By Jerry Mazza
In George Bush’s mania to outdo George Orwell’s 1984, we bring you more than 23,000 members of private industry working quietly with the FBI and Department of Homeland Insecurity under the banner of InfraGard, i.e., the joint government/business program to guard (not rebuild) our infrastructure. Get it? Wanta forget it? Can’t. They’ll be climbing up your nose soon. Or shooting to kill in the case of Martial Law. Argh!
It’s eerily reminiscent of Orwell’s novel, in which the superstate Oceana’s three PARTY slogans are WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” Yes, that George was a genius, the other a nebbish. In fact Wikipedia tells us, “Each of these is of course either contradictory or the opposite of what is normally believed, and in 1984, the world is in a state of constant war, no one is free, and everyone is ignorant.”
“The slogans are analysed in Goldstein’s [a writer character’s] book. Though logically insensible, the slogans do embody the Party. If anybody (like Winston) becomes too smart, they are whisked away for fear of rebellion. Through their constant repetition, the terms become meaningless, and the slogans become axiomatic. This type of misuse of language, and the deliberate self-deception with which the citizens are encouraged to accept it, is called doublethink.” Say that again . . .
“One essential consequence of doublethink is that the Party can rewrite history with impunity, for “The Party is never wrong.” The ultimate aim of the Party is, according to O’Brien, to gain and retain full power over all the people of Oceania; he sums this up with perhaps the most distressing prophecy of the entire novel: If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Get your iron mask. I hear the boot stomp.
Secret warnings of terrorist threats
The members of InfraGard receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does. In fact, former California Governor Gray Davis got a tip on so-called terrorists in California from his brother, Barry, a Morgan Stanley broker/InfraGard member. Gray, being a normal human being, phoned it in to authorities, thinking that if he knew (and his brother did as well as Enron), so should law enforcement, which pissed off the FBI abundantly. Somebody let the secret out of the bag, which is a no-no in SecretLand.
This story was also picked up by The Progressive in a report, titled “Exclusive! The FBI Deputizes Business.” Editor Matthew Rothschild wrote, “InfraGard is ‘a child of the FBI,’ says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.
“InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.
“’Then the FBI cloned it,’ says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.
“InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.
“’We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,’ says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.” Doesn’t her double-life give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside?
FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke to an InfraGard convention on August 9, 2005. He suggested “Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense.” And so he asked InfraGard members to call the FBI if they “note suspicious activity or an unusual event.” Personally, I find InfraGard to be both “suspicious activity and an unusual event.” Who do I call?
Mueller also suggested members could sic the FBI on “disgruntled employees who will use knowledge gained on the job against employers,” a sort of quid pro quid. On the InfraGard website, Mueller tells us, “It’s a great program.” Yeah, Bob, especially that “shoot to kill under Martial Law” part.
The ACLU not so enthusiastic
“This special status concerns the ACLU,” Rothschild wrote.
“The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment,” says Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program. “There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there’s information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don’t they just share it with the public? That’s who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . .
“This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.
“When the government raises its alert levels, InfraGard is in the loop. For instance, in a press release on February 7, 2003, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General announced that the national alert level was being raised from yellow to orange. They then listed ‘additional steps’ that agencies were taking to ‘increase their protective measures.’ One of those steps was to ‘provide alert information to the InfraGard program.’”
“They’re very much looped into our readiness capability,” says Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “We provide speakers, as well as do joint presentations [with the FBI]. We also train alongside them, and they have participated in readiness exercises.”
“On May 9, 2007, George Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled ‘National Continuity Policy.’ In it, he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with ‘private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.’”
Asked if the InfraGard National Members Alliance was involved with these plans, Schneck said it was ‘not directly participating at this point.’ Hershman, chairman of the group’s advisory board, however, said that it was.”
“InfraGard members, sometimes hundreds at a time, have been used in ‘national emergency preparation drills,’ Schneck acknowledges.
“’In case something happens, everybody is ready,” says Norm Arendt, the head of the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of InfraGard, and the safety director for the consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. ‘There’s been lots of discussions about what happens under an emergency.’ Which brings us to InfraGard members’ right “to shoot to kill in a Martial Law’ situation.’” Funny, how this keeps popping up.
Shoot to kill under Martial Law
The ACLU goes on to report, Rothschild noted, “One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation — and what their role might be. He showed me his InfraGard card, with his name and e-mail address on the front, along with the InfraGard logo and its slogan, ‘Partnership for Protection.’ On the back of the card were the emergency numbers that Schneck mentioned.
“This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.
“’The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage,’ he says. ‘From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we’d be given specific benefits.’ These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out. But that’s not all.
“’Then they said when — not if — martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,’ he says.
“I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. ‘I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose,’ he adds. ‘I’m so nervous about this, and I’m not someone who gets nervous.’
”Though Schneck says that FBI and Homeland Security agents do make presentations to InfraGard, she denies that InfraGard members would have any civil patrol or law enforcement functions. ‘I have never heard of InfraGard members being told to use lethal force anywhere,’ Schneck says.
“The FBI adamantly denies it, also. ‘That’s ridiculous,’ says Catherine Milhoan, an FBI spokesperson. ‘If you want to quote a businessperson saying that, knock yourself out. If that’s what you want to print, fine.’ But one other InfraGard member corroborated the whistleblower’s account, and another would not deny it.
“Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she’s an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function — including engaging in lethal force — that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform.
“’There have been discussions like that, that I’ve heard of and participated in,’ she says.
Curt Haugen is CEO of S’Curo Group, a company that does ‘strategic planning, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, physical and IT security, policy development, internal control, personnel selection, and travel safety,’ according to its website. Haugen tells me he is a former FBI agent and that he has been an InfraGard member for many years. He is a huge booster. ‘It’s the only true organization where there is the public-private partnership,’ he says. ‘It’s all who knows who. You know a face, you trust a face. That’s what makes it work.’
“He says InfraGard ‘absolutely’ does emergency preparedness exercises. When I ask about discussions the FBI and Homeland Security have had with InfraGard members about their use of lethal force, he says: ‘That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened.’
“’We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions,’ the whistleblower says. ‘It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone.” And probably most everyone else, which led probably to the following . . .
The ACLU’s ‘Surveillance-Industrial Complex”
Based on-going activities like the above, the ACLU developed a much larger, in-depth study, The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society. Its Table of Contents includes . . .
Voluntary sharing of data
Purchasing data on the open market
Plentiful legal powers to demand private-sector data
Building in surveillance
The Patriot Act: Drafting industry into the government’s surveillance net
Enlistment in the government’s surveillance web hurts business
Mass Data Use, Public and Private
The advantages of private surveillance
Pro-Surveillance Lobbying and
This study’s 47 pages detail programs that turn the US into a national spy-fest, neighbors on neighbors, business on consumers, et al. It concludes with a series of convoluted FBI rationales for a self-inflicted oppression echoing Orwell’s 1984 and then some. You wonder what else is going on as you sleep, work, spend time with your family, and try to have a life.
Bottom line, this perverse, thousand-eyed Argus is here for one reason alone, to inspire fear, which in turn will diminish questioning and independent thought or criticism, which in turn will turn us into a nation of robots, who in turn will go unquestionably to fight the Empire’s endless wars and avoid considering 9/11 as an inside job, the keystone to this arch of misery.
I personally would like to tell InfraGard right now to go to hell, which is what they are trying to create in what is my beloved America. I grew up in World War II and this crap tops “Loose lips sink ships,” and all the various “please speak low” programs. It’s more redolent of the Hitler Youth Program, which encouraged youth to turn in their parents, family members, or neighbors who might speak ill of the Reich or der Fuhrer. This is the worst garbage imaginable, posing as patriotism.
It is nothing short of WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH doublespeak. And now is the time, in the name of the Constitution of the United States of America to stop it.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at email@example.com.
Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal