[Pnews] Century of the National Security State: A New Subversives List?

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 29 10:28:13 EST 2017


  Century of the National Security State: A New Subversives List?

by David Rosen - November 29, 2017 


/(one should note that COINTELPRO, targeted assassinations and coups are 
downplayed in this history - still worth reading - ed)/

A recent article by two Georgetown University civil-liberties 
attorneys, Yael Bromberg and Eirik Cheverud, “Anti-Trump protesters risk 
60 years in jail. Is dissent a crime? 
warns that the Trump Justice Department may be establishing a 21^st 
  century “subversives” list. The trial of the first six defendants has 
just started in Washington, DC.

The authors’ note that in the wake of Pres. Donald Trump’s inauguration 
in January 2017, federal prosecutors brought charges against over 200 
protestors that included felony rioting, felony incitement to riot, 
conspiracy to riot and five property-damage crimes.  The attorneys 
remind readers, “Each defendant is facing over 60 years in prison.”

Going further, prosecutors sought a warrant to secure the identities of 
users of a website, DisruptJ20.org <http://disruptj20.org/>, that 
organizers used to promote the protests.  A second warrant sought 
information on all Facebook friends and related communications of two 
organizers, the host of a coalition Facebook page and those who simply 
“liked” that page.  The Department of Justice’s (DoJ) sought to identify 
every person who visited the site in what some critics consider an 
unconstitutional “fishing expedition” for political dissidents.

In July, the DoJ served a warrant on DisruptJ20.org 
<http://disruptj20.org/>’s website-hosting company, DreamHost, for every 
piece of information it possessed that was related to the site.  The 
company appealed the warrant and, as its general counsel, Chris 
Ghazarian, warned, “This specific case and this specific warrant are 
pure prosecutorial overreach by a highly politicized department of 
justice under [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions.”

However, Judge Robert Morina of the District of Columbia’s Superior 
Court ruled in support of the warrants, requiring only that personally 
identifiable information be redacted for “irrelevant” material. He 
pointed out, the DoJ “does not have the right to rummage through the 
information contained on DreamHost’s website and discover the identity 
of, or access communications by, individuals not participating in 
alleged criminal activity, particularly those persons who were engaging 
in protected First Amendment activities.”

Judge Morina’s decision might well be the first step in a new and 
unspoken effort by the Trump administrations’ national security state, 
including the DoJ, to reintroduce a new generation of the old 
“subversives” list.


Faced with WW-I, the U.S. Congress passed the Espionage Act in 1917 and 
followed up with the Sedition Act in ‘18.  The ’17 Act prohibited false 
statements that interfered with the nation’s military or promoted the 
efforts of an enemy; the ’18 Act forbade any expression of disrespect 
toward the U.S. government, the Constitution, the flag or the military.

In 1919, the Supreme Court decided unanimously, in /Schenck/ /v. U.S./, 
that Charles Schenck, general secretary of the American Socialist Party, 
violated the laws by mailing 15,000 anti-draft circulars to men 
scheduled to enter the military.  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote 
the Court’s opinion and argued that the government could limit freedom 
of speech when the nation faced a national-security treat, “clear and 
present danger.”

Two decades later, in 1939, the FBI secretly established the Custodial 
Detention Index (CDI) — aka the Custodial Detention Security List, the 
Custodial Detention Program and the Alien Enemy Control — to track 
subversives.  These were people – citizens and immigrants — who were to 
be considered for arrest in case of war or a national-security crisis.  
FBI director J. Edger Hoover claimed that CDI originated as part of the 
FBI’s General Intelligence Division.  “This division has now compiled 
extensive indices of individuals, groups, and organizations engaged in 
subversive activities,” he said.  The CDI list was prepared without 
holding Congressional hearings or without an opportunity for those 
identified to challenge the designation.

That same year, Congress passed the Hatch Act that banned from 
government employment any person who held “membership in any political 
party or organization that advocated the overthrow of our constitutional 
form of government in the United States.”  The following year, as fears 
mounted about the coming war, the U.S. government began to secretly 
screen federal employees for “loyalty” using the Hatch Act as its legal 
basis. During the war, 47 organizations were on the informal subversives 
list, most notably the CP and the pro-Nazi German-American Bund.  All 
told, there were “12 Communist or Communist ‘front’ organizations; 2 
American Fascist organizations; 8 Nazi organizations; 4 Italian fascist 
organizations; and 21 Japanese organizations.”

In September 1942, in an illegal but effective action, House UnAmerican 
Activities Committee (HUAC) chairman Martin Dies leaked the list to the 
/Congressional Record/.  The list, entitled “Communist Front 
Organizations,” was known as Appendix IX and was officially published in 
1944.  It consisted of seven volumes totaling about 2,000 pages and 
identified approximately 250 groups as Communist front organizations; 
the seventh volume included an index of 22,000 suspected individuals.  
In the face of strong opposition, the full committee ordered all copies 
removed from the Library of Congress and destroyed.

Nevertheless, the list was quickly adopted by a wide variety of public 
and private groups to deny employment to or discriminate against those 
listed.  Those adopting – and modifying – the list included the Treasury 
Department (e.g., tax-exemption determinations), the State Department 
(e.g., passport and deportation decisions) and the U.S. military (e.g., 
command structure) as well as state and local governments.  In addition, 
a growing number of civilian business sectors – e.g., federal 
contractors, hotel businesses and the entertainment industries – denied 
employment to or discriminated against those listed.

The blacklist was formally established as the Attorney General’s List of 
Subversive Organizations (AGLOSO) in March 1947 under Pres. Harry 
Truman’s Executive Order 9835.  The Order required all federal employees 
be screened for “loyalty” and created the Loyalty Review Board to 
undertake the screening. However, the list had a long pre- and 
post-history as a form of censorship. Nearly 500 organizations had an 
AGLOSO designation.

In 1950, /Red Channels/, a scurrilous anticommunists publication, issued 
a report, “Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television,” 
that listed 151 actors, radio commentators and other broadcast-industry 
personalities as well as musicians and theatre performers with alleged 
communist affiliations.  Those listed were essentially blackballed from 
professional employment and some were subsequently prosecuted for their 
communist affiliations.

In 1951, HUAC came up with its own list of subversives that included 
many CP-front groups like the National Council of American-Soviet 
Friendship, the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee Committee, the American 
Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born, the American Committee 
for Yugoslav Relief, the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) and the American 
Relief for Greek Democracy.  Also making the list was the Peace 
Information Center, an anti-Cold War group headed by W.E.B DuBois.  He, 
and four other officials, were arrested and indicted in 1950 for failing 
to register under the Smith Act.  Most remarkable, a federal judge, 
James McQuire, acquitted the five defendants,

Lists of alleged subversives spread throughout society.  In November 
1956, the /Elks Magazine/ featured an article, “What the Attorney 
General’s List Means,” that began, “There are few Americans who have not 
heard of ‘the Attorney General’s subversive list.’”  It concluded, 
“There is no excuse for any American citizen becoming affiliated with a 
group on the Attorney General’s list today.”  More disturbing, in 1934, 
the American Legion had begun making lists in of people and 
organizations they considered advocating radical politics.  Between 1943 
and ‘54, the FBI contracted with 60,000 legionnaires to serve as 
informants – and did so without Congressional approval.

The list achieved its most pronounced national status in 
February 1950 when Sen. Joseph McCarthy announced in Wheeling, WV, “I 
have in my hand a list of 205 cases of individuals who appear to be 
either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party.” 
McCarthy’s list was never formally made public and he kept changing the 
number of alleged communist suspects depending on the audience he was 
addressing.  The list appears to have been based on a list originally 
prepared some years earlier by FBI agent Robert Lee and known as the 
“Lee List.”


Who is a subversive and who determines loyalty?  The Attorney General’s 
List of Subversive Organizations claimed the designation was based on 
“reasonable grounds exist for belief that the person involved is 
disloyal” or has “membership in, affiliation with or sympathetic 
association” on its list of “totalitarian, Fascist, Communist or 
subversive” organizations or groups advocating the overthrow of the U.S. 
government or “to alter the form of Government of the United States by 
unconstitutional means.”  Subversion was determined by “belief”; but whose?

A half-a-century ago, old-fashion liberal intellectuals and publications 
– or what would be identified as today’s “progressives” — felt 
especially threatened by the blacklist, fearful of being smeared by the 
same anticommunist brush.  Victor Navasky found in his classic study, 
/Naming Names/ 
“the majority of center liberals lived in the penumbra of the 
degradation ceremony [of naming names] and reinforced it by playing its 
game.” He singled out the /New York Times, The New York Post/, /New 
Republic/ and /Dissent/, among liberal publications, as supportive of 
the witch-hunt.  He also noted the critical role played by some 
liberals, including Carey McWilliams, of /The Nation/, along with 
anti-Stalinist scholars like Michael Harrington, Irving Howe, Paul 
Goodman, C. Wright Mills and Erich Fromm, in opposition to HUAC, 
McCarthyism and lists of subversives.

The numerous subversive lists spawned more than splits among liberals.  
Ray Bradbury published his sci-fi classic, /Fahrenheit 451/, in 1953.  
The title signifies the temperature at which book-paper burns. It’s a 
dystopian novel about postmodern “firemen” who censor threatening texts 
by burning them and the small, isolated communities of people committed 
to keeping the written word — as a memorized, spoken text — 
alive.  Bradbury wrote his classic tale during a period in which a dozen 
or so communities around the country organized popular gatherings at 
which citizens, including many young people, burned popular comics and 
other books.

The trial of the first Trump-inauguration protesters has just begun and 
more will take place.  One key factor repeated cited by federal 
prosecutors – and the fawning media – is the street “violence” that 
occurred during the protests and, ironically, while the 200-plus people 
arrested were being held by the police.  Many critics warn of the 
possible – likely? – role of /agent-provocateurs/ in the violence.  
Federal officials have long used violence to fuel a political agenda.  
Most notably, FBI agents during its /COINTELPRO/ program and CIA 
operative in any number of foreign campaigns have employed 
/agent-provocateur/ tactics to discredit legitimate protesters.  Should 
one expect any less from the then-newly established Trump administration?

It remains to be seen how strongly federal prosecutors will adhere 
to Judge Morina’s warnings when gathering information about political 
protesters.  Most worrisome, it’s not clear if — most likely — they will 
use the information to build a new subversives list.  Welcome to the 
21^st  century national security state.

/*David Rosen *is the author of Sex, Sin & Subversion:  The 
Transformation of 1950s New York’s Forbidden into America’s New Normal 
(Skyhorse, 2015).  He can be reached at drosennyc at verizon.net 
check out www.DavidRosenWrites.com <http://www.davidrosenwrites.com/>./

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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