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Feature Story March 18, 2004
 
Amerikanskie Siloviki
By Jake Rudnitsky Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 6
 
While certain obvious aspects of the American Siloviki lag behind Putin's gang, like the ability to totally overtly dominate the media and force all the oligarchs to fall in line, the Americans have got the Russians beat on most other issues, such as surveillance and the like. That is to say, the issues that matter for a contemporary intel operation -- domestic intel. Putin excels at primitive, twentieth century tricks that are easy to identify and therefore easy to work around. All those KGB files filling Lubyanka's yellowing stacks can't compete with the US government's facial recognition software. It goes without saying that better funded agencies are more powerful, and the FSB's budget probably is about half the size of the NEA -- say, around the size of the budgeting for Piss Christ or The Vagina Monologues.

Taken in that light, the CIA's recently released report warning of greater Russian assertiveness is totally absurd. What could greater assertiveness mean in the face of Full Spectrum Dominance? Does that mean that Russia might object to full domination? Is that what passes for "assertiveness" in the eyes of America's Siloviki? It hardly seems fair to talk about Russian assertiveness when the Americans now count three former Soviet republics among NATO members and have troops deployed, with Russia's acquiescence, in at least three others and up to six. Not bad out of a total of 15.

The following is a catalog of steps taken by the American Siloviki to consolidate power. If Putin & Co had the organization and financial resources, they might put the Americans to shame. But as it is, they can only look on in envy and hope oil prices stay high...

THE PATRIOT ACT

It's such a massive law that no lay person with anything serious going on in his life could possibly read through the whole thing, but believe us: this law is 'da bomb. It grants US federal agencies huge sway to monitor everything from electronic communications to library records. That's right, when they're not trying to ban Huck Finn and Catcher in the Rye from libraries, they're trying to track who reads 'em. This law gives domestic security agencies the right to figure out what kinds of books you read and then see if you match their generic terrorist profiles. Checking out The Turner Diaries would be enough to have FBI alarm bells comparing you to the next Timothy McVeigh, and they probably take note of everyone showing too much interest in the Koran or even Khalil Gibran. Sure some libraries are freaking out, but it's pretty tame compared to the ability to access medical records, DNA evidence and emails that the Patriot Act allows. For the first time ever, roving wiretaps, or wiretaps on a person rather than a specific telephone number, are sanctioned. And these aren't like the primitive Soviet affairs where you know that you're being listened to; American wiretap technology is much, much more stealthy.

However, all these searches don't amount to a hill of beans compared to the sections pertaining to the detention of perceived terrorists.

After Sept. 11, over 800 Muslims were rounded up, many for months, and held without releasing any information about the detainees to the public. Led by God-fearing Attorney General Ashcroft, the Siloviki even went so far as to detain several American citizens as enemy combatants, thereby holding them indefinitely without trial or access to lawyers, in blatant violation of American law. Most of them were picked up in Afghanistan but, in the most outrageous case, Jose Padilla was apprehended stateside. Padilla was held without counsel for nearly two years in a military brig without access to the outside world, and only allowed his first visit with his lawyers (observed and recorded by the government) on March 3 of this year! Amazingly, he was so isolated that he had no idea that he was the subject of intense constitutional debates all this time. While he was living in total ignorance of the scandal surrounding him, his case has gone all the way to the Supreme Court, where it'll be heard in April. The government is appealing a federal appeals court ruling that says it is unconstitutional to hold an American citizen indefinitely without charging him. No doubt the Siloviki don't quite get what the big deal is, seeing as they've never shown much respect for their subjects. But if they have no love for American subjects, just imagine how they treat foreigners. Which brings us to our next point...

GUANTANAMO BAY


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