Antiwar.com wins legal case against FBI

Antiwar.com accomplishes a lot here, and the article includes evidence of a contrived reason for surveillance that could have been an actual mistake or a pretended mistake, which is something we might want to watch for in the FBI/CIA cover stories for illegal surveillance of Trump's campaign.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/court-fbi-must-destroy-...

Court: FBI Must Destroy Memos Calling Antiwar.com a Threat
Ruling comes after a eight-year battle over secret surveillance of the popular website after 9/11.
By KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS • September 12, 2019

In a major victory for Antiwar.com, free speech and journalism, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FBI must expunge surveillance memos that agents had drafted about the website’s co-founders Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo in the early years following the 9/11 attacks.

“It’s been a long fight and I’m glad we had an outcome that could might affect future FBI behavior,” said Garris, who runs Antiwar.com, based in the San Francisco Bay area. “I just wish Justin was still here to know that this has happened.”

Raimondo, 67, passed away in June from a long bout with cancer. He and Garris had sued the FBI in 2013 demanding it turn over all the memos and records it was keeping on the two men and the website, which has been promoting anti-interventionist news and views from a libertarian-conservative perspective since 1995…

They won their case, and in 2017 the FBI agreed to turn over all the memos and settle their legal fees, $299,000, but the final expungement of two key memos involving intelligence gathered on the men and Antiwar.com, had yet to be expunged from the agency’s record...

It all began when an observant reader brought a heavily redacted 2004 memo to Antiwar.com’s attention in 2011. It was part of a batch of documents the reader had obtained through FOIA requests. It was clear from the documents’ contents that the FBI had been collecting information and records on Raimondo and Garris for some time. At one point the FBI agent writing the April 30, 2004 memo on Antiwar.com recommended further monitoring of the website in the form of opening a “preliminary investigation …to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security.”

Why? Because the website was questioning U.S. war policy ...

Agents noted that Antiwar.com had, or linked to, published counter-terrorism watch lists (already in the public domain). The FBI noted at least two of Raimondo’s columns and wondered openly, “who are (Antiwar.com’s) contributors and what are the funds utilized for?” This, after acknowledging there was no evidence of any crime being plotted or committed.

Other things noted in the documents::

— Garris had passed along a threat he received on Sept. 12, 2001 from a Antiwar.com reader obviously disgruntled with the website’s coverage of 9/11. The subject line read, “YOUR SITE IS GOING DOWN,” and proceeded with this missive: “Be warned assholes, ill be posting your site address to all the hack boards tonight … your site is history.”

Concerned, Garris forwarded the email to the FBI field office in San Francisco. Garris heard nothing, but by January 2002, it turned up again, completely twisted around, in a secret FBI memo entitled, “A THREAT BY GARRIS TO HACK FBI WEBSITE.”

It turns out this “threat” went on to justify, at least in part, the FBI’s ongoing interest in monitoring the website.

— The FBI took interest in Raimondo’s writing about a 2001 FBI investigation of five Israeli nationals who were witnessed smiling and celebrating and taking pictures of the burning Twin Towers from a rooftop perch across the river from Manhattan in Union City, New Jersey, on 9/11. After witnesses called the police, the individuals, who all worked for a local moving company, were taken into custody and grilled by FBI and CIA for two months after it was deemed their work visas had expired. They were eventually deported without charge.

Raimondo, in writing about the case in 2002, linked to an American-generated terror watchlist (which had been published elsewhere on the Internet) that went out to Italian financial institutions and included the name of the man who owned the New Jersey moving company in question.

— The FBI noted Antiwar.com was cited in an article, the name of the author redacted, about U.S aid to Israel.

— They also noted that Raimondo had appeared on MSNBC to talk about his opposition to the Iraq War.

— It also cited an article that listed Antiwar.com as a reference was handed out in 2002 at a “peaceful protest” at a British air base in the U.K.

— The FBI was watching a member of a domestic neo-Nazi group who had “discussed a website, Antiwar.com” while encouraging fellow members at a conference to “educate themselves” about the Middle East conflict.

— The agency said a special agent’s review of hard drives seized during an investigation of an unnamed subject, revealed that the subject had visited Antiwar.com between July 25, 2002 and June 15, 2003, “among many other websites.”

The FBI acknowledged it searched the Web, as well as Lexis-Nexis, the Universal Index (FBI central records), the agency’s Electronic Case File, Department of Motor Vehicles and Dunn & Bradsheet (credit reports) for information on Antiwar.com and for “one or more individuals” working for the website.

Looking back, it’s hard to fathom how such tiny (Constitutionally protected) crumbs led the FBI to the conclusion that Garris and Raimondo, two dedicated activists (Raimondo was also a prolific author) with decades of time in California’s political trenches, might be a “threat to national security,” but there you are...

The case decided on Wednesday revolved around two remaining memos that the FBI had so far refused to expunge. One involved the call Garris made to the FBI in 2002. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Northern California found that the government did not have a compelling law enforcement reason to keep them.

“Maintenance of a record that describes only First Amendment activity and does not implicate national security is not pertinent to the FBI’s authorized activities,” the court concluded...

Garris said he was relieved and elated that the court was able to end this ugly chapter for the website...

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dervish's picture

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12 users have voted.

"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

from "all surveillance, all the time" is patently untrue. Not to mention that casual erasures of any part of the Bill of Rights by government are frickin' scary, as are casual acceptance and rationalization of same by ordinary Americans (and/or those seeming like ordinary Americans).

In his memoir, True Compass, Ted Kennedy said that LBJ told him that LBJ considered the FBI culpable in the assassination of JFK, in that the FBI had had its eye on Oswald and considered him dangerous, but never warned the Secret Service.

Many years later, we have failures by the FBI and CIA to coordinate and act upon intel involved in 911. They did nothing about reports from citizens of the suspicious activities of the Saudi assassins while the assassins were in the US, such as taking flying lessons, but saying they didn't need to learn how to land. Moreover, the FBI and CIA had months of Arab conversations awaiting translation because of a shortage of translators cause by the FBI's and CIA's unwillingess to use Arab translators.

Then we have two warnings, not from ordinary citizens, but from the Russian government, that the Tsarnaevs were a threat. Now, that alone sure sounds to me like probable cause for surveillance. However, the FBI interviewed them and supposedly was unable to justify doing anything else.

So, we have culpability in a Presidential assassination AND two terrorist attacks. And that certainly can't be all before and after 1960. For instance, speaking of JFK, there was the Bay of Pigs fiasco. On the bright side, that taught JFK to squint at the CIA and the military, which, in turn, may have avoided nuclear disaster over the Cuban missile "crisis." (When we place missiles somewhere, it's defense on our part and a deterrent; when another nation, especially Russia, does the same, it's casus belli, unless some brilliant politicians can scale it "all the way down" to a "crisis" or a "national emergency." Our hypocrisy sickens.

BTW, according to the memoir, JFK was questioning our Vietnam involvement and Bobby Kennedy had flat out become convinced that bombing should stop immediately and peace negotiations should begin. He volunteered to negotiate the peace himself, but LBJ refused. So, that's another thing Bobby and Jack had in common. (Interestingly to me, by Ted's own account, he was the last of the three Kennedy brothers to lose support for the Vietnam War!)

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there are other agencies with files and stalking.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

The socially destructive solutions designed by the Intelligence Communities since the mid-20th century are paying off in one way:

There is now a copious amount of research and data, that once harnessed and put to work, will clearly demonstrate without doubt how tragic and destructive their outcomes have been. They have accomplished precisely the opposite of the goal they were reaching for. For example, apply their social engineering to reduce the number of terrorists in a region, and in less than a decade the region will be overrun with terrorists. Use their strategic genius to stop the flow of drugs from hot-spots of the world, and in another decade, much of the world will be saturated with illegal drugs. Humanity throughout the world are the losers, and they pay dearly for the blindness of Nazi-mentored techniques and strategies that are embraced by intelligence agencies and military intelligence. In the long term, they are bringers of chaos.

The nazis always lose. Ever since we brought them to America after World War II to teach us their techniques — the US has lost every war it attempted. The effects of this influence has turned America into a prison complex.

The Inteligence elite mistake their power over people — and the unspeakable sums of money that are flooded into their agencies — for success. As you might imagine, that has spelled disaster where ever in the world that they operate. God help the society where they gain the upper hand. Like in the United States, for example. Their minds are broken beyond repair because reality actively lies to them.

If you ask them to send a rocket to the moon, they'll wait until the full moon is directly overhead, then fire the rocket. They are void of subtlety. The failure will be classified and forgotten.

We need Taoist leaders if we want to solve real world problems.

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The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
– Albert Camus
Alligator Ed's picture

@Pluto's Republic Yes. Of course we had our own domestic demons, such as the Robber Barons of the late 19th century.. But theft-Nazis brought a thoroughness of planning which greatly strengthened their political effectiveness. Yet that effectiveness now seems lacking in the Dem / coup plotters / Deep State efforts. Every attempt the Dems try to undermine Trump eventually gets thwarted by their riding thinking.

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