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By David C. Manchester
February 27, 2006


Much ado is made about how one spying program is unrelated to another.  COINTELPRO (FBI) was different, distinct from CHAOS (CIA).  Today, word is the TALON database is technically unrelated to TIA (Total Information Awareness program of Admiral "the buck stops here" Pointdexter of Iran-Contra notoriety), because TIA was de-funded and shut down.  Really, now.  (TIA has found funding from another military agency - ARDA, and is now called BASKETBALL.  According to Shane Harris's February 23 report in the National Journal, it has continued virtually without interruption, using the same outside contractors as originally authorised in 2002, Hicks and Associates of Arlington, Virginia, and SAIC [Science Applications International Corporation].)

The military, civilian, and law enforcement agencies can freely exchange their information now, in the name of the pusuit of terrorists and those who have been ordained "credible threats"…


It is illusion to think that Pentagon spying on Americans is news.  The only thing new is that a major corporate media conglomerate - MSNBC - chose to start reporting on it again December 14, 2005... and that some other major corporate media megaliths chose to mention it.1  Whether their infotainment "news" organisations choose to perform journalistic due diligence and actually pursue and cover this story or not remains to be seen.  It may turn out, as in so many other important instances, that corporate and political considerations from above keep journalists in check, and prevent nontrivial follow up on this aspect of the ongoing secret destruction of the Bill of Rights.

Lisa Myers, Douglas Pasternak, Rich Gardella and the NBC Investigative Unit's report, describes a specific, ongoing operation of a specific military intelligence unit.  The operation is called "TALON," short for "Threat and Local Observation Notice," a DoD database which is the 2003 brainchild of DoD official Paul Wolfowitz.  The specific unit that infiltrated Richard Hersh's group, The Truth Project, Inc., is the 902nd Military Intelligence Group from Fort Meade, Maryland - the same army post the NSA calls home.

But the spying on Americans by the military, and the civilian intelligence agencies is not new.  Many Americans think that when the Church Committee and Pike Committee had their historic hearings in the mid 1970's exposing a wide range of domestic infiltration, sabotage, entrapment, and intimidation of peaceful domestic antiwar groups and college campuses,  that the overall results were meaningful reforms.  In this belief they are mistaken.


WASHINGTON - A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn't know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.

A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.

“This peaceful, educationally oriented group being a threat is incredible,” says Evy Grachow, a member of the Florida group called The Truth Project.

“This is incredible,” adds group member Rich Hersh. “It's an example of paranoia by our government,” he says. “We're not doing anything illegal.”

The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups.

“I think Americans should be concerned that the military, in fact, has reached too far,” says NBC News military analyst Bill Arkin.

The Department of Defense declined repeated requests by NBC News for an interview. A spokesman said that all domestic intelligence information is “properly collected” and involves “protection of Defense Department installations, interests and personnel.” The military has always had a legitimate “force protection” mission inside the U.S. to protect its personnel and facilities from potential violence. But the Pentagon now collects domestic intelligence that goes beyond legitimate concerns about terrorism or protecting U.S. military installations, say critics.

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