Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2002 10:59:12 -0400
To: Randall Packer <secretary@usdept-arttech.net>
From: Abe Golam <golam@usdept-arttech.net>
Subject: Ashcroft Remix, Or, Why The Attorney General Lost His Senate Race To A Dead Man

US Department of Art & Technology
Office of Political and Economic Insecturity
Abe Golam, Director
golam@usdept-arttech.net
http://www.usdept-arttechn.net

MEMORANDUM
To: Randall M. Packer, Secretary
From: Abe Golam, Director of the Office of Political and Economic Insecurity
Re: Ashcroft Remix, Or, Why The Attorney General Lost His Senate Race To A Dead ManMr. Secretary:

In its 94-year history, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been many things -- the defender of its exorbitant budget, the guardian of governmental secrets, and the tireless debaser of civil rights and civil liberties for all Americans.

On September 11, a stunned nation turned once again to the trained men and women of the FBI, and asked: "how could you miss this too?" Americans everywhere spent the hours, days, and most of the first weeks after the attack wondering what the FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center with Director Mueller could have been thinking. Even today, nine months later, it is difficult to convey the degree of unprofessionalism, finger-pointing, and circus-like atmosphere we witnessed in those first, 24-hour days of non-stop CNN propaganda. We saw central figures in the US administration coil in uncertainty as they tried to make heads or tails of the horrible terrorist attacks. We saw them HIDE their tails between their legs as their heads could only stop and wonder what went wrong and who was asleep at the wheel. Consequently, there was only one action taken by our leaders, and that was to save their asses, to intensely focus on their own personal agendas and personal safety so as to assure the survival of the Christian race.

From the first moments our "justice" department spent together, plotting the largest deconstruction of civil liberties in our nation's history, they understood that the mission of American justice and law enforcement had changed, that they would now be able to use the logic of nothing to fear but death itself, to strip citizens of their unalienated rights as alien beings in an alienated country. In a few short days, and with the help of our Congress, we all became disenfranchised artists. We became victims of the USA Patriot Act.

That day, in those early hours, the protection of the Christian elite and their oil-garchy brothers the world over, became the central goal of the law enforcement agencies and national security mission of the FBI. And from that time forward, the leadership of the FBI and the Department of Justice began a concerted effort to free the field agents so that they could pry into the personal lives of non-Christian-believing liberals and Al-Qaeda terrorists who threaten the integrity of what they refer to as "our God-fearing United States of America." The US Attorney General himself, who less than a year before September 11 had lost his incumbent Senate seat to a dead man, has been quoted as saying that he believes "the brave men and women on the front lines" need to be able to follow through on their mission to rid the world of pleasure-seeking, libertine artists, and that under the guise of the much-ballyhooed "war on terrorism," soon the FBI agents charged with this very serious mission, would be freed "from the bureaucratic, organizational, and operational restrictions and structures that hindered them from doing their jobs effectively."

As we have heard recently, FBI men and women in the field are frustrated because many of their internal restrictions have hampered their ability to fight terrorism. The adminstration claims that the current investigative guidelines have contributed to that frustration. In many instances, they insist, the guidelines bar FBI field agents from taking the initiative to detect and prevent future terrorist acts unless the FBI learns of possible criminal activity from external sources. Now that the Attorney General has essentially cleared the way for FBI agents to pry in the personal lives of anyone suspected of being a terrorist, what does this say about our top law enforcement agency's ability to begin suspending the civil rights of those citizens who publicly identify themselves as vocally disruptive and antagonistic artist-organizers? Who will defend the first amendment rights of these artist-organizers whose own steadfast mission is to use the global computer networks to democratically build an opposition to the administration's homophobic, Christian elitist, oil-garchy agenda?

The Attorney General insists that under the current guidelines, FBI investigators cannot surf the web the way average citizens can. He also insists that agents cannot simply walk into a public event or a public place to observe ongoing activities. It's true that they cannot plant themselves in progressive political organizations so as to cause internal strife and thus undermine the attempts of these liberal thinking citizens to create viable alternatives to the Christian elite way of life. He is frustrated by this - even though these citizens are clearly practicing their first amendment rights.

Using the "war on terrorism" as a metaphor for war on everything un-Christian and liberal minded, the Attorney General's guidelines and procedures relating to criminal investigations and national security have been high on the list of action items for reform. Beginning in the 1970s, guidelines have been developed to inform agents of the circumstances under which investigations may be opened, the permissible scope of these investigations, the techniques that may be used, and the objectives that should be pursued. These guidelines provide limitations and guidance in conjunction with requirements and safeguards imposed by the Constitution and help solidify the legal framework established by federal statutes enacted by Congress. Promulgated for different purposes and revised at various times, the guidelines currently cover FBI investigations, undercover operations, the use of confidential informants, and consensual monitoring of verbal communications.
The guidelines defining the general rules for FBI investigations, for example, were first issued over 20 years ago. They are there for a reason and need to stay in place lest we begin sliding down that slippery slope toward total Christian fundamentalist oil-garchy. Do we want a nation run by faux-CEOs of corrrupt companies like Enron, Harken and Halliburton? For as we know, beyond the axis of evil is the evil of access. Mr. Secretary, there is a cancer on the soul of America and something must be done about it.

The assault on civil liberties has already begun in full force. First, the Attorney General authorized the FBI to waive the guidelines, with headquarters approval, in whatever cases they see fit to prevent and investigate terrorism. That authority has been used, but the AG says he is disappointed that it was not used more widely. He says his experience over the past few months reinforces his belief that greater authority to investigate more vigorously needs to be given directly to FBI field agents. But what fields are these agents covering and how does this relate to the open source art hack mentality of many a net artist? Artist-(h)activists beware!

Second, the AG directed a top-to-bottom review of the guidelines to ensure that they provide front-line field agents with the legal authority they need to protect the Christian elite and their oil-garchy brethren who have since mutilated the US economy, from future terrorist attacks. He insists that that comprehensive review, devised in secret meetings with the reigning oil-garchy, showed that the guidelines mistakenly combined "timeless objectives" - what we essentially know to be the enforcement of the law and respect for civil rights and liberties - with "outdated means."

What does the Attorney General mean by the term "timeless objectives"? Are the "timeless objectives" of the dead man he lost his Senate race to still impeding his ability to rid the world of un-Christian artists and their libertine lovers?
Just this past month, Attorney General Ashcroft announced comprehensive revisions to the Department's investigative guidelines. As revised, the guidelines reflect four overriding principles, three of which I'll highlight here.

First, the "war against terrorism" - whether foreign or domestic - is the central mission and highest priority of the FBI. This principle is stated explicitly in the revised guidelines, and it is facilitated and reinforced through many specific reforms. The guidelines emphasize that the FBI must not be deprived of using all lawful authorized methods in investigations, consistent with the Constitution and statutory authority, to pursue and prevent terrorist actions. But what constitutes domestic terrorism? At what point, Mr. Secretary, does the vocal dissent filling up this memorandum, mean we are no longer "with" the Christian oil-garchy but are now "with" the terrorists?

Second, terrorism prevention is the key objective under the revised guidelines. The AG states that it is the Justice department's philosophy not to wait and sift through the rubble following a terrorist attack but to intervene early and investigate aggressively where information exists suggesting the possibility of terrorism, so as to prevent acts of terrorism.
Is this memorandum's verbal assault on the Christian elite, including those Supreme Court Justices who gave the election to George Bush, suggesting something along the lines of art-terrorism? Can terrorism be used as an aesthetic concept within a rhetorically-charged narrative to "bring down a government" while celebrating the non-violence of past leaders such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King? And can this desire to "bring down a government" be absolutely equated with the extremist
Christian right wing agenda to "bring down the government" of William Jefferson Clinton, the most "covered" libertine lover in all of US political history?

The new guidelines advance this "strategy of prevention" by strengthening investigative authority at the early stage of preliminary inquiries. Also, even absent specific investigative predicates, FBI agents under the new guidelines are empowered to scour public sources for information on future terrorist threats. Public sources where you, Mr. Secretary, as a private citizen, are free to speak, believe, and assemble, in any way you damn well please.

Third, the AG insists that unnecessary procedural red tape must not interfere with the effective detection, investigation, and prevention of terrorist activities. To this end, the revised guidelines allow Special Agents in Charge of FBI field offices to approve and renew terrorism enterprise investigations, rather than having to seek and wait for approval from headquarters. The guidelines expand the scope of those investigations to the full range of terrorist activities under the USA Patriot Act. These major changes will free field agents to counter potential terrorist threats swiftly and vigorously without waiting for headquarters to act.

The new guideline reads, "For the purpose of detecting or preventing terrorist activities, the FBI is authorized to visit any place and attend any event that is open to the public, on the same terms and conditions as members of the public generally."

This, of course, includes the Internet. Your Big Christian Brother is watching you.