With quaint monikers such as the American Defense Society, American Protective League, American Vigilant Intelligence Foundation and the Legion of Justice--fascist before the word was coined by that old corporatist himself, Benito Mussolini--spying, provocation and, when necessary, extreme violence, were the handmaids of the "100% Americanism" touted by the Bureau's cross-dressing Director and his acolytes.
Though times have changed, some verities are eternal. "Since the business of government is business," it stands to reason that the FBI and their hapless competitors over at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), would modernize the state's collaboration with our masters: an updated "public-private partnership" for the 21st century clampdown.
Enter InfraGard, a spiffy brand for a fully operational network of private "security" specialists and "select" citizens keen on defending the "homeland."
In an exclusive piece in The Progressive magazine, Matthew Rothschild drops a dime on this sinister crew. Boasting some 23,000 members nationwide, including some "350 of our nation's Fortune 500," Rothschild writes,
The members of this rapidly growing group ... receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does--and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law.
Among the perks available to this exclusive club of corporate grifters, InfraGard members, "Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards, and much more." According to its website InfraGard,
is a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) program that began in the Cleveland Field Office in 1996. It was a local effort to gain support from the information technology industry and academia for the FBI's investigative efforts in the cyber arena. The program expanded to other FBI Field Offices, and in 1998 the FBI assigned national program responsibility for InfraGard to the former National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) and to the Cyber Division in 2003. InfraGard and the FBI have developed a relationship of trust and credibility in the exchange of information concerning various terrorism, intelligence, criminal, and security matters [emphasis added].
One might reasonably ask: whose security and what matters are being attended to here?
While "infrastructure protection" sounds innocuous enough, do safeguards "meet[ing] the challenges America face in protecting against criminal, terrorist, and intelligence threats," mean curtailing a citizens' right to know when one of InfraGard's tony "partners" cut safety corners down at the local petrochemical plant or introduce silent and sinister cyber-monitoring tools on the latest version of a popular web browser? Phyllis Schneck, chairwoman of the board of directors of the group's National Members Alliance and vice president of research integration at Secure Computing, told Rothschild "People are happy to be in the know."
Make that some people.
In November 2001, InfraGard members were apprized of a vague "terrorist" threat (one of an endless stream as the Bush regime cranked-up its fear factory into full-production mode) to California bridges and other critical infrastructure. Rothschild reports,
The alert went out to the InfraGard membership. Enron was notified, and so, too, was Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley. He notified his brother Gray, the governor of California.
"He said his brother talked to him before the FBI," recalls Steve Maviglio, who was Davis's press secretary at the time. "And the governor got a lot of grief for releasing the information. In his defense, he said, 'I was on the phone with my brother, who is an investment banker. And if he knows, why shouldn't the public know?'"
Indeed, but perhaps the governor, whose post would soon be "terminated" by Rovian agents of "new thinking," hadn't gotten the message: this was America's Year Zero, when "everything changed"...except the Bushist grab for loot and power.
If this isn't troubling enough, it gets worse...much worse. An InfraGard whistleblower who had attended a "partnership for protection" meeting told Rothschild,
"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 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."
But as Jeff Wells over at Rigorous Intuition, writing on the "new reality" of an America in terminal mode cautions, "The harder truth may be that this is our destination. And they're not coming for us; they're here already, and they've always had us."
InfraGard: like new pod people, they're here already...