FBI Cointelpro intensifies against innocent Targeted Individuals
Human and civil rights advocates are sounding an alarm over intensifying FBI's old Cointelpro tactics, FBI agents gaining greater leeway to stalk, or spy on people within the U.S. New guidelines allow FBI agents to "investigate" people and organizations "proactively" without firm evidence for suspecting criminal activity. "Investigating" goes hand-in-hand with covert harassment and even torture according to many self-identified targeted individuals.
The new FBI rules enable agents to "infiltrate organizations, search household trash, use surveillance teams, search databases, conduct lie detector tests, even without suspicion of any wrongdoing," reported Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! today.
The New York Times has reported a number of new revelations against targeted individuals who are activists. The activists have also been reporting their experiences that resemble days of Nazi Germany. Agents watched from their cars for hours at a time recalls one man, activist 44-year old Scott Crow.
In a recent Truthout article, a Targeted Individual, Austin Texas resident Austin Crow recalled one regular spy on his case, what many Targeted Individuals call a "stalker." His spy was "a fat guy in an S.U.V. with the engine running and the air-conditioning on." According to Mr. Crow, the fat guy watched gatherings at a bookstore and cafe.
"For round-the-clock coverage, they attached a video camera to the phone pole across from his house on New York Avenue," according to Mr. Crow.
Mr. Crow, targeted by the FBI from 2001 until at least 2008, used the Freedom of Information Act to gain 440 pages of heavily redacted documents, Democracy Now! reported today. He then held hard evidence proving the same tactics that thousands of other Americans are reporting that they experience, often disbelieved and dismissed as a mental health issue as many have accused.
Mr. Crow's FOI documents proved that the FBI had:
- Traced license plates of cars parked in front of his home,
- Recorded the arrival and departure of his guests,
- Observed gatherings that he attended at bookstores and cafes,
- Tracked his emails,
- Tracked phone conversations,
- Picked through his trash to identify his bank and mortgage companies,
- Visited a gun store where he had sought to purchase a rifle for self-defense,
- Asked the Internal Revenue Service to examine his tax returns,
- Infiltrated activist groups with which he associated.
One thing sets Mr. Crow apart from the average Targeted Individual. He's been arrested a dozen times in his years of activism, although never faced a charge more serious than trespassing. Most Targeted Individuals report having no idea why they are kept under surveillance.
Goodman stated today that Mr. Crow "is among a growing number of people and groups finding themselves on the receiving end of government spying."
In 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey changed the attorney general guidelines governing FBI's investigative authorities, and created "assessment" investigations according to Mike German interviewed on Democracy Now!
Mr. German is the National Security Policy Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union and from 1988 to 2004, he served as an FBI agent specializing in domestic counterterrorism.
What German described as assessments are what thousands of innocent Targeted Individuals report they are experiencing, These new investigations require "no factual predicate—in other words, no evidence that anybody has done anything wrong, much less the person under investigation according to German.
"And there are a number of intrusive investigative techniques that were allowed to be used, including physical surveillance, including recruiting and tasking informants, including FBI agents acting in ruse trying to gather information from the subjects of the investigation, conducting interviews, even using grand jury subpoenas to get telephone records."
The "new" FBI changes allow agents even without opening an assessment, to search commercial databases that collect most information available on individuals including detailed private information — plus state and local law enforcement databases -- without any suspicion of wrongdoing according to German.
As usual, by the time a practice has become formally official, it has been in use for a long time. Such is the case with the new FBI liberties over human rights.
Mr. German explained Tuesday that agents are even officially picking up trash put on the curb for the garbage collection. He even spoke about people close to the target being recruited and paid to cooperate against their neighbors or co-workers, as Targeted Individuals (TIs) are well aware.
As TIs have been saying for over a decade, particularly since post 911 draconian removal of rights, anyone can be targeted for revenge as long as the perpetrator has the "right connections." The Government Accountability reported years ago that the problem of lack of accountability within the FBI and linked organizations is so rampant, names can be added to the list for surveillance (and harassment) without supervisory approval.
Today, German stated that "agents would be able to start those investigations without even going through an administrative hurdle of opening an assessment."
Although Goodman interviewed the noted Austin, Texas activist, Mr. Austin Crow, most targeted individuals are low-profile activists or not an activist at all.
A disproportionate number of people reporting they are on the receiving end of the government persecution program the FBI is leading are women who escaped or otherwise ended a relationship with a male partner.