The Hightower Report

Foreign spying on Americans; and where are they now?

FOREIGN SPYING ON AMERICANS

Government snoops and spooks, infiltrators and interrogators, phone-tappers and data miners, psy ops and spy cameras, the CIA and FBI, the Pentagon and your local police, the Department of Homeland Security and the PATRIOT Act -- and, of course, the Department of Dick Cheney -- all are watching our movements, monitoring our political efforts, surveilling any opposition to the established authorities, and routinely making a mockery of our rights of free speech, assembly, and privacy.

And now: China. Since our own officials have created a surveillance society in the "land of the free," Chinese officials apparently feel free to snoop on us, too.

Gearing up for next year's Olympic Games in Beijing, China's spy agencies are mounting an unprecedented intelligence-collection drive, targeting U.S. and other foreign citizens and groups that might organize political protests during the games. Of course, just as our leaders do, China's rulers are couching this assault on liberty in terms of protecting the public from terrorists.

But the U.S. groups being targeted include evangelical Christians concerned about religious repression in China, environmentalists concerned about China's role in global warming, and human-rights activists concerned about China's acceptance of genocide in Darfur. These are not terrorists, and they're not planning anything violent. Yet, Chinese intelligence operatives are compiling lists of the leaders and members of these groups, monitoring their plans, and quite likely infiltrating them.

China's ruling regime is not concerned about protecting the people -- it's concerned about protecting itself from the people. And by the way: Where is our government? Has it become so jaded by its own invasions of America's basic liberties that it won't even muster a peep of protest when a foreign government violates our people's freedoms?

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Those who say George W. lied when he claimed in the 2000 election campaign that he was a "compassionate conservative" are simply ignoring the touching compassion he has shown for one group: the neocon architects of his disastrous misadventure in Iraq.

This set of warmongering dogmatists proved to be horribly wrong and dangerously incompetent, with their ideological fantasies costing America thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and invaluable global respect. They also effectively destroyed Bush's presidential reputation. Yet, George very compassionately fired none of them, promoted many, and helped all to find comfortable sinecures.

A Web group called Think Progress has put up a posting called "The Architects of War: Where Are They Now?" summarizing the happy fates of those failures. "Howling" Paul Wolfowitz, for example -- who claimed our troops would be greeted as liberators and said the occupation would cost no more than $50 billion -- was promoted by George to head the World Bank.

Likewise, Stephen Hadley, who pushed the spurious claim that Saddam Hussein was seeking uranium to build weapons of mass destruction, found that war lies can result in a career boost. Two years after getting Bush to spout this blatant lie, Hadley was promoted to national security adviser.

Then there's Elliot Abrams, the guy who pled guilty for his infractions in the Iran-Contra scandal under Ronald Reagan. Bush resurrected him to be his chief adviser on the Middle East, a role Abrams used to promote the invasion and occupation of Iraq. In 2005, he was promoted to deputy national security adviser.

All of your neocon favorites are here -- Doug Feith, Richard "Prince of Darkness" Perle, John Hannah, and so many more who did so much damage yet continue in positions of influence. Check out this rogue's gallery at www.thinkprogress.org.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

CIA, FBI, Pentagon, police, Homeland Security, PATRIOT Act, China, surveillance, Darfur, George W. Bush, Iraq, Think Progress, Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley, Elliot Abrams

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