The final pieces of the puzzle 2.
So if Cointelpro or a branch of it is happening again today. Why are there no checks or balances? What happened to the Church commission?
That's an interesting question and i just came across an interesting answer.
See people like dirty laundry to get aired and exposed, just not too much of it. When the Church committee showed their findings the public were somewhat receptive of it, but by the time it was the Pike committees turn, the mood had changed and they didn't want all the dirty laundry being exposed anymore.
[quote]Daniel Schorr thought he was upholding the First Amendment by publishing the Pike committee's final report; in return, he was fired by his boss, investigated by the government, and scorned by his colleagues. And Schorr was only the most visible victim of a larger phenomenon: the backlash against all of the congressional and journalistic investigators. After the triumphs and high expectations of the year before, the investigations had collapsed in embarrassment, frustration, and despair.
Why were the media so reluctant to defend Schorr? Many observers at the time blamed Schorr's gift for making enemies as well as the pressures of competitive journalism. As with Seymour Hersh, it was easy for rivals who had missed the story to denigrate their more successful colleague's accomplishments.
But the number and scale of the attacks on Schorr indicate that something more was happening than simple revenge on an unpopular colleague. In leaking the report, Schorr had defied not only Congress and the president but also the public mood. As David Ignatius said in a perceptive piece in the Washington Monthly, Schorr had "misjudged the public temper. This was not the Pentagon Papers and he was not Daniel Ellsberg, and this was not even the same country, anymore, that had needed the press to batter its corrupted institutions, force a lying President out of office, strip the cover of national security from the CIA.'' A December 1975 Harris poll had shown that slightly more respondents disapproved of the investigators than approved of them-and this poll was taken before Welch's death and the leak. Much of the public was tired of the
Daniel Schorrs and Seymour Hershes and Otis Pikes who seemed to be threatening the security of the nation and its secret agents. Anthony Lewis reported that congressmen were hearing from their constituents that they did not want to know about any more American crimes or embarrassments. Watergate was over; the "necessary demolition," as Ignatius said, had been accomplished. "But Dan Schorr-ever the reporter-was still battering away.''
Schorr partly understood this at the time. In his first major speech after his suspension, he used the metaphor of a pendulum to explain how the public mood in the United States had alternately shifted from valuing liberty to prizing security. "I got hit by a swinging pendulum," he said.[/quote]
Apparently shedding some dirty laundry is ok, but not too much. If you start to shed too much the public's mood can easily shift and turn on the person bringing the message. It's a slippery slope reporting the truth to the audience. The truth has an appropriate time, when people are open and welcome to it, and then there are other times when they just don't want to know, because it would remove the veil the facade that exists in their society, to reveal too much truth, might damage the very core and foundations of which they base their beliefs and existence.
To lift the veil fully would expose, very troubling, dirty embarrassing secrets, it would destroy the image that society works so hard to keep, democratic, liberal, fair, just, it would change everything. It's not just the people in power that protect the system, it's also the people that are enslaved by it, as weird as that sounds. Think of it as a kind of systemic Stockholm syndrome. Siding with those that are holding you hostage.
[quote]And how effective was that reform? Critics have questioned whether the permanent committee has exercised adequate oversight. In many ways, Congress has continued its reluctance to challenge the secret agencies. Despite its post-Watergate reputation for skepticism, the press has also hesitated to question and expose the secret government.
Why, given the early high expectations for great reform, did the investigations achieve so little?
Why did these extensive, far-reaching inquiries result only in restoring the CIA's credibility?
The answer can be found in the attitudes toward the secret government held by the press, the Congress, and the public. Despite the rising distrust of governmental secrecy after Vietnam and Watergate, many journalists, congressmen, and other Americans were not sure how much they wanted to know about the nation's dirty secrets.[/quote]
The spouse is cheating, or harming the kids and you only want to know so much. Again cause the full truth would ruin that illusion and then you would be left with truth, the full truth, and most people can't handle the truth. So after these communities finished, the secret government legalized the dirty that they had been doing. Then they limited the powers of the oversight committees. Thus why we have been back where we started from almost right from the start.
[quote]Ultimately, however, Congress abandoned these legislative blueprints because of opposition from the intelligence community and a lack of enthusiasm from the Carter administration. Advocates for stricter accountability did achieve one reform in 1978 with the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which required the FBI and NSA to obtain court orders for wiretaps in the United States.
When Ronald Reagan came into office in 1981, he swiftly loosened the regulations hindering the CIA and the FBI. He allowed CIA domestic spying in certain cases, permitted physical surveillance of Americans abroad, and authorized some covert actions in the United States. Most important, he appointed his campaign manager and former OSS agent William Casey to be director of central intelligence. Casey was determined to free the CIA from the fetters imposed after Watergate-and he was willing to evade and subvert the law to do so.[/quote]
See the truth get's exposed, the public express their outrage, and then forces move in to make sure it's harder the next time around to let the truth surface. We saw strains of this with the exposure of priest that like to have sex with children. There are lot's of things like this that happen, and this is the how and the why of it.
[quote]When Seymour Hersh exposed the CIA's domestic spying, when Michael Harrington demanded that the House investigate the charges, when Otis Pike confronted Henry Kissinger, when Frank Church issued his assassination report, and when Daniel Schorr arranged to publish the Pike report, they never expected that the end result of their efforts would be to legitimize the secret government. After Vietnam and Watergate, many reformers had hoped to attain a new democratic accountability for the secret agencies. They had wanted to restructure the intelligence community, enact restrictive laws, write new charters, even abolish covert action. In the end, though, many were happy to settle for a new congressional committee.[/quote]
Did you read the above carefully? The outcome of these committees that were there to expose corruption was in the end to unwittingly legitimize the secret government.
So why is our faithful media not still standing guard and exposing what is happening?
[quote]Many journalists were indeed willing to question the open operations of the government, seeking out stories on corruption, incompetence, or personal immorality. These reporters tried to emulate Woodward and Bernstein, or at least pop culture's mythic image of Woodward and Bernstein. But only a very few reporters dared to challenge the secret government. Those who did so won no prizes for their efforts. Seymour Hersh's domestic spying stories were underplayed by all but his own newspaper. A whispering campaign in Washington questioned the veracity of his stories and prevented him from winning a Pulitzer Prize. Daniel Schorr was also attacked by his colleagues, first for his mistake on the spy-in-the-White-House story, then for his role in the publication of the Pike report.
Even the New York Times, the most aggressive news organization throughout the year of investigations, proved receptive to government pleas for secrecy. The Times refused to publicize President Ford's unintentional disclosure of assassination plots. It joined many other papers in suppressing the Glomar Explorer story and led the editorial attacks on the Pike committee and on Schorr. The real question, as Tom Wicker wrote in 1978, is not "whether the press has lacked aggressiveness in challenging the national-security mystique, but why?'' Why, indeed, did most journalists decide to defer to the administration instead of pursuing sensational stories?
In part, this deference was a defensive reaction. Intellectuals and columnists like Max Kampelman, Irving Kristol, and Joseph Kraft would continue to condemn the "imperial media" for years to come. Many journalists were intimidated by these attacks. [/quote]
Intimidation, fear of exposing national secret, yes like assassination plots. Fear of being pushed to the outskirts the same way the other journalists were.
[quote]... the investigations never truly aroused the public the way Church a hoped. This apathetic response might have been a product of what sociologists call the "issue-attention cycle." According to Anthony Downs, American public attention does not remain focused on any one issue for long, "even if it involves a continuing problem of crucial importance to society."
Typically, Downs says, a new problem will vault into the center of public attention, stay there a short time, then quickly fade from public view as people realize how difficult, threatening, or costly the solutions would be-or simply after they get bored with hearing about the problem.
During the investigations, congressmen frequently commented that their constituents did not seem interested in intelligence abuses after the initial flurry of revelations. "This is not the Watergate investigation," one member of Congress told the New York Times as early as May 1975. "Nobody ever talks to me about it on home trips, and I hear very little about it here."
Some commentators argued that Americans could not sustain their outrage because they had become jaded by scandal. The public had already learned about the My Lai massacre, the secret bombing of Cambodia, the secret war in Laos, and the Watergate scandals. As a result, Americans had experienced "a kind of deadening of moral nerve-ends, a near-inability to be surprised, let alone disturbed," by new revelations, the Washington Post editorialized. The "years of revelation and shock," as columnist Meg Greenfield put it, had produced an "anesthetizing effect" on many Americans.[/quote]
The above scenario explains it best. We saw the same willingness to know that there was a problem, but lack of willingness to fully investigate the corruption that was happening on the Toronto Police Force. A few years several officers in Toronto were arrested for a variety of charges, extorting money from local stores, selling drugs, requesting sex from prostitutes etc.
The police were arrested, but then a report came out that said this was just the tip of the iceberg and that if the problem was ever fully investigated it would embarrass those from the top down to the bottom. To really look into the situation and fix it, truly fix it might not only be costly, but it literally in some cases might involve a full turn over of those in power, and if your career depends on many of those in positions of power, you are not going to be the one to go there.
[quote]Americans also may have doubted that they or their representatives had the power to change the secret agencies. A December 1975 poll showed that only 30 percent believed that the investigations would produce real reforms, while 41 percent were more skeptical. Moreover, with public confidence in all governmental institutions at a historic low, most Americans did not trust the Congress to devise solutions.
Finally, many Americans resisted believing the news that their government had committed crimes. During the years of the liberal consensus, there had been no dialogue in American political culture about CIA or FBI activities. Most Americans' knowledge of these agencies came from popular culture, which portrayed U.S. agents as heroes. Once Vietnam and Watergate had shattered the liberal consensus, suddenly the American people learned about the murder plots, drug testing, and harassment of dissidents that had been carried out in their name. They had been taught a "child's history" of the world, as Richard Helms's biographer Thomas Powers has explained, and they did not want to learn about the real history written by Helms and his colleagues. "To discover oneself the victim of so many illusions, all at once, is disorienting," Powers has noted.
It is painful for any nation to learn about its government's dirty tricks, but it is perhaps most painful for Americans, who hold their government to a high moral standard. As Michael Schudson has commented, "That is not to say that other peoples expect their governments to be immoral but there may be an unusual American spirit that the government is expressive of and representative of its people and that we cannot think well of ourselves if we cannot think well of our leaders." America is, after all, supposed to be the "city on a hill," admired and emulated by the rest of the world. Subverting foreign governments and plotting to assassinate foreign leaders does not fit well with this image.[/quote]
The other reason this continues, many people just can not handle the truth. They like the fairytale that they were brought up on. I was the same way, and without personally being targeted by this situation, I would not have believed it myself. Many of us in society grow up believing these illusions, these fairy tales about how just, fair and democratic our countries are, and it takes a lot to have those beliefs shattered. They are not just beliefs about a country, they are part of the images that we hold in regards to ourselves, to shatter those images with truth, is something that many people are simply not ready for.
[quote]The country has never resolved this contradiction between its ideals and its acceptance of Cold War secrecy and subversion. Most policymakers decided to maintain American illusions by keeping the public ignorant of secret operations. They concluded-perhaps correctly-that many Americans wanted to be kept in ignorance. [/quote]
Ignorance is bliss for many people. That is also in part what keeps this system in place. The less they know, the happier they are, not truly happy, but that false sense of happy that they have consistently been feed, but they have been feed it for so long, they no longer know the difference.
Richard Helms contends that this attitude reveals that "we're basically a rather hypocritical nation; we like things to be done, but we don't want to have the blood on our own hands.'' [/quote]
That is so true. People do not like to have the blood on their hands. That's why monitoring someone for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, is so effortless. You never have to truly see them, the blood is spread around so thin, you don't even notice it when it splashes. The citizens helping out in our harassment, are hardly ever present or there for the end results and even if they were, many would think that they had just done or performed an invaluable service for the country.
[quote]Americans would "pretend" to be shocked by the Church committee assassination report.
"We have never before known the details-and they are sordid and ludicrous in the extreme-but we have known that American policy has at times meant interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and trying to bring down their governments," the paper scolded. A Washington Post reader urged Americans to admit that they supported "covert subversive activities" in other countries or take responsibility for attempting to limit them. Most Americans refused to make that choice, however. They preferred to leave the CIA's undemocratic actions in the "attic of the implicit," as columnist Rod MacLeish said, rather than bringing them down to the more painful level of explicit endorsement.[/quote]
Forcing people to admit that they support these covert actions that are taking place in other countries was hard, imagine getting them to admit that it's happening in their own countries?
[quote]The inquiries asked them to doubt the morality of J. Edgar Hoover and John F. Kennedy-men they had regarded as true American heroes-and to question whether their nation truly adhered to its professed ideals.
One year earlier, Americans had faced equally difficult questions during the Watergate scandal. But not even Watergate had shaken most Americans' support for "the system," political scientists have shown. Having survived that shock, most Americans were reluctant to challenge the system's legitimacy now. As one American wrote to the president in 1975, "Let's not turn the CIA probe into another Watergate. Just try to take steps to prevent the recurrence of alleged illegal activities." It was much easier to assume that the investigations had taken care of past problems-and that the system had worked-than to challenge American illusions.[/quote]
Protecting those illusions, that is what helps to keep the system in place, and anyone who comes along and challenges those illusions have not only the system to worry about, but sometimes the very people they are trying to help within those system.
[quote]Congress began a new era of oversight in 1976. The "newness" of this era, however, became the subject of much controversy ... In 1986, the two successors to the Church and Pike committees discovered that the Reagan administration had evaded and ignored the intelligence reforms enacted since the 1970S and had lied to the overseers. In 1987, former Church committee member John Tower, who headed the presidential commission that investigated the scandal, pronounced the Iran-contra affair to be an "aberration." In 1988, the joint congressional investigating committee concluded that the existing oversight laws were adequate and that the system had worked. This view was widely shared by opinion leaders. In the 1990S, there seems little prospect that lawmakers or journalists will again question the fundamental soundness of the existing oversight system.[/quote]
Thus you have it. The people are all tucked back nicely into their illusions and fairy tales, the system works and you have nothing to worry about, when evidence clearly shows otherwise.
This article for me served to clarify why a structure such as this could be in place and still standing. This structure is built into the core of society and how they see themselves in part, so to destroy this wall of illusion would be to destroy the fairytale views and beliefs so many hold about their society and themselves. To shatter an illusion so deep rooted and strong, might well send the society in a tale spin. Therefore as long as the illusion or the fairytale continues, many of us are likely to be caught up in this system and the illusions that keep it going.