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Counterterrorism Agents Were Told They Could Suspend the Law 369

politkal writes "According to the FBI's internal inquiry on counterterrorism training, the FBI taught agents that the Bureau 'has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedoms of others;' that agents should 'never attempt to shake hands with an Asian;' that Arabs were 'prone to outbursts' of a 'Jekyll & Hyde' nature." Even better: "That review, now complete, did not result in a single disciplinary action for any instructor. Nor did it mandate the retraining of any FBI agent exposed to what the Bureau concedes was inappropriate material. Nor did it look at any intelligence reports that might have been influenced by the training."
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Counterterrorism Agents Were Told They Could Suspend the Law

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @01:32PM (#39498381)

    Seems about right. Business as usual.

    Carry on.

  • FBI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @01:34PM (#39498409)

    The FBI has been a corrupt investigative agency since the 1960s when they would send their own agents into groups of protesters to start a fight in order to justify moving the police in to arrest and remove the "violent" protesters. They were called provokateurs, and in large demonstrations back then, activists were taught to surround them and then quickly beat the f*ck out of them and leave them in a puddle of their own blood, vomit, and broken bones.

    These days, with cameras everywhere, they have to rely on other tactics, but they're just as dirty. It is no surprise the FBI trains agents to worry about the law later -- the law is sufficiently complex right now that it can be interpreted to allow just about anything. We're now shipping US citizens who have never been convicted of any crime, nor left the country, to jails in other countries where we torture them in ways that the Geneva convention bans as war crimes; We simply redefined the legal definition of war. The US has not fought a war in 30 years, under the existing definition.

    The FBI, homeland security, and other agencies get away with this kind of abuse of its citizens because nobody stands up and fights back. Imagine how different things would be if that guy who decided to mace those students who were sitting, in a peaceful protest, was suddenly mobbed and reduced to a bloody pulp. In most countries, this is how police brutality is dealt with: The citizens literally mob the guy and sometimes police die as a result... and this is how the balance of power is maintained.

    It is a radical position to take, but our founding fathers were right: The right to bear arms is meant to ensure that when you, as a citizen, see abuse of power, you grab your gun and blow the guy away. Mind you, I don't advocate violence except as an option of last resort... but if a friend, family member, or fellow protester is being beaten or about to be "disappeared" for excercising their lawful and constitutionally granted rights.... the Founding fathers were quite clear on what you should do: Stop them, by any means necessary. I don't know whether you should, or whether I would, but... it was the method used to secure our freedom from Britain and ensure civil liberties for almost 150 years so it is worth thinking about at least.

  • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @01:43PM (#39498491) Journal

    One of the primary reasons that the United States continues its descent into this strange dystopian corporate/security fascist state is because there are, almost without exception, no criminal or political repercussions for acts which are outside the realm of social norms. Black youths can be gunned down, drones can fly unrestricted, SWAT teams can invade and kill completely innocent people, bankers can steal/defraud trillions of dollars, whistleblowers are thrown in jail without trial for years, American citizens are executed at the sole and extra-judicial behest of the President, MPAA/RIAA-friendly treaties are negotiated in secret...

    And on and on and on.

    There are no repercussions for the actors in any of these cases. Here, the FBI says they can suspend the law because, well, who's going to stop them? Congress? Hardly. The President? Incredibly unlikely. The FBI, and most of the national security apparatus, is wholly safe from suffering any consequences to their actions, no matter how heinous they may be to the American public or the world at large.

  • by venom85 ( 1399525 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @01:46PM (#39498523)

    Because they work for the government? I wish there was a better explanation, but that's pretty much it.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @01:56PM (#39498645)

    And you know why there are no repercussions? Because a significant chunk of the population - look no further than Santorum supporters - believe that Trayvon had it coming, drones will make us safer (from unsafe things - the details are never specified), SWAT teams killing some retired woman is a fair price to pay for getting tough on drugs, bankers are better people than blue-collar workers, and whistleblowers are a threat to National Security.

    We are the problem. We, the collective of the American Voter, are the reason why these types of transgressions keep happening, and are being condoned by the government we elect.

    You might think that you are in the majority with your opinion, but if you are, it is a very slim majority. Slim enough that many politicians, and bureaucrats answerable to politicians, don't care about you or others like you.

    Welcome to Democracy. We get the government we deserve.

  • by Isaac-1 ( 233099 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @01:59PM (#39498677)

    This is probably not going to be popular, and may cost me Karma, but the reality of the world is there are cultural differences between people from region to region, trying to be PC about everything even to the point of using the term PC does not work in the real world. Training agents about the tendancies of one culture or anoher is not racism. If it was done right or wrong at this time I do not know.

  • by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:02PM (#39498707)
    If these absolutely idiotic notions about people of other cultures and religions, or even the suggestion that an agent is above the law, have managed to reach the level of teaching doctrine at the FBI, we're fucked. Not because they have an institutional tendency toward violating our rights. That would be bad enough. But no. That such utter bullshit is embraced and taught there is an indicator of dangerous incompetence, not to mention ignorance. This our nation's elite law enforcement agency? Seriously? It's almost as if the average agent were educated in the Texas public school system. Now, I am scared, because these idiots are just too fucking stupid to do their jobs even half-right.
  • Re:FBI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:03PM (#39498717)
    P.S. Yes, I'm posting this in the clear, under an alias that could probably be easily traced to my real life identity. I honestly don't give a damn. If you're some government agent reading this and want to add me to another watch list, go for it... I don't mind. I have only one request: Add my name to the very top, and place underneath the title, A Proud American . And then ask yourself if you can, in good conscience, sign your name the same.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:03PM (#39498723)

    I think you're reading this the wrong way. Asians usually do not shake hands, they bow.

    Read it the other way around if you still don't understand. "Agents should never attempt to bow in front of an European."

  • by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:14PM (#39498855)
    Sorry, but "batshit crazy" ideas should never have reached the level of teaching doctrine. It did, and that is completely inexcusable because it demonstrates, at best, an ineffective review process for the publication of that doctrine, and at worst, a frightening level of incompetence or outright malice throughout the institution. This is absolutely not the work of a few "bad apples".
  • These days, with cameras everywhere

    Within 10 years all video evidence will be useless, for the simple reason that anyone will be able to render any sort of video. Want a video of the Prez free-basing with hookers? No problem. Want a video of the prosecutor and the judge having sex with a dead donkey? No problem.

    Eventually, the standard of proof will fall back to "if you don't have at least 2 witnesses, forget it."

  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:18PM (#39498889) Homepage Journal

    the "silent majority" is too silent. none of this will change until the "silent majority" turns into the "pissed off majority"

  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:21PM (#39498939) Homepage

    ... since Congress could have put exceptions in the law for them, but did not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:21PM (#39498941)

    Exactly! I don't see any falsehoods in that training program.

    I was referring to the 'ability to bend or suspend the law'. After all, nothing has been done to correct that statement.

    You can't always work within the law against terrorists who in no way respect the law. If we always work within the law than terrorist attacks would happen more often than you might think. Use some common sense here.

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:24PM (#39498975) Journal

    Obviously you do not work in or have significant experience in the private sector.

    Private sector is.... wait for it..... private. If a private company tells their 5 employees not to shake hands with Asians, that's on them.

    But when the government does it? That's when there's a problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:34PM (#39499075)

    Or the shaking hands things is just a cultural etiquette thing. My company has similar things in its overseas travel guide.

    But, no, let's just assume racism because it's easier to rage than think.

  • Re:FBI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:36PM (#39499089)

    One case is not a pattern. Or even a line. It's just one person. (And you provided no connection from him to the Koch Brothers..... but there are tons of link from Occupy to the globalist Soros. He started the movement.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:41PM (#39499147)

    As soon as you're justifying the ends with the means, you've already lost.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:43PM (#39499167)

    After visiting Egypt, Jordan and Syria I came away with the feeling that the people I met there would literally give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it, but if you crossed them then it would be bad news.

    While on my travels I got invited into many strangers homes and offered uncalled for but extremely gracious hospitality.

    Yet at least one time, while in a hostel in Syria I seemed to be the instigator of a huge yelling outburst from a Syrian because he offered me a cup of tea and I absentmindedly waved him off because I was busy writing in my diary. Yes, it was my fault. I admit that I did not follow his social norms and I regret doing it, but the reaction was extreme. And while that may be one specific example after all my travels I came away feeling that this was not out of the ordinary.

    So while I have no idea of the extent of the FBI training, I can understand the J&H comment - although probably would disagree with how the material was presented.

  • by F69631 ( 2421974 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:43PM (#39499169)

    The parent a few level up said that they can get away with incompetence because they work for the government and thus implied that government accepts incompetence and private sector doesn't. The GP answered "There are just as incompetent people on private sector". Now you're derailing it with "Sure, but it doesn't matter, because it's the private sector".

    Sure, I (think I) understand the point: If someone wastes their own money, it's less important than if they waste taxpayer money. However, when someone says that "Government accepts competence, private sector doesn't" they're more or less implying "If we let private sector take care of things, they'll be done better than when we let the government take care of them". When someone refutes by saying that private sector is just as competent, they're implying that transferring stuff to private sector might not do any good because there are always incompetent people, no matter what the organization is.

    After that, saying what you just said seems to be completely irrelevant.

  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:47PM (#39499215)

    Pissed off majority will then go and vote established Party lines. Um, yay?

  • by harl ( 84412 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:49PM (#39499257)
    Bowing is not common in Asia. It is common in a couple countries in Asia. Across Asia it is very uncommon though.

    If we're going to teach cultural differences then let's at least be accurate about them.
  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:51PM (#39499277)
    You can't know based on a few sentences taken out of context, and neither can any of the people who are huffing indignantly.
  • by harl ( 84412 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:51PM (#39499291)
    As long as even the poor are happy and literally fat what incentive to the citizens have to change anything?
  • Re:What can I do? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @02:53PM (#39499313) Journal

    Nothing. There is nothing you can do. We are totally and utterly fucked and there's nothing anyone can do about it. We're not getting out of this hole without another Civil War.

  • Re:FBI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @03:18PM (#39499597) Journal

    YAAAY! Conspiracy poker!

    "I see your agent provocateur theory, and raise you one shadowy globalist Illuminatus directing from behind the scenes."

  • Re:FBI (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @03:21PM (#39499645)
  • by microbox ( 704317 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @03:24PM (#39499683)
    The point is that the private sector is full of incompetence too, and that bears out my experience. In fact, I found that government offices were more tightly run, with an eye on the bottom line. The private sector, however, seems to focus on making sales, and that is were most of the effort (and excellent) goes. Actually getting real work done can be ludicrous.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2012 @03:58PM (#39500153) Homepage

    On a personal level, it's often much easier to get around the problem than trying to change the whole system. For example here in Norway there's some real silly restrictions on when you can only buy beer in the store like until 8 PM on weekdays, 6 PM on Saturday and not at all on Sunday. It probably goes as far back as prohibition, we had one too. Can I be arsed to campaign against it? Nah, I'll just buy enough beer that I have some around if we suddenly at 7 PM on a Saturday find out we're gathering for beers anyway and so does the other 75% of the population that drinks alcohol even though if we were arsed to do something about it we have a huge majority. It doesn't help that there's one party on the left (socialists) and one on the center/right (Christians) that with about 5% of the votes each want to keep it this way.

    The Roman who called it "Bread and circuses" had this figured out 2000 years ago. As long as people a job that puts food on the table and entertainment, you're pretty much good. A lot of the big noble revolutions in history were to the man in the street about money. "No taxation without representation" leading to the Boston Tea Party, that's things that hit people in the wallet. Say all you want about the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, but I doubt the average farmer cared - except maybe he didn't have to quarter any soldiers. Hitler came to power on top of massive unemployment. Gandhi knew attacking the Salt Tax was something everyone could get behind. Don't think a major part of the Civil Rights movement was equal jobs and equal pay as white people. The fall of the Soviet Union was most of all an economic collapse.

    If the "silent majority" is getting pissed, it's got to be because they think the government is making them really poor or really miserable. Can most Americans say they feel the clammy hands of government on them? No. You don't see them anymore, you don't feel them. There's cameras and car registration readers and the NSA bugging everyone's phone calls but there no physical stalker to creep you out, like in the old East Bloc where large parts of the population were snitches. The bank bailout that hit people's wallet, now that makes people angry. Maybe not armed revolution angry, but at least occupy wall street angry. Personally I'm rather surprised Europe hasn't had more civil unrest than they have, with countries like Spain at 23% unemployment and rising. That's a lot of people with no bread and you don't enjoy the circus on an empty stomach.

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.