anything illegal or wrong; guess what, you’re wrong!
Look at the way the FBI investigated Martin Luther King Jr., easily one of the most respected people from the Civil Rights Movement, and in general. Almost from the moment he stepped on the national stage, gaining the limelight during the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, he faced constant, heavy surveillance from the FBI…
Countless hours of audio recordings and stacks of papers detailing all aspects of his private life, even the most private and intimate, all for his POLITICAL views. What then, did these tax payer dollars uncover, for surely there must have been a good cause
And that criminal activity was;
[Maury Povich voice]
He had an affair
[GASP] oh the horror, I feel much safer now….. It turns out he WAS human! (i knew it).
Now I know I didn’t get shafted on that whole rapture business and miss that second coming of Jesus I keep hearing religious people talk about, YAY! I’m still in the running….. WHEW….crisis averted….I guess? [shrug]
(Or maybe it was part of the Federal Holiday vetting process, which must be something similar to sainthood….right?)
I wish I had asked for a receipt and could get OUR money back for THAT dumb purchase, or at the very least could have them validate my parking, cuz I feel kinda cheated; lightweight hardcore…..so should you…..
The saddest part of it all; they actually took it easy on him. The level of harassment and surveillance he faced was nothing compared to those the FBI viewed as being more “radical” oriented. Our government didn’t knowingly falsify or misconstrue evidence against him, as they did with Leonard Peltier of AIM; who still sits behind bars.
FBI Gets Down And Dirty; Real Dirty, Like A Criminal Would
FBI agents and provocateurs never infiltrated the SCLC, taking actions known to be likely at resulting in violent conflict leading to his death (or did they) as evidence would suggest was the case with Malcolm X, and members of the American Indian Project, or the Black Panther Party (yet again).
The only thing all of these people held in common was making too much damn common sense. Our government IS imperfect and SHOULD and COULD do better by its citizens and the rest of the world; apparently they were just outspoken about it and received lots of media attention for it. an outspoken view that our government not only could, but should, do better by its people.
Apparently our freedom of speech isn’t actually free; just ask Bradley Manning (held for over 1,000 days without trial or charge), or Julian Assange (now holed up in a Central American embassy, to avoid US extradition efforts), it’s only free when it’s positive. Negative commentators get taxed, and taxed hard by the government for holding that stance; a modern-day cookie jar the profit from curse words goes in.
Somehow, FBI agents and the government at large, find ways to avoid, bend or outright break those very same laws they have a hard-on to convict someone else for. I’d imagine this to be some legal wheeling and dealing and moral stretching exercise something akin to tying Stretch Armstrong to a tree and the back of the car; or like Andre the Giant somehow squeezing into a tiny tin box; a contortionists!
only to find out afterwards Andre and the box never existed; it was an optical illusion……GOTCHA SUCKA!!!!!
…..the government and its agents/representatives in the FBI and prosecution just didn’t agree with them not agreeing with its politics I guess….
Which is precisely why I don’t want them fumbling through my digital detritus; free to make whatever subjective interpretations they may, pursuing their case to the end regardless of how much bullshit it is…..just look at how petty they were in the case of Aaron Swartz.
Come With Me If You Want To Live
If you’re like me and oppose the increased presence of the government, all up in our kool-aid, then please show your support by signing the petition, or looking at what campaign’s the Electronic Frontier Foundation has going on, or the Internet Defense League, both of currently have online campaigns going on.
Or if you have other ideas to combat CISPA leave me a comment and we can work together on it!
If you feel that CISPA is a GRAND idea, or can’t even be troubled to think about it at all, suit yourself; you’re probably smokin rocks. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you’re having a train run on you by some guy named “bubba” and his buddies when you’re at Leavenworth Federal Prison for something stupid.
I think this is my stop, I’m getting off
- FBI requests $41 million to battle ‘wiretap unfriendly’ online correspondence (bytes01.wordpress.com)
- The FBI looks for $41M more to boost ‘cyber collection and analysis,’ but details are classified (thenextweb.com)
- Under CISPA, Who Can Get Your Data? (libertycrier.com)
- NYC student hackers train to be cybersecurity experts (globalnews.ca)
- Cybersecurity: Harnessing the Power of the Private Sector (heritage.org)